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I don't like to talk about my dreams, as in nighttime dreams, not future dreams, because, in general, I don't find dreams to be that interesting of a topic. They're really the epitome of "you had to be there" stories. Nevertheless, I had a dream last night that left me in a nice mood and feeling optimistic in general. I don't believe in symbolism within dreams, at least not the generic symbols you find in dream books, but sometimes I do think dreams can sometimes randomly show you something from a different perspective than the one you normally take. That can be something I forget to do when I'm feeling negative. 

Anyway, I think that's a good way to start off the new year. 

This year I think I want to try to do more creative things in my free time, particularly kinds that I don't normally do. This is actually something I've been thinking about for a few weeks. I've taken up crocheting again (I had a small stint a year ago where I started to crochet, but it didn't last long), and I'm currently designing my sister's professional website. I was also thinking of even doing some writing or musical stuff. 

I have a tendency to be a perfectionist when it comes to creating things. I think about them for too long and I don't actually get anything done. So, my goal now is to just try to complete things, regardless of how good they turn out to be. I'm hoping this new approach will turn out well and I'll find myself being more productive in my free time. 
Current Location:
Living room
Current Mood:
optimistic optimistic
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Stole this from Coral. 

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Did a road trip across the U.S. Went West of the Mississippi. Drove through a desert. Moved to LA.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't lose any weight. My Japanese has probably gotten worse, but I'm still using it. I do have a job that I like a lot better than the one I had. 

My resolutions for this year will include the weight loss and studying Japanese as always, but I also want to take on more creative endeavors. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No...? No, I don't think so. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My grandma died in June. 

5. What countries did you visit?

I was living in Japan at the beginning. Then I moved back to the US. Neither of those were really visits I guess.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A wider circle of friends nearby. A valid driver's license and car.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Like Coral, I'll remember March 11. I'll also remember March 31, which was the day I left Japan (unrelated to the March 11 disaster). My grandma died on June 2. June 3 is the day I arrived in LA. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting the job that I wanted that I enjoy and where I feel valued and like I'm learning useful skills. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

I haven't improved in areas I would like to have improved in. I didn't put myself out there and make friends. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Furniture!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

In my personal life? My mom did a lot to take care of my grandma in her final weeks as she was ill. I think it made a huge difference.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The majority of Republican candidates. 

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel, furniture, loans

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Getting my job at USC. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

"Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. I first heard it right after moving to LA and it's been a staple on the radio since. Plus I still like it. 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier professionally, but sadder personally
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter I think
c) richer or poorer? I think I'm technically poorer, but it doesn't feel like it. 

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Exercise, studying Japanese and socializing

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Being lazy and being stressed out

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I stayed in, crocheted a kindle case for my sister and watched all three Lord of the Rings films (which is a bit of a family tradition).

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

Nope. 

22. How many one-night stands?

Zero

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Breaking Bad. Then Game of Thrones. No Mad Men aired in 2011. 

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope. 

25. What was the best book you read?

A Clash of Kings? Whatever the second book is called in that series. 

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Animal Collective. I'm also finding myself more inclined to look into 80's music, which I've generally snubbed, but which I think I didn't give a fair chance, since I've really only been exposed to the popular stuff. 

27. What did you want and get?

A job, a decent apartment and furniture. I also got to go to my friend's wedding and see my grandma before she passed away.

28. What did you want and not get?

I hoped that I would have been able to stay in touch with one of my friends more. We still talk, but I guess I hoped we could still hang out, even if we weren't in the same place.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

The best movie I saw this year was "Hausu" (House), a Japanese horror film from the 70's that is weird and amazing. 

30. What did you do on your birthday?

Had sushi and cake.

31. What is one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having close friends nearby.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Skirts/dresses and belts. A sort of 60's nerd chic. ModCloth-y

33. What kept you sane?

Friends. Entertainment

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I have no idea. 

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The Republican presidential race

36. Who did you miss?

My family, my friends, especially a close friend that I was spending a lot of time with before leaving Japan

37. Who was the best new person you met?

A friend of my sister's who has since become my friend

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:

You have to think about how your actions affect/look to other people. 

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"If I could do just one near perfect thing I'd be happy
They'd write it on my grave or when they scattered my ashes
On second thoughts, I'd rather hang around
and be there with my best friend if she wants me"
Belle & Sebastian - "If she wants me"


Current Location:
Living room
Current Music:
Animal Collective - "Fireworks"
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Which is your favorite classic Beatles’ song, and why?

Is a classic Beatles' song a Beatles' song of a certain part of their career or level of popularity? Or is it really just any Beatles' song?

I started listening to The Beatles more not too long ago. I don't know if it's because I hadn't really heard them before or not, but I found most of my favorites were ones that weren't as popular (i.e. not on The Beatles One album). 

So, out of their hits, I would say that "Hey Jude" is my favorite. I don't know why, I just like it.

Of the ones that weren't number ones, I would say "I'm Only Sleeping."

The two things I love about that song the most are the little moments where the bass stands out and also the backwards guitar. But also I just like the melody and the lyrics and overall product. Plus I just relate to it. I think if I were to make a movie about myself, that I would use that song during the opening credits.

Other favorites: "Baby, You're a Rich Man," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "I am the Walrus." 
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Man, I'm a bit obsessed with Mad Men right now. 

I'm currently rewatching the older the seasons with one of my friends while I'll keeping up with the latest episodes. 

It's just such a well-crafted show. The stories and the characters are just so solidly written. There are so many layers as well. It's definitely the kind of show that you can go back to and analyze in various ways, without any disappointment. And though it's usually pretty slow and subtle, every now and then they just hit you with some amazing scene or episode. 

This week's episode was one of those kinds of episodes, and I've been thinking about it all week. I was thinking of even writing up an analysis, lol. Maybe I should get into that kind of job. How awesome would it be to watch TV shows and then write about them? 

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Today I'm skipping Day 06 (Favorite episode of your favorite TV show) and Day 07 (Least favorite episode of your favorite TV show) simply because it's been awhile and I can't remember all the episodes at the moment.

So, we'll move on to Day 08 - A show everyone should watch:

The Wire

If you have never seen this show then, shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, you had better go find a way to watch it.

Absolutely brilliant show. It blows any other police (or any other law enforcement) show way out of the water. (Or keeps them way dooowwn in the hole... don't ask)

It was created by David Simon, an author and former police reporter in Baltimore. Apparently he was inspired by the experiences of a former homicide detective friend of his. While it is a crime drama, it has on-going story arcs, rather than your typical episodic baddy-of-the-week set-up. The crime part of it mostly deals with the drug-trade, and the main characters approach their cases using surveillance methods (hence the name "The Wire").

But it's about more than fighting crime. It's also largely about the bureaucracy of various institutions (the police, the government, the media, and such). And it just feels so real. The details, the characters, the situations and the dialogue are so well-written and they just draw you in. There's no sugar-coating or easy fixes, especially since the episodes just carry over into the next one.

One of the best things about it though, is that despite the heavy subject matter and how real and well-structured it is, it also still remembers to stay entertaining.

Here's a scene (warning, there's nudity and swearing)

Pay attention to the dialogue :D


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This seems so negative coming right after my favorite show... but here it is:

NCIS


God, I hate this show.

I haven't seen too many episodes, but I've seen enough to know that the characters are some of the most annoying characters in the history of dramas. They insult my intelligence.

Obviously I don't need complete realism in my TV shows (see "Day 04"), but who on earth would think such 2-dimensional cartoony characters were appropriate for a crime drama? It just cheapens it.

But even that's not my total problem I guess. The characters are also just so unoriginal. Oh, she dresses like a goth, so that makes her a unique character... Really? Oh, and those two bicker, but it's all in good fun because secretly they're in love or something... Real creative.

Basically, I hate the characters, and therefore I have no respect for the writers and watching the show is now painful. Also, I probably wouldn't care so much if it weren't for the fact that my family loves it.

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This one is super easy.

It's Arrested Development

Great cast, great writing, great planning... great everything pretty much. The details in this show are ridiculous, loads of minor running gags in the background, foreshadowing, call-backs, recurring characters... It makes it that much more fun to watch, on top of the fact that it's just hilarious.

I bought the first season on a whim one snowy Sunday my freshman year of college. Starting watching it... kept watching it even though I had more pressing obligations. Finished it in about five days. Then I convinced my friends that they needed to watch it, so watched the entire first season again on Friday that same week. Yeah... Good times.

The show was always under threat of cancellation, and I think it cracked under the pressure a bit and sort of became a bit too self-aware at times, but even at its worst times, it was still the funniest show on TV. If you've never seen it, seriously go on surfthechannel or something and watch the first couple of episodes. Even right off the bat, this show was phenomenal.



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I think I'm going to do both Day 3 and Day 4 today.

I haven't seen too many new shows this season, and the ones I saw I only saw a few episodes, so, I'm just going to go ahead and say...

Treme


Same as yesterday's.

It's just really well written and just awesome. Plus, I love New Orleans.

Here's a trailer:


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Treme (HBO)
Treme (Truh-may. It's the name of an area in New Orleans) is a drama by David Simon (of The Wire, which you'll definitely be hearing of on this meme) that takes place in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It follows the stories of several different people. Ironically, I myself have only seen a couple episodes (I wish I was watching it too?), but from what I've seen, it has lots of great characters and music and writing. Plus Lester Freeman and Detective Bunk are in it. 

This show isn't under any threat of cancellation as HBO renewed this series right after the pilot. (HBO hearts David Simon)

I download all my TV though, so the more people who watch a show then the easier it is to download.

I myself have missed quite a few episodes, and now when I try to go back and download them, it doesn't go super quickly.

And to specifically point out more people that I want to watch this show, I really would like my family to watch it. My dad loves New Orleans and I think he would really enjoy this show. Also, I'm pretty sure my sister hasn't seen it yet, and she lived in New Orleans (and some of her friends have been on the show).

Current Music:
The New Pornographers - Moves
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I heart TV, so I'm gonna do the 30 day TV meme, too!

Day 1: A show that should never have been canceled.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big fan of Arrested Development, so it would seem like that would be the obvious choice here... but, that one's a bit complicated. What I always hated the most was the constant threat of cancellation, and in the end that took its toll on the show a bit as well. The writers, too, I imagine, because actually there was the chance for the show to get picked up by Showtime and the creator turned it down saying something along the lines of being worn out. It was a pretty intense show, from a planning point of view. So many details.

So, I'm going to have to by-pass my love, and instead go for:

Freaks and Geeks

That was an amazing show. I think one of Judd Apatow's strongest points is his characterizations. His characters always have at least a bit of realism to them, and they did especially in this show. In fact, given Judd Apatow's bad habit of making movies longer than they need to be, I think TV is the better place for him. He can take the time he needs to showcase the characters and still tell a story. And if he were to go back to TV now, I bet he'd have the clout to keep his shows on. But who goes from movies to TV? It's the other way around and he's pretty successful where he is.

And it's a bit interesting to think that if Freaks and Geeks hadn't been canceled, then it's very possible that a lot of the popular comedy movies from the past few years wouldn't have been made. And most of the actors are working on other shows or in movies at the moment. But maybe all those differences would have been worth it. I'd certainly have given up Funny People for another season of Freaks and Geeks.

In any case, if you haven't seen it, I'd recommend it.
Current Music:
Shugo Tokumaru - Rum Hee
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