Monday, January 24, 2005

House of Flying Daggers

I finally got to see House of Flying Daggers on Saturday since we were staying in because of the blizzard. The cinematography, special effects and action were everything I expected from director Zhang Yimou ("Hero"). The visuals were gorgeous. The casting was pretty cool, too. Taiwanese pop idol Takeshi Kaneshiro plays Jin. Hong Kong star Andy Lau Tak Wah plays Leo. Beijing born actress Ziyi Zhang (or Zhang Ziyi) plays Mei; American audiences probably recognize her best from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Hero" and "Rush Hour 2". It's a Romeo and Juliet-style tale set during the decline of the Tang Dynasty and focuses on the mysterious rebels House of Flying Daggers. It's an action-packed (tragic) romance; I enjoyed it a lot.


Last night we watched Aladdin's Magic Lamp, which was visually intriguing, almost like watching fairtyale paintings come to life. It's a Russian film of the well-known tale of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp. The first time we tried to watch the movie, we ended up watching it in French with English subtitles. That was interesting. lol This time, we got it to play in English (dubbed).

Thursday, January 20, 2005


I just heard the news that a cousin in Washington, D.C. has died. I'd only met him two or three times; he was my mother's first cousin, the youngest of two brothers, not too much older than myself. It's sad. My great aunt, his mother, died on September 8, 2001, three days before the collapse of the WTC in NY. My mother is understandably shocked. She's waiting to compose herself before calling her 92 year old aunt who was close to David. It's another reminder of the fragility & shortness of life.

It's a reminder, too, that we need to visit my great aunt again, preferable before her 93rd birthday, and to arrange a visit for my little niece with her surviving great grandmother.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Loot

Assorted gifts from this weekend:

From my Dad
- Peter Gabriel Secret World Live DVD
- Peter Gabriel Growing Up Live DVD
- House of Flying Daggers DVD

From my Mom
- winter coat
- sweater

From my younger sis
- Birthday breakfast (jointly with oldest sis *g*)
- pic of my niece
- drawing by my niece

From older sis
- ecard =)

From oldest sis
- The Sims Vacation (Mac)
- Space Colony (Mac)
- Ursula K. Le Guin's "Tehanu"
- John J. Lee, Jr.'s "The Producer's Business Handbook"
- Eve Light Honthaner's "The Complete Film Production Handbook: Third Edition"

From L.
- card
- assorted chocolates *g*

and lots of ecards and well wishes from friends and family. =)

Yes, it's been a good couple of days. =)

I'm very excited about the film books, too, since they both contain a wealth of information that I don't already know and that will come in handy for research and for working on Equinox and SG with S.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

LJ Down

Live Journal is down. They had a major power failure and are trying to get all the servers back online (according to the message that pops up). It's disappointing since that's the main way I keep up with what certain friends are up to, by reading their Live Journal posts. Ah well.

I just heard a statement from President Bush trying to explain his Social Security reform ideas. He mentioned that something (preferably his plan) must be done because as it stands now there will be no more funds left for Social Security payments by 2018. Just the other night on the news, however, I heard it reported that the Social Security Administration claims they have enough to function as is until 2042, and if nothing is changed, then after that date, they'll have enough to pay almost 75% of promised benefits to each person. This is a completely different statement from what President Bush said. Either he's confused, they're confused, someone is spinning facts to suit his (or their) purpose (aka misinformation), or I just don't understand all the details and specifics (which is probably the case).

Both President Bush and the SSA are saying changes need to be made, but President Bush seems to know something about the SSA's funding that they do not since he's claiming we'll be in the red by 2018. The SSA, from what I understand, is stating that the incoming funds will be negative compared to what they're paying out (which might be what President Bush means when he stated they'll be in the red) but they will still have a positive outflow of cash.

The SSA has a FAQ set up which answers common questions about Social Security's future.

If anyone can point me to sources which do a better job of explaining it, I'd appreciate it. Thank you.