january 2005 archive

Monday, January 31, 2005

::working for the weekend::

josh & i celebrated our third wedding anniversary by treating ourselves to a weekend at the standard in los angeles. saturday morning, we awoke to find a note slipped under our door.
Dear Hotel Guest,

Thank you for staying at The Standard!

We would like to inform you that there will be a movie shoot taking place near the hotel on Sunday, Jaunary 30th between the hours of 7:00am and 10:00pm. The shoot will not interfere with the operation of the hotel. However, we were told there will be sounds of gunfire and helicopters starting at 9:00am.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.


Laurent Fraticelli
General Manager
i felt giddy being in such close proximity with something as wonderful film making. however, it made josh horribly nervous and i pretty much fumbled with the camera non-stop. although the streets were absent of stars, we did see a lot of police as we attempted to make our way to the MOCA, only to learn it was closed! however, our good fortune and willing feet lead us to overhear a conversation which revealed a few of the main actors (ewan mcgregor & scarlett johansson). further research led me here to uncover the name of the film they are working on.

if only josh would have been a little slower to oblige the cops as we drove down grand, in the middle of where they were shooting, i might also be able to bring you pictures of the beautiful camera piggybacking the purple porsche cayenne. or the futuristic police car. or other furturistic looking cars. but, no, josh was forceably uninterested in loitering or causing a scene. and i'm proud of him: i wouldn't want to disturb a set, really. i couldn't readily roll out of the car while it was in motion anyhow.

photos may be seen here

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

::feeling guilty::

...for inadvertently writing this on my anniversary card to josh:
You know, I could be successful in school without you. Or life.
the correct word is couldn't.
he queried ever so gently, after a lengthy pause from repeatedly reading the words to himself, "what exactly do you mean by this?"
i was mortified when i realized my mistake. one has to have a sense of humor about these things.

Monday, January 24, 2005

::phantoms of sir lloyd webber's musical::

this review is long overdue, i'm well aware, so here goes. for those who don't know me, allow me to make privy to you some well-known facts. i have seen the phantom of the opera 5 times in los angeles. i saw it 4 times while it ran at the ahmanson theatre and once at the pantages. once with michael crawford, once with robert guillaume, and three times with davis gaines. i am a huge fan, even if i'm not as active in my pursuit of the Broadway Musical as i one was. josh caught me singing along to aspects of love last night because i was just, plainly, in the mood for a good musical. still, i should really take some singing lessons if i know what's good for me. and josh.

this review assumes that the reader is familiar with the story. if you aren't, read gaston leroux's the phantom of the opera and even susan kay's fanfic phantom. interestingly enough, this appears to be out of print: amazon is selling it for a pretty penny. and, for pete's sake, get some culture in your life! by any means possible!

Really Useful Films-- the moment this moniker flickers on screen someone in the audience snickers. this is when i stand up and yell "uh, DUH! if you knew ANYTHING about andrew lloyd webber and what this film (which has been in the talks for at least 15 years, if you ask ANYONE who knows ANYTHING) is about in the least you would KNOW that
The Really Useful Group (RUG) was founded in 1977 by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is an International entertainment company actively involved in theatre, film, television, video and concert productions, merchandising, magazine publishing, records and music publishing.
so, if you put two & two together, you MIGHT just be able to infer that Really Useful Films is part of the whole family of companies. why don't you just go HOME already? you make me SICK!" but the moment this happens in my head, i realize that i might get pummeled by her fake poodle purse or the smell of her cheap perfume, so i keep my mouth shut and don't actually say anything at all. amateurs, though. amateurs.

the film is beautiful overall. rich in color and warmth. as the chandelier rises in the opening scene, after the auction, the film unpeels from the grainy black & white film of "present day" paris to a full color version of the opera populaire in its heyday. drinking and debauchery seem to be a pastime of the poor, the stagehands, and the ballerinas (except for christine and meg, of course). the sounds feels better the second time around. as a musician, and very sensitive to scores and soundtracks, i found the first time around that the sound was less than sufficient. but i now know it was the theater. along the lines of music, i do have a couple of things to whine about. first, while minnie driver acted the part of carlotta better than i have ever seen it done before. still, why didn't they find someone who was able to sing the part as well? the voice-over was out of synch on several occasions, despite the effort to pan away from her during various songs. then they throw in a closing song that roles during the credits just to prove that ms. driver really knows how to sing. she just doesn't do opera. slackers & hackers, sheesh!

second, in the same vein, whoever revamped the orchestration on the title track made me ill with those random Casio keyboard brand hand claps. honestly, who thought of that? they should have to sit in a room for 24 hours listening to nothing but poorly executed, artificial hand claps. a number of real, live percussion instruments would have sufficed quite unobtrusively. also on the title song, i didn't quite get the part where the singing alternates between "i'm thinking and i'm singing" to "i'm really, actually singing!". one suspends belief as it is when taking in all that a musical offers in the first place. why add to the confusion of characters singing their lines?

third, there are random flashbacks which allow one scene to segue to another, seeming to allow for the passing of undisclosed amounts of time. they are consistently disruptive to the flow of the film and hardly serve a purpose to the telling of the tale. rather, they disrupt our thoughts and simply beg the question "why am i here?" -- their true purpose is mysterious. additionally, there were two other happenings which alarmed me, as a fan. first, the chandelier does not fall at the figurative end of act one. what? Excuse me? what's going on here? why did you change That? also, the decision for costuming during masquerade is questionable in my eyes. we hear:
Flash of mauve...
Splash of puce...
Fool and king...
Ghoul and goose...
Green and black...
Queen and priest...
Trace of rouge...
Face of beast...
we see: black. and white. and gold. save for raoul (in dark blue and gold) and christine (in pink). very confusing.

my favorite scene of the entire movie is when they sing "prima donna". everything leading up to that is perfect (the array of notes from OG, the moment when carlotta starts to walk out of the theatre and a patron says "would you please give this to ms. daae?", the song itself [everyone is brilliant, here. they shine like true, honest champs. i love it!], the was the scene melts from one room to the next as carlotta changes costume. pure brilliance!). yea! i actually was thrilled with this entire scene!

i've gotten long winded here, but gazing through my notes, i'll leave you with these queries which are still burning on my brain, in no particular order:
  • why does christine look like a porn star when she wakes up from the music of the night? i mean, that lingerie? the eye shadow? why wouldn't the phantom take advantage of her?
  • why are meg's boobs so big? i mean, she's a dancer, right?
  • what's with the midget?
  • why does the phantom play with dolls? that's just odd if you ask me. then he gets all angry-like and burns them. weird.
  • speaking lines that were once sung--who are you trying to fool? we ALL know it's a MUSICAL!
  • the dancers during "point of no return" must go. now.
  • what's up with the three random guys decked out in gold paint that have a split second on the screen when the phantom shows up during "masquerade"?
  • The Cape. seriously, did christopher walken come on set one day and shout "i've got a fever, and the only prescription is MORE CAPE FLINGING!"
there you have it. when all's said & done, i actually did enjoy the film, in spite of all my critcism.

Friday, January 21, 2005

::writing workshop::

has it really come to this? to prove to you, my reader, that i am indeed living and breathing despite long-winded silences, i will post my recent homework assignment, aka "be a reporter in your own home". i hope you enjoy it.

these days, i'm working really hard at my studies and keeping my precious schedule in balance. it involves making lots of lists and buying a dayrunner. yay, dayrunner! i am determined to be organized.

     Waiting to interview Ms. G_____, I'm perched on a chenille, olive green sofa and decidedly take inventory of my surroundings. Above the fireplace is a solitary picture of a French cafe, otherwise the white walls are bare. The handrails leading up the stairway are white. The wood-like blinds are white. The carpet is off-white, though not as pristine as it once was.

     Surveying the space, I notice an overflowing DVD collection shelved against the wall. A few titles catch my eye: Amelie, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Star Wars, Zoolander. They are neurotically alphabetized.

     Breaking the pattern of white, a birch hue materializes in a single, broad shelf above the television piled with decorative scarlet red, yellow-green, and gold pillows. The TV is supported by a birch entertainment center, which is home to a myriad of accessories. Cables extend to and from the television like umbilical cords, giving life to the DVD player, a surround sound system, the Xbox and digital cable. Doth our writer suckle the boob-tube often? Methinks, yes. Alas, there are further pieces of this puzzle to explore.

     Resting on the mantle, and the bookshelf, and the coffee table, are knick-knacks hinting at our writer's personality. Various cat sculptures and photographs are scattered about, including one living, breathing, statue-like tabby that has been studying me since I walked in. The bright green eyes pop in contrast to the black & tan fur, eyeing me with casual curiosity or boredom. Sara is definitely a cat-lover. Scattered candles allude to a romantic side, especially the rustic, five-tiered candle holder which rests on the short wall behind the sofa. It creates the illusion of a separate room, and I'm sure it gives off a magnificent, warm glow when all five pillars are lit.

     What piques my interest most is her bookshelf. It seems the titles are as varied as her ambitions. A Sunset Western Garden Book echoes a curiosity for the outdoors that isn't yet reflected in her yard. Dictionaries are grouped according to subject: French, English, and Music, as are other like-minded texts, including 501 French Verbs, a thesaurus, and numerous biographies of Glenn Gould. Perusing other titles demonstrates her discriminating tastes. Authors range from Nick Bantok to Nick Hornby. There are the very serious works of fiction from Leo Tolstoy and the classics of Charles Dickens. Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera also storm the shelves. I wonder, is our writer is a fan of Broadway?

     One thing distinctly lacking is a collection of CDs. There is an upright piano in the adjacent room, and a nylon-stringed guitar propped up against the wall. Is it all for show? My thoughts are reprimanded as my gaze falls upon an iPod, charging atop the entertainment center. She must have an enormous assortment of music. What does she listen to? I hastily check the idea of satisfying my curiosity on the basis of respect, for at this very moment, she enters the room.

Monday, January 17, 2005

::in the background::

she's writing graduate school essays and i'm contemplating how ridiculous my statistics homework is. i spend hours calculating the mean, median, mode and midpoint of strings of up to 42 1-5 digit numbers (averages. i get it already. 42 numbers? that's what programs like excel are for, not me and a ten dollar calculator). i started this post thinking of comparing myself to my friends who i admire as writers (yes, you and you, of course), and even my "inner game of writing" teacher at uci. but then i want to slap my hormonal self in the face to snap out of the ridiculous notion that i've chosen the wrong profession. at least i was brave enough to share my free-writing piece with the class this past wednesday. some weren't. and it makes me hurt from their lack of confidence.

could it really be possible? think about it. could it really be possibly to write a perfect first draft? i mean, half the time i blog without barely a second read-through. if i do, it's days later and i blush at my misspellings and grammatical faux pas. chalk it up to artistic temper, or whatever. but it's me. and i've got a voice. and this whole process is about exploration.

"write what you like to read" mrs. demarco-barrett says in class. and suddenly, as intriguing as literary journalism sounds, how sweetly it rolls off the tongue, i realize that might not be what i want. magazine writing is somewhat appealing because of its nature: concise articles, limited word count, little time to bore the reader. but then i imagine what magazine out there is suitable for my tastes, and i realize i barely read my "real simple" subscription. i thumb through it to admire the textures and the layout, but other than that WHO HAS TIME? with the exception of being in the bathroom or at the salon (where i enjoy choice publications such as "people" or "us"), my schedule doesn't allow for such luxuries.

so, now what. i'm in flux. and flustered. did i mention hormonal? i'm a writer. i am a writer. that's what this blog is home to: my words. and i fully intend to use them. but now, what major to pursue exactly?

Friday, January 14, 2005


for those livejournal users out there, without a voice, without a means to blog, i feel for you. though not really coherent enough to paste some meaningful drabble, and because josh won't wake up long enough for me to bake chocolate chip cookies, i bring you the lastest stats from the livejournal homepage. hang in there good folks, it'll come through in the end. i hope.
Our data center (Internap, the same one we've been at for many years) lost all its power, including redundant backup power, for some unknown reason. (unknown to us, at least) We're currently dealing with verifying the correct operation of our 100+ servers. Not fun. We're not happy about this.
Sorry... :-/ More details later.

Update #1, 7:35 pm PST: we have power again, and we're working to assess the state of the databases. The worst thing we could do right now is rush the site up in an unreliable state. We're checking all the hardware and data, making sure everything's consistent. Where it's not, we'll be restoring from recent backups and replaying all the changes since that time, to get to the current point in time, but in good shape. We'll be providing more technical details later, for those curious, on the power failure (when we learn more), the database details, and the recovery process. For now, please be patient. We'll be working all weekend on this if we have to.

Update #2, 10:11 pm: So far so good. Things are checking out, but we're being paranoid. A few annoying issues, but nothing that's not fixable. We're going to be buying a bunch of rack-mount UPS units on Monday so this doesn't happen again. In the past we've always trusted Internap's insanely redundant power and UPS systems, but now that this has happened to us twice, we realize the first time wasn't a total freak coincidence. C'est la vie.

Update #3: 2:42 am: We're starting to get tired, but all the hard stuff is done at least. Unfortunately a couple machines had lying hardware that didn't commit to disk when asked, so InnoDB's durability wasn't so durable (though no fault of InnoDB). We restored those machines from a recent backup and are replaying the binlogs (database changes) from the point of backup to present. That will take a couple hours to run. We'll also be replacing that hardware very shortly, or at least seeing if we can find/fix the reason it misbehaved. The four of us have been at this almost 12 hours, so we're going to take a bit of a break while the binlogs replay... Again, our apologies for the downtime. This has definitely been an experience.

Update #4: 9:12 am: We're back at it. We'll have the site up soon in some sort of crippled state while the clusters with the oldest backups continue to catch up.

Update #5: 1:58 pm: approaching 24 hours of downtime... *sigh* We're still at it. We'll be doing a full write-up when we're done, including what we'll be changing to make sure verify/restore operations don't take so long if this is ever necessary again. The good news is the databases already migrated to InnoDB did fine. The bad news (obviously) is that our verify/restore plan isn't fast enough. And also that some of our machine's storage subsystems lie. Anyway, we're still at it... it's long because we're making sure to back up even the partially out of sync databases that we're restoring, just in case we encounter any problems down the road with the restored copy, we'll be able to merge them. And unfortunately backups and networks are too slow.

Update #6: We're up again, but only partially. Some database clusters are still reconstructing/syncing. See status.livejournal.com.

::wondering out loud::

do i subscribe to U2's website so that i can get priority ticket sales for the 2005 tour?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

::good day, sunshine::

it is interesting to me what makes the news here in southern california. in light of the recent and ongoing tsunami tragedy, the news finds it necessary to cover the recent deluge and the path of destruction wrought on our land as though it was the most pressing topic on the table these days. it's sunny & cold right now, so hopefully residents in san juan capistrano will be given a reprieve. at least we have the tangible resources in our own backyard to cope with the weather.

more & more, as i bridge the gap from "writing for my own enjoyment" to the "wide world of journalism" i find there is this new area of my life which will require, pardon the expression, an extreme makeover. i am moving from the casual observer to the keen informer, complete with all my personal bias. and, in the future, i will have the philosophy of my future employer to consider. it's a daunting task, venturing from critical to critiqued. truly this promises to be a fascinating journey.

Friday, January 07, 2005


i've been using amazon's marketplace to purchase my textbooks and occasionally run into a snafu here and there by purchasing the wrong edition. both times i've had to return a book, the seller has been pretty accomodating. however, my most recent transaction was interesting, to say the least.

first of all, when i recieved my textbook, it was PAPERBACK. secondly, it was the INTERNATIONAL version. uh HUM! so, needless to say, i made arrangements to return the book for a refund. funny thing is, i just got an email from the seller:

I was wondering if you shipped the book.

Thank you,

this to which i instantly dashed to the car for my delivery confirmation receipt. this to which i tracked my number online throught the us postal service. this to which i found that my package had, in fact, arrived TWO DAYS AGO. this to which i shot back, via email
Yes, I shipped the book. According to my delivery confirmation receipt, it arrived on January 5, 2005.

Delivery Confirmation receipt# 03022940000261142493


Did you receive it?

moments later, i received an email from amazon confirming the refund. now, honestly, why would you want to rip off a starving student? i couldn't believe this guy was seriously going to try and pull something like "uh, i never received the book, so i can't give you a refund." what a creep!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

::so. much. time!::

my new part-time schedule is teaching me scary things about myself. today, for instance, went something like this:
...left work. felt energized. thought "let's give blood!" and drove to the nearest red cross. they relocated, so i called 1-800-give life. i go in on thursday. they were closed.
...went to mall. bought water filters for the fridge.
...wandered the mall. got thirsty. bought bottled water in the foodcourt. left the mall.
...called josh. called my sister. called christina.
...drove to another mall to exchange a pair of pants for josh.
...bought myself some gelato.
...found a jacket at macy's to replace the one i lost at emily's wedding.
...found dreamy, soft bathrobes for josh & me.
...bought aforementioned bathrobes.
...drove to josh's office.
so i really shopped more than i expected. shhh...! next week i will be in school. problem solved. yip.

Monday, January 03, 2005

::good morning::

indeed, this is what i felt like when i heard josh say to me this morning:
oh my gosh! bebe, it's 8:45!
at which point i grabbed the phone and called my work. i've no clue what happened to make both of us so extremely tired, but somehow we both overslept. thankfully, i made it to work safely and without much incident (ie. warnings or "you're fired!"). still, i was a nervous mess and failed to remember some of the bare essentials in my mad rush for the door.
and, sadly, that is the most eventful thing of the day. the christmas tree has been boxed up and i watched my toes spasm and curl up next to one another with some strange cramp, but really, it's just been an average day. for a monday.

Sunday, January 02, 2005


FuriousFotos is my newest passion and i'm having a blast experimenting with photoshop and creating works of art. just another thing to keep me busy in the new year. here's to another week off from school and 5-hour work days. oh, yea!

No comments:

Post a Comment