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Old 02-22-2020, 06:30 AM   #201
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

There's a well-known story about Yuna's stubbornness, her self-determination, and her desire to succeed. Her mother was her coach in middle school, and the two of them once had an argument about her practice technique. Yuna's mom told her she could do it her way, or she could run 100 laps around the rink. That's more than 10 miles for those of you counting at home.

Of course, tweenager Yuna ran 50 laps around the rink, and then her mom was afraid she might collapse from exhaustion, so she gave in. And that was the last time her mom ever made that threat again.

I remembered that story while practicing my guitar tonight, making lots of mistakes, but vowing never to finish an exercise or song -- no matter how long it took -- until I played the strings right.


Quote:
I don't want people to remember me as a gold medal winner, or as a silver medal winner. I just hope people will remember, there once was a skater named Yuna Kim.


2007-2009 L.A. Red

After her 3rd place debut at the 2007 World Championships, Yuna and her mom moved full-time to Toronto, Canada, where she finally had an ideal training environment and some degree of anonymity from the crushing hysteria surrounding her fame back home. Korea just didn't have the resources available that she needed to reach her full potential there.

Home base was the Toronto Curling, Skating, and Cricket Club, and Brian Orser and David Wilson were hired as her coach and choreographer, respectively.





I've often found myself in cities, states, and countries where I don't know anyone either. It's not easy. One thing I discovered here in Los Angeles, in particular, is that everyone gives you their phone number, but none of them ever want to call you or text you back. It's like a Southern California pastime. You receive all of these unsolicited phone numbers, at first you think these people might be friendly, someone cool to hang out with or get a beer -- but no. Never. It's always someone who hopes you can get them a job or hook them up with an influencer. If you don't lead with "Hey, I'm looking for ...." don't ever expect a reply.

But anyway, back to Yuna ... she not only worked her way up through the figure skating ranks during those years, rising to #2 in the world -- but she also became a major pop icon star:


Don't Stop the Music (2009):






And the most famous and highest-paid celebrity endorser in all of Korea:







Not to mention a pretty good singer too:





But the only thing preventing Yuna from achieving her dreams was a long history of back, hip, and leg injuries, dating back to her sub-optimal training conditions as a youth in South Korea.

Spoiler:



Stella Yuna Kim



I mentioned in my Christmas blog post, when I was at the bottom of the night in my life, how I went to Christmas Mass in San Jose, and the priest's sermon was about how Christmas takes place around the winter solstice, when it's the darkest time of the year, and we need the most light.

For Yuna Kim, that time was during her years in Toronto, Canada, when she was homesick, and her body was failing her, and she was unable to defeat her arch rival and fellow child prodigy, World Champion Mao Asada of Japan. She walked into her doctor's office one day, crying, wrappings and bandages around her broken body, signing up for x-rays, considering whether or not she might need to quit skating. Her doctor, a Catholic, recommended prayer. And you know what? It worked! Her injuries miraculously healed. Yuna converted to Christianity, and she could often be seen wearing a rosary ring on her finger, or saying a prayer every time she took the ice.


Danse Macabre (2009):




Entering the 2009 World Championships, Yuna was finally healthy and ranked #2 in the world. She was 18 years old, and it was her time. At last. She skated her short program to Camille Saint-SaŽns's Danse Macabre, and it was electric, and it was one of the finest short programs the world has ever seen.





She was once again the leader heading into the free skate. She had been there before, except she fell twice, and stumbled on a third jump. But not this time.



Scheherazade (2009):




You might have wondered why I titled this post "L.A. Red", and it's because many years later, Yuna came out with a shoe line, and she called the red ones L.A. Red. It was the color she was wearing when she became the new World Champion here in Los Angeles in 2009. She skated a beautiful program, technically difficult, artistically filled with grace and incomparable flair.





My favorite moment comes near the end, when she closes her eyes on the last jump. Here is a young woman, the best in the world at what she does, giving a performance that transcends mere sport, and overlaps into historical, sublime performance art. And yet even then, she can't help but be scared and nervous. Because that's normal. She was snakebitten in the past.

It's those little human touches that keep her story from devolving into hagiography, and remind us that if we are determined, and we work hard, and set goals for ourselves, then we too can achieve our dreams, and love life, no matter how scared of failure we all are.



The New World Champion

There were still even better and more glorious skates still to come, but at long last, the once-in-a-thousand-years talent, the little Korean girl all grown up, had realized her potential, and she was the new Champion of the World, and she was the first from her country to stand on top of the podium, and listen to her national anthem, and watch the Taegeukgi fly high.



Last edited by Shuffle; 02-22-2020 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 02-23-2020, 07:13 AM   #202
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

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By the way, I need this one framed at my home. Along with something Ozu related, and something Setsuko, and movie posters from all of my favorite films.

There's something about the colors and the smudges. I really like this piece of art.
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:21 AM   #203
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Are you still playing poker, or are you taking a break because of the virus?
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:25 AM   #204
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Hey Sheep, sorry I have been preoccupied lately because of the markets and virus.

I need to update stats on my 3k to 300k challenge, but I was playing some weekends up until the end of February. Then I played one last session on Friday, March 6th. I will post more updates soon.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:11 PM   #205
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

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Hey Sheep, sorry I have been preoccupied lately because of the markets and virus.
I completely understand. I've been following the developments closely myself, at first because of my travel plans. When it became apparent that the trip I was planning will have to wait at least a year, I still kept on reading the news every day.

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I will post more updates soon.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:38 AM   #206
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Checking back in with my regulars, Sheep, Phat Mack, everyone else, everyone OK?

I have a cupboard full of canned soup and vegetables, spaghetti sauce and noodles, ramen, mac 'n cheese, freezer full of pizzas and PF Chang's and Bertolli's frozen dinners, already went through my salad fixings, ham, and Havarti cheese, lots of chips and that sort of thing. I'm locked and loaded for the apocalypse, but I keep drinking my whiskey so damn fast. This is bottle #4 since Friday; probably back to the liquor store sometime next week.

No more poker these days, so I've been spending time trading the volatile markets, writing, and practicing guitar. I'm reminded that Shakespeare wrote King Lear when he was quarantined during the Plague in London in 1606.

Sorry to hear about your trip getting postponed, Sheep. I know that's a downer. But it will be even more rewarding and enjoyable next year. You still going to S. Korea and U.S.?
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:18 PM   #207
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

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Checking back in with my regulars, Sheep, Phat Mack, everyone else, everyone OK?
I'm okay. I plan to buy a little more groceries than usual tomorrow - only plant-based stuff though. Staying home this much isn't great, but the real battle is being fought in hospitals all over the world. I hope LA will be able to cope with the influx of sick people and I hope you will stay healthy, Shuff. Go easy on the whiskey!

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Sorry to hear about your trip getting postponed, Sheep. I know that's a downer. But it will be even more rewarding and enjoyable next year. You still going to S. Korea and U.S.?
Yeah, I still want to visit those countries. I'll be patient.
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Old 03-29-2020, 02:44 PM   #208
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Glad to hear you're doing well, Sheep. Stay safe over there, plan to meet up when you're in the states next year.

Mood right now:

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Old 03-29-2020, 03:49 PM   #209
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

best of luck with the markets, guitar, and writing time. I've also been sidelined from live pokering but not missing it much, yet.
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Old 03-31-2020, 11:17 PM   #210
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Thanks, Bob. Stay safe down there in New Orleans, and don't get too bogged down on social media. Other than this blog or my Ozu thread, I'm thinking about taking a break from 2+2 myself.
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Old 04-01-2020, 03:29 PM   #211
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

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Glad to hear you're doing well, Sheep. Stay safe over there, plan to meet up when you're in the states next year.

Mood right now:

This is from Twilight, right? God what a depressing movie -- perfect for the Plague Years.

Public card room poker may take a long time coming back -- if it comes back at all. The only thing that will save it is if the gamerunners get their heads out of their asses, and my 50 years of experience tells me that will never happen.
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:38 AM   #212
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Yes indeed, Tokyo Twilight. Ozu's darkest film.

And you're right about live poker, it's probably dead now. There won't be any public games for a year or two, minimum, at least not until they discover a vaccine. The economic landscape will be radically different too. What were the last days of five-card draw and faro like in the Wild Wild West?
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:16 PM   #213
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Found an even better one:





Hot damn Ozu, that's how you shoot a depressing movie in the middle of a plague. Gives me inspiration for something else.
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:52 PM   #214
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Are you still working on a movie script? Can you tell me if all script directions are written in the first person plural?
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Old 04-10-2020, 11:00 PM   #215
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Yes, still writing. I'm guessing most pros use Final Draft as their screenwriting software? I have Sophocles Beta which was briefly available as a test version back around 2008, but then it completely disappeared from the market. It's a great little program but totally unknown, maybe a competitor bought them out.

The answer to your question is "it depends". The general answer most people in the movie business give you is that if something works, do it. And if something doesn't work, don't do it. Not very helpful, right? But I've read scripts where the writer uses "we see" and "we hear" all the time -- Coppola's Godfather comes to mind. But in general I don't think it's an effective style.

Some people will argue it doesn't matter, as long as the script is a good read ... well sure, but I always think if the writer hadn't been so lazy, wouldn't the read have been even better anyway?
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Old 04-11-2020, 11:53 AM   #216
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

I kinda like it, but I like too much weird ****. I just re-read Murakami's After Dark, which is in first person present plural, and I thought it was effective in drawing me in.

Speaking of my love for weird ****, let's jump ahead to Late Spring. I've always opined that it made perfect sense with the sound and subtitles off, although my views aren't universally accepted by other elite film critics.
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Old 04-11-2020, 04:43 PM   #217
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Late Spring on silent with no subs is as good a take as any, but then you'd miss all of Chishu Ryu's 'hmmms' and sighs, which might be the best part of the movie.





This is one of my favorite pictures from the set. Ozu the micromanager-- he has every punctuation mark in that script memorized, telling his actors exactly how he wants them to deliver the lines; Setsuko paying close attention, completely focused and in the zone, like you would expect from the greatest actress of her time.

And then there's Ryu, sitting there simultaneously aware and oblivious to everything around him, doing some 14th level Zen Buddhist meditation ****.

That scene where he gets his face to nervously tick when he lies to Noriko might be the greatest acting moment in the history of cinema.
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Old 04-12-2020, 03:22 AM   #218
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Random food post:

Last night I ordered delivery from this Cactus Taqueria Mexican joint in Hollywood. I've mostly been eating bags and bags of potatoes, fruits and vegetables, cooking up spaghetti or shrimp linguini these past few weeks, mixed in with the occasional noodle or canned soup or frozen pizza meal, but I was craving something hot and authentic, so I ordered Mexican on Grubhub. Two authentic tacos $5.50, beef burrito $7 and chicken fajitas $11. The tacos were pretty good but **** damn, the fajitas were the best fajitas I've ever had and the burrito was the best burrito I've ever had. Those were the kinds of meals that I could still taste in my mouth hours and hours later. Unbelievable. Took me two days to eat everything. Even the grated cheese side dish was a 10/10 midnight snack.

So yeah, Cactus Taqueria in Hollywood or whatever it's called used to be a food truck, and now it's a restaurant and it's real good inexpensive food. But I felt guilty reading all of these news stories about tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people all over the country waiting in line for hours at food banks in recent days, knowing those totals will undoubtedly climb into the millions as the year moves along, while I ordered and savored my $40 of Mexican takeout delivered to my door.

But that was really the best food I've had since I've been here in L.A.
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:50 AM   #219
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

These are my two favorite Pearl Jam songs. I don't know why, there are more famous and catchier tunes, but got them stuck in my head last couple days.


Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town




Nothingman




I'll probably do another Yuna post soon. Good screenwriting warm-up exercises sometimes.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:19 AM   #220
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It might be a curious process, but it's a pastime for me to read movie reviews over and over again, from different films, different eras of history, until suddenly I have a new idea. Why? Because when you read a book or watch a movie, you get one point of view, and it's tempting to imitate or assimilate into your arsenal whatever you might like. But when you read movie reviews, sometimes dozens or hundreds of reviews on the same film, you get dozens or hundreds of different points of view, different perspectives, and the writing that follows doesn't imitate or assimilate someone else's art, but instead it appeals to other people's emotions.

A lot of writers don't pay enough attention to setting in my opinion, but I already discovered and decided upon the milieu of my script about a month or two ago. Here I am tonight, reading a bunch of movie reviews, drinking another bottle of bourbon, thinking about how Ozu and Kogo Noda didn't count their screenplays by page numbers, but instead by how many bottles of sake they consumed, and suddenly there's an idea about two main characters that makes everything right.

I wish I could say it's a satisfying feeling or some kind of accomplishment, but it's not; however, it does mark some kind of progress at least.
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Old 06-11-2020, 11:57 PM   #221
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Cross-posting this from the TV review thread since it's probably relevant here:


Inuyasha

A teenage girl who is the reincarnation of a powerful priestess goes back in time to Feudal Japan, where she teams up with a half demon to find the magical shards of the Shikon Jewel. They form a Final Fantasy-like party and battle demons and zombies and evil humans who are seeking the jewel for their own malevolent desires. They also make friendships and romance along the way. The main antagonist's name literally means 'Hell' in Japanese, but there are other allies and secondary villains with overlapping motives who help the heroes too, minor arcs and monsters of the week, filler episodes, fight scenes, and pretty funny comedy in between.

It's not always good, but overall pretty great anime series imo.





This is the culmination of a 15 year journey for me that started when I was on my deathbed back in college in 2005. I had already watched a few Inuyasha episodes mid-series on Adult Swim, staying up late studying at 1 a.m., but when I was in an accident and almost died, it must have been the repressed Japanophile in me that decided to go back and watch the entire animation series from the beginning, all 167 episodes online in about two weeks.

Problem!--

Because the written manga had never been finished, the TV studio eventually cancelled the show after 7 seasons. One of the all-time highest earning and most popular anime franchises just ..... stopped. No more episodes, nothing, just the writer had vowed to keep writing the manga until the story was finished. So what I did was, I watched the show a second time through, skipping around to the episodes and scenes that I liked, no longer driven by suspense and the need to find out what happens next?! ... but instead, I just fell in love with the animation, the storytelling, the characters, the creative process, and most of all, the original soundtrack music.

The battle theme they used during only the most important parts of the show:



After that I edited together a 1-hour Inuyasha movie that I showed friends, and started taking Japanese classes so I could finish reading the manga one day. Then I bought the Seasons 1-4 DVD box sets to watch together with my kid brother (seasons 5-7 weren't availabe yet). The goal was always to watch the series one last time and then finish the story one day. Eventually the author Rumiko Takahashi did finish writing the manga, and Sunrise TV did go back and conclude the anime with Inuyasha: The Final Act.

But I haven't watched Inuyasha in over ten years.

It was such a big part of my young adult life and favorite anime series, now I just read in Variety they announced a spin-off or reboot later this year. Anyway, I was reminded to finally finish the show.

Seasons 1-2 are excellent.
Season 3 kinda hit or miss, but ends with a spectacular finale, and the filler episodes are surprisingly funny.
Season 4 sucks. All filler episodes and now I'm starting to watch the movies. The show did get bad for awhile in the middle.

So that's where I'm at right now, but I just bought the remaining seasons and I'm looking forward to when it gets really good again. Supposedly, The Final Act is one of the best conclusions in long-running Japanese anime.





But the real reason I shared this post, was because I found that video of a real life Hiraikotsu!

Watching the show again in my 30s, the two main characters, Inuyasha and Kagome, are fine on their own, and they are like old friends for me, but their romantic relationship seems too juvenile; but I'm really enjoying watching the other two main characters in the party, Miroku and Sango. They're a little older and more mature -- a perverted monk who gropes or asks every attractive woman he meets to sleep with him, and Sango, his demon-slayer love interest. Miroku comes across as a fraud at first, because he makes a living selling fake exorcisms, but he has an extremely powerful black hole in his hand that can suck up nearly every enemy, and he surprises everyone by being highly trained in sutras, charms, and incantations too.

And Sango has her hiraikotsu. It's a massive boomerang weapon that seemed like just another anime creation all these years, but sugoi! It actually works. I couldn't believe there are actually people who are professional boomerangers, and that a Japanese variety show tracked one down, and that he made a 6-foot boomerang, and he could actually hit targets with the damn thing after a couple hours.

Pretty cool if you ask me!
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Old 06-12-2020, 12:03 AM   #222
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Of course, I forgot to mention, but I thought it goes without saying, if you ever watch a foreign movie or tv series, subtitles (not dubs) are the only reasonable choice.
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Old 06-12-2020, 09:09 PM   #223
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

A beautiful resemblance!









That's an Inuyasha theme song too btw.
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Old 06-13-2020, 03:14 AM   #224
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Re: YOLO -- Las Vegas and Tokyo Story Edition

Did the LA riots affect you at all?
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Old 06-13-2020, 03:28 PM   #225
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Did the LA riots affect you at all?
Not really, I live in one of the more upscale and secure buildings here in Koreatown. I'm sure it's more diverse now compared to the early 1990s, but legendary Rooftop Koreans probably kept most of the trouble away. Those guys will shoot anyone who tries to break into their stores. Just lots of helicopter traffic, bangs and sirens around the valley, and sometimes a curfew at night.

One evening I tried to run over to the grocery store at 5 p.m. and was met with a "sorry, we're closing early" but that's about it.
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