Archive for March 2006

Misty Eyed

March 30, 2006

I

made the mistakes of showing Grave of the Fireflies in class today. I’ve shown three WWII- related films–McCarthur’s Children, 24 Eyes and Black Rain, so I didn’t need to show another one. But I wanted to show at least one animation, and decided on Fireflies.

*sigh*

Spoiler Warning!

The story is about a teenage boy and his four year old sister trying to survive on their own during the air raids of Osaka in WWII. Their father is at war in the navy. In an air raid in the beginning of the film their house is burned down and their mother dies. Seita doesn’t tell his sister, and struggles to deal with the death by himself. He takes his sister to their aunts place in the suburbs of Osaka, where they are initially welcomed, but soon treated as a burden–two extra mouths to feed during at time when food is severely rationed. The aunt welcomes the bartering goods that come with taking care of Seita and Setsuko: their connections as the offspring of a naval officer and their mothers silk kimonos. But once rations are depleted and there are no more kimono to trade for food, they are treated as parasites. Seita is a proud boy, willing to try to live by himself and his sister. He is not about to put up with the insults and frigidity of his aunt.

So Seita and Setsuko find an old, deserted storeroom dug into a knoll next to rice fields. There they initially eat the rice they brought and buy what they can with the money left to them by their mother, but they soon start scooping field snails (田螺) from the rice fields and search for nuts and berries in an attempt to survive. But life is hard. Seita even begins to cheer air raids because he can loot the houses of people who have fled to bomb shelters. Still, the food is scarce, and little Setsuko gets weaker and weaker.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the story avoids even a tinge of sentimentality. It is hardcore story telling about how difficult it is for children caught in the middle of a war waged by adults. It is a fantastic movie and NONE of my students left the room. There are usually a few who sneak out during the middle, but no one left this time. At the end of the movie, my eyes started tearing up–man, this story is so freakin’ sad! Ah shit, I CAN’T let my students see me all misty-eyed! So I started taking deep breaths, trying to hold back the tears. I stretched my arms above me, squeezing some composure back into myself. Damn, I shoulda left and gone to my office! But behind me, I heard a bunch of different people sniffling. When the film ended and I turned on the lights, a number of people had reddish eyes. I had to laugh.

“I’m glad I’m not the only one crying,” I squealed, as I whisked away the moisture from the corner of my eyes with my fingers.

They had to laugh, too.

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Misty Eyed

March 30, 2006

I

made the mistakes of showing Grave of the Fireflies in class today. I've shown three WWII- related films–McCarthur's Children, 24 Eyes and Black Rain, so I didn't need to show another one. But I wanted to show at least one animation, and decided on Fireflies.

*sigh*

Spoiler Warning!

The story is about a teenage boy and his four year old sister trying to survive on their own during the air raids of Osaka in WWII. Their father is at war in the navy. In an air raid in the beginning of the film their house is burned down and their mother dies. Seita doesn't tell his sister, and struggles to deal with the death by himself. He takes his sister to their aunts place in the suburbs of Osaka, where they are initially welcomed, but soon treated as a burden–two extra mouths to feed during at time when food is severely rationed. The aunt welcomes the bartering goods that come with taking care of Seita and Setsuko: their connections as the offspring of a naval officer and their mothers silk kimonos. But once rations are depleted and there are no more kimono to trade for food, they are treated as parasites. Seita is a proud boy, willing to try to live by himself and his sister. He is not about to put up with the insults and frigidity of his aunt.

So Seita and Setsuko find an old, deserted storeroom dug into a knoll next to rice fields. There they initially eat the rice they brought and buy what they can with the money left to them by their mother, but they soon start scooping field snails (田螺) from the rice fields and search for nuts and berries in an attempt to survive. But life is hard. Seita even begins to cheer air raids because he can loot the houses of people who have fled to bomb shelters. Still, the food is scarce, and little Setsuko gets weaker and weaker.

I won't spoil the ending, but the story avoids even a tinge of sentimentality. It is hardcore story telling about how difficult it is for children caught in the middle of a war waged by adults. It is a fantastic movie and NONE of my students left the room. There are usually a few who sneak out during the middle, but no one left this time. At the end of the movie, my eyes started tearing up–man, this story is so freakin' sad! Ah shit, I CAN'T let my students see me all misty-eyed! So I started taking deep breaths, trying to hold back the tears. I stretched my arms above me, squeezing some composure back into myself. Damn, I shoulda left and gone to my office! But behind me, I heard a bunch of different people sniffling. When the film ended and I turned on the lights, a number of people had reddish eyes. I had to laugh.

"I'm glad I'm not the only one crying," I squealed, as I whisked away the moisture from the corner of my eyes with my fingers.

They had to laugh, too.

It’s Good to be a Bruin

March 27, 2006

bruinlogo

I

know a lot of you hate sports entries, but I can’t help myself. I mean, it’s great to be a Bruin right now. Saturday’s game was ugly, I mean incredibly ugly. But we beat Memphis 50-45. Woo hoo! We are regional champs and are now headed to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Strangely, we are not the only non-#1 seed to get there. In fact, all #1 seeds lost–Memphis, Duke, Connecticut and Villanova. Of course, this really screwed up my bracket.

I had UCLA (of course), Texas (beating Duke), Connecticut and Villanova. Okay, LSU who beat Duke and Texas is a pretty tough team and Florida who beat Villanova is definitely not chopped liver. But George Mason getting into the Final four is a major shock… Or should I say mid-major shock. But this is cool with me, because GMU is a local team and everyone around here is going nuts, so I feel like I’m party to the celebration, even though people at the bar point out the fact that I am wearing a a UCLA baseball cap and a Bruin sweatshirt.

As for our boys in Blue, it was defense, defense, defense. They just shut them down. Some media people and the Memphis players themselves gave all due respect to UCLA’s defense, but they said it was as much Memphis, that they just couldn’t knock them down. Memphis All-American Rod Carney said about Afflalo:

“He’s a great defender,” Carney said. “But it was me more than anything. I couldn’t concentrate on knocking down shots. I was just off. Everyone played terrible.”

Yeah, right. Carney had only 5 points in the game and the last three came in the final seconds on a three-pointer. If you saw the game, you will have noticed that Afflalo didn’t even try to defend him, and it went swish. Before that Afflalo hounded him and it just threw him off tempo, destroyed his rhythm. Yes, Memphis played terrible, but that was because of the Bruin defense. It was awesome!

But we now play LSU, and that Big Baby–Glenn Davis–they have playing the low post is as wide as he is tall. He is going to be hard to stop and UCLA will have to put in an extra effort on defense to stop this guy. But until then, I will enjoy the Bruins run and bask in the sunlight they have released over Bruin Nation. 10-2 football season and now a Final Four appearance.

It’s good to be a Bruin.

It’s Good to be a Bruin

March 27, 2006

bruinlogo

I

know a lot of you hate sports entries, but I can’t help myself. I mean, it’s great to be a Bruin right now. Saturday’s game was ugly, I mean incredibly ugly. But we beat Memphis 50-45. Woo hoo! We are regional champs and are now headed to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Strangely, we are not the only non-#1 seed to get there. In fact, all #1 seeds lost–Memphis, Duke, Connecticut and Villanova. Of course, this really screwed up my bracket.

I had UCLA (of course), Texas (beating Duke), Connecticut and Villanova. Okay, LSU who beat Duke and Texas is a pretty tough team and Florida who beat Villanova is definitely not chopped liver. But George Mason getting into the Final four is a major shock… Or should I say mid-major shock. But this is cool with me, because GMU is a local team and everyone around here is going nuts, so I feel like I’m party to the celebration, even though people at the bar point out the fact that I am wearing a a UCLA baseball cap and a Bruin sweatshirt.

As for our boys in Blue, it was defense, defense, defense. They just shut them down. Some media people and the Memphis players themselves gave all due respect to UCLA’s defense, but they said it was as much Memphis, that they just couldn’t knock them down. Memphis All-American Rod Carney said about Afflalo:

“He’s a great defender,” Carney said. “But it was me more than anything. I couldn’t concentrate on knocking down shots. I was just off. Everyone played terrible.”

Yeah, right. Carney had only 5 points in the game and the last three came in the final seconds on a three-pointer. If you saw the game, you will have noticed that Afflalo didn’t even try to defend him, and it went swish. Before that Afflalo hounded him and it just threw him off tempo, destroyed his rhythm. Yes, Memphis played terrible, but that was because of the Bruin defense. It was awesome!

But we now play LSU, and that Big Baby–Glenn Davis–they have playing the low post is as wide as he is tall. He is going to be hard to stop and UCLA will have to put in an extra effort on defense to stop this guy. But until then, I will enjoy the Bruins run and bask in the sunlight they have released over Bruin Nation. 10-2 football season and now a Final Four appearance.

It’s good to be a Bruin.

It’s Good to be a Bruin

March 27, 2006

bruinlogo

I

know a lot of you hate sports entries, but I can’t help myself. I mean, it’s great to be a Bruin right now. Saturday’s game was ugly, I mean incredibly ugly. But we beat Memphis 50-45. Woo hoo! We are regional champs and are now headed to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Strangely, we are not the only non-#1 seed to get there. In fact, all #1 seeds lost–Memphis, Duke, Connecticut and Villanova. Of course, this really screwed up my bracket.

I had UCLA (of course), Texas (beating Duke), Connecticut and Villanova. Okay, LSU who beat Duke and Texas is a pretty tough team and Florida who beat Villanova is definitely not chopped liver. But George Mason getting into the Final four is a major shock… Or should I say mid-major shock. But this is cool with me, because GMU is a local team and everyone around here is going nuts, so I feel like I’m party to the celebration, even though people at the bar point out the fact that I am wearing a a UCLA baseball cap and a Bruin sweatshirt.

As for our boys in Blue, it was defense, defense, defense. They just shut them down. Some media people and the Memphis players themselves gave all due respect to UCLA’s defense, but they said it was as much Memphis, that they just couldn’t knock them down. Memphis All-American Rod Carney said about Afflalo:

“He’s a great defender,” Carney said. “But it was me more than anything. I couldn’t concentrate on knocking down shots. I was just off. Everyone played terrible.”

Yeah, right. Carney had only 5 points in the game and the last three came in the final seconds on a three-pointer. If you saw the game, you will have noticed that Afflalo didn’t even try to defend him, and it went swish. Before that Afflalo hounded him and it just threw him off tempo, destroyed his rhythm. Yes, Memphis played terrible, but that was because of the Bruin defense. It was awesome!

But we now play LSU, and that Big Baby–Glenn Davis–they have playing the low post is as wide as he is tall. He is going to be hard to stop and UCLA will have to put in an extra effort on defense to stop this guy. But until then, I will enjoy the Bruins run and bask in the sunlight they have released over Bruin Nation. 10-2 football season and now a Final Four appearance.

It’s good to be a Bruin.

It’s Good to be a Bruin

March 27, 2006

bruinlogo

I

know a lot of you hate sports entries, but I can’t help myself. I mean, it’s great to be a Bruin right now. Saturday’s game was ugly, I mean incredibly ugly. But we beat Memphis 50-45. Woo hoo! We are regional champs and are now headed to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Strangely, we are not the only non-#1 seed to get there. In fact, all #1 seeds lost–Memphis, Duke, Connecticut and Villanova. Of course, this really screwed up my bracket.

I had UCLA (of course), Texas (beating Duke), Connecticut and Villanova. Okay, LSU who beat Duke and Texas is a pretty tough team and Florida who beat Villanova is definitely not chopped liver. But George Mason getting into the Final four is a major shock… Or should I say mid-major shock. But this is cool with me, because GMU is a local team and everyone around here is going nuts, so I feel like I’m party to the celebration, even though people at the bar point out the fact that I am wearing a a UCLA baseball cap and a Bruin sweatshirt.

As for our boys in Blue, it was defense, defense, defense. They just shut them down. Some media people and the Memphis players themselves gave all due respect to UCLA’s defense, but they said it was as much Memphis, that they just couldn’t knock them down. Memphis All-American Rod Carney said about Afflalo:

“He’s a great defender,” Carney said. “But it was me more than anything. I couldn’t concentrate on knocking down shots. I was just off. Everyone played terrible.”

Yeah, right. Carney had only 5 points in the game and the last three came in the final seconds on a three-pointer. If you saw the game, you will have noticed that Afflalo didn’t even try to defend him, and it went swish. Before that Afflalo hounded him and it just threw him off tempo, destroyed his rhythm. Yes, Memphis played terrible, but that was because of the Bruin defense. It was awesome!

But we now play LSU, and that Big Baby–Glenn Davis–they have playing the low post is as wide as he is tall. He is going to be hard to stop and UCLA will have to put in an extra effort on defense to stop this guy. But until then, I will enjoy the Bruins run and bask in the sunlight they have released over Bruin Nation. 10-2 football season and now a Final Four appearance.

It’s good to be a Bruin.

Elite Eight

March 24, 2006

I

am, first and foremost, a football fan… BUT HOW ‘BOUT DEM BRUINS! They play Gonzaga, one of the best teams in the nation, and they are down by as many as 17 points in the first half. At half, it was 42-29. In the second half, every time UCLA seemed to creep closer, Adam Morrison–the leading scorer in the NCAA and 70’s porn star look-a-like–would make a clutch shot to get some separation again…

Since the game was not shown locally–I hate the fact that CBS, with no cable affiliates, shows the NCAA tournament–we went to our local watering hole, Glory Days. Once Gonzaga was up 9-5, it was all downhill. We couldn’t make a bucket if our life depended on it. But the final minutes were pure nirvana. We were down by 9 points at the 3:13 juncture, but the score for these last few minutes was UCLA 11- Gonzaga 0. I was hootin’ and hollerin’ at the bar. M usually gets embarrassed when I make such a scene, but she was just as excited as I was.

Shinjirarenai (unbelievable),” was all she could say.

“Un-shinjira-ble” I repeated.

When the game ended UCLA 73 – Gonzaga 71, Morrison was crushed. He had been talking trash at the Bruins all game–C’mon, Afflalo, he said as if he wanted to play a more challenging opponent–literally collapsed on the middle of the floor and cried. [See video here.] Indeed, he had already started crying with 2 seconds left in the game when they lost the ball to UCLA. Even though they had the in bound pass, I wasn’t too concerned. If he’s crying, he’s basically already admitted defeat. But after a few hugs, Bruin players Collins and Afflalo went to center court to help Morrison up and comfort him on a game well played.

That’s just a sign of a great program and great people,” Morrison said. “They had enough guts as a man in their moment of victory to pick another man up off the floor. That’s more than basketball and I would thank them if I could.

If you could? Ahem, I think they were in the locker room next door. Oh well, I think the Bruins showed a lot of class, something that I should maybe pick up on. (>_<)

Anyway, it is now on to the Elite Eight and Memphis, Saturday 7 PM EST. Go Bruins!