I’m in the midst of orientation for my post-bac and getting ready for my new classes, but I promise I will post soon. I just had to share this graphic really quick. My roommate showed me and said “this reminded me of you.” And it’s exactly how I feel. The girl may as well be me with brown hair. It perfectly captured how I feel.

My eternal love for Tumblr

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, and I have a list of posts waiting to be written. But this very short one, I had to write immediately. It’s just a major thank you and shout-out to the wonderful world of Tumblr. When I got a Tumblr about a year or so ago, I just used it as a place to look up pretty pictures, write a little bit, but generally didn’t take advantage of all it had to offer. Now, in the year that I’ve been using it, the site has changed a little, but one of my favorite things is the addition of “tracking” certain tags. So you can search for a tag and choose to “track” it, and then when you next click on that tag on your sidebar, it shows you all the recent posts with that tag, regardless of whether you’re following those blogs or not. It’s a great way to filter what you’re looking for.

But my favorite thing about Tumblr is the ability to fangirl. Yup. I said  it. My best friend was talking about how much she loves to use Tumblr to fangirl, and I realized, we love it so much because we realize there are other people out there just like us. People who are obsessed about tv shows, music, books, and especially fictional characters, and now we have access to the fanfiction, the fan art, the community that’s built around the love for these things. It’s a beautiful thing. And Tumblr still lets you control your anonymity (or lack thereof), so you can declare yourself to the world or not. But either way, you can find all those other people who are obsessed about the same things as you.

Lately, as my favorite TV shows have gone on break, or Comic Con has revealed new casts, all I can do is take to Tumblr to fangirl. Because I love seeing that other people are freaking out about these things just like I am. So even if I can’t quite fangirl in real life to the person sitting next to me, I can still have my moment online with all these other people. And it’s a lot of fun. So thanks, Tumblr, for indulging my already vivid imagination and helping me find others who then stretch my mind even further. 🙂

Sweet inspiration

One thing I love about all the volunteer and observational experiences I’ve had so far in the field of medicine is that I’ve gotten to understand just how large and varied the field is, and how many opportunities it offers for potential careers. Working at different places has taught me what I like, but more importantly, what I don’t like. It’s helped me really narrow down the field of medicine I’d like to be in, if not what particular career. But lately, I’ve found that that might also not be a problem. In the area of rehabilitation medicine, there is no shortage of possibilities to make an impact.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been observing once or twice at a rehabilitation center in the city. It’s pretty unique to me, because it’s directly attached to a larger hospital and the patient care is incredibly integrated. There’s a grapevine of people who care for the patients during their stay, from the occupational and physical therapists to the doctors to the nurses to the therapy aides. Everyone has to communicate about the care of each patient. This is the first time I’ve seen such close-knit care. The hospital in my hometown had its own rehab unit, but it was separate from the rest of the hospital and very different from the one I’m observing now.

Another difference for me is that I’m finally observing with the therapists, in the gym. Usually I’m a clinical volunteer aiding the nurses or transporting patients, but I never got to really see what happened once they reached their destination. I had the good fortune to find a lovely place where everyone works with a smile. It really is an optimistic, happy place. It might sound kind of silly to say that and sound so amazed, but after some of the places I’ve been, it’s incredibly refreshing.

I followed an OT my first day and got to learn a lot about what, in my opinion, is a pretty underrated profession. My main interest, though, lies with physical therapy. For the past few weeks, I’ve been following one particular PT who is kind enough to answer all my questions. It’s from him that I’ve really learned what kind of healthcare provider I’d like to be, no matter what career I end up in. I’ve known people in different medical careers who have definitely inspired me, so he is by no means the only one whose example I’d like to follow. But in this particular field that I am so interested in, this PT has been an amazing role model.

Although this therapist is young and seemingly recently graduated, you wouldn’t know it. He’s confident about his actions and slow to anger. He rushes nothing. Everything is at the patient’s pace. His patience and unfailing faith in the patients’ ability to get better are his best traits. I saw the change myself today. Within 1.5 hours of meeting an irritated patient, he had connected with her and she was hanging on to his every word. Movements she refused to do in earlier days, she now put in extra effort. I can’t say what her other therapists were like – I don’t know all of them, but I do know they’re all great at what they do. And each person is different in how they treat a patient, of course. But it heartened me to see that kindness and respect, along with patience, go a long way in getting someone to trust you. Again, it sounds simple. But sometimes I feel like people forget that more often than not.

I’ll never be able to say enough thank-you’s to him for letting me observe this summer. It’s been a great reminder of why I love healthcare and why I’m continuing onwards. And I know that I’ve found at least one field that I could really see myself working in one day. There aren’t enough words to describe the feeling of not being able to do anything for a patient except talk to them. Every time a limb is wrapped or the patient is taking steps, I want to be that person standing next to them or helping them. But lack of a license means I can’t do much more than offer kind words and water. And I know that still helps a little, but the ache to do more really becomes a bit more every day. I can’t wait until I’m finally there, especially since I’m starting to find out who I’d like to be when I do get there.

This ‘Kingdom’ is full of childlike wonder

All the trailers for Moonrise Kingdom had a dreamlike, trippy quality to them. The music, especially, made me feel like I was either on some happy drug or had found Narnia in the 60s. My mom asked me to repeat the title to her three times when I told her what movie I was seeing, and she was still confused. So was I. When my best friend said “I need some creativity! Can we please see Moonrise Kingdom?!” I had no idea what to expect, but I was intrigued, so we went. This is definitely one of those movies that divides people, simply based on whether you buy the idea of such a kooky world. You’re either completely turned off, or want to know more. From the very beginning, it’s obvious this movie is not your normal time at the cinema. Yet it still displays so many of the lovable movie elements through these awkward and silly and sweet characters.

At the heart of the movie are Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward), two teenagers who run away to be together. Sam is an ex-boy scout, so he knows how to camp and hide their tracks. Suzy is a depressed young girl, but she seems at peace with Sam, and loves her books. She reads out loud at night until Sam falls asleep. Sam and Suzy’s departure sets off a hunt along their island of New Penzance. Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) reports Sam’s disappearance to the police, and Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) begins the search. After discovering Sam is an orphan, and that his latest foster family does not want him back, they seem to soften towards his circumstances. Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) soon discover that their daughter is missing. After finding a box of letters Sam and Suzy traded for a year, they connect the dots.

The search for Sam and Suzy and the kids’ interactions with each other and the adults makes the movie sweet, funny, silly and awkward all at once. Sam’s fellow boy scouts are a great group of kids who lighten the movie considerably. There is a subplot with the adults, but it’s not entirely necessary aside from giving them more scenes. I love the adult actors, but the kids are undeniably and rightfully the focus. Sam and Suzy are two messed up kids, for different reasons, but they connect. And that connection keeps them going, so much so that they try to run away, even though both seem to know their time is limited. Yet they keep trying, and their scenes are filled with genuine awkwardness, friendship, and young love.

This movie was written  and directed by Wes Anderson,  known for The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Unlimited, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. He clearly has specific visions for his films and sticks to them, no matter what. This is a sweet comedy underneath all the other stuff. But the other stuff is also entertaining. The score is one of the best things about this movie. It’s the perfect silly, otherworldly tone for this dreamlike movie.

Moonrise Kingdom is not for everyone, but the nice thing is, you can tell just by the trailer whether or not it’s for you. For those who are curious, it’s a sweet, lighthearted movie for the summer that will leave you with a smile on your face for some time.

“The Artist” is wordlessly charming

Finally, long after the awards season has ended, I got my chance to see The Artist. I wanted so badly to understand and experience for myself all the raves that were given to this movie – its performers, director, music. Tonight, my friend and I went to the Redbox looking for a movie to pass the time, and lo and behold, The Artist was first on the new releases. And not taken! So we jumped on that.

The story introduces us to silent film star George Valentin (the wonderful Jean Jujardin) in 1929, when he appears to be at the peak of his fame. We also meet Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo, who I cannot gush about enough) as she literally runs into Valentin and charms him and the audience in one fell swoop. Peppy is an actress looking to get recognized, and the movie does a great job of showing the parallel rise of Peppy with George’s fall. The movies turn towards “talkies,” stopping silent film production. George refuses to believe in this form of film and leaves his production company as they also begin filming talkies. A couple years later, the stock market crashes, taking George’s money and the remainder of his hopes to make his own films. George’s spiral coupled with Peppy’s rise is played to perfection by the actors.

Some of my favorite scenes came early on in the movie. I loved how fully the movie and director Michel Hazanavicius embraced the silent film. Right at the start, the film’s credits tell you this will not be like most other current movies. Entirely in black and white, with a fantastic musical score, the credits open into one of George’s films being shown in a theater. Because this movie is silent, the music takes more of a center role, and boy is it wonderful. Some of the early tunes with George, especially, are so jaunty and perfectly nuanced to his character. The early scenes between George and Peppy are also sweetly charming.

I have to take a moment to gush about Berenice Bejo. She has such a beautiful, expressive face. She literally lights up the screen with her smile. Every time she was on screen, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Which is impressive because Jean Jujardin is also a great actor and usually is the focus. But she just steals scenes without making a sound. My favorite scene is of her in George’s dressing room. She sees his suit jacket on its rack and slips one arm inside, pretending to hug him. It’s touching, sweet, and sad all at once as you see the longing on her face despite the reality of him being married. Another favorite scene of mine was later in the film, when she has become famous. She arrives to a dinner interview looking strikingly like Catherine Zeta-Jones from Chicago (think of the courtroom scene where she saucily strides in, if you’re familiar with the movie). She practically dances in and down the stairs in a similar hat and fur coat, swaying through the room with confidence and glamour. She’s so striking. Told you I couldn’t gush enough about her.

“The Artist” was very different from any movie this year, and I can see why it stood out during awards season. The movie’s choice to fully embrace the silent film was brave and a lot of fun for the audience, but the performances by the lead actors made it an absolute delight to watch.

It’s official…I’m a graduate!

It actually happened. After four years of undergraduate studies, I found myself sitting in the gym – nearly unrecognizable due to its transformation into a ceremonial theater – in my cap and gown, giggling with anticipation with my fellow classmates as we listened to the many speeches that marked this special day. We adjusted our robes a thousand times, making sure our bobby pins were holding our hats firmly in place, and that our yellow hoods were worn correctly to show our degree colors. After the masters students and many other bachelor students were announced, it was finally our turn. Our row, second-to-last of all the graduates for the day, stood up and made our way towards the aisle, and finally the stage. One photo op before we strode up the ramp and awaited our turn. Of course, the name got butchered. I guess it wouldn’t be right if my name wasn’t butchered. It’s deceivingly simple, I guess :/

The lights were blinding. I was pretty grateful for that; it kept me from staring out into the sea of faces (hello, stage fright). I received my scroll, a gift, and shook many hands, and just like that – it was over. I was out of the heat of the stage lights and back into the darkness of the gym as I walked down the ramp. One more picture, and I was following my friend back to our seats. She turned around and said, “That wasn’t so bad.” No, it wasn’t.

We cheered, clapped, and roared for our class as the ceremony came to a close. We are the class of 2012. After hearing it for what seemed like ages, our moment was finally here. It was exhilarating. And when it was over, my parents and my best friends were there to celebrate with me. My mom and dad had brought a bouquet of flowers – school colors, of course 🙂 – and my best friend/roommate gave me a graduation teddy bear (see above!), who I later named Twinkie. I was the typical graduate, with flowers and and a teddy bear, and I loved every second of it. We took countless pictures with multiple cameras (thanks, roomie for being the official photographer!) by our mascot and in my beloved new science building.

This graduation day was everything I could have asked for and more. It’s amazing to think it’s already come and gone, but thankfully I have the pictures to prove it 😉

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer – finally!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” – Charlie

I am SO EXCITED for this movie. I am so pumped there is finally a trailer for it and I hope hope hope it is a faithful and wonderful adaptation of the book. My best friend kept telling me I had to read it, and I finally did this past winter. It was fun and warm and confusion and sadness and chaos, and written in such a lovely way. I loved the main character. I think if the movie can capture the essence of Charlie, and the tone that the book had, it will be successful. We’ll have to wait and see, but the trailer is finally out so we can all finally judge for ourselves!! I will always support Logan Lerman because I loved the old TV show Jack and Bobby, back when the CW was actually the WB. So I’m happy he’s Charlie. Emma Watson…it’s hard not to look at her and see Emma Watson/Hermione, but I’m trying. I do hope she impresses as Sam. And Patrick. I’m going to love him. I love new trailers, especially for book adaptations. High hopes for this one. I so hope it lives up to it!

Summer nights

“Legend has it, when the Santa Anas blow, all bets are off. Anything can happen.”

                                                               -The Holiday

Even though I live nowhere near California, I’d like to believe the east coast has something similar. For the first time the other night, I had that feeling, even though I’m on the opposite coast of Cali. It felt like I was a character in a book, who has that moment where they realize something is starting, but they’re not sure what.

My best friend and I had just stepped out of the movie theater at night. It was dark and had just rained, so it was wonderful weather. Warm, but with a constant, beautiful breeze that made you want to stand outside forever. We took our time in the parking lot, stepping quietly at first, like it was something too precious to disturb. And then, the sky lit up with lightning, my flip-flop landed in a puddle, and the spell was broken. Then came what always comes after a movie: spending a good 20 of the 30-minute drive back home yelling about the movie. Good, bad, and everything in between.

It’s a ritual we have. The movies were where we became best friends. I’d met Gabby when I moved to the town earlier that year and started middle school, but we didn’t go out of our way to do a lot afterschool. Then I ran into her and her mom in Walmart one day (I love small towns where Walmart is the biggest thing around), and she invited me to the movies. So started our tradition – she bought tickets, I bought the food. The next time, we traded off. And the next, and the next. When I got my permit and eventually my license and was able to take us without the parents, nothing changed. Except that there was always a playlist for our movie adventure, courtesy of Gabby. The girl will make a playlist for about everything, and I love it. She is my reason for loving movies/tv/pop culture as much as I do, and both of us share the obsession with books and writing.

So when we left the theater that night, we couldn’t believe our luck. We’d missed the big storm but got to enjoy the beautiful weather after. It just felt like a really…interesting moment. And when we talked about how lovely the weather was, how it reminded us of something we couldn’t quite pinpoint, I remembered, “It’s like the Santa Anas! From The Holiday?” Gabby’s face lit up, understanding the reference right away. Usually, when our area gets rain, it’s just damp or humid. So this was pretty rare weather. It was one of the nights you just wanted to sit outside the entire night, just because of the possibilities. It felt like something different, but good different. All bets are off as to what that was.

Bring on the fairytales

When the casting for for Snow White and the Huntsman was announced over a year ago, I was very intrigued. Charlize Theron, I had no doubt, would have a blast as the evil queen. But Kristen Stewart? I was curious to see how this would work. I do believe Stewart is capable of good work, as she’s shown in other movies – the Twilight series not included. It’s an unfortunate part of her resume that I hope she can get away from eventually, because I do believe she can do more than that. But besides that, I was pretty happy with the casting. I can’t get enough Chris Hemsworth, and the dwarves made up of Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, and others? Awesome. Then this poster came out, showing an obviously darker version of the tale. Again, I was totally okay with that. Snow White is not really one of my favorite princesses, so I was happy to be interested and excited for this version, because I hoped it might make me enjoy the tale more.

Then the teaser trailer came out, and I was really pumped. On top of Theron’s crazy queen riddles and the awesome music, it looked like a solid tale. And when I finally saw it last night, I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. I got pretty much what I expected, and was even surprised by a few parts. The movie makes for a really awesome trailer, that’s for sure. At a little over 2 hours, it sometimes feels a bit too long, but picks up pretty quickly again. Sometimes, the music was a bit too much, but that was my main complaint. Like, I don’t need to hear a sad story and then be overwhelmed with violins. I’d like to feel sad because of the story, not because the music tells me I should be…if that makes sense. But overall, it’s good entertainment, and if you liked the trailer, I think you get what you want.

I really enjoyed this movie because it blended so many different stories. Lord of the Rings was the most prominent influence, but they really took the elements of the original fairytale and incorporated them into this epic fantasy. The dark forest and the rotten apple were updated particularly well. The addition of the Huntsman, as well as Prince William, also serves the story well, as Hemsworth becomes the anchor for both Snow White and the audience.

The story begins with Queen Ravenna (Theron), who retains her beauty by taking the hearts of others. Her rule started after she married and subsequently killed Snow White’s father, locking Snow in a tower for her early life. Snow’s childhood friend William escaped and has been fighting under her banner ever since (see where this is going?). Ravenna learns from her tricked-out mirror that she needs to take Snow White’s heart and she’ll never have to worry about aging again. She sends her super-creepy brother Finn (Sam Spruell) to get Snow White, but she escapes instead, and despite giving chase, Finn and his cronies lose her to the Dark Forest. Since the queen’s powers are useless there, she gets the Huntsman (Hemsworth) to go after her by promising to use her powers to resurrect his dead wife. So he goes after Snow White, but eventually ends up helping her. Along the way, she encounters more fantastical creatures, and of course, her dwarves.

One of the things I liked about this movie was that they did focus more on Snow White’s innocence versus the Queen’s corruption, and they showed it through different scenes in the movie. Snow was inexperienced and made mistakes, but she also was able to feel  compassion for others, and that showed even in the movie’s final scenes. Stewart did a fine job with what she was given, and she toned down the eye twitching/lip-biting/hair-combing a lot. Hemsworth is great as the Huntsman. Sure, the trailer makes him out to be a medieval Thor, and it’s true in the action scenes. But he is also inherently likable, and that only adds to his performance and character backstory. Theron is just having a ball playing Ravenna. Sometimes, it goes slightly over the top, but even then she reins it in and it’s okay. It was also nice to see a Prince who did not just swoop in at the end, but was consistently badass throughout. I mean it’s hard to compete against medieval Thor, but he tried admirably. And his childhood connection with Snow White was still sweet.

The movie is also gorgeous to look at. The effects are really, really cool and definitely add to the tone of the movie. One of the most memorable scenes comes as Queen Ravenna returns from a venture outside the castle, but is using her magic to do so, appearing to turn into a flock of ravens. But her landing in the throne room is gross. She crawls out from a dark, inky mire of feathers while birds flop and twitch around her. It’s definitely one of the film’s better and darker moments. But there are also unexpectedly light moments, including one dazzling scene showing what Snow White’s rule could be like. It’s a reminder that this is, after all, a fairytale.

Overall, I liked how the fairytale elements and the cast came together in the movie. While it is a bit unevenly paced and maybe a bit too musically timed, it is still a really cool retelling of a fairytale, with some pretty awesome special effects. And I could always use more fairytales.

Bonus points for the awesome Florence and the Machine song in the credits!

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am a book fanatic. So it was inevitable that the issue of Kindle/e-book readers vs. traditional paperbacks would eventually come my way. And while it’s not necessarily a huge problem for me, I was curious as to what other people think – aka, you guys! 🙂

So many bookstores in my small hometown and even in here in the city have gone out of business recently. From Atlantic Books to Borders to little independent bookstores, I always get sad when I hear of another bookstore that has been forced to shut its doors. While it may or may not be entirely due to the rise of e-books can be debated forever. But I’m sure the e-books played some role. I’m guilty of it myself. I swore I would never get an e-reader and remain faithful to my beloved paperbacks – because who doesn’t love turning the pages of a real book? And hello, bookshelves were made to be filled. But two years ago, my dad surprised me with a Kindle for my birthday. And I’m both sad and happy to say I haven’t really looked back since.

I was excited for the Kindle because of the possibilities it brought with it. My favorite thing about the device is not having to wait for a year or more for the paperback version of a book to come out. Countless times, I’ve been in a bookstore and put down a book because it was a hardback, and therefore more expensive. Now, that problem is gone. So far, I have not purchased a new book on the Kindle above $13. And that’s at the very maximum.  Most are $10 or under. All of a sudden, new books are at my fingertips, and it is amazing.

Have I still bought a paperback now and then? Of course. How could I not? Sometimes, I can’t resist a particularly enticing paperback. Other times, I’ve borrowed a book from a library and loved it so much that I go find it in the bookstore on purpose, because I have to have a real copy in my hands.

Amazon also has a ridiculous wealth of books available on Kindle. It’s gross, really, how much you can find with the click of a button. Especially when you’re stuck inside because of the weather. Still, I do hold out hope that bookstores do continue, because that’s where I fell in love with books in the first place. Bookstores are wonderful places. And who doesn’t want a library like the one in the Swan Princess? With the ladder that lets you glide from one end to the other? Or the library in Beast’s castle? 😛

So I’m curious to hear other thoughts on this topic, just because it’s become really prevalent lately. Kindle? Paperback? Both? Neither?