Saturday, May 21, 2005

Barry Pepper in "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada"

Barry Pepper's new movie is this one directed by Tommy Lee Jones.

He plays a U.S. border patrolman named Mike, who shot and killed an illegal immigrant worker, Melquiades Estrada. The mistake is covered up by Estrada's body being burried in the desert, but Estrada's friend and ranch owner, Peter (Jones), wants to do his friend the justice of at least returning the body to Estrada's native Mexico for a proper burial.

Mike is then kidnapped by Peter to carry out this journey.

Currently, this film has been screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and it has garnered rave reviews. Although Cronenberg's film has also been highlighted by the Cdn. media as a worthy and likely winner, I wouldn't mind if Tommy Lee Jones wins it; this could throw Barry Pepper into the spotlight again. Pepper is such a skilled actor, and I am so happy that he got the chance to work on such a humanistic film. Maybe this will finally put the "Battlefield Earth" nightmares to an end.

Friday, May 20, 2005

CSI: Season Finale, Dir. by Quentin Tarantino

The finale was very exciting for the most part. Where I felt disappointed was when the daughter mentioned to Sidle and Brass that she used to work at a nursery, planting things, and neither of the investigators caught on to that clue. I don't know if the daughter deliberately gave it to them, or if she was just trying to be dramatic at that moment. In any case, if Sidle had picked up on that, they would have been able to find the place where Nick was buried.

Of course, if they had done this then there would not have been the sequence with the fire ants. That was just disgusting. It wasn't as agonizing as watching Nick about to give up and kill himself.

This flaw in the story really bugs me becuase Sidle and Brass are supposed to be very intelligent officers. How could they have missed that clue?

Olive Trees Lyrics

Olive Trees

music by Li Taichang
lyrics by Sanmou

Don't ask me where I came from
From a far away place is my home
Why do I wander, wander far away?

For the birds that fly in the sky
For the streams that flow between the mountains
For the vast green meadowlands
Wander far away, wander...

Wait, there's more
For the dreams of the Olive Trees
Olive Trees

Don't ask me where I came from
From a far away place is my home
Why do I wander?
For my dreams of the Olive Trees

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stronach Defects to the Liberal Party

Right now, this is really exciting news. What Belinda Stronach has done she has shown her courage to act on what she believes is right.

Harper and other Conservatives accuse her defection to be motivated by career ambitions. They claim that she has never expressed any doubts to them about the Conservative platform. If that's what they truly believe, then they must not have been listening to what Stronach has been saying to the media and the public over the past three weeks. Namely, she is hesitant to vote down the government's budget to force an election because now is not the time.

Watching Harper giving his statement today in reaction to Stronach's defection, I have even less respect for him. The least he could do is acknowledge other people's concerns, instead of flatly denying them and labelling it with the word "ambition." This shows his narrow-mindedness and his inflexibility. How these qualities make him appealing as a candidate for Prime Minister, someone who is supposed to run a country adn to listen to the diverse voices of millions, is something that I will never understand.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Prof. Eric Reeves on "The Sunday Edition," CBC Radio One

On the drive to church on Sunday morning, Bro and I were listening to The Sunday Edition broadcast. It featured an interview with English Lit. Prof. Eric Reeves about the genocide that is going on in Darfur, Sudan. At one point, Michael Enright, the host, asked Prof. Reeves if Darfur is the next Rwanda in the making. Prof. Reeves responded in a way that really made my heart ache. He said, and I paraphrase:

Darfur is Rwanda in slow motion. It's as if the Gods of History decided to give us another chance, a chance to redeem ourselves for our neglect of what happened in Rwanda. It's as if they said, "we'll give you as much time as you need, and this time there should be no excuse not taking action."

Our second chance is passing us by, and do we even notice it?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Nature Metaphors in "Butterflies"

One thing that I always look for, and which always gives me a delightful little thrill, is when I read about how nature is used as a metaphor in a story. In the Time of the Butterflies has plenty of these. The first one I already described in the post below, about the acaquita tree. This one is about planting flowers.

Dede's sisters, Minerva, "Mate" and Patria have come to appeal to her to join their communist cell. They love their sister, and they want her to be a part of what they believe is one of the most important events of their lives, and of their country's history. Dede is hesitant, because she knows her husband is adamantly against it. As her sisters pull out of the driveway on their way home, Dede goes to the newly dug up area of the garden where she is planting new flowers. She puts the soil back into the earth, then she patches up the bed with rocks lined neatly as a border. As she is patching up this flowerbed, she decides on how she will proceed, and she is satisfied that both the flowerbed and her mind has been made up. And then, she realizes that she forgot to put the seeds in the soil.

What do the seeds represent? I'm not sure at this point, but I will guess that it's her desire, or her determination. To me, this whole sequence of imagery represents Dede's eagerness to help resolve the problem and please everyone, but she will fail because the most important ingredient was left out.

I'll continue reading and see what happens.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Jury Duty Day Two

I only had to attend for half a day, and I am relieved of any jury duty for the next 3 years! =D

Today, I waited in room 167, which is a lot more spacious and better ventilated. The conditions were perfect for reading.

I started reading a novel that my good friend Grace gave me for my birthday last year. It is titled, In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez. It is the story of four sisters who lived through the dictatorship regime of Tujillo in the Dominican Republic, circa 1945.

I was drawn into the book from the first chapter. Alvarez's main protagonist, Dede, doodles a picture of a tree on the back of an envelope, with half of the tree being drawn on the flap. It is a tree that grows at the entrance to the pathway that leads to the house, where Dede's family have lived for generations, presumably. I can sense that the tree has been a landmark of many important family events. Now, a visitor has arrived to research the life of the Mirabel sisters.

This image spoke to me of incompleteness, brokenness, a gap. When the flap is closed, the picture is complete. The picture is broken when the flap is opened. People's memories of the past might be pleasant until one opens up the little envelope inside one's heart, an envelope that holds the sad and painful memories. Opening and closing the flap is easy to do, but does one want to do it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

First Day @ Courthouse for Jury Selection

Sleepy. Hot. Stuffy.

Those are the three words I would use to describe today's events at Jury Selection. That courthouse seriously needs to install a ventilation system. We were breathing the same air all day long. Imagine that! *barf*

I can imagine that sitting on a jury's panel during a trial might be exciting and engaging, but sitting in a room waiting to be selected or rejected is BORRRR-ING! It was even more boring than I had imagined.

Hopefully, tomorrow we'll do something.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

YAY! for Steve Nash!


Nash is a very intelligent guy, and he's not afraid to display his political views to the public. *two thumbs up!*

Canada will send troops to Darfur?

It was the fruit of nine months of work by Prime Minister Paul Martin and officials from the defence department, the foreign affairs department and the Canadian International Development Agency.

The initiative stressed that Canada's activities in Darfur are based on the so-called "3D approach," which combines diplomatic activity, development and humanitarian aid, and support for improving the security situation through defence and police involvement.
-Graham Fraser, The Toronto Star, May 8, 2005.

When I first heard about this, some media said that Martin agreed to this because he wanted Kilgour's vote, a man who is an independent MP. Could this be true? Or, is it really the result of almost a year's amount of work by the Cdn. gov't to devise a plan to help the people of Darfur?

I think it's a bit of both. About a year ago, Canada had started appealing to other Western gov'ts that they should all join in with the UN and the African Union to resolve the genocide that is happening in Darfur. Nothing came out of that, and Canada's representatives were clearly frustrated. It seems like they've finally found some tangible way of making a contribution.

At the same time, Martin's gov't needs all the support it can get. If this is truly the motive behind it, then I will have to take comfort in knowing that Martin decided to provide some aid to a cause that is truly worthy.