Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Club: You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried

book club
A couple weeks ago I was logging into my library account and I saw that County of Los Angeles Public Library has an app now! I downloaded it immediately and I'm completely in love with it. Basically it's a glorified shortcut to the COLA website, but the thing that makes it amazing is that it has a barcode scanner so you can scan the back of any book and put a hold on it. You can also manually search, and I could really get used to typing in a title as soon as I hear it and immediately putting a hold on it.

I tested it out when I was house sitting recently and The Breakfast Club was on. The movie was running with little facts at the bottom of the screen. When Bender tells Claire, "You couldn't ignore me if you tried" the fact that popped up said that the line was the title of a book about the brat pack and John Hughes. Using my handy dandy new library app I looked the book up and put a hold on You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and their Impact on a Generation.

I was expecting something more like film theory, but Susannah Gora's book reads a bit like an in depth version of an audio commentary that would run over the collected works of John Hughes. Gora tends to focus more on the drama; which actors bumped heads with Hughes, which films almost went unmade because of the tension on set, who dated who during filming. It was all really interesting, but there were times where Gora's own feelings definitely shone through. At several moments she implies that the actors she interviewed felt one way, even if they said something else to her.

Despite that, I still enjoyed it. Like a lot of American teenagers, John Hughes movies have a special place in my heart, so I liked hearing all the backstage gossip as well as hearing the actors comment on their iconic roles. But now I want to re-watch all the movies Gora mentions. Anyone up for a Hughes film festival?


Friday, July 26, 2013

Fun in LA: Disneyland!

Disneyland is a weird concept, if you think about it. You pay a huge amount of money to get into the park (not counting what you have to pay just to park your car), and once you get inside you're pretty much forced to spend more money if you want to eat or drink anything. This is not to mention the cost of any souvenirs you might pick up. You basically pay for the privilege of spending more money and standing in lines longer than the rides themselves. And yet, on any given day Disneyland is packed!

Maybe this is a symptom of becoming an adult who's more conscious about money (hello student loans), but lately I've been more skeptical of Disneyland even though I love it. Up until this week the last time I had been was almost 3 years ago. Even though we talked about going every time I was home for a break I couldn't justify spending so much money in one place, which is why I was so excited when a co-worker of my mom's offered us free tickets. It may be a strange money-making machine, but you can't deny it's fun. 

We got to go on almost all of our favorite rides, Pirates was closed and I didn't want to lose my hat on Space Mountain so we missed out on those. The guide we had on the Jungle Cruise was hilarious! As it is I'm a fan of cheesy humor and I love puns so the Jungle Cruise is right up my alley, and this guide had the best one-liners I've ever heard on the ride. I realized that I had never been on Peter Pan so we braved the line and it was totally worth the wait. It was a fitting day for my first ride because I finally caved and bought the Peter Pan hat that I had been wanting forever. I also got to have my favorite Disneyland treat, a Pineapple Float, so I was a happy camper.

One of my favorite things to do at Disneyland is peek into the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and see the little ones getting their hair done like princesses. Honestly I don't know what it is because when I was that little I don't think I would have liked being in the princess dress or having a bunch of glitter in my hair (I had a very strong anti-tulle stance), but seeing the looks on those little kids faces as they get their hair done is too much for me. I just see them there looking like they've never been happier, and how it really is a magical experience for them and it gets me right in the tear ducts. 

As always my mom is not pictured, but rest assured, she had fun as well. 

Outside Club 33
Jungle Cruise
Pineapple Float
Waiting for Captain EO

End of the day, photo credit: mom
Fireworks! Photo credit: mom

All in all it was a magical day, so mission accomplished Disneyland. 


Monday, July 15, 2013


Disposable Memories
Sometime around the end of October I was in line to check out at Target and a two-pack of disposable cameras caught my eye. After that, I spent the rest of the school year carrying a camera in my bag capturing little moments. I got a lot of weird looks and questions, and once they were both filled it took me around 2 months to actually get them developed, but it was a totally worthwhile experiment and an affordable way to play around with lo-fi photography.

Disposable Memories
Leona Creek
Disposable Memories
The tree-lined path to the music building
Disposable Memories
Behind the music building
Disposable Memories
Thanksgiving with Estrella
Shopping cart Christmas tree statement at the Bay Street Mall
Disposable Memories
At JT's opening
The first time Ali played at TNS!
Lovely ladies
Disposable Memories
The three of us on my birthday

This last one is my favorite! I remember when I was in elementary school, we'd all buy disposable cameras for the days when we would have field trips or for Spirit Day, and when I was in London I bought a disposable camera because I wanted pictures to decorate my room with. I really enjoyed the process of taking pictures with film and actually getting them developed. Maybe I'll make a habit of it. When was the last time you had a disposable camera?


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Club: Just Kids

Now that my reading schedule is no longer clogged with school-related required reading I'm slowly making my way through the ever-growing booklist I keep at the back of my slingshot. I had put Just Kids by Patti Smith on the list after hearing all the buzz about it and it did not disappoint.

It actually took me a while to get hold of a copy from the library, and once it finally came in it took me a while to pick it up because I had some things going on, but once I had a decent chunk of time to devote to it I was hooked.

I think what struck me most about the book, aside from Smith's descriptions of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, were her descriptions of the Chelsea Hotel and of her early years in New York. To someone with plans of relocating to New York in the relatively near future, maybe her tales of hunger and near homelessness as she struggled to 'make it' should have been more off-putting, but they aren't at all. I'm mesmerized by fleeting moments in time when tons of artists gathered together; Gertrude Stein's Parisian salon, the Beats in San Francisco, the Chelsea Hotel. If anything, Just Kids made me wish I was in New York right now, experiencing the magic for myself.

As for the relationship between Patti and Robert, I don't think I've ever read such a beautiful account of a friendship. 

If you have yet to read Just Kids, definitely get on that.