Friday, December 25, 2009
For my first scene, I did a scene from "Two for the Seesaw" by William Gibson. The play takes place in NYC in the 1950's. My character was Jerry Ryan, a lawyer from Nebraska who was recently separated from his wife. My scene partner is Gittel Mosca, a failed-dancer that owns a dance studio. The scene is when Jerry follows Gittel home when he sees her walking out with another guy, suspecting that they slept together. Gittel has just found out that Jerry is still talking with his ex-wife, and that he might still have feelings for her. The scene is mostly about Jerry coming to the realization that he doesn't give all of himself in the relationship, and Gittel finding out that she does mean a lot to Jerry.
There were several challenges to this scene that weren't in the first year:
1) We now worked with impediments/mannerisms that were required in the scene, while previously they were ignored for the most part.
2) We read the whole play in order to get a better sense of the entire character. When we did scenes before, the text was just used primarily as a vehicle for connecting with the other person, now we had to relate to our character and find out what his intentions and his goals were in order to find appropriate meanings for different parts of the scene.
3) In the first year, we did the scene however it came out of us. However, this year, we wanted to concentrate on developing an action for every moment in the scene. Not everything in a scene will be relatable to the actor, so for those parts we need to come up with particularizations. We need to come up with concrete actions that we are trying to accomplish with a line, so that our meaning becomes specific instead of general.
The scene itself was complex blocking wise. We had to pre-determine what actions we were going to perform to make the lines make sense in the scene, and at the same time have reasons for those actions. The challenge is having a worked out scenario where all of our actions have a distinct purpose and goal behind them, but living through it organically as if it were all happening spontaneously.
At the end of the scene work, I was a bit unsatisfied with how it turned out for our final run through, but it is what it is. I was unsuccessful in working with a Midwestern accent for the scene, it put me in my head while doing it. I also did not fully particularize my actions for the entire scene, which is why some of it felt flat at times.
I didn't feel fully emotionally connected to the circumstance. I don't know what it is, perhaps I'm not delving deep enough, because I know I would be going insane if a girlfriend of mine was cheating on me right in front of me. I'll have to experiment with different scenarios to try to tap into my rage (I know it's there somewhere, hiding).
Next scene will have to wait as we're doing a whole bunch of other stuff before that when the new year starts.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
My script analysis class has given me a greater appreciation for plays and works that I would have considered too weighty or anachronistic to be of interest to me in the past. It has also been a while since I have truly been able to pick up a book and read it from start to finish with ease. While I do read a lot of content on the internet, it is in short 1-2 page bursts, anything else is tl;dr. Some of the plays are not that enjoyable, but I can see why the teacher picked them to discuss. Others are good enough to bring back old times where I would lay in my bed till I finished the book at 4 in the morning (which by the way is annoying if you wear glasses because you have to shift constantly from laying facing up and down because putting the head down on the side doesn't work).
Today, we went over the play "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams. The play is about a Southern Belle, Blanche, in the mid 1940's from "Old Money" who has recently lost her estate. She visits her sister, Stella, who moved to New Orleans with her husband, Stanley, into a urban and "common" type of lifestyle. The power of this story is the way Williams interweaves multiple themes into one story, while developing characters into human beings you can relate with. There are no real heroes or villains, just two people with conflicting desires and motivations. I want to someday also be able to create characters that have fundamental flaws that inevitably create conflict with their environment yet are also understandable.
The most poignant thing about today's class however, was not the play itself, but when our teacher read to us a preface to the play that Williams wrote. It was an essay titled "The Catastrophe of Success" where Williams delves into the idea that the "success" of an artist can deaden his sense of life itself. Reading this essay before reading the play gives an insight into what Williams is truly interested in, in life itself, in the animal-like pleasure loving sensuality of the Marlin Brando played Stanley, and the aesthetic admiring dreams of Blanche. Here is an excerpt from that essay:
This is an oversimplification. One does not escape that easily from the seduction of an effete way of life. You cannot arbitrarily say to yourself, I will not continue my life as it was before this thing, Success, happened to me. But once you fully apprehend the vacuity of a life without struggle you are equipped with the basic means of salvation. Once you know this is true, that the heart of man, his body and his brain, are forged in a white-hot furnace for the purpose of conflict (the struggle of creation) and that with the conflict removed, the man is a sword cutting daisies, that not privation but luxury is the wolf at the door and that the fangs of this wolf are all the little vanities and conceits and laxities that Success is heir to—-why, then with this knowledge you are at least in a position of knowing where danger lies.
You know, then, that the public Somebody you are when you “have a name” is a fiction created with mirrors and that the only somebody worth being is the solitary and unseen you that existed from your first breath and which is the sum of your actions and so is constantly in a state of becoming under your own violation— and knowing these things, you can even survive the catastrophe of Success!
It is never altogether too late, unless you embrace the Bitch Goddess, as William James called her, with both arms and find in her smothering caresses exactly what the homesick little boy in you always wanted, absolute protection and utter effortlessness. Security is a kind of death, I think, and it can come to you in a storm of royalty checks beside a kidney-shaped pool in Beverly Hills or anywhere at all that is removed from the conditions that made you an artist, if that’s what you are or were intended to be. Ask, anyone who has experienced the kind of success I am talking about— What good is it? Perhaps to get an honest answer you will have to give him a shot of truth serum but the word he will finally groan is unprintable in genteel publications.
Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive—that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. “In the time of your life—live!” That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.
When I heard this spoken, it was like a Braveheart moment when the speech is said and you just want to go out and do battle and kill some Englishmen with a Scottish accent. But seriously, the whole reason I wanted to go into this profession was to experience life itself more fully than I had been before. Williams is an inspiration for me not to sell out and always remember that life is not fulfilled by "success" but rather the constant yearning for truth of the human experience.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
My entire life experience has been defined by performance and living up to economic, educational and social standards of this world. My post-Korean War born parents' paranoia made sure that my sister and I would avoid a life of poverty. I had been living my life with a scorecard, keeping track of wins and losses. However, much of reflection of my life consists of me saying to myself "What was I thinking?"
Even my church life consisted of trying to fit a certain standard, making sure I didn't do x, y, and z and followed all the rules. There was something missing from the heart of my actions. I wasn't looking for praise from my peers per se, but more was trying to fit my life into the "plan" I had created for myself.
A fortuitous event changed my life three years ago, and then I tried my best not to let it. I thought that the "right" thing to do was to continue with the "plan" that I had for my life. However, after encountering people in higher positions than me that had achieved this "goal" I was pursuing, I realized this wasn't what I was meant for. Fortunately, God intervened and changed the direction of my life.
Using His blessings, I took a leap of faith to pursue a creative career. It is refreshing, albeit a bit scary, to have a sense of purpose higher than my own, casting aside foolish goals. However, this is not to say that I have it all figured out. I am not completely free from the trappings of this world; I still harp on my past failures and wonder about my worldly future. I'm still selfish, immature and unwilling to take initiative with my faith. But I want to be stronger, faithful, pursuing His will, His truth, His justice.
The song Twenty-Four by Switchfoot was written by Jon Foreman, before his 24th birthday, on reflection on how he had lived his life up to that point. The song resonates with me because it notes that there are many distractions of this world that overwhelm us and are ultimately unfulfilling. Foreman writes, "I am the second man, now" indicating that he has recognized that his own visions of life should be replaced with those of Christ; to make Christ first, and himself second. It's an important lesson I still am in the process of learning that it's not how we fit God into our plan, but how God shape our lives into His plan for us.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
alex. emmanuel. rodriguez.
here's arod on a boat:
he wears boatshoes. awesome.
i'll spare you his accomplishments, for they are well documented. suffice it to say that just 2/3 of his career complete, he is already among the greatest baseball players of all time. and yet it wasn't until now, his sixth season as a yankee, that he was completely accepted by all yankee fans. of course, that's not to say every fan was a new york post (i swear that newspaper makes me dumber every time i read it) reading, analytically flawed thinking, "what have you done for me lately remarking", and downright unappreciating fan, but there were enough that it irked me. ignorance irks me.
most people don't realize this, but alex had a postseason OPS (on base percentage + slugging, a somewhat standard measure of offensive production) pretty much at the same level as derek jeter. that's right, alex rodriguez performed at par with everyone's clutch hero derek, who was prematurely called "Mr. November" during a world series the yankees ultimately lost. in fact, most sportswriters quote arod's postseason stats post 2004 to try to create a more sensational effect when criticizing his ability to perform in october. as if postseason games in seattle or games where the yankees win but ultimately lose in an epic collapse in boston don't count towards a player's postseason resume. as if it's his fault that sometimes pitchers don't pitch to him and he takes a lot of walks but doesn't rack up RBIs.
but all that is past now. after having a pretty epic postseason performance, he actually now has a postseason OPS higher than his regular season OPS, (which is also over 100 OPS points above derek's) which just goes to show how a few games can quickly change a players statistics and how fickle playoff performances can actually be. that's not to say he didn't look a bit different at the plate this year than some of his other postseason performances, but i firmly believe it was maybe just a small tweak that made alex become a destructive force this year.
i was still somewhat of a non-sports fan in the summer of 2003 (read: nerd, yes yes, i'm still a nerd ok) and i remember the first conversation i ever had about alex. i asked my high school friends over a plate of cheese fries at outback,
"Hey, so who's the best player in baseball?"
they debated for a while, and finally came up with the answer, A-Rod.
A-Rod. Alex Rodriguez. He plays for the Rangers, has the biggest contract in baseball.
"How come the Yankees don't have him?"
Jeter's the shortstop, A-Rod is a shortstop, there's no way it'd work.
"Oh, well, okay."
thus the prospect of rooting for the best player in baseball and the best team in baseball weren't aligned, until Aaron Boone decided to not only gift the Yankees with a pennant victory walk-off home run against the Red Sox, but with a contract violating sports injury that allowed the Yankees to talk a deal with A-Rod, who then agreed to shift over to 3rd base in order to fit on the roster (because who was going to move the beloved Jeter from shortstop even though alex was defensively superior as well)?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
On a saturday bang
Boy is that girl with you
Yes were one and the same
Now I believe in miracles
And a miracle
Has happened tonight
About my baby
It dont matter if youre
Black or white
They print my message
In the saturday sun
I had to tell them
I aint second to none
And I told about equality
And its true
Either youre wrong
Or youre right
About my baby
It dont matter if youre
Black or white
I am tired of this devil
I am tired of this stuff
I am tired of this business
Sew when the
Going gets rough
I aint scared of
I aint scared of no sheets
I aint scare of nobody
Girl when the
Goin gets mean
(l. t. b. rap performance)
For gangs, clubs
Causing grief in
Its a turf war
On a global scale
Id rather hear both sides
Of the tale
See, its not about races
Where your blood
Is where your space is
Ive seen the bright
Im not going to spend
My life being a color
Dont tell me you agree with me
When I saw you kicking dirt in my eye
Youre thinkin about my baby
It dont matter if youre black or white
I said if
Youre thinkin of
Being my baby
It dont matter if youre black or white
I said if
Youre thinkin of
Being my brother
It dont matter if youre
Black or white
Yea, yea, yea now
Yea, yea, yea now
Its black, its white
Its tough for you
To get by
Its black , its white, whoo
Its black, its white
Its tough for you
To get by
Its black , its white, whoo
Friday, October 23, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
sbsan - stop being such a newb (see below for newb explanation)
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
does self-sustainability need to be our purpose in life? i've been pondering this question as i consider whether or not to continue playing poker as a living. poker, has gotten difficult, to say the least. the game has vastly changed over the past 2-3 years because of various factors, the UIGEA bill, the emergence of online training websites, and the rapidly increasing knowledge of the game itself, making the game almost game theoretically "solved" in some aspects. of course, there's still money to be made, but that money is decreasing bit by bit daily. i have been doing extremely poorly in the past year which has made me reevaluate what role poker will play, if any, in my life in the next few years.
curiously enough, it is this need to stay afloat mentality that has kept me playing until now in the first place, the idea that if i don't keep playing, i won't have a backup for the future if the going gets tough. but lately, i've been wondering, what am i backing myself up for? am i just preparing myself mentally for failure in whatever endeavor i go into? sometimes i wish i was just given a road map of what it is i need to do to live a decent fulfilling life that won't be wrought with regret.
i recently went to vegas to help film the second episode of the documentary series called busto to robusto , a series about online poker players who have taken advantage of this boom and have had success in making large sums of money. these films will help serve to illustrate to the overall public the world of online poker and kind of illuminate poker players lifestyles and personalities. since this is a relatively new phenomenon, i feel like it'd generate a lot of interest among the public, many of which have no idea how professional gambling works, or could even be an occupation.
after talking with some of the players interviewed, and jay rosenkrantz, the producer of the series and a high stakes pro, you get the sense that in the end, even the people at the top are looking for a way out. because this is such a new type of occupation, it doesn't really have a long term plan and people are adapting to "what happens next" on the fly. jay brought an interesting point to me, that tommy angelo, an almost "zen" master of poker, had to stop playing poker for 1.5 years in order to write his book, "Elements of Poker". playing poker is almost perfect for people who want to pursue creative interests, except that the game almost does hinder one's own creative process because of the thinking involved is so taxing.
anyhow, this past year has been a lot of reflection of the path of my life and where it will go from here. i hoped to find more clear cut answers, but it seems that i'm going to have to make some tough choices soon. this is not to say i'm going to quit poker at the moment, i feel like these old bones have yet some life in them for that for at least a bit more. i just want to have passion for creating and living in the moment, and figure out what it is i'm supposed to be doing on this rotating revolving oblong spheroid.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Now, my system will not be a winner take all, because a point system is obviously more fair in this regard, as a slightly marginal advantage in one category will be unfairly weighted against a huge advantage in another.
What's in a name? Branding, marketing, but beyond that an identity. In-N-Out has a moniker that describes what you will be doing at In-N-Out, which is simply, going In-N-Out of a burger place to eat and coming out. The name implies a succinct and thoughtless experience, albeit efficient, kind of like when a SWAT team comes into a drug bust and gets the bad guys out, ASAP.
The N in between the In and Out actions and the hyphens lends itself to a cute and catchy name, and definitely one that's easy to remember and spread around. But what intimacy does that lend itself really? We like this burger so much that we just want to eat it as quickly as possible and then GTFO? Ok, I guess.
I give the name In-N-Out 7 points.
Shake Shack is an interesting name. I do agree with the blogger that their shakes are not something I enjoy particularly, but I haven't really tried much of them, so I cannot accurately assess the quality of the shakes. What I do know is that it is definitely interchangeable with what I like to call it, "the SHACK". I mean when I tell someone I want to go to "the SHACK", they immediately know what I'm talking about. And aside from the fact that the so called informed blogger pulled the shack picture on his website from a Wikipedia page, shacks have multiple meanings, one of which is, "a room or similar enclosed structure for a particular person or use shack" according to Miriam-Webster. Misleading? Maybe not.
The alliteration and the catchy name itself has been enough to allure all classes of people in NYC, not just the fast food crowd, it has almost become a legend, even though it has only been around for 5 years. However, I do agree that the moniker is not as tight or smart as it could be.
I give the name Shake Shack 6 points.
It's true, Shake Shack has only two locations in Manhattan, and one in Citi Field, all of which usually run long lines. But when a restaurant is only 5 years old compared to 60, it's hard to really have that many locations, and sometimes excellence is in high demand but low supply.
That being said, I have been to plenty of In-N-Outs in LA, SF and Las Vegas, and I have to say that the lines aren't always a fun deal there. Sometimes the locations are crowded, with noisy children or what not, and even on a non-crowded day, it still takes a while for preparation for the food. It's not nearly as "fast" food as say, a McDonald's or a Burger King, it's more of a medium-speed food kind of place. And as far as travel goes, with LA traffic, good luck getting to a place when there isn't death traffic everywhere until late hours in the night.
I give In-N-Out Burger 6.5 points.
Shake Shack does have long lines. However, what the blogger FAILED to mention is that it has a Shack CAM readily available, so that you can snipe the times when you can find a short line. A good meal deserves a good hunt, IMO. Also, if you go really early or really late, the lines aren't long at all. And what really is a wait on the line in Madison Square Park? A time for intimacy with your friends in a nice area, a time to chat about the world, a time to not get so involved with the In-N-Out culture of our generation, etc. Oh yeah, they also have a B line that zooms you to the front if all you want is some custard or other dessert.
I give Shake Shack 4 points.
3. Menu Options
In and Out doesn't really lend itself to many choices, as you're really stuck with a burger and fries essentially. I guess it does have it's "hip" off the menu choices, like Animal Style or 3x3, etc. This reviewer even mentions that is has low menu choices as a con. Oh, and it also mentions that he once waited 45 minutes to get In-N-Out and never goes during peak hours, further clarifying its "convenience".
I give In-N-Out 3 points.
Shake Shack, now WHERE do we begin. There's the standard shack burger that's always an excellent choice, a shroom burger for vegetarians that I hear is excellent (personally not a fan of fungus), hot dogs, a new custard of the day . Did I mention they have beer, for those of you who enjoy a pleasant meal with a little relaxing brewsky on the side? Oh, and wine for all you who want to add a little romance to a already nice scenery in Madison Square Park.
I give Shake Shack 8 points.
Shake Shack does indeed cost more than In-N-Out. However, you're paying NYC prices, in the heart of Manhattan, so you're also paying for the experience, instead of some dinky random In-N-Out that's a clone of every other In-N-Out in California. And when you factor in that fast food places in busy locations of Manhattan are super priced as well, you see that the "huge" cost of Shake Shack is not really that "huge" at all, adjusted for NYC prices.
In-N-Out though does have advantage in being priced extremely low. A burger, fries and a coke will probably run you around 9 bucks at Shake Shack, where as at In-N-Out, adjusting for NYC prices, it'd probably be around 6 bucks by my estimation.
In-N-Out therefore gets 9 points, and Shake Shack gets 6. (See what I did there?)
I actually like In-N-Out Burgers. I probably ate it 3-4 times during a week stay in LA. Is it worth the time and effort to go to a place like this? Absolutely. Is it an experience to remember? Well, that's something different entirely.
The Animal Style thing is interesting to say the least, the combination of thousand island dressing and some sort of mayonnaise concoction does lend itself to an interesting flavor that is not really replicated. The quality of the food is definitely above regular fast food par. The fries however, are pretty nasty at In-N-Out, they're probably worse than most fast food places, IMO. They're just little stringy fries that don't really do much in terms of texture and quality, and are not really unique in any sort of way.
I give In-N-Out Burger 7 points, mainly due to the interesting burger.
When I first went to Shake Shack, I was skeptical. The whole waiting on line business seemed like a touristy thing to do. And trust me, I hate touristy stuff in NYC, nothing angers me more than seeing a bunch of Euro dudes taking a billion pictures when I'm trying to walk through the street. Ok some things anger me more, but that's for another post.
When I first got that Shake Shack burger, it was mildly akin to when Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and eat those 30 sliders, 5 fries and 4 large cherry cokes. Awesome. Soothing. Something that hits the spot when you're craving the ultimate burger. In a word (or three) sweet juicy justice. That combination of just enough greasiness in the taste with a touch of friedness on the side for the texture tripled with the convenient bun that is closed on one end so the juices don't fall into your hand, just does wonders for me. The special sauce that they have tops it off that can only be described as a bit tangy but warm flavored.
Oh and let's not forget the patented cheese on the cheese fries. I don't know how they make their cheese, but it's pretty much the best cheese on cheese fries this world has ever known. After I eat all the fries, sometimes I just scoop up the cheese and eat it itself. It's that good folks. The fries themselves have a nice harder and slightly crunchier texture to them
Dessert? Speak no more of the options. A lushious concrete jungle (my personal favorite) with bananas, fudge, and peanut butter concoction will gratify any sweet tooth from here to California.
I give Shake Shack a dominating 10 points.
These next two categories are pretty lame so I'm going to downgrade to only being worth 5 points.
6. Iconic Status
Is In-N-Out an icon? It is an undeniably well known franchise. But to claim that it represents all of California's well known highlights might be a stretch.
I'd say In-N-Out earns 4.5 points.
Shake Shack has already become a well known place in the 5 years of its existence. It was normally only supposed to be a small kiosk of food to spark the conservation of Madison Square Park. It helped transform MSP from a dangerous area to a well visited location. Yes, Shake Shack FIGHTS CRIME IN NYC. That's pretty much as iconic as anything New York, like the Ghostbusters or Spiderman. Not to mention it's already in Citi Field, a huge NY establishment.
Shake Shack earns 2 points in terms of iconicness.
7. Happiness effect
How happy is one when they munch on an In-N-Out burger? Well let's take a look at the blogger's evidence. Both pictures were taken in MSP, so one can conclude that In-N-Out was not a factor in either of the blogger's happiness because it doesn't exist in New York. His argument is pretty much facepalm fail (FPF) in that regard.
In all seriousness however, how happy are you when you wait patiently and at the end of the day, receive perfection as your reward? When you strive towards excellence, and when all is said and done, you are granted access to true burger ecstasy? I mean In-N-Out is a fine choice if you want to have a good and I suppose more convenient meal, but when it comes down to it, satisfaction is hard to obtain. I compare it to settling for that girl you might kind of like, instead of going the extra mile (or 3) for that girl that doesn't even exist in your dreams because she's so awesome.
I give In-N-Out 3 points.
I give Shake Shack 5 points.
In-N-Out: 40 points
Shake Shack: 41 points
So there you have it folks, Shake Shack wins by a slim margin. I admit, I was surprised when I saw the final numbers of how close it was, but I believe I have given both a fair assessment, and was not surprised that in the end, justice was served.
Anyone who disagrees with this pretty much sucks at life, IMO.