The Game of Kings

Monday, October 31, 2011

Watched this documentary the other night:

Bobby Fischer Against the World.

The story of Bobby Fischer is such an interesting, captivating, and somewhat cautionary tale. A kid from Brooklyn that starts playing chess at the age of 6, clearly a prodigy, studies it obsessively, destroys chess masters from Russia at a young age, wins the world championship at the age of 29, then stops playing chess at the height of his level, disappears for years and becomes a crazy recluse Anti-American and Anti-Semite (seriously crazy) and ends up and dies in Iceland.

The documentary told the story of Fischer really well (although there were some cheesy unnecessary visual effects acting as chapter breaks). It talked about how Fischer really revolutionized the game of chess not just in terms of play, but bringing it to the mainstream and popularizing it. There are such funny people in the chess world with the strangest mannerisms and it just made the documentary even more entertaining to watch. And there were just so many little things in this documentary that made it so great - the interviewees, the incidents, discussion of the chess plays and everyone was just so into it and it's like, man chess is so cool.

I'm so awful at chess. It is in the truest sense of the word, a game. And I get too nervous, too self conscious, too thoughtful in all the wrong ways that I can't think clearly. One time a friend said I could have used these mannerisms of mine to my advantage - as part of my game. But I can't do that either, I can only play in my nervous and transparent way - and man it is so bad.

I'd like to be better at it though, so uh, who wants to play me? I'm going to study youtube videos in the mean time, so watch out!

At the very least.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

So here begins my foray into seeing what I can do with my hands.

I took a moccasin making workshop over at Blim last weekend, kind of on a whim, I saw it randomly, thought it was cool and signed up right away. We didn't really get much done in the class, only a 1/4 of one shoe in 4 hours! (When I signed up, I thought 4 hours was way too long, psh). When I got home, I was obsessed and couldn't stop working on them until I was finished. My hands were in pain (pushing a small needle through leather many, many times takes its toll) but I just couldn't stop. Moccasin making is tedious, it's just making sure you poke a bunch of holes your thread can go through and sewing it altogether. But it was enjoyable and I have a new appreciation for shoe making and I totally understand why Daniel Day Lewis went to be an apprentice for a shoemaker in Italy, I would/want to do the same thing.

I am also learning how to sew. I successfully made throw pillows (I CAN SEW A STRAIGHT LINE NOW! I was elated when I did this, because until then, I was hopeless with a sewing machine). I can't tell you enough how nice it is to learn a new skill, even if it's small and almost a given/basic to some people - because at the very least, you know something new, even if it's not immediately useful and beneficial.

Awhile ago I had this urge to go into Loomis and I somehow ended up at the discount bin for wooden beads and was like, oh cool, let's buy these and paint them. And here they are:

Ones I really like:

And my most favorite:

When I was painting these, I was like, man, what am I doing painting beads for. And it felt kind of dumb. But seeing them altogether, it's like, oh Ellen you're so hard on yourself and if painting beads makes you happy, then that's okay.

Because at the very least, they're pretty things to look at.

And I like this whole having whims and pursuing them thing.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Man I love this song. I love when he yells "I'm in love" at the end. Oh I believe you.

I think what's also nice about this song is how I found it. I was at work listening to another album and before I had time to change to something else, this came on (the itunes library is full of songs from past people who have worked on my computer). And it was just so good and I was alone in the office and listening to it loud on a Sunday night. If I hadn't been listening to that certain album and hadn't had just let all the music play, I would not have found the song. At least that's what I think. It's nice to know small, nice, unexpected things come and that I can, haha enjoy them when they do.

I'm in love I'm in love I'm in love.

VIFF '11

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another year of the Vancouver International Film Festival. I felt like I saw a lot more duds than goods. My VIFF choosing game is totally off. Before I forget what I watched and what I felt, here are the films I watched:

Intense relationship film that makes you never want to cheat on your boyfriend/significant other, even if the person you're cheating with is hot and besides, why cheat on Seth Rogen. Also reminds you not to confuse lust and the excitement of something new and different with love.

Think of every French art film cliche and put it all in this movie - melancholy, over wrought drama over nothing, blank stares, young spoiled rich people being activists and academics. I couldn't wait to get out of the virtually empty theater.

Fell asleep. This may have had to do with watching this film after work. But it also may have a lot to do with me not knowing at all who the author W.G. Sebald is and as a result, not really being at all interested in what was being said. Why did I buy tickets to this film then? Because the director had done this really great documentary on Joy Divison: that I thought that regardless of me not knowing who Sebald was, that it would have been interesting enough that it wouldn't have mattered. Bummer, not the case. I had also read that this film was visually beautiful. Lies.

Really engaging documentary about food waste in the western world. It made me want to join a CSA (where you go to farms like say, UBC Farms each week and pick up a box of produce - you don't get to choose the produce, but it's seasonal and cool). And have bees. My only thing is that I felt like the documentary could have gone so much deeper, it did a very surface level explanation of what was going on, but I felt like more connections could have been made. But I can see how complicated and hard that is to convey in a short amount of time because the problem is so vast and intricate. My other complaint would be that a teenage girl pulled out her iPhone during the film and proceeded to play several different games before someone got up and told her to put it away.

I thought this would be one of the better films I'd see at VIFF. The film looks good, but everything else about it was terrible. Having weird overly sexual scenes where it didn't even feel sexual anymore - just awkward and painful to watch.

So stoked on Steve Nash. I like multi-talented people. Two time MVP who made his own documentary, read Naomi Klein's "No Logo", skateboards around, and has a bunch of fitness centers. Steve Nash!

Documentary that follows the tour that had Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and Vetiver before they got really popular. Every night they play a final jam altogether at the end of the show (the family jam) and it made me think about how I used to long to go on tour when I was in high school and I imagined it being more or less like this.

EL BULLI. First off, whoa El Bulli employs a lot of good looking chefs. Anyways. Ferran Adria explained that what they are more interested in El Bulli is the emotional aspect of food, and creating something different, innovative, and revelatory in that sense. And it made me realize that that is what I want for myself and what ever I do.

Cat's Cradle

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cat's cradle explorations:
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