Beijing Meets Hollywood

SUCKSWhen I arrived in Beijing, a manager friend invited me to the opening night screening of his client’s action movie in major release in China. “It’s a big movie,” he tweeted. So when my cousin was in town, I took her to this movie, which was sold as a female James Bond or Laura Croft-type action adventure.

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Immediately within the first fifteen minutes, I knew it was a bad movie. In Chinese, we call it “烂片” which literally translates as “rotten movie.” In fact, I had the feeling before going that it would be a rotten movie. Yet, I still went because I thought it would be nice to bring my cousin to a sort-of-premiere of a “big” Chinese action film.

“At least it’s amusingly bad,” I whispered to my cousin hoping that it would be the case.

Half an hour into the movie, I knew it was truly rotten. The movie boasted bad action, bad performances and unfinished CGI sequences. Non-leading actors literally drifted around the set like they were zombies.

Stand Up Comedy, Flight Attendant Edition

I’ve been on more Air Greyhound (Southwest Airlines) flights than I care to count, and I’ve seen flight attendants take every approach when it comes to pointing out the rules and regs and safety features of the plane. Some play it straight, some pantomime it, some can’t conceal their boredom, but I have noticed that Southwest in particular allows its employees to joke around. It’s usually corny, but charming stuff, and it breaks up everyone’s monotony.

This woman takes it to another level.

The opening line: “Can I pretend to have your attention…” did just that – got my attention.

Western Media “Blames” Korean Heritage for the Ferry Disaster Deaths

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As news continues to develop about the rescue efforts around the sunken Korean ferry, it’s clear that even more tragedy and heartbreak awaits. Already fingers are being pointed about who’s to blame for the incident and that will only intensify in the days and weeks to come, which leads me to a disturbing thread I’ve been seeing in the Western media’s coverage of this story.

A subtle attempt to blame Korean society/culture for the lives lost.

Actually, I don’t even know if I can even call it “subtle.” Take this passage from a Reuters report from earlier today–nothing subtle about it at all:

Most of those who survived made it out on deck and jumped into rescue boats, but many of the children did not leave their cabins, not questioning their elders, as is customary in hierarchical Korean society. They paid for their obedience with their lives.

So here’s why this statement is bullshit—

5 Moral Quandaries at Wondercon 2014 (a.k.a. Dommah’s Superheroic Ethical Dilemmas)

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Dominic Mah is a writer, director, erratic blogger at dommah.com, and rock musical enthusiast. He recently co-wrote a feature film about superheroes and sidekicks. He is working on a startup comic book. He is often found in karaoke bars being @dommah and @thorhulkcritic.

WonderCon, the smaller sister of ComicCon, is not only about buying action figures and cosplay. It’s also a time to question who you are, right from wrong, power and responsibility. Bear with me, this article is 80% about the first porn thing and only 20% about the other things.

Classic Ms. Marvel, at WonderCon 2014 in Anaheim, California.

Classic Ms. Marvel, at WonderCon 2014 in Anaheim, California.

1. Do you report on the guy who is probably a porn guy scouting for gullible young girls? And why do you know that he is the porn guy?

I’ll answer the second part first. I know he is the porn guy because, for good or ill, I know enough about adult entertainment to recognize that the typical porn guy (from behind his video camera POV, in a high-pitched demonic purr) talks like this:

“Hey what’s going on here? I like your outfit. Mmm. Do a little spin for me? Can you spin around for me? Nice. Great. You look great. Turn around for me.”

Justin Bieber Hearts Japanese War Criminals?

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Once again young Justin Bieber is stirring up a bit of trouble online—this time during a trip to Tokyo. Yesterday, he visited a shrine in that city and posted the following to his social media:

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Nothing seemingly controversial on the surface until it was revealed that the shrine in question was the Yasukuni Shrine aka the shrine paying tribute to Japan’s World War II soldiers or as some of Japan’s Asian neighbors choose to interpret it—a shrine to Japan’s war criminals. The same shrine that led to very vocal outrage from China and South Korea when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to it last year.

Once young Bieber was kindly reminded of this fact via the internet responses to his posting, he removed the pic and issues this apology:

Chinky or Not Chinky: Asians as ‘Slopes’

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So TV show Top Gear has come under fire recently for referring to an Asian person as a “slope” in their Burma special. For those unfamiliar with the term “slope” in this context, Urban Dictionary defines it as thus:

Vietnam-era charlie. Any asian resembeling one of the ‘reds’.

There are so many slopes at the library!

On the heels of this brouhaha, the show’s executive producer Andy Wilman issued this “apology” today:

Q: Why Do Americans Hate Soccer?

A: Because they do, that’s why.  Duh.

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Full disclosure: I happen to love soccer.  I was born in Spain to a Spanish father, which means I had two choices when it came to “the beautiful game:” I could love it, or I could really love it.

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But I’ve actually taken the time – scientifically, dispassionately – to parse the US of A’s gut reaction, and it turns out there are real reasons we hate soccer.

Let’s get started!

The City of Angels by Night

Sometimes you have to make an effort to remind yourself of those unique and/or special things that might be right under your nose.

And one of those things for me is Griffith Observatory.

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Located atop Griffith Park with what is probably the best view of Los Angeles, the Observatory is only about two miles from where I live, but before this evening, I couldn’t remember the last time I had visited.

But tonight, I met a friend for dinner and afterwards, I wanted to take a short walk before heading home and that’s when I thought, “Damn, I haven’t been up to the Observatory in ages.”

Around The Horn: The Best Advice You’ve Never Taken

I’m pretty good at giving advice.  Pretty lousy at taking it.  In my pocket I carry a worn excerpt from something I photocopied:

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“It is the height of folly to refuse the present hour of happiness, or wantonly to spoil it by vexation at by-gones or uneasiness about what is to come.  There is a time, of course, for forethought, nay, even for repentance; but when it is over let us think of what is past as of something to which we have said farewell, of necessity subduing our hearts – and of the future as of that which lies beyond our power, in the lap of the gods.”

Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that some 200 years ago.  I know, I know, basically he’s just saying “Be present,” but in much more elegant words than I can string together.

I’ve shared that quote with friends and strangers over the years, not to let them know where I am, but to let them know where I aspire to be.  In moments – watching the last two minutes of a Warriors game, sharing sushi with the right person, DJ-ing to a packed house at the bars – past regrets and future anxieties melt away – but it’s fleeting and not easy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard that you have been unable to follow?

SAF Seeking… Crush Alert!

Sometimes it's better to stay home and deal with your tween fantasies there than in public... In front of your hero.

Sometimes it’s better to stay home and deal with your tween fantasies there than in public… In front of your hero.

“Will you sign my book?”

I’m terrible with being star struck. I’m shy and I have a habit of staring at my toes. Once about 10 years ago, I was in a Starbucks and Jack Nicholson came in and sat down no more than 10 feet away from me. I remember him glancing in my general direction and I promptly choked on my coffee and had it dribbling down my chin and into my bra. Sigh. I’m terrible.

I work for a Shakespeare company and my boss was sick so I was promptly ordered to attend -in his absence- the Shakespeare workshop of a brash Brit named Ben Crystal who was touring the nation.

SAF Seeking… A backbone

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Annika is a 28 year old Cambodian Vietnamese Chinese French American who recently returned to school to finish a bachelor’s degree in computer science and linguistics. Her hobbies and interests include swimming, cooking, baking, writing, reading, math, symbolic logic, learning foreign languages, and drinking espresso – and of course, boys.

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“Have you ever sent anything back at a restaurant?” queried my therapist.

I’ve been in therapy since the summer of 2013.

I flung myself into the arms of psychodynamic-oriented psychotherapy at the age of 27 in the midst of my divorce. I had never before been in therapy, but when I stumbled upon a never-before-seen box of memories my then-soon-to-be-ex-husband had saved from the four years of our marriage that was almost no more, I found myself sitting on the floor of our closet – as I was packing my belongings – crying hysterically and cradling the white box in my arms for the better part of an hour.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW.

Is Pope Francis The Real Deal?

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On Thursday, in Rome, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people – women and non-Catholics among them – in a pre-Easter ritual emulating the gesture of Christ washing the feet of his apostles.

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“Jesus made a gesture, a job, the service of a slave, a servant,” said the pontiff.  “And he leaves this inheritance to us we need to be servants to one another.”

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Fine.  Sounds good.

Traditionalist Catholics disapproved of the gesture, noting that the ritual is typically performed only on men, in an attempt to mimic Christ washing the feet of his male disciples.

I wouldn’t presume to answer the question “WWJD,” but I seriously doubt JC would be so petty as to care about the gender of those whose feet Francis is washing.  Didn’t Jesus hang out with tax collectors and prostitutes?