Monday, September 29, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 9/29/08

Thick is the old snow
Crunching hard beneath my shoes
Like shattered bones bleached

-David Yuen

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Maine Journey (Part 6) - Maine Blueberries Baby!!!

Around our last full day in Maine, we made the decision to finally stop by one of those old fashioned blueberry stands scattered across the Maine roads during the summer season.


One thing of advice for all future Maine travelers--besides Maine lobster, the Maine blueberry is another unique thing that this coastal state has to offer. The Maine blueberry, though smaller, is far sweeter and milder in taste than your typical grocery bought blueberry. In fact, its very texture is even softer and smoother in straight comparison to any other blueberry that you can find in the local store. Just look at those babies!

Advice Number 10 For Maine Travelers:

When in Maine, don't just try the lobster, but also try the blueberries. And one note of common sense--if you're thinking of bringing some blueberries back home with you, be sure to not only bring a cooling container with you, but also be sure to purchase the blueberries either the evening before or the day your heading back home.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You, Me, And Haiku - 9/23/08

The transfer of warmth
Through the passage of old air
An eye to eye smile

-David Yuen

Monday, September 22, 2008

Got A New Job!

Well, I did it! I’m back to the workforce as a cubicle drone, since freelance writing wasn’t working out for me.

I’m pretty much going back to doing the same stuff that I did before I tried out freelance writing, which is Clinical Data Management. In case, you’re wondering what Clinical Data Management is, it’s essentially looking over clinical data gathered from a clinical trial and making sure that it abides by the drug study’s pre-determined protocol. Sounds pretty action-packed, doesn't it?

So, with me now back to being a monkey in a cubicle jungle, does that mean I’ll stop writing and blogging? Absolutely not! Maybe, I’ll be doing it less, but I’ll probably be still keeping up with my blogs on the side, while I work. Maybe, once in a while, I might even write an article or two. But now, writing is now officially back to being a “hobby” for me as opposed to a profession (or more like an attempted profession).

Overall, there’s a few things that I’ve learn from trying to make a living as a freelance writer. Here’s a basic list.

1.) Freelance writing is NOT for the lazy! In fact it’s very hard work.

2.) Freelance writing is about being PRO-ACTIVE and not just waiting for an assignment to fall on your lap. Unfortunately for me, I learned that a little too late.

3.) Freelance writing requires more discipline and self-conditioning than most regular jobs in general.

4.) Freelance writing is all about advertising yourself, making contacts, and keeping contacts. This is another thing that I unfortunately didn’t concentrate hard enough on.

5.) At the beginning of any freelance writing career, starting a blog is a must.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - SPIN

It's been a while since I had one of these, but from this juicy nugget that I found this morning, it's been well worth the wait!

According to the Youtube description:

A mysterious DJ is sent to a busy city block to mend a series of tragic events that occur in our everyday lives. Winner of 35 film festival awards worldwide.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Maine Journey (Part 5) – Acadia National Park

Our greatest destination in Maine was none other than Acadia National Park, where the mountains are high and the scenery is incomparable. Besides the drive by views we saw on the way there, our first major stop in the park was for lunch at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant, on the recommendation of a friend.

For more information on this restaurant, visit: http://www.jordanpond.com/

After a few detours and taking some winding roads through the park, we finally arrived to our destination and let me tell you that the Jordan Pond House is one of the best places, if not the best place, to have lunch in Acadia National Park. Why?

Well, #1 is because of the fabulous outdoor seating and #2 is because of its well-sized gift shop! As you can see by the pictures below, not only do you get to enjoy the wonderful outdoor air, but you also get to take in the wonderful scenery of the park, while being served at your leisure.

Though the price of the food can be a little steep for lunch, the lunch they offer is still quite delicious and their “popovers” are awesome. For those of you who don’t know, a popover is a unique pastry almost exclusive to Maine and it’s kinda like a cross between a crispy croissant on the outside and a fluffy pancake on the inside!

The gift shop at Jordan Pond is also a great place to visit given its convenience. Because, once you’re done with a great meal complete with photo-moments, you can also knock out a second bird with the same stone by completing your souvenir runs too.

Finally, after our lunch we headed over to Cadillac Mountain, which is considered to be the tallest mountain on the entire east coast. Supposedly, if someone were to stand at its peak during the first few minutes of dawn, that person would be able to see the sunrise before anyone else in the east coast. Personally, I never tried it, but, if time allows on my next Maine trip, it’ll definitely be something worth a try. Below is a little video of my slow driving accent to the peak, followed by photos from a few scenic stops that I took along the way.




Here’s a video of the peak (best to turn off the volume and watch it since the wind messed the sound up) along with some photos taken from there. Isn’t Acadia cool!!!



Here's me!



So summing it up, here’s a bulk of advice for new Maine travelers:

Advice #6: Acadia Park should be the one location that you should at least visit in Maine. And Cadillac Mountain should be the one location that you should at least visit in Acadia Park.

Advice #7: Set aside at least 2 whole days to spend at Acadia National Park. I would personally suggest more.

Advice #8: The Jordan Pond House is the best place to eat lunch in Acadia! When there, be sure to go for the outdoor seating.

Advice #9: When in Maine, every visitor must try, at least once, freshly made Maine popovers with Maine blueberry jam!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Interesting Site - "Storied Mind"

I found this very interesting site just the other week or so about writing, depression, and spirituality. It's called the Storied Mind. For one thing, this writer has a very stimulating "exploration" style to his writing as he freely ponders and philosophizes on the various layers of life and existence, especially through the eyes of one who suffers from depression.

Though I don't necessarily agree with some of his spiritual views, but I do find his entire exercise of contemplation to be very stimulating and almost poetic in many cases.

The link to his site is http://www.storiedmind.com/

From now on, this site will be included in the "Links" section of this blog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 9/15/08

Lethargic the moon
When harvest comes crawling old
Autumn trees stand gaurd

-David Yuen

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Maine Journey (Part 4) - Bar Harbor

Our next major stop was Bar Harbor, Maine. This nice coastal town is right by Acadia National Park and, let me tell you, visiting this place is a blast! The natural scenery was awesome and the shopping has a very quaint small-town feel to it.

Here are some of their ships.

(early afternoon)

(dusk)



And a nice view of their bay.


As I mentioned before, the shopping there is also quite awesome and it definitely has that nice small town New England charm to it.




Overall, Bar Harbor is definitely a location that you need to devote at least a full day to and it's probably the best location to find a motel in. Do not trust your travel agency (especially AAA) to find a nice cozy motel outside of Bar Harbor. Usually, when they mean outside, it could mean that it's an hour drive away from it (which is more work for you). It's best that you just book your hotels using your own research and wits (here's when the Internet comes in)!

To round this entry off, here's a little video footage from my first arrival to Bar Harbor. Note the whale watching ship (another thing that you should be prepared to book early if you want to add this to your trip!).



More Advice for Maine Travelers
Advice #4: Do not let AAA book your motels for you!!!
Advice #5: Devote at least one FULL day for Bar Harbor!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Maine Journey (Part 3) - Penobscot Narrows Bridge

Well, this one isn't really a stop that we made, per se, but it was another unique landmark that we ended up accidentally running into on our way to Acadia. It seemed to have been built fairly recently to replace another bridge and, from some information that I gleaned from a local nearby (since I stopped right by it to take a picture), people could actually go up to its pinnacle and see all the way to the sea. It sounds quite amazing. According to what I discovered this bridge is called the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and it's located on Route 1 North near Bucksport, Maine.


Take a look at that pinnacle!


Since we were in a rush to get to our next stop, we didn't have time to further explore the bridge, let alone take the elevator to its top. But just for future reference, for those who want to go to Maine sometime in the future (including myself), be sure to make time for this bridge! It's quite a sight!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Maine Journey (Part 2) - Kennebunkport

One of the first major stops that we had at Maine was in the nice small town of Kennebunkport. Yeah, I know the name's kinda weird and that's the first thing I thought when we were passing through. But the truth is, it was quite a beautiful place and it was pretty much by accident that we stumbled on this wonderful little chapel by the sea (St. Ann's Episcopal Church).


Besides its dated structure and its cozy interior, the best thing that caught my attention about this church is the fact that they had outdoor pews and stone pulpit right by the sea!


Here's some of the shoreline by the outdoor pews.


And, just for the sake of sentiment and to give you all an idea of where these pews are in relation to the chapel, here's a cute little picture of my mom and dad.

As I said before, the church's interior was quite cozy and beautifully simplistic. It was ornate enough to evoke the spirit of sanctity, but not overly ornate to the point of getting lost in the details. I especially enjoyed the stained glass windows that it had.







Here's more interesting craftsmanship that I found in the church, along a little schedule they posted for outdoor/indoor services.



Overall, if you're going to travel around the area, Kennebunkport is wonderful coastal town to visit.

Tip #2 for Maine Travelers
The coastal route up through Maine (Route 1 North) does not guarantee that you’ll see the coast! You’ll only get to see it sometimes, since most of the time, the trees will obscure the view. The secret to fully enjoy the Maine coast is to look out for signs pointing to specific coastal points and following them.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 9/8/08

Spirals of color
Dance in obsidian pool
The spilled engine oil

-David Yuen

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Maine Journey - Introduction

Finally, after a few days of missed updates, I can finally write about my nearly week long trip to Maine (August 25th-30th). Overall, I’ve been to Maine about 2 or 3 times in my life and this most recent one really opened my eyes on the things that are wonderful about this state other than just lobster. So with each update for this Maine series, I’ll include a few photos or a video log or two along with some commentary. One or two pieces of advice will also be given for anyone who plans on going to Maine in the future.

So for this first entry, I’ll begin with a simple sunset photo of the first motel I stayed in upon arriving in Maine. You're probably saying to yourself "What? A motel shot?", but hey, I think this is a nice photo to begin with since it's the basic starting point of the whole Maine experience (besides the long driving).

First Piece of Advice for Maine Visitors
Advice #1: If you live quite a few hours away from Maine and you plan on driving there, devote one whole day to driving and don’t try to schedule any Maine exploration that same day. Not only will you be tired when you explore, but you’ll also be rushed and will probably not enjoy it as much.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shot My First Gun!

Continuing on with catching up from the previous weeks, on Saturday, August 23rd, I went with some friends to a firing range somewhere in Pennsylvania. It’s called Sunset Hill. And there, on that nice sunny August day, I finally fired my first gun—a 9mm Beretta! Boy, it was a lot louder than I expected. A short clip of it is posted below.



Overall, it was quite a blast. In addition to that I also got to fire an STG-58 machine gun, Defender shotgun, and a sniper rifle. To say the least, they were all pretty amazing. But I’d have to say that out of all of them, the shotgun was my favorite. Not only did it have a strong kick, but also all you had to do was aim it in a general direction and you hit everything in and around your target! A pic of my shotgun experience is right below.

Now that I’ve completed my first item on my “Bucket List” that should just leave the following:

1.) Go on a cruise. (never been on one)

2.) Visit the West Coast. (never been there)

3.) Visit a tropical beach. (nope, never been there either)

4.) Shoot a gun. (DONE)

5.) Visit Europe. (yeah, same as above)

6.) See the New Year's ball drop at Time's Square in person.

7.) Visit Japan. Eat some Kobe beef. (visited China, not Japan)

8.) Go snorkling/scuba diving.

9.) Eat a dog!!!! (seriously, you would think I would have covered that during my trip to China)

10.) Go to a wine tasting. (I'm such an uncultured twit)

11.) Go spelunking.

12.) Learn how to fly a plane.

Wish me luck on the others!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ain't He Cute! - My Nephew From Philly

On August 19th through the 20th, I went down to visit my brother at Philly for one last time before his family moved to Shanghai for employment purposes. Well, it was a little difficult to say goodbye and I'll especially miss seeing my nephew, Joshua, grow up. The good thing is, at least I have this video of him! In case you haven't already guessed, the lady in the video's my mom.

Monday, September 1, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 9/1/08

Colors stir and blend
Like fresh falling autumn leaves
In the white tea cup

-David Yuen

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just Got Back From Maine - Will Update Soon!

To say the least, Maine was awesome!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Update from Massachusetts!

Greetings from Massachusetts, Mad Hermit viewers! This past week has been much busier than usual and so there's been much less time to update this blog. Fortunately, enough, by this weekend, things will be caught up and I’ll be able to fill everyone in on what’s been going on.

Currently, I’m on a trip with my family to Maine and given that I probably won’t have much Internet access for the rest of the trip (with today being an exception due to some fabulous wireless accommodation by the hotel), there won’t be much to see for the next few days. Sorry to disappoint (yeah, like anyone really cares)!

But, anywho, I’m currently trapped in a nice cozy hotel room in Massachusetts, which is the halfway point to Maine from Jersey. Tomorrow, I’ll probably be crossing over the New Hampshire border later that day.

So, I’ll try my best to bring back as many souvenirs as I can (like hopefully a kidnapped Stephen King or that weird clown from “IT”)! Wish me luck and I hope I don’t stare into the “deadlights”!

You, Me, and Haiku - 8/25/08

Colors stir and blend
Like fresh falling autumn leaves
Into the tea cup

-David Yuen

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Starting A Productive Day

Here's a wonderful article on some steps a person can take to begin a productive day. It's from Freelance Folder and the link for it is right below.

http://freelancefolder.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-a-productive-day/

Overall, I especially like Step 4, but the thing I would add is also asking yourself to write down those tasks that are realistically achievable for that day (people have the habit of over/under-estimating things).

Furthermore, for Step 2 (the 20 minutes of discipline) I would adjust that step accordingly to pure preference. Cause some of us only need 10 minutes, while others might want longer. In addition to that, sometimes 20 minutes of discipline might be better as an afternoon or mid-day break routine rather than a morning thing. That's just me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 8/18/08

Mountain of fire
The sudden mosquito sting
Sore skin swelling red

-David Yuen

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shakespeare, Sesame Street, and Captain Picard

What do they have in common? Nothing really. Until now.

"B or NOT a B!!!"

Monday, August 11, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 8/11/08

Hot liquid hardens
From pooled skin to brittle shell
A burnt candle wick

-David Yuen

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - "Strangers"

This film was released in 2004 and was made by Erez Tadmor & Guy Nattiv. Two strangers step onto a train. What happens then changes how they see each other forever.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Looking For Freelance and Blogging Jobs?

This post from Freelance Writing Jobs is a few days old, but it's a very useful post for those who want to find good stomping grounds for freelance jobs.

The link is:

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2007/11/13/23-places-to-find-freelance-writing-jobs-and-freelance-blogging-jobs/

Some of these 23 places have already been given at this site, but many haven't, so I'm just going to let Deborah's post speak for itself.

Monday, August 4, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 8/4/08

Bright as sun-specked waves
A stainless blade cuts through flesh
Fish eyes stare like glass

-David Yuen

Friday, August 1, 2008

Stephen King's "N" - Best of Stephen King With a Lovecraftian Touch

There's a new animated miniseries by Stephen King that's currently playing on the web. It's entitled "N". "N" is one of the most enthralling online series that I've ever watched and, right below, I've included its first episode, just to give you all a sample.



For the main website (which also contains much better video resolution), visit http://www.simonsays.com/specials/stephen-king-nishere/index.cfm. Keep in mind, a brand new episode of this series will be posted every weekday until August 29th, so be sure to bookmark this page!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 7/30/08

A short breath of light
Perfumed in ash and iron
Hammer strikes anvil

-David Yuen

Monday, July 28, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 7/28/08

Long jewels of salt
Run clean over day worn bronze
The young field worker

-David Yuen

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Meditation On Undead Slasher Films

I’ve just read, from a recent forum, about the common motif found in typical undead slasher films (“Friday the 13th”, “Halloween”, etc.). Although it could be argued, but an author of a graphic novel, involving undead slashers, theorized as to why undead slashers target the people that they target in their films. They do what they do because they possess a burning irrational hatred for the things that are denied from them due to their very nature—youth, beauty, sex, etc.

This pattern seems very obvious, because in nearly every undead slasher film, it’s almost a general rule that if people make-out, they’re guaranteed to be victims. And in many undead slasher films, young beautiful teens tend to be targets.

Whether this theory is true or not in the context of the actual films, it reflects an important truth about the real world. There are many murders and evil acts that are driven by a sense (justified or not) of injustice. The feeling of “I was robbed in my life because ______(insert reason)” or “he/she/they don’t deserve _____ because I was never given _____” is an overwhelmingly common reason that drives many people to do the wrong things that they do.

These undead villains (Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, Mike Meyers (even though he’s technically not undead)) are dark reflections of ourselves that we recoil from, yet find an odd attraction towards. In many ways, one could argue how this theme extends to the very nature of good and evil itself—where evil focuses mainly on the self above others (how I feel, the vengeance I want), while good tends to focus on others above self (for their good, to help them).

Yes, it’s true that the line between evil and good are easily blurred if one limits themselves only to the definition above (people can do evil things for the sake of others out of a twisted sense of morality or people can do good for themselves without doing evil), but if one searches for this pattern of evil being “self over others” in horror films, one could easily find it everywhere.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Artist Showcase: T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Personally, I never understood T.S. Eliot. In fact, I never really liked his poetry that much. Maybe it's because in college I had to do a paper on interpreting his "Prufrock" poem and I couldn't make heads or tails of it.

But then, one day (which is actually today), I ran into this video of Michael Gough (Alfred from the first few Batman movies) reading this poem and now I'm considering giving Eliot another look.

Overall, I still can't make heads or tails of the "Prufrock" poem without going to Wikipedia. But because of the way Michael reads it I think it's enough to captivate any audience. The actual poem itself is typed below the video. Please note that this is a LONG poem, so if you love reading as much you love listening, this is definitely your poem. Enjoy!



The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

-T.S. Eliot

Monday, July 21, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 7/21/08

Sweet caustic fumes
Over the drone of the pump
Money down the drain

-David Yuen

Friday, July 18, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day: "The Editor"

According to the Youtube description:

"Bob is an editor struggling to finish a movie he's working on. He becomes obsessed with his work and finds himself getting sucked into the film..."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis (2nd Reading)

"For to be afraid of oneself is the last horror."

-C.S. Lewis

Monday, July 14, 2008

You, Me, and Haiku - 7/14/08

Fragrant as flowers
The ripened peach in the sun
Rots pungent inside

-David Yuen

Friday, July 11, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - "my name is lisa"

This film is a very profound film and, though it might seem simplistic at first, it truly reveals its intricate depth with each passing moment. According to the Youtube description, this film is:

"Winner - Best Short Film of 2007
3rd Prize Winner ~ Project: Direct
Official Selection ~ Short Film Corner ~ Cannes 2008
Official Selection ~ Now Film Festival
Official Selection ~ Portable Film Festival (Australia)
Official Selection ~ California Next Gen Film Festival
Finalist ~ Crackle Shorts Contest"



To find out more and take action, visit:

http://www.actionalz.org/

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Mad Hermit Disclaimer

I'm just writing this disclaimer to let people know where I stand with certain things that I post on this site.

For those of you who have been following "The Mad Hermit", every now and then, I have the habit of posting videos or various "art" pieces (namely in the artist's showcases) that I find either amusing or poetically crafted.

But I have to note that, just because I may promote certain pieces from select artists, it does not necessarily mean that I promote or share the same views of those said artists/performers.

FabledVerse, for example, is one artist who, although I enjoy some of his pieces, I do not share the same views as him based on what I saw from his other Youtube posts.

So I just wanted to clear that up for everyone out there just to be "safe".

Happy reading!

Something a Little Funny For Today From FabledVerse

Just to get off on a light hearted note, I found this amusing little piece on Youtube by FabledVerse. I featured him on this blog before and for those of you who missed it, click on the "poetry" topic and his artist's showcase should come up.

Today, instead of poetry, I'm featuring a short skit by FabledVerse, entitled "Absolute Power", that gives tribute to the Star Wars universe. Let's just say that it's a little....ummmmm...

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Link - "Men with Pens"

Happy belated July 4th everyone!

I didn't get a chance to do much updating this weekend, so I apologize for that. But to start off the new week, I found this wonderful site on freelancing and writing that every writer should look at. It includes some valuable tips and interesting articles that can prove helpful for any crafter of the pen.

It's called "Men with Pens" and the link to this site is
http://menwithpens.ca/.

A great article to start off with, from this site, is
"27 Secrets to Avoid Internet Burnout".

I personally enjoyed glancing through this article and I think you would too!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fishing With the Mad Hermit

Usually all of you, here at the site, tend to see me reading poems and making my own comments on them. Hardly ever do any of you get to see me beyond this element...until now.

Just for the sake of improving the personal connection between this blog and its audience (and for the sake of self-mockery), I've included an absolutely random video of me in one of my most recent fishing excursions to Sandy Hook.

Basically, I didn't catch these fish, but my friend, who originally caught them, gave me the opportunity to reel them in. And all I have to say is this: "YOUR GILLS ARE USELESS HERE!!!"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"A Time to Talk" by Robert Frost



A Time to Talk

WHEN a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

-Robert Frost

Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Jersey Rant: The Accent

One of the greatest stereotypes of Jersey is the “Accent”. Nobody can ever ignore the Accent. It’s the basic all-in-one, take-no-prisoners Jersey stereotype besides the pollution and driving.

But the truth is, the Accent is hardly as prevalent in NJ as people think. Take it from one who’s been born and raised in Jersey all his life—besides some Jerseyans who might have the occasional hint of it in such words like “gone” and “on”, the Accent is a pretty rare in Jersey.

As far as I know, I don’t have much of the Accent (see my video entries in case you want some voice samples) and hardly any of my Jersey friends have the Accent. How and when this stereotype began to apply to all Jerseyans completely eludes me.

Maybe somewhere in Jersey there are specific regions where the Accent is more present, but I hardly ever run across them at all.

So why do some people still cling to this Jersey stereotype like grim death? Two words—spite and ignorance. That’s usually the case with nearly all stereotypes (or at least a majority of them). But that’s just me.

What say you out there?

Friday, June 27, 2008

How It Should Have Ended.com

Ever saw a movie with an ending so bad or mediocre that you wish you could rewrite the whole darn thing altogether? I know everyone has and a bunch of guys got together and made a site solely devoted to this. The site's called "How It Should Have Ended" and it features a slew of animated shorts for select popular movies, where the ending could have been "rehashed" a bit. It's a very humorous site and, just to give you all a sample, I've included one their shorts regarding the "Spider Man 3" movie. Enjoy!



The address to the site is, http://www.howitshouldhaveended.com/ , and from now it'll be located in the "Links" section of this blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beware of Poetry.com!

For all you young and eager poets out there who might be dying to get their poetry in print, here’s a word of advice from someone who’s been there--DO NOT fall for the poetry.com scam.

Once in a while you might see an advertisement in the paper or on the net about how your poem could win a $10,000 prize or something like that. If it has any connection to poetry.com, “The International Library of Poetry", “The International Society of Poets”, or “The International Poetry Hall of Fame”, DO NOT bother applying for it.

If you do, the following will most likely happen:

- You’ll get a flattering letter or email telling you that you’re a semi-finalist (which doesn’t make you anything, since they send this letter out to everyone who applies).

- You’ll also get a letter about spending at least $50 to buy the anthology that your poem is “published” in.

- You’ll then get a letter to show up at an awards banquet, which you have to pay for entirely (travel, room, board, food, etc.), in addition to additional expenses (admission and even the purchase of your own “trophy”).


Beware of this scam. When I was in early high school, I was unfortunately naive enough to fall for it. But it was a good thing I decided against going to the “awards” banquet before later finding out that the whole thing was a sham.

So be warned, people, and do not fall for any of this. For any other publication that you might run into, here are some signs to look for in order to distinguish them as scams:

1.) If the company asks you to purchase the publication that your work is featured in for a hefty sum.

2.) If the poetry contest is “free”. A good portion of legitimate poetry contests require an entry fee to pay for judges and prizes. So if any contest advertises itself as free—be wary.

3.) If their response letter is over-flattering. Legitimate publications, whether you get accepted or rejected, keep their letters professional and business like. There’s no time for ego-masturbation on their part.


To learn more, here are a few links:

http://www.eliteskills.com/writing_scams/poetry.com.scam.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry.com

http://www.sfwa.org/beware/contests.html

Monday, June 23, 2008

Anticipated Productivity vs. Reality

Last Thursday, the Creative Writing Corner blog had this excellent installment regarding some of the things we expect to get done when we get more time off versus the reality of what really tends to happen.

Though the author personalizes the entry quite a bit, I think everyone, writer or not, could relate to this symptom--we expect to get more done when we have more time off, only to have the opposite or the same happen.

In terms of my writing, this is what I found out about myself--I am GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY! Oh yeah, and the link to this entry is found below.

http://www.blairhurley.com/2008/06/when-will-i-get.html

Friday, June 20, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - "Genesis and Catastrophe"

This short film is a period piece that's a little graphic, but emotionally intense at the same time. The end plays with your mind a lot and, personally, I was left feeling torn both morally and emotionally. Let's just say that at first you come to understand the "genesis" of birth, only to learn about its "catastrophe" at the end.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Anne Morrow Lindbergh - "Gift from the Sea" (Third Reading)



"The web of marriage is made by propinquity, in the day-to-day living side by side, looking outward and working outward in the same direction. It is woven in space and in time of the substance of life itself."

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two Good Articles For Writers and Freelancers

I've been surfing the web for a little bit, when I ran into two interesting articles that can prove very helpful for any writer (whether fiction writer or freelance web writer). Though the first article is geared directly towards fiction writers, it includes practices that could help those who don't do fiction at all.

This first one is from the website "Life of a Writer" and it's entitled "Fiction Writing Tips: Writing the First Draft." The link to this article is right below.

http://mistisandefur.blogspot.com/2008/06/fiction-writing-tips-writing-first.html

The next one is from the "Freelance Folder" and it's entitled "Life As A Web-Worker - Are You Disciplined?" Again, the link to this article is below.

http://freelancefolder.com/life-as-a-web-worker-are-you-disciplined/

Happy writing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Metaphor for Blogging - Fishing

Just this Saturday, I went on a fishing trip to Sandy Hook with a few of my friends. As we fished off the beach and casted our rods, I began to realize how much blogging was like fishing in many ways.

In fishing you need the perfect rod, the right type of bait, and the right line and sinker setup for whatever you aim to do or catch. In blogging, you need the right type of blog layout and the right type of content to catch the right type of crowd or to accomplish whatever you set out to accomplish.

In fishing you need both the patience and willingness to wait, even if, at the end of the day, all you get are a few bites. In blogging, patience is a necessity, because hardly ever does anyone become an instant success overnight. And if your blog only gets a few “bites” here and there each day, you have to learn to be content with it, even though you should always seek to get more.

In fishing, chance plays a humungous role. Maybe the fish aren’t biting today. Maybe you just picked a bad spot. Maybe the weather wasn’t on your side. Or maybe your bait wasn’t right for the fish in your area. Blogging’s the same way. According to Problogger, Darren Rowse, a lot of his success owed a lot to being at the right place at the right time. This isn’t so surprising because of the chaos and vastness of the Internet. Literally, the Internet has become a vast ocean where probability plays a huge factor in getting people to see your site.

When I finished the fishing trip, I only caught two Sea Robins (the fish pictured above). Though, my friends caught several times more fish than me, since it was my first time fishing off the beach, I was glad enough to get my two. Unfortunately for me, I also ended up catching a real bad sunburn in addition to my fish.

With all the similarities shared between blogging and fishing, it’s a good thing that, unlike fishing, blogging doesn’t give you sunburn!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - "The Insect's Christmas"

This movie is a stop-motion animation made around 1911 by Ladislas Starevich. Considering the time of its creation, this is a wonderful piece of film and a definite fore-father of modern day animation.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good “Time Wasters” for Writers

If you’re down and out of your writing and you need a good break, but still want that productivity factor, here are a few good “time-wasters”.

Read Something Enjoyable
If you like comic books, read some Batman. If you like a good mystery novel, start reading the first chapter of an enjoyable book. Good reading eventually leads to good writing and inspiration. So why not have fun with it?

Write Without a Point
Sometimes we get so over-critical and over-anxious about perfection that we begin to expect too much from our writing. If you’re tired of that all, just sit down and type out whatever. And when I say whatever, I do mean whatever. It doesn’t have to have a point. It doesn’t even have to make sense. The point here is to break from your “serious writing” and allow yourself to “stretch out” like you would after sitting stiffly at a desk for too long. And who knows? Perhaps your scribblings might sow the seeds of a future novel or poem.

Jot Down Ideas
This point is similar to the last one, but a bit more focused. Overall, there are many stories of famous novelists who would have the habit of keeping a journal or notebook of simple ideas for novels or meditations. Nowhere does this come close to being serious (unless you want it that way), but nowhere does this come close to being without value. Have you spent too much time writing your novel and you hit a rough spot? Are you too tired of editing an article over and over again? Sit down, have some tea (or coffee) and let the ideas come out. It’s good for you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Artist's Showcase - Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

This is a performance of the epilogue from Shakespeare's "The Tempest". I don't know who the performer is, but if anyone out there can give me his name, I'd be happy to mention it, since he does such a wonderful job!



Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.


-William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A New Jersey Rant: Florida Drivers…In Jersey?

This is something that was lingering in my mind for quite a while, but here it is: why are there so many Florida plates in New Jersey? For nearly all the years that I’ve been on the road in my home state, I keep seeing at least several of them a week, driving slow as heck all over the place.

Pennsylvania, New York, and even Connecticut plates, I can understand, but Florida? Are these people here on vacation? What would possibly possess a person from Florida to want to come to New Jersey?

Maybe it’s just my area of NJ that happens to have these Florida drivers (coming to visit their kids over and over again or something like that). Maybe it’s some weird coincidence that I keep running into the occasional Florida driver in NJ (I’ve been cursed by some mysterious force to run into them). But there must be a reason why all these Floridians find their way to the Garden State. But it’s not occurring to me.

What say you all out there?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - The Tell Tale Heart

This animation was released in 1953 and it's based off of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".

According to the Youtube description:

The story told by a mad man has a dark visual with a perfect work of narration by James Mason. It is a UPA Production and was the first cartoon to be X-rated (adults only) in Great Britain under the British Board of Film Censors classification system.

To say the least, this animation is one of the most chilling animations that I've ever seen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Check Out My New Blog

I recently started this Asian American blog for the today.com network. It's called "Asian America". For those you who are interested, be sure to check it out at:

http://asianamerica.today.com/

So far, I've been trying to divide my time between "The Mad Hermit" and "Asian America". It's been quite a hassle, to say the least, but hopefully I'll get use to this. From now on, this site will be included in the "Links" section.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Just Turned 30!



A lot of young people dread the age of 30, especially when they get there. Many people tend to make a big hype about it. And today, I just turned 30.

What grand wisdom did I find out once I became 30?

Well, first off, this did not happen

Nor this


The moral of this tale--30 is just a number.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Interesting Article from ProBlogger: Full Time Income From Part Time Blogging

When I first saw this article, I was like, "Come on, really?"

But after reading it, I realized that it was a very well-balanced and fairly realistic piece. All in all, the full title of the ProBlogger article is: "Is it Possible to Earn a Full Time Salary as a Part Time Blogger?"

To read this article for yourself click the link below:

ProBlogger Article Link

Will I, personally, ever be able to get a full time income from part time blogging? Probably not and probably not for most bloggers.

But hey, blogging's a nice discipline to have in the first place and it does keep me in the writing habit every now and then. So I can't really complain (though I wish I did get more money from it).

Friday, May 30, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - FINITE

This wonderful little sci-fi piece is about the struggle of holding on versus letting go. It uses visuals in a way that's both touching and emotional. According to the Youtube description:

"Nothing lasts forever.

When a relationship is forced to change, how does one come to terms with the past and reconcile? Ultimately, relationships like life simply exist, persist, and endure for a limited period of time."


Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Link - Freelance Switch

Here's an interesting resource for all you freelance writers out there to exploit--it's called "Freelance Switch".

Not only is this site useful for freelance writers, but it's also geared for helping freelancers in general (e.g. web designers, etc.). It features a job board, forums, a blog, and even an interesting freelance "comic strip". So, in other words, its got everything. The link for this site is right below and, from now on, it'll be featured in the "Links" section of this blog.

http://freelanceswitch.com/

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When You Shouldn't Write (Part 2)

Greetings all! I apologize for the lack of updates. These past few days I’ve been tied up with fifty billion things and I was out of town for the entire Memorial Day weekend. So without further ado, I’ll get back on track with keeping things up to date.

To start off, I just like to include two more reasons when a writer should stop writing (for the first part of the article see the previous entry). A person should stop writing when:

Writing No Longer Becomes Fulfilling
When you begin to no longer find joy in what you write or even the practice of writing, it might be time to give yourself a break. At some points, the lack of fulfillment could be easily solved with rest or by simply changing the subject matter of what your write. Either way, you’re the judge and there’s no better jury to determine when to recess than yourself.

Writing Becomes All Work and No Play
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And the same goes with nearly everyone else, even when it doesn’t include writing. Sometimes, you need to put your nose to the grindstone and burn the midnight oil to complete an article. But when you find yourself doing it all the time, it might be time to take a step outside before grabbing the fire ax. Keep studious, but keep yourself at pace with your energy supply. Or else you may not even survive.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When You Shouldn’t Write

Throughout the Internet there are tons of articles and sites that talk about how to motivate yourself to write or how to get into the habit of writing. But the truth is, there are times when even writers have to learn how to put down the pen—when even they need to say to themselves that enough is enough. But when exactly are these times? In fact, when should anyone decide to take a break from writing? Well, here are some examples.

When Writing Gets in the Way of Your Relationships
There are stories of writers who devote themselves so much to their writing that all their relationships shrivel away. From family to friends, they become absolute strangers and hermits to them. Yes, there are times when you need to stay away from the phone and put family time on the side to write, but there are definitely times where family time needs to be family time.

When You Write For the Wrong Reasons
This goes almost in hand with the first reason. If you’re writing to make a living or even to fulfill your dream of getting famous someday, fine. But some people write out of spite, whether to slander people or to purposely be offensive. Some people write to prove they're somehow better than other people (i.e. bragging rights). If you come to a point where you realize that your true reason for writing is something far from wholesome, maybe it’s time to step back and reconsider. Yes, very rarely can our intentions be pure, but when the fault of our motives become way too obvious, especially to the point of obsession, we need to stop ourselves and start looking deep within. All in all, sort out your issues first before coming back to the pen. Because this isn’t just for your own good, but also for the good of your readers.

When You Write Out of an Unhealthy Compulsion
Though this is a very rare case, but some people can find themselves caught in writing compulsively, even to the point of writing down the most unnecessary details of their life. In such cases they may have the rare condition known as hypergraphia, which is associated with temporal lobe changes in epilepsy and mania. For more information regarding this, follow the link below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergraphia

Monday, May 19, 2008

StellaScript Blog

Just the other night, I stumbled onto a very interesting writing blog called, "StellaScript".

It's run by Stella Carter and it features writing tips on books, scripts, fiction, etc. It also has some interesting features including occasional poetry and haiku. The link to this site is below:

http://stellascript.blogspot.com/

From now on, this site will be listed under the "Links" section.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - IMMA FIRIN MAH LAZER!!!!

Okay, usually I wouldn't post something like this on the blog, since I reserve movie fillers for things that are thought provoking and artistic. But today, I'm just gonna cut loose and include something a little mindless.

To say the least, its humor is very random and very in line with "Robot Chicken". Some of you may appreciate it, while some of you won't. But, hey...we can't be serious all the time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Theory of What's Going On in Lost - The Time War

Okay, I know I'm probably not the first to think about this theory regarding what's going on in the Lost TV series (in fact I think this theory's already out there), but here it is:

Theory: The entire series is based on a Time War that's been waging between two different sides from the distant/a possible future.

For those of you who have been keeping up with series, Benjamin Linus and his "Others" compose one side of the war, while Mr. Widmore and his group composes the other.

Evidence for this:
1.) The apparent hints of "teleportation" by Benjamin and the Others (e.g. the Others having the ability to appear out of nowhere, Benjamin waking up in the African desert wearing polar gear, Jacob's cabin "teleporting" here and there, etc.).

2.) The time difference on the Island and the constant theme of time travel being bought up in Desmond's storyline.

3.) The "rules" that apparently are shared between Ben and Mr. Widmore. The rules could be regulations set up to prevent either one from damaging the time stream through killing certain people or altering certain events.

4.) The mysterious old lady in Desmond's trip to the past (early Season 3). Apparently, she knew exactly how every event was "suppose" to happen and what event "shouldn't" happen.

5.) Daniel Faraday's invention--it has the ability to "stick" an "unstick" people from time. Perhaps this device, in combination with his visit to the Island leads to the technology of time/space mastery, which may have triggered the Time War.

6.) Matthew Abaddon telling Locke in the past that he'll meet him once again (he seems to be a minion of Widmore).

7.) Richard Alpert's agelessness. Either he's literally immortal or he's also been separated by time and space for the purpose of the time war.

8.) The Voices -- the voices in the jungle could be echoes from people in the future as they observe the past and decide to intervene.

9.) Aldo (a minor Other) in Season 3 was reading "The History of Time". Though this is a minor clue, I believe it's important.

10.) Jacob's phasing in and out. Jacob could be out of phase from time and space.

11.) The visions of the survivors--they're encrypted communications sent by people in the future to provoke certain people into fulfill particular events for the sake of the time stream.

Possible Reasons for the Time War:
1.) Solving the Venzetti Equation (think I spelled it wrong)

2.) A war that erupted about the use of time. Should the time stream (with the Island being a possible microcosm of it) be exploited for personal gain (Widmore) or be preserved at its natural state at all cost (Jacob)?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Earthquake in China and The Disaster in Myanmar

Though I’ve severely criticized China in the past about their human rights violations and history of religious persecution, I would like to put that all aside for this post. In light of the recent earthquake in China (with a death toll curently approaching 20,000), I’m making a call out to anyone who reads this post and this blog to pray for the victims of and the rescue efforts for this disaster.

Please, pray that things will work out despite the current situation and loss of life. Even for those of you who are not religious, just maybe take a moment to acknowledge the situation. Either way, let it be known that I truly lend my sympathy and that my heart goes out to the nation of China at this time.

Also pray or make a shout out about the situation in Myanmar. From what I've heard the current death toll has surpassed 100,000. Pray for the safety of the survivors and the rescue efforts there.

-The Mad Hermit

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Way of the Jedi Might Not Be the Right Way After All

Though, I don't usually post stuff about news on this site, this recent story is just too hard to pass up.

According to the Associated Press, "A man who dressed up as Darth Vader, wearing a garbage bag for a cape, and assaulted the founders of a group calling itself the Jedi church was given a suspended sentence Tuesday."

The link to the actual news story is here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080513/ap_on_fe_st/odd_britain_vader_raider

Supposedly this Jedi Church, "uses "insight and knowledge" from the films as "a guide to living a better and more worthwhile life."

Well, when a drunk guy dressed up as Darth Vader comes into a building attacking people with a metal crutch, it kinda makes you wonder what they exactly meant by a "worthwhile life". In this case, using a very broad definition, they apparently fulfilled their own teaching.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - Puppet

This animated short film is something that has a bit of everything: pain, disturbance, gentleness, and even some humor. At first it kinda shocks you to the point where you almost want to turn away, but over time it becomes strangely absorbing. According to the Youtube description:

"This animated short film was created in 2006 by American animator Patrick Smith. It is a story about a young man who creates a hand puppet that hurts him in increasingly gruesome and bizarre ways. It is a story of desperation, fear, and an ever-present question: does the puppet have a mind of its own, or does the hand want to control it this way?"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Artist's Showcase - Billy Collin's "Forgetfulness"

I recently found this artful piece over the Youtube sphere. It's an animated "performance" of a poem by former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. The title of his poem is "Forgetfulness".

The merging of art, poetry, and motion is very masterly done in this animation and I was really drawn into the reality of this work moment by moment. The best thing about this is that this is actually one piece of an animation series done by JWT-NY, meaning that all of the other pieces are scattered throughout Youtube. So feel free to treasure-hunt for them some time. I know I will!



Forgetfulness

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Billy Collins

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shanghai Kiss: The Cover of Shanghai Kiss Can Kiss My _ _ _!

Just a year ago, this independent flick featuring an Asian American actor trying to reconcile himself with his culture was released. Below is the imdb summary for this film:

“A struggling Chinese-American actor, who unwittingly finds himself involved with a high school girl, learns he has inherited his grandmother's home in Shanghai. The American-raised character moves to China in an attempt to connect with his ancestry, leaving behind quite possibly the only girl who has ever loved him.”

Though I never watched this film before, but I read enough about it and saw its trailer to know that, obviously, the central character to this film’s an Asian guy. I mean, I think that’s obvious for anyone. In addition to that, besides Hayden Panettiere, there are a decent number of supporting characters who are also Asian.

But the thing that gets me about this film is this—its cover. Why is the main character featured in the far background (with his face blurred in a side view motion shot) and a supporting character featured in the foreground (perfectly posed in a perfectly clear still image)? I mean who’s really the central character here? Read the summary. Look at the title.

Call me crazy, biased, or over-reacting, but I think all of you know the reason why, just as I do. Keep the scrawny, not too attractive, Asian guy in the back and keep the hot blonde Caucasian girl (who’s not even the main character) WAYYYYY up in the front.

If it’s not a Kung Fu film or a film with an Asian in a stereotypical role, what’s the point of seeing the film? Oh yeah, there’s Hayden Panettiere in it, that’s why! That should get the predominantly Caucasian audiences revved up in their seats. Cause who wants to see an Asian actor break pre-determined stereotypes? Who wants to see an Asian guy not do kung fu, fix a computer, be a gangster, or be a minor FOB character in an American movie? That’ll be insane!!!! It’ll be madness, I tell you, MADNESS!!!

Seriously, although this work, as a film, might be a step up for Asian portrayals in American cinema, its presentation just seems to be real step back for it. True, Hayden’s over-magnified presence on the cover will probably get more people to see it as opposed to having the main character over-magnified, but something really says “keep the Asian man down” about it. What say you?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Bucket List


While I was helping a friend move, I had some time to think about stuff. Somehow,I got into a discussion about making a Bucket List for myself. Since I'm going to turn 30 in the next several weeks, I figured now's the time to start. Well, once I got a chance to sit down and I wrote it out on a napkin (shown above). Below, is the basic elaborated list in no particular order.

My Bucket List
1.) Go on a cruise. (never been on one)

2.) Visit the West Coast. (never been there)

3.) Visit a tropical beach. (nope, never been there either)

4.) Shoot a gun.

5.) Visit Europe. (yeah, same as above)

6.) See the New Year's ball drop at Time's Square in person.

7.) Visit Japan. Eat some Kobe beef. (visited China, not Japan)

8.) Go snorkling/scuba diving.

9.) Eat a dog!!!! (seriously, you would think I would have covered that during my trip to China)

10.) Go to a wine tasting. (I'm such an uncultured twit)

11.) Go spelunking.

12.) Learn how to fly a plane.


What's your "Bucket List"?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Three Sites On Writing and Freelancing That You Need to Check Out

Today, we have a special treat, here, at "The Mad Hermit".

I ran into three specific blogs that anyone who's interested in writing should check out. From now on these sites will be included under the "Links" section of this blog.

"Caught in the Stream"
This writing blog is wonderful blog that displays the art, the poetry, and the various writings of Francis Scudellari, the founder and maintainer of this site. His work is very stimulating and for those of you who also enjoy abstract art, this is definitely for you!

"Word Strumpet"
This site is run by Charlotte Rains Dixon who's a free-lance writer, novelist, copy writer and a creative writing teacher living in Portland, Oregon. Her blog covers tips on creative writing and it also records her personal experiences and insights from her travels as a constantly growing writer. It's a very wonderful and well-rounded site, overall, and it's definitely worth a look.

"The Freelance Writer Journal!"
The Freelance Writer Journal is a blog that specializes in hints, tips, and articles that "a freelance writer will ever need to make a career out of freelance writing". Overall, this site had somewhat of a long hiatus in updates and has, only recently, began updating on a more regular basis. But, despite this, the site carries some promise in terms of giving good advice for beginner freelancers and it could help them out in terms of avoiding some beginner mistakes.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Web Review of "Shakespeare Online"

Below is a web review of Shakespeare Online.



The link to this site (which will also be in the "Links" section of this blog) is: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/

Basic Run Down:
- This site is well-organized.
- This site is well-detailed down to the bone.
- It's perfect for both the serious academic and casual reader.
- Its sonnet-tranlation/paraphrasing feature rocks!

5 out of 5 stars!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Mad Hermit Youtube Channel

Though I should have presented this earlier, for those of you who are interested, my Youtube channel can be found at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/MadHermit7

This channel basically contains all my videos in addition to some other videos from other people that I found quite interesting. From now on, I'll include my channel in the Link section of this blog.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Too Much Coffee Man Installment - Love Hate Relationships

Love-hate relationships abound everywhere in life. And they don't have to be limited to people either.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Starbucks Tries to Reconnect With Its Roots: Will It Work?


Just the previous week, I read from a Newsweek issue about how Starbucks sales have decreased, ever since it tried to introduce new fangled breakfast sandwiches and other non-coffee products. Supposedly it was because people saw that Starbucks was losing its focus on coffee and, because of that, the chain was becoming more "low-grade" in their eyes. So, in short, I guess Starbucks started to appeal less to everyone's inner snob.

As a result, Starbucks has recently made an effort to "reinvent" itself back into its retro-roots, focusing more on coffee and less on accessory.

And, after walking into a Starbucks the previous weekend, I've experienced this new campaign first hand. First off, I noticed the new/old logo (as seen above). Basically, Starbucks went back to their original logo (minus the exposed breasts) and, for those of you who are curious about this craze, here’s an interesting article that summarizes all this.

Starbucks' Retro Logo (Business Week)

Additionally, Starbucks introduced its new Starbucks Card, which, as mentioned in one of my previous entries, was quite a boon for coffee drinkers as a whole.

So, ultimately, is this retro effort by Starbucks a good thing?

Personally, I think so. For longest time, I was getting sick of this mega-corporation trying to monopolize the coffee industry by flaunting that pseudo-intellectual "coffee culture" image that so many people secretely hate. I was also really starting to tire of how Starbucks contributed to yuppy-cizing a resource that nearly all of us depend on, whether we're yuppies or not.

For a giant of that size to try to go back to their humble beginnings in some way, shape, or form is almost inspiring. But will this help Starbucks in the long run to get their profits back? Only time will tell. But if something like this is enough to convince a coffee-drinking curmudgeon, like me, to spend money on their new fangled card, this must mean that they're doing something right. Who knows? I might even someday consider preferring them over Dunkin Donuts. But, then again, how long did it take the Red Sox to finally beat the Yankees?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - "Tir Nan Og"

At first, I wasn't exactly sure what this film was getting at, but after looking up the meaning of "Tir Nan Og", it became a little clearer. "Tir Nan Og" is Welsh/gaelic for the "Land of the Young".

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Starbucks Card: An Opportunity to Mooch Off an Over-Priced Corporation


I’m not here to purposely endorse Starbucks, but just to inform all you coffee-drinkers out there that they have this new gimmick that you should all take advantage of.

This new frill is their recently toted “Starbucks Card” (as seen above) and it functions kinda like a debit card, where you could charge it up with money and spend it at any Starbucks franchise.

The few things that make this card appealing are some of its additional benefits:

- As long as you use your card to pay for their fresh brewed coffee (iced or hot) you can get free unlimited refills as long as you stay in the store (i.e. I assume you can’t just get the coffee, walk out, and come back an hour later and ask for a free refill).

- All flavored shots or milk additions are on the house if you purchase a drink with your card.

- With any purchase of Starbucks whole beans, you can get a tall drink (any you like) for free.

So, in short, this is your one chance to enjoy Starbucks’ products on the corporation’s tab. I got one just the other weekend (as seen above, once again). The design’s pretty nifty and, if you get one online, you can actually customize the art to your liking.

I found this new Starbucks’ frill to be pretty useful, since just the other day, I spent a whole hour at one of their stores and I just kept filling up on vanilla ice-coffee over and over again. And, boy, was I buzzed. So, I would recommend it.

To learn more about it and to get one online, visit: http://www.starbucks.com/card/buyacard_style.asp

Please, note, this is NOT an official promotion. It’s just me telling you guys that if you want to mooch off a multi-billion dollar corporation, now’s your chance to do it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Reading of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift From the Sea" Part Two

Below is another reading of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift From the Sea".

Monday, April 21, 2008

Basic Ways To Improve Your Writing

1.) Read, Read, Read

Good writers tend to be good readers. It kinda makes sense, since a person can naturally become a better writer simply by reading good writing over and over again. It's almost like anything else, except a little more cranial.

2.) Start a Blog

Practice makes perfect and the best practice is a consistent one. What makes good consistent practice? Forced motivation. Besides hiring a dependable slave-driver, a personal blog would be the next best thing to help remind you to write everyday. Cause if you want your blog to be successful and read, frequent updates are required. Can we say “positive reinforcement”?

3.) Finding Your Zone

Some writers work well in complete silence. Others with music on. Some writers are more productive with a clean desk. Others are inspired more by the kitchen table. Some writers write better in the morning and others in the evening. Find your perfect environment to write. This would require experimentation, but if you do find your “place”, keep to it and make it your own.

4.) Reduce Distractions

Close that chat window. Keep away from the TV. Disconnect your phone if you have to. Everyone gets distracted, but not everyone has to keep getting distracted. Writers are like everyone. So know thyself and learn how to stop thyself.

That’s all for now.

 

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