A Tale of Two Sisters

I just got back from a showing of A Tale of Two Sisters. I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the movie except for the fact that it was a Korean horror film and everyone seemed to think it was the bees knees. It’s a psychological horror movie which actually delivers on the scares. It’s about two sisters who return home from a long hospital stay only to be plagued by an evil stepmother and strange happenings during the night. Even though I found the movie to be fairly predictable (twist endings have become so cliched,) there were some genuinely spooky and creepy moments. It was well directed, had good lead performances, some beautiful imagery (check out the wallpaper,) and an effective scary atmosphere with tense pacing. There is just something to be said about scenes that involve doors/curtains/closets or someone looking underneath a bed/sink/dark place. In my mind, I am already visualizing the outcome and am anticipating the scare, but blast my bollocks if my heart doesn’t beat a little faster and I don’t let out a loud yelp and grip the person next to me, when I finally see that hand emerging from within the darkness. I think this may be the scariest movie I’ve seen. Ever. So yeah, go see this movie before they remake it with the Olsen Twins.

As an aside, Jeff and I saw this at the Ken theatre in Kensington. It’s small and old but man, it’s made me fall in love with watching movies in a theatre again. There was not a single person who talked during the movie, no cell phone went off, no crying babies, no obnoxious teens making stupid ass remarks in an attempt to be hip, no crinkly wrappers, no lovebirds pornographically making out, nobody kicking the back of my chair, no armrest wrestling, and no ads or commercials, only previews before the feature. Instead, there we were in the musty, mostly empty theatre taking in this great film. Just makes me feel a curl of pleasure inside.

Kyle Turley speaks

Kyle Turley is an insane offensive lineman who matriculated at the old alma mater, was a first-round selection by the New Orleans Saints, played well for years, was traded to the St. Louis Rams, and has missed this entire season with a back injury. Here’s a Turley quote from a recent story on his progress and future plans:

I’ve given everything to this sport and dedicated myself to this, I think, as much, or in some cases more so, than most people.

Turley majored in art, but I bet he minored in either communications or English.

How I Spent My Sunday Night

John’s body hit the truck’s hood with the sound of a shoe crushing an empty can of Coke. A little squeal of tires before the crash, maybe, I don’t remember. Confusion all around, people running toward and away from the scene. Rebecca thought it was a body, I thought it was someone’s Christmas tree or a bag of trash. When we got closer, she proved to be unfortunately correct.
Three people were on their cell phones, surrounding him. Black pants, black shoes, black socks, grey and yellow flannel shirt buttoned over a blue t-shirt. His eyes were open and he was moving a little. A couple of us knelt down to see the blood pooling away from his head, thick, sticky, spreading.
“Don’t touch him, dear one,” a woman said to a man.
Dear one?
“You’re going to be ok,” I said, someone else said, that black guy with the glasses and the hat said, a lady said. “You’re going to be alright.”
He came to and began to talk. He didn’t know what happened, didn’t know he’d been hit by a well-dressed woman in a Toyota 4-Runner with a Belize bumper sticker. We told him where he was, what had happened, that the paramedics were on their way.
“I don’t want the police,” he said, struggling to get up.
“Don’t move, don’t hurt yourself, it’s not the cops, you’re going to be ok, just put your head down, here’s a Kleenex, do you want some water, can we get you something?”
I handed the wad of tissues in my pocket to a woman, who dropped them on his head.
“Here you go,” she said, hands shaking.
“Be careful, buddy, if you know what I mean,” the kneeling man said to me as we watched the man try to clean the bright red blood coming out of his nose.
His feet were wrapped around each other at an unnatural angle, but we didn’t know what it meant. He had deep cuts on his fingers and blood was coming out of his hair. I asked him his name.
“John,” he said. “Am I bleeding?”
“Yeah, but you’re ok,” another man said. “You probably just have a broken nose or something. But don’t move, because your legs might be broken.”
At this point, I realized that we were all in the middle of the street, with cars driving around us, literally right next to someone who’d been hit while crossing Sepulveda Boulevard. I looked behind me and saw Rebecca directing traffic to the side, proud and worried for her in her black sweatshirt and blue jeans. We were all in dark colors, so I took off my sweatshirt to show my blue and grey ringer with the yellow emblem on the front, hoping the light color would be easier for drivers to see.
John had his head off the ground now and I could see there were more cuts on the side of his face. I’m not sure, but I think his scalp might have been torn, a bloody bald spot right above his forehead, with greasy grey-brown hair around it. I wrapped my sweatshirt into a ball and put it below the wound. We told him to rest, to relax, that help was on the way.
He had one hand wrapped in bandages and smelled like beer. Someone said he’d just bought one.
“What happened to your hand, man?”
“I got it cut off and they put it back on,” he said, low, but lucid. “I lost one of my fingers.”
A pause and then with perversely spot-on comedic timing, he said, “I’ve had some bad luck lately.”
Within five minutes, the paramedics and the fire department roared up. The closest fire station is four minutes away at National and Overland. They were in their gear and on the road with an ambulance and a firetruck and ready to go in less time than it takes me to find my cell phone and keys in the morning.
They told us politely to get out of the street, parked their trucks to shield John’s body and deployed cones. One directed traffic, four or five stabilized him, got him wrapped up on a body board. One cut off his flannel, asking him to raise his arms. John did, which made me feel better. One scooped up his clothes and my shirt into a bag. One got a huge tank of liquid and sprayed the blood until it was an unrecognizable stain.
They were gone in five minutes, before the police arrived. The crowd dispersed, the woman pulled her crumpled-hood 4-Runner to the side, called her daughter on her cell phone and waited for the authorities to arrive. I asked her if we should stay, she said she’d be ok. The fireman who appeared to be in charge said we could all go home because there was no real mystery in what had happened.
My legs shook a little.
A guy asked the fireman if John would be ok, so he could go home and sleep ok and the fireman said, yeah, sure, he’ll probably be just fine.
Tonight, he’s probably in some hospital, Kaiser or Brotman or UCLA Santa Monica. They’ll give him an X-ray, maybe an MRI or a CT scan. They’ll clean him up, dress his wounds and admit him over night. A team of doctors and nurses will make sure he’s safe, stable and healthy. He’ll have a warm hospital bed and a gown.
It will cost thousands of dollars, because they will do everything they know how to save the life of this homeless man who was just trying to beat the light by jaywalking, so he could enjoy his 40 oz. beer. It was still lying in the street two hours later, though someone had run over it, too.
Unless he’s a veteran or legally disabled, John will very likely not have insurance. His care will be assigned to the “bad-debt” file of the hospital’s ledger. The state may pay some, but most of the cost will be lost and unrecovered. They will likely lament that this will drive them a step closer to bankruptcy, but the next time it happens, they’ll do the exact same thing. No matter how bad the injuries, no matter the cost, they will save whoever comes wheeled through the door. They’re doctors, they’re nurses, they’re professionals. This is what they do and what they will always do, because that is their number one rule, that they have to make people better, regardless of the cost.
This comforts me—a homeless man named John can be hit by a car, but even in evil, callous Los Angeles, a crowd will gather to help him until the heroes with the flashing lights come to save his life. I just hope he’s going to be ok.

Target and That Cart Escalator

At bigger Targets that have multiple floors, they have what I call the “cart escort.” It’s an escalator for your shopping cart so that you can traverse the different floors with your cart in tow. I remember being transfixed when I first saw those things. Screw the elevator, just push your shopping cart on the cart escort, get your ass on the adjacent escalator and you’re good to go. It was genius.

With time, the novelty of things fade. To mix things up a little, the next time I go, I’ll experiment putting other objects on the cart escort. I’d love to watch people’s reactions when I place a single shopping basket up on the escort, or my purse, or a giant stuffed SpongeBob. Or better yet, I think I should use the cart escort myself and put my cart on the escalator. With a plan like that, it’s impossible to fail!

Half-Life 2

My long-awaited copy of Half-Life 2 arrived for me while I was in the UK, and I installed it last night. I only meant to install it and then head off to bed, since I was pretty tired, so of course I ended up playing it until almost 2:00AM.

I do have some first impressions on the game if you are interested. (Actually, I have them even if you aren’t interested.)
Continue reading “Half-Life 2”