Should Have Seen It: Casablanca

So Casablanca turned out to be another film which earned its reputation. It’s the kind of film they just don’t make anymore, for better and for worse. I hope that does not sound like bleary nostalgia, its more of a description than anything as some of the movie just screams,”This was made a long time ago.”

The film starts with a long introduction of the scene and an enormous amount of expository dialogue. It takes almost one-third of the film to know who all the principles are and what it is that they’re doing.

The importance of Casablanca may be lost on a modern audience. It was a way-station on the route out of Nazi occupied Europe for many people fleeing to America via Lisbon Portugal.

This owed to it being controlled by the Vichy French government, puppets of Berlin. Some of the tension in this film depends on this understanding– which I imagine everyone knew when this was released in 1942.

Once the story gets started, it has two tracks. A love story between Rick and Ilsa and an escape story involving a few more characters. Bogart and Bergman excel in both roles and have tremendous chemistry together.

A great deal about this film had been spoiled for me because of all the references over the years but seeing these scenes in their full context was rewarding.

The action in this film is great for how little action is in it. A gun is shown a few times in the film but only rarely are they fired. This gives real emotional weight to the scenes where the characters are willing to resort to guns.

Speaking of spoilers the ending deserves special discussion. I think the idea of spoiling one of the most well known scenes in a seventy year old film is absurd but if you don’t want to read about the ending stop reading now.

The ending is the good of why they don’t make films like this. Bogart chooses duty to humanity over being with his love. Oddly the film succeeds at making this a touching and bittersweet but not sad moment. I can not picture a modern film maker succeeding so completely.

One final note. I loved the beautiful theme to this movie’s score. Time goes by was a beautiful piece of piano. It complemented the feeling of the film exceptionally.

The Ocean closes?

For the three day weekend around Korea’s independence day I decided to go to Busan again with Lost in Seoul.

We arrived in the afternoon yesterday.  After getting some sillyness with the trains sorted out and getting everyone together the first place we went was to Haeundae beach, just a short walk from the hostel.

The crowds were as expected–absolutely huge.   It was nearly impossible to find the sand there were so many mats and umbrellas there.

The beach was pretty awesome, but after only about half an hour I was told that the beach was closing.   That’s right at 6:30, THE OCEAN CLOSES.    Seriously what the hell?

I mean why can’t they just post a sign that says no lifeguard swim at your own risk.  I’ve been swimming in the ocean since I was a little kid and there was almost no undertoe to speak of, the waves were very mild (though bigger for Korea) and the current was a non-factor.   The water was safe for people to swim in.

So I don’t really get the point of closing the beach especially so early.

Secondly, from there we went back to Fuzzy Navel and had some of their “FN tacos.”   I got a chicken chimichanga, Corona and a strawberry mojito.  The chimichanga was delicious.    A strawberry mojito though is a poor drink.  Strawberries and mint just don’t go together well.

From there we went on a bit of a pub crawl.   There were a lot of drinks of varying quality consumed over the next few hours.

Then it was back to the hostel, which frankly does not impress.  We stayed in much more comfortable lodgings in June.   Chan’s Guest house however  has restrictions on using the air conditioning, and not a single chair in the place.

 

Bungee jumping with Lost in Seoul

So yeah I went bungee jumping with some old and new friends in Lost in Seoul.

Trying to describe it is hard,  you look out into the distance, to avoid looking down and then jump.   Then you fall for a bit, and the rope catches you and you bounce back up and down.

You can see that in the video.  What you can’t see is that an ankle jump is actually kind of painful.   I’ve heard a body jump is less so but I didn’t want to spend the money to go a second time.

When you reach the bottom all of your weight+ the force of your momentum is reversed and it really causes a lot of havoc internally.  I clenched all my muscles trying to keep my shit together.

This was maybe a mistake but when you’ve jumped off a bridge you’re not really in your right mind.

After that we  went and did some water sports.  Fly Fish is really cool.  It’s a raft that is unstable and every time it hits a wave it goes airborne.  The only mistake was doing this after we bungee jumped which made everything seem pretty vanilla.

 

Jeju slideshow

Mud Festival Slide Show

Mud Festival: Checked that box


Mud Festival is one of the most famous events in the foreigner crowd in Korea.  Almost everyone goes.  All the groups fill up huge trips down to Boryeong to drink and act like fools while covered head to toe in filth.

I signed up for Lost in Seoul’s trip down to Mud Festival and it was a lot of fun.   After a few hours on a bus, we arrived at Dacheon beach.  There was some confusion getting the tickets which the Mud Festival people just instituted this year.  After standing in the rain for a long time while we got our tickets we got into the festival proper.

There were a handful of rubber slides and other kinds of activities in the main mud festival area.  They were pretty fun.  The water slide and the obstacle course were especially fun.   They also had mud wrestling, a mud prison, a place where you could play muddy tug of war and mud painting.

When  I had my fill of mud I went on Dacheon Beach.  This beach was very shelly and rough to walk on as it was, and then people threw a ton of trash on it.    Still the water was very comfortable and cleansing after spending the day getting hot and muddy.

At night Lost in Seoul had a great barbecue.   Burgers were cooked, and a good time was had by all.   Throughout the festival they  had entertainment ranging from different bands playing on a beach side stage to a grand fireworks display at the end of the first night.

All in all Mud Festival was a great box to check on my time in Korea.  I’m glad I went, and Sally organized a great trip for Lost in Seoul.   

Olleh! the quest for Wifi

So for the longest time I had wanted to get  Wifi access on  my ipod touch while I ride the subway.

There stores however had proven to be kind of useless.  I’d go into one and they’d tell me for some reason it was impossible.  It was a weekend, it was at night, it wasn’t the third Tuesday of every month at twelve o’clock when the bells ring.

So after having gotten the run around for a good while I fatalistically set out for another go at it hitting up their Global Service Center in Itaewon.

Still they couldn’t set it up but the lady handed me a card and was like call this number here.

So this morning I called the number.  And it was the wrong number.  But fortunately they were able to set me up with the right number and connect me for me.

So I finally got it set up after all, tonight I rolled into the subway and it was like 8,800 won (about 9 dollars) a month to get my ipod touch online.  If only I’d known about this from the beginning.