Watch While You Can: Only Yesterday by Studio Ghibli

image-1This beautiful, nostalgic film is in select US theaters, and if you like Studio Ghbili’s work and anime that captures the magic in the quotidian, you should seriously consider seeing Only Yesterday (おもひでぽろぽろ). I love the way the film immerses viewers in Japan of the early 80s and mid 60s to reveal the quiet unfolding of protagonist Taeko’s quarter life crisis in connection to seminal moments of her childhood. This Studio Ghibli gem has a way of capturing that feeling of 物の哀れ (mono no aware)—the transience of things. Whether it’s work in the safflower fields or conversations with family, scenes of Taeko’s present and childhood (the latter shown in pastel shades as if faded with time, sometimes playing out amidst almost dreamy watercolor backgrounds) have so much… presence and immediacy, yet everything is ultimately in flux, including Taeko’s seemingly timeless, idyllic vacation helping her extended family with their farming.

On the one hand, the story presents Taeko with a contrast (then choice) between urban and rural lifestyles, and on the other hand, the story affords an attempt to reconcile past and present selves. On all levels, it’s splendid storytelling that I’ve been able to further appreciate with successive viewings.

If you’re comfortable reading subtitles or willing to push yourself to do so, the subbed version is the way to go.

Still Love You, Cast of Thousands

It’s been 6 years since this track was put forth into the world, and I’ve been listening to it on and off for 5; it’s aged well, the energy of the vocals and instrumentals still ring true for me. “Serenade” from the Cast of Thousands debut album is even older and still just as fantastic as ever; I love how meta it is as a love song about singing a love song.

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Back to the Futurism of 2001: A Space Odyssey

This stunning book by Piers Bizony from Taschen goes well beyond the infinite wonders of the film.
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The physical heft this interestingly oblong tome seems to promise that The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is the definitive text on the iconic film. Then, when you slide the book out of its sleeve and open it, this promise is upheld. And man, does this book deliver. Numerous full-color pages and foldout leaves dazzle and delight. The astounding trove of behind-the-scenes images and descriptive text brings my appreciation of the film to a whole new level. The extent to which it details the realization of the film is unbelievable and even overwhelming.  Continue reading

Music I (Still) Love

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As a “snapshot” of what I’m currently listening to, this chart doesn’t show how much some of these songs have impacted me in past months and years. If there were a chart like this for songs I was listening to a year or two back, some of ones near the bottom of the chart shown here would be near or at the top that one. Tastes change over time, and what we compare our experiences to changes over time as well. But all of the songs here have at some point really brightened my days and often continue to do so.

Before There Was MacBook…

…there was PowerBook.
These are the earliest Apple laptops I used; though I did try them out briefly as a youngster hanging out in computer stores playing Spectre, I never owned any of the trackball versions of the PowerBook. I was also an iBook and PowerBook G4 12-inch user.
my first laptopsSo why are these still in my closet? They became obsolete before the days of Gazelle and responsible e-waste disposal. They’ve also racked up sentimental value.