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hellopaulie

EDGAR SAYS, POPCORN TIME

A la deriva

Artículo escrito por Edgar C. Mans

Si a un antropólogo se le preguntara algo complejo y pesado como “¿cuál es la solución a la situación en el Medio Oriente?”, lo más probable es que responda comenzando con el origen de un conflicto y siguiendo con algo como “el primer paso es la comprensión. Porque solo sabiendo el por qué, se puede comenzar a solucionar una situación social”.

¿Qué sentimos cuando vemos el peso de la justicia caer sobre un culpable? El cine es el arte morboso que no permite un clímax en el cual un monstruo sufre, porque en la vida real la mayoría de injusticias ocurren sin retribución newtoniana, causando nuestra gran mayoría de frustraciones a pequeña escala acumulándose en enfermedades crónicas.

El cineasta Miguel I. González confesó que se le pidió que callara el tema del dietilenglicol, ante vítores y aplausos de un público justamente conmovido. Pero más allá de una historia de un director, A la deriva es la historia de tres mujeres y las ramas y raíces que se extienden y crecen de ellas. Las hojas de su vida, las flores de sus sueños y las semillas de su indignación.

Como izquierdista social, me alegró que el monstruo del documental no fuera la Caja de Seguro Social. Como humanista me pareció satisfactoriamente ético el enfoque en lo humano. Hasta el monstruo de la historia es humano: cada culpable del consumo de dietilenglicol. Como socialista, me agradó la perspectiva femenina en un mundo incrementadamente consciente de la igualdad de género, compensando por milenios de desproporcionado privilegio masculino. Como público, me cautivó el tono tan orgánico, las texturas tan vívidas, y el ritmo tan delicado con el cual el filme toca los temas más sensibles y acaricia la psique con un susurro de esperanza ante la más perseverante de las adversidades: el dolor constante.

A la deriva es en mi prematura opinión el paradójico ganador de una competencia en la cual no compite. El premio del público claramente es uno guiado por conmoción y empatía. Y la película, done o no a la causa con sus procedencias, es la pieza clave en este movimiento que no descansa mientras haya afectados por el dietilenglicol.

Si a mí me preguntaran, sin ser antropólogo, ¿cuál es la razón por la que olvidamos tan rápido? Mi respuesta sería: para vivir. Allison, una niña gravemente afectada a nivel neuronal por el dietilenglicol, se ve temprano en el documental luchando por comunicar que entiende el concepto del cero. En la película claramente vemos víctimas, pero más que nada vemos sus esfuerzos en sacudirse tal fúnebre título. Lo más fuerte de A la deriva es la cotidianidad de todo. Como confusiones burocráticas en expedientes médicos pueden poner vidas en riesgo. Como un envío casual de glicerina para producir anticongelantes puede terminar en medicamentos otorgados por una entidad gubernamental para mejorar la salud. Como un cambio de receta puede terminar en un padecimiento de por vida. Movimiento reducido, cansancio constante, debilidad muscular, desorientación y otra gran cantidad de síntomas afectan a quienes han tenido el compuesto químico C4 H10 O3 en su organismo sin tratar por más de un día. Y día tras día, las protagonistas de la historia no olvidan, sino que luchan para vivir una vida con un semblante de la dignidad que merecen, cercenada por los síntomas de la intoxicación.

La película busca justicia. El movimiento que genera es uno de indignación. La misma indignación que causa ver niños privados de acceso a sus sueños, a un aprendizaje pleno y a una vida con salud. La misma indignación que siente una mujer al ya no poder ser libre para caminar, para ser esposa y amante, para ser ama de casa o compañera de vida. Los héroes de A la deriva son puramente humanos, viviendo un día a día con una realidad incómoda, pero unida a cada silla en la que se sientan.

Apropiadamente, A la deriva no sucumbe a la trillada herramienta de cámara en mano. El pulso de este documental es tan solemne como debe ser: la fotografía se mueve junto a los sujetos que retrata. El sonido captura el ambiente en el que juegan niños, en el cual se desplaza una silla de ruedas, o en el cual un pincel revive el rostro de un esposo difunto sobre un lienzo.

La delicadeza que logra A la deriva es admirable, y es sin duda un fruto de amor. Un amor a la vida que sobrepasa la amargura por no tener justicia ante los culpables de una calamidad masiva que afecta a miles dentro de Panamá y otros miles en decenas de países diferentes. Y es por todo esto, por el montaje de respiro esperanzado, por los planos de un paisaje pulsante, y por el cariño con el que tres voces lloran y sonríen colores del pasado y el futuro, es que A la deriva es una obra audiovisual incambiable. Urgente en su llamado, permanente en su efecto, necesario en su voz.

 

ART, DESIGN + NICE THINGS, NERD SPOT

Comic Jammin’

Today I’ll tell you about a very, very nerdy event I attended…it was awesome.

img_1830-1See, I have very, very talented friends. Not your Instagram celeb kind of friends,  but a group of comic maven geeks who i can call my bros. They are part of this independent web comic crew called Indiellusions.

A couple of weeks ago I helped them out organize for their fist Comic Jam, a free event for comic/manga fans to hang out and create together.

It consisted in a creativity workshop where participants would draw comics in a limited time frame, based on subjects picked at random from a fishbowl. Neat stuff, i tell you.

Basically, once you got there, we would hand out blank layout grids and pencils. Attendees could bring their own supplies as well. It was an exercise for creativity, storytelling and mental wits while sharing what their projects are and how they end up doing these things.

Some of the random combinations(based on pure chance, believe it or not) were: Hero, Columns, Race, Maple Syrup. I did sketch out this one but it was bad!

Another i remember was DNA, Death, College and Lobster. Curious thing was I did a little Google research and found out some studies proved lobster cells are indestructible to some extent. Myth says lobsters are immortal (crabs too) and had I been drawing, that would’ve been my general concept! Come on, lobster immortality? heck yeah!  

People from all ages attended, and it was a refreshing thing to witness. There were very young kids with all the imagination, and older people with technique that can only be polished with experience. It made me glad to see people take interest in cultural activities for self growth and I’m proud of my friends for their success doing what they do best.

On that same day, I scratched my car’s door with a metal rod. But that’s another token in my jinx library!

Also, they recently launched a web comic called Blueprint, with drawings from the ultra talented Albert Weand. I admired his work from when I first stumbled upon it a couple of years ago, then ended up hanging out with his friends and colleagues, such if life.

Synopsis from their website: Gustavo, a young architect who has achieved success, finds himself in a motionless period in his career, while Megumi, still in her college years, foresees the day she makes her dream of making manga a reality. Both of them, Megumi and Gus, find in each other the ideals and answers, to questions that by themselves, they could’ve never discovered.

Click here or on the image below to learn more about their project available every Tuesday and Thursday.

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POPCORN TIME

IFF PANAMA 

Roughly 2 weeks ago, the International Film Festival of Panama took place. On its 5th edition they showcased more local films than before, living proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Cultural projects are often neglected by the government and associations that are meant to support emerging talent. This event lasted around a week so naturally, with design and film titles under our belts and a thirst for entertainment, we managed to attend a few of them.

I might get a bit in trouble for saying this, but the organization and their ticketing system SUCKED. You weren’t able to buy them online unless you had a Mastercard. And when you tried purchasing them from an authorized seller (brick and mortar shops) you ran the risk of them telling you there was just one seat available or they ran out of tickets to print. It happened to me and I missed a couple of movies I really wanted to watch like Magallanes, Viva and The Thin Yellow Line/La delgada línea amarilla (and meeting some celebs as well, who roamed among us mortals during that time). Also, I couldn’t get in for the Opening/Closing galas. At $30/each, I couldn’t bring myself to shower them with my pretty pennies. The Thin Yellow Line was only going to be shown at the Closing event, so unless i cashed out and got all fancy for the night , I didn’t stand a chance.

On Monday night we attended the Premiere for Salsipuedes, a Panamanian film about life in one of Panama’s most famous neighborhoods – all of its idiosyncrasy and violence. Took us about two hours to get to this particular theater cause we got caught up in a Friday night traffic jam. The National Theater, which they used for this particular set of events, got shut down last year for lack of maintenance, so we got the Teatro Balboa left. 

The film itself… I give it a 3/5. I was expecting to finally be blown away by a national film but I left underwhelmed. The cinematography was nice, I believe they took a risk with some shots and they were a hit, but the acting left much to be desired. Apart from a few actors, I felt they failed hard at casting people aptly qualified for film (or they were not well trained for the part). You know how theater acting is different from film acting? That.

The storyline itself was a bit poor and predictable for my taste, but cinematographically I feel it succeeded.

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Now let’s move on to A la deriva. What a documentary. We waited at the rush line cause we failed at getting tickets (read above). 10 years ago, over 200 thousand cough syrup bottles were distributed to the Caja del Seguro Social patients. Little they knew they had used chemicals intended for the automotive industry. People died from poisoning and survivors live with permanent damage, inside and out. Physically and emotionally. It was a touchy subject with raw emotion that moved across the movie venue. It was filmed and edited almost flawlessly in my opinion. 5/5.

afiche-sin-filtroDays later, because our busy schedules kept us away from the venues… Sin Filtro. Technically, we didn’t watch it ~during~ the festival, but at a private screening from my workplace that took place simultaneously. It was featured at the IFF though. A chilean film about being your true self when with others. I felt identified with it. It was about a lady who had a seemingly well-put home life, a successful job…but she was a pushover and it was affecting her health, physically and emotionally. She worked at an Ad agency – hello! And they were trying to overlook her experience and hard work for a Youtube Vlogger with bird poop for brains. That, among other things. Until she began speaking her mind. It was wonderful, refreshing, hilarious and approachable. 5/5.

Last but not least…Dheepan. My boyfriend suggested we watched it. We saw “Indian themed things” and went for it without knowing what we were gonna sit down for, so we proceeded to buy the tickets and called it a date.

dheepan_1Dheepan was more than that. It was directed by Jacques Audiard, the same guy who brought us Rust and Bone. The story began in Sri Lanka, in the middle of a civil war, and was about a Tamil freedom fighter who fled to France, along with a woman he barely knew and an orphaned kid. They formed a family to the eyes of others, in hopes of building a better life for themselves in France, and relatively safe haven. It was raw, emotional and sadly, the true story of millions from anywhere and everywhere who have flown home just for a chance of a future, for better or worse. I liked it a lot. It was a bit slow at times, I attribute that to the director’s style, but it grabbed your attention right from the get go. 4.5/5.

And that’s a wrap! These reviews are based on no other than my personal opinion and experience. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your own experiences, reviews and suggestions in the comment section below.

 

 

PAULIE SAYS

FROM HERE TO THERE

It’s been very hard for me to approach this subject because while it has been an important part of my life, it’s been painful at times. Long distance relationships. I became an internet user at the tender age of 12 or so. Maybe even earlier than that. From there, I met so many people and some of those friendships went beyond screens and borders. And those close to me somehow always moved elsewhere. Even I did for a while.

70cb02d6dbd011e2813a22000a1fb833_7Now, this post was intended to shine a light on how my cards have been dealt and how coincidentally, I’ve had to deal with all kinds of long distance relationships for as long as I’ve known it was possible. Most of my friends I met online while living in separate parts of the world, others I met in person and life made us part ways, I had a previous LDR before meeting Ed (to whom I almost didn’t give a chance given the circumstances), two of my siblings live overseas ever since i was a kid…

People came and went. Met people who lead me to meet more people and build relationships. There was this girl who i befriended, who introduced me to someone else who turned out to be a good riddance, but who would eventually lead me to my friend Annie… We remained friends, traveled together and through her I met more people that I now consider family.

This person, a former friend, who used to criticize me behind my back saying I was someone who was unable to form “real” relationships. What’s real if the lines have been blurred for decades now?  It crushed me because I knew it wasn’t an impossible task, but it was partially right. I have a mild form of Social Anxiety and it’s hard for me to open up to new people quite as easily as most folks – but was this correlated to the fact I ALWAYS ended up separated from the ones I loved? Who knows. It is what it is.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.05.33 PM

Us – watching a movie together while apart.

Growing up I figured I’ve worked hard to make long distance relationships work, with friends, family, my boyfriend…Luckily I no longer have to with the latter, but these things have been rewarding. Sometimes I do wish some of them would text me more often, but I get everyone gets caught up with their lives at some point.

I am happy to have survived the distance with him. The planets lined up and sacrifices were made. I feel i finally ~broke the curse~ and came out with funny stories to tell. I want to say LDRs are 50% about location, 50% about perception. I never felt Ed was 16 hours away from me and that kept me going.

My life as a meme. I didn’t choose the LDR life, the LDR life chose me.

 

NERD SPOT

MTG: Shadows Over Innistrad Pre Release event

I’ve been a Magic: The Gathering player for about a year now. The Mr. has been playing for around 13 years and counting, and he was the one to introduce me to this fascinating world of creatures, spells and a crap load of expensive cards.

This past weekend the Shadows over Innistrad Pre Release event happened. It was tough, it was exhausting, it was so much fun.  We usually attend these events at a local shop called Level Up, its where they first taught me how to play while Ed was away. Also because it’s closest to his place/my workplace. The owner is a cool dude, and I met really nice folks in there. I feel comfortable playing there too, I try to avoid this other place where most egomaniacs meet.

I normally don’t like competing, let alone in draft formats –but last night they held a 2HG event. It stands for “2 Headed Giant”. A DCI-sanctioned multiplayer format, 2 vs 2 , 4 rounds of aprox. 50 minutes each and 30 lives for each team.

The sign-up cost of a Pre Release is $30 that includes a sealed pack with 6 boosters, a spin dice and a promo card. I got “Thing in the ice” –  from what I was told It’s a pretty powerful, sought after card. I failed to take pictures of the matches cause we used my phone’s life counter app while we were at it. Sawry!  I was a bit bummed we didn’t get any Planeswalker. I want a Sorin for my deck. This particular new set is revisiting Innistrad, and it’s Victorian/Gothic Horror themed. It is the 70th Magic expansion… that’s a lot of cards since it first started in 1997. It’s got spirits, vampires, humans, werewolves, zombies and other interesting things not for the faint of heart. Artworks are impressive as usual.

Here is a storyline from MTG Salvation: Innistrad is a world beset by terrible evils on all sides and betrayed by the hope it held most dear. Avacyn has finally returned, but what new evils have come with her? Madness is plaguing the inhabitants. Terror falls from the skies on blood-spattered wings and nameless horrors lurk in the shadows. Odd things are afoot: the forces that had protected the humans have been twisted into something dark and strange. Jace Beleren of the Gatewatch investigates its dark mysteries. Meanwhile, Sorin is in search of the whereabouts of Nahiri.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 8.27.02 PMI always let Ed do his card voodoo thing and build our decks. From what I’ve learned from him, they need some synergy to get positive results. Trusting your partner, people! (On a side note, I have never played in a sanctioned tournament against him, I’d rather just grab my stuff and run!)

I played Black-White. It had a ton of enchantments that helped us diminish the targeted damage and filled our battlefield with spirits and tortuous creatures. He played Red-Blue, which controlled our opponent’s creatures and did damage. I’m not going to go into details, but you basically draw cards and the same time as your teammate, attack at the same time and are able to discuss your strategy at any time.

So, we got got randomly paired against people I was a bit intimidated by. Others had never seen before, some were older than me, others were kids that warned us “not to get fooled because they were kids”. Right. Kids that most likely have more free time than I do to play Magic! So, I bought myself a new set of counter dice and my friend Chef gave me some Barbie-pink sleeves for my deck. I was armed, dangerous and ready to snatch some wigs.

Ultimately, we placed second, after winning the first three matches and losing the final round to this guy I met one of the very first times I walked into the shop and asked strangers to play with a noob.  Ed was THRILLED cause we won a bunch of boosters. I had fun, I think it’s the best I’ve done in a tournament like this. Got to defeat guys that have obviously played much more than I have or do regularly. We might buy a booster box –  and if we do, that’s gonna be another MTG post.

NERD SPOT

ANIMAL CROSSING

Last weekend my lovely boyfriend and a friend of ours *finally* set up a shelf for something I’m really invested in, so I thought I’d share a bit on Animal Crossing.

My pride and joy

 

I’ve always gravitated towards toys/cartoons and bright colors. Years ago, I was a designer toy collector, even started customizing some and must admit I was pretty good at it. That was until it became way too expensive to keep up and my cats came into the picture (they destroy things, trust me). It was an interesting period of my life, I must say. I was late into the AC game… Initially discovered it when I bought my first Nintendo DS, I must’ve seen it online or something, can’t remember but there it was…Wild World. At the time, there was the Tokidoki boom going on, so I suppose I was attracted to kawaii-esque illustrations by default. It was go for me, judging by it’s cover. Shortly after, i moved to Italy by myself and that game was my source of entertainment.

For those who haven’t played, Dōbutsu no Mori is an RPG that simulates new life in a new town. It has a real time format and you basically build yourself a house, build relationships with neighbors a la Sims, work for pay and get yourself cool items while developing your town. They even made a movie based on the original game from 2005.

Then, I played City Folk on Wii and so on, and as of late last year I began collecting amiibos and amiibo cards. It’s a slow, light play game with cute characters, what’s not to like?
The amiibo cards were designed for the Happy Home Designer 3DS game that launched in late 2015. I suppose Nintendo noticed everyone’s hoarding tendencies and lack of space within each full expanded home. There are 4 series so far, each consist in 100 cards and they come in 6pc. booster packs. As of now, I’m a couple of cards close to completing the first set… almost there. The issue lies in I don’t have many people to trade cards with where I live.


Cards and amiibo figures are also compatible with  Amiibo Festival, which let’s be honest here…underwhelmed me. As everyone else I’ve asked an honest opinion to, we were all  waiting for a Mario Party kind-of-game. Where are the minigames?! I feel it was designed for children around the age of 6.

 

 

img_1189It is cute, nonetheless, and gives me an excuse to collect all the amiibos. Ed has given me most of them, including some of the Sofubi toys. I still have a few more to go and then will move on to collecting the plush toys, I really want Reese and Kicks.

So, there’s that. I’m fully conscious some may consider my hobby childish, but I’ll keep doing my thing, no one ever said Nintendo was cheap.

Not pictured: a calendar my friend Sophia got me for Christmas, gachapon toys.

NERD SPOT, PAULIE SAYS

A GAMER’S GIRL

My parents never bought me video games, mostly because I never asked for them. I remember getting board games I never used and focused myself into arts and crafts and my ever-growing Polly Pocket collection.  I played on occasion, with my neighbor and her Game Cube, I discovered Smash Bros. and the one game dear to my heart no matter the console: Mario Kart. Later in life I bought a Wii, it was my first -mine all mine- console, and later came a pink DS Lite with some girly, effortless titles. Of course as it’s expected of me, I blinged it with cheap crystal stickers and am proud to say I still have it. I remember my brother was into Atari when he was younger and later played PC games and Xbox. I found my niche to be Nintendo.

When I met Ed he rekindled that dormant love for video games. I also met a new array of games I ignored before, Magic The Gathering is among those. And Zelda,  the true love of his life. I had played it before but never thought it would become such a big part of our life together. Never had I thought I would go in so deep into gaming. He presented me with a set of MTG cards on our very first date and I made it my task to learn how to play it while he was away (we dated long distance for months) so I went to a gaming shop on a weekly basis to learn how to play… and also made new friends along the way. It was hard, but sharing something like this with your partner is much more fun in the long run.

Given that I accepted the deal, you know, dating him, I also committed myself to participate in things he enjoyed. I support his gaming nights where instead of hanging out with me he goes and plays against other experienced/veteran players, I’ve even hung out entire days doing nothing at a shop while he plays in tournaments because I know I can offer some support between rounds. I’m often known as the girlfriend who brings him food(a.k.a. nerd fuel). It’s funny how I was a regular and now I just come around in a supporting role. On weekends we gather with friends and do role-playing, which I still find a bit confusing and overwhelming but I’m sticking to it, it is fun after all!

He supports what I do too, and my own gaming habits. I’m a HUGE Animal Crossing fan (and I’m gonna make a separate post about that later on), and while I don’t have as much available time to play as I did before, he has been the one buying me amiibos, going to meet ups to trade cards with me and making sure my collection is up to date… Still need to fully display them all but that’s happening rather soon… We also have a soft spot for board games, including those like Monopoly that I once received as a Christmas present from relatives but had no one to play them with.

I’m not the indicated to give relationship advice, but being open to new experiences and sharing the love for games has made our relationship much stronger than it was. It’s teamwork, I suppose. He will always be Player 1 for me, though I’m sure he would rather be my Player 2.

FOOD ADVENTURES, PAULIE SAYS

SUNDAY.

coffee caramel waffles from our lunch/dinner date

 

Today we joined our friends Sophie and her husband for something between lunch and dinner. What would a 4:00 p.m. meal be called? Lunner? Dinch? Anyway, i felt the hours went by too fast. I had planned dedicating some time to blogging (or figuring out what to blog!) and work my way around design and the current theme situation.

I still have many, many doubts regarding language, content, images and target audience. I suppose  I just answered my language question. English just reaches a broader audience, imo. I want original content, and that means no stock photos for posts! Unless of course, there is an intention behind it and i feel the need to link my favorite tumblr finds. It will happen, people!

I also plan to make movie/series reviews on here. Some may not know, but I’m a huge cinephile and my better half is a scriptwriter. Of course we own and have seen an obscene amount of films and tasted pretty much every popcorn flavor under the sun. And that brings me to my next point: food. fewdz. We are foodies, and while i may or may not review things, expect pictures, a couple of recipes and tales of food adventures.

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