The Comments Function Works. Yay!!

As you who have visited in the last couple of week might have noticed, the links and comment function were not working. In case anyone else out there is having a similar problem, all I had to do was click “save changes” in the permalinks and comments section of my site admin stuff. Reply away!!

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First Day of School at UCLA

June 25th

Well, only about 24 short hours after arriving in L.A, doing some food shopping, and moving in, I had my first day of school.

I got up a little early to see if I could wander over and get my student ID card before class, but Kerckhoff Hall was packed with a line of students that extended clear to the back of the building. Oddly enough, it even took me a while to figure out that they were all there for ID cards too – mostly because they were nearly all Asian students that hardly spoke a word of English, so asking what they were in line for was to no avail. I got my card the next day though, as you can see. It’s quite different from my UCSC ID (I’ve removed the ID numbers and bar codes from this photo. Otherwise, this is how they look).

I arrived at Melnitz Hall, UCLA’s film program building, half an hour early and decided to look around for a while. Someone was wheeling a huge light into one of those rooms on the right when I came in. The building is very organized. There’s a bunch of editing rooms, an animation area, a massive equipment checkout room (which I talked my way into getting an unofficial tour of), and at least one fairly large sound stage. Notice all the yellow signs designating each area of the building. I’ll try to take less blurry photos next time.

ucla_sound_stage

Here’s a video of the sound stage I wandered into. I was really impressed that they had a fully constructed set right in the building, just like a movie studio.

I went to my section meeting first, then to class. I’m taking FILM 106A (History of American Motion Picture). A real shocker was the fact that the professor told us not to take notes while watching a given screening. Instead, he just wanted us to “just soak it up” during the first screening. This was an astounding departure from my classes at UCSC, wherein I usually miss about a third of the films because I’m often looking down to write notes. However stated that there would be no analysis of the films in the exams, only historical data drawn from the readings. I have to say, so far I’m liking this method of teaching. After introductory statements, the class went directly into screenings. Don’t worry, I’m only going to describe this one class. I won’t do this every time.

Anyway, it began with screenings of the trailers for The Robe (which I saw when I was little), Lolita, Viva Las Vegas (not the best Elvis movie, but an okay one), Unforgiven (a highly disappointing movie), Empire of the Sun, The Last Emperor, Conan the Barbarian (which was funny when I was little, but now seems to suck), Evita (meh), Peewee’s Big Adventure, and Pulp Fiction. Then, we saw the entire of Singin’ in the Rain (one of my favorite movies, and one which I agree has considerable historical importance). The teacher then lectured some.

I’ve taken a couple of film history classes before, but I still learned some new things (or maybe just things I forgot). For example, the fact that Muybridge’s first attempt at capturing a horse’s motion failed, that movies were originally popularized by screening them as part of vaudeville shows, that vaudeville shows went on organized national circuits (in which these films later traveled), and that some early films were used in much the same way as the Soaring Over California ride in today’s Disneyland.

We saw Melies’ A Trip to the Moon and Edwin S. Porter’s Jack and the Beanstalk, as a demonstration that Porter’s film was meant to imitate the fantasy themes in Melies’ popular works, and then Porter’s The Great Train Robbery and Life of the American Fireman (to show the first of Porter’s more popular “realistic” films). The section and meeting together ran about 7 1/2 hours. Classes are generally made into marathons during summer.

As first days of class go, this was a pretty good one. Long, but good.

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The Journey to UCLA

June 24th

At 5am, I got up after my brief 2 or 3 hour nap and ate as much of the remaining food I wasn’t able to pack, consume, or store before the driver for my airport shuttle called to inform me that she had arrived almost half an hour early. So, I rushed out the door with my bags and my checkout form/keys and left. It was good that she came early because we actually ended up leaving right about on time around 6am. It only took about 40 minutes to get to the San Jose Airport, during which time I made sure to take my Dramamine to compensate for my sleeplessness and unusual breakfast (and the probable air-sickness I have experienced for the last decade or so).

At the airport, I found out that my $15 baggage weighing device was off by exactly four pounds – for each check bag. So, after a routine that I have to assume outwardly resembled a cross between Mr. Bean taking off pants through his swimsuit and Dan Aykroyd’s character from Trading Places eating a smoked salmon through a fake beard, I ended up lightening my bags sufficiently by spending the remainder of the trip wearing four jackets with every pocket stuffed full of socks, computer components, and various other odd items. The photo to the right shows me at the gate, with a white sock peeking out of my pocket. Sadly, I still had to throw away a few pairs of socks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flight itself was short, but interesting. I ended up chatting with an elderly Irishman who designed semiconductors, and who had recently returned from a trip to Vietnam where his wife had gone just because a dentist she liked lived there (and because dental work costs about half the price there). He said that about 90 percent of the population seemed to ride mopeds, and that there were some lovely French restaurants near the government-owned hotel at which they stayed. We mostly talked about movies and politics/economics. I was enjoying the chat so much that I was actually somewhat disappointed when the jet landed. All flights should be so interesting.

Finally, I checked in to my two-person studio apartment at/near UCLA. To my surprise, my roommate is also a Banana Slug. That is to say, she is a theater major at UCSC who is also taking summer classes at UCLA. That’s her stuff in the photo, blurred to protect the names of the products from being advertised by the picture. Just kidding.

It’s a pretty big apartment, so I’m kind of wondering why there’s a bunk bed instead of just two beds. There are some neat things about the place though. When you plug into the modem using an ethernet cable, it just works. You don’t have to download/install spyware or keep logging in. Very cool. Also, we have elevators and handy trash chutes on every floor, although I’m shocked that there doesn’t seem to be any recycling program here.

It’s in the middle of an actual college town called Westwood Village. There actually seems to be a whole little mini-city built around the school with stores and cafes and banks. Within a ten-fifteen minute walk, you can get to a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Ralphs, CVS, a bunch of clothing shops, etc. My class at Melnitz Hall is about an 18-22 minute walk away, as is most of the main campus. Humorously enough, they have the same exact jokes about getting “legs of steel” and the “reverse freshman fifteen” as we do at UCSC. I’ll talk more about the school and my first day of class in my next post…

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Getting Ready To Move

June 23rd

A few days before I left Santa Cruz, I took a last walk up and down the pier at the Boardwalk.

This was to be my last peaceful indulgence before the almost 72-hour-long packing and moving marathon that took place clear up to the end of June 23rd (actually about 2am on the 24th, but who’s counting).

At about 5pm on the 23rd, I used the #20 and #71 buses to get my final load to my somewhat oversized storage unit. On a weekday, it would be about a 2 1/2 hour round-trip, but this was Saturday so it took about 4 hours.

 

If I had timed it a bit better, I could have gotten a more conveniently located (and sized) unit. I wanted a 4X3 or so, but this 5X5 unit was the last one left in all of Santa Cruz below the size of 10X17 by about June 9th. Let that be a lesson to everyone to book ’em early. Having a unit that’s too big does have the one advantage that I don’t have to be organized about packing it though, as you can see.

 

 

I knew I had to leave at about 6am, so I decided to take a 3 hour nap at around 2am so I’d have an hour to do last minute stuff before I left. That brings us to my next post (coming soon).

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A Day’s Journey to Apply for a Visa

May 25th, 2012

 

I originally thought that I was going to make the journey to San Francisco alone, but I actually ended up getting a travel buddy. When I got on the Hwy 17 bus, it turned out that another girl I knew from my housing complex on campus was going to the Swiss consulate that day, so we decided to go most of the way together. After that, the coincidences really started piling up. When I reached the French consulate, we parted ways so that she could find a place to print a document she needed (and because we thought she’d be taking an earlier train back).

About two and a half hours later, when I was standing at the info window at the BART station, there she was behind me. Then, I took too long to buy my ticket and she went ahead. I missed my train to Fremont, so I took the one to Millbrae that came a minute later instead – even though I knew I’d have to wait for an hour if it was a few minutes late. Needless to say, it got stalled in a tunnel and was a few minutes late. I waited the hour when, to my surprise, there she was. She had taken the wrong train and hopped on a bus to get to Millbrae. The rest of our route was the same, so we rode the CalTrain and HWY 17 bus back to the Santa Cruz Metro station.

The trip to the French consulate to apply for my visa was a long one with many legs. On the way there, I went from the Santa Cruz metro to the Highway 17 Express to the CalTrain to the local #30 bus in San Francisco. On the way back, I took the SF metro BART to the CalTrain to the Highway 17 Express to the SC Metro. The travel plus the visa application came out to about $99. I don’t know if this is typical or not, but I didn’t actually need the three IDs I brought (or the Long Stay Visa/OFII forms, as  they said that greater than 4 months is now long stay instead of greater than 91 days). I don’t know how necessary my appointment was either. Once I got there, an hour early, it was first come first served.

The trip to the French consulate to apply for my visa was a long one with many legs. On the way there, I went from the Santa Cruz metro to the Highway 17 Express to the CalTrain to the local #30 bus in San Francisco. On the way back, I took the SF metro BART to the CalTrain to the Highway 17 Express to the SC Metro. The travel plus the visa application came out to about $99. I don’t know if this is typical or not, but I didn’t actually need the three IDs I brought (or the Long Stay Visa/OFII forms, as  they said that greater than 4 months is now long stay instead of greater than 91 days). I don’t know how necessary my appointment was either. Once I got there, an hour early, it was first come first served.

The trip to the French consulate to apply for my visa was a long one with many legs. On the way there, I went from the Santa Cruz metro to the Highway 17 Express to the CalTrain to the local #30 bus in San Francisco. On the way back, I took the SF metro BART to the CalTrain to the Highway 17 Express to the SC Metro. The travel plus the visa application came out to about $99. I don’t know if this is typical or not, but I didn’t actually need the three IDs I brought (or the Long Stay Visa/OFII forms, as  they said that greater than 4 months is now long stay instead of greater than 91 days). I don’t know how necessary my appointment was either. Once I got there, an hour early, it was first come first served.

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Orientation Day at UCSC

May 19th, 2012

EAP wall fliersIn early Fall quarter, I attended a IEO workshop and got fliers about studying abroad to post on my wall as reminders. . .

study abroad handoutsThen, I went to a study abroad fair and grabbed every piece of reading material that looked interesting and/or useful.

On May 19th from 9am to about noon, the IEO put on an orientation in the College 9/10 Multipurpose Room for students preparing to study abroad.

After checking in and meeting the volunteers, I picked up an info packet, a free t-shirt, and a name tag. There was a short PowerPoint presentation by two of the IEO advisers, then we were split off into discussion groups by which country we were going to. There were a little less than a dozen going to France in the next year. Each group’s discussion was led by someone who had gone to that country the previous year.

We got to learn all sorts of little things that we wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. For example, our group leader told us about traveling in groups and other ways not to encounter crime. Also, social tips like not to talking about religion or money with French people. I was kind of expecting there to be at least one or two other film or art majors there (since a couple of my friends in those majors were in the program I’m in last year), but it was definitely a very useful experience.

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