Eye of the Story

The Evergreen State College

Category: Week 8 Journal (Page 1 of 4)

A Monkey Ate My Sunglasses – 2.25.16 – Cooper Rickards

A monkey ate my sunglasses. First, he stole them. Then he proceeded to eat them. It was a shitty day. He didn’t eat them right away, first he played with them a bit. He looked at them from all angles, the way monkey’s do. He made some monkey sounds as put them on his forehead. They didn’t fit right; he made some more monkey noises, and then he ate them. I had to run and find somebody that resembled a zookeeper, because they were some hefty, metallic sunglasses. I found some guy I thought was a zookeeper, and he ran over looking all worried. I walked away. I wondered, would they pump the monkey’s stomach? I don’t know how monkeys do with sunglasses. He just reached his little hands through the bars and took them right off my face!

I was taking a personal day at the zoo, because why not. The zoo would have been cool if I was with somebody to see the whole monkey thing. It would be a funny story, but now it’s just a weird shitty thing that happened to me at the zoo. It’s not funny. I think I paid forty bucks for that pair of sunglasses. I wonder how much a zoo pays for a monkey. This monkey was a chimpanzee. 

I left the zoo and lit up a cigarette. Three left. Monkey’s can’t smoke. Good for them. They are smart though, everybody knows that. Planet of the Apes smart though? Not likely. You blew it up! Exhale. God damn you all to hell! Inhale. The monkeys in those movies never wore sunglasses.

The bus is arriving but I’m still smoking, so I’ll walk. I spent the rest of the day furiously comparing myself to monkeys. Monkey’s can’t cook! A hearty, hot meal off the happy hour menu. A beer too. Monkey’s will seek out and eat fermented fruit, however. I bet I could get drunk better than a chimpanzee could.

I was alone at the bar. My girlfriend and I just broke up. She hated the zoo. I loved it. Monkey’s live in large groups. They are seldom totally isolated. 

“You want another one?” the bartender asked.

“Yeah.” I pursed my lip under the last sip of beer. “Hey do you know if a monkey eat’s a pair of sunglasses, do you think they would pump his stomach?” 

“I have no idea man.” He set the new beer on the bar next to the empty basket of fries and walked away, slipping out of sight. 

“Me niether.” 



I want to take time to acknowledge how much whitewashing of Hollywood films is going on. Though it’s been going on for a while, there are a few recent developments that i find especially interesting. The first is of the rumoured new project of Christopher Nolan. It’s said to be a live action adaptation of the revolutionary anime film Akira, which sounds cool on the surface, will more than likely cast white english actors in all, if not, lead roles. This is stupid, so much of the integrity of the film relies on the Japanese heritage of the characters. I hope they at least don’t change the setting to like Neo-New York instead of Neo-Tokyo. Another big thing is the Ghost in the Shell film that is well into production now. This film is another adaptation of anime that takes place in Japan revolving around a special operations unit of the government. Today they just casted the first Japanese actor which really worries me. The main character Motoko Kusanagi is very Japanese and they casted Scarlett Johansson as her. What the hell.

Week 8 Journal Macsen Baumann

Jay Rosenblatt

Upon my first viewings, I felt an immediate affinity to Jay Rosenblatt’s work. Perhaps it is because his films are similar to films I’ve created in the past, and perhaps it is because The Smell of Burning Ants and The D Train both approach topics that are frequently on my mind. Throughout The Smell of Burning Ants, there exists a sense of dread, a fear or apprehension of that which one is only barely able understand. The D Train, too, utilizes a similar approach. Rosenblatt never explicitly names the constructs and dilemmas he is confronting, and yet in a state of both knowing and unknowing I receive his message. His films do follow narratives, and they do feature easily recognizable images and scenarios, and are in that way considered “watchable”, but there traits are hide deeper and harder to swallow ideas.

In relation to my project, Rosenblatt’s films regularly tackle issues of identity, much as I hope my film will. It is in this broad thematic connection that I see my inspiration coming from.
I want my film to be a journey like how The D Train is a journey and a revelation like how The Smell of Burning Ants is a revelation. The D Train’s inexhaustible march towards an ultimately predetermined ending has in part shaped how I’ve conceptualized my film, and I want my finale to have the cold tranquility of the old man alone on the bench, swept away.

Whitman Craig: Thinking about Art and Fear

Its strange how much more optimistic you can feel sometimes when the sun comes back from hiatus, although I guess its no great biological mystery. I can probably thank this new found energy for my project to vitamin D, that and the coffee bender I’m on right now. Chemical effects aside, I think Art and Fear has noticeably changed my outlook on my project, despite the fact that the book had a knack for making me self-consciously feel like a complete cliché on every page as I have probably had every fear the book addresses.

One of the greater challenges for me, not just of this quarter but probably since forever, is to not get ahead of myself and worry too much about what the artwork means and to let myself trust the process more. Trusting process I think lies at the heart of Art and Fear. The fears that are discussed in the book all relate to the ways in which artists lose faith in process and the book really only presents one compelling reason to keep faith in process, that nothing will happen if you don’t keep faith.

Pervading the entire book is a seemingly disheartening view that most artwork is meaningless and no one cares whether or not you make art. This seems to be an important first step in removing one’s ego from the issue of making art. To shift the focus from achievement to process, “ask your work what it needs, not what you need.” And this is actually quite freeing, in the sense that making art is never the last word on your worth as an artist. But the book is speaking to people who are compelled to make art, which ultimately makes such realizations only partly effective in separating the process from the artist’s desires. The book says as much: “vision is always ahead of execution – and it should be.” This paradox is not directly addressed perhaps to avoid unending existential tangents.

The same question arises when Art and Fear argues that artists and audiences have different concerns, that of process and product respectively. At the same time the book criticizes postmodern art for not engaging more with the world outside of its community. In fact the book goes as far as to argue that good art is only made in relationship to its contemporary environment. Audience certainly plays a key role in what it means to be contemporary. For all of the unresolved tension that the book steers clear of, I have new faith in my project by taking genuine interest in where it might lead me astray.

rachel hatfield – potato salad

she had been awake since 9AM, which, on a sunday, hadn’t happened since she had been a christian and would go to services. in bed, she read a book and sat a few others near her pillow. she checked her e-mail and cell phone. there was a curious absence in her stomach where familiar growls and pangs of hunger would have been weeks ago, but illness took away her appetite most of the time. still, she knew, laying bored on top of her sheets, that she hadn’t eaten anything since a slice of french loaf the day before and that she needed to eat.

although her appetite was gone this afternoon and she was more tired today than yesterday, she knew by the way the hairs on her arms stood up when she looked at the bread cabinet that she needed something more substantial than her recent and mononucleosis-enforced diet of toast and Halls mentholated cough drops. friday, she’d eaten an extravagant meal, and nearly all of the giant sandwich and steak fries in the red kitschy basket, with a classmate she was sweet on. the thousands of calories and sudden onslaught of substance to her now-habitually empty stomach was why, she figured, she had been sicker to her stomach and less keen on even the driest toast.

in the refrigerator, there was a deli carton of potato salad. picnic salads, she learned at a young age, were notoriously bland, decidedly not delicious and generally unsatisfying, which is why she grabbed it and peered into it. it smelled overwhelmingly of mayonnaise and, despite its claim that it was a mustard potato salad, could not possibly have been that yellow naturally. she speared a cold piece of potato and tasted it. she took a few forkfuls upstairs with her in a little cup and retired back to bed.

the potato salad did have mustard in it. she felt it in the way her mouth watered at the saltiness, and the slight sourness that lingered on the sides of her tongue. her most recent ex-boyfriend, the one who attended a school for culinary arts, made a potato salad that was deceptively similar but ultimately superior. the potatoes he boiled were softer and the dressing much lighter, and he served it with a garnish of raw onions for her because she liked the bitterness. they used to eat it, she remembered, half-dressed and exhausted on nights where they had been too busy or delusional during the daylight hours to eat or drink anything beyond a hair of the dog that bit you. he served it still warm.

she closed her eyes after each bite and chewed very slowly. this potato salad had a pickled taste she recognized as sweet pickle relish, and red bits that, in their mayonnaise logged state, may have been either carrots or bell peppers. the potatoes did have a strange, grainy texture that made her appreciate and miss her boyfriend’s. they were peeled, like his were, but the crispness was awkward in her mouth.

the last time she asked him to fix her a potato salad, cross-legged on the couch in her favorite mens’ shirt, she’d asked him to leave the peels on. (they were, for one reason or another, her favorite part of the vegetable.) but he had smiled knowingly (and to her sensitive and perpetually indignant mind, perhaps condescendingly) at her and told her that he couldn’t make potato salad that way because it was silly, that the peels slipped off and made it messier and less presentable and tasted dirtier. she didn’t really mind. she only managed a few mouthfuls that night, anyway, before she had to go to bed and get ready for a real-world morning.

she hadn’t brought much with her but already her stomach felt heavy and her mouth tired. even eating exhausted her, made her feel more physically and mentally out of shape that she’d imagined. she licked around the inside of her mouth and flushed the mustard and relish taste from it with a swallow of tepid water. she put the cup of salad on the bedside table and laid down again.

Marilee G. Hyde Week 8 Journal

Having trouble keeping everything in my head this week. I do the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth on Wednesday nights. I go to Touchstone half-way house with a group of students. We hang out, help with homework, play games etc. with the boys. I connected with a 16 year old boy right away. He wanted to find a job, do well in school etc. I helped him with interview skills, looking for jobs, that sort of thing. This was his last week, he is getting out and going home. I don’t think his home life has been very stable that is why he got into trouble to begin with. He is a very sweet and loving boy, I think if he can get some support and guidance he will do well. I will miss him, but I am glad he is on the straight and narrow.

Journal Entry #10

A Closer Look at Relationships in:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao


Ultimately this book is about the “fuku,” the curse or doom that plagues the Wao family. A curse that just uddered allowed could bring the possibility of disaster upon your life. Touching upon the idea of the “supernatural” and it’s hold on all our lives, and its ability to bring about pain and suffering on families. As I continued to read the entwined lives of Oscar, Beli, Yunior, and Lola I became increasingly aware of their unhappy relationships to each other and to people around them. I made my own assumption that the curse is actually their relationships to men, women, and each other. I’ll elaborate below.

It all started with Beli and her life growing up as a young girl with La Inca. She was neglected by the incarceration of her father and the death of her mother. The start of her life wasn’t a happy one. Further on she was raised by La Inca, Beli’s Aunt which is only mentioned briefly. She is addressed as “abuela” by Oscar and Lola. La Inca and Beli do not get along but La Inca is truly a supernatural goodness in this book. She almost magically saves Beli after her brutal beating by the Elvises in the canefields. On page 161 Diaz writes, “At last they had the relationship La Inca had always longed for, except that they didn’t speak.” La Inca had always wanted a strong bond with Beli and had even accepted her as her own daughter. She acts as a savior to the curse in this scene. Beli began her life with abusive and absent parents, her relationship to them disastrous. I think that Beli never truly accepted La Inca as her mother because of her unfaithfulness in mother’s and father’s and the independence that was instilled in her from an early age. I think that the curse begins from Beli’s birth and her relationships furthermore leaving a domino effect to her daughter and son. Beli is always nagging at Oscar and criticizing Lola constantly. Lola especially mentions her resentment towards her mother with good reason most of the time. On page 208 Beli is picking up Lola from La Inca’s home. “And then the big moment, the one every daughter dreads–My mother looking me over. I’d never been in better shape, never felt more beautiful and desirable in my life, and what does the bitch say?

“Cono, pero tu si eres fea. Those fourteen months—gone. Like they’d never happened.” Cono, pero tu si eres fea literally translates to “Damn, but you’re ugly.” That’s a horrible thing to hear from your mother, especially on account of not seeing her for months. It’s no wonder that Lola hates Beli. Lola even says she would have ran away “disappeared like everything disappears.” She would have left just like her father left her mother too. But then her ex-boyfriend Max died, a boy that loved her so much but that she left and cheated on soon. An effect of the curse? I think so. Lola made a big mistake in letting him go, only to end up losing him forever.  Yet, Lola is one character that truly believes the curse is just life. She doesn’t realize it’s her own actions creating the curse.

And Oscar, his life is ashamed of his body and therefore affected by the women in his life. He sends himself through loops and determination when girls are involved, working out and writing more. His friendship with Jenni is very important to him. To the dismay of Junior who couldn’t believe what Oscar was doing to get her attention. “How can you be in love? You just met the bitch,” Junior says to him. After he found her with another boy Oscar was devastated. He stopped writing, he stopped playing video games, it’s like he gave up on the fantastical elements of his life. The possibility of having her was gone and so his writing and video games became lifeless. Just a game.

Oscar takes a drunken trip to the New Brunswick train station. “Reviewing his miserable life,” he regretted not getting  Jenni, all the books he’d never finish, his body. But then he sees something magical (what he’d always waited for) which he calls the Golden Mongoose. The vision that he sees could have been the end to the curse. But then again maybe it saved him. Saved him by an error in his judgement and instead he fell into a garden divider, not the concrete. With two broken legs and a separated shoulder he had survived. The mongoose represents a fantastic force of good. The exact opposite of Trujillo. Possibly the very same mongoose that saves Beli from the canefields, telling her to pick herself up. “So as Beli was flitting in and out of life, there appeared at her side a creature that would have been an amiable mongoose if not for its golden lion eyes and the absolute black of its pelt.” It told her to rise, a vision, even telling her she will have two children in the future. It wouldn’t be the first time saving Oscar’s life either. I wondered why this furry devil of a creature played such an important role in his book. I mean, I think of mongooses as a terrible chicken killer myself. Due to how many baby chicks and geese I’ve lost to forgetting to shut the chicken coop door at night. But, here the mongoose is a savior, a real supernatural phenomenon.

This story is filled with fantastical elements and true villains. I think that the curse begins with Beli and her relationship to her mother and father, leading to a tumultuous relationship to her daughter and son and vice versa, and further their relationships with men and women. I truly loved this book for its wit and pain and its ability to surpass that into a greater meaning of life and destiny. The curse is not bad things that happen in the Wao’s lives, it is the relationships that they destroy and ultimately lose.

Where I am At

2-25-2016 My Project

Yeah! It’s all working out! Well, relative to my never having made a film and now being on a path to complete one; everything is working out. I have what I think will be the final edits to the video part of my move. All of that is mostly complete for now. At the moment I have turned to editing and creating a sound track for my film. In the beginning this was going to be purely taken from the audio I pick up on video shoots, but plans are changing.


I am collaborating with a local artist to create the soundtrack of my film. It seems that everything change drastically with this one decision, I am excited and very glad to find myself unattached to the original ideas of what I imagined this film to feel like and be about. Although I think the general message of the film will still be present. How it is given to the viewer will be much different. Not completely sure how it will play out yet, but I am imagining electronic music combined with the diegetic sound of this film. Everything will begin beautiful, elegant, slightly trippy maybe, and possibly dark. The main concept for the beginning is slow, peaceful, maybe awe inspiring. There should be an amount of beauty to it. As the film progresses, this will change quite a bit. Sounds will become disorienting and negative. The end shot will conclude this with some tonal resonance. Not sure of precise details yet.


This is all part of the process, and I am wholly enjoying it. Not knowing what to expect is fine. I am in this project to learn more about the technicalities of making a film. Learning what it takes, how to put it all together and the process I can only be aware of by experimentation. I am learning a lot, and this gives me freedom.


Not being attached to restrictive filters, making me go for perfecting. I am learning so I am playing. This is not a job, it is exploration, observation. While I am aiming for something with my project, I think going at it, knowing that I know nothing makes me think less, and do better. That’s not to say there are not imperfections in my project though.


I am very happy with the progress I have made with this film, in an odd way though, I am a little happier with what I notice to be its weaknesses. There are many things in the composition, both audio and video, that I would like to see different. Things are not perfect. But this is where I am learning everything, what I should keep in mind as I go about filming is important.


Currently I am playing with the audio, like I said. I think I need to be more careful next time I am recording audio. I want clarity. With everything I have captured, there is constant hissing in the sound and I am learning to work with it in the program. The problem is a learning opportunity, in the present and in the future.


This is where I am at.


Cody Duer – Journal Post 2/28

So I just watched Kung Fu Panda 3 with my girlfriend today. By Odin’s beard that was a good movie! In fact the whole trilogy is good! This is the type of movies I want to make, family friendly, funny to all ages,, and tell a good story with lovable characters without simplifying too much for adults not enjoy. Because of this movie, it got me thinking about what makes these movies good. First and obvious is the animation, the art style that create vastly different shape characters and nods at the Bruce Lee action movies and comic books. The second thing is the setting. Ancient china, characters animals, and kung fu is practiced for good. But the best thing I saw in the movie what the main character, Po, struggles with in all three movies. Po struggles knowing who he is and so his adventures are ways of self discovery. This theme is something we can all relate to, anyone from any age. There’s also a fear of losing a loved one. Losing a son, a friend, and even losing a mentor. These are common fears in all the movies and again relatable. If I can use any movie to learn storytelling techniques from, Kung Fu Panda would be it!

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The Evergreen State College
Olympia, Washington

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