Urban Adventures

April explores the city.

The complete, unofficial review of Harry Potter 7, pt. 1. November 19, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 4:36 pm

Last night I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1 at the Metreon, where all 16 screens were sold out. We arrived right on time, four and a half hours early. Our last minute costumes? Muggles. Here are all of my unprofessional thoughts about the movie, starting with fan costumes and ending with the Elder Wand (**mild spoiler alert**).

Best fan costumes: Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape. They could have been stunt doubles from the movie. Even their facial features resembled the real actors, and Snape brooded around the lobby in his billowing black robes. Just perfect. Unfortunately, I do not have photos — Snape stormed away too quickly.

Runner-up: Dolores Umbridge, complete with tiny tea cup.

Worst fan costumes: Skanky Potter. This is not even from a modesty standpoint, but from an accuracy standpoint. I saw several girls in low cut, short-hemmed “Harry Potter” costumes. They didn’t look anything like anyone from any of the movies. Were they merely HP groupies?

Pre-movie trailers: Sucked, all of them. Trailers included Red Riding Hood (strongly reminiscent of Twilight), Cowboys vs. Aliens (evidence that Hollywood is running out of ideas — Monsters vs. Aliens, Aliens vs. Predators, etc.), and Green Lantern (I don’t think I like Ryan Reynolds as a superhero). The scary thought is that these trailers are targeted at the anticipated audience — who did they think would be there??

Audience: Surprisingly and thankfully tame. We cheered only at appropriate times, and I could actually hear the dialogue during the movie.

Actual movie: The best Harry Potter movie yet. A truly wonderful adaptation of the book. Dobby stole the show with his red shoes, chandelier-wrangling skills, and selfless endearing nature. Plus, how could you deny the cuteness of his over-sized blue eyes? I was so proud of him (as was the rest of the audience — we all cheered) when he exclaimed “Dobby has no master! Dobby is a free elf!” I am not ashamed to say that I teared up when he died.
The one scene that really could have been better was at the very end. Voldemort swoops over to Dumbledore’s grave, which is now on island (when did that happen?) and as he busts up the grave to retrieve the Elder Wand, the granite tumbles down in slow motion. The graphics looked like they were done poorly by a first-year film student. It was clearly done on a computer, when it could have easily been created in real life with real granite, or with better CGI. Dobby on the beach looked more natural than Voldemort’s grave robbery.
Ron bulked up, and I noticed. I thought the nude Harry/Hermione make-out scene was a bit much. I understand that it was the manifestation of Ron’s jealousy, but I didn’t like it. I wondered what happened to Narcissa Malfoy’s hair because I don’t remember it being partially dyed black. I kind of liked the animation of The Tale of the Three Brothers, but it seemed out of place. Voldemort looked like a snake as much as ever. I liked him better in the previous movies when he didn’t talk as much — I thought it was much more menacing. But props to Ralph Fiennes for officially being the creepiest, most malevolent, most nose-lacking movie character, ever.

Star Rating: 5/5.

Bed time: 3:45 a.m.


Sunshine season. November 14, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 4:51 pm

As I sit on my fire escape that presently masquerades as a private balcony overlooking the panhandle of Golden Gate Park, a somewhat sad rendition of “Lean on Me” floats up to my room from amateur trumpets and trombones down below. The sun shines down on me as I munch on a bunch of juicy green grapes. The uncovered top decks of tour buses are packed as they roll by every 15 minutes and the city’s visitors hastily pull out their cameras to snap photos of my temporary mansion-home. This is fall in San Francisco? I don’t believe it. The only signs of autumn are the slowly changing leaves on the trees across the street. I was warned many times to ditch the tank tops and flip flops for sweaters and scarves when I moved here. Yet here I am, enjoying the late afternoon warmth of a lazy Sunday outside in a t-shirt.


Dog blog. November 6, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 2:00 pm

With five weeks left in the semester, I’ve just now had a startling revelation: I should have kept a DOG BLOG. People keep food blogs and movie blogs and fashion blogs. My blog would be infinitely more adorable if I had thought of documenting all the precious puppies in this city.

Puglets: Pug triplets. Found this trio of cuteness on Clement Street. Photo by friend Justine Wieland.

GIANTS. November 3, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 12:03 am

I erupted with a crowd of thousands outside Civic Center as the Giants won the World Series for the first time since they moved to San Francisco.

We jumped and screamed and hugged strangers.
We flooded Market Street.
We danced in the streets when the crosswalk light turned green.
(We cleared the streets when the light turned red.)
We ran down the line of honking cars and high-fived the drivers.
We drank too much Orange Fanta.
We climbed on bus stops.
We closed down the busiest street in the city.
We stopped the buses.
We cheered for hours.
We saw the City unite.

We are Giants fans.


A breath of fresh air. October 23, 2010

Filed under: Exploration,Thoughts — April @ 11:47 am

Point MontaraEight weeks in the city and now for some fresh air. The Urban mid-term retreat was this past Thursday. No class and no internship; just 27 college students playing at Point Montara for the day.
Being there reminded of me of my trip to Ireland. We started out in Belfast, a major city, for the first week and a half. It was nice, but not the Ireland I had anticipated. Then we went to Corrymeela, a tiny rural place with rolling green hills dotted with sheep behind me and cliffs and ocean in front of me. In a word, it was breathtaking. Point Montara lacked the sheep, but it had the same feeling of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoying peace and relaxation for the day. Point Montara is a great spot. It’s less than an hour out of San Francisco, it’s got beautiful cliffs, and the lighthouse there was the first in the US to be run by a woman (yay women!).
It was nice to be able to hang out with everyone outside of the city. We had a brief debrief time, and the rest of the day was ours. We explored the cliffs and beach, played games, and some of us played jump rope on the sand with washed-up kelp.
Since it’s the half-way point of the semester, I figured it’s a good time to evaluate where I’m at and what I want for the remaining 8 weeks. I’m more comfortable being in the city and I’m not as homesick. I love my internship. I’m having more patience with my housemates. I want to get to know more of them. I want to get out of the house more and see more of the City. I have a few places that I know I like, but this city has so much more to offer me and I won’t be living here for much longer. I want to soak it up.


Home, growing pains, and positivity. October 13, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 8:26 pm

After being away from Santa Barbara for the longest period in my life, I at last returned for the four-day weekend, which I made a five-day weekend. I love Santa Barbara and now that I’m not there I love it even more. The open spaces, the sunshine and year-round sandal wearing, the red tile roofs. It’s home.
I had some good family time, barbecue included. I ate at Pepe’s, the best Mexican restaurant in the world, two times. And my sister Ashley was in town for the weekend. I also had some good friends and boyfriend times. I had a girls’ night out, I played ladder ball, I went to the zoo and fed Sulima the giraffe, and I ate Yogurtland.
As I visited Westmont for the long weekend, I felt like, well, a visitor. The campus that’s been my home for two years now was different — new buildings, new people, and (cliché alert!) new April. Everyone kept asking about how great Urban is. The implied and expected answer is of course “Ya it’s AWESOME and I LOVE it and it’s the BEST THING EVER!”
But it’s not. This semester is hard. Put positively, it’s a “growing experience.” But there is such a thing as growing pains and boy do I have them. First of all I don’t like change. I am a creature of habit and I like my routine. So throw me in a new city with new people and I will maybe freak out a little bit. Also I don’t really like big cities that much anyway.
While I was feeling especially grumpy I made a list of all the things that I don’t like about this place — bear with me because it’s hard to keep a positive attitude when all I want to do is be in Santa Barbara. It’s cold all the time and the fog is atrocious. The city is all hills so I basically have to do a strenuous workout if I want to walk. But If I want to take Muni it takes for-freaking-ever to go anywhere. There are a lot of strangers. And creepers. Cat calls are so disrespectful and offensive; I can’t stand them. Seriously what do these men think will come of whistling at me? It’s not flattering at all and I hate it. There are a bunch of hippies who need to stop smoking, wash their hair and do something with their lives. I don’t like cooking and the kitchen is always dirty. The coffee shops have nasty chai. I can’t wear sandals or sundresses or tank tops, which make up my entire wardrobe. Someone in the house has taken it upon him/herself to become Dobby the House Elf, complete with an email address and Facebook page. I live with 27 people and am kind of stuck with them because I don’t know anyone else in this city. It’s not home.
As much as I wanted to dwell on all the badness and sadness, I realized last night that I’ve still got nine weeks here. That’s a long time to be sad. So I also have a list of good things about the city. I’m making new friends. Community dinners mean one less meal I have to make. There are dogs everywhere in this city. My room has a balcony (fire escape…). My room has its own bathroom. I’m getting real-life job experience and skills. The houses are so colorful. I have an endless supply of fruit snacks. I get a weekly stipend. Every week we have a Glee Club. This city has great ice cream and great restaurants. North Beach is delightful. Golden Gate Park is like a forest. I love the clients at work. I get fun things for free, like jeans and concerts. Winter coats are cute and I like to wear scarves. The house is a mansion.
So I’ve resolved to be proactively positive. Being grumpy is draining. Today I kept a list (this is the last list) of all the happy things that happened. It was a beautiful sunshine day. I was ready for work early. I didn’t have to wait for my bus transfer like I usually do. A client emailed me just because. Another client shared with me a song she wrote about dancing. I got to leave work early. I was able to mooch for dinner. Glee Club is tonight.
It was a good day. I live here. It’s time to start making the most of it.