So back in April my department at JP Morgan Chase got our walking papers - or I should say in my case my traveling papers. The timing could not have been more perfect for me. In fact, our entire group basically high fived each other upon hearing the news. The HR rep told us he had never seen a group of people receive their pink slips with such little concern. It allowed me to work on the NY Asian Film Festival and the package is good enough to allow me to get away from the work life for a while to see some of the world. I have been wanting to do this for some time. Now with the festival over with I am getting ready to hit the road in a short while. I expect to be leaving by the end of July and not showing my frumpy face in NYC till mid-December. I have no particular plan, no schedule, no agenda, no timetable. I just want to play it all by ear and the hand of fate but I have a general inclination to spend much of it in Southeast Asia with side trips to Hong Kong, Macau and perhaps China. I have no desire to be the frantic tourist rushing from place to place like a junkie looking for a score - but instead just taking my time in various locales and if I find somewhere that I really like I just want to stay there till I feel like moving on. Everyone tells me that its too hot to go now but I may be the only person left in NYC without air conditioning so I figure I will at least have that - and pools and beaches and cheap cold beer!
I am taking along my computer with me but am not sure I will be able to update the site with the use of free wi-fi places and so thought at least for a while I would just use this blog for any updates. Most of the posts will still be movie related but perhaps a little less formal than normal and certainly with spelling that would make my elementary teacher, Miss Babson, wince in pain.
I hope to be able to see a number of films in the theaters if I can but am also taking along loads of DVDs to watch. There are lots of lazy late afternoons in which you really just want to take a catatonic nap after a hot curry but feel like you should be mildly more productive - and thats perfect for DVD watching. But perhaps I over did it as I tend to do - unable to make up my mind as to what I want to see and so I am taking way too much. But I have been stockpiling DVDs for years and finally I have a chance to dust them off and let them breathe like a fine bottle of wine. Aged for perfection.
So my main task before leaving has been deciding which DVDs to take on the trip with me and which get left behind to stew in resentment. I picked up one of those DVD bags that hold 240 but I managed to cram in close to 400 I think - of which I may be able to get thru 60 perhaps. But this isn't really going to be a big sightseeing slugfest - I really want to take it easy, relax, do a lot of swimming and a whole lot of eating. My idea of sightseeing is just to go out of the hotel, pick a direction and walk in hopes of seeing something interesting - I can only see so many temples, wats and elephant shows.
Still 400 DVDs is plain silly. Do I really need to take four Elvis Presley films and the Val Lewton collection - well maybe - you never know - but five Betty Grable films? I've never watched a Betty Grable movie in my life but I guess this is as good a time as any. Most of the films are Asian of course - with a major focus on 1960's/1970's Bollywood films (I really find the old ones so much better than what they are making now) with a bunch starring Shammi Kapoor, around 50 films from the Shaw Brothers (mostly non-martial arts) that I am dying to see ("Sex Beyond the Grave" anyone!), a few Grace Chang Cathay films, around 30 Korean films that I have either put off seeing or sort of want to see again (mainly lame romcoms that I have an unexplained weakness for) and loads of Japanese films.
Finally a chance to go thru the filmographies of Shunji Iwai and Sabu and my friends YTSL and Elif will be happy to hear that I am taking eight Miyazaki films with me. They have shamed me that I have never seen one but honestly I avoid anime like a bad skin rash but these they tell me are magnificent and full of humanity. And they should make perfect plane fare as you don't have to worry about a naked woman suddenly popping up on screen. A few years ago I recall watching some Korean/Japanese film and all of a sudden the guy in the film was masturbating in front of his computer and the eyeballs of the young woman next to me almost fell out - as I fumbled quickly to turn it off she casually told me not to worry - her boyfriend does it all the time. Yikes - more than I needed to know. So I play it safe now. I am also taking a lot of older Japanese films - not the classics mind you but things like the Pinky Violence Collection (not to be played on the plane!) and the Convict Scorpion films and a bunch with one of my favorite newly discovered old stars, Hibari Misora.
So hopefully I will be able to keep the site updated with this stuff and other films I see - but if not - so what really. The internet is already full of people that think they have something special to say and most of the time my head feels like it wants to explode at all the information overkill. Maybe I will just become a Betty Grable freak instead and turn the site into a shrine for her - thats if she is dead I guess.