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great day

i think a reasonable approximation of how interesting your day was can be gained by looking at the changes in your meal timing. dinner on schedule == nothing new. waiting an extra hour for dinner signifies something moderately unexpected (maybe good, maybe bad) came up. today, chris and i scored about +5 hours on my “meal surprise” scale.

first, lunch was delayed by +1 hours. chris and i played tourist this morning, as we took a guided walk of mit’s tunnel network. the tour was a bit humdrum (it was led by a fellow from mit facilities, who very well couldn’t show us anything too mischievous), but still fascinating; virtually every building under mit sits atop a network of interconnected tunnels. there must be literally several miles of corridor winding and snaking their way underneath the campus, enabling students to cross almost the entire university while avoiding dangerous things like sunlight and breezes. things got even more interesting after the official tour, however, as christina and i did some exploring and found that another level of tunnels lives below mit’s first basement level. we saw all sorts of gnarly things: huge grids of intersecting and overlapping pipes knitted together; gigantic pieces of rusted machinery whose dials for appendages and loud buzzing reminded me of enormous metal dragonflies; the dozens of pieces of graffiti lining back walls, tagging who had previously found the rooms we chanced upon. i actually brought my slr along with me and took some pretty cool photos (which now sit very far back in a photo-processing queue).

second, dinner was delayed +4 hours for something even more special.  thanks to a labmate’s tip earlier in the day, chris and i scored sneak preview tickets to michel gondry’s new film, be kind rewind, which was being screened for free at mit.  and, as if my pair of free-ninety-nine tickets weren’t worthwhile enough, michel gondry was even going to come by after the movie for a Q&A.

i could hardly contain my excitement throughout the afternoon as michel gondry is probably my favorite director — i was blown away by eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, as well as the science of sleep.  his movies have this wonderful sincerity to them (that may even occasionally verge on the naive) that manifests itself not only in his characters but in how he shoots his films as well: long, unbroken scenes shot in single takes and the ingenious use of simple props and clever camera angles to avoid having to use special effects.  needless to say, i heart michel gondry.

remarkably, the evening lived up my own hype.  be kind rewind was just as marvelous and inventive as i had hoped it would be.  sure, the characters weren’t quite as well developed as in eternal sunshine, but some of the scenes were absolutely sublime — the 120-second-or-so montage midway through the movie where 5 classic movies are reprised using only one take and something like $20 in props and cheese pizzas was breathtaking.

yet, unbeknownst to me, i spent a year’s worth of karma sometime this afternoon — two things happened this evening whose excitement even manages to supplant a free advance screening to a michel gondry movie.

1) i got to meet michel gondry.  i ran into him at the top of a flight of stairs in the movie theater.  at least, i thought it was him — i saw a man who looked too old to be a student and uncomfortable enough to be an artist.  “are you michel gondry,” i recall blubbering.  and frankly, i can barely remember anything else i said after he nodded his head.  for the first time in my life, i knew what it meant to be starstruck.  all i could manage was a couple of stupid, incoherent words that may or may not have assembled themselves into sentences: “your imagination … beautiful … changed how i see the world … tuna fish.”  smooth move, ex lax.  i think i heard a sheepish “you’re welcome,” before i slinked away in a daze.

2) topping things off, i was able to steal out of the theater a little early, before the Q&A finished, and appropriate a 3 X 4 foot copy of the be kind rewind movie poster.  a little jog back to my lab here, some stalking of director gondry there, and i was actually able to corner him with the poster and a sharpie before his press conference.  michel gondry’s last words to me: “you just stole my poster and now you want me to sign it?”  of course, he then smiled and signed the poster, leaving me positively elated.

good day.

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2 Responses to “great day”

  1. on 07 Feb 2008 at 9:45 pm natalia

    got linked here from your facebook. i love eternal sunshine and the science of sleep too!
    that was an awesome tale, i can’t wait to see be kind rewind!

  2. on 08 Feb 2008 at 5:21 pm Andrew Louie

    forget gondry, Jack Black is in this movie!!

    This is not The Greatest Song in the World, no.
    This is just a tribute.
    Couldn’t remember The Greatest Song in the World, no, no.
    This is a tribute, oh, to The Greatest Song in the World,
    All right! It was The Greatest Song in the World,
    All right! It was the best muthafuckin’ song the greatest song in the world.
    \m/ – Tenacious D~!

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