i figured i'd end the year with one last movie, the matinee of munich at the harvard loews theatre. it was a cold morning and the streets were practically empty as i walked to the 11am showing. munich is steven spielberg's "based on real events" take on the 1972 terrorist attack on the 11 israeli athletes at the munch olympics and the aftermath that came later when the state of israel started a secret campaign to find those responsible and assassinate them one by one. spielberg is a master storyteller, and his messages are easy to decipher. in the very first scene, the terrorists, dressed as athletes, are trying to scale a fence, when they're discovered by a group of american athletes. what do the americans do? help them climb the fence of course! which pretty much says it all about american's foreign policy. the first 2/3 of the movie is wall-to-wall suspense, as the assembled hit squad track down their targets and eliminate them. you're not sure who to root for, the guys about to do the killing, or the hapless targets, portrayed as normal people, like a teacher, a family man, or a business man. the final third gets a little convoluted though. eventually the terrorists get wise to the fact that there are people trying to track them down, and they reverse the tables when the hunter start becoming the hunted. from that point, the movie becomes a tale about the business of intelligence and who can you trust. spoiler alert: when the film finally comes to an end, i felt sort of unsatisfied. they end up not getting the number one guy they wanted (although the endnotes reveal that eventually the israelis do kill him) and the man character comes back from his mission shattered, quietly swept under the rug by the same people who sent him out in the first place it seems. end of spoiler alert like all historical fictions, i left the movie wondering if it'd have been more interesting instead watching a documentary about the events; i would've gotten more truths, but i know it wouldn't be nearly as suspenseful as the movie. whule i admire the central theme of the film, whether evil can be fought with evil, and in doing do what's the human cost, i think the message gets lost in the israeli-palestinian dialogue that runs throughout the movie. that subject is so touchy, it's like dancing in a land mine. if the place and time could've been somewhere different, maybe what spielberg is trying to say won't get lost in the noise; but the fact that this is based on actual events perhaps makes the message resonate that much more, provided you can understand what it is.
i heated up some leftover vodka sauce ravioli for a late lunch when i got back from harvard square. an hour later i was in the bathroom having a bad reaction to what i ate. am i lactose intolerant? i feel like if i eat enough diary product, i'll rebuild my tolerance for lactose, but i think the older i get, the less my body will tolerate it. without dairy, how else will i get my vitamin D to build those strong bones?
the only other plan i had for this evening was to have some chinese hot pot at my parents' place. after i had my fill, i got a ride back to cambridge. by then some light snow had already covered the landscape.
new year's eve is the most depressing day of the year. other than my birthday, it's a day that makes me feel a little older, and a time to look back on the year and reflect on my achievements and failures. definitely it was a great year in the fact that i got to do a lot of traveling, seeing a part of the world that probably i never thought i'd visit. even to this day, i've probably only revealed something like 10% of all the stories i have from my 3 months in southeast asia. i definitely have the travel bug now, and whenever i have the money and time in my life, i will definitely take advantage of it and go see more of the world. i'm also glad i was able to score some work in the final months of this year, when i needed it the most, when i had nothing in my bank account, and desperately had to find jobs to pay the bills. i'm still surprised that i wasn't as worried as i should've been, but things always have a way of working out and i don't stress out too much about things i have no control over. alas, all the successes i had in 2005 was marred by one failure, something that i still think about all the time, a loss of somebody close (but perhaps never as close i had hoped). life goes on though, and in the grand scheme of things, we are but mere specks, and the best we can ever hope for is to be happy.