Thursday, December 18

Blatant Blog Post Steal

I stole this from Urbzen. Is is stealing if I admit I stole the idea? Or is it really just like citing? I think I've been spending too much time signing honor codes..stupid finals.

Either way, great blog and particularly great post.

Apparently this is from something called GodTube :

girls are like apples on trees.
the best ones are at the top of the tree.
the boys don’t want to reach for the good ones
because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt.
instead, they just get rotten apples from the ground that arent so good but easy
so the apples at the top think that somethings wrong with them
when in reality they are amazing.
they just have to wait for the right boy to come along
the one who’s brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

URBZEN author Stephanie's comment: "Perhaps I’m just a bitter rotten whore apple, but things sound pretty self-righteous at the top of the tree. "

I'm sad that I think of the response myself.. but she is a writer, and I'm just a part-time blogger. So I'll steal her funny response and pass it along for all to appreciate.

Also, does anyone know what Godtube is? Is it like youtube? Anyone?

Monday, December 15

I hate vague drug commercials

I hate vague drug commercials. You know.. ask your doctor for blah blah blah.. but they don't tell you what the drug is for, or why you desperately need to be telling your physician how to handle medical situations.

You know what I hate even more? Drug commercials that are vague because someone decided vagina in a dirty word.

Almost every woman in the US knows that Monistat treats yeast infections. Do you know where you get yeast infections (most of the time)? Yep, in your vagina.

Yet, the commercial for Monistat never says the word vagina, and makes these amorphous references to its little ampules 'staying in place.' I looked at the drug manufacturer site and it clearly states that Monistat is a vaginal suppository. So why are they so afraid to say that their durg stays nicely inside your vagina? Is vagina a dirty word?

*ps. this rant it not totally random/crazy. I have at least one friend that had to buy monistat in a foreign country, and then didn't know how to use it because the instructions were not in English. Now, this is a common problem when traveling and trying to self-medicate, but in the case of this particular problem it seems silly that they can create such strong brand recognition without ever mentioning the place the medical condition occurs. So she knew that she needed the brand for a yeast infection, but not that it should go in her vagina because the commercials are SO darn vague. Just saying. *

Saturday, December 13

Thanks football for setting us back amost 100 years..

I should be studying, but I decided to take a quick NY times break. Big mistake, because now I'm unbelievably aggravated.

Apparently there are currently around 100 former football players receiving funds due to dementia. The football commissioner has been meeting with former players to determine if there will be more response to this issue, but has decided to ban wives from attending at the request of some former players.

One of the wives, a senior executive at Pfizer, tried to show up to a meeting anyway and was barred entrance. You know why? Some of the players expressed concern to Commissioner Goodell about their ability to express themselves with women present. So, Goodell acceded to their demands because he's worried that some of his big manly ex-players won't feel comfortable sharing in a meeting if women are present.

Eleanor Perfetto, however, points out that the men who are able to attend the meeting and explain their concerns are not those with the most serious needs. Thus, men like husband who require constant help and attention due to dementia are left without advocates.

There is just so much wrong with Goodell's reasoning that I don't know where to start. Is he really concerned that adult men will be uncomfortable sharing their problems and declining physical health because women are present? Presumably many of these same men are married to women, and I would assume that their wives are very much aware of their problems and spend a good deal of time and money helping them as their mental capabilities decline.

Is the stigma of being emotional, or sharing personal details in front of women so strong that these men are willing to harm their fellow players by limiting their access to essential meetings?

I really thought the idea that women are too emotional to have a vote died in the 1920s...

Tuesday, December 9

Waterworld= watery grave for the world

I'm a disaster movie junkie who has never seen Waterworld ..until now! Despite the hectic schedule, I decided to squeeze in a little end of the world madness as a (really long) study break. After 2+ hours with Kevin Costner and co I have decided that Waterworld is actually a darn good disaster movie. Darn all the naysayers, I think it ranks somewhere below Jaws and above The Day After Tomorrow. That's a totally arbitrary ranking by the way.

Anyway, some things I learned from watching Waterworld:

1. There is enough water in the polar ice caps to cover almost the entire planet. Cities will be totally covered, and only a few mountainous areas will remain dry. I was totally believing this whole scenario, until I broke the cardinal rule of disaster movie enjoyment and looked it up. Turns out even if all of the ice melted, most landmass would still be visible. Apparently, when the world is going to end, more water appears.

2. You can somehow recycle your own urine into drinking water without any chemicals or technology. I did not want to know if this was possible, so I did not look it up.

3. Population control will be an issue in a watery world. People will only be able to procreate if someone else dies..and then they will be supportive of child/adult sexual interactions just to keep inbreeding from occurring.

4. People of the future are really stupid. When you find a 'mutant' with really helpful adaptation such as GILLS, you will decide being different is a crime punishable by death. Of course you wont' consider how this mutation might actually make your life way better from an evolutionary perspective. Stupid future people.

5. There will be way more men than women in the future. For no discernible reason. There are also HUGE scary shark-like creatures that you can blow up and eat. I guess if enough time has passed for some humans to develop gills, huge shark things can also happen? I was actually really sad that the huge sharks were only in 1 scene. The movie could have easily devolved into megalodon 6 meets waterplanet..but nooo..they had to maintain some sense of plot and artistic integrity. So sad.

6. Kevin Costner is kind of a jerk, but not nearly as bad as some other disaster movie "heroes" (Charlton Heston, I'm talking to you). He's mildly abusive when he first meets Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn), but at least he turns down her desperate offer of sex due to the weird power dynamic. Not advocating for even mildly abusive characters, but better than smacking around the leading lady because she dares to be slightly upset by mass chaos and death (yes, I am talking to you again Charlton).

Sunday, November 30

Butternut squash 'pie'

Had to use up a butternut squash before it went bad! I didn't want to forget the steps..

1. Pierce the squash and put it in a glass bowl 1/2 filled with water. Microwave until the squash starts to cave in a little.
2. Let cool slightly and then slice and squash into cubes. Discard seeds.
3. Mash squash with a little butter or margarine, stir in a tsp or two of honey, a few cranberries.
4. Stir into a pie pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar & plain cinnamon.
5. Cook at 350 for about 15 minutes covered.

Tuesday, November 25

Deep Blue Sea=Silliest Shark Movie Ever

Ok, not really. I'm sure that there are far sillier shark movies, but Deep Blue Sea is definitely on the list. Maybe even top 5.

More thoughts later on this recently re-watched disaster movie (disaster as in a disaster of a movie, and a movie including disasters). :)

Sunday, November 23

Gift Giving Quandry

It's getting to be that time of year again. I just updated my amazon wishlist, and I've already sneakily reminded quite a few people that anything and everything I want is easy found online.

I just gave my boyfriend an awesome present (he passed the bar! woohoo!), and am semi-relieved that I'm now off the hook for a Chanukah present. I'll probably bake some yummy things, but I don't think I'll be buying anything! That still leaves quite a few people on my list for the holidays. I have a cute little sister expecting a pile, a broke college student brother, plus a few friends scattered across the country.

Since I'm a little type A, I've already started making present lists..but it has also made me think a little about why I give gifts.

I really like giving people presents. Sometimes I can afford big gifts, and sometimes I have to resort to the kindergarten method (Look! I made you something!). I know some gift giving is kind of a consumerist culture induced reaction, but I hope that at least some of my enjoyment is because I'm nice and like when others are happy! I hope!

Anyway, being a poor graduate student has made me re-evaluate my gift giving a little. Maybe I do get too much enjoyment out of picking out things that cost money, just for the sake of giving a present. Instead of finding something unique or perfect, sometimes I give in and just get a DVD. If I'm going to spend so much of my time (school, work) etc. feeling proud of myself for helping others, maybe I need to take a little bit more time to figure out if I'm giving out presents to look nice, or doing it because I am nice.


Friday, November 21

I hope this woman goes to prison

I just finished reading this article in the NYtimes. I've been following the story for a while through various publications, but this is first time I've blogged about the case.

Basically, an adult convinced her teenage employee to help her make a fake myspace account and send hurtful messages to another local teenager (Megan). The woman on trial, Lori Drew, claims that Megan was spreading rumors about her daughter.

Lori Drew could have called Megan's mother to discuss the alleged rumors. She could have stopped by for coffee, or she could have even called the school to report the problem to the principal. Instead, this 40 year old woman decided to lure Megan into saying nasty things about her daughter while pretending to be a teenage boy on myspace.

When that didn't work, she convinced her employee to help her humiliate Megan by having their fictitious boy say horrible things after initiating an online friendship and flirtation. In their last message to Megan, they told her the world would be better off without her.

Megan responding by hanging herself in her closet.

I seriously can not believe this woman. What kind of person enjoys torturing a little girl? Even if Megan had spread rumors, was this the example Lori Drew wanted to set for her daughter? Someone (allegedly) says something mean about you, so you try and make them miserable? As the mother of a teenager herself, Ms. Drew should have been well aware how hard it is to be 13. Raging hormones, social pressure, entering high school, body issues, mental health issues..why add rejection from a boy?

There is so much wrong in the world, and this woman decided her time was best spent humiliating depressed 13-year old girls. I hope she's convicted of fraud (due to the fake myspace account) and serves time in prison.

Wednesday, November 19

Wikipedia is part of the liberal elite media?

Did anyone else know this existed?? Apparently there are a select (dare I say rabid?) few who believe that Wikipedia is polluting the minds of American citizens with liberal & biased information. The solution? Something called the Conservapedia.

I found the link on feministing and decided I could go for some time wasting instead of homework. So I followed the link and poked around on the site. After just a few minutes, I decided that an aneurysm or shock induced heart attack would probably hinder my ability to complete graduate school. Of course, instead of actually going back to my work, I decided to blog about my encounter.

I can't decide if I highly recommend that you check out their site, or strongly caution anyone remotely interested in real dialogue against a visit. Call me crazy, but isn't Wikipedia the exact opposite of liberal and biased? The whole idea of a wiki is that everyone (regardless of political persuasion or interest) can edit the information, as long as it is credible and 'backed up' by citation. If the people at Conservapedia believe that their sources could stand up to peer review why not post their information to Wikipedia?

Instead of providing us with a more nuanced view of complicated issues, they basically attempt to scare people straight (pun intended). Examples:

1. *Abortion causes breast cancer.
2. Homosexuals want to take over, and make everyone else gay. If this were to happen, procreation in America would halt and our enemies could attack us & win. (I wish I were making this up..)
3. Dinosaurs are only "GENERALLY considered to be extinct." I knew it! All of those raptor nightmares are actually premonitions of events to come. I better stock up on rocket launchers..
4. Oh, people and Dinosaurs also co-existed.
Any measurements that prove otherwise (carbon dating shmarbon dating) are part of the liberal elite anti-religious plot.
5. Israel is perfect and all Muslims are bad. Now generally speaking, I'm pro-Israel. But I'm also realistic and recognize that no young democracy is without faults. I am also passionately against making gross generalizations against an entire religion. So yeah, the Conservapedia people have some nice info about the founding of Israel but that doesn't make it any more unbiased than the supposedly liberally controlled Wikipeida.

Ironically enough, I was semi-convinced last summer that the Wikipedia founders had an agenda and trolled for liberal pages to delete. Apparently I page I wrote did not have enough outside sources. This is true, but understandable given that the info had only been online for about 10 hours (8 of which were in the middle of the night) and I was ready to cite away as soon as I got up in the morning & had some coffee. By the time I got to the computer, the page had already been flagged and removed. The page that was flagged and deleted in seemingly record time was about a pro-choice organization..hence my Wiki paranoia.

Apparently, I had it all wrong. Wikipeida is actually trying to promote homosexuality, abortion and pornography by allowing open access to information and instituting rigorous research and citation requirements for all of its pages. Yikes!

* If you're concerned..check out what the National Cancer Institute has to say. Basically, some early studies that showed the possible link were seriously flawed (small sample size, case control instead of cohort etc. I'm getting all public health school geeky here with the explanation, so check out their info ) and all of the new, well-designed studies have found no link.

Monday, November 17

My love affair: Ultraviolet

I think I might be in love. Sadly, this love is going to be a brief yet torrid affair. I'm on episode 5 of 6 of Ultraviolet, and it is fabulous!

This Ultraviolet is not to be confused with the Milla Jovovich movie of the same name. That movie is also in my Q, but under the 'crappy fun' list. Ultraviolet may be about vampires, but it's not campy. It's also British, which makes everything better. Anyway, it is listed on the DVD cover as a mini-series, but I think it's actually a regular television show that was canceled after a short season. I think this means my love affair is going to be abruptly truncated and unsatisfying, but I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!

So far I have learned that:
1. Vampires make a really satisfying boom noise and minor explosion when staked, set on fire etc.

2. British vampires are far less frightening than other vampires. They don't look yucky and their fangs aren't scary. Although they still have bad teeth. Being a member of the undead apparently does not fix general cosmetic issues.

3. People food makes vampires sick. But if they throw it up (which they'll always do loudly in the bathroom), you can kiss them right after and not notice. Ew.

4. Charlaine Harris probably saw this mini-series and then forgot to list it as inspirational material. Synthetic blood eh?

Monday, November 10


Thank you Supernova! You did not let me down! You were tacky, had plot holes the size of the planet, included several gratuitous explosions, and your sex scenes were anything but tasteful.

I won't ruin the plot (or what little there is of one..) with details, but I will make a list. So, some things I learned from Supernova:

1. James Spader used to be kind of hot. Hot enough that Angela Bassett would actually consent to have sex with his character. Kudos to space for being the great equalizer in terms of an interracial couple getting it on on-screen...but really, James Spader?

2. In the future we will have warp drives and will be able to jump through space..but nobody is smart enough to figure out how to involve clothing in this process. Yep, everytime you go into warp speed or whatever all of your crew has to strip down to their skivvies and jump into clear booths. Apparently frosted glass would also interfere with the space travel.

3. Have sex with more than 1 man? You're toast. Silly Robin Tunney. Clearly you did not read the disaster movie survival handbook. Having sex is bad enough..having sex with the bad guy & having sex with your boyfriend*? Recipe for a painful death.

4. The guy who wrote Supernova definitely watched Alien/s a few too many times.
Strong female character w/baggage? Check.
Relationship between 2 minor characters=death? Check
Doomed captain? Check
Blowing the evil alien thing out of the spaceship? Check
Half-naked space travel? Check
....and the list goes on! really Supernova is kind of like an homage to Alien, with less chest-bursting and way crappier acting. Basically, my favorite type of disaster movie!

*It would be really easy to start ranting about the concept of purity and disaster movies..but I will try and refrain because it warrants much more than a few snarky lines. But really, as much as I make fun of characters who break the 'rules,' you have to think about who codified these ideas that the women characters who defy our expectations of sexual purity are punished by death/terror etc.

Friday, November 7


I'm on yelp now. I'm so glad I find ways to make sure that I am never going to get any work done in grad school. Check it out's neat if you like food, blogging, or list making of any kind!

Thursday, November 6

More thoughts on Nie..

I think I might have zoned out for a few minutes in class today because I realized I was thinking about Stephanie (Nie) and her family instead of listening to the lecturer (oops!). I'm not sure why this has been on my mind so much lately. I don't know Stephanie or her family, and I did not start reading her blog until after it made national news. I've already posted once about the situation..and other than the fact that it's a real-life disaster & tragedy, it has very little to do with my normal blogging interests.

Today I was thinking about something that I read on the recovery blog, updated by Stephanie's sister and fellow blogger Courtney of cjane. So far there has been very little discussion about what Stephanie will look like once she recovers. At first it didn't matter, they were not sure that she was going to live, so why dwell on superficial considerations? Now that the doctors say she is 'out of the woods,' Courtney wrote that Stephanie is still so lovely (covered in bandages and healing from burns and skin grafts). I have loved reading Stephanie's blog and looking at her beautiful pictures and I can't help but wonder what she will looks like once the bandages are removed.

I am sure that she will be grateful to be alive, and so grateful that her beloved Christian is also recovering so well. With such a large and loving family, I am sure that no matter how she looks during and after her recovery she will be happy. As an outsider though, it hurts me a little to think that Stephanie may not look the same physically because everything in her life was so beautiful (including her face).

I can't imagine what that must be like..and I'm sure that Stephanie is a far better and less vain person than I am. But I am going to hope and maybe even try to pray that she will still feel beautiful. Even if she's too good to think about that for herself, I think that someone needs to hope that she's able to be comfortable with her own appearance. I think it's OK to be a little vain, and I think that Stephanie is someone who appreciates beauty. She may feel like there is no place for self-pity after surviving the crash, so I'm going to feel a little bit for her and hope that she recovers physical function and still feels beautiful.


Phallic ship? CHECK
Stock footage of space? CHECK
Creepy robot voice? CHECK
Sex in opening sequence? CHECK

Oh yes. I think Supernova is going to be fun...

Wednesday, November 5

Dino Man Dies..

I could not think of a good title for this post! I tried..but I have been studying for my biostats quiz and I think my brain has turned to mush.

Anyway,I read this morning that Michael Crichton just died. Apparently he had cancer and his family kept everything quiet until his death.

So, why am I posting about some guy who created ER? Well, Michael Crichton also wrote Jurassic Park & The Lost World, The Andromeda Strain, and Twister. He also wrote and directed a few other things, but I only decided to include my favorites.

I read Jurassic Park for the first time in 5th grade. It gave me nightmares..recurring nightmares actually, that I still have to this day (stupid raptors). Anyway, despite being mildly traumatized by the graphic deaths, I was also totally hooked. I have read almost every single one of Michael Crichton's books, including most of the ones he wrote under a pen name. Jurassic Park is still my favorite. I'm still convinced that the book is actually a brilliant way to clone dinosaurs. Maybe that's why I also like amber..

Anyway, I think it's safe to say that JP started the minor obsession with all things doom & gloom. Michael Crichton always had an impressive body count in his books (I think it's 9+ in JP), came up with creative ways that the world might end and also wrote my favorite disaster movie of all time (Twister).

I think Michael Crichton was probably a little nuts, but he did teach me that you can't go wrong with rampaging dinosaurs, creepy killer cosmic bacteria, and tornados.

My blog says thank you & you'll be missed!

Election 08

I don't really have time to write (lots of biostats studying to do)..but I am so excited about the election. They are saying that 14 million more people voted in this election than in the last! While I'm obviously thrilled with the outcome, I'm also really excited that so many people actually took the time to vote. I was really lucky and did not have to wait at all at the polls, but kudos to everyone who had to stand in really long lines...

There is so much that could be still looks likely that gay marriage will be banned in CA which in my mind is a huge human rights violation. On the other hand, voters in S.Dakota rejected measures that would have been so dangerous and damaging for women. So much to ponder!

Tuesday, October 28

Up next: Supernova

I am going to watch Supernova as soon as I have a spare second. I added it to my Q after reading that there is a tasteful sex scene in a zero gravity chamber.

Somehow I doubt that any sexual intercourse that takes place in any type of chamber in space is tasteful. Which makes me hopeful that the rest of the movie will be equally ridiculous. I'm guessing that this is something like Aliens meets The Core with a 1/4 of the budget. Awesome.

Monday, October 27

And I thought Christian Bale only used the sexy gruff voice as Batman

Reign of Fire definitely makes the cut. Disaster, carnage, and A-listers in it for the cash. Although, to be fair I think both Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey went into this thinking it was going to be high quality sci-fi. I'm not sure how they got this impression after reading a script that invovles dragons coming out from underneath the earth and burning the world to ash..but hey, I'm a fan. I also like that it's set in Britian since I'm a sucker for cute accents. I also really appreciate that there aren't too many Scots involved thus far..cute sounding, but totally unintelligable (to me!).

Anyway, the great thing about Reign of Fire (so far) is that they put a lot of money into this movie. The dragons look pretty good and they've kept the up close shots to a minimum. Also, there doesn't seem to be any stock footage of kimono dragons or crocodiles that's always a good sign. Unfortunantely, Mathew McConaughey has the worst haircut I have ever seen. Actually, I'm not sure I'd call bald with a gross beard a haircut, but I'm not a fan. I am also not a fan of Mathew's tactics or his attempt at the gruff sexy voice. Christian Bale does it way better..and he is still kind of sexy even with the dirt and bad hair.

Also, wouldn't it make more sense to have short hair? What with all the flames shooting everywhere, wouldn't you want less flammable material attached to your body?

So, here are some things I have learned:

1. Dragons exist, they eat ash and are all female. Except for one 'stud' dragon who impregnates the rest. Apparently, dragons can exist but they can't reproduce asexually or something more interesting. Still need a male to get things done..

2. Americans are still rude, pushy and totally unwilling to negotiate in 2020. Great. So proud.

3. Being the best friend of the hero is a recipe for disaster. The hero has to survive..but how can he be tortured & (extra) melancholy if you don't die horribly at some point before the end? Sorry Gerard Butler. That's what you get for being the bf.

4. Dragons know the rules! A few teenagers get eaten (they're fair game anyway)..but all the little kids survive. Thanks for playing fair.

5. Dragons are not like serial killers. It was hard to take down the big scary male dragon..but once down, there was no popping back up for one last kill or flash of fire. Hm. Maybe the movie would have been better if the dragon ate Matthew M after it was already down on the ground. Then maybe I would have cared a little more.

Thursday, October 23

Nie Dialogues

I read a few blogs pretty regularly, mostly about cooking. Actually, they're all about cooking which is kind of funny since my blog rarely includes recipes. Anyway, a few weeks ago one of my regular reads included a link to a recovery blog for a a young husband and wife who had been badly burned in a plane crash. I don't usually bother to follow links, but the story sounded really sad and I wanted to see how they were doing. I won't give you all the details (you can find them here), but it's a very sad story with not much of a happy ending in site.

Now I find myself checking the Nie recovery blog pretty regularly. I've even gone back to Nie's (Stephanie) original blog and read a lot of her archived posts. I love reading her blog..even though I have almost nothing in common with Stephanie. She's only a few years older than I am, but she's Mormon, married, and the mother of four young children. She's head over heels in love with her husband, and several of her posts reference how she likes to make him take his shirt off while he works so she can watch. I may occasionally cringe at her approach to feminism and family (she's teaching her girls to suffer for fashion), but I have found myself reading old posts well into the night because it's fun to see how much this totally stunning woman loves her life and family.

Now Stephanie has burns over 80% of her body and is fighting for her life. She'll probably never look the same and both she and Mr. Nielson have years of surgery, pain and medical bills in their future. While all of this is's not something I would usually blog about. I decided to write a post,however, after reading some of the comments people left on other blogs and new articles about the fundraisers and money going towards the family. Several people had to the gall to write that people should not bother to send money because they are Mormon and Mormons are all rich. Other people wrote that it was silly to help this couple because they clearly have insurance, or because were hurt while in a private plane, and anyone in a private plan has enough money for medical bills. When I read these comments I wanted to cry. I'm sure Stephanie and Christian have insurance, and it looks as though they're comfortable if not well off. I doubt, however, that they just happened to save the $5 million or so dollars they are likely to need (according to the NY times article) during the next few years after their insurance stops paying for additional surgeries and therapy.

But that's not really the point. Does it really matter that they have insurance? Or that they are Mormon and might or might not have families with money? Of course there are people out there without insurance who need our help. Many of them are not young or beautiful. That does not make it wrong to want to help this family, or any less meaningful. Somehow I doubt that all the people who wrote horrible things about the Nielsens are out their helping those they feel are more deserving of their time and energy. It makes me sad that there are people in this country who see this kind of tragedy and take the time to shame others for offering their support. I guess I shouldn't be surprised..these are probably the same people who think Obama is a terrorist and that the Jews are actually trying to rule the world.

I'm pretty sure Stephanie would be scandalized by my liberal politics and work experience. Heck, she might even want to pray for my soul since I'm a non-believer (in Jesus)..but I'm going to send her a note and donate to her recovery fund anyway. I think she would do the same for someone she read about, because I think she would be equally ashamed that so many people would take time out of their day to be hurtful instead of acknowledging someone else's suffering as worth their time.

Saturday, October 18

Descent was too yicky! And yes, that's the technical term..

I tried watching The Descent. It was too scary. I like my disaster movies kind of like my men, big, fast and kind of dumb. Ok, kidding about the men part, but serious about the movie part. I don't like disaster or animal attack movies that are gory. I know this seems totally at odds with my love of high body counts, but I prefer either totally tacky (Piranha comes to mind) or large-scale (Poseidon). Sometimes I can put up with scary music and dripping blood, but only in the interest of really getting breadth and depth in my disaster movie watching. Exaple: Alien. Lots of blood and gross things popping out of chests. I endured and even enjoyed because it is a classic. The Descent was really more like a horror movie that happened to include creatures. Yick.

Friday, October 17

Crocodile carnage!

I'm swamped with work and should not be blogging, but I couldn't resist writing down a few thoughts after watching Lake Placid again recently. What can I say, I'm a sucker for crocodile carnage.

I've seen this movie a few times now and it only gets funnier each time.
So here is the things I have learned from Lake Placid:

1. Having at least one current/former A-list actor is key to a truly awesome movie. LP's A lister? Bill Pullman! How he went from being the strong yet sensitive president who saves the world (Independence Day..obviously) to killing a crocodile with Z* listers is beyond me. But I appreciate his willingness to make a crap movie for my enjoyment. He's pretty much the only one who can act**, and it makes the movie JUST believable enough to be really fun.

2. Old ladies get the best lines. I was amused by Cloris Leachman in LP2, but Betty White totally takes the cake as her deranged sister in the first installment. I love her deadpan reaction to everything and her total hatred of all of the people who want to kill her pet crocodile. She swears like a sailor and looks totally calm and collected while spewing vitriol and hate. Way better than the over the top performance turned in by Cloris..

3. "Oh shit" is the best expletive you can think of when your love interest is about to get eaten by a huge 30 foot crocodile. Really Bill? That's the best you could do?

4. Paleontologists who hate nature also have secret crocodile hunting skills. It's must be all the practice they get staring at dusty bone fragments. Toughens them right up!

Oh, and Crocodiles are like serial killers (see previous post). Thank you LP for following the rules.

*Sorry Oliver Platt. I know you're famous..but you are a Z lister because everybody recognizes your face and nobody knows your name. I had to IMDB you just to figure out why you looked so darn familiar.

**Sorry again Oliver. You were good too. Bill was just better, and cuter, and he gets the girl. Sorry.

Thursday, October 9

Yeah I'm entitled.. so what? Wanna leave me a note?

The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the word entitlement. I'm pretty sure it started when my roommates and I came back to our apartment after a long day of school/work and found a note taped to our door. It said something like:

"Please get your SHIT out of the hallway. Despite what you may be used to, nobody HERE is going to pick it up for you" (original emphasis).

I was annoyed by this note for several reasons. First of all, whoever left the note on our door used packing tape. When we tried to pull it off, it yanked off a large swatch of paint. Anyone who has ever had a landlord knows that if something has to be repainted, it is going to cost you money (good-bye security deposit). So that was annoying. Second, the 'shit' in the hallway was a lot of empty moving boxes. Unfortunately, we live right near an elevator and these were not our moving boxes- we were just the convenient dumping area. All three of us had moved in almost a month ago and were good little tenants and either broke our boxes down for recycling or saved them in the closets. And lastly, I was unbelievably aggravated by the assumption that we would be so rude as to leave lots of cardboard stacked in a public area. If we were new and confused about the rules of the building, why wouldn't you leave a nice note explaining that the maintenance guy Brian would not clean move-in related items? Or, maybe we had all come down with the flu right after moving in. Why assume that we were entitled brats who were refusing to move our garbage?

I was reminded of this story today after my friend A shared a similar rude-note situation. She double parked her car in the garage at school yesterday, and came back to find a note taped to her window. Apparently someone was very offended that she dared to take up two parking spots and wanted her to know that "just because [she] went to Princeton does not mean [she] can take up two spaces." While I have to applaud this note-leaver for their lack of profanity.. I think this kind of behavior is totally unwarranted. Why would you ever look at a double-parked car, look at where someone went to school and assume they are acting out of a sense of entitlement? It's not like A had a sign on her car that said "I'm rich, snobby and Ivy educated. I feel like taking up two spots." Anyone who knows A actually knows that she is not rich, is not snobby and is Ivy educated because she's damn smart and got a scholarship. She also had to double-park her car because she's in a wheelchair and there were not any more handicap spots available. She literally can't get out of her car and into her chair without a little clearance. I'm sure whoever left the note would be mortified if they realized this.. but they would be embarassed for the wrong reasons. They would be thinking about how they were rude to someone in a wheelchair, and totally miss the fact that they were simply rude to another person becaues of their own assumptions about class education and entitlement.

I know that I'm entitled. My parents are lawyers, I had enough money growing up for well beyond the essentials, and I recognize that being white has afforded me chances I don't deserve more than any other person. But I am also cognizant of all of these things and do my best to be self-aware. So next time I have to leave a note on someone's car or door.. it's going to say something nice.

Tuesday, October 7

Everything I learned, I learned from a petty officer

Oh John McCain. The economy is failing, women's rights are slowly being eroded, the US has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the industrialized world, and we are losing a war we never should have entered...and your words of wisdom?

"Everything I learned, I learned from a petty officer."

I kind of wish that you had learned everything from a wise family matriarch, or from the people you are supposed to represent.

Monday, October 6

Grad school is interefering with my blogging..

I have been a bad blogger lately..but I am going to try and watch at least 1 of my new DVDs this week or weekend. Next up:

The Descent

Thursday, October 2

VP Debate

By far the best moment of the debate..when Sarah Palin criticized other countries for having policies that hurt women. Alanis Morisette is now playing on repeat in my head.

2nd favorite moment? When Sarah Palin said average six-pack joe on national television. Apparently most Americans are alcoholics.

3rd favorite moment? Joe Biden definitely said Boskians. Oops.

Wednesday, October 1

Inspired by Omnivore's D!

"Here's a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don't worry if you haven't, mind you; neither have I, though I'll be sure to work on it. Don't worry if you don't recognize everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here's what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results."

The VGT Omnivore's Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (I'd try to stomach a bite, but I don't know that I could do it…)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolat
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

At this point I refuse to cross out any foods. Mostly because I need to look up a few items and figure out if I have actually ingested them, and if not, if I will in the future. As soon as I figure it out, I'll be sure to post an updated list.

Monday, September 29

A Boy and His Dog get knocked off the list..

I'm not sure I can explain how much I detested this movie. Someday ranked it on a "Best Disaster Movies" list and I added it to my Q without reading the description. When it arrived I read the little blurb and was wary, but decided that it was worth a watch. After sitting through all 90 minutes of the movie, I kind of wish I could somehow rinse my eyes out with soap.

The movie begins innocently enough; Vick is a kind of oafish protagonist but has a clearly loving relationship with his talking telepathic dog (it's Sci Fi.. don't judge). I didn't start to get nervous until I realized that the beeping noise meant that the dog was searching for women. Yep, the talking telepathic dog's real talent is using his weird power to find women for Vick to ravage. In return, Vick finds the dog food. I almost turned the movie off when Vick finds a woman who has been attacked by marauders. She's obviously been raped and beaten to death. His reaction is to lament that they killed her so soon, because she could have been used a few more times.

It's not worth describing the rest of the movie, but it turns out that a weird community of survivors is living underground and they send a young woman up to seduce Vick and bring him back. After having what is probably his first consensual sexual acts with her, he leaves his partner and friend (the dog) to go underground after her.

Turns out the girl is kind of evil and was sent to the surface specifically to get Vick underground. Her weird totalitarian gov't hooks him up to a machine and tries to impregnate as many young women as possible. Their explanation for this assault..something akin to hybrid vigor. Eventually Vick escapes, and then kills the girl and feeds her to the starving dog because she dared to be conniving and have personal autonomy. Not that I'm advocating using seduction to entrap men and then forcible ejaculation, but I also do not think that cannibalism is the answer. Apparently being a loyal friend to your talking canine companion totally negates your forcible sexual assault of women, total disregard for human life and general lack of intelligence or compassion.

Thanks A Boy and His Dog.. now if the world ends I know that women will be conniving and useless, and I can expect all men to be more attached to their pets than to other human beings.

Wednesday, September 24

A response to: Missouri abortion-rights group changes name

Faith Aloud, formerly MORCRC was mentioned in the St. Louis post dispatch political blog today. As a former employee of MORCRC I received info about the article and visited the site to read Jo Mannies had to say. While I'm not sure the title is entirely accurate (I think reproductive justice is more in line with the mission), the article itself is short & relatively informative. I was really upset,however, by some of the angry & judgemental comments left by readers. I decided to post a response in the comments after reading things like:

"I always find it sadly laughable that pro-baby killing groups use the words "human rights" in their creed. I also find it hard to believe that these "religous" [sic] organizations believe that God would support the killing of a baby, or that God does not believe that they are, indeed, human beings in the womb."

I wrote:
First of all, congrats to MORCRC for recognizing the changing needs of our community and advocating for women & families from a spiritual and religious perspective! I know that Faith Aloud is going to do amazing things! As a graduate student in public health, I can't emphasize enough the need for a COMPREHENSIVE approach to sexuality and healthy living. It is not just about abortion; it is about stewardship of the planet, good family dynamics, healthy people (mentally healthy too!) and healthy children.

From a personal standpoint I am also really put off by a lot of the comments left by people claiming that America is a Christian nation. As someone of another religious persuasion, I do not feel any less American or faithful/spiritual because I am Jewish. Our country was founded with ideals of religious freedom, and advocating for policy based upon any particular faith is disenfranchising and disrespectful.

Tuesday, September 23

Oh Jack Lemmon. If I panic, will you grip my face?

I was heartened by the snappy dialogue at the beginning of Airport 1977; Jack Lemmon and his lady friend (Eve) discussed their marriage prospects and he declared that he wanted a wife and children, and not necessarily in that order. How modern and risque Jack!
Sadly, at 50 minutes into the movie (and about 5 minutes post plane crash) Jack is now gripping Eve's face and is likely to slap her out of her panic. Of course Jack is totally calm despite the fact that the plane has crashed into the ocean and is sinking..and must chastise Eva into being helpful.

Things I've learned:

1. If you are in love with a blind piano player, he will really appreciate your earring as a token of affection. He will also die in your arms despite lacking any visible injuries.

2. There might be enough pressure to slowly crack the plane in half, but you'll be able to free dive (well, free swim up) to the surface without any real scuba gear. Also, despite known risks of swimming straight up from deep under, you will be perfectly fine once you're out of the water. Especially when you are needed by your passengers, dammit!

3. The Navy will be really excited to help raise the boat full of people from the bottom of the ocean. They'll be able to use big balloons and float it right to the top!

4. A lot of people will die, but nobody will really care because the important people will all survive. Also, children do not die in disasters. They may be gravely ill, but they survive (thank you Airplane for following the rules..Piranha, take note!)

Airport 1977: I kid you not

For now I'd just like to type the tagline found on the back of the box:

"A 747 is trapped underwater in the Bermuda triangle. It's a race against time and the elements to save the passengers and crew"

Thank god for people dumb enough to greenlight a movie with this premise. We have the Bermuda triangle, a plane crash and some sort of terrorism all mixed into one movie. Awesome.

Saturday, September 20

Is Alien the exception to the rule?

Anyone who watches movies knows that several things are almost always true:

1)If it's based on a book, 9 time out of 10 the book is better.
2)Sequels are usually bad.. sometimes funny bad, but almost always bad. There is the occasional exception (thank you Godfather II fans), but generally speaking the higher the number (II, III, etc) the worse the movie is going to be.

I think I might have found the exception to the rule with Alien vs Aliens. Maybe because I watched them out of order (by accident!) I subconsciously found myself favoring Aliens, but however it happened I think I actually liked a sequel more than an original.

Not that Alien was bad- far from it- I just think that Aliens was better. In Alien we meet Sigourney Weaver's character, Ripley, and see the first installment of human vs alien. Although humans technically win the encounter, I kind of found myself annoyed by a lot of the crew members. I do have to admit that the first time one of those things bursts out of a chest it's both unbelievebly gross and pretty darn interesting, but this does not make up for the fact that the begining of the movie is rather slow. Maybe I'm showing my propensity for crass disaster movies.. but I was not all that enthralled by the ode to 2001 (lack of dialogue, slow start). Once the action gets going there are some pretty horrific death scenes, but I never found myself as scared or interested in the outcome as I did in Aliens. I did think it was interesting that there is an entire thread on imdb discussing whether an alien sexually assaults Lambert..but only becaue I found people's preoccupation with the idea kind of appalling. I don't think that the scene is question is meant to depict a sexual assault, I think it's just Lambert crying out as an alien scares her, slithers up her leg and then murders her. Do we really need to make murder somehow even worse?

Anyway, som things I learned from Alien:

1. Space food is gross. If you complain about it a lot maybe you'll put off imminent death..or maybe you'll just be lucky enough to die at the table!

2. I think that Dallas and Lambert might have been engaging in a torrid space affair. Maybe they snuck into those little space sleepers together. Anyway, based upon Lambert's totally hysterical reaction to Dallas's death I think they broke the sex rule and paid with their lives.

3. Aliens need oxygen to breathe just like we do! Thus sending them out into space is a surefire way to kill them despite knowing absolutely nothing about their anatomy or physiology.

4. Acid will drip through several stories of metal in a spaceship, but will conveniently stop right before puncturing the hull or injuring any of your crew members.

Saturday, September 6

Piranha might be too much for my paranoia

I know that my blogging has been rather inconsistent lately, but I just started graduate school and am still trying to figure out how to balance schoolwork with having a life. I only took a year off between undergraduate and starting this program but I seem to have lost all of my studying skills in the interim!
Anyway, I ended up home relatively early after a fun evening out and decided to catch up on blogging while watching my newest rental: Piranha. Thanks to Jaws I now only go knee deep in the ocean, and I'm a little worried that my snorkeling days (OK, day..I've been once!) are over if I watch this movie. As a compromise I decided to watch the movie using the tiniest view screen possible so the scary fish won't bother me as much.

Body count within the first 10 minutes: 2.
Taking off your clothing and skinny dipping in the dark=death. Obviously.

Also, I'm all for trying to find missing teenagers but why would you drain a pond full of water in a creepy lab? Don't you think that maybe all that weird murky water is hiding something scary and possibly man-eating? Now all the piranha's have escaped into the river and are going to eat at least 6-10 more people. I'm guessing that drunk guy's daughter and her buddies at camp are in danger since they have already needlessly pointed out that she's afraid of water. I'm assuming that at least a few kids will get attacked, but somehow I doubt they'll kill off tiny children.

30 minutes in, other old drunk guy gets his feet eaten and dies a few feet from his dock. Lesson learned: do not dunk your feet into murky water, especially if your dog is barking furiously at the water. Doesn't anyone learn their water safety lessons from Jaws? All scary people eating water creatures like eating dogs. First they go for Fido, then they go for you.

Tuesday, August 26

Aliens isn't scary..yet!

I'm about a half hour into Aliens! So far, so good! I don't know what I was expecting, but it's definitely way better than most of the other awful sequels I've been watching lately (not that I'm surprised!).

So far we've only seen a little bit of an alien, but Ripley's nightmares make it clear that they are really gross when they pop out of people's chests. It looks like some colonists discovered the remains of the old alien ship (from movie 1) and are all either dead or infected. I think it's interesting that colonization strategy used here is also found in Firefly/Serenity. It seems that terraforming colonists get the short end of the stick in every movie and tv show. They get dumped on hostile planets and are practically abandoned to death and disease by the large corporations that fund their work. Sounds a lot like miners....hmm...

Anyway, it's now over an hour into the movie and I've now seen lots of dead people dripping in some kind of alien excretion (their words, not mine), a few aliens, and at least one person burned alive. I'm not sure how many Marines died in the last scene since there was a lot of blood and smoke, but the body count is pretty high. Bill Paxton is still alive, but he's kind of a dumb hick in this movie. He's also really whiny, and I think I wish he was being cocooned along with the other unfortunate Marines.

Some things I have learned:

1. Bill Paxton plays a super irritating Marine.

2. A small girl is able to survive in the air vents in the colony, but no one else is able to find a good hiding spot in the whole area.

3. Even if you have been encased in alien gook for 3+ weeks, you will still be alive and able to die horribly in front of the Marines. Who needs food or water when you're suspended mid-air anyway?

4. The aliens attack mostly at night..on a planet that is always dark. Hm. Doesn't that mean it's always night? Clearly the aliens know how to tell time.

Up Next: Aliens

James Cameron has a history of being pretty darn feminist. Not as awesome as Joss Whedon perhaps, but definitely all for women being powerful etc. I'm looking forward to Aliens, although apparently I'm watching the movies out of order. I didn't realize that Alien is the first, and Aliens (one measly letter different) is the second. Oh well!

Sunday, August 24

LP2 continues

Well, LP2 has taught us another valuable lesson. If you're a chauvinist pig, the crocodile will eat you. Just as you are demonstrating your boy scout rope-tying knowledge and impressing the little lady, you will die. First the crocodile will bite off your arm, and you will do a Wendy Adams (think the fight scene in Adams Family with the spurting blood), and then you will be dragged below the surface of the lake still screaming.

Also, the teenagers just broke the essential do not separate rule, and will most likely suffer the consequences. I'm pretty sure that the sheriff's son will make it out alive, and maybe even the blonde girl who looks like she's 18 going on 40. The hick beer guzzling guy is toast, as is the nude sunbathing girl. I think that blondie's irritating boyfriend (Thad) is also a goner, or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Ha, 46 minutes into the movie and the nude sunbather is dead, and the annoying boyfriend just delivered the worst one liner of the movie and was then eaten by the croc. I might have misjudged, and maybe beer guzzler is the dark horse survivor of the movie. Thanks to recently deceased Thad, we also know that the crocodile is reproducing, which means that it's more than likely that the one Amad just killed has a much larger and angrier partner hiding in the lake. Silly Sheriff and company forgot the large animals are just like serial killers rule....


Should have gone with my gut feeling. Stupid hick guy just got eaten, and tada.. there are actually 3 crocodiles. 1 dead, 2 still alive and terrorizing the teenagers.

Body count stands at 11 (including the guy who broke his neck while running in sheer terror). I'm betting that the final count will reach 13 and then the survivors will happily pair off.

Lake Placid 2

I saw the cover for Lake Placid 2 a few weeks ago in Blockbuster and have just not had enough time lately to sit down and watch/blog. With moving, going on the cruise (!) and going up to New York the blogging has fallen by the wayside. Anyway, I have a free afternoon and am looking forward to what promises to be a really awful movie.

In the first movie Betty White (of golden girls fame) was the crazy old lady, and Lake Placid 2 has gone a step further with Cloris Leachman!

At 15 minutes into the movie, the body count is already at 4 which is a good sign. One super stupid EPA guy, 2 naked girls, and 1 naked guy have all been eaten. I appreciate that LP2 is following the rules (sex=death etc) and am excited that the sheriff's son and his new friends are about to go on a camping trip to a remote part of the lake. I'm thus far mildly impressed by the croc graphics, mainly because they've been smart enough to only show it in snippets and it just ate a boat and didn't look totally fake or stupid.

Monday, August 18

I've been a bad blogger!

In the last few weeks I've moved half-way across the country, taken a vacation (my first cruise) and driven back and forth to my home town at least twice for family stuff. I didn't have internet during the moving or vacation parts of August, but I am going to start writing again this week. Just as soon as I figure out where I put my blockbuster movies...

Tuesday, July 29

Vampire & Doctor

The tagline for this post should be something like: why I am going to see Twilight as soon as it hits theaters!

For those of you unfamiliar with the trilogy written by Stephanie Meyers, Twilight is the first in a series that follows a love story between a girl, Bella, and a vampire,Edward. I have already professed my unabashed love and admiration for Buffy many times, so it should come as no surprise that I made a mad dash for these books when I saw them in the library. I won't spoil any of the plot lines or interesting bits for those of you who want to read/watch..but I will note that the doctor, Dr. Cullen, in the story is one of the most interesting characters.

I think I find Dr. Cullen interesting because he is a vampire (with all the vampiric urges..blood lust etc), but he spends his days saving humans and resisting this innate urge to do harm. I'm not sure what the author wanted to show with this character, but this type of struggle somehow brings to mind pedophilia and other socially unacceptable sexual interests. Actually, knowing that Stephanie Meyers is Mormom, I'm sure she'd be horrified that I just compared one of her character to a pedophile, but for me there is a connection. Pedophilia harms others and some law enforcement and health professionals believe that it is not something that can be controlled or changed with medicine and or therapy. This has led to convicted pedophiles serving their jail sentences, and then being remanded to mental institutions/hospitals for the public good. While I am not advocating for a certain correctional approach, I think that Twilight is asking some big questions about the essentialness (is that a word!?) of human nature and our ability to control urges.

Dr. Cullen is a sympathetic character in the book..despite the fact that some part of him, no matter how suppressed, is attracted to human blood. I wonder if he would be so likable if he was interested in small children? By making him a monster somehow his perversions are interesting and he maintains his status as a hero of the book. I've already pre-ordered the fourth book, so I'm certainly not complaining, but definitely worth giving a little more thought!

Why am I attracted to flowery blogger templates?

I have changed my blogger template three or four times in the last few weeks. At first I used one of the standard ones offered by google, and then I began to branch out into the world of download-able templates and custom tweaking.

I have noticed a pattern in my template choices. I try to stay away from really dark colors, and I like graphic designs that incorporate a lot of swirls or intricate shapes. I also like flowers. Does this mean that I'm buying in to all the gendered ideas about femininity? Or do I just really like flowers? Is there any way to know?

In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure it matters if I use flowers or swirly patterns in the background because I write this blog for fun. I noticed an article the other day though that said that although there are tons of women blogging, their blogs are often not taken as seriously as those written by men. I know that my blog is not really on the radar in terms of social commentary, but I wonder if my critiques are somehow blunted by the perceived expression of femininity.

Sunday, July 27

White Squall= :(

Well, the ship sunk. The captain's wife, Alice, died as did one of the crew members. I'm all for destruction, but that was sad. The movie did not follow the rules (the guy who had sex survived), and this was more about the teenage angst than the disaster.

I'm going back to B-movies for a while..

White Squall

Enough with the teenage angst..where is the shipwreck?? I have been watching this movie for an hour already and so far 0 ships have sunk.

If I wanted a teenage drama I would have rented The Outsiders. I rented White Squall because it sounded promising...kind of the Perfect Storm but withfamous actors when they were teenagers.
So far I am STILL waiting for the disaster part.

Tuesday, July 22

Thinking about the last few disaster movies..

I've been thinking about the last few disaster movies I've watched. I think I am turning into one of those people who can't 'turn off' their hot-button issues, even when engaging in totally mindless entertainment. One of my favorite professors from undergrad used to talk about this in the context of 24. She LOVED the show, but was infamous among her group of friends for yelling at the tv whenever something really sexist or rape-friendly happened (she works with a lot of sexual assault stuff on campus). I think she was half proud half exasperated by her own rape-o-meter.
I'm pretty sure I've developed a bs/sexism meter, and it's been beeping or something a lot lately! I know that I really like watching movies that are targeted towards male audiences. I know the male audience assumption is a whole other conversation, so I'll focus on what bothers me about the films themselves and not the advertising or perceived market.

Basically, I'm getting a little frustrated that the women in most of these movies are totally useless, or superfluous. There are of course exceptions, like the doctor in Deep Blue Sea, but she only escapes being useless/superfluous because she's also kind of crazy and definitely portrayed as a cold-hearted bitch (ie not feminine). Otherwise, the women just aren't usually that interesting in these movies.

Even in my all-time favorite shark chompfest, Jaws, the men completely and totally steal the show. It's up to the womenfolk to get eaten, seem hysterical (with good reason!), or simply act nervy. The horrible shark prop is male (Bruce) too!
I know that I usually make a list about all the things I've learned from the movies, and a lot of my snarkiness would go to waste without all the ridiculous things that happen..but I wish that I could direct a little more humor towards the portrayal of useless men!

Sunday, July 20

More on Stranded

Here are some valuable lessons learned while watching Stranded:

1) If you are shipwrecked on an island in the middle of nowhere, all of the members of your family will be able to swim. They will also be able to make it all the way from the ship to the island and will have enough basic construction knowledge to help build a shelter.

2) There will probably be dangerous animals such as wild boars and snakes. If you are bitten by a snake, it will be poisonous, but the really slow acting kind of venom. This will give you plenty of time to concoct a remedy using a hot knife and local fauna (all of which are in season and ripe at the needed moment).

3) No one in your family will fall ill (exception, see above animal injuries).

4) You will be able to build a BOAT, but will not make a vessel large enough to try to sail to another island.

5) The desert island you are stranded on will not actually be deserted, and your family will make friends with a kindly indigenous person but never consider learning his language or seeing if you can travel with him to his home for help. You would rather live alone on your island than live with 'savages.'

Stranded is just like Swiss Family Robinson..but not

I've been watching the made-for-TV movie Stranded and am a little confused. It was billed blockbuster as a re-imagining of Swiss Family Robinson but I think they've taken a few too many liberties! I don't actually mind that they've changed the nationalities of the characters, or changed some of their names/sexes but why does some of the action take place off the island?? Hellooo..this movie is called Stranded..not 1/2 the family is stranded and half is a on a merchant ship.
Also, you are not stranded on a desert island if there are other people, even if they are just 'savages' or whatever they want to call them. Savages are clearly people too and you are not alone if they are stopping by for some harmless trading. Also, the father is kind of a big jerk. He refuses to swear fealty to the English government and gets sentenced to serve 8 years on a penal colony. His family joins him on the ship and tada..they're shipwrecked. Then they see another ship in the distance and he dilly-dallies because he does not want to be saved by the Brits. He also yells at all of his kids a lot and roars "I am the Father. I will be obeyed." Blech.

Friday, July 18

<3 Jaws

I love Jaws, like Jaws 2 and appreciate Jaws 3 for its total ridiculousness. Jaws 4: the revenge does not exist in my world, mostly because I hate the first 10 minutes and the fact that they kill off one of Brody's sons. Small children are not supposed to die in disaster movies unless they are totally superfluous character or really annoying (the same theory applies to small yappy dogs). Jaws IV breaks the rules and is thus stricken from my list of good shark/disaster movies.

Anyway, AMC continued its reign of awesomeness (they created Mad Men) by showing Jaws and Jaws 2 back to back last night. Jaws is a far superior movie for a lot of reasons, but Jaws 2 is kind of a forgotten B-movie masterpiece. So, some things I love about Jaws 2:

1) Jaws 2 was not directed by Stephen Spielberg, but the average person is totally unaware of this fact. It was actually directed by some woman named Jeannot Szwarc, but you can sometimes trick people into thinking Jaws 2 is way better than it is by reminding them that SPIELBERG was attached to the first movie. This practically makes it Saving Ryan part II in their minds.

2) The movie lightly treads around the idea that the shark is on some type of revenge mission. This idea is totally ridiculous (at least, I hope it is..) and yet only the annoying fish lady disputes this idea. Then it's kind of dropped, but it seems pretty obvious since the first 2 people killed in the movie died at the site of the sunken Orca- i.e. the place shark #1 was blown to bits.

3) A lot of the people die in sets of 2. Could this be because it's Jaws 2? I will have to test this theory next time I watch Jaws, but I think this means the movie has a sense of humor. First the 2 divers get eaten, then the 2 women on the boat (well 1 in the boat, 1 out..and only 1 gets eaten). 2 teenagers are terrorized in their boat..and after that my theory starts to die a little because only 1 of the teenagers gets eaten and then a whole bunch of people die..but it was a good idea.

4) Sex, drugs and rock & roll = death. I love when movies play by the rules.

Thursday, July 17

I need to re-vamp my blockbuster Q ...

I like watching movies and try to get a nice mix of mindless fun (Lake Placid 2 is coming any day now) and films that have a little more substance. Unfortunately, Blockbuster refuses to work with my system. I request 2 good movies and 2 truly crappy ones and they send me the 2 good ones and tell me there is a really long wait for the other ones.

I blame my mother, but I have this thing about having a nice even mixture of movies that will fry my brain and those that will not (or at least not as quickly). When I was little she used to make us read 3 'good' books (newberry medal, etc) before we could pick a 'junky' book out from the library. Well, now this theory has extended to my renting preferences and blockbuster is messing with me. Luckily, AMC is my new favorite channel and they played Jaws and Jaws II back to back last night!!

Wednesday, July 16

Mad Men

Ben and I just finished watching Season 1 of Mad Men. Set in the early 1960's, the show is set in the fictional advertising agency Sterling Cooper. While Buffy will forever and always be my favorite television show (disaster junkie and feminism all in one place..just like my blog!), MM is one the best things I've watched this year, and maybe even ever. While I could rave about the show for ages, I can't help but also comment on the show from a feminist perspective.

From the first episode it is clear that the office of Sterling Cooper are filled with a hazy film of cigarette smoke, racism, and sexism. The show confronts all of these things head on, but sometimes the 'we're sending a message that this is bad' can be a little heavy handed. Honestly though, it's amazing to see how much leeway the creators have been given in showing the attitudes of white upper class men in the 1960s,because it's a far from flattering portrait. Yet, the main characters manage to convey interesting and important things about marriage, adultery, class, and women's health with boozy abandon.

Several of the main characters (Don Draper, Sterling, Pete Campbell) are married; yet they have dalliances with the secretaries, affairs with women they meet in bars and restaurants and a barely contained disdained for their coddled suburban wives. All three men also seem to genuinely feel love and affection for their partners, and the women they believe to be oblivious and satisfied with their lives of house cleaning and shopping are often working just as hard to maintain the illusion of happiness and calm. A few of the men at Sterling Cooper are unmarried, but only one, Sal, is visibly struggling with his homosexuality. In one episode he and a client send clear signals during a meeting, have dinner and then Sal flees the restaurant when the man makes an obvious advance. At the office he audibly oggles the other women, but it seems clear that he does so out of habit and to fit in at the homosocial environment.

One of my other favorite (ie interesting..not necessarily good favorite) parts of the show is the interactions between the secretaries and the ad execs. Joan, the head secretary is supposed to be the shining example of the modern 60s woman: she's carefree, she's sexually independent, and financially secure. Yet despite her seemingly careless affair with one of the partners, Joanie is a husband hunter and her financial security is partially dependent upon her ability to inveigle the men around her. She plays the 'game' like a pro-brazen, in control and sexually confident, yet she can't see beyond a narrow conception of femininity and her role in the office. Joan is on birth control, but she she probably allowed the doctor to make disparaging remarks about her morality and sexuality in order to obtain the pills (she sent Peggy to the same doctor and he made very gross comments).

Anyway..tapped out for now..but more on MM later!

Tuesday, July 15

Buffy is the best!

I didn't jump on the Buffy bandwagon until long after it was off the air. My best friend from home, Alice, happened to have all 7 seasons on DVD (her mommy loves Buffy!) and I started watching season 1 while home on break during college.

I haven't really been writing that much lately because I am gearing up for a big move half-way across the country, and Ben and I might be watching all of Mad Men in order as quickly as humanly possible. Anyway, I have been re-watching Buffy in order as a pick-me-up while I pack. So far I'm already through most of seasons 1-4 and will probably finish the entire show before I have to move! I had forgotten how much I love this show, and I think that Joss Whedon might be my hero.

Buffy might look like it's all about silly looking demons and vampires trying to bite people, but it's also about a little blonde girl who totally kicks butt. She may have super-human strength, but she also has to deal with navigating life in the real world where being a girl is hard and being weird makes it even harder. She's also complicated and often does the wrong thing--falls for the wrong type of guys, can be totally impetuous, is sometimes super shallow--but she seems like a real person in a strangely similar world. I think my everlasting love for Joss Whedon and Buffy was cemented when I found this quote:

Responding to why he wrote so many great roles for women (in Buffy):
"Why aren't you asking a hundred other guys why they don't write strong women characters? I believe that what I am doing should not be remarked upon, let alone honored, and there are other people doing it. But, seriously, this question is ridiculous..because equlity is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity."

See! Joss Whedon is my hero!

Favorite episodes (seasons 1-4 only) include:

1. Passion
2. The Wish
3. Graduation Day (1 & 2)
4. Hush

Friday, July 11

Poor Shia LeBeuf

I watched Transformers last night and was alternatively bored and appalled. The first few minutes were OK, despite the fact that one soldier repeatedly told another to stop speaking Spanish. I don't really understand why this interaction was in the least bit useful or necessary. The Latino soldier did not add anything to the plot by speaking Spanish and highlighting it made it seem more like a strange self-aware movie device (Look! Our soldiers are all different nationalities!), except that it just seemed racist.

As for the rest of the movie, it was just not a very good action movie. It had bag dialogue, and the actual fight scenes were too fast and too loud to really see anything. At some point I let the entire thing become background noise as I baked cupcakes. One of my co-workers was also correct in pointing out that the Animatron (is that right?) Jazz, was clearly the black robot. He spoke in Ebonics and he was the one robot that was just painful to watch that whole tackiness in action.

Anyway, here are some things I learned:

1. Avoid disaster movies that involve some type of toy marketed strictly to young boys. Get what you deserve on that one (real men are brave and resourceful! gr! hot girls want to sit on our laps!)

2. Hot girls who know about cars are cllllleearly juvenile delinquents and/or the child of convicts. Only a crazy soon-to-be incarcerated person would teach their daughter all about cars.

3. If a large alien robot-like life form comes to our planet, they're going to be secretly impressed with the underlying goodness found in humanity. They will then want to hide in plain sight and become our protectors.

4. Said sentient being will also be excited to babysit teenagers, and will be happy to let them make-out while sitting on top of them.

5. The government is very sneaky and patriarchal, but will probably listen to you even after you've stolen gov't secrets (and not lock you up in Guantanamo Bay or another similar place) if you are a young, hot, accented blonde girl.

I'm now going to post a picture of the cupcakes I made. It was a much better use of my time:

Thursday, July 10

Wedding Ring Drama

Don't worry, I'm not engaged! But I did just finish reading both of Jessica Valenti's books (Full Frontal Feminism & He's a Stud, She's a Slut) and am feeling a little attacked. Again, I am not engaged or even considering an engagement in the near future, but I think I would be theoretically interested in one day getting a ring and having a traditional Jewish wedding.

I'm glad that Valenti spent some time talking about engagement rings and other marriage related issues in her books, but I was really put off by her attitude. I don't think I have ever thought critically about engagement rings, and I now realize that there is a strong connection between consumerism and patriarchy in the way we go about announcing and celebrating our partnerships. And while I do love things that sparkle, I don't think I would want a ring just because it flashes 'i'm taken and my MAN has lots of money.' That's not to say that I wouldn't want a ring, just that I would be cognizant of the fact that I'd be declaring that I'm in a heterosexual partnership and that my fiancee does have enough money for jewelry.

I also would hate to have the biggest shiniest ring possible for no reason; if I think about the type of ring I'd want I know that I would like something really unique. I want a ring that my partner had to spend time looking for and that actually says something about how well he knows me, and not something you pick out at Zales in an afternoon (I know I'm difficult!). I believe that jewelry is both a token of affection, and a memory keeper of sorts. Kind of like a yearbook without the tacky notes! When I think about my favorite pieces of jewelry, I can remember exactly who gave them to me and why. Wearing a ring is also a visible reminder of your partner, and not just because it says I'm straight/taken. It reminds of me of a reason that some traditional Jewish men wear a kippah on the heads or tzizit (fringes)-it's a constant visual reminder to both themselves and others that they have have a responsibility and a relationship with god. I don't want to bring god into the engagement or marriage issue per say, but I think there is definitely something to be said about showing others (and yourself) with a visible sign that you have somebody important in your life.

Anyway, the reason I'm ranting about all of this is that I felt like Jessica Valenti's attitude about marriage and rings was very my way or the highway. She spends several pages talking about how good feminists don't accept engagement rings or take their husbands names because it's all part of the PATRIARCHY (all caps definitely necessary.) That may be, but I thought the point of feminism was to empower women to make personal decisions using their own logic. Diamond rings and name changing are definitely part of the patriarchy, but so is watching shows that demean women and I definitely do that on occasion (ANTM..I can't seem to stop). Being aware of your motivations is a really important part of any decision, and I think it's A-OK to do something as long as you're doing it for your own reasons (mine: sparkly, visible reminder, unique expression of partnership, and did I say sparkly?) and still try to challenge the status quo. If I get engaged, I want a ring but maybe I'll make my partner wear something visible too!

Monday, July 7

Things I learned from Robinson Crusoe on Mars

1) Mars isn't really that hot, as long as you have a nice space suit with removable gloves. In fact, you just might need to make a fire using some handy crystals you've found in a cave and your previous (and limited) supply of oxygen. I get that you might need it at night.. but he ran all over the place during the Martian day without any gloves or cover!

2) Almost suffocating is gross. But you can breathe right from a metal tube of compressed air if you start to run short.

3) Clue: Mona the monkey goes off every day and never needs any water. Hmmmmmmm.. I wonder if Mona might know something. It's 40 minutes in, and I'm betting that Draper will figure it out by 50 minutes.

Update: I was off by 3 minutes. It's 46 minutes in and he's followed Mona (the monkey) down to an underground cavern (filled with more stupid looking crystals!) with water. On such a hot planet, wouldn't it at least be warm??

4) Remind me to have someone else survive the end of the world/crash onto Mars with me. Going bat-shit crazy due to isolation seems to be a pretty consistent point in these movies.

ps. NOOOOOO.. my movie skipped and I can't get it to play 5 minutes! Of course I am missing the most important part of the entire movie, because after I've skipped past the bad part there is another person on Mars! And he's wearing stupid clothing! Where did he come from???

Robinson Crusoe on Mars.. I kid you not

I think I have been straying too far from my real disaster movie base recently. I'm only a few minutes in and I can already tell that Robinson Crusoe on Mars is going to be fantabulous. It was made in 1969 and looks like it shares the original Lost in Space special effects, which are pretty much limited to a little cartoon ship flying through space and lots of really cheesy costumes.


Sunday, July 6

My plants are so cute!

I know I'm a big dork, but I'm really excited that my plants are doing so well (so far!). I am still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen, but I've already picked one of the peppers. The eggplant won't be ready for a while, but I'm also really happy that it seems to be doing well and growing. Here are some recent pictures of my patio garden:

Wednesday, July 2

Victoria's Secret= :(

I work in a very female friendly office, and by female friendly I mean all of the full and part time staffers are women. During lunch today we started talking about our bras and the trials and tribulations of trying to find underwear that fits correctly. Two of us are petite in terms of height, but definitely not waify-we both have generous curves and are rather well-endowed. Sadly for us (I guess?), Victoria's Secret is pretty much a waste of space. Despite being in what seems like every mall in the country, they rarely stock bras in the larger sizes and add extra padding to the few that you can find. Why would you want extra padding when it's already nearly impossible to find clothing that fits over your breasts?

Talking about bra shopping made me think about shopping in general, and of course I can't help but weigh in on the ongoing fashion model industry debate about skinny models. One thing that really bothers me is the attitude of designers. I think that designing clothing is an art form, but I do not understand why that art form has to embrace emaciation. Instead of claiming that a flat canvas in necessary to showcase their art, designers could be looking at the human body a facet of their medium instead of a hanger.

After the discussion we started joking about opening a store that catered to petite women with curves. Instead of being relegated to the petite racks in department stores (grandmother appropriate clothing) or to clothing meant for truly tiny people (excuse me for having hips), we would like to buy clothing that actually fits. It might put a few tailors out of business, but it be an exciting change. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to finance our endeavor...!

Tuesday, July 1

Upcoming Movies!

I'm still waiting for Megalodon (see earlier post on my utter disbelief that there are other people actually waiting for this movie) but have a few doozies coming in the next few weeks:

1. Robinson Crusoe on Mars (don't ask..but I couldn't resist)
2. Stranded
3. White Squall
4. Aliens

I also have some non disaster related movies in my Q, but I will try and watch the fun ones first so that I can write all about them. I'm especially excited for Aliens!

Brussels Sprouts

I made one of my favorite recipes last night and ate it all for lunch today! Yum! Here is the recipe and a picture (Ben made the bowl):

1-1 lb bag of brussels sprouts
2-chicken apple sausages
2-pieces bacon (turkey works too)
2 capfuls maple syrup
1/4 cup gently crushed walnuts
1 apple

Fry bacon in pan until crisp. While it's cooking chop the bottoms off of the brussels sprouts (throw this part out..or compost!) and chop them all into small shreds. Take the bacon out of the pan and lay on a paper towel. You can clean the pan, or use the bacon grease to cook the shredded b sprouts. Cook them on LOW for 10-12 minutes. Do not let the shredded b sprouts burn or they will taste funny. While the b sprouts are cooking on low, microwave the chicken sausage for 2 minutes or grill until warm. Cut into slices and add to pan, along with the apple (which should already be cut into small pieces). Let all ingredients soften for another 5-10 minutes on low, pour syrup and nuts in and stir. Salt to taste and serve!

You can also make this recipe without the bacon. Use olive oil instead of bacon grease and follow the recipe.

Sunday, June 29

Snakes are just like serial killers!

Ben and I were watching TV the other night and had the choice between What not to Wear and Anacondas.. and we (obviously) chose the bad snake movie! After 2 hours of really bad CGI snakeness, I had an epiphany: giant snakes are just like serial killers!

Snake and Serial Killer Similarities:

1) Both big (yucky) snakes and scary people with knives single out those movie characters stupid enough to go anywhere alone. Do not enter the dark garage, the jungle, or the whatever and expect to escape unscathed.

2) There is always a teaser scene.. always. When two people do something seemingly stupid (see above), the music starts getting scary and you think the whatever (snake/killer) is about to attack. Wrong! The two people did not break the alone rule and are thus safe.. for now.

3) Being in a relationship and or having sex usually dooms you to death. If you are the female lead it's likely that you will be terrorized post-sex, but probably end up surviving. Think Neve Campbell in Scream and JLo in Anacondas. Sucks to be the friends in relationships.. they all die.

4) The lead character is a woman. Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure there are a few exceptions..but generally speaking!), but somehow it's always a woman who is the intended victim. Serial killers tend to be more selective, but snakes also have an uncanny knack for eating all of the bit characters and leaving at least one terrorized girl behind.

5) Both giant snakes and crazy killers are really hard to kill. You can shoot them, light them on fire, stab them or all of the above and they're more than likely to survive and either kill one of your remaining friends or at least scare you when they suddenly rear up and look scary. Then you can kill them for real.

Friday, June 27

The Host broke the rules!

I liked the host until the last few had lots of silly shots of the giant squid, it had plenty of people being eaten and really bad dubbing. Sadly, the director missed the memo about who dies in a disaster movie because he killed off the main character and she was NOT annoying! It is OK when they kill off really stupid or irritating main characters, but this guy killed off a super brave little girl. I was totally down when the grandfather was killed off.. it was kind of like Bruce Willis biting it in Armeggedon-it was heroic and sad but not totally unexpected. There was no good reason to kill off the little girl though, and made me sad at the end of the movie. She didn't break any of the rules (swimming alone, having sex, being really obnoxious) and now I don't like The Host as much as I did for the first 118 minutes. :(

Thursday, June 26

The Host (movie)

I hadn't really planned on blogging about two Host titled items back to back, but I just finished the book the other day and the movie came in the mail this afternoon! Clearly it was meant to be!

Normally I love animal/monster related disaster movies, but I have to admit I'm a little nervous about The Host because I heard it was scary! I'm hoping for B-movie scary, not nightmare inducing..but I guess we'll see! Considering the film begins in a morgue, I'm thinking maybe I'm in for a scary night..scratch that, it's really poorly dubbed. That makes everything funny.

Thoughts so far:
1) They should not have shown the monster this early on. It's only a few minutes in to the movie and it's already wreaking havoc at the waterfront in Seoul. I'm all for early action (ie carnage) at the hands of some yucky mutant squid, but it ruins the fun a little to see how fake it looks.

2) Squids do not fly, and I doubt even mutated ones would have wings. Thus, the huge mutated creature should not be doing something that looks like flying, because that's just silly.

3) The sister, Nam J00 totally kicks butt. Her father dies, her brother is being held by crazy doctors and she still goes after the monster with a bow and arrow. She ends up flying through the air but I'd give her an 'A' for effort.

4) There's a weird vibe with the Americans. Even though the movie was made by a S. Korean, it portrays a lot of the characters are being bumbling and useless. The Americans have to step in and spread chemicals, help with the quarantine and then act very sneaky and scary. The American doctor admits there is no virus, and then straps Gang-du father onto a table for brain surgery. It's also an American doctor who (potentially) created the monster by having his lab partner dump all those chemicals into the river. Hmmmm..

5) The monster regurgitates bones into the sewer pit where Hyun-seo and a little boy are hiding. Ewwww. It reminded me of the scene in that really bad Treat William movie, except I think I was actually less grossed out this time. At least this scene just had bones and no blood and guts.