Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sleeplessness, Tiredness, and Other Related News

I haven't posted in a while. I can't name every movie I watched in March because I lost track of my list. I'm super stressed, and I am a straight B student eventhough I'm trying my hardest.

I don't sleep enough. No one sleeps enough really. But that's not my issue. Slight fatigue is nothing for me to fret over. Here's my issue: As of now I have been awake for 39 hours. My eyes ache at the sight of the computer screen when I'm focusing them on it, but when I close my eyes I can not sleep.

Please don't tell me I am not trying hard enough. Please. I'm tired of hearing "if you just closed your eyes and tried to sleep you'd sleep easily." That's NOT true. If so, I would have fallen asleep during the hour I lay in bed just now. And truthfully, after not sleeping for a day one shouldn't have to put in effort to rest. It should be natural!

As it is, I have been awake 39 hours. 39 hours (third time is the charm... plus, I wanted emphasize the fact that I have been awake for over a day and a half). I have a lot of homework and studying to do for Monday. That's what I'm going to do now. Really, there isn't time for me to waste. If I'm not resting, I shall work. Maybe then my mind will call it quits and I can sleep... That'd be amazing. As it is, I am going to leave now and do my Economics homework.

If I can't get the satisfaction of sleeping, I shall get the satisfaction of finishing one of my ten assignments. I think I should schedule an appointment with an insomnia doctor... It could really help me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Monthly Movie Post

This list is much shorter than January's thanks to college and all the work it entails.
Again, in order of date seen, starting with the earliest. And again, all plot summaries are ripped from www.imdb.com unless otherwise stated:

1) Strangers
After returning from a wedding reception, a couple staying in an isolated vacation house receive a knock on the door in the mid-hours of the night. What ensues is a violent invasion by three strangers, their faces hidden behind masks.

Okay, so I loved this one. It had just enough scary and suspense to leave me jumping and screaming. It was overplyed AND it didn't rely on gore and special effects.

2) Leatherheads
(my synopsis, imdb is just too long) So George Clooney's character is a pro footballer (in the American sense) before professional football really became popular with the masses. In a move to bring popularity to the sport, he recruits a war-time hero who plays college football to join his team. Then, to add conflict to our otherwise football-based plotline enter witty journalist played by Renee Zellweger who is trying to get proof that our supposed "war-hero" made the entire thing up.

Okay, this one was not nearly as funny or romantic as it could have been... I wouldn't watch it again, but kudos on the casting. Beautiful men kept me watching through the otherwise entirely boring begginning.

3) The Producers (from 2005, imdb indicates there is another, earlier, version)
New York, 1959. Max Bialystock was once the king of Broadway, but now all his shows close on opening night. Things turn around when he's visited by the neurotic accountant Leo Bloom, who proposes a scheme tailor-made for producers who can only make flops: raise far more money than you need, then make sure the show is despised. No one will be interested in it, so you can pocket the surplus. To this end, they produce a musical called Springtime for Hitler written by escaped Nazi Franz Liebken. Then they get the insanely flamboyant Roger De Bris to direct. Finally, they hire as a lead actress the loopy Swedish bombshell Ulla (whose last name has over 15 syllables). As opening night draws near, what can go wrong?

Don't watch this film. That's all I have to say on this matter. It was hardly funny at all (I laughed maybe once) and the singing sucked a bit too... I have never been so dissappointed in a movie

4) Failure to Launch
(my synopsis) So, Sarah Jessica Parker is an "interventionist" who has made a living from convincing guys to move out of their parent's home. Tripp is a 35-yr-old bachelor whose parent's hire Paula (SJP) to get him out. Things don't go according to Paula's plan, especially when she is discovered by his friends.

Okay, I can't help it, I love this movie. I think SJP is getting a bit old for roles like the one she plays, but it is still an adorable movie.

5) The Fog – original (someone told me there is a remake out there)
The Centenary of the small sea town, Antonio Bay, is approaching. While the townsfolk prepare to celebrate, the victims of the crime that founded the town rise from the sea to claim retribution. Under cover of the fog, they carry out their vicious attacks, searching for what is rightly theirs

Eh... This movie was so-so. Kind of ridiculous, fun to make fun of. It was made in the 80s... That is its excuse.

6) Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary (PS) is a 1989 horror flick based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. After moving into their new home the Creed family's cat is killed after wondering onto the highway. Jud an elderly neighbor shows Louis, the father, to an isolated hill behind the local Pet Cemetery and instructs him to bury the deceased feline there. Not long after the cat reappears at the Creed home, only he is not the same. The docile cat is now vicious and destructive. When their youngest son meets with a fatal accident, the distraught Louis buries him in the same location hoping to revive him. Unfortunately he unleashes far more than he had bargained for.

I bow down to Stephen King. Seriously, only he could think of this stuff. It's amazing, it's creepy, and it gives me nightmares. There were a few plot elements that really bothered me (they didn't make sense... If you watch it, you'll probably figure out what), but it was awesome. The begginning sucked a bit - I made fun of it alost all the way through. But once the kid dies, the action and suspense escalate, and this movie becomes amazing.

7) Herr Lehmann (German)
In October 1989, the part of the West Berlin borough of Kreuzberg called SO 36, had been largely shut off by the Wall from the rest of the city for 28 years. A lethargic sub-culture of students, artists, bohemians and barflys had flourished among crumbling buildings. Part of that microcosm is barkeeper Frank, semi-formally called 'Herr Lehmann' by friends and patrons. He hangs out drinking, sports utter disregard for anything beyond SO 36 and lazily pursues an affair with cook Katrin. His lifestyle is gradually disturbed, when his parents show up for a visit, things go awry with Katrin and his best friend Karl starts to act strange. Meanwhile, political turmoil mounts on the other side of the Wall

okay, this movie is in German, and has no English subtitles. So basically, unless you know German, there is no watching this or you. It's funny though...


8) Himmel ├╝ber Berlin – aka, Wings of Desire (German)
This Wim Wenders film centers around the story of two angels wandering in a mixture of post-war and modern Berlin. Invisible to humans, they nevertheless give their help and comfort to all the lonely and depressed souls they meet. Finally, after many centuries, one of the angels becomes unhappy with his immortal state and wishes to become human in order to experience the joys of everyday life. He meets a circus acrobat and finds in her the fufillment of all his mortal desires. He also discovers that he is not alone in making this cross over, and that a purely spiritual experience is not enough to satisfy anyone

Okay, I had subtitles for this and it confused me to death... like, I spent the entire time thinkg "Whaaa?" Way too deep for me... It has Peter Faulk in it though, playing himself - the only humorous part of this story. I did like the way the film makers utilized color in this film though. The black/white scenes held meaning and the color scenes hold a different meaning.


9) Secret Life of Bees
set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping

This movie was better than the book. That's a rare thing to say.... Iliked it. Boys should never see it unless they want to piss themselves off. When I read the book for class about 5 yrs ago, I couldn't help but think it'd make a reat Lifetime movie...

10) Scarface -1983 version
An update of the 1932 film, Scarface (1983) follows gangster Tony Montana and his close friend Manny Ray from their trip on the Cuban Boat Lift for refugees to their arrival in Miami. After killing a powerful Cuban figure, Montana and company gain the ability to leave their refugee camps and roam around the U.S. After unsuccessfully trying to make it legitamately in the country, Montana and Ray resort to selling cocaine to dealers around the world. Tony's rise is quick, but as he becomes more powerful, his enemies and his own paranoia begin to plague his empire.

This movie was good (although slightly gory) during the first hour or two, but near the end I got bored and annoyed. I am going to say it's another movie destroyed by the 80s.... I couldn't get past his sister's horrible hair.

11) Enough (with Jennifer Lopez)
An abused woman discovers that the dream man she married isn't who she thought he was. She and her daughter try to escape (aided by her previous boyfriend), but he pursues her relentlessly. Fearing also for the safety of her daughter, she decides that there's only one way out of the marriage: kill him.

Guilty Pleasure! Ugh, this movie is horrible yet sooo good at the same time. J.Lo isn't that bad of an actress really, and she's a fierce bitch in this movie (another one which belongs on Lifetime).


And there you have it. Look forward to March's list. =D

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What profession would have an unlikely Superhero? I know!!!

I was playing Mario online today, and it reminded me that I had somewhat promised a mini-rant on it:

So, I've always been a huge fan on Mario Kart. Much to my delight, my rommates were also big fans back in their earlier years, so one of them brings her old Nintendo 64 with her back to our dorm and we begin our battle royale. Then someone (probably an audience member, since the drivers are usually quite busy shouting obscenities at one another) brought up this very valid thought: Who thought of Mario? Who sat down and said to themselves, "Hmm... wouldn't it be awesome if two Italian plumbers fought bad guys in a secret underground sewer world?"


Well, whoever it was definitely liked mushrooms. I like to think that it's a somewhat inside joke of the creators in that they were on 'shrooms when they thought of the idea, but I don't believe that is the case. Instead, I decided to research a bit on Mario:




(Because I have a love affair with it, wikipedia is my source)
"Mario is a fictional character in video games, created by video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. ... Mario is depicted as a short, pudgy, Italian plumber who lives in the Mushroom Kingdom. In the Mario series, he repeatedly stops the plans of Bowser to kidnap Princess Peach and subjugate the Mushroom Kingdom. He also has other enemies and rivals, including Donkey Kong and Wario."

"Mario first appeared in the arcade game Donkey Kong as a carpenter named "Jumpman" according to Nintendo of America. In Japan, he was known as "Mr. Video Game". Since the Japanese name was not properly communicated to the American branch, Nintendo of America named him "Mario", after Mario Segale, who closely resembled the character. Segale was the landlord of Nitendo of America's office, and once barged in on a meeting to demand an overdue rent payment." (So... I guess they didn't invent the plumber aspect on their own. What a let down)




Well, it appears Mario is entirely uninteresting in its conception... I guess I'll go back to playing it and speculating its origin however I want...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Harry Potter is black...?

So, in honor of Black History month, m dorm is hosting a trivia game. About a couple of days ago, the little flyers went up on the halls around the dorm adertising this. I first noticed the signs on my way to class when my roommate pointed to it. I thought she was saying she wanted to go, until I actually looked at the poster.

The bottom of the poster was lined with three pictures. Oprah Winfrey. A black olympic medalist. and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter...

Let me say that again: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.

Is the trivia going to be "Who from this list isn't black?" or "Which of these things is not like the other?"


Everytime I pass the signs now, I laugh... a lot. I noticed I hadn't written on here in a while, and thought I'd share. I had intended to write about Mario, but I have a paper to write for tomorrow... boo. But hey, you have a monologue on Mario to look forward to now, right?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

You learn something new every day

I came across this site while surfing the net, and found it extremely interesting. I've copied/pasted my favorites:

~ When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn't understand German

~ Ivan the terrible claimed to have 'deflowered thousands of virgins and butchered a similar number of resulting offspring'

~ Before it was stopped by the British, it was the not uncommon for women in some areas of India to choose to be burnt alive on their husband's funeral pyre.

~ The Anglo-Saxons believed Friday to be such an unlucky day that they ritually slaughtered any child unfortunate enough to be born on that day

~ Ancient drinkers warded off the devil by clinking their cups

~ Richard II died aged 33 in 1400. A hole was left in the side of his tomb so people could touch his royal head, but 376 years later some took advantage of this and stole his jawbone

~ In the 1970's, the Rhode Island Legislature in the US entertained a proposal that there be a $2 tax on every act of sexual intercourse in the State

~ At the age of 12, Martin Luther King became so depressed he tried committing suicide twice, by jumping out of his bedroom window

~ Peter the Great had the head of his wife's lover cut off and put into a jar of preserving alcohol, which he then ordered to be placed by her bed

~ Atilla the Hun is thought to have been a dwarf

~ On 15 April 1912 the SS Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage and over 1,500 people died. Fourteen years earlier a novel was published by Morgan Robertson which seemed to foretell the disaster. The book described a ship the same size as the Titanic which crashes into an iceberg on its maiden voyage on a misty April night. The name of Robertson's fictional ship was the Titan.

~ Some moral purists in the Middle Ages believed that women's ears ought to be covered up because the Virgin Mary had conceived a child through them

~ It is a criminal offence to drive around in a dirty car in Russia

~ In parts of Malaya, the women keep harems of men.

~ Some Eskimos have been known to use refrigerators to keep their food from freezing.

~ It costs more to send someone to reform school than it does to send them to Eton.

~ It was the custom in Ancient Rome for the men to place their right hand on their testicles when taking an oath. The modern term 'testimony' is derived from this tradition

~ Hindu men believe(d) it to be unluckily to marry a third time. They could avoid misfortune by marring a tree first. The tree ( his third wife ) was then burnt, freeing him to marry again

~ A parthenophobic has a fear of virgins

~ Dublin is home of the Fairy Investigation Society

~ George Washington grew marijuana in his garden.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!



I don’t know if everyone did this, but in elementary school I used to make a box decorated with red glitter, heart cut-outs, and other symbols of love. Then I would bring my box to school along with candy and a hand-written card for every kid in my class – no one was ever left out because I always had the class roster to make sure no one was forgotten. Then we’d take half of the day to eat heart-shaped cookies, red cupcakes with heart sprinkles, or some other Valentine’s themed dessert and pass out our cards. At the end of the day, I’d pack away my box and head home, feeling completely happy and content. I’d pile my favorite cards near my bed and eat all of the candy in one night. To me, Valentine’s Day was a holiday about love – not just the love for your significant other but also for the love for your friends, family, and a complete stranger.




Now the story is quite different. I don’t make a box for Valentine’s goodies, because I know it will remain empty. It strikes me as really funny that half of the girls I know refuse to accept the holiday because it is “just some Hallmark-holiday, designed to force people to spend money.” No one complained about that back in elementary school when they always got something… I don’t let being alone damper my joy on this holiday. To me, it is still a holiday of love. Last year I surprised some friends with heart-shaped cookies; a friend of a friend gave me a Valentine’s Day card with a cheap sucker in it – the kind I often received as a kid which are obviously sold in packs of 30; and I enjoyed spending time with the people I loved most of all – my friends. This year, I went out last week and bought myself a heart-shaped box of chocolates which I sorted through with my friends and finished off last night. I’ll be spending actual Valentine’s Day with my family because my grandparents are visiting, and that doesn’t bother me one bit. I’m actually pretty sure that when I wake up I’ll find some chocolate with my name on it, which will be cool. I’m also looking forward to the discount Valentine’s Day chocolates.




Also, people who buy practical things like sweaters, cameras, and shoes for their significant other of Valentine’s Day perplex me. I wonder if they realize they have the wrong holiday. Any future boyfriend of mine should know that I like chocolates/candy or stuffed animals. Flowers are sweet but they die, and I don’t wear jewelry. Also, I want a dinner in. If you want to do romantic, add candles and music, but I want more than anything to cook together. It’s one of those cutesy things that will bring you closer together. If the food sucked, I suppose we could order that heart-shaped Pizza from Papa John’s…



(I took this picture at the end of last semester. It says "I Love You" in Russian followed by "forever" in English , and I found it written on my desk in calculus. It made my day, so I snapped a picture of it.)

(The last picture is the only one on here that is actually mine. The rest of these were taken from various sites located on google search. I should really learn to give credit. Whoops! )

Friday, February 13, 2009

Eternity

So, I have been following this blog called Every Photo Tells a Story, and basically the point of the blog is to spur on creativity. The blogger posts a photo daily, sometimes with a promt, and people submit stores and poetry in response. Personally I just like the pictures; I mainly deal in thoughts. But today's photo and theme sort of struck a chord in my thoughts, and I feel like it'd be fun to actually write something. I really don't think fiction is my thing (although I have tried my hand at it once or twice, I will not lie), and poetry always comes out as a disastrous disarray of unfocused thoughts and fuzzy feelings, but this photo stirred up memories. And since I don't think the words "every photo tells a story" should emcompass only make-believe, I will go on and discuss my memories.





This is the photo, taken by Dungha, a photographer in Romania who specializes in street photography. His pictues are really extraordinarily beautiful - I highly suggest visiting the page. (just be warned, music will play. If your rommate is asleep, as mine was, they will not appreciate your volume on max). But now onto writing about this picture:

It’s funny how as a child, forever feels like a tangible goal. When you told your friend in first grade that you’d be friends forever, you meant it – pinky promise. Yet as time wore on, you changed, moved on, and forever ended. Then one day you became an adult, and now you don’t even try to promise forever. You barely even promise next week, penciling in your former friend for coffee, knowing that you’d drop the date if something more important came along. But remember the days when there wasn’t anything more important? The days when your biggest concern was making it home before the streetlights came on and your parents would begin to worry? When being line-leader for the day was the best thing that could ever happen to you? When you skinned your knee and just got up and kept on running? Those days were simpler, better. It’s sad that every child must grow up - must lose the innocence of forever.

That’s one reason I like old pictures – pictures of me as a child, pictures of my parents as children, pictures of strangers. It’s a moment captured in time, a child who will never lose the innocence and youth associated with believing in things. I have this old picture of myself from the third grade. My hair is flipped out and frizzing; I’m wearing maroon, red, and yellow simultaneously; and I smiling foolishly up at my dad as he snaps a photo of me trying to lure a pigeon to my arm. For some reason I really love this picture. It captures a moment in my life where I was completely happy. I couldn’t imagine doing anything better with my life, and my main goal was to touch a pigeon. Who am I to keep such a gem from you:




I decorated that jacket myself with fabric paint. My mom didn't really think there was a point in hampering my "creativity" so she let me not only clothe myself, but actually personalize my clothes too. I suppose I had help with that design though, most likely aided heavily by stencils.

I grew out of my habit of mismatching clothes around fifth grade, when I retired the oversized orange tie-dye shirt I made at camp 3 years back. Someone had made fun of it, and I succumbed to pressure to fit in, so I threw it in my "Good Will" bag. I think that was the moment I started caring what others thought. Once you start that process, it doesn't stop, and soon, you're no longer a child.

I bet you're wondering what this has to do with the black-and-white photo above... I actually am too. I think it's because those kids reminded me of my childhood...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Moving On

Truthfully, I'm trying to figure out how to post a video. I wanted to post the video to "Jizzed in my Pants," but as I'm sure you can see, I just linked to it. So, I guess you could call this a tester post:





Moving On

I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself

I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on

I've lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they're always the same
They mean me no harm but it's time that I face it
They'll never allow me to change

But I never dreamed home would end up where I don't belong
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone
There comes a time in everyone's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on

That song has always gotten to me... I literally cry along to it on repeat. The lyric that always got to me was "I've lived in this place and I know all the faces /Each one is different but they're always the same /They mean me no harm but it's time that I face it /They'll never allow me to change." As a child, I moved A LOT. All through elementary school, I moved once a year. When this song came out, I was in middle school in Southern California. I loved it there, and my family was finally able to settle down for three years. I was able to form relationships which could possibly go past one or two years (the other kids were still moving in and out). But as time wore on, I began to feel trapped in the person I was. I didn't know how to naturally change - how to let my personality evolve. One major reason for that was that with every move you don't have a lot of time to make friends, so I learned to adapt my personality to fit the personality of the first person I met.

"There comes a time in everyone's life /When all you can see are the years passing by /And I have made up my mind that those days are gone " When we left Southern California for Kentucky, I made up my mind to be true to myself and my thoughts. It was a trying process, and I have never felt so exposed as I did the first time I was my true self, but I have never turned back to my old way of being fake. Now, I still feel trapped at times, but never by who I am, but just by places. And when that feeling comes, I try to calm myself down by finding somwthing nearby I have not yet discovered or making a new friend. Trying to find a way to make an old place feel new again.

The Millionaire Dropout List

Today while randomly surfing the internet I came across The Millionaire Dropout List which is a very long list of people who are now worth over a million dollars who have dropped out of highschool, elementary school, and college.

I was going to write about it, but I just bought the Incredibad CD from the Lonely Island, who are a band formed from SNL. They're best known for their awesome song "I Jizzed In My Pants"


So, I'm going to go ahead and enjoy that CD instead and let you peruse that list all on your own. =D

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Places I'd Rather Be

I'm beginning to feel the immense burden of my homework, so I decided to think about places I'd rather be than in my dorm room doing homework. It's just another way to avoid said homework (and probably something I'll regret later). I picked the four main places I'd like to go. They're in reverse order - so the last one is my top pick.


Walden PondI blame Thoreau and my Senior English teacher for this one. Ever since I read Thoreau's Walden, I have wanted to go there to escape life. I imagine that in today's world, you can not merely go to this pond - or anywhere really - for an extended period of time and shun human society. I can't imagine there is much land untouched by technology, and I'm going to assume any land like that has been kept preserved in the form of a nature park, so you wouldn't really be allowed to live there.



Hawaii Who doesn't think of Hawaii when they want to escape their normal, everyday life? I suppose people who live and work there... It doesn't matter though. I don't even like swimming very much, but I'd love to be there now, basking in the sun or sleeping to the sound of waves rolling in from the ocean.



Rothenburg, Germany

As a child I lived in Germany for four years (aged 6-10). During that time my family went to this historic town very often; I'd estimate about twice a year. I have fond memories of walking along its cobblestone streets and climbing the tower. This is mainly a tourist town, and very few cars are allowed to drive through. It is lined with little shops that sell trinkets and various goodies. I remember I used to always buy this pastry my family called a "snowball." I'm not sure if we made the name up or not, but it's a big pastry ball coated in powdered sugar. True to German desserts, it isn't very sweet, but it's still amazing.





IrelandI've never been to Ireland before and it looks positively gorgeous. The grass is so green! I want to shoot whiskey in a pub in Dublin, hike along the grassy knolls, and maybe look for the gold at the end of a rainbow.







So is that where my time went?

I watch A LOT of movies. This is no joke, and you're soon going to realize that as I'm about to make a list of my movies from January 2009. The good, the bad, and the excellently bad are all going to be included. I'll briefly summarize the plot (and by "I" I mean http://www.imdb.com/ because I'm lazy. I wrote the Bride Wars summary, and will just be copying and pasting the rest of the summaries) and then tell you how I felt about it. This is in order of viewing, not preference:



(I apologize ahead of time that this list has no pictures. For some odd reason, I'm having trouble getting the pictures to go on this post.)

1 - Bride Wars (3.5/5 stars)
Bride Wars is a romantic comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson. In the movie, their two characters have been best friends for many, many years, and have shared one common goal in life: to get married at the Plaza in June. The plan was for them to be each other's bridesmaids, but then the weddings were accidently booked for the same date. This comedy follows the two as they fight for the selected time...

I personally enjoyed this movie a lot. If you want something serious or deep, you're in the wrong place, but this movie is perfect for girls' night. I laughed a lot, and the end was very touching (even if predictable).



2 - Win a Date With Tad Hamilton (4/5 Stars)
"Rosalee Futch is a grocery clerk living in rural West Virginia. But even a small-town girl can have big dreams, and Rosalee's is to someday--somehow--meet her big-screen idol Tad Hamilton. The somehow arrives in the form of a contest--the grand prize: a date with Tad Hamilton--and the someday is now. Rosalee wins, much to the chagrin of her best friend and co-worker Pete, who is deeply, hopelessly--and secretly--in love with Rosalee. The Win a Date contest was cooked up by Tad's agent, Richard Levy, and his manager, also named Richard Levy, to clean up Tad's bad-boy image. Someone should have told them to be careful what you wish for. When Tad meets Rosalee and gets a taste of what he's been missing in the real world, he decides he wants seconds and moves to West Virginia, turning Rosalee's dream come true into a nightmare for Richard Levy, Richard Levy and, most of all, Pete"
Okay, this movie made the 14-yr-old girl in me just squeal non-stop. The truth is, when I go to see romantic comedies, I go in with the mindset I had at the age 14, before the world taught me about guys and how much of a let down they could be compared to the men in movies. So, while watching movies, I don't think to myself "that'll never happen..." but instead "ooooohhhh-emmm-geeeee!!!!!" So yeah, I loved it!




3 - Misery (5/5 Stars)
"Best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon is on his way home from his Colorado hideaway after completing his latest book, when he crashes his car in a freak blizzard. Paul is critically injured, but is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes, Paul's "number one fan", who takes Paul back to her remote house in the mountains (without bothering to tell anybody). Unfortunately for Paul, Annie is also a headcase. When she discovers that Paul has killed off the heroine in her favorite novels, her reaction leaves Paul shattered (literally)"
Stephen King is a genius, basically. And Kathy Bates is an amazing actress. This movie is a MUST-SEE! The end has you screaming at the TV - cursing crazy Annie and rooting for Sheldon. I refer to this movie in everyday conversation now, because it's just that epic...



4 - Wrong Turn (4/5 Stars)
"Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) is on his way to a job interview and is driving through the mountains of West Virginia. There is then a chemical spill on the road, so being short on time, he decides to take a different route, an abandoned dirt road in the middle of nowhere. He then by accident crashes into a car sitting in the middle of the road. He then meets a group of friends on a hiking trip who include Jessie (Eliza Dushku) whom where stranded on the road. Two people stay at the car, and another group goes for help, only to find a sinister cabin nesteled in the West Virgina woods, that is home to a trio of cannibalistic mountain men horribly disfigured from years of in-breeding. They then make a mad dash for their lives through out the woods, only hoping to make it out alive"
Omg, it was predictbe but amazing. I was screaming quite a bit during this one if I remember correctly... I want to see the second on, but haven't gotten to it (mainly, I'm scared it won't be as great). Lots of gore, plenty of jumps, a few moments of extreme frustration with the stupidity of the characters... All perfect bits to a beautiful horror movie




5 - April Fool's Day (3/5 Stars) -the one from 1986
I'm writing this summary because the person on imbd kind of hints at the end, which isn't cool... Muffy St John, an heiress, invites 9 follow friends to her mansion on a secluded island. Slowly each guest starts dying off one by one...
This one wasn't very scary, and they made it seem as if you knew the killer. The end was lackluster and slightly disappointing. Yet somehow, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit... I guess the best way to put it is to say that this movie is forgettable. I believe they remade it, and I wonder sometimes if that one is possibly better. If it is, I want to see it. The thing I find troublesome is that most people seem to enjoy it. Maybe I was less able to enjoy it because I spent most of the movie comparing it to the Agatha Christia great "And Then There Were None" which is far, far better (both the movie and the book are worth reading/seeing. The endings of both are different, which was actually quite nice for me. I got suprised twice!).



6 - Sweet Insanity (0.5/5 Stars)
I'm also writing this summary, because the one on imbd is as misleading as the cover for this movie. Highschool Senior Stacey meets a weird new girl who has a troubled pas. The friendship quickly escalates to obsession when the new girl tells Stacey all of her friends are not good for Stacey. When Stacey's parents leave town, she has a party and people start being murdered. Who did it? And who will live?
O.M.G. I would never watch this again, but I'm kind of glad I did in the first place, if only because my friend and I made fun of it the entire way through. First off, I have seen highschool productions with better acting. The transitions were awkward and well, everything was awkward... Through this movie, I realized the importance of music in movies. It sets the tone. This movies tone was NEVER properly set. The filming quality was of the highschool variety also. I expect to have some sort of suspenseful unease during a slasher flick - I never did feel nervous for the characters. Of course, I knew it's be bad in the first 10 minutes, when Stacey's mom announces she bought Stacey's dad a chainsaw for his birthday and was going to hide it behind the tool bench, and the camera did a dramatic view of the tool bench. Also, this movie horribly misrepresents a psychological disorder which I happen to know quite a bit about thanks to my interest in it following Mary Higgins Clark's "All Around the Town" (a great book, highly suggest anything by her if you want suspense).




7 - Superbad (4/5 Stars)
"Seth and Evan are best friends, inseparable, navigating the last weeks of high school. Usually shunned by the popular kids, Seth and Evan luck into an invitation to a party, and spend a long day, with the help of their nerdy friend Fogell, trying to score enough alcohol to lubricate the party and inebriate two girls, Jules and Becca, so they can kick-start their sex lives and go off to college with a summer full of experience and new skills. Their quest is complicated by Fogell's falling in with two inept cops who both slow and assist the plan. "
Okay, I've seen this movie like 4 times now, and it never gets old. Call me a frat-boy at heart, but I love it. It's got enough gross, sick, rounchy humor to keep me laughing and quoting for hours. Two of my roommates hadn't seen it yet, which shocked me because they're the ones who turned me into the crude human being I am today. They also loved it, as I knew they would. This is also the movie that made me fall in love with Michael Cera. he can literally do no wrong now.




8 - The Young, the Gay, and the Restless (2/5 Stars)
This is a spoof! I know it sounds like a porno, but yeah, it's a spoof...
"An aging, wealthy diva, Ms. Victoria Gaylord, in her late 50's learns that she has a mysterious illness and will soon be dead. Her family, friends, and entourage gather at her fabulous estate to assist her during this time of ill health. Some of these guests are loyal while others are vultures creeping their way into Ms. Gaylord's finances"
Okay, this really wasn't too bad. I'm generally a fan of spoofs and this one disappointed me, which is why it got so few stars. I did end up quoting this one afterwards though, but it had some funny parts. I would quote them, but then I'd be giving some parts away, which would suck if you wanted to watch this sucky movie... I'm just going to throw this out there - this spoof doesn't leave a part of soap operas untouched with murder, vengeful scorned people, hated family, adultry, a love child, and anything else you would request of your favorite gasp-worthy soap.



9 - The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (4/5 Stars)
Oh for pity, IMBD does not have a good summary for this one either... In this silent film (made around 1920) Dr Caligari is a traveling hypnotist. He has a Sonambulist (sleep-walker) who can supposedly predict the future. At night though, the Sonanbulist leaves his babinet and commits murder. One man in town attempts to catch this beast

Okay, I was going to give this one a lower star count and then I thought about when it was made. This film was one of the first of it's kind. It produces an amazing twist ending, which many other movies today take from (and which has now been way overused). I can definitely appreciate this film for what it is - a historical masterpiece.




10 - Notorious (4.5/5 Stars)
"The story of Christopher Wallace (aka Biggie Smalls). Through raw talent and sheer determination, Wallace transforms himself from Brooklyn street hustler (once selling crack to pregnant women) to one of the greatest rappers of all time; THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. Follow his meteoric rise to fame and his refusal to succumb to expectations - redefining our notion of "The American Dream." "
Okay, I'm not going to lie - I went to see this without even knowing who Biggie Smalls was aside from a South Park episode spoof. I left the theater crying. It was THAT good. Actually, if you know anything about the history of Biggie Smalls, you'll know the ending is sad. How coud it be anything else? But this film was excellent! The filming makes you feel as if he is a close friend, someone whose sucess and life you feel personally involved in. My main complaint is that the actors they picked didn't really look like the people they were supposed to be. It took me quite a long time to figure out that P. Diddy was P. Diddy and who Lil Kim was... It would have helped if they looked more similar, but I can see how that may have been difficult to achieve.




11 - The Godfather (3.5/5 Stars)
"Vito Corleone is the aging don (head) of the Corleone Mafia Family. His youngest son Michael has returned from WWII just in time to see the wedding of Connie Corleone (Michael's sister) to Carlo Rizzi. All of Michael's family is involved with the Mafia, but Michael just wants to live a normal life. Drug dealer Virgil Sollozzo is looking for Mafia Families to offer him protection in exchange for a profit of the drug money. He approaches Don Corleone about it, but, much against the advice of the Don's lawyer Tom Hagen, the Don is morally against the use of drugs, and turns down the offer. This does not please Sollozzo, who has the Don shot down by some of his hit men. The Don barely survives, which leads his son Michael to begin a violent mob war against Sollozzo and tears the Corleone family apart"

Okay, This wasn't as epically good as I thought it'd be, but I've been assured that Godfather 3 is the best. I plan on watching them all eventually. I enjoyed this still though. Sadly, I don't have much else to say about it... except that it's a classic movie and for that reason alone, I saw it.




12 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (3/5 Stars)
"McMurphy, a man with several assault convictions to his name, finds himself in jail once again. This time, the charge is statutory rape when it turns out that his girlfriend had lied about being eighteen, and was, in fact, fifteen (or, as McMurphy puts it, "fifteen going on thirty-five"). Rather than spend his time in jail, he convinces the guards that he's crazy enough to need psychiatric care and is sent to a hospital. He fits in frighteningly well, and his different point of view actually begins to cause some of the patients to progress. Nurse Ratched becomes his personal cross to bear as his resistance to the hospital routine gets on her nerves"

First off, Jack Nicholson was a beautiful man when he was younger. Wow. But yeah, This was a good movie. I feel as if I didn't appreciate it as much as I could have because the DVD skipped, and I was unable to view the climax. Also, I feel as if this movie would have been a MILLION times better if I had read the book first. My friend who had read it was watching with me and couldn't understand why I didn't positively hate the nurse... Maybe I'll try watching it again (with a non-scratched DVD) after reading the novel.




13 - My Bloody Valentine (2/5 Stars)
"Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he's innocent"
OKay, the 3D effects were amazing. Besides that, this film was horrible. I've heard some people say they liked it and have been trying to figure out why... The end was not predictable, which was cool. But they failed at suspense and terror. I screamed solely because there was something literally flying at me (yay 3D!). At one point, everyone in the theater laughed - and it wasn't supposed to be a funny part. If you want 3D, save you money for the upcoming Coraline in 3D, which sounds awesome...




14 - Deliverance (2/5 Stars)
"On a weekend canoeing trip down a river in the Georgia back country, four urban businessmen enter a nightmare in which both nature and mankind conspire to send them through a crucible of danger and degradation in which their lives and perhaps even their souls are put at horrendous risk"

I had so much hope for this, and it really had some potential, but it fell short. Lewis was TOO thoughtful: "Nature changes a man, man does not change nature..." It was just too much for me. According to my mom, when Deliverance came out it was very shocking because it shows a man being raped. I think it relied heavily on that shock value. It is another movie I feel was probably an excellent book because there were concepts that can't be brought across well on screen. The plot was the sort that I feel is meant to make you consider yourself, your morals, and how you can change through experience and fear.


15 - Hard Candy (1.5/5 Stars)
"A mature 14-year old girl meets a charming 32-year old photographer on the Internet. Suspecting that he is a pedophile, she goes to his home in an attempt to expose him"
Okay, this sounded like it would be really good and had a lot of awards and critic reviews backing it. Plus it had Sandra Oh and Ellen Page. I thought I'd love it... No! It was weird, unrealistic, and just weird. Oh, and Sandra Oh is only in the movie for like 1 minute. False advertising!!! But mainly, it was just weird. I wasn't a fan. The acting was good though.



16 - About Schmidt (4/5 Stars)
"Warren Schmidt is forced to deal with an ambiguous future as he enters retirement. Soon after, his wife passes away and he must come to terms with his daughter's marriage to a man he does not care for and the failure that his life has become"

God, this movie was depressing, but sooo good. I wanted to cry the entire time. My favorite part is how Schmidt writes totally inappropriate letters to a 6-yr-old child in Africa who he sponsors. It's the funny part that lifts the mainly depressing mood of this film. I feel as if everyone should be warned about this: You see Kathy Bates naked. Now that you're warned- go see it!




Well, there we are. All the movies I saw in the month of January. Be excited for February - I've already watched seven movies! The list should be shorter, because not only is the month shorter, but I have more homework to take care of and less time to watch movies. Boo...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Books I'd love to read

I've picked some of my most recent picks to read (the list changes frequently; I rarely read the books on the list - thanks college). I'm putting a synopsis or review from each, and will bold the parts that have intrigued me. =D



Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee
According to the Princeton Review: Bad food has a history. Swindled tells it. Through a fascinating mixture of cultural and scientific history, food politics, and culinary detective work, Bee Wilson uncovers the many ways swindlers have cheapened, falsified, and even poisoned our food throughout history. In the hands of people and corporations who have prized profits above the health of consumers, food and drink have been tampered with in often horrifying ways--padded, diluted, contaminated, substituted, mislabeled, misnamed, or otherwise faked. Swindled gives a panoramic view of this history, from the leaded wine of the ancient Romans to today's food frauds--such as fake organics and the scandal of Chinese babies being fed bogus milk powder.
Wilson pays special attention to nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and England and their roles in developing both industrial-scale food adulteration and the scientific ability to combat it. As Swindled reveals, modern science has both helped and hindered food fraudsters--increasing the sophistication of scams but also the means to detect them. The big breakthrough came in Victorian England when a scientist first put food under the microscope and found that much of what was sold as "genuine coffee" was anything but--and that you couldn't buy pure mustard in all of London.
Arguing that industrialization, laissez-faire politics, and globalization have all hurt the quality of food, but also that food swindlers have always been helped by consumer ignorance, Swindled ultimately calls for both governments and individuals to be more vigilant. In fact, Wilson suggests, one of our best protections is simply to reeducate ourselves about the joys of food and cooking.






Coffee: A Dark History

Powell's Books website states: Linking alchemy, anthropology, politics, and science, Antony Wild uncovers the intrigue that coffee has woven into its 500-year history.
Coffee trader and historian Antony Wild delivers a rollicking history of the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world after oil — and an industry that employs one hundred million people throughout the world.
From obscure beginnings in East Africa in the fifteenth century as a stimulant in religious devotion, coffee became an imperial commodity, produced by poor tropical countries and consumed by rich temperate ones. Through the centuries, the influence of coffee on the rise of capitalism and its institutions has been enormous. Revolutions were once hatched in coffeehouses, commercial alliances forged, secret societies formed, and politics and art endlessly debated.
Today, while coffee chains spread like wildfire, coffee-producing countries are in crisis: with prices at a historic low, they are plagued by unprecedented unemployment, abandoned farms, enforced migration, and massive social disruption.
Bridging the gap between coffee's dismal colonial past and its perilous corporate present, Coffee reveals the shocking exploitation that has always lurked at the heart of the industry.






Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel

This article in the New York Post led to my discovery of this upcoming gem: BARBIE and Ken are beloved by millions of children - but the people behind the world's most popular dolls were involved in unsavory sexual behavior they kept secret for years, a new book reveals. In "Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel," out next month, Jerry Oppenheimer reveals that Jack Ryan, the Yale-educated designer who popularized Barbie, was a "full-blown seventies-style swinger" with "a manic need for sexual gratification."
Staging orgies at his Bel-Air mansion, Ryan, whose wives included Zsa Zsa Gabor, surrounded himself with busty Barbie clones, including Gwen Florea, who was the "voice of Barbie" in a line of talking dolls. The book quotes her: "He once said to me he loved me being tall so he could stick his nose in my boobs when he hugged me."
Ryan's friend, Stephen Gnass, confides to the author: "When Jack talked about creating Barbie . . . it was like listening to somebody talk about a sexual episode, almost like listening to a sexual pervert . . ." Ryan took calls at Mattel from a madam and patronized "high-class call girls to streetwalkers," including a "very thin and child-like" hooker. The book claims that Ryan "somehow rationalized that he was the only man in her life" until he was diagnosed with gonorrhea.
Barbie and Ken were named after the kids of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler - an honor that plagued Ken, who "grew up embarrassed and humiliated by having an anatomically incorrect boy doll named after him . . . [with] no hint of genitalia."
Despite marrying and having three kids, Ken was a closeted gay, Oppenheimer says. "To all those who knew him Ken Handler was a wonderful father, a loving husband . . . But there was another side to Ken. And in 1990 he was formally diagnosed with AIDS. His parents and wife were shocked." He died in 1994 in Greenwich Village, but obits didn't mention the disease

There is the nerd coming out in me. =D All three are history... I definitely know I'm buying the Mattel one, but the others are a maybe...



I discuss my former self

It’s really weird to me how college shapes and changes you. For instance, when I came to college I was a pleasant teenager who rarely cursed, never broke the rules, and generally refused to find fault in anyone. Now I’m a somewhat crude adult who enjoys cursing to show any emotion and bending rules like it’s my job. My waist has expanded along with my movie knowledge - so basically at an alarming rate – and I have discovered I actually enjoy hamburgers immensely (before this year, I would never eat them unless it’s what my mom put before me at the dinner table). I now have no qualms with releasing my bowels in a public restroom (or talking about it, as you can see) and I learned how to burp earlier this year. I often wonder if the old me would be friends with the new me; I think it would be a beautiful friendship. We still have some similarities – the ability to squander away hours upon hours of precious time, the lack of desire to actually put forth an effort into anything, the capacity to talk for an extended amount of time without running out of lame stories and silly ideas… All the things that I sort of wished to change back then, and which I have learned to accept now. The old me would like the sense of confidence the new me has; she’d probably do a mental eye roll at my tendency towards sweats over cute tops or skirts, but inside be a bit jealous. She’d definitely wonder how she became me…

I never planned to be so unashamed of my life or thoughts. I always wanted to achieve a bold sense of self, but not with this self – the one who inwardly, sometimes outwardly, laughs at other’s stupid choices or similar misfortunes. I wanted it to be with a self who was sure of her intelligence, was sure where life was taking her, and was going somewhere such as the top – quickly. So now it’s somewhat weird to look back with sweet disappointment on how much I fell short of my dreams from senior year of high school, and then to laugh at those dreams for their sheer unfeasibility. It’s as if my high school self thought that college would make me a completely different person. I have never been, and never will be, a morning person. Sorry old self, you knew deep down that you would never in your life succeed at waking up at 6AM every morning to run a mile or two. Really, you should know that you’ll most likely never run a mile, and definitely not two. You should have known that you weren’t going to start working on papers as soon as they were assigned. Procrastinators rarely ever change. You weren’t suddenly going to start writing for the school paper just because you were a Journalism major, and you definitely weren’t going to become the editor of Marie Claire in the next couple of years.

Which brings me to my next difference – I came in as a Journalism major, with a minor (and great love for) German. Now I’m an Accounting major who is still getting her minor in German, but wants to cry nearly every night as she sits over the homework for those ridiculous classes (Thank God I’m almost done with that). I’ve discovered that I love Accounting and all of its boring facets. My only major apprehension with the entire situation is that every accountant I’ve ever met has been completely boring in their appearance and actions. They’ve all been perfectly nice people, but I think sitting and counting funds all day has really sucked the life out of them. I really don’t want to be dull when I get older. I want to be exciting and fun. Of course, what adult can be exciting and fun to a teenager or young adult? If they’re fun, a little piece of you wonders about their maturity level and why they never grew up. I want to grow up at some point… but not for at least the next 10 years.

Funny story – I started out to discuss my new-found love for all things baking. Obviously that didn’t happen, and I’m running out of time. How bothersome. There’s one thing that has yet to change – my inability to focus on anything. My papers/essays generally generate comments to the tune of “lacks focus,” “horrible transitions. I don’t see how you got from one idea to the next,” or my personal favorite, “displays complex thought!” That last one always makes me giggle because if they could hear the constant white noise going on in my brain, they’d understand that I merely tuned in to a couple of those brain waves for short amounts of time and wrote down what was on my mind. Yes, comparing the evolution of communism to the process of baking a cake was extremely intriguing and thoughtful, but I should probably let you know that I was thinking about communism because your prompt told me to write about it, and cake was on my mind because my birthday was coming up and I was trying to decide what flavor I wanted. I guess it worked out in the end though, so no complaints.

And with that one last trip off of the supposed path of this blog entry, I’m going to go ahead and end it. I shall write about cooking another day. Maybe I’ll combine it with my newly revived love of homemade smoothies to make it longer, and possibly less boring.