Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Theaters Near You

I decided to post my inflammatory thoughts on the movie Twilight since I went to see it yesterday. I had no good reason to see this movie. I have not read the book . . . However, I am a fan of Buffy and Angel and other things of the vampiric fiction genre. Somewhat.

First, if you think Twilight is going to be anything like standard vampire fiction prepare to be disappointed. There is no garlic, holy water, stakes or coffins. In fact, it attempts to mock those ideas. I say attempts because while it did get many titters from the giggle squad (i.e. vast host of teenage girls), it was actually pretty lame in the jokes arena. Sometimes I think the giggle squad were laughing at things the rest of us did not notice. Not to criticize them. I was once a teenage girl and had impossible crushes -- Mr. Darcy -- and a need to giggle. Come to think of it, I only chuckled. Giggling is impossible for a female tenor unless I try to giggle in a falsetto. Back to the subject now. To add to the attempt to turn vampire fiction on its head our vampire -- Edward -- has shiny skin when he's in the sun. He calls himself a vegetarian because he only drinks blood from animals. Don't think too hard about that one. That's about as much background info as I can stomach to write.

Things I did not like about the movie were these:

-All of the characters were flat and impossible to know.
-It seemed the theme was a praise of obsessive love or obsession, yet the villain of the story also carried an obsession for the object of Edward's desire (Bella). Confusing? Methinks so.
-The conversations were interminable. I mean, interminable. If you look up interminable in a dictionary you will see a picture of Edward and Bella talking. Yawner.
-It m o v e d a s s l o w a s m o l a s s e s i n J a n u a r y.
-Cliche after cliche after cliche after cliche. I cannot begin to name all of the cliches.
-It was very predictable.
-Big, gaping plot holes. For example, Edward tells Bella that he can read minds, except for hers. He never explains why or even theorizes on that subject (despite the interminable conversations). Also, Edward tells Bella that he has been waiting for her for many years. The wtf of this moment is never clarified.

Things I did like:

-The soundtrack was beautiful and kept the movie flowing.
-The cinematography was gorgeous.
-The landscapes were beautiful.
-Damn good special effects for not being, well, special effects. They did not use any CG.
-It turned some of the vampire cliches on their heads in a humorous manner (by using other fantasy cliches unfortunately).
-It was enjoyable to watch but not intellectual enough for me.

In short, it's up to you if you want to see it. I am no fangirl, but I did not hate it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ways To Save #1

I have decided to start a new series. I call it "Ways To Save." You know all about the poor economy right now. This is one of my small contributions to people who need to find ways to help with budgeting in these down times. So, here goes my first post.

You can save money if you do not buy vitamins. Read this. The neurologist writing makes the clear point that a healthy diet is all you need. Supplements do not do anything (except in specific cases which he describes) for the most part. Supplements are also freaking expensive. My recommendation: avoid them.

Note: Calcium is not mentioned in the article or the studies described and as far as I know it's a good idea to take calcium supplements if you're unable to have dairy (like me).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Every Hill

You may have heard the phrase, "Some hills are not worth dying on." Maybe you haven't. Maybe somebody I know made it up. Either way, it's a good phrase -- unless you happen to find a hill worth dying on. For clarification's sake, you could also say that some things are not worth fighting for, or you should pick your battles. Or you could just say "Give up and lie down in the dust like a dog because you're not going to get anywhere with this one, okay." Some BS isn't worth hiding behind.

No, I'm not writing this to sound resentful and angry. Frankly, I am not angry. I am thoughtful. I spent the last year and a half holding onto a dream, a principle. For the first time in my political life I fought the losing battle in full knowledge of what I was doing. Most of the time I don't think other people understand that. That would explain why they tell me I will never win no matter how much I do. That would explain why they say that some hills aren't worth dying on or I should pick my battles. That would explain the shakes of their heads. It's not that I go around spouting off about my political beliefs all the time. It's rather that I have some misunderstood beliefs -- I almost said unpopular, but that's not true.

Let me tell you a story. In the winter of 2004 I interned at a congressional office in Washington, D.C. The man I worked for was one of the few true fiscal conservatives to get into office in 1994 and not change into a big spender. He really cared about the issue of spending cuts and smaller government. There was one issue in particular that he wanted to cut so as to reduce the budget. It was a pretty unpopular stance, but he took his stand. I was given the job of getting the word out to the press. This is not a glamorous job in case you were wondering. I spent hours proofreading press releases and painstakingly faxing them to all sorts of publications in the hope that some reporter would write an article about the issue. It worked. We actually did drum up more discussion of the issue than my congressman had in previous years -- so the legislative assistants told me.

The day of the vote arrived and the congressman I worked for was on the floor of the House debating all day. You would not believe the phone calls I had to listen to when all his constituents decided to watch C-Span at once because they had nothing better to do. I tried to watch some of the debates but missed them somewhere between talking with the old lady who just wanted to talk about decency on television (she heard the f-word at midnight) and the old guy from Alabama who claimed the CIA was populated by commies who were putting cameras in walls to watch us (as if we do anything of that much interest to a government agency). Anyway, the congressman was brilliant.

At the end of the day he came back from the vote and I asked him how it went. He told me the numbers. To my surprise his initiative lost big time. I mean, it was a huge vote against it. I was stunned. All those hours I had put in trying to get support and it was over without any fanfare and without even a decent vote in its favor. Everything I had done was for nothing. And I had never suspected for a moment that my congressman was going to lose.

After he went back to his office (busy, busy man) I asked one of the other staffers why the vote in our favor had been so low. "It's higher than it was in any previous year," she said. "We never expected to win this one, but we make it an issue every year. Maybe someday people will get the message."

That's when I learned the most valuable lesson I learned over that long semester in D.C. Sometimes you have to fight the losing battle and show your face to all the world as if you know you're winning. Why be bummed out and down about something that you care about? When you know you're right you should be happy about that. And when you show others that you are going to fight the good fight no matter the condescension around you then they can think of nothing more to do than shake their heads as if you're an idiot. But they will never feel the satisfaction that comes with knowing yourself to have done everything you could for a cause that was well worth losing to advance. Some things are bigger than a full ballot box. I'll take my stand on that hill.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Coming Up With Stuff

I have lots to write about, but before I start my rants I think you should read this guy's words. Kind of inspiring, really. Take note of some of the comments afterward if you have the time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Predict

By the end of 2009 every tax bracket will be facing a hike. Go ahead, bet against me. I'll take your money and send it to the government come tax time 2010.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Vote Is In

I voted this morning. It is my right to keep a secret of who I voted for. So, I will.

I have taken the tact of sitting back and watching this election. I still cannot predict the outcome and I am not going to try. It has been fun and somewhat depressing. Rest assured, this is a great country and we will get through no matter who our prez happens to be.

As for me and mine, well, let's just say the man in the White House does not decide whether I enjoy my life or not. So, I'm gonna go out there be happy and try something fun today.

Halloween Update

We had about 25-30 kids come to our house on the night before Halloween -- I almost wrote Halloween . . .

Best joke:

Cute kid: "Why does Dracula drink blood?"
Me: "I don't know. Why?"
Cute kid: "Because champagne is too expensive."
Me: "Haha."

Worst joke (I heard this one twice):

Cute kid: "What is Dracula's favorite dog?"
Me: "I don't know."
Cute kid: "A bloodhound."
Me: "Oh, bad."

Cutest joker:

A tiny little girl dressed as a fairy: "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
Me: "I don't know. Why?" (Thinking she would have an original answer.)
TLGDAAF: "Because he wanted to get to the other side."
Me: "I thought you were going to say something different. Haha."

In all, I had a blast. When there were groups of kids each one would grasp my sleeve in turn and say in a very serious manner, "Can I tell you a joke?" or "I have a joke to tell you." They were very somber about the solemn duty of joke-telling. I gave them all good candy and lots of it.

I'm such a sucker. Kids are adorable. I did have a few teenagers come by as well. Fortunately, they had really good costumes so I rewarded them with candy.