Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa Tracker

Merry Christmas Eve! This website helped my siblings and I stay true believers when we were little. We'd beg Mom and Dad to check it every 15 minutes or so, and refused to go to bed until Santa had reached the continental U.S.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Freedom, Oh Sweet Freedom!

I'm going on hour 46 of Winter Break. I'm bored out of my mind. I realized today that wasting time doing your stereotypical time-wasting activities (facebook, solitaire, bubble shooter, etc.) is only, ONLY satisfactory if there is something much more responsible you could be, or most often, should be doing. There is absolutely nothing more responsible I could be doing. Sad.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

+1 for Twilight

I watched this last night when I was overly tired and really REALLY enjoyed it. I watched it again this morning and still thoroughly enjoyed it. Conclusion: it is amazing on its own accord, not my hyper-active giddy-ness.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Daytime TV Exponentially Grows Trashier

I decided to braid my hair this morning. My scalp was much paler than I thought it would be.

For some reason this deeply disturbs me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sebastian's Been Singing on My Shoulder

It's finals time. Meaning that I will probably be posting things a lot more frequently due to the increased desire to procrastinate. One final down, three to go. Except I have four full days until my next test, and I'm still painfully struggling to find a reason to jump right back on board the study train instead of giving myself a day of rest. That whole "motivation" issue from eons ago still persists, and seems to be getting stronger. In fact, I'm losing interest in this post. Some kid with weird hair just walked in, and that has captured my full attention.

40 minutes later. Clearly "Rosaura a las diez" is not as intriguing as it should be. Know what is intriguing, though? The fact that there is an official Disney Princess website. I'm being instructed by the calm and caring voice of a middle aged adult female to "Select a princess to visit her enchanting world." Oooh the suspense! I'm going to decline this offer, and instead I feel a critical review would be more compelling. And more mature; because after all, I am an adult.

Disney Princess Scientific Analysis*
8. Aurora - This damsel in distress from 'Sleeping Beauty' may have fulfilled the biological and phenotypical prerequisites of being a Princess, but when push comes to shove she was asleep for the majority of the movie.

7. Snow White - I don't know exactly why, but I've never taken a liking to Snow White. Perhaps it's her desperate need to clean thing and care for others. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for caring for others, but Snow White seems brings women back to a time where their usefulness on this earth was judged by their ability to clean a kitchen. Granted the movie was made in 1937...

6. Cinderella - Perhaps the most classic rags-to-riches story of all time, Cinderella is a true inspiration to many people. This story shows girls how to be strong through the good times and the bad, as well as the fact that honesty is the best policy. The one flaw with Disney's Cinderella, however, is that in the film she lacks a strong personality, pushing the Disney Princess back to number six.

5. Jasmine - The placement of Jasmine and Belle was an extremely difficult one for me. For the past decade there have been raging battles between who prevails as the better princess between the two. After consulting unbiased third parties and hours of meditation, I have come to this conclusion: The movie 'Aladdin' is by far a better film experience, but...

4. Belle - takes the price as the better princess. Belle emits more of a headstrong and independent personality, which, in my opinion, makes her a better role model for young girls. Her love of knowledge also contributed to her overall princess rating in that she is the only Disney Princess that actively continually seeks out new and exciting information not only in terms of literature but in terms of science. Belle also takes the cake as the most beautiful Disney Princess.

3. Pocahontas - Let's disregard the fact that the movie is incredibly inaccurate for a moment and focus on the sense of adventure that Pocahontas has brought into the lives of every little girl (and grown woman) looking to discover something new. With some of the most heart-lifting songs and lovable woodland friends of the Disney collection, Pocahontas shows us how to be truly compassionate and accepting, a lesson which in today's world is extremely important.

2. Mulan - The true essence of the tomboy had not been adequately released until Mulan stepped onto the scene. Craving for independence yet struggling to honor her parents, Mulan's rebellion sends a loud and clear message that discrimination on the basis of gender will, in the end, do society as a whole a much greater dishonor than honor. Plus Mushu is hands down the greatest side-kick of all time.

1. Ariel - 'The Little Mermaid' has been my favorite Disney movie since I was old enough to watch TV. I've been told that when I was a toddler I would beg for Mommy and Daddy to "Play Ariel! Play Ariel again!" (Because all the other Movies were named after characters, this overgeneralization seemed perfectly logical to me.) Ariel takes the top seat not because of my lifelong admiration but because she had to overcome the most difficult decision of all: what species she wanted to be. Ok, while that is a pretty darn big decision, her real issue was choosing between family and human life which encompassed not only the man she loved but the ability to walk, run, dance, and experience all other human activities. Put in that situation, I couldn't tell you what I would choose, and this is what makes 'The Little Mermaid' so great. While other Disney Princess movies are somewhat predictable and have a set outcome three minutes into the movie, 'The Little Mermaid' maintains the ability to swing either way up until the very end.

*This scientific analysis does not include the newest edition to the Disney Princesses, Princes Tiana. I have not yet seen 'The Princess and the Frog', and am therefore unable to accurately critique Tiana's princesshood.

When you think about it, the old saying "A hero's only as good as his side-kick" holds true for the Disney Princesses as well. There is a direct correlation between their aforementioned ratings and the ratings of their side kicks. So now, just for shits and giggles...

Disney Princess Sidekick Scientific Analysis
8. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather of 'Sleeping Beauty'
7. Sleepy, Grumpy, Doc, Dopey, Sneezy, Happy, and Bashful of 'Snow White'
6. Jaq and Gus of 'Cinderella'
5. Abu of 'Aladdin'
4. Lumiere and Cogsworth of 'Beauty and the Beast'
3. Miko, Flit, and Percy of 'Pocahontas'
2. Scuttle, Sebastian, and Flounder of 'The Little Mermaid'
1. Mushu of 'Mulan'

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

UW Madison classes canceled, non-essential employees asked to stay home...

Wednesday, December 9th 2009 the University of Wisconsin – Madison had its first ever snow day. Ever. That’s kind of a big deal. You see the nice folk here at Madison take great pleasure in ensuring that all their students are as miserable during finals as humanly possible. Humanly, not humanely. Last year final exams were almost postponed due to a multi-day snowstorm that prevented students from being able to make their way to class without a.) falling on their bums multiple times and/or b.) accidently getting lost due to the near white out conditions/keeping their heads so low that they could not see and/or c.) simply freezing on the spot and coming down with a horrendous case of pneumonia. Not to mention the fact that it was negative bagillion degrees out.

This year, however, the Student Examination Discomfort Association (SEDA) seems to have had a change of heart. As the news advised the entire Midwest that the blizzard was rolling in, students of all ages, grades K-19 sat on edge twitching with anticipation as school after school made its way onto the “School Closings” bar at the bottom of the TV screen. Facebook status after Facebook status of high school peers were changing to express their happiness of having Hump Day as a day of rest. The tension grew. My computer actually froze as I tirelessly refreshed the UW Madison homepage hoping to see a change in the weather information given under the cute festive snowflake icon, thus proving that the members of SEDA had souls after all.

7:45 p.m. standard time, Tuesday December 8th 2009. The official announcement was heard by all regardless of whether or not they were trying to obtain the information. Screaming. Lots and lots of screaming. And jumping. Then things got crazy and there was simultaneous screaming and jumping. Our neighbors across the hall wandered into our apartment wondering who had been shot. Our neighbors upstairs sent us a friendly text kindly requesting that we “shut up!”. I called my mom. The screaming did not cease. We were part of history. Knowing that our legacy would be forever remembered was exhilarating.

Logically, any thoughts of “doing homework” or “studying for finals” were quickly thrown out the window. It was playtime. Playtime in a gorgeous and breathtaking winter wonderland that grew in beauty as each passing minute brought another inch of glistening snow. Now, I have an odd disorder in which whenever it snows I have approximately 48 seconds before I transform into a five-year-old. Once I am in this five-year-old state, it is very difficult to bring me out, and I generally remain this way for a good hour or so after I have been fully removed from the snow, incapable of doing anything productive or responsible. As I walked outside on Tuesday night, however, I noticed that this magical first significant snowfall was winding its way into the hearts and minds of everyone it touched. Even those whom I would have put money on never romping in the snow for no reason were rushing outside with wide smiles on their faces.

Geared with my favorite hat and knock-off-way-better-quality-and-actually-warm-with-no-foam-soles-and-won’t-make-you-slip-whenever-you-walk-on-anything-but-gravel-not-to-mention-about-a-tenth-of-the-ridiculous-price Ugg boots I headed to the infamous Liz Waters Hill. The crowds surpassed any that I had ever seen. Snowmen lined the bottom of the hill, aesthetically providing a soft landing to those whose cafeteria trays had been secretly waxed before their use. A full scale igloo proved the perfect spectator site for those watching slightly insane (and fun-loving) college kids catapult off a handmade jump. (Personally, the kid who rode his bike down was my favorite. If you read this, I hope you were able to fix your tire.) Surges of students rushed the hill in attempts to gain enough momentum to make it to the top without slipping. A surfboard emerged from the depths of one adventuresome student’s dorm room and quickly became the quickest and most powerful mode of transportation. There was much romping. There was much frolicking. There was much merry-making. If you closed your eyes and just listened to all the screams of excitement and yells of friends trying to keep track of each other in the mayhem it was easy to forget that you were standing in a foot of snow on a college lakeshore and not on a crowded spring break beach in Florida.

Walking home soaked through and dripping with snow the cold wasn’t even noticeable. The beauty was still growing. It hadn’t stopped while we were away. The impromptu neighborhood snowball fight that had commenced simply added to the beauty. It’s part of the wonderful whole that makes up winter. Plus, I’m really really good at throwing snowballs.

And what better way to end a Snow Day’s Eve than with hot chocolate. Made with milk. And mini marshmallows. Perfection.

Being all tuckered out from the festivities of Snow Day’s Eve, sleeping in was a must. As noon rolled around the powder and bitter wind once again began calling my name. All the libraries were closed. The Union was closed. But I needed to get out and walk somewhere. How can you just sit inside all day knowing that the second you set foot into the world of ice you’d be wide awake and ready to take on whatever came you way? Destination: Starbucks. A 20 minute walk, with potential study time, thus making it a responsible adventure. Apparently everyone else had the same idea I did, so Mission Starbucks was a failure. Never fear, the silver lining quickly emerged: The Annual UW Madison Snowball Battle. Rumor has it over 4000 students participated. Nowhere else can the ever-raging rivalry between Lakeshore and South East be settled fair and square. So, naturally, incumbent Lakeshore was once again victorious with no life-threatening injuries having been reported. Not to mention that we made national news….

the Badger Herald




I think the rest goes without saying. Snow day = success.

I apologize to all of you who are finishing this and thinking, "By golly that was awfully long." I promised myself a half hour study break. I had to fill the half hour.

Because the new episode of 'The Office' hasn't been put online yet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

An Unbiased Review of New Moon

Clearly I have more important things to do than keep up with this blog; such as nap, watch youtube videos of cute small animals, and focus on my studies. While engaging in such productive activities I happen to watch the ever popular new movie New Moon, second in the Twilight series. While screaming tweens and reminiscent mothers rave about the addictive, emotional, and sensual story line and the talent of the film cast, this movie is worth seeing for one reason and one reason only: Taylor Lautner. Why? Because he's gorgeous. However, I realize that all you doubting Thomases out there need a more convincing argument.

Let's start and the very beginning of the saga's cinema reign with the first movie, Twilight. Awful. Downright awful. I had not yet read the books when I went and saw Twilight for the first time, so I had no idea what to expect. I sat in the theater with no more knowledge than it was about a romantic vampire. So I sit in the theater imagining a movie filled with mesmorizing cinematography to enhance the fantasy aspect, and a bit of a love story thrown in to keep everyone interested. Yet overall, my sole reaction while seated in that theater was, "Oh my god, this movie is ridiculous. People like this? And godamit Edward why won't you kiss her already!" It would far fetched to say the acting was slightly under par. The only character that was accurately represented (after reading the books and comparing) was Jasper. The rest of the actors were able to fulfill bits and pieces of their character's personalities, but no spectacular connection was made. Robert Patterson as Edward Cullen was perhaps the worst casting flaw. There are plenty of other pale men out there who look slightly less creepy and display more than a sliver of confidence.

"Well yes, but you haven't read the books. The books are amazing, you won't be able to put them down." Alright, I'll accept your challenge. Granted, that isn't the only reason I read the books. I am a firm believer that movies made into books are consistantly far worse than the book itself [with the exception of The Notebook (which is equally as good) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (which, yes, I'll admit, the movie was better than the book)], but my main motivation was all the middle school and even high school aged girls who dared to claim that Twilight was better than Harry Potter. Bitches goin' die! So I concede and read Twilight, and my opinion doesn't change. The book was slightly better than the movie, but it was of poor literarly quality and had a weak plot. "But you only read the first book, you have to read them all." Again, I acknowledge that these prepubescent squealing girls had a point, and finish the "saga". Needless to say, they were wrong. The books did NOT get better. If anything they became even more ridiculous and, for lack of a better word, corny. I found myself correcting Stephanie Meyer's grammar and puncuation. When I wasn't cringing from noticing yet another sentence fragment or phrase that ended with a preposition, I found myself getting bored with the descriptive quality of the writing. Now, let me make myself clear what when I say "descriptive quality of the writing" I do not mean the style of the writing, I mean the overall lack of good description presented. How many times can you read "his smile didn't reach his eyes" or "his voice was like velvet"? Apparently the author thought that the readers would simply forget that she had used that description half a page earlier and would therefore be intrigued when they read it again.

Reading the books also gave me a clearer insight to the character and plot development. To save time for those of you who have been so lucky to not have read the books or seen the movies, I will paraphrase everything for you:
Bella - depressed girl who can't take a hint and makes bad emotional choices
Edward - whiney bitch who really needs to get a hold on his jealously issues because quite frankly, they're pathetic
Jacob - pushes things too far on more than one occasion, but is the only sound-minded adolescent character
Carlisle - alright, I have nothing bad to say about you, you're a good guy
Bella's Friends - the girls are drama queens and the boys need to learn to take a hint and lay off
Various Other Vampires - some good, some bad, none of them have that deep of a personality
Plot - Seemingly good looking male --> innocent girl falls for him --> oh no the new girls doing something against the status quo! --> we're so in love --> i have the potential to kill you --> who cares we're in love --> i saw you talking to a boy, what the hell --> i'm sorry i love you --> we're so in love --> danger! --> phew, we're safe, i love you --> you talked to a boy again --> i'm sorry i love you --> danger! --> depression --> let me love you --> depression --> let me love you --> danger! --> depression --> really, let me love you --> oh hey you're back! --> we're so in love --> danger --> you talked to that boy again --> i'm sorry i love you --> oh shit i'm pregnant --> we're so in love --> danger --> let me love you --> why do you keep talking to boys!? --> i'm sorry i love you --> hey cool i'm a vampire --> danger --> we're so in love!
And there you have it. Now those of you that have never read the Twilight saga now have the entire plot and character personalities figured out.

Finally, the film version of New Moon. Was I excited to see it? Yes. Did I let out a little girl scream just for shits and giggles? Yes. BUT, just to reiterate, that was solely because of Taylor Lautner. All the success and fame from not only the first movie but also the book series should have been motivation for the producer to make the second film even better than the first. There is obviously money to do so, and I'm sure the cast had a secret bout of talent that they could have dug into. Regardless, the special effects (which, by the way, not only should have but NEEDED to be better in this movie due to the story line) were laughable. The acting seemed to have digressed, as Kristen Stewart as Bella seems to be only capable of one face of emotion and two tones of voice (depressed and whisper). Scenes that were made a huge deal in the book, such as the trip to Italy, were condensed into mere minutes and lacked the emotion and terror that played a major role in the book. However, as with all things in life, there was a light at the end of the tunnel: sexy werewolves. For some folk the sexy werewolves, specifically Jacob Black, would have been enough incentive for them to go see the movie. (For this segment let us disregard the fact that CLEARLY Jacob is the right choice for Bella, and all members of Team Edward can go jump off a cliff.) I'm going to give the producer a brownie point for noticing that the rest of his film would be a total failure and adding one other incentive to draw people in...Come on now, you all know what I'm talking about...How fantastic and incredibly convenient is it that Jacob has to take off his shirt at any opportune moment?!?! "Oh man, I have to turn into a wolf now." Shirt gone. "What? You got a very small and easily managable sliver of a cut? I have an idea!" Bam. Shirt off. "Oh no! It seems to be raining! I don't want to ruin such high quality clothing by getting it wet!" Shazaam! Shirt gone. In case some of you are still hesitant to believe me:

Have I made myself clear? I think so. Without this aesthetic addition to the film the gross earnings would have been significantly less impressive. To all those who have been considering seeing New Moon, I advise you to wait until it comes out of Blue-Ray/DVD. You won't waste your money supporting a pathetic franchise, and you will be able to pause all the scenes that involve a handsome werewolf elegantly ripping his shirt off.

All in all, the moral of the story is: HARRY POTTER KICKS SOME MAJOR TWILIGHT ASS!