1:14 AM

Kelsey

We took our dog, Kelsey, to the vet for the last time today. I still keep expecting him to be there, fast asleep on the floor, out like a rock, or eating the cat food the minute I set it down. But he isn't, and he didn't, and I'm not sure how long it's going to take for me to get used to this.

This was a long time in coming, but it doesn't make it easier, and it never will. At least we got two more years than we expected. He had a good, long life, and there's not much more you can ask from a junkyard dog.

RIP, friend.



The Rainbow Bridge

inspired by a Norse legend


By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.


© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.

6:26 PM

"O Hawkman! Yeah!"

If you haven't been following Stephen DeStefano on Twitter, and you're a Venture Brothers fan, you're missing out! Mr. DeStefano is (or was when it was in production) a story board artist for The Venture Brothers and has a great style and a real gift for story boarding. Equally compelling, he's a cat person, so what's not to love?

Anyway, yesterday, Mr. DeStefano posted a rather humorous Venture Brothers sketch announcing a long past crew party as his holiday greeting. In the picture, Brock is singing karaoke, stating he will be singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" with his own lyrics about Hawkman.

Naturally, I had to know the lyrics. No, scratch that, I NEEDED TO WRITE THOSE LYRICS. So I did, and am now posting it here for all of you to enjoy. Along with a picture of H.E.L.P.E.R. Consider it my happy holidays to you all!

And be sure you put "O Little Town of Bethlehem" on before you look.

Merry Christmas!

(WARNING: Some language ahead! Ok, not just some, a good amount.)

6:48 AM

George Carlin the Wise

"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." - George Carlin

11:06 AM

A Jaded Person's Guide to Christmas Songs: Part One

The holidays have been coming since the beginning of October for department stores, and the rest of us normal denizens of Earth have begun to enjoy hearing bells/reindeer/music in the air. Now, a few weeks into December with the local radio stations that plays holiday music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I find that my drive to work has resulted in hearing the same eight songs over and over.

I wouldn't normally call myself jaded, because I love the holidays. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and favorite holiday of them all (though Leif Ericson day is a close second). But the vast array of holiday songs out there is never proportionate to the ones they play on the radio; in fact, I often hear the same five songs twice in one hour. Sometimes three times. And hearing the same songs, over and over again, is annoying.

So here are those Christmas songs that I have started to use the grand old coping mechanism of sarcasm in order to stay sane on the commute to work. Hopefully my holiday music selection will be limited to only hearing "The Christmas Shoes" once this season.

While I'd originally planned to do a whole list, the one creepiest and one of the most overplayed songs happens to be the one below. And considering I have other things I need to be doing right now, we're going to do this one song in detail.

Promise, it's extra cynical.

"Baby It's Cold Outside" - any version

I haven't figured out who is the culprit here, but the man is either getting the woman drunk enough to have sex with him, while she says no, or the woman is just a slut. Either way, the guy is certainly pressuring the girl in this song, and it gets creepy after the 20th listen.

Not seeing what I mean? Let's go in-depth. My comments are in bold for your enjoyment.

(Lyrics courtesy of stlyrics.com)

I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
Ok, we can understand the hesitation here - you're lovers, you've got to leave, you're sad because you probably live in the Northeast and it's cold enough to freeze ducks to the pond. Starts out innocently enough.

This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
Wait, been hoping you'd drop in? Why wouldn't you know? Were you waiting by the door this whole time for her to come by?

So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
My question: how old are you girl? I mean, your parents are up? I smell underage...

So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour
Ok, so the girl is doing a lot of talking here instead of going. It sounds like she's putting up a fight or making a long soliloquy to avoid actually doing anything else. And what music is in the juke box, Barry White?

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
We've officially stepped over into creepy. There's something different with the drink and while the girl stares at her glass the guy is at the window making sure no witnesses are lurking in the form of obnoxious cabbies.

I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight
To break the spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
Spell? Using the last few lines, we can begin to suspect that the girl is actually drugged. AND THE HAT IS COMING OFF.

I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move closer
Yes, male narrator, we do mind.

At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride?
Ok, maybe the girl isn't drugged. But she sure isn't trying anymore.

I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
It is cold, but you're not at home, so deal with it.

C'mon baby
I'm only reminded of the high school jock stereotype in all the bad 1950s horror movies: "Everyone else is doing it!"

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh darling, it's cold outside
So finally the girl is stepping up again. About time.

This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm - Look out the window at that storm
Drugs have that effect.

My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look delicious
Well, we know the guy has one thing on his mind...

My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
Probably at the door with a shot gun at this rate.

My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips are delicious
Like everyone else's mind isn't?

Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before
Seriously, chick, go home. Nothing good happens past 2am...or when trapped inside.

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there
JUST LEND HER THE COAT ALREADY. Why haven't you walked her out, man?

You've really been grand - I thrill when you touch my hand
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
How can she do this? Easily, though at this rate, she's moving slower than an Oliver Stone movie.

There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
She won't die if you just got in your car and drove her home, pansy.

I really can't stay - Get over that hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

Baby it's cold outside
Screw you both.

Either way, while this song is cute when in a 1940s mind set, if you stop to think about what's going on, it sounds an awful lot like a sinister back plot is moving underneath. It IS cold outside after all...

5:43 PM

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: Teefury

If you missed the first post in this series, this is my new blog series where I highlight absolutely awesome, weird, touching, disturbing, etc. ideas, people, places, or things that you need to know about in order to have a better life. Or a more fulfilled life. Whichever gets you to continue scrolling down .

Anyway, I realized it was about time for another update in this series, so I bring you:

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: TeeFury
a.k.a. I swear I'm not getting paid to advertise this

What Is It: TeeFury is this awesome website where artists can submit their illustrations for consideration to be printed on a t-shirt. The website prints the t-shirts by demand for a low price and the artist gets paid a part of each sale. Each print it sells is only available for 24 hours, however, so once it's gone, it's gone forever!

T-shirt subject matter ranges from artistic designs to Lost references to pop culture. Nerds and artists gather here and TeeFury is actually really great about communicating with it's community (as its fans are called). They'll often post up t-shirt ideas to see what they're fans think of it.

Why Should I Visit It: It's a great place to not only support independent artists but you also get awesome t-shirts. They're comfortable (100% ringspun cotton - I'm not sure what the ringspun means, but I can attest they are nice to wear) and they're relatively cheap. They also make great presents that you don't have to leave the house to get.

When you visit, you not only see the day's shirt print and what it will look like on a t-shirt (men and women sizes and styles available) but the site will also usually feature side art by the day's featured artist. You can comment about the t-shirt and can request side art to be printed (which the site may or may not do, there are a lot of ideas after all) as well as leave positive or constructive criticism for the artist.

Also, sometimes the artists have contests that TeeFury will announce, so you can not only buy the t-shirt but win stickers, a print, or even another t-shirt just by becoming a fan or following the artist. Who doesn't love free stuff?

TeeFury also offers forums for artists to talk about ideas and get feedback on current sketches they are working on.

How Much?: T-shirts are $9 plus a $2 shipping fee, but if you buy multiples you only have to pay for shipping once. Artists get paid $1 per sale, and as the site states, artists have made between $150 and $2,500; that's enough for a lot of Chipotle burritos.

What Do I Need to Know: The design changes everyday at 12am EST, so be sure you get it before it goes! The site occasionally has grab bag days. Grab bags are $5 t-shirts that can be any of the designs that have been offered since the last grab bag. If you're desperate for a certain design that you missed, this is your best bet, or try the forums on their website.

If you're still having questions, visit the FAQ area on the website!

Clothe Me In Awesomeness!: Visit the website that I have generously hyperlinked throughout this blog post, or if you're lazy, just click TeeFury.com.

Final Thoughts: Be adorned in epicness, and look out because this upcoming week is Art Week!

Additional Resources:

8:40 PM

Coffee vs. Me

Today I realized that I got my ass kicked by a cup of coffee. And not just any coffee. Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Frappe, small-sized (I still don't remember what they call their portions).

It started out innocently enough. I woke up late. I took too long in the shower. I got dressed slowly. I thought for sure I would be fifteen minutes later to work than normal.

But what do you know it, Mr. Friday was looking down on me and I found myself ahead of schedule while driving to work. So, being the typical, early twenties, late-night creature that seem to have broke into this world in the late 1980s, I went in search of the only substance that is acceptable at 7:15 am: coffee.

I eventually found a Starbucks and purchased my favorite (and really, only enjoyable drink) coffee/dessert/insulin beverage from the institution: a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.

Needless to say, it was so good I scraped the front of my car parking at a nearby Dunkin' Donuts for a last minute gift for Boss' Day AND parked crooked I was in such a hurry to get back to frozen heaven. And the coffee continued to be good for the hour and a half I managed to make it last. I would have licked the insides of the cup if I didn't sit right in front of my boss' door.

I didn't know at the time, however, but the minute the last of the coffee disappeared down my esophagus, the trouble began. You see, coffee has this bad habit of sticking around in my blood system, joyriding your brain into thinking that I've either ingested speed or am a bastard child of the Flash. And I fall for it every time.

Naturally, this state never announces when it's done. At noon, I found myself falling asleep over the keyboard. I stretched, sat up, sat on my foot, pumped up the music, eat more food, and went outside, all in the span of a few minutes in an attempt to stay awake. But it was no use. It was either drink more coffee or tough it out.

There's no getting around it. You drink the coffee and remember how good it tastes, and crave it when you don't have it. But when you do have it, you always run into that midday wall and then either have to suffer in a seemingly never-ending battle with your eyelids or you get more coffee. Only to hit another wall later on.

It's a vicious cycle that gets me every time, yet I still drink coffee. And it's still delicious. And I know I'll be returning to embrace coffee once more on Monday morning. I didn't know whether to feel like a true hero for going forward or like an addict. And as I walked out of the office today, still feeling like I was going to drop dead and die on the asphalt before walking the fifty feet to my car, I realized something:

Coffee always makes you its bitch.

6:20 PM

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: The Venture Brothers

This post starts a new series entitled: Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't. It highlights people, places, things, and ideas you probably don't know about but should because they are super disturbing, super thrilling, or super awesome. Or just plain weird.

But you get the idea.

And what better way to start off the series than with my current television obsession, The Venture Brothers?

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: The Venture Brothers

What Is It: The Venture Brothers is an animated comedy show created by Jackson Publick (aka Christopher McCulloch). Produced by Astrobase Go! and World Leaders Entertainment, the show so chock full of pop culture references, comic book references, and adult humor that it practically needs it's own Internet to cover it all.

The show is currently in it's fourth season and centers (mostly) around the lives of Hank and Dean Venture. Well-meaning but idiots, Hank and Dean are living the life of boy adventurers just like their father, bitter and failed scientist Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture.

The boys are joined by Brock Samson, their body guard - voiced by the wonderful and instantly recognizable Patrick Warburton - and a cast of archvillains, archenemies, and random characters that we only wish actually existed in comics. I mean, any series that has a character called "Ghost Robot" has already elevated itself to the shining pedestal of nerdtastic awesome that the likes of Chuck and The Big Bang Theory can only dream of.

Why Should I Watch It: It's the funniest damn thing on television. And one of the best written. I personally started in season three, and while I had the advantage of my sister explaining who was who to me, that's where I come in for you. Do I recommend this approach? Not really. Especially when the DVDs are available here and here and here.

But seriously, if you're not watching it and you're a fan of comics and superheroes, get out from under the rock you're under and get on it. Seriously.

What Do I Need to Know: The show is animated, so if you're a hater, don't bother. But for the rest of us who are merely worried about adding another addictive TV show that could impede with Glee, worry no further. The show is only a half-hour and is on at 11:30 PM (PST) on Sundays. So you have an excuse to stay up. (Be sure to thank Adult Swim for that one.)

The show is for adults and teens, but quite frankly, it's about time we had an animated show for us. The storyline is linear, so unlike House, you will miss information in each missed episode that could come back to be the plot kicker four episodes down the line (or even next season).

Who Are the Main Players?: I'm so glad you asked!

Hank and Dean Venture: Hank (the Fred look-a-like) is the "brawn" (or so he thinks) or the two brothers. Stubborn, persistent, slightly ADD, but always sure of himself, Hank is the one who is more likely to get the two into trouble or to annoy whoever he is being held prisoner by at the moment. He regularly fights and bickers over pop culture and everyday occurrences with his booky and brainy titular twin, Dean (red hair). Dean has your required girly scream and romantic ideals that you would expect in Hank's opposite. Being pushed towards a career in science by his father, Dean is meek but is also kind and means well, even if his best defense in battle is blowing a rape whistle.

Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture: The father of the dynamic duo above, Rusty is a former child adventurer himself, though was so reluctantly. Pushed into science by his father, and still failing marvelously at it years later, Rusty is bitter, callous, and exactly the kind of father you can guess he is. Rusty usually manages to say or do the wrong thing, but hey, you have to forgive him. Who else manages to get eclipsed in their science career by a parasitic twin and continue living?



Brock Samson
: Bodyguard to Rusty and father figure to the boys, Brock is one of those people that punches first and asks questions after. If you got to know Brock off glance alone, you would think Rambo, Tarzan, Conan, and Crocodile Dundee got together, had a baby, then let it run wild with wolves. A government agent, Brock only has to appear and henchmen flee. Despite his taciturn personality and anger management issues, Brock has the patient of a saint when it comes to dealing with Hank and Dean, and you could say he's the most accomplished of the show's characters. And that's saying something for a character with a mullet.

The Monarch: Dr. Venture's sworn archenemy and member of the archenemy guild called The Guild of Calamitous Intent, The Monarch is ridiculous, hysterical, and, at times, successful. And yes, he dresses like a butterfly. Commanding an army of henchmen all dressed in butterfly wings as well and king of his home base called The Cocoon, The Monarch has hated Dr. Venture since college and still does well past their prime years. A regular in the series who has kidnapped every member of the Venture family at least once, The Monarch himself manages to get into almost as much trouble with the Guild or the regular law enforcement. The latter mostly for peeing in public.

Dr. Girlfriend: Sexy, smart, and a doctor of...something, Dr. Girlfriend is currently the arm candy of The Monarch and at times the only thing that makes his elaborate plans work. Dr. Girlfriend's charm is not only in her body, personality, and impeccable fashion sense, but also in the fact that she is voiced by a man. That's right. Doc Hammer is one of the series' most loved writers and voice actors (and editor, and graphics artist, and...) and he manages to make Dr. Girlfriend incredibly unforgettable and a rival to Jessica Rabbit herself.

Henchmen 21 and 24: And finally, last but never least, Henchmen 21 and 24, the comic relief and hysterical, head henchmen of The Monarch. The Laurel (24) and Hardy (21) duo of the show, Henchmen 21 and 24 are those henchmen who just never seem to die. In fact, they and The Monarch himself have recognized their uncanny ability to live through just about everything. These two are fan favorites and are best known for their numerous arguments about the finer things in life: such as whether Smurfs breed or lay eggs to produce offspring.

So What's the Show About, Overall?: The show, as said early, mostly focuses on the exploits of Hank and Dean, following them through their young, confusing lives and moronic mistakes. The series is good about dealing with character development and having a story in each episode, so you're not left with one sacrificed over the other. It's also good about not bringing in something randomly then abandoning it (*cough*GLEE*cough*).

I'm Philosophical and Won't Watch Unless There's More To It: You need more of a reason? If I had to say an overall theme for the show, pure and simple (and right out of an interview quoted on Wikipedia), failure. The beauty and ordinary nature of failure and how we still keep going, trying to do something good.

And that is partly why this television series is the first thing featured on my new blog posts. How many shows are that well-written, still funny, reference everything I love, and still manage to question the real universe? The show is entertaining with it's action, complex characters, and intricate story lines, and in the end, it's well-written and often brings a sentiment to the show's episode that makes you pause and think later on that night. Or keeps you up.

What are the Fans Called?: I believe the official unofficial term is Venturoos. Don't believe anything else you hear.

You've Convinced Me! When Can I Watch It?: The show airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim at 11:30 PM (PST).

Final Thoughts: Go Team Venture!

Additional Resources:
  • Jackson Publick has his own journal here, where you can hear news from the Sovereign himself.
  • The Mantis-Eye Experiment has been around for five years and has capsules for each episode with a recap and, my favorite feature, explanations of each reference/throw-back in the episode.
  • Venture Brothers Blog is a terrific fan site and offers episode recaps, reviews, and an awesome collection of Venture Brother awesomeness.
  • The People's Republic of Venture is a fan run wiki and forum site where the newly awoken Venturoo in you can run free.
  • And don't forget the Very Venture Vodcast, featuring episode reviews by two fabulous female Venturoos.
  • Adult Swim's official site for the show is here, check it out for episodes (new ones posted Monday night) and contests.
  • Wikipedia is always good. Most of the time.

9:32 PM

Flashback: Changing Kid's Cartoons

So I decided I was going to participate in Disney Profile Picture Week on Facebook today. Being the devious person I am, and wanting to try to trip up my little sister, I decided I was going to post this guy as my profile picture.



Don't remember him? I didn't even remember his name! But I won't ever forget that he's from "The Three Caballeros". His name is Panchito Pistolas and he's a red Mexican rooster. Along with a green parrot named Jose and Donald Duck, he makes up one of the three caballeros.

After wandering through memory lane, I decided to look up the namesake musical number from the film, also titled "The Three Caballeros".

I was shocked! Not only does Jose smoke but Panchito fires off his pistols several times in the musical number. But I think what shocked me more was how different kid's television is now. Personally, I'm not bothered by Jose smoking or Panchito's pistols, but parents today would be outraged. With good reason? I'm not so sure.

Sometimes I have to wonder if we give kids too much credit. I feel that back in my day, parents didn't worry about the gun or the cigar because we didn't take note of it as a kid. Or we weren't impressed enough to go out and buy real guns or smoke real cigars. In fact, I didn't even like "The Three Caballeros" that much when I was young! I had other Disney videos I reached for first over this one. And occasionally my sisters and I would draw forth this tape from the back of the pile just for kicks, and mostly for the title song.

Now we try to censor things we feel our bad in order to keep kids from being 'impressed' with bad desires. Do we give kid's too much credit, or doubt them too much? Or is it just different values and worries of a different era that make "The Three Caballeros" inappropriate in this generation? I like to think I grew up fine despite having watched "The Three Caballeros" when I was younger. If I was scared by it, to be sure, my parents wouldn't have let me watch it - hence why "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Rite of Spring" were cut in my family's version of "Fantasia". But I know other people who saw these sketches as ankle-biters and are perfectly fine for it.

I kind of miss the days when we could show guns in kid's cartoons and where a rooster from Mexico could be red without someone crying racist. Or when we could depict evil as a big, black, bat monster with a Slavic god's name without criticism, or when it didn't really matter what technology we used as long as it was fun.

Granted, modern television isn't bad by a long shot. It's great to see more female characters coming into kid's entertainment, and stronger females at that. But I wonder if we've traded fun for political correctness or parental concern sometimes.

The good old days seem so simple, don't they?

12:47 AM

Internships

So if you don't know, I'm trying to get a job in the film industry. It's hard on a regular day, but in a recession, not in the same state, and with no HTML skills to offer? We've graduated to a whole new level of difficulty called defcon red. There are no entry-level jobs posted, but plenty of higher-level ones that demand experience. So how do I get experience in order to apply for head of that silly marketing department or expansive office production crew?

I have no idea.

One way to do so is through internships. There are plenty of internships available in Hollywood. But unlike engineering, science, or other internships, people in Los Angeles are under the impression that internships don't have to pay their hirees. While I can understand this to some degree, I recently saw a job posting - an internship job, mind you - that was looking for the following:

1. Someone to work Monday through Friday
2. Someone to work Monday through Friday from 10am to 7pm
3. Someone to work Monday through Friday from 10am to 7pm with NO PAY

Do you see something wrong with this picture? I sure do.

Why do internships who demand a full-time schedule feel like they don't have to pay? They don't include a computer, transportation costs, relocation costs, help in finding a living situation, or anything else that you would think a 40-hour work week with no pay would provide. How is this right? How is this even legal?!

I really wanted this internship - it sounded fun and I felt like I would have been a good fit. I was even asked in for an interview, but when I found out that the position was unpaid I had to decline. I was so bummed and confused and hurt. Is the movie business, one of the richest in the world mind you, so corrupt that it can't pay people it demands a four to five work day from? What happened to helping people make a living? And how can anyone take that job who is a student in the position I'm in?

I remember an article awhile ago about a girl who reported the agency that wasn't paying her for an internship position she had gained. The New York Times covered the issue and it was basically revealed that offering an internship without compensation is illegal. (I don't know if college credit counts as compensation.)

Is it fair that college credit counts when you pay a college for a sign-off that you worked for free in the industry? Wasn't this was called "shadowing" back in the day and usually involved actually observing your field and not running to grab the phone? How can it be fair to gain a whole two credits, pay hundreds of dollars for those credits, be expected to work a full day, and not get paid for it?

I wish that people would pay people for work. Good writers can no longer get paid for what they do because the Internet makes it easier and cheaper (and I mean free) to find someone else to finish the job. I know that interns are young. We make mistakes, but we're learning, and despite the fact that we're in college doesn't mean that we can afford not to be paid. Especially when there are no jobs anymore to let us get a foot in the door.

9:30 PM

Caspurr




To Caspurr, to Caspie, to Buttmunch, to Dense Cat, to Baby, to Brat Cat: we miss you. May your time with us have been worth your brief sojourn on Earth.

The Rainbow Bridge

inspired by a Norse legend


By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.


© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.

10:44 PM

Play It Again!

Does anyone else have those songs that they can listen to 100 million times in a row? I go through cycles where I latch onto a song like a hungry lampray and replay it until the button on my mp3 player and car stereo are devoid of any indication that there was a tiny "replay" written on the button.

I'm lucky that most of my driving time is by myself or with my sisters (who do the same thing), where I can indulge in my habit and overkill the song to my heart's content. Otherwise I think my passengers would kill me or the radio after hearing One Republic's "Secrets" after the third play.

I never really thought of myself as a visual person until just recently, most of the way into my film degree. I found myself becoming more conscious of the fact that I daydream. A lot. In fact, sometimes I lose focus on what people are saying.

Example:

Me: Hey! How is the new job going?

Friend: Oh, my job as a night janitor at the elementary school? It's great! The other day, I scraped off the biggest gum wad you'd ever seen, and...

Me: (thinking) I wonder what would happen if a janitor faced off with giant, sentient gum wads while cleaning a science class room. The gum would be all green, because we all know that science classrooms use radioactive material on a regular basis, and it would be avenging the death of it's long lost grape gum love...

Friend: How are you?

Me: (thinking) And then, the janitor would have to defend himself from the supply closet, using his mop bucket to mix up a death-inducing chemical that breaks up the gum and creates gum-liquid-no, that's gross. What if it just melted like the Wicked Witch of the West? That could be pretty awesome.

Friend: ...

This happens frequently. And often with music. When I get a clear image of something from a song's lyrics or tune, I have to listen to that inspiration over and over until I get a crystal clear, unforgettable image of that scene, character, or emotion. Ok, so I still manage to forget some of them, but more often than not the image will stay and I remember it for days to come.

I love how music can conjure such imaginings with just at tune. And I find that it doesn't necessarily matter what type of music it is. I've found inspiration in Schubert's "Ave Maria" and Ke$ha's "Take It Off". And don't get me started on Queen's "Bohemian Rhaposdy". Why they didn't do a music video with the amazing story in that song, I'll never understand!

And what's even more fun, to me, is that songs can inspire different images from the genre they're in. Look at all the parodies using the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey", or "Flight of the Valkyrie". I mean, when I listen to One Republic's "Secrets" (a current obsession), I picture a character who identifies closely with the line of "Don't let me disappear". For Tao Cruiz's "Heartbreaker" I see a glamorous and confident movie star who manages to fall in love with her assistant, despite her belief she won't.

Are some of my imaginings cheesy? Yes. Yet they're still my brain babies and I love them while they last. Sometimes they turn out well and sometimes they hang out with the wrong crowd, get addicted to speed, and turn out to be leeches. But another song will come along and spawn another little inkling. And since I think art is sometimes a matter of luck in regards to what turns out to be good, it can't hurt to explore options.

And listen to the same song, over and over again.

11:33 PM

Bob Haircuts For the Win

Why does TV and film seem to have an aversion to female leads with short hair? Granted, female leads in general are about as frequent as two digit temperatures in Arizona during the summer, but short-haired ones are a rarity in a category of their own.

I've heard that men prefer long-haired women but I've never come across proof of this popular idea until after looking at the film world.Think about it. Princess Leia ("Star Wars"), Kate ("Lost"), Penny ("The Big Bang Theory"), Jessi ("Toy Story 2 and 3"), Cuddy and Cameron and Thirteen/Remy ("House"), Robin ("How I Met Your Mother"), Buttercup ("The Princess Bride"), and almost every female in a romantic comedy/romance novel.

While it may not be surprising that romantic comedies and drama tend to have more long-haired babes in them - it's needed for those dramatic moments after all, the slow-motion head toss wouldn't be the same without it! - it's telling that the leads in these genres, especially romantic movies, would have long hair.

Why are short-haired women limited to taking center stage in sci-fi? Why is it that only the tough girls seem to have short hair, or the eccentric women, or the messed up ones? We all know that men take the forefront as the main character in disproportionate numbers in books, film, and tv, but for men, it seems that short is the norm and longer hair is either a hippie, druggie, or old Western man. I don't get it.

While this concept could use some reflection and could probably spawn any number of debates, arguments, spoofs, and rants, I've decided that it would be more useful (and fun) to just list five amazing short-haired bombshells that I appreciate.

We'll do a short shout out list for those female characters with short hair who are series regulars or have somewhat important roles in films but, sadly, aren't the main attraction.

Honorable Mentions: Dr. Girlfriend - "The Venture Bros.", Claudia Donovan - "Warehouse 13", Number Six - "Battlestar Galactica", Molly Jensen - "Ghost", Celia Hodes - "Weeds"

But you know you're all really interested in who the main beauties are of the group who get the short and sexy hairstyling AND the main lead. Here's the best that I could do at this time of night! They're in no particular order, and if you can think of anyone else that deserves a shout-out or to be on this list let me know with a comment.

1. Akima - "Titan A.E."

Akima is proud, confident, strong, beautiful, yet flawed. She has some issues with her attitude she's fun to watch on-screen as she learns to trust and also as she kicks some booty. You can argue that she's a bit flat character-wise, and that her main role is to be the love interest, and yes, she's in a science fiction movie, but we all have to start somewhere, right? One disappointing aspect about Akima, however, is that while she is a main character, she is not the focal point of the story. And with hair like that, I can't see why she isn't.


2. Olivia Benson - "Law and Order: SVU"

She's sexy, tough, and compassionate, and she's also a main character for the first few seasons until she disappears and people stop watching the show religiously. She consistently shows up with short hair, possibly because of her job, but we love her anyway because, hey, she's doing the same kind of work as Stabler, and still looking good!


3. Snow White - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

Ok, so she's two-dimensional and a kid's cartoon from the time back when it used to be expected for a girl to have no dreams except getting married. But she's the only Disney princess with short hair above her chin (Mulan doesn't even cut hers that short, and it grows back!). So we have to give her a shout-out and appreciate the fact that she's embodying love for a generation without the use of luxurious long locks. And to top it off? The movie's about her. She's even in the title.


4. Fujioka Haruhi - "Ouran High School Host Club"

Before you judge me on watching and liking this show, I have to challenge you to find a female who is featured as prominently as a main character in a show that is not science fiction as her. Granted, she dresses like a man in most of the series, and has several brusque qualities that may be considered strange for a normal person. But she is the main star of this show and she isn't perfect by any means of the game. Too bad we can't have this combination on a major network show...


5. Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart - "Chicago"

The bad girls and also the main characters, Roxie's and Velma's are both devious and not incredibly relateable, but you gotta admit they have spunk and a flair for the dramatic, and I have to give them this this: they aren't animated OR in a science-fiction movie. Ignoring the fact that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger are both attractive, you also have to admire that neither are upstaged by the Richard Gere's character (what's his name again? I'm too blinded by the women...).


7:12 PM

My Rainbow Hat


So evidently my rainbow, woven hat that I brought back from New Zealand is famous. That's right, lower left hand corner, on the bed post. EXACTLY THE SAME. My sisters say it's still ugly and a sin upon the fashion industry. But they're just jealous.

10:13 PM

Chubbs McGrubbs

Dear Chubbs McGrubbs,

First off, I want you to know that I love you dearly. Ever since you came into the family, we have all been smitten with you, and you'll always hold a place in my heart. But we need to talk about why you have this new nickname.

While I've rationalized it as baby fat, the fact is that you are quickly becoming a teenager, almost an adult really, and you need to start laying off the midnight snacks (do as I say, not as I do!). It's true there is more of you to love in your slightly overweight, the-BMI-is-faulty kind of way, the truth is that I can poke your fat without you doing anything about it. Seriously, stop snacking.

While we're at it, I also have to ask you to stop waking me up in the morning. Yes, you're a morning person, I get it! But I don't appreciate the sharp pokes to the back or the lurking on my floor, waiting for my alarm to go off. Every time you hear it, you jump on the bed and I can't help but wake up. Plus, you're loud.

And speaking of loud, what's up with the crocodile tears? This is a new thing. Did you learn it from Millie? You know that crying when I pick you up for an airplane ride won't make me put you down. And you've never been a cuddly kind of gal, but would it hurt you to put up with it a little bit more?

Finally, please stop shredding the sofa. It's getting old.

Love,
Me

12:46 AM

How to Land a Nerd: Step One, Impressing Them

So I've decided to be generous to all of you who have your sights on the ever-shy yet overlooked specimen that most of us take for granted: the nerd. That's right. Reasons may vary for wanting to date this lovable species of the human race, whether it be their (usually) high intellectual level of thinking, their sweet and fragile interior, their tube socks, or even if you just want to borrow their season of Battlestar Galactica (original AND remake). Yet if you're reading this, you're either committed to landing that geek of your dreams, coke-rims and all, or are bored silly with Facebook.

The first step in landing a nerd is to impress them. This is fairly easy to do depending on who you are. If you're a woman trying to get a nerd guy, having boobs usually helps. A lot. In fact, you usually just have to say hi, how are you?, what do you do for a living?, and you're pretty much set. A guy, on the other hand, has a lot more work cut out for him. But we'll save that for it's own issue.

Just like with any other potential other, you want to impress your target and make them feel like there is more to you than meets the eye (you're halfway there if you know what cartoon theme song that quote comes from!). For this particular group of people, you'll want to use random trivia, particularly of the movie, comic, cartoon, and science variety.

To help you on your quest, I've compiled a list of random trivia and answers to typical questions that you can use not only to reel in a nerd with your nerdesque knowledge of all things super-nerd, but also to identify if the person you are talking to is a genuine, 100% PC-fed nerd.

May the geek be with you!

1. "Han shot first!"

Context: Any discussion that is related to Star Wars or movies, feel free to use this gem when asked what your biggest annoyance with Star Wars is or if you just want to show off your superior geek intellect when it concerns one of the most famous and well-known space epics of all time.

Where It Comes From: In the original Star Wars, Han Solo sits at the table in the desert cantina with Greedo (the alien/bug/Pokemon looking thing that asks for money). When Han informs the bounty hunter that he doesn't have Jabba the Hut's money, the two face-off, and Han is the first to pull his gun and shoot, all under the table. In the new, remastered movies, Greedo shoots first to make Han more "sympathetic". Most nerds will agree that the true-to-script version is the first.

2. Pronouncing "manga" correctly

Context: If you're asked if you read this medium (it's a miniature, fatter comic book, also commonly called a graphic novel, though almost strictly of the Japan variety), you'll want to be able to say yes or no (we recommend saying yes) while saying it correctly. No idea what manga are, and don't want to do the research? Just say you haven't read manga in while because you got into [INSERT OTHER ACTIVITY HERE].

How to Say it: Mahn-ga. (NOTE: The "n" is ALMOST silently, but not quite!)

3. "Live long and prosper."

Context: Most everyone knows this quote from Star Trek, but if you don't, just know that it was said by an alien who looks like a human with pointy ears and big eyebrows named Spock. We also recommend you learn the hand gesture (the Vulcan Greeting) that goes with it:



NOTE: Extra nerd points, the correct response is "Peace and long life" when someone says the above phrase to you. Also, the Vulcan Greeting that you see above is great to use as Jewish blessing, so go for it at those Jewish holiday events!

Background: The original actor who plays Spock is Leonard Nimoy. The sign is made when parting someone and wishing them well or saying hello, and this whole thing originates in the Star Trek: First Generation series, aka, the original Star Trek. Too much information? Just say, "I love Spock!" if faced with this sign or saying.

4. "Firefly" or "I'm a Browncoat"

Context: Answer this if asked what your favorite TV show is, or your favorite canceled TV show, or if you're a fan of anything.

Where It Comes From: "Firefly" is a canceled TV show written and directed by Joss Wheadon (he did "Buffy", "Angel", and some other stuff that doesn't really matter). It's about cowboys in space who speak Chinese. That's really about all you need to know because if the person knows what you're talking about and starts a passionate conversation on it, they're a Browncoat (a term from the show that now refers to "Firefly" fans) and a nerd. The show only ran for 14 episodes before it was dropped and has a movie that finishes the series called "Serenity".

5. Stephen Hawking

Context: Answer to the question about who your personal hero is.

Who It Is: Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physicist who has a disorder that has left him wheelchair bound and completely paralyzed. He talks using a computer and has one of those computer voices that will haunt you for the rest of your life after you hear it. His most famous (or well-known) book is "A Brief History of Time" which is most certainly not brief or understandable by most non-physicist people. If asked why he's your hero, answers can include: "He's brilliant", "He has overcome so much", and "I like his accent".

6. Schoedinger's Cat

Context: Use it in an analogy to make yourself look like a science person.

Where It Comes From: If you know this already, bonus points to you! Just keep going. If not, it's an experiment run by a scientist named Schoedinger (no surprise there) who proposed this thought experiment (no animals harmed, I think...) that if you put a cat inside a box, you won't know if it's alive or dead when you open it later until you do.

To sum up the point in practical terms, you won't know if something will work unless you do it.

7. Linux

Context: If you want to brag, brag about your computer and say you use Linux.

Where It Comes From: Linux is a computer operating system that is hideously more complicated than Word or Apple, and is for the hardcore computer software people who want to be able to manipulate anything and everything on their computer. It makes you seem tech savvy if you say you use it, and you know you've found a nerd if they ask technical questions!

8. MMORPG

Context: Answer this when asked about your hobbies.

What It Is: Mass Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game. Think of all those addicting, crack-like on-line games that you hear about on the news (mostly because some 32-year-old still lives at home in his sweat pants playing it 24/7 in his mom's basement) and it's probably this. Prominent examples include "WoW" (World of Warcraft), Runescape, Lord of the Rings/Star Wars online, and Aion. Gamers, as people who play lots of video-games and/or MMORPGs are often called, will know instantly what this acronym means and you'll find yourself in nerdvana. Beware, though! If the person you're talking to has no idea, do not mention "WoW" or you're likely to be labeled a nerd yourself.

9. LARPing

Context: Generally you don't ever want to mention this. Ever. Mainly because the first rule of LARP is "Never talk about LARP", and also because it's really nerdy. But if you are adventurous and looking for the truly open-minded or ultimate nerd/geek, then say you do this in your free time.

What It Is: LARP is Live-Action Role Playing. That's right. People out there actually make costumes and stand around as Gandalf/Harry Potter/drunken dwarves and shoot spells at each other or re-enact battles that never happened. Only the super-nerdy usually partake in this, as it means you become that character in dress, mannerisms, and speech. It's more intense than a renaissance fair, trust me.

10. "Ren fair"

Context: Another one for what you like to do.

What It Is: Ren fair is a nickname for a renaissance fair. This is arguably nerdy, as a lot of normal people go to these things for the entertainment, large breasts in tight dresses, and more importantly, the beer. The true geeks, however, dress up. Fun? Yes. Normal? Probably not.

11. Comic-Con

Context: Answer to where you want to go, or your favorite vacation spot.

What It Is: Comic-Con is the haven for all nerds/geeks and fanboys alike. People flock in the hundreds of thousands to this event in San Diego (soon to be Los Angeles, supposedly) to see clips of the newest movie, browse hundreds of stands of comic books, and buy a ton of shit they can probably live without because it's there. The Con, as it's called for short, is always crowded and is getting more people as more industry people go to showcase their wares. But what's really important is that a ton of people dress up. Skinny Super Mans, fat Batmans, and obese slave-girl Leia are some of the most memorable and often parodied at the Con, and yes, there usually is at least one of each.

12. Skynet

Context: An answer to what you fear the most.

Where It Is From: Skynet is the villain in Terminator, though it is almost never shown on screen. It is a computer system that humans built in the future with artificial intelligence (AI) that woke up one day to decide it was evil and enslaves all of humanity. It's agents are Terminators (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who are big bad ass robots that can time-travel and are mostly good for having big, sweaty muscles and guns everywhere on their body (I'm still waiting for guns to appear out of their nostrils).

13. "Running raids"

Context: Another answer on what to do in your free time. Answer this if you are unsure if they are a gamer/nerd or not.

What It Is: Running a raid is a term for going, online mind you, with a group of other people in a MMORPG to slay the dragon, drink mead, or level up as a group. For some reason, this 'raid' has to be done in a group, and instead of saying something pansy like "quest", "raid" has been deemed as the slang of choice.

14. "Looking for group"

Context: This is a dual answer that can be used to describe your favorite comic OR as a funny retort to describing a situation where you are trying to find someone. An example: I was at the theater looking for my friends, and I was ready to start shouting "Looking for group!" to see if I could get them to find me!

Where It Is From: The comic is fairly popular with gamers and is about a group of online gaming characters that are part of a group and do silly things. The most well-known character is Richard the Undead Warlock, and parodies fantasy MMORPGs as well as is a gold mine for picking up witty, gamer one-liners. The term is also used when a new person enters an MMORPG and is either looking to: a) join a raid, or b) travel around with other people doing who knows what.

15. "Blue screen of death"

Context: Use in casual conversation when referring to how much you hate your computer or an attempt at an activity that failed.

Where It Is From: The blue screen of death is what happens when your computer flips it's shit and destroys itself from the inside out. It usually happens when you have too much stuff open and are pressing buttons like the apocalypse is going to happen, and indicates that your computer is dead. It's a great simile to use when talking about how an attempt to do something failed, and anyone technologically savvy will know what you are talking about. NOTE: The blue screen of death only happens on computers running Windows. Macs don't get a blue screen, but you can still use the comparison anyway.

16. "meme"

Context: Use this term to talk about that funny Youtube video that was on the news.

What It Is: A meme is basically any of those viral videos that have made their way into your inbox five million times. It's a nerdy way to refer to these items made popular over the Internet.

BONUS POINTS: Richard Dawkins invented/popularized this word. Probably one of the only useful things he ever did.

17. "All your base are belong to us"

Context: I have no idea.

Where It Is From: The phrase is from a badly translated Japanese game called Zero Wing, and was the subject of an Internet meme in 2000-2001. The phrase itself is from an opening sequence in the game, but all you need to know is that when you hear it, don't correct the English, just laugh.

18. 4chan

Context: Answer to favorite website, or referencing where you found that awesome new video meme.

What It Is: 4chan is where the Internet cesspool begins. It's a website made national newspapers when the owner of the site, moot, was named in Time's Top 100 Most Influential Persons of the Year Finalists List 2009. The site is mostly famous for memes and the rampant porn and spam posted on it, though the goal is supposedly to talk about anime and manga.

19. "Pedobear"

Context: Use this phrase when talking about something creepy. Specifically: "Ugh, that's creepy as Pedobear" or "That's Pedobear creepy".

Where It Is From: A 4chan phenomena. It originated as a drawing of an anthropomorphic bear child predator and is used when talking about something or someone that reminds someone of a pedophile. Just another classy way to talk about pedophiles!

20. "Rick Roll"

Context: You "Rick Roll" someone and is only done by the nerd inclined. See the definition below.

What It Is: A Rick Roll is when you post a link to someone on IM or over e-mail saying "watch this cool video!" You click on it, expecting cute pandas or someone falling off a roof, and get this. The artist is Rick Astley, and the song is about as great as the first syllable of his last name. Some love it, a lot of people hate it, and being Rick Rolled or Rick Rolling someone is nothing new.

Read more about the fine art of Rick Rolling, as well as tips on how to do it properly, here.

Take these and go forth. Find that nerd that you're dreaming of, or simply masquerade as one in order to find those nerds in hiding. Remember, nerds are people too! They just speak a different language.

To be continued...

4:34 PM

An Internet Joke From My E-Mail (In Light of Current Government Mockings)

A major research institution (MRI) has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been tentatively named Governmentium.

Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

10:54 PM

3 Things That Gross Me Out (Besides the Usual Stuff)

1. Cottage Cheese

It's disgusting, it's lumpy, and the only thing it's good in is guacamole - and only the homemade kind! Personally, I think that this concoction came out of a blend of white cheddar cheese and those Styrofoam packing peanuts that mysteriously disappear in your garage. It tastes like someone added duck droppings in for fun. In other words - GROSS.

2. Birds

They stare at you with their beady little eyes and fluff up in an attempt to look cute. DON'T BE FOOLED! They're all rats with wings, with the added bonus of carrying salmonella. I wouldn't be surprised if both ooze out of their pores on a daily basis. I can think of three disgusting birds: seagulls - rats with wings and they know it, vultures - they pee on their legs, enough said!, and that one crow in the second Pirates movie - it eats an eyeball, how much nastier can you get?

3. Someone Else Handling My Special Blanket

We all have that special toy/blanket/artifact that we alone like to touch. I mean, if I'm going to keep my blanket with me at night, I don't want anyone else's bodily fluids or skin particles, voluntary or not, seeping into or settling onto the threadbare cotton! Every time someone touches, caresses, or worst of all (shudder) SITS on my blanket, I lose a year off my life. And if someone happens to fart on it? Well, if I ever find out, no judge can put me away...

BONUS!

4. A Bird Covered in Cottage Cheese Sitting on My Special Blanket

The world would end. I'm just saying. Some scientist will cook one of these babies up and set it out to defeat me, right after I reveal my public identity as [CENSORED FOR BLOGGER'S SAFETY], and attempt to keep me occupied as they carry out their nefarious plan. BUT, what he/she/it doesn't know is that I'm already anticipating this, and will be ready with a giant potato gun! The bird won't know what hit it.

2:20 PM

One Great Thing About Graduation

I've decided to update today with a look into what my life has been like the past week or so. Or yesterday, if you want an epitome of all my feelings, cares, and stresses over the hell that is my communications research project.

Let me start with a disclaimer: I like doing research. That's right, stone me now, but something about hitting the books, turning page after page, procrastinating every 1/5th of a second on Facebook, and complaining loudly about all of the work I SHOULD be doing while I sit for two hours in the cafeteria with people I barely know.

But the finished product is always fun - who doesn't like being pat on the head, with a "good job!" thrown in there like a Milkbone, the right to sound like the world's most front-running expert on the subject (at least to your friends and family who don't know any better) and a big, fatty stack of graded paper with that "A" on top.

It's a form of heaven, I'm telling you. So are the bragging rights that come with it. And when the topic is something you love - a.k.a. not the topic I'm working on now - then the research is even more enjoyable.

So why do I hate this research project? THIS GUY.


That's right, it's a group project. And I'm stuck with "that" guy who has managed to: 1) miss most of the classes for the semester, 2) miss almost every group meeting, 3) done zero hard work on the assignment.

Lucky for me, I have two other group members: Mr. Reliable and Mr. Mostly Reliable. Granted, I know that none of my group cares about the grade except me. I'm an over-achiever, a bit of a bat out of hell when it comes to group project work not being evenly distributed, and a perfectionist. (It doesn't help I have one semester left, in essence, and this grade counts!) But I digress...

What is my issue with Mr. Anchor? Why can't I just let a fellow senior slide? Here's four reasons why I'm within one badly timed remark of taking my pencil and committing crime ala Joker style.

1) The Literature Review (a.k.a. the long boring crap at the beginning of the paper that makes it seem like the researcher had some clue of what they were doing instead of going off an idea that "came to them" while on the toilet)

Picture this. You're staring down your research paper, six things in hand you want to talk about, and four group members. Ok, only three showed up (that's ok, but not really), but your sure the fourth had some good reason for not coming (he doesn't). If everyone takes one, then doubles up on another variable, surely you can BS your way through enough of this to sound convincing! So you dole out responsibilities then break to start researching and be done before the deadline of spring break, only two weeks away.

Spring break comes by, and you have enough information to turn in. If you don't, you've managed to finish it that night before you take off to get wasted at your grandmother's 87th birthday or sleep off that Red Bull overdose you're suffering from after that one night in the library (what happens on the second floor stays there). Bingo, you're done, and have it sent to your other reliable team member who offered to compile it. Everyone else is behind, but you're sure they'll catch up (at this point, you still have hope, how cute).

Then Spring Break ends, you come back, and the weeks scream by. You find yourself suddenly having to send e-mail after e-mail to the others. You're the one who has to put the survey together, nag about the literature review, and don't forget you have homework for your Birdwatching Class that involves memorizing all 129 species of duck and imitating their calls, as well as weaving a Navajo styled basket at the public pool.

It comes down to the last week before the thing is due. You saunter into the library thinking that perhaps your strongly worded e-mail (not sure how strong "please" is, but no one can say you're rude!) had an effect. There's Mr. Anchor himself! He has his laptop open - great, he has something!

"Oh, hey! Yeah, that lit review? Working on it now."

Your eye twitches (good think your skull's keeping it in). You look at his screen, and sure enough, he's on sentence one. Of variable one. You feel like this.

Fortunately, the school computers can't be taken off the desks for you to throw at Mr. Anchor's head... And don't worry, he WILL get it done! It will just be crap.

2) The Surveys (a.k.a. here, you can do my job!)
So you need 100 surveys filled out. You have four team members, and simple math says, calculating in possible errors in survey-taking (who forgets to fill out age? you'd be surprised at the number...), you dole out 30 required surveys for everyone to bring back, filled out.

Should be easy, right? You struggle through this part because you have enough friends to beg surveys from, and enough guts to bug random people in the library to fill-this-out-or-I'll-die!

At the computer lab, you start entering in the 75 questions, by hand, into the program, with help from another group member. Oh, look, there's Mr. Anchor. And he's handing out surveys...that were due today...he's on number six. Ok, maybe he can do it, you reason as you smash the living daylights out of the number pag (sorry button 5).

Sure enough, he pulls through! Angels sing, you're amazed! HE IS GOOD FOR SOMETHING! Hope floods your heart and you feel like Yoda would have if Luke had finished his training. As Mr. Anchor hands off the surveys, he says:

"Here, 35 filled out!"

And then he wanders off...leaving you with 35 more surveys, plus yours and your partner's, to fill out. Thanks, partner. Glad to know you don't have to do anything menial, like, oh, do data entry. That's what you're there for, right?...

3) The Crappy Job on Mini-Project (a.k.a. that's due tomorrow?)

So you didn't realize that there was a small presentation on some completely unrelated communications topic. It's one of those things that takes a simple event (e.g. drinking milk from a straw) and gives it some stupidly complicated and pretentious name for the sake of science (e.g. drinking milk from a straw = voluntary radicalization of aqueous solution displacement theory). Ok, you can do this. It's only two pages of reading. How hard can it be?

Oh, you're the only one with the book? And no one has any idea what theory it is? Awesome. Call the teacher; he doesn't know, and now he knows you're slacking. Which means you have to do a good job (how many video clips can you jam in?).

You marshal the forces, with help of the other two reliable members, and sit down to work on it the night before. Mr. Anchor is there, and you feel like with his extroverted nature, you have to do well!

Too bad he spends the entire time doing nothing. You don't even have any idea what he's doing. And even worse, he comes to class and reads his presentation (that you made) off of the Powerpoint. And we all know that's cardinal sin number one in Powerpoint land.

Even better, that handout you were required to have? He "made" it, but didn't bother doing anything to make it look nice except put it in Word. You were the one that had to download the brochure template, put a funny LOLcats like comic on the front, and make sure everyone's name is spelled correctly.

4) The Results/Discussion (a.k.a. describing what you actually did with all those numbers you plugged in)

You don't hate on people who miss class - at least, not a lot - as long as they get what's going on. But when the class is essentially a semester long research project, with high expectations, and based on a statistically program that has crawled out of the depths of college hell to make communication class life that much more intolerable, well, then, missing class means you'll miss crucial information. Like how to use that program. Or read the results. Or talk about the results.

By this time in the report, the week before the due date, you stomp into the library determined to get stuff done. Mr. Mostly Reliable won't be there, bu that's ok, Mr. Anchor and Mr. Reliable will be. You've got faith that Mr. Anchor will FINALLY be able to put in effort and help with the second largest part of the paper - talking about what the numbers mean (he won't).

You sit at the computer, open it up, and start typing out stuff with Mr. Reliable, trying to make up for the fact that you're 15 minutes late (oops). Forty-five minutes later, Mr. Anchor wanders in.

"Sorry I was late. I was eating/pooping/sleeping/flirting/streaking." You don't really care what the excuse is anymore.

"No problem, we're on the discussion section."

Silence and an uncomfortable feeling rises in your stomach. You're scared to look over. It's a horror movie, and you've just unwittingly released the kraken.

"Oh. Well, I have no idea how to read any of this." Vague gesture to the screen here, where six windows of data are open. "I'll just be here for moral support." As he opens up Facebook.

This is when you realize that Mr. Anchor has been absent from over half of the classes that TEACH you how to use this program and read the results, and he probably failed the test that was solely on this information.

You end this group meeting with a long sob session in your car to your mom on the phone, wondering why there can't be clones of you to fill in as your project members.

How do you get rid of Mr. Anchor? I have no idea. They disguise themselves as fun, gregarious individuals who have promises, marshmallows, and rainbows spew out of their mouth at the slightest chance of a job where they can rely on their slacking skills.

I can't wait for the end of the semester where I get to grade Mr. Anchor on his contribution to the report. I just need to figure out if I'm giving him a 2% or a 5%.

12:00 AM

Progression of Brilliance

I have a presentation due on Friday in which I am supposed to talk about Islamic opposition groups in Egypt over the past 10 years. After meticulously searching to find the best (free) Egypt-themed template I could find on the Internet, I have now settled down to write out the content. About an hour later, this is what I have:



I might be in trouble.

6:07 PM

If I Can Do It, So Can You!

Yesterday, I won an award for a presentation with a LOL cats comic in it. I love college.

4:19 PM

Lessons from Panic: The Honor's Project Edition

It’s true that I didn’t do a science project, like I thought I would be over four years ago, when I was still believing that I would go into pharmacy school after university. But I was part of that statistic that changed their major and went a completely different way, and now am presenting at the honor’s conference with what some would say is an art project instead. This art project, however, has been close to my heart for quite awhile, longer than the year it has taken to complete! I first heard the story of the individual who would inspire this project over four years ago, and it touched me even then. How to express it though? That’s where screenwriting came in.

In my last screenwriting class, taken in Hollywood -one of the more negatively viewed cities to the Christian world – I learned the craft of telling a story visually. We are visual people, after all. That is why the symbol of the cross encouraged Constantine to engage the battle that won him an empire, why the Eagle was displayed prominently on the Prussian flag, and why Walt Disney’s name is still associated with those simple round, black ears. People go to the movies these days and are impacted by the story, but perhaps more importantly, the visuals. Scenes from art become iconic – God reaching out to Adam for example! And movies are no difference. Learning to write in a way that will impact people takes time, some training, practice, and discipline. And I had to learn this by immersion. I threw myself into the daunting task of writing a full-length screenplay, and pushed through the despair, perfectionism, and joy to come out with knowledge of why writers exist: to inspire.

My journey has been one of a writer who has realized the power of strong images. I’ve learned how to piece together a story that makes sense in my head, and express it to others. I’ve learned how to take a story and make it clear to other people. But as I’ve learned all of these things, and so much more, I’ve learned that my job as a writer is to inspire. I honestly believe, after spending time in Hollywood, that stories inspire many of the people there because they yearn for a graced and good world. The lost want to be found; they want to have a reason to get up in the morning. And that’s why writing exists: it inspires people to face the ugly, and see the glimmer of hope. Just as Buechner sees the Gospel as tragedy, comedy, and fairytale, so can life be seen through the same lens. Movies allow us to literally SEE the dark, the funny, and most important of all, the ideal. Without people there to put the fairytale ending into stories, however, we may be left with just the dark, or just the funny, but with no hope or joy or lasting vision.

The discipline I have explored in the past year has let me practice putting my own ideal, my own fairytale into a story that would otherwise be just another war story. The story is sad, it is bittersweet, but it explores an idea that most of do not fully grasp, or are able to perfectly practice: forgiveness. My script has allowed me to examine the dark side of life, the tragedy of the bad choices we make; it has allowed me to laugh at the realization that despite the gloom, there is happiness out there that can be spread; and it has let me show that fairytales can indeed become reality, if we only accept the tragedy and comedy in life. Forgiveness is not a fairytale, as many of faith will tell you. But it often seems like it in the life and the cinema we see. We all need to be reminded that forgiveness, and mercy, and grace are not just things that happen to characters in book – they are part of a graced and good world, the ideal. Fairytales can happen to us, if we only continue to be reminded that they are, in fact, real.

I only hope that I can express the optimism of the ideal into others, through the visuals and words I write.

8:03 PM

Daylight Savings Time

I could write about how busy I've been or how I am now enrolled in a 7:30AM Precalculus class over the first half of summer just so I can take a SECOND math class the second half of summer to fulfill graduation requirements - but instead, I'll talk about daylight savings time. Mostly because the old man next to me on this somewhat-plush airport bench explained it wrong to the guy next to him.

Why do we still have daylight savings time? Just because everyone else has it doesn't mean it's a good idea. It's like the cliche example of the bridge and everyone else doing it. I've heard various rumors about which USA states do and don't observe DST, as I like to call it, and here's the verdict, thanks to the ever reliable answerbag.com:

Who Doesn't: Arizona, Eastern Indiana, Hawaii, and bunch of small islands that we probably shouldn't be occupying

Who Does: Everyone else, including the Navajo Nation (for those who don't live in the USA, yes, it's a nation, even if they don't really have any benefits)

So perhaps I'm in the minority when it comes to my opinion on DST, but still, why? What is the advantage of having one more hour of sun in the morning? I fail to see the advantage of having to remember when to set my clocks forward and back. So what if it's dark outside when I wake up? Unless that hour of extra sun is going to appear with a hot, sugary coffee beverage, drop-dead gorgeous cabana boy, and/or a purring and welcoming (and adorable) cat, that extra hour of sun isn't going to make 6AM-8AM seem anymore of a reasonable hour to wake up.

And what's up with it getting dark at 5PM in the winter? Winter is the ONLY time of year you can reliable go outside in the desert. I thus lose an hour of whatever it is I do after dark outside in the winter. Ok, I admit, I am usually sleeping or playing on the computer, but I hate having options denied me!

What is the solution for those who are die-hard DST fans (I see you, rural farming types in the middle of nowhere)? We can do an Alaskan and implant HUGE UV lights all around the fields where people work. If we use wind power, which is supposedly going to single-handedly save the world, we can be green about our energy use and help farmers get up in the morning. The rest of us can enjoy our hour of light at night and play shuffleboard or sharpen our sticks to lay out for the incoming zombie horde (don't deny it, the living dead are nigh!).

This is why we should all follow Arizona's lead. Sure, it takes some getting used to, being on Mountain Time in the winter and Pacific Standard Time in the summer, but if everyone just stops with this DST fascination, then Arizona can stop confusing older men on airport benches and remain on Pacific Standard Time. The world will thank us, or at least my relatives in Colorado and friends in California will! And Arizonans will be pleased because we won't have to keep missing our television shows around the DST change times.

Thus, DST is old fashioned and out of fashion. Let's get rid of it and actually stick with a time.

9:43 PM

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Today, I spent almost 10 hours reading one book series.

This entire odyssey started out some time last week, when I decided to read "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief", before the movie came out on Saturday, February 12th. So I read the book.

And got insanely hooked. Like, crack cocaine hooked.

It was bad. I couldn't put the book down.

I saw the movie afterwards, and it was great, but of course, the book is almost always better (except you, "Coraline").

Having realized there was more than one book, I, naturally, had to know more. So I borrowed the second one, as I had done the first, from a friend who conveniently had all five. Talk about enabling. If awesome books were drugs, I would give the local narcotics unit a run for its money.

Saturday. WHOOSH! Second one, gone!

Sunday. BAM! There went the third one.

Monday. Conveniently, it's a holiday. And I had little homework. The fourth and fifth book, in their hardcover glories, never saw it coming.

And now I'm done, left grieving the fact that one of my favorite characters has, as normal in my world, died, and that the book series is over, but at the same time, getting teary eyed at the awe I have for Rick Riordan and his inventiveness and prose. His writing and his world melded perfectly into my idea of what a great fiction writer is. It was like Pixar, in book form.

Basically, go buy/borrow/scan the web for a copy as soon as you can. You won't be let down.

I think one reason I am so completely and ridiculously in love with this series, however, is because it had the ability that all books have: it submerged me in a world where the impossible happens, and I utterly and entirely bought it. The story drew me in like the mention of free food for college kids. One promise of greatness, and I was there. And it delivered.

There are a few great books/book series that I can remember getting almost possessed by; ones that I HAD to finish reading as fast as I can OR I WOULD DIE (caps for emphasis, though perhaps because that's how it feels, too). A few of these series, in no particular order:

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
2. The Looking Glass trilogy by Frank Beddor (still need to read the 3rd book, but more than ready to!)
3. The Sword, The Ring, The Chalice by Deborah Chester
4. The Grave Book by Neil Gaiman

I love to read, and yes, I realize that most of those are fantasy/sci-fi/heavy fiction. But I love it. I love love love it.

Mostly because it helps me imagine that I can make a difference in the world. Sometimes, you feel so small, that you have to realize that even a seemingly insignificant person can accomplish something great. I mean, the main character in "The Grave Book" is named Nobody - you can't get more blatant than that with the point!

But it's the epic tales, the ones that have no chance of ever actually forming, that make my heart soar, my soul leap, and all those other cliches mostly pertaining to love come true.

I love a good story. I love a good hero. I love it when people who turn bad turn back to good. I love when you get an answer to that unanswerable question. I love when an ordinary person gains an extraordinary ability. And all of those rarely happen in a world that is not two-dimensional and filled with words on paper.

I don't know how many other people feel this way after reading a great book, but you come down from a sort of word-induced high. You feel like crying, something so moved you, even if you're half wondering why you feel like that. And more than anything, for a brief, flickering moment, you think: perhaps it's all true? NEV-AH! Shouts Reason, and there you are, left holding a book, tears in your eyes, wondering "what if?" and realizing you should probably do something productive since you have class tomorrow (like write a blog post...).

Yet at the same time, you feel as if you've left a tiny portion of you within the pages of that book. Something connected, and both of you left a mark on each other - even if the mark you left is the stain from eating salsa while reading. And while it's saddening to think you can never experience that world in that book as a newcomer again, you leave with the knowledge that you have.

I know quite well why it is probably better that the world isn't filled with Greek gods, heroes, kids with ghostly powers, dragons, and events that catapult people into extraordinary positions of power. But sometimes, I'll admit, I wish they did. Life would have clearer white and black boundaries. I'd love to be a hero, or someone who had a distinguishing feature or power, or even someone who is normal and appears last second to save the day almost unknowingly. Yet the truth is, I'm not, and never will be, in the sense that these books inspire in me. And I can accept that.

But it's still with a heavy heart tonight that I go about business as usual, doing last minute forgotten homework assignments (putting off last minute forgotten homework assignments) and getting ready for my eventual meeting with bed.

Today, I spent almost 10 hours reading one book series.

And it was glorious.