Monday, November 30, 2009

tauntaun - FTW

Remember ThinkGeek's awesome tauntaun sleeping bag that they put up as an April Fool's joke this year?

From joke to delivery of finished product in 8 months' time! The wonderful folks at ThinkGeek were able to get permission to actually make the damned thing, we put in our order, and our tauntaun arrived today!

This is the tauntaun on our bed. The bed is a California King, so that gives you an idea of how frickin' huge this thing is. And yes, the tail is really long too.

He's really soft, and he's kind of bulky when rolled up because of his plush leg and arm. And yes, the detail is awesome.

This is the tauntaun "cut open" by the plush lightsabre (blue blade) that's attached to the zipper.

The detail of the "intestines" inside the tauntaun.

A close-up of the tauntaun's head.

The head is fully designed on both sides, though this picture makes it look more like a dragon, I think.

And the tauntaun comes with its own certificate of authenticity. I love it!

But the tauntaun is not just awesome-looking. It's practical and comfortable too.

The husband is 6' tall, and he fits just fine inside the tauntaun.

And how is Orkid dealing with our new pet? She just commandeered the box - jumped in and sat in it until we had to put the tauntaun away.

Want your own tauntaun? Well, they've sold out of two shipments already, but you can put yourself on the list for the third shipment.

domestic violence

Wil Wheaton (@wilw) tweeted the following a couple of days ago with a link to this article: "Very powerful essay about domestic violence, written by Patrick Stewart, in the Guardian".

I just read the article, and my only comment is: wow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

a publicist's nightmare

Back in the old days, public figures like actors and singers and other celebrities were often unreachable except through their publicist. Any time they were at a public event, there was their publicist, ready to stop any unflattering questions or to stop their client from saying anything they shouldn't say.

And then came Facebook and Twitter, where said celebrities can speak their heart's content, and dangerously, off the top of their head, without the filter or oversight of a publicity, and without the ability to withdraw what they wrote before the information is already spread around. I don't know that a publicist would really be able to tell their client not to use Facebook or Twitter, but then the publicist just might be in the position of doing damage control because of what their client says.

Celebrities on Facebook just have to be aware that what they're saying goes out to everyone. No tweeting when drunk, and seriously, think about what you're saying, at all times.

I ran across this article today that addresses the very topic of celebrities being able to have this direct communication with their fans and the rest of the world. I'm amused that what Demi Moore posted was used as an example. OK, so she pretty much said she was going to have sex with her husband. It's not like she was picking up some random guy off the street, and she's not exactly had the image of the pristine virgin. Having sex with your husband is not illegal or even particularly risque. Is it TMI to know they're having sex? I suppose it could be regarded as so. But it would be a much more damaging post from someone who wasn't married or someone who relied more on their wholesome image.

But I expect that the job of a publicist has gotten much more difficult and complicated in this increasing age of immediate and direct communication.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Yes, I meant to type the title all in caps, because even though I've posted a lot of cute kitty videos on here, this seriously tops all of them.

And yes, if you're on the same places on the internet that I'm on, this is the 40 bazillionth place I've put the video because I think it's just that cute. A friend sent me the link and I've already watched the video five times.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Do I get geek cred for this?

So I follow @starwars on Twitter, and they had a thing on Thanksgiving where people were submitting lines from the Star Wars movies but modified for Thanksgiving. You can go to Twitter and do a search using #StarWarsThanksgiving to see all the things that people came up with. @starwars re-tweeted a whole bunch of them, and they were fun to read. Today, they posted an entry on their blog with their favorites from all the ones that were submitted.

Well, I was pretty happy yesterday when they re-tweeted one of my submissions, but I was even more thrilled today that my entry was included in their list of favorites!


I need the holidays to be over and why Starbucks is evil

I can see your confused reaction to the title of this blog post. What do I mean that I need the holidays to be over? It's only the day after Thanksgiving, the real start of the holiday season. It's only just begun, and I need them to be over already?

Well, yeah, and there's a reason for that. And the reason squarely lies with Starbucks, otherwise known as the Evil Empire.

No, not for the reasons you might think and why some people think Starbucks is evil.

In my case, it's because Starbucks is too damn tempting.

Let's go back some, about a month or so. I saw that Starbucks had pumpkin spice latte. Hmmm, that sounded good, so I decided to give one a try. Based on a recommendation, I had it without whipped cream, which turned out to be a good choice since it would have made the drink even sweeter. I thought the pumpkin spice latte was ok, nice pumpkin flavor, but it was a bit too sweet for my taste, so I was glad I tried it, but I'm not sure I'd have it again in the future. Or at least if I do, I'll have to ask them to put less flavoring in it.

And then a couple weeks ago, I noticed that Starbucks had a gingerbread latte. Uh oh. For reasons that are too involved to get into, I discovered a couple years ago that I actually liked gingerbread cookies, so I thought that the gingerbread latte might be pretty tasty and gave it a try.

Evil. Evilness, I tell you. O.M.G. It was delicious. Perfect taste of gingerbread, even with the whipped cream. It was gingerbread you could drink!

Now, you have to understand that I'm not a Starbucks nut. I'm not a coffee snob, and I don't have it that often, and even when I do, I don't have to go to upscale places. When I have coffee, it's usually at places that coffee snobs would disown me for visiting. But it's precisely because I'm not a coffee snob that I can go to those places, because I'm not that discerning about coffee anyway, so spending money on expensive coffee is mostly wasted on me.

But on occasion, I will decide to splurge and visit a name-brand coffee house like Starbucks. And that's the problem. Because I go there on occasion, I know when they have special seasonal coffee flavors, and also because there are Starbucks locations everywhere, and on any square inch of real estate where there doesn't happen to be a Starbucks, there's some kind of ad about what Starbucks has as a seasonal flavor.

So now, I know that Starbucks has the deliciously amazing gingerbread latte. And it calls to me, like a siren to the sailors. And like them, I have to fight the urge to resist the call. Today alone, in going to only two places, I encountered three Starbucks locations where I could have dashed myself against the rocks and gone in and gotten a gingerbread latte. But I resisted. There are so many reasons why I shouldn't be having a gingerbread latte everyday. But, while I won today's skirmish, the war isn't over. They will have this deadly gingerbread latte available for the next month at least. And they are everywhere, beckoning me. I do know that I will have to go into a Starbucks at some point in December because I will need to buy a gift card for a friend. And I won't be able to resist getting a gingerbread latte, since I'll be there already.

And today, I was told by friends that they also have a peppermint addition for the holidays, and a peppermint mocha sounds intriguing enough to try.

How am I going to make it to January?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's The Great Pumpkin Pie, Snoopy!

Hope everyone has a nice and safe Thanksgiving.

Loving Google's logo for today.

[gobble] [gobble]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"True Colors"

OK, I know, this week has been very Phil Collins heavy. It's just worked out that way.

This week's episode of "Glee" featured the song "True Colors", a song originally sung by Cyndi Lauper. I did like the version they did on the show, but my favorite version of the song was sung by Phil Collins and his backup folk during his First Final Farewell Tour. It wasn't quite as a capella as I recalled, but it's pretty minimal in music so you can really hear and focus on the vocals and the harmonizing. It was absolutely beautiful to listen to live.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grandpa Phil, singing the Motown hits

Yesterday, I got a blip of news that Phil Collins had become a grandfather because his oldest daughter, Joely, had given birth to a child.

Here's an article with all the news.

I'm amused that Phil's granddaughter already has more hair than he does!

There's also a bit in there about Phil's injury that's impeding his ability to drum, and new information that he's working on a new album of Motown covers. I'm happy about that, but I'm a bit disappointed that he won't be putting a slightly different spin on them. Having him sing them exactly the way they were done doesn't sound as inspired as it could be. But, I'll wait to hear them to pass full judgement. I'll admit that I'm not that crazy about his cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A'Changing", so there's no guarantee I'll love them just because it's Phil. However, I do love his cover of "You Can't Hurry Love", so you never know.

Monday, November 23, 2009

gotta be stealth if you're going to catch a feather

Yep, another cat video. Kitty stalking a feather. Pretty kitty too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

sending out sympathy

I was going to write a restaurant review today, but before I had a chance to do that, I was made aware of a situation that has pretty much taken away any desire I have to write about that experience.

Instead, I'm offering the video below. I don't know what's appropriate, but that's what I came up with. There's a particular situation that I'm sending this out for - to parents, siblings, spouse, children, friends - with the hope that prayers, good thoughts, and best wishes from this stranger, added to those coming from a lot of other people, can help those in need in some small way.

May God be with those who need Him the most right now.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Golden Bear eats the Bird, chopping down Tree in process

The Big Game denotes the annual college football game between rivals California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinals. (And no, I don't believe in spelling "Stanford" wrong. I don't really get that. Now, while I was at Cal, I did come up with an alternate name for Stanford - U.C.P.A - annexing them as the University of California at Palo Alto. And as much as I dislike USC, I don't spell their name with a dollar sign either. But I digress...) No matter how each team is doing in a particular year, this is still an important game, pretty much for bragging rights. And each team's record so far has no real bearing on the expected outcome of the game - just because one team has a much better record doesn't mean they'll win. I remember one year, Cal had something like only one or two wins, and Stanford was doing well and on the verge of going to a bowl game - but when Cal ended up beating Stanford, Stanford lost their chance to play in a bowl game. Good times.

This year, it wasn't quite the same situation. Cal had more than one or two wins, but overall, they weren't doing very well. Stanford, however, was having a decent season, and there was even talk that they had a shot at going to the Rose Bowl. Well, after Cal beat Stanford tonight by a score of 34 to 28, things are not so much coming up roses for Stanford.

Go Cal! The Axe is ours!

Friday, November 20, 2009

How about a movie and some cake?

I happen to be a fan of the movie "The Princess Bride". There are a ton of great lines and scenes from the movie, but there is one particular scene that has had specific significance for me for some time now.

Oh, and after the movie, how about a slice of cake?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

L.A. radio

I had to get a new battery for my car the other day, and when they were all done, I got in the car to drive to work. I turned the radio on and was annoyed that all my radio presets were gone - and then it occurred to me that since they had to actually take out the old battery before putting in the new one, yeah, that would have wiped out my presets.

OK, so it's a hassle to reprogram everything, but I've done it before, in other cars when I've had them long enough that I needed a new battery.

And as I started to program in radio stations, I realized I had a problem. I couldn't remember what all the stations were. I listen to so little radio nowadays that I was mostly using the same couple of presets to switch between channels, and I had no idea what stations were programmed into the filler ones.

I came up with 3 FM stations off the top of my head.

1. KROQ - I listen to Kevin and Bean, and mostly because of that, I've gotten to know and mostly like the music that the station plays, so I sometimes listen to the music itself. And they have Loveline at night, Sunday through Thursday.

2. K-EARTH - They're an "oldies" station, but for better or for worse, music from the 80s and 90s count as oldies now, so I like a lot of what they play.

3. I found a good channel that's mostly blank so that it works well for me to play my iPod. There are a few places I've encountered (including a stretch by my work) where I have to stop the iPod for a bit because the static is too bad, but otherwise, it's worked well for me.

And I came up with 2 AM stations off the top of my head.

1. KABC - I've had this on my presets forever because it was always the Dodgers station, and there have been various talk shows over the years on the station that I like. Now, I listen to them because of Frosty, Heidi and Frank.

2. ESPN - That's pretty much my go-to sports station. And they have the Lakers too.

And then I stopped and had to think hard about what other stations to add. And it took me a really long time to figure it out. I used to have KOST and KBIG on my presets, but I don't think they're around anymore. At least, I fiddled with the dial and looked for them but didn't really run across anything, but I was also driving so I could only fiddle so much.

I figured out 3 more AM stations to add.

1. KNX 1070 - They're a news station, so I need one of those.

2. KFI - I used to listen to them a lot but stopped several years ago. I'm not even sure who has shows on there anymore, but since I have the room, I figured I'd just put them as a preset.

3. KLAC - They're a sports channel as well, so having a second sports place is good.

I think I just realized that I should put KFWB on there as well. They're *mostly* a news station still, I think. I just have to remember their location when I'm in the car so I can set it.

I have 6 AM stations that I can program, but I have 12 FM stations that I can put in. And I mostly blanked on any other FM stations to put in. I don't do KIIS or POWER 106. I gave up KLOS years ago because I was so pissed off at what Mark and Brian were doing that I vowed not to listen to the station at all. I might go back on that and just listen when M&B aren't on since I actually like the music they play. Oh, JACK-FM, that's the station I was trying to think of the other day. I remember liking their stuff. Gotta remember their location so I can program it too.

Radio in Los Angeles ain't what it used to be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

kitty vs. cop - who do you think wins?

If you're going to watch this video at work, you might want to shut the door so as not to alarm your co-workers. If you don't have a door, then you should shove a napkin in your mouth to stifle the outbursts of laughter.

This video is just too damn funny.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

magical memories - themed dinner nights at Cal

This probably counts more as an "amused memory" as opposed to a true magical one, but when I was remembering and thinking about it, I did have some realizations about how habits and inclinations present then are still in evidence now. And it was pretty memorable at the time in any case.

I think I've already mentioned that when I went to Cal, I actually lived in a dorm of another college, in a nearby city. That college had one extra dorm building available, so they rented out that space to Cal since Cal was notoriously lacking in student housing. Well, that meant that the Cal students kind of congregated together, and the students from the other college congregated together, and with a few exceptions, this was also true in the dining room during meals - Cal students sat and ate with Cal students and other college students sat and ate with other college students.

Well, the college made a couple of attempts to try to get the two groups to mingle, and these manifested themselves in the form of themed dinner nights. They'd pick some unifying food topic - like Mexican, for example - and they'd decorate the dining room and have food all themed to that. They seemed to think that putting everything in a more festive mood would make everyone want to mingle more. Nope, that didn't really work.

The next time they tried this, they then handed out tickets with numbers of them. Ummm, ok, what's with that? I then found out that they were table designations - they were going to force us to mingle by telling us where we needed to sit, so that people from each of the two groups would be seated at the same table. That also meant that I and people I liked to sit with were at totally different tables.

Yeah, good luck with that.

I wasn't big on sitting at a table with people I didn't really know and also didn't have that much in common with. I was used to sitting with a number of different people at meals - not always the same people, but at least from a larger group that I knew and liked - and I liked it that way. If I got to the dining room, and none of the people I might sit with were there, I usually then just went and sat at an empty table. And really, I was in college. I wasn't a little kid anymore. I was away from home and on my own - to some degree. I didn't appreciate being told that I had to be sociable with people I didn't feel like being sociable with, and for no other reason then that someone randomly decreed it. I didn't like being forced to "make friends". So, I didn't.

A few of us weren't keen on the whole "you will sit THERE" attempt, and we noticed that some of the tables in the very back were empty, free of themed tablecloths and decorations. The dining room was never full, and there were always many more tables available than people there, so they didn't bother setting up the ones in the back. So some of us headed for those tables. And we sat together. And then when others noticed that we were doing it, they came over and sat with us as well instead of at their assigned tables, and others came by after they were done eating, just to hang out. And pretty soon, we had a group of Cal students at the bare, undecorated, ordinary tables, away from the rest of the people.

Yeah, we were rabble-rousers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

how not to get out of a ticket

Not only was this man an idiot, he was pretty cruel too. A "prank" phone call is one thing. But telling a mother that her son is hurt? That's not funny, no matter how you look at it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Boston - walking tour of the North End

October 2009. Boston.

OK, this should be my last entry about the Boston trip, barring some major thing that I realize later that I completely forgot to talk about. (Yeah, I know, I haven't talked about the concert itself, but I don't have much to say. It was awesome, and the meet-and-greet was especially fun. And besides, someone else does great write-ups about Rockapella concerts, so there's no need for me to do one.)

So the day after the concert, we decided to do a little sightseeing around Boston. Our hotel wasn't too far from a subway station, so we made our way over there and took the necessary trains to our destination. Well, as it turned out, we ended up taking a couple of trains. We only had like 4 stops to the station we needed to get off at. We took a train, but it turned out that it was only going to two more stations before being taken off, so we got off 2 stations away from where we needed to be. Then we got on another train, but THAT train was only going to the next station before being taken off, so we got off 1 station away from where we needed to be. And we waited for the next train. And the next train came by and dropped off its passengers because it was the last stop for that train. Great, we were APPARENTLY stuck at the station where trains go to die. We were at that station for maybe 10 minutes or so before a train came by that would actually take us to the next station, so we got on it. We had to take 3 trains to go 4 stops. Ugh.

We had finally arrived at our destination - the North End. We wandered a bit on the way, but our first stop was at the Old North Church.

Appropriately, there was a large statue of Paul Revere at the courtyard entrance to the grounds of the Old North Church.

Statue of Paul Revere. The church itself is barely visible against the background of the sky.

In the courtyard, there were various informational things about Paul Revere and the other players in the whole "one if by land, two if by sea" saga.

And then, it was onto the grounds of the Old North Church.

Gate onto Old North Church grounds.

The church itself is pretty amazing. It's beautiful, but it's also pretty awe-inspiring to think about the history of the place.

Inside the Old North Church.

There was a guy inside who gave a little talk about the history of the church, and he invited us to take seats inside the pews. They were actually boxes, which was pretty cool.

View from inside one of the box pews.

After the talk, we had a chance to walk around the church, though we weren't allowed to go up to the second floor. But the organ looked amazing.

The organ at the Old North Church.

I hadn't known that the church was still operating as a regular church. I think it would be really cool to attend an actual service there. If I find myself in Boston again, it's something I'll definitely try to do at that time.

After spending some time wandering around inside the church, we went to the gift shop next door. I've already written about that particular experience.

We wandered around a bit more and then realized that Paul Revere's house was nearby, so we headed over there.

On the way, we happened to pass a group of people on Segways. I have no idea why they were on them, but they caught my attention because the husband and I took a Segway tour of part of Epcot when we were at Walt Disney World a couple years ago, and I *loved* the Segway.

There was a fee to go inside Paul Revere's house and the yard area, and we didn't really have a lot of time, so we decided not to do that.

The front of Paul Revere's house.

We decided to stop for brunch at that point. Afterward, we then wandered over to Faneuil Hall marketplace.

There were a line of carriages available for rides. I thought this one was particularly pretty. It reminded me of a lovely horse and carriage ride that the husband and I took through Central Park a couple years ago.

We then went inside the Great Hall.

Inside the Great Hall at Faneuil Hall.

We walked by Sam's Cafe and Cheers.

We walked around some more, and then we ended up at the harbor, and we looked around there.

Doesn't this woman have a nice backpack?

This was on the harbor. I have no idea why. It was just funny.

It was then time to head back to the hotel. We ended up having a difficult time finding a subway station, so we wandered around a bit more than we had planned in search of one, but we eventually located one and didn't run into the same train problems we'd encountered early that morning. Then, it was off to the airport to wait for our flight back to Los Angeles.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Domo tissue dispenser

The husband and a friend and I were hanging out today, and we wandered around a store that I like. And then I saw an item that I then pointed out to them as I was trying really hard not to laugh too hysterically. Thanks to Mox for letting me use the picture he took.

Do I really need to say anything other than: the Japanese are whack.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Google finds water on the moon

OK, not really. Here's the actual information. But Google's logo for the occasion is really cool.

And then, if you hover the cursor over the image, it tells you why you're seeing the image.

Yeah, I know, I'm a dork because I'm more excited about Google's logo than the actual findings themselves. Hey, whatever comes out of the discovery probably isn't going to make any impact on my life, and if it does, it would be minimal and in the distant future. Google's logo amuses me now. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Radisson Boston - hotel review

October. Boston.

OK, you know the setting. My friend and I were trying to figure out where to stay in Boston. I'd never been before and so knew nothing about the city. I thought it might be nice to stay close to the Berklee Performance Center since we were going to see a show there. Well, it turns out that since it was kinda close to Fenway Park in the middle of the Boston Red Sox's pennant run, rooms were a bit difficult to find and fairly expensive to boot. We'd be sharing the room, so that halved the cost, but that didn't mean we wanted to pay the price of one regular room for just our share of the room.

We found a hotel that we thought might suit our needs, but then my friend ended up getting a really good deal at the Radisson Hotel Boston because of her membership.

The hotel has a parking structure, though the spaces themselves and the layout of the multi-floored structure were a bit odd. We arrived about mid-afternoon and drove around a bit before finding a space. There's an elevator in the structure that takes you down to the main floor, and then you have to enter other doors to get into the lobby of the hotel. At one point during our stay, when it was a bit later at night, we discovered that the doors from the parking elevator to the lobby were closed, so we had to go around to the valet parking entrance to get inside the lobby.

And there are stairs everywhere - coming in from the parking elevator, there's a couple steps down to get to the elevator area for the hotel itself, and then a few more steps to get to the main lobby area and then yet more steps to get to the reservation desks. Being from California where wheelchair accessibility is fairly common, it was a bit odd to encounter so many steps (which we noticed because we were pulling our rolling luggage) as that would not be wheelchair friendly at all, but then Boston is a much older city, and I expect this hotel has been around for a while.

The room itself was very nice, with two beds - I can't remember if they were doubles or queens. There was a little balcony area outside the room that we peeked at.

The view from the balcony. No, I have no idea what the view is of.

The view looking in a different direction. I'm not sure that the water from the harbor is readily visible in this picture. You could tell when looking out the window.

The room was clean and comfortable and suitable for our needs. The showerhead in the bathroom was extremely high up, so it was pretty much raining on me when I took a shower, but I find that a lot of hotels are set up that way. Too bad for us short people who don't prefer to be rained on.

The hotel ended up being fairly conveniently situated. We had a lovely dinner at Rustic Kitchen, which is pretty much right next door, across the covered driveway, and the hotel site even refers to Rustic Kitchen as on-site dining. Then just a couple blocks away, there's the lovely Finale. And the nearest subway entrance is only a couple blocks away as well, so that's convenient for travelling around Boston. We ended up taking a cab to Berklee, and that worked out just fine.

I will admit that I have no idea what the regular pricing is on the room, but I definitely would consider staying at the Radisson again on a future visit.

Thanks to Sherry for letting me share her room with her.

Radisson Hotel Boston
200 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 482-1800

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Dollhouse" of cards comes tumbling down

Joss Whedon's new show about programmable people, "Dollhouse", was barely picked up for a second season, but before lunch today, I got Variety's alert that the show had been officially cancelled.

The news wasn't good when the show was pulled for November sweeps, but hope remained that the show would survive. However, the ratings haven't been great, DVR numbers notwithstanding, and the show will be allowed to complete its 13-episode run, and all the episodes are expected to be aired on television before the presumed DVD release of the second season.

I'm sad that the show will be done soon, but I am glad that they at least got the extra 13 episodes. Without that, we would never have seen the amazing Jonathan Frakes-directed episode showing how Priya/"Sierra" came to be in the dollhouse.

Joss has a little time to decide how he wants to wrap the series. We'll have the two seasons of episodes on DVD. And we'll always have "Epitath 1".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Google celebrates Sesame Street's 40th

For the past week or so, Google has featured logos in celebration of Sesame Street's 40th birthday. Since today is the actual birthday, today's logo features quite a few of the Sesame Street characters. Really cute.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Google logos

I've written quite a bit about the cool logos that Google does on their main page to salute various things. A friend alerted me to this site that has a compilation of their cool logos, international as well.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Luxo, Jr. - convicted felon

There had been a story a little while ago that Pixar's logo of the Luxo, Jr. lamp was being contested in a lawsuit. Well, the lawsuit has now been settled, but in the article, they mentioned a short parody film of the opening used in Pixar films featuring Luxo, Jr.

O.M.Bob. This film is just too frickin' funny. And ingenious. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Jennifer's Body" - spoiler movie review

I've previously mentioned how I became interested in seeing this film. However, when I actually went to see "Jennifer's Body", I decided that bringing Gloomy with me was more appropriate than bringing Teddy. And boy, was I ever right.

The film was a lot more bloody than I even expected, so there were bits I did not watch. (And even though in the one scene in the abandoned house, ripping apart of the one boy was done as a silhouette behind a white sheet, I still didn't watch it.) Generally, I thought it was a decent film with an interesting premise. I had thought from the trailer and such that Megan Fox's character, Jennifer, was born a demon, so I was surprised when during the course of the film, it was revealed that she became a demon because she was used as an inappropriate virgin ritual sacrifice by members of a band hoping to gain success. Ooops. I thought it was interesting that she wasn't necessarily completely evil - she really just killed when she needed to feed to keep herself alive, every couple of days. I loved the make-up job on her, making her pale and gaunt when she hadn't fed in a while.

I'm definitely a fan of Amanda Seyfried, and I really enjoyed her performance in this film. They did dress her seriously down to make her look bookish and dowdy, but she was really pretty in "Mamma Mia". She's probably not considered as hot as Megan Fox, but I think she's got a very different look, that innocent "girl next door" thing going for her. But that horrid formal dress they put on her? Ugh!

And yes, the teenage boys at the screening that we went to were hooting and hollering during the kissing scene between the two girls. OK, guys, put in back in your pants and settle down.

There was one scene early on that was made all the funnier for the husband and my friends because I was there. Needy and her boyfriend were talking about bands, and I think it was Needy who said something about there being no well-known drummers. The boyfriend mentioned Don Henley and then mentioned Phil Collins, which made me really happy - and then in the next second, Needy said "who"? I hadn't even had the chance to really enjoy Phil being mentioned in a movie when he was totally slammed by the character not even knowing who he was. The husband and friends laughed at me REAL HARD. Oh well, it was funny.

I probably wouldn't recommend the film for those who are squeamish, but I thought the story was decent for a horror film. However, I will say that it's not an appropriate film to bring toddlers and small children to, something that several parents in the audience thought it was ok to do.

Friday, November 6, 2009

unfollow, unfriend, turn the damn thing OFF!

You very often can't control what other people say. And sometimes, you can't control the fact that you HAVE to listen to them. But there are other situations where you have direct control over what you have to be subjected to.

Some people don't understand Twitter, don't get what it's for, don't get why they're supposed to be interested in what someone has for lunch, or when someone is headed to the airport, or any manner of other things that people tweet. Ummm, ok, well, no one says that any particular person HAS to be interested in that sort of thing, coming from anyone. "Why do they tweet about such mundane things? Why can't they tweet interesting things? Why would I want to read that?" Well, if you don't want to read that, then there's a really simple solution. DON'T FOLLOW THAT PERSON'S TWITTER FEED!!!! As far as I know, no one is forcing anyone else to be on Twitter or to follow anyone in particular. I personally enjoy knowing that kind of information about my friends because it keeps me connected to what they're up to. I also enjoy that kind of information from the "celebrities" that I follow (to differentiate them from the people I actually know). Anthony Daniels is currently traveling around with the "Star Wars in Concert" tour, so it's been really interesting to read his tweets as he travels to different cities.

I am going to assume that the majority of what I tweet is interesting enough to the people who follow me since none of them have unfollowed me. I'm not crazy enough to think that *everything* I tweet is interesting to them. There are particular topics that I tweet about often - Disney, restaurants, movies - whether my attendance at one of those or news about one of those. If they were annoyed by any of those things, I'd figured they'd be long gone by now, because I tweet about those A LOT. And I sometimes tweet song lyrics from whatever I'm listening to. Just because. I'm not really trying to "entertain" my followers, though I will sometimes tweet or re-tweet something that I'm not necessarily interested in but that I think someone on my followers list might be interested in based on what I know about them. I tend to be a lot more flippant and snarky on my Twitter feed than anywhere else online because it's protected and I'm very careful about who I allow to have access to my feed. Some of the things I tweet about are definitely NOT for public consumption.

So what if someone doesn't like what I'm tweeting about or doesn't like the attitudes or thoughts or feelings that I express on Twitter? Well, I suppose they could respond with their opinions about that, but ultimately, it's my choice to tweet what I feel like tweeting, and if the consequences are that someone is going to unfollow me, so be it. There are people I've tested out following and then ultimately decided that it didn't suit me to continue to follow them. One example is the actor Greg Grunberg, most notably from "Heroes" fame. He does have some really interesting things to say - but he also has a lot of chatter and he's very prolific in responding to those who direct tweets at him, and the volume of his tweets was just overwhelming my feed. For me, it was too hard to pick out the gems in the feed that I really liked, so I decided that it wasn't worth it to continue following him.

I rarely tweet about politics because it's not my thing. I don't follow any of the plethora of political Twitter accounts out there. For the most part, the people that I do follow only tweet political things on occasion. But what if some of them started tweeting about political things on a regular basis, as much as they tweet about what they're having for lunch or what they're doing at any given time? Then, I'd have to decide if I was willing to put up with the political tweets to still be able to read the personal ones, or if I was too bothered by the political tweets and would therefore have to forego being able to see the personal ones that I like.

I also follow actors Wil Wheaton and Brent Spiner, and from the stuff that they tweet, it amazes me that people are APPARENTLY tweeting them to tell them to stop talking about this or that thing, and that they really want them to tweet about THIS thing instead. Umm, ok, you can make requests or ask questions, but if you don't like the majority of what they're tweeting about, it's really easy to just unfollow them rather than to bitch at them that you don't like what they're talking about or to try to control what they say, tailored to what YOU want, the "you" of course being a billion people who all want different things. OK, so they don't have a billion followers, but you get the idea.

The same goes for Facebook. There are structural changes going on with what information you're given about what your friended people are doing, but there are ways to manage the flow of that information, and if it really becomes an issue, there's also the option to unfriend that person. But telling someone that they should stop posting about something or that they should post more about something else? Why would someone think they have the right to tell someone else what to talk about on their own page?

And why do people think they can tell other people what they can listen to or watch? I get if someone isn't interested in a particular show or whatever. Over the course of the past however many years, I've spent time listening to radio shows by Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlesinger and Tom Leykis, all of whom have very vocal fans and detractors. There were bits from each that I found interesting to listen to, but for various reasons, I stopped listening to each of them. In the case of Tom Leykis, I always found it interesting that people, usually women, would call up and tell Tom how awful he was and how much they hated him and his viewpoints and such and that he shouldn't be on the air. Ummm, ok, if you hate him so much, why the foxtrot are you listening to him, are you continuing to listen to him, to be listening to him so much that you can mention very specific things about his program? I enjoyed listening to him for a while, but eventually, I started to get annoyed with him more than I was being entertained by him. So I turned the channel. WOW! Isn't that amazing? What a brilliant discovery I made! It seems that no one else has ever figured out that turning the channel or turning off the radio works, that it then prevents that particular person's voice from coming over the device anymore.

I see the same thing happening with television shows. "I don't want to watch that kind of show." OK, idiot, then don't. Turn the channel to something else or turn the TV off. "I don't want my kids to watch that kind of show." OK, douchebag, then exercise some control over your kids and monitor what they watch and don't let them watch shows that you don't feel are appropriate for them. But if you plop them down in front of the television all day and expect that EVERYTHING that comes over the airwaves is going to meet with your approval, then you're a bad parent and a flippin' idiot all rolled into one. Rather than trying to control what a total stranger who's an adult can watch, why don't you actually pay some attention to your own kids instead?

There are plenty of things I'm not interested in. But I'm APPARENTLY a genius in being able to figure out how to not listen to radio shows I don't like, not watch television shows I don't like, not read books I don't like and not read what people write on Twitter or Facebook if I have no interest in them. Where's my medal?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vinoteca di Monica - restaurant review

On the Sunday of our trip to Boston last month, my friend and I wandered around the North End doing some sightseeing. We also looked for a place to have breakfast/brunch, but we were sort of wanting just regular food. Well, it turned out that our sightseeing was in a neighborhood where there were 400 Italian restaurants per square inch. We weren't really feeling like having Italian food because 1) most of the restaurants were serving regular Italian dishes like pizza and pasta and other heavy lunch/dinner foods as opposed to lighter breakfast/brunch foods and 2) we'd just had Italian for dinner the night before.

We did more sightseeing, and eventually, we just got too hungry to wait for a "regular" restaurant, so we started seriously looking at the Italian restaurants that were in abundant supply. We saw this one little restaurant with open windows, and when we glanced at the menu, behold, there were regular brunch items at this little Italian restaurant!

So, we stopped and had brunch at Vinoteca di Monica. The restaurant was pretty empty at the time - I can't remember if we were the only diners, but if not, there was only one other table occupied. We chose a table right by the open windows which looked out onto the little street. It was a beautiful Boston day.

I decided to just have a really regular breakfast and opted for two eggs with roasted potatoes, rustic toast and bacon. I also decided to add a side of fruit for good measure.

When the dish was brought, I was pleasantly surprised at how generous the serving of bacon was. Usually, it's two thin little pieces of bacon, but not so in this case. Everything was yummy.

When my friend was perusing the menu, she was having a hard time deciding between two items, the French toast and the bruschetta (grilled rustic bread) with eggs, cheese and prosciutto. Our server was *very* Italian, accent and everything, which I rather liked, and when he came to take our order, she asked him which of the two he would recommend. His suggestion was to have the bruschetta, so she went with that. After he left, I told her that he was Italian, so of course he was going to talk her out of having FRENCH toast. ;)

When her dish arrived, it looked really good, and she seemed to enjoy it.

One thing we found curious and amusing is that my dish came with "rustic toast" and hers came with "rustic bread". We wondered what "rustic" was supposed to mean and what the deal was with the bread being rustic.

Well, a search of the net didn't turn up too many things, but I found this description on that helps a bit. I also found this particular discussion on chowhound which was pretty interesting.

We had a nice little quiet brunch, and everything was pretty tasty. It was a nice respite after our morning of running around and sightseeing. The restaurant looked to be pretty small, so I can imagine that it could be very busy, but it's a place I'd definitely be interested in trying again.

Vinoteca di Monica
143 Richmond St.
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 227-0311

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

space (hotel) ... the final frontier

Wanna stay in a hotel that's out of this world, literally? Well, you're going to have the chance in just a couple of years. Yeah, it'll cost you a bit though. The article doesn't say if meals are included during the three-night stay. Or if a bed is included for that matter.

Personally, there's about as much chance of me wanting to stay in a space hotel at this point in time as there is of me spending a night at the ice hotel.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I was just sitting there

So, yeah, I was in Boston early last month.

A friend who'd gotten there the day before to have another adventure came and picked me up at the airport. There was a toll booth on the way from the airport to our hotel, so she stopped and was paying the posted toll fee.

I was sitting in the passenger seat probably checking Twitter or my email on my phone, and it took me a second to register that the toll booth attendant was talking ... and that the talking was directed at ME.

It was one of those where I wasn't paying attention, so I wasn't listening to what he was saying, until something registered, and then I played back in my mind what I'd heard him say.

"Genesis", he'd huffed.

I remembered that I was wearing a Genesis t-shirt from their last concert tour. And I knew that my friend wasn't wearing a Genesis t-shirt, even though I didn't notice that she was wearing a Rockapella t-shirt, though I really should have just guessed that.

He said he saw Genesis on their last tour and he ragged on them because they didn't play anything from "Abacab". I was really too stunned to say anything at the time. I mean, seriously, I was just sitting there minding my own business. Yeah, ok, I had the t-shirt on, but I guess I don't get a lot of comments so I wasn't really expecting one at that point in time, since I didn't know he could even see me well enough to notice my t-shirt, and I mostly wear the t-shirt because it makes me happy, because I saw them multiple times, and it was an awesome concert each time.

It wasn't until later that I could really process what he'd said.

Now, I like "Abacab", but I wouldn't say there are any major standout signature songs on that album, and Genesis has a whole lot of songs in their arsenal that they could possibly play. They played a REALLY LONG SET, and they even played songs like "Ripples" and "Afterglow" for f'ing sake, two absolutely beautiful songs that normally don't get played. They played a ton of stuff that's not in their usual repertoire, and they played a lot of really old songs, including "The Carpet Crawlers".

But the concert sucked because they didn't play any of the songs from ONE PARTICULAR ALBUM?

And for that, I got hassled for it, because, you know, I had some say in the matter, all while I was doing nothing to provoke it?


Monday, November 2, 2009

the USS New York - like a phoenix rising from the ashes

I heard the story this morning about the new ship in the Naval fleet - the USS New York, which includes 7.5 tons of steel in the bow that came from the collapsed World Trade Center towers.

Appropriately enough, the new ship made a visit to the city that it's named after and was greeted by many of those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.

A few years back, we had a chance to visit the USS Intrepid when we were in New York, and it was pretty awesome. I think the USS New York is a fitting tribute to those who were lost that day and to the power of recovery and moving on, even as we never forget.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

DLR LotD 11/1/2009

(stealing the tradition from a friend's blog)

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

"That's sweet of you, thinking I have that many friends." -- Allie, in the car, on the drive back from Fry's to the Disneyland Resort