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Friday, September 30, 2011

Rent-A-Film Friday

The movie I endorse this Friday is Something Borrowed, starring Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin and directed by Luke Greenfield.


Based off the book of the same name by Emily Giffin, it's a great movie. I highly recommend it. Since I'm a big advocate of both books and movies, maybe you could read the book after. It also came on Redbox this past weekend, so that's another reason to go grab it.

Summary:
Rachel is a talented attorney at a top New York law firm, a generous and loyal friend and, unhappily, still single as her engaged best friend Darcy is constantly reminding her. But after one drink too many at her 30th birthday party, perpetual good girl Rachel unexpectedly ends up in bed with the guy she's had a crush on since law school, Dex, who just happens to be Darcy's fiancé. When Rachel and Darcy's lifelong friendship collides with true love, it leads to unexpected complications and potentially explosive romantic revelations. Meanwhile, Ethan, who has been Rachel's constant confidante and sometimes conscience, has been harboring a secret of his own, and Marcus, an irrepressible womanizer, can't keep his mind out of the gutter or his hands off any girl within reach.
Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for sexual content including dialogue and some drug material.

Snuggle up with your favorite blanket, some popcorn, and watch it!

'Til next time!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's Play the Name Game!

I am deeply fascinated with the idea of names. Why? They, in many ways, define your character, whether you believe it or not. Not to say that every name defines everyone's character... But I think you get the point.

In such, I wanted to have a reason for finding out what some of my friends' names are. So...


It's not much of  a game because I pretty much just tell you names and their meanings, but doesn't the word "game" make it sound a lot more fun? Anway...

Sierra: From the Spanish language, it means "saw," as in a mountain range or natural feature. It can be linked to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Miranda: This name is of latin orange and means "worthy of admiration."

Julia: It's Latin and means "youthful."

Savanna: It's a variant of "Savannah" in the Spanish language and means "treeless plain." The Savannah that I know was named after a savannah that her family lived on, which is very interesting.

Jacob/Jamie: This is of Hebrew origin and means, "He who supplants (replaces)." I'm not really sure what to say about that one. These are two of my closest friends as well.

Henry: Of Old German origin, Henry means "home ruler." I'm gonna have to agree with this one for personal reasons. My brother's name is Henry.

Kaylyn:  It's a variant of Kayla and means "slim and fair." The Kaylyn I know would like to know that it's related to the name "Lynn."

Jenn: It's from Welsh origins and means "fair and smooth."

Aaron: It's Hebrew and means "mountain of strength."

Jana (I hope you're reading this.): Of Hebrew origin, it means "God is gracious." I never knew that. Great name!

Charles/Charlie: It's Germanic and means "free man." I really like this name, by the way.

Russell (That's me!): It's of Old French origin and means "little red." It's too funny because I am neither little or red.

Roy: (That's my middle name!): This one's of Irish and Gaelic origins and means "red."

So I'm named "Little Red Red." I don't think my parents knew that when I was named. Let me check quick.

Nope they didn't know.

Aren't names fascinating?! I just love 'em like beans in a big pot o' chili! <--- That didn't just happen. It's just cold and I want chili. Sorry you had to witness it.

Anyway, this is Little Red Red signing out!

Go look up your name!

'Til next time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

book review: wither by lauren destefano

Some of the best books leave me gasping, desperately seeking to find the sequel, hurriedly hunting down what happens next. Wither by Lauren DeStefano was one of those books.



 Book Cover Synopsis:
"By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?"

When I first saw this description, I knew I needed to read it, and fast. The impulsive person in me reacted and read it just as fast, too. Why? The story is just amazing and completely probable, which makes it all the better.

One of the highlights was the imagery used. DeStefano has such a talent for description, vividly creating a sense of who each character is, where they fit in, where they could (or could not go) in the context of the plot. She uses different external objects to do this. The ocean, the Orange Grove, the June Beans. (You'll have to read where those fit in.) I fell in love with it all. And the cover art is just as good. Rhine, in so many ways, is a caged bird. Enhancing this through the connection between her wedding band and the bird is ingenious. It reminded me of the poem "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, which is entirely worth googling or following that hyperlink. I usually pass on some of my books, but I need to keep this one on my shelf for future reference; it's that good.

And my lack of frustration with figuring out the character definitely helped. You see, I have a hard time making out the faces of literary characters sometimes, but I recently saw the music video for the song "Easy" by Rascal Flatts and Natasha Bedingfield. I imagine Rhine to look exactly like Bedingfield in this video (besides the eyes, of course). Take a look. If you've read the book, do you agree?



The moral of the post is: definitely read Wither. It's fantastic in every sense of the word.

'Til next time!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All Good Things Come in 3

I'm simply fascinated with the concept of those motown groups.


You know! The ones with three girls. One's a lead; the other two are back-ups that are just as good, if not better. And it's not just the drama that potentially goes on behind the scenes. (Enough about that can be said about the always-changing group members of the Supremes.)


It's not because of the outfits that are always befitting and so kinetic.


It's not the hand motions or the moves or the suggesting looks... It's the music. It's like a siren's call!


It might be that I'm partial from Little Shop of Horrors as well. Oh well. There could be less awesome things to be inspired by.


And I'm sure glad that this kind of music (or general formation) didn't just stick in the 1960's with Ms. Ross! I suppose I have to thank Beyonce largely for this modern phenomenon.


Hahaha! Oh, it's too good! No, but really. I mustn't forget the other two from Destiny's Child. Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. And then there was "Dreamgirls," who I also have to thank Beyonce, along with the forever talented Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni Rose, for mainstreaming.


It's such a long movie, but so worth the watch.

I just love this kind of music and style! :) Are you inspired by this like I am? Let me know!

'Til next time!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Novel Idea

I have always wanted to publish a book. In fact, it's part of my to-be-released bucket list, which will take a prominent place on this blog in weeks (or days?!) to come. And so the journey begins.


I find that with every writing the hardest part is coming up with the initial idea. Planning it out is just so daunting. Could my story be contained in one book? What if it's compared against another writer's ideas? How am I supposed to stand out? It's difficult, to say the least. Nonetheless, I have a feeling that I just need to put pen to page. I've jotted down ideas for months and possibly even years. I started out in a play format, but my imagination seemed to push past those boundaries. One day...

Plus, I don't think anybody goes into something with a sub-par goal. That best-seller list awaits! Why not shoot for the stars, right? After all, do you think that Suzanne Collins went into writing the Hunger Games saying, "I don't really care if anyone likes it. I don't even care if anyone reads it."? I don't think so! She wanted other people to know this story that had so captured her mind! She wanted people to indulge in what she so loved!

And so I start. A blank tablet awaits, and it's my turn to mold a story of wonder and hope, justice and intrigue. It's my turn.

'Til next time!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saving the World One Pigeon at a Time

You may recall from a recent post that I hate birds. "Feed the Birds." It's an actual fact.

So you may be surprised that I spared the life of a pigeon the other day. It's an actual fact. Let me lay out the context for you.


I was driving in my car, listening to the radio as always. It was a fine September day, and I simply couldn't keep my eyes off of Lake Superior. It was a greenish-blue color that always reminds me that it's fall time. I didn't want to get in a car accident either, though. Thus, I kept my eyes on the road while aimlessly shifting my eyes back to the deep, cold, and beautiful waters.
An exit ramp approached up ahead. I took it, flicking my blinker signal and slowly drifting to the right. Up and up I went, easing myself and the car to a stop sign. Looking to hang a left, I signalled as such.
Pigeons always remind me of a huge city, particularly New York City in Home Alone 2. You know, the bird lady and all. There's just something about them. Considering my previous track record with birds, I'm reluctant to say they're a beautiful creature, blue hues, brief accents of red. But I have to acknowledge this wonderful creation of God's. It's striking. Taking away their synonimosity with garbage and rubbish, I think I quite like them. They're no eagle (which is scarier than most winged creatures), but they can sure trump a seagull or some annoying thing like that.
And so taking this left turn, I saw a flock of these birds congregating on a median. I imagine that if my friends and I were birds, we would be in a similar situation. Stuck on a median as cars fly by, narrowly missing our bony bodies. But then there would be me, bravely trying to hop, like all birds do, across the road. Realizing at the last second that taking risks should only be done in Farkle. And this is the bird I saw.
My previous life of bird opression-ee flashed across my brain. "Hit it!" my subconscious told me. "It's just a bird! You hate those." I didn't speed up, though. I couldn't do it.
It turns out that I'm just not that kind of person. Or I just don't want to be. Blood makes me squeamish to begin with, and I know that that wretched Farkle-playing pigeon would haunt me in my dreams. I screeched on the brakes, and the pigeon aimlessly hopped back to its all-too-lovely friends on the median, trapped.
I proceeded on my weary way.

There's a great possibility that I'm overanalyzing this brief encounter with a bird, but I feel that this is a step in the right direction. I just hope that Claude (that's what I named the bird I saved) will pass on the message to the greater bird kingdom.

"Cheep, cheep, cheep!"
"Chirp, chirp, chirp?!"
"Chirpity cheep! Cheep cheepity chirp."

Translation:
"And then he put on the brakes!"
"Did that really happen?!"
"Sure did! Ask Shirley about it."

Okay, so maybe that's a bit drastic, but I feel I'm making some gainway with this whole bird phobia. Now to address the chipmunk problem...

'Til next time!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lady A

If I had my own little awards show where I celebrated everything that I love, Lady Antebellum would definitely be on the list of nominees.


I don't want to be pretentious, but it's pretty obvious why. I think and feel that the blend of male and female voices is just the greatest phenomenon ever. (The Carpenters, Alphabeat, etc.) And now I'm adding this country tinge to my list of favorites. A prime example why is below.


They became this global thing only a year or two after they made the group! Charles Kelly was a construction worker who moved from North Carolina; Dave Haywood moved from Georgia to write music for Kelly; and Hilary Scott found Kelly on myspace and started to talk about the whole idea. This was in 2006.

The rest of it is history. In 2008, they came out with their first album, which dominated the charts with "I Run to You," "Need You Now," and "American Honey." Amazing? I think so. They attribute their initial success to having ties in the industry. Isn't that how everything is?

I really only did this post because of this video, though:


It's hilarious, and I love it. My family, both immediate and extended, has a severe case of golfing on the brain. Even though I probably go only once a year, I like it too. So I can relate and get all of these jokes. (I know what you're thinking. Golfing in Minnesota? There may only be three good months of it, but it's three months! The golfing season is pretty much over now, though... it's September.)

Oh, Lady Antebellum. :) You guys are just the greatest! Hahaha!
'Til next time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Please Mr. Postman

There's just something about getting something in the mail!

Let it be known that I'm an old-fashioned person. I don't much like to be connected to a cell phone or a computer or anything. This may be a downfall, but it's mostly just a valid preference. Along with these grounds come a love of getting things in the mail.


It just seems romantic or something. Going to the mail box, peeking in, and realizing there's something with your name on it! And if anyone else opens it, it's illegal! It really is all yours! I guess that point makes me smile.

And the waiting. Many can vouch that longing is the best part of any transaction. Agonizing, but the best.


The manilla envelopes. The red, white, and blue old-fashioned ones. The brown paper packages tied up in string! It's just the best. So I charge each of you to write a good old-fashioned letter (long hand) to somebody you care about in the coming days. 44 cents later, you won't regret it. And maybe you'll even get something back!

'Til next time!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall TV: The Ultimate Guide

And so we're smack dab in the middle of premieres week on television! Yay!!! (For us with only network TV, this is a pretty big deal, let me tell you.) Why some networks premiered shows last week and then the rest this week is beyond the comprehensions of my mind, but I trust that they have good intentions. Maybe it's because if they released it to us all at once, our brains would explode with joydum! (I'm officially making this a word.)

Thus, I would like to run down the list of new (and fantastic old) TV shows that are coming to us in the coming weeks, causing enormous amounts of excitement. :D Ready? I think we'll go by networks...

-----NBC-----

The Sing-off
Sara Bareilles and a cappela singers all in one place? My dream come true! Come on now, the third season of this show looks brilliant, and I'm super amped about it. That's exactly why I'm gonna plop myself down and watch the two-hour season premiere tonight!


Parks & Recreation
Amy Poehler reprises her role as Leslie Knope in this season of Parks and Recreation. It should be a huge hit. It is my favorite show on Thursday nights, no less. I love it. :)


Parenthood
This is my declared show for Tuesday night. I love everything about it. The set design, the characters, the plotlines, everything. They're just geniuses over there. I hope to one day visit Craig T. Nelson and Lauren Graham on the set. That would be a dream of mine. Let it be known.


The Office
This is one of those shows that I really don't follow too closely, but I'll watch if I'm not busy. I know I'm offending a lot of people when I say that, but it's the truth. Sorry. I like the humor... sometimes. WHO WILL REPLACE MICHAEL SCOTT?!?!


Whitney
This show looks fairly hilarious. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to watch the premiere. But seriously, I think it'll be really good. We'll have to just wait and find out...


Up All Night
I saw the premiere to this this past week. Will Arnett (who's married to Amy Poehler) and Christina Applegate do a great job. I laughed quite a bit at it, but I just don't connect with the... ah... plot. Cause I don't have a baby. So... yeah. Maya Rudolph is ridiculously hilarious in it. I'm gonna watch it just for her.



----ABC-----

Castle
Do you know how some families have pizza night? My family has Castle night. Seriously, this is what we've been waiting for for a half a year. We even contemplated getting our "Countdown to Christmas" decoration out so we could know when the show started. Do you know what number it'd be on today? 0!!!!! It's today, it's today!!!! Hallelujah! I can't wait. I can't say enough about it. :DDDDDD <--- Mega Smile.


The Middle
This show is hilarious. The fact that Ray Romano is going to guest star this season just brightens my day as well, considering that Patricia Heaton is the mom in it. I love Everybody Loves Raymond. Anyway, the premise of this show is just genius and for everyone. It's great!


Pan-Am
This one's sending off a Catch Me If You Can or View From the Top vibe. I'm not sure what to think of it just yet, but we'll see. I think the retro is building off of the fame of Madmen. This whole idea of being "inspired" by another show is unsettling. I guess I'll watch the first one. (Watch, now I'll be totally addicted to it...)



----FOX----

Glee
Evidently, this season the glee club is going "back to basics." They're only in the third season. How are they going "back to basics"? ... I guess I'll keep watching it, but Parenthood beat this show out for my Tuesday night slot. (P.S. I used to be addicted to this show. The glamour has worn off a little...)



The X-Factor
Intriguing, Simon Cowell, intriguing. I'll have to check it out.


New Girl
Fantastic! I downloaded the free premiere episode off of iTunes and totally love it. Those Deschanel sisters have a way, let me tell you. They aren't dynamic; they're just pure talent! Put this one down on the shows I'm going to watch for sure! (I'll have to hulu it, though. It conflicts with Parenthood.)


And those are my anticipated TV shows for the fall season of 2011! Phew! That was a lot. How am I going t have time to watch all these?

Are you excited for a tv show? Let me know in the comments below! (Hey, that rhymed.)

'Til next time!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

book review: confessions of a shopaholic by sophie kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic is a fantastic movie. It has an amazing soundtrack, a marvelous story, and a lovable protagonist. The main song from it, "Calling You" by Kat Deluna, gets me everytime:


Smashing! But the movie is nothing like the book. And when I say "nothing," I mean nothing. Without further to do, my review:

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

 
Rebecca Bloomwood is a financial contradiction. Why? 1.) She writes for Successful Saving, a bigtime financial publication. 2.) She's up to her eyeballs in debt.
Set in the UK, Confessions of a Shopaholic is the tale of how much fun debt can be. Dodging debt collectors, finding time to shop, and getting by on a small-time writer's salary all comes into play for Rebecca as she ventures to explore her friendships, romantic relationships, and love affair with any designer label. How will she get out of debt? THAT is the question...
 
So it has the same premise. Way different plotlines, though. That being written, you need to read this book. As you may know by now, I'm a huge advocate for reading books that have movie titles already attached to them, simply because they can be so different from the movie. Such is the case with Confessions of a Shopaholic. It blew me away with all the differences that the plot takes and the change in some characters' roles. It also made me appreciate some tactics made by the filmmakers as well. Plus, I really enjoyed it. It's a win-win-win situation, I guess!

I really don't want to give too much away, so I'll stop right there with the details of the story. Instead, I'll pick up with my personal enjoyment of the book. You see, I have this friend named Anna. She loves to read, make clothes, do a whole lot of creative stuff, shop, spend money, all that stuff. She's pretty neat. Anyway, she told another one of my friends to read this book because this is her (Anna). 

On that key, have any of you guys found book characters that remind you completely of an aquaintance or yourself? Do you model some of your characteristics after fictional characters? Let me know in the comments below! :)

Leaving off, you need to read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

'Til next time!

Visiting the Concrete Jungle

This weekend, I went to the Emerald Twin Cities to see the Wizard Hamlet!
I know! Doesn't it seem like a whirlwind adventure?! Well, it was. :) Let me just go into depth...

Okay, so the first thing we, my school group and I, did when we arrived was go to a the "global market," which sounded a little sketchy to me. I dived in head first anyhow, and it turned out to be great! What it was was a bunch of little shops, some selling souvenirs from other countries and some selling treats from the U.S. and other countries, organized in an indoor bizaar kind of thing. And so I tasted gillato, Mexican Coca-Cola (yum!), Chinese sesame chicken (which I opted for over camel meat), and saw the footprint of an "unknown" worker who built the building it was held in (definitely something that was a little... odd. But cool nonetheless!).

From there, we headed over to a sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center that was just to die for! You know that iconic sculpture of a spoon bridge with a giant cherry on top? Here's a picture:


Well, that was there! "Yes. I saw it with my own eyes. No autographs please." :) But seriously, it was really cool, among a bunch of other fantastic pieces of art, both kinetic and static. Hint, hint: Frank Gehry's glass fish was there, too. Fun fact: Frank Gehry appeared on an episode of Arthur!


Shuffling with a tad less life, we then went to dinner at an Ethiopian restuarant. In one word, it was... interesting. I hadn't tasted Ethiopian food before, and I was rather apprehensive. I wish now that I had taken a picture. In lieu of such, you use a spongy pancake-y piece of bread to pick up pureed type meats and vegetables. It was quite good. I'd recommend it for the experience itself. As for the conversation, I had fantastic company!

And HAMLET. Holy cow. Ring the bells! It was so phenomenal. It may seem weird, but I had never really discovered the story of Shakespeare's play about the Prince of Denmark before this experience. I was not disappointed. In a post-modern setting, this rendition captured my attention especially. Jungle Theatre. Minneapolis. Runs through October 9th. SEE IT! (It's also to be mentioned that I had a joyous time analyzing the crosses between Hamlet and The Lion King, which was based off of it.)


The next morning (today), I took a "leisurely" stroll around Lake Harriet, which is probably one of the most scenic places I have ever seen, especially because it's plopped right in a city. Given, there was little time and a LOT to take in. One thing that stuck out to me was a little stage area they had there. It was magnificent. If any theatre producers are reading this out there, it'd be a great place for a Shakepearean festival. Wink, wink. Maybe I just had Hamlet on the brain, though...

And then we went on a cruise down the Mississippi River. Enjoyable, laid-back, and friendly would be three words to describe it. However, I kept on waiting for them to play Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" over the loud speakers. It never happened.
And then we came back. Overall, I believe that I dipped my toes in a lake (Not Lake Harriet) of culture. It was an amazing experience. Yay for honors!

In addition to this amazing adventure, I finished reading another book! Three cheers for travel reading time!

'Til next time!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lunch With Cinna by Russell!!!

I don't know why I've held off posting this for this long, but here we go!

Okay. So there's this website/blog called Fictional Foods. I hyperlinked it for you. Anyway, I found it one day in July while I was just surfin' the web. You know how I do. And I stumbled upon this page called "Lunch with Cinna." (That's also hyperlinked.) WHAT?! Book inspired food!? Rather... HUNGER GAMES INSPIRED FOOD!!!!!!!!!?????? Because I'm majorly obsessed with HG, which you may know, I simply had to make it. I promptly printed off the recipe and stuck it on my piano, which is like my junk drawer. Except open for public viewing.

This is what it's supposed to look like. Doesn't it look glorious?!

About three weeks later, I finally got around to it. After checking the cupboards of my house, I found that I had almost everything. The lame cheapskate that I am decided that I didn't need to make the side dishes. I only needed to make the main meal, which is a creamy sauce with chicken and orange chunks in it over a bed of rice. (Look on the previously mentioned website for the passage from the book. It gives a description.)

Make rice, parboil chicken, add orange chucks, add whipping cream, add milk, thicken to desired consistency. Sounds easy, right?  If you answered "yes," you are sorely mistaken. Now, I can follow a recipe. What I lack is experience. And actually, the end result looked quite delicious. I almost died of joydum (Is that a word?) when I added the whipping cream and milk to the sauce. It smelled like asian chicken alfredo sauce. Delicious.

And so I ended up with this.


Maybe I shouldn't have used mandarin oranges instead of orange chunks... they broke apart all in there. It looks incredibly delectable, considering. At least I thought so...  Come to think of it, when I started dry heaving vomit when I smelled the finished sauce, I should've stopped. "This has all gone wrong!" I thought... (or yelled). And oh yeah. Those are peas on top of it. Who's too cheap to buy parsley? "Oohh! Oohh!" *I bounce up and down on an exercise ball and point at myself.

And so I took a spoon. Where was I going to approach it? Oh. I forgot to take pictures. So I did that, then I dug in. I took a bit of the bed of rice with a chicken chunk coated with thickened sauce. To tell the truth, I felt like Julia Child. Bon appetit! And I tasted the most brilliant recipe ever. AndeveryonelivedhappilyeverafterTheEnd.

---- (You don't have to read the rest of this. But if you do, remember that I should receive an A for effort, 'kay?) ----

MORE LIKE FIRE IN THE HOLE! I ran over to our garbage can and hocked it straight into there. Then, I tried vainly to scrub the taste off my tongue. It felt like somebody puked in my mouth! Shortly thereafter, I ran to the faucet and started chugging down gallons of water and spitting them back up. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck, Yuck!

After, I sat down to eat a bowl of peas I made as a side. How quickly it had turned into the main meal... Then I paced back and forth trying to decide what to do with it. Just then, my brother came in the door.

"Hi! What's that?"
"Nothing."
"Are you going to eat it?"
"No."
"Can I have some?"
"Go ahead."

Okay. I'm not that mean. I stopped him eventually. And, by the way, he hated it too. (Which is kind of a shame because maybe it was one of those things that I just can't taste but other people really like it.)

This experience was one of two things:  a weird recipe that tastes like wonky puke OR an I-can't-cook-to-save-my-life kind of deal.

I'd like a side of humility with a bowlful of peas, please. Order's up!

'Til next time!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Extremely Extravagent Life

I had the extreme privilege to indulge in caviar today. Fancy, right? I know! Since I know you're all dying to know what it tastes like, I'll just have to tell you, being the connoisseur of fine caviar that I am. (That's sarcasm, by the way.)

This is herring caviar from the big lake in my "back yard." Hahaha! It's not black like sturgeon caviar, but golden. It has the texture of tapioca because it's fish eggs. Weird, right?

Well, to tell the truth, it tasted a little fishy. My friend who tried it with me said, "It tastes like I'm licking a fish!" And another person found a scale in hers. The small price of tasting the best. Hahaha! No. It was definitely fishy.

Now, I know what you're saying. "Why did you eat more than a taste of it, then?" First, good question. Second, it kind of grows on you... it's weird. Yeah. I couldn't even try it at first. When I finally got up the courage, I slathered a bit on a cracker and just... ate it. It was like a mix between extremely salty and even a little savory, in my "professional" opinion. I couldn't wrap my mind around it, though. I had to taste more.

I slathered some on another cracker. Then, I had to write down my comments on it, but I COULDN'T! Weird. It wasn't too bad, so I just thought without a cracker would help. I decided to just grab a spoon. (This is where my new-found knowledge comes in. Evidently, mother of pearl spoons are the best for caviar tasting, according to another taste-tester.) Mine was plastic. I took the tiniest little bit and ate it. This one was really salty. I scribbled down some comments.

I guess what I have to say is that everyone should taste caviar in their life at some point. It's definitely an experience. In other words, put it down on your bucket list.

So now I can check off going to the movies alone and eating caviar.

2 down, 998 to go!

'Til next time!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recess

Do you remember (I don't know) ten years ago when they used to have "1 Saturday Morning" on Saturday mornings?! It was like the best conglomeration of cartoons ever. Well, if you recall it and even if you don't, you may also recall Recess. Take a look...


SO CLASSIC. Epic even. If you haven't seen it, I suppose I could give a brief synopsis for you, since I do know all the characters' names and all...

Following the playground follies of 3rd Street Elementary School's it-gang, Recess is a cartoon that not only reveals the meaning of childhood but the meaning of life. It does such through the stock characters of TJ Dettweiler, Vince LaSalle, Mickey Blumberg, Ashley Spinelli, Gretchen Grundler, and Gus Griswald, along with some other loveable characters. Spinning moral tales of humor and fun as the gang provides entertainment to the other recess kids, vanquishes (and on occasion helps) the foe of Ms. Murriel P. Finster and her trusty sidekick Randall, and promotes peace in the cruel world of playground politics, this is a show every youngster can appreciate.


At least I know I did! Recently (at the end of this past summer), my brothers and I went on a binge of watching the shows. Only one of us (I won't say who) watched all 127 episodes. Quite impressive, no? But it really is that good! Again, if you haven't seen it, you really should. I would even go to such lengths to say it was an essential building block of my childhood, as well as many others'.

So why not watch an episode? What could it hurt, really?

This one's one of my favorites, probably because the concept of the "Ashleys" is too funny and too true. Go on! Take a gander! You know you want to!


Did I tell you or did I tell you? Now go tell a friend, and if you watched Recess as a "kinder", go on and tell me! :)

'Til next time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If I Was a Purple Octupus Named Ursula...

I would be a cold-hearted, switch-dealin' swindler that steals Adele's voice.


It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard, and I just can't get enough. Prime example:

This morning, I was listening to the radio. Her song, "Someone Like You," came on, and there was a spark. I had heard this song before. But I found that I had never heard it. It was like a lightbulb went on. It is so brilliant that I could not stop thinking about it the rest of the day. It was as such that I needed to go onto youtube and find it again later that afternoon. It's just so luscious and raw.

As for Adele, I heard one of my mom's friends recommending her music to my mom about a month or so ago. Recalling it suggests that the context focused on singers today and how there's no good ones. (I'll be the first to agree.) But my mom's friend said, "Have you heard of Adele?" Naturally, I had. "Rolling in the Deep," blah, blah, good song... that's all I knew. "Well, you have to hear her. She is just like singer's from our day. She's amazing!" I never really understood her excitement until this song clicked it into me this morning.

So there you have it.

And that's why I would steal her voice, along with some others' voices too, if I was Ursula.

'Til next time!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Girls' Books, Boys' Books, Every Kind of Books' Books

Ol' McDonald had a... library, E-I-E-I-O!!!

I can't remember where I read it, but evidently in the late 1800's, there was a huge divide between girls' books and boys' books. This got me to thinking:  What are girls' books and what are guys' books? In this instance, it's determined as shallow as the cover... Explore with me below!


Girls' Books: The Overwhelming Genre?


I honestly can't blame editors, or writers, or anybody for this phenomena. It's a plain fact (Well, my opinion as a guy reader.) that a lot of books are aimed to market for girls. Why? Could it possibly be because girls read more? I think that notion is a bit prejudice. Could it be because they have a longer attention span and therefore can actually finish a book and tell their best friend that "You HAVE to read this!"? Is it a clever ploy for girlfriends to make their boyfriends read, too?!? I find that there's no scientific evidence that stacks that girls read more. However, I do believe that marketing teams market books to girls more often. Let's take a glimpse at the best-seller list currently and decide.

#1 The Help


Does this look like some burly guy is gonna read it? Carrying around a book with chickadees on it? I don't think so. I, myself, took off the slipcover when I read it, and it didn't even leave my room! My final judgement: it's definitely marketed to the female persuasion.

#2 1105 Yakima Street



No. Just no.

#3 Kill Me If You Can



Now this is what I'm talking about! It looks like a fire, I'm guessing??? Bold font. That's what I'm talking about! The whole kissing thing is enough to drive me away though. Sorry.

#4 In My Time by Dick Cheney --- This one doesn't count. It's a biography... not the same thing.

#5 The Hunger Games


 Yes. Yes. Yes. No kissing on it. A hint of a plot. No frilly fonts. This is it! Everybody should read this book. (I finally got my older brother to start reading this. Fingers crossed!)

 Boys' Books:  ???


In a world where Twilight dominates the best seller lists, and romantic hullaballoo is slipped between pages and called a plot point, it's hard to say that any boy will read any book out there, even if somebody bribes them with money. Why? And here's where I present the big list (well, five things) of things on the cover of books that make guys not want to read it.

1.) Kissing.

2.) A Bare-Chested Man.

3.) A Girl in a Ball Gown.

4.) Anything pertaining to purses, high heels, shopping, lipstick, pillow fights, ...

5.) The Color Pink.

And there you have it. Keep in mind that this is my own personal opinion (as a boy, which is what we're going for here). Because I was curious, I took the liberty of googling "Boy Books" to see what popped up. I found THIS website, which shows a list of books boys will like (or something like that. I just scrolled down to the list.)
Dubbed "The Full List of Books for Boys," it contains titles like Ripley's Believe It or Not! and the Guiness Book of World Records, along with Huckleberry Finn and Lord of the Rings. It would have the Hunger Games on it, but the article was published in 2007, so... yeah. The point is that Ripley's Believe it or not! should not be on a must-list for anyone! Where is the humanity!? I also find it kind of odd that it only consisted of 167 titles. I'm certain that there are at least one billion books (and more!) that have been published... Maybe it's a faulty source, but is it odd? I think so.

The Fix!

I'm glad to see that some people have realized this problem and are addressing it, though. One such book that comes to mind is Paper Towns by John Green. (You'll be seeing that it's on my "upcoming-read" list to your right.)

But they have marketed to both boys and girls. Great idea? It's a novel idea! I just don't think they've done a phenomenal job at it, necessarily. The one on the left is "for boys." The one on the right is "for girls."

I don't know what makes those advertisers think boys will read it because the girl is dirty and unhappy. Because boys go out a roll around in the dirt? Nah-ah. The "girl" cover looks like it would appeal to girls, I suppose. I think the paper back version of the book is more intriguing for guys.


Doesn't it seem like a good read? No girls, no kissing, no pink. What is this about? I need to read it!
(This example is taken from a blog post published by That Hapa Chick. Check out her blog here!

And this is not to be stereotypical. Personally, I enjoy and rave at the designs on every book, but I am more pulled in by books that aren't so, well, girly. Do you get me? Well, anyway, let me know if you have the same opinion about this point. Either leave a comment or vote on the poll. :)





'Til next time!

*Note: This is not to be stereotypical to neither boy nor girl. I fully understand that I'm reading Confessions of a Shopaholic right now, which is contradictory to this post. There are exceptions and avid readers like me that like almost any story thrown between the covers of a book. So don't hate me! And thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memoriam

By Denise Gould, Courtesy of Department of Defense






































A billion tiny lights dancing aimlessly in space,
A trillion tiny people dawdle on, keeping face.
A quadrillion dreams and hopes fly upward to the sky.
With every soul asking, "Is there a reason why?"

Two beams of light standing there and counting loss,
Is not a just trade for this day and tempest toss.
These lights can't illuminate a place where there's no light,
But they can promise future, a day when we'll have sight.

Keep looking up...

'Til next time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Clippity-Clap

For the life of me, I will never understand the concept of clapping. Is there one?

Obviously, it's there for you to applaude someone or something. But check it out. As a group we clap...

-At the end of a play.
-At the end of a musical number.
-During intense moments in speeches.
-After an injured player walks off the playing area.
-To cheer on a sports team.
-To ask for an encore.
-To get someone's attention.
-To get a pet's attention. (They're the same thing as "someone," but I thought I'd just clarify.)
-To keep the beat during songs.


Okay, I can understand after a musical performance or for an encore, and maybe even after a speech. A few problems with it:

1.) Why clap during a speech? The person's trying to talk. Is it necessary to stand up and clap at them? I noticed this in the President's address to congress the other night. Every time he said anything important, half the room stood up and clapped. How annoying. You can't "root" him on, like a sports fan. It's congress! To show their approval? Yes, but why don't they just write it down and facebook it later on or something? A thousand people analyze those things. Maybe the decibels of applause are like "hits" on a website. The more, the better the speech? We'll never know!

2.) Applauding a hurt sports player isn't a big deal, unless people cheer for this more than anything else in the game. Last year, I attended such an event. How many people got hurt? I can't even remember there were so many! It was just nauseating clapping over and over again. The players obviously weren't good enough to get the ball in the hoop to have normal cheering. It was pathetic!

3.) No one should "clap" at somebody. Rude.

4.) No group can keep the beat during songs. (Especially in a huge group.) It shouldn't be done.

And so ends my rant on clapping. There should be social rules about this. Maybe I can discover them and parlay them to the bigwigs at the social institute... or maybe I'm just crazy...
'Til next time!

Dreaming By the Book

A couple months ago, I had the scariest dream I have ever had. And you know those dreams that you can't remember anything about when you wake up? This wasn't like that. I remember every detail.

The Context:
It was just a normal night. I don't even think I was thinking about anything even related to the Hunger Games. If I recall correctly, my psychology class was discussing the cause and meaning of dreams at the time. Evidently, one of the purposes of them is to ready the body, mentally and physically, for real life events. Interesting enough, right? I thought it was. I remember being exhausted that night, so I just settled in and fell asleep.

The Plot:
The platform underneath my feet was buzzing with life until it came to a jerking stop. I looked around me. Dirt filled the surrounding area, and I realized that I wasn't the only one on a platform. Surrounding a giant, shimmering golden cornucopia were twenty four other participants, who seemed to be getting ready for something. I was lost until the gong sounded. Was this really the hunger games?
I couldn't compete with these people. I'd probably be the biggest target out in the blood bath. I am 6'6". I just turned around. A forest was straight ahead; a lake was only faintly in the distance to the left. I started running right between the two, not really sure where I was going, just stumbling forward. But I knew I needed shelter. I ran to the woods.
Running, running, running. I finally stopped after I just couldn't anymore. Okay. I sit down, too tired to care that I hated wooded areas. How did I get here? I had no recall. There must have been interviews, a reaping, everything that goes along with it, but what happened? What is my public persona? What do people expect out of me?
I ravage the woods for the following couple days. I don't have any supplies, but where would I get them? I don't have the audacity to kill somebody for theirs. I hear a rustle somewhere. I turn around. Nothing. I hear another rustle. I turn around again. Nothing. It must be the wind.
Just then, somebody drops down in front of me. She's a girl, maybe a couple years older than me, obviously more intelligable at this survival stuff. I wince as I ready for my death.
"So I got the supplies like you said. I'm glad I could find you. It's a lot bigger than I expected."
I open my eyes as I realize she's holding out a knife for me, not at me. "Oh. So are we a team then?"
"That was the plan, wasn't it?"
I give a smile and take the knife. "Thanks."
"Thank you."
Hm.
We start walking, "Did you recognize any of the mentors from previous years? You know, you better watch out for Enobaria." It turns out that this year must have been a quarter quell. From my understanding of my dream, each district sent in one boy/girl, depending on a random drawing for each, and a previous victor of the opposite gender joined the one who was reaped.

At this point, my dream fast-forwarded. I'm not sure why. I may just have forgotten half of what happened.

We're running across a field, which is sparsely planted with towering pines. It reminds me of a golf course, actually. The sky is threatening, a green color. The winds are strong and almost pushing each one of us over.
A bomb explodes far to our left. At this point, I realize we have an older man, a girl that's maybe 15, and a small boy that's maybe 14 with us. She looks she could stand a fight, but he's small of stature.
"Hurry! If we don't --- " A bomb explodes behind us. We zig-zag over from the main field into a smaller grove of trees.
Naturally, I'm confused as ever. "Why are we running?!" I ask.
"The gamemakers. They activated land mines in the arena. If you step on one, you have ten seconds to get as far away as possible." I still don't know this girl's name, nor will I ever, but we seem to have been in this all along.
"By my calculations, there's only eight people left in the game, split into two groups of course."
"Do you think we'll be able to overtake the Careers' camp, though?" questions his girl companion. They must be from the same district. His white hair indicates a lifetime of stress, but he doesn't look old at all. I would say early forties. Her flaxen locks indicate a pampered childhood. Their facial features align in that same-district sort of way. Their complexion is creamy and pink, like a baby's.
"We'll never know until we try," chimes in my partner.
The boy, who has an eerie expression of sadness, stands by, quiet. He has dark brown hair and big brown eyes.
"Then what's our plan, Heifer?" the blonde girl  asks. That must be the old man's name.
"Let's see." He puts on a far off look. "I got it. Livestock are only comforted when they know everything is safe, right?"
"Sure, but how does that help us," the girls asks.
"Auro, it's simple. We mock the cannon, making the Careers think they're the only ones left."
"That'll never work," I say. "How are we going to make that loud of sound?"
"Simple. But we'll have to go near the lake for it."
And so we begin on our way. We walk along the straggled pine trees to escape the land mines and for concealment, but we hardly see anything that could harm us near.
We stop about halfway to the lake. At this point, we had just made our way up a hill and can see the lake, the woods I originally ran to, and the cornucopia. Down below us is a huge valley of grain.
We sit down. Heifer pulls out a block of cheese and some crackers that are thin, look dry, and consist mostly of whole grains. "What time is it?" my partner asks.
"Hm." Heifer stands up and walks out where the sun is shining. Naturally, we follow him. We want to know how to tell time, too, if something ever happens, right? We all look up in the sky, blocking the sun from our eyes. "It looks like it's around maybe..." He lets out some sort of weird sound, like a "Ga-humph."
We all look down. The boy with sad eyes pulls out a bloody knife from Heifer's gut.

This is where the dream turns weird...

The whole field starts to spin as I start to grasp the right side of my stomach, trying to hold my gray intestines in. They keep falling out, and blood pours out, drenching my shirt. I guess I turned into Heifer or something?

The Result:
I wake up right at this point, panting, yelling, sweating, and grasping my right side, which hurts.
I'm telling you, it was the strangest thing. I kid you not, though. All of it really happened. I had a half hour before when I would regularly wake up, so I just sat there, trying to regain some composure. Afraid I was going to forget the dream, because I knew I had to tell my friends, I recalled it over and over again until I had to get up for the day.

Relating to Others:
Several months later, my friend (who I made read the Hunger Games in the first place) came up to me all excited. "Guess what!? I had a dream about the Hunger Games last night. It was super weird because I was like in this big crowd, and I didn't know what was going on, so I started to leave. All of a sudden, a lady on a stage called some girl's name. I didn't know who it was, but I started running up to the stage and volunteered to go in her spot. That's when I realized that that was my little sister's name! I was Katniss. It was so weird! I can't even explain it."
Of course, we had to swap stories. I told her mine... It went on for awhile.

So are we being prepared to go into the Hunger Games? Not likely, but you never know, I guess.

Did any of you out there have any dreams about being in the Hunger Games? Obviously, it's not an uncommon thing because both my friend and I had one. So let me know in the comments, please! :)

'Til next time!

Feed the Birds

I hate birds. Why? I have a few stories...

At the age of five, my mom, my brothers, our friends, their mom, and I were down in Duluth watching a ore docker come in. These are the things we do in Duluth. So cliche, right? Anyway, it was raining. Again, why were we down there? We were all huddled under this big red and white pinstriped umbrella. It was big enough to hold us all. So there we were, sitting, waiting, cold, wet; you name the miserable feeling, it was there. And all of a sudden I felt something cold and wet on my head. It was rain, I was sure. But I was under an umbrella... how in the... My five-year-old self took his right hand and felt on his head. It was slippery and thick. What was this?! He drew away his hand, and lo and behold, white seagull poop had landed in his hair. While sitting under an umbrella. While it was raining.
Because I was a crier when I was a child (there'll be more posts about this, I'm sure), I instantly started crying, sobbing to my mother. My friend's mom rose to the occasion. Taking me by the hand, she led me through a sea of people that had all crowded on that rainy day to see the ship. (Actually, in this part of the story, I remember it being sunny. Why would we have an umbrella, though? Parasol? We weren't that fancy!) Anyway, we waded through the people, into a maritime museum, which had an awesome U.S. Coast Guard tug boat in front of it. We dodged, dipped, dove, and dodged our way to the bathroom, where she found wet wipes. How she found them is beyond me. Her purse was always like Mary Poppins' in that way. She cleaned me up, and I was wary of seagull poop the rest of the day.

Fast forward to eighth grade.
On interim day (the middle school equivalency of elementary field trips), my friends and I decided to opt out of white water rafting, rock climbing, and riding jet skis on the lake (maybe that wasn't one of the options) to tour the local aquarium, a museum ore docker, and go to an educational movie. These are the kind of people that end up blogging, mind you.
The aquarium was first. We piled onto yellow school buses and headed lakeside, where the aquarium was located. For us nerds, it was quite a buzz, getting out of school to learn some more. After taking in every kind of fish possible, petting the too-scary-for-me-to-pet stingrays, and taking in the view of Lake Superior, the 31,700 sq. mile, greatest of the Great Lakes, lake, we headed over to the bird exhibit. Why they had birds in the aquarium, I'll never know.
From the aforementioned experience, I was set on not visiting those birds. I was prompted, though. I had to go in. Plus, we were ensured the birds' wings were clipped. I choked down my fear and finally went in the caged-in bird area. It was nice enough. I stood on the opposite side of where the birds were, keeping a safe distance. I was almost done. We would look at the last set of birds and leave. That was it. I'd be done. Then, I realized a bird had gotten out of the elevated habitat it had once been in and was hopping, not walking, hopping across the floor. A fellow classmate, who was not in my circle of friends, found it amusing. He started hopping around after the bird, trying to catch it. I stayed away. The bird was fairly small, had brownish, tan feathers, a long beak, and long legs for apparent wading. That beak is perfect for skewering an eye, I thought. I was scared to death. The classmate kept hopping after it, trying to catch it. All of a sudden, the bird had had enough. It flew up at me, brushing my hair! I screamed, which was loud. (See, I have this gift...) Everyone else ducked out of the way.
This was the year the bird flu was highly televised. I remember wearing a contagion mask and washing my hands consistently for the next few weeks, leaving my hands red, splotchy, and bacteria-free. (This last part may be a bit exaggerated. I remember washing my hair at least ten times in the shower that night, though.)

In a couple words, I can relate to the movie, The Birds.


With these two stories in mind, you can appreciate the irony of some decorations in my room, which are pictured below.




Does that seem weird that I would do that to myself, subject this torture inadvertantly but nonetheless to myself? In another take at it, I was in a discussion with some people this past week. The question was, "Why would you take daycare kids to an old lady's house?" (Don't ask how it came up.) One girl said, "Because they decorate with birds!" WHAT?! First of all, I don't agree with that. Second of all, that makes me an old lady.

At least some bird decorations in my room are the AWESOMEST THING IN THE WORLD!!! Agreed? It's unanimous.



'Til next time!
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