Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Too many movies to post (Part II)

Ok I promise that after this batch of movies I will be better about keeping my movie posts up to date.  Fortunately, the movie watching had slowed down a bit because Ferret and I started watching Dexter (man that is an INSANE series, love it!).  So, onward:

sex and the city: I enjoyed this movie, but not as much as I had been enjoying the series.  The part with Big ditching her at their wedding was really sad, but I didn't like how at the end she concluded that she was as much to blame as he was.  No she was not.  The man is an adult, the least he could do was show up at the wedding.  Idiot.  However, it ends happily for all and I had a fun time watching it.  I guess the problem I had with it was that it wasn't as funny as the series was.  And oh god, Jennifer Hudson was horrible.  Scenes with her were pure torture.  Rate ***

ironman: YAYAYAYAY!!!  This movie was so awesome I couldn't contain myself when it ended.  I don't know whether it was the dialogue, the characters the acting the action or what but I had the best time watching this movie.  And I had never heard of the Ironman comic character before this movie.  Maybe that's why I had no expectations?  I don't know.  But Robert Downey Jr was so completely amazing as Tony Stark.  I loved this movie.  Rate *****

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: So after watching Ironman I was on a total RD Jr high so Ferret was finally able to get me to watch this movie.  He had already seen it a million times but still happily watched next to me while simultaneously assembling a computer.  At first I didn't think I would like it because there was a lot of breaking of the fourth wall and too winking (we all know it's a movie and it's all fake, wink wink) for my taste.  But then the plot got rolling and it was still a RD Jr movie AND there was val kilmer who was really fun to watch as the gay private eye so I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.  The plot was intricate and snappy (a girl is killed, whodunnit?) and no one ever took themselves too seriously.  I was grateful there were not any fancy sped up camera moves, I was a little afraid it would be that kind of movie at first.  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys having a good time.  Rate ****

hello dolly: I've never been the greatest Barbra Streisand fan or anything but I ended up watching this movie because I was home for the holidays and bored.  It was my first week at home and I had nothing to do.  Watched this on Netflix's instant watching program and it was pretty pleasant.  I remember going to see the local troupe perform this musical a long time ago with my friend Kara and so there was also a nostalgic element to it.  I never thought Barbra Streisand was particularly good-looking, but I thought she was very pretty in this movie and her voice was great.  Rate ****

when harry met sally: So I've only ever seen bits and pieces of this movie and didn't think it was all that.  Somehow though, when seen continuously through, the movie became super great.  I dunno what it was.  The dialogue was quick and Meg Ryan is so darn cute and it was funny.  I have never ever ever thought Billy Crystal was remotely attractive, but in this movie, he somehow was.  Go figure.  Despite me liking this movie, I still think Sleepless in Seattle is one of the most retarded movies ever.  By the way, this was another movie I watched at home over the holiday and during the fake orgasm in a deli scene I had to fast forward to not alarm my mother who was sitting near me at the time.  Rate *****

the incredible hulk, version 2: I had very low expectations for this movie prior to watching.  I think because I had seen a preview for it and it looked incredibly blah and generic and the NYT review for it wasn't spectacular either.  Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find myself entertained.  It was no Ironman, but it really wasn't that bad either.  I've always been extremely fond of Edward Norton and the scenes with him dashing all over Brazil were exciting.  I wish the Hulk himself wasn't so dumbass primitive.  It's hard to be interesting when you are a green Neanderthal cartoon.  One more thing, Liv Tyler is crazy good to look at.  Her face is really classic.  Rate ***

the strangers: I am not going to waste too many words on this retarded movie.  Gawd.  Basically the main characters were colossally stupid.  You have two people (with one gun) and three people (armed with knives) and somehow the three people overpower the two people with the gun and win.  Liv Tyler's good looks couldn't save her in this movie because you just couldn't figure out how someone could be SO ridiculously dumb.  I watched this entire movie with the Bunnies in San Diego mostly because we all wanted to find out who these strangers were and why they were out to get these two dumbasses.  Guess what, you don't find out.  I've just saved you a couple of hours of your life.  Rate * (I want to rate this negative stars)

the bank job: I almost forgot about this movie, mostly because this movie was pretty forgettable.  I was entertained while watching it but I can barely remember what it was about.  Let's see, Jason Statham was in it.  He and some people break into a bank vault to steal loot, but the British government was secretly behind the break-in because they wanted to get an incriminating photo.  And then there were some bad guys who also had some stuff stolen.  Yep.  Rate ***

Poodle's Wedding

So Poodle got married back on August 2, 2008 and I am only getting around to posting about it now.  The ceremony and Western style reception happened on the 2nd and the Indian reception thrown by Rishi's family happened on the 3rd.  The pictures below are from the Indian reception.  I still don't have any pictures of the first part so I only posted the second.  How cute are we!  To sum up, the wedding was beautiful, I managed to not trip on the way in or out, Nelly looked lovely and the food was tasty.  By the end of it I was super sleepy because I had gotten up at 5 in the morning that day so I passed out the second I got home.  It was unfortunate that I did because I had absconded with Fadia's (Nelly's mom) phone without realizing it and I didn't manage to return it to her until I woke up a few hours later.  The next day, animals convened and drove to New Jersey for the second reception.  We stopped by lab beforehand to take formal-wear lab pictures.  Those are currently posted on our lab website.  The food was really good and I am not ashamed to say I stuffed my face.  There was a lot of dancing as well and Nelly was frequently hoisted up by Rishi's cousins and carried about.  It was a lot of fun. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Too many movies to post

I've been watching too many movies to post individually so here is just a laundry list:
  • son of rambow: really sweet and enjoyable. a story about kids and friendship. rate ****
  • the orphanage: this reminded me of 'the others'. as usual, i did a lot of cowering. rate ****
  • pirates of the carribean: at world's end: this was kind of a huge mess. but i had to watch it for completeness. rate **
  • dan in real life: i always like watching juliette binoche. can steve carrell's face get any more hangdog? the dialogue got kind of sappy at parts but it was a nice movie overall. rate ****
  • 1408: so scary! it is an old-school kind of scary, no gore. i probably actually saw 10% of this movie. it was super stressful. rate *****
  • blood simple: i think this was the first coen brothers movie. it was interesting to watch it so soon after watching no country for old men, there are quite a few parallels i think. rate ****
  • the exorcism of emily rose: the story was quite unexpected. i thought it was going to be straight up horror, but it was more legal thriller meets demon possession. i think i enjoyed the legal drama part more than the rest. and i heart laura linney. rate ****
  • it: i've watched this movie a few times now and it still frightens me. but ferret wasn't scared at all. i think you really need to have a fear of clowns to understand. rate *****
I think this sums up all the movies for the last few weeks. If I was really diligent I would also post about Sex and the City and 30 Rock. Looking back on the year, I'm kind of amazed I had so much time to watch movies.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

No Country for Old Men

I didn't know anything about this movie going into it except it was by the Coen brothers. And that kind of tells you something about the movie already. Javier Bardem plays this psychotic killer who is after Josh Brolin for a couple million dollars that Josh Brolin made off with. I was comfortable thinking it would fall neatly into a crime caper thriller kind of plot but it upended my expectations. I can't really say a ton without giving stuff away, but 1) Javier Bardem is crazily freaky - part of it is that pageboy haircut he is sporting and the rest is a menacing face and voice, 2) the movie was relentlessly intense. I think I remained stressed out from the first scene to the last. There wasn't any music that I could really remember and I think that added something to the stress level. It ended kind of abruptly for my taste, but I can't really fault anything specific with the ending, I think it ended right (Ferret disagrees). Rate *****

The Darjeeling Limited

After watching Noein, we decided to take a break from anime for a while and catch up on movies. This was the first one we watched since then. Out of Wes Anderson's movies, I think I still like Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore the best, but this one was still really entertaining. I think most people would agree with me that even the most average Wes Anderson is still leaps and bounds better than the average movie. It's important to watch The Hotel Chevalier first, and it was nicely included in the DVD release. This movie had a lot of style; you couldn't really sympathize so much with anyone's personal pains because everything was so stylized and stylish, but the characters were certainly likable, if not fleshed out. I was happy to see Anjelica Huston near the end because she always brings a little something extra to her scenes I think. Maybe it is just because she has such presence. Anyway, I had a good time. Rate ****


I think out of the anime series I have been watching with Ferret so far, I liked Noein the best. The story was complicated, but not incomprehensible (Ergo Proxy remains my gold standard for gibberish) and the drawing style and music was consistently fantastic. While the scientific explanation for certain phenomena was laughable in the way all science tends to be laughable in pop culture, the fight scenes were very creative and unique. Each fight was spectacular in different ways, and visually stunning. The basic story is kind of hard to explain, but it has to do with some guys from another dimension coming to our dimension to obtain a tool to fight a war and finding that the tool is embodied in the form of a young girl, Haruka. And to add more complications, the people in that other dimension have counterparts in our own. Overall, I look forward to rewatching these episodes sometime in the future. Rate *****

Update (12/30/08): I ended up rewatching several episodes with Bunny when I was home for the holidays.  As usual, she managed to watch all 24 episodes in fewer than 2 days.  INSANE!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Savages

I don't think Ferret really liked this movie but I think it was mainly due to an error of communication. Before watching, I told him I thought it was a black comedy. As everyone except Ferret knows, black comedy means dark humor and does not necessarily mean it is a comedy featuring black people. Anyway, I can see how it might be confusing to watch this movie if you were expecting Martin Lawrence to pop out at any moment. The movie was basically about two adult siblings coming together to care for their demented (literally, a man with dementia) father. It is mostly about their relationship with each other and themselves, with a small peppering of their relationships with other people. Laura Linney reestablishes her place as one of the people I most like to see in movies even though her character was so unsympathetic and ridiculous. I think it is due to her skill as an actress that you actually want to know more about her and what becomes of her. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays her brother and does a great job as her foil. In the end you see there are actually more similarities between them than differences and to get to the point, it ends with a nice happy note so don't worry that it's all depressing or anything like that. Rate: ****

Blood+ (way overdue)

This post has been long overdue. At this point I don't even remember when I finished the series. I do remember watching the prequel, "Blood: The last vampire," on the plane to Florida for ORS. That was back in March and at that point Ferret and I had already watched all of Blood+: Part One. Disgrace disgrace. Sometime after that we finished watching the rest of the Blood+ (50 episodes in all) on youtube since episodes after #25 are not out on disk yet. Overall I found this series very entertaining. The storyline was intriguing and Haji was super great even when he was getting impaled onto a wall for the 100th time. Apparently, Haji could only fight effectively offscreen. That said, he was far better than Saya, who could barely fight at all for a good chunk of the series. Looking back, while no episode matched the quality of the initial opening scene featuring Saya running amok in Vietnam, the gradual unveiling of Saya's past and the development of her character was well done and moved the story along effectively. My favorite character after Haji was probably the Phantom. It was a sad day for everyone when he met his end and he is still missed.

One last observation - the musical score consisted of three tracks: Diva's song (you'd think an international musical star would develop her repertoire over time, but this was not the case), the planning music (usually involved a lot of papers and maybe some computers), emoting music (usually when Haji was promising to stay by Saya's side for ever and ever or at least until THAT DAY) and the action music (introduced with the Phantom, I hummed this tune for weeks I think). Rate ****

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Adventures in Gardening (many updates)

This post will be mostly in pictures since it's been so long since I updated. It's amazing how much growth there has been.

Here was the light I got from the hardware store (supported in a ghetto fashion on top of two coffee cans).

Strangely, for a week I had various ladybug visitors come by the lettuce beds.

Here is the current state of the windowsill garden.

The parsley I transplanted looks pretty good, although i'm not sure why they are so floppy.

The lettuce is growing like mad. I've been using bloodmeal and liquid seaweed on them and the other plants.

And here is the little bit of salad I harvested from the beds. SO tender and tasty. Sadly, only about three bites worth.

And that is the latest!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pizza Bianca (except not)

This was the first recipe I tried from Cook's Illustrated (not counting the French Potato Salad because I borrowed that issue from Pug). Poodle got me a subscription as more thanks for wedding activities and I have been enjoying them very much. This recipe was pretty easy and would have been easier if I owned a stand mixer. As it was, I just kneaded it vigorously with a rice paddle and hoped for the best. It's probably the best texture and flavor I've ever gotten from homemade pizza so I was quite pleased. In Cook's, they gave a variation using canned tomatoes and mozarella as toppings so that's what I tried. In my second attempt (pictures posted here), I added some handfuls of chopped parsley as well and that was fantastic.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Adventures in Gardening (Are the plants getting enough light?)

Here are some pictures of the plants. I lost two sagelings and am contemplating planting a couple this weekend. I see the true leaves of the remaining two sagelings emerging though. I think the lettuce is doing all right and the parsley looks a bit leggy but quite green. I am going to get some fluorescent lights this weekend to help them out a bit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Adventures in Gardening (puffed with pride)

Yesterday morning I had to leave for work before 7am to start an experiment. I inspected the plants; all seemed to be doing well although there was no sign of the lettuce yet. I touched the soil and it seemed a bit dry on the surface so I gave it a good drink of water (it's nice when you know there are drainage holes) and went off to work. After lab happy hour, I wandered home and there they were! several tiny green sprouts sitting in my strawberry container! I wish I had been home to see them come out but I'm so thrilled they did. They still look good this morning so I think I am providing adequate air circulation plus moisture plus drainage this time. If only my camera was able to take pictures of the tiny things without coming out all fuzzy. Ferret swears there is some setting on my camera I should be able to use to take closeup pictures but I have yet to find it.

This morning I saw another strawberry container outside in the trash pile when I was tossing my own garbage and seriously contemplated taking it in with me. But the saner side of me won out; plus, I recalled I have my own box of strawberries sitting in the fridge, soon to be eaten....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

ASME 2008

This happened ages ago (about two months) and so I'm just going to make a quick list of events:

Tuesday (June 24th): Algy, Ferret and I go to Florida a day early due to accidental booking of plane tickets. We stumbled across a Thai restaurant and had a nice lunch and then stocked up on alcohol. Upon arriving at our hotel (which took a bit longer than expected because Google Maps led us astray), Ferret and I took a nap while Algy called everyone he knew. We had dinner at a seafood place and then went to bed. We stayed in Naples at a charming little hotel that served free breakfast.

Wednesday: Enjoyed the free breakfast and then checked out of hotel and headed toward the summer home belonging to someone Algy knew. The person was not there, but he had arranged for us to get the key and we camped out at the private beach. Algy and Ferret went for a swim while I practiced my talk. For lunch, we went to Kona Grill (some Asian fusion chain) and was stuck there for a bit while it rained. Had lots of food and I had a margarita. Later, we headed toward Marco Island and met up with everyone else. Attended the welcome reception for a little and then Ferret and I went to pick up Pug from the airport. I had my first Wendy's chicken sandwich.

Thursday: Gave my talk in the morning. It went well. :o) The rest of the trip is actually a bit of a blur. I remember hanging out by the beach and wading into the water. The sand was amazingly fine and the water was so still and warm. I remember going out to dinner at another seafood restaurant with another lab and enjoying many crab legs. I also remember going to an Italian restaurant and having a very tasty pasta. Food was generally yummy this trip. I gave another talk on Sunday...and we returned that afternoon.

Ok, here are some pictures:

Adventures in Gardening (doing well)

I took this picture of my chives a couple of days ago. I tried to take an updated picture right now but the sun is too bright and my camera is kind of crappy so it didn't come up well. But let me say that my chives are looking good and there are sprouts in each well except one. In other news, I planted a fresh crop of lettuce today because I was worried that my bread pan was not providing any drainage and my seeds might have rotted away. I've been reading about damping off and feeling extremely alarmed. I think I'm going to get a little fan today to provide some circulation to my seedlings. The white mold on the toilet paper rolls that my sage seedlings are sitting in worries me in particular. So far, the sage seedlings seem to be doing well and there is one seedling in each roll (4 total). Anyway, I planted the lettuce in an old strawberry container and made a tiny greenhouse. I hope this works.
I also finally planted the coriander seeds Tortoise gave me earlier this week. I soaked them overnight (none of them sank, again a worry) and planted several seeds in two plastic cups. I didn't take a picture of that because it is not that attractive.
In compost news, there is no smell so far, but everytime I open the lid to throw stuff in a bevy of fruit flies fly out. I hope it's not a problem. I need to collect some more leaves to toss in this weekend. It's too bad ferret is busy with the ORS deadline or else I would make him come with me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adventures in Gardening (bragging post)

Today I counted three baby chive sprouts and two (and possibly a third, it's hard to tell) baby sage sprouts. Sadly, there have been no more lettuce sprouts and I worry that my bread pan may be the problem (it lacks drainage holes). No sign of parsley either, but I rather expected that since parsley is supposed to take rather long to germinate. This weekend I will plant more lettuce and some cilantro (Tortoise gave me coriander seeds to plant). One thing that worries me is the appearance of white mold on the sides of the toilet paper cardboard rolls. I read somewhere though that this shouldn't be a problem if the plants look healthy. We will see...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Adventures in Gardening (baby post)

Sigh. I was so excited yesterday when I woke up to find one tiny little green sprout in my lettuce bed. However, by the time I got home yesterday, the poor thing was lying on its side, shriveled and brown. I have no idea what happened. Did it get too hot? Plants are mysterious things...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mr. Cat

How cute is little old man Tony. I spotted him a few months ago sitting in the corner, hanging out. Best cat!


I learned how to make samosas a few weeks ago from a friend. Watching him, it didn't seem so hard but when I set out to do it myself I started running into all kinds of problems. However, while my samosas might not be as good as his, they are still pretty darn good. I made 17 little samosas and have already eaten 2...

First I made the filling with potato, cauliflower and peas and lots of spices:

I think my filling could have benefited from a non-stick pan because early on I started having issues with the potatoes sticking. And then I wasn't able to cook the cauliflower as long as I probably should have because I was worried about the sticking.

While the filling was cooking I started making the wrapper dough using flour, oil and water:

Then each ball was rolled out and cut into two wrappers. I was basically really terrible at this part. You are supposed to make an elongated oval and cut that in half, but I had a hard time making good shapes. Oh well:

Then it was time to fill samosas. Since my wrapper shapes were a little suboptimal, it was hard to seal the edges but I managed by stretching out the dough in places and maybe patching here and there when necessary. In any case, the samosas looked pretty cute at the end:

And after that, it was time to fry up in oil and eat! I didn't have tamarind paste so I couldn't make chutney, but I hope to pick some up next weekend. This samosa was pretty tasty dipped in a little chili garlic sauce:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Adventures in Gardening

I still have to post about the ASME conference, Poodle's wedding, Blood+ and a movie I watched recently but today was so exciting for me that those other posts will have to wait. For the last week or so I've been completely obsessed with the idea of growing plants and composting. I think there was an article in the New York Times maybe that led me to this blog: You Grow Girl. And I started reading through the posts and becoming enchanted with the idea that I too, can grow edibles in containers and compost on my roof area!

My original plan was to get a basil plant just so I can have something already growing and make sure I can tend it properly and also get some cilantro seeds to try to start some plants from scratch. Tortoise recommended a plant shop on 9th and South (it was actually on 10th and South), so after eating freshly made donuts at Reading Terminal Market today (it was the Dutch Festival), I headed there to execute my plan. Sadly, this shop was in late summer mode and there were few plants in the outdoor area. To cap it off, they did not have any seeds either. The lady who owns the place was very nice however, and pointed me to the Whole Foods across the street. There, I got some parsley, sage, lettuce and chives seeds. I then headed to my neighborhood hardware store and got a bag of seed starter mix. I was sad that they only carried Miracle Gro brand mix, but I was desperate to get started this weekend and did not know where I could find nice organic stuff so I shrugged it off and went on my way. Stopped at the Dollar General to get a plastic container for composting. On the way home (there was quite a bit of walking done today), I stopped to grab some free newspapers and scoop up dead leaves from the street.

To assemble my compost bin, I followed the directions here. The directions were really simple to follow, basically:
  • Cut holes in bin and lid for drainage and air circulation.
  • Shred newspaper and line the bottom.
  • Add leaves.
  • Add kitchen scrap wastes (plant only, no meat or dairy).
I thought I had a nice full bin until I added the kitchen scraps and some water and the whole thing kind of shmushed down. I think I will just gradually add to it this week by picking up more leaves whenever I'm outside and putting in my scraps. There is supposed to be a carbon: nitrogen ratio that is 30:1. Leaves and other "brown" matter are mostly carbon and the kitchen scraps are mostly nitrogen. At least that is my understanding. Tomorrow I will also have to get some kind of shovel at the hardware store so I can turn the compost and make sure it is aerated. The internet said that turning often helps to break things down faster so I think that's what I will do. Here are pictures of my bin so far:

After accomplishing this (and feeling totally pleased with myself), I started planting my seeds. I did the best I could - planted the sage in toilet paper roll containers (described here), the lettuce in one of my bread pans and the chives in egg cartons. The parsley seeds had to be soaked in water overnight so I will plant them tomorrow. Here are my babies:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Dark Knight

I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago with SS and Ferret. We went to the Sunday matinee showing. At this discount price, it was still $9. It's kind of insane. I decided a couple of years back, when the price of movies started rising insanely, that I would only watch certain movies at the theater. These movies would be eye-candy types with enough entertainment to max out the big screen. With this criteria, I've been fairly safe in feeling satisfied at getting my $11.50 worth, even if the movie itself is not too spectacular (ie. Spiderman 3, X-Men 3). Basically, what I am trying to say is that even if Dark Knight was 1/20 as great as it was, I would have been pretty pleased. As it was, I was amazed. I went in with pretty high expectations already and felt even better walking out (albeit a bit dazed). I don't have any more praise to add to what's already been said; I just look forward to watching this again sometime. Rate: *****

Sunday, July 13, 2008

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Damn but this movie was difficult to watch. Well, there was just one long scene that was really difficult and I felt sad the rest of the movie because of it. But at the same time, it was perversely a pleasure to watch too because the lead actress, Anamaria Marinca, who played the character Otilia, was so fantastic. The story is set in 1980s Romania during totalitarian rule, and follows a pregnant girl (4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days pregnant to be exact) trying to have an illegal abortion with the help of her friend, Otilia. Otilia is a much stronger and cannier person than her pregnant friend, Gabita, and manages the details of the abortion on the day of the event, getting things done despite errors in judgement and planning, and misrepresentations on the part of Gabita. While the movie never directly refers to the totalitarian regime, there is evidence everywhere - the ominipresent ID cards and bureaucratic mindset of the older folk, the bustling blackmarket barter system in the student dorms, the drained look on everyone's faces. Even Otilia, who shows the most spark and life of all the characters shown, seems on the verge of breaking at times. It is Otilia who sees through to the heart of things, through her boyfriend and his family and the system itself. Despite weathering grueling events she puts herself back together and one has faith that she will come out ahead in the end.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

American Gangster

Now that I have run out of Netflix-sanctioned Blood+ episodes to watch, I am starting to watch movies again. This was the first of them. I wasn't sure what this movie was going to be like, and I was pleased to find that it was a perfectly entertaining execution of a well-traveled plot: the rise of the gangster, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), the gangster as top dog, the fall of the gangster. The difference here was the insertion of another plot kind of like that of the Departed. We see the life of a cop, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) playing out in parallel and of course at some point the two characters intersect. I thought Denzel Washington played his role rather woodenly for the first half of the movie; he only started to get interesting at the end when he was more animated and his natural charm came through. I wish he had displayed a little more of that animation earlier on. As it was, I couldn't find myself sympathizing with this character at all. His fall affected me very little. Russell Crowe managed to sport the worst haircut of all time throughout the entire movie. Despite some attempts to create a fleshed out character in Richie Roberts, in the end you don't get a sense of anything more than boy-scout, albeit a boy-scout with a messy personal life. Strangely the only character that really elicited interest was the villainous bad cop, played by Josh Brolin. Rate ****

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

All right, so while I was on a high from Singin' in the Rain I found Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (another childhood related musical) and immediately started watching. Let me say, it is significantly less great than Singin' in the Rain. The story line is relatively weak, the dancing is way subpar (it's unfair, but you just can't beat Gene Kelly) and the songs were unsingable by me, and therefore less awesome. The whole feel of the movie was just different I guess. There was none of the wit and energy of Singin' in the Rain and I guess really, there isn't much more for me to talk about. I was very easily able to abandon it, mid-way through and wash some dishes. I guess this is one musical that did not really withstand my transition to adulthood. Rate **

Singing in the Rain

I've recently started watching things on my computer using Netflix's Instant Watch program and it's gotten kind of addicting. After watching some episodes of The Office (American version) and all of 30 Rock: Season 1, I started casting about for movies to watch. Let me say, the pickings are slim. But while doing so, I spotted Singin' in the Rain, one of my favorite musicals ever and just had to watch it. It's been forever since I've seen it, but when Bunny and I were little we used to watch it constantly. I was happy to find that I still recalled all the scenes and tunes and that the movie was as fresh and beloved to me as it has always been. For a solid week after watching, whenever I was vaguely alone and sometimes when I was not, I sung snippets of "Singin' in the Rain," "Good morning," and that love song from the Dancing Cavaliers fake movie. Now if only Netflix would provide The Unsinkable Molly Brown as an Instant Watch option. Ooooh, or Kiss Me Kate! Rate *****


I watched Juno a few weeks ago (after watching 25 episodes of Blood+, post related to that to come later after I finish watching all 50 episodes) and really enjoyed it. It's been on my to-watch list forever, and I had almost become afraid of watching it; because I was completely primed to like it, I felt that with such high expectations, I might be disappointed. Anyway, as the whole world knows by now, Juno is a movie about a teenage girl with an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. Rather than playing out as a cautionary tale however, Juno takes an intelligent approach to the dilemma and allows its lead character (Juno) to make a choice about her own body. Abortion is presented as an option, and while Juno does not ultimately choose this path, it was at least considered. She decides to have the baby, but recognizing that she is ill-equipped at the moment to be a mother, she chooses an attractive couple from a newspaper ad to adopt her child. The movie deals with its topic with a fairly light hand and there are a lot of laughs. However, the greatest feat of Juno (the movie) is being able to balance these laughs with the appropriate gravity surrounding such weighty themes as teenage pregnancy, adulthood, marriage and love. I generally stay away from movies described as such, but Juno may rank among those "feel-good movies of the year." Rate *****

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Simpson's Movie

I watched this movie a week or two ago, after I had lost yet another game of Catan to Ferret and was feeling cranky. This movie did a lot to cheer me up however and I managed to leave his house with cordial feelings instead of bitter ones. I wish the townspeople (or at least some of the townspeople) had played a greater role in the movie instead of filling in the backdrop but it was still funny and fun. The story revolved around Homer for the most part, and the plot was pretty straightforward: Homer messes up, Springfield vs Simpsons, Simpsons vs Homer, Homer saves the day despite himself, Simpsons reunited with Homer and Springfield. Rate: ***

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Work has been really hectic recently owing to some nice data, so I will just break down some of my doings in a nice list:

  • I successfully gathered the final bits of data for a paper and then intensely worked on paper. We are now awaiting comments from co-authors before revising and submitting to journal.
  • Data that had been in the hands of a core facility for processing (more than half a year now) finally was completed and I have been busy analyzing and trying to draw some conclusions. I hope to finish the rest of the data collection in the next few months and finally write up the results. I am happy to say that the data looks correct and that the last several months of waiting have not been for naught.
  • Our tissue culture facilities have been shanghaied by flood conditions. A leak in the ceiling turned out to be more severe than initially thought and I have spent the last two weeks anxiously ferrying my cells and studies to another lab in another building. It has been very stressful and I have been bitter.
  • I have been preparing two talks for an upcoming conference. This has also produced anxiety attacks even though I've given talks before and they have been fine. I hope to get over this kind of thing eventually or else I might have to retire from science completely.
  • Last weekend was the hottest weekend of all time, and I managed to choose that weekend to host a bbq. It was much too hot to sit out on my roof as I had envisioned so hot dogs were speedily cooked on the grill outside and we all gathered inside to douse them in chilli and eat the potato salad and regular salad I had prepared. I can't say it was much cooler inside, but we all had a fun time anyway watching the horse race (Big Brown did not win the Triple Crown) and playing Settlers of Cataan.
  • Tortoise went away for an international conference/honeymoon and gave a talk on his prize-winning paper and enjoyed many delicious foods. During this time, many funny/absurd things happened in lab.
  • I have been completely obsessed with reading Female Science Professor's blog. She is my unknown role model. My officemates are probably getting sick of receiving links to her posts and my continual references to her. I can't help that her life is so interesting! I'm sad because I've only got about 100 posts left in the archives. I'm trying to ration them out a bit better instead of gobbling many at once.
  • I am slowly recovering from my ankle sprain. I wish I could say I was completely well now, but it still hurts sometimes. I think next week I will start working out again. I feel bleh.
  • Bunny is getting married!!! The date is December 14th. She's managed to somehow plan her wedding and honeymoon in the space of about two weeks. Every time I speak to my mother, she (my mother) reminds me that I have to come up with some nice thing to say on her behalf. I'm not sure why she can't prepare and deliver her own speech for her daughter's wedding, but I can do without being constantly reminded.


I really watched the movie ages ago but have not had a chance to update due to busy-ness. Busy-ness will get its own post in due time. The first time I encountered this movie was during a dinner at my archery coach's house. For the record, I was a terrible archer and it was only due to luck that my brief participation on the archery team did not cost any lives. At the time of that dinner, Dune was on, and I remember glancing occasionally at it, noting it was an awful movie and thinking, hey is that Sting?

So I am straining to remember details of this movie; fortunately it is not difficult because this movie was so awesomely ridiculous. A young Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks, sporting very poofy hair, played the main hero in this movie (have forgotten his name already, oh well). My favorite parts occurred whenever people had a thought. Thoughts were depicted by stagy whispers and they always took much longer than an actual thought would have. Whenever an event took place that had been previously foreshadowed via dream, Agent Cooper would stop and clearly state, for example, the moon! And then there would be a repeat of the dream sequence. I assume it is because the movie was targeted to toddlers who might not be able to put two and two together unless it was hammered home repeatedly. The first part of the movie was intriguing, but at some point David Lynch must have realized he was running out of time so the second half of the movie felt extremely rushed. It was probably good that Ferret and I had been used to having unanswered questions (having just watched Ergo Proxy) and so were not too distraught when we were confused. Overall, the movie was mostly funny and I don't regret having seen it. Rate: *** (awesome meter)

Friday, June 6, 2008

On Clones...

I've been too busy to post anything recently but I had an amusing interaction today so I figured I'd share:

This morning I went to drop off my rent checks to my real estate manager and got sucked into a bizarre conversation that spiraled wildly out of control and out of reality. It started very tamely, he asked how things were going. Next time, I will answer that things were busy with school and leave it at that. Today though, I made the mistake of answering, "oh I've been very busy in the lab." And this naturally prompted the question of what I work on. So I told him I was working with stem cells and trying to grow tissue. Most people would leave it at that or wish me luck or something, but instead he started talking about horses that were being cloned in britain and then how he felt it was wrong that people clones might be farmed and killed for their organs. I was appalled and said of course that would be completely wrong! But he was not listening to me and started talking about how he didn't know if his clone would share his memories; he wasn't sure, but he thought his memories left imprints in his brain and if he was cloned his clone might know those things. I stopped speaking at this point because I had no idea what to say. I really wanted to leave because I had to get to school for lab meeting but he kept on talking and each sentence became weirder. I hope this is not how the general public understands genetics.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ergo Proxy

For the last few weeks Ferret and I have been busy watching this anime series, Ergo Proxy. It was a Netflix recommendation and had gotten a bunch of stars. We ended up repeatedly watching and rewinding the first ten minutes of episode 1 because we were so confused. But, we reasoned, the first episode is always meant to be confusing and things will surely clear up with time. Twelve episodes later and midway through the series, we realized that for every question that is answered, two others remained unanswered. Sadly, this was true even after we had finished watching all of the episodes. For example: Vincent Law is Ergo Proxy, who is the Agent of Death - got it. Why did he destroy his memory? - no clue. Why does he fight other Proxies? - no clue. Original humans created proxies who in turn created other subpar humans to live in domed cities - ok. Why were these other humans necessary if the original humans jetted out on their Boomerang? - no clue. How does Ergo Proxy sidestep the Awakening? - eh?? You can clone proxies - really? Re-L >> Real - damn straight. Overall, I wish they had spent less time with the pseudo philosophy and more time on exposition. I do not need an hour devoted to "I think therefore I am" "you are me and I am you" crap. The Nightmare Quiz Show episode ended up being the clearest episode by far even though it was one of the most bizarre. Even with that episode though, I still don't know if it was Vincent's dream or another Proxy world. Despite all this though, I quite enjoyed the series, both for style and the obscure plot. And I really enjoyed the way the characters kept saying the names: Vincente Lawle (Vincent Law), Daaaydalus (Daedalus). Rate: ****

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brownie Delicioso

GAWD!! So I had been craving brownies ever since I ate the last one SS made (see my sprained ankle post). For an entire week I fought brownie urges and tried to satisfy the craving with little fun sized Snickers but I couldn't fool myself, I wanted brownies and only brownies. Saturday was the first day I could hobble around a bit and I ecstatically hobbled to TJ, with Ferret's assistance. I imagine it was the way a convict who had been sentenced for life and was later freed after 30 years of prison (exoneration via DNA evidence) might have felt. Except I had only been incarcerated for a week, and spent the whole week in my apartment with Mr. Tony, napping and eating nachos and watching SATC. Anyway, I forgot to buy brownie mix on Saturday and the craving just got stronger. So today I basically sprinted/hobbled to TJ directly after work and got a box of my favorite stuff. Mixing was fairly straightforward but I ran into a bit of trouble when I went to locate my cake pan. Of course!! Exactly one week and two days ago, Bee took away cake pan and mixer and baking sheets and I fell down the stairs. Fortunately, he kindly left two Pyrex baking pans and I harnessed all of my engineering skills and hastily created a ghetto tinfoil barricade to form the correct-sized brownie vehicle. I'm sitting here now, tummy distended with brownie and whole milk, feeling like a million bucks. :o)O=