Thursday, June 30, 2005

War of the Worlds

Sorry. I couldn't think of an original headlinesque title. It's past midnight on a Wednesday. Nobody should be surprised by my lack of creativity.

But I just got home from watching War of the Worlds, and I wanted to do a quick review before I forgot anything.

First of all, I want to say that it has been awhile since I've seen a special effects film and have actually been VERY impressed with the effects. But there were moments in War of the Worlds that I just said "wow." One moment in particular that involves a flaming train speeding past was just breathtaking. The aliens were cool, but nothing special as far as aliens go. They were fairly similar to those seen previously in films like Independance Day and Signs. One different thing about them is the way they moved. It was really quite creepy.

I don't want to go into much detail because I'd hate to spoil the film, but I will say that the story is fun and there were some edge of the seat moments. The basic story involves aliens in these big machines that come up from the ground. Beware of holes in the asphalt. An alien death machine with three spindly legs might emerge unexpectedly from them. Tom Cruise was very good in his role of a part time father who just didn't know how to relate to his kids. Of course, the subplot has to do with him learning how to relate to them, etc.

Honestly, I was concerned going into this film that I wouldn't be able to watch it without thinking of the current Tom Cruise craziness that has been all over the media lately. But actually, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the film at all. Except once, when his character is sleeping on a sofa with his daughter (played beautifully by Dakota Fanning) and the thought popped into my head "in ten years or so, he can propose to her in Paris." But I quickly squashed that thought and the movie went on. One word about Dakota Fanning. This kid can act. Someone I know said she will have an Oscar before she hits puberty, and I totally agree with that. The kid is awesome. And she's the most sympathetic and interesting character in the film, even with Tom's conflicted and intense character.

The big reveal at the end was very interesting and I thought it made sense. I haven't seen the original movie that was done in the 50's, nor have I heard copies of the radio broadcasts, so this movie was my introduction to the story, other than what I've heard from my father, who was a big fan of the old movie.

Overall, the movie is good and enjoyable. It's a rousing adventure with some edge of your seat moments. But don't think about it too much, because over analysis will poke major holes in the asphalt.. I mean story.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Beauty in everything

I am a firm believer in the fact that there is beauty in everything. Even people who seem completely awful have some good traits, and even objects that seem ugly have some beauty. Hannah, my sister's daughter, was running around outside the other day, and her shoes were causing her some trouble. They were a little too big and were rubbing blisters on her feet. Hannah has two brothers, so she likes to run around like they do. The only thing she could do was slip off the too-large shoes and run barefoot across the lawn. I watched her do this for awhile, wondering when I lost the ability to spontaneously remove my shoes and run through the grass. I keep thinking something like that might be fun, but it wouldn't be a proper thing for an adult to do. Before I started my current job, it was pretty common to see me in town or at a movie wearing a t-shirt and some jeans. I don't dress that way anymore. I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

So I sat there watching the 2 year old Hannah running through the grass and made a decision. I slipped off my shoes, glanced down the road both ways, and ran across the lawn. As I scooped her up and twirled her around, I felt years younger. We twirled around for awhile, until I started feeling dizzy and slightly ill. So that was the end of my experiment. I snapped the above picture as I was lying on the ground (because of being dizzy) because I wanted to remember what it felt like to run through the grass without my shoes. I have decided to start doing unexpected things a lot more often. It'll make life more interesting and enjoyable. So these shoes are beautiful to me, because they remind me that it's okay to go without shoes sometimes. It's okay to act like a kid. It's a very bad idea to get so wrapped up in being an adult that we forget to enjoy life the way a child does.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"How's my downward dog?"

Niles Crane from Frasier just said this. Besides making me laugh, this particular episode reminds me of me. Niles is trying to do yoga and he's not very good. I'm attempting yoga myself, and it's not even possible to describe how awful I am! And downward dog... not my favorite pose! Actually, I'm best at the corpse pose. If you know anything about yoga, you know that one is just basically lying on the floor! That's the one I'm good at..

Every night, before I go to bed, I set my clock an hour earlier than I need to wake up. I always say that I'm going to do a workout, shower, get dressed, have a good (low fat) breakfast, finish getting ready, and go to work.

But in the morning, I usually hit snooze four times and end up with just enough time to get a quick shower, brush my teeth and my hair, throw on some clothes, and run out the door. I do my makeup in the car on the way to work.

Working out is reserved for after work, and often I'm too tired to do it when I get home. So I'm going to try again tomorrow morning. Here's hoping I don't roll over and hit snooze four times!

Monday, June 27, 2005

"You look so cute today!"

I've heard this about twenty times today. I bought some new clothes the other day, totally different from my normal style. I wore one of the outfits to work today and everyone seems to be surprised that I "look cute." It's amazing what a skirt will do. Maybe that's it. I never wear skirts. It's always suits with pants because they're just easier to wear. But I bought some summer skirts and tops, and it appears that they are working for me! It's strange.

Wait until they see the other new outfits I bought. I'm totally reinventing myself this summer. It's kinda fun, actually!

Edited to add:

Summer WriMo Summary:
Goal: 75,000 by August 31
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Working Title: Summer's Blossom
Word Count: 9,112

Friday, June 24, 2005

"You've got to create your own personal vision statement"

So I was at this professional development workshop yesterday, and the motivational speaker told us to come up with a personal vision statement. Since she said that, I've been thinking about it. I need to start really listing my goals and I need a personal vision statement. A motto to live by. Something to hold onto during difficult times. Oddly, as I'm writing this, "Everybody Loves Raymond" is on, and Ray is talking about how he doesn't have any goals or dreams for his life.

So now I'm thinking about goals and dreams as well as personal vision statements. I mean, what's a personal vision statement, anyway?

Okay, so I googled "personal vision statement" and now I have an idea of what it is supposed to be, but I still don't know what mine should say. Basically, a personal vision statement should say where you want to be and what you want to be doing in the future. Basically, it's sort of the ideal for your life, but should also encompass the things that are already important to you that you have accomplished or are working on accomplishing. So I guess my personal vision statement would have to include several areas of life: personal, professional, spiritual, and social.

So let's break this down.

Personal: obviously I want to be able to feel good about myself. This would include physical apperance, mental and emotional health, and having things in my life that I can be proud of. I would like to continue working for causes I believe in, such as hunger-related and poverty-related issues. I would like to continue to support charities that mean something to me and would like to do more volunteer work.

Professional: I want to be a published author at some point. This summer, I will finish my first novel. I will write the last word before August 31. By September 30, I will be finished editing it and will send it off. I will be published before I turn 30. Professionally, I would like to continue learning all about the PR field, especially as it applies to working in nonprofit. I would like to get my Master's degree in Communication and eventually become a college professor. I'd love to teach PR and media writing classes. And speech. I think it would be a blast to teach speech. I really would like to be able to support myself as a writer one day, but I have plenty of other options, just in case!

Spiritual: I want to continue growing in my spiritual journey. I think it's important to always continue growing closer to God and gaining a better understanding of God's ways. I want to make sure that I always present a positive witness when I come into contact with people, so that they will know that being a Christian is cool! I want to be involved in some sort of ministry, which is something I've wanted most of my life. I'm just not sure what that is yet.

Social: I love my friends. I enjoy spending time with them and it's great to have people to talk to. I'd like a few more friends, though. Some Christian friends that I can spend time with. I would like to meet a nice Christian guy to be friends with and then to date, and eventually to marry. I want to have a child one day. It doesn't matter if it is a girl or a boy, I just think it would be cool to have someone running around who is a part of me and someone else.

So I guess that's a starting point to setting goals and writing a personal vision statement. I'd go futher and put them together to get the actual statement, but my fingers hurt and I'm going to stop typing now. Maybe later...

Batman Begins: hopefully not the end

Yes, the first Batman movie was amazing, and yes, the ones following it pretty much sucked. But if there was one thing that could save the Batman franchise, it was Christian Bale! And save it he did. Bale plays both the tortured Bruce Wayne and the mysterious Batman with gusto and total commitment, drawing the audience in and not letting them go until the very end. I literally found myself wanting more, more, more after this movie ended. Seeing how such a great and mysterious character began was interesting and enjoyable. Seeing how the now-familiar suit and Batmobile originated was just as interesting. The fight scenes were all very well done. There's something about a good looking man in a mysterious suit fighting bad guys that is just very exciting! :)

One warning, young children would probably be frightened at some of the images in this movie. There is an emphisis on fear and panic, and there are many images in the film that really bring that fear and panic to the audience.

But for the adult, even if you're not a comic book fan, Batman Begins is a beautiful film with an important message, wrapped up in some of the best action and drama you will find in theaters right now! I'd say it's the second best movie I've seen all year (Serenity being the best, of course.)

One other thing I'd like to add is about the music. It is incredible. I was more affected by the music in Batman Begins than I was by the music in Revenge of the Sith (and I'd say the music was one of the strongest parts of Revenge of the Sith.)

So Batman Begins is a great film, a fabulous adventure, and an awesome cinematic experience. It's a great movie to go see while waiting for September 30 and the release of Serenity! (just had to say that!)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"This is an inconvenience store"

This quote is from me. Warning: rant to follow. I stopped for gas this morning at a local corner gas station. I got ready to start pumping my gas and they very nastily told me that I had to prepay. Now, usually I'm happy to use my check card and I usually do prepay, but this morning I wanted to go into the store and purchase a caffeinated beverage. It was early and I needed to wake up before my long drive to work. So anyway, they told me I had to prepay. But the problem is, I didn't know how much gas I was going to need, so I couldn't go into the store, prepay for my gas and get my drink, and then pump the gas. What if I paid too much? What if I didn't pay enough to fill my gas tank? You see the problem. The problem with paying for the gas outside and then going into the store is that I rarely carry cash with me anymore and I've been keeping my change at work so I can get a drink from the vending machines. I'm addicted to caffeine. But that's neither here nor there. I'm continuing my rant now. So basically the problem is, I have to choose between the gas and the drink. I wasn't willing to compromise on either one. So I walked into the store, asked them if they could bend the rule so I could get my drink and my gas, and was told that they wouldn't do that. Now, I don't normally ask businesses if they can bend rules. I know they have those rules for a reason. But I've been getting gas from this particular gas station almost exclusively for the last 12 years. They know me and they know I'm not going to drive away after pumping my gas. But they still wouldn't do it. So I devolved into the high school version of myself, flipped my hair, and said (very sarcastically) "This isn't a convenience store, it's an inconvenience store. I'll never stop here again." I plan to keep that promise.

It's sad when people force businesses to make inconvenient and sometimes ridiculous rules to make sure they don't take a loss from theft. I mean, I'm unhappy about gas prices too, but the last thing in the world I would do is steal from someone. They are just trying to make a buck, just like I am when I go to work. But still, the inconvenience of the thing frustrated me. I don't know. Maybe I'm just used to things being ultra convenient. Maybe I need to get over it. But I know one thing. I'll never stop at that store again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"I'm looking for baggage that goes with mine..."

From a song in the Broadway musical "Rent," this quote makes me think about relationships. Don't we all have baggage? I think once you hit 25 or so, you've automatically gained a little baggage. It might be a carry on, or a little make up bag, perhaps a briefcase... but you've still got a little something you carry with you. It may be a massive rolling suitcase or a duffle bag, though. Some people don't want to have that much, but they are forced to carry someone else's. Sometimes, even when a relationship ends, you still end up carrying the other person's baggage for awhile. Which just seems wrong somehow.

So I guess the trick is to find someone whose baggage goes with yours, whether that means a person with lots of it looks for someone with only a little, or if it means people with lots look for each other because they know how to cope with it. And they can help each other.

But either way, at least they know what they are getting into. The most dangerous type of person is the kind who pretends they don't have any, but they end up having one of those military trunks full of ugly skeletons. I have a friend who just broke up with someone like that. There's nothing worse than a liar, in my opinion.

So in the airport of life, look at people's baggage. If it seems to go with yours, call for one of those cool little transport things they drive through the airport (they always seem to try to run over me, by the way) and throw your baggage on there together. Because at least if your baggage is mixed up, you can help each other carry it.

My baggage:
Trust issues due to nasty ex-husband's cheating
Self esteem issues (which I'm working on every day!)

So mine may be a bit more than a makeup bag, but a lot less than a military trunk. Perhaps a stylish carryon. A red one. No need to hide it. How else will I find the matching piece?

Summer WriMo Summary:
Goal: 75,000 words
Current Count: 8,693
Genre: Inspirational Romance

Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Dear God, who was your dad?"

Favorite postcard of the night is above. Isn't that cute? I just love the way children's minds work. The fourth night of Bible School is now over and, as much fun as I'm having, I'll be glad when tomorrow night is over. I've missed having my evenings free. And I've got a ton of laundry I need to do but haven't had time to do.

So in other areas of life, my sister's mother in law is causing trouble again. I haven't posted about her because things have been relatively calm since she moved to New York, but this week she has been visiting and she really went over the edge last night. She woke my nephew up in the middle of the night and told him his mother was a trashy bit** and a liar. All this because my sister is helping her brother in law plan his wedding to a woman that his mother doesn't approve of. I swear, I could write a novel about this woman, not embellishing a single thing, and the publishers would say it was to far-fetched. It is literally unbelievable how crazy this woman is. Today, my sister went to get a restraining order (the third one they have had to get) and played some phone messages her mother in law left on her phone to the police. The messages were very threatening. It's not the first time she has threatened my sister. Before she got married, this woman threatened her life several times. They said she has up to a year to swear out a warrant if she wants to. She is going to do it if she violates the restraining order. My dad is over at my sister's house right now, changing the locks. It's just such a bad situation.

So anyway, that's sort of stressful for my whole family right now. But at least the woman is showing her true colors now, in a way that can be saved for evidence. She called my sister and left four threatening messages within about 30 minutes last night.

Okay, that's enough of that. I don't want to write about it anymore.

In fact, I'd better stop writing before I say something I shouldn't.

"Dear God, I can't wait to see you"

Day 3 of Bible School is over and yet another cute postcard came my way. The above was written by a first grade girl. Another favorite was, "Dear God, What is heaven like?"

Kids can be so profound in their questions sometimes. Anyway, I had first and second grades last night. They were awesome. We played the games, did the Bible story, and they memorized their verse so quickly it almost freaked me out a little. Tonight I have third and fourth graders. My nephew Noah is in that class, so I'm looking forward to being his teacher. I hope they have a good time. The material for tonight is really quite fun, so hopefully they will enjoy it.

In other news, I've decided to take the Summer WriMo challenge at Normally, National Novel Writing Month is in November, and participants try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. It's really hard, let me tell you! I have attempted it two years in a row now and haven't won. But this year I'm going to win no matter what! Of course, those two previous years I was working and in school at the same time I was trying to write, so it's understandable that I didn't make it to the finish line. But the Summer WriMo challenge is a little easier. I set my own goal of 75,000 words by the end of August. That will complete my inspirational romance and allow me to send it off this fall. Hopefully by this time next year I will have a book published with my name on it!

I've decided that, since my goal is to have a book published before I'm 30, if it looks like I'm not going to make it, I will probably choose one to self-publish. After all, it's more and more accepted and so many people actually do really well when they do it. I would rather do it the traditional way, but sometimes you have to do things for yourself.

Another goal I have is to submit to at least 4 writing contests this year and next. I'm also going to find a good writing conference to attend next year for my vacation from work. So I'm working on a lot of things that I hope will turn out great for me.

I'll be posting my word count every day for Summer WriMo, just to keep me in line.

Summer WriMo Goal: 75,000 words before August 31
Novel Title: Summer's Blossom
Novel Genre: Inspirational Romance
Current Word Count: 6,000 words

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Serenity News: "Sneaking Serenity"

Yet another Serenity article, this one about the screenings in Texas.

Serenity News: "Firefly Spreading Its Wings"

An article in Variety! What a great chance for exposure! It's short, and mostly about the re-airing of the episodes on Sci-Fi in July. But still. Variety! All we need now is a great spread (cover story, please?!) in Entertainment Weekly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Dear God, How are you?"

So it's Day 2 of Bible School and I'm still alive. That in itself is a miracle. Tonight, I had the oldest group, 5th and 6th graders. They were quite the handful, but a lot of fun. Our Bible School theme this year is Ramblin' Road Trip, which means the kids get to go to a different destination on their "road trip" each night. I am teaching Destination: Worship in Washington D.C. It's funny, I've actually learned a lot from the lessons I'm teaching.

Anyway, when I was preparing my lessons before the week started, I had an idea to let the kids write postcards to God. So I made these blank postcards and told the kids to write whatever they wanted to say to God. I got some of the cutest answers. My favorite is the title of this post: "Dear God, How are you?" Such a simple thought, but also very cool. This kid felt familiar enough and comfortable enough with God to ask Him how He was doing. Anyway, I thought it was cute.

So it got me to thinking. In the Bible it says if we have the faith of a little child we can do anything. It's so easy to have faith in things when you're a child. You don't question anything, you just believe. Which is why I think that passage is so profound. We can do anything, ANYTHING, if we just believe without question. I often question things. I am not the kind of person who just blindly believes. When I go to church and hear a sermon, I typically will go back and look up the scripture and meditate on it myself, so I can figure out what it means to me. Sometimes it is the same as the message from church, but sometimes my experiences and my perceptions make the same verse apply to a totally different area of my life. Of course, that is the most wonderful (and potentially dangerous) things about the Bible. You can interpret things in different ways, which is why it is so personal for everyone, but is also the reason there are so many cults that lure unsuspecting people into a web and they end up drinking Kool-Aid or something. These cult leaders twist scripture around to fit their own agenda, which is just truly scary to me.

But I digress. I'll leave this post with my favorite verse: Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, for those who are the called according to His purpose.

To me, this verse says that no matter what difficulties we may face in life, we can be assured that God can turn our bad situations into something good. I can attest that this verse is true, because what could have been the worst thing in my life (my divorce almost 6 years ago) turned out to be the catalyst for the most positive thing in my life (graduating from college and getting my current job, which I love.) So I can testify to the truth in this verse, and so many others. It's really awesome when you stop to think about it. God Rocks! :)

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Summer Shows Interesting, Fun

It used to be that the networks played their new shows during the school year and reruns during the summer. But now, the networks are doing new shows during the summer, too. And believe me, I am not upset about this at all! So during the long summer months, while I am waiting for new episodes of Lost, Alias, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and Numbers, I can watch three very enjoyable shows with new episodes each week.

The Inside
Airs on Fox on Wednesday nights. Premiered last week. It's off to a great start, as I found myself glued to my TV during the premiere. The premise, at first, seems like a standard procedural drama, but as the show progresses, it looks like there's more than meets the eye. The story surrounds an FBI team that investigates serial killers. There's a new female agent (I just knew her name, but it left me right before I was ready to type it) who is very much like the profiler on that show, "Profiler" that was on TV years and years ago. She can "see" murders happening so can use the clues during her "visions" to help solve the crimes. It's interesting. The Web site seems to suggest that something happened to her in her past that makes her able to do this. Even if the acting was bad and the stories were awful, I'd probably tune back in just to see what happened to her. It'll probably be the season-long mystery. Anyway, I'll be watching this to see how it unfolds.

The 4400
Sunday nights, USA. They only had a few episodes last year on USA, but it appears to have caught on pretty well. It's a great series, and since it's a returning one, I won't go into details. But the second season is looking great so far. Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity) was in the first episode of the new season. She was great! The second episode was this past Sunday night and it was just as good as the first. The story seems to be focusing on the baby (Isabelle) that was born to one of the 4400 ladies. The baby seems to have some kind of special powers and can make people kill themselves and can hurt people in strange ways. Very interesting.

The Dead Zone
Finally! New Dead Zone episodes! Also airs on USA on Sunday nights, this season of The Dead Zone seems to be focusing more on Greg Stillson and his role in the upcoming apocalypse. I've been waiting for this for a long time. The Stillson story really interests me and I want to know what happens.

So summer will have some entertainment after all, thank goodness!

"Not Guilty"

I'm not going to give my opinion of the Michael Jackson verdict. I think that subject has been discussed enough. My concern is for the masses who have been keeping vigils for Michael Jackson, standing outside the courthouse and waiting anxiously for the verdict. I saw on CNN today that there were people forming a human chain from Neverland Ranch along the route he was taking to the courthouse.

I guess my question for these people is, do you have a life? I mean, I don't understand why these people would give up so much time out of their lives to hold a vigil for someone they've never even met. He's a freaking celebrity, he doesn't care about those people! They are just nameless faces to him! So do these people have jobs? Did they actually take time off to do this? What did they say to their bosses to get this time off?

I can see the conversation now:
Boss: What can I do for you today?
Employee: I need next week off.
Boss: Well, it's going to be a busy week, is it vital that you are off then or can you do it another week?
Employee: No, it has to be next week.
Boss: Big plans?
Employee: Yes, Michael Jackson's verdict is going to be handed down one day next week and I want to be there for it. I want to hold a vigil for several days and I will only come home when he is cleared of all charges.
Boss: Why in the world would you waste your vacation on that? (looks confused as he signs the vacation request)

And so on...

Anyway, I just think these people are really interesting and I wonder about their lives. I hope the vigil made them happy and fulfilled them in some way. I guess everyone needs something to believe in. It's just sad that they are worshiping Michael Jackson instead of someone who could really fill that void in their lives. Like God. But that's another post for another day.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

"What's a goshito?"

Today I was preparing for Bible School. I'm teaching for the first time and my mom, who is a veteran Bible School teacher, offered to help me set up my room. Well, I always work better when I have music, so I brought some Christian CDs to play while we were setting up the room. A particular song by Plumb came on and I was enjoying singing along. About halfway through the song, my mother said "I know I'm going to regret asking this, but what's a goshito?" For a few minutes I didn't know what she was talking about. Then I realized what she was saying. The song we were listening to was called "God Shaped Hole" and the lyrics say, "There's a God shaped hole in all of us, and it's a void only He can fill." But she thought they were saying there was a goshito in all of us. She said she was worried about this because she didn't think she had one. She said she thought she must be abnormal because no one ever told her she had a goshito. I had to stop working for about five minutes because I was literally on the floor laughing. And the funny thing is, she kept telling everyone who came by my room about her misunderstanding. And of course they laughed too. I swear, she's the funniest person sometimes.

It's nice to have such a good relationship with my mom. I mean, I have a good relationship with my dad too, but my mom and I have gotten really close. It's nice, like having another friend.

Anyway, I just had to share that funny moment. Bible School starts tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it and I fear it at the same time. Since it's my first time, I'm sure it'll be scary and I won't be organized enough, but I also think it'll be a lot of fun. I'll report on how it's going throughout the week, if anyone out there cares! But for now, I'm out. There's a brownie in the kitchen calling my name!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

"Slowly but surely, things are improving"

Mel Showers, one of our local news personalities, just said that things are improving with the weather here. Actually, I haven't seen much bad weather at all. So much for Tropical Storm Arlene. Luckily, the tropical storm has not been much of a threat to us here in Baldwin County, but the fact that we are now having our first tropical storm just days after the hurricane season started is really not a good sign.

Basically, this storm has just been a bit of rain and some wind. No thunder or anything. Of course, tomorrow the rivers may flood, so it may not be over yet.

But things are okay right now. The news is talking about a 34 year old woman who was drunk and kept running into the water in Gulf Shores. She's been removed from the water and arrested. The worst part of the storm is, of course, the storm surge and the rip current that will cause real problems for anyone in the water. But people are stupid.

I hope she has fun in jail.

Mr and Mrs Smith a great metaphor for pitfalls of marriage

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are golden in this funny, action packed film. While the shooting and exploding scenes were great, it was in the quiet moments that this film really showed its intelligence and made it relatable. How many people can really relate to a couple of hired assassains who just happen to be married to each other, not knowing each other's true identities? But how many people can relate to being in a relationship with someone who has no idea who you truly are, and having no idea who they truly are? Lack of communication is a common problem in modern marriage, so this movie really shines in its portrayl of these two people as a married couple with a massive space between them because of the things they don't say.

But the comedy is in the things they do say, and the nonverbal messages they send to each other. And, of course, the comedy is heightened when they discover each other's actual identities. And if you want to know when the funniest part is, I have to tell you... Brad Pitt's last line is hilarious!

I love when a movie ends on a high note, with a funny moment. You leave the theater with that great feeling like you've been highly entertained and have enjoyed every minute of it.

On a personal note, I absolutely hate Angelina Jolie. (not really) She is so exotic and beautiful. Women like her make me want to save all my money up and get plastic surgery. This upsets me because I'm not hung up on physical beauty. But when men see women like that on the big screen, they tend to start looking for women like that in real life. And women like me, who are not exotic or beautiful, wish they could be just like her. But oh well. I'd never actually have plastic surgery, so it's all a moot point. :)

But anyway, back to the film. It was very funny. While not perfect (because what movie is?) Mr. and Mrs. Smith is funny and has a lot of action, and entertains the audience from beginning to end.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Revenge of the Sith best of new trilogy

Well, the Star Wars saga is over when it comes to the big screen. I have to say, with the low quality of the writing in the first two movies of the new trilogy, I wasn't really looking forward to Revenge of the Sith. Now having seen it twice, (once with a friend and then with my nephew) I feel qualified to comment. Here's my comment: yuck.

Okay, that's not fair. The dialogue was awful, the acting (for the most part) was terrible, the plot needed some serious help and can someone please tell me how someone who is about to give birth has "nothing to live for?"

I think that was the thing that irritated me the most. Stupid girl dies of a broken heart when she has two children to take care of. And D.V's "noooooooooo" scream at the end was the worst thing I've ever heard.

Good points: The special effects were very cool. Ewan McGregor was awesome. The music was beautiful.

Everything else was mundane and sometimes embarassing.

Oh, the best part is the end. The very last image in the film was absolutely beautiful. It was an awesome nod to "A New Hope" and the only way they could have ended the movie, in my humble opinion. It almost redeemed the elements of the ridiculous. Almost.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

"I simply cannot abide useless people."

Yet another quote from Firefly. But it came to my mind today as I was driving home from work. I swear, Mobile drivers are the worst. I was cut off three times, the person in front of me slammed on their breaks about five times, and several cars zoomed up behind me only to have to slam on their breaks because I couldn't go any faster than the car in front of me. So annoying.

Off the subject of useless people, today was a pretty good day with the exception of the drive home. I ran into two people from my past today. One was a member of my college newspaper staff. I was managing editor and she was the sports editor. She's employed by a company that is doing some volunteer work for my nonprofit organization (the Bay Area Food Bank.) It was good to see her again, but it also made me realize how far removed I am from my college experience. It's only been 6 months since I graduated, but I feel like it's been years. Probably because the job has been keeping me so busy it feels like I've been there longer than 6 months. And yet sometimes I feel I've only been there a few weeks because the time has gone by so quickly. Very strange how that works. The other person I ran into today worked at the hospital where I worked about 4 years ago. Now that was a blast from the past. We were both kind of in a hurry and only had a minute to talk, but it was nice to see her again. It's always nice to see people you haven't seen in awhile. But even the warm fuzzies from seeing old friends today didn't make me want to go to my ten year class reunion that's coming up this summer. But that's another post for another day...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Serenity News: Great article in SF Chronicle

The above link is to a great article about Serenity, Firefly, and the Browncoats that ran in the SF Chronicle. If these articles keep getting into large circulation papers like this, our (meaning the Browncoats) promotion job is a lot easier!

Text of article posted below:

When Fox canceled 'Firefly,' it ignited an Internet fan base whose burning desire for more led to 'Serenity'
- Neva Chonin, Chronicle Critic at Large
Wednesday, June 8, 2005

It's a foggy Thursday night in late May, and the upper lobby of San Francisco's Van Ness 1000 theater is teeming with a rowdy assortment of revolutionaries, renegades, and women in Wild West garb and Chinese pajamas squaring off against black-suited men wearing blue surgical gloves.
It could be the usual summer tourist throng, but it's not. These are fans of a long-canceled television show called "Firefly," and they've been waiting in line all afternoon to preview an unfinished cut of "Serenity," the big- screen spin-off of their lost series. After the screening sold out, some fans bought scalped tickets for more than $100 on eBay; others camped out in the lobby and hoped for a miracle.
Joey Saade, 19, was among the first to score tickets ("I kept calling the theater"), and traveled from San Jose to see the movie with his brother and three blue-gloved friends. They share the front of the line with San Leandro native Arielle Kesweder, 23, and her own "Serenity" posse. Decked out in 19th century garb as "Firefly" character Kaylee (in one of Kaylee's flouncier moments), Kesweder says she heard about the screening from an e-mail and "immediately maxed out" her credit card getting as many tickets as she could for her friends.
Some people might question these fans' devotion to a series that ran a total of 13 episodes (of which only 11 aired). Some people have never been in love. Written and directed by TV auteur Joss Whedon (creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel"), "Firefly" was a polarizing phenomenon from its first episode in 2002. Its wildly inventive premise and pithy dialogue earned it critical praise, but good reviews couldn't save it: Fox showed episodes out of sequence, frequently pre-empted the show and finally canned it mid-season.
Granted, the premise was a hard sell for commercial TV. "Firefly" is a space Western set 500 years in the future, in the aftermath of a civil war between rebels known as Independents (or Browncoats) and a tyrannical conglomerate called the Alliance. The Independents lose the war, and under Alliance control, corporations rule openly; Anglo and Asian influences merge into a eccentric polyglot culture; men in black (with blue hands) carry out sinister covert operations; and astonishingly ugly cannibals called Reavers plunder at will. On the outskirts of this universe, the crew of the Serenity (part of a class of ships called Firefly), led by a former Browncoat, survive by pulling off heists and outsmarting the authorities.
When "Firefly" was canceled, fans -- dubbed Browncoats in honor of the doomed-but-noble Independents -- campaigned to have it moved to another network. True to Browncoat tradition, they failed -- but their efforts convinced Fox to release the show as a DVD set that included three unaired episodes and behind-the-scenes extras. The DVD quickly sold more than 200,000 copies. Impressed, Universal Pictures climbed onboard, enabling Whedon to make "Serenity" (due out Sept. 30), which picks up where the series left off.
"Serenity's" existence is a testimonial to the tenacity of fans and the power of the Internet, where Browncoats have spent the past three years inspiring converts, drafting petitions and even kibitzing with the "Firefly" cast on bulletin boards. Whedon and Universal are now stoking enthusiasm with their own "Serenity" Web sites, asking Browncoat communities across the United States, Australia and Europe to spread the word as they count down to the movie's release. Whedon knows "Serenity" will have to move beyond its "Firefly" base to succeed commercially, and he's actively recruiting Browncoats as guerrilla publicists.
"It's a viral thing, encouraging them to encourage other people to see it, " he explains over the phone while stuck in a Los Angeles traffic jam, where he's en route to an editing session. " 'Serenity' doesn't have Tom Cruise or 'I can't believe I'm in the body of a third-grader' slapped over the title, or any of the other things marketing people latch onto. What it does have is our belief in the film."
With the "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" franchises finally ending, hopes are high that homeless science-fiction buffs will find their way to the "Firefly" universe -- nudged, perhaps, by some online fan-to-fan marketing. Whedon, at least, is cautiously optimistic about the future of his feisty Western in space. "The opinions of a thousand fans still won't carry the weight of a thousand execs, but I've never seen a studio operate the way Universal has in regards to my little movie. They've been enthusiastic, intelligent -- yes, I'm using the word 'intelligent' about a movie studio -- and supportive every step of the way."
Glenn Yeffeth, editor of the anthology "Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's 'Firefly' " (BenBella Books; $17.95; 240 pages), thinks 'Serenity' has a good shot at becoming a crossover hit, even sans Tom Cruise. "No question 'Firefly' was quirky, combining science fiction with a Western," he says. "But it's really about the search for meaning in a meaningless universe, and it's a notch above the very best writing of other television series out there."
San Francisco Browncoats organizer Renee Balmert, 32, is happy to fight the good fight for her show, regardless of the outcome. "You either love Whedon or you don't," she says. "His series are hard to pin down, which is why they're hard to promote. But Joss is great at gathering people around him who have the same vision. There's a wonderful rapport between him and the fans, and between fans and the actors in the show."
Whedon admits "there is a bit of a cult" around his work -- and him. "I have exactly one reaction to that: Whoo-hoo! It puts a little pressure on me, but at the same time it makes me proud and excited. Every artist wants to reach people on a primal level. Part of that is a pathetic need, or maybe a less pathetic desire, to connect and talk about the important things in our lives while entertaining the s -- out of everyone.
"Some fans are, shall I say, idiosyncratic," he adds. "But those are the people I'm writing for; those are the people I'm writing about. By and large they're extremely cheerful, amiable, witty bunch. They're passionate and sometimes unhappy. I have the utmost respect for that. I write the work like a fan. So if a fan is crying about something I wrote, there's a good chance I cried while I wrote it."
When they're not talking up the movie, the SF Browncoats will be organizing a "Firefly" raffle during the Comic-Con convention in San Diego next month, with proceeds benefiting the women's support organization Equality Now, a favorite Whedon cause. Other summer distractions will help fill time until September: More guerrilla screenings are planned, and a three-part "Firefly" comic series arrives in July.
If "Serenity" flies at the box office, will there be more "Firefly" films, even a trilogy? "Hell, yes," says Whedon. "Hell, yes, there will be more." And if it crashes? Whedon's stoic shrug is almost audible. "I've gotten a certain amount of closure that I didn't have when the series was canceled. The movie delivers what I want to deliver the way I want to deliver it -- with action, violence, humor and fun. I'll feel we told the story we wanted to tell. "
Like "Firefly's" Independents, he will keep flying. "But in my secret, greasy heart," he confesses, "I really do want to come back to this universe. I can't help it. I'm a fan."
Meet The "Serenity" Crew: Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (a.k.a. Capt. Tightpants, played by Nathan Fillion) is a world-weary ex-Browncoat whose crew acts as his dysfunctional, post-apocalyptic family. They are: First mate and former soldier Zoe (Gina Torres) and her pilot-comic relief husband, Wash (Alan Tudyk); cheery ship's mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite) and hunky mercenary Jayne (Adam Baldwin); hooker-in-space Inara (Morena Baccarin) and galactic preacher Shepherd Book (Ron Glass); the distractingly handsome doctor, Simon (Sean Maher), and his troublesomely telepathic sister, River (Summer Glau).
"Firefly" And "Serenity" Online:
-- The official film site.
-- Whedon's site, which carries news about sneak screenings.
-- An online watering hole for the devoted.
-- A database for all things "Firefly."
-- The ultimate resource for all things Joss.
-- More Joss worship.
-- The biggest and best of the Firefly bulletins boards. Series actors have been known to post here.
-- is international Browncoat central. is home of the San Francisco Browncoats. Their mailing list can be found at The Silicon Gulch (San Jose) Browncoats' mailing list is at Sacramento Browncoats hang their hats at
E-mail Neva Chonin at
©2005 San Francisco Chronicle

Serenity News: Coming Soon-Serenity movie

The above link is to an article about the new batch of screenings coming up on June 23.

Text of article posted below:

Coming Soon -- 'Serenity' (Movies)
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Chiwetel Ejiofor
• Directed by Joss Whedon

September 30, 2005 -- Joss Whedon, the Oscar® and Emmy-nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. Universal Pictures is set to release the futuristic action-adventure September 30, 2005.Based on Whedon's cult hit television series "Firefly" (which has taken on a second life following its December 9, 2003, DVD release, winning new fans and critical praise worldwide), "Serenity" will continue and expand upon the adventures of the memorable characters launched in the series, who will be joined by new characters created expressly for the motion picture adaptation. Whedon will act as both screenwriter and director, with Barry Mendel ("The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable" and the upcoming Wes Anderson film, "The Life Aquatic") producing and Chris Buchanan (president of Whedon's Mutant Enemy production company) and Alisa Tager (of Barry Mendel Productions) serving as executive producers. The "Serenity" cast will include such returning "Firefly" cast members as Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds, Gina Torres as Zoe Warren, Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra, Jewel Staite as Kaylee Frye, Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb, Sean Maher as Dr. Simon Tam and Summer Glau as River Tam."We have wanted to be in business with Joss Whedon for a long time and we're incredibly excited to be working with him on his feature film directorial debut," stated Parent and Stuber. "Joss is a true creator, whose talent crosses all mediums. His mythic worlds are inhabited with rich, detailed and very human characters. 'Serenity' will provide him with a great opportunity to paint another larger-than-life canvas with very identifiable, real characters at the heart of the story."Whedon - whose compelling use of character, place and dramatic development helped "Buffy" and "Angel" to break down genre walls and cross over into global hit mainstream territory - now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, "Serenity." He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family - squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.When Mal takes on two new passengers -- a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister -- he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space. Hunted by vastly different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may be on board "Serenity" herself.In addition to creating the series "Firefly," "Angel" and "Buffy" (as well as serving as executive producer on all three while writing and directing multiple episodes), Whedon's feature film screenwriting credits include the original motion picture "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Toy Story" (for which he received an Academy Award(R) nomination) and "Alien: Resurrection." Whedon also composed the music and wrote the lyrics for the self-directed "Buffy" episode "Buffy, The Musical," and the CD of the original songs from that landmark episode has sold more than 400,000 units. Whedon was nominated for the Emmy for outstanding writing on the "Buffy" episode entitled "Hush." "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is the second highest-selling television series on DVD.

Cinderella Man a magical story

In my (un)educated (but still valid, I believe) opinion, Russell Crowe can do no wrong as an actor. The man is amazing. In this beautiful story of the boxer James Braddock, Russell Crowe has the amazing ability to draw you into the story and make you feel every punch and celebrate every victory. Renee Zelwiger is also amazing in this film, and should be nominated for an Oscar, along with Crowe. She plays his wife perfectly, with the right amount of charm and concern.

Recently there have been several movies about everyday heroes during tough times in our nation, and it's no wonder, when our nation has just gone through and is still going through a tough time. While we have nowhere near the problems they had in The Great Depression, we have suffered tragedy and need inspiration to rise above it. These films help to do that.

I don't even like boxing and I loved this movie. In fact, boxing kind of makes me ill, because the punches look so painful and it just hurts to watch. But this movie was so good I could look past the pain and see the beauty and simplicity of the story, which is one of a man who was brave enough to risk everything to have the money to buy milk for his children. You can't get any more heroic than that.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants a touching journey

It's not really about sisterhood and it's only a little bit about pants. Mostly though, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about traveling. It's about journeys and what we have to go through to make us stronger. Four friends go shopping one day and find a pair of pants that magically fit each of them perfectly, despite different heights and body types. So they make a pact that, while they are on their separate journeys during the summer, they will share the pants, each girl wearing them for a week and then sending them on, so that they will be together in spirit all summer. Each girl goes on a journey of one kind or another, even the one who stayed behind in her hometown to work at a department store and work on her documentary.

This movie is touching, heartwarming, and sentimental, but not in the sickeningly sweet way. It is raw and emotional in parts, and I found myself in tears several times as the girls explored their relationships with their families and the world around them. It is definately a story of young girls finding out who they are and deciding what they want to become.

Madagascar goes off course

On the weekend it opened, I took my 9 year old nephew to see Madagascar. The first thing I feel compelled to say is that he loved it. He laughed at all the jokes and gasped when he was supposed to gasp. Most of the kids in the audience (and there were lots of the little buggers) seemed to enjoy themselves. However, it appeared to me that the adults in the crowd didn't enjoy it as much as the kids. I had such high expectations for this movie because the ads said critics were hailing it as this season's Shrek. I loved, loved, loved Shrek. But Madagascar had problems that Shrek didn't have. The biggest problem I saw was the pacing. The film seemed to hurry up just to wait, if you know what I mean. Basically, the action would be really quite fast paced (sometimes a little too fast) and then it would slow down to the point where nothing was happening at all. Now, I'm all for quiet, intimate moments between characters, a little falling action to relieve the tension of a film, but that's not what Madagascar was doing. The voice talent was excellent, however. I really enjoyed Ben Stiller and David Schwimmer especially. Those two men have great cartoon character voices! And they make a great team. The plot is cute and interesting, and makes some interesting points about being out of your element, and about friendship.

One note about the animation. It is awesome! There are some really beautiful scenes. Modern animation is amazing. Although I'm still a fan of the old school animation, I can't help being amazed at what they can do now.

Anyway, it's an interesting and fun movie and if you have kids, you should definately take them.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Serenity News: Joss Whedon offers readers Serenity

From now until September 30, I'm going to periodically google for news about the movie Serenity and then post the links here. All in an effort to help the uninitiated learn more about the best movie of 2005! So click on the titles of my Serenity News posts to get to the articles!

"Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down"

Actually, it's both a rainy day and a Monday, and I'm not down at all! In fact, I'm positively giddy, for no real reason. Everyone at work is having a rough day except me, which is one reason to be happy. Because I took care of my responsibilities way in advance, this week will not be as difficult for me as it will be for most of my co workers. Which is a good thing because that means I can help them with their tasks. I do love helping people out, especially when they're stressed.

There was a vicious lightning storm about an hour ago, right when I was going to lunch. It was really beautiful, sitting in my car at a red light, seeing all those strikes of lightning. Then I went to Sonic because they are the only fast food place that takes cards and I didn't have any cash. Of course, as soon as I ordered it started raining even harder and the girl who brought out my food got really wet. I felt awful about that and tried to give her a tip (a couple of dollars in change that I had in my car) but she left before I could. So if you're reading this, I'm really sorry! But you're probably not, so whatever.

Anyway, like I said, there is no real reason for my good mood, but I'm going to hold on to it for awhile. I'm looking forward to 4:30 so I can go home and play my new computer game. I got Civilization III the other day and played it last night for the first time. I lost both games I played and the game called me worthless. It was fun. I want to see if I can win without getting the cheat codes. I always feel bad when I give up and get the cheat codes.

Anyway, that has been my day so far, and those are my plans for this evening. I have nothing philosophical to say, nothing deep (except the lake of rainwater that's forming outside my office, lol) So I have nothing more to contribute...

- Anita