Monthly Archives: November 2012

Love Is Louder

I came across this at just the right time, in just the right mood, in just the right way for me to pick up my markers.  🙂

The Infinite Cat Project

Just for fun, I present you with the Infinite Cat Project, a website of cats looking at cats looking at cats.

My pretty girl Asia was immortalized on the site back on January 31, 2005:

Cat #676: Asia contemplating Leon admiring Milo…

Movie Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Before I begin, I must ask each and every die-hard Douglas Adams enthusiast to please take a deep breath and let go of all that you know about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books, TV show, radio program, and even computer game.

When this was released 7 years ago, I was aware of Douglas Adams, I had read the book and I was a fan – but not rabidly so.  I’m not going to compare, contrast or reference the book in this review.  For the sake of argument, I am going to pretend the previous incarnations do not exist and imagine this film as a complete entity in and of itself. Ready? Excellent.

If I go to the movies now, I find that maybe one trailer out of the 5 or 6 they show before a feature interests me at all. My reactions are usually “That looks ridiculous.”, “Still no original movies in Hollywood, eh?”, “I’d watch it…on Netflix.” or “Ooh, the explosions look good!” The trailer for this movie caught my attention, though…

So with great anticipation, I go to the theater with friends, and cross my fingers hoping for entertainment.

At 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the opening sequence, I turn to the friend on my right and declare that this is the best movie I have ever seen and already make plans to own it when it’s released on disc.  What ELSE could the reaction be to dolphins singing a happy little ditty about the destruction of Earth?

The Story

Arthur Dent lives a quiet life in the English countryside when his best friend Ford Prefect saves his life by stowing away a nearby starship just before the world explodes.  Arthur spends the rest of the movie trying to get his brain to process the bizarre things he sees.

The Main Cast

Martin Freeman (Arthur Dent) will likely be best known for playing Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming Hobbit series, but has an impressive resume beyond that as well.  He plays Arthur as the confused and baffled bloke who just stumbles through every situation completely confused and baffled as to how he survived the last one.  It’s easy to connect with him, especially if you are not familiar with the universe Douglas Adams has created. Best single line: “OK. Leave this to me. I’m British. I know how to queue.”

Mos Def (Ford Prefect) is a delightful surprise as the galaxy-trotting alien who ended up stranded on Earth and befriends Arthur.  He’s Arthur’s personal guide through the film, teaching him about life beyond planet Earth without being condescending, but also showing himself to have his own vices and faults that can trip him up.  His comedic timing and delivery is fantastic, and I could not imagine anyone else in that role. Best single line: “If you want to survive out here, you’ve got to know where your towel is.” tied with “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so.”

Sam Rockwell (Zaphod Beeblebrox) tackles the grand job of playing the President of the Galaxy, who decides to “kidnap himself” and steal the state-of-the-art spaceship Heart of Gold in order to go on a treasure hunt, taking the rest of the group along for the ride.  He has cited Elvis Presley, Bill Clinton and over-the-top rockstars as influences for his take on the role, and brings an adventurous, daffy, charming, energetic chaos to the group. Best single line: “If there’s anything around here more important than my ego, I want it caught and shot right now!”

Zooey Deschanel (Trillian/Tricia McMillan) takes the role of the free-spirited girl looking for fun and excitement when she meets Arthur at a party, only to be whisked off by Zaphod when Arthur’s nervous reservations fall flat with her.  She is intelligent, and intrigued by the universe as a whole, while constantly having to watch that Zaphod doesn’t accidentally kill everyone. Best single line: “Buttons aren’t toys!”

The movie also boasts Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast, the designer of planets who is particularly proud of his fjords, Helen Mirren as the voice of Deep Thought, the supercomputer that calculated the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything as “42”, Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin the pathetic robot, and Stephen Fry who narrates (and does the audiobook – I WANT!).

Everyone comes together for a wacky adventure where “Belgium” is a curse word, poetry can be deadly, and there’s nothing harder to remove from your front lawn than a pile of depressed Vogons.  I LOVED this film… it’s funny, witty, surprising, entertaining, quirky, and just plain fun!

Of course I snatched up a copy as soon as it was released, and one of my favorite bits was the “Making of…” in the extras. Thankfully, YouTube has it (but if you’d rather watch the whole movie first, SCROLL DOWN!):



The Monkey’s Paw Biblio-Mat!

Once upon a time I was an avid reader.  I no longer read as much as I used to, sadly, but I saw this article at NPR and I just LOVED the idea!  I also loved that they built it themselves, and I bet they will be getting orders for the machines.  Check out the article, or if you’re in a hurry, at least check out the video!

Terrible Idea #681

What is this…I don’t even…

Happy Sunday morning!

“So ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking…”

Movie Review: Auntie Mame

“Life is a banquet!  And most poor suckers are starving to death!”

After reviewing The Goonies the other day, I thought about another of my all time favorite movies, Auntie Mame.  Growing up, my mother loved watching “classics” – I had no time for those old-timey movies!  I had Back to the Future to watch!

But Auntie Mame stood out in the mix.  While I could appreciate The Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind, they didn’t give me the same thing Auntie Mame did.

First, it stars Rosalind Russell (also known for His Girl Friday and Gypsy) , who absorbed the character of Mame Dennis so well on Broadway that she had no trouble transitioning her to the big screen.  She WAS Mame Dennis.  Every moment you see her on screen, you are totally entranced with her.  The costumes, the flamboyance, the fun that she is – you just can’t look away!

“That’s a B. It’s the first letter of a seven-letter word that means your late father.”


Then there’s the story.  In September of 1929, Mame Dennis is an eccentric socialite known for her vast array of friends and wild parties, but is thrown a curveball when she has to raise her nephew after the death of her brother.  Refusing to compromise on her lust for life and the variety it holds, her lifestyle clashes with the conservative executor of her nephew’s inheritance.  The movie is filled with awkward yet hilarious moments, true-to-life struggles, and life lessons that are meaningful even today.

Patrick Dennis: Is the English lady sick, Auntie Mame?
Auntie Mame: She’s not English, darling… she’s from Pittsburgh.
Patrick Dennis: She sounded English.
Auntie Mame: Well, when you’re from Pittsburgh, you have to do something.

Of course, we cannot forget the supporting cast – Forrest Tucker as the southern gentleman Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, Coral Browne as Mame’s best friend Vera Charles, Fred Clark as the trustee Dwight Babcock, Roger Smith as the elder version of Patrick Dennis (and also still living and with famed actress/wife Ann-Margaret), Patric Knowles as Mame’s long-time friend Lindsey Woolsey, Peggy Cass as Mame’s transcriptionist Agnes Gooch and Yuki Shimodo as Mame’s butler Ito along with other wonderful character actors.

Auntie Mame: Run along to Ito and tell him to bring me a light breakfast – black coffee and a side car. Oh, oh. And a cold towel for your Auntie Vera.
Patrick Dennis: Is she in the guest room again?
Auntie Mame: Since Sunday, dear. Now run along to Ito and hurry my tray, darling. Your Auntie needs fuel.

I tried to find some good clips from the movie that would really highlight some of the best parts, but honestly, I found this video put together with a Hannah Montana song and (oddly enough) I think it does the job!  Enjoy!

Nostalgiathon 2012: The Goonies edition!

In keeping with Misty’s post and Andy’s post, I thought I would take a few moments to revisit one of my all-time favorite movies from my childhood: The Goonies!

This does not mean it was the top of my list, but I don’t recall how many other movies I watched so much that I also owned the book. Sadly (or awesomely) the photos of the book I am using here are from the SECOND copy I received from my mother back in 2003, because my first copy had been read so many times, the cover was long gone and the spine cracked so badly that the book actually was in two pieces and missing most of the photo pages from the middle.

From the start this story appealed to me in SO many ways.  The underdogs going on a great adventure with pirates and treasure maps and skeletons and killers and monsters that like Baby Ruths and weren’t really monsters and Sean Astin being so freaking adorable.  Really, there was no way this could be anything but awesome.

So you have a ragtag bunch of kids who are looking at being shoved out of their neighborhood to make way for the country club golf course.  Mikey is the protagonist here, along with his close friends Mouth (Corey “no the OTHER Corey” Feldman), Chunk (Jeff “Truffle Shuffle” Cohen), and Data (Jonathan “Short Round” Ke Quan).  Mikey’s older brother Brand (Josh “even hotter when I got older” Brolin), Andy (Kerri “I’m a redhead but they made me kind of blonde in this one” Green) the popular cheerleader, and Stef (Martha “always the go-to actress for the gangly, slightly surly sidekick” Plimpton), Andy’s friend round out the rest of the kids on this adventure.

But wait, the cast doesn’t stop with these awesome child actors!  The first scene introduces you to the Fratellis, a family of criminals:

Look closely enough and you’ll see Robert “oh THAT guy” Davi, Joe “oh that OTHER guy” Pantoliano, and Anne “evil grandmother figure” Ramsey.  This cast could not be beat.

As a side note, one of the reasons I liked about the book over the movie was the extra scenes they didn’t have time to fit in the movie.  For instance, did you know there was an octopus in the water around the pirate ship?

How an octopus of that size would survive in a fairly cut off cavern is obviously puzzling, but WHO CARES!?!  IT’S A GIANT OCTOPUS!

So yeah, this movie had everything when I was 11 years old – great cast, fantastic story, excitement, adventure, love, comedy, drama, bad guys, good guys and everything in between.  And Cyndi Lauper providing the theme song.  What more could you possibly want?

I give this a 5 out of 5 Octopii (since the poor thing had his scene cut and all, seems fair to me).

Zombie Apocalypse! (but no zombies…)

It has been made abundantly clear that should there be a zombie apocalypse, I will likely become a zombie within about 3 days.  If not, it will be by pure accident, or by the sheer will and determination of others to keep me human.

I know this, because I just spent the last week dealing with Hurricane Sandy.

At around 6:35pm Monday, while trying to finish up a rather minor quest in Star Wars:The Old Republic, everything went dark.  I knew it would happen, so I wasn’t surprised.  I fumbled around looking for the flashlights and candles I’d smartly left on the kitchen table, and settled in.  My husband, who heads the water department for the neighboring town, had been working very late trying to prepare, so I was alone with the my faithful companions – a big black cat with one fang, a small white cat that loves to climb onto the counter and get into bread, and a dopey dog that despite my preference for cats has attached himself to me more than any other member of the household.  Though towns had issued warnings that power could be out for a week, I don’t recall being without power for more than a day or so, and assumed it would be back on rather quickly.

You see, I live in northern New Jersey.  I am extremely lucky in that my part of New Jersey is rather far from the shore, and located in a rather hilly area where the worst we had to deal with were downed trees that took out power lines.  We were even luckier that on our street, the downed trees appeared to miss houses altogether and fall in the best possible ways they could.  Check out the scene I found outside my door the next morning:

These are two shots of the same tree from both sides, and this tree was located on the far corner of my neighbor’s property on the right side of my home.  The trunk had to be at least two feet in diameter, but all it did was rip up a corner of a wooden fence and pull down some electrical and cable lines.

Here’s a few more fallen trees that came down to the left of my home, two houses down:

As I walked around the neighborhood, it was almost eerie how trees that fell did so little damage to houses.  Perhaps a shed got smooshed, or a fence got taken out, but all in all people were thankful for the lack of issues.

Again, I wasn’t terribly concerned.  I kept the fridge closed to maintain the cold and used my cell phone as little as possible, grateful that my husband had left his Chevy Avalanche for me (the cigarette lighter allows for recharging without requiring the vehicle to be started).  Texted with friends and family to check in – everyone was fine but without power.  Ended up at my neighbor’s house for company and ideas on what to do next.

Again, I was lucky in that someone allowed me to tap into a generator – all I wanted was to keep my fridge cold so I didn’t lose the food.  My neighbor got a generator from her family once they got power back, and I brought food from my freezer over in payment for letting me keep warm and drink hot coffee.  News was difficult to get because no one had internet or cable, and public radio all just described the devastation by the shore… heartbreaking, of course, but it would have been helpful to run down town centers where people could gather (charge up cell phones here, or get bottled water there).

My husband – who went through Hurricane Katrina and the two weeks without power afterwards – warned me that the first 24-36 hours after losing power, everyone eats great!  They eat all the food that will spoil, and it’s like a big campout, but shortly after that, people will begin to stress out.  Looting and violence becomes a concern.  I told my neighbor she should chain down her generator, just in case.

Glad I did, too.  There was a town utility truck with a generator in the back that was tasked with keeping the sewer pumping station going, and a couple of great DPW guys would roll by every few hours to top off the tank.  In the middle of the second night, two men tried to take off with it and the gas cans left for it.  Bastards.

We got power back about 51 hours after we lost it, luckily we didn’t need to take more drastic measures.  Suddenly things were getting normal again.  But then they backslid.  Not everyone had power, and the lack of gasoline became a concern.  I had been severely restricting the use of the Avalanche – it’s a gas hog anyway, but I didn’t REALLY need to go anywhere.  I work from my home, and even though I didn’t have power, I was still without internet and cable, so my ability to work was completely hamstrung.

I had friends over who were still without heat and power so they could warm up and bathe in hot water, and another friend is camped out in our spare room with her pup since her town has no idea when power will be restored.

The whole time, I’m thinking “I’m cool, this is fine, we’re fine, nothing bad’s happened.” and I pat myself on the back for being so darn awesome in a crisis!  I can totally handle this!  Maybe I WON’T die in a zombie apocalypse!

Today, we got internet and cable back, six days after it went poof.  My family is all reporting that they have power back or are staying with people who have it, friends are all in similar situations.

But as the days go by and things are getting better, I realize I am becoming increasingly stressed out and less capable of making any plans or moving forward.  Somewhat simple tasks become huge roadblocks, to the point where I need to literally take a chill pill.  Of course that wasn’t very effective at getting me to plan better, but it stopped the frenetic pacing and wringing of hands.

So yeah, I can kid myself and think I’ll be awesome in a crisis, when really… THIS:

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