Saturday, June 30, 2012


Trailer for a new movie coming out this September, starring Man of Action, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  From the premise this is set in the future with JG-L playing an assassin, Joe, who eliminates targets that become a threat to his employer... targets transported (I'm going to say it) back from the future.  Imagine the surprise when Joe discovers that his target is himself, just older (here is where BW comes in).  Now they are both trying to come to terms with it and, from the look of the trailer, eventually try to help one another to take down the employer (played by Jeff Daniels). 

It looks quick-paced, the plot seems interesting and the makeup on JG-L looks really good, allowing you to believe that he really could be a younger version of Bruce.  From the reading I have done, Joseph spent a lot of time getting his vocalizations in tune with Bruce as well.  I guess we have somehow suspended the concept of paradox though, since if Joe actually goes through with the assassination, then the older Joe would have that memory and would know how it all went down... at least until he tries changing it. 

What a mess that could make of your mind.

If you want to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt (yes, he's that kid from "3rd Rock from the Sun") in other works, he is great in "Inception" (brilliant film all the way around really).  You may also remember him from "10 Things I Hate About You", which is a cult classic.  "(300) Days of Summer" wasn't bad....I loved him, but wasn't so thrilled about Zooey Deschanel in that one as she was just a bit too over-the-top odd.  "50/50" is a recent release and it was very good.... you know an actor has nailed a character when you find yourself sobbing at the movie and wishing with every fiber of your being that the guy makes it.  Warning though, Seth Rogen is his usual crass self in the film and there is a sex scene, so you may want to find an edited copy....  oh, and Anna Kendrick always seems to play the exact same monotone character... its more of the same here, but somehow this time she's almost likeable that way.  I will add one more warning for anyone who has had cancer effect their lives...this movie will be hard for you to watch.  Oh, he'll also appear in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises"...there is a rumor going around that he's being primed to be the new Batman should another director choose to step in and continue the franchise.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Watch what you advertise...

photo courtesy of tombricks on Flickr

I was stuck behind a flower delivery van on my way home tonight, waiting for the flow of cars to slow down enough so we could turn.  The onslaught of oncoming cars stopped and still the van failed to pull forward.  We sat there for a few moments with nothing coming towards us before they finally deemed it safe and they made the turn.  I was following along behind as they slowly drove up the street and pulled into a driveway.  Maybe it was a delivery, maybe they were just getting home for the night....
I passed by and couldn't help but think to myself that with as slow as that van had been moving that this was certainly not a service that I would be calling on in the future.  Speedy delivery was definitely not their game.

It just had me thinking once again about how people should really pay attention to their actions when they have their business name plastered all over their vehicle.  If you are the thoughtless idiot who speeds past me in the morning, weaving from lane to lane in a school zone without the use of your blinkers (true story), I can guarantee you that I will not be calling on your services... ever.  If you show me you are rude (flipping me the bird because was in your way and going the posted speed limit - another true story).  If you are reckless (see above comment about speeding and lack of blinkers) or if you are a red light runner then why should I want to support keeping you on the road?

Are people really not aware that everything they do is either a reflection of themselves or the company that they are representing?  Whether you are off the clock or not, driving around in a so-called "company vehicle" (yes, I include moms in minivans with the name of their online scrapbooking service on the back window as a company car) your every move is still under observation. 

So to the guy throwing a shopping cart full of Bud in the back of his construction truck... as an FYI, I'm going to be hesitant about hiring someone who obviously likes to par-tay.  And for the moms whose logos are peeling and faded, and the dashboard of the car full of baby wipes and action figures, your claims that you 'put the special in a gal's special day' seems a bit too shabby for me to want to take a chance on.  Well, that and I think its a pretty safe bet that your hands will be full handling your own brood and not focused on my special moment.  

Maybe this is why I haven't splurged yet on vinyl sides for my own car just yet....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How about the part where I said I gave up soda?

For those who didn't see my FB status, I gave up soda again two weeks ago (9th of June 2012) for what, the fourth time now?  I tend to quit, stay off of soda for anywhere up to 1-3 years before going back to it.  This time, other than a day or two of discomfort, it hasn't been hard at all.  I'm now up to drinking over a gallon of water most days, but I am feeling much better, and it makes me happy to think of all the money I am not dumping into the soda industry's deep pockets.

I don't think I made myself entirely clear to the hubs though (who is still drinking soda, but it doesn't bother me, since this was a personal choice) because of what happened about a week into the new no-soda routine.

I had asked the hubs to stop by the store on his way home to pick up something I needed to go with dinner that night.  He does, and then brought it home to where I was waiting.

"Here you go", he says, handing over said dinner ingredient.

There was  a pause and then he continued with, "I bought a surprise for you where I was there".

Me, still chopping and simmering and sauteing paused, looked up and said, "Oh? What for?"

"Because you've been doing so good with this soda thing", he replied, and then pulled out two cans of my favorite flavors of soda and set them on the counter.

It is safe to say I was dumbfounded.

I looked at these two brightly designed cans, cans that were fresh from the soda machine at the grocery.  So cold that beads of cool condensation had formed and were running enticingly down the sides of the cans.

"Baby", I said, trying to remain calm, sweet and nice, when on the inside a part of me was screaming grab the can! grab the can!  "Why did you get me these when you know I gave up soda?"

He looked at me with sudden alarm crossing his face.  "Gave up?  I thought you were just cutting back and I was so proud of all the water I've seen you drinking...."

I felt bad for him, doing something he thought would be nice (after all, he did pick my two bestest and favoritest flavors) but I admit I wanted him to take those cans and put them out of my sight.

Thankfully he drank one of them that night, but the other one is still sitting in the fridge just waiting for me to slip up.  Not that I am all that worried about it.... if I have a soda it is not the end of the world.  I am just happy that if nothing else that I have gotten myself to the point where not having a soda is fine by me.  After all, Richard is still chugging away, and its not a temptation to me anymore, but I am not about to turn down a root beer float should one come in through my front door and I find myself in the mood to partake of such a delicious and refreshing treat.

Here's the strange part though... I've noticed now that I have sent soda packing for parts unknown, that my sugar cravings have gone way down.  We're talking a freakishly huge reduction.  I was that girl who'd chug soda (mostly diet, but a lot of full sugar Shasta brands were making their way home as well) all day long.  Single-handedly going through a 12-pack in a weekend was not unheard of.  But along with that I constantly had the munchies and the munch in mind was candy, ice cream, or chips.

Now that I am a water girl again (I stopped with the Crystal Light after day 3) I have noticed when I went to the store the other day I bought fresh pears and couldn't wait to get them home, wash one and take a bite.  The gauntlet of candy bars that holds sway in pretty much every grocery in America wasn't even a temptation to me.  Let me tell you that pear (and the banana I had the next day) were literally like the fruit of the Gods... a sweet, sweet ambrosia to my usually chemical-stimulated taste buds.

Now that alone was worth giving up the soda for.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blue Marble 2

NASA has done it again.... this time the gorgeous image before you takes in the Arctic Circle (the geographic location, not the fast food restaurant) as its main focus.  You can find it here if you want to download it for yourselves.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Just Keep Walking...Everything is Groovy

Richard and I stumbled across Pete the Cat the other day when we visited our local B&N.... we stood in the kids department as I read him the Pete the Cat books, singing the tunes out loud and enjoying them immensely.  I don't have the excuse of having kids, but I plan to add these to my growing library.

I love how Pete just keeps moving along, regardless of what comes his way... its all just "groovy".

Here's the author and illustrator giving a live performance of Pete the Cat "I Love My White Shoes"


I also love Pete and his "Four Groovy Buttons"... which is actually my favorite of the series so far

So relax, tell yourself its okay, live is "groovy" and just keep walking along... matter what it is that you step in

Monday, June 11, 2012

From the iPod...


Yes, that bubblegum pop group from the early 1980's who had a #1 hit with "Take on Me", remembered for its chorus being sung in an improbably high falsetto.

A lot of people think that a-ha didn't escape the 80's, but were rather relegated to the world of One Hit Wonders, however, they would be wrong.  The band was still strong when in 2009 they released what they announced would be their final album (their 9th, not counting a couple of greatest hits disks put out by their label).  Their final performance was the taped concert "Ending on a High Note" in 2011, which has since been released on CD and DVD.

Still fun to listen to even after all these years, each album has a slightly different flavor, but are still true to their overall sound.

Here are just a few of the songs I have come to love of theirs over the years.

"Foot of the Mountain" from the final album, "Foot of the Mountain" c. 2009

"Dark is the Night for All" from the album "Memorial Beach" c 1993.  "Memorial Beach" is my favorite of the albums

"Velvet" from the album "Minor Earth, Major Sky" c 2000

"I Wish I Cared" from the album "Minor Earth, Major Sky" c 2000.  You may have heard this one in a season two episode of "Smallville"

"Angel in the Snow" from the album "Memorial Beach" c. 1993

"Lifelines" from the album "Lifelines" c 2003

"Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)" from the greatest hits album "25".  This was the last studio recording for the band.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

From the Bookshelf....

It was a pleasure to burn.

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.  With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.

What an opening to a wonderful that I try to read at least once a year.

In it we meet Montag, who is a Fireman in the distant future... a future in which books are outlawed and those found hiding and reading them are dealt with harshly.  These Firemen, however, do not put out fires; they are summoned to the scene to find books and then incinerate them with flamethrowers before scattering the remaining ashes.

One day on his way home Montag is approached by his neighbor, Clarisse, an impressionable and silly girl who is on probation to become a teacher, but is sure she isn't going to be accepted as she 'didn't say the right things in her interview'.  She begins to pepper him with questions about his work and just what it is that he does.

"Is it true that a long time ago, firemen used to put out fires and not burn books?" she asks.

Montag laughs and wonders why should firemen ever put out fires.  She asks if he has read any of the books before he burns them, but he can only wonder at why she would ever even consider reading a book.  After all, history has shown that books cause people to be unhappy and antisocial.  It is understood that the only way the people can be happy is to be exactly the same as everyone else.  In theory, anyone who has read Socrates must think themselves better than anyone who hasn't, and fiction is just a way for people to be unhappy with their lives and want for it to be more.  Biographies are even worse as they are nothing but people saying "look at me, look at me, look at me" and philosophers can do nothing but argue that they themselves are right while everyone else are idiots.

Instead of reading, society is now a group of video watchers, with people striving to add more and more video walls to their homes so they can watch without interruption. The population is turning into mindless drones who not only can't think for themselves, but are addicted to painkillers and stimulants.  Suicide attempts are a daily part of life; one that is taken rather lightly as med techs just stop by, swap out your overdosed blood and you awaken the next morning completely refreshed and with no memory of what you had done.

But Clarisse gets him thinking.  At a raid he is horrified to find an old woman who would rather be burnt with her books than to stand aside and let them be taken from her.  What is it in these written pages that could inspire such devotion?  Montag's curiosity gets the better of him and he smuggles home a book he saves from the flames and hides it away.  Curious, he begins to read it late in the night when his wife is asleep. 

Montag still goes to work in order to keep up appearances...and to smuggle home more books.  He begins devouring them at an increasing rate and begins to form opinions for himself, rather than what society says he should think.  Montag is surprised one day to find that the next stop for the Firemen is his own house.  His wife has informed on him.  Montag is forced to pull the books from the walls, heating vents, etc before he is handed the flame thrower.  To everyone's surprise, Montag not only ignites the stacks of books, but the very house itself, burning away his old life.

A book one could easily say as being against censorship (and in a sense it is), I believe this is more against the complacency of humanity to allow such things to happen in the first place, throwing all of our rights away and allowing a hard won democracy to become a dictatorship without complaint or thought as to how those rights came to us in the first place.

Ray Bradbury created an intriguing world, one that has lasted since its original publication in 1953.  The beauty of his writing still pulls you in to this day.  It is no wonder that the world mourned with his death this week at the age of 91.  He attributed his long life to a carnival performer touching him with an electrified sword when he was 12 and announcing that young Mr Bradbury would live forever.  Inspired, Ray began a lifelong habit of writing something every little day.  From those young writings came great stories, including "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "The Martian Chronicles".

An engaging author with rich prose, Mr Bradbury is someone worth remembering when you are searching for that new book to read.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The one in which I compare myself to a cart horse...


Maybe you should run over to Four Perspectives and read all about it....

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hello, IAU? I've got some questions for you....

A little off topic today, but I have a question for the IAU about their decision to demote Pluto from a full-fledged card-carrying member of the planetary club to merely a wanna be.... a hanger on from the edge of the solar system.

I know this discussion is a bit like beating a dead horse, after all, no matter what things the New Horizons probe finds out when it arrives in 2015 is going to change the fact that Pluto is no longer a planet... but I still want to ask anyway.

The definition of what now constitutes a planet is something that circles the sun, has enough gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape and also manages to clear its orbit of other bodies.  Pluto is not a planet because it hasn't cleared Neptune from its path?  What about Neptune?  Neptune has failed to clear Pluto from its path, so do we demote it?  How could we, after all, its a gas giant and certainly can't be demoted... but Pluto is an oddball... the black sheep of the family so to speak.

But that's not the reason I have against the demotion.  No, my question has to do with Lagrange points.

Lagrange points are like eddies in the orbits of planets (so far discovered in our own orbit, as well as that of Mars, Neptune and Jupiter).  These points in space are a balance where bits of celestial bodies (called Trojans) can gather, either leading the planet or following at fixed points that can be determined mathematically.  Earth has one Trojan than we know of so far, but Jupiter has a load of these both leading and following in its wake.

So here is my question.

If the definition of a planet is something that has cleared its orbit.... what about these bodies lounging in our Lagrangian points?  If you take the IAU at face value, then Jupiter isn't a planet because it still has thousands of Trojans still in its orbital path.  Neptune isn't a planet because not only has it failed to clear Pluto from its path, but it also has Trojans in its orbit.  Heck, Earth isn't even a planet now because we have a body called Cruithne that doesn't appear to be a true Trojan, but is still using one of our L.P.s as the fulcrum of its own short orbital path.  So if you discredit Trojans from the things that need to be cleared, why excuse the Earth, because Cruithne isn't a true Trojan after all.  Which is a moot argument for Earth anyway seeing as how our own moon is slowly drifting away from us at a rate of about 4 cm a year.  It'll take awhile, but eventually our own moon is going to wander off... so, wait... does it mean that we are not only so wimpy that our gravitational pull can't hold onto our one and only satellite, but that we aren't clearing it from our path as well?   

So why not demote more of our planetary system as planets, since many of them don't follow the rules either?

Is it the atmosphere thing?  Well that can't be, because Pluto does have an atmosphere... at certain points of its orbit when the temperature warms up enough during its closest approach to the sun the frozen atmosphere thaws and returns to its gaseous state.  As it moves away from the sun the atmosphere (such as it is) freezes and falls back onto the planet.  Which means it could be said that Pluto, in a warped sense of the word, has seasons.

So after the demotion, people tried saying that Pluto was now part of the Kuiper Belt.... but Pluto only shares part of its elliptical orbit with the Kuiper Belt.... the K.P. has a circular orbit, not elliptical.  And Neptune's orbit is actually within the K.P.  At least one of its own moons is thought to be a stolen K.P. object.  So did Neptune kick it out of the K.P. and send it on its current path?  But then, why would Pluto have its own satellites?  Not only does Pluto have its large moon Charon, but it also has the smaller satellites Nix, Hydra and the blah sounding S/2011 P1.  So wait, Pluto and a bunch of smaller units were tossed out together and yet managed to form their own little planetary unit?

Not that I expect anyone to answer this little conundrum, but it really would be nice to have some authority on hand that could actually explain the rationalization behind Pluto's demotion despite some pretty compelling evidence. 

I do look forward to July of 2015 when New Horizons will be able to give us further insights to this fascinating little puzzle piece.  Even if Pluto is no longer considered a "real planet" at least it is still a planet in the hearts of its fans.  Regardless of its status now or in the future, Pluto will keep spinning on, not caring in the least what label we lay on it.