Thursday, December 15, 2011


 My various freelance jobs don't allow me to take technological hiatuses very often, but what happens when the information floating around the Internet that is constantly in your face, starts to become more than you can handle?

Most people can agree that not everything they read on Facebook or Twitter is exactly "uplifting."  Frankly, those status updates that many people covet, have a tendency to make other people feel bad about themselves.  What seems like an endless string of news reports have popped up recently advocating for stricter guidelines for social media content.  They identify an increase in low self-esteem among users and incidents of physical violence as the results of this new generation of social media addicts. 

It is no secret that the events on social media sites have contributed to suicide. Most of us can still remember the highly publicized Myspace case in 2008.  Thirteen year-old, Megan Meier, committed suicide after being harassed by a neighbor who signed up for the site posing as a teenage boy. Events as severe as this might be few and far between, but local news crews are constantly covering "breaking stories" that deal with the misuse of sites like these - no different than the effect that chat rooms had during the 1990s when headlines screamed "middle age man lured teenage girl into compromising position." 

Is the Internet becoming an unhealthy use of time in more ways than the physical sense?  I would argue yes.  Social media is addictive, and with easy access almost everywhere you look -smart phones, laptops, iPods, iPads, Internet stations - it's a hard addiction to break. 

Sitting at home on a Friday night may be the responsible choice if you have work to finish, but seeing what seems like everyone else on your friend list updating the Twitterverse on their club-o-choice for the evening doesn't help your reserve.  When you're feeling a little oompa-loompa like, checking out your friends photo albums and glaring at their sex-on-a-stick looks, isn't going to help your cause.  And, when you're dealing with a love-sick-puppy situation, seeing the hearts and love notes all over his wall, isn't going to do anything but bring the water works.

I am a huge advocate of the use of social media for marketing and getting information out there in the most convenient and easy to navigate way, and there are definite perks to be said for the social aspect. But as a user and abuser, I myself have had to establish limits.  Facebook stalking, bad idea.  Constant Twitter updates, get a life.  Mobile uploads that chronicle your day one picture at a time, no thanks!

Stand up, take a breath, stretch, and walk away.  Come again another day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weight Loss and Cherry Jubilee

It's an odd feeling when your favorite jeans no longer hug your curves the same way they always have.  In my case, it's a mix of triumph and defeat. 


Well, duh!  I've logged what seems like an unbelievable amount of hours on excercise machines that make you feel like you're not going anywhere.  I've suffered through countless training sessions that I prayed would end before they began.  Anyone who has ever had a trainer (well a good one) can commiserate with me on this.  I have an amazing trainer who has volunteered her time to help me on this crazy workout, weight-loss adventure - BUT, free sessions = serious pain.  I have to earn every minute of her time, and that comes with lots of silent prayers.  I've also had to give up some of the simple joys in life, like overindulging on sour patch kids and goldfish ::tears::


Whoa, why would I feel defeated? sayonara fat, hello a perfect excuse for a wardrobe makeover!  Well, like I said, my favorite jeans don't fit very well anymore.  That may be a little thing, but when staples in your wardrobe stop working for you, it's seriously stressful.  My goal was to lose around 30 pounds.  It's not that I was an oompa-loompa to start with, but I'm going through a change-everything-about-me-phase and it seemed like a good round number.  I'm only halfway there (sometimes more, but one latte too many and I'm back to half) and I don't want to invest in new clothes when I don't plan to stay at this weight.  So, even though I'm super stoked to be losing the weight, my everyday clothes that no longer fit make me feel sort of ucky.

For now, leggings are my best friend..           

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Is A Long Title..

Now that I have experienced The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1..twice, I feel that I am more qualified to have an opinion. 

The first time I saw the film was at midnight (well, 12:10) on opening night, a tradition that I started with New Moon.  And, just like the last two middle of the night movie forays, I left slightly disappointed.  It's not that I didn't like the film - but I didn't immediately love it.  There wasn't that instant, jaw-dropping moment as the credits rolled down the screen that I wanted to have.  I'm not sure if it was that exhaustion had set in at that point, or that my mind was still consumed in dissecting the differences that exist between the cinematic version and the novel.  Either way, it always takes me at least a couple viewings to decide whether I really liked it or not.

Critics are always quick to dismiss the Twilight films, like those in academia do for the books.  I, on the other hand, can appreciate the escapist feelings that the novels invoked and the attempt to translate that into a visual format.

I must say that after seeing the film for a second time, I am more likely to give it some praise.  There were definitely moments from the book that I would have liked to see expanded on screen, i.e. the scene between Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) on the driveway after Jacob discovers Bella (Kristen Stewart) is pregnant.  It is supposed to be an enormously complex emotional scene between these two guys that hate each other when Jacob finds something to appreciate in Edward's desperate plea - at this point in the text, we are seeing things from Jacob's point of view.  Jacob describes Edward as a "burning man" and feels this uncontrollable surge of empathy for his situation.  Instead, we get a fairly pathetic, "hey man, can you talk to Bella?" type of scenario.
As for realism, the birth scene - incredible. Bella looked like a corpse for sure, it was quite a sickening sight. As for the dress they choose for her when she is transforming into a vampire - another scene that could have been spoofed up with some additional dialogue, even if it was just Bella's internal monologue, like in the book - wouldn't have been my first choice. The color is darling, but I thought it would have been more flattering to her new "perfect" physique.

Other than that, there were some funny scenes.  Any of them with Charlie (Billy Burke) in it is almost a guaranteed laugh out loud moment!  He is just amazing at delivering those one liners.  The honeymoon after Edward decides that sex is out gets pretty funny as well.  His attempts to distract Bella from naughty thoughts and exhaust her are definitely amusing.

Overall, I give it a solid B (which may or may not improve after I see
it another dozen or so times).  But, let's face it, even if the movie was a total drag, I would have seen it multiple times in theaters and bought every version of it when it hits DVD. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Worth Movie Theater Prices: The Descendants

Lately, I've been concerned with the lack of Blockbuster films that have rocked my socks.  I find myself falling into the "that was ok" rut when leaving the movie theater.  Considering the outrageous prices that movie theaters themselves are charging these days (costs that I supplement with Fandango gift cards, free passes, and movie screenings) - due to inflation based on economic hardships caused by whatever the latest means of illegally obtaining films - I feel that movies should be more than "just ok."

I want to walk out of a movie and say "wow, that was excellent" or "that just blew my mind."  Even the latest installment of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 didn't do it for me, and I am a huge Twilight fan.  Although my movie viewing time as of late has been lackluster because of other more pressing responsibilities, the time I do spend enjoying a film has been less than stellar - until this past Friday evening.

I was extremely impressed by The Descendants starring George Clooney.  I found it to be a powerfully simple story of responsibility in the light of tragedy and the bond of family.  Clooney plays a father struggling to understand what he's overlooked in life after his wife is in a boating accident that leaves her in a permanent coma.  As he tries to let go, while caring for his two daughters, both of whom have problems of their own aside from the most recent, he learns a lot about the person he really is and who he wants to be.  The director and crew did a great job of bringing this story to life.  It was touching without being overly dramatic.

On a side note, seeing Clooney as a father gave me a new appreciation for his acting range.  I'm so used to him playing the silver fox with a lovely waiting in the wings lately that this role seems almost foreign for him - and I loved it!  Also, the film starred Shailene Woodley as one of the daughters.  If this role is any indication, Woodley has a bright future ahead of her.  I look forward to seeing where her career goes from here.