Saturday, June 30, 2012

Some Beach, Somewhere...

I posted on Facebook that if I wake up tomorrow and it's 90+ degrees by 11 AM, I'm Pricelining a hotel and driving myself to some beach, somewhere.

I'm not sure if I'll ACTUALLY follow through with that, but for someone who loves summer and hot weather, this is still a bit oppressive :-/

Therefore, right now I'm just going to share some old school beach photos and dream about being at a beach and not 3+ hours' drive away from one. Sigh.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Clearwater Beach, FL
Nice, France
Myrtle Beach, SC
Kennebunkport, ME
Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Conch Beach, Grand Turk

(Okay, that just made things worse. Now I *really* need to go to a beach. ASAP.)
Pin It

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: In Which Y'all Learn Way Too Much About Me.

I am about to share more information about me than anyone who isn't a close friend should ever know.

Why, you ask? Why? Well, because I'm a stickler for punishment, or something. Or really just because I found this article - 50 Mistakes Every Woman Should Make - absolutely hilarious.

Do I agree with everything listed in it? *Hell* no. But below I have picked out...ah, I suck at counting as I write this, but I think I've listed 30 of the 50 mistakes from the article - many of which I've made (a few of those were only "sort of", though); a few of which I haven't made but felt the need to include (and you'll see why).


The thing is, everyone makes mistakes. And as the author of the above article wrote, some of these articles that have been circulating lately (i.e. "50 Probably Ridiculous Modern Skills Every Woman Should Know", or whatever the eff that article is) make most of us "Modern Women" feel, well, incompetent? Just a bit? (I mean really, WHO CARES how well you wrap a gift. That paper's just getting torn off anyway. AND DON'T EVER TELL ME HOW TO PACK FOR ANY VACATION. If I want to bring a giant roller board suitcase for my long weekend to wherever, I'll damn well do it and you can kiss my ass.)


All that said - enjoy reading about the many, many mistakes I've made off the "50 Mistakes" list. And enjoy knowing that there have been quite a few more on top of these. Heh.

1. Fuck up your bangs.
You seriously have to completely ruin your bangs and seek professional help about 10 times before you master the at-home bangs trim. Plus, haven't you always wanted to try baby Bettie bangs?

I've done this not once, but TWICE. Feast your eyes:

Between freshman and sophomore years of high school - the time I only cut a chunk of bangs in the very center of my forehead. I SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO TAKE SCISSORS TO MY HAIR.
Summer 2004 (and the worst part is, this extended until like December 2004) - the time I kept trying to cut my own side-swept bangs. SMH.
  
 4. Have sex for money  (or just a really expensive dinner).
It's good to know your options, and if you hate it, you know you better start developing some job skills.

Okay, I've never done it; nor would I suggest doing so. BUT this brings up a funny story: there was one time in Vegas when I asked a completely legit-looking guy in his 30s if I could sit with him at his VIP table because my feet hurt...and he said yes. So I sat, and we talked, and I thought I was just being friendly and HE was just being friendly...until he sort of scuffed his feet and wrung his hands (and looked down at his hands rather than at me when he said this) and asked, "So, what are you, like...$1000 an hour?"

That's right. He thought I was an escort.

I suppose I should be grateful that he thought I was worth so much, though. No?

This would be the $1,000 hooker comment night, back in December 2010. I just...don't get it.

9. Move somewhere where you don't know anyone but the boy you're dating, under the dreamy, misguided idea that "all you need is love."
If you're a well-rounded person, you'll hate it, and when you leave you'll move somewhere better and never want to do it again. Teach yourself balance!

 I didn't do this exactly as it's written, but I did try hard as hell to make living in Lynchburg work. I knew no one there except for Ex, and I never wanted to live there in the first place (it is literally the most boring place in the world - yes, I'm STILL convinced of that)...but sure enough, I wanted to believe that "all you need is love". Course it would have helped if I'd still been in love with Ex.

The one thing I liked about living in Lynchburg - Timberlake

10. Help someone cheat on their girlfriend.
You'll walk away with a little guilt and a lot of wisdom about cowardice. You'll also develop a cheater-radar that is useful in your own relationships!

 I honestly can't explain the reason this is good any more perfectly than what is already said above.

I will say that once I did it for love (misguided, yes, but what can you do) and the other time, I was just being an ass. I'll also admit that I still don't really feel bad about the latter, but that was likely because the guy was a jerk and I wasn't the first girl he'd cheated with or the only girl he WAS cheating with. Whatreyagonnado.


12. Think that if your significant other is unfaithful/a drug addict/married to someone else/not as nice as your friend's boyfriends that's ok, because he always comes back to you in the end.
You need to go out with a few total morons, and be blissfully niave to the true extent of their moronity for a good six months, to really appreciate all the good guys you'll then go on to meet. Plus it helps you hone your moron-radar so you're not still getting screwed around when you're menopausal. 

I definitely spent about four years doing this with Ex. I'm still not 100% sure that he was unfaithful (though I've heard things that make me think that he cheated at least once) and I'll leave that second thing alone. Obviously he wasn't married to anyone else, and I DO think that "not as nice as your friend's boyfriend" is being a bit picky...but he was absolutely not right for me, plus you know...all those times he told me that I was stupid/would never make anything of myself/would never be able to support myself/had completely unattainable dreams/was a huge bitch/etc. etc. etc. on and on and on count toward this. But yes, the way our relationship unfolded, the way he treated me, absolutely made me appreciate the "good guys" - both the ones who are just my friends, and the one I eventually ended up with ;)

14. Eat so much you throw up.
Also, eat something out of the garbage. Eat things you know aren't good for you. Eat in bed and get crumbs everywhere. Deliberately avoid finding out how many calories are in something pseudo-healthy so you can keep living a delicious lie.

I haven't QUITE accomplished this, and I'd really like to avoid doing so, but I've *definitely* eaten enough to give myself an awful stomach ache. Too many times to count. And the only thing that kept me from throwing up - at least a few of those times - was forcing myself to go to bed.
This was one of those times. Bellagio dinner buffet, June 2010. NEVER AGAIN.
 
15. Cut all your hair off a week before you go to college.
You may spend the next three years trying to grow in out in an awkward bob, but it means that when you meet your old college friends again for the first time in 5 years, they'll be amazed at the transformation when they see your long, shiny locks.

So it wasn't before I went to my FRESHMAN year of college, but it WAS before I started my first semester at Longwood, once I'd transferred there. I still don't know what I was thinking.

September 2002, one of far too many bad haircuts.

16. Somebody too young

Okay, I can at least say that I've never gone TOO far with this...but I've definitely dealt with the "too young" factor and it is for sure a learning experience. Do it because it will remind you why guys your own age (or hey, older!) are just...WAY better. Trust me.

19. The bass player (ugh)

WTF *WHY*???

(Yes, I'm disagreeing with this being any sort of mistake, because I just don't understand it. In fact my former future husband [long story, there] is a bass player. Don't knock this one 'till you try it.)

BFFs and marriage pacts for--->>>. Gotta show the bass players some love, folks.
 
21. Date a co-worker.
When you eventually break up (you will), get back by sabotaging each other's work projects and turning half the office against the other party. Also: revenge sex. After the revenge sex, pretend like you don't even know each other.

Well. I haven't actually dated a co-worker to the point where TEH SEX happened (sad, I know - kiddinggg)...but while at Disney I did date TWO co-workers and both flings ended...well, not *badly* per se, but not well, either. Honestly I'm just glad I learned my lesson early and that things didn't get ugly, because making this mistake at 18 and seeing how awkward it got (especially with the kid who showed up on his day off, when I was working, with a note and a rose, begging me to forgive him and just making me feel uncomfortable while making an ass out of himself) has kept me from ever making it again. Thankfully.

22. Be financially irresponsible.
Don't balance your checkbook. See how long you can live on the $5.23 in your bank account. When you get paid again, blow all your money on shoes and booze. Rinse, repeat.

 Well, while I can safely say I've never completely blown all of my money on "shoes and booze"...I've definitely never balanced a checkbook. And yes, this has led to trouble, though thankfully only a couple of times. The worst was probably when I went to buy like $80 worth of groceries in college and my debit card was denied. Talk about embarrassing. Still, it definitely taught me to keep a WAY better eye on my finances, so it was probably a good mistake to make.

23. Move across the country with $1,000 in your pocket and no job.
Go dancing every night for two weeks before you get serious about finding a job. Miraculously land a job on the same day your money runs out, because that's usually how life works.

I've never really done this, but I totally wish I had.

I've moved part-way across the country - from Connecticut to Florida - with far less than $1,000 in my pocket...but I was doing so
FOR a job, so I guess that doesn't count.

And I've moved without having a job (when Ex and I moved from VA to SC), but whereas we were broke as crap when we did it, HE was moving for a job, so again...

Still, I can only imagine how awesome it is to just pick up and go like that. I've had friends do it and yeah, I was a bit jealous of them...even when things didn't turn out so well! (though for some of my friends who made this choice, things turned out great) It's just so adventurous, and having never done it makes me feel like a bit of a stick-in-the-mud ;) 
 
24. Quit your day job, especially if someone has snarkily told you, in reference to your creative pursuits, "Don't quit your day job!"  
The first step to greatness is taking action, and "success" has many definitions.

Though I've never had anyone tell me not to quit my day job in regards to my "creative pursuits", I've definitely quit my day job without having another one lined up. It was a bit scary but to be honest it needed to happen...and in fact it led to several very positive experiences. That, and the job I ended up with a few months after quitting that other day job was with the company I'm still with now. So yeah, at least once in your life, quit your day job!
 
27. Have unprotected sex.
Because it feels better that way.

I'm not saying don't be careful, and I'm DEFINITELY not saying to do this with a random person. But YES GOOD. ;)

28. Call into work sick when you're hungover.
Because going to work hungover sucks.

Just...don't do it all the time. In fact I can't remember the last time I did this; it was years and years ago. But as long as you don't abuse it, I suppose once in a great while is okay. Because yeah, going to work hungover DEFINITELY sucks.
 
29. Get so drunk that you vomit up that 2 a.m. slice of pizza.
Bulimia without the stigma!

It wasn't pizza, it was...well one time it was cheese puffs and another time it was McDonald's french fries, but what can you do. The douchey kid I was paired with during beer pong that night refused to drink the Bud Light we were using...and he and I lost every game we played. (And people wonder why I hate beer pong...) My only consolation is that this was a LONG time ago.

It was this night. Sometime in the fall of 2004. So there.
  
30. Cry at work.
So that you get it out of your system and never do that again.

HA, I did this just about every day for half of July in 2006. It involved Ex, it was embarrassing, but what can I say...I was an emotional wreck at the time. Thankfully my co-workers and cast members were amazing...they let me be when I needed to be let be, and when I needed to be cheered up some of my favorite workers made me this "Queen of the Closers" regalia!

Can you tell I'd cried all my makeup off? Heh.
  
31. Date a nice guy.
So you learn why not to end up with one.

To be fair, Steve is an AMAZING guy, and I ended up with him. And by amazing, I mean yes, he's a "nice guy". But he's only one of two nice guys I've ever dated, and the difference between him and the first one is that he doesn't let me walk all over him, and he doesn't have some annoying disbelief over the fact that I want to be with him. I do have to say though, that first nice guy was really good to me when I needed a guy to be really good to me, and I'll always be grateful for that.

Ha, this picture probably does a good job of summing up our relationship. (May 2000, by the way)
  
32. Carry on a vague sexual relationship with a friend which you know is going nowhere but is fraught with tension and tears.
Do it for the drama.

Err...I'm not really sure what "vague sexual relationship" means??? Though I've definitely had some more-than-friends relationships with guy friends that I knew would go nowhere. Sometimes I hoped they would, sometimes I didn't want them to. Sometimes there was tension and tears, sometimes there just...wasn't (at least not on my part). But also, sometimes you just need to have a physical relationship with a friend just to make sure that you're not meant for anything more than that. I think.
 
33. Scream at someone who does something really fucked up to you.
It's not healthy to bottle all that shit up. Plus, they deserve to be screamed at if they are doing fucked up things.

Okay, truth be told I've probably done this far too often with some people and nowhere near often enough with others...but it's true. Oh, so, true.

36. Drunkenly confess your love for a friend with benefits.
It's gonna happen eventually anyway. Might as well use the excuse of alcohol to  force yourselves to have The Talk. The sooner you get that life is not a romantic comedy, and that saying "I spent all last summer trying to get over you" is not a key to eternal happiness, the more you'll value the relationships you do have.

You wanna know a secret? I did this TWICE, and I wasn't drunk EITHER time. First time was with *E*, second time Ex. I'm glad I did it - both times. Because with *E* it helped me understand that what I wanted between us would never happen, and with Ex...well, a month later he admitted that he loved me too. Of course, with as messed up as our "relationship" had been up to that point, I shouldn't have let it go as far as it did after that...but what can ya do.


41. Get super-obsessed with a guy you don't even like, just because he doesn't like you.
Feel the sweet sense of triumph as your interest drains away the first time he expresses interest.

Sure, why not. Though maybe not quite so far as "he doesn't like you"...more like..."just because he doesn't like you as more than an FWB", or something. And yeah, the second he shows interest in more than a casual thing, bye bye to my interest. Soooo many times. Oops?

42. Be the crazy ex.
Break into his email and voicemail accounts, stalk his social media accounts, drive by his house, threaten suicide, the usual. It's like the chicken pox -- you usually only get it once.

DISAGREE. I've never wanted or needed to "break into" another person's email/voicemail/social media account - whether that person was my significant other or my ex. I won't say I never thought about driving by my ex's house (really just *E*, probably, because I was so heartbroken), but all I could think was "girl if you do this you are beyond help"...so I didn't. Threatening suicide is idiotic, not funny, and...well don't even get me started on that. And I don't think the girls who act like this "only get it once" because I've seen at least a couple of them in action more than once. Sorry, but I refuse to be lumped with those psychos. 

44. Talk shit about someone and get busted.
Then apologize. Or don't -- you obviously don't like that person all that much anyway.

Oh please, who hasn't done this? I will say that once I got caught, I stopped! Best thing to come from this mistake, IMO.

 
45. Overshare to an aquaintance.
And have it bite you in the ass when they use the information against you. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And what are you supposed to do, sip seltzer at happy hour?

I suppose I've been lucky in that this has never come back to bite me in the ass, but sure, why not? Sometimes it's nice to unburden yourself, even if it IS to someone you barely know...right? Right? ;)

 
46. Don't open your mail for like a year.
Some problems go away if you ignore them long enough. And there's bound to be at least some good news in there if you finally decide to confront the terrifying pile of paper you've been shoving in your oven.

 I don't think I've ever gone a full year, but I've definitely gone longer than I should. And lately I've taken to just tearing up anything that comes for me in the mailbox because unless it's a personal letter, I know it's probably not good news (considering all bills, bank statements etc. are online now).

47. Be super-jealous of your friends' success.
I mean, their success isn't actually hindering yours, but it SURE FEELS THAT WAY. And you can't control your feelings.


This is another one I have to disagree with. I have some amazing friends, and some of those amazing friends have had awesome, well-deserved things happen to them. I'm not saying I've never been jealous, but I've never been SUPER jealous and I've certainly never let it effect the way I treat them. That said, sometimes a little bit of jealousy is a good thing, because it may spur you to act, you know?

48. Go out in clothes that are stained/wrinkled/unraveling. 
Cause you think no one will notice until you're in direct sunlight. Use dark clothing to wipe your hands and mop up spills.

Who the eff am I kidding, I do this all. the. time. (Whatever, it's liberating.)


Um, I'm definitely wearing bright green PJ pants and a stained/torn up Killingly CT sweatshirt. Don't mind the cigarette though, Jenna and I were going for the "James Dean look".

49. Play dumb.
Especially when you get caught doing something wrong. Cleavage helps, too.

Yeahhh...

50. Let someone take naked pictures of you.
Sext. Show your boobs to someone in a bar. They're just parts.

I've never shown my boobs to someone at a bar. That's all I'll say about that...because honestly, what happens in the privacy of one's own, err...camera...and text conversations...is one's own business. Right?

Phew, that was long...maybe I should have split it up into more than one entry. But now that it's all out there, I figure I'll just leave it as is. And if you are shocked and appalled, well, then, you just don't know me very well. Heh. 
Pin It

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Confessions



I confess...that I *really* need to start going to bed before 5 AM on Friday and Saturday nights. 'Nough said.

I confess...that I haven't written in my travel blog in forever. I have *plenty* to share, but no time in which to compose entries. I'm lucky I keep up with this blog at all!

I confess...that for some reason my phone wouldn't work all day yesterday (no matter what I did it kept saying I had no service - I still have the iPhone 3gs with AT&T), but it actually felt kind of nice to have just one day in which I wasn't bombarded with text messages and phone calls that I would feel obliged to respond to.

Pin It

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Funday v. 1.0

Well, I'm always on the lookout for new ways to force myself to post on this blog (heh). I have no idea if this will become a hop. Knowing me I'll not even put up a "Sunday Funday" post every weekend. But it should at least make it easier for me to come up with things to write about, no? :)


 Today I stumbled upon a YouTube video, and it made me laugh so hard that I cried.



You see, at the 2:52 mark the guy says "909 where the ladies damn fine"... well, apartment 909 at Vista Way was exactly where I lived on my first Walt Disney World College Program...with a girl named Kim who shared my love for Blink 182 (yeah, I got over that, I swear) and my New England heritage...

Kim and I in our apartment at Vista...#909, that is!
 Apartment 909 at Vista Way...well, let's just say that I have a few bad memories of it, but mostly good ones ;) It was the first place I lived that was truly away from home (I really don't count one semester in a dorm room at a school 25 minutes from where I grew up). For $72 a week (per person) we had a two bedroom, two bath apartment - two people per bedroom - with a full kitchen and living room, all utilities included. We only made $6 an hour, but hey, it was the life.

We were so cool, hanging out with our door open, smoking our cigarettes...haha
Kim and I were dubbed "The Institution", though I can't remember exactly why. I'm sure it had something to do with our going to every party we could attend, when we weren't working and all. Of course we had a few parties at our place as well, though the "usual hangout" was building 15.

Still, as I said, 909 to this day holds some great memories to me. Coming home from work and smoking a cigarette (yeah, I know, bad) just outside (as pictured above) and ending up having an impromptu get together, for instance.

Or how when we moved in, our neighbors - who had lived in 910 all summer - gifting us a handle of Jim Beam as a welcome present.

Watching Emperor's New Groove over and over again.

The party we had when we thought someone called security on us and our drunk friend thought he could hide from them under our coffee table.

Shoot, even our crazy, awful roommates gave me some fun[ny] memories.

I don't know the guys who made the video above from a hole in the wall; I don't even know when they did the College Program. Yet I share some similar-as-hell memories with them, because that's how living at Vista Way is. And it's one hell of a crazy, awesome, memorable experience. I don't miss it...but I'm sure glad I had it.


I hope everyone had a great weekend...I know mine was ridiculous and insane, but CHEERS to Sunday Funday and to the Great Vista Way!
Pin It

Friday, June 22, 2012

20 Something Bloggers Carnival: A letter to 24-year-old Me

So it's the five-year anniversary of 20-Something Bloggers, and they're having a blog carnival! They sent out the following prompt, and hey, I don't think I've done one of these on this blog, so here ya go!

Write a letter to yourself five years ago. What have you accomplished? What do you regret? What are you most proud of? How has your life and/or your blog evolved in the last five years? What do you wish you could tell yourself five years ago?

So, Tara v. 2007...it's June 22nd, and hey, you're in Long Island to be a bridesmaid at the lovely Allie Solomon's wedding!


There are a few things going on in your life right now - so I'm going to tackle them one by one. Because that's how I roll, or something.
  • Stop fretting about Christy's passport. It will arrive about a week before the two of you leave for Europe. But be proud of yourself for taking the initiative when it didn't arrive in the 8-10 weeks they promised...because if you hadn't, she probably wouldn't be getting it on time.
  • You finally started running again a couple of months ago...keep that up! Seriously, health-wise and weight-wise it's one of the best decisions you'll ever make. And you will grow to love it, I promise :)
  • Quite soon you'll finally reach the point where you look back on the College Program with fondness, yet at the same time don't miss it. So even though right now you still remember it as one of the most carefree and fun times of your life and you feel that it is just slipping away, even though you hate that you don't remember very many details about it any more, even though you're thinking that you just don't want to grow up and letting go of the CP means you have...trust me, what you have now is better than any of that.
  • In about a week and a half you will meet a wonderful Australian babe named Natalie, and you damn well better keep good on your promise to keep in touch with her because 5 years later she will be buying a plane ticket to meet you in Vegas for your 30th birthday celebrations (and that's AFTER you meeting her there in 2010 and your going on the same eastern Europe tour in 2011!):
Natalie and I (you?) in Vegas, December 2010 - first time seeing each other since meeting in July 2007!
Well there I go, answering the last question from the prompt first ;) Might as well work my way backwards (what's new, with me? haha). You don't have a public blog right now...and that's probably a good thing. Keep it that way. Start this one in late 2010, when you're nearly 28 years old and know what is and is not appropriate to put online.

As for your life evolving...child, in about one year you will turn your life upside down. It will be the best decision that you've ever made, and though part of me would love to say "make it sooner"...well, changing when you make it would likely effect the outcome, and trust me when I say that you don't want that. You'll make a lot of crappy mistakes throughout the next year - a lot - but I suppose if I can look back on them without true regret, you'll feel the same way. Because, you know, you're me. And all.

I will say that you will eventually wish you wrote (actual writing, not blogging!) more, and that is probably the biggest regret that you'll have from this period of your life. Nothing you can do about it now, though, except buckle down and focus on your writing as much as possible...which is what I'm doing anyway, so I suppose we've got that covered ;)

So in conclusion - most of your accomplishments have been personal ones, though you're definitely better off on the job front as well. That's one thing I will tell you - you will leave the travel agency and have to take a part-time job that results in you adopting the best dog ever:

(admittedly, at times I'm pretty sure she thinks she's a cat)
Anyway, it will take a few months for you to find a full-time job, but that job will last you at least this long, you'll be making more money, and you won't be stuck in a dead-end career. So there's that.

Enjoy the next five years in ways only you know how, capisce? That's one thing I'll say, you're damn good at knowing how to live life to the fullest ;)

- Tara v. 2012

This post is submitted as a part of the 20SB 5th Birthday Blog Carnival, sponsored by GlassesUSA.com.
Pin It

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: Roger Williams & the Creation of the American Soul by John M. Barry

I picked up this book on a whim (at Costco, nonetheless) a couple of months ago. I had finally just traced my ancestry back to Roger Williams, and when I saw this book sitting on the table there I figured that it was fate :)

Now, having been a  history major, books like this are almost always a fun read for me. Sure, some are better than others - even *I* will admit that historical nonfiction can be a bit dry at times, and that a lot of it depends on the writer - but chances are, I'll usually really enjoy a book like this.
source
First things first, I must admit that while I should have known what to expect with this book, I think I kind of wanted something else. I do think that the title is a *bit* misleading - while Roger Williams is of course a prominent feature of the book, it is less a biography of him or even of how he helped form the "American Soul" than it is a history of that time period with a focus on Williams and his fight to create Rhode Island. I can't really fault the author for this, but I would have preferred a little more information on Williams's home/family life. The few times they were mentioned seemed really out of context, as well, to the point where I wondered why the author was bringing them up at all.

I would say that the first quarter or so (maybe a *little* less) of Roger Williams & the Creation of the American Soul deals with Edward Coke and Francis Bacon. The author is obviously trying to show how they shaped Williams and his ideals, but I think this could have been accomplished better than it was. There is an awful lot of text on Coke and Bacon, yet next to nothing about any interactions they had or may have had with Williams and next to nothing about what Williams was doing during the years of Coke's and Bacon's life that Barry writes about. A lot of it felt almost like filler.

The story itself is fascinating and I think that it is generally told well, but I have some complaints about the technical aspects of Barry's writing - in this book, anyway. Ridiculously long sentences with more than a few commas are rampant, and he also has an issue with repeating things - not just as a way to drive them home (which he does, and far too often in my opinion), but he also repeats words, sometimes several times on the same page. To be quite frank, these issues left me wondering whether this book was ever edited at all.

As a general history book, overlooking the grammatical issues contained in it and focusing on the interesting story it tells, I would probably rate Roger Williams & the Creation of the American Soul 4/5 stars. But as a book about Roger Williams, and taking into consideration what the author was apparently trying to accomplish, I can only rate it 3/5 stars.
Pin It

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Joining the club: My Thoughts on Prometheus

YOU ARE HEREBY FOREWARNED THAT THIS POST IS FULL OF SPOILERS.
DON'T COME CRYING TO ME IF YOU READ IT ANYWAY.
:) 

Yes, I finally, finally, got to see Prometheus this past Sunday. I know I'm a bit late on the uptake. I know that plenty of other people have already reviewed and/or dissected this film. In case you can't tell, I could give less of a shit about blog traffic - that's not what this is about. This is really just me gathering my thoughts about Prometheus in a single, easily accessible place.

My friend Nicki over at Movie Critical called Prometheus "the thinking man's sci-fi film", and honestly she couldn't have been more correct. In fact, before I even read her Prometheus review, my close friend Mike and I came to the exact same conclusion. And I'm not just talking big Alien/Aliens fans vs. people who weren't that into those movies - I'm probably in the latter category (I didn't dislike Alien/Aliens, but because I was born in the early 80s I didn't actually see them until I was an adult) while my friend Mike is in the former category. And both of us really liked Prometheus. So.

Now, this is not a review. I'm not a movie reviewer...nor should I be, for that matter. Really it's just my opinions on what the heck went on in Prometheus...so take everything I'm saying with a grain of salt. Because I could very likely be wrong. About all of this. Of course *I* don't think I'm wrong, but hey, you know... ;)

So we're going to start with the big "WTF?!" that so many people seem to be confused about (or at least, many of my friends)...the beginning sequence.

This isn't Iceland or anything. No, seriously, it could be anywhere. A N Y W H E R E.

Now, I can totally understand how the opening scene of Prometheus would confuse you...if you don't pay attention for the entire rest of the film. I'll start by noting that this Engineer - and in fact, all of the Engineers - are male. Not androgynous at all. Downright masculine. I've heard that Ridley Scott said that the opening scene could take place on any planet, including Earth; where it is doesn't really matter. It merely serves to show how the Engineers create life - that being, they have to drink the squirmy black goo and sacrifice themselves in order to do so. This also serves to show that the specific type of "squirmy black goo" that the Engineer is drinking breaks down his body.

Unknown planet Earth black goo, courtesy of albino body builder Sacrificial Engineer
Because, not to get ahead of myself, but ^^^ that goo ^^^ is completely different from this goo >>>

LV-223 black goo, courtesy of David's sneaky finger
Okay, maybe the pictures don't do it justice, but I swear they weren't the same. Or at least they didn't look the same to me. The goo in the beginning of the movie seemed to bubble, and also had an oil-like quality in that it had sheens of other colors, specifically gold...while the goo that they find on LV-223 seems more slow-moving and goopy, and is distinctly black.

But anyway, I digress.

So the Engineers can only create life through sacrifice, while we, the humans they essentially constructed, can for all intents and purposes beget it freely. Now, even if the two black goos are one and the same, it still makes sense that despite the closeness of our DNA to theirs, the goo would have different effects on those who can create life through procreation vs. those who cannot do so.

Now, the religious aspects of this film are obvious. Or rather, some of them are and some of them I suppose you have to dig a little deeper to find. I'm going to stick with the more obvious ones - the fact that the good ship Prometheus arrives at LV-223 at Christmas time, and the fact that they date the death of the Engineers on LV-223 at about 2,000 years prior to their arrival on that planet. See what I mean by obvious?

There has been some speculation (and okay, some comments by Ridley Scott) about the fact that, well, of course the Engineers decided to do away with humans...after they sent one of their own to Earth to check us out and we, you know, crucified him. I actually don't like this idea because compared to the rest of the movie it's just too obvious, in my opinion. I guess I have to go with it, as it came straight from Ridley's mouth, but before I read that interview I was thinking more along the lines of the fact that by that time, what with the Romans running around everywhere "conquering" and just the general state of humanity as a whole, perhaps the Engineers had gotten a bit tired of our silly games and decided to cut the chord. I suppose they could have sent someone down for a "one last chance" type of situation, in which case I would still be able to hold to my original theory, but...meh.

Dear Earthlings: You think you're hot shit, but look at this awesome map we created. By the way, we're coming to kill you.
I think there are other things implied here as well. Perhaps the Engineers were jealous that we could "make" new people without sacrifice. Or perhaps they didn't care for our obsession with immortality, something that goes back basically to the beginning of time anyway. Regardless, they wanted to destroy us. I can't say I blame them.

It becomes pretty clear - early on, in my opinion - that LV-223 is not the Engineers' home planet. Finally the ship captain gives us the perfect explanation for what LV-223 is - a sort of scientific/military installation, far removed from the Engineers' actual home because hey, they're smart like that. I mean who wants to play around with biological engineering in their own backyard, hmm? HMMMMMM?

I mean really, why would the Engineers give a crap if some past creation showed up and destroyed this wasteland?
And I don't think Elizabeth Shaw was wrong to assume that the cave paintings were meant as an invitation. Because all the Engineers were doing was inviting us to said scientific/military installation...which, no matter how you look at it, would be far safer than them inviting us to their home planet. To give even more meaning to the supposed "invitation", well, shit, they could very well have been inviting us back to the very place where they figured out how to create us. Who says they were only there to create the goo-ological weapon meant to destroy us? They could have been using this planet as their scientific/military base for as long as they'd needed one, no? In which case, they were not only keeping their home planet safe but they were also bringing us back to our true birthplace.

As I said before, even if you insist on believing that the black goos in the opening scene and on LV-223 are the same, to me it makes sense that despite our DNA being very similar to that of the Engineers, it would have different effects on us, because we can procreate. It would especially have different effects on women - hence the fact that it basically took over Holloway's and Fifield's bodies yet "merely" impregnated Shaw.

Oh hai Fifield, I take over your body and mind and make you super crazy strong zombie type!
Shaw! Woman! Uterus! Weird alien octopus baby! OF COURSE!
Hokay, so, obviously when the Engineers created this "other black goo", things got out of hand and it turned on them. Or if it's not different, they did something that led to it getting out of hand. My best guess in regards to this latter theory is that they had humans there at some point (either brought them back from Earth or just created some more, either is plausible when you think about it) and were experimenting on those humans with the black goo...and realized too late that it didn't effect/infect humans the way it effected/infected themselves. Which makes sense period, but again it especially makes sense in the case of female humans as we women (!!!girl power!!! ???or...not???) can create life in ways both the Engineers and male humans cannot.

Honestly, I'm giving myself a headache just rehashing all this stuff for what is now probably the third time, so we're just going to skip to the ending. Because until we see the Xenomorph-type alien break its way out of the now-dead last Engineer on LV-223, we haven't seen a live being quite like that throughout the entire film. Which is probably why so many people are all "HUH WTF" as to how Prometheus is a prequel to the Alien movies.

Am I ancestor to the Alien xenomorphs? Or cousin? You may never know...
This is probably the part I'm most confused about, because my assumption was that previously the Engineers and their black goo had not created such a creature. If this was a non-Ridley Scott prequel, I would say that the Xenomorph-thing at the end is the predecessor of the ones we see in the original Alien. But because it is Ridley Scott, of course he had to throw that sort of temple room into the ship on LV-223, in which we see portrayals of Xenomorphs. Damn you, Ridley Scott ::shakes fist::

But all that said, I still can't not like it. In fact I like it a lot. And I still can't understand why people think it has nothing to do with the original Alien films, or think that it's disjointed, that it doesn't make any sense, or myriad other things that I've heard.

I mean shit, if anything it's at least *WAY* better than Alien 3 or Alien Resurrection. Come. On. ;)

And on a final note, I feel the need to link you to Prometheus in 15 Minutes, because, well, it's all kinds of hilarious. And also, because reasons. :D
Pin It

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Confessions: I'm a mess.



I confess...that I'm all over the place with this blog and I know that. I've just been so freaking busy with my day job, the band, and other things that I took on and now don't have the time for. Sigh.

I confess...that I really liked Prometheus and I think people who didn't like it just didn't get it ::shrug:: May need to make a post re: my thoughts on the movie sometime soon.

I confess...that I'm just in general in a weird place in my life right now. I don't know.

Pin It

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Honey Sesame Chicken over Cheesy Rice

Ingredients
 
 One package bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (3-4 breasts)
salt and pepper
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion (I used a red onion)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds
3 scallions, chopped
Shredded cheese, such as cheddar (a cup or two, depending on how many people you're serving)


- Lightly season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, put into crock pot.

- In a medium bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 8 hours.

- Place chicken over cooked rice and spoon some sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese, sesame seeds and chopped scallions.
Pin It

Friday, June 15, 2012

Life is full of surprises...

I've sang - and loved doing so - for as long as I can remember. The first time I had a solo, in front of other people, was at 8 years old - my dad and I sang "Silent Night" together at church. I was very sporadic about my involvement with this talent, though...until high school and my first couple years of college, anyway. And then as I approached my graduation from Longwood, and in the years following...I fell away from it again. I don't know why, other than that I supposed I didn't have time for it. Or rather, didn't want to make time for it.

Last year I did the band thing for a few months, but I think none of us was really committed to our particular group and things just sort of drifted apart. I was disappointed but I understood why it happened. There was no bad blood, and when the bassist from that band called me about this new one (well, new to me anyway) I knew that I had to give it a shot.

And holy crap, am I glad I did. I've sang a few shows with them now, but last night was a totally different animal - Spartanburg, South Carolina's Music on Main...and we were the featured band!


I didn't feel nervous. I didn't drink. I had a ton of fun.

They said it was one of the biggest crowds they've *EVER* had.

It's funny. Marc, who is the one that basically started JUNO - at least in its current form - said that he feels like we are a [slightly dysfunctional] family. I like that. I hope that it continues.

I wish more of the photos were up, but as of right now the only ones of me...well, I look awkward, haha. I need to learn to...not stand so straight, move around some more. Supposedly I have "good stage presence" (at least, a few people have told me that in the past few weeks)...but I don't see or feel that. And the pictures I've seen so far certainly don't show it! Ah well...at least I've got the singing in front of a crowd part down ;)


So please excuse me if my entries have been or continue to be a bit disjointed at the moment, because to be honest...I'm out living my life.

And so far, I'm loving it.
Pin It

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: Free Writing Prompt

Free Writing Prompt
Post a photo and write (for 20 minutes) about it, using the phrase, "This is a photograph of..." to start.




This is a photograph of, well, my car. My current car, that is. It's a 2008 4-door Volkswagen GTI and I've had it since January 2008. This is actually the longest I've owned *any* car, but I can't imagine giving this baby up because I just love it. It's cute and peppy and fun to drive, though to be honest I'm not a big lover of driving.

Previously I'd owned quite a few cars...a '99 VW Beetle, a 2003 Chevy Blazer, a 2004 Chevy Silverado SS, a 2007 Chevy Monte Carlo...but this car, my GTI, was the first car that I really took time to research and choose. I looked at the Mercedes C300 and the Toyota Prius as well...I may have [very briefly] entertained thoughts about buying a Mustang or a Charger...but in the end the GTI won out, and I've loved it ever since :)

This car has lived in two different states (South Carolina and Connecticut) and traveled through...oh, I don't know, something like fourteen states (on top of the aforementioned two). I've taken it on skiing trips in Vermont and Mass, and summer trips to New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine. I made my way up to Connecticut and back to South Carolina in it, driving through New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina along the way. And I've been on vacation in it as well - to Florida and Tennessee, amongst other destinations located in the aforementioned states.

I'm not quite sure why I'm so attached to this car. I suppose it could have something to do with the fact that right when I got it is when I started making some major changes in my life, changes that stemmed from both good and bad decisions. But as I already mentioned, it's just a great all-around car and I think that's most of the reason I love it so much.

My only regret is that it's an automatic, not a stick shift. Why did I get an automatic? Well...I can't drive stick. I mean, I probably could...I would just have to re-learn, and therein lies the problem. Back at the end of high school I learned to drive stick on my dad's 1967 VW Bug...unfortunately, I had just barely gotten the hang of it when I moved away from home. Several years later, when Ex and I had just gotten married, I asked if he would help me re-learn.

In the words of Vivian Ward (if you don't know who that is, shame on you), "Big mistake. Big. Huge!"

Basically he had a 1995 Ford Mustang with God knows how many miles on it (it was a lot - well over 100k, from what I remember), but he thought that car was hot shit (this was 2003, mind you) and he very obviously could not deal with the small amount of abuse it would take as I learned to drive it properly. Him not being able to deal with this resulted in him yelling at me, freaking out on me, scaring the ever-loving crap out of me really. And all that led to me deciding that learning to drive stick wasn't worth it. And ever since, well, just the thought of trying to learn again practically gives me a panic attack. Sad, no?

Well, my 20 minutes is up! That was both harder than I thought it would be, but not that hard at all...if you catch my drift :) (Oh gah, there's a "That's what she said" in there somewhere, I can feel it) Too bad I didn't stick to the topic of what was in the picture the entire time I was writing...haha
Pin It

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Confessions



I confess...that I'm now a maintainer of our band's Facebook page and WOW I hate the new Facebook pages. They are *so* messy and confusing and apparently you can't invite fans of your page to events anymore??? WTF.

I confess...that I'm a dead girl walking today. Seriously, I'm exhausted beyond belief. I blame my 6:30 AM bedtime yesterday.

I confess...that I actually have a free night tonight - for the first time in I can't remember how long - and I don't even know what to do with it/myself.

Pin It

Friday, June 8, 2012

Family History Friday: I think we need to talk about Steve.

Yes, Steve is my husband, not a blood relative - ha, yeahhh we'll have to get into that later ;) - but I think he deserves a "Family History Friday" post because we *are* married and therefore he *is* my family. To be honest we've been dealing with some stress at home (nothing we can't/won't work through and nothing in regards to our relationship with each other, thankfully) and I thought it would be nice to, well, give him a more "official" introduction here on my blog. I sort of stole this idea from Kristen at All In My Twenties, but I swear I'm going to do my best to "make it my own" :)

Now, it's not that I don't write about Steve in here. I do...though maybe not as often as I should. He's not so much my other half as he is an important part of my whole (if that makes sense, haha), so without further ado...who wouldn't/couldn't love this guy?


In the past I've mentioned that he can cook, that he treats me better than I ever thought was possible, that he essentially saved me from becoming any more cynical and distant than I already was in regards to relationships. But none of that says very much about who he is, really, so today he gets his own sort of introduction post!


Steve is...

From a very old New England family - on both sides. He can trace his lineage back to the Mayflower and at this point we know that about 99% of his relatives came straight from England.

Originally a Rhode Islander, and though he spent most of his life in Connecticut he's still a Rhode Islander at heart ;)

An awesome engineer and a really hard worker. He puts in 50-60 hour work weeks and still brings projects home with him on a regular basis. I wouldn't call him a workaholic but the dedication he's had to his jobs since I've been with him (and surely before) is amazing and deserves *so* much respect.

Going gray. Fairly quickly. I'm pretty sure he doesn't like it very much but I think it's sexy :D

Fluent in French due to having spent a year there as an exchange student waaayyy back when we were in high school.

Probably the most honest, up-front, and LOYAL person I've ever known. He keeps a tight circle of close friends but once you are in that circle, you are IN. Likely for life, unless *you* screw it up somehow...haha.


Steve loves...

Brownies
Bacon
Coffee/Espresso
Cats
Reddit
Star Wars
The Smiths
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Amelie
Hiking/Camping/Backpacking
...and me, duhhh


Other random tidbits about Steve include...

He used to say that he wasn't a dog person, but then he met my dog Miss Wendy and it's been all down uphill from there.

If he can at all help it, he will not kill any bugs. Including spiders. I have to insist that he dispense with the poisonous ones, seriously.

When I took him on his VERY FIRST CRUISE EVER for his 30th birthday, he claimed that the absolute best thing about it was being able to find a coconut, crack it open, and drink the milk inside.

He's not a class clown type, but on a regular basis he'll come up with the most hilarious sayings/faces/jokes/etc. Though sometimes I'm the only one who gets them...i.e. his "Sawyer from LOST face"...


He can pick up a guitar and start playing what seem to be random chords, realize that he knows them from some song or other, and then just suddenly play the whole damn thing even if he's never played it before! Also, he won't admit it but he can sing very well...and he played the trombone in high school.

As much as he loves the internet, he hates Facebook, doesn't get Twitter and though he has both, probably only uses them about three times a year.

He loves cuddling/being close; he's very affectionate. This is something I've always felt a bit awkward about - I'm not a touchy-feely person at all, and Ex was a withholder rather than a giver of affection - but Steve has definitely helped me open up a lot in regards to this.



I asked some friends, "If you could ask me something about Steve/our relationship, what would it be?"

When was the first time you knew you loved Steve?

 You know...this is a really difficult question! I suppose I didn't truly know that I loved him until we told each other as much, which was literally four weeks after we started dating/seeing each other/whatever it was. (August 23, 2008 being the latter date; September 20, 2008 being the former)

Looking back, though, I knew I loved him and didn't want to admit it much earlier. I'd pinpoint September 1, 2008 (Labor Day) as the day when I realized what type of man had been placed before me. I can't even really describe why...though I think it had a lot to do with the way he looked at me that day when we parted ways. I doubt anyone has ever given me a look so sincere, so open.

Granted, we were officially introduced in 1998, knew *of* each other before that, were acquaintances and eventually friends and at one point a bit more before losing touch for a few years, so it wasn't as if we met and started dating and I fell in love with him a couple weeks week later. There was history there, and I think we only ever needed the tiniest push to realize what we could be :)

What little things does he do for you that you appreciate more and more each time?

Hmm. As day-to-day stuff go we're both really bad at just...keeping up. We allow ourselves to get distracted, allow ourselves to put off the things we don't want to do, etc. So as much as I wish I could say "I love waking up in the morning and not having to ask him to make a pot of coffee" or "I love when we finish eating and he jumps to do the dishes for me because I cooked"...stuff like that just doesn't happen often enough to be an honest answer to this question.

So this is probably going to sound shallow, but I have to say that I love how he will randomly tell me I'm beautiful or sexy. Seriously, it's often at the most unexpected times, even when I've got no makeup on and my hair is a mess and I'm wearing ratty PJs. It's not so often that it gets old and I can always tell that he means it...and considering I'm not getting any younger/thinner/better looking it's nice to be informed that at least he thinks "I've still got it", haha.

Oh, he's also good about keeping up with the cat litter boxes without needing a reminder ;)

What talents or skills does he have that knocks your socks off?

He's really great at whipping up random dishes in the kitchen. Like he just knows, automatically, what spices and flavors go best with stuff. I'm really good at the cooking aspect of cooking - changing amounts per our tastes, knowing exact cooking times, etc. - but he's way better at adding new ingredients and having them be the perfect ones.

Also, he remembers every random little fact he reads/hears. Now, this doesn't mean that he remembers important things that I tell him (haha...no but really I lose count of how many times I have to remind him of vacation dates and whatnot)...but for example, if he read an article 7 years ago about some company that creates pristine diamonds, you can guarantee that he will remember the process, the company name, the location, how many people worked there, etc. etc. etc. I honestly don't know where he puts all this completely useless information, but it's alllll in there somewhere. haha

What are some of his "quirks" that you find incredibly endearing (even if they might also be frustrating sometimes)?

 Oh man, he'll probably get mad at me if he ever reads this, but he kind of stutters sometimes. Usually he just talks really fast to keep himself from stuttering, but once in a while he "slips". He hates it, but honestly I find it just that - endearing. Sometimes when he gets really worked up and I'm trying to get a word in edgewise it can be a bit frustrating, but most of the time I either don't mind it or think it's kinda cute ;)

I suppose I should mention something that wouldn't embarrass him as well, haha. He is OBSESSED with brownies. Like will get up at 4 AM and stand in the kitchen in his underwear and eat half a pan of them. I find this endearing because, well, it is, in a funny sort of way. Also it means that he is pretty darn easy to please...all I have to do is bake him a pan of brownies and it makes his day. But it does get a bit frustrating when he runs out of brownies less than 48 hours after I bake them and ends up raiding the pantry and eating every bite of chocolate in the house because, well, a girl needs her chocolate too!


Anyway, Steve is a fairly private person and I've tried to only share things he would be comfortable with me sharing (minus that one thing, oops, haha) so I think I'll leave this here for now :) But needless to say we obviously have a lot in common and, well, I'm doubtful anyone could put up with me the way he does ;)
Pin It