Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Looper (+ a few other movies)

Lots of movies lately. Let me give you the (very short) rundown ...
  • Looper - See it. So good. I am not going to give away too much because ... well ... you just really need to see if for yourself. But seriously, well acted and well directed. A really good story, and even though it is far-fetched, they really make it work and set it up perfectly at the beginning. Oh, and what they did to JGL face makes him totally look like a young Bruce Willis.
  • Celeste and Jesse Forever - Quality. Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg are amazing.
  • Bachelorette - Overall, not as good as Hangover or Bridesmaids (which is the genre it falls into), BUT anything with Kirsten Dunst is generally good. I haven't seen her in a movie in a long time, so it was refreshing. And she did a great job in the role and brought it to a nice level. 
  • Hit and Run - Pretty good, worth a laugh. Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are great together on screen (since they are actually together in real life).
  • The Words - Skip it. It tries, it really does, but it just doesn't work. 
  • Premium Rush - Ok. It's pretty full of action and it all works. But it is not JGL's best work.
  • Bourne Legacy - Ok. But not as good as the Matt Damon movies.
  • The Master - Great acting. But I'm sorry, it was just really hard to watch it in the theater. DVD perhaps?
  • Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark - Still good all these years later. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The one in which I did a lot ...

As the title of this entry alludes to, there was a lot going on this weekend.

Also, it alludes to the fact that I have been watching way too much Friends as I titled it like the episodes, "the one ...". Oh dear.

September has been very busy and I cannot believe that there is just one more week left. What happened? School happened. Babies happened. Life happened.

The semester is off to a good start. I like my Monday class well enough, thought I am not looking forward to the final project. As for my Tuesday class - IDSC - I am only so-so about it. I should be doing my homework right now, but (obviously) I'm not. Thank goodness it is only a two credit and there are just four classes left. After this week, I will be over halfway done. Yay.

Back to the weekend.

Let's start with Thursday.

Thursday's are generally good ... especially when it is the Third Thursday of the month because that is when the Minneapolis Institute of Art does their fun themed evening event. Love it! I attend every single one. This month was typography. And among other fun activities, you could screen print your own fun little LP size poster. Awesome! I went a bit overboard and did 7. Hey ... I had to do all the different color combos.

Moving onto Friday.

Went to work. That was just awesome as always! I just love going to work. Love love love work. Yay!

Anyway ... after work I ran some quick errands including a stop to AT&T. So ... side story. I have been on my parents family plan with Tmobile for years. Years. Yeah ... it has worked out well for me. But, the contract expired on Friday and we decided to search out alternative options. During out time with Tmobile we have always had iPhones, we just pay for them in full. No buggy. But since the 5 is coming out, this seems like the perfect time to make the switch. Learned a lot about how the plans work and what the best choice would be from my chat with the semi-cute sales rep. 

Then I met up with some peeps and we went to opening night of the newly refurbished Uptown Theater. Ooooohhh. Ahhhhh. I had only been there a few times, but it looks nice. Comfy seats. Lots of leg room. Sound was kind of "eh" though. Saw The Master. I will say this much about it: the acting was incredible all around, but I just could not keep up with the story. See it, but maybe on DVD.

Then came Saturday.

Up nice and early ... to go to the office. Awesome! I prefer to just go in early on a Saturday and get some work done rather than dragging my computer home and dragging out the process and inevitably not getting as much done as I would have liked. The upside to working on the weekend: I always allow myself a stop at Starbucks for a treat!

After work I had a hair appointment (toned down the summer blonde, brought in some low-lights with my natural color to go for a bit more natural of a look, easier to maintain) but stopped off at a antique shop a friend recommend. Now, if you know me, you know I like estate sales and good thrift store finds. Part of it really is the search and the feeling when you find something truly unique. This store my friend recommend is called Hunt & Gather and is located at Xerxes and 50th. My friends in The Cities who like this sort of thing probably know all about it, but I had never been. Room after room after room after room (after room) of antiques. Everything from jewelry to furniture to clothes to frames to road signs to bowls full of scrabble letters to big signage letters to flash cards. EVERYTHING you could ever imaging from every estate sale, in one place. 

It really was neat to wander in the rooms, but it took away some of the fun of the hut itself for me. For example, I have always wanted to find some beautiful stand-alone letters from old store signs to spell out my name. I am always on the lookout! Well, this place had an entire room pretty much dedicated to these kinds of letters! I could have my pick. But the fun was lost, so I didn't really even bother.

Prices were very reasonable though and I probably will go back in the future just to look. I think it is a great place ... but I really don't need more "stuff".

Then came my hair appointment. Since September is "Save-tember", I took advantage of a great Living Social deal for a salon I hadn't tried before. Got $90 for the price of $45. Full foil was $120, plus tip. The whole thing cost me $67. Success!

Then it was time for opening night at the opera! And not just any opening night, but opening night of the season! Yay! I love the opera. The music, the production, the fan fare, the people watching. Everything. A friend even came along this time, so it was really fun to share the experience with someone! The performance was Verdi's Nabucco, and the soprano who played Abigaille was simply amazing. Her voice was beautiful and she has this incredible range. Wow!

Normally I wear my hair up when I go to shows, but since it had just been freshly blown out, I left it down and straight. Not the best photo, but you see the color.

And the evening gowns and furs and tuxes were in full force tonight. Love it! Wish I had a ball gown to sport. I'm telling you, next year I may just have to get one ...

And finally, there was Sunday.

Woke up a bit later than I would have liked and did some reading for my classes. Then went to brunch and proceeded to do even more reading for my classes (and I am still not done, FYI). 

Then, drove the one hour up to Taylor's Falls, a cute little town right on the border with Wisconsin where there is a nice State Park. Took advantage of my State Park pass and went out to do some hiking. It was a beautiful crisp fall day. Great for long pants and sleeves. Hiked the river path and then the bluff path for a nice circuit. Then headed back down to the river and just sat out on the rocks and read my Kindle while listening to the falls and enjoying the weather. Perfection.

Hehehe. Funny funny.
Drove back to the city. Cleaned the apartment. Made an incredible delicious stir fry for dinner. Did three loads of laundry and procrastinated on doing more school work. 

And that was my weekend. See. I told you I did a lot. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vintage Book Journals by Ex Libris Anonymous

A great idea. Seriously! And a great gift idea, too.

The folks over at Ex Libris Anonymous find vintage books and turn them into beautiful bound journals. They take the front and back covers, then fill them will lined paper (interspersed with some of the actual pages from the books ... title pages, "this book belongs to", illustrations, etc) and bind them. What ... a ... great ... idea!!!! And, they are only $14 each and shipping was only $1. Awesome!

And, the best part, they have an entire section dedicated to just Nancy Drew books. I am in heaven! I loved Nancy Drew books, I grew up on Nancy Drew books, I wanted to BE Nancy Drew. Read all the books, own a couple of early edition collectibles even.

Check out the site here: Ex Libris Anonymous

I will be buying these for gifts often now. Especially great if you happen to know a tidbit about the persona and what books they like. For example, if they are a Nancy Drew fan :). Or perhaps their favorite childhood book was Eloise. Or they love Around the World in 80 Days. Ok, I admit the Around the World in 80 Days reference is to myself. They actually have that one in stock and I almost bought it, but I thought I should start with one (two).

Here are the two I ordered. The first ND book - The Secret of the Old Clock - and another great find with an elegant cover. This second one must have had a dust jacket and this was what was underneath. Love how simple that one is.

I would so answer this call ...

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm worried she will be taught that it's not okay to mess up, learn from it and apologize, because no one wants your apology, just your suffering on camera.

Such a good article. Read!

"Trampire:" Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women
Nico Long
Huffington Post - 9.4.12

For the most part, I don't really care about the Robert Pattinson-Kristen Stewart breakup, because I don't know them, I don't like the Twilight movies and after suffering through David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, I'm very upset with Robert Pattinson. I don't care if Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders did it in a car, in a bar, in a house or with a mouse; I don't care if the entire relationship was staged for publicity (as many, including Angelina Jolie, are now alleging) or if Robsten were this generation's Cheng and Eng, severed by the knife of infidelity. This is because it's not my relationship to care about, and whatever does or does not stay in Robsten's bedroom is none of my beeswax, and it's none of America's either. If the news people need a story to cover, what about the millions of Americans living in poverty or the real violence that happens in our streets every day, the Chicago neighborhoods so dangerous they have been compared to Iraq? They say that if it bleeds it leads, but there's no blood in the Robsten breakup -- just two young people doing the very thing that makes them young: making bad decisions.

Yet Stewart's infidelity continues to be constant news, nearly a month after the split.

Part of the reason that Robsten doesn't matter to me, however, is that I am not a young woman today, and I'm glad that I'm not. For any girl growing up who pays attention to the media, it's a terrifying time to understand what it means to be a girl in society. From Rush Limbaugh, they've learned that they are prostitutes and "sluts" for wanting birth control and healthy reproductive options for women. From Todd Akin, they've learned that their bodies can magically judo chop any unwanted side effects of rape and that women somehow can be "illegitimately" raped. From Paul Ryan, they've learned that rape is just "another method of conception," which should be news to the makers of the Kama Sutra. And then Rape Culture Super-Defender Mike Huckabee chimed in by saying that "rape can create extraordinary people," because young women everywhere desperately needed his opinion on this issue. Thanks, Huck.

Although young girls might not be paying attention to the "War on Women" rampant in the media this year, as women's bodies and reproductive rights continue to be a wedge campaign issue, the Robsten breakup has been everywhere and certainly on their radars and will remain so with the final Twilight installment due this Fall. Since the first premiered in 2008, the Twilight film series has been a massively popular global phenomenon, and the movies have taken in over a billion dollars in the United States alone. Until she was usurped by Scarlett Johansson's hefty paycheck for The Avengers 2, these films and Snow White and the Huntsman made Kristen Stewart the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. Because of this, Stewart and Bella Swan (the vacuous damsel in emotional distress she portrays in Twilight) have come to be symbols of young women today, whether we like it or not. (I'm not personally jazzed about Bella Swan being a symbol for anything.) Stewart's every single red carpet pout, frowny face, lip bite and eye roll has been obsessively overanalyzed by the media, in the same way that women's bodies are in general so open to scrutiny, ridicule and debate in today's society. The media beatings that Sarah Jessica Parker and Hilary Swank take for not fitting the norm of Hollywood glamor highlight the restrictive expectations we have for women today. We are shocked when women don't fit into that narrative, and the scrutiny is especially harsh when every blogger in the world is ready to tear you apart. Like the camera, the media adds 10 pounds.

Such is the case with Stewart. Because Stewart has been acting since she was nine and appearing in major Hollywood films since she was 12, there's a sense of fatigue and discomfort with the system about Kristen Stewart, in many ways the Jodie Foster of her generation. Like Foster (who recently came out in support of K-Stew), Stewart's always been too private and too smart for the media attention surrounding her. Although Megan Fox and Katherine Heigl are widely unpopular for being outspoken, what made the ubiquitously awkward Stewart even more of a public piƱata was her attachment to Robert Pattinson, the erstwhile James Dean of today, the object of every other tween girl's affections. Her ever-tabloided relationship made her an object of vicarious wish fulfillment, jealousy and scorn. If Kristen Stewart has the "perfect boyfriend" and the "perfect life," why can't she just look happy? Why doesn't she seem more gracious? Why can't she just smile for the cameras like she's supposed to?

Because Stewart's clear dislike of the charade of celebrity breaks the fourth wall of what we expect of women today, it's hardly surprising that the public dogpiled on her in wake of the Robsten breakup. Fans took to Twitter and the blogosphere to voice their disbelief, call her a "whore" and a "homewrecking slut," inform her that she'll never do better than Robert Pattinson and make threats on her life, supposedly on behalf of all women torn apart by the break up. One female fan even filmed a reaction video on YouTube to publicize her devastation, a segment similar in tone to Chris Crocker's now infamous "Leave Britney Alone!" video.

In response, Will Ferrell satirized the public outcry on Conan in a fake emotional meltdown he had on the show, one in which he referred to Kristen Stewart as a "trampire." It's brilliant.

But America, too oblivious to realize it was being made fun of, latched instead onto that single word: trampire. A Google search of "Kristen Stewart" and "trampire" now pulls up over a million hits, including for a website t-shirt retailer now profiting off of Stewart's breakup by selling "Kristen Stewart is a trampire" tees. They come in three colors: blue, white and orange, for those who want to dress like a traffic cone while slut shaming someone. (Apparently, misogyny is the hot look for this Halloween season.) For those who feel truly invested in the breakup and have some spare cash, Skreened also made you "Kristen Stewart F-ing Sucks" and "Robert Pattinson Can Do Better" shirts.

In response to this public bullying, Kristen Stewart was dropped from the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, and rumors are that the follow-up will instead feature Chris Hemsworth in the lead. They're calling it The Huntsman. You know things have gotten bad when the studio doesn't just fire you from a film; they're so afraid of being associated with your scandal that they're firing your entire character.

As Jodie Foster argued in her op-ed for The Daily Beast on the K-Stew scandal, "this too shall pass," and Kristen Stewart is intelligent and well-possessed enough to survive this public media lynching. She's young and she made a mistake. It's hardly the first time that a 22-year-old has had an affair, and I'm not concerned for Kristen Stewart. She'll be fine, and this scandal will die down soon enough. The worst is already over.

But for young women, the culture of slut shaming that the Kristen Stewart scandal represents won't go away. I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for all the young women today who are tuned into this scandal, ones who are learning that it's not okay to screw up, ever. Chris Brown can publicly beat the hell out of his girlfriend but still be played on the radio and win Grammys. However, if you ever cheat on your boyfriend, your life is over and no one will ever want to be associated with you. Almost no one will blame the much-older guy you cheated with, and it might actually make him more famous and help his career. Few will care that he was your boss and in a position of authority or that he may have have taken advantage of your youth and relative inexperience. Everything is your fault, and your life will be threatened over it. If you are a trampire, you will be publicly staked for it, even though cheater Ashton Kutcher recently emerged relatively unscathed by the media. No one asked for him to be fired from Two and a Half Men.

I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for my younger stepsister who has pictures of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on her walls, who idolizes and worships them, and who might grow up to hate Kristen Stewart for reasons she doesn't understand. I'm worried she will be taught that it's not okay to mess up, learn from it and apologize, because no one wants your apology, just your suffering on camera. I'm worried that she'll think its okay to harass and threaten women for their indiscretions, even if men get off scot-free. I'm worried she will think this culture of bullying, slut-shaming and rhetorical violence against women is the norm, because you get a t-shirt for it. I'm worried she will learn to internalize the shame brought on far too many women today, for having sexualities, for not being perfect, for not fitting into a box. I'm worried she'll believe men like Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee are right.

Because even if she doesn't know who Akin, Ryan and Huckabee are, even if she doesn't pay attention to politics or the radical right-wing GOP, she does pay attention to Twilight and Robsten. And if we want to empower her to be a strong, independently minded woman who knows that her body, sexuality and safety are legitimate and can stand up for her rights, we need to pay attention, too. This might seem ridiculous to us, and most people I know can't wait to stop talking about it. But for her, having this conversation makes a difference. Although no young woman shouldn't think it's okay to cheat, what we are teaching them right now is so much worse.

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