Monday, August 31, 2009

Economic Abuse and Kasia's Cause.

A story on the Miami Herald's Friday Business Report tells us that domestic violence shelters in South Florida have been seeing increases for emergency services of up to almost 40% in the last year. It's a tragic situation, one that is apparently being fueled by what is being called "economic abuse," a term used to describe domestic violence situations in which abusers withhold money from their victims in order to force them to stay with them. It's a common scenario - a woman (or man, although this is a rarer case) is dependent of someone who begins to abuse them and they have few resources at their disposal. Some of these people are illegal in the country and fear being deported. Many of these women also have children or end up pregnant which makes it especially difficult to leave their abusers. It's a sad state of affairs, and these shelters are in need of your help. You can hear more about it on the Herald's site.

Coincidentally, I ran in to this organization recently that is being proactive in helping our South Florida shelters and are even having a fundraiser this Wednesday!

It's unfortunate that I found out about this so late, but figured i'd share this final event with you all. An organization by the name of Kasia's Cause has been holding a fundraiser this month to help out Women In Distress of Broward County, a domestic violence shelter. They had participating spas and salons sell gift certificates from which a percentage would benefit the shelter, as well as a day where a percentage of gross sales at these establishments also went to the shelter. Although the main fundraiser is over, they are still selling gift certificates on their site which will benefit the shelter. Also, this Wednesday they're having an end of fundraiser event, a little party to celebrate all the good that was done (as well as acting as a final fundraiser in and of itself.) There's a $10 suggested donation and there will be complimentary cocktails as well as a silent auction. The party starts at 6:30pm at the The Bar at Level 25 in Brickell. Check the flyer for more details and make it out for this wonderful cause! Always be the change you wish to see in the world, even if you don't have much time to donate, maybe you can give an online donation (and vice versa: if you have time but no money, please donate that as it is just as valuable!)

Moment of Geek: True Blood!

Ahhhhh! It's almost the end of Season 2! I don't know what to think. I'm sure everything is going to turn out all right in the end, just like last season, but then again who knows. I'm definitely liking the Queen. Hoyt is stupid and needs to quit being a momma's boy (although I guess he's just trying to be good, it keeps kicking him in the face.) Tara needs a serious ass whooping already (as does her ex-drunk momma.) And who else was as amused as I was by seeing Eric dressed up as Lettie Mae? As much as I liked Bill before, even Eric brought up an excellent point: Bill DID let Sookie feed from him from the get go. And thinking about it, she DID start their relationship as a result of their meeting (and the consequent dreams of him thereafter, similar to her new dreams about Eric.) So is Sookie actually in love with Bill or was this just a side effect from drinking his blood? Hrm.... Jason's character is getting a little silly again, but I hope it gets better. Oh, and not to keep beating the Eric horse dead but, he was too cute talking to those kids. Ahhhhhh. September 13th is much too far! And what ever will we do with our Sunday nights (or in my case, Monday afternoons) once the season is over?!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sarkozy, Burqas, and The French Birkini

Should people be forced to wear bikinis and/or swim trunks at public pools?

That's the question on anyone's mind after reading about "Carole," a 35-year-old woman living in France who was prohibited from entering the public pool because she was wearing a birkini (which is basically like a full-body swimsuit that many Muslim women are beginning to wear.) Apparently, Carole's beliefs prevent her from wearing a more Westernized female swimsuit (such as a bikini) while at a public pool, and she would prefer to wear this full body suit instead. The lifeguard at the pool, however, told her she could not as the pool rules state that women must wear a "swimsuit" and that mean must wear "trunks" rather than regular shorts while at the pool. Already, there is a problem with his preventing her from entering the pool, seeing as how a birkini IS a kind of swimsuit (albeit a bit less traditional than, say, a bathing suit from a Victoria's Secret catalog.) However, she was told that her suit simply would not do because it would bring in too much bacteria in to the pool, and that it was a matter of hygiene. Now, why exactly would this be a problem? I would assume that at a public pool, chlorine would be used. The article does not state this, but I would also assume that she was not rolling around in dirt before she wanted to enter the pool. I'm not sure if she wore this birkini while walking to the pool (without anything else covering her), or if she changed when she got to the pool center. I can understand perhaps if all she wore on her (long? short?) trip from home to the pool was the birkini, because perhaps one would collect some dirt along the way. But then, wouldn't that happen to anyone who came to the pool? It doesn't seem anyone else was stopped and hosed down before entering the pool. So it seems that Carole alone was targeted for this kind of harassment. Why is this?

In recent months, there was already quite a stir in France due to Sarkozy's backing of a proposition to ban the use of burkas in the country. Apparently, many individuals disapprove of burqas because they feel it is a part of a radical Islam they would prefer not to have in their country. I can see how burqas can be seen as a symbol of chauvinism and a religiously-fueled patriarchy, which holds women as lower-class citizens who should have no public identity. But the use of a burqa in a country like Afghanistan is clearly not the same thing as the use of a burqa in a country like France. Afghan women were forced to wear burqas, and while they are free to no longer wear them, many still continue to do so. Is it because they want to? Or is it due to societal pressures which continue? These are valid questions. But in France, where (to my knowledge) the burqa has never been an article of clothing that women were forced to wear (either due to law or cultural/societal pressure), can one really make an argument that women should not be allowed to wear it? The feminist in me doesn't understand why anyone who doesn't have to wear a burqa would want to wear one and hopes for the day when people no longer find it necessary to wear, but the anthropologist in me realizes that there are many different reasons as to why one would want to wear one, and that we should respect the wishes of these individuals.

Sarkozy and the other French officials who are publicly decrying the use of burqas due to some of the negative connotations they might bring would be wise then to eliminate any other clothing which might have some negative historical connotations as well. It seems to me that Muslim women are being attacked for a simple choice of clothing, which is completely unfair. These women are not fighting for non-Muslim women in France to be forced in to wearing burqas, so why should they be forced not to wear them if they so choose? Why is a woman like Carole, who is obviously trying to assimilate her beliefs by wearing the birkini, then be forced out of a public pool? Who is she offending?

I don't think that the use of burqas (or in Carole's case - birkinis) is simple a matter of "burqas are oppressive so let's just get rid of them." Change takes time and because burqas have been around for centuries, I don't see them disappearing just yet. I also don't see it as fair to ban one person's choice of clothing over another (should certain sects of Christian women - who cover their head for church then be stripped of the veils they wear? Is it a matter of private versus public life? Should nuns give up their habits? Isn't that oppressive - we don't see priests covering their heads, do we? Etc, etc, etc.) I understand that perhaps it isn't fair to compare one to the other, and that there has been a lengthy history of violence toward women who did not want to wear their burqas in certain cultures. But creating a law against the usage of burqas is not only intolerant, it may force some women to retreat to countries where the use of burqas is standard, and where perhaps their daughters (who were originally choosing not to have to wear burqas like their mothers) will now be forced in to wearing them.

It's a slipper slope, and France should know better than to try to implement this kind of zero-tolerance policy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

(Mostly) Local Headlines Of The Week!

I've been a little preoccupied since I began school this past Wednesday, so I apologize for the silence around here. I'll try to up it to at least one post a day (although that might be striving for a bit much.) Either way, here's some stuff you may have missed during the week that I thought was interesting for x, y, and z reasons!

The Herald actually wrote about a local vegan baker! Pretty exciting stuff in this city of many carnivores. I haven't actually had these yet, but I did go to The Last Carrot not long ago where I saw they had vegan cake by Peace-A-Cake, who are also mentioned in the article. Methinks it's time to take another trip down to the Grove!

Haulover Park is going to be collecting certain kinds of recyclables this weekend (including things like computers, printers, TVs, batteries, and more.) Check out the article to find out if your items are on the recyclable list. Apparently this is going to be benefitting a women's shelter, although I'm not sure what they'll be doing with my old batteries. Either way, good cause so go support!

In even more exciting news... A new farmer's market is gonna be appearing in my neighborhood soon! Apparently this Kenyan couple have decided to put together a farmer's market starting this October over at The Falls' Shopping Center's parking lot! I'm pretty psyched as that would be the closest farmer's market to me yet!

Sabbath Memorial Rescue (whom I've blogged about before) just got a story in the Miami Herald regarding some help they're now receiving from another shelter in Broward County. Very cool, indeed.

Strides are currently being made to find a way to rid Florida of its' ban on gay adoption. Currently, the ban is in the appeals court, but it might eventually make it's way to FL's supreme court. See more about it here:

And in related news, Uruguay has approved a bill to allow gay adoption in their country. Although a progressive first step, we now wait with baited breath to see how their Senate takes it. If approved, I will be stunned. No, but really, if approved, they would be the first Latin American country with such a law, which will surely pave the way for other countries to begin the process of doing the same.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Farewell, Ted Kennedy.

I couldn't really write an obit or anything really about the passing of Edward "Ted" Kennedy, because I didn't know him and quite frankly didn't know much about his life. I realize, though, that he was an important man who pushed some of the most important legislation in the last few decades. I also realize he was a flawed man whose personal life was doused with controversy and tragedy. I leave you then, with his NY Time's obituary, which in 7 pages, surmises some of Ted's lowest and highest points, as well as his impact on our government and country.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Trailers!

Alright.... Let's do this!

Adoration - Saw this trailer when I went to see Moon. I really like the different point of view this film is using, which might make it a bit controversial, but in my eyes will just make it much more worth my while.

Amreeka - Love this trailer. About immigrants, about the unique experience of being from Gaza, about cultural miscommunications, about humanity. Dig it. Not to mention it looks like it'll have plenty of funny parts.

Good Hair - Thank you, Chris Rock, for making a (feminist?) film that praises our differences and challenges the bullshit that little girls have to grow up with and grown women have to live with.

Inception - Nolan/Dicaprio's latest. Nice to see DiCaprio doing something with someone other than Scorsese, without lowering his standards. Phenomenal cast including Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine back from their previous Nolan stint on The Dark Knight, as well as Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ellen Page, and Marion Cotillard.

Youth In Revolt - Michael Cera is obviously the voice of a new generation of nerd boys who are tired of getting wedgies and are now actively "going for the girl" and whatnot. Looks alright.

We Live In Public - Interesting documentary about REAL reality tv.

Black Dynamite - 70's blaxploitation films make a come back? Looks like! Gotta raid my boyfriends' Rudy Ray Moore films...

Bronson - I don't know much of the back story to this but it looks interesting.

Book of Blood - Clive Barker has a new film! And it looks like it came straight out of the 80's.

The Undying - Honestly... this just kinda looks good for a few laughs.

Me and Orson Welles - I don't know much about Zac Efron except he's some up and coming pretty boy. But i'll admit I'm intrigued by anything with Orson Welles' name in the title.

Stake Land - I mistook this for some kind of ku klux klan related film at first, until I realized it has to do with vampires. Interesting trailer nonetheless!

The Florida Python Problem

For years, pythons not native to the Everglades have slowly become a big problem here in Florida. They have become the unfortunate killers of many individuals (usually children and pets) and the state is now trying to do something about it. The state is even promoting the hunting and killing of these animals, who are just as much victims as those that they inevitably consume. See, the problem is not the snakes. It's people. These snakes have been transported from other countries for sale in the U.S. and then ignorant children and their ignorant parents buy pet pythons thinking "Wow, what a cool pet!" Like many pets, pythons eventually begin to overstay their welcome in the cushy suburban homes of these careless individuals. Either they get too big, or people decide they rather have a dog, or they just decide they don't want the animals anymore. Whatever the case, instead of finding a proper place to leave the pythons (some kind of animal shelter/rescue), they decide to go to places like the Everglades and let the snake go on its' merry way. "They'll fit right in!" they seem to believe, and apparently they do thrive in that environment. All too well. These snakes grow and procreate and grow and eat and grow and keep on growing. Pythons that once fit inside a small tank inside some 13 year old's bedroom have now surpassed their former owner in length. These animals are predators and know how to survive. And when there isn't enough to eat in the swamps, they decide to find food elsewhere. They make their way back to the cities and eventually become a "nuisance" to the rest of us.

Luckily, the state is already looking to find ways to nip this problem in the bud. For one, they recently approved a bill that would prevent the importation and interstate transit of Burmese and African rock pythons. This is definitely a step in the right direction. However, more needs to be done. The mother of a baby girl that was strangled to death by a pet python is now being charged in the child's death. She and her boyfriend are both being held responsible, and while these people have surely undergone a terrible ordeal, I can certainly understand how this is also clearly a case of negligence. Who has a pet python when you have a baby in the house? Why was this snake so easily able to find its' way to the child? It's unfortunate, but people need to understand that wild animals such as pythons are not good pets. They should not be in your homes, and if you do have them, you should not dispose of them in the wild, where they could grow and find their way to a new victim.

Please write to your representatives (including Florida Senators Martinez and Nelson) and let them know that killing these pythons is wrong and that we need to find another way of disposing of them, or at the very least, we need to implement stricter regulations in order to ensure that this problem finally ends (such as putting a ban on the sale of pythons, creating laws and harsher punishments against abandoning animals in the wild, etc.)

Lunch Time!

I've always been a big fan of lunch boxes. I carried one all throughout elementary school, the bulky plastic kind with things like My Little Pony and Popples and Minnie Mouse on the cover. They were always filled with the yummiest snack foods (although perhaps they were not the healthiest), like Doritos and Handi Snacks and Little Debbie Cakes. When I got to middle school, I began to feel like lunch boxes were too juvenile for my new, cool 12-year-old self, so I carried my lunches in brown paper bags. Once I got to high school, and inspired by the Marilyn Manson Spooky Kid subculture, the lunch boxes came right back. I had a Dennis the Mennis box and a Minnie Mouse box that I eventually covered in band stickers and cut-outs from magazines I used to read. I haven't added to my collection much since then unfortunately, only 1 new Hello Kitty lunch box, but maybe i'll start again soon. This inspiration comes from the Smithsonian's American History Museum's latest exhibit - Taking America To Lunch!

The exhibit has lunch boxes on display from as far back as the 1800s and as varied as The Flying Nun and Kung Fu to Kiss and the Harlem Globe Trotters. What an awesome idea for an exhibit! My only qualm is that they only display lunch boxes as recent as the 1980's, which leaves out all my childhood boxes from the early 1990's. The museum's gift shop even has a few commemorative boxes available to purchase (although you could also find some of these gems on eBay.) If you're in D.C., definitely check it out and maybe pack a lunch and have a little picnic out on the National Mall afterwards!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reviews: Moon.

Sometimes you watch a movie and you're on the fence as to whether it was truly great or greatly lacking. You weigh the pros and cons and then you either keep thinking about it, or end up forgetting. If the film in question stays with you, if its ominous feeling continues to envelope you hours and days afterward, then know that the film is good. Moon is one of those films. I was a little weary at first, i'll admit. I saw the trailers and was scared that Duncan Jones was going to attempt to re-make 2001: A Space Odyssey for a younger generation - a generation that seems to enjoy reality television over reality itself and whose attention spans are so short (and egotism is so large) they need to twitter before, during, and after going to the bathroom. And I was almost sure it would be just that within the first minute, upon seeing the big, 4-letter title on the screen. Compare title shots:

(I realize that the title short for Moon isn't exactly the same, but you have to admit there are some similarities.)

It took maybe 5 more minutes of watching this film, however, that I came to realize it was nothing at all like Kubrick's Odyssey. This was a film all its' own. Sam Rockwell stars as Sam Bell, an average guy who happens to work at a space station on the moon, collecting a new kind of fuel for the Earth. He's been there for 3 years, all alone, with only a computer named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey) to keep him company (which did remind me a little of HAL at some points, until you realize that he isn't anything like HAL either.) Sam is doing everything he can to stay sane as he only has 2 weeks left on the moon, but the isolation begins to get to him. He gives proper names to all the computers and monitors in the station (all bearing biblical names like Mark and Luke and Judas) and even speaks to his plants, to whom he's even given some kind of life story to.

That's honestly as far as I think any reviewer can go without giving away too much (and thankfully the people who created the trailer were wise enough to keep most of the story out of the trailer as well.) From there, Sam begins to lose it. He sees things and hears things that aren't there (or are they?) and pretty soon it's obvious that Sam is spiraling down mentally and emotionally. Rockwell had an extremely difficult and complex character to play, having to teeter between hopelessness and determination, being completely alone and then keeping himself company, being the rock upon which he has to stand. The film works on many levels. For one, it addresses to what lengths we're willing to go for science, or perhaps more succinctly to what lengths we're willing to go for our own selfishness. It explores the desperation that comes along with extreme isolation, not only in a physical way but in an emotional way as well. It also brings about that need to hold on to our humanity, to feel as Sam puts it to Gerty at one point, that we "can't be programmed," regardless of the circumstances.

The film would not work so well if it weren't for Clint Mansell, though. The composer/musician is truly one of the great kings of mood-setting. He's penned the score for other phenomenal films such as Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, and The Wrestler. He truly outdoes himself with Moon, though. There's something terribly hypnotic, hopeful, and intense about the music that plays throughout the film, chiming in at all the right moments with just the right amount of ferocity. Mansell's score is what ties the whole mood of the film together, truly.

For director Duncan Jones, there is no way of escaping the fact that he is David Bowies' son, and that it will always raise questions as to how influenced he's been by his father. I've read a few reviews now mentioning the possibly allusions to Bowie's song Space Oddity. I think i'll have to jump on the bandwagon and say that at the very least I can see a little of Major Tom in Sam Bell. But honestly, the film has so many more dimensions, so many more plot twists that I think Jones has created something all his own. Jones has created a character that could only exist in our time, one that is on the cusp of the present and the future, who embodies what we might become someday.

Thank you, Duncan Jones, for giving us an unforgettable science fiction film that might one day be science itself. Thank you, Sam Rockwell, for giving this performance your all. It really showed. It's a film that makes you want to keep believing, right up to the very end.


The LA Times has an article today about the new vegan fashion movement and how people no longer have to wear Birkenstocks and hemp dresses. They make mention at one point that we can now find clothing and shoes that isn't as cheap as Payless but isn't as ridiculously overpriced at Stella McCartney's line (where a coat can cost $2000 it seems.) However, where does that leave "good fashion"? I can buy a dress for just $800 instead? I'm happy that the Times are writing about vegan fashion, but I guess I'm still waiting for the vegan equivalent of The Limited to come around. Actually, no wait... cheaper still. Give me some Sweat-Free Vegan $20 pants and $10 shirts, someone! How about some animal-free Doc Marten type boots that won't cost me $50+? Anyone? Guess i'll have to stick to the thrift...

Besides, I kinda like those hemp dresses...

Jiminy Glick Interviews Ronald McDonald.

I'm not sure whether Martin Short is veg*n, but I know Andy Dick is. Either way, kudos to both for exposing yet-again the cruelty and greed of Ronald McDonald's corporation, in a humorous manner.

Moment of Geek: True Blood!

SurfTheChannel was being uncooperative today, so today's TrueBlood experience was achieved via TV Duck. Let's see.... We only got about 2 minutes of Eric-time, but it was probably a good thing. It was nice to see Bill as a competent character (mostly) after the last few episodes of him basically being tossed aside as a weak vampire. Jason Stackhouse and all his southern boy charm were at it again as he played "God" for a while. We're finally getting Tara back (now if only we can glamour the entire town of Bon Temps!) Maryanne is still a raging bitch and I can't wait for this season to be done so I can see how they get rid of her honestly. And now of course I'm also wonder, just what IS Sookie? Hrm... Questions, questions.

And now we get a new character! The Queen herself, Ms. Evan Rachel Wood (thanks, internet spoilers!) I don't really know much about her to be honest. She was in Running with Scissors (which apparently was a forgettable movie since I can't recall her or anyone else in it) and Across the Universe (which was nice visually, but was overrated I thought.) I do, however, recall her as a child in one of my favorite guilty pleasure girlie holiday films - Practical Magic, as Sandra Bullock's eldest daughter. So we'll see how this all pans out. Plus apparently she's going to be in the upcoming film American Pastoral, based on the very fantastic book by Philip Roth, so mad respect to a girl that wants to star in that (I haven't seen anything by director Phillip Noyce, but am hopeful he'll do good by the book.) Anyway... getting back to the subject at hand, here's the trailer for the next episode of True Blood!

I'm psyched for next week already!

X-Files 3?!?!

I'm sure if you know me (or if you've at least read this blog), you know I'm a HUGE X-Files fan. I started watching the show as a child and grew up watching it on Fox and FX respectively. I saw the first film in theaters and thought it was fantastic. Then, word of the 2nd film came out and I realized that I needed to watch the entire show over again from start to finish. It took my boyfriend and I about 7 or 8 months to get the job done, but we saw every single episode, plus the DVD extras. The first 8 seasons were phenomenal. Season 8's season finale was where I felt the show should have ended, but the nerd in me didn't care that the next season might suck and I kept going with it just for kicks. Season 9, well... had its pros and cons. Obviously the main con being very little Duchovney (though Agents Doggett and Reyes actually grew on me a whole lot and I even think a spin-off might have worked.) And then there was the series finale. What a waste.

Once us 'Philes found out about The X-Files: I Want To Believe, I think everyone was hoping for the closure we'd been waiting around for years to get. What ever happened to Doggett and Reyes? Does Scully ever get her kid back? Do the super soldiers finally disappear? What ever happened to all the aliens?! What about the black oil?!?! AHHH!!!!!

Seriously... too many questions. So Tony and I went for an early morning showing of IWTB and left completely disheartened. Sure, they gave us cute little quirks to remember (ie. Mulder being bored throwing pencils in to the ceiling) and we finally got some Mulder/Scully relationshipness (though it was too weird for me to see them cuddling THAT much), but where was the story? What was the point?

And therein lies the rub. After IWTB, I doubt many people were feeling another movie (because by this point you might feel it could only get worse.) However, some of us STILL want to believe, and have been holding our breath for a third and final XF movie that will make us as happy as we were after watching Jose Chung's From Outer Space and Bad Blood. Well, it seems that Gillian Anderson has made mention that there might possibly be a third film well on its way to being released in 2012!

*Jaw Drop!*

The Park Bench recently posted a list of things they feel need to happen for a new XF movie to be released. While I agree with most of it, I personally feel that we NEED the mythology to come rushing back in. To hell with the main stream audiences! Let them sit for 9 seasons and hundreds of hours before they pay to see a film. Seriously. Chris Carter needs to get the the teams of people who worked on his best episodes and get them all to create the best script ever made. And then we need resolution. We want Mulder and Scully to find William again, or at least know that he's okay. We want to figure out what happened to the Black Oil. Maybe some flashbacks with Cancer Man. Or make a big chart showing us just how many different kinds of aliens there really were. Give Scully and Mulder back their badges and their huge flashlights. Bring back the kind of creepy-weird shit that made Home such an amazing episode. Hell... Just make it GOOD again!

And, you know, maybe give Alex Trebek a cameo while you're all it. Cause you know we'll all dig it.

More news on this as it unfolds...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Marriage Is Gay!

Bryan Safi is host of one of the most entertaining shorts on Current TV - That's Gay! Here, he tackles the topic of Gay Marriage and how we're so silly to want it since, you know, it will lead to pedophilia and inevitably people marrying ducks. Yes. Ducks. Watch and see for yourself. And then just try to not watch the rest of Safi's videos. That theme music was obviously made by the antichrist... so damn catchy!

What Would God Tweet?

Some comedic genius with a lot of time on her/his hands has apparently created a Twitter for God. What Would God Tweet is by far one of the most entertaining Twitter pages i've found yet. Am I following them? You bet I am! Especially with little gems like these included:

Day 1: Lighting system installed, brb. Day 2-6: Some assembly required: sky, plants, cows, people. Left humans in charge, lol. Day 7: Siesta

Daniel 6.1-23: Daniel thrown into lion's den because of his faith, emerges like Siegfried, not Roy.

Uh-oh. RT @Jesus: One of you guys is about to betray me.

Noah's ark: No rock-climbing wall, casino or umbrella drinks. This IS your grandfather's cruise ship. With animals. And one unlucky janitor

God tells Abraham to deep-six son Isaac; changes mind when knife is drawn. Abe rewarded for faith. Isaac may need years of therapy - Gen. 22

Read more about it at NotTheLATimes!


Yesterday, the Lutheran church voted to allow non-celibate (and I assume celibate if they wish) gays and lesbians to serve as part of the clergy! While I'm not Christian or Lutheran, I'm happy to see them finally being a little more open minded and realizing that hey! Gay people aren't going to rape your children and sacrifice them to the devil! Seriously... it's nice to see a little progress. Now how about we get the first openly gay pope, eh? Eh? Let's paint the pope-mobile with a big ol' rainbow.

Hrm. Wonder how ol' Luther would feel about this...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Please Sign This Petition!

Hey guys,
You might recall I wrote about The Sabbath Memorial Pet Rescue here in Miami, FL earlier and about how it is in trouble and due to some issues with the landowner having a lien put on his house, they have to shut down temporarily. However, they currently have nowhere to house these animals. They were given just 12 days to evacuate and have about 10 or 9 left. We're petitioning Miami-Dade County to give them an extension on evacuating so that these animals don't have to end up being euthanized. Some of these pets are of people who recently lost their jobs and needed help taking care of their pets and they still come to help with their pets and whatnot. If you can take a second to sign the petition we made below, it would help a lot. And let me know if you'd like to help us out with spreading the word! Please Sign This Petition! Saves these dogs from being euthanized!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I seriously hope...

....that you're watching Obama's Health Care Forum online right now, seeing as no one is bothering to put it on the news.

Girl Talk Thursday: Girl Friends!

This is a pretty difficult GTT for me as I don't honestly feel like I have all that many girl friends. I'll be honest, these days it seems like girl nights get reduced to how can we get single guys around us nights, and it's pretty disheartening overall. I've always had more close male friends than female friends for whatever reason. And it's not that I dislike girl friends at all. In fact, I wish I had more that I could relate to. Maybe it's because I'm in a committed, happy relationship and most of my female friends are single and "ready-to-mingle," so I can't relate to going out with the girls to pick up guys. I don't really tend to enjoy most of the Miami haunts that a lot of the women around me enjoy going to. And I've never really been much of a girly-girl. Never gotten my nails done or had a make-over or enjoyed shopping at the mall (unless it's for something like books... or if it's somehow a vintage mall.) So I guess what i'll do here is make a list of things I would like to do if I did have more female friends. This is just the tip of the iceberg:

1. Have an X-Files marathon where we obsess over all the ways in which Mulder is gorgeous and great (and then bash him whenever he tries to get with any girl that isn't Scully.)
2. Throw a vegan cupcake making party!
3. Dance around the living room listening to Bikini Kill and The Breeders and all those other great grrl bands.
4. Volunteer anyplace together.
5. Host a Stich-N-Bitch (even though my knitting experience is limited.)
6. Go thrift shopping (for some reason most people seem to feel this is dirty.)
7. Play Boggle, Scrabble, and all those other nerdy word games together.
8. Have collage-making nights.
9. Attend lectures together.
10. Watch the Vagina Monologues together.
11. Go to museum happy hours.
12. Have documentary watching nights.
13. Plan trips to archaeological sites of interest.
14. Go crazy doing ridiculous kinds of theater make-up on each other.
15. Go to vegan potlucks together.
16. Write female-oriented comic books together.
17. Put together scavenger hunts.
18. Have a ladies night wherein no men are discussed, ever.
19. Go to yoga and belly dance classes together.
20. Have Kenneth Branagh does Shakespeare movie marathons and discuss how awesome he is for striving toward accuracy.
21. Watch scary movies in the dark and eat a lot of junk and not worry about getting fat.
22. Attend dragking/dragqueen shows.
23. Start our own public access show (or at least a podcast?)
24. Start our own publication.
25. Fawn over the awesomeness that is Rachel Maddow while enjoying cocktails.
26. Have feminist movie marathons.
27. Sailor Moon watching marathons!
28. All-female bowling leauge.
29. Have someone teach me to skate so I can join a roller-derby team.
30. Dress up like our favorite female characters night. Go out in to the city and drink wine in character.

Nerds On My TV!

In the last week, I have found not one, but two completely fantastic television shows of ultra-geekitude! It was during my channel surfing (between Jeopardy commercial breaks) that I happened upon History Detectives!

Just as the name suggests, a group of experts (ranging from architects and appraisers to sociologists and historians) rallies together to figure out historical mysteries. The episode I saw dealt with a women who wanted to find out if she was actually on display at the World's Fair as part of an Incubator Babies exhibit, as well as someone who had old photographs from some of the oldest film sets ever made, and trying to figure out the meaning behind a Native American tapestry with bizarre symbols (including a few swastikas.) Obviously, I'm behind on the times as HD are on their seventh season already, but perhaps many of you have also been missing out. You'll have to go to the website for your local listings. Here's the schedule for the following week if you're in Miami:

WLRN Channel 17
Thursday, Aug. 20 - 10PM
Friday, Aug. 21 3:30AM
Sunday, Aug. 23- 2PM
Tuesday, Aug. 25 - 7PM
Thursday, Aug. 27 - 10PM

WPBT Channel 2
Monday, Aug 24 - 9PM
Tuesday, Aug 25 - 1AM
Monday, Aug. 31 - 9PM
Wednesday, Sept. 2 - 1AM

As you can see, the schedule varies a lot (although some of those are repeats.) So just check back when you can and I'm sure that you'll find it.

The other show I found (actually, while searching for History Detectives), is Time Team America! This one might not be as interesting for non-anthropology/archaeologists, but I think it's still pretty fascinating overall. Basically, a team of mostly archaeologists are given 72 hours at a site to try to uncover some of its mysteries. Since it's a TV show they're given access to equipment that is a bit more high end (in order to have time to make a few discoveries) so it's pretty cool to watch these kinds of surveys and excavations that one might not normally ever get the chance to do on their own. The episode I watched took place in Fort James, South Dakota (not exactly my kind of site but still educational.) This show seems relatively new, so hopefully people keep watching and we can keep it on for a long time. It would be even more amazing if after a few seasons they could create a Time Team International and go all over the world (including maybe some underwater archaeology!) Being that I'm still a little bitter about not getting to go to my field school this summer, I'm at the very least living vicariously through Time Team! Again, you'll have to check local listings for this one, but here's the upcoming schedule for us Miami-folk:

WPBT Channel 2
Friday, Aug. 21 - 2AM
(Unfortunately, they don't have any showings on Channel 17)

You can also watch a few episodes right on the PBS website! Go public television!

Because Jon Stewart is a Genius.

He just says what I'm thinking sometimes much more eloquently. And with the appropriate collage of clips

PS. I FINALLY figured out how to embed Comedy Central links on here! All I had to do was use a YouTube embed code and switch out the width and height values as well as change the value link and the embed link! Real simple! ....Not. Does someone have an easier way of doing this?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sabbath Memorial Rescue Needs Your Help!

Meet Chowder:

He's one of the many animals who are currently residing at the Sabbath Memorial Rescue, a non-profit, no-kill animal rescue here in Miami. While he is happily awaiting his adoption, he does not realize that his life is currently in danger as he and the other 150 or so dogs (and cats) that live at the rescue may be euthanized soon due to the possibly closing of the shelter.

I just received a message about this and thought i'd pass it along. We have so very few animal rescues here that it would be a complete pity to have another one shut down, resulting in dozens of animals being euthanized. Read on:

"Because of a kennel license violation, Miami Dade Animal Services director, Sara Pizano, has put a $5000 lien on the farm land where Sabbath Rescue is located. They have intimidated the owner of the land to such an extent that he refused to fight the citation/with our lawyer present. Sabbath has been ordered off the farm in 12 days. They will fight this but regardless if Animal Services sees they have not moved in time it is their intention to forcibly take the 150 dogs they have to their slaughter.

Quite simply they lack a Kennel license. They have been at this for 9 years and never bothered by AS over this issue. Now they want to fine the owner of the property and have them removed rather than give them the license. It truly makes no sense for they are not a kennel. A kennel is a for profit business and they are a rescue, totally different. That is it. Over a piece of paper that could be issued to them they would rather close them down and kill their dogs. 150 of them.

Note from Sabbath Rescue: I am suggesting the following......Please send to your contacts to help us with this if you feel you would like to. Thank you. If after reading the below information and you want to help please notify...

Mayor Carlos Alvarez
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 NW 1st Street, 29th floor
Miami, Florida 33128

Phone 305-375-5071
Fax 305-375-3618

He has the power to end this problem by issuing an order to grant Sabbath Memorial Dog Rescue Center, Inc. a kennel license so we may continue to operate our shelter. In most communities in America a person can operate a Rescue (which is non-profit) and not need any other special permitting. Here we need a kennel license which is a for profit business and has nothing to do with rescue. Please support Sabbath Dog Rescue and the 150 dogs we not have. Thank you.

Need I say more? Please call Robbie at 305-799-1567 if you want to help. Writing Mayor Alvarez is how this dilemma can end.

After 9 years and 2500 dogs AS could have grand-fathered this license in but they chose not to.

To all: Robbie needs all the help he can get. If you feel you can help please call him.


PS. PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS! If you seriously want a new pet, go adopt one. People don't realize how selfish it is to continue to carelessly breed more animals when so many are going uncared for and euthanized as a result.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Branching Out In Blogging!

Just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to be blogging a bit over at my friend Joe's blog - Wrecktify's Joint! Check it out. I'm thinking of making In Zombie News a regular feature and then probably posting some Green 101 type news for it as well as whatever else I can come up with.

You can see my first post here!

The Vampire Chronicles on Film?!?!?!??!

I've been having writer's block all day up until this moment. According to SlashFilm, according to BloodyDisgusting, it seems that Universal Studios is planning on bringing back my favorite vampire series ever back to the big screen. You heard it here first, folks! Or second... or third... The Vampire Lestat will be charming audiences worldwide (unless of course it's another Queen of the Damned in which case he'll be making them cry...) very soon it seems. I had been wondering for a while if all this vampire hubub would spark another Anne Rice vamp revival so I'm happy (albeit a little scared) that this will finally be happening. However... according to sources unknown, they're thinking of casting the one, the only... Robert Downey, Jr. for the part.

....I'll let that sink in for a bit.

Perhaps you are as puzzled as I am. What makes studio execs think that Downey would be the best man for the part? I mean, he's a terrific actor, don't get me wrong. And handsome to boot. Maybe I'm just still recovering from seeing him in black face in Tropic Thunder, but I don't really know if he would really make a good Lestat. Although I know they couldn't do this (probably due to some underground vampire code), one person that comes to mind that would probably make a good Lestat is TrueBlood's Eric Northman (played by Alexander Skarsgard.) However, I don't really see that happening, as much as I really would not mind.

...You can see it, can't you? Either way... whoever makes this film should seriously keep in mind that Lestat was 21 years old when he was made. Even if he is 200+ years old now, he shouldn't look much older (hinthint that bullshit they pulled casting Antonio Banderas for the role of 17-year-old Armand in the first film)

Way to disappoint all your fans there. But really... the casting for the Vampire Chronicles has always been shaky at best. Kirstin Dunst made for an alright Claudia, but I think the list ends there. Brad Pitt's Louis was unconvincing for me. I enjoyed the first film, but it was strictly Hollywood.

Tom Cruise as Lestat was very pro/con. I think that Cruise almost nailed Lestat's attitude (in Louis' eyes, anyhow), but that's about it. He just did not look anything like I would imagine Lestat to look like. And now that I read that Rice had Rutger Hauer in mind when she wrote the part, it seems absurd to use someone like Cruise, who isn't even a natural blonde (I guess vampires really love to bleach their hair?)

When I first heard about the Queen of the Damned film, I was an overly excited teen. The books were still fresh in my mind. After the announcement, the news came that relatively unknown Stuart Townshend would be stepping in to play Lestat. He had the look, somewhat. Alright, i'll admit the adolescent in me was swooning a bit for that guy (although my tastes have since changed... drastically.) Plus, i hadn't seen him in anything else. It wasn't like seeing Cruise and thinking... Cocktail? Really? This guy seemed like he could do no wrong. That is until... the movie began. The entire film was completely ridiculous. They left out huge, monumentally important parts of the book completely out and emphasized all the wrong things. And everyone's main focus anyway was Aaliyah (poor girl.)

So after 2 films, what's left for the third one? Will the start over from the beginning, pull a Nolan, and essentially save the Chronicles from what will otherwise be a lame attempt at making money and leaving fans disenchanted for life? I've always wanted to see The Vampire Lestat hit the big screen. Memnoch the Devil would also be interesting. Tale of the Body Thief would be way too much to ask for, not to mention something that I don't feel most audiences would be ready for. Maybe we can just prep them with a better version of Interview, for now. Maybe add more Armand in there, certainly. Either way, i'll be following this one extremely closely.

Tuesday Trailers!

So many trailers, so little time.... Let's begin!

How I Got Lost - Coming of age type film. We all find out eventually life doesn't turn out the way we were expecting it to... and then you get old and wonder what the hell happened. This trailer makes good use of exploiting all that.

The Burning Plain - A tumult of human emotion! This trailer is a lot different from the one on Apple Trailers (this one actually tells you something about what's going on, for instance!) I'm still kind of confused about this one... but maybe i'll watch the DVD or at least wait for more of the plot to unfold in upcoming trailers.

St. Trinians - I know this movie looks god awful, but Colin Firth is in it (as is Rupert Everett in drag)... and it almost seems like something I would've found entertaining when I was 13, so what the hell.

Untitled. - Adam Goldberg stars as a big time asswad. No, seriously. I'm hoping this is a satire about the art world and the pretentiousness of really shitty ideas and how some of these artists these days are so devoid of talent and yet they make all this money and once they're "in the club" so to speak, they can continue to praise the other talentless hacks around them. If I find out this movie it supposed to be serious, however, I will take it off my blog ASAP.

The Ghost - Roman Polanski is finally making a new movie! And we get to see a whopping 17 seconds of it right here! Ewan Macgregor! Squeal!

This one is made possible by Fangoria...

The Angels' Melancholia - Crazy German horror movie. The music makes this trailer especially awkward. So awkward that I had to post it on here.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done - Werner Herzog directed, David Lynch produced. I can't say I've actually seen anything by Herzog, just heard a lot of fuss about him and I know eventually I must watch something of his. This looks like a good place to start. Chloe Sevigny is in it too, so that's a plus!

And last but not least...

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant - I.... have no idea, but it looks like it might be fun? Plus John C. Riley is awesome and who doesn't love Salma in a beard?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Moment of Geek: True Blood!

Time to gush. Eric's shrewdness is becoming both annoying and attractive, and I guess that's the point. I keep hearing about a possibly Eric/Sookie romance and well, who knows. I don't know how i'd feel about that, although I guess this is why they've been downplaying Bill's original suaveness these days (making him appear even weaker than before.) I miss the Fellowship but perhaps there will be a comeback by the end? The whole Maryanne bit is getting to be kind of annoying in my eyes. I don't know how they'll write themselves out of this one, but I'm sure it'll work out in the end. Plus they've made Tara become such an annoying bitch and it makes me miss how cool Tara and Lafayette were last season. I keep hoping that Terry will get a bigger part because although his character on Gilmore Girls sucked, he's actually likeable here. Hoyt and Jessica's romance is definitely becoming my favorite and kudos to Hoyt for standing up to his overbearing momma. That lady needs a good slap in the face. Ah... And then there's Godric. What an episode ending! Very sweet and ultimately sad. I think it's the first episode of True Blood that made me shed a tear.

3 episodes are left. Anyone care to make any comments as to how you think it'll go down? Jason Stackhouse with a chainsaw in the preview!? Ahhhh, can't wait!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

F** Cunt! A Review of In The Loop

Any trailer that mentions Nazi Julie Andrews and the Baby from Eraserhead must guarantee a fantastic film, or one would hope anyway, right? Luckily, it was definitely true about In The Loop - the latest creation of writer/director Armando Iannucci, whose other works include episodes of "Time Trumpet", "I'm Alan Partridge", and other shows i've never heard of. However, I'm sure many of us will remember Mr. Iannucci from now on thanks to this comedy gem. The film starts off with British Secretary of State for International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) accidentally stating on television that he feels a war might be "unforeseeable," which quickly escalates in to an international broo-ha-ha with the US and UK governments being the main players.

Toby Wright (Chris Addison) is Foster's assistant who has only just begun working for him but who quickly gets entangled in Foster's ineptitude to the point that he, too, begins to create his own series of political screw-ups. Simon and Toby are shadowed, however, by the (fucking) phenomenal Malcom Tucker (played impeccably by Peter Capaldi.) On the US side, we have Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy, in a role that could be seen as her antithesis to that of her character as Dharma's mom on Dharma and Greg), her assistant Liza Weld (played by My Girl's Vada Sultenfuss herself - Anna Chlumsky), Lt. General Flinstone- er.. I mean Miller (Tony Soprano himself - James Gandolfini), and the grenade-wielding Linton Barwick (David Rasche.) Each character is completely cut-throat in their own way, making the movie feel almost like a comedy roast, with each person constantly digging the verbal knife in to each other's backs at almost every scene.

In The Loop is a kamikaze of one-liners, bent on destroying the inflated egos of everyone on screen. Iannucci must have been collecting these for ages, making hilarious pop-culture references (from the White Stripes to Harry Potter to the Crying Game) left and right. Some of the most entertaining scenes include Washington D.C. interns letting loose at a death metal concert, and one character claiming that his infidelity was a round-about attempt to prevent a war from occurring. The spin doctoring, the lying, the cheating, the leaking, the fax-machine destroying, the babies working in the White House, and all those awkward moments every time Simon speaks in public make this film the best intelligent comedy of the year so far. Seriously, go watch it, and remember:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stewie Griffin Is Out!

Any avid watcher (and even most casual watchers) of Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy knows who Stewie Griffin is. And since then, there's been speculation that Stewie might possibly be gay. From hitting on Brian to partying with a bunch of guys in leather at a nightclub to being completely terrified at the sight of vaginas, Stewie has always kind of given clues as to what his sexuality might be (or might become since he's still a baby I supposed), but no official statement had been til now. Thanks to German for pointing me to the JoBlo article!

Apparently, Seth MacFarlane was interview by Playboy and he confirmed the years of rumors surrounding Baby Griffin:

"We had an episode that went all the way to the script phase in which Stewie does come out. It had to do with the harassment he took from other kids at school. He ends up going back in time to prevent a passage in Leviticus from being written: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is an abomination'."

I guess Stewie is just acting out. MacFarlane continues on about the outing of the youngest Griffin, "But we decided it’s better to keep it vague, which makes more sense because he’s a 1-year-old. Ultimately, Stewie will be gay or a very unhappy repressed heterosexual. It also explains why he’s so hellbent on killing [his mother, Lois] and taking over the world: He has a lot of aggression, which comes from confusion and uncertainty about his orientation." So there you have it, your favorite diabolical baby likes other baby dudes. No more hinting."

Kudos to MacFarlane for making the first well-beloved gay baby cartoon! Let's hope he's not the last.