Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tara's Murtaugh List

Last night on How I Met Your Mother, Ted came up with the Murtaugh list. It's based on Roger Murtaugh's line in Lethal Weapon I-IV, "I'm too old for this sh%#!" Basically, the list consists of things Ted is too old to do anymore. So I've decided to come up with my own list.

Tara's Murtaugh List
1. Crush on guys who play teenagers on TV or in movies.
2. Read young adult books.
3. Wear hoodies.
4. Stick my tongue out to show my displeasure.
5. Watch Pixar/Disney movies without kids (Laura is too old to pose as a kid anymore).
6. Share a hotel room with five other people.
7. Watch MTV.
8. Sleep past noon.
9. Listen to pop music.
10. Wear baby tees with cartoons or funny sayings on it.
11. Go clubbing.
12. Help a friend or family member move or ask them to help me move.
13. Shop in the junior section.

Yeah, so I guess I should get started on this list. All right! Don't rush me! I'll get to it...eventually...

Whedon World: One Life, One Death

Good news first: Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof had a baby girl on March 24, 2009. They named her, Satyana Denisof. (What is up with celebrity baby names?) She has been hiding her baby bump on How I Met Your Mother in the past few episodes. Alyson and Alexis met on the set of Buffy. They are so friggin' cute together. They beat the odds in Hollywood and have been married for five years already. Now they welcome a baby to the happy family.

Now to the sad news: Andy Hallett who played Lorne on Angel passed away at 33. He was the green singing demon. He died of heart failure and had been ill for some time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twilight the Movie

I am thirty years old, and I love Twilight (the book). There I said it. I read Twilight for the first time several years ago at my little sister's insistence. I remember the night I sat down to read it. I didn't sleep until 2-3am because I couldn't put it down. I had work the next day, but I didn't care. The book was so enthralling from the beginning to the end. And I am a big sucker for romances...especially those that are epic and undying. I know--gag. Everyone probably knows the basic premise of the book (unless you've been living under a rock for the past year), so I won't bore you with the details.

I saw the Twilight movie on DVD last night. It was my second time watching it. The first time was in the theater with Tina and Laura, both huge fans. It was definitely more enjoyable the first time because I didn't know what to expect and it was new and exciting. I remember giggling like a school girl every time Edward came on the screen. Yeah, it was pretty sad. Laura surprisingly wasn't gushy at all. She actually hates the actor who plays Edward. (I don't think any actor can live up to the Edward that Laura has created in her head.) The teenager was tsking at the adults...what kind of upside down world is that?

As a Twilight fan, I really enjoyed the movie. I don't think most twi-hards like Laura liked it because the movie didn't do the book justice. I do admit the movie has its many flaws: bad acting, stilted dialogue, cheesy effects, etc. But what I loved about the movie is that it brought the book to life. You can see the people that you came to know and the story that moved you. You knew what the characters were thinking and feeling even though it wasn't perfectly portrayed on screen. You felt the love between Bella and Edward when others thought it was not believable. So that is why I liked this movie and will watch it over and over again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Veronica Mars Review 2 (Season 1)

So I finally gave in to Tara's nagging and watched Veronica Mars. Truthfully, the first few episodes I rolled my eyes a few times. It's a little corny how much "power" she has and how cool she seems to think she is, but soon after I starting getting into it. As we got to know the characters, I found myself actually excitedly cheering Veronica on and feeling deep satisfaction when justice was served. VM can get a little cheesy, but the show is good when you have a lot of time on your hands and little to do. Everyday I look forward to class ending so that my Veronica Mars marathon can continue!

I admit I did fall in love with Logan. Not as much as Tara, of course. She pokes fun that I'm a gushy boy-crazy teenager, but.. *ahem*.. will you pause between your eek!-ing long enough to look in the mirror.

Anyway, I think Kristen Bell is a pretty cute actress, but she's not that good at acting sad. Her practically tearless crying and short awkward bursts of sobbing (almost as bad as Toby McGuire in Spiderman 3) is far from Oscar worthy. On the other hand, Teddy Dunn, the actor that plays Duncan, is pretty good at it. His crying and angry shouting practically breaks my heart.

I almost forgot to mention the hilarious way she does her PI work. She follows them around. If she's in a car, she parks right across the street. If she's on foot, she's about 30 feet away. Either way, she's taking pictures of them with her humongous camera. If the person under scrutiny happens to just look to the side, they would see her clearly lugging that camera around. But they don't see her, of course, they look everywhere around them except where they need to. It's silly, but endearing. It reminds me of those innocent TV shows that Tina loves so much, where kids spy on their parents behind bushes with binoculars.

I give it 3.9 stars.

Note: Make sure you have the second season handy before you go and finish the first season. You might die of anticipation. (Especially if you're a girl !!)

Okay, Tara kept yelling at me and whining "Rewrite it! Rewrite it!" because I only said bad things about the show so I'll just add that I do like the show. I may have made it sound bad, but I simply just wrote all the things I did not like about the show, because last time Tara already wrote all the good things out.

I think the show is really cute. The mystery is interesting with plenty of plot twists to keep you interested. Well, that's the case for the first season at least, because that's the only one I've seen so far. I think people who like the kind of shows that take place in high school will like this show! Watch it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Treasure Trove of Memories

I found a treasure trove at my mom's house tonight! Home videos! When we were younger, we used to love making home videos. We have videos dating back to 1989!! Can you believe that? Laura wasn't even born yet. Sigh...those were the days. ;) Our first video camera was those giant ones that fit a whole VHS. You had to rest it on your shoulder when taping. Haha! So you can imagine how big it was. Tina, my little brother and I would pull out the video camera every so often and just tape random things that we were doing that day. So there are a lot of videos of us at home (usually during the summer) sitting around and basically doing nothing. However, among the many hours of tape, there'd be nuggets of pure hilarity...or at least, we thought they were funny. I can't wait to watch them all. That's exactly what I plan to do.

And that is not even the best part!! The whole thing came up because I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to convert all of our home videos to DVDs. Turns out my wonderful mother happened to buy the software and converter recently but just never figured how to use it. In comes me. Yay! So I brought a whole bunch of tapes home with me. My mom is going to dig up more. Now I can make copies upon copies, and everyone can enjoy them. I am so excited!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Decorating Cakes

I suck at decorating cakes! Exhibit A is pictured. There goes my chances of ever being on Ace of Cakes or those Food Network Cake Challenges. (Haha! Yeah right!)

At my husband's work, his team has a potluck lunch every month. The lunches are themed, and this time, the theme was pie. So as the good wife that I am, I made a delicious mousse pie for him to bring to work today. But no matter how yummy it was, it looked funny! =( I didn't want to leave it plain, so I decided to decorate it. Look at my meager attempt. I envisioned it looking a lot better than that. The same thing happened last week when I made my sisters and nieces a giant cookie. I thought it would look like those cookies from Mrs. Fields. Ha! It was impossible. You'd think it'd be easy. But it's not. Not at all! I should just give up making cakes and the like because they will never be beautiful. I suck!

Here is the recipe in case you were curious. The mousse pie is so easy to make and is oh so chocolatey and creamy...yum... My husband's co-workers gobbled it up and demanded that I make it for every lunch no matter the theme. Well, at least, it tasted good. Maybe you'll have better luck with decorating it.

8oz chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 already made graham cracker or oreo crust

1. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup cream to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and cover.
2. Whip the rest of the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip as it will be grainy (I've done that before).
3. Stir the chocolate mixture until well-blended. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Spoon a quarter of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Stir gently to lighten. Spoon the rest of the whipped cream into the bowl. You can save some whipped cream for decorating like I did. =p
4. Cut and fold until well-blended. Do not stir it! Pour into the pie crust and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Cautionary Tale: Cisco Fatty

As social network sites like Facebook and Twitter become more popular, we find more idiots who do stupid things on those sites. I tell Laura all the time that things on the internet will never disappear and may come back to bite you in the butt. That is why we keep this blog as clean as we can. =) Anyway, the latest act of social network stupidity was done by this guy now known as the "Cisco Fatty." After he got a job with Cisco, he immediately went on Twitter and posted this tweet: "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." (Sidenote: Shouldn't he be happy to get any job in this economy?). Soon after, a Cisco rep posted this tweet in response: "Who is the hiring manager? I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web." After seeing that, the guy immediately switched his Twitter account to private and deleted all information from his home page. Did that save him? No, of course not! After this debacle spread throughout the twitter world, his true identity was exposed. So lesson learned! No more half naked pictures, venting about work or ignorant comments on myspace, Facebook or Twitter. Think, people, think.

See the article, Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

1000 Ways to Die on Spike

Recently I've found myself watching this show on Spike called 1000 Ways to Die. If there is nothing else on, I would watch it. Or if there is something else equally meaningless on (like Ace of Cakes or some reality show), I would switch between the two. I never liked these kinds of shows because I can't stand watching the gory and gruesome scenes. They make me cringe. However, sometimes I would watch Real TV and the World's Most Dangerous Car Chases (and the like) with my husband. I know people's pain and death shouldn't be entertainment. I mean, I hate watching the local news because it is usually filled with sad stories of deaths and murders. But with this show, 1000 Ways to Die, I can't look away. And I really can't blame my husband for this one because I mostly watch it by myself. I can't help it. Damn my curiosity.

The name of the show basically describes its premise. 1000 Ways to Die depicts unusual real-life deaths that are usually really disturbing. It is kinda like urban legends. I was actually watching this at Tina's house last night (after the kids were already asleep, all right). Tina was so cute and said that one of the deaths was going to give her nightmares. It's true. I don't know why I watch it. I am a big ol' scaredy cat. I should probably stop watching before I start getting nightmares.

Here are some terrible ways to die:
- This guy wanted to impress his date, so he thought he'd make something unique for dinner. So he makes her a special salad with live snails crawling in it. She thinks that he must know what he is doing, so they both enjoy the snail salad together. Days later they end up in the hospital with parasites in their brain. Needless to say, they died.
- Another guy can swallow a billiard ball into his throat and then push it back up. He is at a pool hall showing off his ability with an eight ball. He tries again with the cue ball. However, for some reason, he can't get it back up and dies. What he doesn't realize is that the cue ball is made a little bit bigger.
- Two guys are out of weed, so they go into the desert on a mission to get high off of anything they could find. They smoke various plants and flowers and end up smoking a deadly poisonous plant.

Dragonball Fail!

(Not a Chinese movie. Don't know why the title is this way in this poster.)
Goku is white. Enough said. Dragonball Evolution comes out April 8th. Don't watch it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp is a 2006 documentary that follows a Evangelical children's summer camp called "Kids On Fire School of Ministry." It's located just outside Devils Lake, North Dakota and run by Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International. It mostly follows 3 children and their experiences at this camp.

Truthfully, this movie is just plain scary. I mean I have no problem with Christianity or any other type of religion in fact. But I do have a problem with religions that don't return the favor. They scoff at the theory of evolution and shake their heads at other beliefs that are different than their own. The only road to "salvation" is through Evangelism.

One of the children, named Levi, is home schooled, as are many of the campers. He learns physical science from a book that reconciles young earth creationism with "scientific" principles. He is also taught that global warming is a hoax and that the Earth's temperature has a history of natural fluctuation not caused by humankind.

Becky Fischer, the camp owner, preaches to the children an hour everyday. She uses props, toys and dolls to appeal to the children. Every child claims to see visions and hear the voice of God on a daily basis. During the preaching, it can get very intense. Children are crying, shaking, raising their hands in the air, speak Hebrew, and screaming. There was one child who looked like he was having a seizure on the ground. Here are some pictures:Evangelists believe that to attain salvation they must be "born-again" by accepting Jesus as their savior. 43% of Evangelical kids become "born-again" before the age of 13.

Evangelists preach a message urging children to join the fight to end abortion in America. He prays for George W. Bush to have the strength to appoint "righteous judges" who will overturn Roe v. Wade. By the end of the sermon, the children are chanting, "Righteous judges! Righteous judges!" In another, a woman brings a life-sized cutout of Bush to the front of the church, and has the children stretch their hands toward him in prayer. Becky Fischer believes Bush is the best president ever!

During the film, we see Mike Papatoni, a Christian man with his own radio talk show, discussing how he is very against the way Evangelism targets children and government. He discussed how 25% of the American population describe themselves as being Evangelist. Evangelists believe they have to save the world by taking it over and building a government they are comfortable with. They elbow their way into positions of power and sooner or later, there will be no separation between church and state. Mike Papatoni actually gets Becky Fischer on the air for a debate! Toward the end, he basically tells her that God holds his children dear to his heart and that she will go to hell for messing with them. He calls what she's doing brainwashing and says that the Evangelist church is creating child soldiers for the Republicans. He believes in seperation between church and state and tells her that, at this rate, Christianity is going to take over democracy. She in turn says that democracy was designed to kill itself, because the world won't be perfect until Jesus is truly Lord.

In November 2006, Fischer announced that she would be shutting down the camp indefinitely due to negative reaction towards her in the film. According to Fischer's website, the owners of the property used for the camp shown in the film were concerned about vandalism to the premises following the film's release and thus will not allow it to be used for any future camps. Fischer has said that the camp will be indefinitely postponed until other suitable premises can be found, but it will be back.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Party Down Premieres Tonight

Rob Thomas, not the musician but the creator of Veronica Mars, has a new show called Party Down that premieres tonight at 10:30pm on Starz. If you miss it, it's on demand, so no worries. If you don't have Starz, then too bad. Party Down is about a bunch of would-be actors whose day jobs got them working for a catering company. Week after week, you'll see these actors cater crazy parties and wait on crazy quests. The tagline is "Follow these engaging wannabes as they wait on guests while waiting on something better to come along." Should be interesting.

I am definitely going to catch the show. I probably shouldn't because I have way too many shows I am already watching. But I love love Veronica Mars. And if Rob Thomas can bring the magic again, then I want to be there to witness it. He is great with witty dialogue, so I am sure Party Down will be good. Also, Party Down is basically a Veronica Mars reunion. You'll see Vinnie, Dick Casablancas and Mr. Wu again. Kristin Bell and Jason Dohring are even supposed to guest star at some point. How cool is that? Furthermore, I love Lizzy Caplan. She is not in a lot of movies, but I have always remembered her from Mean Girls. She is the goth chick who conspires with Lindsey Lohan to get back at the mean girls. She was awesome in that movie. Martin Starr from Freaks and Geeks is on the show. He is almost unrecognizable now. If you didn't know, he was the really nerdy skinny kid from Freaks and Geeks and is in several of Judd Apatow's recent movies. See what I mean?!?!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Girl Who Could Fly

Stephenie Meyer recommended this book also, so of course I had to read it.

This book is about a girl, named Piper, who grows up in a small farm born with the strange ability to float. Alarmed, her mother and father keep her sheltered in their home. One day, she discovers that she could fly. However, after a stunt at a baseball game, everyone finds her out. She is then swept to an institution for talented kids. (Spoiler ahead!) After finding out that this institution is a farce and its actual mission is to force them to be normal, Piper and her new friends figure out a way to break out.

Sorry for making the book sound so interesting. Haha, actually I didn't like it that much. I think I was expecting too much. All the main characters are around 9 years old, so it was a little corny. It reminded me most of Tara's favorite movie, Sky High. It has the same amount of corniness.

Now, don't get me started on the writing. It was pretty bad..

1. She used excessive amounts of exclamation marks, question marks, and capitalization to add unneeded drama to an exclamation. For example: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" or "WHAT?!?!?"
It was so annoying. Jesus, what are you doing? IMing?

2. She had terrible character development. I felt no attachment to any of them, not even the main character.

3. She made bad calls as to which characters should have died. Piper meets a cute little cricket who cares about her, but he dies for no reason. Frustrating! I'm a big fan of little companions!

4. She told the story terribly. During the "climax" I wanted to yawn. It was unbearably corny.

5. She writes almost as bad as C.S. Lewis. (Okay, fine. I exaggerated. No one can write as bad a C.S. Lewis.) They have the same bad habit of adding unnecessary tidbits about the future that is intrusive to the story and add no real substance. I don't feel like looking for an example in the book, so I'll make one up. "Ben was driving his car to the supermarket, and as he drove he saw a cat in a bush. That cat would later die of disease. Ben continued on his way to the market." Well, that was a little exaggerated, but you get the point. She does that a few times in the book.

6. Some characters or events in the story are not explained what so ever and simply happen. In the book, there is an invisible man named J. who wants to break Piper out, because it is his mission. After Piper refuses his help, because she won't leave her friends behind, J. disappears to reappear at the end of the book. J. is the most unnecessary character I have ever seen. He does nothing. He effects nothing. He only makes a little sense if there is a sequel to the book. In that case, J. needs to be more developed.

In the end, I couldn't help but think, "What a waste of a potentially good story!" Basically, Victoria Forester sucks. This book is like a long children's picture book. I think she should choose which. It should either be shortened to a children's book, or properly developed into a young adult novel and have some of the ultra corniness taken out.

I give it 2 stars.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Listerine: Use with Caution

My husband told me the most disturbing thing this morning that left me with a minty taste in my mouth. (Get it? Minty...instead of sour...anyway). He told me that he read an article about how overuse of Listerine may destroy tissue in your mouth and leave you with perpetual bad breath--the very thing that Listerine is supposed to help with. I asked him how much is overuse, and he wasn't sure. I use Listerine as directed--twice every day. But now I am afraid that that is even too much. My husband and I started using Listerine regularly last year. So naturally after hearing the news from my husband, I had to look it up. And note that he told me this immediately after I finished rinsing with Listerine. Nice...

It's true that overuse, meaning rinsing from 5 to 10 times per day, can cause a lot of problems. That's true with overusing anything. But what I found was pretty disgusting. Like most mouthwashes, Listerine has high levels of alcohol (around 26%), which is a desiccant or actually dries out tissue. This can cause your bad breath to worsen. Also, I read somewhere that Listerine can cause thrush, which is or like yeast infection in your mouth! Yuck!

Also, mouthwashes (not just overuse) can cause loss of taste and teeth staining. Wil and I noticed that, after we used Crest Pro-Health Rinse, which contains no alcohol, that our taste is altered or numbed. Now, I notice that effect when I use Listerine as well. Also, I read in a few places that Crest Pro-Health Rinse causes people's teeth to turn brown, especially in the gaps. See reviews on Amazon.com. So be forewarned! I am going to stop using Crest Pro-Health altogether and limit my use of Listerine to once a day. I am so freaked out!

Obama to Appear on The Tonight Show

President Obama will be making a guest appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Thursday, a White House official said, in a rare personal visit by a commander in chief to late night television.

Mr. Obama will swing by the Leno show as part of his trip to southern California. The White House official said that Mr. Obama plans to talk about the economy with Mr. Leno and said he will try to focus on substance, possibly a tall task given the show’s format.

Will he be funny? “As funny as the times allow,” the official said.

Presidential candidates often appear on television shows when they’re trying to get elected, but once successful, it is rare to find a commander in chief appearing on TV shows except as joke fodder. President Bush did show up on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” last year, but it was in a taped appearance in which he voiced support for a contestant who had served three tours of duty in Iraq.Barack Obama appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2007 when he was running for president.

(This was entirely taken from a New York Times article. I'm not that good of a writer, so don't be alarmed. I just wanted to inform everyone to tune in NBC on Thursday at 11:35pm)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Carmen's Art

Tina and the kids came over Tara's house today for a dinner redo for my birthday, because last time we didn't have time for dinner and ended up getting dinner at a sucky pizza place.

Anyway, I was doing homework on Adobe and using a drawing pad. It's a fun tool so I told Tina and Tara to play with it too. Of course Carmen saw it and wanted to use it too. She drew a cute picture on paint, and she didn't use an eraser or anything, because I was too lazy to teach her how.

Know who it is? It's me! Haha. It's funny she remembers I have freckles. Because they're so faint, even I forget about them. I thought it was pretty cute, and I was impressed she was so quick to master the drawing pad.

Here's her drawing. Enjoy! I know Carmen enjoyed looking at it after she was done. We heard her burst out laughing from the living room. Hehe. She's cute.

Disney Ads By Annie Leibovitz

Photographer Annie Leibovitz is most known for her portraits of celebrities on the cover of Vanity Fair. You probably never heard her name before but would recognize her sometimes controversial photos. She is the one who shot the famous picture of Demi Moore naked and pregnant back in 1991. More recently, in April 2008, she did the cover of Vogue with Gisele Bundchen and LeBron James. People thought it looked like King Kong and thought it was racist. Pretty ridiculous. She also photographed Miley Cyrus covered in just a sheet, or at last, that's what it looked like. And that caused a whole fuss, as you can imagine.

She has actually shot G-rated pictures for Disney. She shot various celebrities in beautiful ads inspired by Disney movies. Here are a few I really like:

Rachel Weiss as Snow White

Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella

Zack Efron and Vanessa Hudgens as Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip

The funniest picture of them all is the one for Peter Pan. Tina Fey is in it! She is awesome!

Where is she, you ask? She is Tinkerbell! Haha! Hilarious. Here is a close-up:

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Am Not Ashamed to Say That I Like iCarly

You might not have ever heard of the show called iCarly especially if you're not a parent and don't have Nickelodeon on 24/7. My girls and I were watching "Drake and Josh" for the longest time until we must have watched every show at least three times. Well, in "Drake and Josh" they had a little sister, and now the actor who plays her has her own show called "iCarly." "iCarly" is about the lives of three junior high kids and their web show called iCarly. Yeah, I know the show is for little kids and might sound a little corny, but it reminds me of shows back in the day. The days when we had TGIFridays and Urkel was on TV. If Urkel's not your cup of tea, then Screech. I'm glad that nowadays there are still some TV shows that can be considered wholesome and fun. Hopefully my kids will watch them before they become teenagers trying sneak into Rated R movies.

Note from Tara and Laura: Tina has forced us to post this blog that she drafted almost a month ago.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Expired Food

I've eaten my fair share of expired foods, either by accident or on purpose. What? What's wrong with that? My husband and I made couscous out of the box the other day. I ate a couple bites and thought it tasted funny. Then I finally thought to check on the expiration date, and it expired in Feb. 2007. I swear that I bought it last year! Really! Did I buy it expired? It doesn't matter; that's not the issue. My husband of course was close to finishing his entire serving of couscous without noticing. He only said he thought it tasted funny after I checked the expiration date. And while eating it, he even asked me what flavor it was. I told him original. Haha! We are so weird. Then yesterday, I wanted to make stuffing (also out of the box), and it expired two years ago. Haha! Argh! It happens all the time to us...especially because it is just the two of us. That is why our refrigerator always looks empty because...it is. Everything goes bad before we can eat it.

This whole rant leads me to ask "why aren't expiration dates more prominent on food items?" See example on the right. It is on the Kraft dressing I was eating today. Why is "fresh until" in white and the actual expiration date in the same color as the background? You can't even see the expiration date in the picture. I have to look really closely to see it. It doesn't make any sense.

Btw, we did not get sick from eating the couscous. Hehe! I'm sure you were wondering.


For my birthday, Tina and Tara came to visit me at school, and we went out shopping and then to a terrible dinner and a movie! We watched Coraline. I liked the movie, but Tina didn't. She thought it was too scary.

For those who didn't know, Coraline is freaky! It's about a little girl who moves to a new house called The Pink Palace. There, we see how her parents neglect her and are too involved in their own work to pay any attention to their little girl. (I heard Tina whispering cries of outrage.) That's when she finds a small door in the house that, at night, opens into a portal to a different reality that promises false happiness. There, she plays the most challenging game of her life, one that can determine life or death.

I thought Tim Burton did this movie for the longest time. But nope! Henry Selick directed this film, the same man who did Monkey Bone. This movie is 100 minutes long, which is the longest running stop-motion picture ever. It took 5 years to create this film, because for every movement, they move the doll slightly and take a picture. So basically this is a 100 minute long flip book! Dakota Fanning, who plays Coraline, has been working on this movie since she was 10. She's now 15! (I learned most of this information when she went on Jay Leno.)

What I really want to talk about is the visual appeal of Coraline. The dolls are made with such detail and care. Before the clay dolls were even created, there were a bunch of processes that came first. Tons of artists had to make sketches and graphic designs of the character before the artist Damon Bard was able to create this final product. Every detail of these clay creations is made seamlessly.

This film may not have been completely worth watching in theaters, but its worth watching on video. I'm not sure how children will like it, but I don't think it's too scary for them to watch. If your not much into children's movies, maybe you'll appreciate it as an artistic creation.

Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taurana or Launara or Tilara?

I don't get why the media must do this with celebrity couple's names? And by "this," I mean combining their names to create a monstrosity. Argh! I hate it. It's so stupid. Who the heck started this? And why have the lemmings followed? Thank goodness not every Hollywood couple has a nickname. But it's enough to be annoying. And how do they decide who are "special" enough to get a nickname. Maybe they have to be a so-called power couple like "Tomkat" and "Brangelina." Terrible names btw! I think it all started with Bennifer. Do you remember that? Curse you, "Bennifer." Technically, now that Ben Affleck is married to Jennifer Garner, they can still be called Bennifer, right?

This practice has spread like wildfire. I have even heard nicknames for TV couples. My personal favorite...Logan and Veronica from Veronica Mars are called "LoVe." Kinda cute, right? And Lost has Skate--the coupling of Sawyer and Kate. Not so much. And then recently, NPH was quoted talking about "Robarney." No no no no no no!

Anyway, for funzies, I combined the three sisters' names and came up with my own "offsprings." Which one do you like the most? Comment, peeps! I personally like Tilara. Haha! I'm going to name my first child that. Awesome!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FreeCreditReport.com or Is It?

I am sure everyone has seen those FreeCreditReport.com commercials. Laura loves them and can be found singing the songs from time to time. Sad but true. The jingles are pretty catchy, and the commercials themselves are pretty funny. But there is more to it than that. The FTC has been after the company for deceitful advertisements, namely, that there is nothing "free" about their services. FreeCreditReport.com appears to allow customers to take a peek at their credit reports when, in fact, customers are expected to do and pay for much more than just that. The FTC has gotten a lot of complaints from people who say they are getting charged by the company and cannot cancel the service. In 2005 FTC settled with the company, but the company went right on with the commercials. So in order to fight back, the FTC did a spoof ad. Way to fight back...although they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. So they may be doing the reverse of what they intend.

Tidbit: The singer in the commercials is lip-syncing. He is actually French Canadian too! Laura was so disappointed when she heard that.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Rock Obama

I happened to catch SNL last night, and I don't usually watch SNL. But I saw that The Rock was hosting. I love him. I've seen him host SNL before, and he is actually really funny. And last night's episode was no exception. He had a few great skits. The Rock Obama was hilarious. The skit started off with President Obama in the oval office right before he was to meet with Geithner, Clinton and McCain. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, played by Andy Samberg (check out Laura's blog about him) wants Obama to get angry, which Obama refuses to do. During the meeting, after one to many quips from his advisors, President Obama gets really angry and tranforms into The Rock Obama. The Rock does a great Obama impression. And he does look like a hulk-like version of Obama. See the picture. So friggin' funny.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Girls Next Door Season 5 Finale

One of my guilty pleasures is The Girls Next Door. I heard that all three girls broke up with Hugh Hefner, and I was really curious to know what the heck happened. Although their relationship is strange on many levels, I guess I just accepted as it was--something that worked for them. Now I've been completely thrown for a loop. "The Girls Next Door" have moved out of the Playboy Mansion and broke up with Hef. On top of that, Kendra is currently engaged, and Holly, Hef's former first girlfriend, had been going out with Chriss Angel (btw, ewwww). And Hef already has new girlfriends--twins. Double ewwww.

I was interested to see the season finale. So I actually DVRed it and watched it last night. It was such an odd episode. It started off with Kendra breaking the news to her family that she was thinking of moving out of the Mansion and that she met someone. Her family seemed genuinely concerned and stunned. My reaction was...is she really doing this on TV?? Then Kendra told Holly and Bridget, supposedly for the first time. There was some uncomfortable group crying. The most awkward movement of all was when Kendra broke up with Hef with a camera person in the same room! These moments seemed so private but were completely awkward on TV.

I actually felt bad for Hef for a second. The poor old man was getting dumped by his 23-year-old girlfriend on national television. The sad thing was when he kept saying how he was all alone. Then at the very end of the episode, Hef was hosting movie night at the Mansion, and the twins walked in and asked him if the seats next to him were taken. There was some major fake giggling. The last scene was of the outside of the mansion and included a voiceover of Hef saying "I'm back in the game." I didn't like the episode at all...it was just weird.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

It became official Monday! Jimmy Fallon took the reigns from Conan O'Brien, because Conan was taking over The Tonight Show on account of Jay Leno's retirement. (I'll totally miss him!)

Jimmy answers what draws him to being a talk show host:
"With movies, you kind of work for six months, and then it takes another six months to release the movie, and then people go, 'That's not that good,'" Fallon said. "With live TV and 'Saturday Night Live,' it's immediate reaction. You find out if a joke stinks immediately. ... If it's funny, they'll laugh, and if not, you've got to go right to the next joke. It's immediate, and there's no chance of getting depressed and applying for 'Celebrity Rehab.' You've just got to get over it quicker -- you've still got a show to put on, and you've got to come back ready for the next joke."

Jimmy was obviously very nervous during his big debut, but his ratings were pretty high. I found this funny tidbit:

As Jimmy Fallon prepared to debut as host of NBC's "Late Night," he found his predecessor, Conan O'Brien, in his dressing room, still packing up.

"I'm about to start my first show," Fallon told him eagerly.

"Oh, is that tonight?" O'Brien replied. "I was gonna TiVo it, or something."

I missed the first show, but I caught it on Tuesday. Tina Fey was the first guest, and the two were very chummy. They shared some funny memories from their SNL times together, and Jimmy showed funny pictures of bad hair styles throughout their time together on "Weekend Update." There was a cute moment later when Jon Bon Jovi, the second guest, admitted the fantasies he had about Tina Fey, and she did a cute, awkward not-so-sexy "sexy dance" for laughs. During the dance, Jimmy averted his eyes uncomfortably and said something like, "No! She's like my sister!"

Jimmy was pretty funny on Late Night. He does have big shoes to fill, but I'm confident the show will get better.

Catch it every Monday to Friday at 12:37pm!
Conan should be starting The Tonight Show soon, which airs right before Late Night at 11:37pm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scallion Pancakes

I decided to make scallion pancakes for my husband and me. People call it the Chinese pizza although it is nothing like a pizza. It is a multi-layer pancake that is savory and full of scallions. I made four pancakes and a huge mess! I had flour and oil everywhere. So it wasn't worth all the effort to make so little and for only the two of us. So I suggest making a whole bunch for your family or when you have people over. Also, you need dipping sauce to eat scallion pancakes. You can either buy dumpling sauce already bottled or make your own. For the dipping sauce, you simply mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and sesame oil to fit your taste. The recipe below only makes four pancakes, so adjust accordingly.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sliced scallions
3 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. In a bowl, sift flour. Slowly add boiled water in a steady stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Use your hands to knead into a ball. Let dough ball relax (covered with damp cloth) for about 30 minutes.
2. On a floured surface, roll out dough into a thin rectangle. Make sure the surface is thoroughly floured, so the dough won't stick to it--otherwise, you'll have to start all over.
3. Brush on oil mixture, cover with scallion and season with salt and pepper.
4. Start at one end (lengthwise) and carefully roll dough like a sponge cake.
5. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece and twist 3 times (like wringing a towel). Make a spiral out of this -- like a snail's shell. Roll out and flatten to achieve a 5 to 6 inch pancake. Do this for each piece.
6. In a hot non-stick pan, coat with canola oil and pan sear both sides until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Lonely Island's "Incredibad"

Ever heard of Andy Samberg? He's that guy in Hot Rod (that movie that you never saw because it looked so bad). He's also in SNL! He's most known for the music video he did with Justin Timberlake called "D%#k in a Box." I love that song! It's hilarious!

Well, Andy Samberg teamed up with his two best friends, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, and created a comic group called The Lonely Island. They not only make movies (Hot Rod), they make music! They put together an album called Incredibad. This entire album is made up of hilariously griddy hip hop/rap songs, that are nonetheless, really catchy. Some of my favorites are "Lazy Sunday," "Like a Boss," and "Dream Girl."

Plenty of famous actors or singers are also featured in these songs. "I'm on a Boat" features T-Pain, "Sax Man" is entirely sung by Jack Black, and, believe it or not, Nathalie Portman has her own rap where she says plenty of foul, obnoxious things. But it's all a joke! Haha, she's not really like that. It's hilarious to imagine pretty, little Nathalie Portman saying things like, "When I was in Harvard I smoked weed everyday. I cheated every test and snorted all the yay." This is one of the only lines I could find that didn't have a curse in it.

So Incredibad is out in stores. There are hilarious YouTube videos for songs like: "J%$z in my Pants," "D&#k in a Box," "Space Olympics," "Lazy Sunday," "I'm on a Boat," and "We Like Sports."

From the titles, some of the songs may sound pretty gross, but they're actually really funny! I recommend this album to anyone with a gritty sense of humor!

This album obviously has crude language. Please keep it from the ears of children!

PS. It's my birthday today!


I watched Penelope for the second time the other day. It was free on demand. I really like this movie, so much so that I am blogging for the second time today. I think all girls, once in their lifetime, felt ugly and thus can relate to this story in a way. Penelope is about a girl who happens to be cursed with a pig face, which really only includes a pig nose. The curse can only be lifted "if one of her own learns to love her." So her mother sets out to find a blueblood to marry her, and zaniness ensues. Max, played by James McAvoy, comes along and falls in love with Penelope for who she is and not what she looks like. You could tell that he was so conflicted, and it is heartbreaking to watch. So go watch this movie especially if you have Starz on demand (so you have no excuse for missing it). And for you girls, James McAvoy is such a heart throb. Sigh.

Restaurant Empire

I love computer games like Restaurant Empire. It's not too difficult and complicated. I grew up in a time when games were simpler--when Tetris was the big thing and when Mario could move only to the left or right. So I never got the hang of the games of today. However, I love games like Sims and Zoo Tycoon. And anything dealing with cooking is cool. So Restaurant Empire fits all of my criteria in a game. And it was only $6.99 at Target! In Restaurant Empire, you just follow the storyline and work at beating levels in the game. And each level is harder than the next but not that difficult that you'll be completely stuck. The premise of the game is basically what it is called--you have to build your own empire of restaurants, which includes managing restaurants and opening new ones. I was playing this game yesterday for more hours than I care to admit. My excuse is that my husband is out of town, and I have nothing to do. I guess I could have attempted to clean the house and do something productive. On second thought...yeah right.