January 2009 archive

(9 entries)

January 30, 2009

WTF, Academy?

I have created an Oscars pool. You can enter your picks here, any time between now and 12am EST on February 22, 2009 (that is to say, the Saturday night before the Oscars).

First prize is a mix CD with the music of my choice (YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED). Second prize is NOTHING! Third prize is your money back (which is okay because this pool is free).

I will be entering myself, but seeing a lot of Oscar movies does not equal guessing a lot of Oscar winners correctly (as I have seen in past years), so there is little risk of me winning my own first prize. If that happens, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

For the record, I would like to pick WALL•E for Best Picture, The Dark Knight for Best Original Screenplay and Kung Fu Panda for Best Sound Editing¹, but these are not options given to me. WTF, Academy?

¹ There is some talk about Clint Eastwood and/or Gran Torino being robbed of an Oscar, but what about Kung Fu Panda? It was not the best animated feature of the year, but it had some awesome pat-pat-pat and SPROINNNNG! sound effects.

srah | 12:48 PM
Tags: academy awards, academy awards 2009, movies

January 27, 2009

The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, and Also Me

In the last few weeks, I think I have been tagged via blog, via Twitter and via Facebook for every "Seven Interesting Things About Me", "Ten Honest Facts About Me" and "Twenty-Five Things About Me That May Or May Not Be Interesting Or Factual" meme known to man. So let this be my response to all three of those:

Forty-two Things About Me That May Be Interesting But Are Likely Very Dull Indeed

  1. I just made a gigantic "cup" of tea for myself in my giant 20 oz soup mug. It is very hard to drink 20 oz. of tea in one go, because it starts out too hot to drink and gets too cold before you've drunk it all. Worst thing is, I have a beverage warmer in my office, and have just never taken it out of the box or plugged it in.
  2. This is what I looked like in high school, only not as good and not as blurry. I don't look all that different now. This is sort of depressing to me. I am not very adventurous with my "look".
  3. I have spent way too much time over the last week deliberating over the best visual representation of my 2009 Oscar-watching progress thus far. This is what I have come up with.
  4. After watching Milk on Saturday, I don't remember having any dreams about it, but I woke up in the middle of the night convinced that I was a gay rights leader, and fell asleep planning what I was going to say at upcoming rallies and debates and what I was going to write on protest signs.
  5. I'm not a vegetarian, but I like vegetarian food. I don't like to cook meat and I don't think I'm that good at it, and I'm also pretty picky about the quality of the meat that I eat. So I tend not to eat much meat at home, and to instead eat it when it's prepared by a professional. When I was in college, this semi-vegetarianism meant that the only cafeteria meat I would eat was chicken strips, and that I would try to get my parents to take me out for steak when I came home.
  6. I do not like meat on pizzas. Once I was working in a three-person group on a project in grad school, and when it came to ordering pizza, one person only liked meat on his pizza, while I only liked veggies. We were going to compromise by just getting cheese, but the third person refused to eat plain cheese pizza. I don't remember how we resolved this.
  7. One of my favorite study abroad anecdotes is that when I was a sophomore in college, I used to make my roommate order pizza because I didn't like talking to strangers on the phone. Then when I was in France, I realized that I couldn't get anyone to talk to strangers for me anymore, and I was going to have to man up and do these things for myself. And when I came back to the US, ordering pizza was even easier, because it could be done in English.
  8. I still hate talking to strangers (or anyone) on the phone, but like so many things in adult life, I just have to man up and do it.
  9. I said something about "manning up" to my boss and he had never heard that term. I think he may have been taking it too literally. I do not actually become a man when I do that.
  10. If you are wearing tights as pants, I will point and laugh at you. This is not my problem; it is yours. You brought it upon yourself. Tights are not pants.
  11. Even though I haven't been recording or paying attention to the data from it recently, I feel naked without my pedometer.
  12. My favorite kind of apple is Gala. I pretty much only buy those or Granny Smith, depending on what they look like.
  13. My skin was better in high school than it is now. How I wish I'd been a pimply youth instead.
  14. I can't make a purchase over $100 without deliberating over it for weeks and weeks. If something is going to be on sale, it has to be on sale for less than $100 or I will miss out.
  15. I like cleaning things that are really dirty so that you can see the results, like in commercials where they mop an absolutely filthy floor or dust a really dusty table. I think this explains the state of my kitchen floor.
  16. I can't remember the last time I read a non-fiction book. I am all about fiction, to a shameful extent. I would rather read historical fiction than learn about what actually happened at that time. Non-fiction is what we have Wikipedia for.
  17. My whole family has slightly different master's degrees from the same school (or will when Alfie graduates).
  18. I took two years of Arabic and one semester of Chinese, but whenever I try to speak Arabic, Chinese comes out.
  19. When I was in China, I remembered enough Chinese to understand people sometimes, but I only actually said "hello", "thank you" and "goodbye." Once I tried to tell a taxi driver that my hotel was near Fudan University (Fudan Daxue?), but I don't think he understood me. Someone at one of the programs I visited taught me how to sing "Happy Birthday To You" in Chinese (I don't know WHY), and tested me on it later in the day, so this is the main Chinese phrase that I brought back with me. ♫ Zhu ni sheng ri kuai le! ♫
  20. I have gotten to the point where, when people ask me where I'm from, I will often say "Ohio" rather that "Michigan." When I first got here, I always seemed to answer that, "Wait, where I'm from or where I live? Because I live in Ohio, but I'm from Michigan." I don't think it's necessarily because I like Ohio any more than I did then, but just because I got lazy in my answering.
  21. I'm taking the Jeopardy! online test tonight, which I do every year possible. So far, it has resulted in bupkes. It's hard to compare the two, but I think I made it further in the in-person College Jeopardy! test/tryouts in Ann Arbor in 1999. I made it past two rounds of written tests, then got nervous and froze up when I had to stand up and give an anecdote about myself.
  22. Stuffed tomatoesI'm only in the 20s and I'm already running out of facts. So... here is a recipe instead. It is a "thing" that is "about me" in that I made it once.
  23. I would kind of like to have a personal chauffeur at my beck and call. I do not foresee this happening on a study abroad advisor's salary, but maybe if I have a Ken Jennings-like winning streak on Jeopardy! I can look into it.
  24. I have a reputation for being difficult to share a bed with, although most of the complaining comes from my sister. So it may be that I'm not so difficult in general, so much as I'm subconsciously taking out daytime frustrations on her in the night. Apparently I kick her, and once I woke up and found that I had scooted over to the middle of the bed during the night so I moved back to what I thought was my side (but was actually hers) and ended up pushing her out of the bed.
  25. I would like to try making my own jam or chutney or something sometime, but I don't have confidence in my ability to can things properly so that they don't poison anyone.
  26. I put off reordering contacts so long that I have been wearing glasses for the last week. I'm really tired of glasses. I have been putting off getting a haircut until my new contacts (or the new glasses I ordered!) arrive, so that I can look ultra-glamorous in one go. I have also been putting off waxing my eyebrows, although that's not on purpose - I just keep forgetting. As I'm sure you can imagine, I am a sight to behold.
  27. Speaking of ultra-glamorous, I have probably seen the Brady Bunch parodies The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel more times than I've seen actual episodes of The Brady Bunch.
  28. I only like coffee at a coffee/milk ratio of about 3:1 or 4:1. With a couple spoonfuls of sugar. That said, it's quite nice that way, like melty coffee ice cream. I like coffee ice cream.
  29. I have "Zhu ni sheng ri kuai le" in my head.
  30. I would like to own multiple pairs of eyeglasses. I think this stems from when I was a teaching assistant in a professional school where many of my students were studying to be opticians. I don't know if it was because healthcare was socialized or because they were studying to be opticians, but several of the students owned multiple pairs of glasses that they coordinated to their outfits.
  31. It probably also stems from my love of costumes and disguises and the fact that my personal fashion style is usually, "I'm dressing up as [X] today!" [X] is frequently a different era in time, but sometimes it's something like "a fancy grown-up lady."
  32. I like to cook, but I like taking shortcuts. It drives me crazy when recipes are all, "First, you make your own stock from bones you have sitting around" (see #5) when I would rather just pour it out of a box/can. I like to "make" spaghetti sauce by just adding things to the stuff that comes out of a jar.
  33. As a general rule, I drink black tea with milk and sugar, green tea straight and rooibos with milk only.
  34. I have gone sort of crazy with the tea-buying lately and have had to enforce a tea-buying embargo. Either that or I'll have to completely rearrange my kitchen cupboards so I have somewhere to put it all. I think I'll do that instead.
  35. I wish I'd taken more library science classes in grad school so that I would have the education to go along with my ALA-accredited degree. At this point, I could technically get a job as a librarian, but I doubt anyone would hire me. It would be nice to know that I had an alternative career if this one doesn't work out.
  36. I had a student teacher in an English class in high school who did a lecture on Postmodernism one day. The only thing I remember is him passing around and discussing this picture. I've been pretty much obsessed with Rene Magritte ever since, though I don't really understand how that came about, because I'm not a huge fan of that picture in particular.
  37. I like being at sea, especially when the waves get a little rough and it gets harder to walk straight. I am convinced that I have mad sea legs and can stay upright come what may. I don't think I'd like it if it got too rough, though, because now that I'm thinking about being at sea in a major storm, I am getting terrified of capsizing. And I'm sitting at a desk in an office, so I imagine I'd be freaking out more if I were actually in it.
  38. I cleaned out my desk at home for the first time in at least three years. I own way too many pens. There is a pen-buying embargo in effect, too.
  39. I have been obsessed with organization since Christmas. Unfortunately this manifests itself more in drooling over storage furniture than in filing all the papers that are sitting around.
  40. I love hearing the Flemish language spoken. (Bonus joke I stole from QI: What's the difference between a French kiss and a Belgian kiss? Answer: ˙ɯǝןɟ ǝɹoɯ ɥʇıʍ ssıʞ ɥɔuǝɹɟ ɐ sı ssıʞ uɐıƃןǝq ɐ)
  41. I have been waiting MONTHS to use that upside-down text thing for something.
  42. I know just a little about enough subjects that I can often fool people into thinking I'm smarter than I am.


srah | 7:41 PM
Tags: memes

January 22, 2009

So much for those resolutions about being more active...

It's that time of year again, when I set aside the long-running AFI Top 100 project and instead go on a crazed rampage, trying to watch as many Oscar nominees as possible. If I were really smart, I would spread this out a bit more through the year, watching movies that are likely to be nominated before the official nominations are announced. I never have much interest in watching dramas unless I think it's going to help me in Oscar pools, though, so I'm generally not motivated to watch them until it's official. So instead, it's a late-January/early-to-mid-February movie-going extravaganza.

Does everyone realize that a Ben Stiller movie just got nominated for an Academy Award?
I think I've probably seen only a handful (if that many) of movies in the theatre in the last year, and now I'm going to see two different movies back-to-back in the theatre this weekend. I suppose I can look at it as stimulating the economy, since I usually just wait for things to come out on DVD and check them out of the library for free.

At least this year I'm beating my record from last year, where at the time the nominations were announced, I had seen three of the nominees. This year, it's five:

I'm off to see Slumdog Millionaire and Milk this weekend, so after that, there will only be 29 (not including short films/documentaries) to go. Needless to say, I have never managed the feat of seeing every single nominated film, and I don't expect to this year. For one thing, all them furren films ain't so easy to find in Southwestern Ohio, and for another thing, The Wrestler? Seriously?

srah | 12:29 PM
Tags: academy awards, academy awards 2009, movies

January 12, 2009

Tell me your troubles and doubts/ Giving me everything inside and out

It's Delurking Day 2009.

There's a logo and everything, so you know it's official.

If you read but don't comment, please stop lurking, come out of the woodwork and make yourself known! (Regular commenters are also welcome to comment, of course).

Don't know what to say? Let's play a game.

srah's delurking game

First commenter, tell us something that you like that starts with A. It could be a food, a song, a place, a thing, an abstract concept - however you interpret it. Next commenter does B, and so on. If we get to Z, we can start over at A. You can comment more than once, but you can't do two consecutive letters of the alphabet. If you're delurking (or even if you're not) and would like to tell us a little more about yourself while you're at it, you're welcome to!


srah | 12:51 PM
Tags: delurking, memes

January 8, 2009

I think it's more of a spoiler if you tell me, partway through the movie, who Orson Welles plays

AFI progress review time!


  • The Godfather, Part II - December 2008
    On Flixster I said:
    Poor Fredo. No one should have to die in that hat.

    Very enjoyable to watch. I like the interweaving of the Vito/Michael stories.
    and some stranger got mad and was like, "Phew I'm glad I'm reading this AFTER I saw the film!" I didn't say anything about how he died¹, and while Fredo dying is important to Michael's character development, it's not like knowing that he dies is going to ruin the film for you.

    ... did it?

  • Maybe they thought they could use telepathy to communicate?
  • High Noon - January 2009
    I heard this described as a "non-cowboyey" cowboy movie (or something to that effect). The same situation probably could have been applied to a number of settings. Gary Cooper was great, and the movie was really well put-together - they managed to jump right into the story and didn't have to use a lot of exposition to tell you what was going on.

    I did have some problems with the Will/Amy relationship. They had some serious communications issues to work out, by which I mean they DID NOT COMMUNICATE AT ALL.

    Update: I just realized that the main couple in this movie have the same first names as a much funnier couple. I don't know anything about how well that Will/Amy couple communicates.

  • The Third Man - January 2009
    I find it strange that High Noon made the AFI's list of the top 25 movie themes, but The Third Man didn't. We are going to be singing that for WEEKS.

    This movie had a lot of unusual angles and lighting that made it particularly interesting. Also, Joseph Cotten, who is brilliant.

Sixteen left to go, I believe, and Dr Zhivago, The French Connection and Jaws are already checked out of the library and waiting for me to watch them. Hooray for resolution VI²! There's a difference of twenty-three movies between the 1998 list and the 2007 version. I could, in theory, set out to watch the whole 2007 list once I finish the 1998 ones, since I've already seen twelve³ of the twenty-three, but I won't just on principle, because there are some WEIRD additions and subtractions. They removed Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and added Blade Runner! The AFI was smoking crack.

¹ **SPOILER** He didn't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.

² So far, resolution VI is my most successful one, although I am sitting at my desk at lunchtime and eating leftovers as I type this (rIII+1). But that means that I'm typing this instead of going for a walk (rIV-1). Maybe if I drink a glass of water (rV+1) it will all even out.

³ In case you wanted to know: The General, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Cabaret, Saving Private Ryan, The Shawshank Redemption, In the Heat of the Night, Spartacus, Titanic, A Night at the Opera, The Sixth Sense, Sophie's Choice and Blade Runner. Yes, I'm counting Blade Runner even though I fell asleep while watching it on two separate occasions, because I saw enough of it to make me realize that I never want to watch it again and you can't make me.

srah | 12:29 PM
Tags: afi, high noon, movies, the godfather part ii, the third man

January 7, 2009

And may the British burn my land if I can't deliver to your hand a resolution on independency!

Some people seem to think that New Year's resolutions are the sort of thing that should be announced, like, in the first couple of days of January. Well, here at srah blah blah, we ain't people¹. So here is our interrelated web of resolution:

WHEREAS It is the beginning of a new year; and

WHEREAS "People" expect this sort of thing; and

WHEREAS I should probably get up off the couch and work on some self-improvement; therefore be it


  1. That I will fit into this one pair of jeans that I can technically fit into now, and can even zip up, if I sit down on the couch and wiggle a lot and hold my breath for minutes at a time and strain the pants and myself to the point where - when I remove the pants - pants-marks are left on my skin. So... no, they don't fit now. I would like them to fit in such a way that I could wear them out of the house without wanting to die.
  2. That I will spend less money on terribly frivolous things² and be more sensible in my spending.
  3. That I will take my lunch to work, which will (hopefully) support resolutions I and II.
  4. That I will get back into the habit of walking, which will hopefully help with resolution I. I will probably not actually engage in this until the Team [University I Work At] walk/run training program starts up again later this month, but still.
  5. That I will drink more water, which will support resolution I and - if it means that I'm not thirsty when I walk past Starbucks - resolution II. And will accompany resolution III.
  6. That I will finish the AFI Top 100. This is not related to anything else on the list, but it's still very important.
  7. That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

¹ We are a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament. It says so, right here.

² After-Christmas sales are making me fail at this... to the EXTREME!! It should get better over the next few months when it's too cold out to drive to the mall. Unless I shop online...

srah | 5:10 PM
Tags: holidays, new year, resolutions


I dreamt last night that my family went to visit my aunt and uncle in Virginia. We either walked the whole way there or drove most of the way and walked once we were in town. We were walking down this street and about 12 out of 15 people on the street were wearing University of Michigan t-shirts. Then we saw this guy in an Ohio State jacket and said, "Oh look, there's someone to break the trend!" but then he took it off and was wearing a Michigan sweatshirt underneath. Then my parents asked for directions from some teenaged girl and I got the idea that rather than going to my aunt and uncle's house, we were just going to follow this girl and her boyfriend around.

Next thing I knew, I was at a party with my high school friend Becky and we were playing Pictionary with a bunch of middle-aged strangers.

In the next part of my dream, there was a television cooking show where the host's catchphrase that he repeated at the end of every show was, "Bitch, I can make soup!"

I am aware that all of these were dreams.

I think.

srah | 7:58 AM
Tags: dream, srahfam

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Yesterday, a friend mentioned something about having to have blood drawn and I almost responded, "I have to get a whole bunch of blood drawn to test for different things and they said that they couldn't use the same blood for the different tests so I'd have to get, like, 6 vials drawn." Then I remembered that I went to the eye doctor the day before and he said nothing at all about blood and I don't think I've been to another doctor in at least four months (and that was the dentist). So apparently I dreamt about all that blood-drawing.

Later in the day, someone tweeted about how their son had lost a tooth, and I thought, "Hey, I lost a tooth too!" and could remember the whole scenario in which I lost this tooth until I realized that that, too, was a dream.

I think I need to stop and think before I am so eager to participate in conversation, because all of my best stories happened in my head.

srah | 7:22 AM
Tags: dream, imagination

January 6, 2009

Sucks to your auntie!

I went to the eye doctor yesterday. I like my eye doctor because, like my dentist, he is patient and indulgent when I go "What's that? What's that for? How does it work? What's that? What's that for? How does it work? What's that? What's that for? How does it work? What's that? What's that for? How does it work?"

I'm glad now that I've procrastinated for several years about getting new glasses, because my right eye got marginally weaker on this visit, after having remained unchanged for years. So now I can get glasses with an up-to-date prescription. The question is: which frames?

Glasses 1
Glasses 2
Glasses 3
Option 4

(Although you wouldn't think it to look at it - I changed some sort of camera setting between #1 and #2 for some reason - these were all taken in my ophthalmologist's office, so I might have more selection if I went to a large glasses store.)

srah | 12:55 PM
Tags: doctor, glasses, polls

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