Saturday, January 17, 2009

4 Movies In 4 Weeks #3: Paul Blart: Mall Cop

"It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies, instead of the other way around."

-Mary Pickford

Last night Alan and I went to see "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." It was Alan's turn to pick a movie, and that is the one he chose. "Really?" I thought, but I went without too much of a fuss, because I figured it was only fair, in that a week earlier I had forced him to endure the chick flick, "Bride Wars." So what if it seemed a little sophomoric from it's trailers, it has the hunky Kevin James in it! Right? Well, I find Kevin James hunky, and besides, he has nice eyes. :) "Ok Alan, why not?"

The Sacramento Bee's review of the movie recommended it for about 8 years old and up. Yeah, that's about right. Rated PG, it was funny, but had a couple of moments that some parents might find a bit questionable, such as one particular scene in a bar, but overall there wasn't anything in it that I haven't already seen on network TV, including the story itself. Don't get me wrong, it was a funny movie, with the proper amount of slapstick that especially appealed to the under 13 year in the audience, and the big kids at heart, like Alan. Heck, I even laughed out loud, and that felt mighty good.

It was predictable in places, and yet it managed to throw me a curve here and there. It was sweet at times, and even though the main character was a man, anyone who has ever felt less then good enough for the world, would be able to identify with his struggles. I did. Male or female, we have all felt the sting of rejection, or the difficulties of trying too hard to impress someone, and most of us have had to watch a dream or two slip from our hands. The movie showed us how those things affected Paul Blart, and his response to them. And that's a good thing. He was someone you could identify with to varying degrees, but mostly if you have ever felt like the underdog, and who hasn't felt that way at least once? Every now and again, it is good to cheer on the underdog with a heart of gold. Last night the audience cheered Paul Blart on... loudly! LOL. It was fun to watch both the movie, and the crowd's response to him.

It was just the right length at 87 minutes. Don't you just hate a movie that goes on and on forever with useless dialog and scenes? Ugg. This was a good movie, that didn't try to be too deep, that stuck to the story with very few diversions, and which concentrated at simply telling the story as it unfolded. Applause, applause. It was co-produced by Adam Sandler, Jeff Sussman and Kevin James, and you could see Sandler's influence everywhere in the film. Especially if you saw the movie, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry." In fact, the only thing missing was Adam Sandler. LOL. Nah, actually, he would have been unnecessary, and that is the point I am making, it was a good movie because there wasn't anything out of place. Very few comedies seem to do that right.

You'll laugh, and that's a good thing. You can take the kids to see it, and that's a good thing too. Go see it. It's a good thing.

I give it 4 out of 5 kernels of popcorn.

"In The Aisles"
Dublin, California

Friday, January 16, 2009

Steven's Feline And Furball Friday: Dylan The Wild Child

"Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still."

-Dorothea Lange

What can I say? This photo was, of course, a mistake, but after I downloaded it to the computer, along with the other photos from this session, I decided I liked it. Knowing Dylan as I do, I can see in it, his inner lion, stalking his prey. See, Dylan is a bit of a putty-tat. Those of you who own cats know exactly what I mean. There are pussycats, and then there are putty-tats. Putty-tats are love bugs. Like Sylvester, they try their best to stalk and then catch their prey, but more often then not they are almost always outwitted by the object of their stalking, even by the inanimate objects. It can be highly entertaining to watch. In Dylan's case, it is not an inanimate object at all, it's his brother Hendrix. Hendrix has already shown great potential in stalking and attacking, but Dylan rarely puts his claws out, and almost never bites. Like I said, he is my love bug. But if you need him to catch a plastic ball with a bell in it in midair... then Dylan is your cat! :)

I haven't played Steven's Feline and Furball Friday in far too long. Friday is the day for pets, go see Steven for all the details!

"Wild Child"
Berkeley, California
January 14th, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How Did We Get Here?

"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break."

William Shakespeare

It's winter. And for some reason winter seems to bring the blues, even if the sun is shining everyday. I have been a little blue lately, even as we have been experiencing the record setting warmth here in the Bay Area. Why? Good question. I am not sure why. I have some a couple ideas though. It could be that Inauguration Day can't come soon enough for me. I am still going to sleep every night grinding my teeth in anger at what Bush has done to America, and the insidious way he is trying to rewrite history. But that isn't the only thing on my mind, and this entry isn't about him.

Something happened here in the Bay Area a couple weeks ago, that I am not sure has gotten the nationwide attention it probably should have. I touched on it a few entries back. A young man named, Oscar Grant, was on his way home from San Francisco in the wee hours of January 1st, when a fight broke out between two groups of young men while riding BART. The fight was responded to by BART police, who broke up the fighting, then proceeded to arrest the men accordingly. The next events are somewhat mysterious and tragic. During the process of arrest, Oscar Grant was shot in the back, and killed, by a BART police officer, Johannes Mehserle.

There have been many, many amateur videos of the shooting playing on every news channel since the beginning of January. Taken, of course, from different perspectives around the BART station where the incident occurred. They show what happened from different angles, and different time frames. Oscar Grant was laying face down on the platform, with his hands behind his back, and another BART police officer bending down next to him. He was well restrained and not resisting arrest. But in one of the clearest videos, you could see clearly that Officer Mehserle pulled out his gun, pointed it at Oscar Grant, and pulled the trigger. Oscar Grant died a few hours later.

What happened? Why did Officer Mehserle pull the trigger? Did he snap? Did he make a mistake? Or was it a case of cold blooded murder? The videos don't tell you his side of the story. But make no mistake. There was one. We just have to get to it. The video is strong evidence against him. It was unthinkable. After I viewed it I immediately felt angry and sick that something like that had happened. I was just as outraged as everyone else in the Bay Area as the investigation seemed to drag along, with very few answers being offered. BART did not handle things well. Not well at all. And the family and friends have had to endure the pain of losing a son, boyfriend, friend, father, at the age of 22. What a way to begin 2009!

Mr. Mesherle was arrested a couple days ago in Zephyr Cove Nevada. The police knew where to find him, and there is no indication he tried to run. In fact, he went with the arresting officers peacefully. The evening news showed a clip the his extradition hearing, and I had expected to see a monster walk into the courtroom, based on what I had seen for myself through the videos on the news, but the young man who walked into that courtroom was anything but a monster. He was shackled, and visibly shaken. He stood tall, but had a child like innocence to him. He had a look on his face, which I believe was genuine. It seemed to say, how did I get here? What happened? I don't understand. Mr. Mesherle is just 27, making him just 5 years older then the man he shot.

No one understands the death of a 22 year old. No matter how it happens. No one understands the cowardly act of shooting a person in the back. No matter why. No one understands murder. Justice is very often misunderstood. How to give it and how to achieve it. Mr. Mesherle will be in an Oakland courtroom later today to face charges of murder. Time will tell to what degree of murder it will be. Some things are certain at this point. An unlawful killing took place at the hands of Mr. Mesherle. Two tragedies took place that night. Two families have lost a son in their 20's and every ones life is a little different right now. How this will play out is anybodies guess, because so far only one side of the story is apparent. I want to know more.

Why did he pull his weapon on an unarmed, restrained man? There is an answer to that question, but for the life of me I can't think of what it might be. In the meantime there is grief all around. Two peaceful protests regarding this case, have been turned upside down by rioting, resulting in multiple businesses being vandalized by splinter groups of the original peaceful protest planners. How damaging businesses that have nothing to do with the case completely escapes me. But there are opportunists everywhere I suppose. All I know is that the actions of those involved in the rioting amounts to an injustice, which is strange, because isn't that what the peaceful protest is pleading for? Justice? But I wonder, considering what's happened, can there be justice at this point?

Oscar Grant's life is over. Mr. Mesherle is facing years, maybe more like decades in prison if convicted. Can he get a fair trial under the circumstances? Are there 12 people out there right now who haven't seen the video for themselves? What happened? Why? My heart goes out to the family of Oscar Grant, and to the parents of Mr. Mesherle, who woke up this morning to a bomb threat. Why hurt his parents because of his actions? It is all so sad. No matter what, life will be forced to go on, and we may never know what happened, or why Oscar Grant had to die.

:( {{{WEEP}}}

ABC 7 Video Page (Several videos of different aspects of the case are available)

"In Janaury"
San Francisco, California

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Babies Are Growing Up Too Fast

"If there is a spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will soak it up."

-Joan Asper McIntosh

Can you believe how big Dylan as gotten? And Hendrix is even bigger! We took both boys for the weigh-in yesterday, and here is the result. Dylan is now 4 lbs 10 oz and Hendrix is, hold onto your hats, 6 lbs, 9 1/2 ounces! He is almost 2 pounds heavier then his brother! Goodness... where have my little fuzzy babies gone?

We don't know their exact age, but Dr. B guesses that they are within a week or so in age, and they were probably born very late in August, or maybe the first of September, so we decided to make September 3rd their official birthday. I haven't decided yet if we will do a party in the yard for them the way we did Elvis. They are their own people, although they were great fun during Christmas and Hanukkah, so we will probably do something special. Think a party at Chuck-E-Cheese might be a good idea?LOL. Wouldn't you love to see those party photos?

We let them out in the yard yesterday to let them run around and play for a while. The weather has been really warm for January, with temperatures reaching the low 70's. Glorious weather... really, really nice, so used the opportunity to get in some practice using Alan's camera. I am really hesitant to use it, if I lost the lens cap, or scratched the lens, I would feel so bad, but on the other hand, my boys are growing so fast that I want to save as many memories as I can. You know... they have both lost all their kitten fuzz! How can that be? ;)

Dylan is my boy. He cuddles with me and sits on my lap while I do my blogging or other online activities. Hendrix is Alan's cat. He follows him around and runs for the door when he hears him get home from work. Hendrix loves hugs, and will stretch upwards with his front feet stretched upwards so he can be picked up. Dylan prefers the snuggle to a hug, but both boys love to show affection and that is really nice. Dylan plays a game of fetch with me each night before bed, while Hendrix carries his favorite stuffed animal "Chip" around the house, biting and chewing on him, then saving him and grooming him when he is done. It's so much fun to watch him carry Chip around. By the way, "Chip" is a squirrel, and was named after the squirrel that used to be the logo for Blue Chip Stamps. Remember Blue Chip stamps?

What do you think? Is there a resemblance? LOL.

I love my fur babies! :)

Dylan, November 6th, 2008

Hendrix, October 28th, 2008

"Dylan In The Sun"
Berkeley, California
January 13th 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #20: Snack Time!

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking, if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."

-Voltaire NOW CLOSED!

Can you believe we are on our 20th photo shoot assignment? You guys have been incredibly supportive, thank you so much for playing along! You make me smile. Now... on to the assignment!

My snack alarm goes off everyday at 3:30 PM on the dot. Most often, I crave something sweet. I don't always give in, but sometimes I do. This week I am looking to broaden my horizons a bit. Show me what you snack on, when you cave to temptation!

An afternoon SNACK, a midnight SNACK, a mid-morning SNACK. It's all good. Chips and Salsa, a baked sweet potato, a slice of Starbuck's Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake, cheese and crackers, fresh veggies and dip, tea and cakes, BBQ potato chips, fresh fruit, Bagel Bites, popcorn, PB&J. Whatever you like to SNACK on, is mighty good for this assignment!

Extra Credit: Show me your favorite dish, bowl or tray to serve it on!

**Please Read**

You have until 9:00 PM ET next Sunday night to complete the photo shoot assignment, and post it to your Blog or Journal, and comeback here with a direct link. NO HYPERLINKS! It must be the full URL back to the entry specific to this photo shoot. Also, it would be really good to include a link back here, so other folks can join in the assignment! :)

Linking List for EMPS #19: NAP TIME 01/05/2009


1. Judi

2. Liz

3. Suzanne

4. Karen

5. Em Dy

6. Linda

7. Laura

8. Terri

9. Connie

10. Mike

Ok everyone, GO BE PHOTOGRAPHERS! Make me hungry this week, with pictures of delicious SNACKS! See you next Monday with an all new photography assignment!

"Starbuck's Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffeecake"
Berkeley, California
November, 2008

Sunday, January 11, 2009

4 Movies In 4 Weeks #2: Bride Wars

"I've learned that life is too short and movies are too long."

-Denis Leary

Last Friday was Alan's birthday, so we had a nice dinner, followed by dessert, followed by presents, then it was time to choose a movie. See, in addition to being his birthday, it was also the second Friday of our 4 week movie blitz! We have the month of January to use the 8 free movie tickets we got from an Old Navy promotion. What should we pick this week? In that it was Alan's birthday, I was fully prepared to let him choose the movie for the second time. "Nah, you pick this week," said he, "I want next week instead." Ok," said I, not wasting a moment to pick a chick flick. And boy did I!

Bride Wars was nothing short of a chick flick, and it wasn't anything more either. Typical... that best describes it. Not that I am complaining or anything, it totally delivered on fluff and lightness, but it did have more then one serious moments too. Not the kind that leave a lump in your throat for months, but more like gentle moments between female friends that all women know about. I don't want to give anything away, but the truth is, women can be competitive, sometimes brutally so, and that is just the facts ma'am.

Sometimes it's over a the last pair of Woodstock slippers at the Charles Schulz museum store, and sometimes it's over a wedding. That was me by the way, fighting over the Woodstock slippers. LOL. Guess what? I won! In the movie it was a wedding date being fought over, and nobody won there. But there was a happy ending. Like all chick flicks... there is always a happy ending.

Kate Hudson was gorgeous in the movie, even with blue hair. She looks and sounds more like her mother, Goldie Hawn, every single day! Anne Hathaway was great as her best friend, and fellow bride to be, although she seemed a little flat from time to time. There was a good bit of suspension of disbelief, but it wasn't that deep a film, so I just brushed it aside, and enjoyed seeing where the story went. It seemed like there might be a hint of a sequel at the end, which would be a bad idea. Just let this story end here. Good story. Ok chick flick. Fun. No need to over think it.

I give it 2 1/2 popcorn kernels out of 5.

"Popcorn In Neon"
Dublin, California
January 9th, 2009
Late Evening