Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thunderbirds Are Go

So Zen just keeps being the coolest girl in the world, and based on the response to the posts featuring her and some of the emails I've been getting, you think so too. Perhaps foolishly, perhaps not, she's been kind enough to agree to answer questions put forth to her. So, guys, if you want to interview her, ask her what nerdy girls like and why they hide from us so elusively, or anything else at all, post a question here. You're all polite and decorous, I hope, so nothing terrible. Obviously, she's going to answer whichever of these strike her fancy, and she's going to do it vlogger style, because we all want more of her videos. Ain't she sweet? And frigging awesome.

I'll leave this at the top for a few days and we can just see what happens.

If you don't want to post a question in the comments section, you can email me and I'll do it for you. No problem there; we're all pally.

I'll start things off with a question for myself and a question from an emailer, just for kicks.

I got an email which asked the question: "Do you think she knows anything about Jason and the Argonauts or King Kong?" Which is a pretty good question, I think, just speaking as a geek who feels like a whole generation of geekery has passed him by. Any thoughts?

Oh, which gives me an extra question: any thoughts on a remake of Clash of the Titans? I'm fiercely agin' it, and I once commandeered an entire mythological studies class to make this case. Just asking.

My other question is not really a question, I guess. I'm just wondering what your interest is in animation. I'm contractually obligated to ask that question by the Walt Disney Company, majority shareholders of my eternal soul. It's a bitch sometimes, but I was born under an animated star with a cricket singing to it.

Guys and dolls, the rest is all you.

Thanks again, Zen.

Another Dinner for Me

JA has tagged me with the "My Dinner with..." meme; in his post, he says that we can ignore the tag if we've done the meme already. I was tagged in January and envisioned a nice dinner with Terry Gilliam, so I was going to just not do it again. But then I thought to myself, why couldn't I have another dinner with another filmmaker? Are there some kind of rules against it? Don't I, since fortune has given me this chance, DESERVE to meet another filmmaker of my choosing? Yes, you do! And since JA tagged you, you do it, mister, you just buck up and DO IT! I'm very aggressive with myself at times. So here is my second dinner.

1. Pick a single person past or present who works in the film industry who you'd like to have dinner with and tell us why you chose this person.

Walt Disney. I guess the reasons should be obvious to people who camp here regularly; animation is my true love, and Walt did so many things right that he basically established the rules of what animation was as a genre. He could've done more for it as a medium, but that'll be part of the conversation. The fact is, whether you like Warner Bros. better or whatever (someone always mentions that when I post about Disney), Walt's cartoons and his business dealings were so influential that he created a standard that most animation is still rather self-consciously--and rather short-sightedly--judged by.

2. Set the table for your dinner. What would you eat? Would it be in a home or at a restaurant? And what would you wear? Feel free to elaborate on the details.

I don't know what kind of food Walt Disney liked to eat, but I imagine he didn't get to fancy with it. Born in Chicago, raised in Kansas, Walt was a Midwestern guy. I know I used this with Terry, but I'd kind of like to have a barbecue with the man. Cook some thick steaks on the grill, make some fries or some mashed potatoes, have a beer or two, and just enjoy a nice day shooting the breeze and laughing at how bad DreamWorks movies are (at least, in my mind that's how it would go; maybe he would've liked them, I can't presume.

3. List five thoughtful questions you would ask this person during dinner.

a. What exactly is it about the human butt that's so funny? Some of your work just seems to have a sort of anal fixation; where does that stem from?

b. What do you think is wrong with people that they keep trying to find evidence of perversion in your work?

c. Why were you so resistent to new ideas in social thinking? You alienated a lot of great artists by opposing the union and ratting them out as communists, mostly because they wanted a fair deal in a shaky economy and thought differently about America's obligation to its people than you did. Did you really see it as ingratitude directed at you and the economic system that you believed in? Why lose so many talented people to other studios that left your own studio behind?

d. Damn it, why weren't there more cartoons with Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles and the Aracuan?

e. When it comes right down to it, I'd really like to know why you insisted on creating a uniform artistic style in your films instead of nurturing many different kinds of artistic styles. Animation is a medium, not a genre, and it's a medium that can accomodate many. There's not a right or wrong way to draw, and the same drawing style isn't suitable to every story. So my question, really, is this: Why were you so insistent that there was only one way to draw, when your studio could've continued to break ground in both art and storytelling by encouraging variety and exploration?

4. When all is said and done, select six bloggers to pass this Meme along to. Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre, so that people know the mastermind behind this Meme.

Always a pleasure to link back to Piper. That said, I'm not tagging six people. I think everyone who's seen this and wanted to do it has done it. However, if you haven't done it and would like to, consider yourself tagged.

Finally, a New Muppet Movie?

So, Jason Segel wrote this Judd Apatow-produced movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which comes out next month. He stars in it, too, and Nick Stoller directed it. And they needed puppets for the movie; those were built by Henson. They enjoyed the experience so much that, during a meeting, Segel pitched his idea for a Muppet movie.

And it's a go.

He's enlised Stoller to co-write and direct. A new Muppets movie. They made a deal with him in the damn meeting!

I'm excited. I'm way too excited so early on. But tell me you're not thinking of possible Apatow-Muppets connections here.

Heh... oh man. It's too much to hope, but... can you imagine Kristen Bell in a Muppet movie with this kind of creative involvement? This may just be my dream project...

Horton Hears a Meh

Dr. Seuss's Horton only figures in two books, but I think he's among the sweetest and most noble characters in literature. He's steadfast and faithful, compassionate and loyal to his own detriment. I think he's great; in fact, I love him so much that I'm not going to see this movie.

I'm bringing this up not because the film is doing well this weekend (that's no surprise), but because I came across this completely idiotic article at eHow called "How to Enjoy Horton Hears a Who." My God, who got paid what for this studio-written drivel?

According to the article, what you'll need to enjoy the film is "an appreciation for the works of Dr. Seuss, a love of animated films, and the ability to feel young at heart." Well isn't that just keen? I guess if you don't want to see the movie, you don't have the "ability" to feel young at heart or love animation. Peachy. Funny, I actually have all three of those prerequisites in spades, and I don't want to see this movie.

I appreciate the works of Dr. Seuss, alright. I appreciate them so much that I think they're spot-on perfect as they were written. Somehow, magically I guess, I'm able to enjoy Seuss's works without jokes about cell phones, emo teenagers, Apocalypse Now references, MySpace references, Jim Carrey's usual penchant of breaking character to deliver unfunny jokes, or daddy issues. Seriously, do we need to turn everything from our childhoods into another rumination on how hard it is to talk to our own kids? Jesus Christ, Luke Skywalker didn't have the emotional baggage of today's movie leads, and his dad killed thousands of people and cut off his hand, and he made out with his own sister!

Oh, I also enjoy my Seuss without an immense marketing campaign. This is another movie being sold on its voice cast, which actually features a number of actors I really like right now--Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Isla Fisher, Jaime Pressly, and Will Arnett, for example. But I'm leery of animated films that sell on their voice cast and their source material rather than the actual content of the movie itself. I will grant you the animation looks beautiful, but the whole marketing campaign, with its deification of Dr. Seuss and Jim Carrey and its flurry of pop culture references make this thing look even more cynical than a DreamWorks movie. And those are terrible. Those are the worst animated movies being made, and probably the worst that will ever be made. The eHow article tells you that two of the steps to enjoying this movie are "Check out the movie's buzz" and, God help me for writing this, "Know 'Who' is in this movie." Even the average moviegoer is now cynical enough to be interested in a movie just because the marketing campaign is really good, or they like how the movie is sold to them. And they realize it in a postmodern way. It's all about who does the best salesmanship.

Step 5 of this article even recommends: "Get some merchandise to extend the magic." That pretty much says it all in one sentence. Is this movie being made to entertain anyone? Because the story must be told? I mean, told again? I doubt it.

Bob Clampett directed a short cartoon for Warner Bros. that was based on Horton Hatches the Egg. I really recommend you find it; Clampett put humor and pop culture references in there, but he did it without detracting from the basic story and sweetness of the book. Bobe Cannon did the same thing for UPA's short cartoon Gerald McBoing Boing. Somehow, audiences in the 1960s managed to enjoy Chuck Jones's How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who without jokes about hippies or impersonations of Richard Nixon. There's even a good live action movie, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, which captures Seuss's imagination and tone without pandering to the audience and sucking up to it.

Step 4 in that idiotic eHow article is this: "Read the Dr. Seuss books to better know the movie."

Why bother? Dr. Seuss's books seem to be the least important aspect.

Friday, March 14, 2008

My Name Is Michael Caine

Michael Caine, one of my favorite actors, is a very distinguished 75 years old today.

Happy Birthday, Michael Caine!

Here's a music video by one of my favorite groups, Madness. The sound is kind of bad, but it's the video for the song "Michael Caine."

Throwdown 3/14

Random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. You know, some days you have to wonder why Davy Jones is famous in the first place. I mean, he really was the most expendable member of the Monkees. Now he’s just kind of creepy. Although Becca said this was an awesome picture, so what do I know? By the way, when did Davy Jones morph into Gabriel Byrne.

2. So, Tori Spelling, at the age of 34, finally admitted that she had a boob job way back. She’s been kind of down lately; should we all just humor her and pretend we’re surprised?

3. This creepy image is from the next DreamWorks computer-animated abortion, Monsters vs. Aliens. It’s the first computer-animated movie to be made specifically in 3-D; Jeffrey Katzenberg thinks it’s both groundbreaking and exciting (and how wrong he is) to distinguish between regular CGI (often referred to as 3-D) and this new one by referring to the new one as “the ultimate 3-D.” Well, at least you can say that DreamWorks hasn’t run out of ideas. They never had any to begin with.

4. Emma Watson needs to eat a little more and put some weight on. In other news, she’s 18 in just under a month… Luckily, the age of consent in England is 16…

5. Lindsay Lohan is going to star in a movie with Ann-Margret. I don’t know if I want to see another movie with that washed-up, dried-out, lousy old hag, even if it does have Ann-Margret in it.

6. In the new US Weekly, Ashlee Simpson says of her plastic surgery: “[It’s] something that everybody should think about for a really long time. Once you know it's something you really feel comfortable with, then to each their own.” She then goes on to claim “I was never really unhappy with how I looked, [and] I don't think I am more beautiful than I was [before]. I just see the same old goofy girl I see every day.” Wow. Just, wow. She must have incredible self-esteem to destroy her beauty just to prove she’s so fucking confident. God I hate you, Ashlee Simpson.

7. I also hate John Mayer, who says that he worries what his future wife is thinking of him right now as she peruses the pages of US Weekly. Look, buddy, if you can find a woman who can heroically overcome her gag reflex and a basic sense of self-worth long enough to marry John fucking Mayer, you’re far luckier than you deserve to be. If you want a fair shake in the court of public opinion, my advice is this: stop going around in your Borat swimwear, stop writing fake breakup letters and mood indicators on your blog (you know, like Mariah Carey and Britney Spears do), stop congratulating yourself on how clever and hilarious you think you are, stop giving interviews to Rolling Stone where you talk about your penis and your intelligence and how a girl is “required” to submit to your fantasies and how it must be awful to be married to Angelina Jolie because you can’t fantasize about other women during a blowjob, and just keep your fucking mouth shut for a change. US Weekly isn’t responsible for any of that, moron. They didn’t make you go out with Jessica Simpson just to fulfill your starfucking fantasies and then reject her publicly because she wasn’t smart enough and low maintenance enough for your fragile ego and precious intellect. Seriously, just fly up your own asshole and shut the fuck up. Your music is nowhere near good enough for us to have to put up with the barest scintilla of your ego, my son.

8. I’m not going to go into the Governor Spitzer scandal, mostly because it’s not surprising to me and I’ve already read a number of New York bloggers who have a better perspective on it than I do. I just wanted to be all male for a second when I saw the pictures of the escort he was paying for. Nice. Nice.

9. The best headline I saw all week, regarding Sam Raimi’s soon-to-be-in-production Drag Me to Hell: “Sam Raimi to Drag Justin Long to Hell.” God, please, someone do it.

10. It turns out that rumor that Quentin Tarantino was going to remake Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! with Kim Kardashian and Eva Mendes was made up by Liz Smith as linkbait for Variety. I’m pretty much just glad that movie’s not going to happen. Not that this is a new observation, but Liz Smith is fucking moron.

11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will, in fact, be split in twain. Because you can’t really have just one movie about kids sitting in a tent and hiding under a cloak, really.

12. Star Jones has kicked out her husband, Al Reynolds. She made such a big deal about getting hitched, too, selling the photos and televising the event and doing that thing lots of self-important women do when they get married: she assumed everyone else cared and was happy for her and/or withered in jealousy. So after the way she threw her wedding to some gay dude in our faces—because the whole point always seems to be the wedding, not the actual marriage—I think it’s okay for us to enjoy her impending divorce. Just a little, because she doesn’t warrant much real attention.

13. In this month’s Playboy 20 Questions interview, Jenna Fischer says that when she first moved to L.A., she met screenwriter Shem Bitterman at a party and he asked her if she’d be willing to do a graphic sex scene. She said no, and Bitterman told her she wasn’t a real actress, saying: “A real actress would say yes. A real actress would piss herself onstage if that’s what it took […] You should just go home. You don’t have what it takes.” Well, obviously he was demonstrably wrong. And I think it’s funny that this is the first time a lot of people are hearing of this guy (checking his credits, the only movie he wrote that I’ve ever even heard of is Halloween 5). Granted, I’ve argued that real actresses aren’t afraid of nudity, so this may sound dissonant on the surface, but I’m glad she stuck to her guns and didn’t do anything she didn’t want to. What I really and truly hate is an actress who will take a role that she knows is going to have nudity in it and then refuses to do it; it’s unprincipled hypocrisy I hate. Fischer says in Playboy: “I should have told him, 'How about I piss on your face? Does that make me a real actress? Let's try that. I'll do that right here. I'll do that today.' Bring me Shem Bitterman.” Jenna Fischer, threatening to piss in a guy’s face just for saying something nasty. Do you know what that makes you, young lady? It makes you awesome.

14. A woman in Brisbane, Australia, stabbed her husband to death because he turned off her favorite Bruce Springsteen CD and took it out of the player. “I mean, who doesn’t like Bruce Springsteen?” she said. I don’t know, people who liked Bob Dylan the first time around and didn’t need to hear the same thing, only roughly gargled? I wonder if she’s one of those people who really believe that, at some point before he embarked on his music career in his early twenties, he really had some kind of hard, working class life like he used to write about. One of those people who, as Chuck Klostermann put it, really thought that, between tours, Bruce went to work at a car wash somewhere. Hey, if your favorite Bruce Springsteen CD is Born in the USA or anything after, or really anything other than Born to Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town or Nebraska or, on rare occasions, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, or maybe even The River once every five years, I’m pulling it out and using it as a coaster. The woman’s cunning plan to murder her husband so she could listen to the Boss backfired, and now she gets to go to prison and not listen to the Boss for the next eight years. (By the way, only eight years for murdering a guy because he didn’t like crappy, pretentious Pete Seeger covers? Interesting move, Australia. Would it have been longer if she’d been a Rolf Harris fan?)

15. Scientists this week identified the protein master regulator in tumor cells that causes breast cancer to metastasize and spread to other organs. It’s not a cure, and scientists still don’t know what activates the process, but it’s an important step and hopefully one that turns out to be incredibly useful. This could lead to therapy that would target only the effected cells instead of just carpet-bombing the entire body to kill only a certain number.

16. President Duh said that he won’t entertain the idea of easing the embargo on Cuba which has helped embolden the Cuban dictatorship for half a century because they replaced one dictator with another. The irony train is about to run off the rails.

17. President Duh also vetoed legislation that would outlaw waterboarding, calling the torture an important tool in the war on the boogeyman. There’s just no attempt on his part to stop making us look bad. What we really need to keep in mind is that George W. Bush is fighting terrorism by being the one to inflict the terror first; he doesn’t want other nations to respect us, he wants them to fear us. Is that what the average American really thinks represents us the best? Bush said “We have no higher responsibility than stopping terrorist attacks.” How far we’ve fallen.

18. According to economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Iraq War will cost Americans $12 billion a month in 2008. But remember, there’s no money for healthcare, for education, or to keep the price of gas down. We’re spending it over there so we don’t have to spend it over here.

19. A quick request to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: could you just quit sowing all of the uncomfortable hatred between your two groups of supporters and actually talk about what you plan to DO as a president? Are you ideas so bad or so non-existent that this farce is the only way you can run?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

After reading James and the Giant Peach, I went chronologically to Dahl's next kids' book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The two books are very similar; Dahl once again tells the story of a sad and starving little boy whose suffering has made him compassionate and understanding. And once again, something wonderful happens to him. And once again, Dahl uses representational characters to stand-in for elements of society that he thinks are not quite right (in this case, gluttony, vulgarity, entitlement, and the vacuous disinterest in imagination). This is not to imply that I felt Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was more of the same; I'm just laying out a methodology that, like fairy tales and fables, use a similar device to impart a different lesson. And the lesson here is mainly, I think, that good things can happen in a world that seems increasingly colder. And it's best to deserve good things by being compassionate, understanding, and smart. Charlie is like James; a smart lad who keeps his head. He asks questions and searches for meanings rather than taking everything in stride or dismissing things as unimportant merely because he doesn't understand them.

I was especially struck by Willy Wonka, who is a plot device much more than he is a real character. A sort of Shakespearean fool who dances in and out of scenes, he's searching for an heir to leave his magical factory to. But rather than test them explicitly, he lets the children prove for themselves why they're not up to the task. And the kids all do themselves in--but not fatally; Dahl makes sure they get just what they deserve and no more. There's an excellent sense of justice, much in the way a child sees justice (it's only fair, for example, that television-obsessed Mike Teavee should be undone by the process of transmitting television images). Willy Wonka is there to provide a setting in which children reveal themselves to be nasty creatures who are only interested in themselves. All except one special little boy, of course.

I won't go too much into the story, since it is most likely familiar to everyone from the two film versions (one great, one less so). But as someone reading it for the first time, I found a lot to like and surprise me. I even laughed out loud a few times, which is worth a lot (time spent enjoying oneself is never wasted, as they say).

I'm glad I've embarked on reading Dahl. One of the things I like the most about his heroes are the way they thirst for something wonderful and different to happen, and are grateful for it. These are the kinds of characters children should read more about; the kind who answer the question "What if we get killed?" with another question: "What if we don't?"

Originally posted at the Spring Reading Challenge (2008).

Interlace! Interlace!

Dr. Zaius found some excellent knit Daleks! Even crocheted, the Daleks are superior! Superior!

Occasional Links #3

I had more links that I realized, so where to start? Going back, I meant to link to Nathaniel's Film B*tch Awards, which are always my favorite awards of the year.

What you don't see in the opening of The Simpsons.

Green is dead. So are other things.

2719 Hyperion: Roadside Disney (including a shot of the wonderful Bulldog Cafe). Vintage Disney also has Walt at the Academy Awards.

Esquire's Best Dressed Men at the Oscars

MWB had an excellent video of John F. Kennedy, the man every candidate thinks they are (when they don't think they're Martin Luther King).

Dinosaur vs. Robot: The World of Guinea Pigs

The Hater: How to Embody Your Generation's Angsty, Internety Ways

Flying Monkey Comics on the Weinstein Company's refusal to just fucking release Fanboys (via Semaj).

John K. on Tex Avery's story structure and the great character design on the first season of Rocky & Bullwinkle.

Cracked, part 1: 5 Body Mysteries Explained, 5 Creepiest Urban Legends That Happen to Be True, 5 Gruesome Origins of Popular Fairy Tales, and 5 Books That Can Actually Make You Stupider (surprisingly, none of them are Dianetics or The Da Vinci Code).

The Onion: You Know What's Stupid? Everything I Don't Understand

Cute animals!

From Michael Sporn: Richard Williams's Casino Royale titles and a Betty Boop walk.

Mark Evanier's nice DMV story.

Ken Levine has questions you must answer if you're going on a reality show.

Intervention.

Natalie Wood sure was pretty. Sigh...

A Special Way of Being Afraid actually gets the whole key fact about Star Wars.

The Onion: Susan Sarandon Masturbated To for Old Times' Sake. I admit, she's in my permanent rotation.

Fairlane gets it, man, whether it's hypocrisy and fervency or revolution as a name-drop and not an action.

Popdose with some Carly Smithson (interesting) and some Jobriath (now we're talking!).

You can see the Incredible Hulk trailer on the unbelievably crappy MTV Overdrive website. It looks pretty good. I don't know, was I the only one who liked the Ang Lee movie? I thought it had a lot more to say than a comic book movie usually does.

12 Surprisingly Controversial Wikipedia Pages

Yeah, well, Jar Jar Binks was just as lovingly rendered on the cover of Rolling Stone, too. And he looked more lifelike.

I used to play this game on the Apple IIe in grade school. Manx continues exploring DOS. Those were the days.

Blender: The 20 Worst Music Company Decisions of All Time

Wow, time has not been kind to Elizabeth Berkley. But she must be bucking for a comeback to be showing off that much flesh. Or even, in fact, appearing in public. (Hollwood Tuna)

Here comes Johnny Yen again with an awesome Ian Hunter video.

Becca drew the Munsters, found some great Darth Vader pics, and found this amazing woman in the snow.

Cracked, part 2: 6 Music Industry Tricks That Must Die, The Awful Truth Behind 5 Items Probably on Your Grocery List, 7 Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened, and 8 Upcoming Movie Adaptations That Must Be Stopped.

And finally, thanks again to Devilham, who found an absolutely awesome video as a tribute to little old me. Very cool! Thanks again, Devilham! You rock!

P Is for Perky, That's Good Enough for Me

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why Don't We Just Kill Ourselves Now and Get It Over With?

Today, the Seattles Times reported that there was a lot more to that recent meat recall (the largest in US history) than was at first made public. Four major food manufacturers (ConAgra, General Mills, Heinz, and Nestle) have been secretly recalling the products that contained meat involved in the recall, including Hot Pockets, Boston Market products, Progresso Italian Wedding Soup, Slim Jims, Manwich, etc. They told the retailers to pull the products, but haven't told consumers through the media because they're not legally required to. They only found out because the USDA told the meat producers (Hallmark/Westland) to do it; the USDA did not contact the other companies themselves.

I don't know, does this make anyone else nervous about their products? Someone from Nestle says that the health risk was "negligible," almost defensively. So did someone from General Mills; ConAgra claims they'll offer refunds, but there's no mention of it on their websites. Heinz is at least being apologetic and conscientious, mostly. Which is another thing that makes me not want to trust companies; they're cagey and secretive, and they seem to get offended when we demand that their food, you know, not kill us.

And what is with the fucking USDA? Time and time again we've seen that they're basically asleep at the wheel, and when they get called on it, their attitude is basically, "Hey, give me more money and I might worry about your safety a little more." The article quotes one Amanda Eamich as saying "Our goal is to make sure that products are controlled and destroyed." Which to me amounts to "What? It's not my job to keep people safe."

It's not like the USDA was doing their jobs in the first place; the meant was only recalled after the Human Society released that disturbing video of dairy cows who could barely stand because of something wrong with them. My understanding of the USDA's job is that they're supposed to inspect the slaughter of cows like that instead of just reacting after someone else blows a whistle. So where the fuck were they? Jesus, the USDA put a good portion of that meat in their own programs, which included the school lunch program. Because hey, why check the quality of meat BEFORE serving it to kids? And they didn't catch the mistake for a couple of months, by the way.

Another fun fact from the article: USDA regulations actually prevent them from disclosing the customers of any meat manufacturer because that's proprietary information. So there's another blow for food safety.

Yes, no one's gotten sick from this. And yes, those four consumers, total dicks that they're being about customers daring to ask for safe product, only get a portion of their meat from Hallmark/Westland. But this is just indicative of the amount of work the government is really, truthfully putting into keeping us safe. When it comes right down to it--whether it's terrorist attack, poison toys, bridge collapse, crumbling levies, natural disaster, or possibly tainted meat--your government doesn't really have much of an ability to protect you. And it's less important to them than winning a square foot of land in Iraq.

Photobucket Meme

I copped this one from Becca.

1. Go to photobucket.com
2. Type in your answer for each question into the PhotoBucket search bar.
3. Choose your favorite photo to represent your answer.
4. Copy the html and paste it here.
5. Answer only in picture form.

I cheated on number 9. Couldn't resist.

1. What is your first name?
a

2. When is your birthday?
July

3. What kind of car do you want?
Batmobile

4. Where did/do you go to school?
NIU

5. What is your favorite season?
autumn

6. What is your favorite type of shoe?
Skechers - Critics

7. What is your status?
Lost In Space

8. What is your favorite movie?
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

9. What is your favorite song?


10. Who is your favorite Disney character?
Donald Duck

11. What is your favorite clothing line?
fruit of the loom

12. What is your favorite vacation destination?
scarlett johansson

13. What is your favorite dessert?
Scarlett Johansson

14. What is your favorite letter?
Z  Monogram

15. What are you most afraid of?
falling

16. What is your favorite TV show?
farscape

17. What annoys you the most?
idiots

18. What is your job?
teacher

19. What's your favorite animal?
elephant

20. How old are you?
Number 31

Always Saying Goodbye

Today, two years ago, my sister Ellen died of cancer. I couldn't let today pass without mention. This picture was taken at her birthday party in 2005. You can see her crutches behind her; just a week or so earlier she'd broken her leg (again) and that was when the doctors found out she had bone cancer.

Ellen had always had problems with her bones; I remember when she was very little she somehow managed to dislocate both of her arms. She broke a few bones over the course of her short life; I remember when she had to spend the entire summer (the worst time to have a broken bone) in a leg cast. She was very young at the time; she must have been five, because I remember going to see Disney's Hercules with her and my dad. She sighed and put her arm around my shoulder, then nestled her head on my shoulder and half-napped and half-watched the movie.

She lost a lot of weight because of the chemotherapy; by Christmas, she was extremely skinny and her hair was only just starting to grow back. The chemotherapy had been aggressive; so was the cancer. What she'd gone through was in the hopes of killing the cancer; just after Christmas it was known for certain that it hadn't worked. So there was more chemo, and Ellen deteriorated further. She grew weaker. And, this week in 2006, she decided that she didn't want to do it anymore. She was tired of being sick all the time, tired of undergoing a therapy that was weakening her just as quickly as what it was meant to cure, and she just let go. She only lived a few more days. And on 12 March 2006, she died. If she had lived four more days, she would've turned 14. She'd be finally turning 16 this Sunday. 16 on the 16th.

I miss Ellen; she was my sister and my goddaughter. I looked forward to knowing her as an adult. And I'd give anything to have her back. But I'm glad that, for her, the pain is gone.

Arrest That Robot

In case anyone is a bit down after reading the above post, I present you the first full trailer for the movie I most want to see this year, Pixar's Wall*E, at Apple trailers. Ben Burtt, he of Star Wars sound fame, designed the sound for the movie, and as a result I find the sounds Wall*E makes oddly comforting.