Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Currently Reading:

The Fall – Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson

Most Recently Watched:

Insidious – in theaters

Sherlock Holmes

Current Obsession:


"Perfect Couples" got cancelled.

Is anyone else upset as I am? I didn't care for the pilot and hadn't planned on watching the show (mainly due to my hatred of Olivia Munn) but the masterminds at NBC sandwiched the show between "Community" and "The Office" and because I'm too lazy to turn the channel I watched it. And I fell in love.

The show is hilarious! I don't identify with any of the couples, unlike Marshall and Lily from "How I Met Your Mother" (are they spying on Ryan and I? They might be with all the disgunstingly cute couple-y things that Ryan and I do that Marshall and Lily also do). But I feel like a little part of me is in all of those characters. And they've grown on me. Even Leigh whom I was expecting to dislike, she is now one of my favorite characters. Olivia Munn, I misjudged you. You are adorable and funny, so much more now than when you were on G4.

And now instead of "Perfect Couples" we're getting some Paul Reiser show. I never watched "Mad About You," I never cared for the show, and now I'm quite disgruntled that this 90s has-been is replacing "Perfect Couples" and ruining my Thursday night line-up!

NBC, don't take "Perfect Couples" away from me! You teased me with "Parks & Recreation," don't do it again!

Sigh. I need more in life than television.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Currently Reading:

The Fall – Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Most Recently Watched:

Insidious – in theaters


Current Obsession:

Leonardo DiCaprio

It's kind of silly but I pride myself in "discovering" underrated and/or overlooked talent. Ryan and I were lobbying for Obama when he was still just a senator in Illinois before the presidential race began. I recognized Heath Ledger's acting ability in "Monster's Ball" before anyone else took him seriously (RIP Heath, I still love you). And I remained steadfast in my love for Leonardo DiCaprio while the rest of the world mocked him for his performances in "Romeo + Juliet" and "Titanic."

I wasn't like the other 8th grade girls. While they were swooning after Leo, printing pictures of him off of our school computers and covering their binders with his black and white face. They fell in love with Romeo, his sensitivity, his squinty-eyed good looks. I fell in love with his acting chops. Though I didn't mind the looks.

Leo had been on my radar since joining the "Growing Pains" cast. I thought he was super cute and such a contrast to Kirk Cameron's curly-haired goody-two-shoes Christian exterior. Luke had a bad streak that I found quite attractive.

After graduating from television, Leo moved on to movies such as "This Boy's Life," "The Basketball Diaries," and his Oscar-nominated "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Despite critically acclaimed performances in all three of these, Leo didn't make an impression to the American public until "Romeo + Juliet" in 1996.

While girls everywhere gave their heart to Leo, the media made fun of his new heartthrob persona. It got even worse when he came out with "Titanic" a year later. Despite winning an Oscar for Best Picture, people still call it the most overrated movie of all-time. I agree that not every Oscar winner is fully deserving (come on, "Shakespeare in Love" over "Saving Private Ryan?" Or worse, "Crash" over "Brokeback Mountain?" What???) but "Titanic" still has its merits and Leo deserved more recognition than what he received.

Thankfully his movie choices lately have completely redeemed himself reaffirmed my support for him as an actor. And who am I kidding, he's so cute!

Now I am using my ability of seeking out mainstream actors and seeing their potential to promote Ben Affleck and his, hopefully, rising career.

I've loved Ben since the very beginning, when he was prancing around in Kevin Smith movies like "Mallrats" and "Chasing Amy." Then he and best friend Matt Damon wrote and starred in "Good Will Hunting" and exploded into stardom. After a string of bad movie choices ("Pearl Harbor" and "Gigli" nearly destroying his career), Ben became the joke of Hollywood.

But lately he's been picking his career back up. It all started with "Hollywoodland." His performance as the tragically fated George Reeves pricked the interest of critics and garnered some award show buzz (no Oscar nomination but he did get a nod for a Golden Globe Award). He then made his directing debut with "Gone Baby Gone" (starring his younger brother Casey, whom I am also quite fond of) and received a handful of directing awards. Though not blockbusters, Ben took roles in some fairly critically favorable films such as "State of Play" and "The Company Men." But I believe it is "The Town" that is marking his turnaround.

Following the steps of Orson Welles, Ben wrote (with assistance), directed, and starred in "The Town" and I think the end product was a winner. He was able to pull some beautiful performances out of Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, and Jon Hamm (though many people would say that isn't so hard considering the caliber of the actors' talents), wrote a decent screenplay, and delivered a believable and heartfelt performance.

He's been accused of being a wooden actor before but I would like to refer those same accusers to movies such as "The Town," "Hollywoodland," and my all-time favorite Ben Affleck film "Chasing Amy." But perhaps I'm biased since I still enjoy his performance in well-pandered films such as "Armageddon" and "Jersey Girl." It really wasn't that bad, people!

Maybe he'll never reach the acting capacity that Leo has (and he truly is amazing, his performance in "The Basketball Diaries" was heartbreaking, I don't know why it took me so long to finally see it), but Ben deserves that second chance. He's not Matt Damon's dopey best friend who tacked on his own name to an award-winning script, Ben Affleck is a writer of his own accord. He's not just a pretty face with a chiseled chin and dreamy eyes, he can deliver a line. I have faith in Ben and someday he'll reaffirm my love for him, just like Leo did.

I love you Ben Affleck!

By the way, have you ever seen my "Hennifer" Lopez hand puppet imitation? I stole it from "South Park" but I think I managed to make it mine.

Tacos and burritos!

Photo from

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Currently Reading:

The Fall – Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Most Recently Watched:

Insidious – in theaters

Trick 'r Treat

Current Obsession:

Thai food

Last night the husband and I traveled to Eugene with two of our closest friends for a community production of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" as well as dinner. Our restaurant of choice was Sweet Basil, a Thai restaurant that was ranked #2 out of 144 Eugene restaurants on TripAdvisor. If you don't already know this about me, I am a huge believer in TripAdvisor. It is very rare for me to find a highly ranked restaurant or hotel on the site that doesn't live up to expectations.

Although the amount of restaurants (listed on the site) in Eugene more than doubles what we have in Corvallis (a measly 65), I haven't yet been too impressed with their dining options. Granted my culinary visits have been few, especially compared to all of the dining that we've done in Corvallis or even Portland. So I was excited to try a new restaurant (then again, I am always excited for new dining adventures!) and my expectations were that much higher considering their TripAdvisor rank.

I am happy to announce that they exceeded my expectations.

Sweet Basil is a Thai restaurant but unlike your stereotypical Thai establishment. We have a couple of restaurants here in town and while the food is delicious, the atmosphere is homey, cozy, and quaint. Sweet Basil displayed a menu complete with your usual Thai fare (Pad Thai, Mussamun curry, etc.) but they also had more creative dishes such as Spicy Sea Scallops or Three Flavor Halibut. They also had a flare for presentation.

This was an appetizer so aptly named "Oh My God." It is a fried tortilla roll stuffed with imitation crab, basil and cream cheese served with a homemade Sriracha sauce. And it came to us on fire. It was an exciting plate, not just to see but to eat. And it was the perfect start to a delicious meal and a fantastic night with friends.

It's days like these when I really love life. Good food, good friends, and now good night!

Photo from

Friday, April 8, 2011


Currently Reading:

The Fall – Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Most Recently Watched:

Insidious – in theaters

A State of Mind

Current Obsession:


Some of my biggest pet peeves:

1. Hypocrisy

2. Narrow-mindedness

3. Getting blamed

4. Being told what to do

5. Not being able to speak my mind

I'm a Liberal Democrat and damn proud of it. I have an Obama sticker on my car. I recycle. I have close friends who are gay. If my Facebook says Liberal then it's official, right? I'm not sure how much more obvious it can get. I realize that I don't always look the part. When you think of the stereotypical liberal Oregonian you automatically picture either a hipster from Portland (black-rimmed glasses, skinny jeans, flannel shirts) or a hippie from Eugene (tie-dye shirts, hemp jewelry, dreadlocks). Perhaps it is because I work in a conservative work environment with a fairly strict dress code that my true colors don't show. If it would make it easier for people I would gladly wear a name tag that said

Hello! My name is


I believe the name tag requires a smiley face because I'm not an aggressive Liberal. I'm not here to get in any one's face or push my "liberal agenda." I don't openly advertise my views because I understand that politics (along with religion) is a touchy topic. One that shouldn't be discussed at work.

Seriously now, isn't this some kind of unspoken rule? That you don't discuss politics at work?

I'm not one to shy away from a debate, especially on subjects that I am passionate about (or when I KNOW I'm right). But when at work I just don't feel comfortable getting into a debate nor do I feel that it is an appropriate environment for one. So I keep mum.

I know many of my liberal compadres feel the same. Unfortunately, our silent considerateness can be mistaken for conservative agreement.

Not only am I wonderfully liberal, I am also proudly agnostic. I cannot confidently say that there is no God but I'm not confident that there is either. I don't pretend to know because I don't think we can know. But I'm not here to discuss the existence of God. I bring up the fact that I am religion-free because I constantly get emails at work from super Christian coworkers with cutesy religious anecdotes, sparkling candles showing Jesus's burning love for me, and threats that if I don't forward it on to 50 people I will be condemned to hell. Now, I love these people and I know they love me back so the nicest thing I can do is simply delete the email. No harm done. I don't offend them by not sharing their ideals and I don't risk getting preached to.

But when it happens in person there is no "delete" button, no "escape" key.

I love my coworkers. I really do. I think they're amazing people with good hearts and good intentions. But just because I love them doesn't mean I agree with them and I certainly don't agree with them in the realm of politics.

When the topic of the potential governmental shutdown came up (very innocently I believe) it suddenly turned into an Obama slam-fest. I realize that many people are disenchanted with him, including previous supporters who had initially voted for him. But I remain staunchly supportive and I certainly have my reasons for it, reasons that I may go into when I next feel politically charged (and it happens quite often so it may be sooner than you think). And when I hear someone go on a tirade about my president, a president whom I am proud to call mine unlike He Who Shall Not Be Named, I begin to bristle.

It makes me laugh (in an ironic way, not in a hearty, full-of-merriment sort of way) when Republicans badmouth our leader so freely when it was absolutely unpatriotic for us to do so about G.W. Especially in a time of war, as we were so frequently told. The last I checked, we're still in that same war. Shouldn't the same rules be applied to this new president? But no, now it is the American thing to do, to question our leader and put the people of this country first! If they wanted to put us first they wouldn't have re-elected that monkey who plunged our country into a recession in the first place!

And if that's not enough to talk poorly about Obama, let's just drag Clinton into it. I may not agree with his personal decisions (that blue dress was his downfall) but as a president you have to give him props. Remember that surplus? Oh, those were happy times.

As I sat there listening to the Republican babble pouring out of their mouths, I was brimming with arguments backed by facts (not found on Fox News because let's face it, it's not news, it's propaganda), statistics, and pure liberal passion.

But I kept my mouth shut.

Please refer back to Biggest Pet Peeve #5.

How is it fair for them to say whatever they want nary a care that they may offend someone, anger someone, even hurt them? They are lucky that I keep my mouth shut. If I were to do the same I would undoubtedly spark some kind of debate, stir up some ugly feelings, or be told "I have my opinions, you have yours, I don't care to hear them." This is all from personal experience.

And because I love my coworkers and I don't want to create any bad blood between us, I keep my mouth shut. I take walks to cool off. I vent to like-minded liberals who allow me to spew whatever political bullcrap I want to. And now I blog.

It's exhausting to be so riled up over things you cannot change. At the end of the day I just have to remember that I can love a person dearly but I don't have to agree with their politics. It's not so difficult when my biggest political adversaries are my parents. They've given me plenty of good practice.

And now I'm off to bed. Hopefully my next post will be less angry and more frivolous. Cupcakes may be involved. Good night!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Currently Reading:

The Fall – Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Most Recently Watched:

Insidious – in theaters

Half Nelson

Current Obsession:

Champagne Cupcakes

To be perfectly honest, I shouldn’t say that I’m just obsessing over champagne cupcakes, I’m pretty much obsessed with all things cupcake. But a special request was made so now I’m going to do some research, make some test batters, and I will create the best champagne cupcake possible! So I guess I am obsessed.

I am also in love with this book I’m reading. A co-worker of mine first introduced me to Kazuo Ishiguro a while back when we first created our book club (it has tragically disbanded despite several attempts of revival—we are now thinking of completely forgoing the “book” part of the club and just meet once a month to try some yummy new restaurant, which I think had always been the real purpose of our club). She listed several books and I was interested in all of them but we never got to any of them and I had so many books on my “Must-Read List” that I just never got to any of his.

Sometime last year a movie was released starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield (who’s excited to see him as Spider-Man? Because I am! I even had a dream about him last night as Peter Parker…but that’s another story) called “Never Let Me Go.” I thought the title sounded familiar so I did a little research and discovered that it’s based on Ishiguro’s novel of the same name. I have a rule that I must read the book first before I watch the movie. Sometimes it backfires on me, like “The Other Boleyn Girl.” I hated the movie. I loved the book, it’s pretty high on my list of “All-Time Favorite Guilty Pleasures” (“Titanic” and the Backstreet Boys are also on that list) and the movie just fell short. Natalie Portman made a convincing Anne Boleyn but Scarlett Johansson ruined the film for me. Her awful accent was so distracting and she just looked pained in most of her scenes, like someone needed to loosen the ties on her corset.

But I digress. Because I wanted to watch “Never Let Me Go,” I decided to read the book first. I had just finished a string of Lisa See novels (Peony in Love and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, the latter I highly recommend especially to those who are interested in Asian cultures) and would have started on another but I was feeling a little Asian’ed out. So I decided to start on an Ishiguro novel (which almost seems like a contradiction considering his name is distinctly Japanese, but he is British-born).

For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Never Let Me Go is a dystopic novel set in England. The main characters, Ruth, Kathy, and Tommy, all live in a school called Hailsham that basically prepares its students to become donors when they grow up. It’s a depressing premise and I can only imagine that it gets even more so once the characters realize the gravity of their situation. But the book is written in a lyrical sort of narrative. The language is simple, the timeline slightly confusing, but it works because it’s written in first-person through Kathy’s point of view as she’s recounting her life. It’s beautifully written and I am especially enjoying the relationships that each character has with one another. Despite the science-fictionesque plot, the relationships that the characters have are so relatable; the personalities are so real as though Ishiguro based these characters on his own life and childhood friends. He also writes convincingly as a young woman.

It’s always a good sign for me that a book is really good if I’m constantly thinking about it and I can’t wait to go home to just read. I am even willing to give up my prime time TV to read this book. Of course it does help that we have DVR.

This is becoming a very long first entry. I’m a wordy person and I tend to run off tangent. I also tend to bore people with topics I find interesting (like books I’m currently reading) but other people find less so. The nice thing about a blog is that you can easily stop reading without fear of being rude!

I’m also very bad at ending things. I end things awkwardly. Beginnings are easier because, as I’ve learned in a fiction writing class of mine, you can always start right in the middle of things. It pulls the reader in more. All that necessary background stuff can come in later. Sigh, I miss my writing classes. But endings…like I said, I end things awkwardly.

So…the end.