Doin' the Shuffle

http://www.veryicon.com/icon/png/Media/iPod,%20Therefore%20I%20Am/iPod%20Mini%20Blue.pngI saw this game on Facebook not too long, and it seems lately my friend Jessi, over at the girl with kaleidoscope eyes, has been posting these about once a week.

What you do is put your iPod/mp3 player/etc on shuffle and list the first 5 songs that pop up. No, you can't skip past one that you don't like or might deem "embarrassing."

Here's mine (and yes, the iPod in the picture is the EXACT iPod I still have - old skool!):

1. "Almost Honest" - Megadeth
I first heard this song on the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation soundtrack. Funny thing was, I bought the soundtrack before I even saw the movie! This guy I was friends with in high school had it and it was one of several CDs he ALWAYS listened to in his car. And actually, it wasn't a bad soundtrack, considering how bad the movie was! Megadeth is a pretty awesome band too - I much rather pick Dave Mustaine and Co over Metallica any day!

2. "Birthright" - Celldweller
I LOVE Celldweller - Klayton (aka Celldweller in the same sense that Trent Reznor is aka Nine Inch Nails) is one of my FAVORITE artists! First time I heard Klayton's music was while I was working at the theater and cleaning up after a showing of The Hills Have Eyes 2. Now there's quite a bit of films we've had where I could tell you the songs in the end credits, but I could tell you very little about the actual movie. This was one of those. I fell in love with the song (which was a remix of "Own Little World") and eventually went home one night to look up who it was. I ended up downloading his entire debut album and was hooked. "Birthright" was the first track off the new album he's been working on and was featured in several of the Speed Racer trailers. Funny thing, when I was going through some old stuff before moving, I came across a demo of Celldweller's that was given to me outside the House of Blues Chicago after a show I had gone to - it even had a free ticket to his upcoming show (which had been several years previously by the time I found it)! Needless to say, I kicked myself for not listening to the demo when it was given to me! Fortunately though, Klayton's talking on doing a brief tour sometime this year - when he comes back to Chicago, I hope to be there!

3. "1979" - Smashing Pumpkins
There's not much to really say about these guys - growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, who didn't listen to the Smashing Pumpkins? Personally, I liked their Melancholy/Adore/Machina days best.

4. "Somebody Told Me" - The Killers
One of the bands from my college years that I will probably never forget. These guys were pretty huge my 3rd year in college and nearly everyone I knew had bought their big breakout album for this song alone. Personally, I only liked maybe 2 other songs off this album - the rest wasn't really my cup o' tea, but this one was definitely catchy!

5. "My World" Emigrate
Emigrate is the side project of the singer from German-speaking band Rammstein and this song was featured on the Resident Evil: Extinction soundtrack. My husband and I both like Rammstein - their stuff tends to be pretty cool sounding and the fact I can't understand half of what they're saying just adds to the element (hubby took some German so he can usually figure out some of it). If you like Rammstein, check out Emigrate since it's pretty much much of the same.


Mau Mau Mau

If you've been reading my blog, I'm sure you've noticed that sometimes I mention my kitty Tiger.

I wasn't always a cat person - growing up, we always had a dog in the house for as long as I can remember. When I was born, my parents already had a hounddog-ish mix, named Rusty. The next dog we got when I was little was a cocker spaniel named Lady, but we ended up giving that one up to a family with a farm, as she just could not grasp the concept of being house broken and at the same time, my mom was trying to potty train me - it was just too much. A few years later, when I was 5 we got a miniture fox terrier named Bitsy who was the runt of the litter - despite some health problems later in her life, she lived to be 14 years old!

Now when I got to college and moved into an apartment with a friend, my roommate decided she wanted to get a kitty. I had never lived with a cat before, but figured it couldn't be that bad. Needless to say, the 3 years we lived together, I got a bit attached to the little furball!

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1014/88/112/30800316/n30800316_37079566_3178.jpgWhen I moved back to my hometown after college and into my current apartment, it was a bit lonely, not having a little furball wandering around to keep me company. Hubby and I had talked before about getting a dog, however we just don't have the space for a dog to really run around in and I've never felt right about having a dog in a small apartment. I mentioned maybe we should get a cat, but he wasn't too keen about that idea, however he surprised me for Christmas 2008 with a little 7 week old kitten!

Tiger was really tiny compared to her size now! She spent most of her first few days here hiding underneath our coffee table and end tables - I don't think she can fit nearly as easily under those now as she did back then!

She's about a year and 4 months old now, but still full of kitten energy! She loves to play and run around and finds entertainment in the simplest of things!

We also did some research and believe that she is an Egyptian Mau. Now I was unfamilar with the breed and always thought she was just a regular ol' domestic shorthair, until I saw a video about the story of the Mean Kitty (Sparta) on Youtube. In the video, the guy talks about his kitty, who looks exactly like Tiger and has some of the same characteristics as her. This led me to learn more about Egyptian Maus!

Turns out, Egyptian Maus are small-medium in size and are the only naturally spotted breed of domestic cats - even if you shaved them (which would be dumb in my opinion) there would still be the spots on their skin. Now Tiger doesn't have a lot of noticable spots - her spots are only on her back half and they're very light. While their exact origin was never recorded, it is believed Maus are descended from African wildcats and that the modern Maus originated in Italy in 1953. Most Maus in the US have an 'M' marking on their foreheads. Another interesting appearance fact is that Maus have markings on the side of their eyes that make it appear like they are wearing mascara or eyeliner and they all (excluding those younger than 18months) have green eyes.

Originally Egyptian Maus are a more rare breed, but they are becoming more and more common throughout the last few years. They come in 5 colors, the most common being silver and bronze, and the more rare ones being smoke, black and pewter/blue. Tiger fits under the bronze category. While at first glance, she appears to be a grey cat with black markings, looking at her fur more closely, nope, you can see the bronze color. While her markings are black, if you look at her fur, the root is a light brown/tan color with the tip being grey and some of her fur is tri-colored - bronze on the root, grey in the middle, black on the tip. Her belly is also the bronze-ish color.

It is also said Maus are the fastest of the domestic cats, having longer hind legs and a unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, provides for greater agility and speed - they have been clocked at 30 mph, which doesn't surprise me the way Tiger loves to run around like crazy!

As far as personality, they say that the typical Mau is known for having what is considered a loyal, friendly but slightly obnoxious dog-like personality, which sounds about right, as Tiger tends to follow me around the apartment, watching me do whatever it is I'm doing (she'll sit and watch me do the dishes or get ready in the morning, or if we're watching TV, she'll come over and "watch" with us) and when she wants your attention, she will become extremely vocal about it until you pay attention to her (she hates it when I'm not computer!). They also say the Egyptian Mau is well known for intelligence and close bonding with responsible and loving owners. Such owners typically report their Maus eagerly greet them at the door at the end of a long day at work - Tiger will often sit in the window facing our parking lot and notice when I get home from work, by the time I open the front door, she's usually right there in the hallway ready to greet me! They also they get along very well with other cats and dogs, and while they may be shy upon meeting strangers, they tend to be very friendly, which I've noticed tends to be true - Tiger will shy away at first around people she doesn't know, she'll keep her distance but act a bit curious, then within 5 minutes or so she'll be all up on the person, sniffing them out!

While the majority of my info is complied from Wiki, at the bottom of the page there are some very informative links! We also watched a bit on Animal Planet's Cats 101 that featured Egyptian Maus that was also informative! I've definitely found it interesting learning more about my furbaby and also enjoy finding out more information that explains why she does some of the things she does!

Flashback Friday: The Evolution of Gaming Consoles

Today our Nintendo Wii arrived and so in light of that, this week's Flashback Friday we'll be taking a look back at the various gaming systems I've experienced in the last 25 years.

Now last week, in our flashback to Toys of the 80s, I mentioned my early gaming experiences with both the Atari and Nintendo NES systems, so rather than repeat myself (and save you guys the time) let's move on to the next systems on the list.

Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis
In the early-mid 90s, we were already accustomed to Mario, Luigi and Bowser, but then Sega introduced us to Sonic the Hedgehog and his nemesis Doctor Robotnik with the release of their gaming system, Sega Genesis. With better graphics and play than the Nintendo NES, it was only natural for Nintendo to update their system and give us the Super Nintendo.

Most people I knew had one system or the other, since they generally offered the same game selections (save for the exclusive Nintendo and Sega characters) and the graphics and game play were pretty much the same, however I did know a few people that had both. Me, I got the Sega Genesis - I remember getting it in 5th grade, in the fall of '94 as a reward for getting good grades on my report; my dad took me to the now defunct Funcoland store and we got a good deal one that game with Sonic the Hedgehog 2. While I enjoyed my new system, getting games like the Lion King and Toy Story for Christmas later on, I still played my original Nintendo from time to time.

In the mid-90s, we were introduced to a few more systems, the first of which was the 3DO - the first system to use CDs instead of cartridges. I remember seeing this one in Media Play and playing the game Gex. The graphics were pretty neat, however the sticker price was high and there wasn't nearly the game selection that Sega and Nintendo had to offer for their systems.

Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64
http://gameconsoles.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/nintendo-64-console-300x273.jpgIn 1995, Sega released their next console, the Sega Saturn, which was one of the first consoles to include a memory card function. However unlike the previous Genesis system, the Sega Saturn wasn't as popular and couldn't compare to the Sony Playstation, which was released in the same year!

The Sony Playstation also used CDs instead of the traditional game cartridge and due to its popularity, graphics and gameplay, it proved that Sony had arrived in the gaming world.

Nintendo soon offered up their latest in gaming - the Nintendo 64 - however unlike the rest of the consoles on the market, Nintendo decided to stick with the traditional gaming cartridges instead of making the switch to CD. One thing the N64 consoles had the others didn't was the option of being able to plug in 4 controllers instead of just 2. Sure, there were accessories that the other consoles offered to increase the number of players, but the N64 had theirs built in. While the N64 didn't have the lengthy load time that the Playstation and Sega Saturn did, compared to the Playstation, the graphics didn't seem as great - Playstation offered more life-like graphics in their games (I remember my family and myself being in awe of neat it looked!) the N64's still felt a bit cartoon-y.

In my house, we got a Playstation for the family back in '98, after having visited with out of town relatives the previous summer who had the console and introduced us to it. Eventually, we also got an N64 for my younger sister, as the system seemed to appeal more to the younger demographic.

http://media.teamxbox.com/faq/xbox.jpgSega Dreamcast, PS2, Gamecube and Xbox

The Sega Dreamcast, despite being the last console Sega would put out, was the system that paved the way for our current gaming systems. A neat thing about the Sega Saturn was that you could put the game CDs into your car stereo (for example) and listen to the game soundtrack (I knew a guy in high school who did this often - when he wasn't blaring either the Matrix or Mortal Kombat soundtracks, Rammstein or Rob Zombie, he'd have a Sega CD playing!). Deemed "ahead of its time" back in 1998, the Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem and a way to connect to the internet for online gaming. Unfortunately for Sega, the consoles that would soon follow would utilize this technology and vastly improve on it.

The PS2 - Sony's follow-up to the original Playstation - also offered the availability to connect to the internet and was the first console to be able to play DVDs. It was also backwards compatible, so in addition to playing the PS2 games, you could also still play your original Playstation games on it.

Nintendo soon followed suit and released another new system, the Gamecube, which was Nintendo's first console to a CD instead of a game cartridge, but unlike the other consoles, Nintendo's gaming CDs were mini-discs. Like the N64, it also continued the Nintendo trend of offering 4 controller ports instead of just 2. Still, unlike the others, the graphics still didn't feel as life-like as those of the PS2 and the soon to be released Xbox.

The Xbox was Microsoft's first big venture into the gaming world and had a unique feature of including a harddrive in the console that was similar to that of a basic desktop computer. Originally, gamers were iffy about this new system, as the console was bigger than it's competitors, cost a bit more, and the feel of the controller was a bit strange, however that was all put aside with the release of the ever popular shooter franchise Halo, which was now exclusive to Xbox. It also didn't required memory cards, as it could save the game data directly onto it's harddrive.

My family eventually upgraded to the PS2, as the added DVD feature and backwards compatibility with the original Playstation games was a pretty nice combo for our family rec room in the basement and eventually my sister got a Gamecube. Later on in my college career, I received the slimmer version of the PS2, as I had plenty of games, but no system to play them on since the original PS2 was considered "the family's" and was also being used as the basement's sole DVD player. A roommate and my ex both had the Gamecube, so I also played that system from time to time as well. I had tried the Xbox over at my ex's, as his roommate had one, and I did enjoy the Xbox exclusive title Fable, however the cost of one was too far out of my reach.

Something else noteworthy during this time was the return and increase popularity of alternate controllers. We all remember the plastic Nintendo gun that was essential for playing Duck Hunt on the NES back in the day, but not since then were alternate controllers very popular. With the release of Guitar Hero for PS2 and Rock Band for Xbox, these games utilized and made popular controllers in the shape of objects such as guitars, microphones and drums.

And now we are brought to generation of consoles.

http://application.denofgeek.com/images/m/PS3.jpgXbox360, PS3 and the Wii
http://watchitguide.net/guide/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Nintendo-Wii.jpgIn 2005, Microsoft released an upgraded version of it's Xbox, titled Xbox 360. Similar to the previous version, the 360 offered a bigger harddrive, HD DVD plug-ins, and introduced the Xbox Live feature for online gameplay with others all over the globe.

In response, Sony released the next generation of Playstation - the PS3. The PS3 went a step beyond its previous version, now doubling as a Blu-Ray DVD player and the first console to support HDMI output of the box. Like the Xbox, it includes a harddrive and no longer requires memory cards to save game content. Up to 7 devices can connect to the PS3 via Bluetooth as well.

The same week the PS3 was released in the US, Nintendo released their latest and groundbreaking new console, the Wii. Like the others, it uses CDs for games, has a built in harddrive so there is no need for memory cards and has the ability to connect to the internet. What makes this system unique however is the groundbreaking gameplay. The wireless controllers are called Remotes and numerous attachments can be connected to make gameplay more interesting. The controllers are also motion sensitive, so it requires you to actually get off your butt and  interact with the games, encouraging a bit of a workout with many of its game titles. It also offers access to play many old school Nintendo titles you may not have played since the original NES days and it also plays Gamecube games! Before getting ours, I had only played it once at a friends and briefly via the in store displays, however the system is so groundbreaking in its gameplay, I had to get one - this is one console you MUST add to your gaming collection. As a workout tool, its great, as it provides so many different interactive titles, and as a gaming system, it still acts as a regular gaming console.

While we would like to get a PS3 someday, right now the cost is too far out of our budget and our PS2 still works just fine for now, so I'm just fine with our Wii and PS2.

Gaming consoles have come quite far in the last 25 years - it'll be interesting to see how they will be improved upon in the next 25 years!


Snacks we love

Not too long ago I made a workout post, talking about my plan to shed some pounds and get in shape. While my eating habits are terrible, I decided it might be a good idea to start using a Calorie Counter, as my goal is to stay in the 1200 calories per day range. I'm finding out that some days I'm right on track, others I go slightly over, while some I come waaaaaay under! The one I've been using allows you to enter in the brand or generic name of the item to search for it, and it shows you the nutrition facts and most often an A+ through F grade as well so you know if you're eating something that's good or bad; often times, when it's bad, they'll let you know why that is. It's been pretty interesting!

I have also been trying to be more conscious about snacking as well. I have come across 2 really neat items that I LOVE!
First, is the new Jello Mousse Temptations. This nice little chocolately delight is sugar free and only 60 calories. I love it! It tastes great and satisfies my occasional chocolate cravings. There's 3 different flavors - Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Caramel - and you get 6 cups in a package for around $2.50. Not a bad deal, if you ask me! You can find these near other Jello products in the yogurt section

http://www.minibabybel.ca/images/products/Mini-Babybel-Light.jpgAnother neat little snack that I just recently tried are the Laughing Cow's Mini Babybel Light Cheese. These little cheese wedges come in a net of 6 and are only 50 calories! They taste pretty good too and the way they are packaged - the cheese is in a wax pouch with tabs you pull to open and then it's wrapped plastic - are great for on the go too! These can be found either near the cheese section or in a fridge with the more exotic cheeses.

Be sure to give these snacks a try the next time you're hankering for something good to eat.


My brief time as a Juror

http://www.newdorf.com/wordpress/wp-content/themes/zigzag3/images/gavel510pix.gif"A Jury Duty notice?!"

That line, spoken by Pauly Shore in his 1995 film "Jury Duty," is probably what goes through most people's minds when they open the envelope containing their notice.

The first 2 times I was summoned for Jury Duty I was able to get out of it - the first time, I was still a student, and since I had class on the day(s) I would need to travel the 30 miles back home to serve it I was able to get exempt and the second time I got a summons, it was to serve in the county where my school was, not where my permanent address was, so I was able to prove I did not live in that county. This time though, despite it being addressed to my maiden name and sent to my parents address (which both were changed on my driver's license and voter registration back in September 2008), it was clearly intended for me and there wasn't much I could do to get out of it.

After rearranging my work schedule for the week, I got up extra early for myself on Tuesday morning (after getting little sleep too) and headed down to the courthouse.

I got there right before 9am, checked in and they had me correct my name and address on the form, and I took a seat. There were probably around 100 other people in this large breakroom type room - there was a TV on each wall, playing CNN, coffee and supplies on a counter, several vending machines along one wall, and various magazine racks scattered around the room.

A little before 10am, a lady thanks us for coming, explains what it means to be on a jury and showed us a 10 minute video explaining the court process and what some of us will be selected to do. It was pretty boring.

At 10:30-10:45am they called a few people up for something but nothing major.

At 11:30am they called 40 of us to follow a bailiff to one of the courtrooms - my name was called, as was a girl in my Mary Kay unit that I knew. I meet up with her outside the courtroom and chatted for a bit.

We went down 2 floors to a courtroom, where we have a seat in the benches and they swear us in as a group. They told us that they will be calling us up in groups of 12, and then will be questioning us in panels of 4. I was the third name called and in the first panel they questioned.

http://www.eslpod.com/eslpod_blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/jury_box.jpgThe case was a domestic battery case, between a guy and girl who were in a relationship at the time a fight occurred between them and got a bit violent. They read off the name of the attorneys involved as well as the names of the witnesses we would be hearing - one of the last names was familiar, but I didn't recognize the first name, and since the last name while not exactly most common, it wasn't exactly uncommon either so I didn't think much of it.

They ask us questions like if we have connections to local police or attorneys, if we know any of the witnesses, if we've ever been involved in a domestic dispute before or if we are close to anyone who has... They also specifically asked asked us individually about instances we had written down on our jury duty questionnaire - for example, it asked if anyone in my family had been charged with a crime - my husband, as a co-manager for a Papa John's had been charged and accused for stealing $20 from a drawer at the shop; he didn't do it, and there was no valid proof or evidence that he had, but the money was apparently missing and they were claiming he stole it. Once he got a lawyer involved in the case they immediately dropped the charges and the case was closed. They asked me several questions regarding that case - if it went to trial, if I was a witness, was the case dealt with fairly, etc. They asked another woman who had been a victim of domestic abuse about her situation with that...

It was about 12:15pm by the time they had selected 3 of us and decided to dismiss us for lunch, where I ran into a former newspaper co-worker I worked with in college who was now working at the local newspaper just down the street.

We came back at 1:30pm and they finished selecting the first 4 of the panel - which included myself - and took us to the juror room just off the courtroom. There was coffee and water in this small room with a table and 12 comfy chairs, plus a men's and a women's single bathrooms, however the light in the women's we discovered didn't work. There was also a window along one wall that had a view of some not so great looking buildings in our downtown. The 4 of us sat there til about 2:30, chatting, playing around our cell phones since we were told we could have them on in that room but not the courtroom.

At 2:30pm they brought in the next 4 for the jury panel and the 8 of us waited some more. By now, the coffee was all gone too.

At 3:15pm they brought in the final 4, but we still had to wait, as they needed to select an alternate juror just in case.

By 3:30pm the alternate juror joined us and they said we would begin the trial shortly.

There were some pretty amusing things people said to get out of it though - one woman on my panel just kept going on about how she knows a ton of police and attorneys around town and that yes, they do talk about cases with her (one of the guys in my panel stated later she was full of crap, as his sister is her boss!); another guy, one of the later panelists shared with us, stated that he had been in front of both attorneys before and that the judge was his judge the one time he was in court - he stated he had been in the defendant's seat before and he sympathizes, saying that it's no fun being in that seat! They asked if he felt he had a good experience and his response was "seriously?!?" The judge at least asked if felt he had judged him fairly, which he agreed, but they dismissed him anyhow. We also noticed that everyone who stated they served on a jury before was also dismissed. 

A little before 4pm, they brought us back into the courtroom and the lawyers gave their opening statements. Our job was to determine if the defendant was guilty of domestic violence, or if he was in accordance with the law that states you have the right to use reasonable force to protect your property.

We listened to the 911 call that was made by a young son of the victim and you could hear the victim and the defendant arguing in the background and him yelling at her to get out of his house (she and her young sons had been staying at the defendant's house for sometime, however she decided to end the relationship and returned to pick up their things, but the defendant claims she was taking items that were his and not hers).

Next, we listened to the first witness - the victim. Several of the injuries and objects she claimed the defendant threw her into didn't match the statement her attorney had written previously, and the defense attorney made sure to point those out. She also waited several days until bruises and sores appeared before getting checked out.

Also, the defense attorney was trying to make it sound as though the victim was leaving because she believed the defendant was cheating on her, however she stated that no, while she did think that earlier, after listening to the defendant and him assuring her nothing was going on between him and a friend of his sister's she believed him. She said she left that morning to take her young sons to school, and upon returning after dropping them off, she caught him doing something with a young girl that bothered and upset her - she went to pick up her sons and then decided to return to his house to collect their belongings. Now she used the name of the young girl in her testimony, which one of the attorneys requested her to explain who that was, since we the jury had no clue who this other person was. She said the young girl is her 3rd cousin, the daughter of her 2nd cousin who had a previous relationship with the defendant. She said her 2nd cousin had some problems and was unstable and so she left her young daughter in the custody of the defendant, despite the fact that he is not the young girl's father nor a blood relative. She couldn't say much regarding what she walked in on him doing with the little girl, as she cited that's part of another case, but she alluded that it involved abuse and that she was very bothered and upset by what she saw.

As she was sharing all this, it hit me. I have prior knowledge of the situation with the little girl. And I think one of my close friends is distant relatives with one of the other witnesses that would be speaking.

Last spring, while meeting with my close friend for dinner and a movie, she shared with me that a relative of her cousin's (who has the same last name as one of the witnesses) was trying to get custody of a little girl - the girl's mother was unstable and had some issues of her own and for some strange reason the family couldn't figure out, she gave custody of her daughter over to her now-ex boyfriend, whom they had found out later was sexually abusing her, hence why they were fighting so hard to get custody of her.

After remembering all that, it dawned me, the defendant in this case is the boyfriend that had custody of little girl in the situation my friend told me about.

They dismissed us back to the juror room at 5pm, saying they'd continue with the first witness first thing in the morning. Before the bailiff dismissed us for the evening, he gave us instructions on where to meet for today and asked if there were any questions - I raised my had and said I had a concern, however I didn't think it was appropriate to say in front of the rest of the jury. The bailiff asked if it had anything to do with the case, which I said it did, and he told me we'd go over it first thing in the morning.

So I get up this morning and enter the courthouse just before 9:30. The bailiff meets me outside the backdoor to the juror room and asks if it was me that stated I had a concern regarding the case and asks what it is. I told him I think I know someone related to one of the other witnesses, as the situation the first witness mentioned regarding the little girl was all too familiar with a situation a close friend was telling me about. He tells me to join the jury in the juror room, but not to mention it to them, as he was going to inform the judge.

We're waiting for about 5 minutes, before the bailiff returns to the room and calls me to join the courtroom. I sit down, explain to the judge and attorneys and defendant what I had told the bailiff regarding my friend's cousins have the same last name as one of the witnesses and that I didn't realize there was a connection until the witness yesturday mentioned the situation with the little girl.

They asked me a few more questions regarding what I knew and had me rejoin the rest of the jury in the other room. A few minutes later, they requested me back in the courtroom. The judge thanked me for my honesty, saying it showed integrity that once I made the connection that I came forward with it and even admitted that he knows how sometimes we don't always realize there maybe a connection with a conversation we heard before until someone starts talking about it but he thanked me again for coming forward with it and said I was going to be dismissed because of my knowledge of the other case the defendant is involved in. The bailiff escorted me back to the juror room so I could collect my things and then escorted me back upstairs to get my check - they didn't have my day 2 one ready yet, so I just collected the one and they said they would send the one for today out that night in the mail.

Good thing too - regardless of whether or not he was guilty in this domestic battery case, knowing that he's the same guy involved in the case regarding the little girl that has ties to my friend's family, I wouldn't be able make an unbiased judgment!

So, needless to say, that's the end of my experience with Jury Duty. I got selected, I experienced part of a trial and then got dismissed at the beginning of day 2. I made a whole $26 - $7 of which goes to parking and $4 for lunch on Tuesday (I had a 6" inch sub and a cookie at the nearby Subway).


Jury Duty - day 1


Yes, I was in Jury Duty today. 

We waited around most of the morning, I got selected to be one of 40 to go to the courtroom and the 3rd person to make it on the jury panel. I can't say much about the case at this point, but I have to report back tomorrow morning and they said that *hopefully* the case will be wrapped up by the end of the day. 

Needless to day, since getting up at 7am is not something I do often, I am dead - D.E.D - dead tired right now. 

I'll share my experience tomorrow though when I'm at liberty to say more.

Until then... g'night!


2010 Olympics

So I haven't been paying too much attention to the Winter Olympics this year. I used to watch the figure skating portions when I was a kid, as I was really into figure skating back then, however every time I flip past the Olympics, it's always something like Skiing or some other sport I'm not really interested in. The other night though, when we noticed MSNBC was replaying it, I finally got to see what Curling is!

On its way
My husband had told me about how he watched it during the 2006 Olympics, as he was curious as to what it was, however no matter how he explained it, it just seemed like one of those things you had to watch to get it. I decided it's kind of bowling meets shuffleboard meets pool.

There's 4 guys on a team, and there's a stretch of ice with a green, white and blue rings painted onto the ice at one end - each team gets like 6 turns and whoever has their curling rock closest to the center of the rings at the end of the round wins that round and gets a point. One guy stands by the rings to call how the curling rock needs to go, one guy at the opposite end throws the rock (kind of like bowling) and you got 2 guys with sweepers who go nuts at the ice in front of the curling rock to control whether it goes straight or curls. Now you can position your curling rock to block direct access to the center of the rings (kind of like positioning balls in pool to block your opponent's shot to the hole) so that the other team has to curl their rock around to get there. We watched a few rounds of the Canada vs. Switzerland game and it was pretty neat to watch!

Now, back to the figure skating...

I would have loved to have gotten to watch some, but like I said, every time I flipped past the Olympics, it was always Skiing or some other sport I have no interest in. I did find the Men's Short Program on onDemand the other night though and watched a little bit of that, after my mom had told me about the controversy surrounding it.

Apparently, the rules and judging have changed since I last watched and Russian skater Plushenko, who came out of retirement just to win the gold this year, is all bent out of shape, as in years past, it was required to do a quadruple jump in order to win, which Plushenko did, but the gold medalist, American skater Lysacek did not.

Now I'm not familiar with all the rule changes, but it is pretty disappointing just how much of a fit Plushenko and Russia are making over the fact that he won silver instead of gold. I used to love watching Plushenko skate back in the day, but he's kind of tainting his image here. Even Lysacek states that Plushenko's been one of his role models, looking up to him and the example he set over the years.

Here's an excerpt from the AP article:

     Time and again, Evan Lysacek was grilled about Evgeni Plushenko slamming his performance and quibbling about the quad, how even government leaders in Russia are crying foul over the finish in the men's final. Time and again, Lysacek sidestepped the bickering.
     Nothing the American said would be better than the answer hanging around his neck.
     "All I know is he's been really positive to me and been a really consistent skater through the years, and I've tried to learn from that," Lysacek said Friday morning, still basking in the glow of his Olympic gold medal. "I guess I'm a little disappointed someone who I saw as my role model would take a hit at me in one of the most special moments of my life.
     "It's tough to lose. It's not easy, especially when you think, no matter what, you're going to win. It's a really tough pill to swallow," he added. "We'll just try not to take it out of context and give him the benefit of the doubt. And congratulations to him on his third Olympic medal."
     Lysacek became the first American man since Brian Boitano to win the Olympic gold Thursday night, taking down reigning champ Plushenko in the process.

At least Lysacek is being the better man here, not saying mean things back!


Might as well call the games Angelina Jolie: Tomb Raider

I remember being back in junior high when we first got a Sony Playstation and soon after I got the first Lara Croft Tomb Raider game - it was an interesting game with adventure and puzzles to solve. Lara's like the female version of Indiana Jones, which to me was awesome as growing up I loved watching Indy!

Over the years, I got a few more of the Tomb Raider games but never really played them much or got very far as I was just simply busy with other things. The other night, I decided to play some PS2 and popped in Tomb Raider Anniversary - which celebrates 10 years of the franchise and has you play through some of the earlier games, including the first one. It was neat because I remembered the levels but had to relearn the puzzles, not to mention the graphics were a lot nicer than they were in the original game.

I was a little disappointed though... Tomb Raider Anniversary came out in 2007, and well, in game, Lara Croft looks more like Angelina Jolie's incarnation of Lara than Lara Croft.

Okay, so you can't really tell too much from the images, but in game, she really does look like Angelina - I showed my husband and he too agreed. She now has some pretty pouty lips and a face that resembles Angie's!

It just disappointed me that it seems like they more "real" the graphics look, the more they're molding the character to look like her movie franchise counterpart, rather than the actress having to look like the character. Something about that just disappoints me.

What do you guys thing?


One smart kitty

Awhile back, we started kicking Tiger out of our bedroom at night because every day at 6am, she starts running around and tries to grab and knock off everything our nightstand, waking me up in the process.

She hasn't been a big fan of this, and occasionally, if she's being good when it's time for us to go to sleep, we'll give her a chance to sleep in the room with us again... however she always starts acting up at 6am.

Usually when we kick her out, she'll chill right outside the door, sometimes meowing, sometimes banging up against the door and eventually she started fiddling with the round doorknob (which really freaked me out for awhile after we watched the movie The Strangers!).

Lately, hubby's been having to get up before me, so when he leaves, he closes the door tightly behind him so I can get some more sleep without Tiger coming in to drive me nuts (she likes to try and trick us into feeding her extra, acting like someone forgot to feed her - especially if one of us is gone when the other wakes up!).

Well, the other day, I'm laying there in bed, hearing her mess with the doorknob like usual... only this time the door creaks open. A second later, there's my kitty coming around the corner all "Hi mommy!"

So much getting more sleep!


Toys of the '80s

I decided that on Fridays I'm going to be doing a Flashback series, reflecting on things of the past. Originally I had planned on just going year by year of the past 25 years of my life, starting with 1984, and sharing some of the highlights I remember as a kid, but I was barely 4 months old by the time 1984 was over and I don't really remember much of anything until 1986. So I figured, since I was pretty young during the 80s, rather than try to go year by year, I'd break it down into categories, since a lot of things I recall from the 80s really carry through a lot of the years there. So let's kick this off with  
Toys of the '80s.

Cabbage Patch Dolls
Growing up, especially as a little girl in the 80s, Cabbage Patch Kids were a must have! I don't remember how I got the first one I had, but I remember she had long dirty blonde hair in pigtails and a sort of flowery dress. The second one I got later on was a bald baby boy named Issac who came with orange overalls. They both had funny dimples and big eyes!

I LOVED my Gloworm when I was little - I always slept with a nightlight on cuz, like most little kids, I was afraid of the dark. Gloworm would keep me safe though cuz all I had to do was squeeze him and he'd light up!

My Little Pony
I had several of these growing up, including one that would shoot water out a hole in its mouth if you filled it in the tub (and yes, I brought my Pony's in the tub with me and they had adventures!). I hated brushing their hair though as it often got tangled - I think most of them ended up with some pretty bad knots!

Popples were stuffed animals that you could turn inside out and change them into a ball with a tail. There was a TV show these guys were based off of, but I don't really remember the plot. I had a regular sized one and a smaller one - the smaller one was a pain to turn into the ball though!

Pound Puppies
Growing up in the 80s, I used to watch the Pound Puppies on Saturday mornings and then rent the VHS tapes at the video store when they were no longer on TV. I had several of the smaller Pound Puppies dolls, but was a bit disappointed that none of them looked like the ones on the show - they didn't have clothes like they did on TV!

Rainbow Brite
I LOVED Rainbow Brite when I was little - my best friend and I used to watch and rent those tapes ALLLLL the time! My parents had gotten me a bigger orange Sprite and then I remember one year my grandma got me a small Rainbow Brite doll with a mini Twink sprite and I took that thing with me EVERYWHERE. Eventually we found her horse, Starlite, at a garage sale and all was perfect! Over the years I've been lucky to find some of the Color Kids on Ebay, so my Rainbow Brite collection is still growing!

Teddy Ruxpin
I longed for one these talking/reading Teddy Bears but never got one. A few friends did though, so I did get to see the thing in action, but I remember these were all the rage back then!

The Wuzzles was another Saturday morning cartoon I used to watch as a kid (although I vaguely remember it). They are winged creatures that are crossed between 2 other creatures, for example, the main Wuzzle, Bumblelion was a cross between a lion and a bumblebee. The stuffed animal one that I had was called Tycoon and was a cross between a tiger and a racoon.

Roller Racers
My best friend had one of these - they were a seat with wheels and handlebars that you could use to steer it. We always tried to spice things up a bit though and decided to tie a jump rope to the center of the handlebars, so one person could pull while the other rode. Sometimes the person pulling would go too fast though and let go of the rope, while the person sitting would go flying down the road until they steered into the curb to stop and crash. We had quite a bit of fun with that thing though!

I LOVED playing with Play-Doh! I remember as a kid, my parents would set up the picnic table we had for the back porch in the basement during the non-summer months, put a plastic cloth over it and let me use it as my Play-Doh table. I had a whole case of colors and occasionally my parents would get me some fun sets for it, such as a Burger King set where you could create burger and fry creations out of Play-Doh and I think there was an ice cream set as well!

Silly Putty
This was a toy, while not originally from the 80s, it was still very popular back in the 80s! I remember getting my first Silly Putty egg (basic plain pink) and my dad showing me how to use it. I had fun putting it on top of the newspaper and comic strips and copying them. Ah, the simple things!

Lady Lovely Locks
http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/4/5/9/0/2/5/webimg/309297559_tp.jpgLady Lovely Locks was a doll with lovely flowing hair and was a toy tie-in for a TV series. She came with several different hair brushes and styling clips, as well as colored hair attachments called Pixietails. She also had several pets, such a kitty, dog and horse, that you could attach Pixietails to. I remember these dolls smelled really good too for some reason! I also had her house, but I recall us selling these at a garage sale one year because I had stopped playing with them and they were just taking up space - I remember saving one of the pets though!

http://www.thisoldtoy.com/new-images/images-ok/800-899/fp826-fpt14354-tape-rec.JPGFischer Price Tape Recorder
This was another toy that I got a lot of use out of. Not only was it a cassette player, but it could also record audio and came with it's one cassette tape - there was a story on one side and the other side was blank so you could record your own story. It technically was my first stereo, come to think of it! I remember when I was little, I had some stories on Vinyl that my parents transferred over to cassette for me, as well as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album - I remember listening to that album A LOT on this little tape recorder!

Barbie Dolls
http://www.vecchigiocattoli.it/barbiemyfirstballet.jpgWhat girl growing up, whether or not she actually played with it, didn't have at least one Barbie doll? I remember my first Barbie - coincidentally, back in 1986, it was called My First Barbie and she was a ballerina. She came in a pink swimsuit leotard and had a snap on longer tutu and had pink ballerina slippers that you could lace up her legs (I rarely did though, as I couldn't tie shoes yet so we took the strings out of the shoes and she just wore the slippers!). She also came with a pink plastic comb and puffy armbands with a matching one in her hair. I got my first Ken not too long after - Dream Date Ken, who was in a tux, and boy was he dreamy! My Barbie and Ken lived together in the 3 story Barbie Townhouse that had an elevator you could pull up with a string, and they had all pink furniture that I had gotten over the years. Eventually I got TeenTime Skipper, who joined them, as well as Skipper's brunette friend Babysitter Courtney. While these were my early Barbies, I ended up having a whole bunch of them - Ice Capades Barbie, Dr. Barbie, Barbie and the Beat (one of my favorites!) as well as her red-headed friend Midge, and little twins Stacy and Todd. My dolls all rode around in the blue-green Barbie '57 Chevy with pink interior too!

The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid became one of my favorite movies as a little girl, so naturally I HAD TO HAVE an Ariel doll. This one came with a tail that snapped on and off, but because of the plastic they used for her legs it was very hard for a little kid to get on and off, so my mom sewed me a new tail that was just as good! This doll also came with the pink dress she wears in the movie as well as plastic versions of her fish friend Flounder and a Sebastian the crab hiding under a piece of lettuce. I had such good times with this doll!

Lolly Doll
http://www.toyzdollz.com/images/fpclot94.jpgMost every kid growing up has some object they grow attached to and no matter how old they get, they can't seem to go without it. Some have teddy bears, some have blankets, I had this doll. I don't remember how I got her, but I loved that thing to death! She had a rattle in her belly too and I had broken the doll in so much that she was pretty soft. She literally became a rag doll - my mom would have to wash her after I had been sick, but even that was a feat (we had to put her in a pillow case). I slept with this thing, went everywhere with this thing. I even lost it at a truckstop while we were traveling back from Pennsylvania to visit relatives and about lost it - I couldn't sleep with out my Lolly doll - she was my comfort toy. Fortunately, my dad was able to reach the McDonald's at the truckstop and they had found it and shipped it out to us (I think it was in Ohio), so I was relieved. Relatives had bought me a newer one (like the one in the photo - imagine that, but a grayish purple worn color and with random holes and stuffing showing through and you got my doll) to replace my original one, since she was getting really ratty, but they just weren't the same. I think I slept with her up until Jr. High too, then we retired her to a shelf in the closet, where I think she still is with my other stuffed animals I never boxed up.

I remember going over to my best friend's house one day and saw her older brothers playing games on the TV via a Nintendo - it was the coolest thing! They taught me how to play Mario and Gauntlet and some Zelda and I wanted one! Well, Christmas was nowhere near in sight, but fortunately for me, an older cousin had gotten recently gotten one and didn't need his Atari anymore, so they boxed it up and sent it out to me. I don't remember most of the games, aside from Pacman, but I do remember the E.T. game - that game made me SOO frustrated, it was near impossible to do much in it!

http://www.beau-coup.com/Images/nintendo-nes-box.jpgEventually I did get a Nintendo - it came with 2 controllers, a powerpad and a Duck Hunt gun, as well as the game cartridge that had Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and a track meet game that you used the powerpad for. Eventually we got Zelda (the one with the gold colored game cartridge) as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, The Little Mermaid game, and Ms. Pacman. We also had the Game Genie which was an attachment that you'd plug the game cartridge into and put into the console and then it had a book of game cheats you could choose up to 3 for any given game. Over the years, I've bought some more games for it, such as ones we'd play over at my best friend's house like Anticipation (that game where it would draw a picture and you'd have to spell it correctly), Gauntlet and Ducktales. We'd also play Castlevania sometimes too (her brothers had a bunch of games) and sometimes instead of renting a movie on the weekends, I'd rent a game instead. The awesome thing about this console too - if it didn't work, blow across the cartridge. If it still didn't work after a few blows, blow into the console itself. If it was really messed up, we'd take turns blowing into and across it. Eventually my parents got me a cleaner kit, but to this day, over 20 years later (yep, I still have mine - it's out in my living room), the old blowing method still never fails to get the thing to work!


A Staple for Art

A friend on Facebook posted a link to this earlier and I thought it was pretty neat and decided to share.

I love art - seeing all kinds of different installations at the galleries on campus back in college and some we were shown via slides in class always fascinated me - the things people come up with... it's just so neat!

Staple Art!
art made with staples 03
Yes, that's correct - that entire image on the wall was created with 35,000 staples!!! 

Here's a few close ups:

art made with staples 04
You can view more of the Staple Art at Illusion360.


My Must-See TV

Everyone has certain shows that they MUST watch every week. For me and my hubby, we have a regular TV-viewing routine we get ourselves into.

Community (Thursday nights at 8/7c on NBC)
http://us.muttpop.com/var/us/storage/images/muttpop-blog/community-tv-show-abed-and-troy/74596-1-eng-US/Community-TV-Show-Abed-and-Troy.jpgCommunity is probably one of the best new shows of the season. Starring Chevy Chase and The Soup's Joel McHale, this one follows a group of students at Greendale Community College who have one thing in common - Spanish class (which is taught by the always hilarious Ken Jeong). While trying to woo Britta in the first episode, Jeff (McHale) tells her he has started a study group for the Spanish class and invites her to come join, thinking that he can just tell her everyone else canceled when she gets there and spend a little one on one time with her. His plan is foiled though, as she has told several other students in their class about his study group and invited them to come along with her. What results over the course of the show is a friendship amongst a bunch of mismatched students (in a later episode, they talk of how their little study group has become like a family), each episode following some adventure, dilemma, or challenge they encounter at their community college.

The Office (Thursday nights at 8/7c on NBC, 3 hours on Tuesday nights on TBS starting at 8/7c)

I really would like to know why no one told me years ago that I should be watching this show. It wasn't until after my husband and I caught an episode of it after the 2009 Superbowl that we got hooked on this one. Even though we had both heard of it, neither of us really got into it before then. And fortunately for us, TBS got the syndication of it last summer, airing every episode through the 5th season, so we were able to get all caught up before the start of the 6th season. We can't get enough of this show! It's got some really good plot lines that carry over throughout the series, as well as some really funny moments that anyone who's ever worked a job can relate to. And the cast and acting is pretty spot on too!

http://ralphwhitbeck.com/content/binary/CapricaDVDCover.pngCaprica (Friday nights at 9/8c on SyFy)
I saw a commercial for this one not too long ago before it premiered. It looked like it was a show where a father loses his daughter, but due to the technology he has, he is able to bring her back as a clone. It intrigued me. My husband (who watched the premiere without me) watched the 2 episode premiere with me on onDemand. On the title card between commercials it had the subtitle "58 years before the fall" - I asked him what that meant and he informed me it was a reference to Battlestar Galactica and that Caprica is sort of a prequel to BSG, as it takes place in the same universe. So while my interpretation of the commerical I saw wasn't quite spot on, it was somewhat close. This series follows Dr. Graystone and his wife Amanda, who lost their daughter Zoe in a tragic train bombing which was a result of a religious fanatic. However, Dr. Graystone learns that Zoe hacked into a virtual world where she and her friends would hang out and created a digital avatar of herself, which he tries to bring into the world via a Cylon (robot) he has been working on for his job. It also follows lawyer Joseph Adama, who also lost his wife and daughter in the train bombing, as he longs for them still, but questions whether or not Graystone's ability to create virtual avatars of them is ethical. While I never watched BSG (although I would like to someday when I have time to get through all, what, 5 seasons), this series has kept me pretty interested so far. It's a futuristic drama with a really neat plot that's still unfolding.

The Soup (Friday nights at 10/9c on E!)
http://content.cafepress.com/si/E/760x315_SOUP.jpgThe Soup is one of those clip shows where the writers/producers of the show condense hours worth of tv viewing down to under 30 minutes, covering morning news shows, mid-day and afternoontalk shows, as well as various reality shows, highlighting some of the more funnier or WTF moments that happened. Joel McHale delivers the commentary.

Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair (Sunday nights at 8/7c on VH1)
http://nsa11.casimages.com/img/2010/01/13/100113020345560800.jpgWhile this is the current show of the moment for our Sunday nights, really you can put any VH1 Sunday night show in this slot. For some reason, I'm hooked on VH1's celebreality programming and I can't help but watch this spin-off of a spin-off. In this dating game show, women compete to win the love of repeat VH1 reality contestant Frank, who is 30/31 years old lives at home in his parent's basement. We first met Frank when he was a contestant competing to win the heart of Flavor Flav repeat reject New York in her show's second season. Eventually Frank competed on both seasons of the spin-off show I Love Money, with the intent to the win the money and move out of his parents basement (he lost both seasons). Eventually VH1 gave into the demands of Frank's fans and gave him his own show, however, unlike all the other celebreality dating shows, Frank doesn't get to move into a nice mansion. Instead, they give him a small house resembling one you'd find in a suburb of Brooklyn (and oddly enough, they tried to pass this off as being his parents real house, when archived footage from a reunion show where they visit Frank proves it's a different house) and guess what - mom and dad are there with him! It's been quite an amusing show so far, living up to its VH1 celebreality predecessors!

Entourage (recently moved to Sunday nights at 10/9c on SpikeTV)
I never got to watch this show as it originally aired as we don't get HBO and I HATE using my Netflix queue on multi-disc TV shows that aren't available on Instant Watch, so I was THRILLED to hear last fall that it was coming to SpikeTV, every episode from the beginning. Yes, it's edited, but from what I can tell so far, it's only the language and the dubbing of that isn't so bad. This show follows up-and-coming actor Vincent Chase and his entourage, which includes his best friend and unofficial manager Eric (aka E), their friend "Turtle" who acts as the errand boy, and Vince's brother Johnny Drama who is a former actor trying to get back into the business. We get a little insight into the life of a young Hollywood star living life, among the ordeals they go through to get movies. Another neat thing is that the show is somewhat based off executive producer Mark(y Mark) Wahlberg and his transition to Hollywood and acting, basing the majority of the characters off his real-life entourage/friends and staff.

Other viewing throughout the week that we sometimes watch
During the weekdays, we usually watching CSI reruns on SpikeTV in the afternoons, then flip it over to TBS and watch a little Seinfeld before dinner.

On Monday evenings, we occasionally watch Heroes (9/8c on NBC), although that one's gotten a bit bland and I'm usually doing my Mary Kay thing on Monday nights; and Pawn Stars (10/9c on the History Channel).

On Wednesday evenings we turn it over to Comedy Central and watch a little South Park (10/9c) and Tosh.0 (10:30/9:30c) before hubby goes to work. Occasionally, when we don't have our Wednesday night class, we'll watch some ABC Comedy, with Patricia Heaton's new show The Middle (8:30/7:30c) and Modern Family (9/8c).

Sometimes on Thursday evenings, we'll watch Parks and Recreation between Community and The Office (although usually I use this time to make dinner) and sometimes we'll keep the TV on and watch 30Rock after The Office, but not all the time.

Late night, I tend to watch whatever is on TBS between the 10-11pm slot (or 11pm-midnight slot if you're in the Eastern time zone), which is usually either back to back episodes of My Name is Earl or Seinfeld, followed by 2 episodes of Sex and the City (1am/12 c). I'll also sometimes watch whatever is on VH1 too if I get tired of the episodes playing on TBS.

Hubby and I also make sure to squeeze in at least one episode of Married with Children, which runs for several house straight on TBS starting at 5/4c before falling asleep (remember, he works 3rd shift and gets home around 3:30am our time - central) - that show is pretty darn funny!

What are your Must-See TV shows?


If it's not broke, don't fix it

One thing I was taught at a young age and have come to realize tends to hold true is the old motto "If it's not broke, don't fix it." Usually, in most cases, you end up doing a lot of unnecessary work producing a product that's either not nearly as good as the original or just ends up being mediocre. Rarely is the "new" version better than it was before.

Today I finally heard/saw the remake of the classic 80s mega-hit "We Are the World" - "We Are the World 25."

"We Are the World 25" with a brief forward by Jamie Foxx

While it's neat that the proceeds from the song are being donated to Haiti and that they use footage of Michael Jackson from the original I still don't think it was necessary to remake this classic from my childhood.

In the original, 43 artists (plus Dan Aykroyd) were conducted by Quincy Jones. And looking at the names, these were all big name artists - many of which have still stood the test of time. In this new version, there are OVER 85 ARTISTS including well-known artists with lesser nobodies (sorry, but there was a handful I did not recognize) as well as several actors (Rashida Jones?? Really?). This one seems to have an element of overkill to it. In the original, you could see and recognize everyone in the video, however in this one, there's just too many people in the chorus that half the names on the list you don't even recall seeing! It was neat to see Janet singing a duet with Michael again, however this one seemed a bit awkward, unlike her performance last fall at the VMA's where she did the song and routine from the Scream video with her brother's image. I also think T-Pain's auto-tune/pitch/whatever-it's-called was an unnecessary addition to the song, and the rap... while I get it, it just seemed weird with the classic song.

Now don't get me wrong, I didn't *hate* it, but I wasn't really impressed or blown away either - it's impact didn't even come close to the impact the original had. Honestly, I found myself giggling a few times, which felt wrong, but I couldn't help it!

And enough with all the classic movie remakes! Sure, some remakes/reworkings turned out great (ie: Christopher Nolan's Batman reboot, Rob Zombie's "Halloween" remake) but most others... why???

Recently, Matthew Brodderick gave the go ahead for a Ferris Bueller remake (although he refuses to touch it and has said he thinks none of the original cast should be in it - I can still see Ben Stein making a cameo though!). Go to your local movie theater and you'll probably see posters for the upcoming Will Smith produced Karate Kid, starring his son Jaden. Footloose is being remade with one of the guys from Gossip Girl since Zach Efron declined it. Oh and a Red Dawn remake is due out soon too, as is a Nightmare on Elm Street reboot.

Conducing a simple Google search, we can soon look forward to remakes of Red Sonja, Short Circuit, Weird Science, Conan the Barbarian, Poltergeist, Hellraiser, Robocop, Porky's and Escape from New York. The Spiderman series is also getting a reboot in the near future as well, despite the last one just coming out a mere few years ago.

What's next? A high-tech CG1 remake of The Neverending Story or a Labyrinth with either Lady Gaga or Adam Lambert playing David Bowie's part? I also heard there's talk of Dakota Fanning starring as a Dorothy character in a "dark" reworking of The Wizard of Oz - really?

Yeah, I pass on all of these... leave classic things alone. If it ain't broke, don't mess with it!


My new favorite show

http://timetunedin.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/history_pawnstars_exterior_web.jpgA couple months ago, while flipping channels, I saw a commercial for a new season of this show Pawn Stars on the History channel. While I've never been one to just sit and watch the History channel, this "reality" show and its cast intrigued me and eventually I caught an episode.

Needless to say, I was hooked.

This show follows the daily activities at the family owned Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Heading the cast are owners Richard (aka The Old Man) and his son Rick, as well as Rick's son Corey (aka Big Hoss) who is being "groomed" to become the owner someday and Corey's childhood best friend "Chumlee."

In each episode, people bring in items that they think might be worth something. It's up to the pawn shop staff to find out if the item is real, what the history is, and how much it's worth. Often times they'll call in an expert who has more extensive knowledge when it comes to finding out authenticity and history on an item to help determine its worth. Once they figure out if an item works or is real, then comes the fun! When an expert determines the value, they tell what it would go for in a public auction, however the shop has to be able to make a profit on it, so usually start at 50% less than the actual value and the negotiations begin! Often times people want the full value, but usually settle for somewhat less.

What I love about this show is that you get to learn the history about the items and the time period they're from and it's presented in a fun format so you don't get bored while learning about history!

Another fun aspect of the show is that occasionally the cast/staff will have a competition amongst themselves. Who can make the most profit for the store? One time Corey made a bet with The Old Man that he could sell a watch for $5,000 - The Old Man didn't think he could so he agreed to it; if Corey lost, he had to show up to work in a suit and tie for a week, but if he won, The Old Man had to come to work in a pair of baggy Ed Hardy jeans!

Funny story: when my hubby and I went to Vegas for our honeymoon back in 2008, we literally walked RIGHT PAST this pawn shop when we (stupidly) walked from Downtown to The Strip (something I don't recommend AT ALL, let alone in heels!)! I'm kicking myself now for not having noticed it! hehe

Critics seem to dub Pawn Stars as being "American Choppers" meets "Antiques Roadshow." Regardless, I find it as fun, good, educational TV!


It'll never *just* be Valentine's Day...

http://www.webweaver.nu/clipart/img/holidays/valentines/heart3.gifFebruary 14th. Valentine's Day.

It's a date romantics love, couples celebrate, and singles despise.

For me and my fellow NIU Huskies, past and present, it hasn't just been a lovey-dovey holiday to us for 2 years now.

While today is a day where most celebrate (or loathe) love, romance and relationship, for us, it's also a day of remembrance and sadness.

For those who may have forgotten or were unaware, today is the 2 year "anniversary" of the shooting that happened on-campus. I put anniversary in quotes, because, well I usually associate the word anniversary with celebration, and in no way am I celebratory about a shooting that rocked the world of those of us that were there.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_RFhgkp0zlHg/R7iYptOK6bI/AAAAAAAAAEA/7ph4Z0CJF5o/s320/huskie%2Bcrying.jpgYou never think it will actually happen at your school, until it does. You can only imagine the pain and sadness and overwhelming confusion and fear that you see the campus going through on the news.Once you experience something like that in your community - a community you were close to at the time - it completely changes you.

I remember where I was and what happened that day.

Looking through the Facebook statuses of fellow alumni who were there, I thought this year I'd share some of their thoughts, in addition to mine and the standard "Forward Together Forward" phrase that became our school's motto.

An ex of mine, whom I am still on good speaking terms with posts:
"The past two years have painted quite a pall upon this holiday, and yet still I strive to see the good in it."

My friend and former college newspaper co-worker Desiree, over at Diary of a Wannabe Health Freak, who was actually trapped inside the classroom where the shooting occurred writes: 
"My life forever changed on February 14th, 2008. {{ Cole Hall 3:06 p.m. I will never forget }} R.I.P. ♥ Gayle, Dan, Catalina, Ryanne, Julianna. ♥ Forward, Together Forward."

"Valentine's Day will never mean to me what it does to everyone else. Never forget 2.14.2008."

 A girl who lived on the same dorm floor as me my freshman wrote 2 posts: 
"Two years ago, Valentine's Day took on a different meaning for me and my NIU Family....and so this picture of my graduation from NIU in May 2008 represents where my heart is (with [my boyfriend]) and where my thoughts are (with my fellow Huskies)."

"...today is the day to tell your loved ones how you feel about them so they know...because you never know when you will lose the chance. ♥ Forward, Together Forward ♥"

A former classmate posts:
2.14.08 God Bless the Huskies in Heaven 

Jessi, over at The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes, who, while not a Huskie, has been and is part of the community of DeKalb that was affected by the tragedy, writes:
"Today we are all Huskies. 2.14.08"

Another former college newspaper co-worker posts:
"Happy Valentine's Day! Tell someone you love them, and never forget this day at NIU in 2008. I know I won't."

And I'm sure there will be more to come as the day progresses.
There is also a memorial service tonight as well.

Forward, Together, Forward - we will never forget.