Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reflections: Artful Stew

4. I made it to 365 posts on Artful Stew this year. We did it, readers! I know I wrote (or at least conglomerated) the stuff, but I couldn't have made it without your patient eyes and thoughtful comments.

Who knows what next year holds for old Artful Stew. Maybe we'll get a 17th reader, maybe not, but I'm proud of what we accomplished and am hopeful that next year will be even greater.

2011, here we come! Let's do this thing!

2010 Reflections: Love

3. This is the first year that the BF and I have lived together. It's better than I ever could have imagined, and I can't wait to have our first whole year together. We even got a new loveseat and bookcase to celebrate! I'm very much looking forward to some New Year's Day Ektorp assembly celebrations.

The fact that he gave me tickets for a romantic trip to Paris this year has me a little more excited than usual for the New Year, as well! He's the best!!

2010 Reflections: Kidney

2. Another year, and my kidney is working even better than before. I'm so grateful for this I cannot even express it. Despite all the wacky (and not-so-wacky-but-more-just-annoying-or-painful) side effects, I'm really taking care of my precious gift, and I'm happy to have the chance and honored to have the responsibility. I will continue to be a good kidney caretaker next year. I promise!

2010 Reflections: Jobs

1. This was the first year I had a job for a whole year. And I didn't get fired. Or even F up too majorly. Wow. That's pretty awesome. And also terrifying - I have to do this for 40 more years before I can retire!!? What up with that?

1.5. I'm pretty proud of myself for doing a monthly stand-up and improv show, too, all while doing this whole job thing. I'm looking forward to doing more of that this upcoming year, as well as finishing my second screenplay, maybe even writing a pilot or a spec script for a TV show, who knows.

Best Reviewed Movies 2010

/Film did a nice writeup of the best reviewed movies of 2010 in terms of Rotten Tomatoes vs. Metacritic.

while I have to admit that I turn to metacritic more often than I do to Rotten Tomatoes for my initial thoughts on whether I should go see a movie or not, I do prefer the way that Rotten Tomatoes goes about their reviewing system.

Yes, NY Times may not think, "I Love You, Man" deserves more than a 60, but I still really enjoyed it. Just because a movie doesn't get high ratings from critical thinkers doesn't mean it's not enjoyable, and that, sometimes, is more important to me.

Now, if even the average viewers think the movies terrible (something you can really only see via Rotten Tomatoes), then I know to stay away... at least until it mysteriously pops up on my Netflix Instant queue.

PS. For my money, "Toy Story 3" is definitely the best movie of the year, but "The King's Speech" is an exceptionally close second. If you haven't seen it yet, go see it. It's moving without being too dramatic. I loved it. Also, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is awesome, but that's mainly because I love HP in all forms... except, like, in miniature form. I'm not that crazy.

'I Am' Trailer: Pretty Cool

All I need to do is become a famous comedy director first. Also, I'd prefer to avoid the horrible accident part.

The Year in Politics...

... Is not a post I'm going to write. It would be too depressing, seeing as despite the landmark health care legislation that was passed, so many things went terribly, horribly wrong.

However, here are some recent bright spots in the last few weeks of this serious rollercoaster of a year in politics:

- The Bill Ensuring Health Care for 9/11 Responders (thanks, in part, to Jon Stewart)

- Extending Unemployment Benefits for another 19 Months (though, of course, at the truly horrific price of extending tax cuts for the wealthy, but we won't talk about that tonight!)

Let's hope that Obama and the Democrats can keep this momentum going. It's going to be rough going with the Republicans trying to derail the entire Constitution next year, but if Obama uses this momentum to strengthen his backbone and really start to fight back, I think we'll be ok.

I Miss Sunny!

I miss my puppy, Sunny, a lot now that we're back in New York. Our toy poodle (and by that I mean stuffed not miniature, and by stuffed I mean toy, not stuffed like a dead animal) O'Doodle just isn't cutting it, as cute and huggable as he is. Admittedly, though, he works for New York because he doesn't mind our small apartment and he doesn't need walks or food or water or anything besides the occasional dusting. Plus, it's pretty fun to put him outside the bathroom or by the front door when one of us is about to enter or leave and surprise them.

Anyway, this adorable Goldendoodle Roxy reminds me of Sunny and all the great dogs we saw on our walks in Dallas. Isn't she sweet? Thanks, Daily Puppy! I hope your New Year's is full of puppy paws and squeezable ears and no "What did you eat!? Don't throw it up on the carpet!!"'s

Speaking of Writing Tips...

I've been working a lot of my second feature lately. I'm really excited about the premise, and I've done a lot of outlining and blocking and even some actual, physical writing. However, when I read this Screenwriting Tip, I had to laugh:

Because, in all honesty, you'll never get the former out of me, but you will always, undoubtably, get the latter.

Writing Tips: Zing!

I subscribe to the daily blog, "Screenwriting Tips... You Hack!" It's a funny blog that actually does give good screenwriting tips to me, the hack.

Every once and a while, though, I disagree with the author. To his Christmas post, I have this to say:

While it's true that "every joke involving a man in a Santa costume has already been done. There is nothing new to add to the genre," what about a dog in a Santa costume? Yeah, didn't think of that one, did you?


And yes, to all you rich and powerful movie and television producers, managers, and agents out there, I've got a million of 'em.

"Send a Hello" Stamps of 2011: Pixar!

This is the main reason that m(any) of you will be getting mail from me after August 19, 2011: Pixar postage stamps, courtesy of the United States Postal Service. They even have a WALL-E one!!

How cute are they!?

You know, in case any of you miss my birthday next year, like, by a LOT, send me a card with one (or twelve) of these stamps on them and you're totally forgiven. For realz.

I'm definitely looking forward to 2011 now. Before, I was "meh," but now, I'm totes "Woot!"

Futurama Table Read

This clip of a table read from "Futurama" over at Comedy Central Insider is pretty darn awesome.

I know it may not seem like much, but it proves that writers and actors are people, too! People who laugh at their own (and their team's) jokes!

This is a huge step towards the realization that I can, one day, be one of these people. Because I, too, am very good at laughing at things that I write and possibly even better at things that other people write - unless I'm feeling particularly vain, in which case I'll mainly laugh at my things. Just being honest.

Steve Martin: Tweeter Extraordinnaire

Steve Martin's been doing some great tweeting on his fictional jury duty (though he really is going on jury duty soon). The BF and I laughed out loud reading these.

An article on them, courtesy of Gawker (though they didn't realize at the time that he wasn't actually on jury duty).

Can't Read My Present Face!

Some more New Year's fun for you. The hilarious Garfunkel and Oates duo have come up with the brilliant concept of the Present Face. Personally, I didn't receive any gifts this year that warranted the face, but I've had my Present Faces in the past, and can relate.


Rally to Restore Fear and/or Sanity: The Biggest News Story of 2010?

I'm not saying it is, but Newsweek sure seems to think so, and I'm fine with it.

Does this make me one of if not the most important person of 2010? Clearly, Newsweek thinks so, and I'm definitely not going to argue with that.

Huge Kidney News!

Tracy Morgan is recovering from a kidney transplant he received on December 10th. I know this news is about a week late, but I thought it was nuts that two "30 Rock" stars have gotten transplants in the last year, and I'm really happy that everything went well and that he's recovering. I know it can be tough, but I'm sure he can handle it.

I certainly hope he's at the NKF walk next year - maybe I can meet him, too! Clearly I should be working at "30 Rock" to complete the 3-kidney-transplant team trio.

The best part of me hearing about this is that the BF texted me the news while I was having my annual glo-fil done at DTI. A glo-fil is a long, more accurate test that measures kidney function. Everyone in the clinic went crazy after hearing about Tracy Morgan. I think they hope that he (along with Grizz) can help bring some light to this issue. Also, my kidney's doing even better than it was last year! Hooray!

I certainly hope that Tracy's is, too. I hope your recovery is going well, Tracy. If you need any tips on pills and things, feel free to give me a call!

Looking Back, Pixelated!

In another bit of nostalgia, here's a funny video from College Humor about forgotten video games from the 1980s.

Much pixelated fun ensues...

[Thanks, Neatorama!]

Kodachrome's Last Roll

Kodachrome's last roll has been developed. Kodak stopped making the chemicals needed to develop it last year.

Honestly, when I first heard the Paul Simon song of the same name, I thought it was about drugs. Then again, I was about 13 and at the time I thought all good songs were about drugs or other bad things because I had just learned what "Brick" by Ben Folds Five (my favorite song at the time) was about (spoiler alert: abortion! Eeps!) and decided that all good songs must be about terrible things. Otherwise, why would Ben Folds have written such a sad song with such a good tune?

Then my brother laughed at me and told me about it a type of color film, but I still thought it was code for drugs.

I wish I could say I ever actually used the film, but it's still sad to see it go. With it goes a piece of my innocently-cynical-about-losing-my-innocence years.

[Thanks, NY Times!]

Happy Dog Story for New Year's Eve!

The embedded video doesn't seem to be working, but you can watch it here.

Bet this dog won't be bolting after the package delivery guy again anytime soon. And by "soon" I mean about five minutes, as dogs have the memory of kumquats about such things.

Hope this cheers up your New Year's Eve!

[Thanks CBS Baltimore via Fark via Gawker!]

More Holiday Dogs!

This adorable photo collection of dogs dressed up in holiday garb (mostly reindeer antlers) isn't for a good cause like the video of decorating dogs was, but it's still pretty darn adorable!

Check it out before the holiday season ends and you look like a bubbaffoon!

How to Beat a Cold This Winter

I thought this article from the Daily Beast about avoiding colds was mostly the same old stuff, except this:

If you do get sick, don’t blow your nose too hard. Nose blowing doesn’t relieve stuffiness. A stuffy nose doesn’t result from too much mucus but rather, from the swelling of blood vessels in your turbinates—the spongy shelves lining the sidewalls of your nasal passages—which you don’t particularly want to expel. Also, forceful nose-blowing can drive nasal secretions into your sinuses, where they can cause secondary infections. - Jennifer Ackerman, The Daily Beast
Say whaaaaaaat? I don't think I understand what she's saying. Does she mean a stuffy nose or a runny nose? Because something definitely comes out when I have a runny nose and I much prefer it in the Kleenex Brand Tissue rather than in my lungs/throat/sinuses/etc.

Here's my real question, though, are you supposed to blow out of one nostril or both at the same time? I've heard, from two separate NY Times articles, that each one is worse, so which one really is? I prefer blowing one nostril then the next, but am I setting my sinuses up for failure?

Then again, I guess the point is pretty moot since I already had my winter cold. Fortunately, I got over it quickly and was back in Dallas at the time, so got to enjoy all the pampering and souping of being sick at home. The best!

Fun with Dough: The NY Times Gets Crumby

This delightful article from the NY Times, "Let it Dough," it super fun and a great read for the New Year.

I think my favorite one is the, "I created Reindeer - then Man and Okapi." Hilarious!


The Restaurant of 2011?

If David Burke Townhouse was my and the BF's fancy restaurant of choice this past year, will ABC Kitchen be our fancy restaurant of 2011?

It sounds pretty great on paper (check it out - local, organic, famous chef, what more could you want?), and we're planning on going next weekend.

However, the true test will not if it's delicious when we go for its regular menu, but if it will offer a great option over Restaurant Week? Because that's where David Burke won us over. They offer just about the full (delicious!) menu for Restaurant Week and the waiters aren't mean to you about it, which is a winning combination.

So we'll see if ABC Kitchen can live up to our high David Burke standards or if the Townhouse will continue to be our restaurant of choice in 2011.

Best Food of 2010: A Reflection on Serious Eats' Peoples' Choice Awards

Serious Eats put out there Peoples' Choice Awards for best food of this year.

Most importantly, Di Fara won for best "old school" pizza. Clearly, it should have won for best pizza all around, but that's ok. Shake Shack won for best burger, also a plus.

Then there were a couple of old Columbia area winners, which I thought was weird - Dinosaur BBQ for best BBQ, Absolute Bagels for best bagel... Do all the Serious Eats readers go to Columbia or something? Do they have fond memories of Absolute Bagels at KCST rehearsals? Very strange, indeed.

They also have a best cupcake section, a best pie section, and a best ice cream section (which was won by a gelato place, is that even fair? They're two different things!), but no best cookie section. Everyone knows pie is the new cupcake and cookies are the new pie! Seriously, Serious Eats, get on that.

The rest of the winners didn't mean a whole lot to me, but their pick for best new restaurant sounded intriguing. May have to go there soon!

What did you all think? Too foodie? Dead-on? Comment all about it!

A Hyperbole and a Half Christmas Story

In case you missed it, here's a great Christmas story from Hyperbole and a Half.

Also, I hope you all listened to the Christmas episode of "This American Life." Julian McCullough has a truly great, though super sad, story on it. It's the last story, probably because it's the best.

Merry belated Christmas!

Notable Kidney News

Ronald Lee Herrick, the world's first kidney donor passed away on Monday at age 79. Back in 1954, he donated one of his kidneys to his twin brother, who was dying of chronic nephritis. That kidney transplant allowed his brother to live for eight more years, an incredible feat for the revolutionary surgery.

Thanks to Ronald's bravery and compassion for his brother, all of us kidney patients have to chance to live full, healthy lives.

Thank you, Ronald, and I hope you are resting in peace this New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why I Haven't Blogged: Or, Snowed in, in Dallas

This is the easiest way of explaining why I haven't blogged in a while:

The big blizzard of 0'10 shut down all the airports on the Eastern seaboard, so my flight for Monday was changed to Thursday. Since I don't like to blog while on vaca (and by that I mean vay-cay as in vacation, not as in the Spanish word for cow), it meant that instead of not blogging for a week, I didn't blog for about two weeks. Nuts!

Anyway, I'm back and I've got a LOT of blogging to make up for before 2011 is upon us, so get ready for a barrage of posts tomorrow.

Hope you all had a happy holiday and got to take at least a few days off! I know I did!

[You can learn more about the film here. It's based on Dziga Vertov's "Man with a Movie Camera" which I studied back in film school! Don't tell anyone, but I like this one better. Though that could just be because I don't have to write a paper on the theory behind it. Also, Roger Ebert thinks it should be nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Film of 2010. "Idiot with a Tripod", that is, not "Man with a Movie Camera," which I think might be a little late to qualify.]

Friday, December 17, 2010

Top 30 Dogs of 2010

Everyone's making their end-of-the-year lists, but I think this one about the Top 30 Dogs of 2010 tops the list of lists. Everyone loves internet cats, but no one appreciates the adorability of internet dogs.

All they were missing was this super adorable video of holiday dogs having a great time, courtesy of the Best Friends Animal Society. Enjoy!

Cinescape 2010

Here's another pretty cool montage of the films of 2010. I don't think year has been the greatest in film, but it's been pretty good, and it's worth a second look. Also, I think the trailer editors deserve some major credit for this video, as I'm sure most of it's cut from trailers, which cut from the best of the movies themselves.

[You can read more about Cinescape over at /Film]

The 50 Greatest Movie Monologues

Speaking of movies, here's a fun archive of's 50 favorite (they say greatest, but since it's technically their opinion I'm going to say favorite) movie monologues of all time.

I haven't gotten a chance to watch all the clips yet, but I've been through the list and they've got a lot of really enjoyable monologues on there. I'm glad I'm off of work, because these videos are really getting me into movie-watching mode!

What about you guys? What are they missing? What are your favorites?

Filmography 2010: Decent Year in Films, Great Year in Compilation

In case you missed it (this has been going around the internet this week, but I've only just now gotten a chance to watch all my internet videos), here's "Filmography 2010", a compilation of 270 of the films produced and/or distributed in 2010. It's a fantastic compilation that makes me actually want a watch a lot of the films I had didn't get a chance to see this year. Also, the music is fantastic!

/Film did a great interview with the editor here.

You can view a list of the movies show in order here. Of course, some movies are sampled more than once, but I think it would have been redundant to list them multiple times.

Quick sidenote: there's a shot from "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" in there, but only because it's used in a flashback in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Clever!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Toy Story 3 (and Pixar!): By the Numbers

I read this first on /film. Milo put up an awesome infographic on Toy Story 3's monetary breakdown since its release. It includes Toy Story 3's box office earning compared to other Pixar films as well as a bunch of fun facts about merchandise and the like, as well.

I think the most interesting part of the graphic is how different Pixar films have fared at the box office compared to one another. Looking at the box office numbers, it's interesting that Pixar decided to go with Cars and Monsters Inc sequels instead of something like Finding Nemo or The Incredibles. Then again, Cars is John Lasseter's baby, so it's not too much of a surprise. Cars 2 is definitely the Pixar movie I'm least excited about, especially after seeing a trailer and reading the synopsis, but Pixar's surprised me before, so I'm hoping they surprise me again. We shall see!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Monkey Day!

Apparently, today is Monkey Day! A day to raise awareness about the adorableness of monkeys and their many troubles in this world of ours. Monkeys need our help, and not just in the world of cuddling. Since I have a job and am very important, here is a blog that is entirely devoted to monkeys, especially on this special day, and their post for today.

[image via Petpostive]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Food Revolution NYC!

I certainly hope these recommendations initiated by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn for revitalizing New York City's food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and post-consumption get passed through our city and state legislature. You can read a nice summary of them at Serious Eats.

I find the initiative on city-wide composting particularly interesting.

Nate's Cartoons is Back!

In case you all had been missing Nate's Cartoons desperately, you can read two cartoons a week over at Smosh and one cartoon a week at Nate's Cartoons.

Today's is particularly amazing. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Voice in the Vent: In His Own Little Corner

I woke up the other morning to a lovely rendition of, "In My Own Little Corner," sung by our very own Voice in the Vent. I thought it was particularly amusing for two reasons:

1) His own little corner was clearly not as much his own as he believed it to be, as I was sharing part of it, at least aurally. Also, another male voice interrupted him halfway through, so I was left to finish the song on my own, hoping that the vent would work as a two-way system. I don't believe it is, but mainly because whenever I say, "Bless you!" when I hear a sneeze, I have not yet gotten a "Thank you!" in return, and I prefer not to think that they're just rude.

2) I was in a severely abridged musical version of "Cinderella" when I was in 5th grade. I was the youngest in my acting class, which meant, for some reason, I had to play the old king. I still don't understand why I was cast as this part, but maybe it was because the king was supposed to be goofy, short, and clumsy, and I definitely embody those three traits. I really was annoyed that I wasn't Cinderella, though, because "In My Own Little Corner" is a lovely song and I really wanted a solo. I also wanted to kiss a prince on stage! Thinking back, though, I don't remember our prince to be all that handsome.

Thanks for the good memories, VITV! I can't wait to hear your version of, "The Lobster Quadrille" from the musical version of "Alice in Wonderland." In that one, I played the griffin - a way cooler part, indeed.

Simon's Cat: Santa Claws

Simon's got another adorable cat cartoon out! I've got it on good account that kitties actually do this - which may be why it's been so hard for my BF to convince me to agree to the possibility of ever getting a kitty (then again, the possibility of me actually ever getting a Christmas tree of my own is very small, too, considering that it seems like a mess to maintain even for the few weeks before Christmas - and then all the spiny needles fall off when you try to take it out and it's just a mess!).

Anywho, apparently the bf's kitties used to climb up in their trees and knock them over all the time. I can't really blame them, though. It looks like a ton of fun. What about you guys? Did your kitties or other animals ever attack your holiday/indoor tree/treelike object, Christmas variety or otherwise?

Cat Diaries

Here's a cute little video made by Friskies all shot from the viewpoint of several kitties.

It definitely makes the lives of kitties more interesting, but possibly because they left out the 14 hours wherein the cat is either sleeping or licking its butt.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Big Cat Christmas!

Christmas came early to the Big Cat Rescue in Florida. You may remember these kitties eating pumpkins back in Halloween. Well now they're here to bring you some holiday cheer!

Watch the kitties rub stuff, gnaw stuff, and play with stuff! They're having a great time, and so will you this holiday season! But only if you watch this adorable video (seriously, it's one of the rules this year. I have no idea why. Take it up with the cats).

PS. I think they doused everything in catnip. Don't you? Why else would they be rubbing themselves all over everything?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds

Here's a great summary of our past and future issues with fossil fuels from the Post Carbon Institute. Check it out and follow the links to learn more!

Reminds me a lot of The Story of Stuff and The Story of Bottled Water. Check those out, too!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hilarious Humor Article in Generally Serious Magazine

Former Colbert Report EP Allison Silverman wrote this super duper (super NY) article for The New Yorker. Read it and laugh your batooties off. And then buy a super fancy bamboo stirrer for your translucent organic coffee oxygen.

Baby Otter Swimming Lesson!

I forgot to post this earlier this month when it went viral, so in case you missed it (or just want to watch it again), here are a couple of too-super-adorable baby otters getting their first swimming lesson.

Watch it and swoon.

[Thanks to Jezebel for being the first place I saw this posted, and thanks to Zoo Borns for putting this up at all!]

Cookie Monster Auditions for SNL

Speaking of Jim Henson, this is too, too cute. If I didn't think the logistics of having a live Muppet host a live show were insanely challenging I'd be all for this... wait, that might be just the kick in the butts to make SNL super awesome again, so I AM all for this. You can do it, Mr. Monster!

Making Muppets with the Master

Jim Henson teaches us all how to be home-schooled puppeteers in this awesome little video. Check it out!

Labradoodle Lookalike!

To celebrate how ingenious our furry friends are, I'd like to highlight the adorableness of The Daily Puppy's featured puppy of the day, Benni the Labradoodle. Not only is he adorable, but he also looks strikingly similar to one of the lovable mutts in my office, Frankie. Frankie lacks that signature white patch on the tummy, though, so Benni may just win in cuteness (just don't tell that to Frankie's owner!).

Sidenote: Benni also does a great job of highlighting the one similarity between dogs and cars: both black dogs and black cars have the odd habit of showing dirt much more than their lighter furred and painted brethren.

Dogs: Smarter than Cats (Duh)

I've known this for ages, but it's always good to get scientific evidence on your side.

The aloofness and general un-niceties of cats have led them to become far less socially adept and therefore less intelligent in this wild animal kingdom of ours. Dogs, on the other hand, are some of the most socially in-tune and (therefore) intelligent creatures out there.

A fun take on the study is here at HowStuffWorks. A slightly less dog-biased article is from WebMD, though should not be taken as seriously because anyone trying to be biased in favor cats clearly has a brain the size of one. Snap!

My one quibble with Josh Clark's analysis over at HowStuffWorks? That he says that Harry Potter fans are in favor of cats when one of my favorite characters, Sirius Black, could (SPOILER ALERT!) transform himself into a great, black, shaggy dog. How can one possibly honor such a noble beast more than that?

Food: Safer

Good news, Food Safety Advocates - which, you think, would be everyone - the Senate just passed a new food safety bill that's got a lot of good stuff in it!

Since it's the Senate, naturally there's a lot of good stuff missing, too, but this is better than nothing. My favorite aspect of the bill is that it requires a lot more inspections of food manufacturers and big farms. This will be a huge step in combating all the grossness that goes on in big food plants.

Although the Senate passed the bill, they'll still have to negotiate with the House, and quickly, too, before this Congress' session ends.

Can they do it? They better, because this bill's too good to pass up, and too good not to pass.

Happiness: A Study

Yet another reason why the internet makes us happy and unhappy at the same time. The constant distractions make us unhappy. The unlimited amount of interesting games, articles, videos, and how-to's for just about everything you could ever dream of make us happy - as long as we can concentrate on each of them one at a time. A very challenging task indeed.

Soon We Will All Be Frankensteins

Clearly, I'm already a Frankenstein because I have an extra body part in me. However, pretty soon we're all going to be telomerased-switched Frankensteins who live forever. At least, that's what I'm taking away from this study wherein researchers partially reversed the again process in mice.

This is almost too creepy to be cool, am I right? I think we may soon be crossing the uncanny valley of vampire-ism, zombie-ism, or humanoid-robot-ism very soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spoiler Alert: Rich People Aren't Great at Empathy

Actually, it's all about context. If you think you're in an economically upper-class position, then you can't read people's emotions as well as if you think you're in an economically lower-class position. It's all in this study. Weird, huh? The authors posit that it's because if you're wealthy, you don't necessarily need to look for help in others, and therefore don't have to care or depend on relationships with others as much. Therefore, you wouldn't need to recognize their facial expressions. The really weird thing was that if the people in the study were tricked into thinking they were one status or another, their ability to recognize facial expression improved or got worse accordingly. Nuts!

Anyway, I just finished watched Season Three of "Veronica Mars," and that show's all about class warfare, so I thought it was interesting.

Also, the show (Veronica Mars) is great (though the third season was definitely not as good as the first two), and I really hope that Rob Thomas (the creator) and Kristen Bell (the star) get a chance to make a movie out of it. The finale of the third season was definitely not satisfying enough. Heck, it wasn't even a real ending. The show deserves better. If you're a fan and think so, too, email and tell them that! The more emails they get, the higher a chance there is that we'll get to see the movie someday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I'm a little late on the Thanksgiving bandwagon, but I wanted to wish all you Readers a Happy Thanksgiving! I really appreciate all the support you've given me over the years in and outside of this blog. It's fun to write, and I couldn't do it without you, my dedicated (albeit small and therefore adorable) audience.

And if you want to spread some Thanksgiving cheer - don't forget that there are people in other countries as well as our own who can always use your help. Maybe you could donate $10 to a school through DonorsChoose or $25 to a struggling goat herder through Kiva? Just a couple of suggestions...

There's Gold in Them Thar Trees!

Apparently, we could turn trees into bioluminescent street lamps by using gold nanoparticles. That sounds pretty incredible, but the one problem is - how would you turn them off? Also, how could you stop them from turning any nighttime scene or moment into a really creepy scifi horror movie about alien trees from outer space bent on destroying and/or enslaving the human race?

An Informative HowStuffWorks Article on Exercise

Spoiler alert! It's good for you.

Thanks, Marshall Brain! It seems both obvious and still surprising how good exercise is for you. The only problem is that I really love lying around in bed all day...

More Harry Potter Fun!

Ok, so in case you haven't gotten you fill of ol' Harry Potter yet (I always get this way when one of the movies comes out - I feel like I need to re-read the books, watch a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff, I get kind of crazy), here's an interview with David Yates, the director of Deathly Hallows.

I'd embed the video here, but it's by /Film, and I think they wanted to direct more traffic to their site since it's not embeddable. No worries, though, you can just watch it at the link above.


PFD Reality?

Let's not kid around, I invented a Personal Flying Device (PFD) in 6th grade that looked almost exactly like this one. You can ask my dad. I wanted to make a prototype, but it would have cost around $20,000, and no one makes that much in babysitting. Also, I didn't have any babysitting jobs, so that was a problem, as well.

I'm torn. Part of me is glad that my old PFD is finally a reality. The other part is pissed that I didn't go into mechanical engineering so I could make it myself. Oh well, think I could bum a test ride off of them if I show them my 11 year old sketches?

If WiFi can make trees sick...

... Couldn't it make other plants and animals sick, as well?

Here's the story from Gawker. It reminds me of the study about the little Scandinavian village where everyone got really sick after having one of those superconductor cell phone towers installed a few miles from their town. Not a good sign...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was Awesome!

I saw it last weekend - amazing! The cinematography was by far the best of any of the films, and I really appreciated all the character work they put in there. Even the weird dance sequence made sense... in a weird and pretty ridiculous way.

Anyone up for seeing it again? What did you all think?

In the meantime, for those in New York, you can take the subway to Hogwarts from the Union Square Station. Thanks, dedicated fan who stuck that sticker!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Post on Puppies at Hyperbole and a Half!

New post up at Hyperbole and a Half! In which Allie finds herself and her boyfriend moving to Oregon, and their two dogs acting like insaneoids. And yes, that's a new word I just made up and it's awesome. Insaneoids - start spreading it, sixth graders who need a new word with which to insult your younger siblings!

The post is here.

I like all the drawings of dogs (I really need to learn how to draw dogs this well). The story's cute, too, but, I have to be honest, if I picked up and moved my life across the country, I'd be asking like a puppy who's gone all insaneoid, as well.

Are You Seeing Harry Potter 7: Part 1 This Weekend?

I know I am! I've got my ticket for Saturday afternoon and I cannot wait!

Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that certain family members will want to see it over Thanksgiving, as well, so I should have plenty of chances to see Harry and the gang in action.

So far, it's gotten pretty awesome reviews, so that's a bonus, too.

What do you guys think? Are you excited?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Life VS The Internet: A Blog Post

Lately, I’ve realized that the internet is out to destroy my life. And not in the way that I’m popular or rich enough to get destroyed by someone stealing my identity. Frankly, I think if a hacker got into my checking account, he’d be insulted. It would be a waste of his time - the little money I have in there would be way under his hourly rate. No, the internet is destroying my life because I cannot stop checking it. It’s like my child is having surgery and I keep checking in with the doctor to see if he’s ok or not - except I’m never going to have time to have a child because I can’t have unprotected sex with my computer - YET.

My former roommate is great with the internet. She and the internet are in the perfect relationship. They hang out all the time, sure, but they’ve also got mutual friends they hang out with, too. She’ll tweet and facebook about some hip new trend, but then all that tweeting and facebooking will get her invited to some shmancy event and then she’ll tweet all about it and then those tweets will lead to more events and so on and so forth. Whereas I’ll have plans to hang out with a friend I haven’t seen in years, but my uber-controlling boyfriend the internet is all, “No, you’re staying home to watch these tigers eating pumpkins. That’s what we’re doing tonight.” A stronger woman would walk out on it, but I’m weak and lazy, so I reply, “Fine, but you better still love me when I’m fat.” And that’s when it starts pushing free online pilates videos on me. The bastard.

We’re in one of those relationships where I cannot function without it for more than twenty minutes. The last time I was on a job interview, the interviewer asked, “So, what news stories are you interesed in right now?” I stared at her for over a minute, mouth agape. I couldn’t think of a single thing. I had forgotten everything I just read! It’s like I hadn’t been checking Google News in days instead of minutes. It’s even worse with my friends. There’s no pressure to know political theory with your friends, but you do have to have a basic knowledge of what’s going on in the world. They’ll all be laughing about the hilarious thing some idiot politician said, and I’ll pretend to go along with it, but I’m really just thinking, “What’s going on?” When I get back to my computer, I look it up and finally get the joke. But my computer can’t laugh with me. I’m so inundated with information that I can’t actually remember any of it. The internet has turned my brain into mush, and someday it will turn it into liquid. I'm hoping for Kool-Aid, preferably cherry-flavored.

But at the same time, like in any bad relationship, there are things about it I love. My main obsession: Google Reader. It’s a website that conglomerates all the blogs I follow into one uber-website. A number on the sidebar of the site states how many unread articles I have. Basically, it’s a game I can never win. The goal: to read the entire internet, even the boring parts I don’t like - like “Tom Selleck Sandwich Waterfall,” which hasn’t been cool for months, or “Men Staring at Bricks,” which is just plain boring - just so I can see the Google Reader number tick down from 1000+ to 500 to 5 to 0. But just when I think I’ve hit zero, Gawker’s all “Snooky just had a threeway with Tiger Woods and a pineapple! You’ll never guess who’s the better the lover? Spoiler alert: it’s the pineapple!” And then the game begins anew.

Plus, GReader (or “greader”) has these folders which you can file articles you like into. So when I come across something called “10 Best Financial Tips for 23 year olds,” I can just put that article in my “financial tips” file and then never read it, but think that I’m super smart for thinking I should read it. I’ve got book folders, gift folders, vacation folders - folders for safety tips, home tips, green tips, health tips, self improvement tips, waiter tips. I think if someone who doesn’t know me just learned about me by reading what I have saved on my GReader, they’d think I was really smart, talented, well rounded, and handy with a monkey wrench. But they’d also be really jealous of me because I’d be super perfect. When they found out I’ve never even read most of those articles, they’d think, “Yeah, that’s about right.” Not disappointed, just a little relieved. I’m like one of those old ladies who cuts out coupons from thousands of catalogues but never buys anything. And I always thought those ladies were super crazy. But it just turns out they were testing the waters for the internet generation. Now we’re all those crazy coupon ladies. And I say, let’s embrace it.

Because that’s how we are - we want to know more and do more and be more, but that takes a lot of effort. And you know what doesn’t take effort? Clicking on the “things I want at my wedding” tab when I see that recipe for sour apple cream cupcakes. Because I’m not going to set up a savings CD anytime soon (is that a thing? I think that's a thing), but I sure as shit want to make sure I remind myself to try those sour apple cream cupcakes when I start planning for my wedding at some indeterminate point in the future (I'm not even engaged). The internet may be this fun-fact spouting boyfriend who’s only pleasure in life is giving me just enough instant gratification so that I forget that there’s a real world out there I could be contributing to, but isn’t it a little hubristic of me to think that I could actually contribute something meaningful to society anyway? Then I think about posting something meaningful like this on my blog, but I forget about it and post that video of tigers eating pumpkins. Because that’s super cute and super fun and what else am I doing anyway?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

So Many More Harry Potter Clips!

Making Of is jam-packed with clips to get us all hyped for the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" next week. I know I've already posted what feels like a million (but was actually only about six). Here are three more and they're well worth your time if you have any interest in filmmaking. They each comprise a series of short behind-the-scenes clips with no explanation or narrative and no clear beginning or end. I know that sounds weird, but it's a fascinating look into how they shoot each scene. If you're familiar with the books and interested in seeing how you can possibly film them, these are videos to watch.

On-Set 3 of HP7: Part 1

[Posted as links instead of embeds because of the, rather silly, automatic start]

Read this Article

It's about dialysis care in America and it's really interesting. I know it's a long article, but it's worth it to know how we are failing patients and how we can help.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Big Cat Halloween

I know it's past Halloween, but pumpkins are in season all Fall, so enjoy!

Just remember that as adorable as they are while playing with pumpkins, big cats will eat your face if you give them the chance. So respect them, protect them, and stay the heck away from them!

Animation of the Gettysburg Address

This animated version of the Gettysburg Address is pretty darn cool.

Created by Adam Gault, Stephanie Augustine, and Carlo Vega.

[Thanks to Neatorama for finding this gem!]

Mountaintop Removal Mining can Take a Hike

Despite serious opposition (and lawsuits!) by the mining industry, it looks like the EPA is actually going to start flexing its muscles and begin to put an end to the horribly destructive mountaintop removal mining system. Then again, how anyone thought that something involving the removal of a mountaintop could not be destructive to the environment boggles my mind.

Now if we could just get rid of fracking and dirty coal power plants, we'd really be in business!

Rally Feedback

Good to know that HowStuffWorks (and Marshall Brain, specifically) approves of the Rally. I think he really captures what Jon Stewart was going for - thanks!

The Good Side of Life

This mini-documentary, "Alice Dancing under the Gallows" is incredible. It really made me happy, and I hope it makes you happy, too. Sometimes it all is about perspective...

Even More Harry Potter Featurettes!

These two are great not only because they're interesting and offer new footage, but also because they don't start automatically! The quality is not super great, but that's what the super IMAX screens are for 12 days from now!


[Thanks to /film for finding these]

Animation News You Can Use

Here's a couple of interviews with Pixarians.

And a particularly awesome letter from Walt Disney to Don Graham about what to teach animation students.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day!

Happy Election Day, everyone! I know things are going to go poorly, so let's just suck it up and get through it. And don't forget to vote - or else you just might make things worse.

Here's hoping not TOO many crazies get elected this round, am I right?

Then again, you never know. This is America, after all. We love our crazies something fierce.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thanks for Attending and Happy Halloween!

Thanks to all the 215,000+ people who came to the National Mall yesterday! You all really made it a fun, crazy, special, awesometastic day.

Needless to say, I spent today sleeping, eating candy, taking naps, and eating more candy.

Happy Halloween, Readers!

You Can't Patent Genes!

a big win for doctors, patients, and researchers everywhere today - the DOJ now says that you can't patent genes that haven't been chemically altered. Why this was ever an issue in the first place boggles my mind, and there's no way of knowing if or when this issue will end, but simply isolating a gene from the rest of the body is (obviously!!) not making something new, and, therefore, cannot be patented. It is a part of nature.

You can read more of the NY Times article here (though, beware, there may be a paywall - silly NY Times!).

Goldendoodle VS Goldendoodle

Woah! Daily Puppy has devoted another day to a Goldendoodle! That's a pretty quick turnaround for a not-so-usual breed. I ask you, then, which Goldendoodle do you think is cuter? Webster or Truman?

Truman (a refresher):

Webster (the new pup on the block):

Or do you think this is a silly debate, as Tucker the Corgi is the clear winner?

It's your call! What do you think?

The Dirtiest Attack Ads Ever

While I don't really agree with the message that Reason TV's trying to get across (they make the point that negative attack ads have been in the media since before the 1800s, but they certainly didn't have a 24-hour media cycle then. Also, aren't we supposed to learn from our mistakes? Should we really be happy that our attack ads are only slightly less vicious than ones from 200 years ago?), I do think this video is hilarious.



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Harry Potter Making Of Videos!

Ok, everyone! I learned my lesson. No more embedding Making Of clips - they start automatically and that can be terrifying!

Therefore, I'll only post the links. That being said, these are really fun behind-the-scenes clips of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and you should totally watch them!

Epic Finale

The Story

Forest Run

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Animal Stare Down

I just saw this cute little OK GO Video featuring Animal! Yes, Animal the Muppet! It's super cute, and further confirms my theory that "Ok GO" might be better at making cute videos than making cute music. Not that their music isn't good, I just something think their videos are even better. Hmm... if all comedians really just want to be rock stars, maybe all rock stars also really want to be comedians!? This is getting weird. Also, apologies if everyone's already seen this and it's super old, I just watched it for the first time today and thought I'd share!

Goldendoodle on my Noodle!

This Goldendoodle looks more like a scruffy Golden Retriever than a Golden Retriever-Poodle mix, but he's still super cute! Look at those puppy paws! Thanks, as always, to The Daily Puppy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Making Of Online

Making Of brings us a behind the scenes glimpse at Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. How is this movie not out yet!? I need to see it soon or my brain will implode with anticipation.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Game of Cat and Mouse is Always One-Sided

Too true. I really love the animation style and the sound effects. It's super cute, super concise, and super funny.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Today's Words Are: Writing for Sesame Street

Here is a fun article about what it's like to write for Sesame Street, especially in light of the number of parodies they've been doing lately.

Here are a few of the songs/parodies they're talking about:

"I Love My Hair" (I really like this one!)

"Smell like a Monster"

"True Mud" (this one's a little weird!)

A Bomb Full of Kittens!

This is how every bomb suspicion or threat should end - with a box full kittens and a heart full of smiles!

So cute I almost thought it was fake, but sometimes the world is happy like that. Now somebody adopt those kitties ASAP!

Friday, October 22, 2010

On Justin Bieber

That should be the elegant title to Bieber's recent memoir, as read aloud by the graceful thespian, Gordon Pinsent. Enjoy with light applause and many grilled cheeses.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dining on a Budget

Here's a fun and informative infographic about whether dining out is more expensive than cooking at home.

Obviously, it argues that eating out is way more expensive to your wallet and your waist than cooking at home. I've been cooking at home way more (and when I say "I" I mean my boyfriend, which has been awesome!) and it's been great. He'll make a meal that will last me for lunch/dinner for the whole week. It's tasty, healthy, and affordable.

We do go out once or twice a weekend. Going out to eat is a special thing to do for us. We don't go to just any place, but rather places that are fun and serve high quality food. Otherwise, what's the point? Since I don't drink, going to a fancy dinner makes for a great date or friendship gathering, so I don't waste it on a lame restaurant.

That being said, in college I dined out or ordered in all the time. I was too busy and tired to cook. The options were usually cheap or healthy, though, since it's really tough to find cheap and healthy food out there - especially in a campus situation (even a campus in New York situation).

How about you, Readers? Do you cook more or go out more? Which do you prefer? What's your dining philosophy?

Monday, October 18, 2010

2010 Kidney Walk!

The Kidney Walk was a huge success!

I've read a lot of articles about how walks or runs for charity in general don't do as great of a job at fundraising as other forms of fundraising do. This is because a lot of resources and money get spent on getting the walk together in the first place instead of going directly towards the cause itself.

This definitely makes sense, and is a valid critique. However, having actually participated in one of these walks now, I really get why people do them. They're fun, they make you feel connected to other people who have gone through the same issues you have, and they help you bring awareness and funds to your cause. You all raised $790 for the NKF by sponsoring me. Would we have given that much without the frame of the walk? I doubt it. Plus, getting this far has certainly made me excited to raise even more money for the walk next year. The NY Kidney Walk in total raised $665,232.48. That's pretty amazing. Especially because where did that $.48 come from? Seriously, like, who just donated $.48? Weird! Anyway...

So while there are concerns about the amount of money spent on getting the walk going versus getting the charity going, I can definitely say that doing the NFK Kidney Walk was an amazing experience and I will definitely be doing it again next year.

Also, if you're interested in exactly where your money is going, here is how NKF divides their funds. Seems like a pretty fair division to me.

PS. I wish I had photos, but I forgot my camera. I'll definitely bring it next year. Also, Grizz Chapman from 30 Rock was there and I met him and shook his hand and everything! It was awesome.

New Improvements on Treating Kidney Cancer!

Fortunately, I do not have kidney cancer. But having just walked the 2010 NKF Kidney Walk, I realize that kidney cancer is a serious issue affecting thousands of people every year. Therefore, when I found out that the Mayo Clinic just came up with a new way to get rid of tumors on kidneys and livers, I was so happy! I just had to tell you guys.

The basic gist is that they're using lasers to blast off tumors with heat - awesome, right? And the great news is that they've successfully done this with five patients.

They've used this technique, laser ablasion, in brain and spine cancer patients before, but this was the first time it was adapted to liver and kidney tumors. The idea is that the more they use this procedure, the more they'll be able to adapt it to other tumors on other organs in the body.

Way to go, Mayo!

Cake is Good

Speaking of the silly things that people do... Hyperbole and a Half has a new comic all about the joys of cake and the things we do to obtain it. Well, at least the things that a four-year-old will do to get it.

Spoiler alert! It doesn't end well.

But as with things involving cake... does it ever?

Puppy Photo Shoot!

Doc the puppy is super adorable, but I really have to wonder if his owners only got him a photo shoot in order to get him on The Daily Puppy.

If so... Totally worth it! We should have done this with Sunny.

Female Character Flowchart

Speaking of women in comedy...

This has been making the blog rounds for a while now. Overthinking It made a female character flowchart and it has pretty much all your standard 1-2 dimensional characters on there, as well as how to turn your two-dimensional characters into three dimensional characters.

It's both funny and serious, so check it out. It takes a little while to go through, but it really does cover a lot of ground.

Writer on Writing: Kay Cannon

Splitsider has a great interview with 30 Rock writer/producer Kay Cannon.

I'm good at taking sitcom writing classes and doing assignments last minute!

Now if only I was friends with Tina Fey I could get a writing job, too...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kidney Walk 2010!

Hey Readers!

Tomorrow is the National Kidney Foundation's Annual Kidney Walk in NYC! My bf and a couple of friends are going to be walking. It's going to be great!

If you haven't already donated (or if you have and are just feeling extra spontaneously generous), please sponsor me!

And to those who have already donated, thank you so much! I really appreciate all the support I've received throughout my transplant process and beyond. You all rock!

A million hugs!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Flowchart of Female Characters in TV, Film, and Books

Here's a great, comprehensive flowchart of all the female archetypes, stereotypes, and crazy concoctions that exist in this wacky, media-driven world of ours.

The crew over at OverThinkingIt came up with it and it's pretty great. Read the disclaimers before you start the chart or you might get confused as to what it's all about, but I found it interesting and extremely thorough. The only thing I was a little tripped up over is that she asks if your female character has flaws, and yes brings you to a three-dimensional character, but at the bottom right corner of the chart she has a whole section of singularly-flawed female character types. While I get the nuance, it might have behooved her to consider rephrasing or delineating the difference between a flawed three-dimensional character and a flawed two-dimensional character. Otherwise, I think it's fun and insightful.

What do you guys think? Any tropes or major characters missing? Anything you disagree on or very much agree on?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What the Organic Label Means

While by no means intensive, this video provides a brief summary of what the certified "Organic" label means. So if you've ever been confused (and organic stuff can be confusing especially in regards to meat, I've found), here's what you basically are getting:

Sounds good to me. How about you?

Things That You Think - Ben Folds Plus People!

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby (yes, THAT Nick Hornby, of High Fidelity and About a Boy fame) just released a new record. And they wanted to do a fun internet video to promote it. Since Ben Folds is one of the coolest people ever, he knew the people to do it with: Pomplamoose, the duo who do "video songs," songs which basically means that they play a bunch of instruments and record themselves playing the instruments and then put it in a video. This is somehow different than a music video. Whatever type of video it is, it's great!

New Drug to Treat CKD in Women!

Good news!

Testing is underway on a new drug that could treat or at least slow kidney disease in women! Read more on it here.

The initial human trials have gone well, but I'm curious as to what determines a "less of a decline" in kidney function. Does that mean that the women who were taking the drug kept their kidney function 70% higher than those not taking the drug or 7% higher? Because, depending on the study, it could be mean either.

We'll have to wait to see what this means for the future, but for now let's just be happy about the sheer number of drugs and tests and research that is going on to cure kidney disease. We can do it, world!

Speaking of Harry Potter... New Trailer!

I forgot to post this earlier, but there's a new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

I finally have a reason to look forward to winter! Hooray!

JK Rowling's Spreadsheet for HP 5 is Classy

/Film put up this incredible image of JK Rowling's outline for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." I'm sure she had a ton more, but this is a very clever way to keep each chapter, date, and moving piece (and knowing HP, there are many moving pieces) integrated with the whole while still being clear and simple.

Maybe this is how I should be outlining my screenplays. Hmm, I don't know... then I'd run the very real risk of actually getting something done.

New Muppets Video! Starring Grover!

Grover was always my favorite Sesame Street muppet as a kid, probably because he's goofy but very, very sweet. Plus, he never got obnoxious like Elmo. Once he got tickled-me, he was never the same.

I'm not sure if I quite understand the point of this clip, but I still love it. Grover!

Cleverest Wedding Invite Ever!

This wedding invite is super cute! I'm not saying I would have gone to that wedding, but I at least would have bought them a cool under $50 present on their registry.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The World's Smallest Stop-Motion Animation!

Created, of course, by Aardman.

I think it's pretty darn neat.* How about you?

*Though the use of the dead bee totally weirded me out.

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Simon's Cat Cartoon!

This time he's chatting up a hedgehog and it's super cute! Love the hedgehog's chatty noises, but I do wish there was more clawing of things or licking of paws. You understand.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy World Habitat Day!

Today is World Habitat Day. I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity a lot when I was in high school, but found it too difficult to do the builds on Friday in New Jersey once I moved to New York. It was really a bummer, since I loved helping out Habitat for Humanity and it's such a fun, easy way to get a lot of good done.

Fortunately, over at World Habitat Day News they've got plenty of ways you can help with just the click of a mouse! Check it out. Maybe you can even find a build happening near you!

I know I'm going to send a letter to my representatives and take a picture to put on their Habitat wall tonight!

Plus, if you can't do anything today - that's ok! They've got plenty to do all week, so I'm sure if you send in your email or picture a little late, that'll be just fine.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dentists and Parties Just Don't Mix

To finish off September, I'm going to leave with a Hyperbole and a Half post about a dentist, a lot of drugs, and a birthday party.

Let me say this now - it does not end well for Allie's mom.