The internet. So full of voices, strangers, and millions of points of view. So many connections made every single day. More often than not, we tend to just exist in our own little nooks and corners of this vast virtual space. Millions out there may be saying interesting things that I'll never read. Visitors to this very blog may come and go without ever commenting or leaving a trace of their presence.

I can't go into much detail, but I logged on recently and received a very sincere and beautiful mail from someone that wowed me. It was in reference to something I had said. It was not a really remarkable comment, but definitely one said with great passion on my part. And it turns out that comment touched someone.

It caught me completely off guard and was thoroughly appreciated. So to the one who sent me the message that my words, and my passion, had a deep impact, thank you in return.

“Travels With Barack”

Found this on Metafilter today:

an article about the photojournalist, Callie Shell, linked there, but the highlight is
her series of photos of Obama (dating back from 2006) here.

I really liked some of these shots. To me, they just reinforce Obama's down to earth quality that really resonates with me.

A couple of my favorites:


Will Movies Remain “Recession Proof”?

That's the subject of this article I read today. Since movies are considered a relatively cheap form of entertainment, and big releases are always attracting audiences, they're considered to be rather "recession proof".

Tickets in Manhattan, however, are around twelve dollars now. Twelve. And matinees are either so restricted as to be inaccessible for most people, or nonexistent. when I was a teen in the 90s, I'd often go to matinees. They cost about $5, and the theaters offered them every weekday and Saturday before 6pm. That was generous, and although my weekly allowance was only $5, add in a little babysitting money and a walk to the theater instead of paying for the bus, and I was able to see perhaps two movies some months. Rentals and borrowed copies not included.

Many of the local theaters closed starting around 1994, and the multiplex that had those generous matinees? The current policy is limited to showtimes before 3PM Monday-Thursday, and first show on Friday and Saturday. Their regular prices, instead of being a couple of dollars cheaper than in Manhattan, are $11.50. Local theaters used to be a respite from the high Manhattan prices, but no longer. The ultimate result is that I don't really discriminate between theater location anymore, because it doesn't really save me money like it used to.

At twelve dollars a ticket, I'm simply much choosier about which films I see on the big screen. I tend to take a few factors into consideration.

  • Is this a simple comedy or drama that doesn't have any sort of music or effects that call for a big screen experience?
  • Is it a musical? Musicals deserve the big screen and high-tech sound system for a first viewing.
  • How long is the movie? Because if it's only 85 minutes long, I'm likelier to wait for DVD.
  • How much would I mind spoilers? Or how long have I been anticipating this film? Both affect how long I will wait.

There is a bit of a break available. Theater chains sell discounted admission coupons that you can exchange for tickets at the box office. You often have to buy them in bulk (though I have seen them a la carte much more often lately), and they come with a host of different restrictions varying by chain. A lot of these tickets tack on a fee in New York City though, so for me the discount isn't usually that much, but it is worth looking into.

All in all, we like our movies and we need our entertainment to help us get through tough times. The business itself will survive recessions, but I suspect like me, audiences are going to be more selective.


Though the technical difficulties remain, I will be relaunching this blog here instead of moving it. I thought about moving it over to WordPress or Blogspot, but I really enjoy the features and community over here, so I'm going to try and work around the access problems.

I seem to have those issues mainly in Firefox. Internet Explorer allows me to edit, but comes with its own set of issues. Until I can get myself on a better machine, I'll have to make do with the current situation.

Expect an update soon, with consistent updates to follow.

Still having trouble

Vox still isn't working properly for me, so I haven't been blogging lately. I can't edit any posts, but I've been in touch  back and forth through email with Six Apart customer service and hopefully we can figure out just what's going on.

I have things I'd like to write about that have been clogging my brain for the past couple of weeks. Such that I may write some entries anyway, with the hope that if they do need any editing later, that I might be back to using a functional system soon. I'd hate to have to shift my entire blog over somewhere else, though it may be something I'll look into if absolutely necessary.

Worthless Dating Articles, Part I

If there's one place I tend to see a lot of ridiculous advice filled with stereotypes, it's in dating advice pieces. When I go to check my email over at Hotmail, the start screen usually links to one or two. If I'm bored enough and the titles sound suitably ridiculous, I might read them just to see what kind of awful advice is given within. Today's links represent very common pearls of pseudo wisdom on offer in these types of articles.

While I admire the fact that MSN's Dating section seemingly strives to have articles addressing both the male and female side of each topic they've chosen to highlight, often these pieces simply fall back upon tired cliché. Today's advice is one piece on five places never to take a man on a date, and five places never to bring a woman.

Right away, I expected some stereotypes, but these pieces really came through on that front.

From the "Don't take a woman here!" piece:

  • Sports bars
  • Theme parks
  • Chain restaurants
  • Gross-out comedies
  • Paintball
  • Meeting your mother

Who is this woman kidding? One of the best dates I've ever had took place partly at a TGIFriday's, where my boyfriend specially requested a table from where I could see the TVs over the bar and be able to keep up now and then with my baseball team in the playoffs that night. Even though he hates baseball.

Theme parks? Says who? I know several women who'd love to go to a theme park. I've been to Disney World four times. I've been to Disneyland Paris, which is actually also a popular date destination for French youths. If my guy took me to a theme park, I'd have fun. It's certainly different and cute. It isn't patronizing like this writer makes it sound.

Paintball would be fun! Not as a first date, but if you're together for a while, it's certainly something different to get in the trenches and have a bit of friendly competition. I find that friendly competition with each other creates sexual tension, and that's often rewarded very nicely later.

Gross-out comedies? It depends on what you mean. I'm far more disturbed and grossed out by horror films. Comedies, if they're good, are fun. Maybe men and women have somewhat different general preferences, but we are still human and share a whole lot more than we differ on.

"Meeting your mother" is misleading. The writer talks about spending copious amounts of time with the man's mother. Who wants to spend copious amounts of time with your significant other (male or female)'s parents, especially on a date? This one is nonsensical.

Saying one should "never" take a woman to these places is so ridiculous. Do you know what might lead to an increased chance of dating success? Knowing your date's interests. My boyfriend knew that I loved baseball, and when he asked for that table with the view of the game, he showed me that. Someone who takes the time to get to know me would also know that I enjoy theme parks and am casual about all sorts of movies.

Overall, the writer of this piece just comes off as shallow, sexist, snobby, and extremely prissy. Maybe you might be, Nicole Kristal, but the majority of women are not.

Part II tomorrow.

The Cupcake Loophole

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been busy with a few things, but I always come back to writing.

Made these for my boyfriend's birthday last month:

Yes, they're cupcakes made to look like 1up
mushrooms from Mario games. I borrowed the idea from a shirt over at ThinkGeek. I figured 1up suited a birthday. My boyfriend told me he wanted to keep it low key, and didn't want a big cake (which I've made for him before), so I considered cupcakes a loophole. Luckily, he found the whole thing cute and liked them.

Truth is, I'd planned them a couple of weeks earlier, and I was very happy with the way they came out. I didn't do a practice run, and nor had I ever made this recipe before, but everything was amazingly good. They all disappeared in less than a day!

The recipe for these cupcakes is here. I have a standing request from my boyfriend's mother to make her some now. She asked him to ask me for them after she tried mine. It's cute. I plan to make some, probably this week, and decorate them with little yellow flowers. Something springlike awaits.

Otherwise, not much notable has happened. Been reading and writing a lot lately. Both for fun and professional reasons. Looked into the possibility of going to J-School. Trying to get more of my writing out there as well as nurse a business idea I've been hatching lately.

Crayola Doesn’t Make That One

I logged into MySpace today to find that they had begun listing AMBER Alerts on user home pages upon login. I took a look at the listing and noticed something.

Skin Color: Hispanic

We're a society that needs to categorize everything into easily digestible bits. Perhaps this is just one of our human characteristics. But the last time I checked, "Hispanic" wasn't a color. There is no listing for race under this child's description, and I suppose they would have put Hispanic under that listing had there been one. That wouldn't have been right either, as Hispanic is not a race, but an ethnic category.

Our skin colors range from the palest to the darkest. We may be of any race. This is something that I'm still amazed some people don't know. We are not all a certain stereotypical shade of brown. We are White, Black, Asian, and anything else under the sun. There is no one "Hispanic" skin color. It isn't a color to begin with. I wasn't sure if the designation there on the alert was a product of confusion or simple ignorance.

While I applaud the growing
inclusion of Latinos in the American collective awareness, there's
obviously still a great distance to go. Most people's images of us don't necessarily mesh with the reality of just how diverse a group we truly are. On television, we are either Ugly Betty or Dora the Explorer. What about someone like Edith González? Sammy Sosa? The range of Latino faces is so vast and rich.

The reason this got me to thinking was partly because it concerns a missing child. "Skin color:Hispanic" doesn't give a clue to what this child looks like. Who am I looking for? Is he light like me? Dark like Sammy Sosa? It's in the authorities' interest to get it right because it might help us find these kids with more accurate information.

The decrease in cultural ignorance would simply be a bonus.

Vox Hunt: Drink Up

Show us a beverage you absolutely can't stand the taste of.

This is the infamous Beverly aperitif marketed by Coca Cola in Italy. Apparently, this stuff is popular enough to have been around for a long time. Why, I will never know.

The first second after you take a sip is faintly chemical, but not bad. Then, it hits you. And I really mean HITS you. I don't know how they manage to hide the bitter, sour, cough-syruplike taste for that brief split second, but that fact manages to make what comes afterward even harder to swallow. Quite literally. I gagged a bit.

Americans are quite used to sweet beverages, and perhaps someone might counter my dislike of Beverly with the possibility that our sweetened tastebuds have lent me a certain bias. But this isn't just a bit sour or kind of bitter, it's extremely potent and bitter.

I took this picture at Disney World last year at the Club Cool combination Coke memorabilia store and drink shop, where you can sample some of Coke's offerings from around the world for free. Many of the ones on tap, such as that Fanta Kolita you see there on the left, were quite good. I think my favorite was Israel's Kinley Lemon. My mother, who was on the trip with me, actually thought the Beverly wasn't so bad at first. She even took a second and third sip!  I don't know what expression my face wore, but I'm sure it was one questioning her sanity.

Beverly is so infamous that it's often used as part of a prank on those new to it by those in the know. There are pictures and videos on the internet of people trying it for the first time. My aunt told my cousin that it was her favorite, and my cousin fell for it, as many others have before. Apparently two guys at Dinsye World chugged 25 cups of the stuff in honor of Epcot's 25th anniversary. And then, there is the video of some kids who bet their friend he couldn't drink 10 cups of Beverly in 7 minutes.

I also can't stand vodka, but Beverly is much more fun to write about.