No Sweet Month and the Mystery of the Missing Director...

This is not working out.

I feel terrible... and this morning I woke up with a knee the size of a grape fruit! I'm hoping whatever I'm going through right now is temporary, because I have no appetite what so ever. I'm forcing myself to eat! I don't crave anything, good or bad, and I seriously have not been eating much for the past few days. I'm pretty sure I've been pulling about 1 meal a day, with very few snacks in between. :/

However, I'm taking steps to correct this. I am going to purchase a couple books that have been recommended to me by a physical trainer and friend. I'm going to start cooking my meals, prepping them the night before if necessary. I'm going to start forcing myself to have regular meals, even if it means setting a timer to remind me to eat. I have no idea why my body has started pushing back so violently, but I'm getting to the point where it's no longer tiring, it's just annoying, and I'm going to start pushing back.

Also, as August ends and September threatens to spring out without warning, I'm forced to look back on the month and view my progress.

August was no fast food month. Did I consume no fast food whatsoever? no. BUT - I feel it was an accomplishment. I crave it less, and when I did get fast food, I tried to make it the healthy version: Grilled chicken sandwiches on a whole wheat bun, salads, panda bowls with veggies instead of rice of chow mein... stuff like that. Still, I think - in that aspect - that the month was successful. I am off the fast foods. Starting tomorrow, I stop with sweets.

I am classifying sweets as:

  • Candy
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Ice Cream
  • Extravagant drinks
  • other dessert things

No more frozen bananas covered in chocolate, or fudge pops after dinner. :/ But I did it with fast food, I can do it with sweets!

Bring it on, September! I mean... why not? September is bringing on a lot of other things... like Heroes, Halo, and Steven's birthday... why not bring on a little trial? lol.

I find it amazing that it's September already, that the year is coming to an end, and that Limitless Ramblings is rapidly approaching its one year anniversary. Things are coming around full circle, and the biggest sign has been my rediscovery of movies that I absolutely love.

I think it started with Star Trek. As the movie inched closer, I became more and more excited with it, and began to relive the love I had for it as a child. Once the movie came out, I was so impressed that I began to watch what I call "Threeare" movies: Star Trek 2-4, Star Trek 6, The Irrefutable Truth About Demons, Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, The Chronicles of Riddick, Stand By Me, etc. I hit all of them hard and fast, and remembered quickly why I called them Threeare movies - they were movies I could Rewatch, Relive, and Relove.

Then District 9 came out. I had shied away from the movie at first, but once I watched it, I once again fell headfirst into a bunch of threeare movies: The Two Towers, the Price of Milk, Alive in Joburg, Return of the King, Ghost Ship, and Thirteen Ghosts.

The last two really got my attention. I'm fairly peculiar about the directors I rave about... especially now. The movies that have come out and really blown people away seem to echo the same names when the director credit rolls, and the reason is simply this: majority of new directors just don't have it, and thus, movies now are lame. Too many newer directors rely too much on special effects to sell a movie, too many directors now a days think that a hip rock soundtrack, bright colors, good graphics, buckets of blood, and scantily clad men or women will distract people from the fact that the plot sucks, plot twists are predictable from scene one, and character development is non-existant. And so often now, I see a movie sell out simply because of the billion dollar name attached to it (Judd Apatow, Michael Bay).

Steve Beck, however, is one of those directors I will rave about. Like JJ Abrams, Sam Raimi, and Tim Burton, Steve Beck directs movies that pull you in. You may walk away wondering what you just watched, you may be unsure whether to laugh or cry or scream, you may end up doing all three at once, and you may have to watch the movie multiple times before you're fully able to process what you've seen, but you cannot deny that you were taken along for a ride after watching a flick directed by these men.

More so than that, Steve Beck had a special touch when it came to scary movies. Ghost Ship and Thirteen Ghosts are two of my favorite scary movies ever, simply because they aren't just silly scary movies, they aren't just horrifying scary movies, they aren't just puzzling scary movies, and they aren't just gory scary movies. They are all 4 in one, and it makes for quite a fun film to watch. Critics claim that neither of these two movies deliver the scares, and claim the plot is weak... but really, IMO, the scares were there and it was only the synopsis that was weak, not the plot. As I threeare'd these two, I couldn't help but smile as scenes I absolutely loved were coming up, couldn't help laughing out loud every time I screamed (even though I knew it was coming!), and couldn't help immediately wanting to watch the movie again simply because it was so good.

It got me thinking... I really want Steve Beck to make more movies. When I was a kid, scare movies consisted of Halloween, Halloween 2, Child's Play, Friday the Thirteenth, Pet Semetary, The Thing, IT, Ghost Story, The Haunting, The Exorcist, etc.

Now, scary movies consist of Saw 34, Halloween 14 (on the moon), Friday the 18th, *your monster of choice* VS. *your monster of choice*, SCREAM...still?, I still know what you did last LAST summer, and bloodfests IN 3D! Why aren't there more movies like The Strangers, Ghost Ship, Thirteen Ghosts, The Orphan, etc... When did we make the transition from having multiple scary movies, to just having a bunch of scary movie sequels?

Frustrated, I looked up Steve Beck to see if he at least had something in talks and found... nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. I can't find any information about Steve Beck anywhere. Even IMDB and Wikipedia, 2 sources that usually ooze with information - no matter how inaccurate - only list his 3 visual art director credits, and his 2 director credits. That's it. No trivia, no date of birth, no date of death, nothing. It's like this guy fell off the face of the planet in 2002.

It makes me sad, because he had a lot of talent. Thirteen Ghosts was a pretty groundbreaking film, because it was the second attempt to remake a horror movie by 60's horror director William Castle and, seeing how badly the House on Haunted Hill remake sucked, it was the first with any real promise. And then to go on and make Ghost Ship which was pretty intense (people start dying within the first 5 minutes of the movie) and in it's own right a pretty scary movie (For me, Ghost Ship was more of an everyday scary movie. In one scene, the crew is eating food that was sealed in cans, and things go wrong. Watching Karl Urban place a handful of maggoty food in his mouth turned my stomach and freaked me out, seeing as I have a deep rooted fear of the eyeless, wriggling creatures).

Not to mention, he had his hand in movies like Indiana Jones and The Hunt for Red October... and anyone that works that closely with Sean Connery is pretty BAMF. I just wish there was more out there about him, or that he'd make a new movie. If anyone knows anything about Steve Beck - if he's alive, dead, or just switched professions, it'd be greatly appreciated if you could let me know! :) Thanks!

And that's it! I'll keep you updated on the book&cook book once I get all of that together. Until then, stand tall and stand strong.

Rohirrim! TO THE KING!

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What Does Halo Have to Do With Lord of the Rings?

I did not feel amazing today. For whatever reason, my body is doing it's best to reject this second wave of eating better. The first time I tried to switch lifestyles, it was smooth sailing. I didn't hardly feel it. I was hungry a bit, but my body made the transition to eating better very easily.

But, determined to keep my head up and ignore my bodies rejection to a healthy lifestyle, I went out and did things.

I went to the mall with my mom... it was really fun, and I found some really cute stuff on clearance at Lane Bryant (Don't worry, I only walked away with two tops... I lied, the worry should still be there. I totally plan on going back), and had my chance to go down to Gamestop. The following encounter is one of the most embarrassing of my life.

The guy behind the counter was really cute. Really cute. And he had these really blue eyes. I walk in with a purpose and totally go all gaga. BUT, there's a lady in line in front of me, so I have a chance to compose myself and remember why I'm there. Think, think, think. No, I'm not after a WOW expansion pack, no I'm not after the new Final Fantasy PSP game, no I don't want a used DS. It's my turn. Crap. I try to pull off the "quick, look around and pretend you aren't in line thing" while I figure out why I'm there. I see a Halo poster on the back counter.


I walk up and ask how much it will cost to pre-order Halo 3: ODST, and can I still do it. At first, he doesn't respond, just looks at me with the "you're a girl asking for a first person shooter game" look. It's about as annoying and cliche as the "oh look, a girl in a comic book store" look. Seriously, people, it's the 21st century. Female gamers are rare, but not as rare as they were ten years ago, and yes they do exist.

But, he's cute, so I forgive him. Finally, he tells me it's only 5 dollars, and yes I can still pre-order. He then asks me, with complete professionalism, what my phone number is. My phone number. I know 4 year olds that know their phone numbers.

I, however, am dumber than a 4 year old. At that moment, immediately after having felt good about presenting myself as a female gamer (and a fairly BAMF one at that) in front of this extremely cute guy, I forgot my own phone number. And I don't even know how to play it off. Oh wow, I say. Um... 566...1...9...3...9? Without missing a beat, he looks at me, cocks and eyebrow, smiles, and says, is that it? I think so. How sure are you? Pretty sure. 100%? Not exactly. E-mail? Phew. Saved by the e-mail. Oh... I should probably tell him what said e-mail is. I spell it for him (it's complicated). As he types it in, he starts telling me why he asked for it. They send out e-mails a lot with coupons and such. Cool (I feel like an idiot for forgetting my number). Also, because you pre-ordered, you get a download code to unlock Sgt. Johnson in Firefight. Cooler. And, you get access to the Halo: Reach beta. Coolest. I smile, he smiles, hands me my receipt, and tells me to have a nice day. I respond with the customary you too (that can get you in trouble when people end up saying "have a nice flight" or "enjoy your movie") and head out on my way. I still feel like an idiot for forgetting my number.

Even now. He was sooooo cute.

Regardless, there was a part of me that was elated. I had pre-ordered Halo 3: ODST! As anyone who reads my blog can tell, I LOVE Halo... and it was even more exhilirating because I've been on a fantasy kick lately... I blame that on Lord of the Rings. I recently watched the Two Towers and re-fell in love with the franchise... especially the music. And I found out that Halo music and LOTR music sound a lot a like. I have all three halo soundtracks, and I used to own 2 of the three LOTR soundtracks.

Pausing the blog on account of I'm stupid. I just had this conversation with my friend, Jordan.

BleuReivers (12:22:04 AM): that's why I'm convinced my father is a Vulcan
Jordan (12:22:48 AM): AWESOME
Jordan (12:22:51 AM): and you must be half.
Jordan (12:22:51 AM): XD
BleuReivers (12:23:27 AM): I'm far too emotional to be half lol
BleuReivers (12:24:28 AM): ...
Jordan (12:24:28 AM): hahaha
BleuReivers (12:24:33 AM): I'm about to kick myself
Jordan (12:24:41 AM): eh?
BleuReivers (12:25:39 AM): I have been begging
BleuReivers (12:25:49 AM): LITERALLY begging people to let me borrow their lord of the rings soundtracks
BleuReivers (12:25:59 AM): because I've been in desperate need of listening to the music
BleuReivers (12:26:10 AM): and now I'm blogging about the similarities between Halo and LOTR
BleuReivers (12:26:15 AM): one of which being the music
BleuReivers (12:26:23 AM): and I typed this
BleuReivers (12:26:44 AM): "I have all three halo soundtracks, and I used to own 2 of the three LOTR soundtracks."
BleuReivers (12:27:05 AM): and then for whatever reason, something clicked hella hard in my head and I says to myself
BleuReivers (12:27:12 AM): used to? why don't I still have them?
BleuReivers (12:27:24 AM): and then I thought about where they used to be when I owned them.
BleuReivers (12:27:30 AM): the answer? with my other CDs.
BleuReivers (12:27:39 AM): which happen to be right next to my bed
BleuReivers (12:27:43 AM): and I just checked
BleuReivers (12:27:50 AM): I totally still have both soundtracks
BleuReivers (12:27:57 AM): they have been next to my bed for 3 years
BleuReivers (12:27:59 AM): 3. years.
Jordan (12:28:34 AM): lollllllllll
Jordan (12:28:36 AM): OH YOU.
BleuReivers (12:29:09 AM): ten bucks says my star wars soundtracks are in the same place
BleuReivers (12:30:17 AM): why has this been a day full of stupid for me?

Sad day... seriously. CONTINUING.

I have all three halo soundtracks, and I own 2 of the three LOTR soundtracks. The Two Towers and Return of the King. I might even have a burned copy of The Fellowship of the Ring somewhere. Anyway, the two are kind of intermingled in my mind now... I was listening to a song today called "Halo Reborn" and I thought for a second it was LOTR.

It got me wondering what it was about musical scores that I love so much... music is a large part of who I am, and I have a pretty interesting variety that I listen to. I have everything from The Beatles to Demi Lovato to Guns N' Roses in my iTunes, but I found that the largest portion of my iTunes belongs to scores. I also realized that, when I write, I listen to instrumental music. Halo and Lord of the Rings get listened to the most, but I have soundtracks to just about every movie I love, and the ones at the top of my list are all scores. I kept asking myself why that was... why do I prefer music without words to music with? And then it hit me.

Musical Scores are to books what music with lyrics is to movies.

Music, to me, tells a story. Tells THE story, better than dialogue or words or actors could ever do. I think that's because the different sounds make the mind wonder... why is this part so upbeat? Why do I want to cry when I listen to this arrangement? Those sustained notes sound menacing, I wonder why... scores have no verse/bridge/pre chorus/chorus to tell the story for them. Scores need to rely on tempo, key change, trills, and different sounds provided by different instruments to tell the story. Scores need to create a sound that makes your mind fill in the blanks. For instance, when you listen to "The Riders of Rohan", it's easy to picture Edoras, the Rohirrim's banishment, Eowyn's loneliness, and Eomer's triumphant return. While listening to "Unforgotten", you're immediately reminded of Master Chief having to leave Cortana behind, and you're reminded of his promise to return for her. And all of these instances feel real, because the sounds elicit emotion. A soft piano melody makes you feel like you're remembering something, a violin chord when drug out gives the emotion of sadness, and when placed together, they create a feeling of loss.

Scores - like books - rely on imagery and emotion to tell the story.

Movies are great, but there isn't a lot left to the imagination. You don't have to imagine what the epic cities look like, don't have to picture the characters in your head, don't have to try to understand how grand the fight scenes are. It's all right in front of you. Music with lyrics is the same way. You don't really have to wonder what's going on in the song, the words pretty much tell you. There are exceptions, but for the most part, you can tell from the words what the song is trying to say. You don't have to paint any pretty pictures for yourself.

Scores, in my mind, are like books. And I LOVE books... it's only natural that I'd LOVE musical scores. And I'm kind of glad that I had my stomach ache today, it's a rare day when I get to figure things out about myself. :)


(I will be ending all my blog posts this way from now on)

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Of Calories and Aliens...

Look! ANOTHER FUNNY VIDEO TO DISTRACT YOU FROM THE FACT THAT I'M not going to the gym again tonight... meep.

But I've been eating fairly well... I haven't tracked my calories today, because... because... well...

choose the best excuse you can think of...

My excuse is better than what you just chose... I'm not voicing it because I don't want you and your lame excuse to feel inferior. I'm a nice chap like that.

I walked today... so that's good. I also bought a bunch of healthy stuff and blah blah blah.

I really don't feel like blogging today... mostly because I am ASHAMED of the review I gave you all of District 9... it was horrible. After the reviews I've written for Left4Dead 1&2, Harper's Island, See this Movie, Star Trek, Bottleshock, Watchmen, and countless others, my District 9 review was absolute garbage. GARBAGE.

And I blame that on the fact that I still know nothing about this movie. Seriously. I went and saw it knowing nothing, because people were like IT'S AMAZING. And I agree. It was beautiful. It ripped tears out of my soul. I felt for the characters, I was involved with the movie. I loved it.

But I know nothing about it... until about half an hour ago, when I realized it was based on a short film by Neill Blomkamp called Alive in Joburg. I loved that movie... and now I know a bit more about District 9... but because it was Chris and Matt that informed me about the connection, I will give THEIR review a shout out. Honestly, I feel about the same as the one that saw the movie, Matt. He was able to peg my feelings about the movie better than I can... haha... I was a little more emotionally effected, but he points out a few interesting historical connections as well. Watch the language... sorry. XD So, here's the shoutout to the boys over at!

I'm also saddened that my two small teeny tiny paragraphs just now were better than that garbage I posted a few days ago.

Alright, off to log calories! WEEEEEEE!

(Is resisting the urge to end another blog with ROHIRRIM! TO THE KING!... careful, I may have a new mantra)

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Stephanie sent me this link... I've gotten a lot of links from a lot of people, but I tried this one out today and you have no idea how much it boosted my confidence!!

By the end of the day, I ended up consuming only half the calories I was supposed to for the day... as well as half the protein and half the sugar. The only thing I did consume enough of was fat, but I'm sure that once I get some better meals and recipes under my belt, I'll be much better on all of those. I'll actually find out how to consume as many calories as I'm supposed to. :D

No gym today, because I spent the day up in Fresno, but I did actually write something, I'll probably post it tomorrow when I'm not as tired. :)

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That is just a funny little video I am using to distract all of you from the fact that I have not been blogging. XD I am really really sorry, but the truth is, I have NOT been doing well. I had a bad week... went camping, consumed cookies and other things detrimental to my progress, got home, was tired and lazy and too busy and other lame excuses, didn't eat right, consumed FAR too many calories and sweet things, slacked off about going to the gym, and weighed in having only lost ONE AND A HALF STUPID POUNDS... which don't even count because the body fluctuates 2 lbs every day. LAME.

I wanted to cry... and honestly, I knew what I was doing. I knew how I was eating, not going to the gym, all of that was working against me rather than for me. I tried counting calories, and that all went out the door by lunch when I realized a ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread was worth 500!!! (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?)

Beyond that, the more I realized I was falling off the wagon, the more angry and defiant I got.

I was hungry, I was tired, and I was discouraged.

And I SHOULD have blogged. I get so much encouragement when I blog, I should have done it but I was ashamed and embarrassed and angry that I wasn't doing well, so I didn't. I didn't want to have bad blogs after 2 weeks of good ones. And the sad thing is, there probably would have been like, 1 bad blog had I actually tried to write them.

I tried to distract myself, laugh that I wasn't following my own diet regiment, laugh that I hadn't been to the gym in almost a week and a half, but honestly, I was just angry with myself.

And I'm STILL angry with myself. BUT, I'm trying to use that anger and be productive.

I'm forcing myself - actively forcing myself - to eat better and earlier and all that jazz. Since Saturday, I've been consuming only 3 meals a day, and they were moderately good meals. I stumbled a bit, going to get frozen yogurt with Aly, but it's frozen yogurt and at least it wasn't ice cream. (Ack, I'm making excuses!)

Since Saturday I have only eaten a maximum of 3 meals a day, yesterday triumphing and successfully consuming a meal replacement bar - and only a meal replacement bar - for lunch.

I'm not technically eating breakfast yet. By "technically" I mean my breakfasts in the past week and a half have been either a banana and a fiber bar, a fruit cup and a whole wheat bagel, Multi Grain Cheerios, or a Special K bar and a 100 calorie chocolate milk. I'm not used to eating breakfast, and consuming too much too early at this point gives me a stomach ache. But, I am improving there.

Lunch in the past week and a half was a rollercoaster from horrible to moderate to getting much better. Since Saturday, my lunch has been something simple: A sandwich with a fruit cup and carrots, a hot dog w/ bun, meal replacement bar, and a sandwich from Togo's (I have decided that sandwich shops do not count as fast food, but I have also made a conscious decision to stop eating chips. I have not had chips for a month).

Dinner ranges from a number of things, but I've kept myself from over-indulging. I've also cut out white bread nearly completely. (I say nearly, because I stumbled when we went to String's and had garlic bread, and the bun on my hotdog was white bread. Other than that, I have neither craved it, or consumed it). I've had fast food once since Saturday, and that was In-N-Out Burger. Not the best choice, but I had a protein burger with no spread, no ketchup, no mustard. It was just the patty, cheese, onions, and lettuce.

Snacks are getting better as well. A handful of cheerios, a small bag of carrots, a baby wheat bagel, fruit... add to that the fact that the need for snacking is minimizing despite my epic amount of failure, and I think it's safe to say I've got snacking under control.

And, today, I got back in the gym.

The experience was upsetting to say the least. I won't lie, I am thrilled about my crunch progress. I can now do 36 crunches, FULLY, with an 8 lb exercise ball. I can also do the twisty thing twice as long. I'm glad my abs have not greatly suffered during my break. Likewise, my weight training has improved. I was able to blow through it with little to know resistance, completing all exercises.

What upset me the most, however, was the Elliptical. I had been working so hard to defeat it, and today it defeated me. My week long absence destroyed the progress I had made... what was once 15 minutes is now 6.5. :/ I finished my work out on a quickstart treadmill hill program, jogging for a portion of the time and keeping my speed no lower than 3.0. (The highest was 4.5... my music was KICKIN!) I had also failed to eat lunch, and was close to the point of vomiting near the end (I'm sorry if that's TMI for some of you!)

I ended my workout with 10 minutes in the Sauna to loosin' up my muscles, and now I'm at home, sitting in a chair by a window that faces my backyard and listening to old Judson Band concert music whilst telling you all about the whole ordeal, and hoping you'll be distracted by the hilarious cartoon posted above.

My blogging should pick up regularly from this point forward, and here's hoping that I blog NO MATTER WHAT... even if I fall off the wagon and get severely bloodied and am completely unrecognizable!! While I am a bit bruised - mostly in my pride - I still think I can do this... so, here's to losing more than 1.5!!!

And here's to everyone taking the journey with me, that have offered encouragement, given helpful tips, and helped me to try new things in order to help me on my journey. Like King Theoden, I have realized I do not stand alone and like a fleet of banished warriors loyal to Rohan, you have all come to my aid when I needed it most. :)

ROHIRRIM! To the King!

Always, and fervently, a nerd -


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In Search of Aliens

I did some research, found a Time Magazine cover with the headline "ALIENS HAVE LANDED!" and the subtitle "Sci-Fi makes a comback." Tonight, I saw a magazine cover that also talked about aliens. Something about "Nasa is trying to make contact."

Someone should tell them aliens are already here, that they've been here for 20 years, and that they desperately want to go home.

I, of course, am talking about Peter Jackson's new movie, District 9.

A lot of people have been saying D-9 was not all it's cracked up to be, but a friend of mine marked it as one of the top 15 movies he thought would stay with him, and I agree. I thought it was beautiful.

Basically, the movie is what I stated before. Aliens have come to earth and we won't let them go home. By itself, on the surface, it's kind of a lame idea. Yes, it's somewhat groundbreaking in that it's a role reversal, but other than that, the idea is kind of... boring. And, I'll be the first to admit that it's slow... and out of the 5 people I've seen the movie with, only 1 of them loved it as much as I did. Everyone else complained it was too slow... and if the movie had been done by Michael Bay, I'm sure it would have moved along much faster and been much more "exciting."

Then again, you would not have been able to tell what was going on, and the inevitable sequel would suck.

And, for the type of movie it was, the slow pace added something to it.


So... going in, I wasn't really into this movie. Peter Jackson and I had had a mild falling out and, since he will be directing The Lovely Bones (due out later this year), I didn't want to risk another disappointment. Not to mention, I knew nothing about it. This was my impression of the trailer:




That was it. Apparently there was another trailer that said more... but no. I didn't get anything more out of it... and the other major robot movie of the summer was basically fail. *coughmichaelbaycough*

But, I waited till other people saw it, and 2 of my friends - who's opinions of movies I greatly respect - said it was good, so I went to see it. And I'm glad I did.

District 9 is shot in a sort of documentary, hand held camera sort of way, so immediately I was into it. The cast was made up largely of unknown actors, so that was another plus.

It opens with a few commentators, talking about when the aliens arrived and what first contact was like. (SPOILER - It was nothing glamorous.) It then introduces you to what District 9 is and soon you're introduced to MNU and Wikus Van De Merwe. Wikus is leading a special group of MNU agents as they serve the aliens in District 9 with eviction notices. The people of Johanassburg no longer want the aliens near them, so they are being relocated to another "better" facility.

This is where the real point of the movie is revealed: The aliens are stuck on our planet, and are victims of HUGE world wide racism. They are stuck in District 9, which has basically been turned into a slum, and are forced to leave simply because majority of the humans don't want to be around them. They've even acquired their own derogatory term: "prawns."

We follow Wikus and MNU throughout District 9 as they force the aliens to sign eviction notices at gun point. At one point, they shoot a number of the aliens simply for grouping outside, and at another, they find a shack full of alien eggs, and they set the thing on fire. "Do you hear that popping sound? It's like... like popcorn." (I was really glad I didn't eat popcorn during the film).

After the first 30 minutes, it's clear that the aliens are not valued at ALL... they're treated a lot like the Jews were during WW2.

During his searching of one of the shacks, Wikus finds something that basically ruins his day, and sets the movie rolling. As time goes on, we see Wikus as he embarks on a rollercoaster of emotions, as his character is shaped and formed through out the movie.

On a side note, the character development with Wikus was AMAZING. There were areas where he began to feel for the aliens, where his character became less racist. But, it showed in other instances that it was hard for him to let go of his racist nature. Through out the movie, you loved him AND hated him.

As Wikus embarks on his rollercoaster, we are also introduced to one of the aliens, Christopher Johnson, and his son. (This is where I point out the irony of the human's name vs. the alien's name)

This movie does everything it can to hit you in the emotion spot. They show you how the aliens are, how they don't deserve the racism against them. You see how they have relationships - friendships, family - and you hurt for them when they're murdered.

More than anything, there are HUGE similarities between Wikus and Christopher. Both have their reasons to be frightened of MNU, both are struggling to keep their families together, both are embarking on their journey for someone they love. It further supports how unfounded the racism against the aliens are.

As the movie progresses, Wikus and Christopher team up to retrieve an object that will make it possible to send Christopher home, and fix Wikus' bad day.

I'll stop the story break down there, so as not to give out too much of the movie... so I'll wrap up the review with this:

In my opinion, don't go to the movie for the action. There is a fair amount, but the movie is basically about racism. It's the emotions that make the movie, not the action.

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Stay Healthy, San Diego...

Instead of stay classy? Ha. I crack myself up!

But, in all seriousness, I bring you yet another reason one should try to stay healthy!

The recent revamp of Swine Flu freak outs have got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, it's more than just swine flu. For instance, read this statement of what doctors are doing to prepare for the school year (lots of little kids in close proximity to one another means lots of germ sharing.... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew):

Hoping to finish emergency plans for H1N1 this week before students return to school and begin the next stage of the pandemic. Incubation is 1-10 days after exposure. Individuals shed H1N1 virus the day BEFORE symptoms until after the 7th day after symptoms begin. EVERYONE needs to wear a mask if you are coughing and wash hands and/or use hand sanitizers very frequently. Up to 70% will become infected.

Does that sound like zombie virus awareness to you? Cuz it sounds like zombie virus awareness to me! So, get yourselves healthy, people! You don't want to catch the H1Z1 virus!

BUT, that is not the only reason you want to get healthy.

A recent mathematical study shows that the only way to survive the zombiepocalypse is to "hit hard and hit often." Something that can't be done if you're too lazy to get off your couch!

“An outbreak of zombies is likely to be disastrous, unless extremely aggressive tactics are employed against the undead. It is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.”

(To read more about this mathematical study, go HERE)

So you see, living a healthy lifestyle won't only help to prevent heart attacks, but it'll also help to prevent the spread of zombie flu and the extinction of man kind!

So stay healthy, San Diego (and everywhere else)! Because becoming a zombie? SO not classy.

(still camping)

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Life is Wonderful...

One of the aspects of a healthy lifestyle is how you view your life. It doesn't matter how healthy you are, you still aren't going to be happy if you're constantly being negative... So, keep a bright outlook on life, because Life IS Wonderful!

((I'm posting this because I am currently camping with Heather and her family. WOOOO!))

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My brother offered me some Powerade after our workout tonight. Like I do with everything else I think might be unhealthy, I checked the calories. What I found was something like this:

Now, that's a Gatorade label, but it had the same type deal*. What got me was the word (Energy). The way I said it reminded me of this:

That video makes me smile every time I see it. So ridiculous. BUT - my point is:

ENERGY DRINKS ARE BAD FOR YOU. You should never use an energy drink for energy. It's basically pure sugar, which isn't good for you to begin with, but beyond that, it has negative effects on your body if you use it in place of sleep and/or other ways to get natural energy.


I had a great work out tonight, full of improvements that I'm excited to see!

Like normal, I started my workout with a foam roll and ab workout. Since I haven't really described my ab workout, I figure I'll do that now.

I start with crunches with a weighted exercise ball. They're normal crunches, but you raise the exercise ball up at different heights as you sit up (3 heights = 1 rep). I do 12 reps of those, and I was really excited today because I was actually able to sit all the way up for most of the crunches, and I moved up to the 6lb ball. HA!

My other ab workout also involves the weighted exercise ball, but I can only use the 4 lb ball with this one so far.

I call it, the "twisting soul eater", because well... you have to sit up, cross your legs at the ankle, lift them off the ground so you're balancing on your butt, grab the exercise ball, and start twisting. You continue to twist and twist and twist until you die, and the devil eats your soul.

As you can tell, I am NOT fond of this workout. BUT, I guess it's kind of maybe affective, so... eh. I'll keep at it.

There's one more that I do with the big exercise ball, but it's hard to explain.

My strength training went well... I improved on most everything. The hamstring one felt the worst, but I made it through all of it.

AND - I made it 15 minutes on the elliptical today! I was so excited that I was able to increase my time by 5 whole minutes! WOOOO!

I ended my workout in the Sauna... it's so hot in there but it feels awesome when it's done!

NOW... moving onto the ugly...

Yesterday was a pretty bad day. I thought I was doing well around lunch time, and I didn't eat any snacks, but I ended up eating dinner late... and it was pizza... and bread... :/ AND I didn't go to the gym. It was pretty much... failure.

But I'm hoping to be able to make up for it in the coming days!

Tomorrow I don't know if I'll be able to hit the gym, and unless I go early on Saturday and late on Sunday, I won't be able to go then, either... but I'm going camping with a friend that weekend, so we should be able to get in a hike or so. I also know for a fact I can't go on Monday - but that's alright. I'll be working with children all day on Monday, and should be getting enough of a workout... haha.

So, I'm hoping to repair the damage I did in the next few days... here's hoping!

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Live like you know what you're leaving...

On the topic of health, I think it's safe to say that nothing is set in stone.

It's recently been brought to my attention that no matter how healthy you are, things can still go wrong.

So - grab those you care about, and tell them that you love them. Make every moment count, and don't waste any time with excuses and missed opportunities.

Wake up kicking and screaming, live like you know what you're leaving. ~Switchfoot

I'm going to the gym later, I'll keep you updated tomorrow.

P.S. I ended up not going yesterday... but it was kind of good food wise.

Okay, I lied, it was FAIL. Details later.

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I'm ugly, and people only like me for my money.

Facebook told me today that I'm ugly and people only like me for my money.

Well, JOKE'S ON YOU, FACEBOOK! I don't have any money!

But seriously...

I woke up in a frenzy this morning, thinking I had slept through my alarm... then I realized I just forgot to set it, let myself calm down, and realized:

I'm in a crap load of pain.

I'm not sure what it was. My first day of working out upper body was painful, but my second day was fine. I didn't have any pain at all... maybe it's because I blew through everything yesterday? I don't know... not sure why that would make me hurt more (or a all) today... but, perhaps it makes a difference. Who knows.

It might have something to do with the sauna, too... perhaps the heat freaked my muscles out and they decided to rebel today.

Either way, I don't care. I still had a great workout last night, including my first 10 consecutive minutes on the elliptical with NO STOPS! :D Which is partly why I went to go cry in the sauna... lol. still, I'm super excited and totally looking forward to my next workout... I wanna try and do 15 minutes next.

Food wise, I kind of stumbled. I had a good lunch, another wheat quesadilla and salad... but I ended up eating dinner REALLY late... and it was taco bell. My meal, according to Cassidy, equaled 16 points with weight watchers... :/ But, at least it was after I worked out, so I had 8 hours of metabolic increase... yeah?

Blah... oh well. Everyone stumbles.

Lunch today was a cheeseburger (no ketchup or mustard or mayo) and some cut up cucumber and tomato sauteed in italian dressing... it was delicious! :D

I haven't been eating breakfast... I know, I know... but honestly, it's because I don't want to eat anything unhealthy :/

When I get paid, I'm going to start having breakfast, I promise.

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Gym stats and other news...

Lost my battle with naps today.

I know, I know... FAIL. But I tried, I really did. In fact, I'm fairly certain the Sandman hired ninjas to sneak in and strike me down when I wasn't paying attention... because that's exactly what happened. One second I was yawning, the next, I blink and half an hour had passed... that leaves 2 options. Either that was the world's longest yawn, or I took a nap.

Anyway, enough about naps... GYM STATS! *drumroll*


Chest Press
weight: 105 lbs (improvement!)
reps: 9

Arm Curl
weight: 30 lbs
reps: 12 (improvement!)

Arm Extension
weight: 50 lbs (improvement!)
reps: 8

Shoulder Press
weight: 40 lbs
reps: 9

Lateral Raise
weight: 50 lbs (improvement!)
reps: 12 (improvement!)

Seated Row
weight: 60 lbs (improvement!)
reps: 12 reps (improvement!)

Lat Pulldown
weight: 75 lbs (improvement!)
reps: 13 (improvement!)

2:30 min/level 5 hill
0:30 min pause for water
2:30 min/level 5 hill
1:00 min pause for water
3:00 min/level 5 hill
2:00 min/cooldown
TOTAL: 10 minutes


Leg Press
weight: 135 lbs/155 lbs/215 lbs
reps: 12/12/12

Calf Raise
weight: 60 lbs
reps: 12

Seated Hamstring
weight: 90 lbs
reps: 12

Hip Abductor
weight: 100 lbs
reps: 12

Hip Adductor
weight: 100 lbs
reps: 12

6:00 min/level 5 hill
(Gym closed)

I marked where the upper body improvements were; Lower body was all improvements. :) The most exciting thing is my endurance on the Elliptical... I feel like I'm actually conquering it. Seriously, this thing is like a torture device. If the exercise bike is Satan's tool, than the Elliptical is Satan himself. The man who created the thing must have been a sadist that liked playing God and enjoyed watching lesser people suffer... it's not a pleasant experience at all... however, I'm determined to defeat it because, as painful as it is, it gets the blood flowing and it's a good workout.

Both workouts were started with a foam roll and ab workout... which reminds me.


I also hate exercise balls, and lunge walking. BUT... it must be done.

Why does exercise require one to inflict pain on themselves?? Furthermore, why does being a bridesmaid require one to stand in front of people, thus created a need for one to inflict pain on themselves?

I have found, however, that I greatly enjoy Yoga, and I would like to take this time to thank my band directors for all of the balance exercises we did way back when... according to the Wii fit (and based on the fact that I don't fall over as often as I think I should) I have excellent balance!

I'll have a chance to weigh in on the 23rd... I'm using the Wii fit to weigh in because it's brutally honest.

No, scratch that. It's down right RUDE. BUT, I've found that the more rude it is, the more driven I am to lose weight, and make that stupid little board eat its words! I'll keep you posted, as soon as I know.

ALSO - quick question for people who use the elliptical:

When you start, it asks you to put in your weight... why is that? Does the elliptical choose an intensity of workout based on how heavy you are?

Leave your answers in the comment box to the right! >>>^^^

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I envy my dog...

I have a dog that weighs 110 lbs. He lies around the house all day, except for when he has to go to the bathroom, and he weighs less than me. What is that all about?

I think it actually has something to do with the fact that he prefers water over food. I wish I was like that. I wish I could choose water over food... it would really help me. Whenever I'm hungry between meals, I'll just drink water.

Sadly, I am not there yet. I did, however, have a good day food wise, consuming only half of a cheese quesadilla (made on a wheat tortilla, and utilizing very little butter) and a salad with italian dressing (it's my belief that, the clearer the dressing, the more healthy it is) for lunch, and a ton of ceasar salad, some carrots, and two pieces of pizza for dinner, as well as a TON of water, and a 100 calorie fudge pop. I may have had a few chips, too... and by a few, I literally mean a few.

The quesadilla was surprisingly delicious and, coupled with the salad, very filling. And I'm not kidding, I used very little butter. I'm glad the wheat tortillas are so flavorful, because I was worried the negating of the butter would mean I was negating the flavor. Not so... it was VERY delicious.

The pizza I had was tasty, as well. One slice hawaiian (because it's my weakness pizza wise) and one slice veggie.

So - did I fail epically today? I don't think so... in fact, I think my food intake was quite understandable, and I ate dinner around 6-ish. Sure, I skipped breakfast, but that was because I slept in until 11:11 today... and believe me, I needed it. I'm trying to do away with naps... a battle that I'm pretty sure I'll lose.

Exercise today has yet to take off. I'm heading to the gym in a few, to do a lower body workout and some cardio... but I walked to work, so that got me up and moving.

I love my job... that's actually partly why I want to get healthy. I work with children, so getting sick would take me out of work. Can't work around kiddos when you're germy. And I miss the kids enough already on weekends, I don't want to be out too much from work.

By the way, I figure since I'm putting all of this out there, I might as well post my starting weight and what not. It will be on the right side of my blog >>> in the comment box... (feel free to leave your own comments there, as well).

Tomorrow I will update on my strength training, including both lower body and upper body improvements in one post.

One day down, 425 to go. Or 424... dang. I really don't know how to count...

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"I could write a blog... I have thoughts."

Just got back from seeing "Julie & Julia," and wowee bozowee! That was SUCH a good movie! And I mean, seriously good! I recommend it to everyone, especially bloggers.

I say this because I feel like I was pulled more into the movie because I have a blog. Furthermore, I have a blog that nobody reads.

Well, okay... I wouldn't say nobody, but very few people do read my blog. And that's not a problem... but at the same time, I do feel very much like Julie Powell... like I'm writing up my thoughts and then ejecting them into a vast nothingness.

More importantly, I feel like I'm spending time typing up all these thoughts for no reason what so ever... I mean, the last time I got a comment on this thing was... forever ago... (though, that's not entirely fair, because I do get comments every once and a while on facebook) and I feel like putting your thoughts out there is supposed to do something amazing. Change someone's life, change the world, make a difference... blah blah blah. If not, they're just the ramblings of someone who is totally self absorbed and loves to hear the sound of her own type (*rimshot*).

I'd like to think I'm not self absorbed... yet, I still continue this blog. And to be honest, I thought about abandoning it. Just... stopping. However, I feel now that I should continue. I am 100% inspired by Julie's story, how she set a goal for herself and stuck to it, swearing to blog about it no matter what. The good, the bad, the ugly... all of it. And now she will forever have this journal, this first hand, day by day account of one of the most amazing experiences of her life. That is sooooo awesome!

I've had this blog for almost a year, and it hasn't gone anywhere... so I'm going to try and make it go somewhere.

Julie's challenge was to cook her way through Julia Child's cook book. 365 days, 524 recipes. As I was watching the movie, I kept thinking, "I need to do that. I need to have a deadline, I need to have a deranged assignment, I need to have some sort of underlying point that I can talk about with ease." As the movie continued, I realized,

I already have one.

I've been shaping my blog and getting ready for it for about two weeks, without realizing it. Julie Powell simply made me see what my blog should be about. So - in honor of Mrs. Powell, I am officially embarking on my own assignment, with my own deadline.

The Challenge: Get myself into shape in time for my brother's wedding. 426 days, 100lbs.

I am to blog as much as possible... and I am to blog everything. The good. The bad. The ugly.

And, when it's all said and done, I will at the very least have myself an almost day by day account of what I'm hoping will be a big thing in my life.

Deep breath. Here we go.

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Donum quod Vomica

I've been stricken with the Vomica 11:11.

It happened a while ago... spread to me from a friend who is also stricken. I won't go into too much detail about it, so as not to spread it further, but simply put: I'm drawn to clocks at 11:11 (AM or PM).

I've been able to live with it for a while, but lately it's gotten worse... much worse. So far, in the past week, the only time I've looked at a clock is at 11:11... even when I don't mean to look at the clock. Sometimes I'll inquire as to what time it is, but other times, I'll be talking to friends and my eyes will merely wander to the clock, and it is always 11:11.

I'm beginning to wonder if I can live like this.

HOWEVER... I'm also beginning to wonder if this "curse" is instead some kind of whisper of things to come.

The person that left me stricken also believes that, because he is stricken, he will gain super powers on November 11, 2011 at 11:11 am... if that's true, that would make 11/11/11 our very own Dies Eclipse... it leads me to wonder if all those stricken will gain powers as well.

This set me to thinking, what would my power be? What would suit me? Sure, there are a lot of powers I would LIKE to have, but which one is actually meant to manifest? It's actually quite an interesting question to ask oneself... if I had super powers, what would I have?

Interesting enough, the moment I gave up trying to figure out what would manifest, I figured it out.

Last night, I had a dream.

My friends Heather and Kevin came to Merced, after not coming back all summer. I was shocked, because I didn't think they would... Heather had said she wanted to return, but Kevin had expressed no interest in coming home, so I was fairly surprised to see him.

Heather, Kevin, and I start hanging out, doing what we used to do before Azusa stole them, when we bump into Kyle... which is weird, because Kyle is supposed to be in Washington. He starts talking to us in latin, and I apparently understood him.

Then he looks at us with a pained expression and says, "EGO sum dico vos is quoniam odio nostrum varietas EGO meditatus vos amicitia." Before I can ask him what he means by "varietas", he is gone. It bothers me that Kyle is not only speaking latin, but that he's just disappeared into thin air, so I suggest we go home.

BUT, as we turn around, we realize it's too late.

It was like a scene straight out of a movie... only it was extremely high quality. Merced - which had been perfectly fine 3 seconds ago - had become a ghost town. Every shop was in tatters, every street light out of order, and every one of Merced's inhabitants (save for a handful) had joined the legions of the undead, serving under Kyle, their zombie king.

And then I woke up.

First thing I did was write down the only latin sentence I remember Kyle saying, so I wrote it down and looked it up online... apparently, he said something to the effect of "I'm telling you this because we're friends." (I was unable to find an exact translation)

Given the circumstances, I began to wonder if maybe this wasn't just a dream, if it was another whisper of things to come... if maybe I was destined for Donum Oraculum.

There's really no way to know... guess I'll just have to see...

***This post was merely a joke... my boredom and imagination working together. I do not in any way speak latin... but the latin spoken in my dream inspired me to continue with the latin theme... interestingly enough, "Donum quod Vomica" roughly translated is "The Gift and the Curse", which is the title of a new story I'm fixing to write.

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Read Me, Release Me!

I stumbled upon the most AMAZING thing the other day!!

It's called a "traveling book," and basically what it is is a book that basically gets passed around... everywhere, really.

The idea behind it is, what do you do with your books? Sure, some of them you read through more than once, but what about the ones that you don't read again? The traveling book project gives you a use for them!

All you do is get an old book that you know you won't read again, and register it at the website ( and then leave the book on a table at a coffee shop or internet cafe or any place really that's public and has a lot of people traffic. You leave instructions with it, telling what it is and what the person is supposed to do with that book, and that's it!!!!! Let it go into the world!! See how many people read your book!!!

I think it's a fantastic idea, because it's a great way to spread literature!!! :D So, I'm reading my current book, The Unlikely Spy, and hope to start a book of my own on an adventure! :D WEEEEE!

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First Sign of Danger

I updated 2 chapters of my story... but, it's not for everyone so only a select few get to read it. Sorry.

Just letting you know I did in fact blog today. :)

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Pull the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing BUT the tooth...

So, I have this cyst in my mouth. I found it last Friday, and it kind of freaked me out, because it was above my upper back right molar, and my wisdom teeth haven't been extracted yet. I was worried it was my wisdom tooth trying to break free, so I made a dentist appointment as quickly as I could.

8 am Wednesday morning. UGH... sooo... early...

Anyway, I rolled myself out of bed Wednesday morning, got ready, and headed to the dentist's office. I got in pretty quickly, too. I was asked what was wrong, I told them about my cyst, and what my fear was.

"I just want to be sure it's not my wisdom tooth," I said. I'd head that cysts show up in the mouth all the time, and if that was the case, then I'd be fine.

"We're just gonna take a few x-rays," the lady told me, and I was fine with that... even though the first one made me gag. After the full mouth x-ray, I went back and waited for Dr. Goodin.

"If I hadn't taken an X-ray," he said as he walked in, "I'd say you had perfect teeth."

At first, this topic elated me. All of my time spent brushing my teeth, buying new and better toothbrushes, finding whitening toothpaste... all my efforts in dental hygiene were not for nothing, and had actually paid off. PERFECT TEETH! The CDO part of my did the devee dance of joy.

Then, I heard the first part. "If I hadn't taken an X-ray." What does that mean? My brain equated it to starting a story with "so... funny story. You're gonna laugh." Such phrases never actually make you laugh, and are instead full of bad news.

Great, I thought. It IS my wisdom tooth growing through the side of my mouth. But then, I remembered the X-ray. There was no way that my wisdom tooth was coming out the side of my mouth, just no way... I had seen the X-ray, and it was where it was supposed to be. So what the heck.

I listened as Dr. Goodin explained that the dark halo around my molar meant that the root of my tooth had in fact died, and become infected. The cyst in my mouth was actually a result of the infected dead root. AWESOME! Give me a minute to dance with joy.

Dr. Goodin then gave me two options:

  1. Get a root canal.
  2. Pull the tooth.

This is where I pressed on the breaks. I'm sorry, this may make me a biyatch... but seriously? What kind of person rewards a dead tooth by allowing it to stay in their mouth? Heck no... that ain't happening. It's a back molar, I don't need it... so I'm getting it pulled.

Basically, what that means, is when I go and get my wisdom teeth pulled, I'm going to have them pull an extra tooth. It also means that it has to happen NOW, before the infection gets worse... :/

Too bad I'm not made of money. Blah.

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Update #3 - Hitting the Gym...

I did my first upper body workout at the gym today and - unlike my lower body workout - I actually wrote everything down. Here's the breakdown:

Chest Press
Weight: 90 lbs
Reps: 12

Arm Curl
Weight: 30 lbs
Reps: 9

Shoulder Press
Weight: 40 lbs
Reps: 9

Pectoral Press
Weight: 60 lbs
Reps: 9

Arm Extension
Weight: 40
Reps: 12

Lateral Raise
Weight: 40 lbs
Reps: 12

Seated Row
Weight: 40 lbs
Reps: 12

Lat Pulldown
Weight: 60 lbs
Reps: 13

So, as we can see... when my upper body muscles all work together, they're fairly capable... but when they work individually, they're fairly lame. HOWEVER - that's what I'm there to work on, yeah?

Aly came to work out with me, and she showed me a few abs workouts that I could actually DO... so I can actually work on my abs as well!! That was fairly exciting, not gonna lie. I did one exercise with an exercise ball, and another with a weighted ball.

After that, as was planned, we got in some cardio. I tried out the elliptical and... well, I was only able to survive collectively about 10 minutes on it. There was a lot of starting and stopping, but I did a collective 10 minutes on a level 10 hill program, followed by 11 minutes on the treadmill at level 2.5 speed, and another 12 after raising it to 3.0 (I had only intended to do the treadmill for 15 minutes, but got lost in my book).

All in all, it was a pretty satisfying work out! :)

The eating right has been going really really well. Snacking has been pushed to a minimum... not because I want to starve myself, but because it's becoming unnecessary. I'm finding myself satisfied with smaller meals, which is really nice. :)

Last time I weighed, I was 291 lbs. Hopefully, next time I way, that will change... and by change, I mean be lower... I have no desire to gain weight. haha.

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If any of you happens to find it, could you maybe let me take a peek? Thanks!!!

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Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)

Cobra Starship.

Why do I like them...? I'm so freaking in love with them, though... especially this song.

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Kidnap The Sandy Claws

Oh, childhood memories.

Since I've mentioned zombies twice in a row, I figured I'd venture down a similar path... the theme for August is TOMORROW (Yes, that means I plan on tackling yet another NaBloPoMo). TOMORROW gives the feeling of the future, that thing none of us can escape no matter how hard we try... and whilst watching a movie today, I realized... we wouldn't have tomorrow without today, or yesterday, for that matter.

The movie of which I am speaking is Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. I got the DVD at a rummage sale for a dollar, and decided to watch it, because the Oogie Boogie song came on my iTunes. As I watched it, I was instantly reminded of how much I loved the movie, how many times I watched it as a child (yes, as a CHILD. Believe it or not, that movie existed before all the emo kids made it popular), and how much I adored the music. The story itself is very intriguing, and it makes me sad that not many movies are so interesting now a days.

However, the one thing that really jumped out at me was how creepy the movie was. Sure, now I'm not scared... but the movie is full of freaky monsters and what not, and I can't remember being scared at ALL as a child. Perhaps that's where my love for zombies and vampires (REAL vampires) and all that stuff comes from...

It just makes one wonder how many memories from our childhoods will impact our tomorrow.

This is my favorite song from the movie... second only to the Oogie Boogie song, of course... but Lock, Shock, and Barrel were such great characters, and this song is just good, clean - dark - fun!

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It's the Zombie Apocalypse. Bring Friends.

About a month ago, I wrote a blog that mentioned a game called "Left4Dead 2". In said blog, I failed to describe L4D2 and it's already released predecessor - Left4Dead - in any great detail.

Scratch that. I failed to describe them AT ALL. My mention of the games were merely the ramblings of a young woman that loves 1. playing video games and 2. killing zombies. Unless you've played L4D, the small paragraph at the bottom of an otherwise lengthy post probably didn't make any sense what so ever. Even now, rereading it, I feel like it was written by an ADD afflicted child stuck in a shop that specializes in shiny things.

Seeing as I love L4D almost as much as I love Halo, I feel that this vast injustice is unforgivable. Still, I'm not one to give up, so I'm writing this in a feeble attempt to gain the forgiveness I know my fellow readers will refuse to give me...

  • Left4Dead

Left4Dead is, in a word, EPIC. I've met a few people who disagree with me, but for the most part, it's a beautiful game full of gorgeous backdrops, chilling music, and literally thousands upon thousands of undead corpses, complete with rotting flesh and animal like grunts and growls.

Set directly after the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, Left4Dead sports 4 playable "movie" campaigns - No Mercy, Death Toll, Dead Air, and Blood Harvest - as well as multiple difficulty levels and various types of multiplayer action (in one version of the game, you can play as the infected).

The single player/multiplayer campaign mode has some nice little goodies in and of itself. The game not only has your traditional "I just crawled out of the grave" bed-head zombies, but also introduces you to some VERY interesting specialty zombies, like the Smoker (a zombie with a constricting tongue and hideous hacking cough that bursts into a smoke screen upon death), the Tank (the largest, most terrifying zombie in the game... don't take on a Tank on your own, even on the easiest level, it's difficult to take down), the Hunter, the Boomer, and the Witch (and easily startled zombie that will make even the best day a nightmare). The game itself is pretty interesting... a number of in-game choices can effect how your game is played. Choose to sneak through the game as quietly as possible, and you can encounter very few zombies. However, get careless with your ammo and set off a car alarm, and be prepared to take on the zombie horde.

The horde is one of my favorite parts of the game. Alerted by any loud noise - or by the fact that you're about to complete a campaign - the horde is made up of thousands of undead that come out of every nook and cranny, and seem unstoppable... let me reiterate. Seem unstoppable. The game doesn't leave you wanting. At the beginning of each campaign, and in each safe house, is an arsenal of weapons at your disposal. You begin with a pistol, which is your go-to if you ammo runs dry, but as you make it through the level, you are given the option to take another weapon as well... everything from uzis, to automatic shotguns to assault rifles are ripe for the picking. The game also scatters helpful flammable items, like gas cans, propane tanks, and molotov cocktails, as well as a helpful little item known as the pipe bomb. Pipe bombs aren't as flammable as molotovs, but when thrown, flash a light and make a noise... a quality especially helpful when confronting a horde, because the flashing light and noise attracts the undead... if thrown at the right time, one can gleefully watch as a horde of the undead swarms around the pipe bomb, completely unaware of the fact that they are about to explode into fiery death.

The only downfall of the game is... drumroll... playing by yourself isn't nearly as enthralling as playing with friends. Still, the game is amazing, and a great way to practice for the ever approaching zombie apocalypse...

  • Left4Dead 2

Up until today, I had only ever seen the trailer for L4D2... and it seemed to threaten being even more epic than it's post-apocalyptic predecessor. Though not much, the trailer did reveal a few things about the game.

Opening on the deserted, desolate streets of New Orleans, the narrator begins to talk about the last conversation he had with his grandmother. As he continues, we see more and more shots of the destroyed NO. As the narrator finishes talking about his convo with his grandmother, he ends with the phrase, "Pray harder, cuz it ain't working." Coupled with this, we see a shot of two people watching as jet planes fly over head and, as the last bit is uttered, they suddenly look at the camera, and you see that they're zombies, right before it cuts to black. The video comes back with the narrator again, talking about how he isn't going to sit around and wait for redemption. As he speaks, we see zombie after zombie running through the streets as things are blown up, and and we get a short glimpse of a Tank-like zombie, flinging cars and knocking any infected out of his way. The narrator goes on to say "as long as we have guns, we'll fight." There are blurred shots of the new team as they fight the zombies, and the trailer cuts to black again, as the narrator continues. "And if we run out of ammo," he says, and as he does, the glorious, beautiful roar of a chainsaw is heard. The video then comes back to show the new group, surrounded by a horde and equipped with chainsaws, axes, frying pans, and baseball bats. As the horde closes in, you hear the narrator one last time: "they gonna wish we hadn't." There are a few more shots of melee battle, the Left4Dead 2 logo, and one last shot of one of the characters finishing off a zombie with a frying pan.

***Author's Note:My summary of the trailer was done completely from memory. Upon reviewing the trailer after this was written, I realized some of my bits were wrong. However, to avoid the facade of being perfect, I decided to keep my review as is. I apologize for the inconsistencies. ~Lauren

Not a lot, but enough to make our zombie-slaying mouths water. After that, I didn't hear much about the game, but have been silently waiting to hear more... a glimpse at the new team, a list of the new campaigns, ANYTHING... and finally! All my waiting paid off as I recieved the new Game Informer, complete with Left4Dead 2 demo review. I was little-kid-on-Christmas-morning impatient to read it, and when I finally did, it didn't disappoint (as the boys from Game Informer rarely do).

Like we learned from the trailer, the game is set in Georgia... but what we didn't learn is that it's actually set to be a prequel to the first game, taking place before the infection has hit critical mass. You'll be playing through a world full of warning signs, telling you to wash your hands and be extra careful, so as to keep the virus from spreading. Like the first game, you assume the role of one of 4 characters: Coach, Nick, Ellis, and Rochelle. But the characters aren't the only thing that's new... along with the traditional, good ole faithful weapons from the first game, gamers can also look forward to such wonderful companions as the silenced uzi and various new versions of the assault rifle, among many other new weapons. The review didn't talk much about whether molotovs and pipe bombs would be back, but it did briefly mention something called "incendiary ammo." If you're like me, you probably have no idea what incendiary means, but context clues led me to believe it means exploding or flammable ammo. Sure enough, the definition of incendiary (used or adapted for setting property on fire) proved I was correct.

I actually have to pause the blog for a second as I run around the room screaming like that Nintendo 64 kid on youtube. They're giving me ammo that will set a zombie on fire... if the zombie apocalypse led you to believe God doesn't exist, then hopefully the implimenting of this lovely type of ammo has reinstated your faith. Unpaused.

Melee weapons also make an appearance in the second game. The fact that we already knew that in no way lessens the glee factor upon hearing it confirmed (GLEE!). L4D2 supplies it's survivors with baseball bats, frying pans, axes, and chainsaws... all items that are fairly straightforward in their use. If you're in the path clearing business, frying pans and baseball bats are for you. However, if you're not like Sgt. Johnson and enjoy doing "pieces," then the axe and chainsaw are probably a better fit. Don't let the simplicity fool you, though... even though each melee weapon is straight forward in it's use, some of them also come with special uses... for instance, sneak up behind a witch and plant the axe in the back of her head, and you'll take her down in one hit. (Blog is momentarily paused so I can sit back and revel in the epic... okay. unpause) Where was this during my many "crown achievement" attempts in the first game? Oh to have back the hair ripped out in frustration...

The weapons aren't the only thing the game's creators saw fit to upgrade. Each campaign also comes with it's own - new - unique specialty zombie unit. The zombie unit spotlighted in this review? The specialty Hazmat zombies.

Now don't freak out... it's no big deal. As the city started to turn, some of the "help" showed up in hazmat suits, to keep from being infected... didn't work. The virus had no problem seeping through the hazmat suits and infecting it's inhabitants (proving the only way to survive the infection is to 1. be immune to the virus and 2. fight like hell). Oh, one more thing. The hazmat suits also make the hazmat zombies impervious to flame. Yeah, that's right. No more alerting a horde and igniting a propane tank, only to sit back and gleefully watch your victims turn to ash. These suckers will charge right for you, through the flames, unscathed. How's that for an upgrade?

GI also spotlighted "The Charger" which, if I'm understanding correctly, is a Tank on steroids. The review describes him as

" overall-wearing fat zombie who barrels into the fray and knocks over everyone in your party. Once the whole group has been brought to its knees, he jumps on the nearest survivor and continues pounding them against the pavement until he's eaten enough bullets to kill an elephant and finally keels over."
~ Game Informer
August '09
Page 57

If I hadn't already seen this guy in action, I'd say he's a Tank wearing overalls... but something about seeing him tear through the zombie horde leads me to believe he's slightly more vicious... and, seeing as Electronic Arts has deemed it necessary to upgrade everything else, there's no reason for me to believe there isn't more to this Charger.

As if all that didn't seem challenging enough, L4D2 also throws in one more twist: your new "director" (L4D and L4D2 utilize "movie campaigns", remember?) is a sadistic jerk. In the last game, players found refuge in final campaigns in the "Salvation" areas (Jesus Room, Jesus Rock, and Jesus Barn are all places a player can set up during the last "scene" of a campaign that are virtually inaccessible to zombies). L4D2 offers no such comfort, and your sadistic director takes it a step further, changing up the levels every time you play. Find a strategy that works for you? That's okay, the director will throw a zombie at you to mess it up. Finding yourself safe behind a wall of fire? No worries, the director will merely change the weather effects. Finally figure out how to make it through a level? Chin up, the director has now changed the pathing... the next time you play, you'll have to take a different route to get out. (As irritated with this director as I am... that's still pretty epic)

Left4Dead 2 will be released November 17, sporting 5 new campaign maps, 4 new characters, more than 3 new enemy types, and a whole new multiplayer mode the developer isn't willing to talk about!

All things considered, Left4Dead 2 promises to be more than a long overdue expansion pack to the first installment.

I wonder if they've made any changes to the Witch? Hmm...

Game Informer (August 2009)

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