Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hockey, Canada and the Olympics

I really enjoyed the Winter Olympics this year and found myself more tuned into the games than I have been in the past.

After the tragic beginning with the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, I was unable to watch any luge, bobsled, skeleton or any sport on that track without cringing. It was just too sad.

Hockey, while I didn't watch a ton of the games, was what I was most aware of thanks to my husband's obsession. When the U.S. beat the Canadian team I was in shock and had such high hopes for our team.

Today, those dreams were crushed as Sidney Crosby, Canada's Golden Boy, brings them to victory once again. The U.S. players and goalie Ryan Miller really had a go at victory though, tying the game in the last 25 seconds of regulation play. It was an exciting game to say the least, but in the end Canada won.

The thing that bothered me the most was how much time the announcers and the camera man spent praising Crosby for his overtime goal win when he hadn't had a single point in the past two games before this. The camera was literally fixed on Crosby's face during the entire celebration on the ice, which I felt was unfair to the rest of the Canadian team. The TEAM won the gold medal, not just Sidney Crosby.

So now I am being bored to death by the closing ceremonies as I watch this, I watched the entire opening ceremonies just two weeks ago.

One interesting article I read was how the olympics in Vancouver have been one blunder after another, including death, bad weather, mistake during opening ceremonies etc. I found it interesting. Why the Olympics Have Been Bad for Canada.

Now I'm not saying the olympics were a bad thing for Canada, it brought them so many great things. The article just brought up things I didn't always notice.

One thing I hated about this olympics was NBC's covereage of it. Sports that were originally scheduled to be on one channel, ended up on another channel. Rarely was a sport actually live (for the west coast) and there was a tape delay for the west coast. What gives?! Finally we have an event in OUR TIME ZONE and we don't get to see anything in real time. Absolutely ridiculous.

So the olympics is over now, I am sad that I did not visit Vancouver as two of Mike's friends did, but I do hope to visit a Winter Olympics sometime in the future. I hear it is an experience not to be missed.

More movies, less reading

So I spent another weekend watching more movies, while I should have been reading. My excuse this weekend? I had horrible headaches each morning which worsened every time I tried to read.

As of tonight, I have now seen nine of the ten films nominated for Best Film for the Academy Awards.

I started off this weekend watching Inglourious Bastards. For as much as I dislike Brad Pitt, I really did enjoy this movie. A lot. I would have to say this would have my vote for best film, hands down. I was also surprised I liked it as much as I really did not appreciate the Kill Bill movies by Quentin Tarantino. I'm a sucker for Nazi-related films though.

The next day I watched Precious. Let me just tell you, gearing up to watch this movie was difficult because I knew it was going to be depressing. I had such a hard time starting the two-hour long heart wrencher. And boy did it live up to what I had heard. Great acting, good plot but my goodness was it just completely sad. Things just kept getting worse and worse for the character. The best part about this movie was its realism. There was no happy ending and that suited me just fine. I guess the semi-happy ending was that we saw her smile in the end.

Mike and I went out on a date night on Saturday night and we watched Shutter Island. I thought this movie was good, but it had me trying to figure it out from the get go. It played many mind tricks and had you leaving the theatre still thinking about the plot. Which story line did you choose to believe? I like a movie that makes you think. Leonardo DiCaprio was great in the film, the music was a bit dramatic (though that is Scorsese for you) and I'm not sure Mark Rufalo fit into the film well.

The last movie I saw this weekend was Pixar's latest Up. It was very cute and very Disney, but I was excited to see an original story line (not a recycled fairytale). It definitely pulled at the heartstrings and was just a heartwarming story overall.

So all that is left for me to see this award season is A Single Man, which I have not heard very much about so I'll be interested to see how I like it. I hear the acting is worth watching it alone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

You choose to ride a death trap....

So because it is "Ski Week" meaning half of the Silicon Valley families are out of school and on vacation and taking time off etc. the CHP have used their light up signs to bring a message, "SHARE THE ROAD LOOK TWICE FOR MOTORCYCLISTS."

O really?!

I have to look out for motorcyclists as they split lanes going 80 plus miles an hour on the freeway? They choose to drive recklessly and I have to watch out for their stupid behavior? I don't think so. Where did all this concern come from regarding motorcyclists all of a sudden?! And why is it my responsibility they don't get killed?

I was very pleased to read in the Mercury News today that I am not the only irritated driver to feel this way. Check out Mr. Roadshow's column Motorcyclists need to do their part to promote road safety and check out a few other infuriated driver's comments regarding the issue.

My favorite suggestions for a change in road signs:
"Motorcyclists, don't split lanes in fast traffic."
"Motorcyclists, you're harder to see so don't drive in a car's blind spot."
"High-speed lane splitters die young."
"Motorcyclists – stop driving like idiots!"

I would much rather see a message about wearing seatbelts or watching for drunk drivers than protecting careless motorcyclists.

I really hate motorcycles and feel they are death traps and would never want to ride one or let anyone close to me make that mistake. However it is not my job to make sure others who make that decision stay alive, it is their responsibility to drive well not every other car on the road.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Movie-filled weekend

Well this past weekend was one filled with movie watching and complete unproductivity. It was great.

The weekend started with Dear John on Saturday night. I really didn't like the ending, it was too neatly tied in a bow, completely unrealistic, but I guess that is what you can expect from a romance movie. Also the leading lady had no personality at all, which was a disappointment because I really like that actress. The best part about the movie was the subplot, having to do with autism, which totally pulled at my heart strings.

Next up was The Hurt Locker which I found to be a total snooze fest. All the hype behind it, people saying it is Avatar's biggest competition completely confuses me. I found myself in the middle of the movie asking myself, "where the heck is this movie going, what the hell is the point of this plot?" I understand the acting was good, but the characters lacked depth and the plot lacked a point.

My favorite movie of the weekend was The Blind Side. The story was touching, the acting was great and it was an overall enjoyment to watch. I realize Hollywood took some liberties with the story they were portraying but I think it all ended up well. Sandra Bullock was amazing. The kid who played her youngest son was a stich! The movie was great and I am glad I finally saw it.

The last movie was The Lovely Bones and boy was it ever trippy! I get it Peter Jackson, the main character is in between heaven and Earth. I. GET. IT. A lot of people had a issue with Mark Whalberg being cast as the father, that did not bother me too much. What did get to me a bit was how many creative liberties I felt Jackson took because he wanted to emphasize how interesting the in between world was. Ugh. I want plot, not crazy trippiness. I can't let it go unsaid, Stanely Tucci was AMAZING and unrecognizable. So good.

Stay tuned for a post about my Academy Award picks...

Monday, February 8, 2010

I just joined BlogHer

I joined BlogHer today. I have been reading people who blog on BlogHer for years now, been hearing about their conferences and their community, but today I joined.

Today I actually took time and read posts, commented on posts and began to get what all the buzz was about. The community is a great place to be inspired by other writers and a wonderful place to get ideas for things to write about.

I often get writer's block about what to post about on this blog. I think, "that isn't interesting enough" or "how will writing about that improve my writing in general" But that is just it, writing, about anything is improving my skills.

If you don't use it, you lose it... or so I've heard. So I am going to stop worrying about what I am going to write and I am just going to write already. About everything and anything that comes up. If you don't think it's interesting sorry, just skip the post.

I love writing and I shouldn't feel like everything I post will be judged, I need to stop worrying about how other perceive my blog and just go with it.

Thanks BlogHer, for inspiring me to continue writing. Writing about all of the above.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Books Books Books

I just finished reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel last night. I had never read it before and had it on my "to read" list forever. Man this book is amazing and powerful. I was in tears the last 40 pages of the book and it was written with such honesty, Elie really did not hold back anything. What I loved about it was you could tell it was written by someone who was there, in the moment. You can't make up or fictionalize those types of experiences. And he shared his every thought, feeling and emotion which gave the book such authenticity. If you haven't read it, please go out now and do it. It took me literally less than a day to finish.

I am looking forward to discussing the book with Robert, the eighth grader I am teaching. I'm not sure I would have understood or been impacted as much as I was, if I was an eighth grader reading this book. It was a pleasure and I want to make sure that Robert got something out of it as well.

I also just finished "The Group" by Mary McCarthy. This book was originally published in 1954, and my was it somewhat progressive for that time. I guess one of the best ways I can describe it is sort of a "Sex and the City" for the 1950s. It was comprised of many vignettes of a group of girls, who all graduated college together. The book was full of weak women who chose horrible men as companions. There was a lot of gender roles going on, much which I feel has changed since the book was originally published.

Back then it was an awful fate if a woman was not married by 26, so she usually chose the first suitor who came around. It was a competition as well to wed and have children. Some things will never change like gossip and status etc.

I don't think I would have ever picked up this book on my own at the bookstore. I read it for a book club I am in. The book itself is constructed in lengthy paragraphs which could go on for a page or two. The dialogue is tucked into those paragraphs. It took me about three chapters to get used to, but I think the book was worth reading. It certainly sparked interesting conversations at the book club.

I am currently reading "Who by Fire" by Diana Spechler. Rather than describe it myself (I'm only a chapter into it) I'll let the publisher do it for me:

Bits and Ash were children when the kidnapping of their younger sister, Alena—an incident for which Ash blames himself—caused an irreparable family rift. Thirteen years later, Ash is living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, cutting himself off from his mother, Ellie, and his wild-child sister, Bits. But soon he may have to face them again; Alena's remains have finally been uncovered. Now Bits is traveling across the world in a bold and desperate attempt to bring her brother home and salvage what's left of their family.

On Deck: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√łn. This is our February pick for our book club and I could not be more excited. This was already on my "to read" list because the author writes beautifully. I have been waiting for his second novel to be released after his first "Shadow of the Wind" had me so captivated. I won't go on to describe this book because I'll probably comment on it later but he writes about books, Barcelona and mystery. So great.

"The Book Theif" by Marcus Zusak. This was my pick for March for the book club. If you haven't read this book, don't walk, run to the book store and get it. It was nothing short of amazing.