Thursday, July 26, 2007

Time Difference

Funny story:

Tonight I went to sleep at 5:30pm. This is not unusual because I usually go to bed at this time, sleep until late evening, and then am up all night and most of the next day. However, tonight I woke up at 7:30 and since it was still semi light out, I thought it was 7:30AM. I could have sworn my computer clock also said AM. I thought I had slept throughout the night! Since I was still tired and my brain is overstressed to the point of just not caring, I decided to just go back to sleep (blowing off my 8am class in the process). I set my alarm for noon, since that is when I have to get up to deal with something really important, and zoinked out again.

Flash forward. I woke up at 9:15 to it being nearly fully dark out. I scrambled out of bed and wondered why my alarm counter on my computer hadn't gone off yet. I nearly had a heart attack when I looked at the little clock in the taskbar and realized it said PM. Had I really slept a full day?! And missed everything I had to do? Most importantly, did I really just let down everyone I've been frantically arranging things with and miss my chance to move?!

Just as I was going into a slight panic attack, I flipped open my cellphone. There, in lovely black font, glowing up at me with reassuring clarity, was the date.

Thursday, July 26th, 2007.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Late Night Programming

Because I had to finish an assignment and can't sleep, I am now forced to watch very late night TV programming in order to keep myself awake. One show in particular I watch whenever this ends up happening, even though the entire premise of it bothers me. And what is this show, you ask?For those who don't know, this show takes ordinary people who are deeply unhappy with their physical appearance and carts them off to Hollywood (the irony that Hollywood is the looks-obsessed capital of the world is not lost) for a period of two to three months. While there, they undergo various surgeries (some of them go through so many surgeries I'm surprised they didn't just outfit them with a new body, fresh out of the packaging from Mattel), intense physical training, rigid dieting and complete hair, makeup and wardrobe overhauls. Then, they are flown back home and have a "BIG REVEAL!!!" in front of all their families and friends, of which there are always one or two that cry/scream/fall over. It's similar to the show The Swan.

For me, I am torn between understanding the allure of plastic surgery - because I would like some for myself - and believing that it should be only be used to correct birth defects (such as cleft-palate) and suchlike. Half of me fully believes that you are born with the body that God gave you and shouldn't change it - instead you should learn to accept and love your body, "warts and all" (when I'm not feeling quite so eloquent, it can be summed up as "Suck it up, princess") . The other half - the vain, selfish, materialistic half - totally understands the self-confidence issues that comes with not feeling attractive and the easy appeal/allure of 'fixing' it with plastic surgery.

Then why does this show bother me so much, exactly?

I've been reflecting on this for awhile now (many assignments to do lately), and I think I've pinpointed the reasons:

  1. Deep down, I really DO believe plastic surgery should only be used for correcting birth defects, or things like breast reconstruction after surviving cancer, or after losing a major amount of weight (100 pounds or more). This was hard for me to actually admit to myself, because now it means I can't actually indulge in the process. But ultimately, your body is what you were given; we should all just learn to accept it and love it for what it is. I think we'd all be much happier as a society if we just took one iota of the energy we spend hating ourselves and turned it into loving ourselves instead.

  2. If every single contestant didn't end up looking EXACTLY the same at the end of the episode. It's quite disconcerting to see them at their big reveal and they have shiny white teeth, layered, long, perfectly coiffed hair, a golden tan, and a fancy dress or suit (along with a new body, but that goes without saying). By doing this, they paint such a rigid ideal of beauty, as if to say this is the only acceptable form beauty can attain. It's subtle, but after a while you get the feeling they are just rolling out yet another cookie-cutter copy. For example, this episode they took a reasonably attractive, totally unique looking goth girl and turned her into yet another clone. Soon, there won't be any individuality left in this world, if Extreme Makeover has any say in the matter!

  3. The techniques used - specifically the physical training and diet part - are highly unrealistic regimes to maintain over any period of time. Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but I really do feel that they are duping these people into believing they can keep the weight they lost off for any amount of time once they go back to their regular old lives. And the fact that they don't do any follow-ups makes me wonder how people look six months, a year, two years, after their surgeries.

  4. The reactions of the friends and family at the end of the episode. Especially if the person who underwent the makeover has a significant other. They always exclaim, "SHE'S SO GORGEOUS!!!" (or something to that effect). Excuse me, but weren't they just as beautiful in your eyes before this? It seems as though their love for their partner has grown somehow because their partner has become more physically attractive. In fact, some of the comments made are so insensitive with regards to the way they looked before, which brings me to my next point:

  5. The way the show feeds into the huge obsession that America has with physical attractiveness. As if, because you weren't born with a cute little nose or perfect skin, you are worth less as a person. Actually, it doesn't just feed it, Extreme Makeover practically starts, stokes and maintains the fire that is this obsession. And, just once, I would love to see a show that recognizes and (GASP!) celebrates the fact that people aren't perfect and beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places, and that place isn't at the end of a surgeon's knife.
Your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Saw Ratatouille over the weekend. Was very disappointed - not at all what I was expecting. Too long (1 hour 51 minutes), it kind of bumped along with no real purpose, yet you knew what the climax would be five minutes into the movie. Too many subplots, random tangents and unnecessary chases.
It wasn't my style of humour either - I enjoy witty one liners and sarcasm, not the physical comedy that was, quite frankly, way overdone - and the 'figment of the imagination chef' really got on my nerves by the end. Especially when Rémy kept reaffirming the fact that "You don't actually exist! You are a figment of my imagination!" Yes, we're aware of that fact, we realized it the first time he appeared. Now, either stop talking to him, or just deal with the fact that you have an imaginary friend and move on. Another thing was that it was set in Paris, France, and the main characters (Rémy and Linguini) inexplicably spoke English with American accents.

The good - well, okay, amazing - point about it, however, was that the animation was very detailed and superbly done, as is everything done by Pixar. It is this films greatest - and some would argue only - strength. You could see every tiny strand of hair on the rats, every iota of curl on Alfredo Linguini's red hair (yes, the main characters name was the same as a type of pasta, how original). You could tell they did an amazing amount of research of how a commercial kitchen works, as every little aspect of it was presented in loving, rich detail. Very realistic, one of the best efforts from Disney/Pixar to date, in my opinion.

And the funniest - yet slightly disturbing at the same time - scene was when the roof fell down in the beginning and exposed the entire colony of rats (and trust me, there were a lot of rats). I love and adore rats and have been the proud owner of one - and that still would have given me a slight heart attack, or sent me screaming out the door, as fast as my short little legs could carry me. At the very least, it would have put me off rats for life.

Overall, I give this three cheese wedges out of five, mostly because of the incredible detail of the animation in every aspect. The plot, dialogue and the actual 'comedy' could have used some work, but overall, it is a sweet little film if you go to animation films to actually enjoy, you know, the animation.

Release Dates:
Chille, Russia - June 28th, 2007
Canada, United States, Mexico - June 29th, 2007
Australia- August 30th, 2007
New Zealand - September 6th, 2007
United Kingdom - October 5th, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Starting Out

This post is a test to see if it displays correctly as I work on it.

I think I've finally got it to a point where I'm comfortable showing it off. Took me long enough to figure out - Blogger is quite different from the time I used it years ago!

This blog will be used to post little (as in five hundred words little. maybe?) essays or opinion pieces on topics that interest/provoke/intrigue me. The topics will probably range from politics, to TV shows, to music, to current events going on in my city - just a hodge-podge of various subjects. So this is not a personal chronology of my day - and it won't be updated daily. I'm going to shoot for once a week. I'm hoping it will be an excerise in re-developing my writing skill and style beyond a casual tone, and an excerise in writing something besides writing for academia purposes.

The comments are turned on and unmoderated, but I ask that if you do not agree with my viewpoint to please do so diplomatically. As Joseph Joubert once wrote, "It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it." I'd like to employ that sort of thinking to this blog when it comes to commenting.

Now - about the layout. I adore the little girl picture and the use of the colours. Figuring out how to make that 'Blog Descriptor' disappear was a challenge, but I managed! This layout is quite pretty, if I do say so myself.

What do you think?