Friday, January 29, 2010

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities - Collage - Morph

Inspired by the famous person doppelganger meme on Facebook, I thought I'd see which celebrities I look like. I would like you to note, that although Blogger is cutting him off a bit, there is an old man on the end there. Also, Nancy Kerrigan?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


6. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
There's been a lot of buzz about these books by a Swedish writer who died shortly after turning in the manuscripts. I read the first book last year. Like the first book, I found this book to start slow, but then I was totally engrossed by the story and could not put it down. I think the author's main ability is in the creating of dramatic tension, but there is also a lot of weird phrasing and pacing in the book. In addition, there is some violence against women stuff that is troubling. In the end I will also definitely read the third book when it comes out in May, but unlike some I do not think these are the best thing ever.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


R and I and a bunch of friends finally saw Avatar in 3D last night. I went in expecting to think the story was boring and to possibly be offended on various levels. I expected the visuals to be awesome. I did think the story was boring, but that it was a super-pretty movie and very cool in 3D. I was not really offended, because the story was in a lot of ways so trite that there was not much to be actually offended by. If you haven't seen Avatar yet, be careful reading further as there may be slight spoilers.

As an anthropologist, I was struck by the fact that the scientists seemed to be some sort of general purpose scientist, and that if they had an actual anthropologist they might have had more luck getting to know the Na'vi. But this is nothing new, movies and tv often have a "scientist" who grasps all fields equally, making me think they must have spent a really long time in grad school. Although they are often also young and attractive, so maybe they are just geniuses.

The real take-home message I got from Avatar was to never work for the military/giant corporations as it will all go horribly wrong. CounterPunch has a post comparing the scientists in Avatar to the Human Terrain Teams that the US Military is using in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So in the end, I enjoyed my experience watching the movie because I enjoyed the 3D and the cool world of Pandora. I found the 3D to make the movie an especially immersive experience, and I thought several times during the movie that a Lord of the Rings or a Narnia movie or an Anne McCaffrey book inspired movie would be awesome in 3D. Those are all worlds I have been sucked into in book form, and it would be awesome to have that experience using the technology involved in Avatar. I was actually surprised at how much the visuals allowed me to be sucked in to the movie, despite the fact that I was intellectually aware the story was sub-par. Here's an interesting look at why we are so affected by virtual worlds. But in the end, I agree with this Savage Minds post that aside from the effects the movie has so little to offer that there is no great and deep commentary I can make, except killing people for their resources is bad.

Monday, January 18, 2010


4. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
It took me a little while to get to this book, although I was excited for it when it first came out. It was billed as an "adult Harry Potter". I totally love the regular Harry Potter, along with all the Narnia books, so I was interested to see where this went. I just finished the book this morning, and I am not sure what I think of it. Some of the Narnia allusions were really heavy handed, and I think the book tried to cover too much time. Basically it follows one person, Quentin, as he starts a magical school and 17 then graduates and goes on through life for awhile. Some sections of the book were really good while some were not, and Quentin was kind of grating as a character. So I don't know if I recommend this or not. You can give it a try if you are interested in people being swooped up into magical schools and lands, but this book never quite came together for me.

5. Little Black Book of Stories by AS Byatt
I am not a fan of Byatt, and probably would not have read this if it were not a book club pick. Like her novels, I wished most of the stories were about half as long as they are. I did like the last two stories ok. So if you like Byatt, you will like these. But if you don't, no need to read them.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


We had such a full weekend so far! Our friend Matt came in Friday night and we picked him up at Midway (they have some very strict traffic control people there who barely let you slow down to put a passenger in your car. wow) then we went to a Thai restaurant, had some snacky snacks, then came home and drank some drinky drinks and hung out. Matt is a perfect kind of friend who enjoys sitting around talking and drinking and looking up info on the US Interstate System on Wikipedia. We stayed up until 1:00 am, which is crazy for me these days. Saturday we used a free pass from the library to go to the Art Institute, where we enjoyed a lot of modern art and the miniature rooms. We also walked across a cool bridge to Millennium Park.

After all that, we drove Matt to Evanston to hang with his family, while R and I stopped off at a very tasty restaurant called Lucky Platter which was soooo good. I highly recommend it. I had a very tasty portobello sandwich and mac n cheese.

After that we were exhausted so we came home and napped and then headed out with some other friends to a piano bar. It was cheesetastically fun, but even better was the visit to the giant shiny McDonald's that occurred after the piano bar. We were up until after 1:00 that night too.

Finally we are to Sunday, wherein I need to work on the dissertation and grade some papers. Most importantly, tonight is the Golden Globes during which I will defeat Melinda in our annual contest of who can predict the most winners!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I know I've gotten some of your hopes up with all this posting of late. I'll try to keep it up some, but no promises. I just made it through the first week of the quarter and I am having a hard time adjusting. I think it is all the fault of the 8:00 class. I am really not a morning person. So far I am just so tired this quarter, although I have had more classes before and I am actually on top of all my work. I'm prepped ahead in all my classes and I have been making time to work on my dissertation and to exercise. I think the exercise might also be contributing to my tired, and I just need to get used to it all.

Friday, January 08, 2010


2. Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas at the Public Library by Don Borchert
This was ok. I just thought it overall was not that interesting. I am aware that crazy people, homeless people and unsupervised children go to the public library all the time and hijinks ensue. I thought the stories in this were not that interesting and not that well written. Maybe I know too many librarians in real life? Or spend too much time at the public library? Or both?

3. A Gap in Nature by Tim Flannery
Not really a book to read straight through, but this is a beautifully illustrated book of 103 different animals that have gone extinct sine 1492. Interesting, but most worth it for the illustrations.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


In recent years, I have gotten into New Year's Resolutions. I used to think they were a set up for failure, but after actually completing some, I now think they are a good chance to implement some changes in life. So here are mine for 2010:
*keep running 2 times a week
*run an 8k in March
*run a sub 30 minute 5k
*if knees start to hurt go to PT
*take swimming lessons
*eat at one new restaurant a month
*have one social interaction (with someone besides the husband) once a week
*finish the dissertation

So that is more resolutions than I wanted to make, but I am already training for the 8k, already signed up for swimming lessons, and only have 1.5 chapters left on the diss, so I am ahead of the game!

2010 book!

Yay! First book for 2010:
1. The World According to Mimi Smartypants by Mimi Smartypants
Mimi Smartypants has a blog that I find hilarious. I love her writing, and she lives in Chicago and writes a lot about funny things seen on public transportation, which I can relate to. This book was published in 2004, and I don't think I started reading her blog until 2006, so I didn't know of the book for awhile. Basically, it is her blog from parts of 2003, put into a book. If you like her blog writing you will also enjoy this book.

Resolution Report

So last year I made some New Year's Resolutions:
*run at least 2x a week
*run in at least two races
*yoga or pilates 2x a week
*be more social and get out of the house more
*don't stress so much

How did I do? I mostly ran for 2x a week, until my knees started to hurt in October. Then I procrastinated going to the doctor. Then my knees fixed themselves. So.
Yoga/pilates was a fail. I am not good at doing them home on my own. I think I need a class.
I was more social. Yay!
And I stressed less, thanks to an awesome stint in therapy. Highly recommended, people. I was a naysayer, but my 6 months of talking to a licensed clinical social worker once a week totally changed my life for the better. Seriously, I still think about things she told me all the time.

Later, look for a post about my resolutions for 2010!