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Ohai!

Alright, I made it through another class.  Some of you might have seen this declaration on my twitter.  Clearly I was very happy about my A.  I’d been very stressed about my grade in that class.  Work was kicking my ass and I was absolutely convinced I was going to do poorly in the class.  Yay for unexpected A’s!

I went to Phoenix Comicon!  It was amazing.  I only made it on the last day, so I didn’t do too much, but it definitely got me excited to go next year.  I got to see Stan Lee talk in a panel.  He was very funny and had excellent answers to every question.  I mean EVERY question.  Even the really stupid and awkward questions he managed to turn around and make magic with.  That’s the work of a master.  Stan Lee is the man.  I also got a comic (Magdalena #1!) signed by one of my all time favourite artists Eric Basaluda.  Whenever he does the cover for something I find myself picking it up.  I started reading Beyond Wonderland for a while because he was doing the covers, but I quickly lost interest in the series.  E Bas was really cool and a super nice guy.  I handed him two comics to sign (one for me and one for Kingpotato) and he knew right away which one was mine – guess he knows the ladies like the Magdalena.

Kingpotato and I are trying to get our office put together so I have a dedicated place to do homework and work at a desk.  We really need to get it put together.  I’ve been reading a lot of design blogs lately that have all given me some great ideas.  I like Chez Larson because everything is so clean and white and simple.  Obviously, I couldn’t really live with so much white, but the simplicity of everything she does is very inspiring and I’m loving her 375 photography series.  I’ve also been really enjoying The Office Stylist.  Sayeh is always posting really cool accessories and giving great ideas for decorating on a theme.  I also love the profiles she does on different office environments.  The Office Stylist is currently running a contest to win an IdeaPaint 20 square foot kit so if you’ve ever wanted to try out dry erase paint you should enter (blogging about the contest gets you 5 entries, so I’m shamelessly entering :P).

So my next big goal is to get that damn office put together so Kingpotato and I have a place to read and work.  I think I’ll post my ideas up soon.  Because let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a Megan project if I didn’t spend all of my time planning and not actually doing 😛

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It starts…

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

My next class starts today.  So naturally (like any good student) I am procrastinating by writing a blog post.

Really, I just want to let my readers know (and I know I have readers now because of my awesome Stat Counter!  Hi returning visitors!) that my posts will most likely be (even!) slower than they have been of late.  On the upside I’m hoping my class will provide much needed inspiration for some more movie related posts.

If you’re a student, I hope your classes are going well.  I know most of you are just coming out of mid-terms, so I hope that went well.  And wish me luck!  This class is fast paced!

Hopefully I’ll have the time to grab a movie this weekend too.  If I do, I’m going to check out Hot Tub Time Machine, which looks delightfully silly.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie where NOTHING is taken seriously and I like those movies.

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Thanks for Coming…

March 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I was watching the Texas/Wake Forest game when this commercial popped up.

I love the PS3 commercials – they have a great sense of humor.  And I’m super excited to get my paws on God of War III.

Hey sweetheart, why don’t you stop complaining about being ignored, put on your big girl panties and grab a controller?  I bet you $500 you’ll love ripping dudes in half, blinding cyclopses and disemboweling centaurs.  I know I will.

God I want to play this game.

Random Musings – Motivation, TV, Bentos and More!

March 15, 2010 2 comments

So I’ve been kind of lax about posting lately, I know. Kingpotato has been working crazy hours at his job which kind of threw me into a wrench. It’s hard to adjust to coming home and having just the dog and cats to keep me company.

So, in Kingpotato’s absence I’ve been trying my hardest to keep myself motivated and not slack off. So I’ve been cleaning house, trying to keep up with bento and dinner menus and doing more exercise. I’ve actually used EA Active for (I think) the third time and I’m really starting to feel the burn! But despite the productivity, it’s even easier to fall into time wasting traps. For example:

I have now watched 2 episodes of “The Marriage Ref” which I have to say is fairly embarrasing. I don’t want to watch this show. I don’t like this show and the most recent episode with Ricky Gervais, Madonna and Larry David was downright uncofortable to watch. And yet, I finished the episode anyway. Fail. And yes, I just linked you to said uncomfortable episode, which is an even bigger fail.

After about three days of Netflix viewing, I am almost halfway through the entire 22 episode series of Earth 2.  It’s an interesting little sci-fi series that NBC picked up and promptly cancelled after just one season.  But at least it’s there for me to enjoy on Netflix.  It’s certainly got it’s quirks and there were some interesting choices made production wise.  It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse.  I remember watching it when it first came out as a kid, but we just never finished it.  Well, this time I’m gonna.

I’ve also been dreaming about bentos.  Yes, it’s a problem I have.  But I stumbled upon this great site Bento & Co. They have such lovely products I can’t stop looking at them.  The site is in French, but thanks to the magic of Google Translate I can read french.  I will definitely be making a purchase (or two or three…) as soon as I can scrounge up the money.  I’ll have to convert it to Euros, but it’s totally worth it.

Finally, as of today my cousin has (re)joined the blogging world.  So far she’s just written her mission statement, but I’m pretty excited to see what she posts.  She’s got a great sense of humor loves too cook and a pretty awesome writer.  Since some of her writing topics overlap with mine I’m sure I’ll find plenty of reasons to link her in the future.

In which I discuss General Hospital Opening Sequences at Length

February 22, 2010 1 comment

Sometime in 2004 I started watching General Hospital.  I was in college dealing with a lot of drama and had some free time in the afternoons where I often found myself back in my dorm room.  Somehow, all the drama going on in Port Charles made mine easier to deal with.  Plus theirs was so much more sexy.  I’ve been watching fairly regularly for something like 6 years now (which is fairly embarrassing now that I’m committing it to print) and I have a feeling that embarrassing number is only going to get bigger.

Tomorrow will be General Hospitals 7,000,000th episode (not really, it’s their 12,000th which is an equally impressive milestone) and to celebrate they’re going to unleash new opening credits upon the world.  I for one am fairly excited about this (are soap fans the only ones who get this excited about new opening credits?  Their facebook announcement has over 700 comments), so I thought I’d take some time to look at a couple opening sequences throughout the years.

In the Beginning

GH debued in 1963 which these stunning credits which lasted a whopping 7 months.  Hey, don’t judge!  These credits are from back in the day when sopas were just babies.  They were still filmed live at this point!

Then there were exterior shots

The longest running opening sequence that General Hospital used was this beauty featuring an ambulance racing followed by a lovely exterior shot of the hospital.  According to Wikipedia, these were some of the longest running title sequences in the history of soaps.  Through the years there were some minor changes like the font they used for the title and the music that was played, but for thirty years if you were watching GH, this was your opening.  I think most would consider this the true classic (but I have something else in mind).

The Classic (Faces of the Heart)

In 1993, General Hospital made a huge shift from the simple openings we’ve seen to what I consider to be the iconic GH opening.  This sequence was a great update for a new era of soap operas.  It reminded why you were watching – for the characters of course!

I love the music.  It’s the right kind of schmaltzy that says “you’re about to watch a soap opera” and it used to get me really cheesed up to watch the show.  It’s the signature sound of General Hospital.  Play a few bars, and I’ll always crack a smile.  Plus, it was super easy to update.  Wanna insert some more recent romantic scenes?  Just throw a red/orange filter on your chosen 1.3 seconds of sexy and you’re set!  Have a new cast member?  Just set up a big fan in front of a wall, film them for a minute, throw in a couple of good hair tosses, add in the filter and you’re golden.

This video is from the very first time this opening was screened.  I love how they made such a huge deal out of it – John Beradino, Dr. Steve Hardy himself – introduced the change.  These titles debuted on April 1, 1993 which was GH’s 30th anniversary.

This updated version of Faces is what was airing when I started watching in 2004.  And this version was even better!  It was even more exciting with their updates.  This opening was even more exciting!  In addition to the the ambulance racing (almost) towards the camera, someone (I think Frisco?) jumps off the roof of General Hospital (Oh my gawd!!)  and I don’t know what’s up with the speedboat but DUDE THERE’S A SPEEDBOAT!  How exciting is that?! There’s an extra flair at the end of the music and they added the character names – which I found extremely helpful when I first started watching the show.  I am also pretty sure that the opening credits are the reason I fell in love with Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco).  God she’s sexy.

Current AKA Sirens (in all its flashing light glory)

So I only got to enjoy the good credits for a few months before ABC dumped this crap on me.  I remember when I saw it for the first time.  My initial reaction was “OMG I’M HAVING A SEIZURE!”  My second reaction was “what happened to General Hospital?”  All the flashing lights, and fancy camera work was just too much for me.  This sequence is too flashy and is trying too hard to be “sexy”, something the Faces of the Heart opening did subtly and beautifully. I felt right away this was going to be something ABC regretted.

It’s pretty obvious that this whole sequence was shot as some big project over several days where they had a fancy set up with all the actors on hand in costume, etc.  Just check out the fancy way they Elizabeth, Nikolas and Lucky come into frame.  And the ending shot of all the male cast members was cute when it first aired (I actually like the silly bit where Luke walks off, but you know, he does that) but caused some problems later.  “How are they going to update this?” I wondered.  It seemed pretty complicated to me.  Well, it turns out they hadn’t really thought that part through. Here’s the first version of this monstrosity.

So this version looks fairly cohesive.  Well, as they added new characters, it just started to fall apart.  It still looks okay, but this is what we’re currently working with:

So where we started out with a bunch of characters walking around the set, looking breazy and fabulous we now have mostly stationary people with the camera panning up and down their torsos.  They’ve almost completely done away with the overlapping character thing, I think because it was too difficult to recreate.  The lighting doesn’t seem to match GOD I hate the music.  It’s embarrassing.  I usually mute it even if I’m home alone.  And why does Luke need to stare at the camera for for so painfully long?  I love Luke as much as the next GH fan, but that 5 second shot is semi creepy at best.  Oh, and the best part?  That shot of all the gents at the end?  We’ve lost so many actors since this first debuted in 2004 that it’s practically a joke.  There are 11 men in that shot and 7 (SEVEN!) are no longer on the show for one reason or another.  When more than 60% (check out my math skillz!) of the people in your final shot aren’t even on your show any more there’s a problem.

So, tomorrow is the big day – we finally get new credits.  I am hoping that we’ll have something more like what it was in the 90s but I have a sneaky suspicion it’ll be more like the seizure-fest we have today.  This post on their Soap Net web page leads me to believe it’ll be more like the seizue-fest we have today.  And their comment about “letting the women in on the fun” leads me to believe we’ll have a similar final shot, but this time with the ladies (wanna take bets on who gets to walk off a la Luke Spencer?).  If that’s the case, it’s only a matter of time before we run into the same problem we have with the tuxedo shot of the current sequence.  If it could be somewhere in the middle, I think I’ll be happy.  At the very least I’m hoping for better music with less seizure causing lighting.  Here’s to tomorrow and (another) new GH sequence.  Hopefully we’ll get a new classic out of this one.

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Ferris Bueller TV Show?

February 17, 2010 1 comment

Did you know that in 1990 NBC decided it would be a good idea to back a Ferris Bueller TV show?  I stumbled upon this gem (if you could call it that) the other day while talking about the movie with a couple friends.   The first three and a half minutes are available on YouTube (see below).

The first time I watched it, I got about 30 seconds in before I wanted to turn it off (yes, it’s that bad).  But I’m glad I stuck around, because America’s TV Sweetheart, Jennifer Aniston, makes a surprise appearance as Jeanie Bueller.  Based on the 5 seconds she gets on screen, it’s pretty apparent that the TV version of Jeanie is pretty much high school Rachel Green.

Somehow this show made it to 13 episodes before NBC realized they’d made a mistake and pulled the plug.  It’s hard to tell which mistake was bigger. Making a television show based on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, giving it a title as inspiring as “Ferris Bueller” (really, that’s the best they could think up?), or deciding to make a direct reference to the film itself (watch the clip to see what I’m talking about).

There’s also the fact that the lead roll was poorly cast.  Charlie Schlatter lacks all of the charisma that Matthew Broderick brought to the movie role – which is 100% of why I wanted to turn the show off before (TV) Ferris could finish his opening line.  Schlatter has never really done anything huge with his career – probably the biggest thing he did was Heartbreak Hotel.  More recently he’s mostly done voice over work for things like The Batman (he’s The Flash!) and Kim Possible.  He did make it into a couple Metal Gear games, which is gives him a couple coolness points, but one of the voices he did was for Raiden so he gets at least one negative point for that.

If you’re interested in a little bit of TV history with a surprise Jennifer Aniston, check out the video.  But don’t feel bad if you turn it off before it’s over.

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Mr. Bento

February 10, 2010 1 comment

I like food.  A lot.  I like to make it, I like to eat it and if it happens to look pretty or fancy then that delicious meal just got better.  A couple of years ago I somehow stumbled upon a Flickr Pool called Mr. Bento.  This pool revolves entirely around people sending pictures of food.  The unique thing about it is that they were all using a Mr. Bento lunch box.  After pursuing some of the creative and mouthwatering lunches I knew I had to try this for myself.  As soon as I was able to I bought one (well, two because I got one for Kingpotato as well).

I was so exited when Mr. Bento arrived; I packed a lunch as soon as I had my first opportunity.  The lunches were okay, but within a couple of weeks I lost interest (surprise surprise).  Kingpotato and I have moved twice since then, but I could never bring myself to get rid of our Mr. Bentos.  I knew that eventually I would start using it again.  I am so glad that I kept those Mr. Bentos because I recently broke them out of the pantry.  Testing a line break.

For about two weeks now Kingpotato and I have been bringing lunch to work every day using our Mr. Bentos.  So far most of the lunches have been kind of experimental on my part but they’ve all been quite tasty and vastly healthier than the fast food we usually eat for lunch.  And I’ve been learning what foods travel well (the carrots and celery have become a staple) and which don’t (we learned to keep the granola separate from the yogurt and sandwiches surprisingly didn’t travel well in the Mr. Bento). I’ve had more vegetables in the last couple of weeks than I probably had last month.  It even dawned on me that if I’m happily munching on the veggies I’m bringing that I should start including fruits to munch on as well (yes – I’m actually considering consuming fruit voluntarily).

In addition to the healthier meals that I’m actually eating (gasp!) and enjoying (SHOCK!) I’m starting to realize that while I enjoy eating the food I’m packing I enjoy preparing the food just as much.  I try to think of lunches that are simple and that utilize whatever we have on hand – I’m actually using leftovers.  I’ve been making sure that when I cook dinner I can somehow adapt it for lunch.  And since my Mr. Bento has four containers to fill, I try to think of four different foods each day and I’m trying to avoid repetition.  I have a challenge each day to bring something unique and tasty.  I feel proud whenever I’ve taken my time and prepared our lunches with care.

Mr. Bento has also saved us money.  I honestly don’t know how much money I was spending on lunch every week, I just know that it was getting out of hand.  I can estimate that I was paying somewhere between $5 and $12 per day on lunch and Kingpotato was probably doing similarly.  If you just do some averaging we were spending over $100 a week on lunch.  And that figure doesn’t even account the days we ate out or picked up dinner (which was most nights).

With the lunches we’ve packed our grocery bill has been about the same.  If we’re not spending more money on groceries that  means that we were probably throwing away most of what we were buying.  Which is a misuse of our money and horribly wasteful.  So Mr. Bento is saving us money for a variety of reasons:

1) We’re eating what we’re buying at the grocery store (using our money efficiently)
2) We’re not eating out to lunch (saves us money)
3) Since I’m trying to use leftovers as the lunches (more effecient use of money) we’re making dinner home more (saves us more money).

Even if our grocery bill went up because we started purchasing more groceries I think we’d still be spending less on food.

I got my Mr. Bento from amazon.com – they sell a variety of different sized bentos and bento accessories like these soy sauce containers.

If you are considering purchasing a bento, blog Just Bento provides a guide to determining the correct bento size for your needs.

If you like food and are looking for a way to save money bentos are a good way to do it if you’re up for the challenge.  I’m learning that bentos aren’t easy.  They require a lot of planning,  creativity and most of all time.  But as far as I’m concerned the rewards are worth it.

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