Friday, July 28, 2006


work... this week we're trying to make a list of everything we need to make our (seriously theoretical, because we all know it's not going to work) super-duper magical groundwater desalination trailer. it's frustrating, because there's really no way it's going to work because the amount of dissolved solids in the water is just too high. basically we're going to build something, plug it in, say, "look, it doesn't work" and then redesign it. it would be a lot nicer if the powers that be would just believe us and give us the funding to do it right the first time.

ryan keeps saying, "and this is where we all go to diagon alley and buy our magic wands and say our magic words!" it burns to admit it, but he's right. this is pretty dumb.

it's also just hard to find the prices for everything. i've found that the more expensive or important the part, the less likely you are to find the price online. you usually have to call, send an email to, and receive a fax from whatever company you're interested in. that's if you can find the product in the first place! i'm more or less in charge of plumbing, and i'm really having trouble finding a suitable pump.

now i can appreciate the guy that must look up all the prices for those mastercard commercials.

no, it's not that bad. i'm very thankful for my job, i know it's a good one. it's just a bit tiresome. and i'm thankful that i can have money, too. so i can buy things. like my new rainbow brite pj pants! woo! i'm so old school, you wouldn't even believe it. and i know exactly how much they cost.

rainbow brite pj pants: $5.47
funny socks: $3.00
chevy-gmc truck t-shirt that you stole from your sister, who stole it from your mom: um, free. sneaky skills needed.

having awesome pjs: well.... $8.47. sneaky skills not included.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

the extremely un-joyful life of the average movie critic

work is a little slow today. hooray, internet to the rescue! i looked up other movie reviews on lady in the water. i mentioned that i read one already, but i remembered a site that my friends always bug me about that i've never really cared to visit, lady in the water was right there on the homepage! i clicked the "reviews" button and looked through about 40 articles.

wow. people really hated this movie! the first review i read was kind in comparison.

almost every quote from the articles listed said things about how slow and tedious and self-worshipping and ridiculous the movie was. they attacked everything from holes in the plot (i mean come on, the story is about like an ocean girl and a dog thing and evil tree monkeys and an eagle... of course it's not probable) to the lines themselves. one person said shyamalan needs a new writer. i don't know if this critic knew that shyamalan IS his own writer, but either way, i thought the lines were very good, and duh you have to sort of press your "i believe" button about the plot, but don't you have to do that for all m. night shyamalan films?

the more i think about this, the more i think that if shyamalan was shamelessly attacking movie critics, he's completely justified in doing so.

the whole point of the film is that sometimes stuff is bizarre and silly and "has huge plot holes," but that you can believe anyway. you want to believe. isn't that the point of all his movies? believe in things you can't see? believe that the kid really can see dead people or that you could be a superhero or the kids might be right about the alien invasion?

is it cool to not like movies or something? do critics think they can only be credible if they pick out all the bad parts? just what the heck are they waiting for, anyway? are they looking for a movie that is totally flawless on every level that appeals to all audiences? no wonder they are cranky.

if you're thinking i'm being a hypocrite, well, maybe i am. my friends tell me that i'm more critical of movies than most people out there. usually it's because i just don't care about the characters. i didn't care about riddik very much, and i REALLY didn't care about whoever tom cruise was playing in that self-pitying samurai movie.

i'm thinking i shouldn't do that anymore. movies are meant for entertainment, not for someone to pick apart the logical gaps in the story or to think nasty thoughts about the director. i don't want to get to the point that i can't enjoy any movie, no matter how great it actually is, because i'm so focused on the parts that i didn't like. i really think everyone could benefit from just going to a movie for the sake of having fun. do critics attack children's movies? does anyone say, "oh yeah right, a talking fish! this is stupid!" i tend to think they don't. because kids aren't so picky. maybe we should go into every movie with the same expectations we have when going to see a movie for little kids.

i am so glad i didn't know anything about lady in the water before i saw it in the theater. i think i may be the only person in the world who actually enjoyed it because of that.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

lady in the water (no spoilers)

what can i say about m. night shyamalan? those of you who know me well know that i absolutely love his films. i think he's brilliant. inspired. genius. unbreakable has got to be the best movie ever, i'm sure of it... unless it's the village or signs.

every time another of his movies comes out, i become very nervous, because i want so badly for it to be as good as all the others, and i know he's probably the most pressured director in hollywood because everyone expects his films to be nothing short of fantastic, and over and over i want him to prove his fans right and his critics wrong. i'm sure it's not even close to the stress he feels before a film is released, but his movies are very important to me and i want him to do well.

lady in the water certainly did not let me down.

hooray! he rocks.

you know what? i don't care what people say about m. night shyamalan! he's awesome! i hear people saying that he's losing his touch and that he's running out of ideas, or more recently in a review i just read on lady in the water, that he's a petty egocentric narcissist whose on-screen characters are thinly-veiled blows at harsh critics (more about that later), but let me tell you something about the movie i just watched:

the last several moments of the film are very quiet. as the credits started rolling, the entire audience let out a collective breath that nobody realized they were holding! this wasn't the typical rise in noise at the end of a movie. you could have heard a pin drop in there. you could have heard an ant farting. but of course he wouldn't have, because he was so wrapped up in the REALLY GOOD FILM that had everyone's RAPTUROUS ATTENTION!!!

i'm not a filmmaker myself, but if i was, i daresay that the moment when no person in the theater dares to breathe because the awesomeness of my work is so overwhelming would be one of those things that i would live for, you know? i mean, how many films do that? come on.

and now i will talk about what the critic said. there's still no spoilers, but if you want to know absolutely nothing about this film, like i did, you should stop reading here.

let's face it, movie critics as a group have not been kind to mr. shyamalan. this film happens to have a movie critic as one of it's many characters. connection? maybe. maybe not. i personally think that by making this character something of an overly-critical arrogant jerk, shyamalan was telling all of us to lighten up. going to a movie can sometimes just be going to a movie. maybe you don't always have to try and figure out the plot. maybe some characters will surprise you. maybe you should just leave your expectations at the door and see where the film takes you.

... which is exactly why i didn't want to watch any previews or read anything about this movie before i watched it. i'm glad i did that.

and the fact that he gave the critic character the line, "there is no originality left in this world. that's a fact that makes me very sad," is profound. not that it's coming from the mouth of a movie critic, but that the line was written by m. night shyamalan. no originality indeed.

and you know what? so what if shyamalan was portraying critics in a bad light on purpose? who cares if an artist addresses his critics and the issues of his life through his work? the beatles did it, why not m. night shyamalan? good for him. smug, overconfident movie critics, thinking they should be untouchable. ha.

shyamalan of course always has his inevitable cameo, but in this film his role is much more important than in his others, in which you might, say, catch his reflection in the medicine cabinet door or something. of course now the critics say that he can't help but put himself right into the middle of all the important action and that he's not much of an actor. whatever. true, the fact that he showed up on the screen distracted me a little from the plot, but he did a good job in his role, and he freakin' wrote the character, so who's to say he didn't understand it well enough to play the part?

i really loved this film. one thing i loved was the range of bizarre characters that shyamalan wrote to fill the apartment complex where the story is based. the asian mother who didn't speak english. the hispanic daughters who only spoke spanish. the man who solved crossword puzzles while his kid ate cereal and chatted to him about captain crunch. i love characters that seem real, that aren't outrageously glamorous, people that you can imagine actually had a life before the movie started and that have relatives off-screen and apartments of their own and things they do while the other characters are doing something important to the plot. none of this rosencrantz and guildenstern sitting offstage, wandering around with nothing to do because no one wrote lines for them to say. shyamalan always seems to create characters that might actually be alive somewhere. a character that has asthma. or that stutters. or is uneducated. or shy. or that does laundry, for crying out loud.

i think that might be what's so great about his movies. they involve realistic, everyday people. this story could happen to you.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

where's my brother?

well, andy is gone after five straight days of hanging out with me, and i have all my food and drinks and time to myself, and i only have to clean up after myself, and i only have to entertain myself, and i can do whatever i want.

this sucks. i want to go home.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

the theory of many mouths

a good theory with a boring beginning. bear with me.

unlike many unfortunates who suffer from the inevitable "freshman fifteen," i actually lost weight when i came to college. i couldn't really figure that out, but i did notice that i always ate more when i went home to my family for the weekend. i figured it was some psychological change of location thing, and that i ate more at home because that's what i was used to. now i have a new theory: the theory of many mouths.

so my little twelve-year-old brother andy somehow got it into his head that socorro must be more exciting than las cruces (even though socorro is minus the dogs, the x-box, and all his friends) and came up to visit me for about a week. even though my dad sent him with a load of snacks, the kid's eating habits are something like a plague of rabid locusts. we've had to go for several food runs already. at the store i suffered from yet another impulse buy... you know those circus cookies? the pink and white yogurt-covered animal crackers with the crazy sprinkles? the control they have over me is alarming. a big bag like that would normally last me a week, but i made the mistake of opening it with andy and scott while we watched a movie.

they aren't nearly as conservative as i when it comes to sprinkley snacks. they just eat... and eat... and eat! and i had to keep up with them, because if i didn't, i wouldn't have any pink hippos or white elephants for myself. i was forced to eat faster just so i could actually eat. the same was true for the gatorade, the cheez-its, the ice cream, the toaster strudels, everything! if i didn't start eating the food as soon as i bought it, i'd suddenly find that it was gone without a trace.

hence my theory: when a person is around several other people, he or she will tend to eat greater quantities at a quicker pace than if the person is alone, due to the fact that said person will otherwise miss out on eating all together.

aha! so that's why i always eat more when i'm around my family. maybe it's some sort of animal survival instinct.

so yes, my snack supply (and my everything supply for that matter... paper towels, toothpaste, dishsoap, you name it) is quickly shrinking, but i'm really glad andy is here. he still looks a bit bewildered when i tell him "no, i'm not kidding, there's really nothing to do," but... for example, last night he and another younger boy i know had a dance-off. (i know, right?) just when the other kid hit him with "the worm" and it looked like the competition was over, andy busted out with "the inch-worm." well, you can imagine what that looked like. we fell all over ourselves laughing, and everyone, including the other kid, declared andy the winner. he cracks me up.

turns out he's pretty good at jumping through the hoop, too.

Monday, July 10, 2006

radius of the loop

so i wasn't exactly planning on being in las cruces this weekend. on saturday i got an email from my old church friend, maggie, telling me that she was in charge of cassie's bachelorette party and that i HAD to come. this really floored me, because while cassie was one of my best friends four years ago, i haven't heard from her in a while and i had no idea that she was even engaged, let alone getting married in a week. sure enough, when my dad came up to watch the ringo concert with me, he brought me an invitation to cassie and cory's wedding. who's cory? i hadn't even met this guy!

of course i made the trip, and thursday night i found myself at cassie's house for a racy girlie party, along with several of our old friends from church and a lot of cassie's aunts. okay, the aunts were freaky enough, since most of them are ladies i've known from church since i was a little kid and they were all getting tipsy and talking about "sex! hee hee hee hee hee hee!" and insisting that i call them by their first names. talk about weird flashbacks to childhood.

it didn't help that maggie had made us all t-shirts and had written "i'm the smart one" across the front of mine. so all the tipsy ladies kept saying, "COME ON, you're the SMART one! say something smart! you go to a tech school! IS THAT WHY YOU HAVE GLASSES?" no pressure or anything. i think i'd much rather have a shirt that says, "i'm the dumb one," so i can impress people instead of letting them down every time i ask a question.

then there were the friends. maggie, thankfully, is the same. it helps that i've kept up with her a bit. mo is engaged to another guy i don't know and is getting hitched in september. cassie had two days to go until her big day. sharon, cassie's little sister, is quite pregnant and apparently engaged also, which i wasn't prepared for at all since she and my sister are the same age. speaking of which, liz, maggie's little sister, is tall and gorgeous and dating ben, another little church kid that's even younger than her! all i could think about him was that he used to throw ice cubes at me at aggie games, little brat. but katrina took the out-of-touch gold medal. she is not only married with a kid, but actually had the kid in tow and was answering all the ladies' questions about how long he sleeps and if he smiles yet. yikes.

weird, weird, weird! i had no idea that 150 miles would put me so far out of the loop. and of course no one has really heard from me either, so everyone's favorite question was, "so holly, is there anyone special in your life?" (insert alcohol-induced eyelash flutter). i dodged that question like a question-dodgeball pro. lying ex-boyfriend/sneaky roommate romances are bitter and uncomfortable and are not meant for bridal parties.

on to the wedding. i went with my sister (thank god). we loved cassie's choice of dj and totally awesome dress (think beauty and the beast, only white), decided that we heartily approve of cory, and joked about flirting with the caterers. tracy was quite taken with the long-haired salad-server. the salad wasn't bad either, so there was absolutely no reason not to go back for seconds. we sat with liz and ben, and, well... were more or less ignored by everyone else. people i grew up with. it stung. trace and i were determined to have fun, however, so we danced with each other and each forced a dance on liz's little brother and made fun of the country songs... and we had fun.

but it wasn't a great feeling, being snubbed by my old buds. i get that enough from my old high school crowd, but i thought i was a lot tighter with the old church crowd. as the evening wore on trace and i were sending more and more longing looks over to the "crowd table," where liz and ben had eventually ended up, chatting with isaac, jordon, fuzz, joshie, grace, you know... everyone. now, cassie the bride and maggie the maid of honor are both off the hook here considering the circumstances, but i watched mo and lonnie and jos circle the crowd and mingle and walk right past. a lot. at one point, tracy and i wondered out loud exactly which of our shared qualities makes us so un-fun.

i thought ahead to mo's upcoming wedding. would i even be invited? would the church crowd get together and decide to take a picture of "the old youth group at mo's wedding" and forget about me? would i watch from the side or rush over to take a picture of my old friends with my own camera? it was seriously depressing. i thought again about how different they all were and how out-of-touch we had become.

and then i had a little revelation that really should have crossed my mind earlier. i was the one out of touch, not them. apparently the proverbial "loop" that people talk about doesn't reach all the way to socorro. when i went away for school i knew i would be lonely for a while and that i'd have to work hard to make new friends, but it never occurred to me that i'd lose the old ones. i didn't mind losing some school "friends", i'd counted on it in fact, but not my church friends. i never dreamed we'd be so distant.

about that time lonnie came and asked me to dance, which made me feel a lot better. i didn't even dodge his inevitable Question and gave him the reader's digest version of the sob story, and he yelled, "what an @$$hole!!!" i love when people do that. but soon after that we were cheering for a departing bride and groom and the night was over and tracy and i went home, finally giving our unpopularity the bemoaning it deserved.

i'm out of the loop. it just doesn't reach 150 miles. i've made good friends and bad friends here in socorro, and i'm glad i came, but apparently i've lost some friends, too. good ones. and really, it's my fault. i was the one who moved away to a tech school for college instead of going to NMSU like everybody else.

it's funny, the other girls at the bachelorette party had several things written on their shirts, most of them dealing with their position in the wedding or interesting relationship status. i had "i'm the smart one." and that's it. because that's what i am now. the smart girl who left.

short things

i figure i need to get a few things out of the way before i really dive into what went on this weekend.... and, um, last weekend. wow, it's been a while. sorry. how boring of me.

i got a little letter in the mail congratulation me on passing! hooray! my dad said, "ALRIGHT!" and high fived me. my grandfather said something vague about the government mail system, which was surely a clue of some kind that i was supposed to figure out, which may have been his own version of the test. um, hello grandpa, i passed! everyone else said something along the lines of, "oh good! what's the FE?" and i would roll my eyes and say, "the Fundamentals of Engineering exam? the one i was studying for for, oh, two and a half months? remember when i was all stressed out?" and whoever it was would say vaguely, "riiiiight," and change the subject. eventually i stopped mentioning it. oh well. i guess it's one of those nerd-world things that i should trust to my socorro buddies.

2. pirates of the caribbean (no spoilers.. well, not any big ones anyway)
since my brother and sister are all about the midnight premieres, i went with them to watch the new pirates sequel thursday night. i sat in the middle, so i got to whisper with my brother about the music and bad preliminary jokes and interesting special effects, and on the other side i still had my sis to discuss how hot ex-commodore norrington turned out to be and make several very immature (but fun) comments about keira knightly's boobs. yay! but anyway- it's good, once you get past the first forty-five minutes or so of the repeats of all the good jokes from the first movie. there was, "why is the rum gone?" and "captain jack sparrow" and "this is the day you will always blah blah blah," and you know, the dog with the keys and stuff, but after that it was all pretty fun.

3. fourth of july
i may be the only person in the world who associates independence day with burritos instead of barbecue, but that's me! i made burritos, scott bought gatorade and ice cream, and we and half the population of socorro and the neighboring towns went to the tech golf course to watch EMRTC's fireworks display, which is supposed to be super awesome, since they're "explosion experts" or something. but you know, the fouth of july always reminds me of the absolutely unbeatable disney fireworks, and what with my recent visit to disneyworld, i wasn't easily impressed. the tech fireworks just made me want to watch the sandlot. so i went to wal mart and bought it. hee.

4. I. SAW. RINGO!!!!!!!!!!11111oneoneonetwothree
i thought about just copy-pasting "i love ringo" a hundred times, but that would just be annoying. and immature. and who would read it all hundred times? no one. so, even though the little girl in me is pouting, i'm not going to do that. i am going to give last sunday's concert it's full-length blog post, however. this is just to let you know that I SAW RINGO and that a full report is coming, when i can finally give it justice.

oh no! the little girl in me is throwing a tantrum! she's SO SPOILED! and unfortunately the grown woman in me is weak-willed and doesn't have time for this right now so she giving in. yay!

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