Tuesday, November 25, 2008

killing me, repeatedly

In other movie news, Bolt is fantastic. I kind of hate to say awesome, since it's kind of THE word of the movie and I don't like being all played by movie marketing.... but I'm a sucker, and it WAS awesome.

Most people to whom I say, "I saw Bolt last weekend," respond with, "What's Bolt?" So in case that's you, here's the scoop:

Bolt is an animated Disney movie about a dog TV star who thinks he has super powers. He gets separated from his person, Penny, and has to team up with a sardonic cat named Mittens and a crazy hamster named Rhino to get back to her.

It's simple, sure, and a kids movie. But it's SO GOOD. The animation, for one, is beautiful. The characterization of the animals is spot on in the funniest possible way. Rhino in particular was killing me, repeatedly. He speaks, I laugh--it's that simple. The message about keeping and loving your pets is great, and anyone who's ever had a pet will get teary--you can't help it. All the Hollywood TV production stuff is wonderfully tongue-in-cheek. And, with the exception of John Travolta as Bolt and Miley Cyrus as Penny, the voices aren't this huge, distracting cast of A-list actors. This is fantastic, because you don't spend the whole movie trying to place the voice or name the actor--you just enjoy the story.

So, this Thanksgiving weekend, if you want to escape the Black Friday madness or just need an activity to enjoy with the whole family, I highly recommend checking out Bolt. We went with our staff, and all 7 of us enjoyed it. I can only imagine how much kids would like it.

Let it begin!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I am not 14 years old

Twilight movie review: spoilers abound, proceed with caution!

I saw the movie last night, and when it was over one of my friends said, "Don't let anyone make you feel bad for liking it." But what if I feel bad because.... I didn't like it as much as I feel like I should have?

What was good:
  • Everyone in the cast who WASN'T Edward & Bella. Charlie was AWESOME, all the high school kids were great, Jessica was a surprise treat, and Jacob was darling. The Cullens were mostly okay, except that Emmett's sideways hat was stupid and Jasper looked like a Fraggle.
  • All the scenes with high school kids interacting like normal high school kids. These were fun and well done and provided great normal contrast to the whole vampire thing.
  • Sweeping shots of the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. Amazing.
  • Scenes with Bella & Charlie. Again, I thought Charlie was the best. I loved how when he showed her around her room and pointed out, "This is a good work lamp." Just exactly like a dad would do.
  • Vampire baseball. And Alice pointing her toes when she pitches.
  • The fight at the end--particularly how Alice, well. I don't need to spoil everything, but she's awesome.
  • Edward popping the dent out of Bella's truck--that was my favorite Edward & Bella scene, which should tell you something.
What was unintentionally hilarious:
  • Carlisle Cullen/Peter Facinelli in BAD vampire makeup strolling through the hospital door like it's his first scene of Can't Hardly Wait: "Huntington Hills, kiss my ass!"
  • Way-too-skinny Angela saying, "I'm taking control of my life!" and my friend Molly leaning over and whispering, "Girl needs to take control of a cheeseburger."
  • Bella Googling "cold ones" and Mac whispering, "Like that wouldn't bring up 'Beer'." And then the phrase "The Immortal Drink" floating past us on the screen.
  • Edward reacting to Bella's scent in biology for the first time.
  • Edward and Billy staring at each other from their cars.
  • Edward's sparkly skin. Honestly, he just looked sweaty. Hopefully we get a bigger special effects budget for the next one so the whole skin thing looks a little less stupid.
What was bad:
  • The screenplay: the narration and all the Edward/Bella dialog in particular. I mean, it's way cheesy in the book, but I thought they were going to make this better? If they thought they did: FAIL.
  • Robert Pattinson's "acting."
  • Kristen Stewart's "acting."
And this is just a note to the young actors of the world everywhere, because I've been noticing this a lot lately: Contorting your face into different variations of "Confused," is not the same as acting. Making weird faces and staring only makes you look weird and stare-y, not intense. And, for the love of God, can we stop moving and sighing and twitching and looking about and doing all kinds of other things with our faces that are NOT acting, are ONLY distracting. Let's try being in the scene, making some choices, and sticking with them, shall we?

My two biggest problems with the movie:
  • This was not a good movie; it was a faithful adaptation. There's a huge difference. It was painfully clear to me while I was watching that they were so focused on making fans of the book happy, that they forgot to make a good movie. So, you know, some stuff was good and fun for me, because I like the book and they put that on screen for me. But other stuff was just an uncreative, verbatim lift off the page that didn't translate to the screen at all, so it fell flat.
  • My biggest problem with the movie, though, was this: I liked Twilight, and the rest of the series, because while the vampire stuff is fun, it's the whole First Big Important Love story that's really thrilling. First love is THRILLING. Or at least it's supposed to be. It felt that way in the book. In the movie, all the Edward & Bella scenes were drawn out with so many Dramatic! Pauses! Neither of them EVER looked happy to be in each other's company, like, don't they enjoy each other ever? I know there's a whole primal attraction vs Danger! thing going on, but in the book it seemed like they enjoyed and liked each other more. I can't claim credit for this description because I read it somewhere last week, but it's apt--basically, Robert & Kristen just made me feel like they were engaged in a 90-minue-long Intense-Off.

So....not horrible, but disappointing. I'll watch it again on DVD, and I'll check out New Moon for sure (I never thought I'd be on Team Jacob, but for the movies, yeah. For starters, he's WAY CUTER). But overall, it was uneven and fell way short of its potential.

Then again, I am not 14 years old. I'll ask my niece what she thought of it, I bet her opinion is way different.

Friday, November 21, 2008

YOUR Twilight soundtrack

Like many of my friends, I am totally SQUEEEE! over Twilight and read all 4 books and already have my tickets for the movie, etc etc I'm a dork. The movie soundtrack was released a couple weeks ago and I looked it over and was like, what? No.* These are not the Twilight soundtrack songs.

So I made my own soundtrack**:

  1. Something Bigger, Something Brighter - Pretty Girls Make Graves
  2. Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage
  3. Creep (acoustic) - Radiohead
  4. Disarm - Smashing Pumpkins
  5. You Look Like Rain - Morphine
  6. Ageless Beauty - Stars
  7. Waiting For The Night - Depeche Mode
  8. In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
  9. Take My Hand - Dido
  10. Tacoma Trailer - Leonard Cohen
  11. Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
  12. Together - The Raconteurs
  13. Save A Prayer - Eve's Plum
  14. The Horror Of Our Love - Ludo
  15. Blood - Pearl Jam
  16. The Promise - When In Rome
  17. This Modern Love - Bloc Party
If you want I can walk you through my liner notes, but most song choices are fairly obvious, including the fact that my version of the soundtrack is way heavy on bands and songs I liked in jr high and high school and loving boys for the first time, since that is the feeling these books bring back for me. (How Bella feels about Edward = How I feel about "Never Tear You Apart" and that dreamy senior I crushed on.) I also tossed in a heavy dose of songs that remind me of my time in Seattle and the PNW, for obvious reasons.

Now, my fellow Twilight fans, here is the question: What would you put on YOUR Twilight soundtrack??

*I know, I sound like every other hyper-critical Twilight fan out there. "That isn't how I would have done it. That's not who I would have cast. I don't know why they had to change that part of the book." etc etc etc. What can I say? I am a fangirl.

**I also have songs picked out for New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn that I will post later. Cause I'm a nerd and they're awesome.

Friday, November 07, 2008

my friend Tony

We now return you to your regular programming. With that in mind, I bring you Incarceration Cafe, a show still in production and looking for a home on TV. It's a reality/competition show about my friend Tony, an ex-con-turned-chef, who's looking to bring hope and the opportunity to change to incarcerated men looking to better themselves. They compete for a chance to cook at his restaurant after their time is served. It might sound weird or scary, and it's certainly no So You Think You Can Dance, but after just 7 minutes of footage I am totally sucked in.

Note before watching: contains a couple of f-bombs. It's more ready for HBO than network at this point.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Can.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
~President-Elect Barack Obama
Grant Park, Chicago, IL
November 4, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I am voting today.

I am so excited to vote today! Election Day is one of my favorite days to be an American, and I'm more thrilled about that in this election than any other.

I am voting today because of all the people before me who fought so hard, for YEARS, for this privilege, and it should not be wasted.

I am voting today because even though it's just one vote, basic math suggests that when you add up a bunch of ones, you get many. Enough to make a difference. My one vote makes a difference.

I am voting today because there are propositions on my state's ballot that will determine the fates of couples in love, teenage girls in trouble, and animals in pain.

I am voting today because a national religious majority should not be able to change my state's constitution.

I am voting today because I want a say in who we hire to run our country.

I am voting today because I literally have nothing better to do than stand in a long line and wait my turn, just so I can fill out a ballot.

I am voting today because I know I enjoy a lot of freedom in this country, and it is both my privilege and my responsibility to protect and nurture that freedom--not just for me, but for every American.

I am voting today because I genuinely love the United States of America, and I've never been more proud to be an American.

I am voting today because our country is not perfect. But we are a country that was born out of ideas instead of a monarchy. And democracy, and voting, well. That's just about the best idea our founders ever had. So in honor of the idea that we should all have a say, and in honor of everyone who fought to make sure that all means ALL, and to make a difference in my state and my country, and to nurture the freedom I enjoy so much,

I am voting today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

open for business

Okay, so I know it's the night before Election Day and also I have, like, sooo much work to do and hiring and stress and shmeh whatever. But. I was watching Gossip Girl tonight, and while I love the show and the fact that it gives me a reason to bond with teen girls everywhere, hearing the young 15-year-old girl on the show say, "I need Bacardi and a boy: this body is open for business," and knowing impressionable teen girls everywhere just watched her say that, really bums me out.

"This body is open for business." I mean...... ? The girls watching this show know that's not cool, right?



Hiring sucks.

I mean, looking for a job sucks, but I gotta tell all y'all who may be job hunting--it's no picnic on this side either.

I know who I want to hire as my President of this country (tomorrow woooo!). Hiring our latest Account Coordinator was the easiest thing in the world. Hiring this Account Executive we've been looking for for the last.... forever. That's been a different story.

I don't want to get into it too much because this is a public blog and who knows who reads it (she said, waving hello to her clients, employees and press contacts). So let's just say this.

The hiring process is like dating. I've actually been saying this so much lately I'm kind of surprised I haven't blogged it yet. Here's how it goes:

If you're hiring a replacement position then it's like starting post-breakup. Even if things ended on the best of terms, there's still a little sting of rejection there, it still kind of sucks. Plus, no matter how much you'd like to just take a break from dating and just hang out with your girlfriends and drink tequila/watch bad movies/go dancing/eat cheese and ignore all those losers for awhile, you can't. You have to get out there and date some more.

So you post your job, or your online dating profile/Myspace/Facebook page. And then you deal with all the losers trolling for tail.
Them: "Hey gorgeous, let me tell you all about why you'd be into me."
You: Um, okay. Would you care to start with why you're into me first, since you contacted me and presumably you'd like to go on a date?
Them: "No babe, but I lease a Mercedes and can bench 200."

UGH. Then, let's suppose in all that pile, you come across someone with potential.

"Hi, I think you're beautiful and amazing and would love the opportunity to take you out. I'm reasonably attractive, have a proper job, shower regularly, and can demonstrate a decent sense of humor in email format."

So you go on a date. Maybe it goes well, maybe it doesn't. Maybe you go on dates with multiple people, and some go well and some go really really well.

Here's where the similarity between hiring and dating ends: When you're dating, if a date goes well, then you..... go on another date. Or maybe it goes really really well and it goes back to your place. (Bow chicka wow wow!)

When you're hiring, however, if the first date goes well then you just skip ahead to moving in together. (Insert lesbian/U-haul dating joke here.)

It's just so frustrating and exhausting and after what has been a particularly difficult hiring process, it's just really hard to us trust someone enough to have them move in again. What if it turns out he can't communicate his feelings and you're feeling insecure all the time? What if he can't get along withe the rest of your family? What if he leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor and dishes in the sink and expects someone else to clean up after him? What if he can't get it up? What if he cheats on you? I mean, you would try & date someone long enough to find the answers to these questions before moving in together, wouldn't you?

But when you hire, you just have to make the leap of faith that a person knows what the CC line is for, that he'll respect and get along with your staff, that he'll pull his own weight, that he can keep up with the volume and speed of the job, and that he won't share your press list with the competition. You just have to go for it.

I feel like we've been interviewing/dating our US presidential candidates for close to 2 years, so we know them reasonably well enough to make a decision tomorrow. I've known the Account Coordinator we just hired for 3 years and couldn't be more thrilled to have him on the team.

I wish I could know just the right answer to this conundrum or have a better conclusion for all this, but I don't. It's just a leap of faith, and it's nerve-wracking, and I'll be really really glad when the whole hiring process is over and we have someone in place. Assuming, of course, we make the right choice.

For those of you on the other side of this, those of you job hunting, here's all I would say:
  1. Write a good cover letter and include WHY you want that particular job in your letter BEFORE you talk about yourself. Also, keep it short--no one has time to read a long list of bullets about how awesome you are, and it comes across as conceited besides.
  2. Proofread your shit, and use spell check. I can forgive typos if everything else on a resume is good, but if you didn't even take 2 seconds to click spell check, you're outta there.
  3. READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION BEFORE YOU APPLY. Oh, my God, if I get one more sales person applying for our publicist job, I'm going to lose my ever-loving mind. Using my dating analogy, this is as basic as having a dude send you his profile even if your profile clearly stated you were only interested in women.
  4. Come prepared to your interview. Look the part. Be neat, be yourself, be sincere.
  5. Send a thank you email/card, and feel free to state again, some more, that you really want the job, and why. Most people will send a thank you, but almost no one takes that extra step, ever, so it will really set you apart.
  6. I've got all kinds of other advice here, so just click that and don't screw it up.
That's it. I'm done. Hopefully we'll have someone hired soon and I can quit dating and all these shenanigans. Call me old & lame, but I am seriously just ready to spend some Saturday nights on the couch in my sweats with no makeup on watching Buffy. You know?