I Have A New Home

I have a new home!  Well, my blog has a new home. While I do love WordPress.com I decided it was best to actually have my own domain and self-hosted blog (I am still using WordPress).  Thus, starting today, you can find me and my blog at my new home.

Divergent Musings

It is still under construction, but I am really liking it there so far.  I will definitely miss the simplicity of WordPress.com, but I love the customization level of having my own hosted blog.  I will no longer be making any posts here, but do not worry, I am still participating in Post A Week 2011, and I will stop by and comment on others’ posts.

Truth Thursday: Week III

Board games, card games, video games.  I love games of all types.  So this week’s Truth Thursday is all about just that!

MY FIRST VIDEO GAME SYSTEM WAS A SEGA GENESIS

My mother and step-father bought it for the family one Christmas.  It was our “big” present for that year.  For the longest time we only had one game for it, Sonic the Hedgehog 2I think I was maybe nine at the time, my brother was four.  We played that game into the ground.  To this day when I hear the theme music I am filled with warm fuzzy feelings and fond memories of trying to beat my brother.  Even though he was 4 1/2 years younger than me, and only four years old, he was better at the game than me.  And now, at almost 21, he is still better at video games than me, even though I know work in the industry.

I BOUGHT MY COMPUTER FOR COLLEGE SPECIFICALLY SO I COULD PLAY VIDEO GAMES

Though I loved video games when I was younger, primarily console games, I didn’t really play them throughout high school as I was focused on my academics and athletics.  However, during my first year of college I discovered PC games, thanks to my boyfriend suggesting I check out The Sims.  I was instantly hooked.  After that first year, I decided my computer wasn’t quite good enough so I bought a new one that would be powerful enough to play all the games I wanted and gave my old one to my father.  I actually had that computer for the rest of college and a year after I graduated.  I upgraded the video card once or twice, but it was a good little computer that fed my hobby quite well.

MY FAVORITE BOARD GAME IS MONOPOLY

It is not just video games that I love, but board games as well.  Growing up I loved to play Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Clue, Risk, and, of course, Monopoly.  I actually got so competitive with Monopoly that most would refuse to play with me.  Nowadays when asked to play, I warn them that they probably will not enjoy it.  The majority of people end up choosing another game instead because of that.  In the past five years or so I have enjoyed board games such as Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Apples to Apples, Munchkin, and Trivial Pursuit (which I play with my family every Christmas).  I will give any board game, or even card game, a try at least once.

I PLAY MAGIC THE GATHERING

I admit it, I do.  And you know what, I am actually pretty good at it too.  I was first introduced to the game by some cousins when I was 11 or 12.  I played a little in middle school and even high school (though I didn’t tell anybody I did), but it wasn’t until I graduated college that I got really into it.  After a couple years of actively playing and collecting cards, it just got too expensive (especially if you wanted to be competitive), and real life, such as work, became too important.  I will go to a pre-release event every so often, but for now, this hobby is on the back-burner.

MANY OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS I INITIALLY MET AS A RESULT OF VIDEO GAMES

I know a lot of people say that video games can be destructive, but for me, they are the exact opposite.  Through various games and their fandoms I have met some absolutely fantastic people who are now some of my best friends.  They are all over the world, and though we don’t get to hang out every weekend (tickets to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are quite expensive), they mean the absolute world to me.  Additionally, some of my friends that I did have growing up in high school and college are now avid video game players, giving us another thing to do and talk about.

Writing Wednesday: A Perfect Sunday

I am not feeling so well, and thus struggling for inspiration for what I should write about for today’s Writing Wednesday.  Thus, I am going to cheat a bit and grab some inspiration from the site Plinky (which you should check out if you are ever in need of a topic).

What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?


Beach along Highway 1 near Santa Cruz, CA.

The weather has been absolutely fantastic the last couple of weeks.  While the rest of the country has been under snow and freezing temperatures, we have had high 60s/70s and beautiful blue skies, not a spot of rain in the forecast.  This past weekend, despite being sick with a bit of a nasty cold, my boyfriend and I were itching to get out of the house.  It was just too gorgeous out to be cooped up playing video games.  So we hopped in the car and drove.  Soon we landed in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA.  We drove through beautiful countryside, the UCSC campus, and then jumped onto Highway 1 where we stopped at a few beaches.  Just as the sun was setting we landed at Pigeon Point Lighthouse where we watched the sun set over the gorgeous ocean.

A fantastic day with beautiful weather, beautiful views, and my amazing boyfriend.  That is my perfect Sunday.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse on Highway 1.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

TV Tuesday: Ten Badass Female Characters

In the last 15 years of television there have been some seriously kick-butt female characters on TV.  Occasionally they are the main character of the show, but more often than not they either share the lead with a male character, or a supporting role.  Regardless, these women, and these powerful characters are awesome and they deserve credit.  So for this week’s TV Tuesday I bring you my top ten Badass Female Characters, spanning the last 15 years of television (television that I can remember and have watched).  Some of these characters, and thus their shows are now lying in the graveyard, and some still airing.

10. Sue Sylvester - It is hard to find anything lovable about the villain of  the hit series Glee, yet, many of us come back every week to see what kind of terror Sue (played by the amazing Jane Lynch) will wreak on the kids of McKinley High.  Sometimes I want to punch her in the face, but you can’t deny that Sue knows exactly what she wants, and won’t take no for an answer.

9. Debra Morgan - She is awkward, foul-mouthed, and can’t seem to catch a break in the love department, but you can’t deny that Debra (played by Jennifer Carpenter) is a woman on a mission, in the highly popular series Dexter.  Driven to do what is right and just in a world where she is surrounded by death, crime, and a brother that is a serial killer, Debra shows that even a powerful and righteous woman isn’t always completely put-together.  And frankly, that is a breath of fresh air.

8. Lisa Cuddy - An intelligent and beautiful woman who is unafraid to pu t the resident surly genius doctor in his place, all while flaunting the “assets” that God gave her, and running an entire hospital, with absolutely no shame or wavering.  Can I get a hell yes?  Sure Cuddy (played by Lisa Edelstein) has her moments where she too is only human, but she is never unsure of her strength and capabilities.  You may think House is supposed to be all about, well, House, but without Cuddy, House would be nothing but a bumbling mess.

7. Veronica Mars - Veronica (played by the absolutely hilarious Kristen Bell) is a sassy, wise-cracking crime-solver, who isn’t afraid to show her girly side, even though it would just be easier to be a tomboy, in Veronica Mars.  Sure she has issues aplenty (often issues beyond her young years), and her love life can be quite messy, and frankly she trusts very few people (sometimes rightly so).  But despite all this, Veronica is an extremely intelligent gal who uses her talents and skills to help those around her.

6.  Inara Serra – In the 26th century world of Firefly they may be called “Companions”, but we quickly learn that this is just a fancy and kinder word for someone who sells their “services” for money.  But guess what?  Inara does not care and is not ashamed of her profession.  She holds her head high, she embraces the lifestyle, and will not let anyone put her down.  And you know what, good for her.  A fantastic person with love in heart she instantly brightens the mood in any room she is in.

5.  The Halliwell Sisters - Piper, Phoebe, Prue Halliwell, and later Paige (played by Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan) are powerful witches who don’t let any bad guys stand in their way of finding happiness and peace in Charmed (one of the only shows with all female leads to last for eight seasons).  From vanquishing the source of all evil, multiple times, to the death of one of their own, these sister witches have had their fair share of difficult times.  Yet despite years of constant evil and misfortune, they remain close and supportive of each other, and dedicated to ridding the world of bad, while finding balance and happiness.

4. Temperance Brennan – Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel) is not at all what you would expect of a scientist, let alone the best forensic anthropologist in the country.  Stunningly attractive, brutally honest and straightforward, and beyond genius level intelligence, the only problem with Bones is that she is so logical she is unable to comprehend the idea of love.  Though she does not like to be wrong (and rarely ever is), with the help of her partner Booth, Brennan begins to understand that living scientifically and logically is not always the right way.  Meanwhile, she shows that you can be female and get ahead and be the best without having to flaunt your assets.

3. Olivia Benson - Sometimes it is hard to see just how badass Detective Oliva Benson (played by the talented Mariska Hargitay) is when she is compared to her ass-kicking partner Elliot Stabler, in the best of the Law & Orders, Law & Order: SVU.  When they are both present she often plays good-cop to Elliot’s bad-cop, but get her on her own, and that woman will lay down the smack on anyone.  She isn’t afraid to put herself in tough and difficult situations, she can lay you flat on your back in a fight quicker than most men can, yet she has heart and soul and knows how to connect with those others would write off.  Olivia has been through the ringer, never seeming to find and hold onto love or family, yet she does not let that keep her from doing her job, and doing it well.

2. Buffy Summers – No list of awesome female television characters would be complete without that of Buffy Summers (played by the iconic Sarah Michelle Gellar).  Lets face it, Buffy can do everything.  One moment she is an ultra-girly ditzy cheerleader who talks about shoes and nail polish, and the next, she is a serious, butt-kicking, stake-wielding, vampire-slaying, uber-chick.  She faced death daily, actually died twice, killed her evil vampire boyfriend, stopped the world from ending multiple times, and still managed to make her hair look perfect.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed girls all around the world that you can be a girl and be powerful and make a difference, thanks to Buffy Summers and…

1. Willow Rosenberg - On most lists of powerful female characters you find Buffy at the top, and are lucky if Willow is even on there, after all, the show isn’t called Willow.  But for me, Willow Rosenberg (played by the phenomenal Alyson Hannigan) was the reason I enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer as much as I did (well, her and Spike and Giles).  Unlike Buffy, who was given a powerful gift without asking or even earning it, Willow sought out and earned her power.  Going from a mousey girl who would have preferred to disappear into the background with her computers, to a highly intelligent woman and powerful witch, Willow controlled and created her own path.  Sure, she may have had a bit of trouble handling the power at some points, but when one woman could destroy the entire world at a moment’s notice, you can’t help but notice.  Hey, even Buffy couldn’t do that.

——

What female television characters do you love?  Are there any that you hate?

Movie Monday: Easy A (2010)

Movie Title: Easy A
Movie Release Date: September 17, 2010
Primary Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Indie
Plot Summary (via IMDB): “A clean-cut high school student relies on the school’s rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.”

Review: I had some high hopes for this movie, a modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, this time in high school.  I wanted to see it when it was out in theaters, but unfortunately work, and real life, got in my way.  No matter though, it went on my list of movies to see when released on DVD.  After last week’s sobfest of a movie, The Time Traveler’s Wife, I needed a good pick-me-up.  From everything I had heard Easy A promised to have my laughing my butt off.  I enjoyed Emma Stone in Superbad (though her part was short), and she had me laughing all through Zombieland.  This was to be her first feature role, so of course it it was going to be awesome.  Right?

Olive (Emma Stone) is a nobody.  She is an attractive, good student, who dresses conservatively, and keeps to herself.  Then one day, everything changes.  Not wanting to go on a camping trip with her best friend, Rhiannon, and Rhiannon’s crazy parents (California hippies who eat patchouli brownies and smoke pot), Olive says that she has a date, with some college dude.  Who?  Rhiannon doesn’t know him, that’s who.  We know the story, she doesn’t really have a date.  Instead she stays at home singing Pocket Full of Sunshine to her dog, over and over (I still have this song stuck in my head now).  Cue to the next Monday at school, Rhiannon asks how her weekend, and of course her date, went.  Olive, not wanting to hurt her friend’s feelings, lies.  “It was great!”  Next thing you know Rhiannon is accusing Olive of losing her virginity (finally) and commending her for it.  Oh, but wait, of course, someone overhears them.  And of course its the leader of the devout Christian group at school, Marianne (Amanda Bynes).  And of course, as well all know from high school, the “news” spreads rapidly, and soon Olive is branded the class slut.  Oh, but wait, the irony doesn’t end there, Olive is reading The Scarlet Letter in her English class.  Of course.

In a whirlwind of events Olive decides to embrace her new persona, despite it being a giant lie.  She isn’t really a slut, but at least now she is getting noticed.  And isn’t that what we all want in high school?  To be noticed?  In some series of events that make no sense soon Olive becomes the person to go to when guys want to improve their image.  For a Best Buy card, or a gift certificate to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Olive will say that she engaged in naughty activities with you, ranging from a simple butt grab, to straight up sex, thus promoting your social standing.  Events happen, Olive is the class harlot, she wears corset shirts with As on them, the Christian group outrages, Olive sees that lying about being a slut is as bad as being a slut, and stuff goes down.  And oh yes, there is chlamydia.  So did I laugh?

I want to say yes, I really do, but that would be a lie.  There were moments when I chuckled, of course, but they were few.  I spent most of the movie waiting.  Waiting for that one zinger that would have me in stitches.  It never came.  The jokes felt pressed and Emma’s delivery was off.  I want to blame the writers, because Emma has proven that she can be funny, but perhaps she simply wasn’t ready to carry a movie by herself.  The funniest moments in the movie were actually courtesy of the over-the-top ridiculousness of the crazy Christian Marianne, played by the lovely Amanda Bynes (at moments she actually reminded me of Mandy Moore from the movie Saved, which is a fantastic movie).  Additional funny moments came from the always amusing Lisa Kudrow (though I will always see her as Phoebe Buffay), and the dry, yet witty, Thomas Haden Church.  Also, I did enjoy looking at the always adorable Penn Badgley (of my beloved Gossip Girl), but even that was not enough to save the movie, and that end I was left feeling unfulfilled.  The last 45 minutes of the movie, were definitely better than the first 45 (which felt like they moved at a crawl, and almost resulted in my boyfriend bailing on me), but why should I have to slough through 45 minutes of awkwardness, for 45 minutes of slightly above average comedy?

Overall I give this movie a C+ (bordering on a B-).  I may be going against the public here (it is rated at 86% on Rotten Tomatoes), but Easy A is not a movie I would watch again.  While I am glad I did get to view it at least once, it will not join the ranks of high school comedies that I watch over and over (which currently includes Clueless and Superbad).    It has some one-liners that will make you chuckle, and the cast, overall, is quite charming, but it simply falls a bit short and flat of where it should be.  Emma Stone, it was a decent starting point, but I know you have much better in you, so keep at it.

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