Because It Mattered

John Green once said that “it hurts because it mattered.”

He’s right. There are things – songs, words, moments, books, etc. – that hit you and hurt. They steal part of your soul and refuse to give it back. But you don’t want it back because that feeling of being stretched is a rush … a painful crackling rush that keeps you wanting to live.


Frozen Melted My Heart: The Remix

OK, now that people have read my blog that is spoiler free, I’ll add my additional thoughts on the cinematic adventure that is Frozen.


  • Did other Frozen viewers understand that Kristoff was an orphan from the opening song? I didn’t catch that and I’m pretty quick when it comes to movies. Yeah, I know, little kiddos (for whom this film was made…) won’t care about this, but as an adult, I was a bit flummoxed by this reveal halfway through the movie.
  • So Elsa… I get it, she can shoot ice from her fingertips, but the movie never really explained why or who this happened. I mean, it’s super cool (pun intended!) that she can do this and her ice palace is SA-WEET, but how did she acquire these powers? Why does she have them and not Anna? I feel like this raises so many questions and leaves so few answers. *sigh*
  • Does it bother anyone else that the movie’s entire plot could have been avoided if Elsa and Anna’s parents had just let the two of them continue to play together? I mean, the “cure” to Elsa’s ice powers is love, right? Elsa and Anna loved each other; they were best friends! I think she was a smart enough kid that she would have caught on pretty quickly how this whole ice power stuff worked if she had been allowed to be with the one person she loved so much – her sister! So, if she were able to be free and feel that love, she would have A) been much happier and B) been able to control her powers. Couldn’t the trolls her clued her parents in on this?

Now, these “flaws” don’t diminish my appreciation for this movie, but they do beg some thought, right?

Also, I just have to get this out there… I called it (“it” being that Hans was a two-faced son of a jackal). I knew that Hans was a no good scoundrel as soon as he started his duet with Anna. I know, I know, I have no proof that I knew this that early, but trust me on this one, I just knew. NO Disney protagonist is able to find true love that quickly and that easily. With Disney, there has to be an obstacle!

  • Beast was a, well, Beast.
  • Aladdin was a street rat.
  • Simba was (supposably) a killer.
  • Eric had legs.
  • John was white.
  • Snow White was a bit dead.
  • Aurora was sleepy/cursed (same thing, right?).

Seriously, this list goes on and on and on. In a Disney movie, there MUST be an obstacle to love. If you didn’t smell a rat when you saw Hans in Frozen, well, good for you… you aren’t a cynic.

Frozen Melted My Heart

Allow me to gush for a moment as “Frozen” may be one of the cutest films I have seen in all of 2013. It’s up there with non-2013 films such as “Tangled” and “Brave.” It’s a delight!

OK, gush-fest over. Now down to business.

“Frozen” … Was it predictable? Yes. Was that OK? Yes. With all the bad in the world today, it is nice every once in a while to sit and enjoy a movie that is cheesy and cliche and just plain fun! It’s also got some great little life lessons – yes, I’m serious. And (don’t worry, I’m not going to give away the ending or anything) but it does have a delightful twist at the end that made me smile and think “ah, way to go Disney.”

The short at the beginning was entertaining, though you instantly forget about it once the movie actually starts and you are transported to another place.

Yes, there are flaws in the storyline and yes, there were pieces to the story that I wish they would have connected in a more complete fashion. BUUUUUUUT, the characters are perfect and lovable and the music is catchy (seriously, I have seen the movie once and one of the tunes is still dancing through my head) and smile-worthy.

It’s a family must-see in my oh-so-humble opinion. If you don’t like it, your heart may or may not be made of stone, just sayin’.

The Enemy’s Gate is Down

Rarely do I say this, but the recent book-to-movie endeavor, “Ender’s Game,” was a home run. When I read Ender’s Game, I was instantly a fan. It was brilliant and engaging, and it was just disturbing enough to make you sit back and rethink your entire life and the depravity of human nature. For all those reasons, I was skeptical about the movie. The first time I saw the trailer, I looked at my husband and said with supreme confidence, “they are going to screw this up.” Yup, I am that jaded to book-to-movie attempts.

Well, I’ll admit it when I’m wrong. I was very wrong.

Here’s why it was so good: Casting and sets.

The casting was awesome; young Asa, though not the age that Ender was in the book (and understandably so) was a star. He conveyed the emotion of Ender without being over the top. Harrison Ford was good enough to make you question up until the end whether you (“you” being those who haven’t read the book) should like his character or not. And then there were the sets. When I read a book, I envision the scene. This movie made the vision in my head….come to life. I’m speaking mostly to the game room; it was perfect!

Here’s the deal, my biggest fear was that the movie wasn’t going to convey the internal thought process of Ender. The book is built on his thoughts and emotions. How do you convey that in a movie? You don’t. This is where so many book-to-movie transitions die a painful and gruesome death. This is where Ender’s Game got it right. They didn’t try to convey all of it, they simply told the story using just enough of it to move the story along. The didn’t force it. They also didn’t try to do things to enhance a story that is fine the way it is. The cinematic treachery that was Prince Caspian is a perfect example of how a movie might do this. Caspian took a perfectly good story and tried to “make it better” and in the process, the creators of the movie took a jagged and bloody knife and slit the throat of this would-be great film. Ender’s Game didn’t do this. Though there are many other books in the series that they could have tried to rob from, they didn’t. The creators told the story in Ender’s Game and didn’t try to whore the film out using other plot twists or climaxes. *Insert standing ovation here*

So, to sum up, Ender’s Game is a home run. Go see it.

Vampire Hugs

If i had to hug a vampire
what would i do?
i would try to do it in sunshine
wouldn’t you?
i’d avoid it and run away and hide all day long
i’d carry garlic and wooden stakes and sing Dracula killing songs
i’d try my hardest to stay far away
because hugging a vampire is dangerous they say
vampires drink blood and they suck you dry
they leave marks and kill you and make you cry
so why, oh why, would I try to give one a hug?
it’s dangerous, it’s crazy – i’m just not that smug
but vampire are beings and what we don’t see
is there bites are their hickeys and bloods is there tea
they don’t mean to kill, they just get carried away
sounds very familiar, wouldn’t you say?
its hard to hug someone that sucks the life out of you
loving them seems like you’re just paying your dues
but loving a vampire just might be
what turns them around and lets them beam
they may stand in the sun
and use their powers for good
maybe they aren’t so misunderstood…
we all have been vampires from time to time
sucking and sucking and breaking the rhyme
so don’t be a vampire draining friends dry
be the one that looks one in the eye
and offers a hand and a hug and a heart
be the one that break their stone heart apart
vampires need hugs, so why wouldn’t we
hug them and love them and welcome them to the “we”

Friends With Benefits Level: Expert

Let’s get really honest for a moment. Deanna Troi and William Riker are the best example of friends with benefits the modern world has ever seen. Need proof? Here you go…

Exhibit A:
I’ll admit that I’m a bit new to the Star Trek family, but I’m catching up quickly. As my husband and I trek through NextGen, I can’t help but laugh at the complete man-whore that is Riker. I really like his character (didn’t at first, but he grew on me), but he will do anything with the right parts. And the best part for Riker? Troi doesn’t seem to mind … AT ALL! She will willingly welcome back her Imzadi without batting an eye.

Exhibit B:
Geez, Riker is one lucky man! He doesn’t even have to keep his man-whore-ness a secret from Troi. SHE KNOWS! She seems him head off to his quarters with other humanoid women, and yet, she seems unfazed. As an empath, that has to be a bit disheartening.

Exhibit C:
The USS Enterprise is charged with seeking out new life and civilizations and all that jazz; maybe Riker feels it is his duty as first officer to make sure that all aliens they meet feel…er, welcomed? Yet, when it’s convenient, Riker and Troi couple as normal couples do.

See? Friends with benefits… like a boss! But hey, the two eventually end up married, so all’s well that ends well? Seriously though, if you can think of a better example of friends with benefits, please share.

Welcome to Day One

I have chalk dust under my nails. I guess that makes me a teacher? To be honest, I don’t know that I believe that yet. I only found out about this gig eight days ago. In that time, I was offered the job, had to turn down the job, the job was changed so that I could teach, and I wrote a syllabus. Now, it is exactly 21 minutes before my first class starts. That’s not enough time for me to work any additional information into my it’s-going-to-be-less-than-three-hours lesson, but it’s too long for me to just sit here in silence. Turn music on shuffle, bring up new word document and write. That seems to be my go-to.

Is there an adjunct professor handbook? I’m sure there is somewhere, but no one gave it to me yet, so I’ll just wing it. Since arriving on campus, I have filled out a plethora of paperwork, taken a nostalgic walk around campus, had a bite to eat at my favorite local eatery, arrived at my classroom far too early to be cool, and I have, in large friendly letters, written “BA/CO 213” on the board (in chalk) so students know that they are in the right place.

What have I not done? I’m so glad you asked… I have not printed out the course syllabus. I wrote it, but I didn’t print it. Why? Because that was one of the many things I forgot to ask the department chair about prior until right now. I also forgot to ask about the wi-fi password. I sincerely hope for my students’ sakes that that is all I forgot. I mean, to be fair, I can send the syllabus  to all of them shortly and they can print it for themselves. I’m saving trees this way! The slackers won’t print it because they don’t care about it and the over achievers will print it right away; they may even print a spare, just in case.

It is now 15 minutes until the start of my class and I have realized what else I forgot. A cup of coffee and/or a bottle of water. I’m sure I’ll regret that even more at about 8pm when we take a much needed break.

While I sit here and process just what the class might hold for me and my students, I’m also wondering what doors may open because of it. I have made it no secret that I would love to be a professor someday. Maybe this is the start of someday? 13 minutes. I expected to be more nervous. I’m not sure why I’m not, but I’m pleased about it. Maybe it is the avalanche of love and support texts and Facebook posts I have received in the last 30 minutes. Seriously, it’s been awesome. Apparently I have told many a friend about my desire to teach because people are coming out of the woodwork and telling me how awesome of a professor I’ll be.

Oh, another fun fact. This return to campus has been a delightful ego boost. Already I have been mistaken for a student twice and a duo of boys playing disc golf told me that they would have played better had I not walked by. Sigh… ah, youth. 10 minutes. It has also been a pleasant boost to my terrible memory. Without missing a beat, I remembered my student ID# and where the classroom was. If you know me pretty well, you know that my longterm memory leaves much to be desired.

8 minutes until… they have arrived.

A Reformed Snob

How a sisterly challenge changed my reading perspective.

I’m a literature snob. I admit it. If it is listed on a banned book list, I’m all over it. If it’s popular fiction, I’ll add it to my reading queue. If it’s a classic, I’ll probably enjoy it. So, how does this make me a snob? I’m a literature snob because I want to read what I want to read when I want to read it; I don’t take personal suggestions.

That all changed, however, when my sister issued a challenge that I couldn’t refuse. Her challenge was simple: I’ll read one of yours if you read one of mine.

A bit of history might be handy right about now, so here you go.

My sister, Vicki, is 2002 graduate of Purdue University with a degree in English. I started out as an English major, then opted to be an English minor, then dropped that possible career path altogether to pursue various degrees in communications (graduating in 2010). Regardless of our degrees, however, we are both avid readers. She usually leans toward 19th century British literature; I generally gravitate toward American literature.

While enjoying dinner a few weeks ago, we began discussing the finer points of our respective genre preferences, but our debate was abruptly stymied by our lack of expertise concerning the other’s preferred genre. I don’t care to be uninformed on a given topic, let alone one that involves literature, so this didn’t settle well with me. My wise sister then laid down the aforementioned challenge and I couldn’t refuse (in general, I lack the ability to turn down a challenge… they are a weakness of mine).

In order to make this a fair trade, we established some ground rules. We would each select works from any genre within our personal libraries for the other to read providing that 1) the other hadn’t read it before, and 2) we were able to intelligently discuss any book that we selected for the other to read.

With the rules in place, we each went home pondering what piece of literature we would select for the other to experience. After perusing my shelves, I selected The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. It has been a favorite of mine since I first read it in high school and I thought for sure Vicki would hate the style of writing (Yes, you read that right, I selected a book I thought she wouldn’t like… I thought it would liven up the exchange!). Vicki selected The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier, a lesser-known work by the author of Rebecca.

Though I attempted to keep an open mind, I was skeptical at best about liking the du Maurier work. It just seemed too stogy for my taste. But, true to my word, I hunkered down that evening and began reading. The first evening, I stayed up way too late and read half the book! The story and the writing fascinated me; it was brilliant! The next day, I texted Vicki to let her know that I was hooked and she informed me that she had finished The Outsiders in one sitting; she loved it!

Upon finishing The Scapegoat a few days later, I realized that my snobbery had been keeping me from enjoying some excellent books. Much to my chagrin, I had to admit that the book swap had been a brilliant idea, one that had truly opened my eyes. It’s as Dr. Seuss says in I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Hmm… I wonder what she will give me to read next.

“There Are Too Many Interesting Women…

…that I have never met because I have been brainwashed.” – Dustin Hoffman, reflecting on his experience with Tootsie.

Dustin Hoffman & Tootsie

This video has left me somewhat emotionless. I’m not sure whether to be saddened by the fact that Dustin is just now realizing this (watch the video to understand what “this” is) or to be thrilled that he finally understands this.

There is another layer to this reality that I won’t try to get to in this post (essentially, how this isn’t just a female issue), but the point in this video clip that hooked me was when asked to be made into a beautiful woman. He knew that this experience was going to be a challenge, but even he understood that being beautiful would make it easier better and even he was struck by a desire need to be attractive beautiful.

How many people are overlooked because they don’t look like we believe they should. How many women have esteem issues (yes, yes, I know it’s called SELF esteem, but that doesn’t make having it any easier) because, try as they might, they don’t look like a model. How many children are written off early in life because they aren’t cute? How many people aren’t heard because the words coming out of their mouths are overshadowed by a physical trait that doesn’t quite cut it?

Sigh… you’re thoughts?

“It looks pretty cool, but I think it’s bad.”

I’m a Will Smith fan; I openly admit that. But my affection for the ageless man that is Will Smith notwithstanding, I wasn’t thrilled by the trailer for After Earth, therefore, I had no desire to see the movie. It wasn’t for lack of a storyline in the clips, but rather for my general dislike for post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic movies. However, through a series of—somewhat unfortunate—events, my friend and I sat through Epic and After Earth at the drive in.

Epic was a kid’s movie at heart with recognizable voices and a cute plot. What made it delightful was how pretty it was. It wasn’t as beautiful as, say, Atonement or Avatar, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a children’s movie and it stayed true to that. It had Cinderella-like predictability, with a dash of Fern Gully thrown in for good measure. Don’t waste good money to see it in theaters, but it wouldn’t be a bad RedBox flick.


Then came After Earth (Click here for a quick synopsis). My summary is this: It should have focused on character development or action, not both, and the trailer lied. Allow to unpack those thoughts in reverse order.

The trailer for this movie (not film, movie) made it seem as though the characters were going to be fighting off all the evil creatures on Earth every moment of every day. They didn’t. In fact, one of the creatures on Earth actually saves Kitai (Jaden Smith)…TWICE! And Cypher Raige (Will Smith), who is stuck in half a crashed plane for the ENTIRE movie, isn’t attacked by bad creatures once, even though his legs are a bloody mess and there are rotting corpses around him that smell tasty, I assume, to the local creatures. Also, there is only one truly terrible creature on Earth, based on the movie, and that creature (Ursa) isn’t even from Earth! It was being transported in the same shuttle that Cypher and Kitai are on. Why was it being transported? Oh, I have no idea… this is one of the several unexplained parts of the story. I won’t even get into all those unanswered questions; it’s too early in the morning for my blood pressure to rise that much.

Sigh… deep breathes…

Okay, moving on. This movie should have been about character development or action, not both. Cypher and Kitai aren’t close  at the beginning of the movie and by the end, Cypher is saluting his son as an equal. So how do we get from Point A to Point B? Why, we throw this father/son due onto a hostile planet and hope for the best, of course. The father has little faith in the son, and the son has a lot to prove. There is also a dead sister and his father’s reputation mixed in there too, but quite honestly, I don’t care enough to explain any more than I already have. See what I mean though? Great fodder for a character-based movie. But instead of allowing this to be the focus, the powers that be tried to add in all sorts of action. Now, character development in this film without action would have sucked, it’s true, but a bit more focus would have been nice. As it was, I was confused as to why I should care (more than the human side of me not wanting a cute kid to die on a hostile planet, of course).

So sum up: This movie is a C+ at best. The fact that I felt tricked into watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie notwithstanding (did YOU see his name mentioned in a trailer?!), the story had a good message. However, that good message was drowned in a sea of unanswered questions and misconceptions.

Oh, and in case you are wondering about the title of this blog, it’s a line from the movie (one of the few clever lines when you see it in context) and I thought it made a very fitting title for this cinematic review.