Sunday, May 31, 2009


I'm not quite sure what our animated movie kick is about, but we saw another over the weekend and this one is by far the best film I've seen in a while. All I knew about the movie was that it involves an old man and a lot of balloons and I think this is a good level of information to have going into it. I don't want to risk giving away anything for those of you who've yet to see it; suffice it to say the story is tight, it appeals to an adult audience as well as children by integrating relevant themes for both demographics, and the writing is smart. As with Coraline, this movie has a 3-D version available at some theatres. As with Coraline, we ended up seeing the non-3-D version, which I consider astounding considering my childhood fascination with 3-D media...

Solid A bordering on the ever rare A+

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this film.  In my opinion, it had several good things going for it:
1.  A secret passage is central to the storyline.
2.  Unlike the majority of children's movies (think The Lion King, The Little Mermaid,  Beauty and the Beast, even Wall-E) this one avoided the ever cliche love story.  I don't care how many different ways Disney can package and sell it, there's just something awkward about a children's movie that revolves around a love story.
3.  Although I didn't see it in 3D the movie has a 3D version that was apparently wildly successful at the box office.
4.  The protagonist is a young girl who successfully channels Dora the Explorer and Punky Brewster.
5.  It is absolutely beautiful to watch.

Despite my warm and fuzzy feelings for the flick, several things still managed to bug me a bit:
1.  The movie clearly stole stuff from Alice in Wonderland - including the psychedelic cat - without ever acknowledging the theft.
2.  I found some of Coraline's dialogue to be a bit unnatural (granted she is a walking clay model, but still, a girl has got to have her standards).
3.  Buttons for eyes are scary. Period.
4.  There is a very awkward scene in which two over weight female characters are shown performing in nothing but their underwear.  The breasts of these characters are bizarrely grotesque and it just seemed... weird... or something...
5.  I know I should match my 5 pros with 5 cons but, to be honest, it would be a stretch for me to come up with any further critiques.

Long story short - it's sure to please - A -

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Impedance Test

Last Thursday I had a catheter put in to measure non-acid reflux.  This procedure is called an "impedance test"and it is not fun.  The first step of the procedure involves having a rather large tube pushed through your nose, down your esophagus, and into your stomach.  You feel simultaneously like you are going to vomit and choke to death.  When the nurse first started working the catheter through my nose I jumped off the bed, started dry heaving, and pulled the catheter out.  She looked mildly annoyed and said we'd have to try again.  After much gagging and resistance on my part the catheter was in.  I couldn't really talk and it hurt like hell to swallow.  The nurse had me take sips of water while she monitored the flow of liquid into my stomach from a computer.  After that, she took out the large catheter and inserted the small catheter pictured here via the method describe above.  The method met with the same reactions from me (namely dry heaving and cursing).  I had wore the catheter for 24 hours and then had it removed.  I carried a little monitor that received information transmitted from the catheter and they had me document the time at which I ate and/or had symptoms.  Of course this happened to be the only 24 hours in months that I've not had nausea.  We haven't received the results yet, but I don't know if I have it in me to swallow the catheter through my nose again...  After the procedure I told Mat that I thought the nurse was a sadist.  He said he didn't know what I was talking about and that she seemed very patient.  It seems that having a catheter shoved down your throat through your nose changes your perspective of people;)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yoga for IAR

Every month my yoga studio donates all of the proceeds from one class on Sunday to a specific charity.  In June, the Independent Animal Rescue (IAR) will be the featured charity.  I'll be teaching the first class on Sunday, June 7th. from 2:45 to 3:45 pm.  Classes are by donation and open to the public.  If you can't make it out on the 7th, come by on any Sunday in June for the 2:45 class and help support IAR!

I Know This Much is True

I recently finished Wally Lamb's "I know this much is true".  I have been avoiding it for years having been less than impressed with his first book, "She's come undone".  I'm happy to report that Lamb's latest is brilliant.  The first chapter introduces you to the narrator's schizophrenic twin brother.  As a student of clinical psychology I cringed to think of how the author would dramatize, exaggerate, underestimate, and unrealistically portray the reality of schizophrenia.  To my surprise, Lamb did his research and provided a clinically accurate portrayal of the disease and the deleterious effects it has on those coping with it.  Therapy, as it was explored in the context of the novel, appeared true to form and the detail Lamb uses to depict the mental health system is startling on point.  In short, although Lamb failed to create a believable female protagonist in his first book, he was triumphant in his attempt to characterize an equally as complicated narrator in this latest text.  Although Lamb's work resembles Hugo's in length, his story telling is more akin to Lahiri's and, as such, I think most would find the length tolerable.  My only qualm with Lamb's latest is the ending.  I won't spoil it for those who've yet to enjoy it, but suffice it to say that the "happily ever after" conclusion was jarringly discordant with the rest of the story.  I'd give this one an A-

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star Trek

The new Star Trek movie has several awesome things going for it: 1. script, 2. Spock, 3. special effects. It also managed to seemlessly explore some of my favorite topics - time travel, zen like discipline, the pros and cons of defying authority - without getting bogged down by any complicated details. I am seriously contemplating hitting up Toys R Us to buy the action figures for the new cast:)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Litter box solutions

Of all the things to write about after my hiatus, I am choosing to go with litter boxes.  Elms has developed a habit of peeing just outside the box (or in the bathtub).  Which means I've had to develop the habit of cleaning up after her every day to avoid a catastrophic cat mess... in any case, Mat suggested that we try putting just a little bit of litter (barely enough to cover the ground) in their boxes and changing that out once a week.  I have always put about a good foot of litter in there, so I scoffed a little at the suggestion, but, wouldn't you know it, Elms has taken to the change!  Mat's brother Joe, who actually suggested the litter trick, also recommends the following litter in addressing the aforementione problem:  I've not yet tried it, but I'll be sure to report back once I do -