KITTEN FEVER.

Meet Capricorn, the new roommate in my apartment.

She is my roommate, Rebecca’s kitten.

Growing up, my family only had outdoor cats. But we have had our dogs for longer.

These are lessons I have learned from being the parent of an indoor kitten for the past few weeks:

  • Cats are extremely mobile – When I’m sitting in the living room, Capricorn can, without warning, climb her way onto my shoulder. Or when she’s in my room, she’ll hop onto the top of my bookshelf. I cannot take my eyes off her, because she’ll find her way to climb onto a high place or squeeze into a very small space. DOGS DO NOT DO THIS.

CARE TO JOIN ME BEHIND THE SHADEZ?

  • When cats get mad, they tear things up – One time I put Capricorn in my roommate’s room. When I came back, she had thrown a lot of the litter out of her litter box. Another time, she tore up a garbage bag. Apparently, cats do these types of things when they get mad.
  • Kittens want to be the center of attention – I said before that I cannot take my eyes of off Capricorn. Part of the reason for that is that SHE WON’T LET ME. Look at what she did while I was trying to work on homework last week:

She perched herself on my shoulder to get my attention. She has also sat herself on my keyboard before, too.

  • The simplest things keep cats occupied – I guess this can apply to dogs, too. I think this video illustrates what I mean perfectly:
  • Kittens like to read – Well, sort of.

O HAI WAT R U READING??

  • But most of all, kittens are forces to be reckoned with!! – This one is, at least 😉

Peace, Love and Liberty (and purrs),

Ann

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The Best Movies I Have Seen on Netflix Instant Streaming

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A few years ago, my parents ditched our satellite TV subscription in favor of a Netflix membership. At the time, I thought it was a dumb idea. But now, it makes more sense to me and I’m glad they made the change. Most TV shows, especially the ones I like to watch, are available to watch on Hulu or can be downloaded on iTunes. And Netflix provides just about every movie or TV show you can think of through DVD order, and fewer are available instant streaming.

95% of everything I watch through Netflix is instant streaming. Many people would argue that most of the “good” movies/shows are not available on instant streaming. Actually, it can be a challenge finding something worthwhile to watch, but the options are out there! I have watched several movies through instant streaming that I have enjoyed, and I thought I would share them with you.

So here they are – in alphabetical order.

…And it should be noted that I’m no Roger Ebert, so these “reviews” might not be of professional quality. Judge me. Check out the New York Times if you want something fancier.

Cashback

“It takes approximately 500 lbs to crush a human skull. But the human emotion is a much more delicate thing.”

This film is about a college student, Ben (Sean Biggerstaff, AKA: Oliver Wood in the HP films), who is newly single after an ugly break up with his longterm girlfriend, who he believed was the love of his life. He becomes depressed and loses the ability to sleep. To find something to keep him busy at night, he works the graveyard shift at a local grocery store. It’s there that Ben realizes he has the ability to stop time. He also has interesting encounters with his co-workers. Ultimately, Ben finds ways to move on and be happy with his life after his relationship.

Before the full-length feature film, Cashback was first made as a short film in 2004. Apparently, the short appears in the movie – so at one point the scenes were shot three years before the rest of the movie. The short film blends so seamlessly with the rest of the scenes that you can’t tell.

When I began watching this movie, I didn’t really know what to expect. But it exceeded my expectations. There’s a lot of nudity in this film, so if you’re prudish when it comes to that then this might not be your cup of tea.

Chasing Amy [While searching for this movie on Netflix, I was alerted that it is no longer available for instant streaming, even though it was when I enjoyed it. So it looks like adding this title to your mail-order queue is your only option. For those of you who lack patience, SORRY.]

“If this is a crush, I don’t think I could take it if the real thing ever happened.”

“Chasing Amy” takes an interesting look at human relationships. The film is about Holden (Ben Affleck), who authors a comic book with his best friend, Banky (Jason Lee). The film opens at a comic convention where the two friends are promoting their comic book, Bluntman and Chronic. Everything is going along swimmingly until they meet another comic book artist, Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden becomes infatuated with Alyssa and is really happy when she invites him to a club. He believes she is trying to pursue a relationship with him, and then he finds out Alyssa is actually a lesbian. Holden decides to pursue a friendship with Alyssa anyway, and is hopeful that he can have a relationship with her eventually even though she insists she is not attracted to men. Banky doesn’t like Alyssa and discourages Holden from pursuing a relationship with her. Holden’s relentless attraction to Alyssa threatens Holden and Banky’s friendship. Many more twists and turns occur in the plot, but I won’t give any more away.

This movie is a Kevin Smith movie (enough said). Clerks and Clerks 2 are some of my favorite films. I had never seen a Kevin Smith movie outside of the Clerks franchise, so I decided to try this one. It did not disappoint. Now, this IS a Kevin Smith film, so keep that in mind if you prefer more of a G – PG-rated fare in your films. Literally no subject is off topic in the dialogue, or no word too offensive. But if that doesn’t bother you, ENJOY!

Exit Through the Gift Shop

“There’s no one like Thierry, even though his art looks like everyone else’s.”

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary about street art, or “art developed in public places and mainly done in an illegal way,” (definition). The director Thierry Guetta is a French immigrant living in L.A. with his wife and children, and owns a successful vintage clothing store. He’s a bit of a local celebrity where he lives. Thierry discovers that his cousin is a widely-known (but anonymous) street artist, “Space Invader,” in France. This causes Theirry to become obsessed with the concept of street art. He grabs hold of another anonymous, famous street artist named Banksy. Thierry follows Banksy around, films him doing his art, interviews him, etc. Eventually, Thierry becomes inspired to become a street artist himself, and gives himself the name “Mister Brainwash.”

This film delves into the art world, and what makes art art. It can also be seen as a farce on the art community, because the success Thierry finds as “Mister Brainwash” can be seen as humorous. He mostly takes on the project in order to see if he can do it, and ends up wildly successful.

Reality Bites

“There’s no point to any of this. It’s all just a… a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know… a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle… and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt.”

This movie follows a group of friends who are generation-X recent college graduates. As IMDB puts it, the friends are “looking for work and love in Houston,” (1,000,000 brownie points for being set in the best state ever!). Lelaina (Winona Ryder) was valedictorian of her college class, but is frustrated that her academic success is not translating to the professional world. She spends the majority of the movie filming her friends to eventually make a documentary, which she has entitled “Reality Bites.” Lelaina and her friends Vickie (Jeneane Garofalo), Troy (Ethan Hawke), and Sammy (Steve Zahn) gripe to the camera about their disappointment with the “real world,” struggles with relationships, quarter-life crises they are experiencing, etc. Furthermore, Lelaina becomes caught in a bit of a love triangle between Troy, a facetious but caring slacker, and young professional Michael (played by a very young Ben Stiller, who also directed the film).

I thought the relationships, situations and problems presented in this movie were very honest and realistic. That being said, if you enjoy more escapist movies, or movies in which things occur that could never happen in real life, this movie isn’t for you. I really enjoyed this film, probably because I found it relatable. I’m still in college and not out in the “real world” yet, but this film still presented some of my concerns, that I’m sure are resonating themes with 20-somethings everywhere.

Also, I did NOT find Ethan Hawke attractive in this movie. I have found him attractive in other roles, such as his role in the movie Gattaca, but not this one. It’s probably because his character epitomizes a product of the 90s grunge movement – flannel shirts, unkempt hair, 5 o’ clock shadow and membership in a garage band. The men I find attractive generally don’t look like cousins of Kurt Cobain.

Restrepo

I can’t seem to find the words to describe this film. I think it needs to be watched before it can fully be understood. Restrepo is a documentary that follows the 15-month deployment of an Army platoon in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan. As a whole the film is incredibly violent and dark, but most importantly powerful. My view on the war was altered after seeing this. It’s not an easy watch, but I would recommend that everyone see it at least once.

Wet Hot American Summer

“Well guys, we’ve made it to the end of the summer in one piece, except for a few campers who are lepers.”

“Wet Hot American Summer” follows the events of the last day at a Jewish summer camp in 1981. The plot focuses on the stories of the various adults working at the camp. Camp director Beth (Jeneane Garofalo, again) develops a crush on astrophysicist Henry (David Hyde Pierce), and the two have an awkward romance. Several camp counselors pursue romance…Coop (Michael Showalter) tries to kindle a romance with Katie (Marguerite Moreau), but she unfortunately is infatuated with Andy (Paul Rudd). Meanwhile, Andy is looking for romance with literally every other girl at the camp. Gail (Molly Shannon) is teaching an arts and crafts class, and then suddenly
has an emotional break down over her impending divorce. The 9 and 10-year-olds give Gail relationship counseling. As Henry is teaching the nerdy campers about astrophysics, he discovers that a piece of NASA’s skylab will fall directly on the camp grounds, and he and the campers must devise a plan to save the day.

There are more plot lines than just the ones I listed. If you have ever seen Dazed and Confused, the film is set up exactly like that – multiple plots occurring at once, all taking place in the span of one day.

This film is completely nonsensical and ludicrous. While watching it with my boyfriend, he said multiple times of the film “Oh my God, this is so DUMB.” …It is, and that’s the point. If you prefer “smarter” humor, you might not like this movie. Personally, I find it hilarious. I also like the fact that the film was made on a very low budget; and that several then-obscure now-successful actors make up the cast: such as Amy Poehler and Michael Ian Black.

Feel free to comment with your favorite Netflix instant streaming films 🙂

Peace, Love and Liberty,

Ann

From the Weekend

Sometimes the words for my blog posts come easily; sometimes they don’t. I want to show my neglected blog some love, but I’m at a loss for words. Luckily I have some pictures.

^Me channelling Conway Twitty at Recycled Books. I bought this record. It was only $5.00.

^ Went to Mr. Frosty Drive-N (no longer a drive in). There are times in my life when I feel like a human anachronism, and being in this restaurant was one of them. This place opened in 1954 and very little has changed.

^A Coke float at Mr. Frosty Drive-N. It was good, however I hear the best things about their shakes. It’s on my to-do list to try one.

^An acai bowl from Seven Mile Cafe. Description from the menu, “Granola topped with organic Brazilian Acai berry puree blended with strawberries, bananas, almond milk and and apple juice topped with more granola, sliced fruit and agave syrup.” It was just as delicious as it sounds.

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^I wish I had thought to snap a pic of the courthouse this weekend. I spent quite a bit of time on the square.

I’m looking forward to this week (no, really!).

Peace, Love and Liberty,

Ann

74 Days Later

It’s been 10 weeks and 4 days since my last post. OBVIOUSLY, a lot has happened.

I will have to spread out updates among multiple posts to accurately recount everything.

But here are some things in a nutshell:

  • By far the biggest thing that happened in the past 74 days was that I went to Iowa for eight days during caucus season to help campaign for the good Doctor…Ron Paul! It was, hands down, one of the greatest experiences in my life. I will without a doubt need to devote an entire post to my experience during those eight days.^With my friend Nash on caucus night in Ankeny, IA. Never mind the fact that I look like death…
  • I received an iPhone for Christmas! I no longer have a “dumb phone” (as opposed to a smart phone) as Tyler puts it.
  • Shortly before leaving for Iowa, I made an attempt to take control of my health. After weeks of NT Daily articles, research papers, finals and the stress of LIFE, I had put in many, many hours hunched over a computer and eating junk food. Toward the end of December, I became inspired by the ripped women in Oxygen magazine and began weight training. I decided to not necessarily focus on weight loss but on fat loss. It was going well until I took my eight day break, of course, during which I did not exactly lead the most healthy lifestyle (but I had a good reason not to!).

Upon returning from Iowa, I have been making a big effort to regain control of my health. So I have started using a juicer and experimenting with different fruit and vegetable juices.

^ 1 beet + the stem and leaves, 2 stalks of celery and some parsley juiced together and then mixed with carrot juice.

^I’ve never referred to soup as “pretty” before I made this last night. It’s 1/4 of a cabbage, 2 celery stalks and some parsley juiced together and then mixed with 1 cup carrot juice, heated up and eaten as a soup.

^Breakfast juice: 1/2 a lemon, 2 medium oranges and 1 cup berries juiced together. This picture was taken before I added a packet of green superfood. The green superfood usually tastes disgusting by itself, but the fruits drowned out the taste.

All pics taken with my new iPhone 😀

I hope everyone is having a great start to the new year.

I will be blogging more often from now on! Hopefully, anyway. I want to chronicle my health pursuits, political exploits, and life occurrences in general.

Peace, Love, and Liberty,

Song of the Day: Melanie’s Melody by The Black Angels

Oh Hai Free Time

HELLO BLOGOSPHERE! I’ve missed you.

This month of August has consisted of: wrapping up my stats class with a project and final exam and all that fun stuff (which I passed BTW!), trying to make my deadlines for NT Daily articles, moving to a condo (it is AWESOME), cleaning/furnishing the condo, fixing my schedule for the fall semester (it got screwed up; long story), beginning the fall semester, and, um…trying to keep my sanity.

I’d say I did a pretty good job at keeping my **** together, except for not getting sleep and not exercising. Both of which I plan on fixing ASAP.

I may not have blogged, but I thought about my blog a lot. And cultivated some ideas.

The Photo Thing

There was a time when I had a really good digital camera. I took it with me practically everywhere and snapped a million photos that I would post on my MySpace and Xanga page (mind you, this was 2005). Unfortunately, that camera broke around my junior year of high school. And my photography has been pretty scant since.

I have a point-and-shoot that is broken beyond repair. RIP. I also have an SLR that is wonderful, but not very portable. I happen to be the queen of losing USB cords, so with my old laptop I would just put the memory card into the card reader. My new MacBook has no such card reader.

I am tired of finding pics on other websites and putting them on here. Not cool.

So my goal is to save up for a good point-and-shoot that I can use to take a plethora of photos for my blog. I’ll hold tight to my USB cord and make sure it doesn’t escape into oblivion (SRSLY, I have lost at least three so far…where do they go?!)

I’m thinking of getting this bad boy.

Video: yea or nay?

What if I posted a video of myself talking? You know, a vlog. Would that be cool, or…awkward?

Several bloggers I follow vlog every now and then, such as Rachel Getting It and Julie Borowski. They do a great job.

I could just see myself posting a video of me going “OHAIMYNAMEISANNIDKWHATTOSAYLOL…”

Plus, I haven’t exactly figured out everything on my new MacBook, including how to take video from the webcam. So as soon as I improve my awkwardness and my Mac-savvyness, you *may* see a vlog on here 😀

Political Blog

I like keeping up with politics and am a Poli Sci minor. I want to write about politics as a career. I have considered writing my political musings on this blog, but have decided against it because political posts may turn people off. So, I’m seriously considering starting a political blog. Actually, plan on me doing this. I need to start on political writing so I can develop a style, become familiar with the lingo, etc. This will be especially enjoyable with the elections of November ’12 coming up!!

If anyone reading this enjoys political blogs, political conversation, or anything else related to politics, HOLLA ATCHA GURRRLLL!!!


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I would be a professional blogger if I could be. That would be awesome.

GOAL.

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: Eclectic Prawn by Dumbo Gets Mad

Music I’m Digging

When I’m With You by Best Coast

This has been stuck in my head since I first heard it, and I have not grown tired of it. I LOVE the video. Not sure I understand the significance of the guy dressed like Ronald McDonald, but I enjoy it nonetheless.

Santeria by Sublime

When this song came on the radio the other day, it instantly made me happy and I turned the stereo way up. It is played all the time on Austin’s rock station 101X; at least, it was when I was in high school.

Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground

Like disco superfly. Yep.

Razzle Dazzle Rose by Camera Obscura

Relaxing song. I believe Elsie Larson walked down the aisle to it when she was married this past May!

Storytelling by Belle and Sebastian

A good song from the movie, Storytelling. Belle and Sebastian made the entire soundtrack for the film, I think. I’d like to watch it again…it’s one of those films that makes you go “Hmmm…”

You’re My Best Friend by Queen

Another song that instantly makes me happy. RIP Freddie Mercury.

Pygmy Twylyte by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Listening to incredibly strange music while I do my incredibly boring statistics homework makes things more bearable.

Just a Friend by Biz Markie

Early 90s hip hop is where it’s at. “You, you got what I neeeEEEEeeed….”

What music are YOU digging?

Peace and Love,

Three Days in The Big Easy

I spent June 17 – 19 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Trust me, it was a much-needed break from my daily grind and my stay there was not nearly long enough.

I went with some friends from College Republicans and Tyler, my BOYFRAANNNNN (but you already knew that. I felt like saying it obnoxiously). Technically, we were there with the Jon Huntsman for President campaign (check out the campaign’s sweet website) for the Republican Leadership Conference.

…But, how often do you get to go to NOLA? For us, not very often. We decided to walk around the city and take it in for the greater portion of our visit.

Here are some pics I took,

The altar at the BEAUTIFUL Saint Louis Cathedral. It was built in 1793.

Me on St. Ann street in the French Quarter.

I love this unique style of architecture.

I think weeping willows are pretty.

These beignets from Café du Monde pretty much made the trip. The coffee was good too.

An awesome boutique in the French Quarter called Langford Market that I know my roommate, Bonnie, would have loved. Had I had more money, I would have made some clothing purchases, without a doubt.

Great meal at a restaurant called Mulate’s: blackened gator, baked potato with cheese and chives, and some vegetables.

I got a book signed by Bobby Jindal himself! Well, his aides gave it to me for free, along with everyone else leaving his “Bayou Bash.” I only saw him from across the room.

I’d like to go back to NOLA in one year. It would be good to go back one year from now because:

  • there is SO MUCH that I did not get to do that I would love to! Three days just isn’t enough time. I’d like to go on a carriage ride, go on a cemetery/ghost tour, go to the Louisiana state history museum, find where “The Real World: New Orleans” house was (don’t judge :P), and much more.
  • did I mention that I will be 21 in one year? That pretty much speaks for itself.
So who wants to go to New Orleans with me in summer 2012? 🙂
Peace and Love,
Song of the Day: Birds Fly Away by Theresa Andersson – she lives in New Orleans and I would love to attend a show of hers sometime.

Goodbye, teen angst!

On June 13, I turned 20.

June 13 landed on a Monday this year (boo!). The Friday before my birthday, I went home so that I could celebrate my birthday with my family and best friend that weekend. I brought Tyler, too.

Friday night, my best friend Abby, Tyler, and I hung out in Austin. We went to Halcyon, an awesome coffee bar and lounge. After that, we went to the Kasbah, a hookah lounge.

I got a Vietnamese iced coffee. It was really good. Vietnamese iced coffee is a bit stronger than the usual iced coffee one would order at Starbucks.

S’MORES, flame and all!! ‘Nuff said.

Abby, Tyler, and I at Kasbah.

The next day, I opened my presents, and……..

…was really surprised by my gift! I’m a Mac now! 😀

Then, we all headed to The Oasis. One of the BEST restaurants EVER.

I ordered the enchiladas:

During our meal, we watched the sun set over Lake Travis.

My dad accidentally left my cake in the car. But, our waiter was nice enough to give us…

…some sopapillas and Mexican ice cream on the house!

But I saved some room for *some* of my actual birthday cake. Once we got back to my house, I blew out my candles.

It wasn’t just any cake.

It was a cookie cake pie – recipe here.

DELICIOUS!!

Then it was time for night two in Austin. Tyler, Abby, Abby’s boyfriend Rodney, my brother Thomas, and I went to Kasbah and then Halcyon…both places, yet again.

Great people. Great food. Great city. Great fun. It was a great birthday 🙂

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: Storytelling by Belle and Sebastian

Stuff I am currently gawking at

1. Mindy Kaling is coming out with a BOOK?! I am a complete bibliophile, and I find Mindy Kaling a hilarious actress. I cannot wait for this to come out! It’s called, Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? (And Other Concerns)

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2. For some reason, I have felt compelled to watch Judd Apatow films as of late. I have watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and Knocked Up. Yesterday I rented the first disc of Freaks and Geeks season one.

3. As a result of watching Judd Apatow films, I have grown fond of Jason Segel, who is in every film that I listed. Tyler let me borrow seasons one and two of How I Met Your Mother, which Jason Segel also acts in.

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4. TEA. I have reached a point where I have been drinking coffee in excess. If I don’t drink coffee on a given day, I cannot pay attention well or stay awake, and I get pretty bad headaches. I am going to try to stop drinking coffee and drink tea instead. I’ve been enjoying looking into the different types of tea.

5. Boot camp. I signed up for a fitness boot camp at the local rec center. It’s from 6:45am – 7:45am each weekday. I definitely prefer to work out first thing in the morning as opposed to later in the day. While working out, I can tell that my endurance has been getting better! Especially when it comes to running.

6. The fact that I turn 20 next Monday, and I’m celebrating my birthday at home this weekend! I have not been this excited for a birthday of mine in a while.

7. This news story has me in awe.

What are you currently gawking at?

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: I See the Rain by Marmalade

Photos of what I have been up to

Congratulations, broseph!

On Saturday, May 28, my little brother officially graduated from high school.

He graduated number 20 out of 750+ of his classmates! In the fall, he will be attending the University of Texas at Austin and will be majoring in engineering. I’m so proud of him!

Reporting

Later in the afternoon, I attended a pro-choice rally in Austin so that I could write an article about it for the NT Daily’s website. Read the article at this link: Denton activists walk for choice in Austin.

I also took my own photos:

What are my views on abortion? I have them, but as a journalist I must remain neutral.

If you know me, you know that I’m a libertarian-leaning Republican. Make your own inferences from that 😉

I was originally going to come home on Sunday. But my homecoming was postponed because I came down with a wicked-bad sinus infection. I made sure to get back to “the little D” in time for the…

Dallas-area blogger meetup.

[photo courtesy of Heather]

We went to Mr. Chopsticks and then Yogurt Story. It was great meeting all of these lovely fellow bloggers!

Now, it is back to the daily grind. School, studying, working out,  and all that jazz. The next bit of “excitement” in my life will be my 20th birthday, which is the 13th of this month.

Thanks for reading!

Peace and Love,