Friday, April 30, 2010

Did you hear the sigh of relief?

Yeah, neither did I. Guess it just doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. However the few that were waiting anxiously for the decision, need not wait any longer: Rachel Flatt has announced what University she will attend.

Are you ready for it?

Still waiting???

Yeah, you're not reading further down either, because you don't care. But, I will tell you anyway. Because I can.

She's going to be a Stanford Uni. Freshman starting in the fall of 2011. She is taking a year off to, apparently, focus on skating.

Boy, aren't you glad she finally chose and then told the world?????

So much for the Truce.

They're at it again. Just when we thought the boys had become men and faced their differences and gotten over that hurdle and were basically ignoring each other... the media shows up, asks for a few soundbites, and they're back at it again.

That's right Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek's in the press rivalry is back in action. Weir started it by answering a few questions about the Olympic Champion in several articles in the last month. It's actually pretty shocking that he's reverted back to the needless jabs after he seemed to praise Evan - however underhandedly - during the whirlwind of drama surrounding Lysacek's controversial win. Weir didn't side with either Lysacek or Plushenko in that debate, but he didn't dispute the outcome either.

It's no secret that Johnny Weir is miffed over, what he considers, a snub SOI gave him by not adding him to the cast line up. I have my own feelings on that one - SOI traditionally has a certain number of male performers to female. SOI also likes skaters who 'toe the line' when it comes to PR moments. SOI likes skaters to get along. SOI wanted an Olympic Champion. Evan gets the bill, Johnny can't play nice so he stays home. - but that's beside the point. Johnny has started the debate on if SOI is 'homophobic'/'bigotted' because of his 'appeared sexuality'. Well, Johnny, it's only 'appeared' to those of us not in the 'inner circle', but if you don't want people to assume you are one way, maybe you shouldn't hit every stereotype in the book.

Johnny's jabs also extended to particular skaters, not just the tour management. Scott Hamilton and Evan Lysacek have - apparently - fallen into his sights and there's no stopping his blasting them.

Evan followed suit over the last week and blasted back at Johnny saying his skating wasn't up to par. He has since retracted his earlier quotes, but the damage is done, and I'm sure Johnny is sitting at home in his bubble bath with his boy toy smirking away. That Evan would allow the media and Johnny to get under his skin, is not overly suprising, but it is disheartening. Though I can't totally BLAME him for speaking out, at the same time he needs to stick with facts and not just try to insult his insulter. It doesn't work that way especially when we all know (including, I'm sure, Evan) that Johnny's SKATING or even his PROGRAMS are not what keeps him from SOI.

I'm disappointed in the boys this week. I'm not surprised at Johnny showing his true colors once again, but I'm still bummed and annoyed. so much for maturity.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I was humbled today...

Today on my lunch break I made my way over to Midtown to get Burger King. Yeah, I'm on a very unhealthy junk food kick lately. But that's not the point today. As I got back onto Northern Lights after going through the drive through, I noticed a few homeless men standing on the corner. They are always there and I'm always pondering if I shouldn't give them something - not money, but maybe my fries, and today was no exception.

This afternoon, though, a family pulled up next to me waiting for the light to change so I could turn and head back to the office, and they honked their horn, rolled down the window and had a couple of hot meals to give them. A FULL MEAL, not some fries, or a bag of chips.

Why am I not more outgoing and willing to do this? It was humbling realizing just how selfish of a person I am. Sure I'll pray for them, but I still look at them thinking they are just wasting their lives and our time. That they're all smelly drunks who dirty up Anchorage. I'm sure 99% of us think that. But they're still human, and at any moment that could be someone I actually know. Life changes just that quickly and challenges come up that we aren't prepared for.

Here I am griping about how much a dog's vet bill is going to be - yet I'm blessed with a job and a place to live that gives me the priveledge of being able to afford a dog. I gripe about situations at work and yet I still have that job.

It was eye opening to say the least.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Brian Orser Debate

Poor coach Orser, he's found himself in a little bit of media controversy this week. The rumors are flying thanks to a couple of less that reputible Korean media outlets saying he has agreed to take on Yu-Na Kim's main rival Mao Asada on as a new pupil. He's being hit hard by Kim's fans/supporters for not even considering her needs, wants, whatever in his decision. Mind you, all three parties are denying that any such arrangement has been made, but because the Korean Tabloids have proclaimed it, it's being taken as Gospel.

Say what you will about Orser as a skater, or a coach, but one thing he is not, is stupid. There's no reason for him to choose to take on Asada when that would mean a move on one of their parts, he's in charge of the skating program at his rink - why would he want to leave that for Japan? Mao Asada's main coaching issues are she does not want to live anywhere else but home. So hmmmm. This does not seem like a smart move.

Skating message boards now have a conspiracy going that it's IMG that is calling the shots - and not the Japanese federation - because they "hate" Yuna and want only bad things for her. Because Orser was once an IMG skater, it makes sense that in passing it was brought up, but I can't see this being anything but rumor fodder brought on by the Korean media to play up this rivalry that has gotten so old that I can barely stand to go on message boards.

I have a feeling it's going to be a long off season. *sigh*

Movie Review: Death at a Funeral (2010)

Thursday night a friend and I had a girls night and went out to see the new comedy, Death at a Funeral starring Chris Rice. It definitely had us laughing - sometimes to the point of tears - but it is not for the faint of heart, and certainly deserves its R rating for language alone (there is also drug use, nudity, and sexual situations).

Chris Rock plays the dependable and responsible son who is tasked - as the eldest son normally is - with being in charge of his father's funeral. The first scene shows Rock waiting for the funeral home to deliever his father's casket to the living room, whereupon he remarks "that's not my father." which sends the Funeral Director out to "one of two locations that he MIGHT be." This, in turn, sets teh course of events that make the funeral go from bad to worse as Rock's family begins to arrive.

The first half of the film, for me, was rather slow as there were many characters teh film had to introduce. Each having their own issues, personalities, and mini stories that were to play out during the film. We meet Tracy Morgan and Luke Wilson - best friends who are also family friends of the deceased's family. Morgan is a hypocondriac who has about as many brain cells as he has fingers. Luke Wilson is an unemotional, self-absorbed workaholic who's main focus is on keeping up appearances without working at all. They are set up with the task of picking up the deceased's brother played by Danny Glover (who completely stole ever scene he was in). Glover is a grumpy old man whose body has failed him. He's in a wheel chair, but carries a cane, and doesn't have a nice word to say about anyone. Poor Morgan's character gets saddled with Glover throughout the film, and it's a perfect combination of insanity.

Zoe Saldana & James Marsden are a bi-racial couple who are on their way to pay respects to Saldana's uncle. Marsden is nervous because her father is none too happy with their partnership, so when they go to pick up Saldana's brother (played by Columbus Short) he takes what Saldana thinks is a valium. It's later revealed that Short's character - a pharmacy student - has a little drug making business on the side and what Marsden thought was a valium is infact ACID. Marsden's subsequent drug trip is probably one of the most comedic parts of the film.

There's also a scene involving Tracy Morgan getting pooped on by Danny Glover and the whole disgusting scene goes on for about four minutes in which the entire audience is laughing too hard to lose their cookies (but you really want to). Again this is just one of the few gems that made the movie actually worth watching.

The film is actually a remake of the 2007 movie of the same title which was directed by Frank Oz (you know, Jim Henson's right hand man... the voice of Yoda in the Star Wars films). That movie, like this one, is not something to really write home about. And sadly is not one I will be buying to add to my collection.

The movie MIGHT have made it to my collection if it weren't for the fact that the language is just thrown in there for, I don't know, a higher word count. The F-bomb and Mo-Fo phrase were used so many times that I couldn't even keep count if I'd wanted to. There was no reason to use it other than the fact that they didn't know what else to say. It could be argued that it made sense in a couple of scenes where road rage or indignation happened, but it was thrown around like a common every day word. This is by no means a family friendly film, and was not good enough elsewhere to be able to glance over the swearing.

Overall, if nudity, sexual situations (did I mention that the deceased had a midget gay lover?), and language don't bother you - wait and rent the film when it comes out on DVD. If not, skip it entirely.

Had a great time with my friend, though. We can make anything fun (we survived Anthro 101 that way!).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh those... pants...

The other night a close friend and I were reliving my childhood ;) (sorry, girl, I had to give ya a hard time on that one hee hee!) and thinking back to some of the great moments skating brought in teh 'early stages' of our friendship. That's right, one of my closest friends I have never met face to face but I love and adore her like a sister (maybe more so because I'm a rotten sibling lol). She is a joy and a blessing and I guess, in a way, we have figure skating (or maybe just Kurt?) to thank for that.

I got back into skating fandom in 1999 after Scott Hamilton and Katarina Witt got together and brought a skating show to Anchorage Alaska. I got online, looked up all I could on the sport... and found a great friendship with several people on a little skating board called Skate Forum (one of the original skating centric boards that is now gone. I miss it.)

Anyway in a round about way I'm getting to the main topic of this rambling. I met "Binky" on skate forum on my first day, and she was so sweet and it wasn't long before we were IMing each other, emailing, and sharing random inside jokes on the board. One of our main topics that we had MANY inside jokes about was none other than Kurt Browning. Yes, I'm going to talk about him again. If you're shocked, well, I don't know how you could be.

Last night while I was converting old tapes to DVD I came across a competition where Evgeny Plushenko (you know, that Russian skater who's still P.O.ed that he wasn't just handed the gold medal in Torino.) skated to Nyah from the Mission Impossible soundtrack (you know, that movie with another stuck up celebrity as it's main character - ie Tom Cruise, he knows medicine better than Matt Lauer, cuz he reads books).

That got Binky all fired up as the ONLY skater allowed to skate to that music is, of course, Kurt Browning - who has a signature piece with that very music. It was choreographed by a dancer who is in the same Ballet Company as Browning's wife... and it's quite possibly the closest a skating routine will ever come to actual DANCE on the ice.

Thank you, Sonia Rodreguez-Browning for making your husband go to the gym and bulk up. In the words of my 'sister': Mmmmm. Shoulders. ;)

But this program is NOT the one I want to gush about... at least not tonight. No, tonight I do not want to talk about the Artist Browning... but the Playboy Browning. In his 'role' in SOI Kurt normally found himself as 'the playa' or playboy of the troupe. Most women (and some men) didn't complain, we'd take all we could get. One of Kurt's 'big break' numbers was to the song "Brickhouse". The show's costume designer, Jef Billings, went all Saturday Night Fever for the number putting Kurt in a flowing cut down to there polyester white shirt... with midnight blue SKIN TIGHT pleather pants. All the girls swooned and a professional star was born.

My brother used to know all of the choreography by heart and would 'skate it' on the kitchen floor in his socks. Duane absolutely ADORED Kurt growning up, and still considers him a sports hero (doesn't hurt that Kurt sent him a gift for his birthday in 2006 - no one is more genuine than Kurt).

But, still, that is not my most swoon worthy. No. A few years after the Brickhouse sensation (and a score of memorable numbers such as Serenade to Sonia, Summertime, and Antares... to name a few) came "Brickhouse 2" which was skated to "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)". It's teh first program I can remember drooling to. I was 13 or 14 at the time and had just - apparently - discovered what made all of the ladies on TV start screaming and swooning the minute Kurt took the ice.

There were those midnight blue pleather pants (but with a brown cut down to there polyester shirt). Oh. my. word. It's probably the most swoon worthy - for me - of all of his pieces (ok, swoon is not the word. Let's face it, when I watch this program I am in full out lust mode. Especially when the butt wiggle happens lol). He can play sweet, sassy, masculine... he can do it all... but he took it to a whole new level with Funky Music.

Oh... those... pants.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dateline: To Catch a Predator

Anyone who knows me or my best friend knows we're a little bit... off. Erin and I have weird things that we like. One of them is To Catch a Predator - a defunct series Dateline produced a few years ago catching men who are perverted enough to solicit minors for sex. You may remember the series.

Anyway we call it 'Pervy men' and get super excited for Sunday nights when MSNBC typically runs about three hours of specials. They're all repeats - the series was cancelled/ripped from the dateline headlines after a scandal happened in Texas surrounding the operation - but we can't help but watch them over and over and be shocked at teh stupidity.

Well, now we're watching one that says it's new - and there are a few we don't recognize - and we are now planning to stay up late to watch them. Is that sad or what?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book Review: Lynn Austin's Fire By Night

I just finished rereading the novel Fire By Night written by Lynn Austin (not to be confused with JANE Austin, whom my fingers keep typing). It's a story based on events during the Civil War (my favorite part of history for historical fiction novels) and focusses on the lives of two young women as they try to follow God's path for their lives even when society frowns upon it.

We first meet young Julia Hoffman, a lovely rich socialite who has her eyes on a young preacher. Her goal in life is, like most girls her age who have grown up in church, to become a wife and mother to a Godly man - even preferably a preacher - and she is content to do so - until she finds out that the man she's been trying to win over thinks not-so-highly of her or the other young ladies in her social class. His bluntness is not directed at her, but she overhears it none the less and is bound and determined to prove him wrong and then throw it in his face. She convinces her father to let her join the nurses in Washington, he believing she will tire of her dream in short order.

The second heroine in the tale is feisty, tom-boyish Phoebe Bigalow. She's a country girl who has every intention of joining up in the war. Left to tend a family's children while her three brothers go off to join the Union Army, it takes Phoebe all of one day to make up her mind to cut her hair, run away, and join the Yankees fight Johnny Reb. Phoebe's main reason? She's too tall and homely to ever be loved by a boy, so why not pretend to be one and at least have a purpose in life.

While their backgrounds are completely different, both women find themselves realizing and finding themselves once they are out of their element. Julia, who has had everything done for her, realizes she's far more capable than she knew. Phoebe, in turn, finds herself in a quandry when she finds herself falling in love with her best friend in the army. Both tell 'white lies' to get into the positions their in, and both are fearful of being found out.

The book takes a number of twists and turns not so much in the main characters, but certainly with those around them. The author is very good at keeping the reader within the mind of the two women and introducing the outside characters and their personalities in a similar way that the women might also have met and evaluated said characters. Julia Hoffman works with a cantakerous young doctor - James McGrath - whom is rumored to be a drunk and a murderer... the reader is fairly sure he isn't a murderer, but there is so little known for most of the story that you don't see the truth until the author reveals it in full.

I'm not a big fan of romance novels, Christian or otherwise, but I do find myself getting into this story for a number of reasons. This book centers around, as I said, one of my favorite parts of history. I'm totally into reading about the Civil War. Like all Historic Fiction novels, it does take a fair about of creative license, but overall the history is sound enough to keep it real. The second part is the selfish girl inside of me who understands the plight of both women. Phoebe for being a tom-boy and not fitting into that girlish mold that so many try to put her in, and Julia for being the good little Christian girl who's been told her whole life that her lot in life is to be the keeper of the home and a mother. While there is nothing wrong with that, it seems to demean the idea of all of what God had wanted.

Neither woman is against marriage, settling down, having a family and that being their primary goal. But, as Julia will come to realise - just because you're married you are not just another of your husband's apendages. You do not lose your identity. And there's a lot of God's work to be done by men AND women. Going against society's norms is sometimes needed if we are to do as God has called.

Over all it's a quick and enjoyable read. It's nothing steamy, it's sometimes cheesey, and yes it's one of those 'Christian Novels that try so very hard to not be the same as what the world would have in this same type of genre'. At least it's clean.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alaskan... spring?

Sitting in my room watching the large, clean white flakes fall from the light grey sky, I have to ask: where is spring?

This happens every year - for at least as long as I can remember - the battle between spring and winter starts late february and goes all the way through May until, quite suddenly, summer comes out of nowhere. While most of the rest of the world enjoys four distinct seasons, Alaska is a mystery. There are only two true distinct seasons - summer and winter - with fall and spring meshing interestingly with winter. Who knows why God works it that way up here, but I think it's mirrored in the Alaskan emotions...

Or, well, at least mine.

I am ready for spring/summer. Warmth. Biking. Walking. Taking the dog to the dog parks and letting her romp, off leash, without the worry of moose sticking to the trail - or the dog getting too cold five seconds after getting there.

At the same time, there's an excitement and joy I get watching the large flakes come down - if they're small it's not as pretty, nor is it as much fun to watch - I'm not sure if that comes from the fact that I'm having a hard time letting go of my childhood, or if it's because it's a strictly Alaskan thing that snow means a whole lot more than cold.

Sure, I gripe about it right along with the next guy, but deep down there's something special, beautiful and exciting about the event of a freak spring snow storm.

Though if it all melts by morning so the roads are clear so I can get to work, I won't be complaining.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A is for Axel

I've been redoing my room tonight, and I ended up stopping and reading World Figure Skating Champion Kurt Browning's children's book A is for Axel: An Ice Skating Alphabet. I was fortunate enough to snag my copy at a book signing he did at the 2006 US Figure Skating National Championships. It was probably the greatest 'celebrity' experience of my life and sealed Kurt into the number one spot on my favorites list. I don't think there's a more genuine skater on the planet. The fact that he was able to boot Scott Hamilton out of that spot is probably the best indicator of how much I truly appreciate Browning as a skater and a person.

The book itself shows just another side of Kurt's talent, and brings a little light on his passion. As a father of two, it's obvious Kurt revels in his role as dad - his eldest is even featured in a couple of the book's illustrations. The simple poetry for each letter is sweet, and the tidbits on the history and technical side of figure skating - while simple in explanation - make the book good for kids just learning their letter to just starting to read real books... and is a great addition to any figure skating fan's collection.

Now, if we could just get Kurt to write a second autobiography that takes off where the one from 1992 left off, I'd be a happy fangirl.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Movie Review: VeggieTales' Pistachio

The VeggieTales gang has been given a make over to finish out the new decade. This is showcased in the introduction to their newest straight to video release, Pistachio, The Little Boy Who Woodn't. I haven't laughed this hard during a VeggieTales video in a good long while, the Introduction was a spoof on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - complete with a Ty Pennington look-a-like. Even if you don't watch the full video, watch for the introduction/spoof. It's perfection.

The story itself is also very well done. There is a lot of humor for little kids and adults alike - all in the clean Christian fun VeggieTales is known and loved for - and the message is pretty clear. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1-3 is quoted as the Biblical text for the story) Pinochio, which is what the Veggie movie is based on if you haven't already guessed, teaches the same basic principle - though the fairytale does not get into the Biblical aspect of why it's important. VeggieTales does.

Pistachio takes many creative liberties with the original Fairytale of Pinochio, but over all, it's a great veggietale on a classic story. It's definitely one I am now a proud owner of, and one I recommend to anyone who enjoys a good children's story.
Veggie Tales: Pistachio

Monday, April 5, 2010


So last week, very late last week, I was informed that there is an opening at the Kenai court for a receptionist type position. I've been debating actually applying for it, but decided tonight that 'what the heck' I can try.

I had researched a bit on where I could live, there were some really nice homes - not apartments - in my price range... in *gulp* Soldotna. Not sure if I could ever live there and love it, but then again there were some REALLY nice places on craigslist. One of them was right on the river, but I am pretty sure it's been snatched up by now.

So yeah, I'm fixing up the ol' resume, got me some updated references. I'm all set to go (and if Mark is reading this - no I haven't talked anyone in the office into breaking the rules and giving me a professional reference) with other requirements. So I should be able to send it off before the April 8th deadline. I hope.

Prayers would be much appreciated in this. It'd be back in Kenai, same amount I make a month now - but with benefits and vacation/sick leave - I'd be in Kenai, it's permanent, and - oh yeah - I'd be in Kenai.