Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bones of Bones: Booth & Brennan

Will they or won’t they? That’s the great debate among avid viewers and even the writers of the popular Fox television show, Bones, which is currently in the middle of its 6th season. You would think after all this time that something would have happened between the two, but nothing has… well, not yet at least.

But maybe I am getting ahead of myself. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, here’s the premise: a brilliant anthropologist (Brennan) and a cocky FBI agent (Booth) are paired together to solve the federal murders of victims whose bodies are too far gone to identify. Throughout the past seasons, heavy sexual tension has built and existed between these two leads. So the question remains: will they finally get together or not?

After perusing some Bones fan websites I have found that though a majority would like to see the two finally get together, some believe the writers missed their chance and they really don’t care if Booth and Brennan become… Booth and Brennan (*wink*).

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the writers don’t want to put Booth and Brennan together. In the past, other television shows with characters with similar sexual tension crumbled once the leads finally got together. It released the sexual tension that was previously there and as a result, diminished the interest and value in the show. So, it seems to be a suicidal thing to do in television.

BUT the sexual tension is there and it should be there for a reason. As far as Bones goes, it’s getting to a point where it’s unnatural and unrealistic for the two characters spanning over 6 seasons—which translates into 6 years of their lives—to keep their hands off each other. No one has that kind of restraint!

So in my opinion, YES, they have to get together. Now, whether or not it works out that’s a different story. Maybe they have a “one-night-stand” and they regret it… yada, yada. You can do a lot of things with how they get together and how it works out; but, I think at some point that sexual tension has to catapult somewhere.

It’s starting to be clear to the audience members that the writers aren’t really sure where they want to go with these characters, and that’s never a good thing. It’s frustrating for the viewers because we know Booth & Brennan love each other. We’ve heard it over and over again from various characters, we can tell from their actions and what they say. But as viewers we have been thrown off by a new character, Hannah (aka Booth’s new girlfriend, who is apparently “the one”).

Which brings me to an important topic:

From what I’ve gathered online and from other viewer friends of mine, she is not liked (to put it nicely). Now I don’t think viewers hate Hannah just because she’s dating Booth. We all know he’s been with his fair share of women (I wish I could say the same about Brennan’s frequency with men). The general consensus is that she’s incredibly annoying—and I agree. One of Hannah’s biggest problems is that she’s such an outsider that she just looks desperate and pathetic when she attempts to interact with the original posse.

Another problem is that it simply doesn’t make sense. Booth seems to have fallen in love incredibly easily just after he professes his love for Brennan. It doesn’t seem right; it SEEMS like he’s lying to himself but there’s no proof or hint of that… and if he’s not lying to himself, then it’s just flat out unrealistic for the viewers—especially the viewers that have followed since season one. Booth isn’t the type of character that gives up that easily.

What would have made more sense is if Booth had gone back to his baby momma, Rebecca. As an audience we can understand his commitment to making it work for the sake of his son. Rebecca has a history with Booth, even before Brennan. Though Rebecca might not have been through the same intense stuff as Booth & Brennan have together, she at least wouldn’t look desperate because she wouldn’t have to try to fit in. She would already have respect from the originals because of her previous relationship with Booth and the fact that they have a kid together.

This season seems to have forgotten what had just happened in the previous season. The love between Booth & Brennan doesn’t just disappear. This season, we have lost a lot of the one-on-one Booth & Brennan time that in the past made the show. That great banter and humor, melded with sexual tension the two had or each other has significantly diminished (i.e.- the car ride scenes).

The writers shouldn’t be afraid of developing a relationship between these two leads. They should have enough confidence in their writing to find a creative and innovative way through it. It’s unfortunate that some people think that once two characters get together it’s suddenly not as interesting anymore. If you’re a good writer it opens up a whole world of possibilities. I mean, you can only have sexual tension for so long before it starts to look sad.

At this point, the only way I see Booth & Brennan getting together would be if Hannah betrays Booth, messing up his career in some way (because we all know he’s all about his career) or she betrays Brennan (because we all know Booth is all about Brennan)--as a journalist she has the potential. Anything else would cause awkwardness between the two. The writers are also due for one of their "connector" episodes; like the ones they did w/ Epps & the Gravedigger. This might finally get Booth & Brennan together. Either way, if they don't get together in the 6th season they never will.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Top 10 Holidays Movies of All Time

A great movie doesn’t have to be a classic and it doesn’t have to be a movie that you watch over and over again. It just has to be a movie that touches you the minute you watch it and then sticks with you from that moment on. With that said, here are my picks for the 10 greatest Christmas movies of all time:

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
An angel helps a broken-down man on Christmas Eve who has lost sight of how lucky he really is by showing him what the world would have been like if he never existed.
My dad and I watch this movie every Christmas Eve, so naturally it has a special, nostalgic place in my heart. But not only does this movie contain brilliant performances and memorable scenes, its storyline and vibe have allowed it to stand the test of time. This movie is guaranteed to be remembered forever and be a favorite Christmas movie for years to come.

Memorable Quote:
George: Help me Clarence, please! Please! I wanna live again. I wanna live again.

2. A Christmas Story (1983)
Ralphie has to convince his parents, teachers, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for Christmas.
There is absolutely nothing spectacular about this movie, which is exactly what makes it so great. It is about an average family that attempts to have a typical American Christmas only to have almost everything go wrong. Just about every person can relate to some part of this movie. Not to mention, thanks to TNT, you can watch 24 hours of A Christmas Story on Christmas Day.

Memorable Quote:
“You'll shoot your eye out.”

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas after realizing that he has lost sight of what Christmas is all about.
With animation technology having gotten so high-tech these days, it’s nice to sit down and watch the simplest form of animation. From the music, to the adorable way Charlie Brown and his friends walk around, this story is sure to make you feel warm inside.

Memorable Quote:
Charlie Brown: I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel.

4. Home Alone (1990)
Kevin is accidentally left behind while his family flies to Paris for Christmas and is forced to defend his home against incompetent burglars.
It is impossible for this movie to get old. Every time I see Kevin set up all the traps and then watch them wreak havoc on the unsuspecting burglars, it’s like I’m seeing this movie for the first time all over again.

Memorable Quote:
Kevin: This is my house, I have to defend it.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
In this installment of National Lampoon’s Vacation Series, Clark is determined to have the best Christmas ever; however, his attempts to a prefect holiday lead to an array of disasters.
There is no way I can even begin to describe the brilliance of this movie (you’ll have to watch it yourself to find out). All you have to do is say “SQUIRREL!” and I can’t help but cry with laughter.

Memorable Quote:
Eddie: If that cat had nine lives it sure used 'em all.

6. A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
This movie turned the classic Charles Dickens tale into a loveable children’s musical.
Growing up, this was the movie to watch on Christmas. But even now, my eyes are glued to the screen when it comes on. There is just something so entertaining about humans interacting with singing puppets.

Memorable Quote:
Gonzo: I am here to tell the story.
Rizzo: And I am here for the food.

7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Based on the book, The Grinch by Dr. Seuss, the story follows a green, mean creature who despises Christmas so much that he hatches a plan to ruin Christmas for the town of Whoville.
No offense to the animated version, but there is something fascinating about seeing the world of Woville come to life in the non-animated adaptation. If this retelling doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will!

Memorable Quote:
The Grinch: Hate, hate, hate. Hate, hate, hate. Double Hate. LOATHE ENTIRELY!

8. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Lucy, a lonely Chicago subway employee has had a crush on a regular commuter, Peter for the past three months. While working the Christmas shift, Lucy saves Peter after he is pushed off the platform and onto the tracks. At the hospital, Lucy is mistaken for Peter’s fiancé and is immediately embraced by his family—except for Peter’s brother Jack, who is not convinced that she’s the real deal.
In my opinion this is one of the most underappreciated Christmas movies of all time. Though this might be considered a “chick flick,” it’s still a great movie and I’m sticking by it.

Memorable Quote:
Jerry: You're born into a family. You do not join them like you do the Marines.

9. Elf (2003)
A man raised by elves travels from the North Pole to New York City in search of his biological father.
You just can’t go wrong with an awkward, gangly looking Will Ferrell walking around New York City in an elf costume. If anything, you’ll be mildly entertained by the ridiculous lines and crazy situations Buddy the Elf gets himself into.

Memorable Quote:
Buddy: You sit on a throne of lies!

10. Scrooged (1988)
This film puts a modern twist on the classic Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. In this version, a selfish TV executive gets haunted by eccentric three spirits on Christmas Eve.
Bill Murray more then embodies “Scrooge” in this movie; the lines that come out of his mouth will shock you.

Memorable Quote:
[referring to a mouse]
Props man: I can't get the antlers glued to this little guy. We tried Crazy Glue, but it don't work.
Frank Cross: Did you try staples?

Honorable Mentions: Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970), and Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Misery on the Metro

I take the Metro everyday to get to my internship in the heart of DC. And yes it is called the Metro, not Subway… Subway is a popular and affordable made-to-order sandwich shop, not an underground train. Anyway on my weekday rides during Metro rush hour I constantly find myself observing the routines and attitudes of the people around me.

Though the people who board these trains everyday tend to be a smorgasbord of races, body types, socio-economic standing, etc. the typical façade is this: utter misery, exhaustion, intense concentration or some kind of mixture of all three. It’s as if the exhaust of the underground train steeping in the coil of tunnels sucks all the happiness out of these people. Maybe the dementors in Harry Potter are a metaphor for the Metro system?

Every regular rail rider conveys the same tone: I hate my life. While this might not be the case the facial expressions I witness almost come across as humorous to a newbie like me. What is it about this commute that is so troublesome?

Today, when I came through the sliding doors of an orange line train, to my surprise I managed to snag one of the last open seats. Usually I would have had to stand with my arm in the air gripping a metal bar for dear life, pressed up against some stranger hoping the train wouldn’t jolt suddenly to send me flying inappropriately into someone’s armpit. The woman next to me didn’t even flinch as I plopped down next to her. She continued to concentrate on resting her head against the window beside her, I’m assuming in attempts to steal some rest on the way home. However, as the train began to move and jostle, this attempt seem futile and from her facial expression far too painful to be considering at the moment.

The cab is awkwardly silent as usual, other than the occasional cough or newspaper crinkle. I turn my attention to a man in his early 50s standing diagonally across from me. He stands close to the sliding doors, hanging desperately on to a bar beside him. From the look of him, he might as well have been Frodo off to destroy the ring, the next stop being Mordor. He looks intensely concentrated and anxious, with a hint of dread in his eyes. There is a younger man sitting directly behind him, clutching his briefcase to his chest as if it contains the answer to life or the cure for cancer. He stares straight ahead, eyes unblinking looking angry and a little terrified. The woman sitting directly in front of me is making the most noise on the train. I can’t see her face but over her shoulder I can see her furiously shuffling and grading papers. By the way, great job Milo Andres, you got a check plus on your copy book.

Suddenly I notice the only spark of happiness in the cab. It exists between two friends or coworkers. Two girls stand next to each other talking in low voices interrupted by a hushed burst of laughter or gasp. They aren’t obnoxious or the least bit loud but the people standing around them all have taken notice as I have. Some glare, clearly annoyed by their joy; others stare in awe as if they have never witnessed such delight.

The overly-happy-for-the-Metro friends get off the train at the next stop and the mood returns once again to its depressed norm. The intensity of this cab is overwhelming, even for Metro standards. I wouldn’t be surprised if a hole to the center of the earth opened up ahead of us and the muffled voice of our conductor came over the PA system and said, “Next stop: Hell.”

But something happened today to break the misery that suffocated this cab. A young man squeezed his way on board with his daughter who looked to be no older than four. He had three white garbage bags in his hands. The standing passengers were incredibly annoyed with the amount of space his baggage took up.

But suddenly everyone’s expressions changed as they took a closer look at the bags. Through the tightened plastic you could see the outline of a cuff sleeve and button of a jean jacket, the stripes on a navy blue pair of athletic shorts, and the fold of a sock. Clearly this man was carrying all of his and his daughter’s belongings in these three bags. Everyone’s expression on that train melted away from annoyance to understanding, from misery to pity, from exhaustion to concern.

It was at that moment I had hope for the people on this train. No one was going to help this man or ask him how his day was; but these people at least showed compassion or some emotion other than misery. People around the newest passengers made more space for them and their belongings. Some even smiled or winked at the frightened four-year-old. At that moment—on the packed, steadily rocking train—it was enough. This man wasn’t going to find any salvation in this cab, but it would at least get him to the next stop. I’m crossing my fingers it’s not hell.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prom Dress Drive Fever


Since this feature of mine did not get published or submitted online on behalf of my school newspaper, I've decided to post the concept myself here (don't worry I'm not bitter).

I'm sure my campus is no different from any other when it comes to organizations finding creative ways to raise money or items in support of a philanthropy specific to that particular group.

At Longwood three organizations on campus attempted to host prom dress drives this semester to collect prom dresses for high school girls hoping to go to prom but might not be able to afford a dress during these hard economic times. Only two of the three groups were successful.

The Longwood Ambassadors and Delta Zeta came together to co-sponsor a collection for Prince Edward County Schools. Delta Zeta Philanthropy Chair, Kelsey Ferguson said that the idea was brought to Delta Zeta and Ambassador adviser, Shannon Hersman, from a teacher at Prince Edward County. “They had had the idea before but it kind of fell through. There was either no interest or not enough interest,” said Ferguson. She went on to explain that in order to ensure the donation drive would not fall through again, the association wanted to bring it to Longwood where there would potentially be more interest and involvement.

Word of the Prom Dress Drive passed through Delta Zeta and onto the Ambassadors. Kathleen Maxey, a Delta Zeta sister and Ambassador, decided to contact Maryanne Hull, the Ambassador community service chair to see if the Prom Dress Drive could become a joint effort between these two active groups on campus. “It’s kind of a big [project] for just one organization, so we decided to get a co-sponsor and a sorority [was] the best idea,” said Hull.

Longwood is not alone when it comes to collecting prom dresses for high school teens. Check out these cats who actually mad it on the news for their work collecting dresses:

Prom Dress Drive on NBC -- LPE / Communication Society

Hosting a Prom Dress Drive isn't a new concept and did not originate on college campuses. The Princess Project is most likely where the original concept came from; if not, it is at least the biggest and most successful organization that hosts this type of drive. According to their website, The Princess Project "promotes self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them. Our effort is made possible through invaluable volunteer, donor and community support."

The Princess Project started in February of 2002 when one girl needed a dress for her prom. The founders, Laney Whitcanack and Kristi Smith Knutson, responded to her plea by collecting dresses from friends and family. The concept caught on and became more and more popular when an overwhelming amount of donations and support came from women from all over. Today, the Princess Project has expanded to a total of four locations and helps over 3,000 girls every prom season.

All three Longwood students said that they would love to do the drive again and would even consider putting a drive together in the fall for homecoming.
“I would love to do it again. I love to make an impact, not just on Longwood but for Prince Edward County as well. And I think it would be pretty awesome that if we could get at least 100 dresses that would impact 100 seniors, 100 juniors so that they could go to prom,” said Ferguson

“I just want to stress that if you were in that position, you would really appreciate, you know, having a gorgeous dress to wear, to go and to do what everyone else can,” said Hull.

A prom dress is something that I would say most of us girls expect and take for granted. Dress drives like these take something so simple and make girls everywhere feel special. It's hard to believe that there are some girls out there that don't even expect to be able to get dressed up and go to prom. I'm just glad that this simple concept has become something that more and more people have caught on to and want to support.

The prom dress drive at Longwood has concluded, but if you would like to donate a dress you can do so HERE via the Princess Project website.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Standing on my Soapbox

It was the night before Thanksgiving and Andrew, Jess, and Tyler were all coming home from a high school hockey game. It was almost midnight when they stopped at an intersection, waiting for the light to turn from red to green. Suddenly their car hurtled forward into the intersection from some strong force behind them, and then it was dark.

That strong force was a drunk driver going 70 miles an hour into the back of their vehicle. Tyler, who happened to be sitting in the back seat, was killed instantly from the crushing blow. Jess, who was sitting in the front passenger’s seat, went into a coma for a month and when she finally woke up she had to learn everything, including how to walk, all over again. Andrew was in the driver’s seat and was the only one to come out of the crash relatively unscathed, despite the countless visits to therapy that he still attends to this day.

In 2005, my friend Tyler was killed by a drunk driver. A drunk driver who was sentenced to 10 years in jail. A drunk driver who was 35 years old. Not some teenager.

Drinking and driving has been an issue for too long in the United States and admittedly, teens are often the culprits. According to AlcoholAlert.com, 40% of all fatal traffic crashes in the United States involve a teenager driving under the influence. But I can’t help but wonder about the rest; that 60%. I don’t understand why teens are always the ones targeted and blamed. I’m not saying they are not at fault, but aren’t we forgetting to educate and caution every other age group?

First off, let me take the time to say this: To drink and then operate a motor vehicle might as well be the same as carrying a gun cocked and loaded, hoping no one will run into you to set it off. You are knowingly endangering yourself and others on the road.

Second, to all the parents out there: TALK TO YOUR KIDS. Teens are still contributors to drunk driving. If they develop good habits at a young age they will carry it on throughout their lives. As lame as it might sound: they are the future. Having open communication could save their lives.

For example, one of the conundrums teens face is whether or not they should drive home to make it in time for curfew, despite the fact that they had been drinking. My parents made it clear to me when I started driving that if I found myself in that situation, my ass better call them to pick me up—no questions asked.

And lastly, listen and support organizations that work to stop drunk driving. I know MADD might, at times, come off as “preachy,” especially to teens. But they have good intentions, I promise.

On their website, MADD explains that they are “dedicated to supporting state legislation that expands the use of current alcohol ignition interlock technology so that interlocks are mandatory for all convicted drunk drivers in all 50 states” They list an explanation for alcohol ignition interlock technology as follows:

• “An alcohol ignition interlock is a small, sophisticated device – about the size of a cell phone – which is installed into the starting circuit of a vehicle.
• A driver must blow into the device and the vehicle will not start if the driver has measurable alcohol (set to a predetermined level) in their system.
• If the driver does not have alcohol above the measurable level in their system, the vehicle will start normally.
• Interlocks may be set for “running retests,” which require a driver to provide breath tests at regular intervals, preventing drivers from asking a sober friend to start the car.
• If a driver fails a running retest, the vehicle’s horn will honk and/or the lights will flash to alert law enforcement – the vehicle will not stop. The interlock does not have the ability to stop the vehicle once it is running for safety reasons.”

It's a nice thought, but is it practical?

MADD also believes that “it’s highly conceivable that in 10 years cars will have alcohol sensors to stop drunk driving all together” because of the rapid development technology these days. For example, on the MADD website, the organization explains that they have “partnered with leaders in the traffic safety and auto industries to further explore the possibilities of eliminating drunk driving through four possible advanced vehicle technologies.” They list the four vehicle technologies as follows:
1. “Advanced breath testing – both individual testing and testing for alcohol in the vehicle
2. Using visible light to measure BAC through spectroscopy
3. Using non-invasive touch-based systems to measure BAC through the skin
4. Eye-movement measurement technology, including involuntary eye movements related to BAC and eye closure that can indicate drowsiness”

Okay I’ve said my piece. Now what’s yours?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Is Lady Gaga... Gaga?

Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on March 28, 1986 in New York City. She could play the piano by age 4, wrote her first piano ballad at age 13 and began performing at open mic nights by age 14. She began performing in the rock music scene of New York City's Lower East Side and soon signed with Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records, upon its establishment in 2007. Talent is something that she does not lack in…

Gaga’s life moved quickly to get where she is today and it continues to move just as fast now that she’s in the limelight. And from the sound of it, she wouldn’t have it any other way. From epic music videos to outrageous performances, Gaga has a say in every aspect of her career... right down to what everyone can’t stop talking about: her outfits.

Gaga definitely marches to the beat of her own drum, to say the least. If you don’t know her from her music, you sure know her from her unique attire.

Gaga is the ultimate example of how we, as individuals use articles to represent ourselves. Artifacts are typically clothes or some kind of object we carry around consistently. We use these objects, subconsciously or not, to announce our identities and heritage and to personalize our environment. Gaga takes this idea to the next level. She, unlike most of us, is conscious of what she wears and what it means. Many identify her to be similar to Cyndi Lauper ("Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"). As her audience, we might not always understand what she is trying to say with every outfit.

But does this bother Gaga? …What do you think?

On her January 15, 2010 appearance on Oprah, she opened up about the hidden, symbolic meaning behind some of her craziest outfits.

You can watch Gaga’s appearance on Oprah HERE and HERE.

In part one she explained a number of her outfits. For example, her VMA “Paparazzi” performance, where she hung by a rope covered in fake blood, was symbolic of Princess Diana and how she was—in Gaga’s words “murdered” by the paparazzi.

“All the things that I do in the terms of the fame and the fame monster it’s meant to sort of make it a bit easier to swallow this kind of horrific media world that we live in,” said Gaga.

In part two she explained that her primary message to all of her fans is to “free themselves and be proud of who they are and celebrate all the things they don’t like about themselves the way that [she] did and be so truly happy from inside.”

This interview with Oprah really opened my eyes and answered a lot of questions I had about Gaga. First of all, I realized that I had been incredibly judgmental. Why do I have to make sense of her? Who am I to assume anything about her? Second of all, after listening to what she had to say I now respect her more than ever. She might be insane, but at least she is thought provoking and memorable. That’s a quality that most artists only dare to dream of.

But what do you think? Is Gaga off her rocker and nothing else? Or is she more than what meets the eye?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This, I Believe, is a Good Thing

This I Believe began as a radio broadcast and grew into an international project encouraging people from all walks of life to write and share their personal essays concerning the core values that guide their daily lives.
The whole concept started with Edward R. Murrow who hosted the popular “This I Believe” radio series. Below is the first paragraph of his original introduction:
“This I Believe. By that name, we bring you a new series of radio broadcasts presenting the personal philosophies of thoughtful men and women in all walks of life. In this brief time each night, a banker or a butcher, a painter or a social worker, people of all kinds who need have nothing more in common than integrity—a real honesty—will talk out loud about the rules they live by, the things they have found to be the basic values in their lives.”

You can read more HERE
*You also have the option of listening to the original broadcast! This might only be exciting to communication studies majors like me. I wish broadcasts still sounded like that!

Murrow apparently brought the original broadcast to light because he believed that there was a need for such a radio program at that time in American history, and said his own beliefs were “in a state of flux.”

The This I Believe website allows you to search different essays. One essay I found touched my heart and gave me chills. It was written by a 6 year old! As the story goes, when Tarak McLain’s kindergarten group celebrated their 100th day of class, some kids brought 100 nuts or cotton balls. Tarak brought a list of 100 things that he believes in.

Go HERE to listen or read his list.

Not only is this boy now someone I look up to, but he gives me hope for the future... even if his parents wrote this essay for him.

Tarak is now 7 years old. He was born in Thailand and lives with his family in Austin, Texas. He collects and hands out food to the homeless, raises money for orphans and impoverished schools, reads about the world’s religions and listens to public radio. If this kid doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will.

So thank you to This I Believe for 60 years of inspiration. I hope these essays will bring comfort and motivation to all people, from all walks of life for years to come.