I love Comic Strips

Yes… Cobalt and I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to comic books…

So I love comic strips. When I was growing up, my favorite thing about getting the daily paper every day was catching up with my favorite comic strip characters. I guess it didn’t help that I grew up in the town where Charles Shultz (Peanuts) lived… When I went to college, I was really sad that I couldn’t keep up with the comics via the daily paper anymore so I started reading the Seattle Times online every day to keep up with my news and my comic strip friends. I also have quite the collection of various comic strip books that are very slowly migrating from my parents’ house in CA to my house here in CO.

As you may or may not know, we’re sort of at the end of an era here with newspapers – no one is reading paper papers anymore and papers are losing a ton of money. Therefore, newspapers are turning towards their websites to make up the extra slack. Seattle Times.com is going to start charging you to subscribe to their website later this month – a prospect that makes me sad because as a poor grad student, I probably won’t be able to afford it.

Pretty much in time with the crash of the newspapers comes this film – Stripped, codirected by Dave Kellett, who writes Sheldon. This movie interviews a lot of comic strip artists (from Jim Davis who writes Garfield) to Bill Waterson (Calvin and Hobbes) about how comic strips have affected society and what is going to happen to them with the death of newspapers. I think it’s going to be amazing! But they need our help – in order to finish the movie, they need access to various archives (such as the Peanuts short films) that are really expensive. If you care about comic strips half as much as I do, check out this website. It has a neat trailer for the movie, their goals, and rewards for becoming a backer. As of right now, it looks like they’ve reached their first goal now but now they are trying for a second goal (and even more exciting things for their movie). There are some pretty cool rewards for becoming a backer… :)

Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you think about comic strips. Do you have a favorite? I think one of my favorites (it’s not super well known) is Sherman’s Lagoon. I had the Sherman’s Lagoon screensaver on my computer when I was a teenager – you could hear fish getting eaten down the hall when we were eating dinner… :-/

By the way, today is Pi Day! Happy Pi Day! Go eat some pie and think about what an awesome number pi is… :D

Chasing Ice

Awwww yeah… I got a signed poster for this movie! :D

On Tuesday night, I went to go see the documentary Chasing Ice. It’s about a photographer who uses time lapse photography to show several glaciers across the world dwindle over a 6 month period of time – a visual representation of climate change in action. It was simultaneously very beautiful (from a photographer’s point of view) and depressing (from a member of earth’s point of view). I really enjoyed the film for several reasons – first because of the cool photography in it. Think about how much work goes into putting fancy DSLR cameras in a really harsh environment and then telling them to take a picture every hour only during the day. You need engineers and computer people and someone to design a home for the camera and photographers, etc etc etc. What a project!

Another reason I enjoyed the film was because they experienced some of the very same challenges I do on a day to day basis with my own research in the lab. At one point, the main photographer is infuriated and frustrated because he spent all that time and energy planning this whole project and when he came back 6 months later, the cameras weren’t working! His reaction was pretty much spot on to my own reaction when I come into lab after letting the microscope image my cells all night only to find that the microscope computer actually froze within minutes of me leaving the lab the night before. I’ll let you imagine what this reaction looks like but I assure you it is full of rage.

Finally, my favorite thing about the movie was how much it inspired me. These are two things I am very passionate about: photography (with DSLRs or microscope cameras) and making science accesible to nonscientists. What an awesome way to use both creativity and science hand in hand! I haven’t talked much about grad school and my plans if when I graduate on here but I can tell you that this movie definitely has gotten my brain whirring about how I can use my own creativity to bring science to nonscientists. I am so excited about what my future career will be like (because right now it is still a mystery…)!

In other news, please see this film. It’s definitely worth seeing 1) as a member of the planet earth, 2) if you are curious about climate change and you hate boring statistics, 3) if you really like photography, 4) if you have never seen glaciers before/would like to see a lot of Greenland and Iceland, 5) STOP READING THIS AND GO SEE THIS MOVIE ALREADY!

Oh wait… before you stop reading this, tell me what you think about climate change. And if you think that’s a boring topic then tell me about a movie that inspired you recently and why. And then go see this movie (and come back and tell me what you think).

Best Picture Nominee Summary

We’ll pause the Cobalt and Potassium saga to bring you an important announcement! The Oscars are this weekend! Yay! Cobalt and I like to have a party for the Oscars where everyone dresses up in fancy clothes and votes on what they think will win all the categories. Then we watch and wait for the results. In honor of the Oscars this weekend, I thought I would have a post about all nine best picture nominees because Cobalt and I have seen all of them. I’ll include a tiny summary of each movie and what I liked/didn’t like about it.

Potassium’s top three favorites (in no apparent order):

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – This is the little indie film that could. It’s an amazing and very creative story about a little girl named Hushpuppy who lives just south of New Orleans with her dad. Her dad gets really sick and Hushpuppy’s whole world starts to shatter. What I think is the most amazing part of this movie was how fantastical and amazing this movie was on such a small budget (Cobalt and I own this one so we’ve watched the making of). It’s also nice because the main actors are not professional – in fact the guy who plays Hushpuppy’s dad is a local baker in the town near where they were filming. I also liked the fact that they used the whole community to make the movie. This one is my personal favorite. It’s neat. You should see it!
  • Argo – this movie is the favorite of the year it seems and is probably the most likely to win. In case you haven’t seen any movies in the past year (and therefore didn’t see this trailer a billion times like Cobalt and I did), it’s about the Iranian hostage crisis and the fact that 6 Americans escaped the embassy and took shelter in the Canadian ambassador’s house. Ben Affleck directs and stars as the CIA agent in charge of getting them out of Iran. Even though this movie is based off of a real event and you know that everyone is okay in the end (if you’ve studied up on your American history that is), this movie succeeds in stressing you out. Will they make it or won’t they?! And that’s why it’s in my top three list – I was clutching the edge of my seat the whole time worried about all the characters even though the back of my head was telling me they would be okay… I also actually really liked the beginning where there was a short introduction about what was going on in Iran at the time – a nice intro/background for those of us who weren’t actually alive/aren’t history majors. :)
  • Silver Linings Playbook – I think there is some confusion about whether this is a romantic comedy or a drama and the answer is it is kind of everything. This is the story of a guy who has just been released from a mental hospital coming back to terms with real life and learning to move on from past relationships. This is a movie by the same guy who directed The Fighter but unlike in that movie, you are cheering for all the characters, which is a good feeling. There are few movies where you actually like all the characters. This movie is heartwarming at times, hilarious at times, and heartbreaking at times. Quite a nice little flick.

The middle three (in no apparent order):

  • Lincoln – This is the story of the ratification of the 13th amendment so it’s another one where you know the end. Daniel Day Lewis portrays a believable and hilarious Lincoln and the whole movie provides a nice little peak into our country’s history. I also was intrigued to see Lee Pace play a villain when he’s usually so sweet and adorable. My biggest complaints are that I thought it was trying too hard to be an “Oscar movie” and that I didn’t like how it ended. I thought it was unnecessary to include Lincoln’s assassination (spoiler alert… ;)) when the story was actually about the 13th amendment…
  • Life of Pi – This is the pretty movie of the best picture nominees. It tells the story of a boy who is lost at sea on a life raft with a tiger for over 200 days. Ang Lee does an amazing job adapting the (sometimes boring) book into a colorful and exciting movie. The soundtrack is also amazing (my favorite of those up for best score). All in all this is a pretty awesome movie, I am just not sure it has what it takes to be best picture… That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go see it. Rent it whenever it comes out on blu-ray/DVD and be prepared for amazingness…
  • Django Unchained – This is the story of a slave who becomes a bounty hunter in return for his freedom and then goes to free his wife. It has an amazing performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz are good too though Christoph Waltz seems very similar to his character in Inglorious Basterds, though he’s not evil. Over all, I found this film enjoyable though it was a little too graphic and bloody for my taste (thanks Quentin Tarantino…). Like Life of Pi, there’s nothing wrong with the movie, I think it just isn’t amazing enough to be best picture.

Potassium’s Three Least Favorite Movies (in order):

  • Amour – This is the story of an older couple who undergo a severe trial of their love when the woman has a stroke. This movie is REALLY REALLY depressing. I was pretty much depressed for the rest of the evening after we watched it. I did enjoy that it was in French (it was spoken fairly slowly so it was easy for me to understand, especially with subtitles). This is the best of my least favorite movies though because besides the fact that it was depressing, there wasn’t anything really to complain about except for the fact that it didn’t have a soundtrack – sometimes it was cool to hear just breathing or walking or whatever and sometimes it was really grating and made the movie drag. The other issue I had with it was that the camera was kind of odd sometimes – people would leave the room and the camera would stay focused on the empty room so you had to wait for them to come back… Otherwise it wasn’t bad… just really really really REALLY REALLY REALLY SAD.
  • Les Miserables – So I need to admit right off the bat that while I generally like musicals, I am not a huge fan of Les Miz. Now onto the movie, I am not really sure why Anne Hathaway is getting a lot of acclaim for this movie because she’s in it for a spilt second. I thought Hugh Jackman did a great job and I at least wasn’t offended by Russell Crowe’s singing (at least he could sing unlike Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera…). My actual problem with this film was with the cinematography. So Les Miz was directed by Tom Hooper, who also directed The King’s Speech. The King’s Speech had these really awesome shots that were super wide angle like this one where all the action is in the corner of the screen and there’s all this blank space in the rest of the picture. That worked out really well for them in that movie. So in Les Miz, he’s at it again with these quirky shots – in this case they are super close ups with really really really low depth of field. The photographer in me was intrigued – what a neat idea! But the movie goer in me was bored because these shots would last the entire length of songs – 3 to 8 minutes of just staring at someone’s pores really isn’t very interesting… It left me feeling disappointed because I wanted to know what else was going on in the scene while that person was singing. In a musical play there’s always something going on while someone is singing… So that’s Les Miz’s fatal flaw in my opinion…
  • Zero Dark Thirty – And finally my least favorite. This movie is about how one woman’s utter determination allowed us to find and kill Osama bin Laden. This is a really fascinating story about how she just randomly stumbled on a bunch of paths that lead her straight to him and yet the movie was….. such a disappointment. The excitement and intrigue is lost in a web of horribly graphic torture scenes and unexciting “chapters” as the movie drags on. Instead of excitement and nerves that I thought I should have been feeling when the soldiers landed in the compound where bin Laden might be living, I was just rolling my eyes and wondering if I had time to pee before they found him (spoiler alert – I probably did). And then it was FINALLY over and she was crying because she finally did it and I couldn’t share in any of her emotions because I was just so annoyed at the whole thing. Boo… It really struck me as how the two movies portraying “recent” events in US history (Argo and Zero Dark Thirty) could be so different. For both of them you know the end but Argo has your heart in your throat the whole time and Zero Dark just has you bored and overexposed to graphic violence. :-/

Welp… That’s all of them. Whew… that’s a a lot of typing… Did you see any of the movies? What did you think? Will you be watching the Oscars on Sunday night? Cobalt and I are excited because we are going to see the Oscar nominated live action and animated shorts this week and then we’ll be super prepared to watch the Oscars on Sunday night…

Three to go…

Cobalt and I have a tradition where we like to see all of the movies nominated for best picture before the Oscars. In general, seeing all of the movies up for best picture ensures you’ve seen the majority of movies in many of the other categories. It makes watching the Oscars really fun when you feel like you have an idea about the movies that are up (and it’s also hilarious because they always play THE WORST clip from all the movies so we can always shake our heads sadly at that too). I really like it too because it exposes me to movies I wouldn’t have otherwise seen that I ended up really liking (take The Descendants from last year’s Oscars). Anyway, this year we did a pretty good job guessing which movies would be up for best picture and ended up having seen 5 out of the 9 nominated before the list got announced last Thursday morning. The 4 remaining were: Argo (which we just saw this weekend, as you can see in the picture), Les Miz, Zero Dark Thirty, and Amour. Amour is going to prove to be the hardest to see because, as of Sunday night when I checked out my Fandango app, it is not playing anywhere in a 250 mile radius from us… Woooooo… This year we also miraculously saw all 5 movies up for best animated feature before the announcement came out too…. that never happens…

Anyway, do you have any fun traditions like this? Do you watch the Oscars? Have you seen any of the movies up for best picture? Which ones do you like? Do you want any recommendations? Cobalt and I really liked Beasts of the Southern Wild (it’s already on DVD/Blu Ray so you should check it out) and Silver Linings Playbook. Lincoln and Argo weren’t too bad either (though I found Argo REALLY stressful…). Actually all of the movies we’ve seen so far are good. It’s a tough race this year…. Leave me a comment if you want to know if you should see one of the 6 movies we’ve seen and I’ll give you a little summary/tell you my thoughts on it. :)

Who you gonna call?!

Cobalt and I ran some errands yesterday (bridesmaids’ and groomsmens’ gifts acquired!) and we found this amazing claw machine! All it had in it were Stay Puft and Slimer from Ghostbusters! Cobalt happens to be very good at claw machines and Ghostbusters happens to be his favorite movie of ALL TIMES so within 2 minutes of me taking this picture, he had gotten us a brand new Slimer! I think it’s that one in the top left hand corner…
Anyway, what are you all up to this weekend? Something fun? What is your favorite movie/what would make you the happiest to see residing in a claw machine?!

Cell Phone Picture: Sad Face

Went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2 at midnight last night! Great times! Though there was one sad thing… I didn’t get to see it with Cobalt. So today’s picture shows me being sad about that. Also, it was taken on my friend’s iPhone so that is why it looks so nice and flashy.

Portrait: Oscar Party!

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had great weekends! Did anyone else watch The Oscars last night? Cobalt and I got dressed up all fancy and went to an Oscars party where we ate delicious fancy hors d’oeuvres and drank fancy drinks. It was a fancy affair all together, as you can see by this picture of my friend Danielle! I think the fact that everyone got all dressed up for the evening was the best part of the whole party. My friend Jennette and I broke out the cameras and went around the party taking pictures. So fun… so fun… :)
As for the Oscars themselves, I was a bit sad that Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit didn’t win best supporting actress over Melissa Leo and I was sad that How to Train Your Dragon didn’t win anything, as I thought it was a fantastic animated movie. It was crazy to have actually seen all 10 Best Picture nominations in advance. I spent much of the evening giving plot summaries of the lesser known movies (127 Hours – good even with the fact that he has to cut off his own arm sometime during the film; Winter’s Bone – good though gritty, the lead actress was amazing; The Fighter – different/better (in my opinion) from The Wrestler in many ways; The Kids are Alright – the kids really are all right but the parents… :-/; etc.) Anyway, if I could make a recommendation for you guys, I would suggest the animated and live action short winners. The animated winner was The Lost Thing and it is spectacular. It is creative and the animation is neat. It was my favorite of the shorts but I was really surprised that it was also the favorite of the academy. Craziness. The live action winner was God of Love and that one is also really funny and light hearted.
Welp, I’ve talked your ears off about movies…