Did you forget to vote?!

Someone should probably inform Tarantula that cats can’t vote before she freaks out any more about forgetting…

Greetings blog friends! It’s your long lost Potassium here to take another shot at this whole “blogging” thing. It’s been waaaaaay too long and I really miss it! I especially miss taking really neat pictures and sharing them with you. This weekend, I spent two hours a bit looking at all my blog posts for the past five years and it made me sad that I haven’t posted anything recently. Some of those posts are really cool (at least I think so) and I think having this blog here really helped me channel my creativity and inspired me to work on my photography and blogging skills!

Sooooo let’s start it back up again! I know what you’re thinking. I said that before and then look what happened……. but seriously. I want to try again. Plus it’s November, which is famous for NaNoWriMo and such, so I should challenge myself to write blog posts instead of writing a novel. We’ll start off slow with one post a week just to try to ease me back into the swing of things. Woooo. I pick Tuesday. Done.

Next step. What to talk about?! So much has happened since I last wrote in here! Cobalt and I went on vacation to Hawaii with my family to see my uncle’s and aunt’s sweet farm! We also went to Germany for Esther’s and Felix’s wedding! I co-taught not one but two biotechnology summer camp courses for high school students. I co-founded a new seminar series at CU that focuses on retention of underrepresented students and postdocs at CU by providing new networking and mentorship opportunities. You probably can see updates about that on my Twitter feed —–> (since that seems to be the only thing I seem to tweet about). Oh oh! And the big one! What the heck am I doing with my life now that I finally have my PhD? Well wouldn’t we all like to know? Let’s figure that one out together, shall we?

Now it’s your turn! What have you been up to?! Did you go on cool vacations this summer? New jobs? New other stuff?! Tell me everything!

P.S. It’s election day. Go vote.

P.P.S. It’s also my mom’s birthday! Yay happy day, Mom! :D

Science is cool (and relevant)!

Potassium and Cobalt playing with mirrors in the “Light Games” exhibit. This exhibit was pretty much all in French so we had to guess how to do all the demos…

Ooo a Thursday post! It’s been a while…. Anyway, if you recall, Cobalt and I got the Paris Museum Pass* for the four days that Cobalt was with me in Paris. One of the (60) museums that was free with the pass was the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (or the Science and Industry museum). Of course we had to go there – one of my favorite things is bringing science to non scientists so I thought it would be interesting to see how the French did it. We were blown away. First of all, this is apparently the biggest science museum in all of Europe. It was HUGE. We didn’t even get to see all of the exhibits! Second of all, I was impressed because the science was explained very well (judging by the exhibits in English…) – probably better than the majority of our science museums do here in the US. Really I mean that the explanations went into slightly more detail than ours do but they still seemed like they could be easily understood by a nonscientist (though Cobalt will tell you that their movies were too long…).

Infrared Potassium (with Cobalt behind her)

In addition, and this is my favorite part about this museum, all of the exhibits included a “so what are you going to do about it?” section. There was a whole exhibit on human biology that taught people all these terms that I use pretty much on a day to day basis. At the end, and there was a huge panel that presented important bioethical questions (cloning, genetic manipulation, etc) that inspired the museum attendants to really think about these important issues we are facing today in our world.

Then there was a huge energy exhibit which discussed where we get our energy from (fossil fuels, wind turbines, coal, etc) and how our current use of fossil fuels has contributed to global warming. At the end, there was a section about new strategies to obtain energy, tips on how the average consumer can conserve energy, and why it is important to conserve energy (there is even a game where you follow an guy throughout his day and tap on all the ways he could conserve energy at his house, on his way to work, at work, etc etc etc). I thought it was very informative (again) about the real types of problems we (as humans, not as scientists) are facing in the world today.

Then there was this really neat exhibit about new textiles that people have developed. There was a bioluminescent jacket that glows at night so people will be able to see you, a dress that cleans the air as you wear it, a blanket that glows blue for babies with jaundice so that they can be swaddled and cuddled while they are healing, and more! I thought this exhibit was cool because it kind of combined creativity with science – showing people how science can be creative (Note: I think all scientists need to be creative, not just the ones who develop new textiles, but I thought this was a good example).

This is the crazy dress that filters out the air as you wear it!!!!

I could go on and on but my point here is that this museum did a really good job making science applicable to its audience. Many museums will tell you that science is cool (and it is) and present the audience with a series of facts about each exhibit but I feel that most museums fall short of making it relevant to its audience. It’s like instead of just saying yay! Look at this crazy physics experiment! Science is cool! That’s all…, this museum really challenged its audience by reminding them that this cool science is relevant to everyone (i.e. “how can you conserve energy?” “what do you think about cloning?” “how do these things affect your life?”). Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now but seriously… I am feeling very sad about how science is explained to nonscientists here in the US now… Maybe I will have to change that. :)

Thoughts about today’s post? What do you think about science? Do you feel that what we scientists do in our labs/offices/giant computer rooms/etc is relevant to your day to day life? Why or why not? How could it be more relevant? Write me an essay no shorter than 100 words on this topic (just kidding but seriously, tell me what you think!).

*I’ll post more on all the other things Cobalt and I did with our Paris Museum Passes soon!

Happy birthday Cobalt!

Cobalt wanted three spoons to eat his birthday tiramisu cake when we celebrated his birthday early last weekend!

It’s Cobalt’s birthday today! Cobalt, I’m sorry I’m in France on your birthday but I still hope you have an amazing day. I am so excited for you to get here and join me too!
Love you,
~Potassium :)

Spring maybe?

Look at those Flatirons all ready for spring!

Well for now it appears the snow has stopped and maybe spring can finally arrive in Boulder. This Saturday, Cobalt and I repotted some of our plants (still too cold for the peppers to go outside though…), went out for delicious taco truck tacos, and then we took a walk around a lake. The lake walk had all these neat little exercise activities located every 0.2 miles. Cobalt and I had a lot of fun trying all of them out. Here’s Cobalt on the parallel bars!

Can you find the shark in this picture?

Is it spring for you guys yet? We’re supposed to get a lot of rain this week – just in time for all the undergraduates to graduate this Friday. Did you guys do anything awesome this weekend? Did anyone else see Iron Man 3? Cobalt and I liked it but not as much as the first one…

Cobalt and I are getting excited about our France trip! Hopefully updates on that later this week….

An Evening with Brahms and Beethoven

On Wednesday night I had the pleasure of seeing the University of Colorado orchestra perform. I have to say that even though I have lived here for almost 6 years, this was my first time seeing any of the school’s music groups perform. Not really sure why since I pretty much saw or performed in almost every concert on my undergrad campus. Anyway, on Wednesday night, the CU orchestra performed a Brahms piece I hadn’t heard before (Academic Festival Overture) and then performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (you know, Ode to Joy?) with many of the CU choral groups. Both pieces were fantastic and I found myself pretty much equal parts happy to be in the presence of such lovely music and sad to not be in any performing groups anymore. Maybe this weekend I’ll practice my trombone…

Any plans for this weekend? What do you think about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or about symphonies in general? I find it so hard to believe that Beethoven was deaf when he wrote the Ninth Symphony because it was just so wonderful to my ears. How sad that he never got to hear it…

In other news, yesterday was my sis’ birthday! Yay sister! I hope she had a good day.

We’re super excited because


We’re going to France!! In less than a month! Crazy how everything comes together at the last minute sometimes…

So how did this happen? Well my boss is in France on sabbatical and pretty much as soon as she got there, she sent me an email saying we should figure out how to get me out there for a bit because she really wants me to interact with the huge bacteria community (my project involves bacteria) at the institute where she works. Then it turned out that they have this computer program that is designed to help with analysis of microscopy images. If any of you have heard me talk about my project, you will know that the biggest issue with my whole project is that I don’t know how to analyze my data… at all (What does it meaaaaaaan?!?!?!?). Every month, there is a class that teaches people how to use the program so my boss and I are both signed up to take the class next month… together… in PARIS. Yay! Exciting! It’s been kind of a whirlwind of an experience for me because we had to figure out how to fund my trip because funding has been a bit awkward here and because I still don’t know if I got that giant grant I applied for last July… Ugh…

Anyway, so the first few days of my 12 day stay will be spent learning that computer program and interacting with the other scientists there and then Cobalt is going to fly out so that we can explore Paris together! How awesome is that?! I call this mini honeymoon part 2. These past few weeks have been spent in a whirlwind getting Cobalt a passport and figuring out the necessary supplies for our trip… how exciting!!! Looks like my French for travelers class and my obsession with listening to French rap music at work will pay off after all! :):) I have to admit though that I am kind of nervous too. I’ve been to Canada before and allllll over the US but I’ve never been anywhere else. Crazy nerves and excitement simultaneously!

I think Finn wants to go to France with us…

Now it’s your turn. Have you been to Paris? What is something that Cobalt and I have to check out? Have you traveled abroad? Any words of wisdom for two people who have never left this continent? And finally, tell me something you are SUPER excited about right now. :)

Dallas Day 4 – Street photography, Robots, and more!

Hello and welcome to my last post about our Dallas trip. I’m warning you, this is going to be a long post (and very pic heavy) but hang in there! I think it’s a pretty awesome story! :)

All right so where to start. On Tuesday we left off at the aquarium. From there, we headed to this amazing deli called eatZi’s for lunch. It was amazing! It is like a bakery, deli, and wine market all in one place. It was pretty much the place to go for lunch – they had prewrapped foods like sushi, sandwiches, and salads; they had a sandwich and salad counter where you could request the ingredients and they’d make it in front of you; they had a bread counter and a deli counter; and on and on and on… I was so happy in there. I think I would probably go there every week if I lived in Dallas. We each got epic sandwiches (mmm prosciutto…) and other things to share before heading to Klyde Warren Park, which is a park over a freeway, to eat our lunch. It was a fantastic day outside and everyone was out enjoying the sun. After lunch, Jem and I took our cameras for a walk through the park to work on some street photography. Here’s a pic of us in action…

After Kylde Warren Park, Jem and I wandered around the nearby neighborhood and I decided to play with my zoom lens a little. That’s where that crazy picture of Cobalt comes from. How this works – I set the shutter speed to pretty slow (tenths of a second instead of hundredths of a second) and then as I was taking the picture, I would zoom the zoom lens out or back in, creating this awesome blur effect. I think it looked particularly cool with people and cars so that’s what I’m showing you today…

My first attempt at playing with the zoom lens:

Jem taking a picture of me.

I like this picture a lot.

They turned out pretty cool, don’t you think? I think my favorite is the one of Cobalt up there. He decided that it will be the album art for any music he ever puts out… Wahahaha…

After street photography, Jem and I dropped our cameras off at her house and then Cobalt, A, Jem, and I headed out of Dallas to see the town that Cobalt grew up in (before his family moved to New Mexico)! It was so cool seeing Cobalt’s old house in his old neighborhood. We also got to drive past his old elementary school and church. It was neat. After taking Cobalt down memory lane, we stopped at Krispy Kreme donuts before heading back to Dallas.

Jem, A, and Potassium being odd

Back in Dallas, Jem took us to see her work. It was exciting. I met Jem because we used to work in the same lab together back when she was a graduate student. But now she’s all fancy with her PhD and works in a new lab in Dallas. I always like seeing other people’s labs just because it’s so interesting to me how the same basic procedures get done in different labs (sometimes they are surprisingly different…).

We continued our tour of Dallas by heading to Deep Ellum to see The Traveling Man, a series of three robot sculptures that pop up kind of out of nowhere by this train track. They are super neat so here come a bunch of pictures… Ready?!

Each robot sculpture is surrounded by these little adorable bird sculptures…

Of course Cobalt wanted a picture of him riding one.

This one, called Waiting on a Train, was my favorite.

Jem and I were both sad that we’d left our big cameras at her house and had to resort to our iPhones for pictures. I immediately downloaded a fisheye app for mine because I thought the robots would look neat with a fisheye lens (don’t happen to own that for the DSLR anyway…).

Cobalt and I got photobombed by this Waiting on a Train guy… It was awkward… :-/

This is the second sculpture, called Walking Tall (We kind of saw these out of order, I think Walking Tall is technically the last sculpture in the series) through the fisheye iPhone lens… I love how it turned out. Also, notice that in addition to the bird sculpture the robot is holding, there’s a real bird perched on his shoulder…

Here’s me and the Walking Tall robot as viewed on this bird’s head. I tried to make it look like he was holding my hand. Weren’t the clouds amazing that afternoon?

Another angle of the Walking Tall robot… I like this pic a lot too.

Finally, the last sculpture (but I think technically the first sculpture) is called Awakening. Also, notice that cool art on the wall behind the robot.

The Traveling Man is a really cool and inspiring series of sculptures. They are really close to each other too so I highly recommend that you check them out if you live in the area or ever choose to visit. Next time we visit Jem, I am definitely going to go back to visit my robot friends.

At this point, everyone was getting a little grumpy because the donut high was wearing off and we all realized how hungry we were. So we headed to The Alligator Cafe for some cajun/creole food. Holy crap, this food was amazing. Everything that we got we loved. I had been craving fried catfish the whole time we were there so I got the Catfish Ponchartrain which was seriously soooo good that I am drooling right now just thinking about it. Yum. Highly recommend this place too!

AFTER DINNER (I know what you’re thinking… there’s more?! Seriously, I told you Day 4 was a long day… remember that on top of all this stuff we went to the aquarium too… don’t worry… we’re almost done.), we met up with some of Jem’s friends at a bar called The Ginger Man. It was nice to meet Jem’s friends and see a little bit of Dallas at night. Hurrah. Also, A and I decided to play around with the fisheye app on my phone and we got this gem of her…

In the morning we got up early and A, Cobalt, and I loaded up the car before driving allllllll the way back to CO. It was kind of a sad drive because we all really enjoyed our trip to Dallas and then we had to go home! Things got epically boring in Kansas and we brought out the license plate game to keep entertained. Turns out that a lot of people from all over the country drive through Kansas!

Okay folks, it’s time to end this epic post about our epic trip to Dallas. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. And now it’s your turn… What was your favorite part of our trip? Is there anything you wished you could have heard more about? What are you doing this weekend? Something fun I hope? Tell me! Jem is actually coming to Boulder this weekend to visit (yay!!!) and Cobalt, A, our friends J, K, another A, and I are all running in a 5K called the Rave Run. I am normally super grumpy about running (I just hate hearing my inability to breathe while running so I only like it when it is connected to soccer or some other sport…) but the Rave Run seems right up my alley. It’s at night so there are going to be flashing lights and colors and music and glowy things… I will probably just dance the whole way through… :)

pH and Dallas Day 2

Some Dallas “wildlife”

I totally meant to write my second Dallas post for you guys this week but life went crazy in grad school. One of my labmates defended his thesis yesterday. This means he has his PhD now! And that I am now the senior grad student (not counting our MD/PhD student) in the lab… craziness… Because the defense is probably the most important part of actually getting a PhD (even more so than walking at graduation), my boss came all the way back from her sabbatical in France for his defense. This whole week reminded me of the two skills I think are the most important to learn in grad school: 1) that it is good to learn how to be independent, in control of your project, and manage your time well because after all, the whole point of getting your PhD is to learn how to answer a complex question that no one has ever asked before and 2) while skill 1) is important, it is also necessary to learn how to be flexible with your time because sometimes your cells don’t want to grow, the microscope is on the fritz, or your boss shows up from France after not seeing you for 3 months and wants to meet with you… at some point…

I had all these experiments or ideas of experiments planned this week and they mostly still happened except not exactly in the planned order. In addition, this was an epic week for defenses (my lab mate and one of my other friends here are now PhDs!) so after crazy days of trying to fit everything experimenty in and having exciting conversations with my boss, there was a lot of celebrating going on… I also had a random soccer game on Wednesday (they are usually on Sundays)… Whew… I am so excited for the weekend…

Anyway, as promised:

Dallas Day 2

After all the epic driving going on on Day 1, there was much sleeping in the morning of Day 2. Poor Jem still had to go to work so A, Cobalt, and I slept in and then got up to explore our surroundings a little. We took a leisurely stroll to this restaurant called the Dream Café and had amazing breakfast (it was lunch time though). I got these super fluffy amazing ricotta pancakes. I am not normally a huge pancake fan but I was really craving them and these hit the spot perfectly. Mmmmm… I want more! After our tasty breakfast, we wandered around downtown Dallas taking in the sights. It was pleasantly warm and there was so much neat stuff to see! I longed for my fatty DSLR camera instead of my little iPhone camera… Regardless, here are some pictures of our outing…

A and a dog she found…
A bird pretending not to watch us eat our delicious breakfast
Cobalt “walking on water”
Potassium and A being normal (that means weird)

 

In the evening, Cobalt and I drove to see some of his family members that live nearby. I pretty much instantly bonded with all of them and it turned out to be a really nice evening. We celebrated their youngest daughter’s birthday with pizza, wings, and deliciousssssss homemade cupcakes and I felt so special to be included. :)

Next week – Fun times at the Fort Worth Zoo and Fort Worth in general. For now it’s your turn. Tell me about your work – are there skills that you have had to develop to do your job better? Tell me about food – do you enjoy eating breakfast? What is your absolute favorite breakfast food (I love eggs, hash browns and some variety of meat but I don’t often order it because I eat it too fast to enjoy it… :p)? Any fun plans for the weekend? Any requests for animals next week?

In other news, I saw something cute yesterday: pH (which is a measure of how many hydrogen ions are in something)=2/3 PhD… so I guess I’m pH right now…

Make snow lemonade?

Lur the great snow shark….

On Sunday, I had a very fun adventure planned. Cobalt and I were going to spend the morning and early afternoon in Denver with our friends and then watch the Oscars in the evening at our house with anyone who wanted to come over. Then it snowed 5 inches before we even got up on Sunday morning… The roads were a mess and it was still snowing pretty hard so nope on the Denver plan. That left me feeling pretty conflicted because I really wanted to go see my friends in Denver but it never snows 5 inches here in Boulder so I also really wanted to go play outside in the snow. Since I didn’t want to drive up to Denver in crazy snow, the only option was to play! So play I did.

I was in luck because my friend L was planning on cross country skiing with her dog along some of the running trails here in Boulder and it turned out she wanted company! I was dressed in all my snow gear and hauling my cross country skis out of our “Harry Potter closet” (it’s under the stairs if you didn’t guess) within ten minutes. L showed up and we frolicked around in the snowy wilderness for the next hour and a half. It was lovely. We had wonderful conversations, skied happily through the snow, and hung out with her adorable black lab. Meanwhile it was still snowing….

Later in the day (now we’re up to 8.5 inches of snow), my friend A came over for the Oscar party but she showed up an hour early so we could play in the snow in Cobalt’s and my backyard. We sat down in the snow like children and proceded to build an enormous snow shark spanning our entire backyard pretty much (it’s not that big… we live in an apartment complex…). His name is Lur and you can see him up there at the top before he got his magnificent pinecone eyes… Here are some pictures of me and A with Lur!


The adventures continued yesterday because Gustav wanted to meet Lur. Here are some pictures of that encounter…

I love that Lur totally dwarfs Gustav…

I think they liked each other because of this Instagram pic…

A and I then escaped lab early yesterday because hey… we rarely get this much snow at once and then on top of that, it rarely stays around more than a few hours (the weather here is weird… 70 degrees one day, snowing the next, 50 degrees after that, you know…). A has a new snowboard and she wanted to play around with it on the hills we have here before actually taking it to a ski resort. So we bundled back up and took my cross country skis and her snowboard up to the hills right by our houses. It turned out to be a fantastic day for playing around in the snow – the sun was very bright and warm and there was sooooo much snow to play with. Some pictures of those adventures…

There’s so much snow you can barely see her snowboard!
Don’t judge my lack of coat/hat in this picture. I had just skied a bunch of laps and I was totally overheating… I was cold after A took this picture though and retreated back to the warmth of my coat…

Whew! I am tired now from all this crazy snow playing. It’s supposed to snow again today too! Too bad I actually have work to do though… ;)

Anyway, I’m sad that I didn’t get to see my friends in Denver yesterday but so happy to have gotten to play in the snow instead. I guess the moral of this story is: when life gives you snow lemons, make snow lemonade!

What’s the weather like where you are? Is it spring yet? Do you get a lot of snow or no snow? What are your thoughts on snow? I hate driving in it but I love playing in it/watching it from the warmth of inside…

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…