Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost Home for the Holidays

And by "almost", I mean two days from Thanksgiving break and less than a month from Christmas. My, how time flies.
(My fellow RENTheads should have thought, muttered, or shouted "Time dies!" in response. I hope you didn't let me down.
And yes, you know who you are.)

Hopefully, I'll have a better update in a couple of days. Probably Wednesday or Thursday. It wouldn't be a Milton-family holiday if I didn't blog about it, after all... and the best news: the second-cousins who demand their annual Land Before Time marathon aren't coming this year. That's right: we are controlling transmission this year.

And because it's an exceptionally nerdy day, I'm gearing up a month in advance for the New Year's Eve marathon of Twilight Zone on SciFi. Oh SciFi, have I told you lately that I love you?

To tide you over until my next post, have some fun with this little ditty. It's the short from my favorite Turkey Day special of MST3K, "Night of the Blood Beast".
You'll have to search for the second part on your own, though. =)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Apparently, We're Changing.

It's official.

I know I wasn't very politically-minded on my blog during the drawn-out, dramatic, and ridiculously publicized build-up to tonight's election. This was intentional. It's wearisome to hear friends, families, co-workers, fellow students, or anyone else arguing the same old trip over and over again. It's a lot of wasted energy to get so angry about it. Even now, I'm just thanking God it's finally over; as of last month, I made my voting plans and stopped caring for the "right" outcome -- any outcome would have been, and is, a welcome reprieve.

Nevertheless... the finality of it all is odd. I kind of expected an outcome similar to the last election. I knew deep down that Bush was going to be re-elected, no matter what. This time, though, my hunch was off. Way off. It's the first time I've had to deal with being on the "other side" of the political realm.
I think there's a quote in Firefly that is something to the effect of: "It may've been the losing side... [I'm] still not convinced it was the wrong one."

So next time, I'm moving to England so I can Vote Saxon. Or, if I stay here, Denny Crane. He piloted his own starship, you know.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Just Your Typical Superhero Musical Video Blog.

Well, maybe not. XD

In any case, get excited, because Joss Whedon has struck again. Mutant Enemy put this together during the Writer's Strike; their little project surfaced in July, and I must confess, after I watched all of it I figured it would soon disappear from the internet all together (shameless plug: it is available for download on iTunes. Don't be cheap like me!). So I didn't post in the good ol' blog about it then.

And now that I know it's still up (wheeee!), I present it to you.

My dear readers, I give you Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Disclaimer: it's about forty-five minutes long, so if you'd like to watch the three fifteen-minute acts at your leisure, they're on YouTube in parts. (yeah, I know, for some reason the three acts are each in two separate parts. Nine videos. And linking them all would be ridiculously tedious.)


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Two Words:


Thursday, July 17, 2008

To S&M!

Your reading assignment is yet another news article. Because that's where I get all my giggles when I'm not watching House.

Just "Wow..." A long, drawn out, bewildered and overwhelmed "Wow." Followed by a long laugh.

I could get out my soap box on this one, but I don't know if I should preach about the depravity of society or the stupidity of Mattel's marketing department.
Or both.

I open the floor to the discussion of which is the greater of two evils: innate human depravity or the kid's toy company that seeks to exploit it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Faulkner's Old South

"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."
-William Faulkner

No, I don't have my camera back. These are a few months old. But whenever I drive through some of the more rural* areas of central Alabama, I'm reminded of all the images of Faulkner's "old South": ancient landscapes covered in kudzu and Spanish moss; plantations sprawling across and towering over the warm, green grass of a Southern summer; small towns that never grew, but instead shrank away into memory...

And yet, the life from the past somehow remains. Dust and overgrown these buildings may be, they nevertheless stand.
*rural (adj. Pron: \ˈrr-əl\):
1. of or relating to the country, country people or life, or agriculture
2. of or relating to a place where you must wait for the dog napping in the middle of the road to wake up and move before you can drive by.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Freaky Fourth

Even as I sit down in the recliner with Rodney to blog, I can already hear the dominoes clattering on the dining room table over the humming of the dishwasher. I predict now that we'll be able to tell who's winning by how many threats they receive from my grandmother.

The holidays make everybody crazy. We made our last-minute trip to Wal-Mart last night with the foolish belief that we could run in and out in under an hour. Considering our normal trips take almost an hour, with ten or so minutes in the check-out line, we knew this was going to be a feat.
After standing in line for forty-five minutes in one of three lines open on our side of the store, Kate looked at me and said, "Do you ever feel like you're living in a sitcom?"
I wonder if the twenty other people in line were thinking the same thing.

By the way, Grandmama has threatened to backhand Dad for the third time in about an hour... sounds like he's winning.

Kate and I have kicked back for the amazing experience of a Twilight Zone marathon. Ever seen "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up"? It's positively chilling. This is truly a TV show for the storytellers and story-lovers at heart -- you have twenty-five minutes to suspend your disbelief and willingly fall into a realm that teases, baffles, mystifies, and even terrifies the rational human mind.
This is, however, all in preparation for a Hitchcock movie marathon later this afternoon. As if The Twilight Zone wasn't freaky enough, we have to add a little more suspense into the mix. Sweeeeeet.

Oh-- fourth threat toward Dad. He's definitely winning.

I'm running out of battery, and it's probably getting close to margarita time. So while I settle in for "King Nine Will Not Return" (with the guy from Dial M for Murder -- w00t!), I bid you a very happy Fourth of July, dear reader. Tonight I plan to watch the fireworks display at the Prattville High stadium from the comfort of my roof, and maybe get in a couple of Hitchcock movies before turning in for the night. I hope your plans make you just as pleasantly satisfied as mine.

PS: Don't forget to say your prayers.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Free to Scrub Floors and Roll Gossamer

Long-time readers of my blog (or since at least a year ago this month) may recall that my family is big on tradition. We know exactly where we're going and with which side of the family on each major holiday. Fourth of July brings to mind different things for the four of us Miltons: for Mom and Dad, images of BBQ from Pratt Park and margaritas dance in their heads; meanwhile, my sister and I can only dream of how much cleaning and decorating we'll all have the week before the shindig.

If you've never met my relatives, I would be willing to bet that your idea of cleaning house for a family get-together is different from mine. I am convinced my grandmother has a rare gene that has, as of yet, remained undiagnosed by modern science: it gives a person the superhuman ability to spot when something has not been Lysol'd within an inch of its warranty. In an effort to keep my grandmother bored, Mom and I agreed that this year's big project should be to "deep-clean" the kitchen floor. Point of interest: our kitchen tile was laid in the 1960s and is remarkably resistant to mopping. Our strategy, then, would involve three days, two scrub-brushes, and two-thirds a bottle of Oxy-Clean.
I went into the project with the mental image of Cinderella singing about nightingales, and felt at peace. Silly me. After the first day, I wondered why Cinderella never had bruised knees and wicked arm muscles. If she cleaned the floors on her hands and knees for the majority of her life, she should've had biceps the size of a midshipman's on the HMS Surprise and been able to carry Prince Charming across the threshold.

After completing the heavy-duty preparations, we move on to the next logical step: decorating. And yes, to keep up with the Southern Living example, we must decorate. Mom's ideas for this year involve the blue gossamer and glittery stars that were intended -and used- for our church's annual Independence Day potluck dinner on the 2nd, because she found herself in charge of decorating for both meals. Trust me, this is about as low-key as it comes for my family... one year for Thanksgiving we toyed with the idea of covering large pinecones with gold and silver spray-paint, and we have exactly zero pine trees on our property.

And amidst all the preparations and last-minute dashes to the grocery for the frozen margarita mix, I had the pleasure of attending the aforementioned dinner at church. The fellowship brought to mind the reasons why we go to such trouble of rolling out gossamer and ironing the nice tablecloths. For the first time all week, I wasn't bothered by the thoughts of which part of the kitchen floor needed scrubbing before Friday.
Then, in the middle of the dinner, we had a prayer for those serving in all the branches of the military. We have this kind of prayer every year, but this time I was deeply moved; one of my childhood friends is over in harm's way right now, and another man will soon be leaving to serve overseas while his wife and two little girls wait for him at home. Prayers for the families in particular broke my heart. I found myself to be the textbook example of seeing the forest for the trees; how could I have forgotten why I was free to scrub the floor, celebrate, and even have a church family to pray for?

How can we as Americans care so very much about American Idol and LOST, but not Presidential speeches? Why do we content ourselves with listening to public orators, stand-up comedians, and next-door neighbors who bash the government with all the conviction of the Rotten Tomatoes critics at a viewing of From Justin to Kelly? Why do we pointedly forget how we obtained the right to vote for Bush and then complain about him?

I don't want to get on my soap-box for very long. But before I put the box away, let me say this: if you're going to kick back tomorrow with friends and family, just remember to give a prayer for those who aren't able to be with theirs.

See you Friday afternoon for the annual Fourth entry... I hear there's going to be a Twilight Zone marathon this year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Time Management... or Lack Thereof

This is a tale of the inevitable problems that stem from my addictive tendencies.

Recently I picked up one of the most fascinating games to never have a plot: Harvest Moon. And it's taken over my spare time. To briefly surmise, you play as Jack (or Insert Name Here, whatever else you want to name him), who suddenly inherits a farm from a dearly departed friend. The job description of "owner" is not descriptive as to how you run your farm; it only requires that you do.

It's easy for me to get addicted to things like this. There's no plot to the game, unless you count the cut-scene drama of vying for the attention of one of the pretty young girls in the town with your "rival" for her heart. You make this little man work day in and day out for his living. Perhaps it's this vicarious experience that makes the game so fascinating.

So where does this leave Player One? Jack's out living his life, running hither and yon armed with a watering can, a sickle, and a fridge full of turnips. Player One is sitting in front of the TV surrounded by empty soda cans and, if he's been playing long enough, a couple of cobwebs.

Somewhere between taking care of the chickens and harvesting crops of cucumbers, I realized that a game covertly teaching me responsibility on a virtual farm was overtly causing me to shirk my chores in my actual life.

(As a point of interest, are there any other Trekkies familiar with the Next Generation episode The Game? Because the similarities are rather alarming... except that no one has deactivated my fridge in an attempt to take over my house.)

I think the Gamecube is going on the shelf for a little while... just until I stop having dreams about planting crops of potatoes in my backyard.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blog of a Mad Caucasian Girl

So today I figured out that two weeks of Stats class, irregular amounts of sleep, homesickness, and the impending stress of hosting a friend's bridal shower combine forces to make me cry during Prince Caspian. Multiple times. For the emotionally wrenching post-battle scenes and the warm fuzzy moments.
Funny, though, I made it through Steel Magnolias with only mildly misty eyes.

Also, I now know I loathe the kinds of people who allow themselves to be seen as "needy" and unable to take care of themselves. Be ye not confused with people who rely on others for support when support is needed, or people who seek out something they need (in a positive sense) from someone close to them. I hate stupid people, too. I really can't stand stupid people. I want to smack them with a two-by-four until it beats some sense into them.
And while we're at it, why do most to-be brides start taking stupid pills the day after they get engaged? I dare you to watch fifteen minutes of Bridezilla and still maintain the belief that I'm exaggerating.

Oh... and apparently I am a "pop culture sponge". Or so I have been told. Should that translate to "well-versed in many, even some obscure, areas of culture" or "a fountain of useless information"?
I prefer the former, but accept the reality of the latter.

Yes... welcome to the rambling thoughts of an insomniac college student. I'm beginning to sound like Holden Caulfield. Without the swearing.

Ramble ramble ramble ramble...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No Need For Vacation...

Hooray for three weeks of May Term. And hooray for Statistics five days a week, 8am-12pm.

Note my enthusiasm. ...well, I'm sure you could, if there was any to note.
That class shall now be known as Sadistics 101. (Yes, I know I'm terrible. If you can't beat 'em, make sardonic jokes about 'em, right?)

Regardless, I hope you and yours are well, dear reader. The next time you hear from me, I will probably have a story for you; a fable about the evils of bridal showers in a small Alabama city...
...or perhaps a fairy tale, if I can manage it. I haven't figured one out yet, but I might try nevertheless.

Kick back with a book and a glass of lemonade for me. I'll be joining you in three weeks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yes, We Have No Prime Directive

You know it's gotta be the weeks before Finals if I start updating more and more frequently...

I've been scouring the news again for more updates on the aftermath of the raid on the polygamist sect and their Yearning for Zion Ranch. (Yes, this is what I do when I'm procrastinating from a research paper.) The latest buzz is all about the kids: they're finally going to be separated from the mothers, who have been in custody all this time, and taken to foster homes or who knows where else.

So... all the people these children love and trust are being arrested; their beliefs are being questioned; everyone else is trying to tell them what's best for them in the real world, but these kids have probably never seen a mile outside of Zion Ranch. They don't know what the real world is. And everyone they trusted to tell them what the real world was has suddenly become untrustworthy in the eyes of everyone else.
All I can tell you is, in my unprofessional blogger's opinion with two years of a psychology major's education, this will not end well. The younger ones will be alright, perhaps, since they will probably not remember enough of the sect or their real parents. The adolescents who want out of the sect will most likely be fine, though it will be rough to adjust to a different life. It always is.
It's the kids who are too old to forget and still prepubescent for whom my heart breaks. Their stories will probably not end up in the papers as the next Oliver Twists or David Copperfields. In the psychological development timeline, this is the worst age to experience a trauma of this magnitude; the child can't just forget the majority of the life before, and hasn't the full range of coping skills developed in adolescence to help them deal.

I'm not saying the state is or isn't doing the right thing; I think they're taking measures to sort out the innocents from those who have broken Texas state laws. Nevertheless, there's a brilliant quote from Stargate Atlantis that comes to mind: "Listen, kiddies, everything you believe is wrong, and trust us because we've been here for almost an hour!"

The only truly bothersome thing to me is that I can't think of a better alternative.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fear and Loathing in the New World Order

It's dangerous to for me to read the news. I read too many headlines, spend too much time looking out from my electronic window down on the world, and I get bogged down in the reality of man's sinful nature, and to be honest, it really ruins my day.

This may or may not surprise you, but religious cults are a fascinating subject to me (though it may surprise you to know that this bit of information is pertinent to my previous thoughts). When I read about a cult getting publicity in the news, it attracts my attention. I guess it's a twisted sort of fascination; it's probably the same sort of thing that inspires people to crane their necks to see roadkill, find interest in the prosecution of a murder case or sexual crime, or become fans of CSI. So when I started reading about all this business with the polygamist Mormon sect in Texas, I retraced the media's steps as far back as May '07. This sect has been getting massive amounts of bad publicity for almost a year... the head guy, Warren Jeffs, is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted for loads of child abuse charges -physical, emotional, and sexual abuse- and for marrying off young girls to older men as they reach puberty; and even though he's been arrested and his cult forceably "disbanded" (yeah, right), Jeffs seems to be controlling his congregation from his jail cell by allegedly sending and receiving messages by way of his elders. They fear him at the same time they worship the ground he walks on.

Now, as I'm reading all this for the first time, I start to see connections with other famous cults-gone-wild, particularly Jonestown. Seeing as how I'm too young to remember the events, it probably makes sense that I only recently learned the gruesome details of Jim Jones' Peoples Temple and the Jonestown massacre of '78. If you too are unfamiliar, do some research and be as appalled as I was: the end of it all happened when over 900 people committed suicide, whether voluntarily or by force, under the instruction of "Father" Jones and the influence of his "teachings." Now I know people can be very trusting, but I really wish people would use their heads once in a while. He manipulated them initially with sleep deprivation and an overload of work; some of his people would stay awake for weeks at a time. For the record, 60 hours of sleep deprivation will start to mess with your head, and 72 hours makes you eligible for the Special White Jacket Award. Jones was also known, retrospectively, for using guilt manipulation, sex, and drugs to keep his followers hooked.

There's nothing new under the sun, it seems. Using people to feed your own god-complex, making them do your bidding through fear, guilt, and manipulation... and they give back nothing but unashamed, unrestrained loyalty. If that isn't terrifying to you, I'm very sorry, but you are jaded and you need help.

And to further your reading pleasure, the latest news from Tinsel Town is that Scientology has been turning out dissatisfied customers. A TV actor Jason Beghe (no, I don't know who he is, either) has, in recent news, publicly renounced his social religion. I don't exactly understand all the jargon he uses, though the ever-faithful and semi-reliable Wikipedia entry tried to help out, but what I do understand came through loud and clear: for this guy, the novel sci-fi religion-of-the-month didn't make the cut.
(Blogger's note: in the article, there is a link to the YouTube video that the FOXnews article references multiple times. Is a three-minute teaser for an upcoming interview with the actor. If you would like to watch it, go ahead, but be warned of an abundance of language most foul.)

This all somewhat amuses me. Could there perhaps be an ounce of sensibility left in the minds of man?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It Might've Worked for Thoreau, But...

I'm not completely sure everyone would survive very well living on squirrels and rabbits in a complicated box in the woods for two years.

Why do we try to make society better? I suppose that's a bit of an odd question... but really, when politicians make their promises of how they're going to change the world, do you believe them or roll your eyes?

Personally, I've perfected the eye-roll technique.

Perhaps I'm too familiar with the ideas behind 1984, Farenheit 451, Brave New World, "Equilibrium", and Shyamalan's "The Village", but the idea of some sort of utopian society doesn't really sit well with me.

So when I read about this little place recently, you can imagine how many mental images I got of The Village.

I admit that I am, in fact, tainted by Reformed theology, but I still don't see how a man-made utopia can exist successfully while humans and even the world itself remains in a pervasively depraved state.

I now open the floor for discussion.

Monday, April 07, 2008

To Emotion, Devotion, and Causing a Commotion...

Freud has finally succeeded in making me laugh in a very good way.
In the middle of my homework, I discovered this little gem within my history of psychology textbook.

And I quote:

"In a paper presented to Veinnese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1896, Freud reported that, using material uncovered in his free-association technique, his patients revealed childhood seductions, with the seducer usually an older relative, often the father.
. . .
The group received Freud's paper with skepticism. Krafft-Ebing, the society's president, said it sounded like a "scientific fairy tale".
Freud said his critics were asses and could go to hell."

No need to sugarcoat it, I guess.
The principle of finding swear words in my textbook is very amusing to me.

Thank you, Freud, for making us laugh at psychology... again... and again... and again.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Springtime, Inside and Out

My latest endeavor is not exactly as, shall we say... creative as usual.

Take a look at these. I found them outside my door Sunday morning, as a gift from my hall prayer partner.

(Of course, to make the process a tad creative, the photographer must take a semi-artsy photo of them... ^^)

Odd, aren't they? They're little planters. Each one has soil and flower seeds inside; the green is marigold, the yellow is snapdragon.

Please, withhold your "eggplant" puns.

Supposedly, the seeds will germinate sometime around Sunday. However, the only reason this is an "endeavor" is because I have never prided myself to possess a green thumb. I don't even have a green toe (unless I fail to nimbly navigate a room full of furniture in the dark; then it's a black-and-blue toe). So we shall see if these little buggers make it past their first few stages of development.

In the meantime... I hope the happy spring weather has reached you as it has me. We have returned to the days of leaving our windows wide open without freezing to death... and I am very pleased at the abundance of merry sunshine up on the mountain.

Now that the seasons are changing, all that's standing between me and the end of the semester is two-and-a-half weeks of classes, and another two weeks 'til the end of finals.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Random Sighting #42

Best bumper sticker ever.