Friday, May 20, 2011


Dear readers,
     Normal postings on my blog will resume in June due to the normal influx of grading and exams of the end of the school year. Thank you for visiting my site. Be sure to check back in June to read all about Aimee and Rachel's EPIC ROAD TRIP from Tampa, FL to Seattle, WA and back!

Happy (almost) Memorial Day!

Monday, May 02, 2011

May Movie Survey!

(Check back every Sunday in May for updates!)
UPDATED: 5/8/11.


Fast Five was undoubtedly the most fun I've had at the movies in years: from the saucy and witty banter between the characters (as well developed and funny as the Oceans 11-13 cast), the exotic and domestic cars, (Producers bought (and destroyed) almost 300 cars for Fast Five) the actors, and the stellar plotline: it's a surefire hit. In a separate league from the film that shall not be named Tokyo Drift, Fast Five reunites the main characters in a vendetta plot against a Rio De Janeiro crime lord turned $100M heist, that in surprising moments of spiritual clarity even converts the die hard good guy Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson) if only for a few hours before he's back to chasing the leads. Surprisingly, this "testosterone" filled movie has even more appeal to female fans, beyond the five male leads starring, as for the first time in the series the female objectifying and sexism is kept to a minimum. The three female leads are heavy hitters, as evidence in Mia's (Jordana Brewster's) precision driving of the best car in the film: the Ford GT, Gisele's weapons and motorcycle expertise and the female police officer, Elena. Not that you'll be paying attention to any of this with the breakneck pace of the fight, boosting, drag race, heist getaway, and epic city demolishing scenes of the movie from start to finish: strap yourself in for this ride! Advice: See it... twice. ALSO: Stay for the "secret ending" three-four minutes into the credits.

Advice: See it/Rent it on DVD.

3. THOR.
Some critics are panning this film as being "the longest trailer ever for The Avengers (2012)" and yes: there is a another secret trailer (like in both Iron Man movies) for The Avengers after the credits, but beyond Marvel's Avengers revamp, Thor stands well on its own. The actors (Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth) all create interesting, flawed characters that build on each other throughout the plot. The settings on Earth are humorous and dry (Thor is dropped in New Mexico by his angry father and has some awkwardness transitioning into his mortal form) and in Asgard, an ethereal fantasy. (See photo above)

Kenneth Branagh (the director) who is a world renowned Shakespearean Actor and filmmaker, took the helm for Thor: and this was evident in his inclusion of the "Norwegian mythology" that Stan Lee's Marvel character of Thor, was based off of. Also borrowed from the Norse Myths: are the other gods, and Thor's home of Asgard amongst the nine realms. (Source.) Read more about Norse Mythology here...

The Plot? Successful. The chemistry between the two leads works, with Natalie taking the reins as a witty and determined scientist trying to keep Thor from disappearing as the main evidence of a cosmic event (his arrival). When S.H.I.E.L.D arrives and confiscates all of her research and equipment, Thor helps her get it back, while at the same time helping his friends save his home of Asgard from the ice giants. Surprisingly: this all pulls together in an enjoyable epic battle scene. I also enjoyed the cameos of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Stan Lee as the old man trying to pull the hammer out with truck winch. My advice: See it in theaters.  

To see the list of the characters and actors that made "the cast list" for The Avengers: check out imdb's list here...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Carbon Footprint: The Royal Wedding Edition!

"Carbon Footprint: The Royal Wedding Edition!" 
Aimee having a Low Tea at Nicole's 

As consumed as I was this week watching the beautiful historical moment of the British Royal Wedding of TRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton, (see photos) I did also spend a good deal of time thinking about the impact this event would have on our planet. I was comforted to know, in this modern age, that this was considered in many of the plans for the Wedding and related events. 

Green Points: According, to, the menu (for the Prince of Wales' evening reception), was sourced from organic and local foods, and the cake featured free range eggs. The Royal Couple asked supporters to donate to Earthwatch as one of their 26-charities benefitting from the Royal Gift fund, the invitations were printed on recycled paper and the media stands were constructed with Forest Stewardship-Council certified wood. Catherine's ring was made from  Welsh gold, (instead of conflict ridden minerals) and her dress was made with British textiles and traditional handicraft (not a sweatshop). The flowers were seasonal and not exotics shipped in for the event. The 140 tonnes of waste collected from the city will be recycled as well. 

Nicole's tea in honor of HRH
The Duchess of Cambridge.
The UK Telegraph used the Landcare Research estimates which included: international guest travel, to local crowd travel, the flyover, television and media coverage electricity, and emissions from hotels and venues...these considerations and more, but left out "any emissions from the millions of tons of bunting, cheap Union Jacks and confetti flooding the streets on the day or the flights of the international media." (source)  However, there were other considerations the UK telegraph suggests that they could have taken advantage of, which could have further reduced the carbon footprint of the day, which they did not: such as asking guests to come by public transport, or to offset their flights, and more. 

I do appreciate that the Royals asked people to donate to charities or their gift fund in lieu of gifts. (Which saves packaging and shipping carbon.)

The charities that are benefitting from the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund are:
Peace Players
Ocean Youth Trust
Greenhouse Schools
Oily Cart
Dance United
Venture Trust
Beat Bullying
A National Voice
Association for Children’s Palliative Care (ACT)
Youth Access
Community Foundation in Wales
Community Foundation in Scotland
Community Foundation in Berkshire
Combat Stress
Cruse Bereavement Care for Children of Forces’ Families
Household Cavalry Benevolent Fund
Irish Guards Appeal
Army Widows Association 
Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary
New Zealand Government’s Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
Royal Flying Doctor Service – Australia

I think it's important to think about our own individual carbon footprints: for every event, large or small, in our lives. You can check out my other posts on carbon footprints here... or visit my carbon footprint calculator post.