spoiler alert: lazy witch somehow less annoying than lazy scientists

Last weekend a posse of nieces/sisters/moms & I went to see “Brave”.

It was a great outing with the fam and I’m a longtime Disney/Pixar fan anyway. Also, I keep reading things talking about how Merida is an Excellent Role Model or something, though she seems pretty bratty to me- she almost gets her mother killed, btw, and then also poisons her brothers, and refuses to take responsibility for any of it – but I do really, really like her hair. I always wanted red hair! (But I am too lazy for the necessary maintenance.) And it was fun and entertaining and amusing and pretty to look at.

But. Didn’t the plot seem a little…thin? Technically, the only thing that happens is that she asks a witch for a spell, her mom turns into a bear, and she has to spend the rest of the movie hiding her mom from hunters and trying to stitch up a tapestry. That’s pretty much it. Not a lot of twists and turns or subplots or hilarious sidekicks.

Like the spell itself, for example. Strangely, this is a one-trick witch here. Her only solution to any problem is: bears! Bears everywhere! Well, let’s be clear: unless there is actually a life-threatening salmon overpopulation emergency, and frankly that is hard to believe, bears never make the situation better. And why the crazy-short time frame? Usually you get a good three days for your spell to get some results. (And by “usually”, I mean in “Little Mermaid” universe.) But this spell turns permanent by the “second sunrise”. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s only one day. That is not a lot of time to solve any kind of human or bear-related problem. How many salmon can one bear eat in a day???

All that being said, I still had fewer problems with a movie about magical bears than I did with “Prometheus”, which I saw a few days later. I have a list of comments/questions below. Any answers you have would be helpful.

1. Why does Vickers (Charlize Theron) wear such hideous shoes? Hideous, uncomfortable shoes, too; she can barely walk in one scene. Isn’t she a gazillionaire? Doesn’t she have choices? Ditto with the ugly prison jacket. (Catsuit, fine; I never begrudge a girl with a good figure the choice to show it off.) She doesn’t have to do anything but walk around and glare at people. She doesn’t even get off the ship except at the end. Why doesn’t she just wear fancy pajamas all the time? Or velour pantsuits? Those are awesome. (Full disclosure: I own three.) If I were in space for 5 years, that is definitely what I’d pack.

2. How did the alien gods come up with that helmet design? What is that elephant trunk even for?

3. Going hands-free into certain (movie) death = unexpectedly funny.

4. Do all archaeologists have abs like Dr. Holloway? If so, I’ve apparently gone into the wrong profession.

5. If I were Dr. Shaw, I would  have only taken robot man’s head with me. He’s been nothing but trouble, and he can be nothing but psychological trouble without arms, which I do not discount as unserious but at least he can’t poison your next boyfriend or implant a baby octopus in your stomach while you sleep or whatever he might come up with next.

6. How come the alien gods are all piled up outside the door but not ripped apart by alien monsters? What killed them, then? And….what does this have to do with the Earth humans, again? Did we get that answer? I’m confused.

7. Who painted all those star paintings on Earth? Why?

8. How come no one seems to understand what the hell they are doing at any time? No one knows why they’re there. No one knows anything about this planet. No one knows how to use the equipment, which breaks down all the time. No one is clear on their job duties – specifically as shown in related question #9:

9. How come this crew of scientists is so damn unprofessional? Why don’t they do any observation before they tramp all over the place and steal things and push buttons and start taking things apart? How come Dr. Shaw, who is allegedly an archaeologist, is doing biological dissections instead of the specifically-hired biologist? What kind of biologist tries to pet a new species he knows literally nothing about, including whether or not it is murderously dangerous? How come Mohawk Geologist is furiously angry that the biologists/archaelogists are interested in biology/archaeology instead of rocks? Isn’t that why he’s there? And why doesn’t he go look at rocks instead of storming off to the ship (and getting hopelessly lost on the way, somehow, instead; shouldn’t you be rock-observant if you are a geologist, mohawked or otherwise?)? Why did we hire you?

10. Why doesn’t Dr. Holloway have anything to do except taunt robots and hurt their feelings? Shouldn’t he be doing crunches? And relatedly to #11:

11. Why does the robot get his feelings hurt if he’s a robot? Also, isn’t he a little sarcastic for a mechanical being?

12. I love Guy Pearce, but why did they cast a young actor and a truckload of makeup to play an old guy for 7 minutes of screen time? Why didn’t they use an actual old guy? And if you’re going to use a young guy, shouldn’t you also age his arms/legs in body shots? Because he clearly has 30-something-year-old legs in his first scene.

Yeah, I know I’m an overly critical movie-watcher. And I’m not asking things like “why are aliens real here?” because, look, you create the universe, you create the rules. That’s fine. Just…stick with ’em, all right? Your rules got to make sense in your universe.  That’s all we ask as credulous audience members.

And seriously, WTF is with those ugly, ugly shoes?

Yeah. Exhibit A. They look like hooves, don’t they? And just picture how much more smiley she’d be in a nice navy blue hooded velour pantsuit.



yogurt, part deux

I know it seems like an unreasonable amount of time between yogurt updates, for those of you on the edge of your seats, but just to remind you: I had to wait for warm weather to set in around these parts, since we still have not solved the riddle on whether it’s possible to make yogurt in cold climates. It’s probably not a riddle, but I spend my googling time on other things, and haven’t gotten around to looking it up, okay? But it’s been warm in June, so one night I brought home another quart of whole milk, fended off Other Half from eating it with cereal, followed the steps, turned the oven on and off within 2 minutes this time, wrapped the bowl in plastic wrap AND a towel, and placed in the oven overnight.

Was I more optimistic the next morning? Yes!  Well, actually, I totally forgot about it and only remembered when Other Half – who was about to bake something for breakfast – calls from the kitchen, “Hey, why is there a bowl of milk in the oven?”

Dammit! Again? I dash into the kitchen to examine my second failure.

“Well,” Other Half offers, “it kinda smells like yogurt.” I lean in. It DOES. I stir it around. It’s a little thicker, actually. I mean, thicker than milk, which doesn’t seem to say a lot but is still an improvement from my first attempt. I decide to put it in the refrigerator for awhile to see what happens.

Hours later, it’s…definitely thicker. A little. And definitely still smells like yogurt. But it’s still….definitely really thin. I remember that I read somewhere that you should strain yogurt through cheesecloth to get Greek yogurt-like consistency. I have cheesecloth! This could work!

Except it doesn’t; it doesn’t do anything except promptly pour 3/4 of what I have through the cheesecloth into the drain. Epic fail, I would mutter to myself if I were in my 20s and/or possibly early 30s, maybe stretching into 34. This self-sufficiency movement may not be for me. I see, faintly, in the distance, a lifetime of Chobani stretched out before me.

I guess I’ll live, if that happens. Just don’t expect me to be the Yogurt Lady after the Apocalypse is all.

Of course, the worst part is that I see my Yogurt Making Friends the next week and have to explain the situation. They shake their heads in puzzlement. “I’m just going to have to come over and make it with you,” they say. “I think once you get a feel for it it will all make sense.”

I feel resigned and skeptical about this approach, but I’m willing to try it, for argument’s sake. Updates soon. Struggle to contain yourself.

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