Last Thursday, when my friend came to visit (prior to the San Diego trip), she coerced me into watching the Twilight movie. And while I made a big show about it beforehand (by apologizing to my Xbox for putting it through this), I did make an effort to go into the movie with an open mind. I feel like I did a good job too. And so, because I feel it's necessary to do this, I'm going to write my candid, honest review of the movie:

It wasn't bad. I actually kind of liked it. Now, I haven't read the book that it's based off of, though I am vaguely familiar with the story, since my sister and close friends are all freakishly obsessed. And I'll be honest too... the things I had the most issues with in the movie were things that I'm pretty sure come FROM the book.

Which brings up an interesting paradox, because while I don't like them, I do like that the movie keeps them, because book-to-movie adaptations should remain faithful. So I personally let those things slide, while others may not.

Things I did like:

  • I thought that overall, the music was pretty good. There was a good blend of scored music with actual songs, and for the most part, they all fit their scenes pretty well.

  • The movie recognized that it is part of a series, and was made as such. It can stand on it's own, but there are some aspects of the movie that, if this movie was intended to be a one-time thing, could (and in that case, should) have been changed. But since the movie is not a one-time thing, I like that they kept these things in, even if they seem out of place to somebody like me, who isn't familiar with the series as a whole

  • I like that in the climactic fight, the main female character actually gets legitimately injured. It's too easy to just forget about her in a scene like that, and focus on the vampires fighting, but I'm glad she actually took serious damage. Made it seem slightly more realistic.

  • The overall feel was good. I felt that it flowed nicely, and explained enough to keep me in the loop, while not really sacrificing important things to those who have read the book (that's the impression I've gotten from friends).

  • The author had a cameo. I think that's a cool shoutout to fans (though I wouldn't have caught it if my friend hadn't pointed it out to me.

Things I didn't like:

  • The movie was obviously a "low-budget" film (so-to-speak). Most of that was spent on special effects, so there were other areas that suffered at times. The one thing that drove me crazy was the makeup on the vampires. They're supposed to be pale-faced, but too often it looks like the characters are wearing pale makeup. That is to say, it's so obvious that they're wearing makeup that it's hard to believe it.

  • Some of the scenes with Edward (the main guy) bothered me. Maybe this is a book thing, but the acting seemed kind of life-less at times. Other times, however, it worked really well.

  • I don't like that so much of "traditional" vampire lore is just thrown out in the story. This is a book thing, so I don't fault the movie, but it still bothers me.

  • The early part of the movie seemed like it was trying to almost be a pseudo-horror movie. Some of the camera angles, the music choices (this is the part where I disliked the music), and general atmosphere seemed to clash with the whole supernatural-romance story aspect.

  • I still think the story, in and of itself, is kind of weak. There's no real conflict throughout most of it. We meet the villain near the end, and everything speeds up from there. It's almost like the pseudo-horror aspect early on is there to try to give the first 2/3 of the movie some kind of substance. Again, this is a book issue, but still.

Still, I did enjoy it. I've heard the books come off as kind of amateurish (in regards to the writing style and such), which is one thing that wouldn't translate to the movies, so I'm still not sold on reading them. But perhaps I'll give them a try at some point.

That is, AFTER I re-read Harry Potter. I've got books 6 and 7 in my room now, and they definitely get the nod over Twilight.

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San Diego


While the first part of my Spring Break wasn't terribly exciting, the second half was a lot of fun. My friend Caity came to visit, and we hung out for the weekend.

On Friday, we drove down to San Diego, and checked out Balboa Park for a bit. It's really nice, but we weren't able to find many of the gardens. We were only there for a bit, and didn't feel like spending money to check out the museums, so there wasn't a TON to do there, but we did check out the botanical garden, which was neat. Mostly, it was just to kill time, and it definitely served that purpose. I want to go back again sometime to check out the museums though; especially the Natural History Museum and the Science Center. I haven't been to those since I was a little kid, so it'd be great to go back.

We were both pretty tired from the drive and walking around, so we just relaxed at the hotel for the rest of the day. Then on Saturday, after a stop at Denny's, it was off to the world-famous San Diego Zoo!

The Zoo was great. Absolutely great. I used to go at least once a year, if not more often, when I was in elementary school, because my grandparents live in the area. But I haven't gone since I was probably 10 or 11. And for whatever reason, the Zoo was just as fun as it was 10 years ago.

There was just something great about walking around and seeing all the animals. It probably helps that the San Diego Zoo is known for it's wide, open-air exhibits, so they're more exciting than you might initially think. Plus, there was that whole nostalgia factor for me too, which was really nice.

But still, we'd just find ourselves watching animals (especially the otters!) for long periods of time, just fascinated by them. It was just a really neat experience.

Some pictures:

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Undie Run


Tonight marked UCLA's Winter '09 Undie Run. For those who don't know, here at UCLA, we have a quarterly event that occurs on the Wednesday of Finals Week, where students strip down to their undies, and go for a run. Very literal, I know.

You can hear all the students gathering at the crosswalk near my building for fifteen to twenty minutes before midnight. There is cheering, chanting (I heard some "Fuck $C"s tonight), 8-claps, people making all kinds of noise, etc. It's kind of like when it becomes the new year, and people make all that noise to celebrate. Then, at midnight, they all take off, cheering and yelling, through a tunnel, and on some pre-determined route around campus.

There are always lots of people involved. People enjoy the tradition. Most people, at any rate. But tonight, I had two people complain to me about it, within a few minutes of each other. And it really soured my mood.

I've NEVER done Undie Run, and I don't plan to (except, MAYBE, Spring Quarter of my senior year). I'm not a fan of taking off my clothes and running around with a bunch of drunk, nearly-naked, college students. But I like the event.

I don't get how people can complain about it. I mean, there are some semi-valid points, but even those are shaky at best. What it really boils down to, in my opinion, is a lack of appreciation for tradition. Because I also know that both of the people who complained to me aren't big fans of "traditions" either.

If a bunch of people randomly started running around in their underwear, then yes, that would be dumb, and it would annoy me. But this is an officially recognized, recurring, event. It is people coming together to something as one group. That's solidarity. That's unity. That's pride.

UCLA has been here for a long time. There are a LOT of traditions. And traditions are important, because they offer a stabilizing facet to each year (or quarter, in the case of Undie Run). We have Undie Run, we have Blue & Gold week (and the parade), we have (or, had) All-Hill Halloween, we have Dance Marathon, we have Spring Sing... the list goes on and on. And for every Bruin who graduates, and leaves these traditions behind, there are new Bruins coming in who get to experience these for themselves.

Maybe I feel stronger about tradition because of my martial arts background. I remember watching students test for their black belt. Watching them have to spar 4 or 5 of the instructors in a row, with no breaks. Watching them do challenging board breaks. Watching them do their specialty breaks. I remember watching them at their Black Belt ceremonies, getting their new belts, and joining the rest of the Black Belts. And I remember watching all of this, knowing that when it was my turn, I would experience the same things. It would be unique and special to me, but at the same time, it formed a togetherness with those who had gone through before me, and those who would follow.

I just feel that at a school like this, with so much tradition and so much pride, that you have to accept these events. Maybe you don't like the specific one (again, Undie Run isn't my thing either), but you should still feel a sense of pride knowing that people are carrying on traditions. It really is a beautiful thing.

And when I graduate, I'll do so knowing that on the whole, I was part of something bigger than me. That I was actually a part of this school, this overall community of Bruins.

Go Bruins.

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I was talking to a friend of mine today, and she came up with a new nickname for me. I realized that I have had TONS of nicknames throughout the years; some clever, some dumb, and some just plain weird. Ones I can remember off the top of my head:

  • Dempstar

  • Germ

  • Germ the Worm

  • Germany

  • Germy

  • Germy Dumpster

  • J

  • JD

  • J Demp

  • J-Man

  • Jam

  • Jam Dampster

  • Jammy Dodger

  • Jamster

  • Jer

  • Jerrrrrrrrrrr (the amount of 'r's varies)

  • Jerry

  • Jerry Demmy

  • Jim

  • Jimmy

  • Mad Dog

  • MG

  • Nerdemy

  • Perry

  • Remmy

  • Wolferine

  • The Wolf Man

No lie, I've been called every one of these at least once before in my life. It's kind of ridiculous. Ridiculously awesome.

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Text Messages #5


From Ariel, when I told her I was playing Guitar Hero:

Rock on.

From My Youngest Brother:
This girl in my psych class said you look like jesus

From Ariel, in response to that:
What the hell?! Pardon the pun with the Jesus reference. But first of all, has she seen you? Second of all, is she delusional?

From Ariel, regarding another of her crazy professors:
My teacher is talking about how passing hte pipe when you're smoking weed is a sign of respect and saying "we are one"

From Ariel, when I was fixing my lights:
Please tell me you didn't electrocute yourself....

From Aaron, in memory of a crazy trip:
im on my way to vegas with robert, and we're about at the point where i tried to box [mutual friend] in behind the tanker and he hit 110 sneaking in front of me!

From Aaron, while in Vegas:
playing [a game] at oshea's casino and this one is in your honor! also, from a rando: "i only believe in two things: my balls and my word." think on that one

From My Sister, who was also in Vegas that weekend (for a cheer competition):
we got first place! out of 10 teams too!! woo hoo!

From Ariel, echoing my sentiments about radio use:

From Aubrey, regarding her co:
[Evil housing guy nobody likes] was taking pictures of posters, so my co ID'd him and walked him down to the orl office

From Aubrey, after I messed with her room when she let me in unsupervised:
haha i JUST noticed your post it. haha too funny

From Aubrey, after I assured her that the post it was the only thing I messed with:
i was a little nervous, not gonna lie

From Ariel, texting me simultaneously (and subsequently trying to jinx me):
WTF is Dispatch doing?

From Natalie, regarding my resident who performed martial arts at a talent show:
Is she your resident? Did you train her?

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