Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facts about Pandas

Today I decided to write about one of my favorite topics: Pandas. After numerous elementary school reports about these endangered mammals, I feel like I have a certain amount of expertise to off. Also, I do want to plug the upcoming highly entertaining book, 100 Facts About Pandas.

Everyone knows that Giant Pandas are native to China, and live in several zoos around the world (including San Diego, National, and Atlanta). They eat bamboo (and the occasional bamboo rat), and are otherwise fairly sedentary.

There was a long ranging debate about how exactly to categorize them. Scientists weren't sure if they were actually bears, raccoons, or in a class of their own. Their cousins, the Red Pandas, bear a far greater resemblance to raccoons. But molecular research finally concluded that pandas are part of the Ursidae family, so yes, they are panda bears.

While in pop culture, there are plenty of jokes about how pandas won't breed to save their species, it's in fact incredibly difficult for them. Sometimes I just don't understand how nature works, keeping such cute creatures so rare. So the problem turns out to be that female pandas only ovulate once a year, and are only fertile for a few days around that time. So they have to be impregnated within a couple of days a year to even have a chance at conception. Can't help but thinking the human race would be better off with those odds.

So when a panda baby actual makes it into the world, they are super tiny pink hairless ball of cuteness, weighing only 3-5 ounces. Imagine being a big rolly-polly 250lb pandas mama, trying not to accidentally crush that thing. It's another couple of months before the baby opens its eyes, and longer before they can move on their own. But before long, they become the adorable little sneezing creatures you've come to know and love.

What else would you like to know about pandas? Here are some interesting bullet points for you:

And now an off color panda joke for anyone who enjoys that kind of thing. For everyone else, the usual one:

A Panda bear walks into a restaurant. He orders a meal and eats it. After politely paying for his meal, he pulls out a gun and shoots it in the air. He immediately walks out the door.
"Why did you do that?" hollered the confused waitress.
Looking back over his shoulder the panda says "I'm a panda". "Look it up in the dictionary."
The waitress locates the dictionary on her bosses desk and searches for the definition of panda bear. Finding it she reads,
"Panda Bear - A large black and white bear like mammal native to the far east. Eats shoots and leaves."

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It's a recognized phenomenon that when one aspect of your life falls into place, another falls apart. I believe Bridgette Jones said something like that actually. A little embarrassed to share a quote with her, but moving on.

Recently, my romantic life has started to blossom and become, well, existent. Beyond that, it's good, in an early on still anxious about everything and playing coy kind of way. This is a pleasant change of pace for me. I'm used to being a little bit more Daria loner or Debbie Downer than optimistic and hopeful and even a bit giggly. This is actual behavior that's been known to make me gag, and here I am, being all hand-holdy and stuff. Eek.

But not to worry, because the universe has been sure to keep me knocked down a few pegs. First, my bathroom sink sprung a leak. It wasn't a huge deal, it was the drain pipe, and I did a little DIY doctoring, and have managed to keep it from being a big or expensive problem.

And then my refrigerator stopped cooling. Instead, everything inside got hot and sweaty and smelly and disgusting. I had to throw out several big bags of Costco frozen foods, and everything else (except the vodka). The repair guy was able to come and fix the starter, but let me know that most likely the compressor would go soon too, and then it'd be cheaper to just buy a new fridge (but by no means cheap). Arg.
(BTW- thanks to the friend who was able to spend the afternoon in my apartment waiting for the repair guy, cause I couldn't take the time off work)

And then I took my car in for an oil change (yes, I live in NYC and don't have my car in the city, but out in the suburbs at my parents' house, and still use it whenever I leave Manhattan for a breath of fresh air). Turned out that in addition to just new oil, my car needed a new rear tire, and new brake pads. I was skeptical, but a second opinion turned up the same results, and brakes aren't something you can just wait on. Cha-ching.

I thought, okay, that's three things, I should be in the clear now, right? Ha, yeah right. Haven't you heard that Mercury is in Retrograde, you silly Gemini girl? Things aren't supposed to really straighten back out for another week or so. Just to be clear, I don't usually buy into this kind of stuff. I occasionally check my horoscope, I do a little of the sign compatibility checking with new crushes, but I don't think too much about planetary alignment and such. But check this out: "All machinery and things with moving parts--such as computers, VCRs, camera equipment, garbage disposals, and so forth, will reveal any weak links now."(AstrologyZone) Um, yeah, that does sound familiar.

What that meant for me was that my toilet stopped working. No joke, it's not clogged, I can't just like jiggle the handle. It will not flush. Water goes in, but nothing goes down. It's pretty gross, and grossly fragrant. What does a New Yorker do in this situation? Call her Super, of course. And then call again and leave another message. And then contact the Coop Board and inquire why the super won't return her phone calls. Finally, she just calls a plumber, who schedules an appointment for the night before the aforementioned romantic interest is coming to visit for the weekend.

So, as it happens, that appointment is tonight, and this is an ongoing drama. I am just hoping that the plumber can at least rig it to be workable for the weekend, and then if it ends up being a bigger fix, I can deal with that later.
Please send me happy thoughts! No more technical difficulties! This whole home owner thing isn't seeming so great just now. But the living alone and having a place to myself to invite a certain boy, that part is awfully nice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Face/Off 2

I've been saving this one up, but I've known for a while that probably my greatest concept for a blockbuster film is Face/Off II -Captain Corelli's Cruise Control. Or Book of Bogus Secrets. Or 8mm Reloaded. Ok, this part could take time to sort out. But the point is, it will be awesome.
While it was perfectly entertaining in the original to watch Nick Cage and John Travolta try to act like each other, the illusion was somewhat ruined by Travolta's multitude of expressions.

I know, it's easy to write Nick off to basically this face, but allow me to be generous. He has a whole range of emotion out there. There is Happy:




No idea where people got the idea that he can't emote.

On the other hand, there would be no better costar for this movie than Keanu Reeves. He too is given a hard time for his emotional range. But check out all of these different expressions in his repertoire. We have thoughtful:



and the now ubiquitous Sad Keanu:

Now, clearly it is going to really take everything these actors have to embody each other. There are so many little variations and minor movements to master.

Let us imagine the scene where they finally come face to face and want to take each others' (I so love that part).

Keanu: Whoa.

Cage: It's like looking in a mirror. Only... not.

Keanu: Dude. I know Kung Fu.
Cage: There's only two men I trust. One of 'em's me, and the other's not you.
Keanu: Okay, if you're really us, then what number are we thinking of?

Cage: Snake Eyes!

Keanu: F@%$ Me!

Cage: I'm a little tired, I'm a little wired, and I think I deserve a little appreciation!
Keanu: Vaya Con Dios.

It's actually a lot less violent than the original version. Maybe cause neither of them can figure out what's going on. Certainly not from facial cues. But I bet if we throw in a lot of things blowing up, perhaps a bus, maybe some gun toting cyborgs, some stolen cars, a treasure map, and a motorcycle, no one will even notice the blank faces.