V For Vendetta (and V’s Eggy in a Basket)

A shadowy freedom fighter known only as “V” uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society. Upon rescuing a girl from the secret police, he also finds his best chance at having an ally.


It is difficult for me to even begin a post on V for Vendetta because every time I watch it, I get something different out of it. The only part of the film experience that does not change is how much I really enjoy it.

I first viewed this film during my sophomore year of college as a requirement for a Science Ficion class. Before this course, I thought that Science Fiction and I did not get along. When I heard the term, my mind would immediately go to cheesy aliens and some sort of weird, echoey music.

I was totally wrong and that class, with the help of this movie, made me see that.

I now am quite an avid SF fan. I even let that TV show, Battlestar Galactica, take over my life for about a month and a half (and I don’t regret that…mostly). If the me of 4 years ago could have seen the reading list of the me today, she would feel confused and appalled. Whatever.

V for Vendetta is on my top 5 movies of all time list. In fact, it is so sturdily on that list that I don’t anticipate seeing it bumped off any time soon.  I think it has that place of honor because it satisfies both parts of the film-viewer in me:  it is smart enough and has such beautiful cinematography that is makes me truly examine the film and think about it while being action-packed, emotional, and at points absurdly funny enough that I am entertained.

Things I Love:

  • V’s character and his lair
  • “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. ” -V
  • Natalie Portman.  She got some serious acting skills, as I already covered in my post on Black Swan.
  • The domino montage about 3/4 through the movie
  • The colors of the film- it is very dark, but certain colors repeat and stand out

Things I’d Change:

  • Sometimes the film is unnecessarily confusing.  I didn’t notice this myself, but when I taught this to high-school students, I found that there are an abundance of names and places that could have been consolidated without losing any of the film’s meaning.
  • The fact that there is no sequel.  I want one.

You need to be in the right mood to sit down and watch a movie like this.  When you find yourself in a mood for a film that is dark and serious and beautiful, have this on hand.

Have these on hand too.

Isn't that so pretty? I am proud of myself.

Read  on for the recipe…

Continue reading


The Art of Racing in the Rain (AKA More Dogs Should Write Novels)

Rating: Green Leaf

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.


As a small child, every time that Christmas rolled on by, I would dutifully sit on Santa’s lap and ask him for the deepest, darkest desire of my heart.

“Santa, I want a puppy.”

Since my family is, for the most part, very allergic to dogs, my parents hoped that this was a wish that would fade.  Unfortunately for them, not only did this need fade, but it has become stronger over the years.  I am adult enough to recognize that attempting to raise the kind of dog I want (Black lab!) in my apartment would be cruel and unusual, but I know that the moment I have a house with a yard, my eyes will start actively looking for my dog.

In fact, I am so fixated on this that I already know the name of my first dog.  His name will be Fiyero, named after the character from Gregory Maguire’s Wicked.

After having read The Art of Racing in the Rainby Garth Stein, I now know the name of dog #2, should I ever move past dog #1:  Enzo.  I also know what I will make for him and me as a treat (recipe found below):

Continue reading

My Favorite Things: Part 1

I find joy in many aspects of life, most of which are rather tiny.  Sure, my main sources of happiness derive from family, friends, job,etc., but the tiny pinpricks of true, unexpected delight excite me the most.

Every weekend, I am going to highlight for you something (or several somethings) from the past week that has given my life a small but mighty burst of sunlight.

Favorite Thing # 1:  Breakfasts in Paris

Yes, I spent the last week in Paris and my life was a whirlwind of trying to remember my French, going everywhere I haven’t already been, spending time with my mom and an awesome friend, and…well…eating.

Continue reading

Your *Worst* Worst Case Scenario Guide and a Banana Cream Pi Lassi to Make it All Better

Rating: Orange

“Meet Pi Patel, a young man on the cusp of adulthood when fate steps in and hastens his lessons in maturity. En route with his family from their home in India to Canada, their cargo ship sinks, and Pi finds himself adrift in a lifeboat — alone, save for a few surviving animals, some of the very same animals Pi’s zookeeper father warned him would tear him to pieces if they got a chance. But Pi’s seafaring journey is about much more than a struggle for survival. It becomes a test of everything he’s learned — about both man and beast, their creator, and the nature of truth itself.” -Goodreads.com


Last week was a rough week.  The week after a vacation always seems particularly long and, to top it off, I wasn’t feeling well at all. 

After I read Yann Martel’s Life of Pi this weekend, I suddenly realize how little I have to complain about.  I live on solid land, eat three regular meals a day, don’t generally worry about becoming lunch for carnivorous animals, have a full and wonderful family, and interact with a number of people daily.

When I look at Pi, stuck out on a lifeboat with a tiger for 226 days, I wonder how long I would last.  As he finds a way to survive aboard this nightmarish raft, he ponders on his will to survive, coming to the conclusion that he has an exceptionally strong life force.

I wonder how long the average person would survive in the same situation.  Many of us would be quick to claim, “I would be tiger meat in 2 hours or less!”  Is that really true?  Would we, like Pi, find a way to deal?  I suppose we will never know the strength of our spirit until put to a similar test.

Without further ado, I brainstormed and came up with the four worst case scenarios for me.  They are present in the poll below.  Which one would be the test that tells you what you are made of?  OR can you think of something worse?  If so, put it in the comments!

Continue reading

127 Hours (AKA Why You Should Always Hike with a Machete)

Update:  Thank you to WordPress for featuring me on FreshlyPressed and thanks to all of you lovely visitors!

Rating: Chocolate Cake

While most of the country was munching on nachos and cheering for their football team of choice, I sat in a movie theatre, ranging among gripping the armrest, covering my eyes, and bawling my eyes out.

127 Hours was way better than I expected it to be.

Now, I should be fair.  I honestly didn’t expect much.  All I knew about it was that it was about a hiker who had an accident and spent 127 hours reflecting on his life before he notably “frees” himself.

I’m all for reflection.  In teacher school, we did reflections all the time.  What I didn’t see was how this was going to create a movie that I would actually want to see.

Well, I was wrong.  There, I admit it.  It was awesome.  It’s not my favorite of the nominees I have seen so far, but it is definitely worth the price of admission at your local movie theatre.

Continue reading

Truth: Political Speeches Bore Me to Tears

Rating: Green Leaf

I always cared about my grades.  From Kindergarten on, I wanted to learn everything I could.  Part of this is certainly because I needed to be the best at everything.  If I did well on an assignment, I felt good about myself.  If I did poorly or (gasp) got as low as a C on something, I determined that I was a bad person, not fit to breathe air.  I distinctly recall getting a 72 on a math test in third grade, crying when I got home, and writing a note to my teacher apologizing for my poor performance. 

As I went through school, I noticed that certain classes were more of a struggle for me than others.  Science was generally my issue.  Try as I might, I couldn’t make as much sense of it as I would like and my grades were never quite as high as my other courses.

High school hit and, all of a sudden, a role reversal occurred.  Science was going along beautifully and English (my best subject) was the one I was struggling with. 


13-year old Lauren panicked.  What went wrong?  After a lot of agonized analysis, I figured out why this had happened.

Continue reading

There are so many colors in the rainbow. Which one are you?

Rating: Orange

My dad first introduced me to Harry Chapin when I was in high school.  For those of you who do not know who Harry Chapin is (shame on you), he is the guy who sang “Cat’s in the Cradle.” 

While I love all of his music (and played it weekly on my college radio show along with my other favorites- Billy Joel and Bob Dylan), the song that has stuck is the first one my dad played for me, “Flowers are Red.” 

It is a story about this little boy who skips of to school with a creative spirit and a song on his tongue:

          “There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
                            So many colors in the flower and I see every one”

Meanwhile, his teacher thinks that he should color inside the lines: 

          “Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
                                              There’s no need to see flowers any other way
                                         Than the way they always have been seen”

 The song continues until the teacher manages to crush the little boy’s humongous spirit and he only sees red and green when he looks at the flowers.

This song acts as a moral signpost for me as I go about my day.  On one hand, it makes me think of the power that a teacher can have over a student, and it humbles me.  It makes me think about what it is that I am saying to my students and what impact I am have on them. 

Continue reading