Monthly Archives: February 2007

Pan’s Labyrinth

My shot at being a movie critic.

When Stacy and I went to see Pan’s Labyrinth last weekend, we thought that it was an interesting story that was a weird movie. But we thought it was pretty good for a Spanish-language film. But to my surprise, I woke up this morning to find out that Pan’s Labyrinth had won three Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards last night. I think it was nominated for six Oscars and won three. Not too shabby.

Nominations (wins in bold)
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Original Screenplay

Achievement in Cinematography
Achievement in Makeup
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

Achievement in Art Direction

If I had to compare Pan’s Labyrinth to a more well-known story, I guess I’d put it alongside The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Bridge to Terebithia. The ending of Pan’s Labyrinth is extremely ambiguous about whether the events are real or exist only in Ofelia’s imagination. I believe that the movie is rated R for violence and some language, I guess. Although the language is Spanish and if you don’t speak it, you won’t pick it up as they translate it down.

The movie took history, politics and fantasy and wound them into one movie. There were some very graphic parts (a mouth knifed open and a couple of headshots) but if you can stomach those, it’s a pretty good movie that I’d recommend.

Pearls Before Swine

This comic strip is far and away my favorite comic strip today. The Far Side remains my all-time favorite, but as for active strips, Pearls takes the cake. The collection and daily interaction of the anthropomorphic animals just does it for me. One of my new favorite times of the day is dinner time, when I grab a New York Times and a St. Louis Dispatch (which I get mainly for Pearls, since the writing in it rivals an elementary school newspapers) and peruse them over whatever the dining halls are serving.

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Just a sampling of one strip that I relate to. Stephan Pastis touches on so many issues that really annoy people. And since he has a megalomaniacal Rat as one of his main characters, it’s extremely easy for him to make fun of them in a politically incorrect way, as I often want to do.

Signs of Spring

It’s that time of year again that I love so much. My first wave of exams are over, baseball players are reporting to training camp, the snow is melting and I bring the color back to my laptop. During the winter months, I change the settings on my computer from ‘blue’ to ‘graphite’ to reflect the weather outside. But yesterday, I changed it back to the vibrant blue and everything just seems more excitable.

I had my first story workshopped this morning and it got rave reviews by the class and teacher. The only issue anyone had with it was the fact that it could have been read almost as screenplay. But other than that, the writing impressed and the story was an overall success.

Everyone needs to make changes now that I’m in office. Including my alarm clock. Poor thing hadn’t had to go off before 9am almost ever this year, but this morning she starting chirping at 8.22am. I got up, quieted her and showered before heading out to my first ResLife logistical meeting. Nothing too exciting, and not much actually concerning RHA, but no-shows, the 2007-08 student staff calendar and student staff increases were discussed.

Also, spring brings literature conferences, and in turn they end up indirectly canceling
my English class. Next week, I’ll have an English class on Monday. That’s it. No class on Wednesday or Friday and our professor will be in Atlanta at a conference.

I don’t think I touched on my last Saturday, which was eventful. We started with our PAC executive board retreat (and I officially resigned as the Pershing VP on Tuesday) in the morning and met all morning and afternoon. We ordered Buffalo Wild Wings (with 18 different sauces!) for lunch. We broke after dinner, around 5.45 to take a break and then met back up to go to the Vagina Monologues as a group. They were interesting to say the least. They were much longer (over 3 hours) than I anticipated but some of them were very funny and some very touching. Although some of them had the ‘enough already, stop your whining’ feel to them. Overall, I thought that we were supporting a good cause and that the presentation of the monologues were good.

Coming up in Pershing we’ve got a March Madness Bracket Challenge coming up in March and Relay for Life in April, which necessitates a bit of fund-raising. To raise money for Relay for Life we’re currently hosting Penny Wars, have a ‘Pie Your PA’ contest planned and are planning a luau and a St. Patrick’s Day party, which all the proceeds will go towards our Relay for Life team.

Coming up in RHA, the External Committee is taking Greg’s and my ideas and turning them into actual events. The campus wide Mercenaries game that was so successful last year will be repeated (in April after SB) and an open Mafia tournament (first 100 applicants) will be held in March. And they’re planning some kind of casual dance as a pre-final stress reliever.

That’s the update from me as I sit in Memorial Union in a down hour between classes.

First Congress As VP

It finally felt official tonight. I think it sunk in for the first time when I gave the speech, but really felt like I was the Vice President tonight during the Congress meeting.

The meeting went very smoothly and I think we were effective and efficient. We had a visitor from the internet technology department. He spoke about the recent block on peer-to-peer file blocks that were put in place in January. Mark Roderique was sworn in (by Greg) as the new National Communications Coordinator and we moved quickly through the five pieces of legislation before the executive report. My first exec report consisted of only informing Congress of my office hour change.

The Internal Committee passed one piece of legislation and the External committee started planning the ideas for event that Greg and I came up with. Mizzou Mercenaries, Midnight Mafia and a Highlighter Dance (that one’s not ours). That should take us through the end of the year.

My Vice Presidential Inaugural Speech

Columbia – February 16, 2007

As was noted in my previous post, I was elected as RHA’s next Vice President on Friday night in the Elm Street Ballroom at the Upper Crust. The favorable outcome necessitated a speech from both me and Greg. Being the Vice President-elect I was first on the program. Justin Ginter swore me in (and I was rather nervous as I repeated after him, fearful that I would stumble over the words, or forget them altogether) but just as my constant worrying about the outcome of the election, my nervousness here was unwarranted. After I was successfully and uneventfully sworn in, Justin returned to his seat and I was left alone in front of nearly 100 people to speak. I had left writing an acceptance speech until about two hours before the ball because I didn’t want to think about it too much. But when I finally delivered the speech, it was the ‘hit of the evening’ according to the MUSN reporter I spoke with afterwards. So here it is:

“Wow. Thanks for sufficiently dragging that out Heather. I arrived on campus two years ago an 18-year old freshman, and if you had asked where I saw myself in two years, I would have probably answered ‘living off-campus in a nice apartment, carrying a 4.0 GPA and dating a beautiful and smart young woman. Now I’m currently entering my third year living on campus, my GPA is closer to three than four, and I’m here with Greg.

But I don’t regret any of this. I’ve had a great time the past two years in school and particularly RHA. I started RHA as a timid representative dragged along to make attendance in the External Committee. I soon fell in love with the organization and stepped into the Communication Committee Chair this year. Now I’m entering the executive chapter of my RHA story and expecting to continue working hard and having the time of my life. Every speech contains thank yous, and many of you may tune them out, but I’m gonna go ahead and do mine because I couldn’t accept this position without them.

First off, I’d like to thank Greg Davis for trusting me enough to run alongside him. A President needs a strong Vice President and vice versa, and I’m honored that Greg held me in high enough regards to fill that position.

During my first Congress freshman year, there was a slightly balding man who spent much of the session talking about things I didn’t understand. My last Congress with him, nothing had changed except now I understood what he was talking about. But I’ve learned more from Justin Ginter in college than I have from any professor whether I wanted to or not. I know Hilary Duff isn’t quoted much in inauguration speeches, but I’m not exactly traditional. Justin has shown everyone that there’s no one way to be a perfect President, but there’s a million ways to be a great one. Justin’s been a great President, but a better friend and an even better man and I’m proud to have served under him.

I’d like to thank my Communications Committee next. Every member is passionate and dedicated to what we’ve done this year, and it’s because they’re so hard working that I strived to do my job better, partly so they wouldn’t show me up.

And lastly I’d like to thank all the residents that thought Greg and I would best represent their interests. Without you we’re just another pair of Missouri students. I promise that we will work as hard as we can to continue to uphold the precedent set before us. I look forward to this opportunity and thank all the people responsible for helping to get me here. Thank you.

So that was my speech, verbatim captured by Bobby’s camera. I embraced Justin amidst thunderous applause, and returned to my seat to and settled in to watch Greg be sworn in and deliver his speech. Greg gave an eloquent speech, explaining his depression last year, thanking a few people and looking forward to the upcoming semesters. Below is the inside of the program, and I’ll be mailing the programs along with any post-election articles within the next week for those of you who are interested.

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It’s official now. Greg Davis and Nate Ballance are the new President and Vice President of Missouri’s Residence Halls Association. The winning margin was the closest of recent memory, with Greg and myself accumulating only 39 more votes than BT and Scotty. But it only takes one vote either way to win, and win Greg and I did.

The Inaugural Ball went very smoothly and fun was had by everyone who attended. The night opened with a delicious meal served by the Upper Crust downtown. Kristin Temple followed as the keynote speaker, and then Heather Kind-Keppel took the microphone to announce the election results. She certainly drew it out longer enough (or, that’s how it seemed to me) before finally announcing the winning slate. The outgoing president, Justin Ginter then gave his speech before I, and then Greg were sworn in. My speech, which I wrote just a few hours before the ball, was a huge hit. I was forced to pause twice while I waited for outbursts of laughter to subside. After I finished, Greg went and then wild dancing ensued. We partied well into the night, and went home in a light dusting of snow.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. The Upper Crust was a very nice facility, the keynote speaker was exceptional and the DJ ended the evening wonderfully.

Election Day

The polls opened one hour and 18 minutes ago. As is my policy when running in an election, I submitted my vote for my opponent just a few minutes ago. It’s my belief that a candidate should not win by voting for himself. He’ll win if everyone else that he’ll be representing wants him to. The voting will run through 11.59pm tonight so if you live in a Missouri Residence Hall, go ahead and vote. Here’s the link

Type in your 6-digit student number (not your pawprint) and select the slate that you think will best represent the residents of Mizzou. (Greg Davis & Nate Ballance!)

The winning slate will be announced at the RHA Inaugural Ball Friday night at the Upper Crust.

RHA Election Debates

Monday played host to the RHA President and Vice President debates. It went fairly well, with Greg and myself clearly establishing a stronger slate and representing more experience and qualifications. But that doesn’t win elections. Here’s the article from Tuesday’s Maneater edition.

“The Residence Halls Association presidential slates faced off in front of the Internal Affairs Committee and External Affairs Committee Monday night.

RHA Vice President Greg Davis is running for RHA president with running mate Nate Ballance. The pair will run against presidential candidate B.T. Daramola and vice presidential candidate Scotty Faust. Last year, Ballance and Daramola ran for RHA president and vice president as a slate but lost to senior Justin Ginter and former vice president, junior Jennifer Williams.

The RHA election will take place Thursday. All students living in MU residence halls are eligible to vote. The elected president and vice president of RHA will be announced at the Residence Halls Inaugural Ball Friday night at the Upper Crust Bakery.

Faust has never worked with RHA but says he’s qualified because of his belief that it is a key organization on campus.

“If there was any way I could get involved and serve the community on this campus, I would gladly get involved in a heartbeat,” Faust said.

Ballance served as the communications chairman for RHA this year and said he wants to take those skills and apply them more widely to the organization.

At the debate, the slates addressed the policy of not allowing student staff members in the organization to hold the positions of president and vice president.

Davis said he agreed with the policy.

“A CA or a PA job is a huge job,” Davis said. “The president or vice president of RHA is also a larger responsibility. When you add 15-17 credit hours on top of that, you can have one stressed-out individual. It’s not an entirely healthy situation to be in.”

But Daramola said he and Faust believe that student staff members have all qualities necessary to fill the highest positions.

“We feel that a student staff member and everything that characterizes that person, that character and that strength of will, are exactly the qualities of a person who should be serving us as RHA president or vice president,” he said.

Daramola said the organization and the student body are robbed of many quality candidates with this policy.

What does the president of RHA do, and how will you go above and beyond that role?

DARAMOLA: The role of the president of RHA is first to maintain the integrity of the organization because we are the only organization that is set to serve the residents of the residence halls. What I would do as president, if I am elected, would be to just sit down and to evaluate because that is one of the main parts of that platform — fixing the organization from the inside out.

DAVIS: The president is also head of RHA’s executive board, and as such is seen as the face of RHA to other organizations on campus. The president also does a lot of things in the background of the organization. It could be anything from subtle encouragement to individual members, to coordinating with Campus Dining Services and setting up meetings or anything like that.

How do you intend to promote RHA?

DARAMOLA: One of the main problems, as far as hall council goes, and a relative problem is that they’re not permanent. They change through time. The one aspect of that hall council that stays the same longer than anything else is the Hall Coordinator. One of our plans of attack is to, when the semester first kicks off, to go to the HC, and explain to them what RHA is, the importance of it, and to make sure the first thing on that hall council agenda is to elect someone to be in RHA.

DAVIS: That’s part of what our visits to the hall councils are all about. We go there and talk up RHA and what it’s all about. Even if we can talk to the hall councils, and we can even have a larger scale meeting with the general residents of a hall and group, and we can talk it up there too. We’re going to have these events, and we can even have brochures and things like that.

How do you plan to approach, confront or address the social justice issues that we encounter on campus?

DARAMOLA: To combat social injustice, or to confront the problem at hand, we can hold more socially responsible events, such as the racism wall. Basically, what it is is a wall that’s set up where any negative derogatory comment you can think of will be written on that wall. At the end of the allotted time period, that wall will be broken down, representing the breaking down of stereotypes on that campus.

DAVIS: Nate and I are planning on having some kind of programming once a month. And these programs aren’t always going to be social programs necessarily. We’re going to have service programs. We’re also looking at having a great deal of diversity programming, including probably the racism wall, and talking up diversity to the external committee a bit, and seeing what they come up with.”

Greg and I stopped counting our misquotes after four (which I’ve highlighted in orange). In our opinion this article is a very poor article. Not only does it completely ignore the Vice Presidential debate, but one slate was covered more so than the other. The reporter showed up halfway through and was given a talk by the current President, Justin. We’ll see how the article effects the polls on Thursday.

We had the Pershing Area Council meeting tonight at which the Daramola/Faust slate showed up unannounced – which quite surprised Christa (the President) but she allowed them to speak anyways. Oh, if the reporter had been there tonight. Christa hit them with questions that tore them apart. The Council was slightly amused, being that none of them would been swayed anyways. They politely listened then I fielded questions after they had left correcting various incorrect statements that they had been told.

Pitchers and Catchers

Countdown To Pitchers & Catchers

Anyone else excited?

Super Bowl

I was rooting for the Colts, and they pretty much dominated. But that’s beside the point. Who watches the Super Bowl for the game anymore? It was wet, nasty and included two teams I didn’t really care for. So here are some of my favorite commercials.

Crabs Like Bud Too

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Hitchiking Hops

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Rock, Paper, Bud Light

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False Dalmation

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Those are probably the cream of the crop this year. The crab one, for obvious reasons, is my favorite commercial.