31
Dec

Avatar Movie Review

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Avatar Movie Screencap

I don’t review movies that often here, even though I certainly see my fair share. Most movies aren’t really applicable to the theme of this blog but Avatar definitely is. Even if it wasn’t I STILL might mention it because it is honestly one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is insanely good and I almost skipped it thinking it looked a little too weird for my liking. And until 20 minutes or so into the movie I was still skeptical.

This movie takes place in the distant future.. somewhere around 2150 I think. Humans have decimated the earth and they are prospecting other worlds for energy sources which are the new currency. A corporation has found the motherload of energy sources in an ore that is found on Pandora. The problem is that Pandora is full of fierce creatures that make anything Earth had look like a mere kitten and the indigenous people, the Na’Vi, don’t want or need anything from us and are not willing to relocate to allow for us to prospect and strip mine their land. Their “hometree” is actually sitting right on top of the area the corporation wants to access. In an effort to get what they want they hire a Blackwater type operation, using soldiers for pay as a backup plan. Their primary plan is to use a group of scientists who have created Avatars. They took human DNA and mixed it with the Na’Vi DNA and grew a mixed breed that look more like the cat-like, 9 foot tall, blue skinned Na’Vi. The host of the human DNA can link to his avatar and essentially sleep while his brain controls the body and mind of the avatar. This allows them to try and gain access to the Na’Vi people and come to an agreement that will make both parties happy. No one wants to see any harm come to the Na’Vi but as the corporate CEO points out, his human shareholders find profit more important than keeping the peace.

The story is absolutely amazing, I loved Jake Sully’s character.. a jarhead that always follows orders beginning to experience a crisis of conscience when he realizes that these wonderful people will never willingly leave their home and that in the end money will motivate his own people to genocide. I also loved Neytiri, the Na’Vi woman who befriends Jake even though she thinks the “sky people” are “ignorant like children”. The real gem in Avatar though is the world of Pandora… once Jake begins to see what it is that the Na’Vi are trying to protect (I don’t want to elaborate and ruin it, but it is freakin awesome!) he knows what he has to do.

Avatar movie screenshot

While the story and the characters are awesome alone it is nature that really becomes the star and I heartily recommend this movie to everyone but especially environmentalists. By and large it is getting awesome reviews all over the web but there is a small element of people who I would wager are conservative Christian, politically speaking, who don’t like it.

I read a couple reviews that said the whole movie was about white guilt, making white people look bad and making them feel like they should still be seeking redemption for the atrocities committed against Native Americans and during the slave trade years. It has been called Dancing with Wolves in Space. I disagree with this interpretation ardently and in fact if anything I think it is a statement against corporate greed, unfettered capitalism, and environmental destruction. Either way I can see why the politically conservative may object to the message. They may also object to the spiritual element of the movie which paints nature… animals and trees, just as worthy as any other species and I know there are political and religious folk that despise putting any aspect of nature on par with human life.. that whole idea of us having dominion and all that. Many are crying that the movie is about Pantheism. I am not making any judgements just sharing why some seem to object to this movie. My brother, in fact, refused to see the movie for those very reasons… the elevation of nature as equal to man, the idea that mankind causes planetary damage, giving nature a spirit, etc. Whereas I see it and see beyond that to the themes of capitalism at the cost of lives and environment, and our failure to see the interconnected-ness of our lives and the natural world.

I talked him into seeing it with me tomorrow, so I can see it in 3D. I look forward to seeing if he changes his mind at all.

Did you see this movie? What did you think?

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

13 Comments on Avatar Movie Review

30
Dec

Boon Grass Drying Rack – Huh?

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Boon Grass Drying Rack

I usually like Boon products. We have a couple even but what made those Boon purchases worth it in my mind was that they replaced an unhealthy chemical laden product we might normally purchase with something, better… in terms of safety and design. Bath toys from Boon are an example of something I can find value in, since conventional bath toys may have PVC or BPA, but one of their latest products has me scratching my head.

The Boon Glass Drying Rack is super cute and very clever I admit… but absolutely a waste of resources to make in my opinion. Do we REALLY need a plastic drying tray that looks like grass? Is there something wrong with drying our baby spoons on a metal rack next to the adult spoons or drying that pacifier on a clean towel if you have no drying rack?

One of the peeves I have with the "healthier" plastic movement and of course the green products movement is that it isn't really green or healthy if we get sucked into buying more plastic stuff just because its cute. Yeah this rack is ADORABLE but you can't sell me on the idea that you NEED it… no not even a little. In fact the idea makes me reevaluate whether those bath toys were such a grand idea. I should have just thrown some stainless steel ramekins or tumblers in the tub and just wiped them clean afterward… holy smokes I fell for greenwashing!

When products go from useful in providing a safe alternative… to just plain silly, I lose faith. Call me a cynic I guess. 

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

11 Comments on Boon Grass Drying Rack – Huh?

29
Dec

10 Resolutions for 2010

by Tiffany in Tidbits

 

New Years Resolutions

1. Up our winter activities with winter hikes, sledding, ice skating, snow tubing, and evening walks. 

2. Get more involved with our metro parks and our city parks and recreation offerings… nature hikes, educational classes, etc.

3. Plan a garden for the new house, utilizing the yard and patio.

4. Join some local photography classes and photo walks. Take more pictures, hone my craft.

5. Save for and buy an older RV or pop up tent trailer for camping and fix it up. Do any mechanical work myself or with my husband.

6. Help my parents fix up their home to sell by summer so we can move back to Arizona. I would rather stay here but I am overruled.

7. Learn to make more of my own herbal remedies and personal care products.

8. De-clutter and simplify! Seek outside (paid) help more often for deep cleaning.

9. Dedicate more time to crafty projects for me and the kids.

10. Regularly volunteer my time and energy to those less fortunate.

Oh and please, please let my youngest son's new year's resolution be that he start using the potty,  just sayin…

Also check out my Unplugged – Activity related New Year's Resolutions and Green Hour's "Out There" Resolutions.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

7 Comments on 10 Resolutions for 2010

29
Dec

The Daily Coyote Book Review

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

The Daily Coyote Book COver

Just before Christmas I got a gift certificate to Borders from my brother. Instead of waiting until after Christmas to use it I braved the crowds and bought a couple books to read over the holiday. One of those purchases was The Daily Coyote – A Story of Love, Survival, and Trust in the Wilds of Wyoming. The cover and title called to me from across the store.

This book is a fantastic true story that hooked me from page one. It makes you examine things that you long thought you had your mind made up about and it made me feel rather tiny in the presence of such bravery and bravado. Shreve Stockton is a woman after my own heart.. a kindred soul that I recognize on some deep level. She is a New Yorker turned cowgirl who literally runs with coyotes (or a coyote – singular I should say).

The story is told by Shreve about how she traveled from San Francisco back to her beloved New York City … alone… on a Vespa. Her journey took her through Wyoming where she felt her heart being called home. Thinking she would get over it as soon as she got to NYC she continued along but after a week she knew she had to move to Wyoming and she did. A few weeks later she was renting a ranch home with acreage and helping a local cowboy feed his cattle. The way she described the people and pace of life is very alluring. Also very familiar to what I experienced when I moved from Phoenix, AZ to an 80 acre farm in rural Ohio. I often think about those days.. walks down country lanes, tending to livestock, the way people drop by to visit with you, strangers waving to you from their cars….

Anyway, Shreve adopts a coyote pup whose parents were shot for killing sheep. And so her amazing journey begins, living in a 12×12 log home with a tin roof with no indoor plumbing and only  a wood burning stove to stay warm in the harsh winters, with her cat Eli and her coyote Charlie. In a world where coyotes are seen as menaces to be killed on sight, she chooses to raise one. In a world where cats and coyotes are prey and predator Eli and Charlie become friends. Not everything goes smoothly which makes the journey even more remarkable and touching. I also loved that she is a blogger and photographer.

If you are looking for a great story this one is a winner. I would not be surprised if this gets made into a movie in the future. It is like White Fang except with a woman and a coyote and its true a story. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

1 Comment on The Daily Coyote Book Review

28
Dec

2009 – A Very Good Year

by Tiffany in Tidbits

I have absolutely loved 2009… I will be hard pressed to top it, but I know we will. Still, there is so much to look back on and treasure. My babies (often referred to as Payton, Paige, and Parker) turned 3, 5, and 9. My darling daughter started Kindergarten and my youngest started going to a public immersion preschool for a speech and developmental delay. I cried this week when he looked at me and said for the first time… "Mom, your the best". My oldest joined the wrestling team and my daughter played t-ball.

We spent many days at the Zoo, a local waterpark, and COSI since we have season passes for each. We hiked in many state and city parks, walked on covered bridges, explored Amish country, found delight in urban decay, and found a gem of a waterfall only minutes from our house. We went to a pumpkin festival, a popcorn festival, and a bratwurst festival. We watched fireworks at the county fair for 4th of July. We moved from a small country town and a huge house we adored to the big city and a teeny 1000 square foot house, so we could simplify and spend more time together. We planted two gardens and ate the fruit of our own labor. We spent MANY days outdoors and had lots of fun in the sun.

My kidlets got to see their cousins Racy and Aaron, the latter was adopted this year from China. We got a visit from my brother and SIL who have lived in Mexico for  the past few years and will be moving soon to Indonesia. I bought a DLSR camera in 2008 but 2009 was the year I really found a new passion… photography. I look at the photos below and I wonder how I got so lucky to have this life and these people to share it with. To quote one of the best movies from 2009 (Julie and Julia) my family is "the butter to my bread and the breath to my life." Add those magical ingredients and you have… a magical life.

Thank you, thank you, dear reader… for sharing it with me.

2009!

Monday, December 28th, 2009

1 Comment on 2009 – A Very Good Year