Archive for the 'Serious' Category

Documentary Monday~~A Small Act

TitleA Small Act

Year-2010

Awards-Nominated for Best Television Documentary at the Black Reel Awards, 2011

Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, 2010

Summary-The film shows how one small act can change the world in many ways.  It tells the story of Chris, from Kenya, who was sponsored through secondary school by a Swedish woman.  Many years later he forms his own foundation in her name to help other children in Kenya.

My Thoughts-I have been wanting to watch this documentary for a long time.  Ever since I read the description I have been sitting at the ready with tissues in hand.  Just reading what it is about was enough to get the tears flowing for me.  The film interweaves several different stories, but they all revolve around Chris Mburu.  He was a poor student in Kenya many years ago who could not afford to go to school.  In Kenya, if you can’t pay, you get kicked out of school.  There was a Swedish scholarship fund set up that sponsored children in his area and he received money from Hilde Back.  He grew up and attended college and then went on to get a Master’s Degree at Harvard.  He currently works at the UN investigating genocide.

After the success of his adult life, Chris started a fund that would help other Kenyan children go to secondary school (high school) who could not afford it otherwise.  He named it after Hilde Back because of what she had done for him, even before he met her.  The documentary then focuses on Chris’ current relationship with Hilde.  They did finally meet and she even traveled to Kenya.  It also follows three students in one of the schools who are trying for the scholarship.  Even though all three of them are very smart, the scholarship can only support one of them.

First of all, I ADORED Hilde.  She is the cutest woman ever.  She talks a little about her life, which is another reason to reach for the tissues.  As a little girl, she escaped from Germany as a Jew during WWII, but sadly, her parents did not.  She never had any children and currently lives alone, which makes her relationship with Chris so special.  He is like the son she never had.  I totally loved every time she showed up, especially when they showed footage of her trip to Kenya.

The really hard part to watch was about the current students vying for the scholarship.  It was just like Waiting for Superman all over again.  These children had worked and studied so hard, and they all know that they can’t go to school without the money from the scholarship.  The interviews with them are heartbreaking.  One little girl (I think it was Ruth) said, “I can’t even explain how much knowledge I want.”  Oh. My. God.  Every school child in the US today should totally watch this to realize how good they have it.  Some of our schools might suck, but at least every kid can go up through high school without paying too much.

It was also hard because these little kids have so much responsibility placed on their shoulders at such a young age.  Each of them had dreams for how they would help their families after they graduated from school.  One little boy had a sick mother who needed an operation and he was going to get a good job so he could pay for it.

I did get really mad during the film thinking, “Okay…..these people are movie producers!  They should just pay for all three of these kids to go!!!  It will be nothing for them!!!”  It was just like in the nature documentaries when the camera people stand by and let the baby sea turtles get picked off one by one by the sea gulls.  Why don’t they do something to help????!!!!  Well, I will say that this question is answered at the end of the film, so thank goodness it was actually addressed.

One other aspect of the film that was difficult was about the unrest in Kenya during the time filming was taking place.  There was an outbreak of violence after the 2007 elections that involved the killing of people in the same tribe that Chris belonged to.  It was awful to watch his reaction to the violence in his homeland.  I also felt really guilty because I don’t even remember that happening at all.

So, it is not the easiest film to watch sometimes, but it does give you hope.  The overall message is that every action makes a big difference, no matter how small it may seem.  It is great to see Chris and Hilde’s friendship and to see how much he still cares about his homeland even after becoming so successful.  The best part is that it is not one long commercial for Chris’ charity.  It could very well have ended up like that, but it is not.  It will hopefully bring more attention to the foundation, but it does not scream, “YOU MUST DONATE NOW!”  I will say that you probably should donate, and you probably will after you watch it, but only because you really want to.  I donated, so you guys should all join me!

FInal Verdict-This documentary was just amazing.  It is very well done and moving to watch.  Be prepared to fall in love with all the kids, Hilde, and Chris.

Jen

 

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a Dinosaur from a non-Lindsay

While over visiting my bf Chelsea and her new dog, Riley (YAY), her husband popped in to play this song for me:

I know! It is sort of the BEST SONG EVER! and it is nice to have a catchy Ke$ha song that doesn’t mention a bottle of Jack–at least as far as I’ve noticed..

Now, I know there are lots of very happy couples with large age gaps–but I’m sorry, my first reaction when that drunk 50 year old asks me what time I get off work is REVULSION and CREEPED OUT. and I usually have my keys in pointy-stab position when I walk to my car later that evening. Although honestly, I get pretty creeped out when any guy hits on me while I’m at work. What is most creepy about the older guys is that they seem to get pleasure about the fact that they are creeping you out–even when they apologize they usually have a scary leer of a smile–like they think you are really just teasing them–ICK! IT JUST GOT CREEPIER!

so now, whenever someone who is older than my father invites me to the circus, I will be singing in my head: DI NO SU UR a dinosaur! and then I will blush from having sung that in my head and of course blushing at that moment will be inconvenient–but whatever I HEART this song!

amber

Keeping Comments Respectful

Dear NerdGirl readers,

Today I was disheartened by a comment made on the 17th of October.  I did not approve it, and plan on deleting it.  But I wanted to put it in this post to talk about something that makes me angry and disappointed.  The comment was for a post by ngtAmber, Proof.  It is a picture of Dumbledore (Richard Harris era) with a speech bubble that says “I heart Michael Gambon!”.  I trust most people would find the humor in this, but sadly most people just didn’t grasp the concept.  That’s ok though.  It was humorous to see the comments pointing out that the picture wasn’t of Michael Gambon.  But then someone had to be rude.

Alexa from the UK said on 10/17/09, “Thats not Michael Gambon you bint…”

Being from the US, I had never heard the term bint before but it didn’t feel very nice to me.  So I googled the term.  On one site it says that bint is slang in the UK for bitch.  On another site it said that bint is a term for a naive female, often perceived as stupid.  In whatever form the term was meant, I am deeply offended that anyone would ever think to apply it to Amber, or anyone else on this site for that matter.  I will have you know that Amber, Jen and Jill are some of the smartest, nicest and most creative people I have ever known or met.

One thing that I enjoy about keeping this site is that all of the comments made have been clean.  Nobody has ever felt the need to use a deragatory term (at least I’ve never seen a pending comment like that before).  Sure some people have disagreed with some things we wrote, but they were intelligent enough to use their words respectfully.

There is an alarming trend on the internet – outright rudeness.  With the anonymity that a computer screen affords, people feel that they can ditch common courtesy and say mean, rude and outright obnoxious things to other people.  I have seen comments where people have wished death upon others.  What is up with that??  How can we be so callous?!

In the future, I would hope that our readers would continue to keep showing their ability to use their words in a way that conveys their point intelligently and respectfully.  I know I appreciate it and I would bet my last dollar that Jen, Jill and Amber appreciate it too.

Also, if you leave a comment that is disrespectful or uses derogatory terms, you will not see it published as we will delete it.  I don’t think this is censorship, just a way to keep our website as friendly and enjoyable as possible.

Thanks,

ngtlindsay

Whoa, rush of emotions

Ok, so I really shouldn’t do things but work while at work–I’m far too emotional for things.  A couple years ago I chose to reread the ending of Half-Blood Prince during a slow night in the University of Iowa Museum of Art Giftshop (RIP).  Well, the night turned out to be not so slow, and I repeatedly had to explain my tears to the concerned customers: “sniffle sniffle- I’m sorry, Dumbledore just died.”  Well, today I was listening to John Legend’s “Get Lifted” album while editing lots and lots of manuscript photos and the song “It Don’t Have to Change” came on.  Thank science that no one else was in the project room at the time because I’m sure the strained face I was making while trying not to sob would have brought on nightmares (scary ones–ones that take place in a world where puppies don’t exist)  Here is the song:

ok, seriously I am so emotional today. As most of you know–because I complain about it all the time– all my friends are getting all graduated and/or hitched and leaving me! Some of these girls I have known for five years or less, others I have know since I was five–and I just love them like Lindsay loves Twilight. Ok, I am so crying now. which is bad because I don’t have time to fix my makeup before leaving for the next Chip Kidd lecture at the Prairie Lights bookstore. In the world of the prolific Garth Algar, “[I] fear change.” Seriously guys? Indiana? Chicago? St. Louis? Chicago? Nashville? California? I know this is growing up, but it kinda sucks right now.

But there is one good thing about this situation (besides my friends being independent, successful career women, finding the one they love, and/or hopefully having little versions of themselves in the future that I can buy lots and lots of books for) and it is new expensive dresses and shoes that I don’t have to feel guilty about buying! Here are my shoes that I bought for Lindsay’s and Sheila’s weddings:

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I call them my princess shoes.

Ok, no more listening to John Legend, or the Wicked soundtrack, or the Golden Girls theme song…

amberj.

Not to Bum Everyone Out…

Well, on Thursday my hamster, Buffy, passed away.

She was pretty old for a hamster (18 months) and she lived a good life even though she was blind.  I found her by the dumpster in Iowa City on one of the hottest days of the summer.  She was just a little baby and her eyes had been clawed out.  We’ve had a great time since then……..she was kind of the perfect hamster for me to have, since she couldn’t see the two giant cats hovering outside her cage waiting to pounce.

She wasn’t the cuddly type because I never could get her to stop biting.  But I guess if I couldn’t see anything I would bite everything that came into my range as well.

I knew she wasn’t doing well because she had stopped eating her treats.  At least she didn’t suffer long.  Fortunately, my dad was visiting when she died, so he took her home with him and buried her in the yard.

So here’s to Buffy, the little hamster that could, and did, live a long and happy life even without eyes.

Jen

Body Image

I had to watch a Dove Real Beauty film and respond to it for one of my assignments for Aerobics (Amber had to too).  I just watched it and thought I would post it on the blog for your viewing pleasure.

I think by now we all know that the pictures we see in magazines and on billboards and whatever form of media you can think are digitally enhanced/touched up.  And even though we know that the pictures don’t reflect the truth, it doesn’t stop a lot of us from comparing ourselves to it.  I really have no idea why this is.  I admit that I do it all the time – I know that I’m not fat, and I think that I’m pretty cute – but when I see a picture of a model, I usually think to myself “She looks fabulous, I wish my legs (or arms, or waist or butt, etc.) looked like that.  Maybe I should work out more or change my diet (diet in the sense of food intake, not like “a diet”) or wear more makeup or spend more time on my hair.”  Now, I’m not the best motivator when it comes to putting myself on a workout plan or modifying my diet or spending time doing my hair and makeup, and that’s probably why I am the way I am.  So basically about 99% of the time, I feel really good about myself and the way I look.  It’s eerie the effect that a picture of someone who isn’t you can have on you.

But about the video – I think that seeing the process sped up instead of gradually really helped me realize just how much they did touch her up – first by doing her makeup and hair (those are obvious givens) and then on the computer with lengthening her neck (I shuddered at this!) and sculpting out her cheeks and shoulders and enlarging her eyes.  Oh, I’m real insecure about my eyes – my left one goes shut more than my right eye and I hate it!, plus I think they’re too small and squinty.

A really crazy thing about this video – even though it did bolster my self esteem – is that I still believe that there are those women out there who do look like the finished product, and therefore it is achievable.  I feel like I didn’t quite get the full message, but that’s not Dove’s fault.  I think they did a really good job and that they’re taking some really positive steps in a direction towards a kinder and more realistic body image for girls/women.  I think that I have just warped my sense of self so much that when I fall into my 1% time frame of not feeling fabulous it’s a really bad extreme of feeling fat ugly and not good enough to be seen in public.  Good thing I live with Amber who constantly tells me that I am/look fabulous (I need to tell her that more often, but I don’t because I feel like she’s just always fabulous and so that it would get a little repetitive to tell her).

So I thought that I would put some self esteem building tips at the end of this blog entry.  However, I was googling (OMG wordpress is telling me that googling is spelled incorrectly…and also wordpress… 😀 ) self esteem building tips and all I could find was some really lame stuff that just seems laughable.  So instead of using tips from the web, I’ll just make up some of my own.

Lindsay’s Self Esteem Builders / Mood Enhancers

Think about what you’re good at and go do it whenever you’re feeling like you can’t do something.  Even if the only thing you’re good at is reading – go read.

Have a dance break!

Call a friend up.

Coloring is super fun, so maybe you should go find a book and some crayons… I suggest Curious George or Strawberry Shortcake books, but you can choose others.

Listen to your favorite music.

Bake some brownies or cookies and share them with your family or friends.

Go for a run or do some other kind of exercise.

Do a math problem! (Note: This usually only works if you like math…)

Make silly faces at yourself in the mirror.

Pretend that you’re on the runway and strut!

There are of course many more things that you can do to make yourself feel better, and some of them you’ll just have to figure out on your own.  But I feel like I’ve given you a few good tips to start with.

<3, lindsayd.