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Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friends With Benefits
Mood:  flirty
Topic: Entertainment

Checked out Justin Timberlake's latest attempt at acting this weekend—Friends With Benefits. 

I wasn't really pumped to see this one, but let's face facts and admit that there really wasn't anything else to see.

I never saw No Strings Attached, but I'm fairly certain the plot is exactly the same—guy and a gal who just want to sleep together.

Friends With Benefits was actually decent—better than most romcoms, as it had a few twists making the story a little deeper. 

If you're into that kind of thing, it's definitely one to rent... 


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Maddening Treatment
Mood:  cool
Topic: Writing

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I finished reading Pete Earley's book, Crazy. 

I fell in love with this book (It only took two sittings to get through it) and I was lucky enough to snag an interview with Earley so I could share his story in Dig magazine.

Tomorrow night, I also get to see him speak right here at LSU!

Check out my Q&A with Pete here: 

http://digbatonrouge.com/article/maddening-treatment-2473/


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011 11:20 AM CDT
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Saturday, July 23, 2011
Horrible Bosses
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Entertainment

Just saw the movie Horrible Bosses...and it was hilarious. 

The story is sort of Office Space-esque, as it's three guys who hate their bosses, only, it's a bit sinister in that they hate them so much they want to kill them.

Starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Anniston, and Kevin Spacey, this movie is wonderous!

So will they actually kill their bosses? You have to check it out to see!

Check out some of the ads they have for this flick:


 


 

 


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Friday, July 15, 2011
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows {part 2}
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Entertainment

At midnight this morning...or last night, however you like to say it, I joined local Potterheads for the final installment of Harry Potter. 

I don't want to give anything away. I will say, it's a great movie—however, not my favorite one (I liked part one the best).

You can check out my experience in this article I wrote for Dig magazine: 

http://digbatonrouge.com/article/muggles-at-midnight-2461/


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011 10:57 AM CDT
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Thursday, July 14, 2011
The Lovely Bones
Mood:  happy
Topic: Entertainment

On my lunch break, I finished reading Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. Now, I know you're thinking that I'm behind the time here, but hear me out. 

Years and years ago, I read her memoir Lucky. And I hated it. I hated it so much, I swore her off, along with everything she wrote.

But then, a coworker that I trade books with, told me she also read Lucky and didn't like it...but she gave The Lovely Bones a chance and she thought I would like it. So I borrowed it from her.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

If you haven't read it, or seen the movie (which now I'm going to have to do), the story follows a young girl named Susie. On a standard walk through the cornfield behind her home, she is murdered by a neighbor.

The book is told from her perspective, as she is watching her family and friends from heaven.

The reader is clued in to her murderer, but no one else is, so it's interesting to "watch" the investigation.

None the less, the story is creepy as hell.

But I will give it to Sebold—she's got some great lines in the book, and an interesting way of describing things. It wasn't my favorite book ever, but I'm glad I read it.  


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:57 PM CDT
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Crazy
Mood:  loud
Topic: Entertainment

Tonight, I finished reading Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness by Pete Earley. 

I would have never picked up this book on my own (despite my love of lunatic literature), but it was the latest pick for the local One Book One Community series—a book is chosen and the author comes to speak.

I read this book really fast, because it was just that good.

Earley, a former journalist for the Washington Post, has covered and written many articles and stories on society, justice, and criminal law. However, he'd never delved into the world of mental illness until his son was diagnosed with one.

During college, Earley got a phone call from his son. He was confused—he didn't know what things were real or if they were a dream. Later, he was arrested for breaking and entering a random home to take a bubble bath.

It was then Earley went on a mission to save his son. He spent a year inside one of the busiest prisons in the country—Miami-Dade County. There he discovered the contradictions that the mentally ill often suffer from, and often, they die from.

The book goes back and forth from the son's story to Earley's research—both is compelling and sad.

I am lucky enough to be able to speak to Earley tomorrow, for an article I'm writing on his upcoming arrival. I cannot wait to hear his opinions on our mental health systems, 5 years after writing his book.  


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011
CONGO
Mood:  bright
Topic: Entertainment

On my flight back to Baton Rouge tonight, I finally finished reading my first Michael Crichton book, Congo. 

The book follows Peter Elliot, who has taught his gorilla Amy how to sign and interact with humans. Elliot and Amy join a group of scientists in the Congo, there to investigate mysterious human deaths and to find rare diamonds.

I must say, I was disappointed. A few parts of the book drew me in, but overall it was lackluster. I liked the parts about Amy...but that was about it.

It takes place in 1979, so they are amazed by the littlest of technology, which was nearly comical.

However, I have not given up on Crichton—i have Jurassic Park and Rising Sun to read! 


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, July 4, 2011
Freedom's alley
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Politics

Over the last few weeks, I've been working on putting together a history of a place on LSU's campus, known as Free Speech Alley. 

Shortly after Osama Bin Laden was killed, an LSU student burned an American flag that usually flies high above our Parade Grounds. Apparently on a rampage, the student had also stolen a car and done some damage to a few local buildings.

After he fled the state, he was found and arrested—not for burning the flag, but for the vandalism and car theft. 

His arrest was misunderstood. And a graduate student was bothered by the thought that someone would be arrested for burning a flag. In protest, he announced he was going to burn an American flag on the University's Free Speech Alley.

He had to get permission from the University to do so, which he was granted. Not because LSU agrees with burning American flags, but because it is a state University (paid for by tax dollars). Free speech, and the actions that come with it, are a must.

His decision was met with opposing views. Students, friends, faculty, alumni, and locals, yelled at the student, threw things at him, and joined in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

When the graduate student found out he was protesting for the wrong reasons, he did not end up burning the flag. However, this moment remained heated for days. Because of this, I was asked to write a story explaining the history of the Alley—that many controversial things had happened there and that we are lucky to have a place on campus to express our opinions even if they are not shared by the majority. 

Well, my story was canned, because it was too controversial. However, I disagree, and worked very hard on it. So here it is—enjoy. 

CAMPUS TRADITION HOLDS HISTORY OF POLITICS, RELIGION

For more than 40 years, Free Speech Alley has been a university tradition. At times, the Alley has been grounds for controversy with topics swirling around political scandals, religious views or students’ rights. As a state university, LSU has stood behind the rights of its students by allowing such a place to express all opinions—even those not shared by the majority. 

Creating the Union

Although thoughts of building a Student Union arose as early as 1939, planning for one didn’t happen until 1958. After a $10 student fee was approved and the architects were commissioned, construction began in 1962. The Student Union opened January 6, 1964.

It was there, in an alley between the Union bookstore and the theatre, that students spoke their minds. The Alley was under the supervision of the Union’s Current Events Committee and was, at that time, only open to students, faculty and staff. In the first few years, it was only open on Mondays, but later moved to Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., when a student moderator was present.

Senate Bill 21: The Speaker Ban Bill

During the 1967 legislative session, Senate Bill No. 21, Act No. 7—the Speaker Ban Bill, was enacted. This bill prohibited bringing “Communist” and “Atheistic” speakers to state-supported college campuses in Louisiana. This brought great protest from students across the state, including LSU.

In 1968, LSU was host to several speakers including the first Ambassador of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., Igor Bubnov; the former ambassador to Korea, Winthrop Brown; “Rush to Judgment” author Mark Lane; The Rev. Joseph Fletcher; British-American journalist Felix Greene; U.S. Army Gen. Maxwell Taylor; and civil rights activist James Farmer.

Later that year, LSU Chancellor Cecil G. Taylor gave approval for Socialist speaker Paul Boutelle to speak on campus, despite the bill. Boutelle, vice presidential candidate for the Socialist Worker’s Party, was scheduled to speak in the Union’s Royal Ballroom. He was later forced off campus.

An Alley of Their Own

In 1969, the state legislature proposed a fee increase to correct the deficit in the LSU System’s budget. When it was approved, it raised LSU fees by $50 per semester, and would raise out-of-state students’ costs an extra $1,000 in following semesters.

In response, an LSU student marched on the State Capitol and received disciplinary action. In support, students started an impromptu alley of their own, located on the steps of the Union.

Aside from students’ rights, the Alley was home to many discussions that year such as the abolition of compulsory ROTC (it was mandatory for all entering freshman until 1969), women’s dress regulations, material distribution from the Student Liberal Federation, and of course, the football team’s record.

That same year, student David Duke made his presence known when he told an Alley crowd he was a member of the American Nazi Party. The following year, he formed a group called the White Youth Alliance and was known around campus for his views, and for wearing a Nazi uniform.

Housing Option IV: Students vs. Administration 

In December 1972, students were told about rule changes regarding housing. Originally, students living under Option IV were allowed 24-hour visitation from coeds. But that was revoked, and students were given strict housing rules for the spring semester.

When January came around, dorms agreed to limit visiting hours, but students were still unhappy. Students spoke at the Alley and went to deans, but kept hearing the same answers. The Board’s Student Affairs Committee called a meeting and issued guidelines allowing extended visitation, along with sign-in procedures. However, students questioned whether the university had the right to limit their freedom as adult citizens.

Later that year, construction began on a new field house and a chemistry building. Despite protests and attempts at communication, a stately oak was cut down to make room for steel and concrete.

Student Government President Ted Schirmer

Just after Ted Schirmer won the election for Student Government President (with 52.4 percent of the vote) in 1976, he became the reason for controversy. Students were upset and already dissatisfied with his reign, and wanted him gone. Students saw Schirmer as “impossible” and didn’t feel he was fighting for solutions. The final straw was when he stole the ballot boxes for the Homecoming Queen elections—stopping the race entirely.

Free Speech Alley was witness to several of Schirmer’s controversies, where his supporters tried to inform others of the good he was doing.

Talk of impeachment swirled around him, however the Student Government’s impeachment laws had been named vague. The only other option was a recall. With more than 3,200 names on petitions, a recall was official and a new election was rescheduled.

But even then, the votes were counted and Schirmer remained in office. His supporters liked what he’d done for students—concerts in Memorial Oak Grove and on the Parade Ground, free strawberries on the Union steps and free buses for voter registration, among many other movements.

Schirmer took to the Alley to announce his candidacy, and to smoke a marijuana cigarette, for the 1978 Student Government Presidential election. He was later disqualified and was unable to run in the race.

Campus Police join the Alley

In 1979, Campus Police made a trip to the Alley because its participants were violating the state fire codes by blocking the Union entrance. After an arrest, students relocated their impromptu Alley from the Union steps to the Campus police building.

White tape was later placed around the Union entrance, outlining the fire lanes and preventing Alley visitors from violating the law.

Politics Make a Mark

Politicians took a stand at Free Speech Alley in 1980 when Louisiana elected Republican Gov. Dave Treen. Jimmy Fitzmorris, defeated in the primary, claimed that voting irregularities affected the outcome. He lost a lawsuit, after appealing to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Students participated in the Alley discussions regarding the election, which was noted as the most expensive election in years, costing more than $17 million.

Later that year, national news was captivated when Iranian students stormed the American Embassy in Iran, resulting in 50 American citizens being held hostage. Locally, LSU students took to the Alley to voice their feelings on the issue. Later, they protested by marching at the Capitol with flags, signs and coffins.

That year, and in years following, topics at the Alley ranged from U.S. foreign policy and the presidential election, all the way to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and the liquor ban in Tiger Stadium.

Happy Birthday, Alley

1984 marked the 20th Anniversary of Free Speech Alley. Although years prior had seen a variety of topics at the Alley, the following year was a bit calmer. Well, in some sort.

The most heated discussion at the Alley in 1985 was the football seating policy. About 1,500 students gathered in the Alley to get their questions answered, but when they weren’t satisfied, they took their issues to the office of the athletic director.

Student Government Strikes Again

In the spring of 1986, Angelle Graves won the Student Government presidential election after a close race. Problems arose that summer, when her vice president didn’t show up for work. As a result, he was removed from office.

When students returned to campus for the fall semester, it seemed they were waiting for Graves to fail. Although she promised to lower tuition, she voted in favor of a $225 tuition increase. She then gave three sorority sisters various Student Government positions. An attempt to impeach her was unsuccessful.

Graves used Free Speech Alley as a place to defend her actions.

She later proposed a concert in Alex Box Stadium. But when tickets didn’t sell (at $6 each), she used Student Government money to pay for it. While it was then free for students, it cost $13,000, which came out of a fund for scholarships. Her reputation wasn’t saved when she later awarded her brother and other Student Government officers scholarships. 

Despite her unpopularity in office, she remained president for the entire term.

Global Concern

In April of 1989, students and intellectuals in China led the Tiananmen Square protests—they wanted economic and political reform. Locally, almost 400 students went to the Alley to demonstrate their support of democracy in China. 

Later that summer, students voiced their concern at the Alley when a proposed tuition increase of $95 per semester was being considered. In July of 1989, the Board of Supervisors approved a $48 increase, making each semester $930.

The Great Oaks

In 1990, campus heard the pleas and protests from students, faculty and alumni, all trying to save four oak trees and five Southern magnolias. The trees were in the way of the plans for a new athletic facility; and they would be removed.

Protestors voiced, in the past trees were saved and built around, instead of sacrificed for new construction.

Faux Crash

In late 1997, the Wellness Education Department and Residential Life sponsored a mock car crash near Free Speech Alley. This was an effort to show students the consequences of drinking and driving.

The crash participants were loaded up in ambulances as students watched in horror. Following the performance was a forum, where students spoke about the dangerous issue. 

Speech Slows 

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Free Speech Alley remained home to many religious speakers and hecklers, just as it had from day one. But, for the most part, heated discussions had left the Alley, making room for student clubs and organizations to promote their causes via booths and buses.

Art sales and blood drives surrounded the Alley, with the occasional campaign for a fee increase or an election.

One Nation

In the spring of 2011, a graduate student announced he was planning to burn an American flag at Free Speech Alley to defend America’s right to protest.

His announcement was greeted with counter-protests and, although he changed his mind and did not burn the flag after all, he was still met with pro-American chants from a large crowd. The university, as a state-funded institution, allowed both sides to display their opinions in order to respect the First Amendment.

The Alley Lives

During 40 years of tradition, the Alley has seen all types of issues—the calm and the controversial. Although times have changed, students are different and the college experience has evolved, in general, the Alley is there when the need arises for students to speak freely. 


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Midnight in Paris
Mood:  bright
Topic: Entertainment

Last night, I treated myself to cocktails and a movie...a date night with myself, if you will. 

Now, going to the movies alone is nothing new. However, a few drinks and tappas prior is something I normally don't do. I'd been wanting to see Midnight in Paris for awhile and it was only showing at one theatre in town.

So, I went to the wine bar across the street. To my delight, the bartender told me there were some great deals if I purchased an entire bottle. Well...I only had a little more than an hour before my flick started.

Oh, but he said I could take the bottle home with me if I didn't finish. Sold.

So I purchased a bottle of wine and a plate of hummus and had a merry old time.

Of course, I snuck the remainder of my bottle in my purse and guzzled it during the movie, straight out of the bottle. I am truly a class act. Why I'm single is beyond me.

Midnight in Paris is the story of an engaged couple (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams) who visit Paris while the family is on a business trip. Gil is a screenwriter, however he wants to write something more personal and meaningful. He has completely romanticized Paris and wants to live there someday.

However, Inez doesn't share that view and in fact, she thinks he is silly for how much he loves the city.

One night, they part ways just for the evening, and Gil takes a midnight walk back to the hotel. But along the way, he meets an interesting array of people—characters from old books.

He soon falls into a routine of these walks and forms relationships among his new friends, his new source of inspiration.

It's sort of hokey, but overall, I really just wanted to see the beautiful visuals of Paris and that's exactly what I got. I, too, am smitten with that city.

Gil, I'll move there! 


Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
About A Boy
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: Entertainment

After reading Nick Hornby's How To Be Good, I was planning to swear him off forever. 

Silly me, I purchased About A Boy at the same time I bought How To Be Good. So, I had to force myself through another one.

However, this one was a bit more interesting...and okay, I admit it, I laughed a few times. Out loud.

About A Boy is the story of Marcus, a young boy (although he is very curious and smart so it's easy to forget how young he is supposed to be) who lives with his single mother, Fiona.

Fiona is crazy. Literally.

The other half of the book follows a man named Will. Will is a pathological liar who enjoys dating single moms. He also has no job and no aspirations of getting one.

Since he is running out of places to meet single, hot moms, he joins a single-parent support group, and makes up a son named Ned and an ex-wife.

This is where he meets Fiona and her friend Suzie...and the story truly begins.

Marcus and Will become friends...in a sense that Marcus generally annoys the shit out of Will and discovers he is a liar.

But, of course, there are a few events (one serious, a few funny) that turn the tables and Will feels a change.

Overall, a decent book. But not on my recommended list.  


Posted by wittywriter7 at 11:38 AM CDT
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