Friday, November 27, 2009

Moving Sand Art - Kseniya Simonova

24 year old Kseniya Simonova recently won Ukraine's Got Talent 2009 with her emotive sand art performance. Depicting devastation experienced during USSR's Great Patriotic War against the Germany in WWII, she drew tears from the audience and judges alike. Watch her work her artistry during the winning performance below.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Monkey Lounge hopes you are all spending this holiday with the one(s) you love. "Families" are special aren't they! I'm grateful I will have awesome Vietnamese food with my family today!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Palin 2012: SNL Gives Viewers A Glimpse Of Horrifying Future

V for Visitors

Have you been catching the new "V" series? A remake from the 1980s mini-series, the 2009 version seems to follow the plot pretty closely so far. I'm loving this version. The acting is top notch and story line gripping. Nothing is more compelling than humans fighting for their very existence. Of course the aliens have to be SUPER hot (verses scary looking ones), such as the Visitor's leader, Anna (see image). The premier even poked fun at this strange phenomena when a main character, reporter Chad Decker, asked the leader, "Is there such a thing as an ugly Visitor?" Can hardly wait for more episodes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Revolution on University of California Campuses

To deal with the budgetary crisis in California, the state cut nearly 10% of its educational budget, or $2.8 billion including $813 million from the university system. That ranks us at the bottom 48/50 in spending for education.

In September 2009, staff and faculty at universities had their salary reduced by 4-10%. To add insult to injury, the state now is "borrowing" state employee money from our paychecks in the form of increased taxes to the tune of 10%. This "forced, interest free loan" will be paid back some time in April. Mind you, university employees are some of the lowest paying professionals to begin with. Not to mention we live in some of the costliest areas in the nation.

Additionally, on November 2009 the University of California's Board of Regents voted to increase student fees by 32%. That's an 83.2% fee increase since I began my employment at UC Davis in 2003. My students, many of whom come from working class families from the Central Valley region and Bay Area, were already working at least two jobs. Now, I imagine, many will drop out or have to work 3-4 jobs to remain in school. When would they even have time to study with that kind of schedule?

But, all is not lost. The UC Regents also voted on November 2009 for a 3% "annual merit" salary increase for the top university administrators. Some of whom make well over 400k. This is not including free housing, car and moving costs. Nice to know where our hard earned tax money is going. Glad some people are taken cared of during this depression.

Students and staff at the university level are not taking all this lying down anymore. Staff and faculty have re-energized the union and are striking. Students have organized rallies and occupied school buildings in protest. See below the beginnings of a revolution!

UCD students occupy Olson Hall November 19, 2009.
UCD students protestors taken from Mrak Hall November 19, 2009 and 53 were arrested by riot police.
UC Berkeley November 18, 2009 student rally and strike.
UCLA November 19, 2009 protest where 14 students got arrested.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Old School, Kick Ass, or Emo Vampires

Christopher Lee as Dracula

Robert Pattinson in Twilight

Rhona Mitra as Sonia, Princess of the Night

What's up with the vampires on the movie screens and tubes these days? Far from being frightening, sexually menacing or supernatural, they are whiney and asexual. What ever happened to the iconic images made popular by Christopher Lee or Bela Lugosi? I, myself am partial to the kick ass versions that began in the 1990s with the Blade trilogy and the Underworld franchise. Not to mention the feminist empowering, Buffy!

Now we have the likes of emo Robert Pattinson in the Twilight series. It may have begun with Brad Pitt's pouty role in the Interview with the Vampire. Whatever the origins, I'm not down with these love lorn wimps calling themselves prince of the night. It's blaspheme I tell you.

What are your thoughts on the different types of vampires and which ones are your favorites? Check out barelypolitical's hilarious parody on this topic.

How Zachary Quinto Stepped into Spock's Role

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Originally a third-person action-adventure computer game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will hit the big screens 2010. Mike Newell (The Awakening, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) directs the film and it stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain). That already sounds good to me but added is Ben Kingsley playing the villainous nobleman really makes this movie a must see.

The plot is about a brave man chosen as heir to the throne after proving himself in battle. He then is left to guard the sacred dagger capable of turning back time. Along with a beautiful princess and loyal followers, they work together to find safe haven for the dagger while fighting off those who wish to possess the dagger for their own evil plans. Very exciting.