Eid Mubarak!

I just want to wish myself an Eid Mubarak!!! Tomorrow is Eid-ul-Adha.  Unfortunately it snuck up on us this year as we weren’t paying attention so pretty much everyone has to work today, and I have to review for my finals.  It’s gonna feel like a regular day other than the fact that we’ll be having the usual family dinner.  Although, I’m not even sure everyone will be able to make it for that…alas, if only we got as much time off as we do for Christmas.  I remember being little and feeling like Eid was SUCH a huge deal, now it feels like just another thing that we don’t have enough time for.

But anyways, for those of you who dont know what Eid-ul-Adha is, here’s a brief explanation:

“Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى ‘Īd ul-’Aḍḥā) or the Festival of Sacrifice (Turkish: Kurban Bayramı) is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims and Druze worldwide in commemoration of the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey God and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God intervened and instead provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice an animal (usually a goat or a sheep), as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience to God. The meat is then shared out with family, friends (Muslims or non-Muslims), as well as the poor members of the community. “–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_ul-Adha

So if you celebrate Eid, I hope you have a wonderful holiday full of family, friends, food and fun.  If you don’t celebrate Eid, I hope you have a particularly fantastic Monday full of um….something that will make your Monday suck less. Love, Peace and Hugs!



My top 10 favorite movie scenes…

So I was extremely bored the other day despite the 10 million things I always have to do, and I needed something to think about that has nothing to do with family, school, interning or work, and wouldn’t cause any frustration or depression. I decided to hit up a friend on facebook who always does top 10 lists with me, and never fails to give me something fun to let my imagination run with. I wanted a good one to contemplate over the next few days so that I could have something easy and interesting to ponder during those useless moments on the metro when weird things pop into your mind.

Good ole’ Ben from State College gave me a pretty difficult but entertaining list to form: My top 10 favorite movie scenes. Here they are in no particular order ( I included links to the scene if I could find it):

10. ’10 things I hate about you’–The scene where Michael and Cameron drop a whole bunch of flyers from the top of the school staircase as the song ‘sexy boy’ plays by Air. (The first 16 s of this video)

9. ‘Donnie Darko’–The scene towards the beginning of the movie when ‘Head over Heels’ is playing by Tears for Fears. It’s kind of a montage showing you every character in the movie and kind of captures the essence of what their purpose is in the movie. (The first 2 1/2 min of this video)


8. ‘Batman Begins’–When Batman is interrogating Flass about a shipment of drugs and Flass says, “I never knew, I swear to God!”… and Batman replies: “Swear to me!”

7. ‘Cruel Intentions’–The ending scene as ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ plays by the Verve.(yes..music often affects my choices..)

6. ‘Love Actually’–The very beginning when Hugh Grant is telling us that love actually IS all around us. 🙂

5. ‘Wicker Park’–The end of the movie when Lisa and Matthew find each other at the airport after being kept apart for so long.

4. ‘The Boondock Saints’–Towards the end of the movie, the courtroom scene where the brothers’ and their father explain their purpose to the people of the courtroom. “We do not ask for your poor and your hungry. We do not ask for your tired and sick. It is your corrupt we claim…”

3. ‘Office Space’–The scene where they beat up the fax machine. (Starting from 3:32s)

2. ‘Meet Joe Black:–The scene where Brad Pitt gets hit by a car.

I can’t find a good video for this one, but I’m not psychotic.  This isn’t my favorite because I enjoy seeing Brad Pitt get hit by a car.  It’s more the fact that it’s interesting to me because the makers of this film inadvertently made this scene really funny.  I’ve never seen anyone get hit by a car, so I don’t know what it looks like, but the way Brad Pitt’s body twists and turns looks more like a cartoon than a live-action movie.

1. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’–Noo, not the scene where she does her dance, the scene when Dwayne finds out he’s colorblind.  I just think his reaction was really genuine, and I felt how disappointed he was.

And that’s my mindless post.  I also apologize profusely for my absence, I will not let this much time pass without posting again.  Sorry.

Happy Monday-Before-Turkey-Day!

skydiving_blogHello, everyone! It’s the countdown ’til Thanksgiving, and I’m sure you’ve got your cranberries and whatnot in order. I’ll be jetsetting off to California for turkey this week (the northern part, if you must know) and hitting up San Francisco for frightening hordes of cash-strapped shoppers and even doing some skydiving, believe it or not. So I’ll have some super-fun photogs of the day for you coming up!

That is, um, if I don’t die. I mean… I am JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE. It’s a significant risk!

Anyway, it looks like with Mr. Belle’s help I’ll be in charge of dessert at his family’s Thanksgiving party this year. This is pretty typical; I am MUCH better at baking than cooking, and I spend every holiday stuffing my friends with enough sugar to give them diabetes (you love it, don’t lie!) so making pies is not much of a stretch. Pressures of impressing the boyfriend’s extended family aside, that is.

But I have no idea what to cook. Usually, when it comes to finding new recipes or ideas, Martha is my girl. I have every baking book she’s ever published and a lot of her regular cookbooks. Granted, she’s a little OCD for my tastes, so I tend to scope out the easier recipes she has first and work my way up, but I’m such a fanatic that if she says it’s worth it I pretty much believe her. (The same thing does not apply for decorations or… y’know, household stuff. I don’t take this kind of thing to extremes, and neither does Cranberry Blossom, lol) But, dammit, who else can make deep-frying a turkey look so goddamn easy?

Well, besides Alton Brown, that is. (Oh, Alton… I have SUCH a huge crush on your culinary geekiness!)

But I just can’t seem to find the right mix of “pie to impress Grandma” and “easy but looks like I worked really hard on it.”Most of Martha’s recipes take so much work and finesse that I’m sure it’s going to cross that line from “impressive” to “way too much work!” So far this pumpkin bread pudding looks tasty and fun to make, but beyond that… I’m stumped.

So I turn to you, dear readers. What’s your plan for Thanksgiving? Do you not even bother? Help me out, here!

Photog of the Day: Learning to Crash

belle's first lesson in motocross

July 17, 2008: belle's first motocross lesson

Barack, We Need to Talk…

Obama smokes. Yeah, Mike, we know.

Now, I have been enjoying Obama euphoria as much as anyone. Without it, the prospect would be depressing indeed. But where is the skepticism? If Obama actually has accomplished the miracle of giving up cigarettes at the apogee of a presidential race, he should be happy to let us know this and add to his superman image. And if he hasn’t? Well, if he is straight with us about it, we should forgive him. So he’s not a superman. Neither are we. In a democracy, that is a good thing for ruler and ruled to know they have in common. Furthermore, as presidential vices go, this one is not near the top. As for being a role model for youths, Obama’s good habits outweigh this single bad one. He’s great on hydration, apparently.

Personally, lighting up just ain’t that big of a deal for me. Mr. Belle smokes, not all the time but maybe a few cigarettes a day, and I’m one of the only non-smokers I know who doesn’t mind kissing somebody who has a cancer stick hanging out of their mouth regularly. There are many, many people who disagree with me, however. And, honestly, when it comes to Barry I kind of agree with them.

When you say that smoking makes O more human or less supermaobaman, I guess it’s true; but how human is the president supposed to be? How flawed is someone with that much power allowed to be? We have a noble history of flawed presidents to look back on, for sure, but with O simultaneously being the harbinger of a grand cultural shift and under the magnifying glass of “OMG YOU’RE BLACK, KIND OF,” there isn’t much room for being flawed. There also isn’t room for saying you’ve quit, you haven’t quit, you’re wanting to quit and your wife is inspiring you to quit, all at the same time. It’s distracting.

Sure, anti-smoking guy is on your side and that wins you brownie points, but Barack, what I really need is an actual plan. I need to know that you can stick to your guns and follow through on either smoking or not smoking. Preferably the latter. Because there are so many bigger things for you to follow through on… not to mention national security and not getting carpal tunnel. Quitting would show me and the rest of America that you are dependable, even for the little things, and that you will prioritize your health so that you can hopefully lead us for a very long time. Leading us on might make us get all angry-woman-scorned on you, and that really would have worse consequences for you than for the old white guy we would normally have elected.

I mean, we chose you over Old Man Melanoma, right? Now that the pressure’s over, somewhat, put the cigs down. Compared to what you have to do in a few months, (and, like, right now) this is nothing.



When the Cat’s Away…

Posts are coming. A new lay-out is coming. Change… you can has it!




Over it yet? Me neither.

Barack Obama is the President-elect.
Sarah Palin is still hanging around.
Joe Biden reminds me of Samwise Gamgee.
John McCain seems as if he knew this was going to happen about 6 months ago.

When it comes down to it, it all feels so strange. Almost as if this is how it was supposed to happen. What, I wonder, could possibly come next? YTMND aside, I’ll be in the District for the Inauguration and I’m excited because I totally have an awesome camera with a big memory card. I was there for the Inauguration in 2000, so it should be interesting to compare the atmosphere of today to the violence and anger that so permeated that transition.

What the hell are we going to be posting about, now that the election is over?
I’m not sure about my associates here at Jasandbelle, but I have a few good ideas.

How about the Wars? Seriously, holy sweet mother mercy, will they ever end. I mean, come on, what the hell? It’s getting less violent, but people are still getting killed and the factional bitterness is just as strong as it ever was. A good example of why things are not as violent as they used to be in Iraq is the 1920 Revolution Brigade. The 1920 Revolution Brigade is an Iraqi group, formed in 2003 for one purpose – find and kill American soldiers. They are among the best in Iraq at  that. Al-Sadr’s militia is far larger and better trained, but they’re being controlled in the same way the 1920 Revolution Brigade is being controlled. We are paying them enormous sums of money. The 1920s operate out of the Diyala Province which, strangely enough, is still a pretty nasty place to hang out. We pay the militias anyway, mainly because we need someone to keep tabs on these guys. When we pull out, are these guys still going to get paid? If they aren’t, can the Iraqis deal with these armed groups? If they can’t, at what point does the United States become obligated to return? Is there any such point?
Change has indeed come to America. The question is, how much we can spread around to places where our soldiers are dying?

How about the economy? I don’t want to get into it. Screw the DOW. If you want an indication of how we’re doing overall, look at gas prices. They are absolutely falling through the floor. Don’t go thinking it’s a good thing. The reason it’s coming down is because industrialized countries all over the world are taking it up the proverbial tailpipe, so demand is going down. Gas should cost around 3.60 USD for a gallon of regular unleaded. I’m not going into it. We’ll be here all day.

George W. Bush is preparing to write his memoirs. Did you ever think you’d hear that? Believe it.

The new expansion for World of Warcraft is out today. The myriad swarms will, without a shred of doubt, seclude themselves for another year or so before emerging, gloriously, with yet another false sense of accomplishment. Believe me, I know, I’m a recovering addict.

Whatever. Quit freaking out.
There’s always sports!

~ Ivan