Monday, July 20, 2009

Reviewed: Pepperface

Lately I've been developing an increasing fear of intruders. I get these kinds of irrational fears often; I'm a bit neurotic. Not too long ago, if my glass of water left my sight for too long I would start to think it had been poisoned, and I would have to ask Joe, "This is crazy, right, but you didn't happen to put any poison in my glass did you?" Not that I think he would, but when I was young I remember my sister once started to take a swig from a 2-liter Coke bottle sitting on our kitchen counter only to find that it was full of dirty oil, not Coke. My dad's a mechanic and he often used bottles like this.

Last week I was wrenched from sleep by a clattering in the apartment, like a bunch of pots had fallen, or an intruder had jostled something loose in the dark. Aren't the first words always, "What was that?!" to a noise at night in the dark? Immediately after that, when I followed Joe down the hallway in the dark I whispered to his back, "I'm scared I'm scared I'm scared I'm scared" like I was stuck on repeat.

My heart was beating like a rabbit, like a hummingbird. Everything felt prickly and wrong. My arms and legs were moving without me feeling them, and I manically went forward, looking, looking. I kept expecting something to happen, to startle someone out of their hiding place. I clutched my pepper spray.

It turns out that Joe never even thought for a second it was an intruder, but he knew something had fallen and he was trying to find what had--it was the soap dish, slipping off the edge and clattering into the tub. He said he didn't realize I had been so scared, that I should have told him, and that made me realize, uh oh, I've cried wolf too many times.

I wouldn't say I'm an abnormally scared person, but I've got kind of ridiculous fears (the aforementioned poison, seeing ghosts, aliens) that I probably talk about too much. Most of the time I'm not really, truly scared, I'm just needy for a little reassurement.

In the winter, walking to the bakery at 5 in the morning, it's dark and creepy. I wanted a weapon, so I ordered pepper spray. I'm not just needy, I'm also shallow, so I wanted a pretty one. Pepperface was just the ticket.

It's basically designer pepper spray ranging in price from 35 dollars to 300 (but that's for the super fancy one, with Swarovski crystals in the shape of a skull.) I got the basic Prevention Purple for 30% off on one of their specials, which they run fairly often. What else can I say? It's dangerous and it's pretty, and even though I'd rather have a switchblade, it's a good substitute. Every gal should have one.

90 Stars.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reviewed: The Hurt Locker

Maybe one of the biggest things I'll miss when I move out of New York will be the movies, specifically, the ability to see anything you want; the lowest budget, the smallest indie gem, the movies that only make it to limited release. (I won't miss, however, the higher probability that your fellow moviegoer will be eating pork rolls and fried rice, or having a ten minute long conversation on their cell phone.)

The Hurt Locker is the best movie I've seen in a long time. It follows a small unit of bomb defusing soldiers (Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty) as they try to survive their last 40 days in Iraq. As with any bomb movie, you're gonna expect tension, but this thing is Tense to the very end, so that when the soldiers finally make it home you're still sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for one of them to fall off a ladder or slip in the shower.

But it's beautiful, too. The way a shell falls delicately into sand. Dust on eyelashes (and Anthony Mackie's got some killer ones.) Jeremy Renner, too, is amazing to watch. I'm still in an meandering depression over the cancellation of The Unusuals. I predict this guy will blow up soon (hardy har, I swear that wasn't intentional) because he's really, absolutely, that good. The movie wouldn't be what it is without him.

And The Hurt Locker is one of my favorite kinds of movies, where I can revel in my useless movie database brain and delight in everyone who pops up: pretty Evangeline Lilly from Lost, Christian Camargo (psychopath brother from Dexter), David Morse (creeper from Disturbia, the Hack), Guy Pearce, and my favorite, Ralph Fiennes, who shows up for a brief but memorable role as a Blackwater-type dude, looking as rugged and bad-ass handsome as he's been since The English Patient.

100 Stars.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reviewed: The Quest Kayak

A few months ago I came into a sizable amount of cash. Let’s just say I finally graduated and was rewarded with many white envelops stuffed with cash. Although I wrote in every single thank you note that I would use the money for books in graduate school, I instead spent it foolishly on myself. I live in a mid-western land-locked Illinois town; so, of course, I bought a kayak. And a paddle. And a life jacket that I am too cool to wear, so I just stuff into the ample space at the front of the kayak. And a roof rack for my Nissan to tote the kayak around.

It may seem weird that I bought a kayak, but it really isn’t. Being on the water is my second favorite thing to do; right under watching TV on my couch. The problem is I spend a lot of time by myself indoors. Most of my friends are spread out across the country and R-Man works during the day. I needed something I could do alone and outside. A kayak is the perfect solution. I just put it on my roof, drive 30 minutes to the closest lake, take it down, and I’m free at sea.

The Quest Kayak is a smaller one person kayak weighing about 45 pounds and measuring about 10 feet. Mine is a vibrant red orange coloring, which keeps the fishing boats and pontoons I share a lake with from hitting me. Although it doesn’t weight that much, its awkward shape makes it difficult to lift and put on the roof of my car. However, other than trying to lift it above my head, it doesn’t seem that heavy. I can easily carry it around on one shoulder from car to water. I have taken it out several times without much hassle. Really the only trouble I had was the first time I went out. I tried to launch from the boat ramp, but to my surprise it was covered in slimy, green moss. My sandals went out from under me and I fell on my ass. Luckily the guy who has just asked if I needed any help had already driven away.

There is nothing more relaxing than paddling to the middle of a lake and riding the waves. I usually take a book along and find a place away from everyone to read for awhile. I even rest my legs on the top of the kayak in an attempt to get them from pale to pink.

77 stars: It is seriously difficult to get it on the roof of my car, but as it becomes easier my arms should start to look like Michelle Obama’s.