Monday, March 31, 2008

Are You Ready?



Also, check out some exciting new footage of the guys @

Katie's Birthday Wish

It's quite simple really:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Not Just Another Scary Face

Ledger's Joker could be biggest posthumous movie role

  • Story Highlights
  • Ledger's death fueling already strong "Dark Knight" hype
  • Deaths of Bruce Lee, James Dean heightened interest in their final films
  • Professor: More people may see movie because of Ledger's death
  • Crew said they would honor actor by not changing his role

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Heath Ledger's frenzied reinvention of the Joker had fans and colleagues buzzing. His dreadful clown face was seen online by millions, and stood as the goosebump-raising image upon which nearly all early marketing of "The Dark Knight" hinged.

All this, while Ledger was still alive.

Now the Batman archfiend stands as Ledger's next-to-last performance. And while it's not the first, "The Dark Knight" has already emerged as arguably the biggest movie featuring a posthumous role in Hollywood history.

Major stars including James Dean, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Spencer Tracy and Will Rogers had high-profile films released after they died. The deaths of others -- notably Bruce Lee and his son Brandon -- created an eerie allure that heightened interest in their final films.

Yet none had the magnitude of a comic-book franchise with an illustrious 70-year history, and movies in those eras did not arrive with the fanfare of today. Certainly none had the advance word of a delirious, demented turn by an actor completely reimagining of one of Hollywood's greatest villains.

"It was punk, it was `A Clockwork Orange, it was druggie. It was this kind of fantastic, anarchic look to him. This character who had absolutely no rules whatsoever," said Christian Bale, who returns as rich guy Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter-ego Batman. "That's not like any Joker I've ever seen before, what I saw Heath do."

As the sequel to 2005 blockbuster "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight" already was one of this year's most-anticipated films. Opening July 18, the film's must-see status has only risen since Ledger died of an accidental prescription drug overdose Jan. 22.

"More people will come to see it because of his death," said Bill Ramey, founder of the fan Web site "No doubt some people may be apprehensive about seeing it because there may be a little ghoulish factor about it. But I'm betting that more people now kind of look at it as a tribute to him, and the biggest tribute you could give someone is to go see it and enjoy his performance."

When Dean died in a car wreck in 1955, studio executives lamented "there goes the movie," figuring audiences would be scared away from his final two films, said Wes Gehring, who teaches film at Ball State University. To the contrary: "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant" were huge hits.

In today's anything-goes celebrity climate, it's doubtful anyone in Hollywood ever felt Ledger's death might hurt the box-office prospects for "The Dark Knight," Gehring said.

"It's a tacky thing to say, but what would have been a negative in the past now could be a positive thing," Gehring said. "I think we've done a flip-flop on pop culture. Now it might actually be a selling point for a movie where you say, `So and so's dead. Let's go see his movie.' What might have been a hindrance in 1935 now won't be a problem."

In the days after Ledger's death, fans debated how it might affect the film.

Would distributor Warner Bros. make changes or even delay its release? Would the advertising shift away from its early focus on Ledger's demonic Joker and his mocking taunt, "Why so serious?" Would the Joker's ghastly persona disturb fans? Would viewers be able to set thoughts of his death aside as they watch his performance?

"Of course, you find more poignancy in moments, and I'm very, very aware he's not here with us," said Bale in an interview shortly after the film's opening segment -- in which Ledger's Joker orchestrates a bank heist -- was screened in mid-March at ShoWest, a convention for theater owners. It was the first time Bale had seen the sequence, and Ledger's death weighed on his mind.

"I can't deny that kind of threw me watching that just now," Bale said. "You can't help but have that different feeling when I'm viewing it, especially since he's somebody I was in touch with until just recently and believed would be a future friend."

Director Christopher Nolan, who revived the franchise with "Batman Begins," said he expects the performance will speak for itself, that morbid thoughts of Ledger's death will not affect the way audiences view "The Dark Knight."

"Having seen the movie myself in such heightened and tragic circumstances, no, I don't think that's going to be the case," Nolan said. "What I found in watching the movie myself is that you're not looking at the actor, you're not looking at the friend, you're not looking at the colleague. You're looking at the Joker. ... He inhabits this character, and it's an extraordinary icon, so it's easy to enjoy it on that level, just as a great piece of acting."

Ledger -- known for serious films including "Brokeback Mountain," which earned him a best-actor Academy Award nomination -- was a surprise choice for the Joker, most famously played previously with Jack Nicholson's giddy performance in 1989's "Batman."

Nolan, Ledger and their collaborators came up with a wildly different Joker, whose ominous clown makeup seems to have been finger-painted onto his face, an outer portrait of the black and twisted soul within.

Ledger's performance floored two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine, who reprises his role as Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred. Caine's first glimpse of the character came when Ledger emerged onto the set from an elevator; in an interview last September, four months before Ledger's death, Caine said he was so startled that he forgot his lines.

"He came out of the bloody lift like a whirlwind," Caine recalled. "They said, `It's your line, Michael.' I said, `What is it?' Extraordinary. It will be one of the characters of next year, the Joker as played by him."

Warner Bros. executives, who declined to comment for this article, have moved ahead with "The Dark Knight" and its marketing as planned. To do anything differently would have disrespected Ledger's memory, the filmmakers said.

"The greatest testament to Heath's portrayal is to do everything that we were planning on doing with Heath's portrayal," said producer Charles Roven. "His family knew him to feel exactly the same way. They knew how excited he was, knew how much fun he had doing it. When you see the film, it's undeniable how much fun he had playing the character."

While the "Batman" brand-name virtually assures blockbuster status for "The Dark Knight," other posthumous films have had a mixed history.

Rogers scored a posthumous hit with "Steamboat Round the Bend," as did Tracy with "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon" and Brandon Lee's "The Crow" found broader audiences beyond action crowds because of their deaths. Singer Aaliyah's "Queen of the Damned" overcame bad reviews to become a modest commercial success.

Received coolly by critics, John Candy's "Canadian Bacon" and "Wagons East" were box-office duds, as was Natalie Wood's "Brainstorm."

The final films of Lombard ("To Be or Not to Be") and husband Gable ("The Misfits") earned critical acclaim and have held up over the decades but initially were disregarded by audiences.

Unlike Oliver Reed, whose death during the filming of "Gladiator" prompted the filmmakers to digitally graft his head onto another man's body to complete a scene, Ledger had finished his work on "The Dark Knight."

Ledger died with his final film, Terry Gilliam's fantasy "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," only half finished. Gilliam salvaged the production by casting Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell for the fantasy portions, each playing Ledger's character on trips through a magic mirror into a parallel realm.

The snippets of Ledger's "Dark Knight" performance released in trailers have captivated not only the average fan, but also his close colleagues from past films.

"You can tell Jack Nicholson was having fun doing that, but you can see Heath probably put his soul into it," said "Brokeback Mountain" director Ang Lee. "That's why it's scary. You see the trailer, just a few shots of him, you have to see the movie. ... I'm anxious to see it. I'm afraid to see it. I don't know how I'll respond to it, but you have to see it."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

All AboutHeath LedgerWarner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Baylor? Straight to the Final Three!

Some people just don't get college basketball...
See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

There's a Thin Line Between Love and Hate

Especially in the world wide web.  But the question remains, which side are you on?  You either love Sarah Marshall or you hate her.  Choose wisely.

I, for one, know where I stand... and yes, Sarah Marshall, his mom always hated you!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Not So PostSecret Anymore

The following video was filmed during a PostSecret event with Frank Warren at SXSW in Austin, Texas.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

And Iran, Iran So Far Away

This is terribly sad news!

Gay Iranian Teen Loses Asylum Bid

Posted: 2008-03-12 07:52:18
Filed Under: World News
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (March 11) - The Netherlands' highest court on Tuesday rejected a gay Iranian's last-ditch appeal to avoid deportation to Britain, where he fears authorities will send him back to Tehran and possible execution.

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, traveled to Britain to study in 2005 and applied there for asylum after learning that his male lover in Iran had been executed for sodomy. After British authorities rejected Kazemi's application, he fled and applied for asylum in the Netherlands.

Upholding a ruling by the Dutch government, the Council of State said Britain is responsible for Kazemi's case because he applied for asylum there first. European Union rules say the member state where an asylum seeker first enters the bloc is responsible for processing that person's claim.

Kazemi's case has generated attention for the plight of homosexuals in Iran, but also for differences in the way EU countries deal with asylum seekers.

Gay rights campaigner Rene van Soeren said Kazemi's lawyer was considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyer, Borg Palm, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Boris van der Ham, a lawmaker who has taken up Kazemi's cause, has appealed to the government to lobby British authorities on Kazemi's behalf.

"There should be some political leadership," he said in a telephone interview. "I hope in Britain they will do it, and otherwise we should take the boy."

Because of Iran's persecution of homosexuals, the Netherlands typically relaxes its tough asylum rules when considering applications by gay Iranians -- virtually guaranteeing asylum to any who apply here.

However, because Kazemi had already applied for asylum in Britain and been rejected, the Dutch government refused to consider his case, insisting he return to Britain.

Britain's Home Office has declined comment, saying it does not discuss individual asylum applications.

However, Britain's Border and Immigration Agency has issued a statement that could give Kazemi hope: "We examine with great care each individual case before removal and we will not remove anyone who we believe is at risk on their return."

Matteo Pegoraro, president of the Italian-based gay rights group EveryOne, which is lobbying on behalf of Kazemi, has said he knows of 10 gay people executed in Iran since 2005, based on reports from nongovernment groups and activists.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

If Governments Could Speak...

Oh wait, ours does! Did you know that the Government of the United States of America has a BLOG?!? Yes, a BLOG! It's called Gov Gab, and no, I'm not lying. I love it when the government tries to be all young and hip. Just check out the blogger bios... and then go visit the blog at:

Who Are The Bloggers?

We are federal employees who work in the Office of Citizen Services and Communications at the U.S. General Services Administration. In our daily jobs, we encounter a staggering amount of U.S. government information and services that can benefit your life. From saving money and visiting National Parks to finding out about government auctions and the latest recalls, we want to bring these resources to you in a new way—through our blog.

Jake (Monday)

Jake playing the guitarJake quickly bumbled, stumbled and tumbled into the federal gubmint in the summer of '04. Jake works with the frequently asked questions and plans to draw on these and his interests for his bloggings. When the plucky twenty-something Virginian isn't gabbing, he keeps himself way too busy. Be it going to rock shows, playing guitar, watching team sports, searching for the perfect Italian sub, reading too much Dave Barry or negotiating meal times with his cat, there is never a dull moment.

Joanne (Tuesday)

JoanneJoanne is's outside the beltway connection—way outside the beltway. She lived in the big city for 10 years, but now revels in the dichotomy of working on a world-class website while she can hear the clip clop of a horse and buggy passing by her window. Intent on being super woman, she works full time, cares for two young daughters and loves to read, cook, throw pots, ride her bike and has a knack for home brewing.

Sam (Wednesday)

Girl shoppingSam is a twenty-something Southern belle who brought her pointed-toe shoes (now peep toe) and passion for all things accessories to the federal government 4 years ago. When she's not relying on the kindness of bureaucrats or telling anyone who'll listen about all of Uncle Sam's great resources, you can find Sam shopping for the latest bargains, planning her next exotic vacay, or cheering on her beloved Georgia Bulldawgs. Other passions: flea markets, banana pudding, and celebrity gossip.

Nancy (Thursday)

NancyNancy grew up watching GSA's television public service announcements for "Pueblo, Colorado" and even sang a couple old ones (off-key) during her job interview. They hired her anyway. Today, the New Jersey native manages TV, radio and print PSA campaigns. When not messing around with all things media at work, Nancy messes around with all things media at home: hosting a local radio show; promoting emerging musicians; and dabbling in comedy, writing and photography. Nancy also likes to help people in the community—from getting gang kids off the street to counseling recently widowed people. At home, she's usually in the kitchen inventing recipes or in the workshop, trying unsuccessfully to repair something. A bureaucrat since 1991, Nancy tells everyone she was hired at age 12. As this claim becomes less believable each year, Nancy's begun to investigate wrinkle creams.

Sommer (Friday)

SommerBorn in South Dakota in the late '70s, Sommer moved to the nation's capital in 2000 to sample big city life during a college internship. She laughed when all the long-time residents told her "That's what I did 20 years ago—and I'm still here!" Well, she's still here too (after a short stint at Ohio State to pick up a master's and a husband)! As a web content manager for, Sommer helps the public cut through red tape by trying to make the maze of government programs understandable. She spends free time dreaming of ways to fix up her 1940's townhouse, learning to garden, and clipping coupons.

Colleen (Substitute Blogger)

Colleen at a football gameColleen or "Bean" as she is known to friends and family, makes no secret of the two loves of her life—the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. Hailing from the city of real cheesesteaks, Colleen crossed the Keystone State to attend college at the University of Pittsburgh. Here she developed another passion—the PITT Panthers. Besides being a sports junkie, Colleen takes pride in her knowledge of seemingly useless trivia, being the world's greatest rockstar while behind the wheel, and the owner of an absolutely obscene amount of shoes. This Irish girl is a newbie to the bureaucrat world, where she is a Consumer Information Specialist.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Taking It Off For the Children... Again!

For those of you that don't know, on Sunday, April 13th, I will be donating between 10-12 inches of my hair as part of Buzzing for Change.  Buzzing for Change is an annual event held at GW which aims to raise money for children with cancer by getting people to sponsor participants who will either buzz their hair off or donate it to Locks of Love.  I think this is a wonderful cause and it really sparks a feeling of unity and community on the GW campus every spring.  The actual event has free food, t-shirts, and live music from local bands!  It's a lot of fun, whether you just volunteer or end of cutting your hair!

To help raise awareness about the event in general and the fact that I'm donating my hair (again), I've created a website and set up a special PayPal form to collect online donations for those who prefer not to donate via cash or check.  You can visit the website at:

And, just to really pull at those heart strings, below is the original story I submitted to the Buzzing for Change website about my experience as a donator!

Dr. Waloff or: How I Learned to Stop Crying and Love the Cut

Several of my friends had been involved in the organizing and promoting of Buzzing for Change at GW, and since their event was taking place on a very sunny Sunday in April I decided to stop by and see how they were doing. Little did I know that I would, about a half hour later, be agreeing to donate my hair to Locks of Love. I greeted my friends as I saw them, all sporting the trademark Buzzing for Change gear and happily informing participants where they can go or what forms they need. Then came Kevin… the future Dr. Waloff. He gave me a hug, as friends are want to do, and as we embraced in the middle of Kogan Plaza he felt my hair and noticed how long it was. Although my hair had been much longer my freshman year, in my junior year my hair was still pretty darn long and Kevin mentioned that it would be more than enough to donate if I so chose. I told him I would get back to him on that and went to grab some food and contemplate my options. I could keep my beloved flowing locks for my own selfish purpose, aka: I only know how to do long hair; I could cut off the bare minimum needed to sell my hair, aka: I can wimp out but at least the money will go to a good cause; or I could suck it up and take it like a woman, aka: go the whole nine yards (rather, ten inches) and give the hair away to kids who need it more than I do. I mean, I had an awful lot of hair and I did sometimes get frustrated in the morning when I was forced to conquer the nest atop my head. If I went through with it, I would be doing a good deed for needy children AND solving a major morning dilemma for myself. I was sold. When I went back over to Kogan Plaza I admitted to my friends that I would be going through with the little idea that Kevin planted in my head. They measured my hair and I had about eleven to donate, and off they went… or it… well, both really. The whole process didn’t take very long and I have to admit, my head did feel a bit lighter after everything was said and done. Unfortunately, as dramatic hair cuts go, my hair ended up a little lopsided and I retreated to my friend’s dorm where post-cut triage was done and my hair evened. Although I probably lost another inch in the process, at least I could face the world with some level of pride. That night, however, I cried myself to sleep. I missed my hair. But, I really missed my hair when I went to the hair salon to get a touch up and the stylist, if that really is his job, gave me a 70s style Brady-bob. I was furious and was considering going somewhere else to get some extensions put in… and no, I’m not joking. But the next day was easier, and I found that the “hair style” I was left with wasn’t so hard to de-bob. The next day was even easier, and the next day when I discovered a whole new way to wear my hair short, it became even easier. Now that I think about it, I think my crying over lost hair was a bit silly and selfish. But I know that I made a good decision, and I even got some compliments on the new cut (post-bob, of course). I can’t wait to chop my hair off again. This time I will be better prepared. It’s been two years since I donated my hair during Buzzing for Change, but my hair is not quite the length it needs to be for me to donate it and still have enough leftover for myself. I’m saving my hair for spring 2008—just after my sister’s wedding and just before my graduation from grad school.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm Not a Regular Mom, I'm a *Cool* Mom

Have we met anyone like this before?  Can't remember...

Monday, March 3, 2008

If I Can Donate Almost 12" of Hair, You Can Donate Some Money

On Sunday, April 13th I will be donating between 10-12" of my hair to Locks of Love as part of the annual Buzzing for Change event held at GW.  The first time I did this it was completely on a whim and it took me about a week to emotionally recover (partially due to Pro Euro's mangling of my hair).  Three years have gone by and my hair, and my ego, has fully recovered... so why not do it again?
While I don't require that you all be there when I "do the deed", I would appreciate your support via donations which will go to an organization called Special Love.

Buzzing4Change is a student org that raises awareness and money for children who are suffering from cancer. Since 2003, we have raised almost $75,000 for these children. Through a donation of time, hair, or money, you can help to continue our support for this cause. Donations of hair go to Locks of Love (LoL), an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer. Money raised goes to Special Love, a camp in Northern Virginia, which provides year-round support and activities for those affected by childhood cancer.

Something as simple as a haircut can have such a huge impact on the life of a child, so you should definitely consider supporting this cause! Many choose to buzz their heads as a symbol of solidarity, but you can definitely donate at your own comfort level! Hair donations between 6 and 10 inches are sold to offset LoL’s overhead costs, and donations of 10 or more inches are used to make wigs.

For those of you who have been to our event in the past, it is always a great time! We are still working out a line-up of performers, but will let you know when details are set.

Please help us spread the word about Buzzing by inviting your friends to this event. I’ll be cutting about a foot of hair, and some of our E-board will be buzzing their heads, so definitely consider donating in some way! This is a great cause, and we’re hoping for another great turnout this year!!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at

Sunday, March 2, 2008