I just watched WALL-E twice with my family over this weekend, and noticed some plot holes that I wanted to jot down. WALL-E is a nice, mellow family-friendly movie, or so I thought when I tried to get my son to go to sleep watching it. No dice; the movie kept him up late, as the action towards the end awakened his interest.

As a writer, I like to think about all of the possible circumstances in a story, and what does/does not make sense, so here were some points of contention that I noticed:

  • WALL-E and EVE are a little too anthropomorphic. In the beginning they act more robotic, but by the end of the film, they exhibit full human emotions. Although fun and sentimental, I found it somewhat unbelievable.
  • Did the spaceship Axiom’s passengers all come from the U.S.? Or did they come from around the world? Not enough diversity of races was shown in the movie, as most of the passengers were White. I did see some Black passengers, but I didn’t see any Asian, Latino, or Native American passengers. Also, there were no mixed-race persons depicted in the movie, either, which I expected would be more prominent if the passengers came from different parts of earth. Also, no depiction of other languages were in the movie, either. In a class, babies were being taught the English alphabet. Not that I mind, of course. But it just didn’t seem very realistic.
  • UPDATE: hubby pointed out to me that there was one woman captain and one Black captain. That’s better.
  • One thing that disturbed me about the movie was that it did not depict any families (at least not that I noticed). No parents or children were pictured together; rather, the babies were all put in a daycare or class by themselves. Everyone was an absolute individual, in their own room and capsuled chair, which was controlled by the ship. It was like a commune.
  • We see how the Axiom gets rid of its trash, and judging by the amount of waste that would be generated by all of the cups and straws that the passengers consume, a lot of waste would be generated on a daily basis. The trash is freely dumped outside of the ship, into space. Wouldn’t that create a trail of trash near the ship? Yes in the movie, the ship sits in a pristine spot in space, with no trash in sight.
  • Needless to say, where does the Axiom get its energy and food supply? How does it keep running by itself, in an isolated, remote spot in space?
  • I was happy to see that the captain of the Axiom had some gumption to not just survive, but to live, as he put it, and to return to earth. He and the people of the ship are portrayed as generally simple-minded, but good-hearted people. But he was not stupid enough to believe everything his auto-pilot told him. Realistically, though, I don’t know if a captain who had nothing to do on his job and got to sleep until noon every day would willingly give up such a job.
  • After a victorious struggle, WALL-E and the Axiom return to dusty, trashy New York City, all because of one small plant. While the captain is all enthusiastic about a future of farming. I’m sure some of his passengers would have grumbled about having to learn to walk all over again, or to grow their own food instead of having it handed to them every day. No doubt in real life a group of rebels would have formed who refused to live on earth and participate in the work of rebuilding.
  • While the credits are rolling, we see the rest of the story, how the humans rebuild the city, and plants, trees, and fish come back to populate the land and waters. But have these humans learned their lesson? They had to leave the earth because they had trashed it beyond sustainability 700 years ago. It seems that their education aboard the Axiom would have left them ill-prepared to suddenly assume a life of hardship on earth. Most of them would have probably given up after the first few days and went back into hiding on the ship.
  • In the movie, we see one green plant, and at the end, we see grass. But what about animals? Only a cockroach is portrayed throughout the movie. Without farm animals, the human settlers would have no source of meat or milk. Unless they continued to rely on the ship’s stores (wherever they came from), they would most likely starve.

So to sum up, WALL-E is a quaint, pleasant, animated family movie that’s a bit of a throwback to the 1950’s. I wouldn’t let the plot holes keep you from seeing it, if you haven’t already. Just sit back and enjoy, and ignore everything I listed above, and suspend your incredulity.

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I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend that started on Wednesday, and regrettably is ending today. I should have taken pictures of the wonderful Thanksgiving meal we had on Thursday. To my delight, my brother Jack enjoyed it and complimented us several times.

Hubby and I had decided to have ham instead of turkey this year, and that proved to be a good choice. We went to Costco the weekend before and got our ham, rolls, and pumpkin pie there. We got the rest at the grocery store later. This resulted in a relatively stress-free Thanksgiving day, because we had almost everything prepared beforehand. I did do a tiny bit of last-minute shopping Thanksgiving morning, but just to pick up chips and dip and a couple of movies. I figured comedy would be the way to go, so I rented Get Smart and Kung Fu Panda. Thank God for Movie Cube, lol. We had invited a neighbor to dinner, but he came by and told us that he would not be able to attend.

Our list of Thanksgiving dishes: Ham (already pre-sliced), mashed potatoes and gravy, yams (with marshmallow on top), cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, rolls and butter, pumpkin pie, vanilla ice cream, chips and dip, mint Hershey’s kisses, and sparkling apple juice. Yum! And the movies were a hit, too. Everyone laughed themselves silly. Afterwards, the guys played video games while I knitted.

The next day, we all went to visit the Huntington Library and their fabulous grounds. I took Jack to see the Chinese Gardens, and he was immediately critical of it. “The pagoda pillars should be red, because that’s the festive Chinese color,” he said. Nevertheless, he took tons of pictures, and so did we. Over tea, I brought up the subject with him about how Asians tend to be so critical of the things we produce, especially Asian-American television and cinema. He thought that a comedic Asian-American TV show probably wouldn’t work, that a drama would be more successful.

We also enjoyed the green house, which contained three sections. The first one contained a warm, moist, tropical climate with orchids that smelled great (but not as great as the ones in Taiwan, of course). The second one, which we all loved, contained the cool mountain tropical forest, so the air was moist but cool. The familiar smell of a fragrant white flower from Taiwan wafted through the foliage, but we couldn’t find the flower. I never did find out the source of the smell. We went to the third section of the green house, which had a dry, earthy smell. It was the swampy marshland smell. Inside were several carniverous plants. Hubby got a perfect shot down one of them that I will have to share. But the best part of the gardens for our son were the Children’s Garden, which contained several fountains, shrubbery that was shaped like animals, and fun places to play.

I told Jack that I could only imagine what the Huntington Library looked like at night, and that the estate would be perfect for lavish parties and wedding receptions. He agreed. I can’t quite describe the feeling that comes over me when I picture it in my mind. It’s like seeing a beautiful English estate in a movie.

Yesterday could only be summed up in one word—shopping. We went to IKEA, then to the mall. Both seemed to have smaller than usual crowds. One photography salesman was really pushy, which turned my hubby off. We did contribute to the Black Friday sales surge this weekend, ha.

Today we went to the coast, and noticed that it was chilly and cloudy (in contrast to where we came from, which was warm and sunny). The north side was still sunny at first, but the south side was cloudy. Soon the fog traveled north and engulfed the marina. I had never seen so many boats come in to dock all at once. But we had a nice time there, giving thanks to God for his creation, and playing. I felt gratitude, for my family, and all the wonderful fresh air that surrounded us, and for the cafe that was still open, and for my son’s squeals of happiness as he ran free around trees.

I don’t hate the idea of going back to work tomorrow; but I do wish I had more days like this to spend with my family, and I’m grateful for what I have.

I nearly forgot that I had another blog that I started last year at Livejournal, so I imported all the posts over here so I can have one combined blog instead of two. My entries at Livejournal were more personal and spiritual in nature, whereas the posts here seem to be more technical or news-oriented.

No matter, I will endeavour to try to write on a variety of subjects here, centered around my personal and spiritual life, and my views. I understand now what bloggers mean when they say that using their family’s real names makes it more personal. I had to go through my old entries and “scrub” them of any references to real names, place names, etc. It’s a shame but I feel that I must, due to the dangers I described in my previous post.

When I was a kid, my mother constantly reminded me not to tell other people what was going on with me or my family. I always thought that she was a bit paranoid, and I wondered why I couldn’t just be upfront and honest with people, and share what was on my mind. But now I understand a bit more what she was talking about. Anonymity is a form of protection. On the other hand, it can also shut people out. I will try to be as transparent as possible without revealing my identity. How’s that? If it is possible, I will do it.

The Internet is a wonderful place to share ideas and communicate with people around the world. But it has its dangers as well. As the mother of Megan Meier can attest, the price to pay can sometimes be one’s life.

After everything that happened to a friend of mine, combined with the election shenanigans that happened to Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, I figured it would be prudent for me to switch to using a nickname instead, in order to protect myself and my family. So I will be going by “iMom” from now on. My hubby will be the “iHubby,” and my son the “iSon,” etc.

I’m going to combine some of my blogs and bring my blog posts here. Frankly, I was starting to have too many different accounts and blogs and I was neglecting some of them, or I would run out of things to say and some would get neglected for awhile.

But back to the dangers of the Internet–as I wrote in my post, Internet Networking: A Blessing and a Curse, I had a friend who was cyberbullied online. These bullies made false reports to her place of employment, and indirectly caused her to lose her job. Things were quiet for awhile, but apparently the bullies never let up. Imagine her horror– and mine–when suddenly our private email correspondence was posted on one of the cyberbully’s blogs! Her other friends’ private messages and emails were also posted by the bullies. The poster claimed she was doing “investigative journalism.” Barring the possibility that myself or my friend leaked our correspondence to the bullies, obviously someone hacked into her email account and copied the emails. While I am not ashamed of what was leaked, it was obvious that the bullies posted what they considered to be the worst parts of the emails in order to discredit us.

Two weeks prior to this occuring, someone also hacked into my friend’s site and deleted 90% of her files. Thankfully, she was able to restore them. I had warned my friend months ago to change her password to a more secure one, but I doubt that she ever did it. Now she finally changed it, but it’s too late. After more than one person filed a complaint to the FBI about what the bullies did, they removed most of their posts with the private emails, but they are unrepentant. And who know how much information they obtained about my friend, and all of her friends?

It all makes me sick. Maybe I am overreacting, but after seeing what happened to my friend, I am not taking any chances. So I am also going to remove all links to my celebrity blog from here also. Why? Because when they hacked into my friend’s emails, they also discovered the link to my celeb blog that I had emailed her. And guess what they did next? They came and tried to harass me by leaving nasty comments on my celeb blog. They did this in response to a blog post I made on another blog of mine where I pointed out their dastardly deeds.

It may take away from some authenticity in my writing, I suppose, but I want to be free to express myself without fear of reprisals, so this is what I have decided to do. Maybe this dooms my blog from ever being popular, but so be it.

I’m back, and I’m making some more changes to this blog, including the names I use, blog names, etc. What did I do, you ask? Some exciting things, such as interviewing Hollywood producers for my celebrity blog. But I also had some family happenings that were not the happiest, which revealed my inner flaws and struggles. I’m not a perfect person, even though I sometimes wish I were. I have more than one blog to express my feelings, especially those of a more raw nature. But sometimes I think that it’s too much. I should say what I want to say in just one blog, because too many blogs is too many to keep track of.

Yes, I’m saying all this in conversational English, and not the most eloquent written English. But that’s all right. For so long I have felt the need to always put on my best self and never truly reveal how I feel to others. My husband was one of the few who was able to see through my facade and understand my inner turmoil. As a writer, sometimes I’m poetic. As a mom, I am concerned about certain issues moms relate to, such as education and family issues. As a daughter, I have had my share of struggles with my parents.

The question in my mind is whether or not to share these things with others? Why share them at all? Wouldn’t they be suited for a personal diary, kept under lock and key, instead of on the internet? People of diverse opinions express themselves on the internet, and that is great, but at the same time, people can be likewise extremely cruel on the internet. This is why I decided to stop using even my first name on this blog, a decision which I will explain in my next post.

I wish I could offer something of value in a blog to others. The problem is, I don’t consider myself enough of a techie, or a financial guru, or guru of anything to write on a specific topic of interest like that to others. I tend to be a generalist; interested and perhaps well-versed in a wide variety of topics but loathe to dive too deeply into most of them. So you’re stuck with just… me. I can only offer myself in this blog.

To be honest, I prefer writing for money. I wish WordPress would allow us to post ads on our blogs. But then again, some readers might be offended by commercialism in a personal blog. I understand that. The reason my blog is here on not self-hosted is because I already spent considerable time setting up a celebrity blog and another forum site on my own, and I don’t want to do it again for another blog. But maybe in the future I might consider moving this blog to its own domain, once I find a suitable name for it.

About the name—I’m still working on it. So I apologize if you find the titles changing frequently. I don’t think enough people read here to mind, though.

Also, my two most popular posts here were about celebrities. While I understand the fascination with celebs, and I will still write my opinion about them from time to time, I want this blog to be more focused on my views about myself and my life, therefore I have decided to keep one of my celebrity posts private.

If you read this post, I am most grateful, and thank you for your time.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now (it goes to show you how much I can procrastinate). But a couple of weekends ago, when I went to blog the Netflix Band From TV concert, I found out I could send even non-friends tweets on Twitter. So I sent Vera Sweeney, the editor of celebrity blog I‘m Not Obsessed, a note about going to the concert. I also responded to something else she had said in her updates. She was so sweet to return two responses to me! Since then, we have had a few more nice exchanges on Twitter.

Did I expect a response from her in the beginning? Honestly, no. I figured she had enough on her blackberry to read every day. I don’t think I would have gotten a response from her if I had only left comments on her blog, because she doesn’t read her blog comments much anymore, due to the overwhelming negativity that is often expressed there. But she was kind and generous enough to take a moment to respond to me on Twitter. Wow.

On a side note, ironically, at the concert, a couple stood beside me with the “Blogging for Dummies” book on top of their belongings. I asked them about it, and the husband told me he was going to start a blog, but he didn’t know its topic yet. I recommended Darren Rowse’s Problogger to them.

Since I follow Darren on Twitter, I was able to send him a tweet telling him about my encounter and recommendation of his site. He sent me a reply thanking me for the recommendation.

On the same weekend, Chris Edwards of Ask Chris Edwards became my friend on Twitter (I still wonder how he found my profile). He’s a funny guy.

So as you can see, Twitter is pretty awesome at connecting people. Try it. You never know who might respond to you or become your friend, but you won’t know unless you try.

Ignacio was a co-worker of mine who worked in the graphics/records departments. He was a robust guy who always smiled, and when I was pregnant he told me how much fun kids were and how he loved them. It’s somewhat rare nowadays to hear a father describe his passion for his children, so Ignacio’s words made quite an impression on me.

For that reason I was so shocked to hear of his sudden passing last Monday morning. It was announced via email to our whole office. No one seemed to have any details of what happened, and I wondered how his three kids would fare now. His funeral was held today and was well attended. I asked a colleague who attended if he knew what happened to Ignacio. What I heard made my hair stand on end–apparently Ignacio was the victim of medical malpractice. He should have survived his surgery just fine, but instead, complications developed due to someone’s negligence. I wouldn’t be surprised if his family were to sue the hospital. It was all so sad and unnecessary.

The Lord says that we are to look after orphans and widows. Ignacio is my second co-worker who died this summer and left a widow and young children behind. I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

Meanwhile, Ignacio, you will be missed.

I found out the hard way that I didn’t have to go to work today, because my company gave us the day off. I went into the office and wondered why no one was there, and it slowly dawned on me that perhaps I didn’t need to be there at all. I had been inspired to get there exactly on time (which I did), so this made it even more ridiculous.

But it wasn’t all a loss, because I met a co-worker that I barely knew. She was the only other person in the office, and we struck up a friendly conversation. During the course of our discussion, from her came an inspirational story of how an Asian single mother (she fled an abusive husband) of three managed to start a side business that allowed her to put her three sons through college, and to buy land and build a house and pay it off in less than five years. What a story! She was almost too modest about her accomplishments, citing them as necessary to help her and her family survive. She also gave God the credit for it, too. I will post her story in my next blog post (after she gives her consent), because I think it deserves to be told.

In our modern Western society, fat=bad, and weight loss if you are fat=good. I myself have tried to lose weight, and I am sure most females of all races and ages have also done the same more than once. Most of the time, when someone finally succeeds in losing their excess weight, we congratulate them and tell them how good they look, which they do, especially in pictures.

But in person I would dare say that at times seeing close friends, acquaintances, or family lose weight has created some cognitive dissonance for me. Imagine my shock to see a college friend of mine (she used to be a healthy size 12) who had moved away for awhile and moved back to my city to get married, who was now a gaunt size 6-8. And when I say gaunt, I mean gaunt, as in shriveled. When I asked her about it, she shrugged and said that she lost weight for her wedding. To her credit she never gained it back, but it took me several months to get used to seeing her as a wisp of her former self.

I am not saying this because I am jealous; rather I just think that some people look better with meat on their bones. I felt the same way when my dad had to lose weight because of his diabetes. Somehow, when he got skinnier, he just didn’t look the same any more. His cheeks were a bit sunken and he, like my college friend, both slouched, which made them look even emaciated.

Traditionally, in Chinese culture, being chubby meant that you were prosperous, and it was a good thing. Wives were expected to feed their husbands well and husbands were expected to put on some girth, unless he was a hard-laboring peasant. Nowadays, that view has mostly been abandoned, even though some may still compliment a man’s wife for feeding him well.

I wonder if I am the only person who reacts this way to others’ weight loss. I think if someone loses weight and exercises, so that their body is toned, they look much better than someone who lost weight but has no muscle tone. Also, in my observation, the person who lost weight seemed like an overall happier person (i.e., more cheerful) before rather than after they lost weight. I would welcome your thoughts on this subject.

Setting up a new blog (especially one where I pay for the hosting) turned out to be more delightfully challenging and rewarding than I expected, and yes, I fussed over the design for the site numerous times, obsessed about the colors, whether it looked right in both Firefox and Internet Explorer, how to change the header image, etc. I even submitted a theme request to one of my favorite theme designers, Sadish Bala of WPthemland, who had requested ideas for themes. I can’t wait to see what he does with a celebrity blog theme, since most of his themes are so clean and technically or nature-oriented, which I love.

Needless to say, I have learned a lot recently about web hosts, WordPress, design, CSS (I barely know it), plugins, SEO, marketing, image licensing, Adsense, social networking, promotion, writing, writing, writing, did I say writing? And there’s a lot more for me to learn. But about the writing–two days into working on my celebrity blog and I realized an essential element that almost every blog requires–the personal element.

Coming from a journalism background, my tendency when writing a blog post is to follow what I learned in school–research my facts, be as objective and unbiased in my writing as possible, etc. However, I noticed that the blogosphere doesn’t quite work that way. Yes, facts are important, but as one blogger said, “it’s all opinion.” Celebrity bloggers and tech bloggers alike give their personal views on the topic they are writing about. (I applaud all the brave souls who dare to bare their heart and soul to the public via the internet, and risk inviting criticism or controversy.) So I realized that what makes a blog interesting is the unique perspective of the individual who is writing it. In the same way, I need not be ashamed or hold back my views on the topics I blog about.

A blog, then, seems to be a mix of a diary, news article, and editorial all in one web log. Back when I was going to journalism school, blogs didn’t exist yet; I wonder what my college professors think of it now? But I think it is fantastic thing that frees up the writer to express themselves in a way they couldn’t before, in real time. In the future, who knows what other marvelous invention will come along to revolutionize the writing process?