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Archive for January, 2011

Friday Fun! (MIT Mystery Hunt)

January 28, 2011 3 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  Sorry I missed Friday Fun last week.  Since nothing that exciting happened last weekend or this week, I thought I’d tell you about the MIT Mystery Hunt I participated in the weekend before.  That was the original plan for last week’s Friday Fun anyway. ;-)

Team Unicorn friends Jeremy and Amy invited me to participate in their team in this year’s MIT Mystery Hunt.  Basically, every January a bunch of groups of nerdy people get together and solve a series of mystery puzzles in a competition to win the coin and the hunt.    That winning team then wins the privilege of designing the next year’s puzzle.  It lasts from Friday mid-day to sometime on Sunday.  I was pretty nervous going in, because I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  Also I’d heard the people who participate are brilliant, and while I consider myself to be intelligent, I never claimed to be a genius.  ;-)  Plus, the teams are fairly large (I think there are 30ish members?  Correct me if I’m wrong, Amy and Jeremy), and I only knew two team members going in….so yeah.  I was nervous.  But I was also excited!

I arrived after work on Friday and walked into a room full of tables of groups of people crowded around their laptops, as well as a few people at chalkboards and a table of food in the corner.  I delayered from coming in from outside, tossed my bag of chips onto the communal pile, and kind of hesitated for a second.  A gal I didn’t know immediately started talking to me and invited me to join the puzzle she and a couple of other gals were working on.  It turned out that the puzzle had to do with musicals, and well, none of them knew much about musicals.  You guys.  Musicals have been my forte since I was 5 years old.  So I jumped right in and started learning how the puzzling goes about.

A burrito run, some chit-chat, and some solving later, and I found myself totally engrossed in the world of puzzling.  Not only were the puzzles really challenging, but the way they’re designed you need a group of people to work on them.  A combination of everyone’s strengths.  It naturally leads to group work in a way I never experienced in the classroom.  Plus, everyone I met on the team was super-nice, friendly, and welcoming.  They were funny and fun to hang out with.  Shortly I found myself talking off-topic with one of the gals and found out we live in the same general area of Boston.  We hit it right off discussing zombies and True Blood, and I felt right at home.  I wound up showing up for each day of the puzzling, even though at first I wasn’t sure if I’d like it enough to.  I also may have ordered a team tshirt and promised to come next year as well. ;-)

It was a real blast, and I encourage any nerds to participate.  You can participate from a distance via internet connection if you want, so you don’t have to be local to play.  Thanks a bunch, Amy and Jeremy, for encouraging me to come play!  It was one of my best weekends I’ve had in Boston.

 

Book Review: Feed by Mira Grant (Series, #1)

January 25, 2011 3 comments

Bloody RSS feed.Summary:
Adopted brother and sister Shaun and Georgia Mason are part of the first generation to not remember a world without zombies.  The Rising occurred when a cure for the common cold combined with a cure for cancer to create the Kellis-Amberlee virus.  Now everyone has dormant KA cells in their body that can be activated anytime they come into contact with the live virus.  But that’s not all that’s changed.  The Rising led to bloggers becoming the more trusted news source, and Shaun and Georgia are part of the newly important news group of bloggers.  Their big break comes when they’re asked to be part of the media team for one of the presidential candidates, and their new job opens a whole world of intrigue.

Review:
I wanted to love this book.  I wanted it to be a 5 star read.  The world Grant creates is incredibly interesting.  Urban and rural structures designed specifically with zombies in mind.  Taking blood tests just to enter a town or a hotel as a routine part of your day.  The KA virus being in non-zombies as well as zombies.  The whole concept of bloggers rocking the media world.  (I mean, hello, I’m a blogger.  This is a fun idea).  Even though I usually find politics dull in books, the politics in this one were actually interesting since so much of the campaigns revolve around the zombie wars.

So why didn’t I love it?  The characters.  I have serious issues with the two main characters–Shaun and Georgia.  There is a creepy, incestuous vibe rampant around the both of them throughout the book that I don’t feel Grant ever sufficiently addresses.  They are nearly completely inseparable.  Georgia is in her young 20s, Shaun is 19ish, and they still sleep in the same bed together whenever they get the chance to.  In their underwear.  Neither of them has ever dated anyone, in spite of the fact that the presence of zombies doesn’t keep anyone else their age from dating.  The scenes between Shaun and Georgia read like scenese between lovers.  He even puts his hand on the small of her back at one point, something that I’ve only ever had men I’m dating seriously do to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can handle incest in a book, but a) Grant skims over it and doesn’t address it and b) it doesn’t seem to serve the storyline here at all.  It’s decidedly odd that in a zombie novel, the part that creeped me out had nothing to do with the zombies.  See what I’m saying?

Overall, the world-building is excellent, but the characterization takes away from it.  If you like reading books purely for the aura of zombie, you’ll enjoy it.  Those more interested in the characters should check out The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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Book Review: The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Summary:
The Duchess of Malfi has been widowed young.  She wants to remarry, but her brothers wish for her to remain single.  She enters into a secret marriage and is blisfully happy…..until her brothers find out.

Review:
This classic play, first performed in 1614, is everything you’d expect from the early tragedies.  There’s greed, vengeance, mysterious children, weeping women, and more.  This one is slightly different in that it is drenched in Catholicism and contains a truly evil brother.  I wish I could say this play made me think the way A Doll’s House did, but honestly the only thing I thought was “Man, it sucks to be her.”  It is quite possible that this is one of those plays that comes across better when you see it performed than when you read it.  I found it neither enjoyable nor unenjoyable, and I think that may simply be because at this point in time the tragedy plot seems overdone and completely not shocking.

However, if you find the plot appealing and enjoy a good, old-fashioned tragedy, then you should give this play a shot.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Audiobooks app for iTouch, iPhone, and iPad

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On 20-somethings and Cooking

January 20, 2011 20 comments

I saw something when I was out grocery shopping this weekend that I can’t stop thinking about.  There were three young 20-somethings in front of me in the self-check-out.  They  had a very full cart.  I’m assuming they were roommates shopping for the household.  In any case, I had a bit of a wait, so I started to look at what they’d bought.  I’m always intrigued to see what groceries other people buy.  Anyway.  Their food consisted entirely of prepackaged meals, almost all of them Hungry Man frozen dinners.   We’re talking enough frozen dinners to feed all three of them for around a month.  It took all of my self-control to not let my jaw drop open.  There was not a single piece of fruit, vegetable, or even, heck, a box of pasta in the mix!  Not even some canned applesauce!  Every single item was a frozen dinner.

This rather dramatically demonstrates a trend I’m seeing among my generation that frankly worries me.  I’m not one to rant in a pretentious way about what you should eat, but what the hell happened to the art of cooking?!  Why are people reaching their young 20s with absolutely zero knowledge about how to make dinner from scratch?  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who are my age who know next to nothing about cooking.  One of my meals that never fails to impress these friends who can’t cook I call Poor Man’s Pasta.  I take some fresh veggies, chop them up, stir fry them for a bit with herbs, water down some marinara sauce, add it to the pan, and cook it until it simmers down.  I toss pasta in with this, and we have a meal stuffed with fresh veggies and herbs and far more health than a frozen meal that god only knows where the food came from, how long its been frozen, or how much sodium is in it.  It’s basically frankenfood, and it disturbs me that people my age don’t know how to make anything better.

Cooking is one of those things we need to know how to do as human beings.  We should know how to make ourselves food! This seems obvious, but it apparently is not.  Why are parents letting their kids grow up without knowing how to cook?  Isn’t this a basic human need that should not be ignored?  It reminds me of the kids in my undergrad who arrived at college with no clue as to how to do their own laundry.

So, I call out to my fellow 20-somethings.  If you don’t know how to cook, please learn.  It is cheaper.  It isn’t that time-consuming to make a freshly-made meal.  Ask a friend who knows how to cook.  Take a lesson at a local adult learning facility.  This is a basic skill you should at the very least know how to do.  Even if you only cook your dinner yourself once or twice a week, it’ll still be better for your health.  Not to mention, then you can pass the ability of cooking on to your kids, if you decide to have them.  Don’t let the future be a world where only professional chefs know how to cook a meal.

Recap: Jersey Shore Season 3 Episode 2

January 19, 2011 Leave a comment

This was a relatively dull episode featuring far too much Ronnie/Sammi drama, but the previews promise us that the next episode will include the infamous ARREST OF SNOOKI.  So we have that to look forward to.

The fight that started at the end of last week’s episode between Sammi and JWWOW quickly fizzles when a couple of big, black MTV bodyguards split the girls up.  This is intriguing because in previous seasons it was always the other roommates who split fights up, but this time they seemed content to watch JWWOW smash Sammi.  A dramatic camera close-up shows us that *someone* lost a fistful of hair, but it was unclear who.  I’m hoping Sammi.

Later, while Sammi pouts and Ronnie sits there trying to be a good boyfriend but clearly bored to tears, the roommates prep to go out.  Snooki and Deena remind us yet again that they are like totally “two peas in a pod.”  The men of the house then start a debate over whether Deena’s boobs are real or fake.  She informs them that they’re real, and then one of the guys asks, “What’s in boobs anyway?”  Deena says, “I dunno.  Fat?”  Dude says, “What about milk?”  Deena replies that she thinks that’s only there when you’re pregnant.  I have never face-palmed so much over a conversation in my entire life.

The roommates (minus Ronnie and Sammi) go out.  Vinny is convinced he has a stalker at the club.  If he in fact does, we all know it’s because of the show and not him.  He’s the most forgettable of the bunch.  Snooki gets trashed and randomly hides in a bush then informs the camera, “I will pee in a bush; I will poop in a bush; I will hide in a bush.”  ……Good to know?…….JWWOW brings her home and calls her boyfriend who’s randomly being pissy at her, which seems odd until he hangs up the phone with “and happy anniversary to you too.”  Oh snap.  JWWOW forgot their anniversary.  Um, dude, just a friendly suggestion here but maybe you should dump the girl who’s happier to be at the Shore than with you and forgets your anniversary?  Just a suggestion.

The most bizarre out of left field part of this episode occurs the next morning when Ronnie and Sammi get up and GO TO CHURCH.  If I wasn’t agnostic, I’d have fully expected them to get struck by lightning the instant they set foot in there.  Alas, we did not get to see them actually in the church, so I remain skeptical about that.  Maybe they just *said* they were going to church but really went and fucked on a beach somewhere?  I am baffled.

The rest of the crew rolls out of bed sometime in the early afternoon and are all pissed that Ronnie and Sammi took the car without like saying anything to anyone or leaving a note or anything.  They then all do GTL.  We get to see JWWOW do some punching, but it is far less cathartic than if Sammi had been on the receiving end of it.  The crew then cooks family Sunday dinner and are very peeved that Ronnie and Sammi aren’t there for it.  When Ronnie and Sammi get back, Ronnie looks like a beat up puppydog, and Sammi is just generally a bitch to everyone.  Naturally.  Deena sums it up best (shockingly), “I have no idea why Sammi’s here. She’s boring. She’s just there. She’s like furniture.”  Yes.  Bitchy, annoying furniture.

The next day Deena, Situation, and I believe Vinny “work” at the tshirt shop from last summer.  That owner has the patience of a saint.  Later, Snooki and Deena play kickball on the roof of the house, which is not in itself interesting, but when they loose the ball, Vinny comes to help.  He and Snooki make multiple blatant insinuations that when they hooked up, Vinny’s penis was too big for Snooki’s vagina.  I can’t decide if this means that Vinny has a huge-ass penis, or Snooki has a freakishly small vagina to go along with how short she is.  In any case, this has led to me imagining the two of them naked together, and I did *not* need that image in my head!

Later everyone, including Ronnie and Sammi, go out to the boardwalk.  For those who don’t know, the boardwalk on the Shore is basically a carnival.  It looks entirely awesome, and I don’t know how I missed going to it when I was on the Shore that one summer.  Ronnie actually starts running around having fun with everyone while Sammi stands in the middle of the street being pissed off and generally a wet blanket on the whole evening.  When they get home, Sammi tearfully tells Ronnie how much he hurt her when he cheated on her in Miami.  He tells her that he knows what he did was wrong, but “at least I came home to you every night.”  Sammi looks like she just got slapped in the face, and I suddenly feel sympathy for her.  She should have listened to her girlfriends instead of ostracizing them over the skeezebucket of a “man” that is Ronnie, but sometimes people in love do stupid things.

 

Book Review: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

January 18, 2011 2 comments

Summary:
It’s Christmas time and Nora is eagerly getting ready for the holidays with her husband, Torvald, their children, and their friend Dr. Rank when her old friend, Christine, shows up in town.  Christine is recently widowed and is looking for work.  Nora, who appears flighty and silly at first, informs Christine that she saved her husband’s life when they were first married by taking a loan from, essentially, a loan shark to pay for them to take a trip to Italy.  He remains unaware of both the loan she is working on repaying and the fact that his life was ever in danger.  Unfortunately, things come to a head when the man who loaned her the money, Krogstad, threatens to reveal all to her husband.

Review:
This three act play is regarded as possibly the first ever feminist play, so I knew I had to read it.  I was naturally curious as to what feminist issues the play would address.  Although it’s difficult to pin down exactly what it is addressing, the content and the title point toward women being treated as playthings, as men’s own versions of dolls to make do whatever they wish in their perfectly-imagined household.

The three acts are all written so that they may remain in one room.  This is convenient for the actors, of course, but I also personally enjoy seeing a story unfold all in one room.  It takes skill to make that happen, and it makes the whole story feel more personal and urgent.

At first I was annoyed by how Nora allows Torvald to speak to her, addressing her as his “little squirrel” and “songbird,” as well as making it evident he doesn’t think she has a capable brain in her skull.  He is painfully selfish, apparently viewing her entire existence as only for him.  Of course, this is all part of the set-up for the ending, and makes the ending surprisingly enjoyable.

It is a short read, but the play itself takes about three hours to perform, making it an excellent length.  The dialogue and mystery of the debt are intriguing enough to hold one’s attention, as well as not suffering too much from older English dialects.  This may partly be because it is translated from Norwegian of course, but still.

There is one element of the ending that I find confusing, and I’m not entirely certain if I’m supposed to be confused or not.  This combined with some of the more annoying aspects of the first act prevent me from loving the play, but it is still highly likeable.

I recommend this 1879 three-act play to those interested in older versions of the theater, as well as those interested in feminism.  It is not only entertaining, but leads one to consider both gender and marriage roles.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Audiobooks app for the iTouch, iPhone, and iPad.

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Book Review: Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

January 17, 2011 3 comments

Brunette woman looking in a mirror.Summary:
This retelling of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, is set in a medieval Ireland facing the constant threat of Norman invasion.  Caitrin, an Irish lass trained in the trade of a scribe by her now deceased father, runs away from an abusive situation and stumbles upon the mysterious Whistling Tor.  The crippled lord of the area lives in Whistling Tor and seeks a scribe.  The local villagers warn Caitrin against taking the summer job due to a fear of the host living on the hill, but Caitrin sees no other choice.

Review:
Fantasy is one of those genres that I have never been able to get into, but I do love fairy tales, so I thought maybe a retelling of a classic would work for me.  When will I ever learn that I just don’t like fantasy?

Marillier does all the elements of a fantasy book well.  She sets up the mysterious, old land of Ireland with just enough description to place the reader there but not so much as to slow down the action.  Gothic mystery seeps through every page.  The idea of the non-human servants and household members of the castle are creatively handled, as is the lord’s beast-like qualities.  The members of the host who could so easily have flowed together are artfully individualized.

Additionally, the romance between Caitrin and the lord of the castle is one I actually approve of for once in a YA book.  They both are flawed and have issues to work on, but love each other and have good hearts.  Thank you.  That’s what a relationship is supposed to look like.  I would be entirely comfortable seeing a teenage girl reading this.  It’s a healthy, realistic relationship.

Still, though, I had to force myself to slog through the book.  I was bored a lot of the time.  I don’t like long descriptive passages of a forest.  I don’t like reading about dull politics of various areas of Ireland.  I’m not interested in explanations of the other-worldly figures.  The most interesting part to me was the mirrors all over the household, and they were not addressed fully to my liking.  In spite of being able to recognize this as a well-told story, it failed to draw me in.  I don’t particularly know why.  My best guess is that it is fantasy, and fantasy has always bored me.  I was hoping venturing away from the more typical knights in shining armor and dragons style fantasy would solve the problem, but I was wrong.

Thus, this YA fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast is creative and well-done.  I recommend it to those who know they enjoy a good fantasy story, but those who do not should probably skip it.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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Friday Fun! (Thoughts on Community and Environment)

January 14, 2011 4 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  Boston got hit with yet another blizzard, although the real record-breaker was that 49 of the 50 states had snow on the same day (including Hawaii).  The one without?  Florida.  I spent my Wednesday morning shoveling about a foot and a half of snow off of my building’s steps and sidewalk.  Another member of the building did the afternoon shoveling.  It was actually really lovely getting a workout in outside in the snow while listening to an audiobook on my iPod.  :-)  Of course, the afternoon was spent alternating between reading and craft projects.

My friends Nina and E and I have been spending a lot of time lately discussing big questions.  Maybe it’s because we all went to Brandeis where you were more likely to find huge groups of people discussing existential questions than playing Beirut.  Maybe it’s just the kind of people we are.  Anyway.  Nina is currently on a kibbutz in Israel, and she emailed me asking me what I think makes a community.  I know a lot of people believe it’s your family or your religion or nationality or who lives in proximity to you, but that’s not how I make my community.  I think the ideal community is a group of people who happen to meet in whatever way and who love and support each other unconditionally.  You should be able to trust your community to support you and be there for you no matter how you fuck up or what choices you make.  I’m incredibly grateful to have found that with my current groups of friends.  It’s not an easy thing to find, but I think it’s what works.  I’m a big proponent of creating your own family and often talk with various friends about how awesome it would be to one day all live together on a big plot of land.  A gal can dream, can’t she?

Meanwhile, E and I have been discussing the environment a lot.  I’ve always considered myself a bit of an environmentalist, but I’m continually moving even further in that direction.  To put it bluntly, the earth doesn’t belong to humans.  The earth is its own thing, and if we don’t straighten up, we’re gonna kill ourselves off.  You think the earth cares if we die?  Nope.  The earth will keep on doing its thing and other creatures will take over.  Kind of like how we took over from the dinosaurs.  Still though.  The earth isn’t our.  It belongs to all creatures, and it honestly disgusts me the way humans have been ruining it, not only for future generations, but for current creatures of other species.  So what is a gal to do?  How can I function within modern society and make the least impact?  As I become increasingly aware, I strive every day to make less impact to the best of my abilities.  I keep my heat turned down incredibly low not just for my electric bill, but to make less of an impact on earth.  I’m a vegetarian and am striving to slowly cut down and maybe eventually eliminate dairy from my diet.  I’ve already decided that I’d rather adopt than have children of my own.  Yet every week when I bring out my recycling, I’m shocked that one person has created so much waste.  It’s mind-boggling.

I guess being out of grad school has given me more time to contemplate these core values.  Community.  Environmentalism.  Maybe I’m still a bit more idealistic than I thought I was.  I thought I’d entirely reverted to pessimism and giving up on idealism, but that may not be the case after all.

Movie Review: Hostel (2006)

January 13, 2011 3 comments

Claw-like weapon.Summary:
Two Americans traveling through Europe are disappointed at the lack of European lady action, when a Danish man informs them of a hostel in Eastern Europe where the women are all over Americans.  The men go there, but as new friends and finally one of them disappear, they discover a sinister game played by the Eastern Europeans.

Review:
The concept of this film is great.  A rural area where Europeans pay to torture to death people on a sliding scale based on the person’s nationality.  Unfortunately, the film takes way, way too long to get there.

My friend and I watching the film turned toward each other after about half an hour of seeing a gratuitous amount of tits and asked, “Um, is this a horror movie or a sex in Europe movie?”  Not that we were complaining about the nudity, it’s just we signed up for horror, blood, and guts, not sex.  Fine, set it up that these guys are vacationing in Europe, but don’t take so dammed long to do it.

The actual scenes of torture are truly gruesome.  There was much vocalization of “ahhh!” and “ewww!”  Yet the scenes lacked the depth of similar scenes in Saw or The Human Centipede, because the audience doesn’t yet know why the torture is occurring.  It simply feels like depraved torture porn, not part of a storyline.

The ending, however, makes up for that enough so that I’m still pleased I watched the film.  Obviously, I can’t tell you the ending, but it is cathartic and surprising.

Overall, fans of horror and Tarantino will be pleased they took the time to watch this film, others should steer clear, however.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Library

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Recap: Jersey Shore Season 3 Episode 1

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Confession:
I have a guilty pleasure.  That guilty pleasure is trashy reality tv in general, but the Jersey Shore more specifically.  I watched the first season out of sheer curiosity, because I actually spent a summer on the Jersey Shore in undergrad.  I had an internship at Sandy Hook with the NPS, which is just up the coast a bit from Seaside Heights where the cast spends their summers.  I have seen this culture of which they speak.  In fact, I may have participated in it a wee bit, albeit as a pasty white nerdy girl.  In any case, I quickly realized that watching this show is like watching a train wreck, and I can’t keep my eyes off of it.  Season 2 in Miami was not as good, mainly because there was no New Jersey in it.  To my foreign readers who don’t know, New Jersey is referred to as the armpit of America for a reason.  In any case, this season is back in New Jersey, and honestly, I’m going to be streaming it every week on mtv.com anyway.  I may as well offer my snarky recap for you all.  Just…..avert your eyes if you can’t handle the trainwreck.

Recap and Snark:
The season opened as they always do with showing the cast members are home prepping for the SHORE BITCH.  We start off with Snooki, because the producers are not idiots and know that she is the break-out star of the bunch.  This is when we get the SURPRISE that there’s a new member of the cast, Deena, who we all already knew was a new member of the cast, because have you seen these people?  They can barely remember where their hair gel is, let alone how to keep a secret.

Deena and Snooki rant with a lot of oh my gawd’s that they are like totally the best friends ever, oh my gawd, they are like, clones of each other.  Beyond them both being short and stupid and not really realizing the latter, I’m not quite seeing it.  Snooki became an accidental star.  Deena is clearly jumping on the bandwagon.  Ok, maybe she’s a wee bit smarter than Snooki.

One of the more interesting things that Deena announces is that she and Snooki frequently go, “Guy shopping.”  Is that a thing?  Why isn’t there a guy store in my mall?  Can I get in on that?

Snooki, being as obliviously brutally honest as usual, announces, “I am so excited to hook up with my roommates!!”  Yes, Snooki dear.  We all know that’s the main appeal of the house.  Hot gorilla sex.

Everyone else’s intros are not very interesting.  DJ Pauly D apparently still lives with his mother. LOL  JWOWW has a boyfriend yet again who she is not getting along well with and can’t wait to ditch him for the Shore.  The Situation, holy shit, people, has more jewelery than I do.  Wow.  He has it all laid out on his bed, and I suddenly understand where all of his money has gone to.  Also, we discover that Sammi is from Hazlet, which suddenly explains why she is such a raging bitch.  Hazlet is not exactly a town that is known for its nice people.

Also!  We find out that Sammi and Ronnie got back together, and they are like so totes in love.  *eye-roll*  These people make me as irritated as Bella and Edward.  They are the non-pasty white trashy east coast version of the pasty white vampires of the west coast.  Gag me.

So then we have two successive blatantly obvious meddling of the producers moments.  First, everyone pretends like they like omg had no idea Deena was coming and Angelina was out.  Second, that it just so happens that Situation lands in a  room with Ronnie and Sammi.  Producers.  I don’t care how stupid these people are, there is no way that a couple would arrive first and choose a three person bedroom.  No way.  Stop messing with my Shore crew.  They do stupid enough shit on their own without you meddling.  Seriously.  Just sit back and let them be.  They’ll take care of the rest.

By far the most exciting return of the first episode is that of the duck phone!  I freaking love the duck phone; you have no idea.  It quacks!  It has a cord!  It leads to scenes involving a drunk Snooki in a trucker hat holding a duck’s severed body up to her head while sitting on a bean bag chair calling her boyfriend in the middle of the night!  That phone is epic.  EPIC I TELL YOU.

And then Situation meets Deena.  Oh snap.  This is gonna get interesting.  Situation is clearly mind blown by Deena.  Not that he has much mind to blow to start with, but still, this is rather odd.  Deena’s not unattractive, but she doesn’t seem like Situation’s type.  On the other hand, she does “accidentally” show him her hoo-ha on her first night there, so.  There is that.  She also asks him to help her go find her lucky hat which JWOWW and one of the guys (Vinny? Pauly? Who knows, who cares) take to be an innuendo for sex.  Would her va-jay-jay be the lucky hat in this scenario?  If that’s the case, they found it alright, but they sure didn’t put it to any use.

Situation’s fascination with Deena is perfectly summed up by his explanation of her, “If Deena was a holiday, she’d be Thanksgiving, because she has a lot to give and she’s down for a lot of stuffing.”  Thank you, Mike.  I will never look at Thanksgiving the same way ever again.

The other two main dynamics that quickly show up in the household are:

Snooki and Vinny.  They hooked up last season, and evidently something went down between seasons.  They both say they love each other, but Vinny slept with Snooki’s best friend?  And now Vinny won’t sleep with Snooki, because although he loves her, he’s gonna sleep with other girls this summer and he doesn’t want to hurt her? Okayyyy……..  This fight and revelation, naturally, takes place in the hot tub.

The other, and thus far more interesting one, is that Sammi is still being a bitch and Ronnie has apparently decided to hand his balls over to her.  Of course, looking at his vast muscle over-compensation, I’m gonna hazard to guess there isn’t too much manhood to worry about, if you know what I mean.  Sammi refuses to even answer Deena’s question about where she’s from.  That’s just…..pointless.  Why is she trying to be a bitch?  What’s up with that?  Later Deena tells Situation that Sammi is laughing at her.  Situation says no she’s not, and Sammi comes back with, “Oh yes I am!”  Oh. Snap.  Then Deena calls Sammi the c-word.  Yes, the c-word, which she totally deserves, and the girls all start fighting.  The best scene of the entire first episode was the shot of Vinny, Pauly, and Mike watching the girls (and Ronnie *cough* girl *cough*) fight.  Their heads bounce back and forth like they’re watching a tennis match, and they have these amazing half-grins on their faces.  Sammi takes a pathetic fake swing at JWOWW.

Sammi, dear, you do not fake mess with JWOWW.  That bitch has more balls than your boyfriend.  Naturally a fight starts to break out right at the end of the episode.

I cannot wait for next week’s girl fight.

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