Every Playbook Has a Silver Lining

This awkwardly charming movie is based on a novel called “Playbook.” If you’re not a huge football fan, you might be asking yourself, “what’s a playbook?” Nevertheless, if you are not a fan of the sport, do not be discouraged to watch. The movie presents football in an all too funny perspective for football and non-football fans alike.

The movie begins with protagonist Patrick, played by Bradley Cooper, being released from a mental hospital after experiencing a downward spiral that resulted from his violent assault of his wife’s lover. Pat is a former teacher with bipolar disorder, who must move back home with his parents. Pat’s father, Robert DeNiro, is concerned for his son’s health, but could do with some help himself for his gambling addiction and his Obsessive-compulsive disorder. His father’s illness and fear of “juju” create the backbone to this peculiar story.

While working towards getting his life back, Pat is introduced to the equally troubled Tiffany. Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a young widow who deals with depression by sleeping with everyone in town. This odd pair creates a bond though trading insults, comparing medications, and a bet that ends up bailing his father out of a loan shark dilemma.

The combination of characters in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is what makes this film feel extraordinary.  These characters possess mental illnesses but manage to be quirky and sad and funny and charming all at once. Director David O. Russell takes some serious themes and delicately treats them with humor.

Russell’s script, packed with originality and unpredictability, sets the film apart from a typical standard. Silver Linings Playbook, is wrapped in a bittersweet exterior. The characters and their lines never stop feeling recognizably real.

The film explores themes of family bonds, second chances, and what is thought to be “normal” in this world. Through humor  (often dark humor) we experience an upbeat, feel-good story that feels genuine. The film stays with you long after you’ve left the cinema, and leaves a smile on your face.

Patricia’s Rating:

Obama’s Approval Rating Up!

The election may be over, but that hasn’t stopped people from weighing in, on how they feel about the newly re-elected President. Whether you’re still celebrating Obama’s victory, or weeping over Mitt Romney’s loss, it seems just about everyone still has an opinion that they’re eager to share. So how exactly is the president faring? Well, judging by a recent Bloomberg National poll, that was released last Wednesday, 55% of Americans approve of Obama’s current performance. This gives him his highest rating since September 2009! The results also revealed that 49% of respondents, believe that the president’s proposals to increase government spending in key areas, are more likely to spur job creation, than that of the GOP-backed efforts, to cut both spending and taxes.

So, is anyone wondering how the Republicans fared in the poll? Well, only 35% of respondents said they have a favorable view of the GOP, giving the party their lowest rating since the poll began three years ago. The Republican rating also marked a six point drop over the last six months.

With Obama’s approval rating up, and the Republican’s rating at an all time low, it appears to be smooth sailing for the Obama camp, right? WRONG! Don’t celebrate just yet Team Obama, because it appears that’s where the good news ends. Further results reveal that a whopping 55% of respondents disapprove of how Obama has handled the federal budget deficit, and another 49% have an unfavorable view of how he has handled the economy.

Seems to be quite the mixed bag for our President, doesn’t it? With four years to go, can he prove the naysayers wrong? Then again, in this day and age, you can never please everyone, no matter how hard you try.

So I ask, what do you guys think about these results? Do you agree or disagree? And when it comes to these polls, do you believe they really represent what the majority are feeling and thinking?

The Bacteria Apocalypse!

© Dr. Simon Park/ University of Surrey

Did you know that picking your nose can lead to something that can put yourself in danger?

We have all done it, no denials please. We have all one point or another in our lives have done what is known as the unthinkable to some. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about nose picking. Now I know some of you guys right now are probably going like “huh? Me and nose picking? Gross.” But let’s be honest it happened whether we like it or not. It can be memories we have tried to suppress but it is time to come back to reality and face it. To many people it’s a big deal, an uncomfortable matter of some sort. To others, it’s actually quite casual; no effect on them whatsoever. However today I wanted to mention something, something that will change your interpretation of picking your nose…and that is it can accumulate pathogens and bacteria.

Can you believe it?!

Something that we have probably been doing before we can talk can lead to bacteria. Now whether or not that bacteria is harmful or not, we will get into.

How the bacteria travels is very simple. We pick our noses and then we send a text message. Hence now all the bacteria is on our phone. No matter how clean and sparkly and shiny your phone looks, in reality it is actually covered with bacteria. Every inch and crevice is most likely covered by the bacteria. A study had been done by Dr. Simon Park for his molecular biology course. And he says:

“As part of a course called Practical and Biomedical Bacteriology, an undergraduate module that I run, I get the students to imprint their mobile phones on to bacteriological growth Petri dishes so that we might determine what they might carry.”

The results that he found with his students were uncanny. They had found that the phone was covered by the speeding growth of a bacteria called Bacillus Mycoides. What was strange about this discovery you can say was that the natural habitat of this bacteria is soil, however its speedy growth on a cell phone shows that a cell phone doesn’t just remember telephone numbers, but also carries a history of our personal and physical contacts such as other people, the environment (such as any place that has soil) as well as other types of matter.

Now most of the bacteria found on one’s phones are harmless, although very few aren’t. The likes of Staphylococcus aureus which is known to be a common cause of Staph infections (food poisoning, impetigo and even septicaemia) showed up, too. And where this bacteria arouses from is from within the human body. And this is where it all connects back to picking our noses. When we pick our nose and answer that phone call, especially with smart phones nowadays we have to swipe the screen to unlock the phone and answer the call, or whenever we send a text message or continue playing temple run 2 (yes it gets quite addicting) we are transferring those pathogens, those bacterium straight onto our phones.

So guys, stay healthy and happy. No need to panic because we have immune systems which can help fight off all sorts of bacterium and other threats but we have to take good care of ourselves to build our immune system to be strong. Eat right, dress warm during these cold winter days and next time think twice before you let that finger go into the deep depths of a nostril. (Let’s just grab some napkins) And also, I know majority of you guys are probably already on it, but yes someone please pass the disinfectant. Wipe that phone! They have witnessed a lot!

Image from © Dr. Simon Park/ University of Surrey

Source: [Daily Mail – UK]

Preparing for class, Before, During and After

(image by by It’s So Sunny! via Creative Commons)

The semester has just begun, and if you’re classes are like mine, you’re already swamped with work. Every professor gives assignments, every professor gives tests, and every professor wants you to prepare before coming to class. So, every semester, I make a resolution that I will not get behind on my work, that I will prepare the material before class instead of after, and that I will not cram before the tests. Rather, I will study in a manner that will allow me to retain the information. Somehow I always end up sticking to the plan for the first two exams, and doing really well, but after mid-semester evaluations, I get that “Spring Fever” slump. I become less disciplined, and it is reflected in my grades.

So, the question is how I’m going to make sure this doesn’t happen again this semester. I have a plan that I have implemented that hopefully will allow me to continue to do well in my classes throughout the semester without getting burnt out in the middle of the semester. My plan has three parts: Before, During, and After

In the Before stage of my plan, I attempt to figure out my schedule BEFORE the semester, allowing me to prioritize school, work, and free time. I bought a planner that has time slots for every day from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. I have made a tentative plan for when I will prepare for the classes, when I will review after the classes, when I will be available to work, and when I will give myself a break from school work. I have done the planning in pencil to allow for necessary changes to the schedule. The schedule allows time for things that come up unexpectedly, as well as taking in to account my personal sleep requirements. Most college students know how much time they need for sleep, preparation and assignments. I challenge you to figure ou your BEFORE schedule.

In the During phase of the plan, I intend to become actively involved in the course material both DURING the class and while studying. I do this by asking questions during class, teaching the material to other students or family and friends, and applying the material from my classes to my every day life. In order to implement the DURING phase of my plan, it is essential that I achieve the proper balance between school, work and free time to allow myself to remain actively involved during school and homework while still maintaining my sanity and not allowing myself to become burnt out. It is essential, at this point to allow myself adequate time for regular living and stress relief as well as sleep and balanced meals. So, how will you balance your DURING?

The last part of my plan, the After stage, involves reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses after an exam and recognizing where I have room for improvement. This is a continuous phase, essential for the success of my plan. AFTER all is said and done, it is only with continuous reflection that I will be able to gauge my progress in achieving my goals.

So I’m interested in knowing, how have you prepared for the semester? What are your New Semester Resolutions? How will you ensure your success?