Posts by Jill Mahler

Jill Mahler is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Commuter.
Breaking Dawn, Part 2 at IMDB

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn, part 2

Breaking Dawn Part 2 Doesn’t Suck

As most Twi-hards already know, Breaking Dawn part II did not disappoint. The box office sales also show how dedicated fans can be.

Breaking Dawn, Part 2 at IMDB

Breaking Dawn, part 2 | Rating: PG-13 | Runtime: 115 minutes | Genre: adventure, drama, fantasy

Part 2 begins answering some of the questions many fans have waited with bated breath to see. Bella (Kristen Stewart) was transformed in Part 1 and in part 2 experiences life as a vampire with heightened senses and unbelievable strength.

The audience also gets to see Bella’s special abilities, such as the ability to control her blood thirst as a newborn and her ability to shield herself and others from the mental powers of the Volturi. We also see how Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella deal with their newborn, Renesmee and the threat they face.

We also see how they deal with Jacob having imprinted on Renesmee. Although, I went into the movie cringing at the thought, the filmmakers did a good job of making a creepy concept into something entertaining instead of disturbing.

To avoid spoiling the movie for those who have yet to see it, all I will say is that the epic finale the cast has been teasing about was my favorite part. I enjoyed the twist. I appreciated how the movie was adapted from the book, which is always a difficult task. The special effects are night and day better than they were in the first film.

I also enjoyed how comfortable the actors were with their roles. Especially in Pattinson’s case. I have yet to see a film where Pattinson hasn’t impressed me. He takes his role and delivers, no matter what the material is. With that said, I still had a dilemma while watching the movie.  One of the weak points of the saga is the leading actress, Stewart.

I have to wonder if the cast director of the Twilight regrets casting Stewart as Bella. When she is not embarrassing herself in tabloids with movie directors, her approach to acting is the same: pretend like she is a rape victim. Thank goodness it’s over. Kristen Stewart can finally hang up her hat and let others show her how to act.

Sex & the Campus

Sex & the Campus: Bad Marriage Advice

June is a popular month for weddings and for some brides the wedding season is already here. During the engagement, not only are there numerous preparations, but also there is a lot of advice given to the bride and groom, some good and some just down right terrible. Being engaged myself; I have encountered many individuals who believed to the keys to marital bliss. However, I have to wonder how some of the advice I have received could even be uttered, let alone perceived as beneficial.

 

“You have to live together first to know if you are compatible.”

Where do I begin? Living together should not be how you know if you are compatible. You date before you get married to see if you are compatible. If you do not know if you are compatible, then you shouldn’t be getting married. How wise is it to move all of your belongings in together and share expenses, if you have concerns with your partner? Does that mean if your partner leaves breadcrumbs on the counter or dirty laundry lying around, then you are not compatible?

 

“If it doesn’t work out there is always divorce.”

Absurd to me, but some believe this is appropriate to say. When you say your vows, “through sickness and health,” “richer or poorer,” “until death do us part,” you are giving your word to be your partner’s other half until hell or high water, not until you grow sick of them or until they fail you in some way. The reason for most divorces is due to those who enter into matrimony with fair weather mindsets. You should never enter a union, if you have an exit strategy.

 

“If he doesn’t behave, withhold sex.”

When you withhold sex from your partner, you are withholding much more than the physical part of yourself. You are using your love and affection as a weapon. Intimacy is a crucial part of marriage and allowed to be corrupted into something else. What do you have if you don’t have intimacy?

 

“It’s just a piece of paper.”

Marriage is much more than a piece of paper. Yes, the legality of marriage is based off of a certificate, but that does not represent the relationship, the moments or the love you share. Being married means you have made an enduring vow to one another, not just signed a piece of paper and called it good.

 

“Sow your oats first.”

Yes, because heaven knows, your life will end once you are hitched. There is no way you can be each other’s teammate and achieve success together. You have to have and do everything you want in your life because your ball and chain will never let you out of the door.

I understand marriage is not always peaches and cream and should not be entered into lightly. I also believe to have a successful marriage you have to be willing to sacrifice and love, even when you see homicide as the only answer. For my own marriage, I have begun to surround myself with those who will support us and provide us with wise advice.

Sex & the Campus

Sex and the Campus: The Problem with PDA

With the warm air and colorful flowers blooming, it’s easy to be swept away in the new season. It’s also easy to find couples nearby that have no problem displaying their affection. For example, a couple days ago I went to the Portland Zoo for the day.

After observing bears and penguins, I ventured over to the lion exhibit. The zoo was packed with visitors, especially children. Due to the amount of people there, finding a spot to see the animals was not an easy feat and taking up prime viewing space was a couple displaying their affection.

Now, I have no problem with a couple that hug or kiss occasionally in public, even lingering together, but she wasn’t even looking at the lions. With her back to the exhibit, she was more interested in the origins of his tonsils.

There is a difference between a kiss and their competition to devour each other’s faces. They also saw fit to use their hands. In front of children, really? I paid equal admission as everyone else, but apparently this show was a freebee.

I also do not understand, why this exhibit with strangers able to watch them and on either side; strollers zooming by. Do lions set the mood? Not to mention, in order to see the lion, I was forced to look in their direction.

Children want to learn about lions, not how to dry hump. Zoo etiquette means you observe and then move aside for the next person not remain stationary and perform a dental visit. In addition, if you have heard someone say, “Get a room” you are part of the problem.

In my opinion, there is a time and a place. If your only place is at a zoo, something is horribly wrong.

Sex & the Campus

Sex and the campus: Being too Nice

Recently, I witnessed a friend struggle with how to tell a man who was making her uncomfortable and to leave her alone.

She was more concerned with hurting his feelings than her own right to feel safe. I have had similar encounters where I have felt weary, even threatened and yet I had I still had the thought of how to be polite and not hurt any feelings.

In those scary situations, I choose to be polite as I tried to figure out how to leave with no one upset or offended, when I should of immediately turned and walked away. Why was I concerned with ruffling feathers more than myself?

These kinds of transactions, got me thinking, why does it seem women worry about appearances, reputations and being revered as good girls more than men? For example, my relationship exemplifies this difference between men and women.

I think of every decision, like a never-ending game of chess, anticipating the next moves before I ever make one. He never worries about being self-aware or what others think.

If a man were in an uncomfortable situation, he would simply walk away or deal with the problem head-on. So why do women care? Are we subjects of some kind of Betty Crocker programming or is it something else?

While I believe you catch more flies with honey, I also believe there are times when it’s more than okay to stand up for yourself and your rights. Maybe we have something to learn from our fellow man. Men do not wait for someone to come and rescue them. They know how to fight for what they want and don’t take anything from no one.

Obviously there are ways to protect yourself in everyday situations, such as carry defensive items like pepper spray and avoiding giving opportunistic attackers the ideal setting or situation they need, but mostly keeping yourself safe can be as simple as trusting your gut instincts and being aware of your settings.

When something inside of you doesn’t feel right, I’ve always believed its better to be paranoid and alive than trusting and dead. It is more than acceptable to use your big-girl voice and say, “Enough is enough.” In this uncertain world, there has to be a line you draw for yourself.

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Sex and the Campus: The Importance of Trust

The feeling of jealously is no new concept. Most couples have encountered those instances in their relationships where their trust was tested, whether it happened to you or to your partner.  Jealously is such a strong feeling that even causes you to react physically. Your face feels warm, your heart races and nervousness binds your stomach. Unfortunately there is an unlimited amount of ways to cause you such grief. For some, even someone asking to be “friends” on Facebook is enough to set off this downward spiral.

There is no question, every couple deals with moments of jealously different, maybe you don’t mention the encounter to your partner, or you take it as a compliment, since you are dating someone others find attractive. However, similar to a spark in the woods, jealously can be detrimental to the relationship if not handled quickly and carefully.  Even the strongest relationships can take some serious hits. Moments of jealously have given way to the old cliché: “I trust you; I just don’t trust other people.” But it is it that simple? When it comes to jealously, is it a matter of trusting your partner or not trusting others?

It is not enough to assume everyone will know and or respect the relationship you share. For example, studies have shown a wedding ring on a man’s hand doesn’t always send the signal to keep “Keep walking,” but can cause some women to become interested, since the man is obviously able to commit. Therefore, how can you really insure your partner will do their best to resist temptation and make their way back into your arms?

There is something missing in the theory of not trusting other people. Yes, it is true there is no safeguard to ensure others will appreciate what your partner and you share, but how you deal with this loss of control comes ultimately down to how you trust your partner. Trust is the glue that holds relationships together. Since it is foolish to become on edge every time someone smiles, compliments or even makes a pass at your partner, you should be able to trust your partner to keep your best interests at heart.

With that said, you may consider why you feel jealously. At its core, jealously comes from a feeling of insecurity, loss of control. This can be the hardest for people to handle. The idea of letting go and not being able to control the world around you, but having to rely on the trust and love you share with your significant other. However, there is comfort in knowing if your relationship is worth fighting for; it will have the strength to weather whatever circumstance occurs.

 

Sex & the Campus

Sex and the Campus: Keeping your relationship fresh

Have you ever seen a couple that glowed? Something about them made you wonder how you could have a spark like theirs. If you have been in a relationship for a decent amount of time, you may be wondering at times how couples who have been together for 50 years or more have lasted so long. After all, if they have been able to keep their spark; kept it fresh beyond the initial phases of their relationship, you should be able to as well.

Happy Couple Plus Dog by Mr. T in DC on Flickr. Click to view source & Creative Commons licenseThere is no surprise that relationships are a lot of work. And there are many factors that play into the successfulness of the relationship, such as communication, respect and effort, but there is another that can be just as important. “Keeping the spark” is as crucial as any other part in a relationship, however, many do not think about this area until they have been together for a long time and some of the luster has begun to rub off.

With time in any relationship you transcend from learning about one another to growing with each other. The firsts are gone for the most part and as with true intimacy, there is nothing left to surprise your partner with. They’ve heard all your wild stories, all the moments that made you into who you are, they even have what you’re preferences are when it comes to dinner on a Tuesday night. So, when you have covered all your bases, sometimes it can feel like a stretch trying to find new and exciting ways to keep your relationship from becoming monotonous and unfulfilling.

The silent killer to a relationship’s health is complacency. It is my firm belief that when couples become complacent in their relationships, accepting their routines and separate interests, they begin to drift apart. You don’t mean to stop trying, but life happens. It begins simply enough- separate plans, shallow efforts, separate goals and then you look up one day and you find it difficult to spend quality time with each other. Dinner together is out of the question and the bed is only a place of sleep. This is the only explanation I can see when I think of marriages of 20 years or more ending. I do not believe it is possible to fall out of love, but it is to drift apart.

When it comes to renewing relationships, sometimes there is too much placed on the work you have to accomplish to repair what has been put on the shelf. Sometimes, our expectations can be too high. Expecting that in order to keep it fresh you have to try a new experience every day together may be a disappointing pitfall waiting to happen. It is a nice goal, but the emphasis shouldn’t be on what you do, but that you are doing something together. With that said and in the spirit of Earth Day, we can recycle some similar principles into our relationships, such as recycling former traditions or experiences. Perhaps, you both enjoyed a shared hobby like hiking, but you haven’t laced up your shoes together in a while. There is no time like the present. There is an endless amount of ways you can end your distance and return some of the excitement. Show your partner what they mean to you. Even saying simple compliments and praises to each other every day can renew some of the same fire you had kindled before. Taking the time to fulfill their needs and getting into the habit of making them a daily priority in your life can mean more than a million roses or expensive dinners… although that couldn’t hurt.

(Happy Couple Plus Dog by Mr. T in DC on Flickr. Click to view source & Creative Commons license.)

Sex & the Campus

Sex and the Campus: Moving In

In relationships, the order of events from the first kiss to the first time you say “I love you” occurs at different rates. However, every relationship eventually faces the transition from his things, my things to “our” things. You would assume that finding a place you both can afford and comfortably live in for a duration is the hardest part, but the truth is what happens after the boxes are unpacked is much more difficult.

U-Haul Moving Truck by NetMonkey on Flickr

U-Haul Moving Truck by NetMonkey. Click to view source and license.

As some couples can already attest to, the first few months of living with your significant other are the greatest and most challenging times during your relationship. There is a lot of strain placed on your relationship and your sanity. Your patience is tested when you are forced to see how the other person behaves when their guard is down and you see them in their natural environment.

In the beginning of the relationship, every one is on their best behavior. No rude manners, disconcerting comments and every thing are organized down to their linen closets. The great moments come when you are able to truly enjoy the other person when you are able to be with them longer and in more intimate moments, however, with that said, no one wants to see someone leave the bathroom door open or wax their mustache.

So, how do you make the most out of living together, without feeling the need to rehearse your 911 call?

Be honest. There is no reason you shouldn’t be upfront with what you want and do not want. Take for example, some couples benefit from discussing their personal needs, such as having quiet time after you get home from work to unwind and relax. Having 30 minutes of silence when you walk through your front door may seem like a simple request, but can make a huge difference. Not to mention, sometimes when your needs are met, you find you do not need them anymore.

Be open… but not too open. Taking the extra time and energy to do some minimal like shutting a door is essential to every relationship. Keeping romance in your relationship can be challenging at times, but is an underappreciated integral part to having a lasting and successful relationship.

Be realistic. No relationship will be without it’s peaks and valleys, but whenever you choose to take that big step, it is important to be prepared for moments when you will need to go to your separate corners. Have a place in your home, where you can relax.

Boundaries. Living together means you will be sharing much more than house keys, but it’s important to respect the other person’s belongings and needs. Contrary to the popular saying, not everything that is yours is theirs as well. You should treat each other’s items as if they were yours, with courtesy.

Sometimes with the blending of belongings, couples may feel they are blending their identities as well. Allowing some space and respecting each other’s needs is important when it comes to maintaining some independence and easing the tricky transition. Bulldozing your partner, whether it is with decorating or decision making, you are not truly making room for them in your life.

Sex & the Campus

Sex and the Campus: Overusing Love

Of all our first moments in relationships, saying, “I love you” to your partner usually ranks close to the top. Most people can remember the first time they uttered those three little words, with excitement and love welling up inside of their chests. However, saying “I love you” has become complicated and over commercialized.

On one side of the spectrum, we are pressed to believe the “I love you” milestone practically falls short of a proposal. Such importance is placed on saying it that ironically the phrase that should cement the relationship can actually cause it to end if one person feels it is too early. In addition, if the response in return wasn’t equal, such as saying “Thank you” instead, may cause the relationship to suffer.

To say, “ I love you” for the first time, we feel pressure to have every element correct, time, place, even our outfits. On the other side, we have overused the word “love” to such a degree in our relationships and in our every day experiences, that “love” has begun to lack meaning and significance.

When you examine the origin of the word “love” you see where the word has become weakened when we use expressions, such as “I loved that movie,” “I love that food.” The word “Love” is both a verb and noun, defined as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” Other elements of the definition revolve around the words, kinship, attraction, affection and benevolence. Nowhere in the definition, is love used for pizza or cable TV shows.

Saying, “I love you” to the person you’re with is a big moment and sometimes difficult to build up to. However, once those three words are said, couples begin to use the term all the time as if they were collecting points. This is when, just as we use it incorrectly in every day terms, also in relationships we lose sight of the meaning when we say it too much to each other. Saying, “I love you” twenty times a day may sound like a good idea, but is part of the problem.

Saying, “I love you” to the person you are with, whether it is for the first time or not, it is important. “Love” is not a term to be afraid of or use as an excuse to distance yourself because of what it implies, but also not as a term to abuse and overuse. If we lose sight of its significance, what will we use to describe our affection?

Words are a powerful tool. They are a way to express, build, destroy and learn. Say, “I love you” when you really mean it; when you feel it. There is no relationship worth having without Love, nor is there Love without a relationship.

 

 

PureRebellion.org - Click to visit site.

“Pure Rebellion” Seminar

Matt Chatham | contributing writer

“Do you want to have the best sex?”

PureRebellion.org - Click to visit site.

You might have noticed some flyers around campus asking this question in the past few weeks. These advertised Pure Rebellion, which was a three-hour abstinence-only sex education presentation based on Christian principles and held at the local Calvary Corvallis church on February 24 and 25, at 6:30 PM. In an attempt to appeal to the youth demographic Pure Rebellion presents itself as a revolution against contemporary culture, against peer pressure to have sex, do drugs, and commit violence. Its website describes it as “a full-out assault” in which “presenters speak bluntly about porn, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, addiction, bullying, same-sex relationships, sexting and suicide.”

That it does, and one has to give the speakers credit for their relative openness. The event’s overall message, amid several interruptions for live music, preaching, and prizes, was that abstinence is best until marriage, and that sex outside of marriage, or deviant sexual behavior, can lead only to irreversible damage or even death. This is best illustrated by three of the many speakers: a medical doctor, a promiscuous abortionee, and an ex-gay male.

The doctor, who claimed to give “medically accurate facts,” gave a prescription of abstinence and portrayed sex outside of marriage as leading to a cycle of pain because the brain’s limbic system was designed by God for marriage. She claimed that condoms and birth control are ineffective in reducing risk for pregnancy or STI’s, based on increasing total numbers of sexual infections.

Unfortunately, the CDC actually concludes that treatable STI’s are at record lows and rightly recognizes the role of condoms in reducing risk: “[Condoms] provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of STD pathogens.” Furthermore, sex was shown as a scary issue, as the “prescription” emphasizes: “it is harmful to you spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially.” In addition, not a single word was said about human anatomy, which one would think is fairly basic to sexuality.

The abortion patient, who had acted promiscuously as a direct result of pornography, had aborted three fetuses and described the procedure as incredibly painful, which made it necessary for her to be held down “as this life was sucked out of me.” She dogmatically asserted the immorality of all abortion based on life beginning at conception. No scientific evidence was brought forth to verify this presenter’s broader claims, and if her assertion regarding the beginning of personhood is to be believed, about half of all zygote-people die without ever being born, according to the ADAM Medical Encyclopedia. This woman would presumably have abortion made illegal, notwithstanding the role it plays in reducing the very teenage pregnancy which Pure Rebellion aims to reduce.

The ex-gay male, who was shown in a video, claimed that his homosexuality had been successfully suppressed through the power of Jesus. Several times presenters referred to same-sex attraction as the result of “sexual confusion” and other-sex gender identity, due to overbearing other-sex influences and name-calling (“fag,” “pussy,” etc). Again, no evidence was provided to verify the assumptions or conclusions given. While it is admirable (and surprising) that homosexuality was even mentioned, heterosexism was apparent throughout. Also, it is not acceptable for homosexuality to be made out to be a disease or sin, which serves only to shame those of us who feel such attraction.

Thus, Pure Rebellion espoused an inflexible view of sexuality which minimizes sexual protection, abortion, and minority sexualities to champion Christianity and “sexual purity.” Pseudoscientific misconstructions weakened assurance in the possibility of safe and enjoyable sex outside of marriage or as a young adult, and homophobia and heterosexism were predominant. Further, rather than providing reliable information to serve a variety of lifestyles, the audience was given abstinence as the only option. It was irresponsible for this program to portray sexuality in the manner it did. Pure Rebellion fails at educating our youth.

Sex & the Campus

Sex and the Campus: Why is the grass always greener?

I am definitely luckier than most. I am pursuing a career field I love, engaged to my other half and generally life is pretty good. So why is it that, I still feel empty when I finally buy that item that has been on my wish list for months or accomplish a goal. Why is there always something else to cross off my list?

Some one once said to me, the reason we feel overwhelmed and empty is due to our need to qualify our personal worth with how much we own or accomplish. Something about this statement clicked with me. I began to wonder if all my pursuits were just scratching the surface of some deeper part of myself I have yet to establish.

Everyone has heard of the needlepoint expression, “Follow your heart.” However, I have to wonder if instead we should be leading our hearts. What we feel and desire changes on a whim. Even when you meet those wants; you only feel a temporary satisfaction, eventually replaced with a desire for the next best thing.

Our hearts can mislead us. After countless attempts to fulfill your desires, you have to wonder if you are only skimming the surface. If there are deeper needs driving us until we fill complete, how do we do fulfill these desires when there are so many options and you feel outdated seconds after.

Why is it only those who survive a near death experience that feels the need to change their daily routines and strive for a higher purpose? They realize life is far more precious and challenge themselves to enjoy all those little moments, instead of focusing on getting ahead or the next pursuit to scratch that itch.

When we only follow our hearts, we find ourselves running down emotional kaulta-sacks. One does not function well without the other. We need our heart and passion to pursue our lives, but our heads to lead us down paths worthy of our time and energy. After all, the grass will always be greener on the other side. It is up to us to decide how we want to spend our lives and enjoy the roots we put down.