I still remember the first time I saw the acronym GNO. I thought it was a typo for gyno, but then it was repeated multiple times and didn't make sense. I had no idea what it meant and was having a difficult time deciphering its meaning from the context. I almost called my sister-in-law, Angie Wirick, who is very knowledgeable in all things computer related, and more specifically, knows every acronym known (and unknown, as the case was) to mankind.

Wikipedia defines Girls' Night Out as a gender-exclusive activity upon which women meet to engage in social activities. I set a new record with two of those over the weekend. (And I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've actually used the term myself.)

On Friday night, I went to a Green Smoothie Girl class at Good Earth with my friends, Audrey and Kelly. The class was a bit of a let-down, but made for plenty of great conversation.

According to Robyn Openshaw, (who really should call herself Green Smoothie Lady; she's too old to be called a girl) women in the 1940s spent an average of four hours in the kitchen per day. Women today spend twenty minutes.

She taught us that mucous was the bodies way of flushing out sugar and dairy because the body isn't prepared to received it. Although I think there could be a particle of truth to this, I couldn't help but laugh and think back to when Sam and Kacie first moved into their new home on Southgate and Sam was bluntly told by a member of the bishopbric that he drank too much dairy.

The BlendTec blenders she recommends are priced up to $650. Which is just crazy.

Green Smoothie Girl recommends a diet of 60-80 percent raw food, and only 5 percent animal protein. She claims that drinking one quart of green smoothies per day will help you achieve: 1) weight loss, 2) more energy, and 3) better digestion. I don't dispute any of this. I did feel like it was a sales presentation and I did have some issues with her medical stories.

I have issues with most people/groups that refer to other people as "newbies".

I want to grow chard and kale in my garden this year.

Kelly said that Audrey makes better green smoothies than we tasted at the end of the class. I believe her. I also believe that Audrey could have taught a better class. In fifteen minutes.

We went for a quick little tour of my new neighbor's beautifully renovated home and then my sister joined us for a late dinner at Sonora Grill. I had the salmon special, and it was, unquestionably, the best salmon ever. I am currently petitioning for it to be added to the menu and will let you know when it is being offered again.

On Saturday night, Angie Ballard and I went to see Project Nim at the Sundance Film Festival in Ogden.

The description indicated that it would be comical, revealing, and profoundly unsettling. It was.

Afterwards, we went to Sonora Grill for another late dinner (and more of that amazing salmon). My sister joined us for dessert and wanted a rundown of the film. Together, we gave her one that was probably more enjoyable than the actual movie. I found an online review that was pretty close to, but not nearly as animated as our description was.

For opening night of Sundance, there were only a few selections. I chose the one with a monkey. How could you go wrong with a monkey? Project Nim turned out to be an expose on the most scientifically unsound experiment of the ‘70s.

Professor Herb Terrace of Columbia had the idea that you could raise a chimpanzee in a human environment and teach it to talk. Seems reasonable. Now we know chimps can sign, but this was 1973. Everything about Herbs’s [the film refers to everyone by first name] experiment was designed to fail, and he was completely corrupt.

First they rip little Nim from his mommy’s cradle, as they had done with SIX of her previous babies. So it’s already flawed. That’s not a natural adoption. They’re stealing a baby and sneaking him into another home.

The first “mother” to Nim was Stephanie LaForge. She didn’t discipline him at all, let Nim run around the house and mess up her husband’s stuff. She let Nim fondle her and even breastfed him! There’s an archival photo of it, but it’s over her sweater. She refused to record data. She just wanted a baby monkey. Also, she and Herb did it together before she married Wer LaForge.

So Terrace hires Laura to be Nim’s teacher. At least in school, he can have a positive influence. Nim basically gets caught in a custody battle between Laura and Stephanie. Laura and Herb take Nim away from Stephanie and move him to a big estate, with such an open space that it’s basically like the wild. Herb hooks up with Laura too.

Basically the only positive thing about Herb is that he took good home movies, so we have footage of everything. Director James Marsh makes this compelling history extra dramatic, not just incorporating archival footage and present day interviews. He also stages tasteful re-enactments of Nim’s more violent reactions, usually from the outside of a window or doorway so you see the aftermath. Also his silent interstitial shots of the interviewees staring into the camera as he dollies away were powerful.

Project Nim is ultimately a tragic story. The scientists screwed Nim up so bad he wasn’t any good back in the chimp habitat, let alone the wild. There are plenty of hard to watch scenes including some horrific medical footage, but mainly just the inevitable of this is a wild animal. He’ll learn to ask for a bathroom break, but then he’ll rip your face off. I was worried for the cat they let him play with. The humans made a decision, but a domestic cat doesn’t know how dangerous a chimpanzee is.

It ends on a reasonably happy note. If you’re thinking the worst, it’s not that bad. Ultimately they do the best they can for this victim they screwed with. What you’re left with is not “Aww, look at the monkey!” but rather “%@#$, ‘70s hippie scientists were messed up.”

The film was truly unsettling and, again, made for great conversation.

Good times with some fun GNOs. But I miss my husband and am going to try hanging out with him this weekend.


Mindy said...

I must admit, I didn't know what GNO was until you said "girls night out" in the second paragraph. I thought it was going to be a post about a visit to the gyno. Usually that would be something I wouldn't want to know...but you seem to have a way with words and humor Emily that I knew it would be fantasic. And it was, for a post about food and chimps instead of lady bits :) Glad you got some time away with the girls!

The Ballard's said...

I would sign a petition to add that salmon to the menu. I keep thinking of it. It was fantastic.

AngelaW said...

LOL, IMHO hanging out with DH is much better than GNO :) TTFN

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking of the salmon as well. Is the special gone? I need to have it again! Where's the petition, I want to sign!--Audrey

Rebecca said...

Amen on the salmon and seriously, that was SO FUNNY listening and watching you and Angie review the movie. Too bad I wasn't videoing it...it would have had tons of hits on youtube by now. And I am lucky lucky to have been there both nights for the GNO wrap up and eating:)