Saturday, July 30, 2005

Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson

I really got into American Idol about three episodes before Kelly was voted the winner during season 1 (I hit my stride during the season 2 Clay/Ruben/Kimberley days, but that's another blog for another time). I think Kelly is wonderful, and I'm a bit fan of Breakaway. The album starts strong, with her hits "Breakaway," "Since U Been Gone," and "Behind These Hazel Eyes," as well as two songs I really like, "Because of You" and "Addicted." The album also finishes well with the amazing live version of "Beautiful Disaster," which I think is the best track on the album and one of my favorite songs of all time. Except for "Beautiful Disaster," however, the last half of the album is pretty blah. I don't think any of the songs are that noteworthy, and some of them are very similar to songs from earlier in the album. I don't even know the names of the songs - I usually skip from track 6 to track 12.

Also, is it just me, or does Kelly look kind of like a fetal alcohol syndrome baby on the album cover?

Breakaway - B.

The Baxter

I had the good fortune of seeing The Baxter last night at the Traverse City Film Festival, and let me tell you, it was AMAZING. A "Baxter" is one of those average guys, nice, polite, kind of old-fashioned, with a stable unromantic job, who always loses the girl to the dashing hero - think Bill Pullman in Sleepless in Seattle (remember him? the one Meg dumps). This movie is the Baxter's story. Elliott Sherman is geeky and solid, with a lovely girlfriend, but we can predict that they won't last. Why? He's a Baxter, and it's happened to him before. Baxters get left at the altar. Baxters never get the girl... or do they?
Michael Showalter wrote, directed and starred in this movie, and good thing he did, because everything about him and this movie is wonderful. It's sweet and clever and brilliantly written and very, very funny. I think it will appeal to almost everyone, because everyone has felt like a Baxter at some point in their lives.
By the way, the cast is amazing. If you're a fan of The State or Wet Hot American Summer, you will see many familiar faces in this movie, and you will love them.
This movie opens August 26 in NYC, and September 2 in LA. If it comes to your town, RUN to the theatre and see it. You can thank me later.
The Baxter - A-.

Friday, July 29, 2005


This is my friend Charlie. I owe a lot to Charlie. He helped get me hooked on REM, and we've seen them in concert together three times. We also used to smoke cigarettes together - you may not think I should thank him for this, but at the time, I really enjoyed it. I also need to thank Charlie for being half of the pair that enables me to tell this story: I never kissed my 6th grade boyfriend or my 8th grade boyfriend, but they kissed EACH OTHER at the 8th grade boyfriend's sister's wedding reception about five years after he was my boyfriend. Finally, because I thought Charlie's blog was so cool, I decided to start my own. If it weren't for him, you wouldn't be reading this today.

Charlie is very cool. He has great taste in gifts, he always calls me when he's on his way home from a night at the bar, and he lets me stay at his apartment when I am passing through Chicago (even thought his cats make me sneeze). Charlie works for the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery - if you want to know anything about boob jobs, he's your man. The only thing I don't like about Charlie is where he lives. Chicago is fun, but it's too far away and it's very hard to find parking.

Charlie Baase - A-.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Post Secret

I am completely stealing this post from my friend Charlie, because after I read about Post Secret on Charlie's blog, I felt that all of you naivehelga readers needed to know about it, too. Thanks for the heads up, Char!

You absolutely must read - people create postcards with original artwork on one side, and tell a secret on the other side. Some of the secrets are hilarious, and some are incredibly poignant. It may be cheesy, but after just one viewing, this site has made me look at who I am and the secrets I keep - there are definitely things I need to let go, and maybe this has given me the opportunity to do just that.

Post Secret - A

ps. Charlie has people posting anonymous secrets to the comments section of his post. If you need to get something off your chest, feel free to do the same here - post anonymously and let go of your burden!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Poppycock's is one of Traverse City's most popular restuarants... what I'm trying to figure out is, why? They have some decent food - I'm a big fan of the pita chips with hummus, melted Jarlsberg cheese and salsa sides - and a delicious dessert selection, and the decor is really hip and trendy. However, the food, although good, isn't good enough for the price. I have no problem paying top dollar for really tasty and interesting food, but I think that Poppycock's has fallen into a rut with the same recipes that might be more interesting than what you'd make at home but don't merit what they charge. Also, Poppycock's is on Front Street, the swanky main drag through downtown, and the image that the restaurant portrays is one of snobbery trying to pass as trendiness. I either feel overdressed or underdressed when I'm there, depending on if the crowd is made up of locals or tourists ("Fudgies," we call them - they always buy fudge).
And speaking of tourists - in summer, Poppycock's is always packed. Like I said, it's a popular place, right in the heart of downtown and all the fun shopping, so the Fudgies take over from Memorial to Labor Day. If you build it, they will come, I guess.
So, Poppycock's: great dessert, decent food, too-hip to really be hip atmosphere, high prices, large crowds - C.

Snakes, Cousins and Wind Players

What do these things have in common?

When Pat (my brother) was a kid, he had two pet snakes. Their names were Mike and Lisa - yep, that's what Pat named them. All was well... until one day, Mike went missing, and Lisa was suddenly much bigger than she had been the day before. It's true. Lisa ate Mike. A few days later, Lisa died from her gluttony.

A few years later, my super-cool cousin Mike, after an unsuccessful first marriage, married a really wonderful girl named... Lisa. They now live in Minnesota with their two daughters.

Which brings us to a very talented couple, a clarinetist and flautist from my college days, and both readers of my blog, Mike and Lisa Hancock. Thanks for reading, guys!

Couples named Mike and Lisa: humans - A; reptiles - D-.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Into the Woods

If you are into musicals at all, you have to see the original Broadway cast DVD of Into the Woods. It is wonderful. Bernadette Peters AND Joanna Gleason? You can't get much better than that. The music is amazing, the acting is incredible, the sets and special effects are awesome... basically, the whole show is perfect. You owe it to yourself to see this DVD.

Into the Woods - A!

Monday, July 25, 2005


This dog is a pimp. Seriously. He has his own record label, and he knows kung fu.
If you've ever been acquainted with a Scottie, you know that they have lots of personality, and Mudge is no exception. He can get a little crazy, especially when he sees rabbits in the yard, or when Nate engages him in some friendly sparring. Also, Mudge is afraid of things with long handles - brooms, shovels, that sort of thing - but he's definitely the kind of dog you want to protect your home. He barks really loudly.
If you want to know more about Mudge, email him at - you'll be glad you did.

Mudge - A-.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I really enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - it was entertaining and funny and visually lovely and, yes, a little heartwarming. There were some laugh-out-loud moments for me, mostly coming from Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka - I have a feeling that some of these quotes will get bandied about this summer (although hopefully not to the overwhelming extent that Napolean Dynamite was and continues to be quoted - I'm sick of hearing about Tina and Tater Tots, but that's another blog for another day). The sets were amazing, and Deep Roy as all the Oompa-Loompas was outstanding; I especially loved the musical number in the squirrel room. I feel that the pace did drag at times, and as much as I loved the little girls playing Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde, I did not like Mike Teavee and Augustus Gloop. I think that the boys who played these characters were chosen for their look, rather than their acting abilities - but that's Hollywood for you. Johhny Depp and Freddie Highmore should get the credit for how good this movie is.

In addition, one of the best things about this movie was the trailers - Corpse Bride and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire are must-sees.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - B+.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Alex Simmons-Carmichael

I'm often stunned that I know this guy.

I'm just going to say it - he's a tool.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Oryana Natural Foods Market

Before I started dating Nate, I had only been to Oryana once; now, I go there... well, not all the time, but far more often than I used to! Oryana is awesome. They have an incredible assortment of pre-packaged health foods, along with fresh produce from local growers. There's also a deli where their staff prepares a plethora of delightful food options. My favorite is the tofu/rice/raisin salad. Oryana also has an extensive body care section. They have all-natural soaps, makeup, shampoo, tampons, vitamins, etc. If you live in Traverse City and need to stock up on Luna bars, fresh tofu, and Blue Sky Root Beer, look no further than Oryana.

I like it so much, I'm going to add it as a link!

Oryana - A!


It's hard to know what to say about Camp. On one hand, it was very funny, with lots of theatre inside jokes and some great musical numbers, including the original music. On the other hand, it kind of sucked - the plot was lame and the acting was just bad. The more I think about it, the more uncertain I am of my take on this movie.

What do you think?

Super Monkey Ball

This video game is totally mindless and a little bit hard. It does not have the allure of, say, Simpsons Hit and Run or Crash NitroKart, but it provides an enjoyable waste of time when you don't feel like doing anything else to waste your time. After beating 40 stages in the beginner level, I am currently playing the advanced level, and have only made it to stage 17. I will keep you posted on my progress.

I give it a solid B.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

SlenderQuest Herbal Body Wrap

Slender Quest Sea Clay Formula Masks the entire body, targeting detoxification, while the Herbal/Aloe/Amino formula, a saturated wrap process, focuses on tissues and nourishment. In about 2 hours, both Slender Quest systems reduce body measurements and clogged tissues, allowing natural elastin to firm up and hold new contours shaped by the pressure wraps. This treatment is not a water loss process!

So they tell me.

I had a SlenderQuest body wrap on Monday. It started fairly well, with a welcome surprise on the scale, and then the measuring of my body parts was interesting (I now have a bunch of little blue pen marks on my upper arm, thigh, belly, ass, ankle etc.). However, when Tiffani (my SlenderQuest expert) turned up the heat - literally - and started spraying the amino acid solution and then slathering me with hot clay and wrapping me in Ace bandages, I got really dizzy. I don't generally get dizzy, so this was slightly alarming. I revived with a couple rest periods and a glass of water, and then we kept on slathering and wrapping. I ended up wrapped from shoulders to ankles in hot, tight Ace bandages and therapeutic sea clay. Then Tiffani put me in a plastic/rubber track suit, wrapped my feet ("to help keep in the heat") and put me in bed, covered in one of those thermal silver blankets and another soft blanket.

And then, I started to sweat.

Seriously. I smelled nasty with a capital Asty. After an hour of the sweating, Tiffani unwrapped me and remeasured me.
Here's where it gets bad. I only lost FOUR INCHES off my entire body. Four inches! Half an inch off my chest and each ankle and upper and lower thigh. Also, to keep the detox going, I had to drink a ton of water for the next three days, not use any lotion, and stay away from salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and fried foods. Okay, I figured I could make it - what's a little diet to keep my lovely four inches away?
Oh, but Tiffani didn't tell me about some possible side effects. I have been peeing, pooping, farting and sweating ever since. My stomach is in knots and makes the most ridiculous noises. I've detoxed before, and this didn't happen, so maybe I'm detoxing better, but really, had known that my forty bucks was only going to get me four lost inches and gastric distress, I would have done something else with the cash.

If I were Charlie, I would give SlenderQuest a C-. If I were Noah, I would NOT love SlenderQuest.

UPDATE: 7-22-05
I went back today to get remeasured, and the three day detox took off another two inches from my thighs and upper bust. Also, when measuring my lower bust, Tiffani said "Okay, pick up your girls." For that, Herbal Body Wrap's grade get's bumped up to a B-. Way to go!

you probably think this blog is about you

It seems that all the cool kids have these really awesome blogs about... stuff. I want to be cool too, so I'm starting a fun blog, not a "bitch about my job" blog, where I too can talk about stuff - movies, books, friends, restaurants, and other things that I think people should know about.

As I said to my new best friend Noah, I don't have an original bone in my body, so my next blog will be a review. If you want to read other fun reviews, go to - you won't be disappointed.

love, Amanda