Friday, June 30, 2006

Table Topping

The word of the day is table topping. Can you say it with me? Good!
Except, not so good. Here's what it means, if you're in junior high: you get two people working together against a third person. While one person talks face-to-face with the third guy, the second guy sneaks up behind the third guy and gets down on his hand and knees. Then, the first guy either pushes the third guy, or just makes it so the thrid guy turns around... and trips over backwards over the guy who's on his hands & knees. Got it? The second guy's back is making a "table top," and the third guy has nowhere to go but over the third guy's back.
Here's where it gets messy: some junior high boys did this to another junior high boy last night during a vicious game of capture the flag, in some sort of expression of dislike carried over from last summer - and the kid that got table topped broke his arm. So now, one kid (who is in my acting technique class) has a broken arm, and two kids (one of whom was a lead in the intermediate musical) are getting sent home from camp.
junior high boys - C-
table topping - B- (points for effectiveness, I guess)

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Man, oh man, do I love Sunfire. Sunfire is a series of "young adult romances." Let me give you a quick synopsis of EVERY SINGLE SUNFIRE BOOK:(Insert girl's name) is a spunky, bright, beautiful young woman. Two men, (insert name) and (insert another name), are in love with her, and she must choose which one she will love forever, even at the tender age of (16 or 17, it's always 16 or 17, and there's usually a birthday). Even though (girl)'s family is (poor, ethnic, or disapproves of girl's desires), (girl) wants to do what's right for them and herself. Fun, friendship, and understanding come from (girl of different socioeconomic status), and (girl) finds a true friend. Unfortunately, disaster strikes in the form of (insert real historical event here), but (girl) comes to the rescue. In the end, (girl) chooses (one of the guys), her true love, who will support her and cherish her forever.
Seriously, they're so formulaic! I love them! I like being able to skip ahead about eight chapters to find the disaster. And since they're young adult romances, there's no "her bosom heaved" or "he pressed into her, and she felt his manliness". Sunfire is much, much tamer than that. The girl usually kisses both suitors, and gets all fluttery when she holds hands, but we never go any further than that.
Yesterday, I read Renee - 1888, Nick and Steven, Italian family, Megan, Steven's sister, blizzard, Renee wants to write for a newspaper and not stay home after she gets married, she chooses Nick, the guy from the same socioeconomic background because he finally agrees that she can work after they're married. I also read Merrie - 1620, Mayflower stowaway, Luke and Zachariah, ran away because her father was going to force her to marry some old guy, Little Fawn, an Indian maiden, hard winter and the first Thanksgiving, she chooses Zach, because Luke wanted her to come back to England and Zach is living in the New World.
I think Sunfire is so appealing to nine- and ten-year-old girls because at that age, teenagers seem grown up, and the girls in the books are getting married... which they wouldn't be doing if they were set in present day. That's my theory on why they're historically set - to make the love and marriage of a 16-year-old plausible.
So why am I reading them? Nostalgia, for one, and I love to read children's books in the summer. Light and easy, that's my motto.

By the way, Sunfire is now out of print - I think they were originally published in 1984 and '85 - so if you ever see one if a used bookstore, will you please buy it for me?

Sunfire - A-

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What the Hail?

Normally, I would say writing about the weather was lame - but this was out of control. There was an insane hailstorm at about 4:45 today. It was crazy. Aside from the lightning, thunder, and torrential rains, there was hail, trying to render me unconscious and put dents in my car. And I don't own an umbrella. I have never seen anything like it before in my life.

And right now, there was just another huge clap of thunder and the computer screen got a little weird. Is God punishing me for returning to Interlochen?

hailstorms - B- (cool, but a little scary)

Early To Bed...

I had one glass of wine last night at a little reception at the president's house, and by 8:30, I was SLEEPING. Do you think the wine had something to do with it, or could it just be that I was super, super tired? At any rate, I was asleep by 8:30, but wide awake at 4:30 AM. This make sense - I had gotten a solid eight hours of sleep. That doesn't mean I was any less pissed off. When you wake up at 4:30 in the morning when you don't have to be up until 7:30, you get little annoyed. That's all I'm saying. I was able to fall back asleep around 5. Good enough, I suppose.

Amid my sleeping last night was a dream involving umbrellas, boats, trying to make it on to a lifeboat, missing people who were suddenly found underwater after being missing for ten or fifteen years, and this guy. Yes, Mark Harmon was the star of my dream last night. I don't know why Mark Harmon decided to grace my subconscious with his presence last night, but there he was. Thanks, Mark.

early to bed - A-
early to rise - C+
Mark Harmon - A
having to write about my sleep patterns - C-

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cottage Living

I usually don't even remember how much I like Cottage Living. It's not a magazine that registers on my radar... but Nate's mom reads it, so there are numerous copies around the house. Cottage Living is such a relaxing magazine. No articles about war or pestilence or famine, but plenty of information on yard sales and wainscotting and trellises. My favorite feature is the "classic/bold/simple/trendy" comparison (I think the last one is trendy, but it might be something else). CL will take four or five items that fit a theme and then show you what you could get to fit each of those styles. For example, last month's issue has a storage bench, wall shelf, umbrella and rain boots in the four styles. VERY cute.

The only thing I don't like about Cottage Living is that there's a lot of garden stuff. I don't have a garden, and I'm not really in to being outside, so all the stuff about which flowers to plant to accentuate your cottage isn't important to me. I'll admit that the gardens in some of these cottages are quite beautiful, but I'd rather read about the houses and the shopping.

Cottage Living has inspired me to go to Block Island, which is near Rhode Island, I think. It looks beautiful. And I could see lighthouses, which I like.

Cottage Living - B+

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm is the host of... the Diane Rehm Show on NPR. Her show is excellent. It ranges in topics but mostly focuses on the political news of the day. Sometimes, I get bored when she's talking to the pundits, but her shows with authors are always very good. I usually only listen when I'm in the car, but I'm happy to tune in for a few minutes.

What gets me is how hot Diane Rehm is. She has this thing called spasmodic dysphonia. It's a condition where your vocal chords seize up - or something like that. I'm no doctor. But your vocal chords seize up and the result is a voice that sounds very jerky and out of control. If you've ever heard Diane Rehm talk, you know that she sounds like an 80-year-old chain smoker. But she's not. She's stunning. Which makes her condition all the more sad. She's an established journalist who suddenly developed this voice thing, so I really admire her for continuing in her career. And for being hot.

Diane Rehm - A-

Hey, Wha' Happened?

Somehow, when I posted that last entry, all my links and archives got shoved to the bottom of my blog. So, expect several posts in rapid succession until I get enough to get my information back at the top right where it belongs.

I've Been Here.

This might seem silly, but I'd like to visit every U.S. state. It's just this goal I've had ever since I was a little girl. Well, as you can see, I'm not doing very well in my quest. This is a map of all the states I've visited. It's only 24 (since I was recently informed that I have in fact been to Kansas and Maryland). Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to expand my list someday soon. After all, I could drive to Wisconsin, right?

visiting every state - B-, 'cause I'm really not doing so well

create your own visited states map

correction - I made my map a lot smaller. That should do the trick.


Before I left Ann Arbor to come to Interlochen for the summer, my work pals and I had a little summer get-together at Dominick's. I would have to say that Dominick's is an Ann Arbor institution. It's been around for years and years. Here's what makes it so special: it's only open in the summer... and it's only open until 10 PM! Carol calls it a "ghost bar." I call it genius. Dominick's is located in a residential neighborhood around the corner from the law quad, and I have visions of law students ordering pizza and sangria and debating truth and honor in our society. Or maybe, they just order the pizza and sangria and get all loud and rowdy. Either way, Dominick's is the place to do it. Aside from the charm of the summertime/illicit drinking-in-the-daytime atmosphere (and ya'll know how much I love drinking in the daytime), Dominick's is a crazy building. Out front, there's a stone porch on the lower level and a wooden deck up top, and out back there's a fountain and lots of intimate seating. I think I even saw a gazebo, but it was reserved. That's cool, too. You can reserve a table... at a bar! And the food at Dominick's is great. They have all kinds of appetizers and food. I ordered a little pizza, and it was super delicious. My friend Carol got tomato bruschetta, and I know they have a plethora of other Italian/Spanish dishes. And then there's the sangria. Yum. Somehow, drinking a little glass of sangria at 5 PM on a Wednesday just seems like the right thing to do.
If you're not sold yet, let me offer you a final nit of information about Dominick's: they serve all their beverages in Mason jars. If you order a half-pint of sangria, as I did, you'll get in a teeny tiny Mason jar - and if you order the pitcher of sangria to share with your friends, it will come in the biggest Mason jar you've ever seen. That's cool.

Dominick's - A

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Lake House

I had a secret desire to see The Lake House, and thankfully, my friend Erika wanted to see it, too. The trailers just made it seem like something that had to be seen to be believed.


This movie sucks. Seriously. Do not go see this movie. The Lake House has jumped into my top five worst movies of all time list - in the spirit of pageant season, I'd say it might even be first runner-up, second only to Mars Attacks! I hate that movie.

I don't even know where to begin with how bad The Lake House is. It is so bad that it is laughable. Mostly, I just shook with silent laughter, because I'm a considerate moviegoer, but I did laugh out loud more than once. Keanu Reeves has to be the most wooden actor of any actor acting today. He was awful. And even though Sandra Bullock's sassy short haircut is adorable, she, too, was horrible. And the plot! So, she's living in 2006, and he's living in 2004... and he can interact with her in the "past," but she can't interact with him in the "future," so they write letters to each other that they leave in the mailbox at this lake house, where she lived in 2006, but he was the "next tenant" - two years EARLIER. Yes, it's insane. But somehow, they still get together in the end. How? SHE'S LIVING IN THE FUTURE! It is so ridiculous. And the dialogue! You'd think that the writer of one of the most brilliant plays written in the last ten years could adapt a screenplay, but David Auburn totally fucked this up. People do not talk the way they talk in this movie. And Christopher Plummer is in it. You'd think that he could save it, but he was right up there with Keanu and Sandy in the "bad acting" department. He probably did the best he could with what he had to work with. What else is bad? There's a chasing a train scene. There's a girl with daddy issues AND a boy with daddy issues. There's a dramatic death. There's a dog. Basically, as some wise men have been known to say, this movie is a shit sammy.

There is only one good thing about this movie: the lake house itself. It is gorgeous. It is a character unto itself and it saves the movie. It has a maple tree growing inside it (implausible, but beautiful). I wonder if it really exists somewhere.

The Lake House - D-

ps. Thanks to Scott for uploading a picture for me while I have picture issues. Scott, you get an A- for this task - next time, could the picture be a little bigger?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The 40-Year Old Virgin

So, I saw this movie. Pretty much everyone I know had said to me that it was really, really funny. Well, it wasn't that funny. I mean, it was a funny movie, and I don't feel like it was a waste of time or money, but really, I didn't love it.
You'd think that, since I like Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, and Elizabeth Banks a whole lot, I would have loved it. But I didn't. It was just a little stupid for me. There's nothing wrong with that, and if you loved it, I applaud your love, but it just wasn't for me. I can't say anything stronger than that. It just wasn't for me.
Sometimes I think that "unrated" versions ruin movies. I didn't see this movie in theater, but it seemd very long sitting watching it at home, and maybe there's a reason they cut out those 17 additional minutes. At any rate, I usually want my opinion to sway you, but not for this. See it if you want. Don't see it if you don't want.

The 40-Year Old Virgin - B-

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pageant Season

I have pageants on the brain. Last weekend, Angela Corsi was crowned Miss Michigan 2006, and the preliminary competitions for Miss Arkansas 2006 begin tonight. I have been spending many, many hours looking at pageant websites and message boards, trying to get the scoop on who's going to win and who should have won and if one girl got lipo or if another should get lipo. It's fun. I don't really feel like I'm reliving my glory days, because I never really had any glory days, but I'm staying in the know. Plus, since no one in Michigan knows me, and no one in Arkansas remembers me, I can read and comment all over those message boards. It's great for a week, but I'll move away from this sparkly world in a few days.

state pageants - B+

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mr. Stadium

Interesting things about Mr. Stadium:
- Mr. Stadium was voted Best Laundromat by the Detroit News
- Kevin Costner wore a Mr. Stadium t-shirt in "The Upside of Anger"
- Mr. Stadium isn't actually located on Stadium Blvd.

I don't think I've ever had so much laundry to do, so today, rather than spend six or seven hours doing one load at a time, I loaded up all my dirty clothes and drove to Mr. Stadium, the hottest laundromat in all the land. The prices were reasonable, and I got all my laundry done in about two hours, but it wasn't the best time I've had recently. By the time I was ready to pull out my first load of clothes, I had just finish prepping my sixth, with two more loads to go. One of the things I enjoy about a laundromat is the down time, where you can peruse the old magazines or play pinball. But today, there was just too much laundry. Plus, I really didn't want to take up eight washers, so I pulled out loads 1 and 2 and used those washers for loads 7 and 8. It was just too much of a process, and I really wanted to sit down and quit focusing on all the clothes.

There's a lesson to be learned here: don't wait so long to do the stupid laundry, but if you do, Mr. Stadium is there to help.

Mr. Stadium - B+
eight loads of laundry - C-

Friday, June 16, 2006

Out Loud! Out Loud!

Are the voices in your head ever so loud that you're afraid that other people can hear them?

I don't mean that in a crazy way. What I mean is, sometimes I'm afraid that I'm saying out loud what I'm thinking in my head. People call this "talking to yourself," and it's generally frowned upon. But sometimes, I'm thinking so "loud" that I really think I have just actually said what I'm thinking. This could be dangerous for many reasons. One, people might be offended if they heard what I thought about them, particularly when I see people who are dressed funny. Two, I don't want people thinking I go around talking to myself.

It was really bad at work today. I know I wasn't talking out loud, but I felt like I could have been.

Do I need therapy?

my inner monologue, trying desperately to be heard - D+

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Oh, The Humanity

Does everyone remember when Chicago did the painted cows? They were all the same cow, all painted differently. They were kind of cool at first. Now you can get Christmas tree ornaments and coffee table books anc collectible pins commemorating the cows, but still, they were very interesting when they first appeared. New York did cows, too, and LA did angels, and then other, smaller cities started doing their own spin on the painted sculpture. Some of you may remember the hideous bunnies in Saginaw. Well, in honor of Super Bowl XL, Ann Arbor displayed 12 enormous painted footballs around the city from January to just a week or two ago. Yes, painted footballs. Big, painted egg shapes with some stitching.

They're awful.

Worse yet, they were auctioned off and somehow, one has appeared in the lobby where I work. It's titled "Tailgate." Picture it, if you can: the base is painted with FLAMES AND CHARCOAL, and the actual football part has a delightful motif of hamburgers, hot dogs, pretzels ('cause so many people grill pretzels), and other various football game eats. It's atrocious. I want it to go away. How did the classiest movie theater for miles around end up with this monstrosity? I want answers.

big painted footballs - D-

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I saw Wicked last night at the Masonic Temple Theatre in Detroit. I had really been looking forward to seeing Wicked for... well, years, since I first saw a scene performed at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade in 2003 (all true musical theatre lovers really get into the Macy's parade and the Tonys, just to see the production numbers). I have to say that this production was a little disappointing. It's my own fault for getting "cheap seats," but I don't think of $40 as cheap. Well, we were in the back row of the balcony. Yes, we had a clear shot of the stage, unobstructed by support beams or big heads, but everything was so far away, and I like to look at the costumes. Worse, though, than our seats were the audio difficulties. There was definite microphone feedback a few times, and sometimes, I couldn't understand what the singers were saying at all (lucky for me I already know the music). I don't know if it was mic levels or poor diction. The first Glinda/Elphaba duet was really quiet and garbled, and Glinda stayed that way for most of the show, although Elphaba got better. I was really impressed with Julia Murney, the lady who plays Elphaba. She has a hell of a voice. Kendra Kassebaum, who plays Glinda, was a disappointment. She just doesn't have the chops of Kristin Chenoweth, and I think that, a few times, the high notes that she's supposed to be singing, she wasn't - some hidden chorus girl was. Even from far away, I could tell that Kendra's mouth wasn't open as wide as it would need to be to hit those high notes.

But, I'm glad I saw it. Spectacular live theatre still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and Elphaba's solo numbers made the little hairs on my arms stand up. That's always a good sign.

Wicked - B

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion

I saw A Prairie Home Companion over the weekend (oh, the perks of my job). I could say a lot about it, but if you're not a fan of the radio show, you won't really care. If you are a fan of the radio show, you'll like the movie.
A quick interpretation: Lily Tomlin - she was basically perfect; Maya Rudolph - wonderful, but needed to be in it more; Kevin Kline - fabulous; the sound effects guy -horribly underused, but you've never laughed until you've heard a peacock fighting a Rottweiler; the heavy-set female banjo player - I want to be her when I grow up; Lindsay Lohan - surprisingly good.
PHC is not as good as Gosford Park, but Robert Altman again delivers a film with overlapping dialogue and overlapping story lines. Yay for Robert Alman.

A Prairie Home Companion - B+

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Detroit Popcorn

Detroit Popcorn is so AWESOME!!! I went to Detroit Popcorn today to pick up popcorn tubs, since for some reason our cup distributor is unable to provide them to us this summer. It's not my job to know why. At any rate, I volunteered to drive to Detroit to the magical land of all things concession, Detroit Popcorn - and let me tell you, this place has everything you could ever possibly need if you were going to host a carnival in your backyard, school parking lot, wedding reception, or production of Grease. In the fifteen minutes I was in Detroit Popcorn, I saw:
popcorn makers
snow cone makers
cotton candy makers
slushie machines
nacho cheese/chili dispensers
warming trays for nacho chips
big plastic lemonade cups with bendy straws
frozen sausages
every size and shape of popcorn tubs
hot dog cookers
pre-fab cotton candy in plastic bins
and countless other goodies

And the staff was so friendly and helpful - a very nice man loaded my four huge boxes of popcorn tubs into my car for me.

Detroit Popcorn is a little island of happiness in an otherwise shady part of town. From now on, they're my only supplier of concession needs.

Detroit Popcorn - 94% - yep, this one gets a number grade. It's a solid A, albeit a low one. Why? NO CLAW MACHINE. I feel this is a key element to any successful carnival, and it should be something that Detroit Popcorn carries for rentals. However, the absence of a claw machine certainly isn't enough to lower Detroit Popcorn to an A-. Therefore, a solid but low A. Nice work, Detroit Popcorn.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Book Covers from the New York Times Book Review

As you've probably figure out by now, I find a lot of pictures for my blog on the Internet. I use Google a lot, and when I was searching for a picture of Possible Side Effects, I came across the Book Covers from the New York Times Book Review blog. It's so awesome. The guy doesn't give grades like Chargenda and I do, but he just gives his educated opinion on what makes a good cover and what's overdone, and people respond with their thoughts and feelings on the NYTBR book covers. I totally love it. You should really check it out. There's not a lot of reading involved, just lots of pretty book covers.

Read the Book Covers from the New York Times Book Review blog

And this is the cover of The Bill from My Father. It really makes me want to read it.

Book Covers from the New York Times Book Review - A+

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sex and the City

I only have three more weeks before I head up to my summer job at Interlochen, so I've been really, really lazy - no cleaning around the house, no returning phone calls, sleeping in, and hardly any experiences worthy of blogging. I apologize to you avid readers. I guess I'm going to have to start writing about the really mundane things in my life. Wanna hear about my dirty hair, or would you rather learn about the floor that needs to be vaccuumed?
The most exciting thing going on for me right now is I've been watching a lot of Sex and the City. I think I've said before how awesome TV on DVD is. You don't have to wait a whole week (or months, now that we're on summer hiatus) to see the next episode. If you feel like having a marathon, just pop in the DVD and you've got several episodes right at your fingertips. So good. I love DVDs.
But back to SATC. I didn't watch it when it was on TV. I didn't have good cable, and also, I didn't know that it was only a half-hour show. I thought I was going to have to track down someone with HBO and dedicate myself to another whole hour of television a week - and I definitely didn't have that kind of time in college. But SATC ushered me in to the delights of TV on DVD. The episodes are such joyous little nuggets. I love how short they are, and they're funny with a fabulous touch of poignancy. I'm in season 5 right now. Charlotte's divorced, Miranda has a baby, Samantha's had her heart broken, and Carrie's searching for the meaning in her life. I love it. I don't think of myself as relating to any lady in particular - I get annoyed with the girls who say "Oh, I'm so Carrie! I'm so Charlotte!" - but I see a little of myself in each of them. Maybe it's for the best that I didn't watch it when I was closer to 20 than 30.

Sex and the City - A-

Saturday, June 03, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

Well, my opinion matches the general consensus: this movie isn't awesome. It's not bad, per se. There are some great graphics and cool fight scenes and funny lines, but it's not nearly as good as the first or second X-Men movies. Fanboys are blaming the director, and saying that the three main elements that make up this movie (mutant "cure", Brotherhood vs. X-Men, and the return of Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix) could have all been separate movies. I tend to agree, but I don't have the passion that these comic book fans do. All I know is that the whole thing seemed disjointed. There were characters that were totally unnecessary - Angel, anyone? And how about Porcupine Guy, Arclight, Juggernaut? Completely useless. I think that if the movie had stuck with one or even two of these plots, the characters could have been developed more, and the whole thing would have been much more interesting. As it was, the movie was still highly entertaining, and the fights and graphics were still pretty sweet, but The Last Stand just doesn't stand up (oh! I'm so clever!) to the previous X-Men movies.

For you Grey's Anatomy fans out there, Eric "McSteamy" Dane appears in this movie. That might be reason enough to go see it.

X-Men: The Last Stand - B- (yes, that's the same grade Entertainment Weekly gave it, but seriously, that's what it deserves)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Possible Side Effects

Possible Side Effects is not Augusten Burroughs' best work, but that by no means makes it bad. PSE is a collection of essays, rather than Running With Scissors or Dry, which are novels - memoir-ish novels, to be sure, but there's still a through-line of chronology that makes them the superior pieces. I think that Burroughs needs that. PSE feels like a fleshed-out retelling of the stories he already told in Running With Scissors and Dry, but I still liked reading them again in a new form.
It's the stuff he hasn't told already that makes this book really, really wonderful. The Sacred Cow is an essay about his dog. Team Player is a slice of one of Burroughs' book tours. The Forecast for Sommer was about some of the old stuff - his crazy mother and her crazy friends - but this essay tells a story his readers hadn't heard before, and it's a good one.
I would definitely recommend this book. I had a Borders gift card, so I could get the hardback, but waiting for the paperback might be the way to go.

Possible Side Effects - B+