Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Get These People Confused:

Chazz Palminteri and Oliver Platt. Why? Why do you become the same person in my head? I saw somewhere that Chazz is playing Angie Harmon's dad in Rizzoli and Isles, and I thought, aren't they the same age? Turns out that Chazz is 20 years older than Angie, but only 8 years older than Oliver Platt... so I can't explain my confusion there. But really, these guys are totally interchangeable to me. I loved that movie The Impostors, but I couldn't tell you which one, Chazz or Oliver, was in this film (turns out it's Oliver."

This is almost as bad as Robert De Niro vs. Al Pacino.

celebrity doppelganagers - C

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My Performing Arts Fix

When I was a kid, there were four ways to see singing and dancing on TV: the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Miss America, the Tony awards, and the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. And of the four, the telethon was my favorite (yes, more than Miss America, believe it or not, I was only rooting for Texas). It marked the end of summer, and while I loved summer vacation, I always looked forward to going back to school. It aired overnight, which meant that I got to stay up late (but not as late as my brother - I'm pretty sure he watched THE WHOLE TELETHON at least once). And the musical performances were so varied - I mean, Charo was on the telethon! And ventriloquists and plate spinners and singers and baton twirlers! I loved it. Really and truly loved it.
I remember the first time I gave money to MDA. I don't think I saved up my allowance - more likely, I asked my mom if I could give the money and she just took care of it. But I was five or six, and I called in, and somehow they misunderstood my name and I was announced on the air as Armando. I think I was pretty upset at the time.

Now, with American Idol and Glee and Dancing with the Stars and America's Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance... I can't even tell you the last time I watch the telethon. Plus, didn't it used to be on every station at once? Now it's on some crap cable channel. Sorry, Jerry.

The Jerry Lewis MDA telethon, mid-80s - B+
the telethon now - C-

Friday, September 03, 2010

Weekend Fun

I know that most people use the weekend as a time to stay up late, then catch up on sleep by sleeping in on Saturday and/or Sunday morning. Well, I like to sleep in, for sure - but to me, there is no better way to spend a Friday night than crawling into bed with a good book at 9:30 and falling asleep by 10:15. I am telling you, going to bed early is my favorite part of the weekend. My bed is so comfy - and if I can pull off the perfect combination of freshly shaved legs and clean sheets, I am in heaven. Plus, the sleeping weather is PERFECT right now. It's a little chilly in the evening, about 55-60, so I can sleep with the window open but with the comforter on top of me and I don't get too sweaty.

I LOVE to sleep. And it's past my bedtime.

early to bed - A+
early to rise - D-

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Emmys Recap

How 'bout that Jane Lynch!? I was rooting for her, all the while thinking no one else from the cast had a prayer of winning. Turns out I was right, but Jane! She was so cute! And some other people won awards, too.

There's your Emmy recap, folks!

Jane Lynch - A+

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More About Books

Apparently this is not the first blog post I've written titled More About Books. Huh.

My book club decided to read 10-10-10 earlier this summer. Let me clarify: someone in the book club chose 10-10-10, and the rest of us had no choice but to read it. Well, I guess we had the choice to not read it, but that's kind of rude - and sure, some people chose to not read it and not attend book club that month. I, on the other hand, begrudginly decided to read this self-help book with a "life-transforming idea" even though I knew I couldn't attend book club. I've only read one other self-help book (Who Moved My Cheese? I'm pretty sure my dad gave it to me when I was in turmoil in college) so I figured I could give another one a shot.

And wouldn't you know it? It was OK. Not spectacular. I did like that it gave structure to making big life decisions - and even some smaller decisions - that ISN'T asking friends & family for advice, or something more elusive like "look into your heart." Suzy says that you just ask yourself "how is this going to play out ten minutes from now (immediately), 10 months from now (near future) and 10 years from now (distant future)?" And this makes total sense to me. Should I stay in my apartment or look for a house? Should I stay in my job or look for a new one? Should I eat those cookies? Etc. The framework is great - and super helpful. I've already used it a couple times.

But here's where it fails me - I can't live my life this way all the time. Those cookies I mentioned earlier? Here's how that plays out:
10 minutes from now - my mouth and my stomach will be so very happy.
10 months from now - I probably won't remember those cookies, and I might have gained a pound or two.
10 years from now - I will weigh over 200 pounds.
But I ate the cookies anyway. Because they were delicious.

The failure of the book was the examples. Suzy has a gazillion friends, all of whom have used 10-10-10 a number of times to great success. AND SHE TOLD US ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I got the point by page 50, and still had to slog through 100 more. This could have been a pamphlet instead of a book - but then, how would Suzy make any money?

10-10-10 - C+

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Does This MEAN!?

There's this song I hear on my radio station once a day - it's Bonnie Raitt's Thing Called Love. And in the song are these lyrics:

"I ain't no porcupine, take off your kid gloves."

WHAT!? Are you kidding me!?

Kid gloves are made of super soft leather, from young goats or sheep (ah yes, that's where "kid" comes in). They are a symbol of elegance and wealth -



bad lyrics - C+

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Plants vs. Zombies

You wanna know what I'm doing when I could otherwise be blogging?


I love this game so hard. I played on my friend's iPad one weekend, and had to have it. I think I bought it for my computer less than a week after that magical weekend of playing it non-stop on the iPad - but if I hadn't been able to find it for my PC, I was seriously considering buying a iPad. That is how much I love this game. It is also how addictive my personality is. It's a good thing I don't gamble.

PvZ is my kind of zombie game. It's cartoon-y and the plants have faces. It's the kind of zombie game you can feel good about letting your eight-year-old play, because there's no blood and gore - although limbs do fall off, and if you fail, a big screen pops up that reads:

So maybe that's not great for kids.

I am hoping that there's a second edition, because I've almost beaten the first PvZ. And I'll be jonesing before too long.

Plants vs. Zombies - A


Remember when my blog was awesome? I'm doing some redecorating in my apartment, and I thought there was a digital version of a picture I wanted somewhere on my blog (there is, in this post), so I had to go back and look. And sure enough, my blog used to be awesome. AWESOME. But I can't tell you the last time by blog was awesome - 2008, maybe? And every time I try to turn over a new leaf (another new leaf), I blow it.
And let's not pretend that asking you, my faithful readers, for suggestions helps. Because it doesn't. I've already tried that.

So hang in there. One day, I'll become inspired again, and perhaps reestablish a little bit of awesome.

The good ol' days - A
by blog's current incarnation - D

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


sneezing - A-

Monday, June 21, 2010

Miss Michigan

Miss Michigan 2010 took place last week, and in my role as executive director of a local teen pageant, I spent the entire week in Muskegon (right on the shores of Lake Michigan) wearing dresses and sparkly jewelry and lots of mascara. LOTS of mascara.
My favorite part of Miss Michigan week is... the gossip. I can't even apologize for it. I've found an amazing group of women who have taken me under their collective wing, and after each night's show (two night of preliminaries for the teens and misses, then a night of finals each) we sat around in our hotel room and dished about unfortunate choices in talent, swimsuit and evening gown.
And even if we didn't 100% agree every time, there were some ensembles that just couldn't be supported. You're just going to have to believe me on this one, friends, there were a couple gowns that NO ONE I know could get behind.
And my girl made top ten, and I'm so proud of her. That's her, playing the piano in her INCREDIBLE talent gown. (photo courtesy Evan Witek, The Muskegon Chronicle)

And now it's back to real life, where nothing shines quite as bright. But I do love my own bed.

Miss Michigan - A-

Friday, June 11, 2010

Welcome to Summer

Fuck you, Mia Michaels, how did you get to be so good? I love love love this piece. I cried while I was watching it last night.

And BIG UPS to the all stars. They feel like a reward for watching the show for the last four seasons.

the return of So You Think You Can Dance - A+

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This Week on Glee!

I have been remiss in writing about my new favorite scripted television show, Glee. If you know anything about Glee, you have already assumed that I love it. It's got everything I love: hysterical teenagers, singing and dancing, and Jane Lynch. I really don't think there's anything that could make this show better - unless it's the addition of an episode dedicated to the genre I like to call Lesbian Acoustic: Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, Tori Amos etc. Although I'm not sure those lend themselves well to choreography. On to the spoilers!

So this week on Glee, Mr. Schu and the kids finally got their shit together and selected their songs for regionals - remember, Glee Club's continued existence is riding on them winning or placing. But Sue was a celebrity judge (along with a local news anchor, Olivia Newton-John and Josh Groban) and was set to foil the Glee-sters. Nevertheless, they KILLED and were shoo-ins to win. And Quinn's mom had a change of heart and wanted to be her mom again - good thing, too, since Quinnie went into labor right there at regionals. And if you want to see what is quite possibly the most ridiculous montage in television history, watch Quinn giving birth while Vocal Adrenaline performs Bohemian Rhapsody. Awesome... sort of? Maybe?

Alas, even though Sue had a change of heart and decided that New Directions really were the top group, they didn't win. They didn't even place. I got a little teary when Brittany was still clutching Santana's hand even after they had announced the winner. Tears all around - the kids sang To Sir With Love to Mr. Schu. For real? You had to know that this song would be sung at some point this season; it's a miracle they held off this long. But it was nice to hear Matt & Mike actually speak - and for Mike to say "I was afraid to dance outside my bedroom" was a killer, too. Seriously, TEARY-EYED.

Long story short, even though Figgins had said they had to win or place for Glee Club to continue, he gave them another year to prove themselves. So another season of Glee is guaranteed! YAY!!!

Glee season finale - A-

Monday, May 31, 2010

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Oh my God. OH MY GOD. This book was so good. I know that, practically speaking, every book is a page turner (unless you have a Kindle), but I finished this book in about 24 hours, and that includes about seven hours of sleep, during which time I WOKE UP THINKING ABOUT THIS BOOK. I contemplated getting out of bed to finish it, just so that I could know what happened. And I want to recommend it to everyone I know, and I've loaned it to my friend in New York and I'm contemplating buying an additional copy so that I can have a loaner copy and a stay-at-home copy. I only have two other books like that (and I'll send you five bucks if you can name them both).
Here's a description I found on GoodReads, which seems to be a version of the back-of-the-book description:
"In 1986, fresh out of college, Susan Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes. Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit."

SEE!? Even the book jacket calls it a page turner! It was so, so good - and I finished it right before I got to select the book for my book club, so this is our July read. I'm going to be so disappointed if the ladies don't love it.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven - A+


So I got hacked last week. While I'm not sure which came first, the Hotmail or the Facebook, it has been a ridiculous week full of frantic phone calls to the bank and credit card company and a flurry of changing usernames and passwords. Which really sucks, because my memory's not that good and I have hard time remembering which password I use for which thing, but I shouldn't use all the same password, because that's bad. And The Hubs and I have had a few tense moments because of this - the hidden scourge of hacking.

The bright side, an old friend Googled me and found me at work; concerned, she tracked me down and we ended up having a wonderful chat, and may be back to be being real friends again. And, one of my Stardoll buddies did the same. Imagine, a woman who I've never met, never spoken to on the phone, FOUND ME to check and make sure that I wasn't stranded in Wales with no money... and I'm pretty sure she was willing to help me if I was stranded. So while hackers are bad, I've determined that people are generally really, really good.

Take mey advice: change your passwords.

hackers - F

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stirring the Blood

There are some episodes of television that never fail to get me pumped. And here, my friends, are some of my favorite clips:
The West Wing, Two Cathedrals

Designing Women, If You're Not In Georgia

ER, Orion in the Sky


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Birthday Wishes

April 14, 2010 (I think he's the first pup on the left)

April 10, 2009

April 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to my best buddy.

Wash - A+

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Weekend at Bernhard's

So I heard this cute little story on NPR this morning (ooh, aren't I fancy?): two German women have been accused of trying to board a flight from Liverpool to Berlin -with a dead body! The widow and step-daughter of said dead body INSIST that he was alive when they got to the airport - but the airline porter is pretty sure that he was stone cold when he arrived... in a wheelchair, wearing sunglasses. BBC told me that officially repatriating a dead body can cost thousands of dollars, and it sounds like these ladies were trying to sneak him back in. Maybe they thought no one would notice that he couldn't get out of his wheelchair... or wake up... or have a pulse.

Click here to read more about these zany Germans, and click here to read more about repatriation!
Incidentally, I don't know why I'm surprised that the Liverpool airport is officially called the Liverpool John Lennon Airport, but I am - but I love it. What I love even more? That the airport's tagline is Above Us Only Sky. Now that's a poetic airport!
besting Terry Kiser - B+ (points off for creepiness)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Room

There's no other way to explain it: The Room is BANANAS. The Room has achieved cult classic status by being quite possibly the best worst movie of all time. There will always be some who advocate for Manos: The Hands of Fate or Troll 2 - but trust me, they haven't seen The Room.

I first heard about The Room about a year and a half ago via this Entertainment Weekly article, and I had been on the hunt to see it since. Last weekend, my sister art house theater with sweet midnight movies decided to show it as part of the area film festival, so The Hubs and I sucked it up and not only stayed up until midnight, but left the house. Scandalous! But it was totally worth it. This is truly the worst movie I've ever seen. The specifics are so vast that I hardly know where to begin, but I'll give it a shot: the acting is terrible, the plot even more so. There are three gratuitous sex scenes in the first twenty minutes, but they're not sexy - far from it, actually. I'm cringing just remembering it. And to call them "continuity errors" is being charitable.
And then there's Tommy. Tommy Wiseau, actor/writer/producer/director, by far the star of the picture. There's genius in there somewhere, I'm sure of it - but oh. My. God. This movie is just terrible, and things happen that make no sense, and then you see his naked ass, and he's got some crazy Austrian or German accent that just make everything even funnier, and then there are SPOONS, and then Lisa's neck! Her neck!

You have to see it. You HAVE to see it. I can't do it justice, but it blew my mind.

The Room - A

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One of These Things Is Not Like The Other

UPDATE: THIS, my friends, is Caressa. Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010.

And the rest? Well, the rest you can find at your local pharmacy. They are all name brands of birth control. Yep, even Diane.

Thanks for playing!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Live Blog - American Idol

It's 7:58 PM. I have never live blogged before. I am secretly very nervous, but also really excited. Also, I've never watched a single of American Idol this season, so this could be awesome.

Oooh, pretty lights! Ryan Seacrest is doing his thing.
Welcome to the main event? Really? What is this, wrestling? Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuumblllllle!!!

The big stage is, in fact, big. It's the top twelve.
Showin' the judges some love! Ellen is wearing a big scarf. How cold do you think it is in that auditorium?

Time to look at the top twelve! Pretty dress on the girl in front. Some of these kids look really green. One of 'em looks like he's going to barf. Based on looks alone, I like the kid in the hipster glasses.

And it's the music of... The Stones! Seriously, I think I can only name one Rolling Stones song. No, two. I'm sorry, Pat. Apparently, they have timeless appeal. Oh, wait, three songs! Ryan says they are the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world. I think U2 might have something to say about that.

Time for Michael's back-home story: music was his savior. Pretty sure I've heard this one before. Mike has a cute wife. I thought he might be gay. Oh well. Cute baby, though!
Mike is singing Miss You, which I have never heard of. And he starts with some high notes. Sing it, brother! OK, too many high notes. His mid-range is really nice, but those high notes have to stop. Mike has a nice voice, but I think he needs a little help with his styling - big chain around the neck AND a wallet chain. Not awesome. Pretty good performance, though.
Randy speaks - "yo" count: 1, "dog" count: 1. Randy thought it was good. Ellen thought it was amazing! Kara thought he delivered...
And Simon, in a gray cashmere sweater, thought it was a little corny and a little desperate. I'm telling you, it was the high notes! Damn, Mike is a big guy. I can see the former football player.
First Ryan/Simon altercation! Wow, Ryan is getting in Simon's face. Weird. Staged or legit?

8:11 PM - first commercial break! And... it's a Kris Allen commercial for Ford.

My neighbor is bringing us Indian takeout, to help pay back The Hubs for helping her move. I'm going to feel kind of bad when she shows up and wants to hang out and I'm eating and blogging at the same time. But she reads the blog (hi, Jennifer, thanks for dinner!), so I'm hoping that she appreciates the novelty and anxiety of this project.

8:16 - we're back!
Dede's mom can't watch her perform, she gets too nervous. Is this supposed to be charming? I think Dede is creepy.
Oh, it's spelled Didi! OK, even more creepy.
And I do not like Didi's voice. Randy might call it pitchy. The low notes are especially not good. Oh, wow, a LOT of it is pitchy. And she sang some song called Playing With Fire? Again, never heard of it. She definitely messed up the lyrics.
Randy speaks - 1 yo, 1 man, 1 dude. And he liked it.
Ellen says an amazing voice.
Kara says Didi attacked with intensity... Jennifer (back with the Indian food!) says she didn't like it.
Simon agrees. Also, I think Simon has on too much eyeliner. As well as bronzer... on his chest.
Ohhh, Didi's playing the "I'm not that sweet, I live in LA" card. Really, Didi? You had to go there? Ridiculous.

Time for Casey! Oh no, child of divorce. And he had surgery a lot when he was little and had a bad reaction to something? OK, slightly more compelling than the divorce thing (what do they think this is, Intervention?). Casey would be nothing without his family.
And yet again, a song I've never heard of. Casey's cute. And he can sing! but I think he's like a harder version of Kris Allen. I don't see him winning, it's too much like last year. But never underestimate the Idol voters. Clean cut does well.

Randy speaks: 1 "dog." Casey's back!
Ellen speaks: Casey's a heartthrob, but she's gay, and she loved him, too.
Kara says Casey's a rockstar. Casey showed his soul. Wow, sound bite much?
Simon said it was like an audition performance, and not incredible. But that he's a good artist, and there needs to be more... just be a star.

Ryan Seacrest is SHORT. Shorty McShortpants made some weird comment about Ellen being a natural blond.

Commercial break: 8:29 PM.

And we're back. I missed Lacey Brown, because I was eating dinner, but long story short, she kind of sucks. And she started singing in church. Don't they all?

Andrew Garcia: you're the one I wanted to love, with your chubby face and your cute glasses, but not only do you have the most trite life story, you weren't very good. I can't even keep track of Randy's dogs, yos, mans and dudes. Ellen loved it, of course. Kara wanted more intensity (sort of like that scene in Lost in Translation). She wants to make him better. Passionate. Not angry. Kara, just stop talking. Simon bets it was better in rehearsal. Huh, Simon is actually saying constructive things.
Looks like Andrew is about as tall as Short McShortpants. says that Seacrest is 5' 7 3/4". I find that hard to believe.

Commercial break! Jennifer says "I wonder what Indians eat for breakfast. I'm so enamored of what they eat for lunch and dinner..."

8:54, and we're back! Katie (aka Pretty Dress) is on stage. She has kind of a wacky speaking voice - which bodes well for her singing. Yay! Sounds like she doesn't really know who the Stones are. Oh no, home video footage of her singing From This Moment On at a wedding when she was about eight! I feel for you, Katie. Love her necklace. She's sitting on a stool, singing some ballad... for real, what are these songs!? I have company here, I don't have the volume turned up super loud, so I can't hear what Seacrest says... oh, it's Wild Horses. OK. Nate would say too much wankery. These songs should just stand on their own, they don't need all this embellishment.
Randy speaks: 2 yos, a little pitchy. Jennifer interprets that to be a little boring.
Ellen says pitchy, but then amazing. Ellen, pick a new adjective.
Kara says it's never perfect, but that it was better than last week. Um, thanks?
Simon and his eyeliner say it was a good song choice, but that the emotion went out in the second half.

Commercial break at 9:00. One hour = six singers. So yeah, there's another hour of this shit. THIS is why I determined that I wouldn't be watching Idol this year.

OK, Nate just said "is anyone reading it?" Am I live blogging wrong? I'm going to publish this half and then just hit publish post periodically. So that it's a little more live.

Shorty is back, with another cute story. Tim is just so cute! He comes from a cute family, with cute drawings and game night and just the sweetest little face! He's singing Under My Thumb - if I had never heard of Jason Mraz, I would think this reggae-inspired versionwas adorable. But he's just a Jason Mraz wannabe! And he should smile more. It's awkward that he dropped his guitar - not literally, but he just stopped playing. Weird. I don't hate it, but it's not awesome. The judges' backs do not look enthused. Let's see what their fronts say:
Randy speaks - man, wow, he didn't get it.
Ellen didn't like it either! But in her Ellen way. She wasn't wowed. I'm just glad that she's not loving everything.
Kara is applauding him for doing something different... which is ridiculous! IT WAS JUST LIKE JASON MRAZ! Kara says he made it his own. Note: 9:10 PM is the first time all night I've heard "made it your own."
Simon says it didn't work. If only Tim weren't so CUTE, he'd totally go home, but see above mention of Casey - Idol voters LOVE clean-cut, cute boys, so I bet he's safe.

9:11 PM - commercial break...
hey, is that Phillip Banks shilling for Kaplan University? What up, Uncle Phil!? Say hi to Carlton for me!

9:15 - Siobhan Magnus from Barnstable, Mass. I LOVE her dad's accent. She has hipster glasses, too. She's singing Paint It Black. It's not bad - not perfect, maybe she's trying a little too hard, but...
OK, whoa. Crazy scream notes followed by the tones of an angel. Yowza. That was pretty sweet.
Randy said yo, and hot!
Ellen loves it, the way she looks, the way she sounds.
Kara loves it.
Simon loves it! Best interpretation of a song tonight.

OMG, 9:21 and another commercial. Stop the madness.

9:25. Six months ago, Lee was working at the paint store - AND NOW THIS. Again, Lee's a cute guy. Unless he SUCKS, he's going to make it pretty far. Lee is singing Beast of Burden. And the backing tracks sound like Muzak. For realz, I could hear this in an elevator. He does have a good voice, but those backing tracks are Aw. Ful.
Randy says dog, man, dude, and DOPE. And a yo to wrap things up.
Ellen liked it, but it was like a hospital gown: it almost came together, but not quite. That Ellen! Where does she come up with these things!?
Kara says tremendous growth.
Simon thinks Lee's personality is holding him back - he's got an incredibly good voice but he doesn't shine. Word to that, Simon. Ohhhh, this is the kid who looked like he was going to barf in the opening line-up!
Lee is only about as tall as Shorty McGee. They both have tall hair.

Commercial at 9:32. This is pretty tiresome.

Glee commercial! Tuesday April 13 after Idol! I can't wait!!! Seeing this commercial has made this whole experience worthwhile.

9:36 PM. Time for Paige Miles. Oh no, Paige's dad died when she was little, and she grew up singing in church. Paige is singing Honky Tonk Woman. A little awkward for a black girl. I'm just sayin'. But she's great! I wish she wasn't wearing leggings, but other than that, she looks good, too. I wish I had heard Paige sing something other than this...
Hold up. IS she wearing a ROMPER? Oh sweet lord, she IS. Better she gets it out of the way now, when there are definitely weaker singers, and she's not getting judged solely on her outfit. 'Cause girl, NO ONE should wear a romper.
Randy says man x2. He liked it.
Paige was struggling this week? She has laryngitis? Simon thinks she's better than this performance, but it was still pretty good. Um, Ryan is taller than page.

Next up: Aaron Kelly. Whose mother's name is Kelly. Kelly Kelly. And... stop right there. I will never be able to get past Kelly Kelly. I don't want to be cruel, and I hope Kelly Kelly never reads this - but oh, how sad. Kelly Kelly's son is adopted, so there's that. He is singing... I don't know, something with wankery. Benji? Jinji? Angie? Oh, Angie! Maybe Kelly Kelly's son needs to enunciate a little more. Nice clear voice, but I think he might be a weenie. Oh, he's young. There's going to be a voice change in Aaron's future, I think.

ARRRGH!!! I hit a button and all my comments about the judges went away. Damn. Well, they loved it. And after the break, the last singer... oh, but it's the longest break yet. How much do you think advertisers pay for a 60-second spot during the final Idol commercial break?

Hi Crystal. You look like little Jodie Foster. And your dad seems like a sweet guy. I wish you didn't have dreads. You Can't Always Get What You Want... and it is good. I can hear her singing on my favorite radio station.
Randy says: yo, oh yo! Man, he loves her, not his favorite, but he loves her.
Ellen concurs. Needs more personality. Stop thinking!
Kara concurs.
Simon says Crystal was the clear favorite, but this was the first time where she was beaten by someone, so she's gotta dig deep and KILL. Simon has been really pretty great tonight - not unkind, which is sort of a surprise.

The numbers one more time: Michael good, Didi weird, Casey good (and tall), Lacey pretty bad, Andrew uncomfortable, Katie not great, Tim cute but boring, Siobhan dramatic, Lee unexciting, Paige good, Aaron good, Crystal very good. If I were a voter, I would probably vote for Crystal and Paige.

Yikes, tomorrow will have David Cook, Orianthi AND Ke$ha? Is it a two-hour results show to kick off one person? Doesn't matter. I won't be watching. But, I will probably watch America's Next Top Model... and maybe I'll live blog it, too!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oscar Re-cap

Yet again, 18 out of 24. Why can't I break this? I do my research, yet I take risks... and yet, I have NEVER done better than 18 out of 24. Sigh.
But those results were good enough for two ties and a win! I tied Charlie this year, and I also tied at a co-worker's office party, which netted me $20. Holla! And I beat my two other co-workers, and already collected by free lunch. FYI, the lunch buffet at Cottage Inn is superb.
Alas, trivia on Monday didn't go so well. We finished out of the money this year, even though we knew all sorts of obscure answers. Better luck next year, Cornados.

Pictured above is my least favorite dress from Oscar night. Really, Zoe Saldana? You look like you're wearing bathmats.

Oscar results - B+

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Where My Girlz At!?

I think I know a lot of ladies who'll be able to relate to this post:

Allow time for it to fully load, it'll be worth the wait.

orange scarves - A+

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Oscar Watch: My Final Predictions

(thanks to AwardsDaily, where I got this sweet composite of all the best picture nominees)

OK, kids, you know you've been waiting to see this. Here they are, my 2010 Oscar predictions.

Best Picture - The Hurt Locker
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges
Best Actress - Sandra Bullock
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique
Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow
Best Original Screenplay - The Hurt Locker
Best Adapted Screenplay - Up in the Air
Best Animated Feature - Up
Best Art Direction -Avatar
Best Cinematography - Avatar
Best Costume Design - The Young Victoria
Best Documentary Feature - The Cove
Best Documentary Short - China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
Best Film Editing - Avatar
Best Foreign Language Film - The White Ribbon
Best Make-up - Star Trek
Best Original Score - Up
Best Original Song - "The Weary Kind," Crazy Heart
Best Animated Short Film - A Matter of Loaf & Death
Best Live Action Short Film - The Door
Best Sound Editing - The Hurt Locker
Best Sound Mixing - The Hurt Locker
Best Visual Effects - Avatar

For those who have been keeping track since this blog started, my former boyfriend Chargenda and I have had an Oscar bet since 2001. Boy, it game down to the wire that year, with Charlie and I tied for most correct predictions until the final category of Best Picture. We both really wanted Gosford Park, but he picked The Lord of the Rings. I picked A Beautiful Mind. Sweet victory! You can see the recaps from 2006, 2007, 2008 (I won that year), and 2009. This year, the contest will come down to the following four categories: documentary short, film editing, live action short and sound mixing. I guarantee you that they'll be nailbiters! Loser is supposed to buy dinner for the winner. I also have a lunch bet with my co-workers BriBri and Jjack. Last year I was the ultimate winner, so I look to retain my title of superiority again this year. Jjack no longer works with us, but I bet we can still get lunch out of her if she's the ultimate loser.

Stay tuned!

Oscar predictions - check back tomorrow for the final grade

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Road Trip!

This past weekend, I took a wee road trip down to Nashville to visit my good buddy Jjack, her husband Ejack, my second-favorite dog of all time Sloane (all you other dogs gotta step up your game to beat the Sloanester), and Wee-Jack, j and E's baby-to-be. And basically, it was AWESOME. I went to a fabulous stationery store, ate probably the best breakfast of my life, played Guitar Hero, watched Olympic hockey, shopped some more, ate some more, and pretty much just kicked back and relaxed with my buddies, including two college friends that I hadn't seen in over seven years. I also got to see the largest replica of the Parthenon. That's what you see here.

I've been reminiscing a lot this year, mostly thinking about things that happened 15 years ago or ten years ago - new decades will do that to you. So here's my list of my top three road trips taken as an adult. Please note that a complex equation of longest distance and most absurd destination or travel plan qualified these trips as tops.
3 - Memphis, summer 2001. Ashlee and I drove from Russellville to Memphis on Friday night, checked out Graceland and riverboat gambling in Mississippi on Saturday, and went to Al Green's church Sunday morning before heading back to Russ Vegas. The phrase "Handi-Snack communion" stemmed from this trip. Only 4 hours each way.

2 - South Padre Island, spring break 2000. Twelve of us drove from Russellville to Padre and spent the week drinking, tanning and making out. What? It was college. 17 hours each way.

1 - Atlanta, September 2001. Dustin, Paul, Ashley and I left Saginaw on Friday at 11 PM, arrived in Atlanta around 1 PM on Saturday, checked into our hotel, went to the park for a little bit, went back to the hotel to spruce up, then went to the Atlanta Ballet featuring a live performance by Indigo Girls - one of the most amazing concert experiences of my life. Back to the hotel for beer and sleep, then Krispy Kreme Sunday morning, back on the road by noon, and back in Saginaw at 2 AM and off to work Monday morning. 14 hours each way, meaning more time was spent in the car than actually at our destination. Also, this blog entry might be the first time that my dad has heard that I took this trip.

trip to Nashville - A (probably could have been an A+, but I don't like that I had to make the trip in the first place - when are you Jacks moving back here!?)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Oscar Watch: the Final Countdown

With the Oscars only six days away, I thought I'd take this week to share some of my thoughts on the 2010 Oscar-nominated films I've seen this year. 'Cause who doesn't want to know my thoughts?

Here at my little movie theater, we've embarked on a campaign to educate ourselves about the films we're showing... makes sense,right? but since there are only so many hours in the day, we've taken to watching the trailers at our staff meetings, and giving FIVE-WORD DESCRIPTIONS of the films. That's it, five words! So I present to you five-word descriptions of the 10 Best Picture nominees:

Inglourious Basterds - Tarantino shows Nazi-killin' fun, accents
Up in the Air - Clooney travels 'cause he's lonely
Precious - obese, illiterate, abused - with redemption!
District 9 - apartheid allegory with extraterrestrial refugees
An Education - he's too old for you
Up - adorable animated old guy adventure
The Blind Side - white family fosters homeless footballer
A Serious Man - Jewish dramatization of Job story
The Hurt Locker - don't cut the red wire!
Avatar - technological phenomenon, re-telling of Pocahontas

There you have it - now you don't even need to see them!

five-word descriptions - clever, not meaty enough, B+

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Lesson on Chew

Good afternoon, class. Today I'm going to go over the guidelines for using chewing tobacco in a public place. Clearly, NOT using chewing tobacco in a public place is preferable, but sometimes needs must be met, so please take note of the proper way.

1 - find a containment device (henceforth known as a "spitter") with a lid. Your best option is a plastic bottle with a lid - juice bottle, soda bottle, water bottle, as long as it has a lid, you can use it! If you are not able to procure a bottle with a lid, obtain an empty cup with a lid. You can generally find both beverage bottles and cups at your concession stand.
(I've heard that, if you're using a cup, you should put some napkins in the cup. As I suggest that you use the plastic bottle option, I won't focus on the napkin aspect.)
NOTE: a wide-mouth cup without a lid, such as a popcorn tub, is not an acceptable spitter. Please, ask your concessionaire for an empty cup with a lid. Which leads to...

2 - USE YOUR SPITTER! Don't spit on the floor! Even if you are at an outdoor concert, rules of propriety state that you spit into your spitter.

3 - when you are done with your spitter, replace the lid or cap (see? just a friendly reminder about the plastic bottle!) and throw your spitter away. This part is crucial. Those that must pick up trash are appreciative that you replaced the cap, but really, they would prefer to not pick up your use spitter in the first place. If you are at an arena, coliseum, or stadium, where 90% of the crowd leaves their trash behind, then at least replace the cap. However, if you are in a fully restored historic art house cinema and yet still feel the need to chew, throw your own trash away.

Next week's lesson: how to flush a toilet in a public restroom!

filthy patrons - D-

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sundance - Part 2

I left off a little bit of day one that's integral to the story of day two, so here goes: while I was sitting in Life 2.0, waiting for the film to start, I heard this woman behind me say "I guess I'll just go down to the shows a little early and try to sell these tickets at the door." You know me, gregarious 'n' shit, so I turned around and said "What are you selling?" She had three tickets to unload to three different programs, since she had also purchased a series package and already had all the tickets she needed to everything she wanted to see (must be nice). The first two were for screenings taking place after I'd be back at home - but the third was for Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, PREMIERING the very next night! "I'LL TAKE IT!" That's the beauty of Sundance - everything ticket is $15, and they like you to pay cash, so I handed over my money and presto, I was going to PHS's film on Saturday night. Good times!

Even though I had my industry pass on Saturday, I used tickets that one of my colleagues purchased for me to attend the documentary shorts program. I was SUPER GEEKED about the doc shorts for one reason: DRUNK HISTORY. If you're not familiar with Drunk History, click this link: this is my most favorite episode of Drunk History, for me, the one that started at all. And from a filmmaking standpoint, it takes the meaning of "documentary" and twists it a little. Oh it's a documentary, all right, but a real fucked-up one. So in the doc shorts program, there was a NEW episode of Drunk History: Tesla & Edison! With Crispin Glover as Thomas Edison and John C. Reilly as Nikola Tesla! It was hysterical, and those five minutes were probably the highlight of my trip...
Next to seeing THIS guy! Alan Tudyk played Wash on Firefly. Yes, Wash, the character for whom I named my dog. For me, seeing Alan on the street (I was on the bus, no, I didn't speak to him) was better than seeing Robert Redford.
Anyway, back to the doc shorts. There were seven films, ranging from 5 minutes to 28 minutes, and they were all pretty good. I loved Drunk History, of course, and I loved Born Sweet and Wagah, too - expecting to see them nominated for Oscars one of these days.

After the docs, it was back to the industry screening theater for Teenage Paparazzo. This film had gotten some buzz - here's a little description from the Sundance website:
"When precocious 13-year-old paparazzo Austin Visschedyk snapped a photo of celebrity Adrian Grenier (HBO's Entourage), little did he know his life was about to change. Turning the tables on the juvenile paparazzo, Grenier stepped on the other side of the lens in an attempt to mentor a teenager obsessed with the lure of the Hollywood lifestyle. Grenier develops a meaningful relationship with his camera-clicking young friend as he attempts to reconcile their mutual exploitation. Indeed, Grenier puts himself on the line here, trying to make sense of his own recently acquired fame."
By all means, if you're into celebrity culture OR documentaries, you should check this out when it comes to your local theater. It was simultaneously off-putting and compelling - I was definitely one of those people saying "I would NEVER let my kid do that."
OK, then I saw Armless, which I don't need to talk too much about because it wasn't awesome. It's a narrative film (not a documentary) about a guy who has body image dysmorphic disorder, who feels that he will be perfect if he could only cut off his arms - hence the title. Janel Moloney from The West Wing was in it, and she was great, but I didn't love this movie. And you'll probably never see it anywhere, so don't even worry about it.

AND THEN, I saw Jack Goes Boating, Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut. In the audience that night: Adrien Brody and Tom Arnold! Not together (but wouldn't it be sweet if they were friends?). Here's the Sundance description for this one:
"Jack Goes Boating is a tale of love, betrayal, and friendship set against the backdrop of working-class New York City life. Jack and Connie are two single people who on their own might continue to recede into the anonymous background of the city, but in each other begin to find the courage and desire to pursue their budding relationship. In contrast, the couple who brought them together, Clyde and Lucy, are confronting the unresolved issues in their rocky marriage. The multifaceted Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut demonstrating an assured style and grace, both behind the camera and in front of it. He leads a skilled cast, who waltz through their group scenes in perfect counterpoint, each getting what he or she needs from the other. The writing is fiercely authentic as are the performances. Lyrical and lovely, Jack Goes Boating is an offbeat love story that almost forgets to happen."
My take? PSH is an incredible actor, so I wanted him to be an incredible director and this to be an incredible film. And it was really good - but it wasn't incredible. And the whole was less than the sum of its parts. The acting was outstanding, the cinematography was superb, the story was great, the script was great, basically, everything taken individually was great. But as a whole, it was just really good. And that was the most disappointing thing about the film - it didn't meet my expectations. Maybe that's the big lesson to take away from Sundance: have no expectations. I loved the first movie that I saw, and I barely knew what it was about. JGB was good, and for all you movie fans, you should add this to your "to watch" lists.

Overall, attending the Sundance Film Festival was really cool, and certainly made even cooler by the fact that it was a work trip - can you say per diem?

Sundance day two - B+
Sundance overall - A-

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sundance - Part 1

OK, OK. I know some of you want to know what Sundance was like. I wrote about one film, but then I lost steam. So now, the official NaiveHelga Sundance recap!

Day 1 - got into Park City about 5 PM, after three 1/2 days at a conference about 45 minutes away. (note: I never saw the Salt Lake Temple, which was kind of a bummer) If you haven't been to Utah, I highly recommend it. It is really beautiful. Lots of mountains, lots of snow, horses grazing in pastures, that sort of thing. As soon as we dropped our bags off at the condo (thank you, Nice Board Member Lady, for letting us stay for free - more about NBML in a little bit), we headed for the main box office so I could buy some tickets.

OK, I can see that I need to back up. Here's the scoop: I went to Sundance for work, and three of my colleagues plus NBML had industry passes, which has its own merits and drawbacks. The way I see it, the merit is you're basically guaranteed a seat at any industry screening you choose to attend. They're held in smallish (250 seats) theaters, all in the same building, so even if you do get shut out of one, there's another screening starting in no more than a half-hour. The drawback is no celebrities, and no Q&As. But if you're there to see movies, then no Q&A isn't so bad - you can certainly see more movies in a day if you don't have to listen to the director or produce talk about his vision. I digress. When I arrived, I didn't have an industry pass, so I embraced that and just decided to take whatever was offered to me: if I could get in, I was going.

And that's how I wound up at Bran Nue Dae, the best Australian indigenous musical I've ever seen! When I arrived at the box office, they only had tickets for this, so I bought two, gave one to one of my art house buddies, and said I'd see her at 8:30 AM the next day. And am I ever lucky I got tickets to Bran Nue Dae. I LOVED it! It was campy, it was predictable, it was sunny and colorful and happy and I loved every single second of it. How can you go wrong with a song including the lyrics "There's nothing I would rather be, than an Aborigine, and to watch you take my sacred land away!?" For realz, if you get a chance to see this, whether at your local fancy movie theater or via Netflix (fingers crossed), take it. You probably won't love it as much as I did, but you'll love it.

When Bran Nue Dae was over, I hopped on the bus (free ALL YEAR ROUND!) and headed back to the box office, where I picked up tickets for Life 2.0, probably one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen. Life 2.0 is a documentary about Second Life, an online virtual world that allows users to interact with each other through avatars, which are sort of like... replicas of the real people? Only, some people have avatars that look like them and some people have avatars that look like they want to look? And you can buy stuff and sell stuff for real money, and build things, and on one level it's all about computer programming but on another level it's about building relationships with people you'll maybe never meet who become your best friends... and that's enough. It was weird, y'all. The movie itself was fine, but the subject matter was really disconcerting. In fact, I don't even really want to talk about it. Just take my word for it, it's bizarre and made me feel really uncomfortable.

So then, I met up with my boss and my art house cronies and... got an industry pass! Probably not totally ethical, but hey, NBML was only there for a half-day, so I took her pass for the rest of the evening. I saw His & Hers, an Irish documentary "which chronicles a ninety-year-old love story, through the collective voice of seventy ladies" thank you, IMDb). H&H stars with this Irish proverb: "A man loves his wife the most, his girlfriend the best, but his mother the longest," and features about 88 minutes of 90-second clips of girls and women talking about their fathers, boyfriends, husbands and sons. It was nice, and I'm sure it will do well at my theater, but I had enough after about twenty minutes. Snooze.

And then I saw Hesher. You all know what I thought of that.

And that was just the first day! I saw four more screenings after that! I'll tell you about those tomorrow.

Sundance, part 1 - A-

Monday, February 15, 2010

In It To Win It

Hi readers. I've hit a wall.

I don't really have anything to blog about. I'm still reading books, watching TV and movies, playing with my puppy, going to work, and trying to find a little time to see my man in between. But there's no SPARK to anything I'm doing. It's all day-to-day stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's real life. But where does that leave this little corner of the blogosphere? I'm not planning a wedding, I'm not having a baby, I'm not embarking on a quest to read an insane amount in a set period of time. I have nothing to write about.

And that's where you come in. I am SERIOUSLY taking requests. Want me to watch a show and write about it? OK! Want me to test a product or a recipe or a restaurant and give you the lowdown? Sold. I'm not done writing, I just need inspiration. So help me.

a new beginning - I, but with a chance to upgrade

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I think I'm supposed to indicate that I paid money to see this, due to some FCC rules or somethin'. (do I only have to indicate if I got in free?)

Also, spoilers.

There was a lot of pre-Sundance buzz about Hesher - well, at least in my circle. Lots of people asked me if I was going to see this one - and since I'm nothing if not a slave to buzz, I said "Well, I'll try."

Here's the synopsis from the Sundance website:

Hesher is the story of a family struggling to deal with loss and the anarchist who helps them do it—in a very unexpected way.
TJ is 13 years old. Two months ago, his mom was killed in an accident, leaving TJ and his grieving dad to move in with grandma to pick up the pieces. Hesher is a loner. He hates the world—and everyone in it. He has long, greasy hair and homemade tattoos. He likes fire and blowing things up. He lives in his van—until he meets TJ.
Hesher is that rare film that manages to be a completely original vision, a thoroughly entertaining story, and a provocative metaphor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings the character of Hesher to life with anger and angst, and Devin Brochu makes quite a splash as the young boy dealing with both the loss of his mother and an unwanted houseguest. Cowriter/director Spencer Susser crafts a multidimensional, darkly humorous film that exhibits an immensely talented storyteller at work.

Except here's the problem: "completely original vision?" Not so much. It seemed like the entirety of this story was something I had seen before. Kid with a dead mom? Check. Bearded dad dealing with his emotions through sleep and pills? Check. Frumpy, sonsy grandma who takes the path of least resistance? Check? Long-haird weirdo who drives a black van? Check. Awkward girl with a dead-end job and unfortunate glasses? Check. Do you want me to keep going? 'Cause I could. The acting was quite good, particularly the little guy who plays TJ, but I think all the cast did a remarkable job with what they were given - which was incredibly trite, overly formulaic, and spelled out like the audience was full of dummies. Another example: if you have any sense of cinematic storytelling, you knew that the dad was responsible for the mom's death, and that the kid was there when it happened. So why, WHY did they director/screenwriter feel the need to show us in a flashback? Ridiculous.

You know who's going to love this movie? People who don't have a lot of imagination.

Hesher - C-

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sundance Update

Here's another reason why the world is so amazing: I am sitting in a theater RIGHT NOW, waiting for my next film to start. Wireless technology is awesome!
So I'm at the Sundance Film Festival. Nestled in the Wasatch Valley in Park City, Utah, Sundance is the grandfather of independent film festivals. OK, probably not. This is only the 26th year. Maybe it's the glorious winner of independent film festivals. Everyone knows about it, and everyone thinks they know what's going on. Well, I'm here to tell you that Sundance is basically a game, a game you can only win by packing appropriate footwear and bringing a stopwatch. My buddy from another theater says that seeing five films in a day means you win, and seeing six films in a day means you're a superhero. I assure you that I'll only see up to four in a day.

Gotta run!

Sundance so far - B+

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shut. Up. SHUT UP!

If I were good at photo shop, I would have added Dr. Horrible to this picture - because word on the street is, Neil Patrick Harris is going to appear in an episode of Glee... directed by Joss Whedon! 


Seriously, I'm super excited.  It's slated to air during sweeps week in May.  NPH could sing three notes and I'd be happy.  Squeee!

NPH and Glee - A+

(and here's a bonus pic for you Dr. Horrible fans:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Utah

Technology is awesome. I took this picture (well, had this picture taken of me) yesterday, and look! Here it is on the Internet already!

I'm in Utah right now. I'm acting as the conference manager at the Art House Convergence - the boss at my real job is the conference chair, so he brought me along to register people, make sure all the tech needs are taken care, fix any small problems that crop up along the way... basically, do my regular job, but in Utah. So that's fun! I've never been to Utah before. Then, I'm going to a few days of the Sundance Film Festival. If I see anything truly awesome, I'll let you know.

In this picture, you'll see a crazy ice hose sculpture castle. I don't know what to call it, exactly, but you can see more truly incredible pictures here. It's out of this world - and totally worth the $2 admission!

Utah - A-

Monday, January 11, 2010

Viva Pinata

Holy crap. This game is AWESOME! When my friend tried to explain it to me, I really didn't get it, so I don't expect you to get it, either, but here goes: you get this garden, and based on what's in your garden (good soil, oak tree, daisies), different pinatas are attracted to your garden and come to visit. And if they really like your garden, they move in. When you get two of the same kind of pinata, you can romance them, and then they'll make more pinatas. Sometimes, bigger pinatas will eat smaller pinatas (last night, a Syrupent ate a Mousemallow), and sometimes, evil pinatas will drop bad candy and pinatas will get sick. If a pinata is 100% happy, it can go to a party, which is ultimately what all pinatas want... yay!
OK, you don't get it, do you? You'll just have to trust me that this game is super cute and stupid fun. So sorry if you don't see me around for the next few days - I'm getting my pinata on.

Viva Pinata - A

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Welcome to the latest feature of NaiveHelga: Point/Counterpoint. Each week, my friend Jjack and I will blog about the same subject and discuss our differing opinions on said subject. In a perfect world, we'll watch the same movie or TV show, read the same book or listen to the same album - we don't have all the deets worked out yet, but I have a vision that I'll pick one one week, she'll pick the next week, and so on. Also, it could probably more accurately be called Point/Point - we tend to think alike. And I'm hoping Jjack comes up with a sweet graphic we can use for each Point/Counterpoint topic. Good luck, J.

First up: bowling! Who doesn't love bowling!? Nate doesn't, that's who. We've never been bowling together. Bowling in and of itself isn't that great. The balls are heavy, the shoes possibly filled with fungus. But the sports within the sport are awesome. Drinking cheap beer out of plastic cups is always a good time. Selecting crappy tunes from the jukeobox is also fun. But best of all is the people watching. The last time I went bowling, I watched the mating rituals of twelve-year-olds. Basically, White Shirt was trying to put the moves on Red Polo, but Antlers (it was during the holiday season, not a girl with actual antlers) totally keopt cock-blocking her. Plus, Sweater was trying to mack on White Shirt when Red Polo was up to bowl. Not to mention the Ethiopians bowling in the lane right next to us. They were funny.

Bowling - B+; head on over to The Jackson Update to see what Jjack has to say!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Movie Madness: Star Trek

Finally got around to watching Star Trek the other night. It probably would have been better on the big screen, or at least a bigger at-home screen... with surround-sound. Anybody want to get me a 50" flat screen?

I really liked this version of Star Trek - I'm a sucker for origination stories. And Chris Pine and Zach Quinto were great as Kirk and Spock! Maybe too much sexual tension... and I really liked that there was some plot to this movie. It was an action-driven story, to be sure, but there was in fact a story. Good times!

Star Trek - A-

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cannonball Read - One Last Post

Here's a quick recap of the best books of my year:

World War Z by Max Brooks
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
The Gates by John Connolly
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood

Add them to your reading lists!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Cannonball Read: From One Who Almost Made It

The age old question goes like this: how do you measure a year? Some believe you can measure in sunsets or cups of coffee; me, I think a year is best measured in books.

On January 1, 2009, I embarked on a major undertaking: read 100 books in a year (for you non-math majors, that averages out to two books a week). And for a while, I was right on track. The first quarter was the easiest - I finished 22 books in three months, just a tiny bit behind. But then I started to slip. By October, I had only read 75 books - leaving me two months to read 25 books, when the most I had read in any given month was nine. But I wouldn't quit - and I wouldn't change my self-imposed rules. I almost punched my husband in the face this weekend when he said I wasn't "in it to win it." He clarified by saying that, if all I wanted to do was read 100 books in a year, I would have chosen ALL young-adult books, or ALL books that barely cracked the 200-page minimum, or I would have re-read some of my favorites so that I could skim. So he was right - I wasn't just in it to win it, I was in it challenge myself, to STOP reading some of my perennial favorites, and to read things I had always wanted to, no matter the length (case in point: Middlesex, one of my favorite books of the year, coming in at 544 pages; in fact, my best-reviewed books of the year were all over 400 pages). But as recently as December 28, I thought I might make it. 8 books in 4 days? I could do it... but I didn't. And that's OK. It was about the journey, and the awesome books I read this year. I will wrap up 2009 having read 94 books - not too shabby.

I'll probably never get to get up onstage and thank a bunch of people for helping me along the way, so allow me this indulgence:
- Shannon, Mark and Sarah; Charlie and Kevin; Pat, Nat and Elliott (twice!); Bill & Justina, for living far away and allowing me a visit - those train and plane trips made for lots of uninterrupted free time to read
- Brian Prisco and AlabamaPink, the original Cannonball Readers - you inspired me
- all the 2009 Cannonball Readers, particularly the lovely Mrs. Figgy Lockwood-Figueroa - a little healthy competition never hurt anybody

- the Ann Arbor District Library - word up!

- anyone who loaned a book, gave a book as a gift, or recommended a book - I couldn't have done it without you

- the Natester - for all the uninterrupted time on the couch, and for not talking to me during dinner

What did I learn from this challenge? Reading is AWESOME. Seriously. You should read more! I've also learned that I need quantity isn't as important as quality. Some of these books I gobbled down; I didn't get to savor nearly enough of them, and I plowed through some excellent books just to have time to read some not-so-great books . So for my final six books of the challenge, in 2010, I'm going to go back and re-read some of my all time favorites, as well as the three A+s that I gave this year.

Cannonball Read - A-