Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Very Pop Culture Christmas

What's that you say? You're sick of hearing/seeing/reading things about Christmas?? Well, just because this Holiday has been thrown in our faces obsessively, since just before Halloween, that doesn't mean that we can't appreciate the season while it's here. After all, Christmas only comes around once a year, friends!

So, quit being a Grinch and an Ebenezer Scrooge and let's discuss our favorite Christmas movies, music and episodes of our favorite shows...

I'll start off with those "very special" Christmas episodes of my favorite shows. You know the ones... when your favorite comedy or drama take a bit of a break from the continuing drama of the usual storyline to deliver a heartwarming episode of yuletide cheer. I've decided I don't really have a favorite-favorite when it comes to these certain episodes, just the ones that immediately pop into my mind when I think of Christmas. In no particular order, these are my most memorable Christmas episodes:

  • Saved By The Bell- Home For Christmas (1991): This little gem was a two parter. Zach and the rest of the gang decide to get jobs at the mall during the holiday season. They end up befriending a homeless girl, named Laura (one of Kelly's co-workers) who is living in the shopping center. At some point, Laura's boss (Mr. Moody) accuses her of stealing a coat from their store and she runs away (not knowing that Kelly actually put the coat aside for Laura to buy for her father, to wear to a job interview). Zach ends up finding her and her dad and invites her to Christmas dinner, where they eat and sing Christmas Carols... And Mr. Moody ends up apologizing and giving the jacket to Laura's dad as a gift. I know, it sounds really bad... and it is. But, the memory of it has stuck with me all these years. Take a look at the cheesiness below:

  • Roswell- A Roswell Christmas (2000): Max (Jason Behr) witnesses a tragic accident and blames himself for the victim dying because he refused to save them by using his powers (he didn't want to reveal himself to any onlookers). I know, it sounds real depressing, but the episode focuses on all of the characters trying to find their Christmas spirit, with Isabel (a very young, pre-sassy Katherine Heigl) leading the way. In order to try to redeem himself, Max ends up going to the pediatric ward of a hospital and begins curing all the kids of their ailments. Other lighthearted things happen in the episode, with Michael (or "mullet boy" as I used to call him, played by Brendan Fehr) looking for the perfect gift for his girlfriend, Maria (Majandra Delfino) and Isabel going overboard with decorations and whatnot but the end is what I loved the most. It's been a very, very long time since I have seen this episode but I remember saying to Jeff after it aired "that might be the best Christmas episode of any tv show I have ever seen". I can't find any short clips of it, so if you are so inclined, watch the whole episode here...

  • Beverly Hills 90210- It's a Totally Happening Life (1992): In a nutshell, all of the characters are either fighting or grumpy in some way. Two guardian angels (Clarence and Miriam) watch over them, knowing that the bus they are on is about to collide with a garbage truck and cause a major accident. The episode focuses on the events that lead up to all of them being on the bus together and the guardian angels try preventing the accident from taking place.

  • Bones- The Man In The Fallout Shelter (2005)- Bones, Booth and the rest of the cast are all quarantined to the Jeffersonian during a case on Christmas Eve. Each of the characters gets to have a little moment where they reveal things about themselves and Hodgins and Zack contribute some laughs. The end is the best part, where each of their families are brought in, group by group to wish them a Merry Christmas (through glass, because you know, they are quarantined) and it's simple and sweet and one of the reasons why I fell in love with this show. (Sorry, no clips for this one... couldn't find any good ones).
  • Friends- The One With The Holiday Armadillo (2000): Ross wants to introduce Ben to Hanukkah and tries to show him that it's just as fun as Christmas and Santa by dressing up... As an armadillo. The whole ridiculousness of it is what makes it so funny. I laughed so hard at this episode when it first aired. I thought it was the best thing ever.  Click------> Armadillo
  • The Office- Christmas Party (2005): The office throws a Christmas party, complete with a Secret Santa exchange. Jim has Pam's name and reveals that he worked really hard on her gift, filling it with a bunch of inside jokes, that only she would get. Michael is annoyed that all he gets is a handmade oven mitt from Phyllis and buys a $400 Ipod for Ryan. He insists that they all do a "yankee swap" and makes everyone angry. Pam ends up with the Ipod, but in the end, decides to swap gifts for the one Jim had meant for her... Causing me to sigh and swoon over Jim Halpert. 

My favorite Christmas movies are probably the same as most of yours, so forgive me for not giving descriptions of them...

  • Scrooged (1988): Bill Murray is so fantastic in this rendition of A Christmas Carol. My Aunt took Dennis and I to the theater to see this when we were kids. I remember loving the end when he has each side of the movie theater sing different parts of "Put a little love in your heart".

  • Mickey's A Christmas Carol (1983): I love it to this day. You couldn't get it on DVD for a long time and I was absolutely ecstatic the day Jeff came home with it for me. It reminds me of being a kid and I love watching it with C now.
  • A Christmas Story (1983): I won't watch this movie before Christmas Eve/Christmas Day or after it. I either watch it on those days or it just doesn't feel right. 
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989): It's just a great movie. So many great scenes and quotes. I love it. 
  • Elf (2003): I can watch it over and over again and Zooey Deschanel's rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside" is my most favorite.
  • Snow (2004): This was a made for tv movie with Tom Cavanagh. He's Santa Claus (Nicholas Snowden) and has to get back to the north pole in time for Christmas. It's cheesy and sappy and cute and I love it. 
  • Love Actually (2003): Funny thing about this movie is I used to hate it. How could I hate it with all of the amazing people in the cast?? The first time I watched it, it made me sad because not everyone got a happy ending. No worries though, because I completely appreciate it and love it today. LOVE it a lot, actually. Especially THIS scene. (Yeah, that's Rick Grimes being all romantic. No zombies chasing him there!)
My most favorite Christmas album of all time is the Holiday sing-along with Mitch Miller. It's what we used to listen to when we were kids and I absolutely adore it. The first Christmas Jeff and I spent together in our house, he bought the CD for me. It is one of my most favorite gifts of all time because it just reminds me of home. I also really love the Barenaked For The Holidays album by my beloved BNL. This year, I am most impressed with Christmas by Michael Buble'. It's classy and fun and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

My two most disliked Christmas songs of all time?
-The Christmas Shoes (I don't have to explain why, right?)
- Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses. (Because there is nothing "Christmassy" about this song. Also, because they used to play it at Optim Eyes ALL. THE. TIME. when I worked there and it drove me craaaaazy!)

So that's that. Some of my most favorite Christmas pop culture items. Feel free to share yours along with me and have a very Merry Christmas, one and all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


 My most favorite Holiday is upon us, Friends: Thanksgiving. It is my most favorite holiday not only because I get to eat my most favorite meal in all the land, but because it's a family day. A family day filled with parade watching, conversations and laughter and the smells of my parents house. It's my favorite because every year, my parents work their asses off in the kitchen, preparing the most delicious foods you will ever eat. Because every year, my mom takes the time to set the table up so nicely (complete with name-cards). It's my favorite because every year when we sit down to dinner, my dad puts Christmas music on (including my favorite; Mitch Miller as well as The Cabbage Patch Christmas album we had when we were kids). It's my favorite because I love looking through the sale ads after dinner and discussing the craziness of Black Friday, while eating my Mom's most delicious chocolate eclair cake and drinking coffee (even though I am so full, I am about to burst). It's my favorite because it's relaxing and fun and because we are all together.

Things I am thankful for this year- The sentimental portion:

  • My husband, for making me laugh and helping me when I most need it. Mostly for just being there.
  • That beautiful, handsome, imaginative, smart, blue eyed boy of mine who can drive me crazy insane, while at the same time making me want to squish his face he's so adorable.
  • My friends. For making me laugh, listening to me rant, entertaining me and just being awesome. Awesome, awesome. I have the best friends ever.
  • My parents, for just being amazing. For being the type of parents who take the time to listen and help and make sure their kids are happy, even though we are all grown up. 
  • My family. Brothers, sisters, niece, nephews, in-laws, Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents, cousins. I am so grateful for all of you.
  • My dogs. For being there to snuggle with... even though Bristow is... he's energetic (to put it nicely).
  • You, my blog readers. For letting me write. It's hard to explain how much it means to me that people are willing to read my opinions, my rants and my silliness but it means a lot. A lot, a lot.
Enough with the mushy... Things I am thankful for- The Pop Culture/Materialistic portion:
  • Mashed Potatoes. Whoever decided back in olden times, that it would be a good idea to take a potato and smash it into mush, I thank you. Thank you for giving me this wonderful side dish that I can smother in butter and/or gravy.
  • Coca Cola. With ice.
  • Chocolate chip cookies.
  • Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger. For showing kids and adults alike what true friendship looks like. As well as teaching kids how great using your imagination can be.
  • Google chat. Because If I didn't have this, my work days would be really brutal. 
  • The websites: The Berry, Best Week Ever and Entertainment Weekly. Same reason as above.
  • For Bones still being great, even after they put the two main characters together.
  • Books. Because books open up new worlds to us and let us live temporarily in someone else's shoes.
  • Bookstores. Because they calm me. I love the smell, I love the atmosphere. I love them.
  • For Eric Northman, Neal Caffrey, Edward Cullen, Joe Morelli, Seeley Booth, and Damon Salvatore. These boys need no explanation. If you know who they are, you know why they are on the list and I'm sure I forgot some but these are the ones that popped into my mind first.
  • My Keurig. IT'S SO CONVENIENT.
  • Spotify. For helping me rediscover old music that I used to love, as well as getting me through the work day.
  • Modern Family and The New Girl, for making me laugh.
  • Once Upon a Time for being fresh and creative and just plain interesting.

 I am thankful for Thanksgiving because it's a holiday that doesn't require you to give each other gifts, it's a holiday that requires you to discuss the things you love most and it requires you to eat really delicious things.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 18, 2011

"I'm not going to lie, Bells, you're hideous"

When Breaking Dawn (the book) was released on August 2, 2008, I went to the Midnight release party for it. I came home, read until 3am and then finished it the following evening. There was a point during my nonstop read-a-thon that I set the book down, looked at Jeff and said "there is no way. NO way they can make a movie out of this". See, I have always had mixed emotions about this particular part of the story. It is the most "out there" of all 4 books. Yeah, yeah, I know, you're thinking, "sparkly vampires and teenage werewolves aren't "out there", Sarah??" They are, I know they are but this book got weird for me. Basically, I adored the beginning, was completely annoyed throughout the middle part and somewhat letdown by the end of it. Not letdown in the sense that I thought it was terrible, just that I wanted it to be more. So, after seeing the first 3 films in the Twilight Saga, each one somewhat true to the book they were bred from, I wasn't quite as ecstatic for this particular one. Of course, I was excited, this time was just different.

Let me give you a (very) quick (rambling) rundown of the story of Breaking Dawn: Part 1: 
As always, here is your usual SPOILER ALERT... Bella and Edward get married, go on their honeymoon, do what people do on their honeymoons, she ends up pregnant, he flips out, they come home (with Edward hoping to get the "thing" out of her), she wants to keep the "thing" (her nudger, as she refers to it in the book), the werewolves lose their minds and say the demon baby is an abomination and immediately want to kill it, Jacob breaks from his pack to protect Bella, Bella endures the most disgusting labor in all the land, gives birth to Renesmee (it's a girl, for those non Twilighters out there), Jacob imprints on the baby (meaning, he loves it absolutely), Edward injects his venom into Bella (turning her into a vampire). Fade to black. To be continued....

Now, let me start off my Midnight movie experience by saying I am pretty used to these by now. They are chaotic, a little annoying and fun all at the same time. They make for super delightful people watching and bring out holes of the biggest kind, but they are always, always an experience. The Midnight release for Twilight was insane. People everywhere, selling merchandise, wall to wall tweens, shrieks... so much shrieking. New Moon brought out the werewolf fans, Eclipse brought out the "Team Edward", "Team Jacob" fans in FULL force and Breaking Dawn was just kind of there. Same old Twilight fans but a little bit quieter, I guess? Don't get me wrong, it was a big deal, people were excited but it just had a different feeling to it.

Dawn and I arrived at the theater at 10pm, stood in line for about a half hour and then they seated us. We saw a lot of dudes, which was surprising. We managed to seat ourselves in front of the loudest, most obnoxious ladies there ever was, saw a girl wearing a homemade shirt that had a picture of Edward kissing a very pregnant Bella's stomach (with the girl's face superimposed over Bella's) and watched a woman who was walking around with her leather jacket stuffed into the back of her pants, to make her butt look bigger. I know. I don't get it either, this is just what we witnessed. While waiting for the movie, we played LIFE on Dawn's ipod touch (I was a married mechanic/athlete with twin girls and one boy) and discussed whether or not we were too old to be attending these events anymore.

The movie started. We giggled. Aaaaand giggled. If you have ever been unfortunate enough lucky enough to attend a Twilight movie with Dawn and I, you will be well aware of the fact that we cannot watch these movies silently. If you hate people who whisper/discuss things throughout the movie, then my friend, we would be your enemy. It's how we process what is happening on screen. Quite frankly, it's just what we do and it makes for the most fun ever.

Ok, I know i'm rambling here, but before I get down to the nitty gritty of the  movie, I want to start out by saying Kristen Stewart has grown leaps and bounds since Twilight. Leaps. And. Bounds. She has gone from a sputtering, awkward, grunty, scrunchy faced actress to an almost flawless one. It's kind of astonishing how much better she has gotten.

Just like with the book, I adored the first part of the movie. The wedding scenes were pretty spot on and Kstew and Robert Pattinson looked amazing. Bella's dress, hair, makeup were almost exactly how I had pictured it in my head while I was reading the book. The set for the wedding was gorgeous. They added a small scene, where some of the guests give speeches to Bella and Edward and that was one of my favorite parts. Billy Burke (Charlie Swan) kills it in those scenes. Isle Esme is beautiful and again, just as I pictured it. What I loved most about this whole part was how happy both Edward and Bella seemed. Duh, I know they are newlyweds but in every other movie they are so grumpy and tightly wound and stressed out. In this movie, they are almost smiling nonstop and I really, really loved that. A lot of the dialogue came straight from the book, which I appreciate so much. For the people that know the story in detail, as I do, they kept the scene with the fried chicken and I was happy about that. A small detail, yes, but it made me feel like they do appreciate the die hard fans by putting small things like that into the movie. Their happiness comes to an abrupt end when they realize that Bella is pregnant (for you haters out there, I don't know the details of how a vampire can impregnate a human girl but if you want specifics, click here and scroll down a bit).

As well as Kristen Stewart growing leaps and bounds, the production/makeup value has too. And I say this because they made the girl look hideous as pregnant Bella. She was super skinny and incredibly gaunt looking. She looked emaciated and completely like her baby was draining the life from her. Kudos to the makeup team! After Jacob stops by the Cullen house to see Bella for himself, he shifts into wolf form to tell the rest of his pack about the pregnancy. This is where the most giggling of all the giggling took place. This is where the movie seemed to take a turn for me. In the book, the wolves communicate telepathically with each other. They always know what the other is thinking. In this particular scene, there is so much  chaos and howling and growling and weird tones of voices going on that I thought I was going to have a panic attack. it was weird and kind of cheesy and honestly, it couldn't end soon enough for me. The people around Dawn and I probably thought we were crazy. Almost the entire middle section of the book takes place like this. Jacob in wolf form, communicating through his thoughts with his wolf buddies. Thank goodness, they didn't do it that way in the movie. Thank. Goodness. They condensed it, made it short and sweet and it helped move the story along just fine.

The part where Bella goes into labor is kind of horrifying. So much so that Dawn had her scarf pulled up to cover her eyes and I had my hands covering my face. She didn't "vomit a fountain of blood", as Stephenie Meyer describes it in the book (which is also the part where I told Jeff there was no way they could make a movie out of this) but she breaks her back in such a way that it was almost vomit inducing. Seriously. Ack. The Jacob-imprints-on-Renesmee scene is very well done, as well as the scene where Bella is basically transforming from human to vampire. Not only do they show the physical transformation as she is lying there, paralyzed from the morphine, they show her reflecting on her life with a really great montage of scenes from every movie. 

It ends really cool and if you think hard enough about it, my Twilighters, you'll be able to figure out the final shot of the film. Also, be sure to stay until the credits are done. There is an extra scene.

All in all, aside from a few things, I am happy with it. I can't give you a rating for it because I feel like these Twilight movies don't fall into a "rating" category. They are what they are and I appreciate them for it. Will I continue to watch them and make fun of them and giggle like a schoolgirl? Absolutely. But, that doesn't mean that I don't like them. I love that they bring the story that I love to life and I appreciate the actors for wanting to bring these characters to life, no matter how cheesy/whiny/silly they seem.

I surprised myself by feeling kind of sad that the movies are almost all done and I think that it has to do with the fact that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have done such a good job with Bella and Edward. They went from being almost cringeworthy to downright comfortable to watch. That makes me happy and I am really looking forward to seeing Breaking Dawn: Part 2 next November when it hits theaters.

Couple, miscellaneous tidbits:

-Yes, Jasper has yet another hairstyle.
- This is the prettiest Alice has looked out of all the movies.
- I challenge you to count the amount of blue clothing in this movie. Then report back to me.
- I teared up at the wedding scene just a bit. Seeing their smiles and hearing Iron & Wine's, Flightless Bird  was just perfection.
- Emmett is really funny.
- I just love Billy Burke.
- I wish the Cullen house was white on the outside.
- Jacob Black has such a whiny voice.
-Robert Pattinson is so so so very handsome.

Ok, friends. Let me know what you think after you see it! I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Birthday Blog

The makings of a really great Birthday:

  • Getting to hug your LYBF and visit,  if only for a short time, after not seeing each other for 4 months.
  • Purchasing a Keurig Coffee Maker with your Birthday money. (!!!!)
  • Having your husband wake you up at 12:15am when he gets home from work, to wish you a Happy Birthday.
  • Eating cupcakes brought to you by your soulmate, while looking through the fantastically amazing Harry Potter book she purchased for you (seriously, click here. It's awesome.) I want to live in this book.
  • Looking forward to a shopping day with your beautiful sister, who got you gift cards so you could go buy new clothes because she is sick of hearing you whine about how you have no clothes.
  • Having a delicious lunch with your brother, whom you adore.
  • Listening to some of your favorite albums by your favorite bands on Spotify.
    • Barenaked Ladies-Stunt
    • Brandon Flowers- Flamingo
  • Having fun responding to all of your Birthday messages on Facebook.
  • Seeing that Harry Potter Weekend starts the day after your Birthday and pretending that they planned it that way on purpose in honor of your Birthday week.
  • Having your adorable 4yr old son give you a big hug and a kiss and a Happy Birthday wish on your way out the door for work in the morning.
  • Stopping at Biggby to get yourself a FREE giant coffee with the Birthday coupon they sent you in the mail.
  • Coming into work and seeing a "Happy Birthday, Sarah!" sign, along with pictures of handsome boys (Matt Bomer, Timothy Olyphant and Alexander Skarsgard) hanging on your cube walls.
  • Having your niece and nephews wish you a very groggy/sweet Happy Birthday at 8am.
  • Having your Mom make you a Birthday dinner, simply because she loves you.
  • Getting to spend the evening with the greatest parents in the world, the best Grandpa ever, your wonderful husband, brilliant son, awesome brothers, fantastic sisters, loving niece and nephews and getting hugs from your boyfriend dog.

Simply put: It's my Birthday and I can brag if I want to XOXO

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Sarah" written all over it.

-To say the new show Once Upon a Time has ME written all over it, would be an understatement. I love make believe, I love magic, I love fairy tales, I love Ginnifer Goodwin and I love Lost. So, it's safe to say that I am destined to fall in love with this show.

Spoilers ahead! So, if you haven't yet seen the first episode of this freshman series go watch it and come back and then proceed with the rest of the blog!

On Snow White's (Ginnifer Goodwin) wedding day, the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla) interrupts as the ceremony is concluding and promises that an evil curse is coming. This curse not only freezes them in time, but puts them in our reality where they live as regular people and have no idea that they are actual fairy tale characters. There is a little more of a twist to it than that, but I will let you figure that out on your own.

I really love this concept.  Each character basically has a new, modern day persona but stays true to their fairy tale selves at the same time. It was fun figuring out who each character was in the present time and it was fun to see them flash back to how they had been before the curse. In a TV show like this, there is so much room for creativity and that is a fantastic thing. The look of the city, StoneyBrook (where they all live) is quaint and homey. The look of the forest and the castles in the flashbacks are elegant and so pretty. I love the costumes and the book that they refer back to (Once Upon a Time) is very reminiscent of the big book that Bastien carries around with him in The Neverending Story.

So yeah, I liked it. But do you know what the icing on the cake was for me? The fact that this show is brought to us by Lost alums Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. That alone was reason enough for me to watch and the fact that there were no less than 5 Lost references made my fangirl heart smile happily. Even if they don't continue to do that with the rest of the episodes, I'll be ok with it because at least they had me reminiscing and squealing with delight for one night and it showed that they still care about all those Lost fans out there who miss the show. And THAT, I love.

-As most of you know, Season 2 of The Walking Dead premiered last week. I thought the 90 minute opener was a little slow but I was happy to see Rick Grimes again. For anyone out there who says this show is just about disgusting zombies, it's not. In fact, there were only a few scenes in the last episode that had zombies in them. It's more about the emotional toll an event like this can cause and how it affects the relationships with the people around you. Sure, the zombies are super gross but I will say this: no other show has made me cry this season like The walking Dead has and we are only 2 episodes in.

-Over the weekend, I watched Pearl Jam Twenty. It's a documentary by Cameron Crowe that celebrates the band's 20th anniversary. Before they got all political and whatnot, I used to really love this band. I had a huge crush on Eddie Vedder and was always mesmerized by his voice. Ten was the first CD I remember REALLY loving and would listen to it from beginning to end, over and over again. I've talked about the release of Vs. on here before and how excited Dennis and I were for it  (SO excited!) and when Vitalogy was released, I remember staying up late the night before and taping the entire cd off the radio because some station (I can't remember which) was playing it in its entirety before it went on sale. After that album, I was disappointed with the rest of the stuff they put out. Every once in awhile a single would grab me and I would like it, but I was never able to listen to the CD's all the way through like I did with those first 3. Anyway, the documentary instantly had me hooked. They showed it on PBS and it was 2 hours of them telling stories from Mother Love Bone, all the way to present day. There are interviews with Chris Cornell, as well as some old footage of Kurt Cobain talking about how nice of a guy Eddie is. They discuss their dissatisfaction with all the trials and tribulations that come along with being famous and they talk about their relationships and the respect they have for one another. The "big" Ticketmaster battle is touched on as well as Kurt Cobain's death. It was interesting and entertaining and I really enjoyed it. It also made me immediately want to start listening to their music again. Which, I did. And I enjoyed. A lot. There is also a coffee table book that is for sale to go along with the documentary and the 20th anniversary CD. If you are or ever were a Pearl Jam fan, you won't be disappointed.

-Just an FYI for my fellow Chuck/Nerd Herd fans, the 5th and final season premieres THIS Friday (the 28th) on NBC at 8pm. So excited to have this show back!

-I know it's still a little early to talk about Christmas, but the She & Him Christmas Cd (<---- click on that) is out today!! Yay!

-Joss Whedon + Shakespeare? Yes, please. Check this out -------> Much Ado About Nothing

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Wishes.

Last year for my 30th Birthday, I made a Birthday Wish List <-------- click on that if you would like to see what I wished for a year ago.

I've decided to go ahead (as long as I have this here blog) and make this an annual thing. Yes, I am aware that my Birthday isn't for a few more weeks (November 8th) but this is a wishlist and I have to give you all time to make them come true, so without further ado, I bring you my 31 wishes for my 31st Birthday.

1.) A Dyson vacuum cleaner. Or, just any really great vacuum cleaner that would be able to withstand sucking up Logan and Bristow's hair without breaking down a week after I buy it.

2.) For Bristow to stop trying to run away. Really, we are good dog owners. We pet him, feed him, play with him and put up with his anxiety-ridden quirks, yet once a week, for the last couple weeks, we find him in my neighbor's yard.

3.) For Derek to stop being such a hole on Greys Anatomy. You are no longer McDreamy, you are McPoopyPants.

4.) An Ipad.

5.) For a website to hire me to blog for them full time.

6.) For Stephenie Meyer to finish Midnight Sun.

7.) A really fantastic (red) stand mixer.

8.) To have Ben Folds come to my house for dinner and bring his piano, so he can play some songs for me.

9.) To some day own a book store.

10.) Hoodies in every single color.

11.) To visit New York City and see some plays.

12.) To go to a Tragically Hip concert.

13.) To visit my (insanely missed) LYBF in North Carolina.

14.) For someone to come over my house and organize C's room and toys for me.

15.) New carpet and floors in my house.

16.) For the pimple farm on my chin to go away. (Note to my skin: I am going to be 31 not 13).

17.) To have a Mashed Potato Party. HOW MUCH FUN WOULD THAT BE?!

18.) For that one person who uses the copier/scanner to STOP (S T O P) pounding on the button when they use it. It is so very unnecessary. Just. Stop. It.

19.) To hang out with Zachary Levi for a day.

20.) To go to San Diego Comic Con.

21.) To go to another Killers/Brandon Flowers concert.

22.) To sit in on a conversation between J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

23.) A Keurig coffee maker.

24.) To open a bakery with my sisters.

25.) For Hollywood to stop remaking really great 80's movies. IE: Dirty Dancing, Drop Dead Fred.

26.) More time in the day.

27.) An endless supply of energy to get things done around the house.

28.) For the end of the Sookie Stackhouse series to not suck..

29.) For (insert any Buffy/Angel alum here, preferably Alexis Denisof or James Marsters) to guest star on Bones.

30.) For the series finale of Chuck to be completely awesome.

31.) For my whole family (especially my mom) to have a really great, really happy, really healthy year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

These are...

a few of my favorite things.

I figured I would give you all a little insight into some of my favorite movies, gadgets and foods at the moment. It's sort of like an episode of Oprah's favorite things, only I won't be giving you anything for free. But, you can still check these items out and then perhaps maybe you will love them as well.

  • Over the years, I have expressed my frustrations with how hard it is to find a decent, leak proof travel mug that keeps my coffee hot. I have bought several (some expensive, some not), all with the hopes that THIS will be the best mug ever, only to find that it is yet, another disappointment. Well, friends, believe me when I say that THIS travel mug is THE best mug you will ever, ever, ever buy. Carrie bought it for me back in June, and it may very well be one of the best presents I have ever received. I love it so much that I bought Dawn one for her Birthday this year. It literally (LITERALLY) keeps your coffee hot for hours. Hours! And I mean hot, hot. Not just lukewarm. It's easy to clean and it has never, ever leaked. It is, what I like to call, "The Magic Mug". They sell it on Amazon, or you can purchase it at Meijer or Target. It's about $25.00, which is a little pricey for a coffee cup, but you will never need to buy another one. I promise. Promise. 

  •  I love cups. Can you tell? Almost every store you go into is selling these plastic tumblers (like the one on the side, there). My mom bought me one that has cupcakes all over it and I love it a lot. I use it at work every single day and when we went to Disney World, they were in all the stores there. They are convenient and fun and good for the environment (I suppose?), so hooray!

  •  I make tacos for dinner A LOT. That little red circle there, is a tortilla warmer. My parents bought me this contraption that resembles an oven mit, when they were vacationing in Arizona last Spring. It's AWESOME. You stick a few tortillas in it and heat it up in the microwave for about a minute (depending on how many tortillas you have) and they stay hot for at least 45 minutes. The very first time I used it, I couldn't stop raving about how amazing I thought it was. Seriously. I went on and on about it.

  • I have been addicted to ice tea these last few months (the drink, not the rapper/actor). I usually make my own with the Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Maker that Jeff and I received years ago at our housewarming party. It makes really great tea, really fast and it only costs around $20.00!

  • Last week, I was introduced to Nutter Butter's. Yeah, I know this delicious cookie has been around for years and years, but I recently discovered it whilst searching for an afternoon snack at work and have been addicted ever since. No, this is not a healthy treat, but really, does that matter?

  • A few years ago, after watching an infomercial, my sister bought me The In-Styler for my birthday. It can curl your hair or straighten it, depending on how your feeling that day. I use it to curl my hair but don't even bother with the straightening aspect of it, since I have a flat iron. It's pretty pricey, but it works well if you have the patience to use it and don't mind the sound of a chain saw in your ear. Yeah, it's really loud but it makes your hair look pretty! (I believe they sell this at Target now too).

  •  The movie, Waitress. It came out in 2007 and I have loved it ever since. It stars Keri Russell as Jenna, a waitress at a small town diner, who is in an unhappy marriage and Nathan Fillion as the new doctor in town. Being that she is already in a miserable marriage, Jenna is completely disappointed to find out that she is pregnant with her husband's (played by Jeremy Sisto) baby. When she meets Fillion's character at her first prenatal appointment, her life changes for the better. On the surface, the movie sounds pretty typical but it is one of the most charming movies I have ever seen. Keri Russell's character narrates throughout the film, and she is witty and frustrated and I love it. She loves to bake and is constantly coming up with new ideas for pie's and explains them in a really funny way. Honestly, this description doesn't do it justice, just trust me and check it out. It's sweet and cute and Nathan Fillion is in it. That's all you really need to know.

  •  It may be too soon to say that I love the new show Pan Am (ABC, Sundays @ 10pm), but so far, I certainly like it a lot. It takes place in 1963 and focuses on the stewardesses of  (duh) Pan Am airlines. I like the way the show has presented itself with Lost style flashbacks, explaining where the characters were at in their lives 6 months earlier. I really like the 1960's feel to it, as well as the clothing, cars and just the general atmosphere. Throw in a little bit of espionage, and you have me hooked for the time being. Who's to say if this show will last, but for now, I will keep watching.

  • The website The Berry. Dawn introduced me to this site a few weeks ago when I was real bored at work. All it is, is a collection of pictures in various different categories from food, to celebrities, to every day things that we all love. It is the perfect time waster to brighten up your day and make you smile. Also, they seem to have a love for Rupert Grint/Ron Weasley and that would make anyone a winner in my book. 

  • A miscellaneous tidbit: I recently finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. It was pretty okay. I realize that that isn't a glowing compliment but it was decent enough. Those books are really hard to read sometimes because of all the Swedish lingo and whatnot and the last two books are told from about 47 billion different people's perspective. That's sort of an exaggeration... but that's what it feels like as you are reading it. It did tie up the series really well, I just felt like there was a ton of insignificant stuff/info thrown in along the way. So, do I recommend it? Sure, if you have a lot of patience and like a twisty, turny story told from various points of view, go pick it up!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Francie Doesn't Like Coffee Ice Cream...

"My name is Sydney Bristow, 7 years ago I was recruited by a secret branch of the CIA called SD-6. I was sworn to secrecy, but I couldn't keep it from my fiance. And when the head of SD-6 found out, he had him killed. That's when I found out the truth. SD-6 is not part of the CIA. I was working for the very people I thought I was working against. So I went to the only place that could help me bring them down. Now, I'm a double agent for the CIA, where my handler is a man named Michael Vaughn. Only one other person knows the truth about what I do, another double agent inside SD-6, someone I hardly know. My father."

****It should be obvious already, but there are going to be spoilers riddled throughout this post about various episodes in the series. I know Alias has been over for a long time now, but should anyone ever decide to start watching it on DVD (AND I SUGGEST YOU DO), it would devastate me if I were the one to ruin all the fun surprises for you. Think about it.****

10 years ago, on September 30th, 2001, my most favorite show ever premiered: Alias. As stated above (which is in the opening sequence before every episode during season 1), it was about a young girl named Sydney Bristow, (played by the wonderful Jennifer Garner) who is a graduate student by day and a CIA operative by night. She believes she is working for the good guys but in fact, finds out she is working for 1 of 12 (known as The Alliance of 12) crime organizations called SD-6. The show was J.J. Abrams creation and the idea for it actually came to him when he envisioned Felicity (yes, that Felicity) as a CIA agent/college student. The first episode of the series, Truth Be Told is the best pilot episode for any show I have ever seen (The Lost and Walking Dead pilots are a close 2nd and 3rd). No other show has ever had me so completely enthralled from the get go. I loved Sydney, I loved the missions and I loved watching the story unfold. It was quite literally like watching a mini movie. The pilot executed the way that the series would play out so well, that I couldn't wait to see her take down SD-6. Most pilots usually leave you kind of flat, bored, somewhat intrigued or just plain disappointed. This one had me ecstatic. 

Now, I should back up a bit... when Alias first aired, I knew of it but hadn't seen a full episode. I would catch bits and pieces here and there and they always made me curious but I wanted to start the series from the beginning. As it turned out, the first episode I ended up watching in it's entirety was entitled Phase One and it aired after the Super Bowl that year. I was utterly riveted from the get go. I had no idea what was going on in it at the time but was absolutely mesmerized by how kick ass Jennifer Garner was and how the entire episode felt like we were watching a movie. Jeff and I were both ridiculously impressed and almost giddy with how great we thought it was. We went out and bought season 1 as soon as it was available on DVD, enlisted Carrie to watch it with us and the 3 of us became completely consumed by it. We would watch 3, sometimes 4 episodes at a time and couldn't wait until we were all caught up. When we eventually did catch up, it was like Christmas morning every time a new episode aired. I was, in a word: obsessed. 

The show wasn't just about missions and wigs. One of the things that made it so great was watching the relationships between Sydney and all the other characters unfold. Her father, Jack (played by the amazingly talented Victor Garber) wasn't around much while she was growing up,  so there was a lot of tension between the two of them. The more they learned about each other, the more you could see how much they loved one another. Watching their bond grow with every season was heartwarming... which is a weird word to use when you are watching a show about killing and taking down terrorist organizations. It's obvious from the start that Sydney's handler, Michael Vaughn (played by the oh so handsome, Michael Vartan) is intrigued by her as soon as she tells him her story. The way he would look at her made viewers long for them to be together. They had wonderful chemistry and it was such a joy watching them work with each other on missions. The always fun Greg Grunberg played Vaughn's best friend, Eric Weiss. He also worked for the CIA and in addition to providing laughter and smiles, he ended up  becoming a really great friend to Syd.  Not only was Arvin Sloane the boss at SD-6, he was also Jack Bristow's longtime "frienemy". You never knew if he was good or evil and that made watching the episodes so much fun. Ron Rifkin was so subtle at being the bad guy and that made his performance all the more powerful. Every show has to have some comic relief and Alias had Marshall Flinkman. Kevin Weisman was so fantastic at playing the SD-6 tech guy that you couldn't help but love him. He created super swank, super smart gadgets for the operatives to take on missions with them. He brought a lighthearted element to the show and you couldn't help but find him lovable. Sydney also had a partner at SD-6, named Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbly), who would assist her on all of their missions. He was a good friend to her and had no idea that he was A) working for the bad guys or B) that Syd was a double agent. Their relationship was interesting to watch because you could tell how heartbreaking it was for Sydney to lie to him. To balance out her secret life, Syd had friends at home who believed that she worked for a bank. Will Tippin (played by Bradley Cooper long before he was in The Hangover), was a newspaper reporter who harbored a secret crush on her. He was always around when she needed someone to talk to, as well as her roommate Francie Calfo (Merrin Dungey). She never had any idea what Syd's actual profession was and ended up paying the price because of it. 

There was a mythology interlaced throughout the series as well. Arvin Sloane, as well as Irina Derevko (who was Syd's mom and Jack's former wife, played by Lena Olin) were constantly in search of the devices made by a 14th century prophet, by the name of Milo Rambaldi. His inventions were capable of cloning and immortality (to name a few) and various crime organizations were in desperate want of them. He created a watermark which was used on all of his documents, known as the "Eye of Rambaldi" (I always kind of wanted a tattoo of that symbol but have been too chicken to get it done).  In addition to Rambaldi, the number 47 appears sporadically throughout the series. If you pay close attention, you'll notice it on doors, codes, hotel rooms or the amount of people they are referring to. It became a game to look for 47  in every episode and I would squeal with delight every time I saw one. As far as I know, it appears in Abrams other series, Fringe as well. 

The show had a slew of really great recurring guest stars throughout the series, but none more memorable than David Anders, Julian Sark. His loyalties were flexible and he almost always sided with the bad guys (Sloane and Irina, to be more specific). He was witty and smart (and handsome!) and a wonderful villain to watch. Anders brought so much to the role that the fans were always begging to see more of Mr. Sark. Christian Slater had a 2 episode arc as a workaholic mathematician, named Neil Caplan, held captive by Sloane and Irina. Quentin Tarantino guest starred over a 2 part episode in season 1, as the former SD-6 employee, McKennas Cole, who takes the entire office hostage (he appears briefly in 1 episode of season 3 as well). Ricky Gervais appeared in the season 3 episode entitled, Facade, as a former bomb expert and before there was Locke, Terry O'Quinn guest starred as Kendall, throughout most of season 2, (as the director of the CIA section that kept Irina Derevko under lock and key). Sydney also had a nemesis in Anna Espinosa (played by Gina Torres) who worked for K-directorate and appeared every now and then to cause trouble for her. Not to mention the likes of, Jason Segel (before How I met Your Mother fame), Peter berg, Tobin Bell, Faye Dunaway, Rutger Hauer, Sir Roger Moore and Justin Thereoux (just to name a few).

The relationships, missions, intriguing storytelling, really cool wardrobe and  visually compelling backdrops, combined with a fantastic score (done by the brilliant Michael Giacchino), made for one phenomenally entertaining show.

Alias was never considered a "hit" but had lots of critical buzz that surrounded it and an extremely loyal cult following. I was pretty devastated when it ended in 2006 (after 5 seasons) and I remember almost calling in to work the day after the final episode aired because I was such a mess. I loved seeing those characters every week and trying to figure out where the story was going to go next. It wasn't perfect all the time by any means but I adored it nonetheless. I loved seeing Jennifer Garner as a kick ass agent, loved seeing Victor Garber as "Spy Daddy" and I absolutely loved hearing that theme song every week. To this day, I have yet to find a show that makes me as happy as Alias did. There have been a few other series that were able to somewhat fill the void (Lost, Chuck) but they never came close to being as epic as Alias was for me. It made me think, made me ask questions and made me fall in love with storylines every week and I am thankful for that. It was like trying to figure out a puzzle every season. 

My Top 5 Favorite Episodes:

1.) Truth Be Told- The Pilot/Season 1:
Sydney's fiance, Danny is killed when SD-6 finds out that she revealed to him that she is a spy. She then realizes that she's working for the bad guys and that her father is a CIA agent (she thought he made airplane parts). Syd ends up going to the real CIA for help and begins her life as a double agent. Everything about this episode was perfection. I have seen it countless times and will continue to rewatch it over and over again. Simply put, it is fantastic and my very favorite episode of any show.  Ever.

2.) Almost Thirty Years- Season 1 Finale:
In order to get Will back from Sark and "Suit and Glasses", Syd must steal Page 47 from an underwater SD-6 vault to make a trade. Dixon catches her and although she tries to explain that she isn't betraying her country, he walks away disappointed. The episode ends with Vaughn trapped under water, unable to escape and with Syd's mom (who she hasn't seen in almost 30 years) revealing herself as "The Man".

3.) Phase One- Season 2:
This is the episode that started it all for me, so it holds a special place in my heart. Sydney and the CIA are finally able to take down SD-6 and the Alliance of 12 simultaneously. Syd and Vaughn share a kiss and all the fans who had been begging for them to finally be together, celebrated! The episode ends with a shot of  Doppelganger Francie (evil Francie) talking to Sark, saying "the job is done". The camera pans over to the floor where the "real" Francie is lying dead, with a bullet hole in her head. 

4.) The Telling- Season 2 Finale: 
This episode contains one of the best fights in the history of TV, which takes place between Sydney and Evil Francie. After half a season of being completely oblivious to the fact that Francie hasn't been acting herself, Will and Syd both discover that the girl they thought was their friend, is actually Allison Doren, aka: a doppelganger, aka: Evil Francie. It also contains one of my favorite lines of the series; "Francie doesn't like coffee ice cream". The episode ends with Sydney waking up in an alley, in Hong Kong. She calls the CIA and they send Vaughn in to talk to her. She notices that he's wearing a wedding ring, as he explains to her that she's been missing for almost 2 years. S H O C K I N G.

5.) There's Only One Sydney Bristow- Season 5/100th Episode:
Anna Espinosa returns, after Peyton (Amy Acker) breaks her out of prison and offers her a job with the criminal organization known as Prophet 5. They decide the best way to get to Sydney is through her friends, so Anna abducts Will and plants a bomb in his brain. Prophet 5 ends up stealing Sydney's DNA, so they can turn Anna into her doppelganger. Mostly I just love this episode for the clip below:

Honorable mentions: Remnants- Season 3, it had the long awaited return of Will Tippin. Mirage- Season 4, Jack is sick and in order to find the only doctor that can cure him, Syd has to pretend to be her mother. It was haunting and heartbreaking all at once. Bob- Season 5, Rachel goes undercover and runs into Sark. Neither of them knows who the other is. I pick this episode simply because it is a very heavy Sark related episode. 

So, to end this extremely long blog post (and I will, I promise. Even though I could literally go on and on), Happy 10 Year Anniversary to J.J. Abrams and crew! Thanks for bringing to life my most favorite show in the whole world. I will always be in awe of your talent for being able to show viewers how entertaining the spy world and personal/family/work relationships can be. You will forever be a genius in my eyes for creating the character of Sydney Bristow. Also a huge thank you to all the actors who played those parts for so long, especially Jennifer Garner. No one comes close to her in my eyes.

Now, i'm going to go watch Season 1 for the 47th time! < O >

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Dilemma, A Couple Reviews and Channeling our "Inner Kelly Taylor"

I have a TV dilemma of sorts this evening. Not really a dilemma anymore, as I have decided what I am going to do BUT it was a dilemma nonetheless. I'm talking about Dancing With The Stars (ABC 8pm-10pm) being on at the same time as The Sing-Off (NBC 8pm-10pm). Ben Folds and lots of insanely talented singers VS. an out of control DWTS cast. What to watch and what to DVR? I know the anticipation is killing you, so I will just tell you: I'm going to watch Dancing With The Stars live, while the DVR records my precious Ben Folds for me. Why? Because Carrie will be watching DWTS live and we must text each other while it's on. We MUST. Anyway, I am looking forward to both of these shows, especially The Sing-Off, not only because I get to see Mr. Folds on my TV every week but I am really looking forward to seeing Sara Bareilles (taking over for Nicole Scherzinger, who is now on the X Factor) as a judge. The show is usually on at Christmas time but they've decided to premiere it in the Fall. You should check it out, if you have never seen it. Some seriously talented people on this show. It's very entertaining, I promise.

Also, Castle kicks off its new season this evening on ABC at 10pm. Welcome back, Nathan Fillion! I sure hope Beckett's wardrobe gets better this season... but then again, I kind of enjoy making fun of all her really awful outfits.

Who watched the Emmy's last night? I did and I really enjoyed them. Reading all the reviews of the awards today, I would say that I am definitely in the minority on that one. Honestly though, I think I enjoyed it so much because almost everyone I wanted to win, won and that is always fun. I thought Jane Lynch did a good job and I didn't get bored until they started talking about all the TV movies and mini-series that I have never heard of. The fact that Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones was reason enough for me to love the awards ceremony. I never used to like Dinklage. In all the other things I had ever seen him in (Elf, Nip/Tuck), he always drove me nuts, so I was bummed when I saw he was going to be on GOT. As the season went on though, he blew me away and his character quickly became one of my favorites. He really is a fantastic actor and it doesn't hurt that he was cast in a role that was absolutely perfect for him. Finally, WOO freaking HOO for Modern Family. I love this little comedy so much and to see it get some well deserved recognition makes me so very happy! Jane Lynch said it best when she said "Welcome back to the Modern Family awards!" They went 5 for 5 with Julie Bowen winning for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Ty Burrell for Best Supporting Male. The writers won a couple and then the entire cast and crew won for Best Comedy Series. This show is consistently hilarious and heartwarming and every person on it shines at one time or another. Seriously, if you have yet to get on the Modern Family train, hop on and see what all the fuss is about. And then tell me how right I am. I really enjoy being right!

Last week, Jeff and I watched the pilot episode for Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. It's a half hour comedy about a married couple dealing with the "newness" of being first time parents. Maya Rudolph is in it as well and plays an Oprah-type character. It's not a show devoted to the dealings of the baby itself, in fact, the baby is barely in it. It's moreso about how they re-adjust to everyday life. I really enjoyed this first episode. It's very easy to relate to and if i'm being honest, I think it's making me have a small crush on Will Arnett. He makes me laugh and I hope it ends up being picked up.

We also watched the Season 3 premiere of The Vampire Diaries (CW, Thursdays @ 8pm). Loved it. Love seeing Stefan as a "bad guy" and well, I just love seeing Damon Salvatore back on my TV.

The Secret Circle (CW, Thursdays @ 9pm) premiered right after Vampire Diaries. I've talked about this show before, just mentioning that I had read the books (by L.J. Smith) and that they were turning it into a TV show. The show is pretty much nothing like the books (so far) but I will stick with it for now and see how they interpret the story. Kevin Williamson is behind the creation of it and I have total faith in him. We'll see if he changes my opinion of him as the season progresses.

Oh! Since I wasn't really able to comment a whole lot on the True Blood finale in my last post, here are a few quick thoughts:


* Sookie found her inner Kelly Taylor and picked herself over Bill, Eric and Alcide.
* Alcide abjured Debbie Pelt. (Straight out of the book. LOVED it!)
* Steve Newlin's a vamp!
* Jason Stackhouse. There is no specific reason for mentioning him, I just really, really love him.
* Russell Edgington is free! ("Are you SERIOUS?!") Hahaha
* Bye bye, Debbie Pelt.
* And finally... last but not least and the reason I danced a jig at the end of the episode (literally, I jumped up off the couch and started dancing in the middle of my living room floor), TARA WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD by a shotgun blast that was meant for Sookie. Thanks, Debbie! No one can say you were good for nothing now!

Zooey Deschanel's New Girl premiere's tomorrow night on Fox @ 9pm!

Oh... and Glee's 3rd season premiere's tomorrow night as well. Ehhhh. (Note my lack of enthusiasm there)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Off to Neverland!

Last year, when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Florida, Jeff promised me that we could go. I was ecstatic. So, come January, I started doing some hardcore research on hotels, condos, parks and prices and we decided to do both Disney and Islands of Adventure. We invited my Mom to come along (because she loves Disney), couldn't convince my Dad to go (because he hates Disney) and asked my Sister, Natalie (it would be her first "real" vacation) to join us. First things first, we decided we were going to drive down and make a road trip out of it (Mom and Nat flew down). We also made the decision not to tell Charley about it. At first, I was going to tell him on his Birthday in May, but then we figured why not just wait and completely surprise him? I figured it would cut down on the "are we at Disney World yet?!?!" every 5 seconds in the car. He knew we were going on a road trip and that we would be staying in hotels, so he was very excited just to be away from our normal routine for the day. He was also incredibly fantastic in the car and only got whiny on the final day, right before we arrived home.

A few Scott Family Road Trip Extras:
- The nicest hotel we stayed in was Richmond, Kentucky (Jeff's homeland, of course).
-We were all sick of Georgia. So much so, that Charley was yelling "I just want to get out of Georgia!"
-Gas prices are way cheaper down south.
-Rest stops should all have ice machines.
-Each state should have a billboard of radio stations as you enter it. Yeah, we had our ipod but it was fun listening to the local stations as we went through each state. Country stations, to be more specific (as per Jeff's request and he was the driver so he had control.)

We were able to keep our destination a secret, right up until we saw the "Welcome to Walt Disney World" sign, welcoming us into the resort. C got real quiet as he figured out where we were and then got a huge smile on his face. When we pulled into the resort (the All Star Movies Hotel), we told him that someone would be meeting us to show us around the hotel (meaning my mom and sister). His whole face lit up when he saw them but he was still trying to process everything. As we walked through the giant statues from Toy Story and he was taking everything in, he started to get very excited. I'm really happy we planned it as a surprise. It was so much fun and so worth it just to see his face when I was explaining to him all the things we would be seeing/doing in the week to come (the picture on the side there, is me telling him about the parks and all the Star Wars stuff we'd be seeing). Anyway, a great time was had by all. It was an exhausting, fun time and it went by in a total blur but we have lots of fun stories to tell from it and Charley said I "made his dreams come true" and asked why we couldn't go to Disney World all the time.

Here is just a quick list of the things I really love and really dislike about Disney World.

The good:

- The bus transportation. If you stay onsite (at one of the Disney hotels), they provide you with free transportation to and from every single park (including Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), as well as Downtown Disney. There are designated lines in front of each hotel, for each destination and then people line up accordingly. This was so convenient, especially on the days we were dead tired. I loved not having to worry about parking and all that nonsense.

- They know how to decorate/design. At least our hotel did. Paying tribute to five different Disney movies (Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians, Fantasia, The Love Bug and The Mighty Ducks), we were all in awe of the statues and attention to detail that they put into each section, right down to the Mighty Ducks pool looking like a hockey rink. The Magic Kingdom was decorated for fall and Halloween with Mickey Mouse pumpkins on all the lamp posts. It was just magical and fun.

- Speaking of magical, it really is "the most magical place on earth". If you love even the tiniest thing about Disney, they find a way to pay tribute to it. They can turn your kids into pirates for the day or transform them into a princess and even train them to become a Jedi at Hollywood Studios. Their tagline is "Making dreams come true" and I totally believe them. They also have something called a Photo Pass. In every park, there are designated "photo spots" and they have photographers there who will take your picture for free (say, in front of Cinderella's Castle) and then you can go online and purchase them. It's a fun way of having everyone in the picture... the downside is it's not so cheap to buy them off the website. The photographers will also use your camera to take the picture and I thought that was really cool (see side photo).

- The people who perform in the shows or operate the rides truly appear to love their jobs. Some of those people have to dance in the same parade every single day, in the blistering heat and they do it with a smile on their face. A ton of work is put into entertaining the huge masses of people who visit the parks every day and that blows my mind. I love that so much thought, energy and creativity is put into showing people a good time.

-There is no shortage of souvenir's. This is both a good and a bad thing. The good for now... They have so much stuff that you can't get anywhere else... From all the Disney characters dressed as Star Wars guys, to Indiana Jones, to every kind of Mr. Potato Head part you could think of, they have it. They have the widest variety of cups and coffee mugs (you know I heart my cups/mugs) that I have ever seen. Even if you can't afford to spend the $20 on the R2-D2 Mickey Mouse ears, it's fun just to try it on and see that it exists.

-It takes you away from reality for a few hours, a few days at a time and really, we could all use that every once in awhile.

The bad:

- If you stay onsite, they pretty much make it impossible for you to get food, medicine, milk etc. anywhere other than the hotel store/cafeteria. My mom needed Benadryl and they didn't have any in the store. When we asked where the closest drugstore was, it was miles away. Our only option was to have it delivered to the hotel from the store, for a delivery fee, plus the cost of the medicine. Annoying. Also annoying that a half gallon of milk is $3.50.

- Food prices in the food courts and restaurants are insane. The main thing I worried about the entire time we were there was "how much is THIS meal going to cost?" On average, we probably spent $40-$50 each meal (except for breakfast. Breakfast was cereal in the hotel room). Most of the time the food wasn't even worth the price (although Planet Hollywood makes a damn good cheeseburger). The hotel offers a $15 cup (it's a smaller type travel mug) that you can purchase and then get unlimited refills on all beverages (not alcohol) for the duration of your stay. Needless to say, we got drinks even when we weren't thirsty just because it was available. While we were at Islands of Adventure, I told C that I would buy him ice cream if he went on the Dr. Seuss Trolley with me (I would have bought him some anyway but a little bribery never hurt anyone). He did and when we got back to the hotel, I bought him a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream on a stick. Here, it would have cost $1... In Disney, it cost $4. That made me so angry. I can't tell if the meal plan would have saved us money or not. The only difference I see with it, is that at least our food would have been prepaid. Really though, if you plan on going to Disney, don't just save money for souvenir's, save money for food too. (Also, the workers in the food court at the hotel were total holes and that was a real downer).

- Again, there is no shortage of souvenir's and this is awesome if you have buckets of money to drop on every single $40 Mickey Mouse t-shirt or $10 keychain but these prices are definitely not convenient for the family on a budget (which we happen to be). They sold balloons for $15 that we saw tons of people purchase. Sure, they were cool balloons but paying almost $20 for a balloon that will most likely be on the floor, deflated 24 hours later is crazy to me. I can't justify that. Call me a Grinch if you will. I am OK with it.

With all that being said, if you ever think our economy is doing poorly, just go to Disney World. The amount of people that visit these parks on any given day astounds me. They come from all over the world too. ALLLL over and that is a pretty cool thing to see.

As far as Islands of Adventure goes, I loved everything about it (other than it raining on the day we went, but that isn't their fault, haha). My only minor complaint is that we had no luck meeting any of the Super Heroes and that could have just been bad timing on our part. When we took Charley to meet Spider-Man (who was inside a room, inside of a store), they took him away because it was raining outside. On us. In the words of the cute British girl in line behind me, "but he's inside, isn't he??" So Spider-Man was a bust. When C saw Captain America, he was so excited to meet him and they said he couldn't take anymore pictures. Captain America ran away, even though Charley was the next person in line. That made me so upset that I had to walk away and fight off crying. Aunt Natalie saved the day though and took him to buy a Captain America toy in the souvenir shop. Again, bad timing on our part, I guess.

And finally, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We saved it for last. 1.) In hopes that it would be less busy in the afternoon and 2.) You always save the best for last, don't you? I needed to prepare myself for it. Not that I thought that it would disappoint me but just the fact that this is years in the making. Getting to see the shops and school that once only existed on paper was a huge deal to me. When we walked up to it, I stood outside the entrance for a few minutes collecting myself. I had tears in my eyes and chills from seeing everything so awesomely decorated. The train took my breath away, as well as the castle. Everything looked just as it did in the movies and in my imagination. The structures and buildings were done so magnificently, I was in complete awe. The shops themselves are pretty tiny, so it's difficult to browse casually but they are amazing. The displays in the windows of chocolate frogs and quidditch supplies brought a huge smile to my face. Everything is so well done. At one point, they had a choir dressed in Hogwarts robes, perform songs (from the movies) while holding singing frogs. The Butterbeer is delicious and is a cross between cream soda and a shortbread cookie (Nat and I had it frozen, which was awesome). Moaning Myrtle talks over the speakers when you go into the bathrooms and the rides were awesome. Buckbeak's flight is fast and takes you through part of Hagrid's pumpkin patch. The Forbidden Journey is the ride that goes through the castle. It is out of this world amazing and easily the coolest thing I have ever seen. It makes you feel like you are playing in a quidditch game, flying on a broom with Ron and Harry, flying away from Dementors and being spit on by Aragog. I had tears in my eyes when it was over because it was so fantastic. We didn't go into Ollivander's because quite frankly, it was 47 billion degrees outside and it had the longest line (we only waited 20 minutes for the other rides) and I completely forgot about the third roller coaster (The Dragon Challenge) because I was so consumed by everything else. All in all, I loved it. Everything about it... except the bajillion people who were there. Even so, I can't wait to go back.

So, that was our trip. It was a lot of fun and I loved seeing Charley get so excited over certain things and then run to tell Jeff, "Daddy, it was so awesome!". It was really tiring at times and my head got insanely sunburned but it was all totally worth it. 

Miscellaneous TidBits and Thank You's:

- I absolutely, positively loved the True Blood finale.  So, SO much better than last years. I have no idea where they are going to take the story next season and I think that's awesome. (That's all I will say about it at this point because I know there are a few people who haven't watched it yet).

- I watched Ringer last night. I don't know how I feel about it. It was strange. It was nice seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar again though.

- Thanks to Carrie for giving me trivia and keeping me entertained via texting on the drive down to Florida when Jeff and I would slip into one of our sleepy modes.

- Thanks to Dawn for visiting and playing with our pups and cheering them up while we were gone.

- Thanks to Nuncle Dennis and Aunt Rhonda for letting Charley borrow the DVD player. It helped SO much during the drive!!

- Finally... A HUGE, HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for me over the past month. I appreciate you guys and the fact that you take the time to read my ramblings more than you could ever know. As long as you keep reading, I will keep finding silly things to post about.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

It goes without saying that I have some pretty unbelievably awesome people in my life and I love them a whole lot!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Olden Time TV

Since there hasn't been anything real fun to watch lately, I figured I would continue my theme of the good ol' days and talk a little bit about the shows I loved when I was growing up. Humor me and play along, why don't you?

The very first television show I remember loving was The Monkees. Nickelodeon used to show reruns of their short lived (1966-1968) half hour comedy and Dennis and I loved it. It was centered around the band itself (Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones) and the silly hi-jinks and situations they would get themselves into. My brother and I became obsessed with the show and the music in general. Every episode would feature at least one musical performance. We had all their records/albums and knew all the words to every song. I had the biggest crush on Peter Tork and even received a keyboard one Christmas because I wanted to play like him. Most of what I remember about the show now, is a lot of Davy getting stars in his eyes and falling in love with a different girl every episode and them just doing really ridiculous things. It was mindless and cheesy and so much fun. It also led to my very first concert when I was 6 years old. My parents took Dennis, Jay and I to see them at Pine Knob and Weird Al opened for them. I remember being completely in awe of hearing the songs I loved so much live and being so confused because they didn't look like they did on the show (you know, because they grew up, haha). Below is a little sampling of what usually took place in every episode. You'll notice this clip also stars Bobby Sherman, who I think looks a lot like Maxwell Caulfield, AKA Rex Manning from Empire Records.

We also looooooved Fraggle Rock. Really, I shouldn't have to explain what this show is (but I will if you have been living under a rock or in a hobbit hole all of your life). It was a live-action muppet show, created by Jim Henson. The series focused on Boober (he was the depressed one and loved doing laundry), Red (she was the athletic, energetic one, as well as Mokey's Best friend.), Wembley (Gobo's roommate and best friend. Always indecisive.), Gobo (the main Fraggle and the most level headed of the bunch. He liked to explore "outer space") and Mokey (She was the hippie of the group. A free spirit, if you will), with special appearances by Uncle Traveling Matt, the doozers and last but not least, the Gorgs. Red Fraggle was my favorite and my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Ron bought Dennis and I all of the stuffed animals when we were kids. I still have mine and passed them down to Charley. They are a bit beat up but he loves them nonetheless. The show was really good at teaching kids lessons and it had pretty awesome music to go along with it. Here is one of my favorite songs from the show:

Listen, I know all of you (most of you) liked Saved By The Bell but I REALLY liked it. Quite frankly, I adored this show. I would race home from school everyday, settle into my office (the couch) and watch it. It was about a handful of teenagers (and their principal) as they endured "everyday high school experiences". Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) was the main character, followed by Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) and Screech (Dustin Diamond). Simply put; A slacker, a homecoming queen, a brain, a fashion guru, a jock and a nerd. I am aware that there have been several different variations of this show (New Class, College Years Etc.) as well as other cast members who were added (Tori, blech!)and subtracted at one time or another, but this was my favorite cast. I wanted to be friends with these characters. I wanted to hang out at The Max, help Zack with his kooky schemes, be apart of Hot Fudge Sundae and sell "Buddy Bandz" with them. I was honestly devastated when Kelly broke up with Zack, to start dating her boss from The Max, Jeff  (played by Patrick Muldoon) and I wanted a summer job at the beach house that they all worked at. TBS showed back to back episodes of it every afternoon and I would anxiously await the day when they would show the very special episode entitled "Jessie's Song" where Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills. That episode was so out of the norm from the goofy stuff they usually did that it is still one of the most popular and remembered episodes ever. Observe, if you will:

Speaking of Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, after she was done on Saved By The Bell she took a walk on over to one of my other most favorite shows ever, Beverly Hills, 90210. This show started out as the story of the Walsh family, who moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to glamorous Beverly Hills, California. It centered on the two kids in the family (twins), Brenda and Brandon, as they made new friends and experienced what it was like to live in such a rich place. As the years went on, the focus came off of those two and was broadened quite a bit to include everyone else in the cast: Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), Dylan McKay (Luke Perry), Donna Martin (Tori Spelling), David Silver (Brian-Austin Green), Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris) and Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering).Now, I could go into all of my favorite episodes and why they are my favorite episodes but that show was on for 10 years and it would take up an entire blog post all by itself (note to self: do 90210 blog post). Instead, I will just tell you that this was the first soap opera type show that I ever really connected with and fell in love with. I loved Brandon and Dylan and would go back and forth on trying to decide which one I loved more (FYI: Brandon eventually won my heart) and I loved the drama of the triangle between Dylan/Kelly/Brenda. The show went through some great times and a few bad times but I loved them all. A few years ago, Carrie, Jaimie and I had a Beverly Hills, 90210 trivia-off. We each came up with our own questions, had Jeff ask them and whoever had the most correct answers won. Jaimie was the winner. Hooray! Here is one of my favorite moments from the show:

Remember back in olden times when you had to pay for the Disney Channel? Every so often we would get a free preview and I would get so excited because I was able to watch Kids Incorporated and The Mickey Mouse Club. That was also during the time when cartoons were only on in the mornings. Now there are several channels dedicated solely to cartoons. Charley can't even comprehend the thought of not being able to pause live tv or record something at the push of a single button... Meanwhile I still have Saved By The Bell: Hawaiian Style on VHS, hahaha.

Those are just a few of my favorites... the most important ones. I also really loved Who's The Boss (the episode where Samantha gets a training bra for her birthday is my favorite), My Two Dad's, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Just the Ten of Us, The Cosby Show, Head of The Class, Melrose Place, Fame, Hey Dude...

What were some of your favorite tv shows/scenes?

By the way... Don't forget to vote for the super awesome blog you are currently reading (this one, duh)!!!


Friday, August 19, 2011

A Long, Long, Time Ago, Yesterday...

While flipping through the channels the other day, I noticed that Little Monsters was on TV. There was a time (a long, long time ago yesterday) that I went through a Fred Savage phase and it was because of this movie. It came out in 1989 and was about a boy named Brian (Savage) who discovers a hidden world of monsters UNDER HIS BED (hello?! terrifying concept.). Anyway, Ben Savage plays Eric (Brian's brother) and Howie Mandel stars as the monster Maurice, who introduces him to the secret world (where there are no rules and no parents. Hooray!). They have fun exploring and playing tricks on Brian's friends/enemies by sneaking into their rooms (via under their beds). Of course, the fun and games come to an end eventually when Brian's little brother is kidnapped by the head of the Monster world, "Boy" and a big battle ensues. They end up having to race to get back home before the sun rises or they'll end up as monsters forever. Now, this is just a quick rundown of the plot. A lot more goes on in the movie and I was fascinated by it. What's even more fascinating is the fact that Howie Mandel played a blue monster with horns and had to wear a TON of makeup. Perhaps that's where his fear of germs originated?? By the way... this movie would horrify Charley. Here is the trailer:

Seeing that movie the other day got me to thinking about what other movies I loved as a kid and of course, Labyrinth (1986) is at the top of the list.  The first time my Aunt showed Dennis and I this film, I made her turn it off. The site of seeing Toby crying his eyes out in his crib, while his big sister yelled at him was so disturbing to me. I eventually had her turn it back on and ended up falling in love with it. If you don't know (and you should because it's awesome), Labyrinth stars David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King. Sarah (played by a very young Jennifer Connelly), wishes for the goblins to take her brother away. They oblige and she immediately regrets it. Jareth challenges her to solve his Labyrinth in 13 hours and if she does, she can have her brother back.  If she doesn't, he'll be turned into a goblin forever. While on her journey, she meets lots of fun characters and sees an abundance of magical things. As if the movie wasn't fantastic enough, it is chalk full of really great songs written and performed by David Bowie. "Magic Dance" was even on our wedding CD.  I will watch this movie and quote the heck out of it.  I willingly admit that I am no fun to watch it with because I will say every line and sing every song. Charley is not afraid of this one but that could be because he knows how much I love it and maybe perhaps because we have a giant framed picture of Toby surrounded by all the goblins, hanging on our living room wall (not to mention a clock, buttons and replicas of the actual door knockers from the film). Here is just a taste of the awesomeness:

This next one isn't exactly a kids movie... Okay, it's not for kids at all but Dennis and I adored it when we were younger and I still do to this day. I'm talking about the 1985 film, Clue, starring Tim Curry, Lesley Ann Warren (Miss Scarlet), Michael McKean (Mr. Green), Christopher Lloyd (Professor Plum) and Madeline Khan (Mrs. White), just to name a few . The movie is based on the board game by Parker Brothers and takes place in 1954. Six strangers are invited to a dinner party at a mysterious mansion and are greeted and served by a butler named Wadsworth (Tim Curry). As the evening goes on, the guests start realizing that they are all connected to each other in one way or another. They then discover that someone has been committing multiple murders throughout the night and go off in teams to figure out who the culprit is. The movie takes you on a fun "who-dunnit" journey and for whatever reason, it stuck with me as a kid and still does today. I loved it so much, I was even Miss Scarlet for Halloween once. No one had any idea who I was but I thought it was the greatest costume ever. I have yet to show this one to Charley. Here is one of my favorite scenes from the movie that I still refer to when I get real mad about someone/something:

I watched Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) with Charley a couple months ago and remembered how wonderful that movie is. It was really cool to see him laugh at the same parts I used to laugh at as a kid. In the movie, Pee-Wee Herman has a shiny red bike that he loves more than anything in the world. When it goes missing, he suspects his neighbor/enemy Francis of taking it and sets out on a mission to find it. It's not the simple story that makes this movie so great, it's the scenery (starting with his amazingly imaginative house full of gadgets that make breakfast for him at the sound of an alarm) and all the characters he meets along the way (one of my favorites being Large Marge). By the end of the film, he has a whole slew of new friends and he gets a very happy ending. The things I remember most about this movie, other than his bike and house of course, are Francis's giant swimming pool bath tub (that I have always wanted), "there's no basement at the alamo!" and the scene where he runs into a burning pet shop to free all of the animals and comes out with two fistfuls of SNAKES. Ack! Here is one of my favorite scenes (I even named my dad's GPS, "Marge" after this scene)... I couldn't embed it, so just follow the link!

This last one I haven't shown Charley yet because I think he might still be a bit too young for it. The Neverending Story (1984) takes place in two worlds. A magical world known as Fantastica (which is being destroyed by something called "The Nothing"), and the real world.  The film follows a boy named Bastian as he is hiding out from bullies in his school's attic. While he's up there, he begins reading The Neverending Story and quickly realizes that he, himself has become part of the story. The book's hero is a boy named Atreyu and he is on a mission to find a cure for the Empress, who has fallen ill (most likely because of The Nothing).  While searching for a cure, he comes across a bunch of fantastical creatures (Falkor) and some scary ones as well (Gmork, the werewolf). There is a really awful, heartbreaking scene involving Atreyu, his horse (Artax) and quicksand that has scarred me to this day (and is probably the real reason why I don't want Charley to watch it), but all in all it's a great movie about the importance of creativity and imagination. Here is the trailer (that big, fluffy, dog-type looking creature is Falkor. He's super fun!):

Now, I could make this the neverending blog (haha) about my favorite movies growing up, but i'll stop here and just quickly mention a few others... Flight of The Navigator (compliance!), Return to Oz (terrifying and fantastic all rolled into one),  Dirty Dancing (duh), Tremors ("way to go dudes!"), The Princess Bride (as you wish), The Sandlot (oh, Benny The Jet), Drop Dead Fred (Snotface!), Gremlins (Mogwai!) etc. etc. etc.

By the way... on the rare chance that you haven't heard yet, I am nominated in the contest for Detroit's Most Valuable blogger. The voting goes until September 9th and you can vote once a day. I would love it and appreciate it if you did! THANK YOU!