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

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!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some Congratulations and Some True Blood

I haven't been doing much TV watching this summer. I know... it's really hard to believe but a lot has been going on. What have I been watching? True Blood, of course (which I will get back to in a minute) and I also watched White Collar (which had it's summer finale last week and was excellent. I love that show).

What have I been doing instead of watching my beloved television all summer? For starters, see previous post (sad.), secondly, saying goodbye to my LYBF (Carrie) and thirdly, cheering my Cousin, Tiffany on as she walked 60 miles (60 miles!!) in the Breast Cancer 3-Day this past weekend. So for the most part, this has been an emotional summer. Carrie is moving to North Carolina because she accepted a position at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. How awesome is that? She's amazingly smart and deserves all the wonderful things that she has coming her way. I wasn't able to throw her the going away party (not-party-get-together) that I had planned, so please, join me in wishing her the best of luck as she embarks on this fantastic adventure. I will selfishly admit that my heart is aching a little bit right now because I am going to miss her so much. But, I know that really great things await her and I look so forward to the next time we see each other, so we can hang out and laugh until no sound comes out. I love you, my LYBF.

Also, I would like for you to congratulate my cousin, Tiffany on her awesome accomplishment of walking for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day. She was walking for her mother (who passed away many years ago) and my mother (who is a survivor) and for anyone else who has ever been affected by this sickness . She is a true inspiration to me and a wonderful person and I know that her mother is so very proud of her right now. Know that you are a phenomenal person, Tiff and anyone who can't see that doesn't deserve to be a part of your journey. Cancer can suck it!  

Moving on to less meaningful things now, haha... and I will mark this with a SPOILER ALERT!

Ok, my fellow True Blood fans... With only 4 episodes to go in Season 4, I am curious to hear what your thoughts are on the season so far. Still disappointed? Happily surprised? or did you give up on it weeks ago? I am still pretty happy with it. It's nothing like the book, other than the Eric/Sookie relationship (which was the most important thing to me to begin with) but I like what they are doing with all the other storylines, with the exception of a few...

I'm not crazy about the Arlene/Terry/Creepy baby story. If anyone should be haunting that little baby, it should be Rene', not some random lady who keeps singing to him because she lost her own baby years ago. Now that she has inhabited Lafayette's body, I'm even less interested. I am so over the Tommy scenes. Great, he's a skinwalker now. He was an awful person to begin with and now he's an even bigger hole. Move on from this guy and stop wasting minutes on him. And finally, Tara. I don't need to go into detail about how much I don't like her character because I have said it 47 thousand times before. I can't stand her. There is nothing remotely endearing about her character and on top of it all, she's a horrible friend to Sookie. She has almost died at least 3 times this season and every time, I would get so excited, only to be let down. I think I need to accept the fact that she is never going anywhere... I don't get it though. I can't be the only person who despises her character, am I??

Not only am I liking Bill this season, but I am loving the potential of a Jessica/Jason relationship. I love, love, love Jason Stackhouse. The way Ryan Kwanten portrays him is absolutely perfect and he makes me smile whenever he is on screen (uhh...except for when he is being tortured/violated by werepanthers). Both those characters are so child-like that they would be perfect together. I really hope the writers continue on with this storyline. For the most part, I am a little tired of the witches, although I really enjoyed the beginnings of the battle in the last episode. All the fog and smoke reminded me of the book and I thought it was cool that Alcide came in to save Sookie after she got shot (with Debbie Pelt in wolf form, spying on him). Speaking of Alcide, it's about time he stand up and do something that he wants to do, IE: help Sookie. For being such a big, burly, werewolf, he sure caves to all of Debbie's demands. Hopefully he'll start to become his own person from here on out.

I think it's a little odd that they completely dropped the fairy storyline, after the way the season premiere began. Maybe they just wanted a way to make the show jump ahead in time? or maybe they have something really cool in store for last few episodes? Who's to say? I also think it's strange that we haven't heard/seen anymore from the werepanthers in Hotshot. Not that I want to see any of those creeps anymore, I just think it's too easy that they would just leave Jason, their new "Uncle Daddy" alone after what they did to him.

And finally, Eric and Sookie. Oh my, do I love them together. Obviously Eric won't stay this way for the remainder of the series, so I am very much looking forward to how their characters interact when he becomes his good old viking self again. I am pretty sure they developed a blood bond in the last episode (something that doesn't happen until book 7) but it was kind of understated the way that it happened, so I can't be sure. If that is indeed what took place, we should be in store for a lot of fun scenes in the episodes to come.

Anyway, all in all, I am quite happy with the season. The story is so different from the books now that they can't really follow the same storyline at all anymore. I am kind of excited about that though because it means lots of surprises are ahead. But again, we still have 4 episodes to go so I am going to be cautiously optimistic. I am going to keep my fingers crossed that the season finale will be much better than last years.

So, share your thoughts, friends! I am looking forward to hearing your guys take on the season so far.

One more thing! Something Borrowed came out on DVD/Blu Ray today. Go get yourself a copy because it's such a fun movie. Do it! Do it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Of A Kind

Most of you know by now that my Grandma VanSullen passed away about a week ago. I'm not writing this with the intention to make anyone sad or cry, but I wanted to say something at her funeral and I didn't because I knew that I would have been a blubbering, incoherent mess... so this is my way of paying tribute to Margaret VanSullen.

Last Thursday, after I came home from the hospital, Jeff asked me how things were going. As I was telling him the details of where things stood, I realized that the whole family had been together. That doesn't happen very often. In fact, the only time I can remember all of us being together at one time (consistently) is on Christmas Eve. That made me smile because as sad as I was, some of my favorite memories are of Christmas Eve at my Grandparents house on Virgil, in Redford. The whole family would go over there to eat dinner, open presents, visit and laugh, while Mitch Miller sang Christmas carols in the background. The house would smell like mushroom soup, kielbasa and sour kraut and later in the evening, dish soap. To this day, the smell of dish soap reminds me of my Grandpa doing dishes on Christmas Eve (and I love it).  My Grandma would be bustling around in her apron, making sure everyone was eating and happy, while my Mom and Aunts would continually say "sit down, Mom!". Dennis and I would be playing Coleco (that's an old timey gaming system for you youngin's out there) "patiently" waiting to open our gifts. I loved sitting upstairs in their living room, with the lights off and staring at their Christmas tree. I loved that there were always brownies (made by Grandma) and waffle cookies (made by my Great Grandpa) to eat. That night always felt magical to me. Not just because it was Christmas but because Grandma and Grandpa made it feel that way.

Grandma always said "salads always taste better when other people make them, don't you think?" and it would remind me of how when I was little and we would go to their house, she would give me a bowl of vanilla ice cream, covered in chocolate syrup. That ice cream sundae would always taste way better than any other sundae I had ever had. Whether it was because the syrup she used came from a can, or it was because she made it for me, it always tasted better at her house. She always brought shrimp to my parents house for all of our get togethers and she made the BEST cocktail sauce. It was so much better than anything you could buy. And of course, you all know about her brownies. Individually wrapped and filled with love, no other recipe compares to Margie VanSullen's brownies. At the funeral home, there were trays and trays of brownies from people who wanted to show how much they loved her. It was such a fantastic tribute to her and I know she was smiling down on us.

When I was 6, my parents gave me a "Peter Pan haircut". I refused to comb my very long hair (it hurt!), so they chopped it off and I looked like a boy. I hated that haircut... until my Grandma gave me a home perm and made it curly and cute.

She would always feel bad for Chris Osgood (or any goalie for that matter) if they let in too many goals and the fans were giving them a hard time.

One of the first times she held Charley when he was a baby, she said "Ohhh, he's hefty", haha

She was at every single event her grandkids (and great grandkids) were involved in. Graduations, recitals, Christmas concerts, plays etc. Every. Single. Event. without fail and always with brownies in tow to celebrate afterward.

I never once heard her yell.

She loved doing ceramics and we always loved receiving her creations as gifts. The above picture is of the Halloween pumpkins she made us when we were all born. She made me and Jeff (and later, Charley) our very own when we bought our house. It was my favorite housewarming gift and I loved when people would see them and ask "where did you get those!?" and I would reply with "oh, MY Grandma made them". That's right, they were a MVS one of a kind creation. Whenever she would give you one of her pieces, she would laugh and point out small mistakes that she noticed or tried to cover up. Those mistakes were always my favorite part. They are what made them special and unique.

My mom sometimes refers to me as "Little Margie" because I always try to make sure everyone is happy. She never smoked and didn't drink and loved her family with all her heart. If I am to take after anyone at all, I will be more than happy and honored to take after my Grandma.

We'll all miss her hugs and her giggle but we will always, always have the memories she created with us and that is something that I will always cherish. XOXOXO