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

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

MidSeason Thoughts & a Tiny Movie Review

It's December and in addition to watching all your favorite Holiday specials (Rudolph, The Grinch, Charlie Brown) and Hallmark movies (Most Wonderful Time of The Year, Naughty or Nice, Snow), we all get to watch our favorite shows present us with their mid-season finales... or "winter break" finales. However you want to refer to them, they are always fun and packed with lots of jaw dropping, OMG moments and I love it.

Here is my take on some of my favorite shows so far this season. (Spoilers ahead if you aren't all caught up on The Walking Dead, Revolution, The Vampire Diaries and Castle.)

It only took 10 tries (TEN!) but I finally really loved an episode of Revolution. Miles (Billy Burke) and Charlie/Kateness (Tracy Spiridakos) finally met up with Monroe (the really super hot, David Lyons) and rescued  Danny/the most blah character ever (Graham Rogers). There was a fantastic fight between Miles and Monroe, to which I squealed with delight to Jeff "two handsome boys fighting it out?! This show finally got good!" They used to be BFF's and now all that has changed. I didn't want either one to shoot/kill the other because aside from Elizabeth Mitchell's, Rachel, they are the only characters I care about. After talks of brotherhood and family and how Monroe had changed too much for Miles liking, they sword fought and punched each other and Miles ended up running away. David Lyons is a fantastic actor. My heart was breaking for him and the loss of his best friend even though I know he's a pretty horrible dude. Charlie finally found out her mom is alive. She cried. Surpise, surprise. All in all, the season so far has been pretty rough. You know I don't care for Charlie and I felt like every episode was just them trekking through the jungle whining about stuff. Since they finally rescued Danny and got Rachel away from Monroe, I am hoping the last half of the season will be MUCH better... It has to be, right? (Also, Giancarlo Esposito is a wonderful bad guy).

There are still 2 episodes left in December for The Vampire Diaries but I'm going to give you my thoughts on it anyway. I was pretty worried about it for a few episodes there. Vampire Elena (Nina Dobrev) turned out to be a crying, bloody, useless mess. Every episode she looked like that picture over there. Ugh and I haaaaated the bad guy/vampire hunter, Connor (Todd Williams). I was really upset when they introduced the theory of "The 5 Hunters" and how their tattoos will lead to a cure for the vampires. A cure. For vampires. Dumb! Stefan (Paul Wesley) was all gung-ho on finding the cure for Elena because he thinks she isn't the same person she was before (mostly because she hearts Damon (Ian Somerhalder) a whole lot now), but now that they made Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) a vampire hunter and every time he kills a vampire, the urge to kill another becomes stronger and stronger (and he lives with a vampire... who is his sister), it complicates things. Thank goodness! I was really excited at the end of last season when I realized they were making Elena a vampire. Do not. DO NOT cop out now and try to reverse things. That is just so very frustrating! I thought it was real weird that after 4 seasons of pining away/obsessing over Stefan, she all of a sudden breaks up with him and tells him to move on. Huh? I'm not complaining, I love her with Damon as well as Stefan but it just seemed abrupt and off. She even made sexytimes with Damon as soon as Stefan left the house! Then they threw a twist in there. Come to find out, Elena is sired to Damon. His blood made her a vamp. Of course she is all about him now. Duh! Now, let me just talk about how much I love love love Caroline (Candice Accola) and Klaus (Joseph Morgan) for a minute. I love them. Their banter, their anger with each other. I love it all. If those two don't get together by the end of the season I am going to be severely disappointed. I. Love. Them. I'm excited for the rest of the episodes. I am intrigued by the teacher/witch fella and the girl from The Stupid Secret Circle being in cahoots. Mostly I just want Elena to not cry every episode from now on. You are a vampire, girl! Put your fangs in and act like it!

The Walking Dead. Holy moly what a fantastic season it has been. Such a complete improvement from the last one. It has been nonstop action and emotion and heartbreak and just pure awesome. The episode where Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) gives birth/dies was completely enthralling. Andrew Lincoln gave one of the best performances I have ever seen. Ever. It was so so so good. The governor (David Morrissey) is creeptastic (zombie heads in jars! Zombie daughter locked up!) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) is a total badass. Speaking of badasses, Carl (Chandler Riggs) seems to have upped his game. Instead of being told to stay in the house, he's actually handling a gun and killing zombies. All while wearing that damn hat. He hasn't taken it off once all season. I hope a zombie eats it... His hat, I mean. I suppose I should cut him a little slack. He had to watch his mother give birth to his sister, die and then shoot her in the head so she didn't turn. That has to scar a kid, right? Maybe I should let him keep his hat... The show left off with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and his brother, Merle (Michael Rooker) facing a horde of angry Woodbury occupants. If they off Daryl, I think the producers are going to have a horde of angry Walking Dead Fans on their hands. We'll find out in February what happens to him and the rest of our survivors when the Woodbury people and the Prison people come to blows. It's going to be exciting!

We are a couple of episodes behind on Once Upon A Time but I love this season so far.

Castle has been fantastic. If there are any writers out there who are struggling with trying to get the two leads of their show together as a couple, talk to the dudes over at Castle. They did it and it has been so fun. I love watching Beckett (Stana Katic) and Rick (Natahan Fillion) solve crimes together and also try to figure out how to solve having a relationship. It's funny and sweet and very heartwarming. Keep it up, Castle people!

We are 8 episodes behind on Bones. Is that enough to make us throw in the towel and stop watching? I'm not sure yet. I would like to get caught up eventually but I have been really disappointed in it so I'm not exactly looking forward to watching them. That's sad.

I have loved every single episode of New Girl this season. That's all I really need to say because I gush about that show all the time and you guys are probably sick of it. I love everything about it, that's all there is to it. Modern Family has been good this season as well. Also, Manny still gets on my nerves. We are a couple episodes behind on Elementary but I am really enjoying that show.

What are your thoughts on the shows this season? Any happy surprises? Disappointments?

I haven't wanted to blog about Breaking Dawn Part 2 for fear of spoiling anyone. I won't go into too much detail now, other than saying that I loved it because if you haven't seen it yet, you NEED to experience it the way I did. I went in seeing it without much expectation. I was excited to see it but at the same time, I was trying not to be overly excited like I have been with those movies in the past. I don't know if that enhanced my reactions to it or what but I was blown away. It was so so well done. I wish I had mine and Dawn and Kat and Erica's reactions on video for you all to see because I bet they were hysterical. It was a good end to the saga and dare I say I may have enjoyed it more than the book??? Maybe. I'll need to think about that a little more. It's weird that it's over. Not like how it was when Harry Potter ended and I was literally depressed by it but it just seems strange. Those years went by super fast; the books were huge and then there was talk of the movies and then they came out and boom, done! So fast. I love them though and I love what they represent. Sure, they could have been better. Sure, I love to make fun of them. Sure, they aren't as good as the books. But underneath all that, I really do love them.

Without posting spoilers for those who haven't seen it, did you guys like the movie? The twist? Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Free Time and Tv and Books and Things.

It's nice when your friends and family know you as well as mine know me. I asked for no gifts for my Birthday this year. They very nicely ignored me, for which I am grateful. I got balloons, flowers, Dunkin Donuts giftcards, some lovely clothes and the new Nora Roberts book (which I let my sister keep for now because she had already read the first 3 chapters before I opened the present, haha). I came into work this morning with Biggby coffee and donuts waiting for me on my desk and Ron Weasley (see side pic) wishing me a "Magical Birthday".

I had an entire day to myself. Mom's (and Dad's) of little ones, I ask you: What would you do with a whole day to yourself? No commitments. No obligations. Just 8 hours of uninterrupted free time. Well, I didn't know what to do with myself. The possibilities were endless! I could have an Alias marathon or watch Labyrinth or Clue (all of which I considered). I could go to the library by myself and read. I could stay home and read. I could go to a book store and walk around. I could sleep all day. I could clean all day (no). As it turned out, I spent the morning on Pottermore, shopping in Diagon Alley and de-gnoming the garden, all while checking in with facebook and seeing all my lovely Birthday wishes. I went to Target and bought myself a new purse. Went to Qdoba and got myself some chips and guacamole. Went to Biggby and got myself a coffee. I watched 2 hours worth of Saved By The Bell episodes, all of which I remembered the words to. I read for a bit and facebook'ed a little more. I flipped channels and ended up watching the first episode of Downton Abbey. It was 430pm before I knew it and then I had to go get Charley from school. It was a great day and I guess the answer for me as far as "what would you do with uninterrupted time?" is concerned is this: a little bit of everything. It was delightful and I truly, truly appreciate each and every Birthday greeting I received. Thanks everyone!

What shows have you guys been impressed with so far this fall? I am over the moon happy with The Walking Dead. What a complete turnaround from last season. Every episode is emotional and a complete nail biter and I love that. For as much as Carl gets on my nerves, Rick more than makes up for it. I love Andrew Lincoln so much. He is a phenomenal actor. PHENOMENAL. Also, that last episode? Woah, people. Woah.

Once Upon a Time has been fantastic! The creativity and absolute elegance of that show pleasantly surprises me every week. I adore Robert Carlyle and I love that they keep incorporating Lost actors into the show. It is such a treat every week! Also, Josh Dallas (David/Charming) has the most flawless, smoothest skin of any actor I have ever seen. Seriously.

I adore Elementary. Johnny Lee Miller just makes me happy. Happy to watch and happy to listen to. He's just fun and the show is so entertaining.

I've slowly been working my way through Doctor Who's second season. I really love David Tennant. It amazes me how people come up with such creative storylines. It hurts my brain to think about it. Going back to what I said earlier about Downton Abbey: I watched the first episode because I was curious to see what all the hub-bub was about. I enjoyed it. I'd like to watch more of it eventually. I LOVED the clothes. Holy moly, they are so pretty and fancy and I know that is completely girly of me but every person looked so polished and perfect and I liked it a lot (Sidenote: I actually was planning on watching the first episode of Homeland but it's not on Netflix as of yet. Wah Wah). With all the BBC America I have been watching, don't be surprised if I'm talking in a British accent next time you see me. It can't be helped when it's in my brain all day.

Jeff and I finally tried Five Guys Burgers and Fries last weekend. It was good. The fries were excellent! I think I'm super spoiled with my dad's burgers though. I prefer his over there's any day. I did have fun experimenting with the futuristic pop machine, switching from Cherry Coke to Cherry Sprite. Charley would have loved that.

We watched We Bought a Zoo with Matt Damon and Scarlet Hohansson Johansson. We were both surprised by how much we enjoyed it. What a good, heartwarming movie! And the little girl who played Rosie? ADORABLE. Also, that's two movies in a row that I have liked ScarJo (the first being The Avengers). She might be moving off my list of annoying celebrities onto the tolerable list.

There is a show coming out in January on FX starring Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys, called The Americans. It's a spy show and it stars Felicity herself and Kevin Walker from Brothers and Sisters. And it's a spy show. I'm down. I'm excited. I can't wait. Check out the trailer:

There is a Firefly 10th Anniversary special on the Science Channel this Sunday at 10pm. Be a leaf on the wind and watch it!

I've read three duds of books in a row:  
No Quest For The Wicked- which I was SO excited for and totally let down by.  It wasn't bad, it was just disappointing. I felt like nothing happened in it. The only plot was the characters running around New York City nonstop. I LOVED the end though and I'm looking forward to the next one. I sure hope it's better.

 A Casual Vacancy- which I don't even know if I should count because I couldn't even finish it but then when I found out what happened throughout the rest of the book, I was SO happy that I decided to stop when I did. Ugh.

Loving Frank- It's a story about Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress. It's a little dull but I was completely jarred by the end of it. Which I was furious about. So furious that I made Jeff stop what he was doing when I finished it so that I could yell at someone about how much I hated it. And then I found out that it was a true story. Sheesh.

I'm currently reading The Island by Elin Hilderbrand. It's OK so far. Not great but not bad.

So that's that. What shows are you digging? What books are you reading? How would you spend your free time? Chat me up, let me know! And if you wished me a "Happy Birthday" or celebrated with me, THANK YOU. True, good friends and family are so hard to come by. Listen to me when I tell you this guys, you should NEVER ever take those people for granted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


My Birthday is in a few weeks (November 8th). I've asked my family and friends not to get me gifts this year because all I really want is to eat delicious food and hang out with my favorite people. However, that doesn't mean that I can't continue my tradition of constructing a wish list of things I would like to have. This list will be filled with practical things, silly things and things that are completely out of the realm of possibility BUT as this is a birthday wishlist and birthdays are supposed to be about hopes, dreams and wishes for the year ahead, it's all completely acceptable. Here are the links to my ------ > 30th and ------ > 31st Birthday Lists.

Now, 32 wishes for my 32nd Birthday:

1.) A really nice digital camera.

2.) Handwarmers. For work. I spend ALL day trying to keep my hands warm.

3.) Dancing lessons from Tristan MacManus and/or Mark Ballas.

4.) For Chris Brown to go away.

5.) To go to Ireland. Or England. Or Italy.

6.)  A neverending supply of Trailmix. Preferably the Costco kind but I would accept the Meijer brand as well.

7.) My own Avocado tree.

8.) To go to "An Evening With The Tragically Hip" on November 28th at The Fillmore.

9.) A family pass to Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum.

10.) To be an Editor.

11.) To get paid to read books all day. I realize this is like #10 but if I were to get paid to read. JUST read all day long... That would be perfection.

12.) A pill that would eliminate all headaches forever and ever.

13.) An unlimited Barnes & Noble (or any book store) gift card.

14.) For Stephenie Meyer to finish Midnight Sun. I realize this is the 3rd year that this has been on the list but as it hasn't happened yet, I will put it on every time until it's published.

15.) A Fratelli's or Havilland reunion. I would be happy with just one reunion show. (I bet other people would too!)

16.) To hang out with Nathan Fillion for a day.

17.) To go see The Killers at Eastern Michigan on December 20th.

18.) To go see Ed Sheeran at The Fillmore on January 24th.

19.) A Labyrinth reunion. I realize this would consist of Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie and lots of Muppets and I am OK with that but Toby Froud (Toby) could be there too!

20.) To have lunch with JK Rowling.

21.) To live in/go to Erin Morgenstern's Night Circus.

22.) To hang out with Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.

23.) A bigger house.

24.) For Jeffrey and I to write a book together.

25.) To go back to Disney World/Harry Potter World.

26.) A coffee mug from

27.) To be able to help out at Charley's school every now and then. Being a working mom means that I don't have the opportunity to help out with his classroom in the middle of the day. It makes me sad when he asks me to and I can't. Wah wah wah.

28.) New bedroom furniture or more specifically, a new big dresser. Mine is real old and really falling apart. Drawers are no longer in brackets and the bottoms are all falling out. I am classy!

29.) To do one of those NoH8 photo shoots.

30.) For Matt Bomer to wish me a Happy Birthday.

31.) To hang out on the set of New Girl for a day.

32.) To have a really, really, really, really wonderful 32nd year.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Do It Anyway

I first started listening to Ben Folds Five back in 1997 when Whatever and Ever Amen came out and "Brick" was a huge hit. I played the crap out of that CD and soon got their previous stuff as well. I loved the way they harmonized and the way Ben played the piano. The songs were heartfelt and silly and beautiful. I was able to see them in concert at Clutch Cargos after the release of The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (their least appreciated album and my favorite). It was a great show. Energetic and fun and filled with super fans. It was like a little cult following of people who love awesome music. In 2000, they broke up and I was super bummed. I resorted to playing their CD's over and over again, wishing for something new. Then Ben came out with his solo stuff. Rockin' the Suburbs is one of my all time most favorite records ever. For crying out loud, it's good. I have seen him in concert countless times since then and he puts on such a wonderful show. He has kept himself busy putting out his own CD's, collaborating and producing other artists, judging on TV shows and being a King of social media. Guys, Ben Folds is awesome and if you are a fan of his, he takes damn good care of you.

Look! That's my name up there!
Cut to 2011 when Ben Folds Five got together to record 3 songs for The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. they were so pleased with the result and the reaction from the fans that they decided to record a new record over a six week period in January/February of 2012. The band released a version of the first single from the record, "Do It Anyway" online in an attempt to get support and crowd funding from fans through a website called Pledge Music. The response was overwhelming. With every pledge, each person who donated became "A Dam VP" of the album and was able to get the CD, their name listed in the CD insert, a signed record, T-shirts, signed lyric sheets and even a song with their name in it, written by the band (depending on how much the person donated). They met their funding goal by 200% IN THE FIRST WEEK. How's that for a dedicated fan base? The new album; The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind was released on September 18,2012 (I was able to listen to it an entire week early because, you know, #ImaDamVP) and became the band's first top ten charting album EVER. 

When it was announced that they would be touring and coming to Detroit, I was ecstatic/heartbroken. Ecstatic because it has been 13 years since I last saw them. Heartbroken because with only one person working in a household, it means your funds are low. It would have physically made my heart ache if I had missed this show. Here is where my lybf, Carrie comes in. Knowing that I wouldn't buy tickets for myself, she surprised me with 2 for Jeff and I for the October 2nd show at The Fillmore. I was so happy, I cried. (If you don't have Carrie as a friend, people, I feel sorry for you. She is one of the best, most loyal friends I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I love her a lot). So, the day of the concert comes and Jeffrey is sick. My Soulmate, Dawn was supposed to be watching Charley while Jeff and I went to the concert, so we decided for Jeff to stay home and Dawn to come with me. Surprise Soulmate date night, yay!

After parking the car and getting lost in the parking garage while trying to find our way to the street (don't worry, we didn't get too lost. Just enough to where we were giggling about how stupid it was), we made it to the Fillmore. I don't think it was sold out but there were a lot more people than I thought there would be. Before we went to claim a spot, Dawn went to buy a water from the bar. After the bartender gave her her water and argued with her over whether or not a Staffordshire Terrier is indeed a Pitbull, he looked over at me and then says to her "is this your little sister?". My 12yr old looking curse strikes again, LOLZ! We had main floor tickets, but chose to stand on one of the higher levels, so as not to get consumed by the crowd in front of the stage. Turns out we had a great view but it was F'ing HOT. So hot in there. We were fanning ourselves with our hands and sweating glowing like crazy.

Kate Miller-Heidke opened. She's from Australia and is fun and has a pretty voice. She does a really neat version of Eminem's "Slim shady" and the crowd loved it. She previously opened for Steven Page back when Carrie and I saw him in 2010 (if you remember from my blog back then, she was the highlight of that show).

Ben Folds Five took the stage right at 8:30pm. They would play a song from the new album and then an old one, switching on and off like that for most of the night. They did one song ("Landed") from Ben's solo record, Songs For Silverman. It was awesome. I had a huge smile on my face the whole time. After listening to these songs for so long on CD and my ipod, thinking that they would never get back together again, let alone make new music and perform live, it was a little surreal and freaking awesome. I looooove Ben Folds but when you throw in Darren Jesse and Robert Sledge, magic happens. As many people shouted to them last night, they are "Rock God's". It was one of those shows where the entire audience knew all the words to all the songs. You could hear the crowd over Ben at times and he loved it. How cool is that?! They told some funny stories and genuinely seemed to enjoy being there. It is such a great feeling when you can tell the artist or band that you came to see is happy to be there performing for you. They had fun and we had fun. It was a great, great show.

They put on one hell of an encore, which some super awesome dude was cool enough to post on youtube (be warned, there are swears in these songs!). ugh, it gives me goosebumps:

So, thank you to Carrie for the tickets and knowing how much I love these guys, thank you to Dawn for being a wonderful date and for enjoying your first Ben Folds Five show and thank you to Ben Folds, Darren Jesse and Robert Sledge for appreciating your fans and knowing what good music is all about. I don't know if they'll stay together or if they'll make another album together but I'm going to enjoy this reunion while it lasts.

Now, i leave you with this because it makes my heart explode with happiness:

And if you are not currently a Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five fan, WHAT are you waiting for? get on Spotify and check them out! No other band takes care of their fans the way these guys do. So go listen to some good music and "Do It Anyway".

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

TV and Books and Music. (You know... the usual)

It's Fall! You know what that means; All of our favorite TV shows are back (or will be shortly)! I'm really happy with some old favorites (as well as a little eh with one) and I have some mediocre feelings toward some new ones. We'll see what the coming weeks bring me when Modern Family (Tonight!), Once Upon A Time (Sept 30th!), The Vampire Diaries (Oct 11th!) and The Walking Dead (Oct 14th!) start back up. Oh, how I love TV!

I didn't watch a ton of stuff over the summer. I read a lot (surprise, surprise) but I did watch White Collar and it was really great. They were just renewed for a 5th season and I am ecstatic about that.

This is the first time that I can say, aside from Jason Stackhouse, I was completely disappointed with the entire season of True Blood. It pains me to say it but it's true. I thought the storylines were boring and kind of all over the place and I hated that Sookie had pretty much no interaction whatsoever with Eric and Bill. They underused both Christopher Meloni (man, did they waste him and his talents) and Scott Foley (that poor guy cannot catch a break on all these shows he is guest starring on). I still hate Tara but I really love Pam. The season finale showed a little bit of promise at the end of it, so we'll see where they go next season. With Alan Ball leaving and a new fella taking over, I'm really hoping things get better. I'm OK with the story having nothing to do with the books as long as the stories are GOOD and creative. So much of last season was just blah to me and that makes me sad.

We also watched Bunheads. Yes, WE. Jeff watched it with me (he will probably deny that if you bring this up to him). I loved Gilmore Girls though and it's by the same people who made that. It's basically Gilmore Girls 2.0 and it makes me laugh and there are cameos by former GG actors and I love that so it made for a fun show to watch. 

The Bones season premiere was eh. They wrapped up the season finale storyline too quickly and listen, I know it's a TV show but the ease of which they solve these murders is appalling to me. I guess after so many seasons it's just starting to get on my nerves.

New Girl came back last night and good God, I LOVE THAT SHOW. It is so consistently funny and I truly love all the actors and characters on it. It makes me so happy. I just love it.

We also checked out The Mindy Project last night (which was created by Mindy Kaling, who played Kelly on The Office). I would give it a solid OK. I'm not completely in love with it and I didn't completely hate it. It definitely showed promise though, so I will continue to watch. Speaking of The Office, we watched the season premiere. I didn't watch at all last season, so I didn't know what was going on with some stories but I was still underwhelmed by it and that makes me so sad. I used to love that show so much. I'm glad this is it's last season and I hope they really do it justice and go back to the roots of what made it so funny to begin with and that it has a good send off. With that being said, however, I think that a Dwight spin off is a terrible idea and they should put a stop to the thought process on that immediately. Anyone remember Joey? Ugh.

Dancing With The Stars :All Stars started up on Monday. My votes belong to Kelly Monaco. She was the season 1 winner and the whole reason I started watching this stupid show to begin with. I love the chemistry between her and her partner Val. Also, she is absolutely gorgeous, so there's that as well.

Now, my thoughts on Revolution: It's a JJ Abrams show. It has a lot of Alias/Lost connections. It has a cool concept, which I like. I absolutely adore Elizabeth Mitchell and Billy Burke. I think that Monroe fella is real hot. So, why then do I not like this show more? I don't dislike it yet and I know we are only 2 episodes in but I am a little annoyed by it and a lot bored with it. Maybe it's because I feel like all they do is walk around in the woods? Maybe it's because I find the fact that that one boy (Nate/Not Nate) can follow the main group of people so easily and they never see him coming is stupid? Maybe it's because I feel like there is too much fighting? Mostly I think it's because I don't like the characters who I am meant to like. That Maggie girl is irritating. The aforementioned Nate/Not Nate does nothing for me. The one guy with the AC/DC shirt is just meh and it saddens me to say this but... Charlie drives me nuts. She's always on the verge of tears, even when she isn't supposed to be and she constantly has cry-face. I hate that. Her good qualities (the hunting/survival skills) remind me of Katniss, while her bad qualities (whiny/need to constantly help/only to muck it all up) remind me of Kate from Lost. Kate, people. I hated Kate! Anyway, she will no longer be known as Charlie to me. She will henceforth be known as Kateness. I want to like this show, I do. I want to know why the power went out and why everyone is so angry but I need to be entertained at the same time, so these next few episodes need to wow me.

You might notice that I haven't mentioned any excitement toward the premiere of Greys Anatomy. Well, that's because I have none. I will watch because I have invested a lot of time into watching this show but I am so angry at it that I'm really not looking forward to it. Every interview I read with Shonda Rhimes makes me like her less and less and that alters my feelings on the show... even though it probably shouldn't.

I am still watching Doctor Who. I just started David Tennant's stint and I adore him already. I totally get why he is everyone's favorite Doctor.

I can't tell you all the books I've read over the summer because there are just too many but I will tell you (as I told all of my Facebook friends), go read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I'm not going to tell you anything about it, just take my word for it and read this book. Then we can discuss it. It's so so good, guys. Also, Emily Giffin's new one, Where We Belong was fantastic. Fantastic. Read that one too!

Lots of new music came out in the last couple weeks. All by my favorite bands; The Killers, Green Day, Ben Folds Five and Mumford & Sons. The Tragically Hip have a new one coming out as well. All of those bands (with the exception of Mumford & Sons) are coming here in concert. ALL of them. What are the chances that all of your favorite bands come to town within months of each other?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Junior High Blahs.

There was this episode of Full House called "Back To School Blues". It's from season 3 and it's the one where -------- > DJ starts 7th grade at a new school. She quickly realizes how different Jr. High is from Elementary school and ends up having to sit alone in the cafeteria at lunch time... in a phone booth, where she pretends to be talking to someone but really, she's just listening to the time. Now, I know television shows and movies make school out to be a lot more dramatic in some cases but this episode always comes to mind whenever someone starts middle school because it showcases how awkward being at a new school can be. Throw in being in a new school, in a new CITY and it makes it ten times more awkward. (Oh, and no worries, DJ turns out just fine by the end of the episode and has plenty of friends to sit with at lunch).

I bring this up because my niece, Emily, started 8th grade in a new school, in a new city this week.  Yikes. She's been dreading it ever since talks of their family moving began back in December. And really, who can blame her? Being a kid is tough enough without having to start all over and make completely new friends in a new environment. I remember how awkward Junior High was. I was constantly aware of my actions and always terrified I was going to make a fool of myself. The school was bigger, the kids seemed bigger/meaner and the classes were more overwhelming. I was in that weird transition phase between friends that some kids go through. Kind of in limbo. Not really belonging to one group or another, just doing my own thing. It was weird and I always felt like an outcast but I suppose most kids feel that way at that age, right?

Emily is a wonderful kid. Brilliant, actually. From the moment she was born, I knew she would be special. She has turned into a beautiful, funny, talented girl who is obsessed with the Hunger Games (ha!) and I'm really proud of her. She is a fantastic writer and a terrific actress and I have no doubt whatsoever that she will have a whole plethora of new friends by the time Christmas rolls around. But right now things seem real sucky for her and I get it and I want her to know that everyone goes through things like this. EVERYONE and we all turn out a little better and a little stronger for it.

With that being said, I thought it might be fun (or cheer her up) if we shared some fun/horrifying/silly Junior High stories/memories with her so she knows that this is a life experience that we all go through and we all make it out A-OK.

 I'll go first:

-In 7th grade, I had gym first hour and I thought that was the worst thing in the world (later, in high school, I ended up having swim first hour. I was cursed). It wasn't that bad though. It just took some time getting used to a new routine. One time, I wore a skirt to school. Obviously, you had to change for gym class but I left my nylons on and figured I would just put my PINK sweatpants on over them (we were learning how to play football outside). After class, when I went to change, I had pink fuzz ALL over my legs, stuck to my nylons. I was horrified. I think I managed to de-fuzz myself pretty good before embarking on the journey to my next class but I was super paranoid the rest of the day.

-The very first day of Junior High, I didn't think to bring a pen, pencil or paper with me to class (who does that?!). I thought it would just be a day full of talking and we wouldn't really have to do any work. I was completely embarrassed when everyone else was getting all their supplies out and I was just sitting there. I think someone ended up letting me borrow a pen and a piece of paper. I felt like an idiot.

-This one is my favorite/worst. It also happened in high school but I'm counting it anyway. We all had to go to the gym for a pep assembly. Tons of kids/teachers were in the the stands, students were flowing into the gym to take seats in the bleachers. I was walking across the gym floor to get to the bleachers, tripped on an exercise mat that was in the middle of the floor, stumbled and fell flat on my face. With the whole school watching. I was mortified. So so embarrassed. When I got back up, I tried to laugh it off along with my friends who were with me but I was horrified. But see, now it makes for a good story!

Go ahead and share some of your stories because the point is; we all go through it and we all survive it.

And really, at least we don't have to enlist ourselves into a reaping, right? Junior High is more appealing than the Hunger Games isn't it?? There's your silver lining!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Always Look On The Bright Side of Life...

To say that this has been a stressful year for us Scott's would be a bit of an understatement. Sometimes when things get a little overwhelming, I try to remind myself that there are plenty of really great things right in front of me so that I don't succumb to those stress eating demons. Because no matter how bad of a day you are having, you have to remember that there is always something in your life (big or small) that will cheer you up. Recently things have been particularly difficult, so to cheer myself up, I am going to list some of the things that make me happy.

-My parents porch up north. This thing is just perfection. It is the epitome of a "Happy Place". I'm sure being with my parents adds to the comfort of it but it's spacious and relaxing and I dare you not to want to take a nap the second you sit down on it.

-A really great Iced Coffee. Currently my favorite is the McDonald's one. Weird, isn't it?

-5pm on a Friday. It's completely cliche' but for goodness sake, it is so freeing to leave work, knowing you don't have to come back for a couple days. I practically sprint out of my office every Friday to get to my car.

-My Sister. You see... growing up, Natalie and I didn't get along at all. I thought she was a pest (she was). She thought I was a goody-two-shoes (I was). We were like night and day. Polar opposites. But then something happened. I can't pinpoint what or when but we became friends. Two peas in a pod. We love the same things and we laugh at the same things. Let me tell you, that girl is hysterical (not to mention generous). Not a time goes by that I am not in tears from laughing whenever we are together. She's my perfect "pick me up".

-Waking up at your usual alarm time and realizing you don't have to get up. So simple but such a damn good feeling to be able to go back to sleep.

-The Tower of books in my room. There is something about the giant stack of books in my room (that is almost to the ceiling now) that gives me comfort. Knowing that I've read them all and that they all made me happy one way or another puts a smile on my face. They are like old friends.

-A Tom Proctor Cheeseburger. I talk about it all the time, but honestly, you won't find a better burger anywhere. He's a master.

-The Library. All those books, just waiting to be picked out by people and read and enjoyed. The smell of them. The library is a magical place.

-A hug from my Mom (or just hearing her voice). No explanation needed really. She's my mom. She's supposed to reassure me and make me feel better. Mine is particularly good at it.

-Reading. Duh. Of course. There is nothing like being stressed and then immersing yourself into someone else's world. You don't have to think, you just have to experience. It's the best.

-Going places with C and Fred. I've talked about this before. It's part of what makes this whole unemployment process so bittersweet. I love that we are all together on the weekends. We don't have a lot of money (duh) but we are real creative at finding free/fun things to do.

-Cookies. Who doesn't love a cookie? Chocolate chip, Oreos. Whatever. I'm game for any kind.

-My Friends. Whether it's an extended texting session or a much needed girl's night, they are calming and therapeutic.

-A sunny, 73 degree day. Having the windows open, not needing a fan. It's the perfect temperature and will instantly put me in a good mood.

-Having a freezer full of ice cubes made. Huh? I know. this one sounds weird. I grew up in a house where there were 2 giant bins full of ice cubes, plus about 20 ice cube trays at all times. The Proctor's make an art out of filling ice cube trays. I don't have as many as my parents, but to see that they are made and ready to be used in a glass of ice water makes me happy.

-Reading to Charley at night. He doesn't always pay attention, but I know he enjoys me spending time with him before bed every night and sharing stories with him. I hope that's one of the things he remembers most when he grows up.

-My Doggy-Brother, Jagger and my Puppy-Nephew, Tiger. Of course I love my own dogs too but these two get SO excited to see me that it instantly makes me happy. I love love love them.

Blogging/Writing. Whether or not anyone reads my stuff, I am OK with it. I enjoy writing and it helps clear my head. Even though I just do it for fun, it makes me feel like I accomplished something. So, if you are reading this, thanks!

I think that's a pretty good list. What simple things make you happy or cheer you up?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bloggers Block Begone!

It's the middle of August already, you guys. How did that happen? I'm convinced the Universe has this month set on ludicrous speed simply because it knows how much I am dreading my kid starting Kindergarten. Please note that *I* am dreading it. Charley is very excited for it. As long as he gets his Spongebob backpack and football ice pack, he will be a happy camper. Let's hope the enthusiasm stays with him on that first day when we drop him off. Also, go ahead and send me all sorts of "no crying" vibes so that I don't start bawling at his feet when he walks in the classroom that first day.

Since it is mid-August, that means the Olympics are over. I know, I know, we are all sick of hearing about them but there is something about watching that level of greatness compete night after night that inspires me. I love knowing how motivated people are (probably because I'm so lazy) to do well for their country and I love watching their families cheer them on. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to go out and train to do a Carly Patterson dismount off the balance beam or anything, but it just makes me happy seeing people excel at something they've worked so hard for. It's neat. It's also entertaining and provided me with two weeks full of laughter and happy tears.

Here's what I learned from the 2012 London Olympics:
  • Ryan Lochte is a tool. From his Grill, to his peeing in the pool, to his awful interviews, I was so not impressed with this dude.
  • I used to think Michael Phelps was a bit of a conceited hole but then I watched his journey in London and totally got a new perspective of him. He's just really awesome at what he does and he knows it. He's also not perfect and he knows that too. He's also a really great interviewee and "gets" the enormity of being "the most decorated Olympian ever". I think that's cool.
  •  I want to be BFF's with Missy Franklin. That girl is 17 years old and has herself 4 gold medals and 1 bronze from her first ever Olympics. She is so happy all the time and has a wonderful relationship with her parents. I love that.
  • How cute is Nathan Adrian?? Seriously, guys. He's SO cute. 
  • I really enjoyed watching Fencing. I like how animated the athletes are. They get so excited or angry!
  • As well as Archery. No, not because of Katniss (maybe a little because of Katniss). It was really interesting to watch their techniques and surprisingly nail biting when it got to the final rounds. It was also fun to see who had giant red indents on their faces from the bow string. LOLZ
  • Women's Beach Volleyball was so much fun to watch. Misty May-Treaenor and Kerri Walsh brought so much life to that court. You can tell they love each other and that they love the game and that they worked so freaking hard for that gold medal. I bet they would be so much fun to hang out with.
  • Gymnastics was all sorts of exciting. The girls kicked ass but I felt sorry for the boys. They kind of got the shaft since they didn't perform up to the girl's high caliber. Not even that one boy's magic towel could help them in the team all around final. I also enjoyed watching the Russian girls mess up, cry and shoot the other participants evil eyes after their performances. Those girls mean business!
  • NBC really did make me feel like I was missing stuff but I don't know that they could have done much different to fix that. I will say that they royally screwed up the closing ceremonies by interrupting it to make people watch their new show Animal Practice. If ever there was a way to turn off potential viewers to a new sitcom, that was the way to do it! 
  • Jeff and I love watching the trampoline competitions. NBC only showed us about 10 minutes worth of that so we were disappointed... until we saw who was going for the gold medal. Dong Dong of China. DONG DONG! Spoiler Alert: He won. 
With summer coming to a close, we get to look forward to Fall TV.  Here are the new shows that I am going to give a shot in the coming months:

Revolution (NBC, Premieres September 17th @10pm)- This is a J.J. Abrams show, so you know I am all over it. It also stars Billy Burke (AKA Charlie Swan/Hot dad from Twilight). It takes place in a post apocalyptic future. 15 years after an unknown source disabled all forms of technology. No television, no electricity, no cars etc. The series focuses on a group of people trying to figure out why it happened and how to reverse it. Oh! Also, Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet) from Lost is in it!! Here's a preview:

666 Park Avenue  (ABC, Premieres September, 30th @ 10pm)- This one seems a little creepy. It's about a hotel and focuses on the owners and tenants within it. It's basically a "if you could have anything you ever wished for, what would you do to get it?" situation and would you be willing to pay the consequences? It's all supernatural-like and stars Terry O'Quinn (guess what? he's from Lost too!) and David Annabel (Reunion, Brothers and Sisters), as well as lots of others but those are the two I am watching it for. Here's a preview.

Elementary  (CBS, Premieres September 27th @10pm)- This stars Johnny Lee Miller. I ADORE Johnny Lee Miller. It's a modern take on Sherlock Holmes and stars Lucy Liu as Watson. Here's a preview:

The Mindy Project  (FOX, Premieres September 25th @930pm)- This one stars Mindy Kaling (Kelly, from The Office) as an OBGYN who is trying to navigate through her personal and professional life, all while surrounded by witty co-workers and friends. I think it looks cute. Here's a preview:

So, that's that. We'll see how long these new shows last. I also might give Nashville a shot, as well as Matthew Perry's new sitcom,  Go On (even though I think he is cursed and it will probably get canceled).

Last night, Charley told us he wanted to watch "that collection show". We had no idea what he was talking about. When we asked him questions about it (who is in it? what do they do in it?), he just kept saying "It's NOT a kids show!" and "No! not Pawn Stars!" Well, after we noticed that he had been watching the SyFy channel, Jeff figured it out: Collection Intervention. It premieres tonight at 10pm. After you watch the preview, you'll understand why my kid wants to watch this show and you'll love him even more because of it:

Fall is also bringing us a plethora of good new music:
  • For the first time in 14 years, Ben Folds Five will be releasing a new album; The Sound of The Life of The Mind. It will be out September 18th and I CAN'T WAIT! They will also be here in concert (at The Fillmore) on October 2nd. This makes me giddy!!! GIDDY!!!
  • The Killers will be releasing their new album; Battleborn on September 18th as well. Again, excitement overload on this one. I love their new single, Runaways and can't wait to hear an entire album full of new Brandon Flowers vocals. 
  • Mumford & Sons new album; Babel will be out September 25th and I am anxiously awaiting that one as well.
See?? So much new music coming out!! It makes my ears happy!

Speaking of music, I have a new favorite artist in Ed Sheeran. He's a British singer/songwriter who is just starting to get popular over here. He performed a Pink Floyd cover at the closing ceremonies for the Olympics and I have been listening to him non-stop since then. I will now share with you my favorite song/video of his... The song is great but you'll see why I love the video so much:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Guy.

Ladies and Fellas, I want to talk about Matt Bomer for a minute. You know I'm not one to cover controversial topics on this here pop culture blog, but in this instance I can't seem to help myself.

Since he first showed up on Chuck as Bryce Larkin, Bomer has been on my radar. His short stint on that show was so well done, it left me wanting more of him. When he was given the opportunity to be the leading man in White Collar, I was ecstatic and so happy with his portrayal of Neal Caffrey; art thief/con-man extraordinaire. And let us not forget his most recent achievement in Magic Mike... (which I have yet to see but have heard good things about). His guest spot on Glee was perfect and showed the world that he had an amazing singing voice to go along with his absurdly handsome looks. So far, in his career, he has managed to go from super spy, to con-man, to stripper, to over-the-top/conceited small town actor and back to being a con-man. That's a pretty decent range of characters for an actor to play and he played them all well. Really, really well. And guess what? He did most of those roles without anyone ever knowing he was gay.

A few months ago, during his acceptance speech for a Steve Chase Humanitarian Award, he thanked his partner, Simon Halls (a Publicist) and their three sons. Instead of applauding the fact that this guy is in a loving family, ladies everywhere were crying out about how "sad" and "disappointing" it is that he is gay. Why? Because this gorgeous boy loves another boy? That's just silly! Girls, let me tell you something... we never had a shot with him to begin with, whether he likes boys OR girls. His job as an actor is to make us believe whatever character he is portraying and if he happens to be an insanely good looking guy, then we are all the more lucky. His personal life should have no effect on us whatsoever.

Which brings me to this absurd story -----------> "Bret Easton Ellis: Matt Bomer Can't Star in Fifty Shades of Grey Film Because He's Gay." What. What? Let me give you a quick rundown. Bret Easton Ellis (the writer of the American Psycho movie) took to Twitter yesterday to tell all of his followers that Matt Bomer wouldn't even be considered to play Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey BECAUSE HE IS OPENLY GAY.  Because, according to Ellis, the audience for that film needs to see "an intensely straight actor wanting absolutely to screw Anastasia Steele". Uhhhh... he does know this is make believe right? He does know that whoever does end up with the role of Christian Grey is not ACTUALLY going to be in love with Ana Steele, right? Because that's what actors do... they pretend. Their job is to play make believe and portray characters on screen. It's not real life. The fact that Matt Bomer is openly gay should have absolutely nothing to do with his future job prospects. I'm not even saying I WANT Bomer to be Christian Grey. It's just the fact that this dude's comments are so beyond ignorant that I can't even see straight.

If his statements are true, as far as Matt Bomer not being able to play a straight character are concerned, that would mean that his whole career has been a waste and that he has tricked all of his fans into liking him even though "he can't play straight"... and the fact that he fronts his very own television show every week (which is now in the middle of it's 4th season, by the way) and that his scenes with co-star Hilarie Burton are enough to take your breath away, apparently says nothing of his acting abilities. Can you imagine if the casting agents for How I met Your Mother told Neil Patrick Harris that he couldn't play Barney Stinson because they knew he was gay? The show wouldn't be what it is today without him.

My point is: it's stupid. Comments like that are rude and ignorant and disheartening. It shouldn't matter that Matt Bomer is a gay man. He's a fantastic actor. His relationship status should have no warrant on his acting abilities. The fact that people say things like this makes me so sad. Let people love who they love. Why does it matter?

Can't we all just get along? Ha.

Alright, I'm done with my rant. I have a bit of Blogger's Block lately but I'll get back to our regularly scheduled pop culture posts real soon!

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Am An Endless Supply Of Important Information

I have lots of useless important information to share with you, gentle readers. Ready???

The San Diego Comic-Con is this weekend. I. Love. Comic-Con. The amount of super awesome information, videos and interviews that come out of this convention is so much fun.

Case in point: a Firefly panel took place. This motivated me to hurry up and finish watching the series, as well as the movie that followed: Serenity. A Quick recap of what Firefly/Serenity is: First of all, it was created by Joss Whedon. Secondly, it stars Nathan Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds. Captain of the Firefly starship, Serenity. That right there, is really all you need to know. It also stars Gina Torres (also known as Ana Espinoza from Alias), Alan Tudyk, Morena Boraccin, Adam Baldwin (LOVE), Jewel Staite, Sean Maher (my new crush), Summer Glau and Ron Glass. It's an American space western, set in the year 2517. It centers on the crew and passengers of Serenity and their adventures as they evade the Alliance and try to keep their two fugitives on board, (brother and sister) Simon (Maher) and River Tam (Glau) safe. The series originally debuted in September of 2002 on FOX. The ratings weren't all that great and in typical FOX fashion, they canceled the show prematurely that December. Only 11 of the 14 episodes were shown and they were shown out of order (which is just stupid). When it was released on DVD, the sales were fantastic and that, along with the hardcore fan following, persuaded Joss and company to make Serenity. The movie was released in theaters in 2005. It gave fans the answers and closure they needed and was so fantastically well done. 

 I got the series (and movie) a couple years ago and took forever to get around to watching it. Jeff and I started it about 6 months ago and eventually got distracted and caught up with our current shows, so we ended up stopping after about 6 episodes. When I heard about the Comic-Con panel, I made myself finish. I enjoyed the series from the start but thought it really picked up during the last half. I started to connect with the characters and it escalated my adoration for Nathan Fillion. I liked the show, but I didn't love it. Until. Until we watched Serenity. Holy moly, did they do a wonderful job with that movie. It tied up all the loose ends from the series and it actually left me wanting more. Summer Glau kicks ass in this movie. Like, kicks ass on the Sydney Bristow level of kicking ass (and you know I don't say that lightly). It ended and I was exhilarated. Throughout the whole movie, I was tense and on the edge of my seat. I laughed and cried a little and was so, so happy that I loved it so much. I know I'm late to the game, but now I want more. And more I shall get... See, while they are doing the panel for Comic-Con today, they will also be taping it. They will also be taping a roundtable discussion of the series and the movie for a 10 year anniversary special that will air on the Science Channel on November 11th. I love when fans can keep a series alive with such devotion as they have with this series. So, if you've ever been curious about this show and why fans are so die-hard for it, check it out for yourself. It proves Joss Whedon's brilliance even more than before. I'll end this portion with the Firefly opening sequence. Joss wrote the theme song and Jeff LOVES it:

Entertainment Weekly Firefly Comic-Con recap.

Speaking of Comic-Con, G4 will be showing live coverage from 4pm-8pm tomorrow. 4 hours of nerdy goodness. Love it!!

Over the last few weeks, I have been watching an online series by the name of  Burning Love. It's a series directed by and starring Ken Marino and written by his wife, Erica Oyama. It's basically a spoof on the Bachelor/Bachelorette and it's so funny. So very funny. It takes all the ridiculous elements of that show and makes them even more ridiculous. There are also guest stars galore in it. All the funny people show up at some point. Each episode is around 9 minutes long and there are 13 of them. There may be a 14th one coming next week. Maybe a reunion special?? One can hope! Check it out if you're bored or if you enjoy laughing because laugh, you will. Guaranteed.

I finally watched Crazy, Stupid, Love and enjoyed it a lot. Everyone in it was great and it even made me like Ryan Gosling, who I was always on the fence about before.

For my friends who have read The Enchanted Inc. series by Shanna Swendson, Book 5 (Much Ado About Magic) will be available through online retailers August 15th. Woo hoo!! 

Since reading The Fifty Shades of Grey series, I may or may not have been wanting to re-read Twilight... and I may or may not have done so. Maybe. Ok, I did. Sort of. I don't know why. What's wrong with me? I suppose it's a sickness. I pretty much just skimmed through each book, only reading my favorite parts. I like doing this. It reminds me why I love the series so much and also reminds me how flawed the movies are. So yeah, I sort of re-read them and I'm ok with that. Like I said... It's a sickness.

The first 4 chapters of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets are available on Pottermore! Yay!! I'm not sure when the rest will be available but if you are itching to dive back into the site, you can peruse the very beginning of book 2. It's better than nothing, right??

My sisters will be walking in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day in August. They are walking in honor of my mom (a 3yr survivor) and anyone else who has been affected by the disease. If you would like to donate so they are able to walk, it would be VERY much appreciated!! Their team name is The Pink Cupcakes and all you need to do is click on one of their names. Thank you!
Click here to donate!

Speaking of the Breast Cancer 3-day... My 13yr old niece, Emily wrote a book. It's available on Amazon and from now until August 10th, all proceeds from the book will go toward The Pink Cupcakes!!

The Baseball Club For Girls

That's all my important information for now. Oh, one more thing... I think Dunkin Donuts changed their iced coffees. The last couple times I have gotten one, they have tasted different. This makes me sad. Has anyone else noticed?

Also, does anyone know of any cool new/used book stores around Michigan that would be worth visiting?? Quaint, original, cozy book stores. Not Barnes and Noble... not that I don't love Barnes and Noble but I miss going to a little book store and just looking around. A book store with character! Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Laters, baby.

Ohhhh, Fifty Shades of Grey... ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** The story of college graduate, Anastasia (Ana) Steele and her adventurous? Erotic? Controlling? Roller coaster ride of a relationship with the oh so handsome, billionaire, Christian Grey. When Ana's reporter roommate (Kate) comes down with the flu on the day that she is supposed interview Mr. Grey, she begs Ana to go in her place. She begrudgingly agrees and an intense relationship with the billionaire ensues. You see, Christian is a Dominant. Meaning, he needs to dominate and be in control of women (with their consent, of course. That includes a contract.). He likes sexytimes but he likes it rough (to put it mildly). The first book deals with whether or not Ana is willing to agree to be in this type of relationship with him. The second book is more or less about them navigating their new relationship, with some crazy ex-girlfriends mixed in. The third book is about them taking their very new relationship to the next level and dealing with the consequences of that. In between all that there is A LOT of sexytimes. A whole, whole lot of sexytimes.

For those of you that don't know, This 3 book series started out as Twilight fanfiction. It was originally one long story, entitled Master of The Universe, written by "Snowqueen's Icedragon" (E.L. James) and published on fanfiction sites around the internet. The characters in the series were named after the characters in Twilight (IE: Bella, Edward, etc.). You know... because it was fanfiction. As people started to take notice of the story, some were complaining commenting on the explicit nature and James ended up removing it from all the various sites and started her own, FiftyShades.Com. She ended up reworking/renaming the story and removing it from her website prior to publication. And thus, we were cursed blessed with this insanely addictive story. 

I apologize in advance for what I assume will end up being a rambling post about this series. It has left me fascinated, furious and laughing all at the same time. I guess that means that I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it. You see, I don't like fanfiction so I was immediately put off by the story from the start BUT I felt I owed it to my pop culture heart to see what the fuss was all about. "What fuss?" you ask?? The fuss being that women everywhere are becoming absolutely obsessed with this book. The fuss being that this series is on track to surpass HARRY POTTER as the fastest selling paperback of all time. OF ALL TIME. In addition to that, hardware stores are seeing a huge increase in sales from people buying COTTON ROPE. Not to mention the fact that the sex toy industry is seeing quite a boom from it as well. I am fascinated by these statistics. I'm fascinated that people who don't normally enjoy reading are loving these books. I'm fascinated that it's affecting women of all ages and I am fascinated that they are going to *try* to make a movie out of it (how they are going to manage to do that is anyone's guess. Good luck getting a decent rating out of it). 

Before I get into my real thoughts on the story itself, please bare in mind that this is only my opinion. Also bare in mind that I am a gigantic fan of the Twilight series (admittedly, I have read the series 10 times. That's not an exaggeration. Make fun, if you will. I am OK with it). I know those books practically by heart and can quote from them without hesitation. With all of that being said, I think the writing in the Fifty Shades series is absolutely dreadful. When I started reading this story, I decided to read another book along with it, (Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs). I figured I would take that one to work with me and Fifty Shades would be my "read at home" book. This may have enhanced the bad writing for me. Going from a very well written nonfiction book to an erotic novel, my mind had to keep shifting gears. I had to readjust every time I picked up Fifty Shades of Grey and remind myself how different the writing style was. After awhile though, I got used to it and knew what to expect. I knew that she was going to continuously repeat the same phrases over and over again ("Oh my! Holy shit! My Fifty. Fifty, fifty, fifty. My inner goddess is doing backflips!"). I also knew that after awhile, the only dialogue worth reading was the dialogue between Christian and Ana. While every once in awhile theirs would seem absurd, her interactions with her roommate, mother and friend, Jose' were horrendous. Reading her back and forth with those other characters was cringeworthy. How do you write decent banter between the two main characters but completely drop the ball when it comes to the secondary ones? The English snob in me nitpicks at things like that. As well as continuity errors, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. How can I not? This is a published book. This woman is making heap loads of money off of it. Why are these mistakes not corrected??? It baffles me.

Now, putting all that aside, there was obviously something within the story that compelled me to keep reading it. I could've very well stopped after the first one. I hated that Christian was so mean and controlling. Why would any girl want to begin a relationship with someone like that? Just because he's hot? Just because a boy is finally paying attention to her? But really, why was this dude so hostile and grumpy all the time? About halfway through book one, I was on the fence about starting the second one. By the end, I was more than willing to read it because of Christian's character. I wanted to know why he was the way he was, even if I had to endure bad writing to get the answers.

My favorite parts of the series are when Ana sticks up for herself. It happens for the first time at the end of book one and honestly, I was ecstatic with how that one ended. She finally tells Christian "no". That was more realistic to me than anything else that had happened prior because it made Christian more human and it made him question what type of person he is. I think my favorite moment out of the whole series is in Fifty Shades Darker, when Christian thinks Ana is going to leave him and completely shuts down and stops talking. This guy is so messed up that he basically reverts back to being a child when he couldn't talk, because he can't handle her rejection. No worries, friends, she doesn't end up leaving him but the idea of it happening gets him to open up to her. Finally.

Ok, yes, I would say about 75% of these books are filled with sexytimes. Detailed pages upon pages of sexytimes. That's all fine and good. Whatever. How two people could have that much sexytimes is beyond me. Maybe I'm old. Maybe I'm a prude but holy moly, people. It was excessive. My point being, that although it is an erotic novel (and erotic it is), this is not what propelled me to read the series. Those aren't the moments that I took away from it (because let's be honest here, after a few times they all end up blending together any way). The moments I took away from it were the heartfelt moments where Christian begins to trust Ana with the secrets from his past and the moments when they discuss his possessiveness and controlling issues. Because somehow, some way, underneath all that bad writing, crazy dialogue, and scenes stolen from Twilight, there is indeed a fascinating character there. Sure, Christian is a controlling megalomaniac but the reasons behind why he is the way he is make his character believable.

Going into reading this series, I thought of it more as a comedy. Because of the aforementioned detest for fanfiction, that was my coping mechanism to get through it. I think it helped. Especially when there were scenes completely taken from Twilight with just a word here or there changed to make it seem different. THIS IS APPALLING TO ME! But instead of getting worked up about it (ok, I'll admit it, I got real mad on a couple occasions), it made me laugh. The fact that this author has the audacity to actually steal snipits of another well known author's story and make money from it is just flabbergasting. Twilight fans are aware of this already, but there is a version of the first book, Midnight Sun, online as told from Edward's perspective. At the end of Fifty Shades Freed is a very short version of Christian and Ana's first meeting, as told from Christian's point of view. Again, it seems like stealing to me but I did enjoy reading from his perspective. Listen, this entire phenomenon is absolutely fascinating/baffling to me. If I had the time, I could probably make an entire list worth of Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse/Breaking Dawn VS. Fifty Shades of Grey/Fifty Shades Darker/Fifty Shades Freed comparisons. Don't worry, I won't but believe me, it would be a long list.

I know, I know, I sound like all I'm doing is berating the series but overall I really did enjoy it. It was entertaining. It kept me intrigued, I just had to look past a lot (A LOT) of stuff. Would I recommend it? Hmm... It's not the greatest story ever told (hahaha) but like I said, there is something about Christian Grey that makes you want to know more about him. If you enjoy books with pages upon pages of sexytimes, then this is the book for you. If you are looking for a more adult version of Twilight, then this book is for you (just don't take it too seriously while you are reading it). The fact that this book series has taken over the literary world by storm is so utterly mind-boggling to me. I would love to know the real reason why women love it so much. Any book that gets people to read is a good thing, I suppose. I just wish that the content had been conceived a little more organically than stemming off of someone else's already very successful ideas.

Much like Christian's character, this series has left me fifty different shades of confused. I went from loathing it, to loving it, to being appalled by it, to tolerating it. If you dig deep enough there is a decent story there. You just have to be willing to get your shovel out and start hauling some dirt. 

Now, I will leave you with some entertaining Fifty Shades of Grey links and reviews:

Mitch Albom article from today's Free Press.  (I know how many Mitch Albom fans there are out there! Hahaha)

This is 3 Grandmas reacting to the books:
Jimmy Fallon's Fifty Shades of Grey Karaoke:
Selena Gomez's Fifty Shades of Blue from Funny or Die:

Friday, June 15, 2012

TV Dads.

With Father's Day coming up this weekend, it got me thinking not only about my own super awesome Dad, but about my favorite TV Dads as well. We all know that Cliff Huxtable, Mr. Brady, Michael Taylor and Joey Harris (uhh, you know... the Dads from My Two Dads?) etc. are everyone's top choices when it comes to Fictional Fathers, so I'm going to go the non-traditional route when I give you my favorites.

These aren't really in any specific order. Enjoy!

Jack Bristow (played by Victor Garber)- Alias: Spy Daddy is my favorite of the Fictional Fathers. HE'S JACK BRISTOW. The man who would go to any and all lengths (sometimes legal, sometimes illegal) to keep his daughter (Sydney Bristow) safe. They definitely had their ups and downs. She didn't see much of him after her Mom "died" and she thought he sold airplane parts for most of her life but if she was in trouble or needed him, he was there. One of my favorite things about Alias was watching the relationship between these two go from from super shaky to rock solid. By the end of the series, their love for each other was obvious and so heartwarming. I mean, if teaching your kid at a young age how to become immune to being brainwashed isn't worthy of "Father of the Year" status, then I don't know what is. But what makes their relationship even more believable is the fact that Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber truly love each other in real life. He officiated her wedding for goodness sake! how neat is that? 

Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) - Modern FamilyFrom the very first episode of this show, when Phil was explaining why he was a "hip Dad", I knew I was going to love his character. He's silly and ridiculous but he's smart too. He's not one of those one sided characters where being the "dumb Dad" is his thing. He has heartfelt moments with all of his kids and with his wife as well. He's constantly looking for acceptance from his father-in-law (played by Ed O'Neil) and always up for doing crazy things with his son, Luke.

Luke: How many moms does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Phil: How many?
Luke: None because she's got you to do that sucker.

Phil: I've always said that if my son thinks of me as one of his idiot friends, I've succeeded as a dad.

 Keith Mars (played by Enrico Colantoni)- Veronica Mars: Keith Mars was a single dad to Veronica (Kristen Bell). He ran Mars Investigations and worked as a Private Detective. He was witty and fun and always willing to help Veronica out if she needed it. I loved their relationship on the show. He was a friend when she needed him to be and the overbearing father when he should be. They were very in sync with one another and watching them figure things out together and have those endearing father/daughter moments always made me smile. I don't only miss this show for the creative storylines and wonderful characters, I miss it because I loved watching their banter. It was a sweet sidenote to a really great show.

 Rick Castle (played by Nathan Fillion)- Castle: Between helping Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) solve crimes and writing best selling novels, Castle is a family man. He lives with his Mom, Martha (played by Susan Sullivan) and his teenage daughter, Alexis (played by the super cute Molly Quinn). Whenever he's having a hard time trying to figure out how to fit the puzzle pieces together for a certain crime, Alexis always helps him (unknowingly) solve it. Almost every episode. And while you would think that would make for a predictable, boring show, it actually makes it better. The fact that he's not just a handsome, super rich, conceited dude but is a really great father as well, helps balance him out and I look forward to their moments on the show every time I watch.

Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head)- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Oh hush, I know that Giles isn't really a Dad in the traditional sense but he was always more of a Father to Buffy than her real Dad was. He was her Watcher and did everything he could to make sure she was as safe as could be. He tolerated (and probably loved) her friends and was able to throw the sarcasm around just as much as they did. He rarely had a life of his own but most of the time he was OK with that. He was her guardian in the truest sense of the word and I loved it. Just like with all the others I've already talked about, one of the reasons I loved watching BTVS is because of the relationship between these two... and maybe because I had a little bit of a crush on him (oh, and he sings as well).

So, those are my favorites. Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there, fictional or otherwise!

Happy Father's Day to my fantastic husband, Jeffrey, who should win a big award for dealing with our crazy Charley every day, all day. We love you S'much!!! 

And a BIG Happy Father's Day to my #1 Dad, the best cheeseburger maker on the planet! The Dad who is always there for each of us kids with great music, great advice and always willing to spend hours at my house whenever I have some sort of weird household problem. He's fantastic and wonderful and I love him lots! Happy Father's Day, Tom Proctor!!

Who are your favorite TV Dads??

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Friday.

It's been awhile since I've done an "Everything and Nothing You Ever Needed to Know About Me" blog and it's Friday, so I figured it would be kind of fun to do another one. Fun for me because this is currently keeping my eyes open in the middle of the day and fun for you because you get to see that I am kind of a weirdo.

- I have to wear slippers or flip flops in my house all the time. The dogs always get water everywhere when they drink from their water dish and I hate (HATE) that feeling of my feet being wet. Ack.

- I do not think Channing Tatum is handsome. I know that I am in the minority with this one but I think he looks like a gorilla. He does nothing for me.

- I am addicted to Avocados. I think I could eat them with everything, all the time. I really, really, really love them.

- I have yet to try anything from Sonic. Yeah, I know that restaurant has been in Westland for a long time now and I was one of those people that always wished we had a Sonic nearby before it moved here but I just always forget that it's over there.

- I keep a pad of paper and pen in my bag/purse at all times, so I can write down good ideas and things to discuss and/or blog about.

- I'm the youngest person in my department at work.

- I have never seen Avatar  (much to the irritation of my Dad) and have no desire to do so.

- Whenever I think something (or someone) is boring, I always hear Dudley Dursley's "He's boorring" in my head, from Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone:

- Whenever I think something is gross, I immediately think of Jennifer Garner in 13 Going On 30:

- Whenever I pin something on Pinterest and the little "Success!" box pops up, I read it as the voice of Kristen Wiig's Target Lady.

- I want to buy all of the Lord of The Rings Lego sets. Not for Charley. For me. I stare at them longingly whenever we go to the store. I could have a room full of Harry Potter and LOTR Legos on display at all times. HOW MUCH FUN WOULD THAT BE!?

- I recently had to switch over to Burt's Bees peppermint chapstick (GASP!). I know. I can't find singles of my Spearmint Chapstick at any of the stores I normally go to. I have one spearmint one left. That's it.

- I'm sick of Train and maroon 5. I feel like those are the only two bands ever played on the radio anymore.

- I don't like blueberries, raspberries or pineapple. (This fact drives Dawn crazy! It makes no sense to her.) I also hate orange juice but can eat an orange.

- I really, really, really love the Howie Day album, Stop All The World Now. It's 9 years old now and that's crazy to me. I always forget how much I love it.

- My Mom is 3 years Breast Cancer free this week. She's the strongest woman I know and I am so proud of her.

- I got my first flat tire this morning. The AAA guy thought I was a dumb girl, I could tell.

- I bought some Mangos for the first time ever while grocery shopping last night. I have no idea how to cut them.

- Dawn and I became soulmates through our mutual love of Twilight.

- I am contemplating re-reading the Harry Potter series for the 3rd time.

- Carrie and I used to sell Beanie Babies and Pokemon merchandise at a kiosk in the middle of Westland Mall. We used to make each other laugh all the live long day, while swinging our keys.

- My sister-in-law, Rhonda was my boss at my first job, The Pretzel Peddler. We've known each other for almost 20 years. (A fact that I JUST now realized and am kind of blown away by).

- I have no plans this weekend. I'm really happy about that.

A few miscellaneous tidbits:

- I really loved The Avengers. Joss Whedon did a wonderful job. I can't wait to see it again.

- The new Kris Allen album is so good. I could listen to it all day long. I LOVE IT.

- The newest Sookie book ( Deadlocked)  is much better than the last one. There is one book left in the series and I honestly don't care who she ends up with. It should be interesting.

- Season 5 of True Blood starts on Sunday. YES.

- The Hunger Games comes out on BluRay/DVD in August.

- I'm currently reading the Fifty Shades of Grey series. You can expect a blog about it soon.

- AMC is going to be showing a Walking Dead season 3 preview, the weekend of July 7th and 8th. They will be showing the first 2 seasons in their entirety, with each episode being introduced by Chris Hardwick (who will be on the set of season 3). They will also be showing interviews with the cast and behind the scenes footage throughout the weekend. There will be a special "Talking Dead" episode at 9pm on the 8th. I think that's pretty cool.  

- Charley tried to talk Jeff and I into purchasing this for him:

Yeah, no way in the world that's happening. This commercial makes me want to vomit. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

C Bear

Five years ago today (and after 2 days of contractions), I became a mom to this insanely adorable (cranky), tiny version of myself and Jeff. Having a baby is a miraculously overwhelming and incredible experience. You're pregnant for 9 months and then all of a sudden there is an actual tiny human in your house with you. Jeff and I didn't know what the heck we were doing when we first brought Charley home from the hospital. He liked to cry. I know all babies cry but Mr. Charley Bear cried ALL. THE. TIME. See, he had colic but none of the remedies for colicky babies would work on him. He just wanted to cry. It was never at the same time every day. Always at different hours. Sometimes in the middle of the night for hours, or in the morning, etc. He cried a lot, ok? There were times where I would be amazed that he could cry so much. How does it not wear him out?? He would even sleep-cry. Meaning, he would be sound asleep then cry for a few seconds with his eyes closed and then go back to a sound sleep. But we were still in love with him. This little bundle of blue eyed Charley-ness. I loved watching him (even as he was crying and I was completely exhausted). I loved that he was the perfect combination of Jeff and I. At around 8 weeks, he decided he didn't want to cry all the time anymore. It was like someone switched babies on us and he was happy as can be. Smiled all the time and laughed constantly. Oh, his laugh is such a great sound to hear. The two months of constant crying was so worth hearing his laugh and seeing his smile.

Through these last five years, I have learned to calm down a bit. Going from wanting to take him to the hospital at the smallest sniffle to just telling him to deal with it if he gets a papercut. I was a frantic first time mom. I remember reading directions and printing them out on how to give him his first bath. Actual directions and trying to time it perfectly. I didn't want to make any mistakes but here's the thing... you can't follow a plan laid out for you on a mommy website or anything described in a book. You have to go with the flow and believe me when I tell you, the tiny human is the one in charge those first few weeks. You learn to adapt to their personality and their wants and needs. You can readjust everything as time goes on because believe me, once you get used to one way of doing things for them, they immediately change things up.

All babies/kids learn at their own pace. I know there are charts and guidelines of where each kid at each age should be but that's all they are; guidelines. It doesn't mean your kid is unhealthy because he's smaller than the average 2 year old or that your kid is slow because he's not walking at 9 months. Charley walked when he wanted to walk... which was at 15 months. He was perfectly fine doing his army crawl and I was totally ok with that. One day, he just decided it was time and that was that.

At 2 years old he talked up a storm and (much to the delight of Jeffrey) was obsessed with Star Wars. I owe every ounce of our potty training success to that franchise. Charley knew that every time he would have a good potty training day/week, he would get a new Star Wars toy (we had a plethora of Jeff's old figures in our attic. TONS of them). Needless to say, he was out of diapers very quickly.

My point is, just go with the flow. Find your own ways of doing things and stick with it. Don't freak out if your kid isn't exactly where another kid is. They are all brilliant little creatures who will learn things in their own way. The first five years of your kids life is some of the most fun you will ever experience. Filled with new discoveries and a love that you never knew existed. It's fun and exhausting and such a joy to introduce them to new things. Being a parent is an incredible experience.

Charley is an awesome kid. I know I'm biased (I'm supposed to be afterall) but he just blows me away with his little personality and those blue eyes. He's so smart and creative and hilariously funny. He's shy and stubborn and will argue with you until he's blue in the face.

Allow me to share with you some tidbits about that little Lego of mine...

-He has slept with a blanket that he nicknamed "na-night" ever since he was 7 months old. He still sleeps with it and asks for it when he's sad. He makes us find the tag on it for him, so he can hold it while he sleeps.

- At 7 weeks old, he got us kicked out of Kohl's in Westland Mall because one of the employees there was annoyed with his crying. (I told you, he cried all the time). When I told C this story the other day, he thought it was really funny.

- He learned to say "please" over a Wendy's Frosty.

- He can hold his own among any hardcore Star Wars fan. Also, do not get into a lightsaber/sword duel with him unless you are serious about it. He is hardcore.

 - He loves to snuggle as a family on the couch and watch movies with all the lights off  "just like a real movie theater".

He is addicted to popcorn and LOVES butter.

- His favorite CD's are the Star Wars Soundtrack and the Victorious Soundtrack.

- Poop, fart, pee. He loves talking and laughing about all of it. He's a boy! What can I say?

- He is funny. So very funny.

- He is always telling Jeff and I how much he loves us.

- He hates animatronics and people dressed up in big, fuzzy costumes. Completely freaks him out.

- He loves Logan and Bristow even though he tortures them incessantly.

- He loves mini muffins and is the pickiest eater in all the land.

- He gives really, really wonderful hugs.

- His favorite Superhero is Iron Man.

- He adores his cousins.

- He is smart. So very smart.

- He is one of the most stubborn people on the planet.

- He always tells me that I smell good (haha). Always.

- When he gets his haircut and they offer him a sucker afterward, he always takes 2. "One for me and one for Daddy".

- He has blue eyes and a smile that could melt your heart.

- He's very shy.

- He loves Legos. He wishes he was a Lego. He loves building things with them. Watching them on tv. Playing Lego video games. Most of all, he loves taking them apart. Even the little hands.  He loves taking them apart and mixing them all up (and it makes Jeff CRAZY).

From the moment I realized that I was pregnant, I have dreaded the day he would go to Kindergarten. It means he's no longer a baby. He's a big boy and growing up so fast. But he's so excited for it and he can't wait to meet new friends. It's just another chapter in this whole parenthood journey. We'll get through it and then move on to the next one. Until then, I will just be thankful for the last five incredibly (fast), awesome years.

Happy 5th Birthday, Charley Robert!!

Thanks for letting me take a quick break from the usual pop culture vibe of this here blog, so that I could pay a little tribute to that beautiful boy of mine. I'll leave you with my most favorite video of him. he was 2 years old here: