Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels....except a Blizzard

It amuses me that I can go three weeks feeling so overwhelmed that I consider never writing a blog post again and then one day I wake up and think of all the things I want to blog about. Therefore, I am now officially considering blogging a sign of health. If I feel good enough to want to blog, my stress level must be manageable.

Last week my stress level was not manageable. I was in one of those places where you are either very hostile or crying. One of the themes this blog revolves around is self-care. It's a very social workery term but it's got a great meaning that everyone should adopt. Self care is what it sounds like: taking care of yourself. But it's really more about the awareness of the ways you are already doing it or making a conscious effort to do more. Or, really, acknowledging that you need to take care of yourself because things are hard and taking care of yourself helps.

For example, yesterday I had a crappy afternoon of working with a struggling mom and facing stupid restrictions from big systems that are supposed to help such as the welfare/homelessness system. As I was driving away from a maddening meeting, I turned on the radio to help distract me. The first verbal commentary from the dj was about how it's  hard to believe Rihanna playing a "tough girl" in the movie Battleship after "you know who did you know what". If I began to tell you how infuriating I found this, it would be a very long, very unfunny post about social injustice so I will spare you but I really hope anyone reading this recognizes how un-okay that is! Someone isn't weak because they were victimized.

Needless to say, I needed to do some self-care STAT. Lucky for me, I just happen to drive by a Dairy Queen on my way between jobs. A good friend often jokes about "eating her feelings" and that's so what I did. And you know those people who say "nothing tastes as good as thin feels"? They lied. You know how you look back at pictures and think "wow, I looked good" but you remember that, at the time, you didn't think you looked good? When you are thin, you often don't feel thin enough. That doesn't feel good! But a really did feel good. By the last spoonful I was even dreaming up new Ryan Gosling Tumblrs!! That's a drastic turn around and you can't even deny it.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Summer Concerts are Lining Up!

Last month, when I found out I had to have minor surgery I was unnerved but held it together. It wasn't until I looked at my calendar and realized I would miss two Counting Crows shows that I already had tickets for that the tears finally flowed freely. Luckily, great friends helped me get my money back for the tickets and also sent me pictures and reports on the shows I missed. It kind of felt like when you sponsor a kid from a different country and you get updates and pictures. And yes, I felt that connected.

Usually when a band has just come around, you can't expect to see them until at least the following year so I just assumed I had lost my chance for 2012 and hearing Adam Duritz sing songs from the new album, released last month. Well wasn't I just ecstatic when I got, of all things, a facebook application request from a friend referencing the Counting Crows releasing more tour dates. Long story short, the more people who "shared" the app, the faster tour dates were revealed. Yesterday when I looked, the closest venue to me was almost three hours away. Still, I mapquested directions and was prepared for the journey, if need be. But today more dates and venues were released and two of them are not only within driving distance and great show venues but they are also just days before my birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

I restrained myself and only bought tickets to one show, which is totally unlike me but it allowed me to splurge on the tickets a bit more. Like lots of ladies I know, once you are spending a little, you may as well spend a lot. With this thinking in mind, I also looked up tour dates for Micheal Franti and Spearhead because I knew they were coming my way soon, too. So I snatched up tickets for that, too! Those are less than a third of the price but the show is at my all time favorite venue, Lupo's in Providence, RI. And Providence is just a really cute place for a night out with it's vibrant college scene and hearty Little Italy district. I'm so excited!

One show I missed because I was totally out of the loop was the Neon Trees. They are newer and I am not a cult follower as I am with the Counting Crows but I like where they come from in life, I like their music a lot, and I have really loved hearing their live/acoustic music when they performed for a local radio station. To me, the ability to be better live than on your album is a true measure of talent and I appreciate that above great dancing or outfits or something like that.

I also missed the boat on the Newport Folk Festival. It's sold out already but it looks amazing so I "liked" them on Facebook so I won't miss out again next year. It's a 2.5 day festival held at historic Fort Adams in Newport, RI, already a stunning location before the first note has been played. Picture bringing your own picnic blanket and chairs and sitting on the coast, surrounded by perfect white sailboats in the beautiful New England summer weather. Now add a solid lineup of less mainstream bands, especially Of Monsters and Men who are breakout artists all the way from one of my fave spots, Iceland. You have probably heard their popular song "Little Talks". Their cd came out on a Tuesday in March and I saw them the following Saturday at the House of Blues in Boston and not only really loved all their music but really enjoyed their charm. They were friendly and energetic, humble and funny. Any band that brings out an accordion wins me over, I have learned.

So that's my music run down for the day. Which shows can you NOT MISS?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Things that blew my mind this week

1. By now, you have probably already seen this piece about a NJ mother who brought her daughter tanning. It's trending on Facebook and a lead story on Yahoo. Of course the obvious main theme is that taking your kid tanning equals bad parenting but why aren't more people talking about the mom's face? Holy tanorexic!

2. One of the gems of being off of work to recover from my minor surgery is a plethora of free time to watch lots of tv. How has no one told me about the channel "Hub Tv" yet? It's an 80's baby's dream come true. Today, alone, I watched The Facts of Life, Fraggle Rock, My Little Pony, Pound Puppies and Strawberry Shortcake. Ok, the last three are remakes and didn't totally do it for me because I wanted the real thing. But Facts of Life was enlightening. It was like an experiment in tv evolution. They spelled the message they wanted me to learn out and then shouted it at me. No subtlety at all. But did I still almost shed a tear? But of course. Yet to come? Wonder Years is being DVRd in the very near future. Oh, and they are showing Gremlins 2 as their Saturday night movie.

3. Another treasure I stumbled upon is Total Black Out on the SyFy. While I discovered that I completely detest host Jaleel White and he annoyed me pretty much every time he spoke, this was a wonderful combination of hilarious and scary. It's like fear factor to the nth degree. Four contestants begin and the first challenge is to individually go into a pitch black room and stick your hand into four containers and identify what you are touching. Rats and snakes are not out of the question. They learn who is eliminated by all jumping on a platform, one of which gives way and dumps the person down a black hole. Awesome.
The next round is smells. The three remaining players have to go up to holes in glass, sniff things and identify them. What would be the worst thing you could imagine sniffing? Now imagine you are doing that in the dark, through a hole, while being filmed to air to the world. Yup, that happened. A man bent over on the other side of the glass with a hole cut out of his spandex and the contestants walked up to the hole and inhaled. Interestingly, everyone got that one. Other smells to identify included hard boiled eggs off someones breath, dirty socks, and shoe polish.

4. Commercials. Those smoking commercials about stomas are clearly effective as they really disgust me each and every time I see them. More amusing are the Michael Jordan commercials on Sports Center with which my husband is obsessed.(Yes, I just changed that line to be grammatically correct even though a normal human would never say it that way. Unless that person was a professor in England because I think they have different rules).  It follows a plain, boring man named Michael Jordan as he interacts with people who know his name and, thus, expect the celebrity.

5. Did you know on Conan's show when they show a website on the bottom of the screen they actually show a picture of Guns and Roses' Slash's face instead of putting in the "/" slash? He is just so cool. His cousin taught me a government class in high school, btw.

6. Which reminds me...I got the most noteworthy text of my life this week. A friend sent me a text to let me know she was at a party with Meryl Streep!! Really?? Her hubby is in an Off Broadway play in NYC and the post opening night party. But really, who goes to party where Meryl Streep shows up? My friend, evidently.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MTV Movie Award Nominations

You can find a complete article and list here.
Here you will just find my opinions about Fan voting opened yesterday so you can have an opinion, too.
Movie of the Year
» "Bridesmaids"
» "The Hunger Games" This would be my choice to win. From this post and this post, you already know my thoughts on this movie, good, bad, or otherwise. Was it the best movie of the year? No. But this is MTV. The criteria is different. The Help won the fancy award already. Hunger Games deserves to win based on hype and popularity alone. » "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" (I should at least admit I didn't see this)
» "The Help"
» "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"
Best Male Performance
» Daniel Radcliffe, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" Didn't see
» Ryan Gosling, "Drive" He is always a winner for hotness but this movie bored me to death, even on an airplane.
» Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "50/50" Didn't see
» Josh Hutcherson, "The Hunger Games" Based on the fact that this is the only movie I saw to completion, Josh has to get my vote. I do appreciate that he loved the Hunger Games books prior to being cast so I have a soft spot in my heart for him in the role. I'm a little shocked in this category, though. I see a lot of movies, how am I so ignorant in this area?
Channing Tatum, "The Vow" Didn't see
Best Female Performance
» Jennifer Lawrence, "The Hunger Games"
» Kristin Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
» Emma Stone, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" I liked this performance the most. And I'm far more qualified here, having seen all but one movie in this category.
Emma Watson, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"Even though it wasn't my favorite and I actually am still haunted by it, I do think Mara deserves the award most. Probably because I am still haunted by it. This movie had THE MOST graphic rape scene I have ever seen. I actually detested it and don't think movies should get that graphic; it's not needed. But because it was in there and she acted through some really horrific stuff, she should win.
Best Comedic Performance
» Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids" There are a lot of great candidates in this category and I actually saw ALL of these movies. This is a close one because Wiig and Jonah Hill are both really worthy, too. However, if I had to choose just one, which is the way these things work, I have to give it to McCarthy for the bathroom scene and puppy stealing. She really made this movie shine as her small gestures and comments and ambiguous sexuality added something to every scene she was in.
» Kristen Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
» Zach Galifianakis, "The Hangover Part II"
» Jonah Hill, "21 Jump Street" For the record, this was one of the best movies of the year and I don't think it got enough hype, except from people who saw it and loved it. Even my mother laughed her way through this one and she probably didn't get half of the references and was super offended at the end.
» Oliver Cooper, "Project X" Also for the record, this movie should not even be categorized as a comedy. Me and hubby went to see it one night because it was pitched as funny and, more so, because it was playing at the Premium Cinema and we could get free soda and popcorn. I felt like ripping out my uterus after this movie. Immediately, my number one priority in life became making sure my 14 year old nephew never saw this movie. The whole thing is about kids throwing a big party but it's not the fun teen party of 90's movies like Can't Hardly Wait or that one with Freddy Prinze Jr. This one has lots of naked underage breasts and violence. Bottom line: it was icky.
Breakthrough Performance
» Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
» Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"Again, I didn't like this movie much because of the rape scene but this girl acted her pants off. Literally. Admittedly, I did not see Super 8 or The Descendants (although the latter is on my list) but of the other three, Mara did the most actual acting and was more of a "break through" than the other two, who had roles at least some people knew about before.
» Liam Hemsworth, "The Hunger Games"
» Elle Fanning, "Super 8"
» Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"
Best Cast
» "Bridesmaids"
» "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» "The Hunger Games"
» "21 Jump Street"Again, this one is close. The Bridesmaids ladies were a great team and the ladies of The Help were the most talented but as it's the MTV awards, we can give street cred points and 21 Jump Street was oozing with that. Not just Jonah Hill who is funny and Channing Tatum who is yummy, but all the additional appearances are what rounded this cast out. The guest appearances by original cast were fun highlights.
» "The Help"
Best On-Screen Transformation
» Elizabeth Banks, "The Hunger Games"
» Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
» Johnny Depp, "21 Jump Street"
» Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"
» Colin Farrell, "Horrible Bosses" To take such a ruggedly attractive man and make him into a greasy creeper is a feat. This transformation should win for it's makeunderness. And let's just compare: Banks just had a wig and some makeup, which she is used to for other roles, just less extreme. Mara had fake piercings. Depp dresses up all the time to be a pirate. Williams is already blond. Farrell's normal hotness was turned into a balding, ugly older man with bad habits. Win.
Best Fight
» Daniel Radcliffe vs. Ralph Fiennes, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson vs. Alexander Ludwig, "The Hunger Games"
» Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill vs. Kid Gang, "21 Jump Street"
» Tom Hardy vs. Joel Edgerton, "Warrior" I didn't see this one but I still want to vote for it because I wanted to see it SOOO bad. The only other two I saw were HG and JS and neither one of those fight scenes blew my mind. I'm sure this would have. This just makes me mad at Redbox for not having it anymore and at Netflix for only putting tv shows on instant watch. Grrr. Btw, where do Redbox movies go when they are not in the boxes anymore???
» Tom Cruise vs. Michelle Nyqvist, "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"
Best Kiss
» Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, "Crazy, Stupid, Love"I'm going to give this one my vote because any kiss, really, involving the draw joppingly hot Gosling and the charmingly humble Stone is magical. 96% of women in the US would cause a loved one bodily injury in order to kiss Ryan Gosling. That's a scientifically derived statistic. And Emma Stone is so relateable. Hands down winner.
» Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, "The Hunger Games" This kiss was weak. Don't give credit where it's not due just because when you were reading the books, you pictured a way hotter kiss.
» Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, "The Vow"
» Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"This is another series I really like, embarrassingly enough. This whole movie was about them trying to have "safe sex" so there was a lot of kissing. But the wedding kiss wasn't hot. I guess I'd have to know exactly which kiss they were referencing in order to make an informed decision.
Best Gut-Wrenching Performance
» "Bridesmaids" (Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McClendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) If they mean gut wrenching in reference to pooping in the street, this one wins.
» "The Help" (Bryce Dallas Howard) But if they mean gut wrenching in bringing the audience through a range of emotion, feeling happy, sad, raw, thoughtul and moved, then The Help has to win. Really amazing.
» "21 Jump Street" (Jonah Hill and Rob Riggle)
» "Drive" (Ryan Gosling)
» "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (Tom Cruise)
Best On-Screen Dirtbag
» Bryce Dallas Howard, "The Help"
» Jon Hamm, "Bridesmaids"
» Jennifer Aniston, "Horrible Bosses"
» Colin Farrell, "Horrible Bosses"
» Oliver Cooper, "Project X" I don't think any of these dirtbags were the most horrible. I guess my vote has to land here because this movie was just dirt, overall.
Best Music
» "Party Rock Anthem," LMFAO ("21 Jump Street") Who can help themselves when they hear this song? And with the commercial with the hamsters, to boot? Also, I saw a really tall, solemn, white cop bust out to this at a wedding and my life has never been the same since.
» "A Real Hero," College & Electric Youth ("Drive")
» "The Devil Is in the Details," Chemical Brothers ("Hanna")
» "Impossible," Figurine ("Like Crazy")
» "Pursuit of Happiness," Kid Cudi (Steve Aoki remix) ("Project X")

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's here!

Tv Worth Watching, Part 2: Guest Post from Something Clever 2.0

TV shows worth watching, Part 2

My friend Maureen writes a blog called Aspiring to the Middle. I guess it would be classified as a “lifestyle” blog; she writes mainly about her lifestyle passions, which include travel, reading and a smattering of home decorating. I highly encourage you to check it out.

Yesterday, she wrote about a lifestyle topic that is very dear to my heart, television. (Please read it here.) She does not claim to be an expert, and focused mainly on reality shows. I, however, do claim to be an expert, and offered to fill in the gaps for her.

In the tv watching system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: the reality tv fans, who know why Ice loves Coco, and the drama fans, who get this reference. These are their stories.

For those of you who know about Maureen’s noble profession, it’s understandable that she wouldn’t want to watch a lot of drama, since she sees enough of that in real life. What she doesn’t see enough in real life is “reality,” at least, reality as it’s presented by Mark Burnett and the good folks at VH1.

My noble profession as a stay-at-home mother (and no, I will not use obnoxious acronyms) is all about watching a short person act a fool, and occasionally say something funny. So you can see why I don’t need Snooki in my life.

The following are my drama recommendations, with some comedy mixed in, because hey, everybody needs that.


“Harry’s Law” – Kathy Bates is hilarious. If you haven’t seen her since “Misery,” give this a shot. It’s a procedural, so you can jump right in anytime. Yes, it’s a lawyer show, but it’s funny as hell. They specialize in lawsuits that are completely bananas, like a little girl with Conversion Disorder who was expelled for basically turning into a demon at school, or a woman who kidnapped a gorilla and fought to have the state grant him “personhood” status.

“Desperate Housewives”- Oh, shut up, it’s fun! These broads just get into the silliest predicaments. As of this writing, there are only two episodes left, so I’m sure I’m wasting my time, here, but at the very least, I can urge you to get on board with the fabulous Marc Cherry’s new project, "Devious Maids." I don’t know a thing about it, but the man gave us “Popular” and “The Golden Girls.” He deserves our respect.

“GCB” – For those who are current fans of “Desperate Housewives,” and looking to fill the impending void, GCB has got you covered. Way less sex, way more church, Texas accents, and my girl from the aforementioned “Popular,” Leslie Bibb. Who plays her mom? Sugarbaker Designs alum Annie Potts! It’s too perfect. And don’t get nervous when you see Kristen Chenoweth in the credits; she almost never sings (praise Jesus.)


“Bones” – If you get grossed out easily, skip it. I love gross stuff (except farts), and will often force my husband to watch the cold open of this show, when they find an impossibly disgusting body in a stage of decomp you have absolutely never heard of before. Normally, I can’t stand when procedurals try to throw some cop’s personal life into the mix, but this one does it delicately enough that you never retch.

“Eureka” – It’s on SyFy. Haven’t shut down your computer yet? Ok, cool. I’m pretty sure this show is why they have no budget left for those movies; please don’t let “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” sour you on the whole channel. Eureka is a serial about a small town in Oregon that’s like super-secret DARPA. It’s in its last season, but you can probably get the DVDs for $5, since I’m the only one who watches it.


“Cougar Town” – The awful name is a running gag on this show. They know, don’t worry. And please don’t judge a show by its title card. I'll make you a deal, and I’m being completely honest here: watch one episode, and of you don’t like it, contact me and I will mail you one dollar. If you do like it, you have to come back to this post and comment that I was right. It’s just some friends who drink wine and make fun of people, just like you and me... Maybe just me. Maybe I shouldn’t extend this offer to Maureen’s readers, since I don’t really know if they’re into that. Oh, well, the genie’s out of the bottle now.


“Law & Order: SVU” – If there’s one thing that can be said for TNT and me, it’s that we know drama. This is the big bad mamma-jamma granddaddy of them all. If you don’t like L&O: SVU, you don’t like drama. Disclaimer: do not watch while pregnant, or for at least two months post-partum. Trust me.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” – It’s the show that single-handedly ruined the jury system! You should see me watching this show; it’s a thing of beauty. I have to translate for my husband. What’s a GC mass-spec? What does it mean when they “put out a BOLO”? At what stage in decomposition to blowflies first appear? You’d know, too, if you watched. If you’re not a pro, you might want to start with the dumbed-down “CSI: Miami,” or the super-duper dumbed-down, spell-everything-out-for-you “CSI: New York.” Once you know what DNA stands for, come play with the big kids in Vegas.


“Missing” – I must confess to pulling a Maureen on this one; I have the entire season banked on my DVR and cannot bring myself to start it. Ashley Judd is cute, and all, but it just seems like a TV version of that Liam Neeson movie I wasn’t interested in. Has anyone seen this? Should I bother? Please comment.

“Person of Interest” – Jim Caviezel is so BA in this show. He’s like a real-life Batman. And I mean just Batman; the Bruce Wayne half is played by Michael Emerson (Benjamin Linus from “Lost”). Basically, Bruce’s computer tells him someone will be involved in a crime, but there are no details. We don’t even know if this person is the victim or the perpetrator. Then he sends Batman in to protect/foil the… person…of interest. Oh, okay. Now finally I get the title.

“The Mentalist” – Imagine a fake psychic so charming you’d gladly hand him your wallet, then make him a cup of tea. Imagine said psychic gets too cocky, taunts a serial killer on national tv, and has his wife and child murdered as payback. Patrick Jane is the phony psychic in question, and he atones for the deaths by working with the police, using the observational skills he honed as a crook to fight for the good guys. In case I made that sound to corny, I should add that he totally plans to murder the guy who killed his family, once he finds him.

“Awake” – This premise is as high-concept as they come. A happy family has a car accident. The wife dies. Then, the husband goes to sleep and awakens to an alternate reality in which the son died, not the wife. Each day, he toggles back and forth between these universes, unclear on which one is real. He sees two different shrinks in each universe (one played by the super-rad B.D. Wong, of L&O: SVU), who both insist that the other universe is a dream. Oh, and did I mention he’s a detective, and has to solve crimes on top of all this? And that he gets clues to the crime in Universe A while he’s in Universe B? And his boss (Laura Innes, from “The Event”) is super-shady, and possibly involved in the accident/double universeness? Yeah. Here’s a tip: to remember which universe he’s in, he wear a rubber band on his wrist- red in the one where his wife’s alive, green for his son (their favorite colors, respectively). The entire color tones for the show follow this rule; wife-universe is shot in warm tones, and son-universe is in cool tones.


“Grimm” – Another high-concept cop show. Nick Burkhardt is a Portland detective who just learned that all the fairy tale monsters we grew up hearing about are sort of real. And he’s a Grimm, a person tasked with keeping them in line. Big Bad Wolves are dudes who turn into wolves and eat little girls. The Three Bears kill trespassers. And so on. Unfortunately, Nick got the memo a little late, just before his great-aunt dies, passing on way too little information before she did so.

“In Plain Sight” – Inspector Mary Shannon is a grumpy U.S. Marshall, charged with handling witnesses for the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program. She takes no guff, but gives plenty. I wish she was real, because I desperately want to be her friend.

I hope this rounds out your viewing schedule. These are only a handful of the 80+ (no joke) shows that I regularly watch, so if that’s not enough, I can always write a Part Three.