Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Year-End Musings

As I started to gather my thoughts around the 2010 year’s end, I looked back on blog posts that I made back in the beginning of January and am startled at the similarities to what I’m feeling/thinking currently.

Let’s see – I was complaining about how shitty a year 2009 had been (2010 has proven to be even more tumultuous); I was sick (I still am); dealing with old and/or infirm pets (still); and as I enter what will be the third year in my “new” house, I still haven’t adjusted or settled into it.
So were there any highlights in 2010? Well, maybe a few.

My top 5 Music Moments:

  • The dominance of Ray LaMontagne in my life; especially his song "Let It Be Me"
  • Songs from Glee – I couldn’t get enough of them. They made me love a Katy Perry song for crissakes!
  • Rediscovering the Little River Band after finding an old greatest hits cd buried in the trunk of my car. Move over Journey, LRB is my new karaoke go-to band.
  • Succumbing to Lady Gaga fever after resisting for two years
  • After decades of singing it in the shower and to myself in the mirror, finally performing “Where Is It Written?” from Yentl for a live audience in November 2010.
Top 2010 Movie Moments:

Never Let Me Go – quietly devastating

Inception - Clever and captivating

Brotherhood – harshly beautiful

Hipsters – amazing snapshot of 1950’s Russia

Black Swan – seriously and gloriously f*cked up

Top 2010 TV:

  • The WINTER OLYMPICS! And I actually got to go to Vancouver, albeit by my sad and lonely self, to see a couple of skiing events.
  • The SYTYCD All-Stars season which brought Pasha, Allison, Ade, Mark, and Neil back into my life.
  • New seriesModern Family, Justified, The Choir, Sherlock Holmes, Huge

Top 2010 Reading:
  1. The Hunger Games trilogy came into my life
  2. I got a Kindle!
  3. The continued awesomeness of Melissa De La Cruz's young-adult vampire books the Blue Bloods series. It kicks all sorts of Twilight ass.
  4. Lest you think I only read YA lit, I also enjoyed Pulitzer and National Book Award winners Tinkers, Great House, and The Imperfectionists
In 2010 I also participated with thousands of others in attempting to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I didn’t make it, but it was a great experience nonetheless.

For the past 3 years I’ve said that the coming the year couldn’t possibly be worse than the one that I just lived through, and then that year has tried its best to prove me wrong. I truly hope that 2011, a year filled with mystical and powerful numerological importance, will be the year of healing and happiness.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Music Video Dissection - Xmas Edition

Wham!'s Last Christmas:

  • Oh 80s George Michael, how I've missed you.
  • Andrew Ridgely really was sort of a non-entity in the band at this point wasn't he? It's a shame. He has a really good voice actually and wrote a bunch of their songs.
  • Okay, just where in Europe are they? Where they seem to have private ski lifts that just let you out in front of your huge 40 room "cabin".
  • 1 min 10 sec mark - What kind of ski house/cabin doesn't have a walk way to the front door? These people have to schlep all of their luggage (filled with hair spray and mousse) over a wood fence and through the back yard.
  • Have you ever seen so many shoulder pads and pleated trousers in one place? (Men and women included)
  • So the premise here is that George was dating the girl that Andrew's currently boinking "last Christmas". uh huh, I think George might have been hooking up with the dude that brings in the firewood at the 1 min 35 sec mark.
  • I think my mom owned the white and blue window-pane checked jacket that Andrew Ridgely is wearing at 1 min 43 sec
  • George Michael looks so pretty (and is wearing so much make up) wearing that fur-hooded coat at 1 min 54 sec. Also, with the fence climbing again. Ever hear of a gate?
  • 2 min 20 sec mark - Oooh Sparkler Cake!
  • 2 min 29 sec/3 min 15 sec - Let me get this straight. George gave this chick a "diamond" brooch the Xmas before and she has now regifted it to ANDREW?! That is so messed up on so many levels.
  • 3 min 23 sec mark - There they go, having to climb over the fence again with all of their luggage and crap. A huge oversight in the design of this million dollar ski chalet.
  • 4 min 17 sec mark - I love how only one guy brought skis, but the black lady is wearing ski goggles as like regular sunglasses.
  • And that's it. It just ends. There's absolutely no resolution. George's old girlfriend seems to be flirting with him and seems to regret her decision to move on to Andrew. George seems forlorn (hence the lyrics in the song) but in the end I guess realizes that he's better off with his new blond piece, then with someone who just takes perfectly ugly but thoughtful gifts of jewelry and gives them to her new boyfriend (who is also a friend).
Wow. Merry Christmas y'all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas came early this year!

My boyfriend is single again! Yep, ScarJo's loss is my gain. I can't believe she initiated the split (allegedly); what a dumb woman.

In other celebrity break up news - Dexter's Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter also called it quits this week! I seriously can't believe this one. They seemed like such a great and happy couple. Was it his struggle with Hodgkin's last year that put a strain on their marriage? Was the sibling dynamic of their characters on Dexter finally too weird for them to handle in their real life off set? Inquiring minds...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hey Oprah, stop trying to kill my boyfriend!

(At least my baby got to enjoy a nice glass of wine afterwards)
Today, while making what turned out to be a VERY dramatic entrance on to the stage of the Oprah Winfrey Show, Hugh Jackman injured one of his beautiful eyes attached to his beautiful face.
This episode of Oprah was being filmed in Australia, where Hugh came on to the set down a zip-line that was attached to the nearby Sydney Opera House. Except he kind of pulled the brake too late on the line and knocked into one of the lighting rigs. I blame Oprah. I don't care if the stunt was Hugh's idea, I know in my heart that she encouraged him to do something stupid so that she can have every episode of her final season be as memorable as possible. Well mission accomplished lady!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Best thing I've seen all week -
I know this is hard to read, but I encourage everyone to check the real one out on or here to see it a little better. Some choice bits include:
  • Crying - Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon
  • Friends - 1 to 3 is sufficient
  • America - The only country that matters. If you want to experience other "cultures", use an atlas or a ham radio.
  • B.O. - Cultivating a manly musk puts your opponents on notice.
Damn, I miss Ron Swanson and Parks & Recreation. When does the new season start again?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


What the hell?! Is this what we've come to Washington state leaders? "WashYourHandsIngTon"?!!!!!? I'm embarrassed for us all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Torture at its best

Every end of year holiday season is filled with traditions and comforting touchstones that are revisited annually. You're allowed to get away with eating too much, acting like a goofy kid about presents, wearing awful holiday-themed clothing, and generally being a sentimental sap about everything and any thing.

An example of this is the holiday movie theme programming that takes over the Hallmark and Lifetime channels beginning around Thanksgiving and kicking into high gear the minute that December 1 hits. These channels air, and in many cases produce, a shit-ton of  holiday  Christmas (who am I kidding with this PC crap?) movies until the new year is upon us.
I'm "lucky" enough to not only have the regular Lifetime and Hallmark channels, which intersperse their Xmas movie roster with sitcom reruns and Martha Stewart, but to also have the specified movie channel versions for both networks, which exclusively play these sappy movies 24 hours a day.

Every year I complain about these movies; they're so bad, so earnestly cheesy, so tooth-achingly sweet. Yet every year I watch as many as I can without turning my brain to mush. And the plots! The scripts for these movies are beyond ridiculous; uneven story structure, stilted dialogue, horrendous pacing; and that's not even getting into the bad acting that happens in 99.8 % of these things. Even when the producers have managed to snag decent actors there's no saving some of these. Let me describe what happens in three (three?! yikes) of the movies that I've watched (so far) this week - title, plot, actors etc. may or may not be 100% accurate:
"The Good Witch's Gift" - This is a Xmas themed sequel to I guess a series of Lifetime movies about a good witch played by the chick from JAG, who's married to the police chief (played by hottie Chris Potter) in some small town.
*This is one of the first rules that you need to understand about ALL of these movies - they take place in these weird small towns. Even when the movies start out with our protagonists living/struggling in the big bad city, they always end up in a small town. These towns are the most generic and slightly creepy places you've ever seen, where everyone knows everyone and people are totally nosy and always giving advice that nobody wants; always set in locales that are either generically "California-y" or "New Englandy", but are almost exclusively filmed in Canada.
Anyway, in this Good Witch movie some dude that has just been paroled after doing time for robbing the town's bank, comes home to supposedly bond with his child and ex-wife. The chief suspects that he's returned to dig up the bank cash that he thinks the dude's hidden somewhere because it was never located. In the meantime the police chief and the Good Witch (who is like psychic or something? and is constantly manipulating all of the characters in this movie to do the "right" thing) are planning their Xmas eve wedding that the whole town is invited to. There's also lots of other little side stories that are too boring or nonsensical to mention. One thing that confused me which I'm sure was explained in one of the previous Good Witch movies, was that this whole town seemed to know that the Good Witch was a witch and no one batted an eye or seemed to care. Very odd.
Verdict/Grade = because they've got Chris Potter going for them I sat through the whole thing without bleep-blooping forward through any of the cheesy parts. I give it a B, which is high marks for one of these.

"The Christmas Shoes" - It's only the hypnotic power of Rob Lowe's endless hotness that allowed me to sit through even half of this cheeseball movie. Right out of the gate you need to know that this movie is from a book by some cheesy Christian romance author, who in turn based her book on a country song by the same name. Yes, an actual country Christmas song inspired a book that inspired a movie. The plot of the song/book/movie is that some high-powered asshole lawyer who never has time for his family and hates Christmas and kittens encounters a poor young boy who has a mom that's dying of cancer and she used to be a dancer? or play the flute or something musical and the kid wants to buy his mom this pair of red shoes for Christmas since it will be her last one on Earth. The kid's dad is a real sad-sack who is drowning his sorrow in booze and can't help the kid out with money or attention so that's where Rob Lowe comes in. And he takes pity on the kid for some reason and ends up buying the shoes for him and then learns the meaning of Christmas and puppies and changes into *Awesome Dude (rule #2 - there will always be a character in the movie that has a radical personality change from mean/stressed/neglectful/drunk to winsome/extraordinarily kind). Verdict/Grade = C;  Rob Lowe's beauty only goes so far

"The Christmas Blessing" - So get this, the greedy producers evidently saw how well "Shoes" did and decided to make a sequel that supposedly takes place 18 years after the first story but in fact was only filmed 2 years later. Rob Lowe is back in a cameo (with seemingly cake flour brushed into his sideburns to indicate the passage of time) as the high-powered attorney who is now so good and wonderful and milque-toast that it's embarrassing. Lowe is in the film for a total of 4 minutes as the rich dude who saves the day at the end of the movie by buying a house that will be turned into a daycare center. Don't worry, it doesn't make sense even if you've watched it. The movie's main characters are played by Neil Patrick Harris, henceforth called Doogie, who plays the kid from the "Shoes" movie all grown up and a doctor in "Boston", and my favorite vehicular manslaughterist Rebecca Gayheart as a teacher who's just moved to the small "New England" town from Texas. Also featured is the guy who played the dad in the original, but this time sporting a beard that they also flour dusted, and the annoying kid from Two & A Half Men filling in the *child role in the movie. (Rule #3 - there's always at least one kid who has a major plot point)
The plot for this one is all over the place. Doogie is an intern at some hospital in the city and loses a teen on the OR table and freaks out about it and decides to "take some time to heal" by running home to his papa. We're supposed to figure out that Doogie has run home a lot over the years when things got too stressed, and spends his time there reminiscing about his mom and making his dad sad all over again. So this time when he comes home on "vacation" from the hospital he finds that his dad is in full-on empty nester mode; he plans on selling the house and his successful mechanics shop, dating his bookkeeper, and possibly buying a RV and moving to Florida. Doogie is not happy about any of this because he is a selfish wanker. Doogie starts volunteering for an after school program at the elementary school and starts dating Gayheart's character named Callie. One of the kids on the basketball team that Doogie coaches is the 2 1/2 kid who is also really poor, with a sad-sack drunk of a dad and a dead mom (just like Doogie was!). There are about 5 million story threads tangled up here that are so poorly thought out it's frustrating. Doogie's dad gave the Christmas Shoes to charity and 2 1/2's dad picked them up and gave them to 2 1/2 and told him they were his dead mom's dancing shoes. These shoes by the way? Are the fugliest things I've ever seen in my life (red silk brocade flats (!) with gold filigree on them), but throughout the movie they are held aloft like they're Dorothy's ruby slippers.
So randomly an hour in we find out that 2 1/2 has like Marfan's syndrome and his little heart is so diseased that he only has a little time left to live. Both the kid and the dad act like they've known this the whole time but they never actually say this so you're left feeling weird (this won't be last time this happens). Then we find out that Callie has Hep B and cirrhosis of the liver (the hell?!) and will die on Xmas Eve (just like Doogie's mom!) if she doesn't get a liver transplant. It is also not clear if/how long Callie has known about her illness. Such poor writing. If the ending hasn't already been telegraphed for you, 2 1/2 of course dies and his dad gives Callie the boy's liver. And right before the kid died he gave Doogie back the shoes to give to Callie. ANYWAY, the movie ends with some charity concert for the daycare center and who shows up but none other than Blake Shelton who is a real-life country music star and who thanks Rob Lowe's character for bringing him there to perform. As if a Grammy winning artist would really fly all the way from Nashville to a small town in "New England"  Canada for some dumb daycare center opening. Wait! Were the producers being all meta and is Blake Shelton the guy who sings "The Christmas Shoes" song? Meh, I don't care enough to look it up. Verdict/Grade = C-/D+; if I ever meet NPH, the first thing I'm asking him is about this turd.

Next on the my viewing docket this week is something called "Comfort & Joy" with Nancy "don't go messin' with Jo Polniaczek" McKeon. And I'll hopefully be recording one of my holiday movie faves starring Heather Locklear about a sad-sack divorced mom who has a Christmas fling with a hot 20 year old. I can't remember the name of it, but that's what IMDB is for.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

TV Things and things

Glee -
I really enjoyed the Sectionals episode this season. Even the cop-out of having New Directions and The Warblers tie in the end. I especially loved getting to see the spotlight on a few of the other kids - Santana rules! I've loved this second season of Glee, all the haters can suck it. And my love affair with Darren Criss continues. Sigh...Blaine is dreamy.

Top Chef: All Stars -
Premieres tonight! I can't wait. And except for Elia and Jamie (who I wish were replaced by Kevin and Stefan), I am really excited about all of the contestants for this season. There are so many of my faves here that I really don't care who wins (but would be over the moon if Carla or Richard Blaise took the prize)

America's Next Top Model - The finale is tonight. I've really come to HATE Ann but I fear that she will win tonight. I didn't think that it would come down to her and Chelsea; I really wanted Kayla to be in the top two. But it's been a fun season; and I haven't hated Tyra Banks nearly as much as I usually do.

Gossip Girl - I'm this close to being oVAh this show. Can Juliet please die now? This revenge storyline is getting old.

Real Housewives of Atlanta and Beverly Hills - I've had a Tivo break-up with the Atlanta ladies. Even with the slightly interesting Nene storyline developing, I feel my soul dying each minute I waste with them.
But Beverly Hills! I love love love these ladies. Camille Grammer is a total nut-job but so fun to watch her delusional confessionals.

The Fashion Show - Shut up David and Dominique! The challenge this week was do a time capsule outfit. That had to incorporate plaid in some way because Iman loves plaid. It was very strange, and resulted in my sweet Ro Ro being eliminated but I'm still living for the second season of this show. Iman and Isaac Mizrahi continue to be awesome.