Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm With Tori!


I'm With Tori!

One of my friends posted this on their livejournal.

American singer TORI AMOS has vowed to run for office if former U.S. Vice President candidate SARAH PALIN ever tries to get elected again.

Read more here.

I'm not saying I'd vote for Tori but I think she would have more sense then Sarah in public office. At least she's not a total wingnut.

Why can't there be any middle ground? Why must everyone be way to the right or way to the left?

Actually, why can't any of the parties really give a shit for those people that are poverty level.

Did you know If you make less than $50,000 you are considered poverty level.

Well yee fucking ha! I'm so poverty stricken it's ridiculous.

But back to Tori, if we go on a scale of attractiveness, I think she's much easier on the eyes than Palin. Probably a better mom too.

But one last thing..I hope I never see either of their names on a ballot.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Broadway To Pop Crossovers

Broadway To Pop Crossovers

There are a bunch of Broadway/West End Babies that try to cross from their perfectly trained voices into the weird wacky world of pop music.

As much as I love the voices of vocalists like Elaine Paige, Michael Ball and to some extent, John Barrowman, when they do albums of pop songs I tend to spend more time laughing hysterically then actually enjoying the album.

There's just something about the perfect diction that a singer acquires after years of performing in musical theater that makes the average pop song sound ridiculous.

I'll use John Barrowman as an example, because I love to pick on JB. Hearing him sing Keith Urban's You'll Think Of Me just cracks me up, which is actually a few steps up from Michael Ball's singing of Bowie's Life On Mars.

These performers really need to find songs that suit their vocal abilities. Granted JB and Michael sell records mostly because of who they are, and in JB's case because he's one of the hottest men on the planet, obnoxious or otherwise but why make yourself sound silly? It boggles my mind.

I'm not saying these guys should stick to show tunes, because that would be very limiting too, but I really think that when it comes to selecting songs for an album they should pick something that suits the arrangements and singing style they plan to use. Oh and one more jab and John Barrowman, Uptown Girl? OMGWTFBBQ! Maybe on his next album, to go along with that spoof of Single Ladies, he'll cover it. Now that would be something worth listening to and laughing at.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 In Review

2009 In Review

All in all the year in entertainment has been a bit weird, sometimes wacky, but very predictable. Underdogs prevailed but runners up took center stage. Babies were born, and famous people passed to the great beyond. Here's what I found memorable about 2009.

1. Jon & Kate plus too many kids: What a fucked up mess. These are two people that never should have been on TV and the network that created the show should be ashamed at exploiting children and swelling two idiots heads, by making them think they were important.

2. Michael Jackson's death and subsequent rise to godlike stature: Funny, all the accusations against him were forgotten once he died. I'm not saying he did anything because that's something only a few people really know, but how is he exalted just by being dead? His death is truly tragic but the fact that it took the lead in the news for more than a month was just nuts!

3. Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle: Bet you thought they'd both win! Doesn't matter, both are doing well in the album charts. Actually Susan is kicking Adam's ass, and just about every other artist out there, with her debut album. You go Susan!

4. Taylor and Kayne: Seriously this was the funniest bunch of insanity ever to occur at the VMAs. It had to be more ridiculous than Britney's meltdown a few years back. It may have been the weirdest moment in Taylor's young life, but she's more than made up for that by picking up almost every award she's been up for since.

5. American Idol Judges: Paula leaving? Ellen taking over? OMGWTFBBQ! This show is wrong on so many levels but I might as well be the next judge, if Ellen can do it. Oh wait, please no! I like to listen to talented people sing and I've not seen much of that come from that show.

6. Charlie Sheen getting arrested on Christmas for domestic violence. See I think we've all known he's an asshole, now he's reaffirming that.

7. Patrick Swayze dying: Truly one of the saddest deaths this year. Right along with Farrah Fawcett who had the misfortune of dying on the same day as Michael Jackson.

8. Aretha Franklin's kick ass hat! No she's not an asshat, she had one of the inauguration's best accessories. Way to go Aretha! You get my R E S P E C T!

9. Great albums by Mika, Making April, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall among others. Its great to know that even in a slumping industry, there's still some good music out there.

10. Big Bang Theory moving into the top 10 of the Nielson's after a time slot change. Let's hear it for funny geeks!!!

I'll be back with more of my year end recap later this week.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Movie Review: Meet The Robinsons

Movie Review: Meet The Robinsons

I had heard mixed reviews of this Disney film since it came out which is probably why I hadn't bothered to watch it until today and only because there really wasn't anything else on after we finished up Christmas dinner.

To be perfectly honest, I thought the movie was pretty darn cute. I loved that there weren't too many dark undertones in the film, like so many of the Disney/Pixar movies. Even in the parts with the villain you didn't have a feeling of total doom, which seems to be the case with most of the films Pixar is churning out.

I enjoyed the story of an orphan who helps save the future. His future to be more precise. The other characters had the right mix of quirky and crazy to make the film unique and the story moved quickly enough to keep me interested and not bored.

Sure its not the best Pixar movie out there, but its far from the worst and it was good fun to watch on a Christmas afternoon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From My Tree To Yours


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Originally uploaded by moodylady
From My Tree To Yours

Whatever you celebrate, I'd like to wish everyone out there a peaceful and pleasant December 25th. Most of all I want to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas, filled with all the goodness and fun and if you can stand it family.

Its seldom a day like those Norman Rockwell paintings portray, but I hope each and every one of you enjoy the holiday and take the time to relax and just enjoy a day

Have a wonderful Christmas, Holiday Season!

The Final Countdown


The Final Countdown

Hey amigos and loyal readers! Whether you're at home chillaxing, at work fielding off crazed gift buyers, or rushing through the mall humming "The Final Countdown," I wanted to wish you a happy holiday on behalf of all the Wenches.

Even though I pretend to be a bleeding heart liberal scumbag sometimes, I'm going to wish you guys a Merry Christmas. And for those not so Christmas inclined, happy Solstice/ Festivus/ Kwanzaa/ Boxing Day/ Buster Day (1000 cool points if you get that one) / Curling Up in Your Apartment and Escaping Your Family Day. (I think I missed the deadline on Hanukkah, so happy belated Hanukkah, Jewish friends!)

If you're one of those folks doing last minute shopping, be kind to your local Customer Service lacky. Otherwise, enjoy your families (either bio-families or the ad hoc families you make yourself), eat ridiculous amounts of junk food, and have fun! Ill see you back here next week!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Men Of A Certain Age = Meh


Men Of A Certain Age = Meh

I'm not sure what everyone is raving about when it comes to this show. I was excited about it, I love Ray Romano and Scott Bakula, but when I settled down to watch it last night, since Castle was in repeatsville, I couldn't wait for it to be over.

The thing is, I'm not sure what it is about it that makes me want to go to sleep. I'm not sure if its not enough drama for its time slot or the lack of real comedy to keep it moving, or if it just sucks. I'm also not sure if I am willing to give it a second shot.

I did learn that Ray Romano can't act to save himself, because his character in this show was pretty much the same as the character in Everybody Loves Raymond which is pretty much Ray playing Ray.

That kind of makes the portions of the show about Ray a bit obnoxious, because after years of Everybody Loves Raymond, that character was kinda getting old, much like Kelsey Grammar's Fraiser.

I hate when people that are otherwise really talented end up in lackluster shows. What I really hate is when I see a show like this and I really want to like it, and it just falls flat.

Seriously, I could have fallen asleep during this show if I hadn't forced myself to stay awake for the full hour.

Anyone else watch it, yet?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jim Morrison Was Way Wrong

Jim Morrison Was Way Wrong

You may be wondering what I'm talking about or in fact, what Jim Morrison was wrong about.

Let me explain. I had a classic rock mix cd in my car the other day and on came People Are Strange. That's what I have a beef with. Not that people aren't strange because they are, very strange in fact.

But this is the bit that made me giggle and go...sorry Jim, you're wrong.

"When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange."

If that were the case, no one would remember Lady Gaga, cos that chicky is so strange its scary. Marilyn Manson, he's pretty strange and we all remember him too. The list could go on and on.

I realize that I took those lyrics literally and out of the context of the song, which like most lyrics from the 1960s, don't make a whole lot of sense anyway.

Damn those were good drugs they took then, weren't they?

But back to Jim being wrong, it really does seem that the stranger a person or thing is the more likely we'll be to remember them. Of course when you're a stranger is a different matter.

Ah hell, just watch Jim.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex

Let's Talk About Sex

In this country I've noticed a few things.

1. We have an obsession with sex.

2. We don't really care to see it.

Aren't we a daffy bunch.

I mean Adam Lambert (who I personally wish would disappear with all his other idol crew) kisses a guy on stage and the world goes berserk. Why I do not know cos if your kids pass by a tv in the afternoon when the soaps are on (or as my dad calls them, The Daytime Whore Shows), they may see that there too.

Janet Jackson's nipple causes alarm and many millions of dollars in fines to exchange hands. Its a nipple for crying out loud. We've all seen them at least once in our lives. Is it such a huge deal?

Then there's Tiger Woods. At least we haven't seen anything there, but lordy, every woman he's slept with and that's looking like most of the known universe, makes the news.

Let's not forget Lettermen's scandal too. Though, since he came out and admitting his failings, his scandal was a 9 days wonder. Tiger hid his indiscretions for as long as he could and now his life is a media circus.

Why? Why should we care? Who are they really hurting but themselves?

We don't really care, is the answer. But it goes more than that. Its that we love to see people screw up and we love to get angry over idiotic things. A nipple, a kiss, whatever. We want to dish about everyone's sex lives but we don't want to see it played out in front of our eyes, unless its a tv drama or film.

Nutty isn't it?

Of course I'm in firm belief that a lot of the stuff, like Lambert's kiss was done as a PR stunt, regardless of the sweet innocent boy act he pulled on all the talk shows in the days following. I'm not even going to diss him for that. Its great marketing. You do something that shocks the right wing religious freakazoids and you get in the papers and on the news and everyone wants to see who you are.

But really. If this is going to be an every awards show occurrence, maybe we need to have better guidelines for what can happen on tv, or at least major network TV. I certainly don't mean going back to families sleeping in twin beds (Who thought that up btw). Of course the one thing I did learn after hearing about the Lambert thing is that the kissie poo was not rehearsed. Leading me to further believe that it was a PR stunt.

Something still bothers me though. We are a nation of perverted prudes, but the UK, who has a reputation of being much more straightlaced gets away with much much more of the BBC!

What's different from the UK and US? I mean look at Torchwood? Torchwood has our lovely gayboys. Nods at John Barrowman who I love to hate and hate to love. Then there was a show I stumbled across called Desperate Romantics. This show had quite a bit of boobs going on. This is regular TV!

I'm so confused.

Myself, I truthfully don't want to see any of it. I don't think that sexuality has to be hidden, but I also don't think its needs to be shoved down everyone's throats. I fear that crazy ass people will try to take us too far backwards in the name of decency. But what one person feels is decent isn't quite the same as anothers. So where do you draw the line? But more importantly how do you let things like sexuality come into the mainstream without being one step below porn.

Then there's the matter of how its acceptable to delve into everyone's sex lives and make it public knowledge but again its only to talk about it. We really don't want to see it.

Janelle thought it was a double or triple standard with Adam Lambert. I say, no one is really free from people's prying eyes or disapproval. Adam only had a couple of spots canceled because of his on stage kiss. Tiger Woods has lost all his endorsements as a result of his infidelities.

Is there any fairness in that?

Now that I've ranted for such a long time, I can't even remember if I said what I wanted to.

ARGH!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pittsburgh Area Bands: Punchline

Pittsburgh Area Bands: Punchline

Just so you know what you're getting into from the start: I'd go to the ends of the earth for this band. I first heard them back in middle school when "The World" made school dance rotations. Saw them live around 14 or 15. Am now 20 & have seen them live more times than I can count. Literally. My brother & I have seriously gotten into light-hearted arguments about just what the number is. I wrote a review of them live for an online local magazine once. I'm actually wearing a Punchline shirt right now (this is a coincidence, I swear). So yeah.

I'll cut to the chase as quickly as I can: I really don't have a single negative thing to say about this band. Sure, there are songs I don't like as much as others, but that happens with every artist. What matters is the fact that the good songs are more than good. They're stellar. If they weren't I, & others, (including my little brother) wouldn't keep coming back, or blogging like crazies. They're pegged as pop punk, but personally, there's more to their sound than that. I can't nail it down to a genre that's not general and huge like just plain rock, but there's more depth - musically and lyrically - than the typical pop punk connotations bring to the genre discussion table. They're responsible for some of the songs I consider to be among my favorites of all time. Yes, that's a very bold statement. I stand by it.

They're also amazing live. What's the difference between a good live band & a great live band? Great live bands get you and your friends to a point where you say, "Oh man, we haven't seen Punchline in a while. We need to do something about that." This happens frequently, except for this year - I think my brother & I managed something like 4 shows so far plus one coming up. Combine that with merchandise and music & the amount of money I've spent on just Punchline just in 2009 is probably an embarrassing figure.

Their most recent release was the online b-side collection Night Lights, and we all know that I loves me some b-sides. And what makes it interesting is the money factor - free for a few songs, $6 for the whole thing - or more, if you feel so inclined. I gave $7 because that's all I had in my PayPal. Hey, I'm in college & I haven't freelanced and gotten paid for it since October. I'm pretty broke. And the money goes towards recording more material, & what fan wouldn't want to contribute to such a wonderful cause as that?

So, humor me & check them out. Really, you can't go wrong here.

Punchline on MySpace!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas In Canaan


Christmas In Canaan

This film was a Hallmark Channel original movie. I admit to liking sappy stuff. I'm sure it ruins my credibility, but I don't really care.

This made for tv movie was based on the book by Kenny Rogers tells the story of two boys growing up in the south. So yeah, its about interracial relations, but its a story that should give each and every one of us hope. Yes, we have our first Afro-American/Man of Color/Black (pick the most politically correct term) president, but that doesn't mean that bigotry is dead.

When the two boys, DJ and Rodney get into a fight over the capital of NY, DJ's dad (Billy Ray Cyrus) comes up with a plan. The two boys should spend equal time living with the other boy's family. As a result a deep and abiding friendship grows and when Rodney's grandmother dies, DJ's family takes him in as one of their own.

In the 1960's and in Texas, this is something that likely would have had more repercussions than the movie portrays, but this is a holiday film and its about feeling good, even when bad things happen and yes, bad things do happen. Crops are bad and one Christmas is very bleak and as the boys are reaching the end of their school years, DJ's young brother is struck by a car and crippled trying to warn Rodney of a hate crime about to happen.

Sure some of the things that happen seem far fetched. Can that much bad stuff befall one set of people? (probably..I know my life)

But that doesn't matter. This story paints a beautiful picture of racial harmony in a time when there wasn't a whole of it. Billy Ray Cyrus proves he's the talent in the family (as most of us already knew). The rest of the cast shines too. If you want to watch a good, heartwarming and tearjerking movie on TV this holiday, check your listings for this one. Its worth the 2 hours spent in front of the TV.

The Sing-Off


The Sing-Off

I'm not normally one for reality shows, but I had to get sucked into The Sing-Off because Ben Folds is one of the judges. I would preorder the deluxe audiobook of Ben Folds reading the phone book. I was delightfully surprised by the show, though. Kind of like the movie Deathrace, it was a healthy mix of genuinely good parts and so-bad-they're-good parts.

The premise is much like any of the musical competition shows, and the gimmick is that every group is a capella. Hosted by the ever-awkward Nich Lachey and judged by Folds, Boyz-II-Men's Shawn Stockman, and Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. And good lord, is Nicole a mess. Idol missed the boat when they replaced Paula with Ellen. She uses the adjective "dope" a lot, pronounced ukulele as "ookoleele," and has a zen-like stream-of-conscious Michael Scott way with finishing sentences very far from where she started.

As for the contestents themselves, it's a mixed bag. Sure, you've got your "kooky white college boys" that come to mind when you think of college a capella (the Beelzebubs, a crowd favorite and actually one of my frontrunners) and your Glee-tastic happy kids (the SoCals), but they're not representative of all the groups, which is pretty cool. My favorite so far is a female soccer mom barbershop quartet called Maxx Factor, who rocked it out barbershop style to ABBA's "Dancing Queen."

So far the crowd's faves have been Faces, a rock-apella band of bouncers and Cold Stone Creamery lackeys that got sent home early, and Noteworthy, an all-girl Mormon group from BYU with a fauxhawked lead singer. Then there's the band Solo, who tried to stack the deck in their favor by continually saying that they "had nothing to go home to." Wow. Way to make everyone look like dicks when you got voted off, guys.

The show lasts this week, I'm guessing to pull in those mythological Christmas ratings. For now I've got a guilty pleasure show and Ben Folds has an extra paycheck and some new fans. (Ben Folds was #1 on the Google Hot 100 search terms list last night, and I found out via Facebook that my high school Spanish teacher is now a fan for life. )

What more can a gal ask for?

Confession: I'm Obsessed with Brokeback Mountain Spoofs

Confession: I'm Obsessed with Brokeback Mountain Spoofs

Yep. Now, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, don't get me wrong. It's just that for some reason, I will almost always find any Brokeback spoof funny. Especially when Brokeback is combined with any other movie I enjoy. Honestly, I think it all started when one of my brilliant friends found the gem that is "Harry Potter & the Brokeback Goblet."



Oh the beauties of creative & clever editing. And that theme.

Other favorites, straight from my YouTube account:

Brokeback of the Ring!



Star Wars: The Empire Brokeback!



Brokeback Island!



I waste too much time watching these.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Willy Wonka VS Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka VS Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Two very different movies based on the same book with pretty much same characters and yet each film leaves you feeling very different. I grew up with the original, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I watched it many times growing up, but every time I watched it, I admit I was scared to death.

As much as love the Oompah Loompah's they scared the beejeebus out of me.



In fact, the only thing about Gene Wilder's original that I liked was Pure Imagination. Maybe its me. Maybe I just can't help but love anything Tim Burton and Johnny Depp do. OK, maybe it has to do with a certain Mr. Elfman doing a film score and singing some of the Oompah Loompah songs.

Whatever the case may be, I have to say, I love Charlie and The Chocolate Factory more than Willy Wonka.

What are my reasons?

1. Tim's movie isn't freaking depressing or scary. And it still retains that wonderful Tim Burton strangeness.

2. Pretty colors!

3. Johnny Depp doing his best to be Michael Jackson-esque. Fess up world, you know that's who he modeled his Mr. Wonka after.

4. The Squirrels!

I leave you with more Oompah Loompah singing

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jonas Baffles Me

Jonas Baffles Me

I don't mean the band themselves, though I often wonder what the little girls find so attractive about those 3 not exactly hot guys, especially Joe with the brows that need to meet up with a good set of tweezers or possibly some wax!

Its the Disney show that's just ridiculous. In the show they play high school students and only one member of the band is of school age and that's Nick. Kevin and Joe are both in their twenties.

Stupid!

I guess that's why the show just isn't doing as well as the shows with the other Disney pop stars. Sadly the show could have worked out like a modern day Monkees, but it just doesn't. There's nothing fun or even very funny about it at least when you compare it to Hannah Montana or even The Suite Life On Deck.

The only reason I can imagine that Disney hasn't pulled the plug on it is that every little girl under the age of 12 loves them. I wonder how the show will exist now that Nick is going solo?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Things That Annoy Me About Computers

Things That Annoy Me About Computers

This is inclusive of software and gadgets that attach themselves to this nasty box that controls my life.

1. Keyboards: How is it that when I clean the keyboard I always find at least one full cat's worth of fur between the keys? Also, I do not eat near my computer, what the fuck is up with the nasty stuff that lurks there? How does it get there? Do I want to know?

2. Printers: I consider these things that most evil devices that ever attached themselves to a USB port in my storm. Why? Ink costs nearly as much as the damn printer and it always runs out

3. Software: Why is it that every time they upgrade, the software becomes harder to use and more obnoxious. I have been trying to deal with an obnoxious printer and an even more obnoxious set of CD Labeling software and now I want nothing more than to kill a few things.

4. The Mouse: That just up and decides to stop working.

Can you tell I'm having a bad day?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Queer as Folk, Or, Why I Should've Watched This When It Was Recommended to Me in High School

Queer as Folk, Or, Why I Should've Watched This When It Was Recommended to Me in High School

Okay, so, I'm crazy late on this. It ended a few years ago & started even more years ago. A friend of mine in high school (during Trigonometry, no less) told me to watch this show because I'd love it, & I never got around to it. I'll blame this on my lack of Showtime & the fact that Netflix was but a baby. And watching it on the internet back in the days before I had my own computer would've probably offended my dad. Which would've been worth it, but whatever.

I really wish I would've fallen in love with Queer as Folk then. I feel like I missed out on something spectacular when it was in its prime, including potentially pre-Trig & lunchtime discussions of the show with my friend Becca. My roommate & I have since gotten completely obsessed. We average about an episode a night when we have a Netflix disk, & when we don't, we search the internet.

There's nothing bad to say about Queer as Folk. Showtime seems like they completely nail it as far as excellent programming goes - my cousin got me hooked on Weeds before I started Queer as Folk, & I'm going to work on Californication next. While Weeds got completely insane sometimes, Queer as Folk is, so far, pretty realistic. It's well-written - the season one finale is probably one of the best TV season finales I've seen - & the characters are excellent. We love every single one even when they do things that aren't so lovable. I think part of this is because even though we're two straight girls, we still see a little of ourselves & our own lives, plus our own friends & relationships. And apparently, 20-something girls was actually a solid demographic when it was on the air. The actors are excellent, too, & while everyone on the planet has seen Hal Sparks on VH1 millions of times, seeing him really act is fantastic. I see him in a whole different light now.

And on the subject of Hal Sparks, if you loved him on VH1, you'll probably love him in this, too. And he's totally adorable.

If I had to sum up my feelings about this show in a word, it would be "obsession." And I really didn't think I'd love it as intensely as I do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yes, Virginia, you do want a present

Yes, Virginia, you do want a present

In the words of the Peanuts, Christmas time is here, and so is a Christmas-particular problem. Ever have to shop for someone who says, "I don't want anything?" I've got a few people like that in my family, and it drives me bonkers.

There's two subgroups of the No Present People. I can sympathize with the group that's concerned about the consume-o-rama culture and don't want to add more plastic hunks to landfills. But please, at least say, "I don't want a present, but it'd be cool if you donated the money to this charity." Give me something specific to aim for. And for goodness sake, if you say that, please mean it. Don't suggest donating the present money to a charity and then look all sad on Christmas when you don't get an iPod.

Then there's the false modest people who always say, "I don't need anything." Of course, you can't do that. If you actually didn't buy anything, you'd look like a huge asshole to everyone who had, so you're left to scour the mall or internet for something for someone that supposedly likes nothing.

"I don't want anything" is a bs phrase. Everyone wants something. Be more specific. Say "I don't want anymore gadgets, so get me something I'll actually use even if it's not glamorous." Say, "I really don't want you to spend money, so make me something or help me do this." Say, "For the love of God, don't buy me another tie."

But please stop saying, "I don't want anything," because I don't want to take a Christmas Eve trip to Wal-Mart to figure out what you actually do want.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Endings

Endings

This seems to be the year for endings. Last night Monk took his farewell run across our tv screens, and in a few short weeks, David Tennant will be taking his bows as the 10th doctor.

I don't know about you, but this is more than I can handle. Not to mention Uncle Rusty killing off yet another beloved character in Torchwood. I knew from the in your face ratings that the mini-series got that there will be a series 4, but I have to say I'm a bit apprehensive, because of all the characters to be left with Captain Jack, Gwen is the character I hate the most. If he was feeling so vindictive, why not just kill the whole team and then start fresh? Oh wait, that would probably bring us all joy!

But I wasn't really going to rant about how I fucking hated Children Of Earth, I was hear to rant how I hate that 2 of my most loved characters are going to be exiting stage right.

Monk did so gracefully last night. I was really pleased with the closure they gave him and the opening they left for revisiting the show either in special form or in (dare I hope) movie form.

That's not so easy with The 10th Doctor. Once he regenerates, he regenerates, and since there was a huge gap between the series, doing specials like The Three Doctors, isn't quite so easy now. Though I have to say, it would be all kinds of awesome if for a Christmas special they'd get Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleson, David Tennant and Matt Smith to deal with some nasty alien hell bent on destroying the earth.

I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with Intern Who? They varied the age of the doctor more in the original series, now they seem to be getting younger and younger.

Why do I have to deal with losing two of my favorite tv characters this year? Sure, The Doctor will go on, but Ten was and always will be my doctor. The thought of losing him is painful. I've loved Monk for the last 8 years. He's been taken away from me too!

What next?

No!

I don't want to know!

A Band You've Got To Love


A Band You've Got To Love

Earlier this year I stumbled upon a band called Making April. Their debut album was called The Egg Hunt and it was one of those albums that you listen to and then gush to everyone and their grandmother about. (Kinda like Mika's The Boy Who Knew Too Much)

Well the band is kind of in between things right now and they are recording a bunch of covers which you can buy on iTunes. So far they've covered Lady Gaga's Paparazzi, Beyonce's Sweet Dreams, Imogene Heap's Hide and Seek and Kings Of Leon's Use Somebody. Whether they've done justice to the originals remains to be seen. You have to actually like the artists they've covered, and I'm iffy on all but one of the artist's they've chosen to cover, but I do love Making April, so they've made most these songs, especially the Gaga one more listenable for me.

If you want to listen to the covers go here. You really should give them a listen...they are a damn good band.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Things I Like

Things I Like

If Molly can do it, so can I! Believe it or not, I do like a lot of things. Yes, I'm a general curmudgeon most of the time, argumentative and sometimes very snarky, but I am loyal to the stuff that I like/love. Here are some of the things that float my boat.

Good TV: When I say good TV, I mean stuff like Castle, The Middle, Monk, Doctor Who, and Big Bang Theory, not that shite reality stuff that the networks try to pass off as programing. Oh and can I get a woo hoo for Chuck coming back in January!! Finally, NBC has done something RIGHT!

Christmas Music: It wasn't until The Moody Blues released a Christmas album that I truly became addicted to the stuff. I scramble around to find all the new music each year and I make mixes for my friends and send them CDs with full artwork instead of cards.

Books: I've loved to read since I was about 5 years old. I'll read anything....except any more of the crap Twilight series. Book 1 was more than enough. My stomach couldn't handle anymore of that. If I want to read about vampires, I'll hunt down some better books than that poorly written piece of poo. Harlequin has a new young adult line that has some impressive titles and authors most of which are of the paranormal variety. Take a look here.

Tiramisu: If you want to win my heart, go through my stomach, its big enough. Just bring me a nice plate of this yummy dessert and I'm yours. Yup, I'm a cheap date! I can be bought with tiramisu and a nice raspberry lambic beer!

Christmas Trees: I love decorating trees. I love ornaments. If I could have a tree in every room of the house I would. The only thing I can't stand about them is putting on the lights! That is freaking evil.

Sleep: Pass me the Advil PM and let me get my 8 hours! I love to get all snuggled up in my fuzzy robe and just sleep and sleep. Its pretty much a shame that

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hooray, Sexual Double Standards!

Hooray, Sexual Double Standards!

I'll be the first to admit that I don't really care about American Idol. But I'll also be the first to admit that Adam Lambert got my attention way back when. He can sing & he knows how to perform. Now, I'd be willing to bet my life that he lost the competition because of the gay rumors, but naturally, my focus here is going to (unfortunately) be the same as what the rest of the world is talking about: the AMAs.

I care just as much about the AMAs as I do American Idol, so I didn't hear about anything until after the fact & didn't actually watch the full performance until literally just now, but this is all dumb.

1) The song is called "For Your Entertainment." You have to expect some kind of spectacle. Seriously.

2) A dude on a leash is not very offensive. I once saw a production of Jesus Christ Superstar where "King Herod's Song" was sung by a woman backed with dominatrix dancers where a guy crawled down a flight of stairs on all fours on a leash. I wasn't personally bothered, but if you want to call that offensive, I get it (and for clarification purposes, it was the only scene done that way & the production itself was one of the best I've ever seen). But a music award show at night? And the arguments that "children were watching" doesn't fly with me. What kid cares about the AMAs?

3) The blowjob simulation. I'll grant that even fake BJs on a major network are a pretty big deal, but it wasn't really that bad. Besides, ever watch daytime TV? It gets pretty racy. But I guess straight couples all out screwing is okay.

4) What about that cane that gets to at least third base! The stage also made it that far with Madonna's VMA "Like a Virgin" performance, before my time.

5) The guy-on-guy kiss. This is what drives me the most insane. Britney Spears tongued Madonna on the VMAs, then Madonna tongued Christina Aguilera. Yeah, that was a pretty big deal, but it feels like not one of them got the amount of backlash darling Adam got. So what you're telling me is it's okay for a girl-on-girl kiss, but not guy-on-guy?

Seems like sexually, girls can get away with almost everything. Madonna's been shocking people her entire career. Miley Cyrus did a glorified pole dance, & she's not even legal.

The backlash he's getting is ridiculous. The FCC has its panties all in a bunch (to which I say, fuck the FCC) & a few of his appearances on ABC have been canceled. Seriously? He's not Janet Jackson. He didn't flash his parts...and even if he did, I probably still wouldn't really care.

I get that not everyone is comfortable with homosexuality right now. I disagree with a lot of the reasoning behind that, but that's a debate not entirely relevant to this. But really, it's 2009. It's not new. As a country, we're engaged in a debate over gay marriage. Can we seriously not handle this performance?

I give Adam Lambert tons of credit for being willing to go there & push the boundaries. I love him even more now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Open Letter To All Hospitals

An Open Letter To All Hospitals

To Whom It May Concern,

I am the daughter of two people who it is politically correct to call elderly. Both of which have conditions that require me to spend at least one day or more in a waiting room in some facility.

I would like to ask a question to all of you who take part in the designing of the waiting areas, be they in outpatient/same day surgery, the ER, or any other waiting room.

Why in world do you choose to buy the most uncomfortable chairs, couches, recliners that you possibly can for these areas. Let me tell you, the people waiting for their loved ones to have their procedures/surgeries are in as much pain as the patients, why can't you at least shell out some cash to give them just an iota of comfort?

The couch I sat on in the Same Day Surgery waiting area of Mon Valley Hospital was no better than sitting on a bench with a cushion and not even a comfy cushion. I had to sit there for 3.5 hours! My back is now killing me.

Oh and do you have to keep the temperatures at freezing? Everyone in the waiting area still had their winter coats on, for crying out loud!

Totally unacceptable. I can understand not wanting it to be too hot, so as to let bacteria and viruses grow, but this was insane!

Please, hospitals, doctor's offices etc, have a thought for the comfort of the patient's family sometime. Just because they aren't sick, doesn't mean they should have to suffer.

Pass me some motrin please, my back is still killing me.

Yours in discomfort,

The Mistress Of The Dark

Monday, November 30, 2009

Andouille and Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 gallon chicken stock
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Directions

In a large pot, over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sausage and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and herbs. Add the potatoes and stock. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Add chopped parsley and season the soup with salt and pepper

I cut this recipe in half since I was only making it for my husband and me. I also added some heavy cream and corn at the end. The sausage gives it a ton of flavor and it was really good. My husband said I could "add it to the rotation", translated means "two thumbs up". I don't usually use Emeril's recipes as he uses a lot of ingredients, but this one was very simple. Here is the link in case you would like it: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/andouille-and-potato-soup-recipe/index.html

Saturday, November 28, 2009

When Did Strawberry Shortcake Become A Slut?

When Did Strawberry Shortcake Become A Slut?

I just got my Target sale paper for the week and I was totally freaked out by the new look of Strawberry Shortcake. I grew up with these dolls. I watched the cartoons. This was my life, and fuck it all, they are messing with it terribly.

In the eighties Strawberry Shortcake looked like this:



She was cute, and she smelled tasty!

The doll looks like this now:



Yikes! What happened to the little country girl looking doll? She almost looks like one of those Bratz dolls and she's wearing a micro mini! For crying out loud that's just ridiculous. I'm not saying she's not a cute doll..but I'm saying she's more for little kids and Strawberry is dressed like a teenager.

I don't have children, but seriously why do all the dolls have to look so damn slutty? I'm not a prude by any means but I think there is a time and a place for everything. People have bitched about Barbie for years, but my stand on Barbie is that she is a FASHION doll, but dolls that are supposed to be little kids should look like little kids and not like the little kids that some unfulfilled mom tramps up to be in a beauty pageant.

Can we just let kids be kids and play with toys that look a little less street corner-ish? Its bad enough that clothes for little girls make them look older than they should be, but that's another rant all together.

Yup...another part of my childhood, destroyed.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Life Without Monk


Life Without Monk

For the better part of the last 8 years, I've been a fan of the tv series Monk. Next week will see the end of the series and I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with not being able to settle down to Monk on Friday nights.

It just doesn't feel right.

I'm not ready to let Adrian Monk out of my life. Eight years is not long enough. Other shows that weren't nearly as good have longer runs, you know like Friends. OMG I freaking HATED that show and every character on it. Law & Order has been on 20 years, which for me is twenty years too long.

Yet Monk calls it quits after only 8.

I hope the writers do the characters justice. I hope that they don't pull an Uncle Rusty and destroy the integrity of the show in the last episode. I mean if there was a Sex In The City movie and all those Mr. Bean films, why not a Monk movie some years down the line?

A girl can dream right?

Either way, I want to take the time to really thank USA Network and Tony Shalhoub and all the wonderful cast that made up the show, for all the laughs and fun over the last 8 years. What a fabulous show! I will miss it more than anyone can imagine!

Farewell Monk!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Very Naughty Read

A Very Naughty Read



Everyone knows that I am a huge sucker for romance novels. I can usually devour one a day when I have the time. I tend to go for more paranormal stories or historicals, but I have a friend that likes what I humorously dub, Girl Porn. You know those books that sometimes seem like they have more sex then plot?

Well through her, I started to read Harlequin's Blaze line. This books are just a step away from being true erotica, but oddly they have some really interesting stories.

Sure there is nothing "real life" about them, but they are very entertaining if you like that kind of thing.

But I digress. It was through my dear friend Jennifer that I discovered Stephanie Bond. Stephanie's books are some of the best girl porn and non-girl porn I've read. She has a mystery series a bit similar to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels, but her Blaze books for Harlequin rock my world.

Her most recent one is called Seduction By The Book. Its actually 4 novellas that tie in together. All the women belong to The Red Tote Book Club which meets monthly to discuss some of the best erotic fiction.

The group leader suggests that they choose the novel that spoke to them most, and then set out to seduce the man of their dreams literally "by the book."

The results are very steamy, to say the least. The books chosen by the ladies in The Red Tote Club were Lady Chatterley, Venus In Furs, Fanny Hill, and The Slave. Some interesting reading there. I was almost surprised that Anais Nin wasn't chosen as some of her heroine's were quite forceful in getting the men they desired.

Stephanie weaves four stories that make you want to read more and more. Its a good thing that this book is going to have a e-novella and a full length Blaze followups coming up in January and February.

Stephanie Bond knows how to write books that will heat you up but not push the envelope too far to put off some readers. I look forward to many cold showers after her next few books!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Surly Girl Saloon in Columbus, OH


The Surly Girl Saloon in Columbus, OH

A few weeks ago I went to Columbus for a Ben Folds show. Originally my group of friends were going to eat at the Sausage Haus, a kitschy German restaurant featured on the show Man Vs Food. The wait time was 35 minutes, and we had an hour before the show, so my friend Chase suggested the Surly Girl Saloon. Noting my hesitation, he described it as "diner food with a bunch of craft beers and kitschy cowgirl stuff on the walls." Sold instantly.

The Surly Girl Saloon serves traditional diner food with a spicy kick. I had the Cajun meatloaf sandwich, and it was amazing. Meatloaf is easy to mess up, but they got it the right consistency (not crispy, but not gooey like undercooked breakfast sausage), and the spices gave it an extra push over the edge to Awesomeville. They have designer cupcakes for desert, red velvet and the Cupcake du Jour (that day it was mandarin orange). Best of all, they have 24 beers on tap, including microbrews, organic brews, and beers specifically made in Ohio or by women. My choice was Tommy Knocker's Maple Nut Brown Ale, very tasty with hints of maple syrup and chocolate.



The only downside is that the food took awhile, so we had to get it to go and eat it in the car on the way to the show. We were afraid we were going to be late, but ironically enough, Mr. Folds himself was eating dinner at the same time a few blocks away at the similarly hip Betty's according to his Twitter.

Surly Girl is good stuff. I'd like to try it again when I'm not so rushed. It also seems like a rad place for a punk show, so maybe that will be the incentive to give it another shot.

Surly Girl Saloon on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie review: Hot Rod (2007)


Movie review: Hot Rod (2007)

I'm a big fan of the Lonely Island dudes and the SNL Digital Shorts, so I was eager to see my brother-in-law's absolute favorite movie Hot Rod. Never heard of it? Very likely, as it was released summer of 2007 with little promotion and got downright shredded by the critics. Sprinkle in the popularity boom of Andy Samberg, and you've got the perfect recipe for a cult classic. To be honest, I can see some of the critics' points, but while it's not the perfect cult classic comedy, they're a little harsh.

Andy Samberg plays Rod, a loveably off-kilter manchild who aspired to become a stuntman like his deceased dad. He shows off his stunts with a crew of like-minded neighborhood dudes with little success. He's content with this life until he learns his step-dad is dying and plots to raise $50,000 through stunt shows to buy him a new heart so he can survive... not so much out of love, but out of a desire to "kick his ass to win his respect" before he dies.

While the comedy in the movie isn't 100% Lonely Island, you can definitely tell that Andy had a hand in writing the script, from the shot of a Yo Yo Ma library poster to the lengthy "Cool beans" scene. The humor is a little bit all over the place, which is one of the movie's main flaws. This definitely seems like a producer foulup, like they weren't quite sure who their target audience was and included jokes to appeal to any potential viewers. This leads to a disjointed vibe and a lot of underdevelopment.

One of my biggest beefs is that Bill Hader was super under utilized. I think he's one of the most talented comedic actors out there right now, and he didn't get much screen time. I understand it was mostly Andy's vehicle, but the scene where Hader gets to shine was one of my favorites. I was a little bummed there weren't more moments like that.

Still, there are genuinely funny moments and a sweet message that doesn't beat you over the head. Rod's love interest in the movie states it pretty simply when she said something to the effect of "I like that you never sold out when everyone else grew up and got boring." That's not just a good take-away life message - it's a good message to keep in mind while watching the flick. There's something to be said for a little wonderfully weird movie.

At any rate, I'm on the fence because the internet opinion of the flick seemed to be all or nothing. While I don't agree with the bloodfest the critics had, I don't think it garners as high of a cult classic status as it's getting. I simply thought it was a funny movie, a little flawed but a decent first effort from Samberg. I'm at least interested enough because of Hot Rod to see his next flick. It's not as funny as the Incredibad album or the good Digital Shorts, but I'd suggest you check it out if you're a fan of either.

Final Verdict: 6/10

buy Hot Rod at Amazon

Sunday, November 22, 2009

When In Wheeling You Must Eat Here


When In Wheeling You Must Eat Here

Wheeling, WV, the home of an awesome casino, Oglebay Festival Of Lights and a really awesome shopping complex filled with everything you need to empty your wallet and a wonderful market district with yummy places to eat and buy tasty treats.

So with all of this going on, how can I tell you that there is only one place you need to stop to eat when you are in the city?

Its easy.

CREPES!

Yes, there is a creperie in Wheeling, and the crepes are some of the best I've ever tasted!

So head on over to Later (Allegator) @ The Market in Wheeling and try some savory crepes that are filled with all sorts of things like ham, chicken, roasted red peppers, cheese and spinach.



Then you'll want to have a sweet crepe as dessert. You'll really want to share these, unless you don't care about your waistline. These gorgeous treats are filled with stuff like creme cheese, nuetella, ricotta, fruits and topped with honey, chocolate (do I need to go on), and nuts.



This one is called Monkey Business and is full of bananas, cream cheese and topped with honey and sugared walnuts!

This is a must stop place on when you are in Wheeling. After all, how can you resist a place who's slogan is eat or we both starve, and the mascot is an alligator wearing converse!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Love The New Moon Soundtrack


I Love The New Moon Soundtrack

Let me say first, that I hate the Twilight books and I have no desire whatsoever to see any of the films.

That said, the soundtrack for New Moon is probably one of the best soundtracks out there.

I just heard it for the first time today, because my best friend, is a Twilight junkie. There's no saving her, she's too far gone.

I wasn't all that keen on the first films soundtrack, but this one is really great, especially the Death Cab For Cutie song, Meet Me On The Equinox. I have a love/hate relationship with Death Cab, but this song is more the sound that I like. (Kind of a a post modern Pet Shop Boys sound) I can listen to this song over and over.

I also really love the Bon Iver/St Vincent song, Roslyn. Its just so pretty.

There's really not a bad song on the album and the flow of the tracks is perfect. Its not a mish mash of songs tossed on a record to score a hit. These songs belong together. I don't think I can come up with another soundtrack as well put together as this one.

In fact, it's opened my eyes to some bands I probably would never have listened to if not for the fact that I had no choice but to listen to this album today. So yeah, I think I like OK Go now, I think I may also like Muse and a few of the female singers that I've never heard of, that appear on this album.

So, even if you don't like the books and movies, you might want to check out this soundtrack, because it really is full of awesomesauce!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 Beers You Must Try

2 Beers You Must Try

It wasn't until I discovered a place called Barley & Hops in the South Hills part of Pittsburgh that I truly found a love of beer.

I'm not a fan of regular brews like I.C. Light, Rolling Rock, Coors or Bud. Me. I'm a microbrew kind of girl. Sure I like Corona and Fosters, but the stuff I really love is the unique flavors, like Sam Adams Cherry Wheat or the Blackberry Witbier, but let me introduce you to two beers that are unlike any beer you might ever come across.

O'Fallon's Cherry Chocolate Beer, which is like nothing you've ever tasted before. When you drink from a glass you can smell the chocolate in the beer. Its a darker brew, but its not bitter like most darjer beers and it also doesn't carry a huge price tag like many brews from the smaller breweries. At Barley and Hops, this bottle sold for $3.75 and let me tell you it was worth every last penny.

I wish I had know about this company. I would have headed to South Hills last month in hopes of getting the Pumpkin beer. Check out the website to learn more about the special beers O'Fallon's makes.

If you ask me what my favorite beer is, Framboise Lambic would be the answer. It tastes nothing like beer and though the framboise (raspberry) is my favorite it comes in a few other mouthwatering flavors.

The best lambic I've had is made by Lindeman's though lambic is starting to show up in breweries here in the US. Sam Adams makes a cranberry lambic that I hope to sample soon.

Lambic is known as the champagne of beers. It even masquerades as one. It has a beer bottle top but beneath is a cork!

If you aren't a huge fan of beer, these are two drinks you definitely want to try. If you are a fan of beer, try these because they are awesome and you need to expand your palate.

The Only Reason I Care About the Olympics

The Only Reason I Care About the Olympics

Everyone who knows me knows I only care about one sport: hockey. Therefore, everyone who knows me knows I'll only be paying attention to one part of the Olympics: hockey.

The best part is, depending on which of the Pittsburgh Penguins get picked for which teams, I may not even be rooting for my own country. I can't help it if I want to see my NHL team win!

Sidney Crosby carrying the torch is always nice, too. Safe to say that if nothing else, Pittsburghers know what was going on up in Halifax today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear Doctors of the World

Dear Doctors of the World,

If you want to inspire confidence in your abilities when patients come in for a routine check up, don't clap your hands together and say while walking through the door, "So, what is this, a pregnancy test?" Even if you are a gynecologist, that isn't cool.

Sigh.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Waters Of Mars


The Waters Of Mars

I haven't been impressed with a Doctor Who special so far this past year. In fact, up until this point I've been totally disappointed by the episodes leading up to David Tennant's departure as the Doctor which is coming sometime between Christmas and New Year's.

That said. The Waters Of Mars left me both breathless and angry. Breathless because it was probably the most fast paced well written episode of Who that I've seen in a long time. This episode was excellent. I didn't want to take my eyes from the 2 inch screen that I was watching it on. Yes, people, I watched this episode on my Zen Vision. Angry, because I didn't like what he was doing to the Doctor personality wise.

Without giving away much of the episode, as it won't air in the US until Dec 19th, I can tell you that the story is one of the best, even though at first I wasn't impressed. It felt a bit like "42" for awhile which was one of my least favorite episodes with Martha, but very soon it took on a life of its own.

In the last 15 minutes of the episode, you get a lot of foreshadowing of what's to come. Including a bit of madness on the part of the doctor. There's a visit and a song by a former Who alien too.

The only thing I didn't like was how Uncle Rusty seemed to be doing to Ten what he did with Captain Jack in Torchwood. I feel that when the End Of Time epis conclude everyone will be waiting for Matt Smith to become the doctor, because Rusty was making it hard to like Tennant's Doctor as The Waters Of Mars came to a finish.

He didn't feel like the doctor that showed up on Mars saying his intentions were fun.

I know that when I see the last episodes, I'll cry, because even though Who has been in my life for quite a long time, Tennant was MY DOCTOR! He will always be my doctor, and I will miss him terribly in that part.

Matt, you have some big shoes to fill. I hope you're worthy of the role you've taken on.

The Waters Of Mars...it was breathtakingly sad and as much as I hate to give that bastard RTD credit, it was fucking brilliant.

One from the Vaults: Gooby


One from the Vaults: Gooby

The first thing you probably need to know about my movie going habits is that I see five shitty movies for every good movie. Willingly. And even though this was released a few months ago, I'm including it in the Vaults because of its sheer awfulness. Nothing says quality like direct-to-video, and Gooby is the very pinnacle of direct-to-video.

Gooby tells the story of a boy with some serious mental health issues, acknowledged at the first of the film and then conveniently glossed over (giving me the take-home message that childhood onset schizophrenia is outgrown? ). His yuppie parents find the house of the dreams and make the kid move, which sets off the hallucinations and then brings his childhood toy Gooby to life. Gooby is not, in fact, a hallucination, as everyone else in the film can see him. Gooby gets the kid into all kinds of madcap zany bullshit, and his parents learn the lesson of spending time with their family. Or something.

Here's a better outline: a giant orange bear with a Scottish accent runs around and makes weird jokes while Eugene Levy, a sadsack substitute teacher and failed kids' author, tries to photograph him and the world's most self-aborbed parents have some vague yuppie job and don't notice their kid going out at night or being sent to the hospital. (In one scene, the kid pretends to throw up on the dinner table to cover for Gooby making noise upstairs, and the parents' only reaction is to move the Chinese food out of the way. Not, "Shit, my kid is sick," but "please don't party foul on our moo goo gai pan.")

Like most of these weird direct-to-video kids movies, most of the hilarity is unintentional, so bad it's good. The long shots, the awkward lines, the creepy adults, the misplaced CGI and green screen. It's worth the cost of renting it if only for (1) the nanny that looks like Iggy Pop and (2) the scene in which Gooby terrorizes an 11 year old bully in a hot dog costume so much the bully pisses himself, and then Gooby utters in simple, childlike amazement, "Look, Willy, the hot dog peed!"

Honest to blog this is a real movie. For the longest time I thought it was a clip from Tim and Eric, but I promise you that this movie exists in 99 minutes worth of gut-wrenching glory. I honestly don't expect you to believe me, so here's a link to the Gooby trailer. May God have mercy on your soul.

true masochists can buy Gooby on Amazon

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pittsburgh Area Bands: The Switch Kids

Pittsburgh Area Bands: The Switch Kids

We like our pop rock in Pittsburgh. I don't know why. But the good thing about that is we do it well. Today, I'm highlighting The Switch Kids. Formerly known just as The Switch, which I liked better. But whatever. It's all about the music, right? I was reminded of them because of the fact that every time I ride in my brother's car & we listen to his iPod, their song "Radio Reminder" almost always come up on shuffle.

They're fun, fast, & catchy. I hadn't listened to them in a while, but my brother's iPod left me wanting more. They're good times. They make me want to dance (that said, I think I'm the only girl that wants & tries to dance to rock music). There's not much else that can be said without being redundant & wordy, although songs like "Life Under the Big Top" are heavier, longer, & a slight departure from the usual but are very well-done.

Fun fact: lead singer Rob met Conan O'Brien when he came through Pittsburgh promoting The Tonight Show.

They also put on a killer live show, when I saw them ages ago. They know how to work a crowd. And they gave me one of the most memorable concert experiences I ever had by covering the Full House theme song. As if that wasn't entertaining enough, almost every single person in the Rex Theater on the South Side that night was dancing & singing along, too.

The Switch Kids on MySpace.

Everything is good, although "Wait a Minute" is a personal favorite. Nostalgia.

And the song my brother's iPod is obsessed with? It's not on the MySpace, but it's called "Radio Reminder," from when they were still The Switch. Definitely worth a listen if you can find it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Since When Is Denny's A Place With Crazy Good Food?

Since When Is Denny's A Place With Crazy Good Food?

Denny's is usually my last choice in places to go out for a quick dinner. Its usually right in front of Kings Family Restaurant which I have a love/hate relationship with.

But not anymore.

Denny's has a new menu and ZOMG is it NOMMY!!!

I had a Cranberry Pecan Salad with Grilled Chicken for dinner. It comes with a nice size bowl of balsamic vinaigrette so you don't completely douse the salad. The chicken was perfection and there were loads of wonderful dried cranberries throughout along with the sugared pecans and a nice touch was some crispy bacon. Not a lot but a nice strip or two. Mmm tasty!

Before this the best cranberry salad I've had was at Garfield's, but this totally blew that one away.

But the best thing on the menu, which is probably the worst thing for you, is the pancake puppies!

Yes, they've made pancakes into little hushpuppy balls and they serve them with maple syrup to dip.

Sooooooo freaking good. Right now they even have peppermint puppies, and those are super tasty.

If you haven't been to a Denny's in awhile, now might be the time to go back. Your belly will thank you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pardon Me While I Ponder This


Pardon Me While I Ponder This

My John Barrowman rant got me thinking about what the freaking hell is so great about the video for Single Ladies?

After watching it, I decided, its not because its great. In fact, the video is lousy. And that has to be the reason its inspired everyone and possibly their grandmother to do stupid parodies.

The song however is an earworm of the worst kind.

One listen and you'll be singing the damn chorus for days.

Its got that groove that reminds me of Whitney Houston's first 2 albums when she was singing really catchy dance pop and that she's tried to recreate with songs like Million Dollar Bill on her new album.

One thing I'll say for Beyonce, is that considering she's a Diva in her own right, she hasn't gone the way of Whitney and Celine, which caused them to lose their pop edge for awhile. And let's face it, even Celine was good when she was singing pop and not wailing like banshee and beating the hell out of her chest.

Beyonce at least keeps it real and I'll give her credit for that. Now if only she'd stop acting...all would be well in the world

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why I Hate John Barrowman

Why I Hate John Barrowman

This post could go on and on forever if I wanted it to. I have a slew of gay men that I absolutely adore, most are on the campy, in your face and out of the closet kind of way, which is why I've never quite understood why anything with John Barrowman in it makes me want to run screaming for the hills.

I mean for all intents and purposes JB is a nice guy. He has a great sense of humor and is fun to be around from all that I've heard from the Cons etc, however, I would slap him in the face if I ever were close enough to do it. (And not get arrested)

I think the problem is me. I love things with a great passion and I dislike things with an equal amount of passion.

The latest thing Barrowman has done that annoys the fuck out of me is this:



Do we really need another parody of Single Ladies?

I freaking hate that song to begin with, but really, JB, hasn't it been done enough? I mean Justin Timberlake did it? That heavily browed Jonas Brother did it.

It was only funny like...one time. Its not funny anymore.

Do something useful with your time, like try to convince that evil fucker, Russell T. Davies to fix that hideous mess he made of Torchwood.

You know what? I really don't like "Modern Family"

You know what? I really don't like "Modern Family"

I know that I'm supposed to, because it's the hot new show. It's the one all the hipsters are rallying around, the one all the dirty East Coast Liberals (like me!) just love. It's been likened to "Arrested Development," which I just loved. I continue to watch it every week to figure out what I'm doing wrong, but I just can't get into it.

There's something about it that just rubs me the wrong way.

I've never been a fan of the type of comedy that's designed to be awkward and cringeworthy, which is why I'm not the world's biggest Office fan. The show is hilarious, but Michael Scott makes my brain hurt. I want to be entertained, not made to feel uncomfortable.

I don't like the interview segments, while they do work in the Office, they just seem extraneous here. The Office is designed to be a documentary about the workings of a company, so it makes sense to have the individual interviews. What's the point of it here? Was it ever established that someone was making a documentary on this random family? Or are they all just talking to us because they're completely narcissistic? (Which they are, being it the reason behind the interviews or not.)

And while Arrested Development's humor came from its large lot of eccentric characters, this lot seems less eccentric and more stereotypical, almost insultingly. They are not characters so much as caricatures. The Columbian trophy wife, the soccer mom, the vapid teenage girl, the gays, the Asian baby. It seems lazy. All of these characters are already written.

In short, the concept seems to me like something that would have been a great SNL sketch, but I can't see the purpose for an entire show.

The Great Balloon Hoax


The Great Balloon Hoax

Show of hands, who here is sick of all the Balloon Boy coverage? The story should have been a blip in the "odd news" Yahoo newsfeed and a clever Halloween costume. Instead, it has morphed into a National Crisis TM!!1!

Gotta admit when the story came out, I was amused and followed it. Mostly because I was at work and had already read Fark that day. What I expected to happen was a lot of other bored folks talking about it on the internet. I certainly didn't expect the news outlets to grind to an absolute halt and cover the story for hours. I mean, we're in two wars and a recession - isn't there actual news to cover?

And now everyone is out for blood because the parents "were just out for attention." Of course they were! They're reality TV darlings! Did it really surprise anyone that's watched any reality series? You can't create Frankenstein's monster and then be angry that it drops a little girl down a well.

I don't care if their series got canceled. I don't care if they're going to court. I'm done with the damned story. I kind of wish the profession I went to school for actually covered news nowadays, but I guess that's why we have the BBC.

Sidebar: is anybody else disappointed that this wasn't a marketing stunt for the DVD release of Up?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Movie review: Where the Wild Things Are


Movie review: Where the Wild Things Are

Maybe I should start this off with a disclaimer: I was never one of those kids that was obsessed with this book, which may have colored my movie experience. Don't get me wrong, after seeing the HBO special Maurice Sendak seems like an interesting cat, and Spike Jonze is one of my favorite directors. It's just that I didn't have an emotional attachment to the story and really couldn't get into the movie, even if on paper it was amazing.

By now everyone knows the story: Max is a rambunctious little boy that gets into a fight with his mother. He runs away to the Land of the Wild Things (via his imagination in the book, literally in the movie) and promptly declares himself King of the Wild Things. This is where things diverge, as needed in order to turn a 48 page book into a 100 minute movie.

The movie progresses with lots of very Spike Jonze dialog (there were a couple times it almost seemed like self-parody) from the Wild Things. Soon Max's relationship with them begins to mirror his relationship with his family. Max learns his lesson and returns home.

And... well, that's about it. There's not a whole lot of conflict in the movie. Drama, yes, but no conflict. I'm not saying that they needed to add ninjas and espionage to the movie; I'm just saying that because of the flow of the movie, I couldn't get too engaged.

I didn't hate the movie, though, so let's concentrate on some of the things I think they got right. All the interviews and promotions that said "you've never seen a movie that looked like this" were right. It's very much an atmosphere movie, like Eraserhead (not in tone, mind you... and I'm probably the only person that's able to justify comparing the two.) Jonze captured the inherent sadness of childhood quite well; more than a few times my heartstrings got tugged, as I could remember similar events in my childhood.

The puppetry is amazing as well. I grew up on Jim Henson and have a soft spot for large scale suit-style puppets. Too many movies rely on CGI for non-human characters and lose a lot of the charm of older kids' movies. And the way Max Records (fated by name to be the star) interacts with his human and non-human co-stars is gold. I'm hoping that kid will go far in the movie biz.

Still, with all the good elements, I couldn't get into it. So many of my friends said that watching the movie was "a life changing experience," and the entire time, I sat scratching my head, thinking, "What the hell am I missing?" Maybe I'm just a jaded asshat, but I hardly think this was the movie of the year that everyone else made it out to be. It was a cute movie, but not one I'd be too interested in rewatching.

Final verdict: 5/10 (didn't love it, didn't hate it)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One from the Vaults: Meet John Doe


One from the Vaults: Meet John Doe

Let's get a few things straight here. This is not the movie where Brad Pitt is death (that's Meet Joe Black), nor is it a movie about the bass player of X. Instead, this is a mostly forgotten Frank Capra movie, which is a pity. Meet John Doe could stand up beside It's a Wonderful Life in production value and has a more cynical political undercurrent. But because it's in the public domain now, it hasn't gotten a proper release, and even the more expensive versions seem to have the same lousy transfer my Dollar Store copy has.

The plot is pretty clever. To save her job, a newspaper advice columnist (Barbara Stanwyck) writes a fake suicide letter signed by John Doe, a man fed up with the current state of the world who plans to jump off a building on Christmas Eve. The public goes into a frenzy, and the newspaper is forced to produce a real-life John Doe. They find him in Gary Cooper, a transient ex-minor league pitcher; pretty soon he's groomed and ready for the media, much to the dismay of his hobo friend the Colonel.

The media goes bonkers over John Doe's first speech, and soon John Doe fan clubs pop up all over the country to "help their fellow man." John begins to buy into his own hype and thinks he's doing a great public service. Nobody gives much thought to the mysterious politician funding the John Doe project until it's too late.

First off, I've got to speculate that Frank Capra had Seasonal Effective Disorder, as this is yet another movie where Christmas and suicide go hand in hand. But (1) I can empathize and (2) this is one of the reasons I dig his movies: somehow they're simultaneously dismal and feel-good.

Even if the script gets into Capra-corny territory at times, the performances are outstanding. I was particularly impressed by Stanwyck's range and Edward Arnold's portrayal of the political mastermind behind the John Doe movement. Again, as a film nerd, the John Doe convention scene floored me. Keep in mind this was before the time of GCI, so those grandstands were literally packed with thousands of people in the pouring rain.

If you're a fan of Capra or classic films in general, it'd be worth your time to hunt this one down. Because of the themes, it'd also make a nice addition to your Christmas movie collection. You can find it with some sleuth action at any place they sell crappy $1 public domain DVDs, like your local Dollar {Store/ Tree/ General} or your drugstore's discount DVD bin.

Buy Meet John Doe on Amazon