Sunday, January 31, 2010
Everyone here knows I'm not into teen TV. Sorry there's no Vampire Diaries for me, or Gossip Girl (though I do like the books). I wasn't even keen on Skins when it aired on BBC America, and I like most things from the UK.
The Inbetweeners has changed my mind about this kind of programing. One plus is its geared more towards teenage boys than girls, and for some reason that makes the show much more appealing to me.
Its 4 16 year old boys in public school trying to make it through sixth form. Click the link to try to sort out the educational system in the UK.
It basically shows the life of the typical not so popular teenage boys trying to make their way through life, trying to acquire booze and chicks all the while they're screwing up.
Unlike Skins, The Inbetweeners is not quite so serious and more funny. My mother was laughing hysterically through it.
If you are looking for a laugh out loud funny show about teenagers and how life is often very fucked up at that time of your life, this is the show to watch. Oh and since its a UK show, there's plenty of profanity too.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Well, the guys at Apple sure have helped all the comedians in the country out with there nifty new computer.
There are so many tampon and maxi-pad jokes going around that its getting old and the product was just unveiled, what? 2 days ago.
Yes, I pad makes sense, since it looks like one and iClipboard really doesn't sound all that crazy and hip, but really, is it something we really need?
Its a combination of the iPhone/iTouch devices and a bit of a rip off on the Kindle from Amazon.
The price is definitely right at $499. I'd definitely prefer that to a laptop or the Kindle, but I want to know how well it will connect to my DSL in my house. I'm certainly not paying AT & T for a plan. No thank you.
Plus what makes it better than a laptop or a tiny notebook?
I haven't seen any signs that its all that exciting overall compared to what's out there. Its just another not so cool named product Apple wants to sell to the 20-30 somethings so that they can feel important.
Uh. Its cute but I think I'll pass.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
WHAT YOU NEED
2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
1 ready-to-use reduced-fat graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz.)
2-1/2 cups cold fat-free milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP FREE Whipped Topping, divided
PLACE half of the banana slices on bottom of crust. Set remaining banana slices aside.
POUR milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spoon half of the pudding mixture into crust. Top with remaining banana slices; cover with remaining pudding mixture.
REFRIGERATE 3 hours or until set. Serve topped with the remaining 1 cup whipped topping. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.
I never realized how easy banana cream pie was until I found this recipe to make at the last minute for our Christmas dessert. The hardest part is waiting the three hours for it to set! I don't know if this is a "traditional" recipe, but even if it's not, it's damn good. Here is the link: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/kf/recipes/easy-banana-cream-pie-51072.aspx?cm_re=1-_-1-_-RecipeAlsoEnjoy&pf=true
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
What happens when one of the Republican Parties wingnutty-est members' daughter decides she's going to remain celibate until marriage, after she has a baby out of wedlock?
I'm pretty sure its chaos and craziness and a touch of too little too late.
I mean this smacks of cheesy PR that will lead up to the new reality show that will obviously air on FOX since that's the crapass network that Mommy works for.
Pardon my language, but who hasn't laughed at this yet?
And what's more, who can really take seriously Sarah Palin let alone her daughter?
I shudder at the thought that she could have been a heartbeat away from the presidency. The woman can't handle her own kids let alone the nation or for that matter the state of Alaska.
But back to Bristol.
Why bother taking the celibacy vow now? You already have a baby. I'd say, if you're lucky enough to find a guy that wants to get busy with you go for it. Just use birth control this time you ditzy twit!
But then again, we all know that children are often the best form of birth control out there, so maybe she just wanted to use the celibacy thing as her excuse for not getting any.
The mind boggles at the idiocy this family comes up with.
Dear fellow lovers of live music: LiveNation & TicketMaster have officially merged.
Now, who knows what the full extent of this means, really? Other than the biggest damn ticketing company the planet has ever seen, or eve will see. Some speculate this means even higher convenience charges, but that remains to be seen. Especially since I swear I just read a Rolling Stone article not too long ago where one of the higher-ups at Ticketmaster swore he wanted to lower the conveniences charges. Granted, some if the fault of the venue - for example, Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette Pavilion charges a parking fee (I believe $17) PER TICKET for a lot that's essentially some gravel, port-o-potties, towers, & garbage cans. Granted, by the end of the night it's littered with beer cans & drunk dude pee, but still.
We could all go on for days about the injustice that is convenience charges, but I'll stick to the merger.
They don't technically have a monopoly on concert tickets, but you'll be hard-pressed to find an alternative that doesn't involve tickets way over face value, scalpers, & questionable legality. There are a few companies that have popped up lately, but mainly they serve tiny bands or local music. For the big arena acts, we're stuck with this nonsense. God bless the few venues left that sell their own tickets. Going back to Pittsburgh, just about all of the theater events tickets have to be purchased through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. When I saw Eddie Izzard do stand up a few years ago, the Pittsburgh date was among the few not listed on Ticketmaster's website, because, thankfully, Pittsburgh's Benedum Center wasn't selling them through there. I'd bet that this method decreases the amount of scalping, too, but that's a discussion for another day.
We'll see where this goes. Probably nowhere good.
In the meantime, one of the ticketing alternatives out there is ticketweb.com. It's pretty small & doesn't cover all tour dates for all artists, but they do what they can. For example, they're selling tickets for one of AFI's tour dates, but that's it. But they are cheaper, & I've had nothing but good experiences with them. As in, I don't yell at my computer screen about stupid charges.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Well when the song in that 30 second spot lodges itself in that persons head, and only takes a mention of the artist or the commercial for it to come storming back into that poor individuals brain, well then that 30 second spot can be a killer.
What commercial is killing me?
Have you seen the T-Mobile commercial for the new Ltd. Edition Fender phone featuring, guitar legend, Eric Clapton?
Well if you haven't, watch now:
Now if you don't mind, I need to figure out how to get Rock N' Roll Heart out of my head!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Before I get started: a) I am, in many ways, behind the times, b) given the Jersey Shore angst here (which is completely justified), we need to watch stuff that's, you know, good. Or with this one, you can read it. Or both.
So, Bleak House. First, it was a Charles Dickens novel, then in 2005 the BBC made it into a mini-series, featuring Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame. And on that subject, Gillian shows her skills in this, trust me. Anyway, for some reason, I decided it would be neat to read the book (which is just shy of 900 pages long) & watch the series at the same time. It's going well, aside from being a pretty long process so far. But it's been worth it, because it's classic literature, great storytelling, & especially in video form, very compelling & engaging.
Death, betrayal, romance, scandal, lies, shame, guilt, secrets, murder, blackmail, dickhead lawyers, the failures of the legal system in general, human experience, violence, sickness, financial ruin, the rich, the poor. It's all here, & that's not even everything. It's tough to concisely explain the plot in a way that makes it sound interesting but also doesn't give anything away. That's what the IMDB page is for. Oh, I forgot to mention the spontaneous combustion. Yep. Dickens got in a little bit of trouble for that one.
The book is worth trying if you have the time & patience for 19th century writing. And if not, the mini-series is one of the closest adaptations of a novel I've ever seen. The only real changes condense the story & move things along faster because really, how much time would it take to get every detail of a book this long perfect? Which is also why mini-series format works really well.
Back from the dead, it's TUBESDAY TOP THREE! I realized yesterday whilest on the 'Tube that I hadn't posted one of these since early November. So to get back in the swing of things, here are three random music videos that I dig.
No I'm not weighing in on the Conan/Leno debacle. They can all go to hell in a handbasket with their talentless asses wrapped in a butaine blanket for all I care. Seriously, this is not a national issue. This is further proof that businesses from banks to networks are run by morons. Oh and as a viewing public we are morons.
What brought this on? Besides hearing more than I can stand about Coconumnutshead and Chin the Great and Powerful?
The cast of Jersey Shore and the fact that a bazillion people watch this. Cos the cast are fighting to get $10,000 an episode now. (BTW they get that for certain PR things they do already) Seriously, dudes and dudettes, you don't deserve a penny.
WTF! JUST SERIOUSLY WTF!!!!
Let's give these absolute dunderheads lots of money so they can behave badly.
OMG FUCK NO!
The fact that people watch this shit is proof that as a society we're sinking to levels of intelligence so low that cave men look like Einstein. I will make apologies to all the cave men that I insulted by that.
In the 80s when my parents said that we shouldn't watch Mtv because it would rot our brains, I scoffed at them. As I see what the network is becoming and what people are watching, I have a feeling they knew more than I thought they did at the time.
This show is why we should be fearful for the planet, not global warming. This is far worse, its GLOBAL STUPIDITY!
And what else proves this: Jon and Kate Plus 8 and the fact that people really cared about that clusterfuck of a marriage, The Kardasheins or however the fuck you spell that name and all the other fucked up pathetic reality shows that disguise themselves as entertainment so the networks can save money.
Tune in tomorrow when I ponder Bristol Palin's vow of celibacy.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I haven't really gotten too much into CoCoGate on here, mainly because the internet already has plenty of commentary on it. I think that it was a dick move, and that if ratings were the issue, NBC should have shit-canned both shows instead of turning it into a giant pop culture pissing contest. But mostly I think it just shows what a colossal waste the Nielsen ratings really are. (this is what I did my senior graduation paper so nerdom ahoy!)
The Nielsen ratings really worked well when entire households sat down and watched the same thing on their one television on one of 13 UHF channels. When households had more than one set watched by more than one person and a little thing called cable in the 70s, it started making the numbers less reliable. When people don't even watch television at its regular time, cable has made the FCC basically obsolete, and most people in the Cream-Yer-Pants demographic watch most television through legal, illegal, and quasi-legal means through their computers... Well, you see where I'm going. When I did my paper way back in the Year Of Our Lord 2007, DVR recordings weren't even counted. So I'm surprised the Neilsen company adopted it so fast.... a decade after the technology came out. (and they only count it if the playback was within three days of the recording! Yikes! There's stuff on my DVR from September!)
*jumps off the high horse* So, Conan. Eh, I watched about every ep of the Tonight show, even though it was usually at dinner the next day. I guess I have the right to be mad (the "you can't bitch if you don't vote" argument), but in the end, I can't cover the streets in blood over pop culture. I think most of these grandiose Internets plans to boycott NBC are pretty naive. Here's your list of things to boycott - hope you kids won't miss Battlestar Galactica. Or, um, electricity. And for all you putting such high hopes of Fox, remember that it likes to kill good shows in their first season.
Mostly, though, I'm just kind of... proud? As my husband and I sat around for our 2nd annual "Conan leaves a show" night, I just couldn't imagine having my dream job yanked out from under me. But in a way, it's a little comforting. Somehow it made me feel a little less bad about being "not laid off per say from my first real job last year. And his speech toward the end, urging all the internet youngins to not be cynical, kind of made my heart swell.
So I'm eagerly awaiting his next show. And I guess NBC either needs to get its ass in gear or hope every advertising firm in America likes Chuck.
Greg Proops @ The Improv in Pittsburgh
My favorite speccy comedian was at The Improv and I have to say, he didn't let me down at all. (Even though there was no chance @ meeting him this time though because there was a second show).
There were two opening comedians and oddly both local comics were really hilarious. But I'm not hear to extol their virtues, especially as I don't even remember their names.
I'm hear to talk about Greg Proops, the Proopdoggie Dog. The Ocelot King! The well suited man who had white and lavender argyle socks on last night.
Yes, I was in the front row, so I could see his socks. I could also see his well rounded tushie every time he shook it, and for those of you that are familiar with Greg and his stand-up, he shakes this tushie quite a bit.
His routine focuses on all sorts of things from politics, to music, to Christmas, with a smattering of anything else in between. His take on the Olsen twins is particularly spot on.
I was also quite amused by his take on Hillary and Bill Clinton. Remember Bill Clinton? He was president when peace and prosperity broke out! There was quite a bit of applause for that.
Even his jabs at all things Pittsburgh, from the cold, which it really wasn't, at least for Pittsburgh standards last night, to the amount of cheese on salads here. Uh Greggie, behold the power of cheese, was not left without a comment. See Greg is the master of snark. He's also the kind of comedian that can heckle his own audience.
In Soviet Russia, comedian heckles you!
I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, or at least not for a very long while.
Oh and if you get to the Improv I recommend the Espresso Martini and the Thin Mint coffee drinks. Both will leave you warm fuzzy and very open to comedy, good or bad. Greg was neither, btw, he was fan-fucking-tastic
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I'm going to the Improv tonight to see my favorite comedian, Greg Proops. Yes, there will be commentary here tomorrow.
But I have a gripe. A huge one.
I used to get email updates from the Improv.
I've been to the Stacks @ The Waterfront many times. I saw Brad Sherwood there many years ago as well as Jeff Dunham before his career kicked into high gear.
And I knew all about these because of emails from the Improv.
I found out about Greg logging into my Facebook page and seeing a comment from Greg about Pittsburgh, which prompted me to say, OMGWTFBBQ.
At least I got the tickets.
But still, there were a few hours yesterday when I was in a panic, cos The Proopdog is my man!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I bought this book ages ago and ever so often I pull it out to see if I've been to any of the places in the book. Considering I've only been as far north as Toronto and as far east as Atlantic City and as far west as Cincinnati and as far south..as...well Fairmont, WV, you'll see I've not covered much ground here.
However I have hit quite a few spots in PA. For one I've been to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA many times.
But it got me thinking what about some places in my state that are fabulous that I haven't been to. Surely there are many. PA is pretty big state and there's a lot to be seen here. So I started to poke around some travel websites for PA.
Well I have found one place I must go, that's not in the book, but is definitely on my list, The Bayernhof Museum. Click the link and you'll see why. Neat isn't it?
What places in your area are must sees?
Today (or rather yesterday, since I'm doing this at 3 AM...) marked the 201st birthday of Edgar Allan Poe & the anniversary of a long-standing tradition at Poe's grave - the laying of three roses and a bottle of cognac. Except this year, the mystery person who lays them every year didn't show.
The possibilities as to why the "Poe toaster" didn't come this year are endless - sickness, death, or the possibility that since last year was his 200th birthday, the toaster decided it was a good year to stop. Not willing to let Poe rest on his birthday without his roses and cognac, someone did put them out later in the day, but people who'd been waiting at the site to see the real toaster in action early this morning were disappointed.
And some am I.
Ever since my dad told me about this when I was in high school, it's stuck with me & I've been fascinated by it. In my mind, is the coolest & yet most bizarre of traditions. It's a great way to honor Poe's memory & yet no one knows who actually does this or how it got started. It's been done every year since at least 1949. Frankly, I hope that when I die - especially if I end up being a successful writer - people love me enough to leave nice things at my grave some 160 years after I've died. With press coverage.
Kind of dark and macabre with just a hint of romance. Poe, I'm sure, would love it.
You can't be a self-respecting horror fan without reading a little Poe. The stories are old so the writing's kind of dated & tough, but worth working on. Especially for classics like "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," & one of my personal favorites, "The Masque of the Red Death." Not to mention "The Raven" is probably one of my favorite poems ever. And the Halloween episode of Castle where he dressed as Poe & carried around that raven was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I Want A Kindle!
I'm a book junkie. I'll be the first to admit it. I love books. I'll read just about anything if it strikes my fancy. Sci-fi, romance, biographies, the classics. If the plot suits me, I'll read it.
Which is why I really need a Kindle, even though every fiber of my being balks at having a gizmo for reading. Its essentially paying to read stuff that you'd be paying for.
But look at the latest Kindle.
Its thin and its about the size of a trade paperback! Oh and depending on the model you get the Kindle can hold 1500 to 3500 books.
All in one little device!
If only I could get past my need to hold a book in my hands and turn the pages. This would be the more eco-friendly way to read.
Somehow I know that though I'm fascinated by the device, it will be a long while before I allow myself to buy one.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Movie review: A Serious Man (2010)
A Serious Man is certainly a fitting title for this movie. While there are plenty of awkward laughs and honest laughs, it's definitely not a feel-good popcorn flick. It takes a lot of imagery from the Book of Job, which should give you a hint about the vibe of the movie. And if you think that's a hard enough read, try seeing it on screen with the Coen Bro's brooding, creepy filmmaking flair.
The flick is set in the 60s and revolves around the life of Larry Gopnik. Almost simultaneously, his wife decided to leave him for a friend and an upset student threatens to mess up his upcoming tenure hearing. Meanwhile, his son is trying to outrun the school bully/pot dealer while studying for his Bar Mitzvah. Larry tries to find solace in friends, rabbis, and lawyers, who can't give him the answers he's looking for. As this goes on, he's taking care of his off-kilter brother, who's trying to figure out a mathematical algorithm to unlock the universe. Then things sort of go downhill from there.
Make no mistake, A Serious Man is a serious Coen Brothers movie. If you're expecting kookiness like the Big Lebowski then look elsewhere. The movie has a lot more in common emotionally with Barton Fink and thematically with No Country for Old Men. Like both of those movies (and the lighter O Brother, Where Art Thou), they really set the mood of the era with little details like background props and big ones like the coloration of the film.
The thing I loved most about this film (and all of the Coen's) is the symbolism. Both Larry and his brother were driven crazy by their search for The Big Answer. In a similar vein, it seemed like all the characters that Larry went to for advice were surrounded by stacks of books yet knew nothing. They utilize one of my favorite filmmaking hat tricks, the “pop song as overarching message,” by playing Jefferson Airplane's “Somebody to Love” throughout the film. And this is just a smidgeon. To really dissect the movie would require more than one sitting.
I can't say definitively (because, uh, it's January) but I have a feeling this is going to be at the top of my movie list this year. As much as I love the silly Coen Bros, their serious movies are a magical gut punch that get me thinking for days. That's the caveat with A Serious Man: if you like movies that almost torment your brain as you try to unlock them, then definitely give this a go. If those movies don't interest you or piss you off (especially the latter) then take a big pass on it.
Final verdict: 8/10 (will probably grow with repeat viewings)
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Hello, my name is Molly, and I am an awards show junkie. Since I've been sick this week and am still working on forming coherent paragraphs, here are some snippets of thoughts I had during this year's Golden Globes.
- How the hell is Sherlock Holmes a "Comedy and/or Musical"?!?
- Sandra Bullock for Blindside winning over Precious just seems wrong.
- Is it just me, or was Ricky Gervais a lot less caustic than he should've been? Did NBC reign him in after his recent Conan appearance?
- Shocked but happy that Inglorious Bastards took one home.
- Fuuuuuck I wish either Chloë Sevigny hadn't been in an HBO series or that I hadn't watched Brown Bunny.
- Seeing John Lithgow means I'm going to devote a column to Ricochet in the near future.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
TV Review: Nan's Christmas Carol
I realize this is late in coming but I finally got around to watching Nan's Christmas Carol, and I have one thing to say about it, IT'S FUCKING AWESOME!
Now first allow me to say, of all the characters Catherine Tate does on her show, Nan is the one I like the least. For the most part the potty mouthed granny gets on my nerves, so why do I like this special so much?
Well, it's got David Tennant as the Ghost Of Christmas Present for one, but the main reason, is its just totally funny. Nan is simply Nan throughout the whole thing, even when she's reforming at the end, she's Nan! She doesn't try to get serious even when faced with the opinions of people during her visit to Christmas Future.
The fun and funny in this special is Catherine Tate and her ability to really play so many different characters and as you see Nan grow up you really appreciate her abilities. Oh and props go to the little girl that played the young Joanie that got to spout off the F-bomb in the special.
This was by far one of the funniest specials I've seen in a very long time. Oh and David Tennant looks hot in skinny jeans!
Friday, January 15, 2010
Not that I want to get too terribly serious, but...
As we all know, a huge earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Quite simply put, the city is a complete mess right now, & it's not like Haiti always has an easy time of things as it is.
Haiti is something I'm drawn to. In my high school French class, we got involved with a young priest named Fr. Antoine & who would come once a year to speak to our class, completely in French. Our (tiny) class took it upon ourselves to start fundraising events in the school on several occasions, with the money mainly going to help fund schools. And now, just because we're in America doesn't mean there's nothing we can do.
I may be pretty broke at the moment, but as seen as I even get $10 together I plan to donate. In high school, when Fr. Antoine came back with pictures of the school our money helped, I became aware of how even a little bit of money in Haiti can go a long way. So, here is a relatively large list of organizations taking donations.
There's also a blog mentioning kids in orphanages & the huge problems this has made for them. If you're interested, it's worth the read.
You can also text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts.
And remember: we're lucky.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1-1/4 cups KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
6 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
10 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, heated
HEAT oven to 375ºF. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella and 3 Tbsp. Parmesan until well blended; spread onto chicken breasts. Starting at one short end of each breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired. Set aside.
BEAT egg in shallow dish. Mix remaining Parmesan and cracker crumbs in separate shallow dish. Dip chicken bundles in egg, then roll in crumb mixture. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF). Remove and discard toothpicks, if using. Serve topped with spaghetti sauce and remaining mozzarella
I am on week two of my 2010 diet, and this fits into it pretty well. I just can't give up cheese, I'm sorry. I didn't use the spaghetti sauce and it was perfectly fine. In fact, it was delicious! I think the Ritz crackers give it a nice salty crust that are different from the normal bread crumbs. The things I like about Kraft's website are the recipes are pretty simple, there aren't too many ingredients, and they give the nutritional information on the dish. Here is the link: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/kf/recipes/chicken-parmesan-bundles-107338.aspx
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I was reading a totally awesome book the other day and I really wanted to jump into the pages with the rest of the characters.
It takes quite a book for me to say that, because there's usually something about at least one character that makes me want to slap them or shake them silly. But with this thought in my head, I started to think about some other books that I wouldn't mind becoming a character in.
If any of you have read, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series or at least one of them, you'll understand when I say, I wouldn't mind being Stephanie or at least a friend of Stephanie's because her life is so hilarious and I wouldn't mind some of the super crazy stuff that happens to her, rubbing off on me.
I definitely would love to step in Gaston Leroux's Phantom Of The Opera too. Not as a main character but as someone that might try to to save Erik from Christine.
As for my "girl porn" and "romance", I wouldn't mind stepping into Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series or even one of her holiday books with the angels, Shirley, Mercy and Goodness. I also wouldn't mind being a character in Stephanie Bond's novels for the Harlequin Blaze series. My fictional love life would be a whole lot hotter than the block of ice it is now!
On a funny note, I wouldn't mind becoming a character in Twilight so I could bitch slap Bella and Edward and a few other characters. Picture me poking Edward and going "Sparkly Vampires! WTF!!!!" or "Just bite her or screw her and have done with it!"
When I was younger I read a series called The Girls Of Canby Hall, which was about 3 roommates in a boarding school, kinda like Facts Of Life. I always wanted to be a character in those books too.
So what books would you like to become a character in?
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Well, someone was bound to say something eventually, right? Plus Conan comes on in 20 minutes & I want to see how much he shits all over NBC tonight. If it's anything like last night, we're in for a good time.
Leno's ratings aren't too great, NBC wants to move him to 11:35 & push Conan & Jimmy Fallon both back a half hour, blah blah blah. Conan's being particularly vocal about it. Now, at first I didn't really care - I'll watch Conan no matter when he's on - but now that he's spoken up officially, I am inclined to pay a little more attention. He has every right to be mad. And is it just me, or if Jay Leno was basically anyone else would NBC just have canceled outright instead of playing with time slots everyone's already all to used to?
NBC probably stands more to lose if they don't comply with Conan, especially judging by the internet backlash already. God bless the internet for making pop culture issues completely explode. The internet is probably one of those most interesting things here, because Twitter quite literally exploded with cries of Team Conan after his statement today.
Arguably the most artistic & interesting expression of all this?
That's right. imwithcoco.com.
P.S. I got Ben Folds tickets! I know, no one cares.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I despise all the commercials for sites like Match.com and EWhoremony...erm Eharmony.com. I do realize that people have hooked up via the internet, but I really feel that more harm is done rather than good.
Because the reality of it all is "People LIE!"
It would be nice if we all lived in the world in Invention Of Lying, but we don't and I've always found that the internet is the easiest place to lie to people.
I'm not saying everyone is a predator. But I think a good part of really deciding if a person is right or at least sane enough to go out with is removed by filling out questionnaires.
Do any of us ever answer those things honestly?
I mean some parts of it we do, but other parts...don't we give the answers we hope people want to hear? We do that in regular life, and the computer makes those white lies safer.
Then you get the people that just want sex without the benefit of dinner and a movie...a few times..
I know I'm probably not in the norm, but I generally find dating sites to be nothing more than a legal form of prostitution and those of you giving it up aren't even getting paid!
Maybe I'm just too cynical. Maybe I've been burned a few too many times, via my own stupidity, but these sites just don't ring true to me and I know that finding people to date is hard, especially after college. Its kinda like if you don't get married then, you are screwed and if wait until you're in your 30s or later (like I am) the baggage that comes with the person you are dating could be a lot more than you'd like to handle. (ie: kids and ex wives).
This is why I gave up a few years back when I got burned by a doofus DJ that wasn't sure if he was going to cheat on his girfriend/wife (not really sure what she is) with me, and then decided not to...finally informing me after 5 months of flirtation that there was someone he was involved with.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
As Ben Folds fans might already know, the man is currently embarking on a tour - with symphony orchestras. Not his own symphony, mind you, but he's going city to city playing with that city's own symphony. Which is kind of cooler. He'll be in Pittsburgh in February & I'm trying like hell to scrounge enough cash to make it, but being a full-time student doesn't make that easy.
Seeing a symphony is an awesome experience in itself, but symphony + Ben Folds = one of the most awesome live musical experiences I can think of.
If I was definitely going, I'd be crazy excited right now.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Remember those cheese ads that said "Behold the power of cheese"?
Well, I'm one of those people that can be totally captivated by cheese. I love cheese. The problem is my favorite cheeses are always so damn expensive.
Have you ever had Jarlsburg Swiss?
Our local Giant Eagle has a spread made with this wonderful cheese. Its shredded Jarlsburg, scallions and I think some red onion.
I think the container is maybe 6 or 8 oz. Its a small small container. Smaller than a cream cheese tub.
Do you know how much that spread costs?
Oye and ouch!
I was lucky that at New Year's it was on sale for $3.99. That almost never happens. So I bought it then and now its almost gone and I'm going to go through cheese withdrawals.
I swear all the wonderful good cheeses are all an arm and a leg. I love Harvati cheese and that's another one that will break the bank, especially if you can get the butter Havarti in the fall. We used to get that cheese back when Hickory Farms were still in the malls.
Nom Nom Nom.
I won't even start with marscapone, which is the fancy Italian cheese used in tiramisu.
Cheese...it has me under its spell.
What's your favorite cheese?
In some ways, Augusten Burroughs can be summed up like this: when I picked up You Better Not Cry, his collection of Christmas stories, my mom looked at the cover & said, "What the hell is that?" If you've read Augusten, this oddly makes sense. If you haven't, you should & it will when you do.
I fell in love with Augusten when I read - or more accurately, annihilated - Running with Scissors in high school. Now, I'm kind of jumping around because I have read A Wolf at the Table, which was fantastic & heartbreaking, but not Dry because my cousin currently has my copy & not Possible Side Effects because my cousin used to have my copy. It's a glorified Augusten Burroughs book swap a my house. But the point is, Augusten keeps me hooked by released something new every so often & using Twitter.
While most of Augusten's books are of the long, memoir persuasion, this one's more the short essay type. Some have complained that for this reason it lacks intensity, but it's also what makes it shine. It wouldn't function as a full book because it's not meant to. Instead, we see different Christmas stories as they occurred chronologically, & Augusten jumps right in by starting with a tale of how he started making out with a wax Santa & then literally ate its face. We see everything from the ridiculous to the simple & heartwarming, which is why I'm so drawn to Augusten as a writer. He's not necessarily trying to get you to feel for him or the other people in the stories, but he does anyway.
If you're looking for it to be ridiculously funny, it's not. It has its moments, but really, it's better this way. Augusten doesn't need to be constantly hilarious, even if his humor shines through subtly often. He's just as good serious as he is funny. No need to be alarmed. And in this way, this is actually probably a decent place to start if you want to ease into his writing without going in any kind of order. Or jumping right into the chaos that is basically everything else he's ever written.
Yeah, Christmas is over, but this is a nice, relatively light read for the season. Even my mom ended up picking it up when I'd left it out & started to read it & quite enjoyed it. Plus it was the first book I finished in 2010!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I've been doing a lot of cooking lately.
You should be afraid, very afraid.
Today I spent $20 on a Panini Press/Grill. The only problem is, aside from grilling burgers and chicken, etc I know not what to do with it.
Are any of you wenches Panini minded?
Help a girl out...give me some good sandwich ideas!
Especially since we may be becoming snow bound in the next 24 hours!
You wouldn't want me to starve to death now would ya?
Monday, January 4, 2010
Meet Straight No Chaser
My mum is a PBS junkie and I end up with some odd musical obsessions thanks to that. A few weeks back she had the station on for a bit and the Straight No Chaser Christmas concert was on.
I fell in love.
For those of you that haven't had the chance to experience the band, Straight No Chaser are a group of men, 10 in all, that sing acapella.
If you need an idea of what they sound like, think Rockapella meets Michael Buble.
They are definitely a band worth hearing, whether they are doing pop songs from the likes of Queen or Jason Mraz to holiday music. (They have two Christmas albums)
I never thought I'd hear an acapella band than I enjoyed as much as Rockapella (who I discovered while watching Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiago), but I have.
I'm kinda peeved that they are playing the Byham in April. Not because the show is on a flipping Wednesday but because I fear the ticket prices.
If you want to give them a try, go to their official site. I recommend listening to I'm Yours/Somewhere Over The Rainbow, The Christmas Can Can and Africa.
Prepare to be dazzled.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
One from the Vaults: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
So many times naive young indie rockers and pop culture lovers ask themselves, "It's the Beatles, how can you mess it up?" That phrase, kind of like "I'm not racist but..." should automatically signal to you that something is amiss. But even I found myself at age fifteen asking, "This movie can't be as bad as everyone says it is - how can you mess up one of the best albums ever?" Then I watched it and found out exactly how you can mess up one of the best albums ever.
May I present to you a timeless piece of cinematic vomit, 1978's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I rewatched it over the weekend and found it to be even worse than I remembered. Sometimes I wonder if the filmmakers asked themselves the above questions, though I think the only question they really asked was, "how much coke can you buy in this town?" (answer: enough to get through a film shoot)
The record Sgt. Pepper's had the Beatles pretending to make a concept album so they could secretly experiment with their sound. Likewise, the movie Sgt. Pepper's had the filmmakers pretending to make a rock opera so they could secretly showcase some bitchin' Beatles covered by the Bee Gees. Yes, friends, that's right, the band portraying the Beatles' alter ego is the Bee Gees and is led by Peter Fucking Frampton. And unlike the Lisa Bonet's cover from High Fidelity, when he sings you're aren't going to "kind of like it now." You're going to wonder what dark personal vendetta Frampton has against the Lennon family.
That alone should be enough of an explanation, but let's try to dive into the plot. The Product Description from Amazon states it a little too coherently for its own good: "SGT. PEPPER'S GRANDSON AND THREE OTHER GUYS FORM A BAND AND FIGHT BAD GUYS.MUSIC FROM THE BEATLES. "
George Burns as Mr. Kite, the town historian, tells the legend of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band, who singlehandedly conquered both world wars and the great depression through British brass music. After Sgt. Pepper dies, his grandson Billy Shears and three of his buds decide to reform the band and perform in their quaint hometown of Heartland. There's also Billy's stepbrother Dougie, who's bitter because he didn't get breastfed or some shit and I can't tell if he ever figures into the plot again because everyone in the movie looks so fucking whitebread that I can't tell who's who.
Anyway, the band magically gets a record contract and goes to LA, where they promptly get drugged by a record exec and raped by a pop soul band, which everyone in the film's universe seems to find completely a-ok. They forget about that and record a record and get world famous. Meanwhile, Mean Mr. Mustard and his gang of robotic rubber dominatrix ladies, who hate love and music, cruise into Heartland. The band isn't there to protect the town by playing "When the Saints Come Marching in" or "God Save the Queen" so Mr. Mustard steals some magical instruments as commanded by the mysterious FVB via computer and then turns the town into a pinball brothel.
Billy's girlfriend Strawberry Fields runs away to get the band back from LA and save the town. They steal Mr. Mustard's pedovan and drive to beat up Alice Cooper and Steve Martin and then come back to play a concert with Earth Wind and Fire. Then Strawberry gets kidnapped by Mr. Mustard and taken to Aerosmith, who've been pulling the strings the whole time. Strawberry dies in a giant neon gyroscope while Frampton beats up Steven Tyler.
Billy is pretty bummed about his dead girlfriend, so he tries to jump off a roof. But wait! The weathervane that's been watching over the town the whole time turns into Billy Preston and stops him with his magic trumpet! And turns all the bad guys into Catholic religious figures! and reanimates Strawberry! And then a bunch of celebrities join around and sing the reprise from the album.
The reason this is so long and describe the whole plot is to spare you the pain. For the love of God, those are two hours you'll never get back. Sometimes you think it's going to verge into "so bad it's good" territory and you're proven horribly wrong, kind of like getting a staph infection from a flu shot. I understand that the Beatles are hard to tackle despite how many people have tried, but these guys were handed material on a silver fucking platter and decided to use it as toilet paper instead. Steve Martin dresses up as a crazy doctor - almost the same act he'd reprise in Little Shop of Horror with flying colors - and dances around to Maxwell's Silver Hammer and it's still not good.
The thing is, I don't understand why this film is so bad. The Bee Gees don't automatically suck the win out of a film, and on paper this should be a campy romp with some great cameos. But it's not. Sweet sassy molassy, how it's not. So I blame Peter Frampton. Sure, I suppose the casting director is partially to blame for creating a horrific world in which Peter Frampton can triumph over Alice Cooper, but the casting director wasn't the one prancing around in a pink suit and fuggling my brain.
So, in short, this movie is bad. And not the fun kind of bad, more like being given a puppy and then watching being thrown into a woodchipper. It takes the worst elements of the campiest of 70s musicals and shoves them into a film while taking a huge dump on something that should at least be fun if not good.
Twitter isn't for everyone. Even I didn't get it a first, but now I'm addicted. Sure, it can be a useful to for just about anyone looking to put something out there, but half of the fun is in some of the hilarious & amazing people out there in the Twitter universe making their voices heard.
shitmydadsays: Exactly what it sounds like. A guy Tweeting the shit his dad says. Always hilarious, & occasionally strangely profound.
Michael Ian Black: Naturally, the comedians are the best. We all know Michael Ian Black from VH1's numerous I Love the - shows (and now that's 2010 I think we can expected some more...), & his Tweets are usually just as entertaining. Jokes about New Years suicide pacts? Yes please.
Seth Meyers: He usually stays pretty quiet, but he's good for linking to the best SNL sketches of the week.
The Pensblog: Admittedly, this one is for Pittsburgh Penguins fans only. But they're damn funny. And semi-responsible for a Pittsburgh Twitter trend making fun of the mayor.
Hal Sparks: Also most well-known because of VH1, he's what I call a Twitwhore - he Tweets a lot. But he's both funny, sweet, smart, & loves interacting with his fans. Fellow Queer as Folk lovers take note.
someecards: The funniest e-cards you will ever read.
Jeff Eastin: White Collar fans, he's the man behind it all.
WriteRCastle: For Castle fans, a Castle character Twitter. At its funniest when Castle interacts with Nathan Fillion. They like to compliment each other. I have no idea why...
Because the Twitter universe is so vast, I know I've missed some. So share your favorites!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
One of my friends recently gave me a kick-ass present that she found while cleaning out her attic, a book called "The Original Rock Music Rating System" by Eric Barger. From what I gathered, Barger was a late 80s/early 90s rock critic turned evangelist of the Hyper-Calvanist "Oh Noes, the Children!" type. I'm fairly sure one of his books was the reason I wasn't allowed to watch Thundercats growing up, but that's a whole 'nother story.
Anyway, in this book Barger and his crack team of researchers pour through albums and interviews a variety of groups from the late 80s so that "parents know exactly what they're buying." Honestly? I don't have much against that idea. In fact, with all the parents that let their kids consume pop culture carte blanche (and ruin my damn movie going experience by taking their four year old to Silent Hill), I think it's a pretty good one. I'm all for sites like Kids in Mind so that Little Sally doesn't end up in therapy and I end up out $8.
This ratings system, though, has its bags packed for Crazyville. Sure, I can see the merit of telling parents about drug references, cursing, and violence. But when the criteria for "cultic" influences is "glorification or participation" in a non-Christian religion, that's when my warning bells go off. (and I'd almost put money on the fact that the author would consider a lot of mainstream Christan denominations "cultic" too). And is there really a need to rate a band for "surreal fantasy"? I guess one minute you're listening to They Might Be Giants, the next you're mainlining Salvador Dali paintings with dirty needles in an underground arthouse.
That last example is my biggest WTF with this book. I can understand 80s fundie parents railing against Ozzy and Poison and Alice Cooper (even though - big pointing arrow - he's a Christian!), but were enough teenagers listening to the Toy Dolls or Nick Cave to warrant their inclusion?
And seriously? CCR? Devo? For fuck's sake, Bananrama? If your 80s-era crotchfruit commits unspeakable acts against nature or God under the influence of Madness or Camper Von Beethoven, I think you have more to worry about than what the local Ladies Auxillary thinks of your kid's music purchases. And methinks thou doth protest too much if you think your kids' faith is going out the window when they buy a Hall and Oates album.
At any rate, the book is campy good fun. Use it for a fun party conversation starter or, for the more sadistic, apply to your child's life to end up with a serial killer or a nerdy, jittery pop culture junky. See exhibit A for proof. (of the latter example... at least until I finish more than season 1 of Dexter).
Why am I so outraged at this mostly talentless crap actress, singer?
Did any of you happen to watch Dick Clark's New Year's Eve special? Well if you did you'd understand.
Not only did this skanky woman wear a disgusting bodysuit for her performance, but afterward, she donned a full length fur coat.
Its 2010 lady! We don't allow governments to torture people, why should we torture and kill animals to cover your ugly backside? Seriously, wouldn't a designer make you a nice coat that didn't involve slaughter?
It really angers me that anyone even uses fur these days. Its not necessary, and perhaps if consumers would be a little more informed in how the animals are treated so that they can get their coats.
A little FYI J-Ho, they don't shear those minks, foxes, etc like they do a sheep, m'kay.
Think about that, please.
All those little animals that did nothing to you or anyone, dead because you're overpaid talentless body could wear that coat.
You should be ashamed of yourself, probably for more things than just the coat, cos your performance was pretty crap too.