Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Chuck Is The Greatest

I'm one of those crazy Chuck fans. I adore this show and put all other things aside to watch it. How I Met Your Mother and any other show following it, good or otherwise has to be DVR'd because Chuck is "THE" show for Monday night @ 8 for me.


Chuck is one of those few shows in the genre "dramady". You know, part drama, part comedy and they do it with class. They have characters that you can really love, plus relationships that make sense even if their situations aren't. How can you not love, Elly and Awesome, Morgan, crazy Jeff and all the other Buy More guys? Oh and Casey. Adam Baldwin = Love!

You have to love Sarah, and right now I'm sure just about every Chuck fans wishes that Chuck would have let Shaw blow up in that warehouse, even if Sarah has feelings for him. Heck, I even loved Hannah, and I wish they wouldn't have written her out so quickly.

This show keeps you on the edge of you seat, makes you laugh and has you hoping it will not end any time soon.

I've been a viewer since mid-season 1 and I hope that it gets picked up again. Chuck is too good of a show to get tossed aside because they've given him the lousyest time slot ever.

All that said, GO WATCH CHUCK!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Movie review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Goodness knows I love a good time travel movie more than the average person. Time travel is in my top ten list of uncategorized Totally Awesome Things. But truth be told, I didn't have high hopes for this movie based on the trailer. My husband had been pumped for weeks, but I was going into the theater with pretty low expectations. Maybe because of that, I had a great time with Hot Tub Time Machine.

Much like 2006's Snakes on a Plane, the title pretty much sums up the plot. Adam (John Cussack), his friend Nick (Craig Robinson), and his nephew take their mutual loveable asshole friend Lou (Daily Show's Rob Corddry) to the ski lodge where they ruled as teenagers after Lou's questionable suicide attempt. The ski lodge has went downhill since the guys last stayed there, and they're ready to call the weekend a waste when they get drunk in a magical hot tub that transports them to the 80s.

It's the little details that make this movie great. All the 80s place-settings, from the fashion to the Rambo-obsessed too-Aryan-for-comfort ski patrol jerk, were spot-on. The minor characters were great, too. Crispin Glover rocked as the soon-to-be one-armed bell hop, and Chevy Chase was perfect for the hot tub repairman celestial guide.

Some of the humor I don't dig that made me worry about the movie initially were there, but the frat boy jokes, gross out sight gags, and icky sex humor (not to be confused with "funny sex humor", which is something I can go for) were sparse enough for me to give the movie a pass. Most of the movie's humor was goofy, lighthearted fun, like Nick pulling a Marty McFly with his old band that was even better than Back to the Future's. And honestly? Even the type of humor I usually hate was 70% funny in this movie. Normally puking on woodland creatures is where I'd tune out, but it delivered a hilarious surprise gag in the middle of the flick.

If you're a pop culture junkie like me and had reservations about the movie, give it a shot. I could see it being a polarizing experience, but chances are you might be delightfully surprised. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this is going to be a DVD purchase in the Bandit household in a few months.

Final Verdict: 7/10

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tubesday Top 3: Chat Roulette

Happy Tubesday! This edition focuses solely on Chat Roulette. For the uninitiated, Chat Roulette is a video chat site that connects you to a random person. As you can imagine, there is much wankery involved (some subset of Rule 34 is that everything on the internet eventually turns into porn). However, a few people are choosing to get creative with it.

Case study Merton. Inspired by Ben Folds' on-the-spot concert improvs, he set his laptop next to his piano and went to work (NSFW language):

There was much speculation as to who Merton really was, some even spreading the rumor it was Ben in disguise. Ben, not to be outdone on his own game, had to make his own version (NSFW language, as it's Ben Folds):

And full circle, Merton's newest video (once more, NSFW language):

Happy Tubesday, Wenches!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

An Open Letter To John McCain

Dear Senator McCain,

I'd like to personally thank you for unleashing the most obnoxious woman on the planet to the American public. Sarah Palin is the biggest wingnut ever to walk the earth, and thanks to you, she will probably never get out of the public eye. She won't stop until she gets the Republican nomination for president in 2012, and considering we are a nation of idiots, she will probably get it.

Again thank you very much. I need to have that kind of fear in my life. That woman has to be the biggest idiot ever to hold such a high position in government, barring our last president, and I'm not quite sure if she's not stupider then W. At least he is smart enough to slink off into the shadows after his presidency ended. Sarah Palin will never go away. She's like a plague, released by you on an unsuspecting and way too trusting nation.

Thank you for that. We really needed that.

I have been a democrat since 1992, but I have always felt that I could vote cross the party lines when I felt there was a deserving candidate, but with all the fuss about Health Care Reform and an idea that republicans thought of, being denounced by REPUBLICANS and this freak that you unleashed on the public, I fear I will never do anything but vote straight democrat.

Thanks for nothing!


A disgruntled American

Friday, March 26, 2010

God Save Me From Dieters

I hate listening to people that want to lose weight talk. I hate listening to the gov't telling us how many calories are in our food. Now before you are appalled at that, I'm all for full disclosure of calorie content, but I hate all the hullabaloo that's going with it.

Really? You didn't guess that the triple bacon cheeseburger had about twice the calorie content a normal person should consume in a day? Really? Sometimes I think just looking at the food should give you an idea.

Take The Cheesecake Factory. OMG the food there is so damn good, but it will also make you fat and possibly give you a coronary. There is next to nothing on the menu that sinks below 1000 calories!


But if I'm told someone is taking me out to The Cheesecake Factory, I'm not going to cry and whine and say that I can't go. I'm not passing up such good noms!

But what really gets me about dieters and people that try to shove health conscious eating down our throats is how they seem to think their low calorie concoctions taste good.

Take your egg beaters and splenda and shove them up your butt.

I want food that tastes good. Find some other ways of taking the calories and fat out of my food. I like sugar and I like eggs.

Actually, sometimes I wish the whole support chain, that dieters cling to would evaporate. I know when you are trying to lose you need all the help you can get, but when it takes over your entire life it makes those around you MISERABLE!

On that note...I'm going to eat something fattening.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dancing With The Stars

I admit that every so often I tune into this show for a few minutes, usually right before Castle comes on.

I think of all the reality based competition type shows, this one is the most tolerable, but I think the contestants make the whole thing a bit ridiculous. I'd love to see them assemble a cast of contestants that really had to work for it. I mean there's always the token older person, be it Cloris or Buzz, but then you get some celebrities that actually have some dancing experience.

Plus how can you judge a man or woman in their late 70s or early 80s against men or women in the 20s and 30s?

It doesn't make sense?

Yes, it makes for more interesting viewing, but its hardly fair.

I usually find myself cheering on the underdog. I was actually so surprised when Donnie Osmond won, but I guess a lot of their audience are made up of women in their 40s that grew up with crushes on Donnie, so Yay!

I just wish that all the shows like this would just go away. I want real tv, with real acting, or something close to it and seriously right now TV is crap, since the USA shows are going into hiatus and the new crop aren't starting until next week.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CD Review: Robin & The Giant - Winds Of Change

Robin And The Giant are the perfect band for the family. Their album, Winds Of Change, is a compilation of songs from their past recordings and is a great introduction to the band. After hearing these twenty-one songs, it’s easy to believe that they have an appeal that stretches across all ages.

The duo of Robin MacBlane (Robin) and Larry Whitler (The Giant) have been performing together since 1987, amassing a string of albums together prior to this compilation’s release. Larry has released several albums as a solo artist, as well as those with Robin.

The songs are very reminiscent of Peter, Paul and Mary. They have a very folksy feel and a certain childlike innocence, which is why these songs can really cross the ages. Robin and the Giant don’t sing down at children. They just sing simple, pretty, and often funny folk songs that both young and old can enjoy.

The lightly-reggae-tinged “In The Caribbean” tells a story of falling in love in Jamaica. The song has a slow beat and vocals that conjure up images of white-sand beaches and crystal-clear water. It also has a little bit of light humor that keeps the song from crossing over into a more grown-up sound.

If it’s smiles you are looking for, Robin And The Giant will deliver those to your ears with songs like “A Hamster Poops” and “Doggy Dog World.” Little ones will particularly love “A Hamster Poops.” What child would not break into a grin when someone sings about poop?

There’s a lot of hope to be found in “Aim High, Sweetie Pie.” This is a song that reminds us that our dreams are always within our reach, as Larry eloquently sings -- “And every day they could see those dreams grow. With a vow they would never let go. It’s a great big world, and an even bigger sky, so aim high sweetie pie.” The heroine in this song never forgets that, and she helps those around her achieve their dreams, too. Would that all people could be that way.

The songs aren’t all light fare, though. The song “Mr. Freeman’s Roses” is just a bit on the sad side. The song is about an elderly woman who is living in an assisted living facility, with, as the song says, “lots of grandmas doing lots of grandma things.” Perhaps a child won’t pick up as quickly on the melancholy subject matter of the song, but all the grown-up listeners will. The song is particularly bittersweet for anyone that knows someone who has had to move from their home for health reasons. The song paints a lovely picture of an older woman who loved her garden and loved her husband who passed away.

“Heloise O’Lantern” is another tune that isn’t all too happy. Heloise is Jack O’Lantern’s sister, whom nobody knows because she sits in the middle of the cornucopia on Thanksgiving. But, on a happier note, she’s content to let her brother Jack shine. This is probably the most memorable holiday tune that most people will be fortunate enough to hear.

Robin And The Giant create beautiful folk music for the family. Winds Of Change is a wonderful compilation to introduce you to their music. No matter what your age, one of these songs will touch your heart and possibly even open your mind.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Moviegasm! ...and MovieUlcer (aka Fuck Kristen Stewart)

So for the first time in awhile, I'm excited for a slew of movies coming out soon, and I even have a backlog at this point! I still haven't seen Shutter Island, mostly because of the god-awful winter that seems to finally be on its death rattle. I'm also super pumped for Kick-Ass. There's also a couple of budget-busters like Iron Man 2 and Toy Story 3.

But on the flipside of that, there's also one movie I'm dreading, and that's the Runaways biopic. Like any good former punk rocker, I've had a shrine to Joan Jett since I was old enough to pick up a bass and shoplift nail polish. Goodness knows that I've set the bar pretty high on that role, so nobody would be perfect.

Nobody would be perfect, but you know who would be my absolute last choice? Kristen fucking Stewart. While I'm far from a fan of the series, I don't take the malevolent glee that some folks do in hating Twilight. It wouldn't be a blip on my radar, to be honest, if it weren't for her. But God help me if that women isn't like nails on a chalk board to me. Just thinking about her makes me grit my teeth (yes, even as I'm writing this sentence!)

Her laugh. Her walk. Her making fun of her own fans. Her "are they or aren't they" tabloid bullshit with Sparkly McDracula, which has to be the most boring whitebread speculated fake couple ever. Her way of trying to make terribly mundane things sound important in interviews (direct quote: "I do want to work on writing, because writing's a skill.") Throw in a few dumb-ass personal reasons, and the girl is my Kryptonite. I'll be watching a perfectly nice and mindless news entertainment show, and suddenly she'll show up and ruin it.

So fuck it if I wasn't almost in tears when I first found out she'd been picked for Joan Jett. A movie I was a little iffy about sudden became a nerve-racking yet necessary upcoming movie release that feels like a cross between an unpleasant family reunion and emergency dental surgery.

Trust me, I'm still going to watch that movie. But aslkjfkdlofsdf if I'm not going to stab some shit first.

(and yes, I did try to follow my own advice. About my only think to latch onto is that she might turn a new generation of girls onto Joan Jett, which Joan Jett could've done just fine on her own, but if that happens, then I'll tone my fury down from "stabbing shit" to "furious eye darts." )

Facebook Is Full Of Hatred

I love Facebook for all the time wasters it brings to me. I openly admit that the only reason I'm on that site is for the games. I have Farms, Fishbowls, Pets, Cafes. It keeps my stress levels down for a certain period of time, but what I really hate are the groups.

I don't know about you, but every day I see more and more that are focused on hatred and bigotry. I am sad to say that certain members of my family belong to some of them. I also don't enjoy seeing ads that are politically derogatory.

I don't like Republicans, but I don't think we need groups designed to spout of hatred of them, and I don't find groups that spout of hatred of Democrats to be needed as well. Surely we can voice our opinions, but do we need a collective group to prove how narrowminded we are?

Each day I become more and more ashamed of the human race when I see these things. How can we have survived this long fueled only on hatred? Its a sad, sorry shame. Its also a bigger shame that our two political parties can't work together to do anything for the common good that will be lasting.

What I find even more distressing is how a social networking site that should be utilized for fun and connections can be full of such ugliness.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Best Salad I've Ever Ate

I'm a huge fan of the Panera Bread Chain. I could eat there every day and I would be perfectly happy. They have fantastic sandwiches, soups, salads and pastries. I have to say, that I've never had anything there that I didn't enjoy immensely.

Today I tried the BBQ Chicken Salad. It received rave reviews on a recent newscast for being tasty and low calorie.

I am here to report that they didn't lie. This is one fantastic salad. The chicken is wonderful and it has tortilla strips, black beans and corn and a fantastic bbq sauce. If you get it with a You Pick Two combo, I have to recommend the Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup or the Baked Potato soup.

But no matter what you get, its going to be good, but I don't think I've had a salad this good, since they had the Fandango Salad that had mandarin oranges, feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.

Its good stuff, and its actually good for you.


And amazingly tasty.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

La Fiesta: Charleroi, PA

In my little town of Charleroi, PA there sits an old Pizza Hut building. Thankfully it was bought by something other than a group of doctors. Its actually owned by a Mexican family and they serve up some really great authentic Mexican food.

Note that I said "authentic". So if you are hoping to get anything that resembles the menu at Chi-chi's, think again. What you are going to get is some fantastic dishes that really make you wonder why you loved Chi-chi's in the first place.

This past visit I decided to be daring and have the vegetable burrito. I thought that possibility meant your basic bean burrito, but no, this bad boy was filled with broccoli and carrots and peppers and onions and oh was it so good.

The refried beans are wonderfully creamy and topped with that special cheese that you seem to only be able to get at Mexican restaurants.

One of the best things about the restaurant is its salsa. Its just hot enough to wake up your mouth, but not too hot and their chips definitely don't come out of a bag.

As a Mon Valley resident, I've been to La Fiesta many times and I can tell you that you won't lack for choices on the menu. There are several combo meals for dinner all priced reasonably and some great chef's specialties, my favorite being chiliquas mexicanos (sp)

Its definitely a place you want to check out if you are driving through Charleroi.

I Know This Was Mentioned Before, But...

...I have to say, Ted Neeley is still totally rocking it as Jesus on the Jesus Christ Superstar national tour.

True, he's technically too old for the part - twice the age that Jesus actually was when he died - and his age shows in his voice & appearance, but he can still hit those high notes like no one else.

That said, even though he's the main attraction when the show is advertised, the cast of this tour is amazing. I've seen my fair share of touring productions, & this is probably the best I've seen, rivaled only by when Anthony Rapp & Adam Pascal came through on the Rent tour last spring. The catch is a few of them are making their national debuts on this tour, a fact I simply couldn't believe. No way were people this talented & entertaining to watch so new. But it's true. And naturally, the veterans are fantastic as well.

This cast is seriously superb, so if you've ever considering catching this show live, just do it. We made it a family affair - my parents, brother, aunt, uncle, & two of my cousins, & even though it was over a week ago now me, my brother, & at least one cousin can't stop talking about it. We were collectively blown away, & my brother & I have seen this on stage before, so that's saying something.

I'd have to say that Benjamin Van Diepen as Pilate, in a relatively small role, considering, was one of the stand-out performers. The intensity he put into the role was obvious. Same with John Twiford as Judas - he actually managed to do something a little different with the role, which isn't easy considering how many times it's been done & how well-known the whole story is. What stands out the most is that during Judas' death scene, Twiford was screaming his lines as if you were actually watching Judas just completely lose his mind. And it was fantastic.

I've never seen a show move an audience like this. All the ladies in my group cried, & initially at the end the entire theater was silent. When the applause did start, people were jumping out of their seats for a standing ovation within seconds. It's an experience my cousins summed up well, respectively: one said she felt emotionally drained, the other said Ted Neeley should've crowd surfed at the end. There you go.

Well, that & the exchange I overheard between a man & who I assume to be his granddaughter. He said to her, "They call this the greatest story ever told. They've been telling it for 2000 years."

Plus other Andrew Lloyd Webber-related news isn't so great. Apparently, Love Never Dies butchers everything sacred about The Phantom of the Opera (which is also rolling through Pittsburgh this summer). Might as well cling to the classics while we've got 'em.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Movie Review: Alice In Wonderland

Well, Tim Burton has done it again! He's created a movie that wows the senses with color and creepyness. He also assembles an awesome cast.

There was really no way that I couldn't like this film. It has everything in it that I adore in movies: Johnny Depp, Tim Burton directing, Danny Elfman doing the score, and some pretty awesome visual effects.

But I really can't stop raving about the cast, even Anne Hathaway as the White Queen came across beautifully. I certainly have my favorites in the cast, Depp's Hatter, was delightfully mad and Matt Lucas, of Little Britain fame, as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, couldn't be any better, but most impressive is Mia Wasikowska as Alice. She was far from what I expected Alice to be, but as Alice is being portrayed as much older than she was in either of Lewis Carroll's books, she is more than suitable.

I can usually find something to nitpick in any film, but with this one I'm hard pressed to do so. I wasn't a fan of the books, so I can't be a judge of how well the film interprets the stories. My one bone of contention with Burton is his use of his women in his films, but Helena Bonham Carter was so brilliantly evil as the Red Queen that I couldn't find fault with her.

This was one movie that was worth seeing at full price in the theaters, and I have to say, when it makes it to the Maxi-Saver I may just go see it again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sickie Andrea

On Sunday they had a cute sketch on Sonny With A Chance on Disney.

Shut Up! I like that show!

It had Demi Lovato's character playing a tween talking about fun stuff you can do when you are sick.

Considering that I've been part of the walking wounded for the last 6 days, I have to say, Sickie Vicki is full of it.

Sickie Andrea says that there is absolutely nothing you can do when you are sick, except pull the covers over your head and wish away the hours and everyone that won't shut their damn mouths.

I'm just now starting to feel like one of the living and I can tell you that whatever bug is going around Southwestern PA is not fun. My head throbbed, I had a fever and I'm still coughing up a lung. Oh and my sense of taste still hasn't come back. That's good for the wasteline, but damn it, I would like to enjoy a meal again soon.

So whatever anyone tells you, being sick isn't fun.

Now pass the tylenol.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Psych Season Finale

USA Networks rule!

That said, the writers of Psych should be ashamed of the season finale of this fabulous show. They were close to having a perfect season too, and they dropped the ball with the last episode.

How wrong is that?

I won't give out many spoilers except to say, rehashing plots from other finale's is really lame and the cast, all of which rock, in my estimation deserved a better show to go off on hiatus with.

Boo to you, Psych writers. Boo to you!

They definitely could have done better.

I only hope that next season they try to work the Shawn/Jules ship or at least the Jules/Lassiter ship that has been floating around in ever viewers head from the start.

I'd actually be more excited about a Jules/Lassiter ship because it would be so odd and it would really rile Shawn up.

That said, the finale of this show was really disappointing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame Is A Joke

Each year I get angrier and angrier at who gets inducted into the Hall Of Fame. When they included Madonna, I truly threw my hands up in disgust. Madonna has nothing to do with Rock N' Roll. She's dance music. There's nothing rock n' roll about her.

And every year the committee that decides who gets in neglects influential artists. I mean, The Moody Blues aren't in there. I'm not bitching about that, just because they are a musical favorite of mine, but because they still put on a great show and their music has touched people for more than 40 years. That in itself is worthy of a nod in my book.

The other thing that gets me are the people that petition to have people put in the Hall Of Fame. Don't they know that's a sure fire way to make sure they never get in? Every year I hear idiots trying to get the Monkees in. I don't really believe they belong there, but if a band like New Kids On The Block gets in in the next few years, then I say, The Monkees should be in there too.

I would love to know what goes through the minds of the people that decide who should be nominated and who should get in. I also wonder how much crack they smoke and why they don't ever share it.

I also wonder at why people should be inducted twice, like The Beatles and then each member seperately for their solo work. I don't think all of the band is in the HOF with their solo careeers, and that's a shame, becuase even though The Beatles weren't as crazy awesome when taken out of the band, each member made some really great music over the years, and that includes Ringo. Also, Elvis Costello is in with the Attractions but not solo, uh? Erm!

I think I find this as annoying as I do awards shows, but at least when the induction ceremony is on, there's usually some awesome music involved. Sometimes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Awards Shows Don't Interest Me

The Emmy's, The Oscar's, The Grammy Awards, The Tonys I hate them all.


I don't believe anyone ever gets a real fair deal on these things. Plus I have no desire what so ever to see starlets parade around in gowns that cost more than what I make in a year.

Oh and speeches make me want to vomit.

I understand awarding excellence in a field, but who is to judge.

Its kind of like the Rita Awards in Romance novels.

Yes, there is an award for romance writers.

And who decides which novels are worth a Rita? Other authors. Uh, that just doesn't seem right to me.

The thing about all of these awards shows, is public opinion isn't taken into consideration. Its an elite board of asshats that like posh things or just things that "Joe The Plumber" or "Josephine The Plumber" (cos fuck all, women can do anything) don't give a damn about. Granted I think that the general public has questionable taste, because these are the people that run out and see Twilight and also think the books are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I truly believe the Box Office should play a certain part in what is nominated.

Oh and truly, Sandra Bullock as best actress over Meryl Streep? PUHLEESE! I appreciate the fact that The Blind Side was a moving story, but Meryl became Julia Child in that film.

Oh and I stand by my rant about Love Never Dies, if that show ends up with a nomination or perish the though, a win for either a Tony or the UK equivalent, I wash my hands of all awards shows entirely.

DiCarlo's Pizza: Wheeling, WV

After spending the evening surrounded by the smells of stadium food (and a pretty epic looking hot dog condiments bar) at the Wheeling Nailers game, the husband and I were pretty hungry. We decided to walk down the block to a pizza place called DiCarlo's.

The place was jammed packed before the game, so we figured it was pretty popular. I was a little confused as to why the tables had random sprinkles of cheese until I read the menu: Only DiCarlo's initially flash-bakes its crust and sauce in a special brick oven, and when the steaming crust emerges, it is adorned with cold creamy provolone cheese, making the taste indescribable!

Cold cheese? WTF? I was starting to get a little nervous.

All the nervousness flew out the window when we were actually handed our pizza. The cheese was melty without being greasy like most pizzas, and the crust was sweet and crunchy. I'm not sure exactly what constitutes "flash-baking," but it definitely made a difference.

I can't say it was the best pizza I've ever had - that honor goes to Villa Italia in the blink-and-you'll-miss-it town of Plattekill, NY. But it was good. Pretty damn good, in fact, and an interesting take on the standard pizza formula.

DI Carlos Pizza Shop on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hockey Night!

Today I'm tapping into a subject that doesn't get touched upon a lot here, and that's sports. Granted, I'm an idiot when it comes to most sports, gaining minuscule bits of insight on various cameraman gigs. But I'm an absolute hockey rat. I'm not the only Wench either that's a hockey fan, either, as it seems. So indulge me a bit as I go on a sports tangent.

As a young lass I won tickets from a newspaper contest to the local ECHL team the Huntington Blizzard. From that moment on, I was a hockey fan. I went to at least two games a season for several years before the team folded in 2000.

Anyway, last weekend I went on a hockey weekend roadtrip to catch the Wheeling Nailers. It's the first live hockey game I've seen this century. I definitely rooted and rallied for the Nailers when they were under financial difficulty a few years ago. And I have to cheer for them, since they're the only semi-pro team in the state now. But I can't totally get behind them, and here's why:

1) They were one of the Blizzard's rivals back in the day
2) They're the ECHL affiliate of the Penns, and I'm Red Wings all the way (sorry Janelle)
3) Their theme song on the ice is "Machinehead" by Bush? Really? Lame.

Anyway, Saturday's game wasn't that epic, with the Trenton Devils winning 6-3 and scoring the last goal of the night with the Nailers' goalie nowhere in sight. It seems like the main strategy of the night was "shoot the puck through the air to the opposite side of the rink or into the crowd," work worked out for at least three super pumped wee hockey fans in the crowd (free souvenirs!) Still, during the second period, it was pretty close and exciting. And Trenton had a hell of a goalie, so the odds were tipped in their favor before the game even began.

In addition to being the obnoxious Wings fan, I'm also the obnoxious fight fan. I fondly remember some epic fights from the Blizzard's heyday, one of which resulted in a ten-minute time gap when every single player was pulled off the ice, and about five from each team were thrown in the penalty box (including one of the goalies). The Nailers weren't as fight-happy as the Blizz; they had a few "roughing" calls but no gloves-off, bloody-nosed honest-to-blog fights. They did seem to have a pretty sweet spitfire in #23 Mitch Ganzak, who seemed to spend more time in the penalty box than on the ice.

At any rate, the trip and the game really renewed my love of hockey. Plus, Wheeling was a rad city, and I'll talk about it a little bit later. And did I mention how nice the people that work at the Nailer's office are? We had to reschedule the original trip because of an epic snowstorm, and they were pretty easy going about it. Definitely going to make it a repeat experience.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Breaking the Oscar Glass Ceiling

I have a couple of posts lined up for this week about my weekend trip to Wheeling, but I definitely have to push those aside to talk about last night's Oscar show. Being both a film geek and an awards show junkie, the Oscars are my Super Bowl. In most situations, I'd have a nice, snarkly little recap of all the weird camera angles and WTF speak moments.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Oscars this year, and Kathryn Bigalow became the first woman in the 82 years of the Academy to win Best Director and Best Picture. Only three other women had been nominated for the director category (Lina Wertmüller in '76, Jane Champion in '93, and Sophia Coppola in '03.) Less than 10% of the top 250 high-grossing films in the US are directed by women any given year, and while that means there's still a long way to go, last night was some pretty heavy progress.

I've mentioned this before here, but the statistics don't get much better in indieland. Without going into pity party territory, it can be tough when you're the only woman on your crew or your immediate peer group. People can take you less seriously, or the other extreme, you become "the" women voice in the scene. Either scenario isn't too pretty.

What pisses me off about Bigalow's Oscar win is some of the media coverage. I've heard/read three times today about how much of a shock that a women won who didn't direct a "woman's" movie. The Today show was basically falling over themselves with "OMG, a woman directed a WAR movie?!?!?" Granted, the Today Show isn't exactly a hotbed of journalistic integrity and professionalism, but still, you'd think that the program that launched several female journalists' careers would be a little less 1950s about it.

It's not exactly a ground-breaking thought that women write in all genres. And hey, maybe the reason that the bulk of the woman-directed top 250 grossing flicks are fluff is because producers and the media hammer it into everyone's heads that a lady will fail unless the project is Nora Ephronville. Now I dig some of Ephron's movies, but not every woman wants to tell that type of story. Women are into war, into horror, into porn, into every single niche style of filmmaking that exists. Ovaries don't override your ability to handle a camera and Final Cut.

I'm hoping that this win is going to open the big studios up a little more to the idea of a woman directing something other than boy-meets-girl or talking animal movies. I know the papers are going to declare this "The Year of the Woman!!!" just like when Diablo Cody got buzz for Juno. Here's hoping it's a little more substantial than that.

Love Never Dies

I can't seem to stop talking about the music for this show. For those of you that don't know, Love Never Dies is the sequel to the "musical" The Phantom Of The Opera, something that should not ever have been allowed in my eyes, but I really wanted to give the music from the show a chance, as Andrew Lloyd Webber usually does deliver.

However, that's really not the case here and its a shame because the two leads have beautiful voices, but sadly the lack of a cohesive and interesting storyline seem to weigh down the positives. Most of ALW's shows have several songs that stand out and that goes from Joseph through Aspects Of Love. This show only has two; Til I Hear You Sing and Love Never Dies.

To even try to appreciate this show you should try to ignore the book written by Gaston Leroux many many years ago, because Sir Andrew tramps all over that and tosses the scraps into the fire.

The show takes place around 1907 in Coney Island. That is the first WTF! The Phantom relocated there as part of a freak show, but his brilliant mind allows him to obtain a position of power and he invites Christine to sing @ the park. She is unaware of who has invited her so she arrives with husband Raoul and son Gustav.

Ramin Karimloo is wonderful as the Phantom. His voice is just as stunning as Michael Crawford's was back in the 80s. Sierra Bogguss is also marvelous in the role of Christien Daae. The problem isn't the singers. Its the songs and the fact the story goes where it shouldn't have gone, and that's the events that happen after the curtain fell on The Phantom Of The Opera.

Still, the show has its moments. One is the Phantom's Til I Hear You Sing.

I imagine if the show comes through Pittsburgh at some time, I'd go to see it, but I feel I'd be disappointed. The thing is, it seems like such a train wreck that I'd have to watch in total disbelief.

The only good thing is that the world will come to know Ramin's voice a bit better, and that's not a bad thing at all.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Redd Dawg's All Star Clubhouse: Belle Vernon, PA

If you are ever driving along I-70 in the Belle Vernon area and you get hungry for some good old fashioned sandwich type food. Get off at the exit marked Fayette City and head to the Walmart. In the strip mall between Walmart and Lowe's you'll find an awesome little sports bar, called Redd Dawg's.

There are several reasons why you should stop there.

1. The sandwiches are to die for and the menu has two pages of them. I highly recommend the Bavarian Reuban and the Sicilian Grinder, but I've had several sandwiches there and they are all nommy. The french fries are much better than they used to be now that they are thick cut, but if you can get the sweet potato fries. Those, my friend, are to die for.

2. The appetizers will kill you. In fact there's one called the Coronary. Its fried goodness, which will cause your arteries to close up, but at least you will die with your belly full and with a smile on your face.

3. Salads and Entrees are great, ribs and pastas are fantastic.

4. The mix an awesome drink. One of my recommendations is the Pineapple Upside Down which is a fruity concoction, much like the cake. Definitely worth trying.

I will warn you, if you go during football season you will not be able to hear yourself think. Its a sports bar, remember and people go there to drink and watch the game. Still the food is fab, and the service is good. Definitely worth stopping at if you are in the area.

Redd Dawg's All Star Clubhouse on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Canceled Already?

Not too long ago, in fact a only about 2 weeks ago, I blogged about an awesome show I discovered on Fox.

Well Fox has canceled Past Life already. After only 3 episodes.

WTF is up with that?

Did no one watch it, beside my family?

This was a good show damn it, and they didn't even give it a chance. Kelsey Grammar's latest show, Hank, aired more episodes and it wasn't all that great. It wasn't horrible but it was cute, but at least it was given half a chance.

3 episodes!

That's insane!

Its also wrong!

Of course they put it on right before American Idol came back and just as Bones was going into hiatus for the next few months, but 3 episodes.

Fox really needs to be ashamed of themselves, AGAIN!

But then again that's pretty obvious, this is the network that employs Sarah Palin, the biggest fucking wingnut on the planet.

Friday, March 5, 2010

All For The Love Of Coffee

When Waldenbooks was still in existence my family had one of their discount cards, mostly because they got it from Cole's which gave senior citizens their card for free. Well now all the major booksellers seem to have them but they cost $25.

You have to buy a lot of books to make that $25 worth spending.


All the big Barnes and Noble stores now have Starbucks as part of their cafes. Well that makes spending that $25 a whole lot better. I mean how can I turn down a discount on coffee and books?

The funny thing is, when Starbucks was selling the VIP cards last year, I didn't buy one. So its not just the added discount there that sold me on this expensive discount card. It was the combination of the two or maybe its the fact that I always buy coffee when I'm at Barnes and Noble. It also gives me added incentive to buy a book when I'm in the store, because without that discount Barnes and Noble is entirely too expensive in comparison to most online book retailers, and hey, online book stores don't offer coffee!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's a small internet, after all

A lot of people operate under the assumption that everything thrown onto the internet happens in some sort of void. Usually this amounts to people being incredible asshats to each other and unleashing horrors that would get them arrested in real life. But it also creates a weird sort of dissonance when you release that there are real people in your audience.

I'm being vague, so let's get a little more example-y. So far in the past two months, I've seen that at least three of the bands or books I've reviewed on various sites have found those reviews and posted them on their own sites. Now, I realize that with Google and RSS feeds, it's pretty easy to be alerted every time your name is mentioned on the web. But that doesn't make me any less surprised that they found the reviews. Surprised, and flattered, and a little freaked out. It's a weird mix of emotions.

It's also weird when the tables turn and you find things about yourself on Google. I have the luck (or curse, depending on the situation) that my maiden name and my married name are the same as two semi-obscure celebrities, enough so that you have to tack on some extra words to actually find information on me. But when people can actually Google me, it's created some situations. Once an old roommate found a blog where I'd ranted about her roomie drama, and it started World War III. On a slightly less butthurt note, a few years ago I discovered that a half-assed paper I wrote my sophomore college year for a class on folklore about misheard lyrics had been posted on a couple academic sites as a reference and one "download a paper for $10" site.

So Wenches, have you ever had an interesting experience where the internet collided with your real life?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Please Let This Show Make It To A Network

I was just reading one of my favorite author's blogs. Stephanie Bond originally started out writing for Harlequin's Love and Laughter line.

Now before you stick your noses up in the air, Stephanie Bond writes more than just romance. She has a series called Body Movers that's more along the lines of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, which can not be described as romance, though there's a little more spice to these books than Evanovich's Plum.

The books are based around Carlotta Wren and a seriel killer known as "The Charm Killer." Like the Plum series there's a wacky cast of characters and some guys Carolotta may or may not be too involved with. Sadly there's not a hamster.

Right now all we know is that Sony Pictures Television has optioned the books to hopefully built into a TV Series. Sony Pictures has been responsible for shows like Damages, Community and Rules Of Engagement that just started to air again this week. I would be so happy if this show actually came about and was good.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Some New Music

If you're looking for something new to listen to that's acoustic, awesome, & has killer lines, definitely look into Justin Oliver.

I really don't know how to describe his music. It kind of has a little bit of everything, maybe something for everyone. Sometimes he reminds me of Sufjan Stevens, sometimes he reminds me of Citizen Cope, & sometimes I can't think of a single artist to compare him to. It all depends on the song - and they're all pretty great. From the fast & catchy to the slow yet melodic. Not a bad thing about him.

Lyrically, his songs tend to be easy to relate to, but he also has some lines that stand out simply because they're so poetic & well-written. Sometimes, it's like listening to your life story being sung to you by someone who's never met you, & who is way better with words than you.

I can't stress how much I love this guy, & how much I think you will, too.

Check out Justin Oliver's MySpace. Every song on there is worth listening to. The actual album, For Rose, can be found on his label, Modern Short Stories.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Happy Post

Our resident Mistress is correct that it's been awhile since any of the Wenches have done a happy things post. So here's mine:

  • Bigelow Green Tea! I've moved on from my pomegranate white tea obsession to this one. Very calming and full of goodness
  • Owning a coffee maker! it's been pretty nice to wake up on these godawful snowmaggedon days and have a big dose of caffeine.
  • Friends' baby showers! I'm very happily sans baby, but that doesn't mean I don't get excited when friends have them. Close friends with babies is the best of both worlds: I get to buy some cutesy crap and indulge my ladyclock without actually having to deal with an anklebiter 24/7.
  • Best in Show! The husband introduced me to this movie, a hilarious mockumentary about dog shows. I've been quoting it nonstop since.
  • My new lappy! This is my new netbook. It fits in my messenger bag, lets me write at work, and has 4X the space of the desktop that got me through high school and half of college. Yay technology!

God Bless YouTube.

You may recall my District 9 review from a few weeks ago. Turns out, it's an unexpected source of simultaneous nerdery & hilarity on the internet in the only way a sci-fi movie could be. All out of love, of course, being my favorite so far.

Not to be outdone, YouTube is getting in on the fun. Who knew that baby prawns were in such need?

I'll help those baby prawns. Sign me up!