July 31, 2008

July 31, 2008

Happy Bunny: A Threeve

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm spending today looking at animals, avoiding eye contact with vendors shilling crap, and eating fried goods. Thus I'm afraid I'll have to slack off with a picture-centric threeve.

Sometimes, a snarky cartoon rabbit says it all more eloquently than I ever could. I was introduced to Happy Bunny just last year, so forgive me for jumping on the bandwagon so late in the game.


I'm so glad I went to school for 19 years in order to achieve my current state of...unemployment.


At least meet me halfway.


To be fair, a lot of boys are smart. Some are even smarter than me. I just wish I didn't have to wade through a sea of bad ones to find the gems.


I understand that you have been in the workforce for 30 years. And that you make three times as much as I do. So why can you not figure out how to send an email in Microsoft Outlook?

July 30, 2008

July 30, 2008

Wisconsin State Fair 2008: A Preview

Yes, folks, it's that time of year again. Since this is very likely my last Wisconsin State Fair ever,* I'm actually going three times. That's right: three.

I have water. I have a camera. And I have lots of cash.

Fry it, put it on a stick, and bring it on.

* And possibly my last-ever state fair of any kind; I can't imagine the Virginia or Maryland state fairs being very good. As much as I hate on the Midwest, we kick ass in the area of state fairs.

Listen to This, Volume 16: She & Him

She & Him is an indie rock duo (I do so love the indie rock, and I do so love the duos) consisting of Zooey Deschanel (the “She”) and M. Ward (the “Him). That probably means very little to you, I know. However, you’ve probably heard Zooey Deschanel sing already, in the movie Elf. (Which I actually just saw for the first time this past Christmas. Cute, but not my favorite Christmas movie.)

I’ve heard her voice likened to Judy Garland’s, and I think it’s definitely a fair comparison. It has a sort of rich tenor that I find very soothing. Here, try this:



Note the tambourine. Always a plus. Another fun fact: according to Wikipedia, She & Him met via email. EMAIL. Gotta love that.

They’re currently on tour and may in fact be coming to an arena/music hall/other performing arts venue near you. Check it out.

July 29, 2008

July 29, 2008

To the Lead Singer of Maroon 5

Dear Adam Levine,

I’m a big fan of your music. I’m sure you get that a lot, of course, but it really is very good music. Catchy melodies, memorable lyrics, well-executed vocals…the whole bit. As I’m sure you (and your accountant) know, the band is incredibly successful because of this. People (and by “people,” I mean mostly teenage girls, but eh) attend your concerts, buy your albums, and post pictures of you inside their locker doors.

I’d like to draw your attention to that last bit, Adam, as the majority of your lyrics seem to indicate that you have, well…not such great luck with the ladies. Let’s look at a few lyrics:

It is so easy to see
Dysfunction between you and me
We must free up these tired souls
Before the sadness kills us both

I’m not fine, I’m in pain
It’s harder everyday
Maybe we’re better off this way?

What I would give to have you look in my direction
And I'd give my life to somehow attract your attention

Obviously, this is just a small sample. But I think you get the idea. These lyrics are…rather angsty, no? While they would seem to evidence your mistreatment at the hand of women, I can’t help but wonder what women are treating you so badly and why. I mean, you’re incredibly successful. You’re very attractive. You’re obviously a skilled musician.

Are you sabotaging relationships in order to have a steady supply of songwriting material? Are women really that callous and coldhearted? Both?

Adam, I think you can do better for yourself. I really do.

Cheers,
Heather

July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008

In My Opinion: The Dark Knight

The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.

Let’s get pretense out of the way: Contrary to what the title would have you believe, The Dark Knight isn’t about the Batman.

It’s about the Joker.

The character, the role, and the execution are just as phenomenal as you’ve heard. When assembling the quotes that stuck with me, I realized that they are almost all lines from the Joker. However, since many others have discussed Heath Ledger ad infinitum, I’m going to leave it at that and analyze some other aspects of the movie. (SPOILERS AHOY.)

Do I really look like a man with a plan?

I’d like to make the easy connection between times of civil unrest and superhero movies. You know, connect unsure economics and politics with a need for someone to save humanity, even if only on the big screen. But, honestly, I don’t know that you can do that with Batman. I mean, people ALWAYS have something to worry about, whether it’s Nazis, or Communists, or the price of oil, or the stock market, or the fact that saccharine can give you cancer. Superhero movies are popular now, yes…but they always have been. We like to think that SOMEONE is looking out for us.

As for movie-specific comments, I was really surprised that they killed the Rachel character. I knew she wasn’t in the original comic (and was thus expendable), but DAMN. Bruce Wayne just can’t catch a break, can he? I loved the supporting roles of Alfred and Lucius Fox. Harvey Dent (who I knew would become Two Face) had an…interesting arc, not least because he’s the sort of ambitious politico I find myself drawn to. (It’s the charisma.*) I found myself most intrigued, though, with Gordon. We finally saw him get commissioner, though the means of his promotion was a bit grisly, to say the least. (THIS is why you should never drink at work.)

Christian Bale rocked it as the Batman, but that’s to be expected. Possible relative-abuse aside, he’s an amazing actor. Put him in a cowl and throw him some gadgetry, and you have cinematic superhero magic. (I love Tobey Maguire as much as the next girl, but sometimes I like to see how the grown-ups do it.)

Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little...push.

Despite having spent quite a lot of time in Chicago (and even watching some filming**), I found myself only occasionally going “Hey, I know where that is.” The press conference scenes and the stuff on LaSalle were the most distracting in that way. I can only imagine what this sort of thing is like for New Yorkers.

I'm not a monster...I'm just ahead of the curve.

I daresay that many of you have already seen the movie; if you haven’t, my thoughts certainly won’t tip you one way or the other. I give it 3.5 stars out of 4 (I thought it could have been a little shorter), though, and will most definitely be seeing it again.

* Also, the dimples.
** Last time I mention it, I promise. Probably. Until the next movie, anyway.

July 27, 2008

July 27, 2008

Kids are cute. Sometimes.

Judging solely based on my blog comments, you may be tempted to think that I dislike children. That, my friend, is not true. I dislike children who are IN MY WAY at museums, galleries, and other public places. Otherwise, I'm fine with kids. Really. I am.

Sometimes, they totally make my day. Like today, when Rhiannon, one of my Sunday School students gave me a card she had drawn. It's so freaking adorable that I must post it. I told her that I would "show it to all my friends." This is probably close enough.

Here's the front:

It's the two of us (I'm on the left) eating cookies at a table outside. As she said, "I know you like cookies." Do I EVER, Rhiannon. Do I ever.

Note the close-up:

How much do I love that the cookies are labeled? And, while Rhiannon is wearing her glasses, I do not appear to be wearing mine. Though I am totally rocking the orange flower/green shoe combo.

Here's the inside. It says "Hi! Rhiannon To: Ms. Heather."

And here's the back. I'm not sure if those are suns, colorful spiders, or something else altogether, but I like the fact that she left no surface uncolored.

Kids draw the darnedest things, eh?

July 25, 2008

July 24, 2008

July 24, 2008

Would you rather? Volume 2

In order to continue the mutual blogdoration between Duly Noted and grassrootsmovement, I was inspired by this post to ponder a similar (albeit not the same) question:

Would you rather be emotional or logical?

I know that ideally, you’d be a mixture of both. And that it’s probably impossible to so suppress either your feelings or intelligence to the point of being completely one or the other.

But if you COULD and DID, which would it be?

I think I tend towards the logical, since I feel I have very little compassion. I think it’s the tough Korean side of me; those (my?) people are ruthless.* However, when something BAD goes down (or, like, when I see a large bug), I do tend to freak out a little. I wouldn’t say that I get emotional, per se. More that I get a can of hairspray and spray that sucker to death. I then scoop it up with a flyswatter and deposit it in the trash can furthest from my bedroom.

Wait, where were we? Sorry.

Anyone who’s watched a decent “robots take over” movie knows that logic has its limits. Anyone who’s watched a decent chick flick** knows that emotion can be a downfall, as well.

I guess the tricky part is choosing which is the lesser of two evils.

* Also, bad drivers. I got that, too. In SPADES.
** Couldn’t find it in me to keep the adjective in. Sorry!

July 23, 2008

July 23, 2008

In My Opinion: Hancock and The Incredible Hulk*

The beauty of summer movie season is that there’s something loud and bangy to see just about every weekend. No end to the delightful explosions, as it were.

The danger of summer movie season is that there’s something loud and bangy to see just about every weekend. If you can’t keep up, you get really behind really fast.

The double-edged sword of modern moviegoing.

Hancock

I saw Hancock on the fourth of July. No Independence Day should be without fireworks, copious amounts of food, and Will Smith saving the world. I believe that’s written into the Constitution, or at least the Constitution as envisioned by Michael Bay (coming Summer 2011 to a theater near you).

Several people have asked me how Hancock was, since apparently the whole “Will Smith saves the world. Again.” thing isn’t enough for them.** As much as I’d love to go into a multi-point dialectic on the importance of superhero movies in times of societal unrest or something, I usually whip out the categorical response of “Don’t go in expecting cinematic greatness. Go in expecting a good time.”

Hancock tweaks the traditional superhero story by turning the protagonist into a surly asshole who hates his job. You know, like 85% of people out there. The first half of the movie is a pretty clever showcase for Smith, Jason Bateman (always likeable), Charlize Theron (too heavyweight for this frothy film, but I’ll go with it), and the Wizardry of CGI.

But then.

Then the plot twist is put on the table and things get fuh-REE-kay. I don’t know who created the twist. I don’t know who thought the twist was a good idea. I don’t know who approved the twist. But I do know that all of those people should be made to think about what they did. Ideally, by having their mothers brought in to ask “What did you DO? WHAT did you do?” in a very wheedling way repeatedly for several days.

The Incredible Hulk

I apparently went into Hulk with a lot more goodwill than most people. Or, at least, a lot less badwill.*** I liked the earlier remake well enough (as evidenced by my propensity to loud fiery bangs). I’m an Edward Norton fan; he seems quiet and smart (except for the whole Courtney Love debacle, but we all make bad relationship choices). And I am certainly a Marvel girl through and through.

While I liked this movie (I’m not going to explain the plot, since I think we’ve established that it’s not important), I could not get over how LOUD the thing was. I mean, I understand that the stereo system in the theater is going to get a workout during a film like this. But HOLY. CRAP. was that excessive.

Oh, and also, is it just me, or can Tim Roth only play evil? Don’t get me wrong, I think he makes an AWESOME bad guy. But is it the short thing that makes him sinister? The British thing? The weird steely glint?

Keep your popcorn handy; we still have half a summer to go.

[Sex and the City mini-review: How about less sex, more city, and no sequel?]

[Hellboy 2 mini-review: How about we all just watch the first one again?]

* Okay, now THERE is a tag-team I’d pay money to see.

** Elitists all.

*** Word? Not a word? Does it matter?

July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008

Southpaw-in-Chief

You may or may not have heard or noticed that both* presidential candidates are left-handed. Thus we are guaranteed a lefty President. This isn’t as unusual as it might seem; apparently, four of the past six Presidents have been lefties.

As a lefty myself, I appreciate seeing a little love for my fellow southpaws. Since only 10% or so of people are left-handed, I’m going to assume that most of you reading this have no idea what we go through on a regular basis. Everything is backwards. Doors open the wrong way (the number of times I have opened a door and then had to switch hands in quite phenomenal). Catalogs are wrong (I often flip through the backwards so that I can use my left hand…okay, this one is probably hard to visualize. But try.) I think I still have dents in my hand from having to use right-handed scissors until my teenage years.

For all my whining about tools and doors, though, I have it pretty easy. Back in the Middle Ages, I probably would have been killed (Though, let’s face it: the disease, childbearing, and/or war would probably have done me in already.) I mean, we were considered evil back then; the Latin word for “left” is sinistari, after all.

But, really, I must conclude with a great quote from an author cited in this article: “Logic belongs to right-handers. Intuitive thinking belongs to left-handers. Left-handers tend to work alone, are good at handing off assignments and don't micromanage.”

The rest of you can do things that make sense. We lefties prefer to work on instinct. And, really, isn’t that exactly what you look for in the leader of the free world?

* Sorry, third-party candidates. Who are we kidding?

July 21, 2008

July 21, 2008

I may be a Communist.

Assembling the things I need to outfit my First Apartment Ever (turns out it’s a LOT of things) has made me realize that I am not big on ownership. The fact that I’m getting an apartment and not a house probably speaks to that, but I think it’s something more. I have the money for a down payment…but the thought of buying something as involved as a house, and then maintaining said house for the next few decades of my life doesn’t at all appeal to me. I mean, I would probably have to learn how to do yardwork at some point. Gah.

Kidding aside (is THAT what that was?), my purchase-aversion goes beyond the big stuff like domiciles and vehicles. Like how I’m not at all a collector. Of, well, anything. Sure, when I was younger, I had a few Barbie dolls. Kept a lot of movie ticket stubs. But, really, as I’ve started paring down my crap (turns out it’s a LOT of crap), I’ve managed to part with things pretty easily. I mean, I got all my books into two boxes. I figure that I can get anything else I need from the library. Right? Right?

Thus the fact that I apparently feel the need to have very little that I label my own leads me to believe that I may, in fact, be a Communist. My only hesitation is that I don’t really like to share, either. (Let’s chalk that up to the only child thing and leave it.)

So it IS a commune. A commune of one.

July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008

Help Me Buy a Couch, Round 2

All right. We’re going with Value City Furniture and sage. Meet the candidates, in ascending order of price. None of them are sleepers; I'm getting you either an air mattress or a camp bed.

*pause for boos*

I’m showing the chair/couch combo pictures, since I’m pretty sure I’ll also be getting a chair. Probably not the matching one, though, because I'm hoping for some color contrast in the furniture. Eh. It’s 2 a.m.; this is what you get.

The Magic (Pro: Cheap. Con: Cheap.)
The Sensations (Pro: Comfily-stuffed. Con: Overstuffed?)
The Riviera (Pro: Good color. Con: Weird trim, square backs.)
The Monterey (Pro: Excellent lines. Con: Pricey as hell.)What say ye?

July 18, 2008

July 17, 2008

July 17, 2008

To Stacy Ferguson

Dear Fergie,

As someone who’s only started listening to your work relatively recently, I realize I’m a little late into the game. I’d seen you on commercials and at awards shows and stuff, but I didn’t really find the need to listen to much music until I realized that my job could benefit from a little background noise.

But anyway.

I wanted to commend your apparent attempts to educate your listeners. At least, I assume that’s the reasoning behind your penchant for spelling (S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G) out many of the words to your songs. Because while I don’t necessarily need to be reminded that you’re “The F to the E, R, G, the I, the E,” I’m sure that children, the developmentally disabled, and non-native English speakers surely appreciate it.

However, I feel that you may be defeating your own purpose here. Later in the song referenced above (“Fergalicious,” but of course you knew that), you sing the following lines:

My body stay vicious,
I be up in the gym just working on my fitness.


As a self-admitted grammar fiend, I see several problems with these lyrics. The subject/verb agreement is all wrong. The preposition use is questionable. The phrase “working on my fitness” is a bit wordy.

In short, Fergie, what exactly are you trying to teach? I can pass over your habit to drop terminal g’s (clumsy ‘cause you’re fallin’ in love, hmm?) as I myself am known to do so on occasion. But I really think the grammar errors have gotten a bit out of hand.

Give my love to Josh, though.

Cheers,
Heather

July 14, 2008

July 14, 2008

My parents briefly considered naming me "Applicant."

As I've already noted, the federal job application process is a long and arduous one. However, in light of such promising feedback as the postcard below, I'm flying out for the next two days to pick an apartment. Wish me luck.

I got this in the mail today. (Fortuitous, perhaps?) It really highlights all my favorite aspects of getting a federal job, plus allows me to showcase my mad Word/Paint skills.

Enjoy. (Click to enlarge.)

In My Opinion: Chicago

I promise that this is the last vestige of the big North Carolina weekend. Well, this, and the emotional scars. But whatever. I kid. (Or do I?)*

As someone who’s not hugely (read: not even a little) interested in musicals, I was reluctant to watch Chicago. Sure, I liked the setting, both in time and place. I knew it had won the Oscar, though it had to tromp all over one of my beloved hobbit movies to do so. Hobbits are small; it happens. While I’m not hugely (read: not even a little) interested in Renee Zellweger, I’ve liked Catherine Zeta-Jones ever since seeing her in a tv movie about the Titanic a gazillionteen years ago.**

But my main contention with any musical, regardless of setting or Zeta-Jonesiness, is that people in real life DO NOT RANDOMLY BREAK OUT INTO SONG. Sure, we sing ALONG to things, whether in our cars, out jogging, or in karaoke bars. Some people break out into song while on stages in front of people who have paid entirely too much money to watch them do so.

But never have I been, say, walking past the hummus (“God bless the chickpea!”***) at my grocery store and decided to sing a ballad to it. Not even once. Thus I remain skeptical of any genre based on such behavior. Because, really, if I don’t do it, can it be right?

However, the beauty of Chicago is that the songs are of the fantasy/dream sequence variety. As is often the case when translating a stage piece to film, constructing a narrative around the production numbers is a huge challenge. Chicago took (admittedly) catchy songs and plugged them into the story of Roxie Hart (Zellweger), aspiring starlet turned murderess; her dashing lawyer (Richard Gere, who’s JUST young enough to still play charming); and Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones), successful starlet turned murderess. Also in the cast: Queen Latifah as the prison warden and John C. Reilly (who is apparently in EVERTYHING) as Roxie’s husband.

I’m not one to gush****, but the production values of this film were phenomenal. Not just costumes and props, either. The choreography of the musical numbers was excellent, and the songs were actually enjoyable. “Razzle Dazzle” them? Hell yeah.

While I shy away from the musical genre as a whole, I can admit an exception. Just don’t expect me to serenade you on the sidewalk.

* I do.
** 1996.
*** /random Friends reference
**** HAHAHAHAHA, right.

July 11, 2008

July 10, 2008

July 10, 2008

Short and Sweet

For those of you who don’t follow world news (which is, sadly, probably more of you than I’d wish), the G-8 Summit was held recently in Japan. Don’t worry; this food- and media-centric blog is suddenly about to radically shift in content and tone. I’m not going to discuss the (non)accomplishments of the summit itself.

No, what I want to talk about is this story. For those of you too lazy to click on the link (seriously, though, it’s ONE CLICK), the article basically notes that many of the world’s Powers That Be are short. Five of the eight don’t clear 5’6”.

As someone who hasn’t (yet) met anyone famous, I’m interested when people who have inevitably use the phrase “(S)he was shorter than I thought.” For whatever reason, we seem to imagine people in the news (whether for starring roles in entertainment, politics, athletics, or what have you) as being tall. [insert long-winded psychological reasoning here that uses the terms “Freudian,” “Jungian,” and “Napoleon Complex” at least once each]

Here’s a little insight from the Girl Playbook for all my male readers*: I’m not going to lie; women in general like tall. Not necessarily scary tall, but at least tallER.

Unless you’re the leader of the free world or a midsized European country. Then, apparently anything goes.

* I realize that they're probably going to kick me out of the next meeting for this revelation, but I really only go for the refreshments, anyway.

July 9, 2008

Listen to This, Volume 15: The Mamas and the Papas

No, I didn’t discover the Mamas and the Papas from the opening episode of Lost’s second season. Ha!

Rather, I first became seriously interested in them after watching a PBS special about them. It was like an E! True Hollywood Story, but free and with less-dramatic narration. Prior to that, my only exposure was the song "California Dreamin’," as it was on a cassette tape that I used to listen to while biking around my neighborhood as a small child. Also on the tape: "Walkin’ on Sunshine." Why I was listening to this sort of thing as an 8-year-old on a Huffy bicycle, I’ll never know.

Anyway.

I like my rock music with a tinge of folk. Take your traditional band, add a tambourine, and step back. It’s like adding lemon juice to Diet Coke. Or, you know, some other non-food metaphor. The Mamas and the Papas are vocal, and their harmonies are pretty good stuff.

Also of note is the spin-off career of Mama Cass. I like singing along REALLY LOUDLY to "Make Your Own Kind of Music," especially when I’m driving home after a crappy day of work.

There was plenty of in-group relationshippy and creative drama, sure, but the Mamas and the Papas sucked it up and kept putting out good songs. I think a few of today’s artists could take a page out of that playbook.

July 8, 2008

July 8, 2008

In My Opinion: The Children of Huang Shi

It turns out that almost crying at things projected on a screen was a theme for me last week. Lucius Vorenus of Rome had me a little sniffly (and I’m told that things get even worse for him as the series progresses--can’t the guy catch a break?). Then, on Saturday, I saw a very excellent little movie called The Children of Huang Shi.

This is where I pause for you to ask “The…children of what, now?”

For once, I’m not going to judge you*, because had I not seen a trailer for The Children of Huang Shi before Flawless, I would never have known about it, either. And I keep an eye out for this sort of thing. An indie radar, if you will.

I think it best to, as unaffectedly as I can (read: with as little squealing as possible), tell you why I liked this film and leave it up to you to decide whether it’s worth searching out.** Because, unfortunately, you WILL have to search for it.

***HEY, YOU: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Based on a true story, The Children of Huang Shi tells the story of George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who was good in Elvis and amazing in The Tudors), a British journalist reporting from Japanese-controlled China in the years before World War II. Hogg sneaks into the hot zone disguised as a Red Cross medic; oh for the days before such things as Homeland Security, shoe bombs, and “getting wanded” at the airport). As a side bonus, his buddy is none other than Faramir!

Once he’s in the combat area, Hogg’s journalistic activity is curtailed pretty quickly. After witnessing the execution and mass burning of a whole mess o’ citizenry, Hogg gets captured by the Japanese and interrogated. Sample:

Japanese military official (subtitled): “You took these pictures?” (throws pictures on table)
Hogg: (tries to look confused)
Japanese military official: (looks pissed)
Hogg: (looks scared)


Yeah, it was intense.

Anyway, before Hogg can get executed BY AN ACTUAL FREAKING SWORDSMAN, the Chinese resistance bust*** him free, and ship him off to rural Huang Shi. There, he ends up through various circumstances responsible for 60ish orphaned boys.

[insert montage of “fixing up the orphanage” activities, including the dripping-with-symbolism raising of a basketball hoop]

Hogg of course meets many interesting people along the way, and has to face all kinds of difficulties with the boys, and the government, and (oh by the way) the Japanese who all want pretty much to KILL HIM. There’s a love story, as well, and I fear the second half of the movie gets a bit bogged down in it. I mean, I love JRM, but if he’s not boffing an Elizabethan, then...no thanks.

The denouement that had me almost crying was a complete wtf. I’ll spoil it only in the comments, because if anything you’ve read so far has interested you in the movie, you’re not going to want to know how it ends.

Here’s the trailer:



“We’re all something different in China. That’s why we came.”

* TOO much, anyway.
** This is actually my strategy with everything, cinematic or otherwise, on this blog. As you can tell, I achieve mixed results.
*** I know it’s not the correct word, but it seems appropriate. Go with me here.

July 7, 2008

July 7, 2008

Pop Culture Dealbreakers

Have we all recovered from the long weekend of food, fireworks, and movies? If not, well...too bad; it's Monday once again. Allow this blog entry to make your day better. Or pretend to.

Last week, I wrote about a few of the pop culture pursuits that impress me in a person. I’m sure you’re not at all shocked to hear that that was an incredibly-abbreviated list, but it’s at least the prototypes.

But the original PopWatch article was more about the bad than the good. While you may try to fool me with a rousing chorus from “Monday, Monday” or a recitation of the numbers from Lost, if I find that you have certain feelings…it’s over. Keep that in mind if you find that any of the following apply to you.

You think the Harry Potter books are evil. Yes, many of the characters are witches and wizards. Yes, the Bible is anti-witchcraft. Now, I was raised pretty hardcore fundamental Baptist; if anyone has the proclivity to judge these books, it’s me. But I LOVE them. The Adolescent Literature class at my undergrad college had Sorcerer’s Stone as its textbook one semester. Despite being neither an education major (the class’s target audience) nor an adolescent, I came thisclose to asking to take the class.

You talk incessantly during movies or tv shows. If we’re watching something in the theater, quick questions or snarky comments are allowed. But anything more in-depth than that will have to wait. I didn’t pay to listen to YOU, sorry. If we’re watching a tv show, the amount of acceptable commenting is inversely proportional to the intensity of the show. You can chatter a bit during, say, My Name is Earl. But I’d rather you didn’t breathe too loudly during 24. (Kidding.)*

You love American Idol and think I should, too. I watched AI for the first few seasons. Voted, even. But once the contestants all started blending into a mélange of highlighted coiffure and Gap clothes, I drew the line. YOU are free to watch the show and vote as many times as you must. But do not insist that I accompany you. Like Robert Frost, I prefer the road less-voted.

You think Death Cab for Cutie is too emo. Ben Gibbard sings to me. A lot. So either learn to tolerate it or find some good noise-canceling headphones. I hear Bose make a fine product.

Do you have any pop culture dealbreakers?

* No I’m not.

July 3, 2008

Pop Culture Dealmakers

PopWatch recently posed an interesting question: what pop culture attachments or aversions would endear someone to you? I know they say that opposites attract, but I think you have to have at least some common ground with another person in order to get along. You have to have SOMETHING to talk about. Unless you’re communicating only in pictures. Or are mimes.

I consume entirely too much pop culture―this comes as a surprise to none of you. But someone’s enjoyment of a few very select things (the top tier of my media, if you will) indicates to me that they are a kindred spirit. Examples:

- Film. Wes Anderson movies. Because they’re quirky with a sad undertone. And have great music. And involve lots of labels. You understand the dynamics of the Tenenbaum family, or the ambition of Max Fischer, and I know we’ll get along.

- Books. Nancy Drew. Bonus points if you’re a straight guy who likes Nancy Drew. Bonus points also if you’re of either gender and read Nancy Drew post-adolescence.

- Music. The Mamas and the Papas. Liking folk rock is good. Liking classic folk rock is better. If you can do the echo parts of “California Dreamin’” (or the main part, because I actually prefer to do the echo), we’ve got a couple minutes’ worth of entertainment right there.

- Television. This was the hardest one. My gut instinct was to go with something like Mad Men, but that rules out everyone who doesn’t have cable/buy DVDs/illegally download shows. So for a choice accessible to anyone with an antenna, I’d have to go with Lost. You follow Lost, I know immediately that you’re reasonably intelligent, patient, and discerning. If you started watching Lost but dropped off for some reason, you lose points. Sorry. (Also-rans: Colbert, Arrested Development.)

What are your pop culture dealmakers?

July 2, 2008

July 2, 2008

There’s Always Room for Jell-O

It’s official: Jell-O has gone from pedestrian to hip.

I find this incredibly heartening for a couple of reasons. One, I love Jell-O. It tastes good without being freakishly unhealthy. That’s a combination that seems rarer and rarer these days. Whether you call it the result of evolution, intelligent design, or societal norms, sugar and fat taste really, really good―a phenomenon capitalized upon by all the evil companies (Ben & Jerry’s) that make pints of incredibly delicious ice cream (Cinnamon Buns). Because who eats just a quarter of a pint?

Two, if Jell-O can do it, so can I.

PLEASE NOTE: The following paragraph is based on extensive research I did for the not one, but TWO speeches I have given on Jell-O for school assignments. Okay, technically, it was the same speech twice. Whatever.

Though it’s now made of synthetic something (it almost got science-y there), Jell-O was once upon a time made of horses’ hooves. When baby boomers were growing up, there were all of, like, two flavors. Now, I believe there are approximately a gazillionteen flavors. And that’s not even counting the pudding. (I’m not sure what the pudding is made of. Does anyone really know what pudding is made of? Do you WANT to know what pudding is made of?)

At any rate, Jell-O now has the stamp of celebrity approval. No one cared about Jell-O back in the day; it was just something cheap to serve after your Hamburger Helper.

But now. Oh, but now.

Now, Jell-O is the cool kid that everyone wants to have over for dinner. Or, um, dessert.

July 1, 2008

July 1, 2008

Exercise the Body, Not the Mind

I don’t do a lot of shopping at Bath and Body Works, since I find the el cheapo Suave products work just as well while costing me much less. However, I recently had reason to check out the website and noticed that Bath and Body Works apparently has branched out into shoes. Namely, FitFlops, which are allegedly good for your feet.

Uh huh.

Anyway, my anti-flip flop proclivities aside (really, it would just be another long and ranty post, and no one wants that), what really irked me about the webpage was, well, this:

Can I get a big “wtf” for whoever created that sizes list? I know I'm not good with numbers, but...wow.