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I know this is terribly cliche, but on this Thanksgiving Day, I’m reminded of  all the things I have to be thankful for: a loving family, great friends (including those I had a chance to spend time with today), a job that allows me to make a living, and a day off from work for Thanksgiving, a home, my family’s pet dog, crunchy turkey skin, books, Netflix. Just kidding, just kidding. Sort of.

It’s good to take a moment to reminder how great my life is. It’s too easy to wish that it was different rather than being conscious of all the ways I wouldn’t want it to change.

I don’t have much more to say than that, so Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 

  1. It is possible to convince your younger sibling/s that it’s normal for you to play with their toys while preventing them from playing with yours.
  2. Having an imaginary world populated by stuffed animals is awesome! (Of course, this world doesn’t contain your stuffed animals because those have to remain in pristine condition.)
  3. Once your sibling/s become stronger than you, it’s wise to avoid physical altercations.
  4. You’ll have to live under stricter rules than they have to. They should thank you that your music battles with parents allowed them to freely listen to screamo once they reached their teens.
  5. You’ll fight with them a lot less when you don’t live in the same house.
As promised yesterday, here’s a guest post by my friend The Library Diva. Check out her blog at http://yourlibrarycard.blogspot.com/, where I’ll be guest posting today.
 
In less than five minutes of trying, I realize how much harder it is to have a blog like this one than one like mine. At www.yourlibrarycard.blogspot.com, I pretty much know it will always be a book-related topic. Being able to write on anything you want is almost too much freedom. I had a week to think up something too, and The Sedentary Vagabond and I have been tossing the idea of doing this around a lot longer. In fact, I’ve been sitting at the computer for a half hour, with two stumps of posts deleted, and I’m seriously having flashbacks to my college creative writing classes, when I had a ten-page short story due in 12 hours and had NO IDEAS I MEAN NONE, NOT EVEN ANY THAT SUCK. So, I really give her credit for being able to keep going with NaBloPoMo.
 
So I did what anyone would do: I looked at Facebook, hoping to find some sort of inspiration. And I found some. One of my friends posted that she knew she was growing up when she was excited to be able to fall asleep. And it made me think of all the different “grown-up” moments I’ve had. They’re never what you think. When I got my first “real job,” I still felt as if I was pretty much approaching it the way a little kid would. I bought a quilted silver lame messenger bag as my “briefcase” to show I hadn’t totally sold out, and wound up using it primarily to carry my wallet and my CD holder back and forth after it became apparent that I wouldn’t be taking tons of work home with me. My first apartment felt like an extension of dorm life, and it pretty much was. My first car was a big deal, but didn’t make me feel all that adult.
 
No, feeling like an adult is in the little things. When you no longer view macaroni and cheese as a meal unto itself, that’s a real adult moment. When your Christmas list contains things like kitchen appliances, you’re an adult. When you take a vacation day to get things done around the house, that’s an adult moment. Clipping coupons, doing laundry on a weekly schedule, getting an oil change, and taking out the garbage always make me feel extremely mature and responsible.
 
There is such a thing as going too far in that direction, though, I think. That’s what I’ve always feared. On one of my own favorite British TV shows, Judi Dench is in bed with her husband. The character’s name is Lionel, and their backstory is incredibly romantic: they fell in love during the Korean war, when he was a serviceman and she was a nurse, but their relationship ended when a letter from him got lost in the mail. Forty years later, they met again by chance, started talking again, and fell in love once again. In the scene I’m thinking of, Lionel has decided to read all of the classics that he missed, and his current read is “Winnie the Pooh.”
 
“Aren’t you a little old for that?” Judi Dench’s character, Jean, asks.
Lionel puts down the book and turns to her. “God, I hope not,” he says.
 
That’s how I feel. I don’t ever want to be one of those people who walks out of a play ten minutes early “to beat the traffic,” or won’t do something on a weeknight because “it will keep me up too late, and I have to work in the morning,” or otherwise refuses to step outside their comfort zone, try new things, or endure a slight inconvenience. There have been many times, mostly in my twenties, where I felt that the only good thing about adulthood was that you could stop for ice cream whenever you wanted to. I’m starting to see other good things about it, but there will always be a bit of kid in me that enjoys playing practical jokes on my co-workers, goes to see Pixar movies in the theater on opening weekend, and yes, takes full advantage of being the one with the drivers’ license and wallet to stop whenever I want for ice cream.

I’m Hungry

Before I get to the meat of the post (no pun intended, ha ha), I’m happy to announce that my friend The Library Diva will be guest posting here tomorrow. We’ve both been doing this whole “blog post every day for a month” thing, and while I’ve been writing about purchasing training pants and talking to myself, she’s been concocting eloquent and thought-provoking book reviews, so you’re in for a treat. I’ll be guest posting on her blog, yourlibrarycard.blogspot.com. Links will be up tomorrow.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

One thing I’ve noticed about blogs is how many of them are photo-based and how many of those feature food preparation artfully shot with helpful hints offered throughout. So, in that spirit, here’s what I had for dinner.

First, I had to don the delightfully 80s apron I convinced my mom to give me from her stash.

Then I gathered my ingredients.

Add equal parts instant rice and water, and this delicious* dish is well on its way to completion.

*Term used loosely.

Vegetables are essential to a healthy diet.

As is fruit.

Then I demonstrated my cooking acumen by tearing pieces off this kosher barbecue rotisserie chicken.

And, voila!

I’m truly sorry that I don’t have enough for guests.  And cue the queries about why I haven’t chosen to make use of my photography skills professionally in three, two, one …

This Strange Movie Sunday selection is the mother of strange movies: “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” This film has the distinction of being called the worst movie ever made, and it certainly makes a valiant effort at living up to its name.

It has zombies, vampires and pretentious aliens who wear ridiculous clothing and are trying to stop humans from developing a bomb that could blow up sunlight. Although, in some moods, I feel the main alien has a point when he says “all you of earth are IDIOTS!”

When I first watched this, the DVD included a number of special features, among them, a person reading off the many things wrong with this movie, which went on for several minutes. Think of any characteristic that makes for a good film and this movie will be lacking it – meaningful plot? No. Good acting? Absolutely not. Eloquent dialogue? No. Suspenseful action? Well, it tries.

The one thing this film does manage to have is entertainment value. It’s the embodiment of the idea “it’s so bad, it’s good.”

Everything is unrealistic and ridiculous, and that can be pretty amusing.  I would suggest watching this with a bunch of people who haven’t gotten enough sleep and are in the mood to laugh at everything.

If you enjoy this movie, you may also enjoy the film that depicts the life of its director – “Ed Wood,” starring Johnny Depp. In it, you’ll learn that Wood wasn’t one for reshooting a scene, but if you watch “Plan 9 From Outer Space” first, you’ll know that already.

I’ll just close with a line from the movie’s narrator: “My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts about grave robbers from outer space?” And also, “can you prove it didn’t happen?”

So, I have a shameful confession to make. Last night I went to see “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth movie in the Twilight series.

Now, let me qualify this by saying that I don’t particularly like the Twilight series. The 12-year-old girl part of me who would really like to have an eternally loyal, superhumanly beautiful boyfriend understands the appeal. The rest of me is not such a big fan, although this movie was better than I thought it might be.

Although I don’t love Twilight, I introduced one of my friends to the series, which she enjoys, and she introduced another mutual friend to it, so we have a bit of a tradition of viewing the movies. It’s fun in a girl’s-night kind of way, and I get a kick out of listening to the giggles from the audience every time a shirtless male is onscreen. Which is about, oh, every 2.5 minutes or so…

I also can’t get over that one middle-aged woman I saw at the showing of “New Moon” whose shirt read “Real Men Sparkle.” I felt like saying “Honey, real men actually don’t sparkle, and I feel like you should have come to terms with that by now.”

I will admit that I love Twilight snark. So much.

I will pretty much waste hours reading/watching it. That’s probably only slightly less embarrassing than actually being a Twihard.

One favorite form of Twilight snark is the Youtube series “Alex Reads Twilight.” He’s hilarious, ruthlessly tears the book to shreds and has a delightful British accent. Win, win and win.

Here’s part one:

(Warning: contains swearing.)

Also, I’m enjoying reading the more serious Twilight analysis on Ana Mardoll’s website: http://www.anamardoll.com/2011/04/twilight-bad-books-make-good-movies.html.

Side note: I don’t want you to think I judge you if you actually like Twilight. Sometimes books like Twilight can just be fun. People are often critical of escapist entertainment, but I think sometimes it’s fine – healthy, even . People can make the argument that there are unhealthy ideas in the Twilight series – like main characters acting in ways that would be abusive in real life. I think that’s a valid point. Read Ana Mardoll’s series and you’ll see some of those examples examined in detail. I do think, however, that sometimes it’s fine if stories don’t line up exactly with how the real world should be. As long as the reader realizes the difference, it’s OK.

In this British TV Friday post, I’ve chosen to highlight another form of television that the British do well, quiz shows. There are a number of British quiz shows, and what sets many of my favorites apart from the stereotypical quiz show is that winning is not the point. Being witty is the primary goal. They often feature comedians and other celebrities who prove that being intelligent can be very, very funny, or, on occasion, that being dumb can be pretty amusing as well.

(Warning: Some of these shows contain swearing and risqué jokes. If that’s the sort of thing that bothers you, don’t watch them. For those of you who aren’t bothered, you can find most of these shows on YouTube.)

A favorite is “QI,” or Quite Interesting, hosted by actor Stephen Fry. This panel show features guests displaying their knowledge or lack thereof by answering trivia questions. Points are awarded for interesting answers, not only for correct ones, and during the “general ignorance” round, viewers will probably discover that what they believed to be true about the issue under discussion is a pack of lies, as common misconceptions are debunked.

Another classic is “Never Mind the Buzzcocks,” a panel show focused on music. It features celebrities (Josh Groban, for example) and comedians who answer questions about pop stars, try to identify intros of songs hummed and beat-boxed by teammates and pick semi-recognizable musicians out of a line-up. As mentioned above, the point is primarily to be witty, although some guests don’t seem to be able to manage that. Search “Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Jedward” to be treated to two of the most annoying twin teenagers in the world. You’re welcome.

Side note: I’ve have a strange love for “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” regular Noel Fielding (who is the one who legitimately hates Coldplay in this clip, although I actually like Coldplay.) and Alan Davies, longstanding panelist for QI. Not sure why.

 “Would I Lie to You” is a panel show in the spirit of a number of other enjoyable British shows, such as “Mock the Week” and “8 Out of 10 Cats.” Many of the same guests star in those shows, and they’re all quite amusing. I chose “Would I Lie to You” to describe further because it’s my favorite of the genre. It features guests reading statements about their lives that may be true or false. They don’t know which it will be before reading them and must answer questions from the opposing team members, who then decide if they think their claim is truth or a lie. I also mention this show because I got some of my friends to play a version of this game at a recent Halloween party, and it was quite fun.

Also, David Mitchell, who is one half of “That Mitchell and Webb Look,” featured in last week’s edition of British TV Friday, is a frequent guest on these shows, and both his rants and stories about his life never fail to amuse.