entertainment weekly

Thanks/No Thanks

A few months ago Stephen King, a contributing writer to Entertainment Weekly, wrote a column where he gave thanks for things he was thankful for and gave no thanks to those things for which he was not grateful. I thought it was a great approach and so, mostly because right now I have no original ideas of my own, I have decided to swipe his. So here we go!

Thanks: Hiram Ring. Your new album Breathe Deep is indeed a breath of fresh air. In a time when other people seem to be knocking themselves over trying to be the next pop star, you’ve decided to roll up your sleeves, dip into the jazzy genre that serves your voice and phrasing so well, and throw everyone for a loop by instead concentrating on making music that’s good. Great idea. (Available on iTunes)

No Thanks: To the “25 Random Thing About Me”  and “Memories” questionnaires that are floating around Facebook. What am I, hanging out on MySpace again?

Thanks: To the gang over at Lost. You’ve managed to throw just enough questions and curves at me in the new season to keep me guessing, but not so many that it’s annoying me. And also, no cages. Season 5 is rocking my face off. But if my nose starts bleeding, then I’m going to freak out.

No Thanks: To people who “tag” me in notes that I’m not actually in. It’s the sleazy salesman and his old Bait & Switch gag. “Hey, I wrote something about you….Well not really, I just wanted you to read this.” When I post this blog, I’ll be tagging Hiram and Fred because I actually wrote about them in it. Funny how that works, huh? If you think about it, it almost makes sense.

Thanks: To Fred McNaughton. Seriously, does anyone have a boss this cool? If so, I’d like to meet them so I can point out to you why they actually aren’t as cool as Fred.

Thanks: To everyone at Willow Street Mennonite Church. I was going to start naming names, but I knew I’d leave someone out, so I won’t. So I’ll just say, it’s awesome to be connected to a church where they’re striving to be what the church was meant to be and shattering your preconceived notion of what the church is by doing so.

No Thanks: To haters of the current Saturday Night Live. I understand it’s not the same as when you were a kid. But different doesn’t mean worse. It just means different. Let’s be honest: If you started watching in the 70s, you prefer the original cast. I grew up in the 80s and I have a warm spot in my heart for the Hartman/Lovitz/Carvey/Hooks lineup. Those who came after me prefer the Will Ferrell/Cheri Oteri years. Can’t we all just confess we’re partial to the SNL we grew up with and no other cast will ever compare? OK, cool. That’s out of the way. Because SNL is still funny. It’s just a different funny from before.

No Thanks: Katy Perry. You live in a city with an insane amount of traffic. Surely there’s a truck somewhere nearby you can step in front of.

Thanks: Tony Horton. You have an infomercial and therefore you kinda set yourself up to get poked at. Turns out, though, P90X actually is a good exercise product that is worth the ridicule from your friends who see the DVDs on your movie shelf. If they saw what those workouts actually consisted of, they’d be too impressed to snicker…and jealous they couldn’t make it through an hour of plyometrics without their head exploding.

No Thanks: Cold and ice. Yeah. I’m done with you.

Thanks: To the cast of the touring production of Avenue Q. I’ve had the soundtrack memorized for a few years now, but you managed to bring new life – and laughs – to what I thought I knew.

No Thanks: Pennsylvania gas company. How expensive is natural gas here? So expensive, that in the fall they sent out letters to everyone that basically said, “We know we charge you wayyyyy to much to heat your home, so we’re offering a program to loan you money to pay your bill this winter.” Which basically means they know they suck.

Thanks: To you for reading all of this. Hopefully, the fact that you stuck with me this long means you got a laugh or two out of it. Either that, or you’re trying to find the “Comments” section so you can post your angry thoughts in an obscene rant that I’ll just end up deleting anyhow. Either way, welcome to the end of this post.

Twilight: A Spoiler-Filled Review

I meant what I said in the subject line. This blog includes spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

I’ll be honest: I never heard of the Twilight book series by Stephenie Meyer until I started seeing articles in Entertainment Weekly over the past few weeks touting it as the new rage and Harry Potter’s replacement. I decided to pick up the first book, “Twilight”, and see what all the fuss was about. Despite the fact that it sometimes read like a romance novel written from a 14-year-old girls’ perspective (I’ve never read a romance novel, nor have I read a novel written by a 14-year-old girl, so this is complete conjecture), it was actually an extremely quick read and I flew through it. And then I read through the other 3 books as well and again, they’re all really quick reads. Sarah, who readily admits she hasn’t read a book since “The Mummy” in 6th grade, even got into it and found herself tearing through the books, too.

To save you the time of reading the 1700+ pages, let me re-cap:

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)

Hi. I’m a girl. I’m angsty. Oh wait. There’s this really hot guy in my new school. He’s sooooooo dreamy. OOoooooooo.

(Repeat for 400 pages)

Oh wow! Turns out he’s a vampire. But oh I still love him even though I know I shouldn’t.

I shouldn’t.

Oh, but I do.

Oh, but I shouldn’t.

Oh, but I do.

(Repeat for 5 more chapters)

Oh no! It’s almost the end of the book! I think I’ll get chased by a bad vampire to give this book something to do and end with action and a thrilling climax!

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)

Ohhhhhhh my vampire crush moved away………Life is sooooooooo horrible…….how will I live……..ohhhhhh… woe is me……woe is FREAKIN me………….

(Repeat for 8 chapters)

I think I’ll start hanging out with this OTHER guy who turns out to be a werewolf! He’s so different than that vampire. But ohhhhhhh I love the vampire.

But now I think I love the werewolf.

But my heart is with the vampire.

But I love the werewolf.

But not really because I love the vampire.

But the werewolf is my true love.

Except for the vampire who I miss soooooooo much.

(Repeat for 500 pages)

Oh no! Almost the end of the book! I better bring back the vampire so he and the werewolf can yell at each other for 11 more chapters and then get threatened by a bunch of scary vampires and have nothing actually come of it!!

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3)

Oh nooooo. I’m such an angsty girl and now the vampire and the werewolf are both here and ohhhhh I love them both. So I’ll tell the vampire I love him and hang out and kiss him and then hang out with the werewolf but we won’t kiss we’ll only hold hands and of course the vampire is so wussy he won’t even care.

Kiss the vampire.

Hold hands with the werewolf.

Kiss the vampire.

Tell the werewolf I love him.

Kiss the vampire.

Try to figure out why the werewolf doesn’t get that I don’t want to be with him as I tell him I love him and hold his hand some more.

(Repeat for 500 pages)

Oh no!!! A whole bunch of bad vampires!! Let’s fight them all!! The end.

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)

Oh, being married to the vampire is soooooo amazing. I think we’ll have crazy crazy vampire-on-human sex! It’s ok, we’re married now. Because if we weren’t, having sex with the undead would just be weird. Ooooooo I sure do like all the love makin’! In fact, I think I’ll make love to him for the first 200 pages!!

Oh no, I’m pregnant!! How did that happen? And with a vampire baby! It scratches my belly and breaks my ribs when it kicks. Ouch!!! Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch!!! Oh the pain!!! The pain!!!!!!!!!!! I know what will make it easier on you, the reader: I’ll be in horrible horrible labor for the next 700 pages.

Oh I have a baby now. I love her! And the werewolf fell in love with her (For real. The werewolf is in love with an infant mutant baby)! What could possibly go wrong??

Oh no!! It’s the end! All the bad vampires from around the world are here to kill me and my baby!!!!!!! Oh no!!!! What should we do!!!!!!!! I know! Instead of having an exciting, dramatic climax, where we all fight and put an end to their evil vampire ways I’ll just be like, “You guys are wrong, my baby is cool.” And they’ll be like, “Oh yea, your baby IS pretty cool. My bad. See ya.”

Yeah. That ending is MUCH better.

I just realized this blog makes it sound like I didn’t like the books. Obviously, since I read them all, that’s not true. I liked them all except the last one. But when you capsulize these tomes in a quick, sarcastic blog, they’re gonna end up sounding pretty ridiculous. And I guess they kind of are.

***UPDATE: Apparently Australians don’t appreciate my book reviews. Read more about that RIGHT HERE.

Finding “Lost”

Sarah and I have been watching the third season of “Lost” on DVD. I’ve seen it already; she hasn’t. It’s been fun watching her react to all of the twists and turns and remembering how I reacted to each revelation as it unfolded. (Unfortunately, she read the recent issue of Entertainment Weekly which featured “Lost” on the cover and, in the first 2 paragraphs, found out some surprises she didn’t yet know about. Whoops.)

The best thing about watching Sarah watch “Lost” is the vast array of comments — many times very contradictory — she yells at the TV. Observe:

“Save him!”
“Kill him!”
“What a b!”
“Go, Jin! Awesome kick!”
“Come on! You kill people for a living!”
“This show makes my head hurt.”
“I’m too tense. I need to stop.”
“Wanna watch another one?”
“He’s going to die in this one, isn’t he?”
“I always wanted to kick like that.”
“I don’t get why they don’t just get along with each other.”
“Kill him!!!!!!”

Playing MacGuyver

I’ve never ever seen an episode of MacGuyver, but I think I know enough about the show to say that last night, I felt a little bit like him.

I went to the NCT to see the shows last night and upon leaving the apartment Deanna informed me that she was going to hang out with friends and asked how late I’d be out. We only have one set of keys to the apartment, so the general rule is, whoever will be home first gets the keys so they can let the other person in. She said she thought she would be out until midnight or so. Usually after the NCT shows I hang out with the gang and talk and yak and just generally hang out so I told her that would be fine; take the keys. I’m usually there until at least 1am and, if by some chance I am done before midnight, I’ll swing by the diner up the block and grab a bite to eat. She said she’d call and leave a message when she gets home. I let her know my phone is almost out of juice, so it’ll be off most of the night. And the plan is set. Or so I think.

So I finally leave the theater about a quarter after midnight. Early for me. I call Deanna to see if she’s home yet and she doesn’t answer her phone. So I go to the diner. I get my usual [French toast and eggs] and enjoy a few cups of coffee. I leave and it’s pretty darn cold. I walk to the apartment and ring the buzzer. No answer. I call her and my phone is giving me the “Battery Low” beep. She answers and says she is in Chelsea [where the heck is that?] and will be on her way.

So I decide to go for a walk. The time is 12:38am. I go to Times Square [and take the long way] and listen to the black Muslims preach about the evils of whitey. I walk up and down the odd and then even street numbers and then decide to go to Duane Reade [a local pharmacy chain] and buy a magazine. I only have a few bucks on me, otherwise I’d have gone to a restaurant or a bar to hang out. I get back home around 1:30 and she’s still not there. I call a few more times and she doesn’t answer. And now my phone is so low on power, it won’t finish the call before turning itself off.

So I sit on the freezing stoop and read Entertainment Weekly. I sit there long enough to make myself read every damn section of the magazine [except the fashion section. Even as bored as I was I still was not bored enough to read about fashion].

I realize all that coffee made me have to go to the bathroom.Really bad.

And then it begins to snow.

I decide to go to yet another diner. I have enough money to buy another cup of coffee so I can use their bathroom. So I use the bathroom, buy a cup of coffee, and then pee again. The snow is really coming down and even in my current situation I thought it was beautiful.

I walk back to the apartment and she’s still not there. I turn my phone on and see if it has enough juice to make a call. It does, but there’s still no answer.

At this time, thankfully, someone else who lives in the apartment gets home and lets me in the front door. Man that hall never felt so warm before. So I was halfway home. I still didn’t have a key to get into our apartment.

One of the weird things [but often common] about New York apartments is many times the bathroom is actually out in the hall. That’s the way ours is set up. There’s a padlock on the bathroom door so no one can use it but us. Apparently people have locked themselves out of the apartment during a bathroom break before because I know there is a spare key to the apartment door hidden in the bathroom in a basket on a shelf above the toilet. But the bathrom door is padlocked shut.

All I need is a Philips head screwdriver and I can remove the padlock and get in the bathroom and get the key. But of course, I don’t have one. Nor do I have enough money to run out and buy one. And this is where things go MacGuyver. I’m not going to tell you how I got in just in case someone decides to break into our apartment, but I will tell you what I had with me [Funny, but I’ve never been so aware of every single item I had on my person before, trying to figure out how to get past that padlock]. I will also say this: I didn’t cause any permanent damage to the apartment, the doors, the locks, nothing. I did not leave a trace of my being there and/or getting in.

Maybe you can figure it out. Here’s what I had: A big Macy’s bag with a box of strawberry shortcake given to me by Gary at NCT. A tin of cookies I bought previously in the day. A money clip. Various cards i.e. library card, discount card, driver’s license. Spare change. A pen. Gloves. Hat. Scarf.

Hint: Although I tried a few things with the money clip, I was unsuccessful.

I finally got in my apartment around 3:30AM. I don’t know when Deanna got home, but she’s still asleep.

So there you go. An Ed-cyclopedia Brown mystery to solve. How did Ed get in the apartment??

New Music

One of the many things in life that brings me happiness is finding a new musical artist that I really dig. This year one of my discoveries has been Robbie Williams. That dude is cool. I have also recently stumbled upon Kristian Leontiou and am also delving into Fatboy Slim. Those Brits have something going on over there. There’s also an English group called “V” (I don’t know if it’s pronounced “vee” or “five”) and it’s all thanks to a UK version of “Now That’s What I Call Music.” I’m hooked.

Since I’m talking music, let me also bring up Martina Topley-Bird. I don’t know where she’s from, but I read a good review on her album in Entertainment Weekly and I’m really into her sound. Kind of a Macy Gray meets Bjork meets Dicky Ochoa vibe.