Catching Up

It’s been a busy time, since last I stopped by here. The entire month of December is gone, and we’re a week into a New Year. So what’s going on?

I went to Portland for a long weekend in early December. It was my step-mom’s 70th birthday, and I went up to help her celebrate. Ted didn’t come with me, mostly because of his cat allergies, which means he can’t come inside (or at least not for long) most of the houses for our family. That can work fine in summer, we sleep at a hotel or house sit for neighbors, and we eat dinner in my parents’ back yard. That wouldn’t work this time, as it was snow and ice everywhere. Maya didn’t come with me, because while the party was on Dec 10th, her finals started Dec 12th, so she had to be here to study. So it was me alone. While there, I realized that I believe the only other time I’ve gone to Portland without Ted and/or Maya, it was January of 1988, when I went up to meet my sisters for the first time. They were 17 years old and in high school. I’m pretty sure that Ted came with me on my trips after that, and there were times when Maya and I went without him (cat issues, or work), or the three of us went. It was nice in a way, though I did miss them. I flew up on Thursday, and on Friday my dad and I went down the hill from the house to help get ready for the party. A neighbor, who has parties and fundraisers in her house often, offered the use of her home for the party, which was great. Dad and Julie live on a VERY steep hill, which is absolutely no fun when it is covered in ice. So to get down the hill can be tricky. We had walking poles, but it was so steep, we decided to slide down the hill on a piece of cardboard. That sounds more fun than it was. The ice was thin, and not at all smooth, and we felt every bump and rock on the way down. The cardboard shredded by the time we got to the bottom of the hill. My dad took this picture of me when I’m part way down. At this point, I’m frustrated, and thinking it would have been more fun to stay in the house with a cup of hot chocolate or something. This little puppy ran out to say hello and urge me on. It worked, the puppy was SO cute, it cheered me right up. The rest of the way to the house was still slippery, but we had our poles, and it wasn’t steep, so we were fine.
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I spent that evening with my sister and her husband, which was really great. They married in March, and we went up to celebrate in September. We’ve met her husband a couple of times, but this was the first time I got to spend time with just Melissa and Jason, and it was really nice to get to know him better. Saturday, Melissa and I did some Christmas shopping, and had lunch with Jason and some friends. Saturday night was the party, which was great, the ice had melted and everything was lovely. Then Sunday I came home. It was a fun trip.

What else…well, I caught a stupid cold. We had our annual baking day, which was fun, and I put together a box of cookies to bring to my friend Trudy. I used to deliver Meals on Wheels to her, but she went off of the route last year, when she moved from her home to an assisted living facility. I brought them to her on the Sunday before Christmas, and on Monday realized I was sick with a cold. Damn. It was a crummy head cold, which then went into my chest. I didn’t deliver Meals on Wheels that week, because I felt horrid, and also I worried about getting the clients on my route sick. I went again the Thursday after Christmas, and I asked another woman on my route, Dana, if she had heard how Trudy was doing. Trudy passed away the Tuesday after Christmas. Crap. I hope to hell I didn’t give her my cold. She was 101, and when I saw her last, she was not doing well. Not much appetite, not dressed, just taking it easy. Not really like herself. I am going to miss her, she was a real character and such a sweet woman.

Last weekend was my birthday, and it was beautiful weather, so Ted, Maya, Mulder, and I went to Pescadero, which is a little town at the coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. They have a bakery there that sells some amazing bread with artichoke hearts baked inside. So we ate delicious artichoke bread, then went to the beach to smell the salt water. It was a perfect day, and when we got home and cleaned up, we got dressed and went out for a delicious birthday dinner. Here’s Mulder at the beach.
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Now here we are, it’s a rainy Sunday afternoon. We’ve been watching the screeners that Ted gets for being part of the SAG-AFTRA Union. We’ve seen Lion, which we loved, and Fences, which was very good, and I liked it more than Ted did. We have a couple of others that we haven’t watched yet. Manchester by the Sea, Jackie, and likely one or two others that I’ve forgotten. We’re supposed to get La La Land, but it hasn’t happened yet. We’re also watching the new One Day at a Time reboot on Netflix, which we are really enjoying. Mostly it’s been a good winter so far, but I could have done without losing Trudy or getting sick. Next weekend we bury my Grandma’s remains, and my mom’s as well. My Grandma was cremated, and wanted to be buried in the grave with her first husband, my Grandpa Roland, who died when my mom was 5. We are going to bury my mom’s remains in with them, as well as a bit of my Uncle Forrest’s remains, and a picture of their baby Roland, who died a few weeks after birth. There’s good and bad to that. I miss my Grandma, and it’s going to be sad. I miss my mom, and that’s going to be sad, too. I miss my uncle. Blech, it all sucks. But on the other hand, 4 of the 6 cousins will be there, including my brother Richard, who I don’t see often, since he lives in Alaska. I’m looking forward to seeing him.

That’s it for now. Hoping you’re well.

Friday Randomness

Have you seen the beautiful tribute to my first husband, David Bowie, at the BRIT awards?  This is the entire thing, I think, including a tribute by Annie Lennox, a tribute by Gary Oldmam, and a song by Lorde, backed up by performers who had worked with Bowie in the past.  I’ll confess, Lorde’s song brought me to tears.  I miss David Bowie being alive in the world.  It was a better place with him here.   Coming so soon after the Emmy awards, which included a tribute by Lady Gaga, of course invites comparison.  I’ll chime in and say that Gaga’s tribute left me feeling cold, didn’t move me at all.  Hers was an over the top performance, with her dressed to honor the glam rock Bowie from the 70s.  She did a fine job, but tried to squeeze in too many songs, and it sounded like she was trying to pitch her voice to match his.  Lorde instead did a straight up version of ‘Life on Mars?’ that was gorgeous and simple.  The video above is the whole BRIT tribute.  If you want to see just Lorde’s performance, it starts about 9 minutes in.

Speaking of Gaga, I read today that Joe Biden is going to introduce her at the Academy Awards on Sunday, where she will perform her Oscar nominated song about rape and sexual assult.  This comes in the wake of a court decision this week that Kesha, who was (allegedly) sexually assaulted by her producer, Dr. Luke, will not be released from her contract with Sony.  Kesha says she wants to break all ties with Luke, but Sony says they are unable to do so, because the contract belongs to Dr. Luke’s company, which has a deal with Sony.  What a mess.  This is just an injunction, however, and the actual trial hasn’t started yet.  So we’ll see whether she will be contractually required to create 4 more albums with her attacker.  I don’t know more about the case, but I’m glad it’s getting attention.  Sexual assult is hard to prove, and so often the blame is put on the victim.  We need to change that mentality.

How’s the weather where you are?  It’s stupidly gorgeous here, 70 degrees outside right now.  We’ve had a very dry February, though not as dry as recent years.  January was pretty wet, which was good, unless you live on a cliff in Pacifica.  But February is prime rainy season.  It’s not unheard of in an ‘el nino’ year for us to have a dry spell, so I’m hoping still for a wet March and maybe even April.  After that it pretty much dries up around here.  What we need are winter storms to drop a lot of moisture, and we’re just not getting that right now.  Ugh.

Did you watch ‘Freaks and Geeks‘ when it was on back in ’99-2000?   We did, though I think we missed it first run and watched in reruns.  The entire series (only 18 episodes) is available now on Netflix.  If you came of age in the early 80s, you should give yourself up to a good binge and watch the entire thing.  We just finished the other night, and it really held up well.

I thought the series finale of Downton Abbey was this coming Sunday, but maybe they didn’t want to go up against the Academy Awards.  It’s next week, March 6th.  We have the DVD, so we’ve watched already.  Clearly I’m not evil and I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will say I think they did a really nice job with it.

Do you like Spaghetti and Meatballs?  We do.  We’re especially fond of the recipe in my Alice Waters cookbook.  It’s fairly involved, though, and usually Ted makes the meatballs while I make the sauce and it’s a real team effort weekend type meal.  So I was happy the other day to see that Smitten Kitchen had an everyday meatball recipe.  And instead of serving it with pasta, she said maybe you might want to have it with garlic toast, as sort of an open face meatball sub.  So that’s exactly what we did, and gosh it was good.  I think I would have liked the sauce portion to be a bit more complex, maybe some onions or carrots or something in there, but for a quick sauce, it was quite good.  Happily, there are leftovers on the menu tonight.

Lastly in this rambling post, for some reason last night I was thinking about these TV dinners, Libbyland, we sometimes got when I was a kid, in Alaska.  They were made and marketed to kids, so there was a game or a puzzle or something on the box that you could occupy yourself with, there was a packet of Nestle Quick that you could mix with milk and have chocolate milk (maybe they even had strawberry milk with some meals, I’m not sure.)  TV dinners back then were cooked in the oven, and these for some reason often came with chocolate pudding, so that was hot.  Strange.  The food was definitely geared towards kids tastes, and was fairly gross.  But boy, I loved those things.  I think we would get those if my mom was going on a date, so not a nightly thing by any means.

 

Finding Carter & Awkward


I can’t say I ever expected to find entertaining drama or comedies on MTV. I am old enough to remember when it was brand new and played videos all day, and that was revolutionary and cool. No TV shows, no reality TV, none of that. Just videos. As far as TV goes, I’m not a fan of reality shows. I’ll admit to being hooked on season 2 of ‘The Real World’ back in the mid 90s, but that was only because it was filmed in San Francisco, and we were homesick living in Philadelphia. Also, while it was kind of stupid and contrived, it didn’t have all of the truly fake situations that modern shows have. Like sending people to Hawaii or stranding them on an island, or whatever.

Anyway, I didn’t think I’d ever find a TV show on MTV that I’d want to watch, until last year, Ted started watching ‘Awkward’. ‘Awkward’ is a teen dramedy about a girl, Jenna, who is struggling through the very awkward phases of high school. Her parents had her when they were in high school themselves, and are ridiculous parodies of parents in so many ways. The thing is, it’s well written. It’s funny and serious and poignant. Season 2 recently ended, and now she’s finishing up her senior year. What’s funny about the show is the clever dialogue, the ridiculousness of it all, the parents and other adults who are, of course, immature in comparison to the teens. Jenna’s main concern is boys boys boys. That’s really the only thing she ever seems to care about, this boy or that boy or whatever. So that’s a little boring, and I do wish she’d get a real problem. But then again, I remember being a teen, and so much of my stupid brain being taken up with boy questions. Does he like me? Why? Why do only the boys I’m not interested in like me? OK, he likes me. Why doesn’t he call? Should I call him? Blah blah blah. So boring. And yet, the show gets a lot of it right (though not accurate to any real teens I’ve ever met, just accurate for the feelings involved). I recommend it.

This year, they’ve added another teen drama that we like even more, “Finding Carter”. Carter is maybe 16, and reminds me of a young Jodie Foster. More in her looks than her mannerisms, though there’s a bit of that, too. Carter is an only child of a single mom, and she and her mom are incredibly close. Trouble is, her mom abducted her when she was 3, and is not really her mom. Carter and some friends get in a bit of trouble, enough that records are pulled on her, and somehow connections are made that were never made before, and she is reunited with her real parents. Trouble is, she doesn’t like her real parents. Well, she kinda likes her father, but her mother is an intense police officer who lost the joy in her life when her little daughter was abducted years ago. She’s focused on trying to find Carter’s abductor mom, who has gone into hiding, and squelches all of Carter’s ideas of how life, and family relationships, should be.

It’s well written. It’s funny sometimes, but the story is compelling, and the characters pull you in and make you care about them. It’s 3 episodes in now, and at least the first 2 are available on Hulu, as is “Awkward”.

These shows are not “Downton Abbey”, “Game of Thrones”, or “Orphan Black”, but they’re good in their own right. Who knew? Quality TV on MTV. Not me.

Cutting the Cord

We’ve noticed that most of our TV use lately is Maya playing video games, or us watching Netflix.  For awhile there, we were getting good use out of our cable On Demand service, but not lately.  Perhaps that’s because we don’t have a DVR, so when there’s a new show on that we want to watch, we seldom watch it live.

We keep hearing about people cutting the cord and getting rid of cable, so we decided to give it a try.  We can use the XBOX 360 for Netflix, Hulu Plus, whatever else.  But what about our local channels?  Nance successfully uses an indoor antenna to access local channels, which sounded like a good idea to me.  So we cancelled the cable, and I went out and bought an indoor antenna.  I hooked it up, programmed the channels, and the results was….3 channels.  If they had been PBS, CBS, and NBC (which is kind of what I expected), I would have been thrilled.  But they were three channels up above 400 on the spectrum, all Spanish language soap operas.  I don’t like soap operas, and I don’t speak Spanish, so that’s a no go.  There’s a website you can use to estimate which channels you might get.  It says 2 for us, neither of which came through the antenna.  Sigh.  So now, what to do?  Seems like we can watch our network shows on the internet, we can do à la carte viewing to download shows on Amazon when we want to see Mad Men or Downton Abbey (which we likely could also watch online…I just don’t really like watching TV on the computer.  It makes me sleepy.  Perhaps because the preferred screen is in the bedroom.).

So then there’s the channel surfing kind of thing.  Jeopardy, which I do enjoy.  CNN if something goes wrong, like an airplane crashes in SF, or a terrorist attack somewhere, or a gas line blows up a neighborhood.  Isn’t that strange, wanting to have a TV channel to turn on when something happens?  I guess we can look at the computer for that as well, but it’s not quite the same. I guess there’s always radio.  So we’ll see what happens.  For now, we’re happy enough without the cable, and figuring out what to do this fall when the new season starts, that will have to take care of itself.

Curses!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPPMnYaCRTs

After my walk this morning, I was cracking eggs into the pan for breakfast, when my work phone rang.  Curses!  Eggs don’t wait, what if this turned into a long complicated phone call, and my eggs overcooked!  What to do?  Well, no worry, because the phone call lasted about 30 seconds, my eggs were fine (much to Genevieve’s disappointment), and all was right with the world.

But in that split second, when the phone was ringing and I was looking at my eggs, the following popped into my head:

Mojo Jojo: Now to have some breakfast!
[He finds only one egg in the fridge]
Mojo Jojo: ONE EGG LEFT?! For a nutritious breakfast, TWO eggs is the minimum requirement! And I have but ONE, which is ONE shy of TWO! And it is TWO that I need! Curses! I must immediately purchase some eggs, for I need to have breakfast, and without the eggs I cannot have the breakfast that I so require!
[He storms down the long staircase that runs to the bottom of the volcano, then suddenly skids to a halt]
Mojo Jojo: [pats his outift in panic] I have forgotten my wallet! Curses!
[He storms back up]
[Cut to him returning down, to discover kids playing in his moat]
Mojo Jojo: HEY, YOU KIDS!!! GET OUT OF MY MOAT!!! IT IS NOT MADE TO BE PLAYED IN!!!
[The kids ignore him]
Mojo Jojo: [leaving] I must remember to destroy those kids after my breakfast has been eaten.

So then of course, I had to find that episode and watch it, and post it here for you. The benefits of working from home sometimes outweigh the pitfalls. I love when he’s waiting to cross the street. We’ve all been there, right?

I think of all the kids shows that Maya got into that weren’t there when I was a kid, Powerpuff Girls was probably my favorite.  Also Kim Possible, but I think I watched more Powerpuff with her.  Mostly because I adore Mojo Jojo.

How about you, parent bloggers?  What is/was your favorite of your kids TV shows?  Not from your youth, from theirs.

Friday Randomness

Diving right in...
Diving right on in here…

I am sick to death of TVs every-damn-where. (If you’re not supposed to split infinitives, you’re probably REALLY not supposed to split a word in half, but I don’t care. Sue me.) I hate going to restaurants where they have a TV set up, and it’s happening at more and more places. Some decent places even. Not that Carls Jr is what I would call a decent place, but really? TV? And California Pizza Kitchen, and so many other places. There was a nice pasta place down the street, and they put in a big TV, and then it closed. Wonder if the TV did them in? I hate shopping at Lucky (local grocery chain), because they have stupid TVs throughout the store as well. With cooking tips and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I love my TV. But I love it AT HOME. I don’t want to be followed by televisions every-damn-where. Ugh.

I’m getting my hair done tomorrow. I love getting my hair done. I love how much better I feel afterward. Of course, I go to a Paul Mitchell beauty school to get it done, which takes about 3 times as long as at my old salon, but it costs about 1/3 of the price, and when you do multiple colors like I do, that adds up to quite a pretty penny. So I’ll bring a book and make a day of it.

Anyone else interested in watching “Who Do You Think You Are” on NBC tonight? I am totally sucked in by the idea of it. Mostly, I think, because I know a lot about my family tree (back to the 1600s in the U.S., not much about England before that), and I want to know if I’m related to any of these famous people. Tonight is Sarah Jessica Parker, and they say she’s related to a Salem witch. Hey, I’M related to a Salem witch! So you know…maybe! I have to watch.

I went to Maya’s old school today and was chatting with the principal, and we were talking about the sorry state of education funding in this stupid state of ours, and I mentioned that there’s a special ballot for a new parcel tax for the high school district that Maya will go to next year. She mentioned that it might pass, but that the district that her school is in can’t ever get a parcel tax passed. I knew this, but I didn’t know why. That school district is a pretty big one, with a lot of schools, and they span several cities, my city being the wealthiest of the group. Not that we’re wealthy (oh, I wish!), but many in our area are. The schools in that district that are in my city are the best in the district. SO, the people in my city who are in that district CONSISTENTLY vote down any new parcel taxes to fund the schools, because hell, THEIR schools are good, and they don’t want THEIR money going to improve the schools in our neighboring towns in the same district. Really people? THIS is how petty and mean we are? REALLY? Such a sense of “I’ve got mine, to hell with you”. YOU’RE IN THE SAME F**ING DISTRICT. We really, really need to fix the stupid budgeting process in California. It’s broken. In far more ways than this one. (Just re-read that…kinda confusing. There are three school districts around here…District A, which encompasses several towns in the area, including about half of my town. District B, which encompasses the other half of my town, and is quite small. It only goes up through 8th grade. District C, which is a high school only district, and has 4 or 5 high schools, including the one that Maya will most likely go to. Only one of the high schools in District C are in the same towns as the high schools in District A. More clear? No? Dang.)

We also talked a bit about TV. She was saying how she likes Weeds, which reminded me that I used to like that show. We stopped watching out of inertia, I guess. No real reason. But while I liked it, liked the writing and the acting and the characters, I had trouble with the basic premise of the show. Which is, wealthy, educated, suburban woman in a big house needs money fast. Her husband died or something, I don’t remember. Does she get a job? No. Does she downsize into a smaller house? No. She can’t do those things, because they would be disruptive to her children, who have already been through too much when they lost their father. So she becomes a pot dealer. Like THAT’S not going to disrupt the kids? HELLO. I know, when you’re watching TV, you have to let go and just get into the story. And usually I can do that. And I like my characters to be human and flawed as much as the next viewer. But somehow, the fact that she didn’t even TRY a more moral, normal, every day solution just bugs me. So I don’t know. Maybe I’ll netflix the seasons we’ve missed. Maybe I won’t.

Speaking of Netflix, Season 2 of Thirtysomething is out on DVD, and we’ve been watching it. I can’t help it, I love that show.

Speaking of TV, why the hell is Big Love almost over? The season finale is Sunday, which is the 9th episode of the season. 9th. That sucks. Maybe next year they’ll have 3. Season premier, season, season finale. Grrr.

Maya and I got our teeth cleaned yesterday. The dentist found ‘composite’ on her teeth, the stuff that sticks the braces to the teeth. Not shocking, but gosh, we paid a lot for those braces and the orthodontist’s time. Couldn’t they have gotten it all off when they took off her braces? No? Whatever. When I got my braces off almost 30 years ago, we didn’t have dental insurance or money to go to the dentist, and I had that crap on my teeth for YEARS.

Cherry’s baby shower is next weekend. I’m looking forward to it, but I’ll confess here that I haven’t been going off the registry. Baby clothes are FAR too cute for me to spend my time and money on less cute things. I hope someone else will step up and be practical. 😉

We had sole for dinner last night. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had sole before. It was….delicate. That’s a nice way of saying, no real flavor. I don’t know if that’s because I didn’t get good sole, or if it’s just a very mild fish. With a lemon/butter/parsley sauce, it tasted like lemon, butter, and parsley. Which is good, but still.

Happy Friday, everyone. Hope you’re well.

DVD Review

We recently signed up for Netflix again, after canceling for awhile. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep it, because our queue is pretty darned short at this point, but we have watched a few things. Between the DVDs and the OnDemand, we’re not running out of things to watch. Also, we can watch Netflix films using our XBox Live. Crazy, huh? What I want, though, is a perfect world, where I can download ANY movie or show I want, at any time, and not have to wait for it to be available via. OnDemand or XBox. And I don’t want to have to pay extra for it. I basically want the whole Netflix catalog to be available to me at a moment’s notice. I suspect we’ll get to that point, but we’re not there yet by any stretch of the imagination.

LaLuna suggested I might enjoy Lost in Austen, and I really did.  This is a cute story about Amanda, a 21st Century Brit who is transported into the fictional 19th century world of Jane Austen’s famous novel, Pride and Prejudice. Amanda means well, but she inadvertently causes trouble, and things go awry, and oh dear, how is Elizabeth Bennett supposed to fall in love with Mr. Darcy if he’s such a jerk all of the time, and Elizabeth is exploring 21st Century London? It’s rather long at almost 4 hours, as it was made as a mini-series in England. I went in thinking I knew how it was going to turn out, and the fact that I was wrong pleased me quite a bit.

Two Lovers is the story of Leonard, a twenty-something, suicidal New Yorker played by Joaquin Phoenix, who is looking for love after his engagement is broken. He finds himself playing the part of the sad sack to his beautiful and self destructive new neighbor, Michelle, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. At the same time, his parents set him up with Sandra, Vinessa Shaw, who is the daughter of a business associate of Leonard’s father. Sandra is sensible, trusting, trustworthy, and lovely. So of course, Leonard is drawn to the tortured Michelle. The acting was very good in this film, but mostly I wanted Leonard to wake up and see that Sandra was a much better choice, to stop letting Michelle push him around, and for Sandra to know what a jerk he was being.

Mad MenWe started watching Mad Men on the strong recommendation of Tim Goodman, a local TV Reviewer, who suggested that with all of the good shows finished for the year, now was a good time to get caught up on series you might have missed. Mad Men‘s third season starts August 16th, so this is indeed a great time to get caught up. I confess I didn’t think much of watching this series, since my mom was a big fan, and my mom and I often have different taste in TV shows. She loved Firefly, The Big Bang Theory, and Foyles War. I love Buffy, BSG, and Big Love. My bloggy friend CK also loves Mad Men, but still, I hadn’t given it a shot. Finally we caught it via OnDemand, and we were hooked right away. If you haven’t been watching, it’s the story of a group of Madison Avenue advertising men (and women) in the very early 1960s. They’ve captured so much of that time and place, it seems. The smoking. The drinking. The horrible sexism. It’s really well done. And it’s on AMC, which I think used to stand for American Movie Classics, just like TLC used to stand for The Learning Channel. Check it out…there’s still time to get caught up before the new season starts.

Breaking BadWe started watching Breaking Bad for the same reason as Mad Men. It’s another AMC original series, and the premise is that a frustrated 40-something high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, gets the news that he’s dying of cancer. Money is a huge issue for Walter and his family, and he works a second job as a cashier at a car wash. When he receives the news about his cancer, he quits his job at the car wash, and decides that he needs another way to come up with a lot of money, quickly, as he wants to provide for his wife and son as well as he can before his time runs out. His brother-in-law is a DEA agent, and mentions to Walter in passing that there’s a hell of a lot of money in the manufacture and sale of meth-amphetamines. So, of course, Walter starts making meth with a former student. I’m not sure about this show. Kind of like Weeds, it bugs me that the first and only solution to serious money problems for these formerly decent people seems to be the sale of drugs. We’re about 3 episodes in, and the acting and writing is wonderful, and I suspect we’ll stick with it. I’ve heard it just gets better. Mostly, we just want to see what’s next. Warning though, while Mad Men is mostly OK for older kids (Maya watches with us), Breaking Bad is not.

Like I said, I’m not sure how long we’ll keep the Netflix subscription.  I do like that you can start and stop it any time you like.  But for now, we’re enjoying ourselves.  Next week, season 4.5 of Battlestar Galactica comes out on DVD.  Maya may pass out, she’s so excited.  I suspect there will be less viewing of non-BSG related things for a little while, at least.

How about you?  Are you watching anything on TV?  If so, what?

The end of BSG

Last night was the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, though there will be a TV movie out this June, “The Plan“, and there’s the premier of “Caprica” to look forward to, if you’re so inclined.  Last night’s two hour episode was 2/3 of the finale, making me want to sit down and watch last week’s episode along with this one.  I have a feeling we may be doing just that later this afternoon.

Overall, if you weren’t a fan, there would be nothing to see in this episode.  But if you were a fan of one of the best shows on TV (The Best currently on TV, we would say around here), it was a heck of a way to end.  There was action galore, resolutions, moral redemption, and a few mysteries answered at long last.   The ship, the Galactica, was literally falling apart, and that was before it got into one heck of a fire fight with the cylon ship, but it had one last interstellar jump possible.  Where to jump?  How to know?  That’s where that frakkin’ song comes in.  I loved that touch, and the juxtaposition of the opera house dream sequence with the fight to save Hera.

The final touches of the show, I wasn’t sure about.  They were, in the words of one review I read, “Satisfyingly unsatisfying”.  We’ll have to watch it again.  I’m not sure what I would have done differently, and after all of the hell these characters have been going through, I was happy to see some good news and hope for a change.  Perhaps, after all, all of this will not happen again.

TiVo Alert ~ San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

We were fortunate enough to catch an encore performance of San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker yesterday.  It was beautiful and really, really well done.  I looked on our local PBS website, and there’s only one showing left, 2AM Tuesday morning.  If you have a chance, record it.  You won’t be disappointed, even though the Nutcracker Prince has a mask that looks a bit too much like the Burger King for my taste.   It was filmed last year, and is distributed this year via Great Performances.   Of course, there’s a DVD available for the ballet lovers out there.  Enjoy.  It’s gorgeous.

You’re Kidding, Right?

I read this online yesterday.  Apparently, a group called Children Now reviewed the 30 most widely aired ‘Educational/Informational’ childrens’ shows, and determined the following 8 programs to have “exemplary” educational content.

  • Sesame Street (shown on PBS)
  • Beakman’s World (shown on commercial TV)
  • Between the Lions (shown on PBS)
  • 3-2-1 Penguins (shown on commercial TV)
  • Cyberchase (shown on PBS)
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (shown on commercial TV)
  • Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (shown on PBS)
  • Teen Kids News (shown on commercial TV)

I don’t watch a lot of kids’ TV, but of course I remember Sesame Street from when Maya was younger, and I’ll agree with that one.  I’ll take their word for it on the rest, since I haven’t seen them, except for The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.  WTF???  You have GOT to be kidding.  This is the MOST horrid and annoying show on TV, even worse than That’s So Raven.  If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that these two tween boys (twin brothers) live in the hotel where their mom works.  Hijinks ensue.  One brother is relatively good and kind, while the other is always trying to figure out how to con someone out of a buck and break all of the rules, and has the libido of a 17 year old, especially when it comes to the comely teen who works behind the candy counter in the hotel lobby.

Maya went through a (thankfully brief) period of enjoying this show, and the canned laugh track, the annoying pranks, the smart ass kids, and the dumber-than-a-post-adults all combined to make it a very painful viewing experience.  I cannot for the life of me figure out what was ‘educational or informational’ about it, unless it’s that the annoying brother always learns his lesson by the end of the episode.  But by the next episode, he’s up to it again, so what’s the point?

All you parents of younger children…consider yourself warned.  This show is painful, and may cause your brain to bleed out of your ears.

~DoSoEvAyMo

Thursday means Yoga in the P.M.  Yay!  Also means a lunchtime conference call.  I have to try a few tricks at work, trying to get this stupid help program I’m working with to work.  I’ve gone back and forth with tech support, and I’m still not sure what’s wrong.  Frustrating.

Ted has a stupid cold, and I feel helpless listening to him cough.  I want to help him, but I’m not sure how.  Sigh.  Maybe break out the humidifier tonight?  Updated to add:  Maya may or may not be coming down with a cold now as well.  She says she feels run down today, and was mighty grumpy.  Said all she wanted was to stay in bed.  I told her if it got worse, I’d come get her from school.  Sigh.  I’m hoping she’s just tired, and hasn’t gotten the cold.

Remakes: Friend or Foe?

I was looking online the other day for “Lost”, wondering when the new season would start (I never found out, exactly, though I seem to remember it’s January or February of 2009), when I came across the little tidbit that Land of the Lost is being made into a movie, coming out in 2009.  I know this labels me as lame forever, and my brother was embarrassed at the time to be related to me, but I LOVED “Land of the Lost” when I was 8 years old.  Oh Holly, how difficult to have to grow up without your mom, in a land of dinosaurs and Sleestack…the danger always present, the fight to survive strong in this small family.

I don’t know if this is a good idea or not.  We won’t know until the movie comes out.  I thought I might put together a Thursday Thirteen, though, about other remakes, and whether I think they were a good idea or not.  I’m limiting my list to remakes where I’ve seen both versions, the original and the new.  So though I saw Cape Fear in 1991, I never saw the original, so I can’t include it.

  1. Charlie/Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    I didn’t think I would like the remake.  Why try to improve on the genius of Gene Wilder in the original?  He was crazy funny. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp succeeded by NOT trying to improve on the original, and instead re-imagined it, following the book much more closely, and making a Willy Wonka that reminds you of no-one so much as Michael Jackson, though not nearly as scary.
  2. Planet of the Apes
    I thought I would like this one, because I like Tim Burton, and I liked the original so darned much.  It was campy fun meets sci-fi at its best, so what’s not to love?  Turns out, blah, boring, dumb.
  3. Father of the Bride
    I liked the original a lot better than the remake.  I liked all of the actors in the remake, but for some reason, the poignancy of Spencer Tracy’s fear of losing his daughter came through better than Steve Martin’s.  I don’t blame Steve Martin.  I blame the script and direction.
  4. The Wizard of Oz/The Wiz
    Please don’t hate me.  I really liked the Wiz.  Better than the Wizard of Oz.  Ouch! That brick you just threw at my head really hurt!
  5. King Kong
    I didn’t see the most recent in this franchise, but I saw both the 1933 and 1976 versions.  I don’t really like these movies.  There’s a racial and mean undertone to them that gives me a bit of the willies.  But it was fun watching the 1976 version while my mom was in the other room, also watching Fantasy Island.  Flipping back and forth, and Richard and I confusing my mom about what stupid show we were watching.  No, it’s really not that funny.  But it was fun at the time.
  6. Lolita
    This film gives me the creeps a lot more than the book does.  Though the book is worse.  The beauty of the writing kind of lulls you into a stupor where you start to perhaps maybe sympathize with Humbert Humbert, even while your skin crawls and your heart genuinely goes out to poor Lolita.  The films never quite manage that.  I don’t know that they ever can.
  7. Wings of Desire/City of Angels
    I liked Wings of Desire.  It had heart, it was beautiful, it meant something. I hated City of Angels.  It was almost a caricature of Wings of Desire.  When Meg Ryan is riding her bike on the side of a mountain with no hands and her eyes shut, I’m just thinking, “Die, you idiot, who rides a bike that way?  No one with a frikkin’ BRAIN!”
  8. Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail
    I thought Shop Around the Corner was cute, and I thought You’ve Got Mail sucked.  I know, people loved it.  But Meg Ryan bugged the crap out of me, and I didn’t think that Tom Hanks had any charm either.  I loved them in Sleepless in Seattle.  Maybe they work better together when they don’t have many scenes together?  I don’t know.
  9. Against All Odds/Out of the Past
    Out of the Past was one of the original film noirs, and it took place in my very favorite city, San Francisco.  I want to love it.  I feel like it will make me seem smart if I love it.  But it’s kind of boring.  But Against All Odds was at least interesting, and Rachael Ward was smokin’ hot, and I love me some James Woods in all his creepy ickyness.  Loved it.  I know, Out of the Past is better.  I don’t care.
  10. Star Trek (from TV to movie to TV again)
    This isn’t so much a remake as a sequel, so I shouldn’t count it.  But it’s so famous, I’ll include it.  Loved the original series, the movies were good (the even ones, the odd ones sucked), and the series were varied.  Loved Next Generation, and they kind of got slowly worse from there, to the point where we got to Enterprise, which was just so-so and fairly boring.
  11. Bedazzled
    We saw the remake of this, and it was actually pretty funny and cute.  But there’s no way in hell anyone can top Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.  No way.
  12. Henry V
    I loved loved lurved both versions of this, both Olivier and Branagh.  Maybe it’s the genius of Shakespeare.  I suspect, though, they’re both gifted actors and directors.  I loved them both.  Glad it was remade so I could see another, excellent version of this wonderful play.
  13. A Little Princess
    I liked the ’95 version so much better than the Shirley Temple version (though I love Shirley Temple, do not get me wrong).  But neither one comes close to the compassion and depth of the book. The stupid dad in the hospital thing, which is in both movies, just ruins it for me.  The whole heart to the book was that Sara’s father was actually dead, and that she was able to befriend and forgive the man who was (inadvertently) involved in his death. Also lost in the films is Sara’s strength of character in staying kind and giving no matter what the odds (starvation, neglect, cruelty, abuse), because of her desire to live her life like a princess.  Hence the name.

How about you?  What remakes do you love or hate?

Why?

Why does there have to be a TV wherever you go?  There’s a nice spa down the street from our house, where we sometimes go for a massage.  They have a stupid TV in the changing room, set to a horrid show, talking about some guy who murdered his children.  Not the news, either, some sensationalist channel.  So you come out after having a wonderful massage, and you’re confronted with that crap.  They also have a changing room for after you work out, and I can understand having a TV there, since some people like to watch the news in the morning, and they go to the gym in the morning.  But they have a separate changing room for folks who are there for a massage or whatever, and I don’t think that room should have a TV.

And why are there flat screens in more and more restaurants nowadays?  I get so tired of going out for a meal, only to see a TV on the wall.  Grr.  Why can’t we just watch TV at home, and not every dang place we go?  They’ve added a big screen TV at California Pizza Kitchen, and I find it annoying as hell.

The worst though, for me, was the grocery store.  Albertsons installed TV monitors at the end of each check out lane, and while you’re waiting in line, you get to watch commercials.  Nice, huh?  Albertsons has turned back into Lucky now…I don’t think they kept the TVs, but I’m not sure…

How about you?  Are there any places that you see a TV, and you wish it weren’t there?  Or do you love having a TV to watch every time you turn around?

UPDATED TO ADD: Just got back from shopping at Lucky, and they don’t have the TV with commercials at the end of the aisles, but instead they had a few TVs throughout the store with stupid ‘how to’ videos, like how to cook chicken, or how to apply eye liner.  Ugh.

Flight of the Conchords

http://youtube.com/watch?v=gZQopX6r-54
Flight of the Conchords, ‘Mutha Uckers’

Kookiejar over at A Fraternity of Dreamers has been talking for awhile of her passionate love for Flight of the Conchords. Since we didn’t have HBO, I had no idea what she was talking about. But recently, we decided not to put our life on hold anymore (what with the not moving and so on), and we went ahead and signed up for digital cable, which includes HBO. That means when the time comes, we can watch Big Love. Yay! Also, (and more importantly) we get Sci-Fi, which means we can watch Battlestar Galactica when it starts and repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation for now, as well as repeats of 90210 on the Soap Opera Network. Yay!

We also have access to On Demand, which has 5 or 6 episodes of Flight of the Conchords listed. We’re having a lot of fun watching them, though I will admit that the episodes are uneven, with some being pretty darned funny, and others, just kind of funny. The video, above, is our favorite thus far. It was the first episode we saw, and the story is that Bret and Jermaine are being discriminated against by a fruit merchant, because of their Kiwi ways (they’re from New Zealand), and they’re sick of it. They have these silly fantasy song sequences, which I kinda think are the best part of the show. Watch and enjoy.