Saturday, December 12, 2009

This is reality....Right?

Okay I don't know how I can top last week's question so I'm not even going to try. Maybe this is too easy but I liked thinking about the answer. So in honor of Survivor's four hundredth season or whatever it is (never liked/watched the show honestly) I would like to know everyone's opinion on their favorite reality show. Now this is not reality like game show kind of think like Jeopardy or anything like that, this is cuthroat, drama-filled off on a island with no tv REALITY show. Haha but we won't go into how reality it is.... So there we are:

What is your favorite reality tv show?!

Heidi: My choice for this is definitely going to be Real World/Road Rules Challenge. I can not get enough of this show. And even though they seem to always have the same people on and the same drama I love it. I mean they breed the drama; endless supply of alcohol, no television, basically the only thing for them to do is drink, hook up, and fight with each other. Which they're awesome at. But the part of the show that I truly love to watch are the challenges. They are so original and more puzzle like than any I've seen. I really really enjoy watching the relatively unintelligent people solve puzzles where they have to spell words or drop 100 feet into the water. It's priceless. And the physical challenges are fantastic because they guys are so macho that they get so unbelievably into the competition. It's fantastic and I just love it. Each round gets more awesome. Well except for the survivor style one, I wasn't that into that one. And they get super hosts to come in each season, like TJ Lavin who although he looks like a total bore to be around, he's still nice to look at.
Cory: Well Heidi kind of stole my answer but then I was thinking about it and I can’t stand when all the guys are like oh the girls, we don’t need the girls and then they hit the puzzle and 9/10 times it is the girl solving it. But since Heidi is a big fat thief! Here is my new choice pretty much any of The Housewives shows I find them hilarious and ridiculous and well they make me feel very normal. For example I find it very funny when a character says when I was 27 I only needed 1 Botox shot and now that I am 32 I need 2 shots. When in my head I am thinking you got Botox when you were 27! That is only a few years older than I am right now! Full of priceless moments like this from all over the country. I can’t even describe why I find it so funny. But that is my choice because I tune in every week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dinner Party!?!

It is my week for the weekly ? and since I have a feeling I will be no where near a computer for the next few days here it is early. If you could invite any 3 people to a dinner party at your house from the entertainment industry (books, movies, music, etc.) who would it be? Dead or alive. And magically you would all want to be there, food would be provided, along with a killer outfit and your house would also be clean. So not that we have all that other stuff out of the way,who would it be? Me well I am still contemplating and making some cuts. But who would you send an invite to?

Heidi - Okay whoa this has taken me SOOO long to think up an answer to. I mean there are so many things to consider. Gorgeous guys are a pitfall because, well I'm a nerd and get worse around pretty men. Gorgeous women are a pitfall because well....I don't want to continue this line of thinking. Funny people seem like a must but could also be tragic because I don't want to look super unfunny. Can you tell overthinking this is involved? But I have come to a sort of conclusion. And this weekend Cory, Ab, and I decided that couples count as 1 invite, so keep that in mind. Alright my first invite gets sent with much anticipation and joy to Joel McHale. What can I say I just love the guy, he's good looking, funny would keep the conversation going, it would be golden. I also think he could put every body at ease. But let's face it, I'm just totally in love with him and his funny, he could even bring his wife if he wanted. My second invite is a couple invite to Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend. I know she is an absolutely gorgeous women but she just sounds like a ton of fun whenever she's on talk shows. And Stuart Townsend is my favorite Dorian Grey. And my last invitation is also a couple one and it's for Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal. They just look like so much fun too and would be easy to talk to. And they're just so dang cute together I can't even stand it. Oh man my party just sounds like so much fun except I need a dang date! So let's just add Ian Somerhalder in there as my date ;).
Some close seconds: Kristin Cavallari from the Hills, just because I'm curious about her in reality. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Okay really no but it would be interesting to see if they're as wacked out in person.....

Cory- Ok it took me a really long time to think of who I wanted to fill these slots and after much deliberation I have my answer. First guest Donnie from the local radio station here The Peak 100.3. He grew up in and still lives in Moriarty and well he is just funny. I think he would be great to have a conversation with and complete fun also I think we would become good friends after and have cupcake dates (or maybe that is just delusional fan thinking). Second guest J.J. Abrams and his wife who he says very nice things about which just makes me like him more. Ok so I would probably lie to JJ and tell him to show up an hour earlier so I could get all my Felicity/Alias/Lost/Fringe questions out of the way before the other guests showed up. What I would have appetizers and really it would be so the rest of the guests could miss this geek fest. Third and final gues and this is the stop I could jsut not fill no one was either cool enough or would mesh well but last night it came to me: Mindy Kaling. You may know her as Kelly on The Office but she actually writes & produces the show too. She also has a blog solely about shopping, so worst case we could gab about that. Either way another fun addition.
Considered but thrown out: Joss Whedon (it would just be too much in one room), John Mayer (so I could tell him to knock it off!), Shia LaBeouf (purely curiosity, although it would wreck my crush because I would see how short he actually is), and stolen from H Kristin Cavillari (I like her!).

This is by far the hardest question yet, and the one you have to really dig deep and think about the most because, let's face it, I want to have the best dinner party of all. My dinner party focuses on the funny, since I think we've established that's all I really do. All of my guests are all couples, that is the best way to get all the funny packed nicely in.
First deliciously designed invitation gets sent of to:
Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos (Regis can stay home). I have the hugest girl crush on Kelly Ripa, she is probably one of my top 5 favorite people ever in the entertainment industry. The two of them together are a) the cutest couple ever and b) super funny separately and together. They could carry the conversation, make everyone feel great about themselves, and keep us laughing. Plus then, I could get an in with Kelly and please Lord, become her bff. And I don't want to sound conceited or anything, but Ben and Mark would get along great together.
Steve Carell and Jim Carrey. I am fully aware these two are not a couple, but I am forcing them to be one to save my last slot. I love love love Jenny McCarthy (yet another funny blonde, hmmm, what do you think I wish I was?), but she would spend the evening talking far too much about autism and healthy living and that's just plain a downer, so she can stay at home and hear about how great the evening was from Jim afterwards. I don't think much further explanation on this couple pick is needed, seeing as how their names are Steve Carell and Jim Carrey. Preeeety much the funniest men alive. I want Steve to say something off color and give us all that famous that-was-awkward-but-you-know-it-was-hilarious smile that makes me laugh the hardest whilst watching The Office. That is my wish for the evening.
Darius Rucker. I am aware this is a bit obscure, and so obscure that I don't even know if he's married or not, but I heart him. Hootie and the Blowfish was my very first ever CD purchased, and it still tops all else. My parents thought he was terribly monotonous, but their songs just grabbed me and I love them. They're included on that yet-to-happen list of songs that make me cry. Darius recently went country and his album is fabulous, I still adore him. Really, if it wasn't so blatantly a black name (not in a bad way, back off ACLU), I would've named my son Devin, Darius. If you can have a crush on someone that isn't an attracted-to crush, but an I-just-love-everything-you-do crush, he is mine.
Honorable Mentions: Adam Lambert, I would love to include because even after his super grosso antics on the AMA's, I still have a crush on a gay dude. Excluded because he's a little bit too much and while I appreciate the yell, I don't want it occuring at my dinner party. Rainn Wilson, included because he's so creepily hilarious (my favorite character on The Office), excluded because, well, I'm mean, but he's not very pretty. And I didn't have another spot. Man, she's showin' up everywhere, but Kristin Cavallari. Included because I lately have loved the bad guys in most of the shows/movies I've seen. She's great, I totally love her. Mostly because everyone hates her and I think it's hilarious. Excluded because she'd try to steal the show, and that's unacceptable.

Kara: This post is unacceptably late, and I honestly still don't have a really good answer for it. Way to make me think, Corey! I don't think I've spent this much time mulling something over since grad school. Sad. But, like Abbey, I think my guests would pretty much all focus on the funny. I have very little patience for people who don't have a sense of humor, especially lately, so my guest list is entirely composed of people that I believe would entertain me for the two to three hours that we'd be eating the delicious food Shiloh lovingly prepared.
Jon Stewart: I love him, think he is pretty much a genius and would honestly know very little about world politics if I did not follow "The Daily Show" and then go read up more on the topics he brings up. He's self-depricating, which is a must in humor for me (as Abbey has pointed out, Regis Philbin is also quite funny, but he's so full of himself he's intolerable. So no invite.) I would have to ask him to watch the f-bombs, I realize that if I had actual conversations with him I'd probably be horrified without the Comedy Central censors making his witticism PG-13 for me. But he'd do it, and it'd be awesome.
Steve Carrell: Also hilarious, also self-depricating and extremely humble. Also, I'd invite their wives and kids because both of these two have been married for quite awhile (Steve's wife played his real estate agent on "The Office") and seem to be devoted family men, and I would love to see that play out in person. The other thing with funny people is that sometimes they don't like being around other really funny people because its competition for them, but since Carrell got his start as a correspondent on "The Daily Show," they already get along and now how to play off each other. And the rest of us can just enjoy it!
John Krasinski: Again, really, really funny and adorable in a very relatable, normal guy kind of way. Already gets along with Steve Carrell (at least I think so, never read anything about any of that cast fighting), doesn't have to be the center of attention so he wouldn't be one-upping anyone, just contributing to the general hilarity. He would also bring his fiancee, Emily Blunt, who I think is probably equally funny, and whom I love for uttering one of the best lines ever in "The Devil Wears Prada": I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Movies from Books

In honor of the release of Twilight: New Moon lets talk about movies created from our favorite books. Sometimes they are perfect at capturing the scenes just as we pictured them while reading. Other times they are a huge disappointment because the Director/Producer didn't portray things as we would have wished. I generally have a very low expectation when I walk into a movie that comes from one of my favorite books, so I am generally not disappointed in the outcome, but I know people who really wish things had been done differently. So I have two questions for this week...
What is your favorite movie from a book? AND What is the worst movie from a book?

While I hate to keep pulling the scinece fiction card I have to go with the Lord of the Rings as the best (ever?) movie trilogy from a book. Peter Jackson, the genius behind the movies has actually been labeled a hobbit. He's short, fat and hariy! He is a true fan of the series and it show in his attention to detail and desire to stay true to the story. Granted it did take him over nine hours to portray the story but no one can claim that Tolkien wouldn't be proud to lay claim to the movies. Plus who doesn't like looking at Viggo Mortenson and Orlando Bloom? As for other really good movies from books I would have to name Harry Potter as my second favorite (notice a series theme here???). The Harry Potter series does lose some of it continuity due to all of the different directors, but I still love the way they have managed to keep the same actors from movie to movie.
As for a worst movie, that is harder for me to determine. Like I said I usually have fairly low expectations so I am not easily disappointed. I would have to go with Eragon for the biggest disappointment. I absolutely loved the book, but I felt that they didn't stay close enough to the story when they did the movie. Of course the special effects were great. I just had higher expectations.
In any case it is always an adventure to go see your favorite books translated into moving pictures!

Heidi - Mm okay this is hard. And it's hard because I read a great many books that are also movies (hear here the reference to how awesome I am). I try really hard though to not compare books to movies because they are so different. You can get so much more detail from a book, but a movie offers and environment and emotion that is really hard in a book. Both have their merits. But I do still have some favorites and some not so favorites.
I believe my favorite movie from a book is probably Stardust. This movie actually didn't follow the book very closely at all, but I loved the movie more than the book. The addition of Robert Di Nero as a gay pirate was awesome and Michelle Pfiefer is amazing. As for movies that follow the books most closely I would also have to go with Lord of the Rings. I saw the first movie before I read the books and it was a really good adaptation.
As for least favorites I'm going to have to hit Twilight. It followed the book okay but just that kind of emotion that was throughout the whole book, was really annoying on screen (if you've ever talked to me about this before it's the "look into my eyes" moments I don't enjoy). And the special effects were ridiculously cheesy. I believe laughing occurred when they ran. My other least favorite is one that breaks my rule of trying to keep books and movies seperate and that is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The third book is my favorite of the series and I thought the movie was terrible. They decided they didn't want the movie to be long (because they had such a problem with that before.....losers) so they cut out so much of the back story about Harry and Sirius that was important. Those are the only ones I can think of right now...

Kara- As a general rule, I try to make sure that I read a book before I see the movie. The notable exception to this rule (and reason for its establishment, actually) was the Harry Potter movies. I didn't start reading them until the 6th one came out, partly because I'd been in grad school and had no time for reading that wasn't included on my 700+ comprehensive exams list. But partly because I thought I didn't like fantasy stories, and I don't- I just like the Harry Potter series. After reading the books, I liked the movies even more and now I try to keep the correct order in reading/movie watching. That being said, I have to say the Harry Potter series as a whole is probably one of the best adaptations from a book I've seen. J.K. Rowling has such a vivid, descriptive writing style and the characters and places took root in my imagination, and were amazingly accurate on screen. I only saw the first movie without reading the book, and each time they introduce a new character they seem just like I pictured them when reading. I do agree with Heidi, though, that the third adaptation skipped many significant points- Harry & Sirius' relationship as well as the reason for Harry's patronus being a stag. Seriously, just let the Harry Potter movies be five hours long and get it right. We won't complain. My other favorite adaptation is "Gettysburg" from Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels." I also love this one because it had such detailed historical accuracies as well, Shaara had done intensive research that included getting conversations between the generals as correct as possible, so seeing that come to life on the screen was about as close to observing those events as I'm going to get.
For worst movie adaptation I have to agree with Heidi again that "Twilight" was pretty bad. Robert Pattinson was a surprisingly bad actor, and the whole angst-ridden teenage romance just didn't work as well on screen as it did in the book (although to be honest I found it annoying in the book too. It was just worse on screen.) Also, a movie like that cannot be done on a small budget without being obviously cheesy, and every supernatural event was obviously cheesy. They did much better with "New Moon," someone sent Pattinson to some acting classes, because they stuck to the book he was absent for a good part of it and the delicious Taylor Lautner was apparently contractually obligated to be shirtless for about 90% of the movie, and the special effects were great. I was cringing just thinking about how terrible watching the werewolves phase would've been with the "Twilight" budget, but fortunately it was awesome.

I love going to see movies from books. I love to see what I've read played out in front of me, and I almost don't care that parts get missed. Most people watching the movie have also read the book (couldn't make a movie unless the book was popular in the first place), and so details can get missed and the audience can fill in the blanks. Mostly my favorite thing is just seeing what I've imagined already up on the big screen. I loved the book probably, and I know I'll love the movie too.
I'm going to admit something here, that might seem weird. One of my favorite books of all time is To Kill A Mockingbird. I had to read it in high school (along with the rest of civilization), and I loved it. I read it a few times actually, before I knew that there was a movie. Not entirely sure how I missed that, but. I love Scout, I love Calpurnia, and I love Atticus. When I finally saw the movie, I was totally engrossed. The movie was made in 1962 and I think it's one of the best ever. Watching the movie was like me sitting there reading straight out of the book with all the different accents and all. Atticus was so calm and cool, portrayed perfectly. Scout is just fabulous in any form. My favorite actor in the movie though was Robert Duvall as Boo Radley, he is fantastic. While watching, I feel like I'm sitting right there on the street watching all this happen in front of me in real life, and it's pure joy.
Honorable mentions are those already mentioned: Harry Potter (another one that's like sitting right there in the castle watching it all play out in real life), and Stardust (LOVE). I hope that future movies from books (Hunger Games and the Mortal Instruments and Lovely Bones) are just as good.
Hmmm, as for worst, I don't know. I guess I'll say Twilight too, also because of the effects. But mainly because ROBERT PATTINSON IS NOT CUTE. I'm sure after having said that, a slew of rabid Twi-hards are going to track me down and beat me over the head with his cardboard cut-out, but too bad. He's so not Edward, and that comes close to ruining it all for me. He has girly hands, his eyebrows are trying to overtake his face, his jeans are ridiculously skinny, I just can't find him *ahhhhh sigh* Edward at all. Taylor Lautner is totally adorable though, and in 5 years when he's of age, I'll allow myself to think he's cute as well.
Honorable mentions for worst: Any movie made from a Jodi Piccoult book (mainly My Sisters Keeper) or Nicholas Sparks (mainly the Notebook). These ones are just way too damn sad for me to enjoy them, and I don't go to movies to be emotionally pummeled. Which is also why I won't read their books. Sorry to the majority of females in the US. I know that's blasphemous.
Ok so not to totally disagree with Abbey but I have tho say the best is The Notebook. And like always there is a story why. I had that book when I was 16, could not stand it sent it home with a friend half done because I could not make myself finish it. Then came the movie where I will admit one of the only movies I have cried at (I know I have the emotions of a robot). And then we took our mom and she cried too. And all of us looked awful walking around Target after. So I thought hmm maybe I need to give this book another chance, wrong! Book still awful and slow and annoying, movie still good. Better even gives a story that breaks your heart and a romance you want to survive.
And I agree with all the comments on the Harry Potter movies & Stardust & To Kill A Mockingbird (brilliant movie and book) I love all of them. Twilight I am not that hard onbecause well not that huge of a fan, and I have to admit I like Rob I don't have stickers on my desk or Team Edward shirt or anything but I like him.
Worst is probably Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts this is a wonderfully warm book about a young pregnant girl in the south who faces a lot of trails to say the least and meets some wonderful people on the way. But the movie was discombobulated at best and while I enjoyed it, it is not nearly as good as the book.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Books I've read in the past month

I decided it was time to tally the books I've read lately. I was having trouble remembering and was going to make a list so why not be a critic at the same time? I have enough opinions!

Lovely Bones - By Alice Sebold. This book is about a girl who tragically gets murdered. Then she journeys with her family through their grieving process. It's fascinating actually, both her view of heaven and how different members of her family deal with the loss they've had. She is very matter-of-fact about all the things that happened to her and that she witnesses after she's died. This makes it a lot easier to take actually. Reading about a girl who has died is not ever fun but this book was much more than I thought it would be. I definitely recommend it, especially if you're going to see the movie. Read the book first, it will help you be less stressed I think.
Side note: Stanley Tucci as a bad guy....scary and love it at the same time.

City of Bones - The first book in the Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare. Here we meet Clary and are introduced with her into a world that has demons, vampires, werewolves, faeries, and most importantly Shadowhunters; those that expel demons from our world and keep us safe. It is the classic save the world from the evil Father, but this story seems a lot more fresh than other versions. And the characters are witty and sarcastic and dynamic. You have a love story like trilight but a brand new world like Harry Potter. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and series. I read this book in two days.

City of Ashes - Book two of the Mortal Instruments. Characters still trying to save the world (sorry I can't add much to the plot here) but you get to know them better and feel their struggle even more. Read in one night.

City of Glass - The last book of Mortal Instruments where the great battle takes place and Michael the Archangel arrives at the climax. Read in 5 hours. (Can you tell my obsession level that I can't just put books down)
Side Note: I love series that end. I know that we all love characters and I do love the stories. But I'm an ending girl. I spend the entire series worrying that everything is going to end up as I think it should (which is what is important). This fuels my need to read books quickly but also my need for them to end. Harry Potter really tested my limits. Usually three is all I can take and four for Twilight was a lot.

The Rising Tide - My true love genre - historical fiction. This book is by Jeff Shaara, an amazing amazing amazing historical fiction writer. This book is about the US beginnings of WWII, specifically everything we did wrong in Africa. He uses journals and first hand accounts and then writes from those characters' perspectives. You hear first hand what Eisenhower thought about Patton, and what a paratrooper was thinking as he went behind enemy lines. I love this stuff. It pulls me in. It doesn't however addict me as much as emotional books like Twilight so I don't have to finish it in one night (holy 700 pages). This book actually took me 3 months to finish but I loved every page.

Hunger Games - Okay this description I completely admit is screwy. I was told to buy this book long before I did because I read the summary and thought I had the wrong book. This book is by Suzanne Collins about a girl who gets 'drafted' into games where 16 children fight to the death. The one left standing gets to go home. This girl is a survivor and tries her best to do only that and not care about anyone else. This book is also a series so you know it doesn't end (shock = sorry). The main character though is dynamic and you get to take her journey with her as she grows up and learns the difference between being alive and surviving. This book also took me a night.

Catching Fire - The second book in the Hunger Game series we continue following the same character (again sorry). Where she tries to understand and control the many changes that have happened since she was forced into the Hunger Games. 4 hours done.
Cry Wolf - This is a book by Patricia Briggs about a werewolf pack. Werewolves have come out into the public and one girl who was changed against her will realizes that she is different from the other wolves. This book explores something we haven't really had before in a werewolves. It isn't amazing but it definitely entertainment. Cor and I call it fluff but it does its job of distracting me from the world. Two nights I think....I restrained.

Blood Bound - This book is another by Patricia Briggs that involves werewolves. It follows a girl who is a mechanic who has kind of been sucked into the world of the supernatural. Not the most deep book but it is entertaining and the perfect escape from whatever it is that I do in grad school. 3 hours if that tells you anything.

The Shack - This book by William Young is one of my most favorites in a long time. I love books that make me think about the world and the people around me and this does just that. In the book a man has lost his daughter to a tragic abduction. He is bitter and mad at the world and God. Then he gets a personal invitation to spend a weekend with God at a shack. So he does. No matter your religion (trust me on this) the things he brings up have relevence and put God in a way that makes him accessible to everyone. I think Ab might be writing more on this later so I'll stop now but definitely READ IT. If you read nothing else on this list of randoms that I've read over the month read this one. This book took me a week to read. I had to go slow to absorb and ponder.

Some other books I am currently reading (sorry I get bored so I need more than one at once): Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara about the Revolutionary War. And I Was Born on a Blue Day about an autistic sevant. So watch out for those reviews!

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Four of the five HACKs have lived in the Phoenix area (and I believe Corey has at least visited many, many times), so we all know that in Phoenix, there are no seasons. Well, there are, but they're "What the Rest of the World Calls Fall but We Call Winter" (sort of what's happening today), "Hotter than Anywhere Else Spring," "Welcome to Summer," and "Why Didn't They Just Build This City on the F'ing Sun?" (Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what movie that's from!) So, to create the illusions of seasons at least within my own home, when its still in the upper 90s in mid November for crying out loud, I do many things. I'm not particularly domestic, but I've really gotten into seasonal additions to our decor (see my blog for the Thanksgiving table), I burn candles that smell the way seasons should smell, and I start Christmas early. Really early. Like after Halloween!

Actually, that's a new addition this year, since we leave for ABQ for the holidays around the middle of December, Shiloh said he feels like he gets gypped with our holiday decorations only being up for the two weeks after Thanksgiving. So he gave me permission to start decorating after Halloween this year, and I'm having fun! Its also put me in the mood to start my other create-a-season tradition, watching Christmas movies! I have a long list that I must see each holiday season, and while this is not normally the case, with Christmas movies, I'm a "the cheesier the better" kind of gal. Something about having a tree and snow and Santa somewhere in the movie just makes up for every ridiculously cliche line of dialogue and plot. So, I'm bringing the HACKs with me on this early Christmas journey and asking,
What movies are on your holiday must see list?

Kara: As I mentioned earlier, the list is long. And oddly enough, gets longer every year. I don't know how they keep coming up with ways to work story lines into Christmas scenarios but they do! And I like to see at least one new one every year. But the classics are:
1- "All I Want for Christmas-" loved it since I was a kid, Ethan Embry and Thora Birch before they did "real" movies are fantastic as the kids trying to get their parents back together for Christmas, and Lauren Bacall and Thora do a "Baby Its Cold Outside" duet that's worth the price of admission.
2- "What a Wonderful Life-" this is a classic for a reason, it never gets old and is worth the three hours every single year. And I truly believe that no man is a failure who has friends.
3- "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" & "Frosty the Snowman-" the old school stop motion and animation classics are on TV somewhere several times every season, but I got them on sale at Target after Christmas last year so now I can watch them on my schedule. Love that abominable snowman!
4- "How the Grinch Stole Christmas-" with Jim Carrey, although the cartoon is also fantastic, cracks me up. I like being able to recite the Grinch's too-busy-to-attend-the-festival schedule and want to do my hair like the Grinch women.
5- "Holiday Inn" & "A White Christmas"- make me miss my dancing years and have the best songs and sets.
I love "Shrek the Halls" (watch Puss 'n Boots try to tell the Christmas story while not getting distracted by the ball hanging off his Santa hat) and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for non full-length feature films, and I think the new movie I want to see this year is "Fred Claus." It came out last year, but I never saw it and I love Vince Vaughn!

Heidi - Okay I love Christmas more than anything but this love manifests itself most often in the form of listening to music 24 hours a day not watching movies. I'm so sorry to everyone but I actually don't like the little motion movies at all. At all. Don't get me wrong I've seen them all but I don't enjoy them. But I have a list nonetheless. (BTW Kara I am ALL for starting Christmas after Halloween :) Not in any order but my thoughts:
1) It's not a set conscious tradition but I do manage to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it's either the live version with my hero Jim Carrey or I listen to it. I really love the music of the Jim Carrey version though.
2) Okay this isn't a movie but I think it counts anyway. When I was small we used to go every year to see the Nutcracker ballet. I love this ballet more than any other Christmas tradition we have (other than looking at lights on Christmas Eve). When we stopped going I miss it every year and secretly wish we could go again.
3) Last but not least White Christmas. Reference my earlier comment about my adoration of Christmas music and you'll understand my love of Bing Crosby. And as someone who has lived in the desert with not much snow at winter time I appreciate completely finding the Christmas spirit without snow all the more.

Abbey: Ahhhhh. Here I sit smelling the fan-friggin-tastic scent of Gold Canyon Cinnaberry, I too am dreaming of a not 90 degree Christmas. Ben flat out refuses Christmas music until Thanksgiving, but trust me, I am waiting with bated breath (yes, that's how it's spelled. I Googled). I know these have all been done already, but too bad.
*I did love Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman when I was little, and every time I see them I get a little sentimental. I haven't watched them for many a year, but now that my kids are around I will have to make these a must watch for my Christmas season.
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Jim Carrey style. I love this movie. Jim Carrey is the end-all be-all around our house, so this is always a Christmas must. I could really watch it over and over.
*White Christmas. Oh, White Christmas. This is the first old movie my mom had us watch that I totally loved. Even as a bratty teenager who thought all things old were lame-o, I love this movie. I love their voices, they're all smooth like butter even when they're just talking. The movie makes me want to break out into song, it always has. But if I'd done that as a 16 year old I totally would have destroyed my much worked for persona. It has always been my wish to spend christmas in Vermont. Someday, I will make Ben take us there to spend it at a bed and breakfast. Promise.
Cory- Ok so I actually do know where you are coming from I lived in Gilbert for 6 years and then in Mesa for 2 a time before that. So I get the whole going to Christmas Dinner in shorts and a tee thing. My family is all about the Christmas and really we have every Christmas movie and Christmas CD out there (you think I am joking but literally dozens) and leave decorations up until at least New Year's to make it last much longer. I am with Heidi here though I don't particularly like the stop animation shows and some of the stuff we watch is probably a little unconventional, but here it is.
1. Love Actually: Ok warning British movie so expect boobs and swear words. But this movie set at Christmas is one of my fave movies period. Me and my sister always watch it, it is a bunch of stories tied together and while they are not all the happiest they are some really good moments in this movie and all very well acted and told.
2. The Simpson's Christmas: Umm not so much in rotation now but when we were kids we almost broke the tape. Highlights Bart getting a tattoo for his mom's present. And then he has to get it lasered off and Maggie keeps poking him and all you hear over and over is "Ow, Quit it."
3. The Santa Clause: Tim Allen is the man in our household so one of these always gets pulled out.
4. Whatever we marathon that year: we are weird and usually on Christmas what ends up happening is all of us huddled in the living room in some ridiculous flannel PJs and blankets watching whatever we just got for Christmas. Last year it was Life Season 1 my dad got it, all of us got hooked including my visiting grandparents and Heidi for a spell and it lead to us basically threatening each other like you better not watch this without me! So who knows what it will be this year. I need to see Band of Brothers so that might happen then.

Megan - I totally get the Phoenix thing. I always had such a hard time with it not getting cold for the holidays. Even without snow christmas should be a cold event. I have never really been into the candle thing so I don't really get into the season with smells. For me it is always about CHRISTMAS MUSIC!! Mannheim Steamroller (So jealous that Mom, Dad, Rob and Kelly are going to the concert without me!!), Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Charoltte Church, and then all the pop singers take on Christmas. I usually try and limit myself to only listening after thanksgiving, but I normally give in before that.
When it comes to movies I have to go with all the old favorites that everybody has talked about above. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, White Christmas, The Santa Claus, etc, but each year I also rewatch old favorites like Cutting Edge, Lord of the Rings trilogy, etc. There's just something comforting about curling up on a cold day and watching movies that I've seen a million times.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dashboard Baby

Alter the Ending - Dashboard Confessional

There are a few voices that I can just listen to all the time no matter what the funky lyrics the happen to be singing. Dashboard happens to be one of those voices. This is their newest cd and I am pretty sure it has surpassed Dusk and Summer for my favorite album of theirs. Stolen is still my all time favorite song but every single song on this cd I totally love. Example: I just bought the cd this afternoon and I have listened to it twice all the way through.
Another awesome feature of this cd is that it is the delux version. Normally I would be annoyed that I'm forced to spend and extra $3 on the cd but then I realized that it is delux because you have the regular 12 songs and then you have those same 12 songs in acoustic version. The acoustic version let's you listen even more to the beautiful voice of Chris Carrabba. All the songs sound somewhat the same but the lyrics are all completely different and really good.
A few of my fav songs off of this album are: Belle of the Boulevard, Even Now, The Motions, and my fav Until Morning.

Other Albums that I am totally looking forward to listening to:
For Your Entertainment - Adam Lambert (Nov. 23!!!!!)
Kris Allen - Kris Allen (Nov. 17)
Play On - Carrie Underwood (Out Now)
Christmas from the Heart - David Archuleta (Out Now but I can't listen yet!!! Haha due to my extreme amount of love for my bestie Laur)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Outta the Box

Oopsie, little late for this past weekends question,,, since it's almost next weekend. Anyway. My question to all the lovely ladies (all the lovely ladies, all the lovely ladies, all the lovely ladies... Single Ladies anyone?) this week is:
What is your favorite movie that is totally out of your normal "box"? If you are a horror person, let's say, what is your favorite romantic comedy? Etc, etc.

I am definitely a comedy person. Comedies, romantic comedies, the like. I do enjoy my dramas (Cast Away, Shawshank, etc), but for the most part I am a comedy person. I really could pass on most thrillers/action movies. Haven't seen the 2nd Transformers yet because I can't handle the stress. It's intense the entire time, and not just intense, but BIG intense, and I just don't want to put that anxiety on top of my own anxiety. So I'll probably see it down the line sometime, but for now, pass. Anyway. That said, I LOVE Gone in 60 Seconds. Love. Can I say it again? Love. I love all the characters, Giovanni Ribissi is probably one of my favorite people ever. Nicolas Cage I can't stand most of the time, but he was fab in this movie. It was before Angelina Jolie was huge and virtuous so she is super fun in this one too. I totally love Gone in 60 Seconds. The music is fantastic and totally makes me want to go out and drive cars super fast (even more than Fast & Furious, which I also enjoy).

This is kind of a mean confession to make because I have very, very dear friends (and a husband!) who fall in this category, but I am in no way, shape or form a science fiction fan. I have never seen a single show, movie or even commercial on the SyFy channel (I spelled that wrong last time, and one of said dear, dear friends corrected me and I really hope I'm spelling it right now because I'm totally not sure.) I don't like science fiction movies, or even fantasy movies (with everything Harry Potter being the lone exception)- the same goes for books. I love to read, but I have tried to read "The Hobbit" dozens of times and can't handle it. It drives me crazy- unless I'm having a hard time falling asleep and then its fantastic. I think this makes me a bad person in many ways, but there you go. However, as I mentioned, I have friends and a husband who LOVE this particular genre and as such I have seen numerous Star Trek movies on opening night and saw all of the "Lord of the Rings" series on opening nights with a large group of very devoted fans. I had fun with the friends, developed a hard core crush on Viggo Mortensen (but only as Aragorn, he does nothing for me if he's not dripping wet and storming a castle door against threat of attack), and liked the movies, but I've never had even the smallest desire to see any of them again. We own all of them and I think two of them might still be in their store wrapping. And the Star Trek movies honestly frightened me- aside from not being very good, the rabid fans scare me- at one in high school I admitted to a friend that I'd never seen an episode of the show and a man behind me in full costume and speaking Klingon got up and yelled at me, screaming that I didn't deserve to be there and I'd taken a ticket that could've been given to a real fan. He probably had a point, but still, at normal movies that hardly ever happens. Weirdos! So imagine my trepidation when early this summer, Shiloh tells me he wants to go see the new "Star Trek." This is what being married is all about, I go see his stupid movies and occasionally he agrees to be drug to mine, and then we have a few that everyone wants to see. But he was way excited about it, so I knew I wasn't going to get out of it, and I think it opened only a month after we'd lost our daughter Emma, so both of us were into doing anything and everything that could make the other person happy for a few hours. And it turns out, this movie was freaking awesome. So, so good and I would have willingly gone to see it again. My sci-fi/fantasy crushes now equal three with Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine added to the list, and it solidified my opinion that basically anything J.J. Abrams touches is worth whatever time I spend watching it. From "Felicity" to "Star Trek," the guy makes everything awesome.

This is a really hard ? for me since I really don’t think I have a box, I like most types of movies. So after discussing with Heidi I realized I have an aversion for the Tear Jerker. I think it has something to do with watching Titanic 3 separate times in the theater and the trauma that caused to my pre-teen psyche but I tend to avoid these more than seek them out. After all that, here is my answer Atonement this movie is a wonderful movie! From the acting to the music to the bloody curtain fabric choices everything is perfect. But it will also kill you, emotionally speaking. And while I am not the girl who goes home closes the blinds and watched Sophie’s Choice for the 50th time to cry it out. I do love this movie. And even if you have no interest in the story, the clothes, settings, and the way things are shot make this movie gorgeous to see. Honorable Mention: While I love The Notebook which is a Tear Jerker to the core, I think that just comes from me being a card carrying girl.
And after reading Kara’s I pretty much agree while I dig some fantasy movies like HP and Stardust. I have never been one for SciFi movies in fact they did not even cross my mind that is how far off my radar they are. I too have never seen any Star Trek except the current one and have not seen all the Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. And the only thing that got me out for the new Star Trek was my undying love for all things JJ! And Chris F

Ya know I kind of like going last because then I get to comment on everyone else's, think about what they said, and change my answer accordingly. This q was WAY hard for me, even more than Cor I think because I actually do watch Sci Fi (Chronicles of Riddick anyone?) and everything else, horror, romance, old school, action. So I decided to pick my least go to genre. Which happens to be comedy. But not just comedy, stupid comedy. Things like Old School, Scary Movie, things where it's best if you're high or just not wanting to think that day. So my outta box movie is Airplane. I adore this movie. I remember watching it late at night and laughing so hard I couldn't breath. The person who would randomly leap across the background was my absolute favorite and I think I remember my friend Autumn and I doing that at odd times for like the next month. Mostly I don't have the patience for slap-stick kinds of things but Airplane I totally loved and would definitely watch over and over again.
Side note - Go Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto! Love them both!

I am almost a complete opposite of Kara. I am a total action/sci-fi girl, so I rarely go to comedies. At least not on my own, but I almost never turn down an invitation to go see any type of movie. (Except of course horror, I haven't seen one of those since Big Bird goes to China) As far as an out of the box movie goes...I have to go with Liar, Liar. I generally like Jim Carrey but I have a hard time with the "stupid comedy" that sometimes comes from him. I was plesantly surprised with Liar Liar though.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Noisettes- Joss Stone-Greek

Once again I am too lazy to post three times so here it is all at once.

The Noisettes – Wild Young Hearts
They were featured on the One Tree Hill ep. a few weeks ago played during Brooke’s fashion show so I decided to check them out and imagine my great surprise and happiness when I found their CD for I think $6 on Amazon to download.
But here is the issue I don’t know how to describe their sound so here is my best crack at it” That Amy Winehouse new old sound with some more guitar/rock feel and a girl with amazing pipes thrown in." The songs have original hooks and lyrics you want to sing along too (or at least in my case). Give it a listen and see for yourself though since everyone hears something different. There is even a song called Atticus as in To Kill A Mockingbird.
Faves: Wild Young Hearts, 24 Hours, Beat of My Heart, Don’t Upset the Rhythm (Top Fave), Every Now and Then, Never Forget You - pretty much the whole CD.

This show has almost finished its season on ABC Family but last night’s episode was so good I just have to show some love. A musical episode where it was believable and you saw people really practicing for it. This show centers on a brother and sister attending college and their Greek system. The brother Rusty is a polymer science major so you get your smart funny but he also belongs to the craziest frat on campus- he is all about the balance. Casey the sister is on her way to figuring it out and just in time since she graduates soon and belongs to what used to be the best sorority there- they are trying to get back.
So I know what you’re thinking I know people in the Greek System and well they are their own kind of special but this show is so good. There is all this history, inter-house rivals, Crazy Southern Christian Roommates, and oh wait the big part of college trying to grow up thrown in. And they work a pop culture reference in the best way.

Joss stone- Colour Me Free!
This girl is stubborn and you can feel it- and while if you had read anything about the girl she is a fool. That whole New Old sound was all hers to begin with and she shows her chops on this CD. Her voice is as always really good and there are just some songs where the feel is just perfect velvety sultry. If you liked her old stuff you will like this CD and well I liked her old stuff. Plus it is so good I had to skip when it came up studying too distracting.
Faves: Free Me, Incredible, 4 and 20, Stalemate, Lady, Big Ol’ Game, You Got the Love, Could Have Been You (Love Love Love)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Letter from a fan

Dear Kate Gosselin,
Hi, I am a big fan!  I totally support you in what you're doing *errrrrrr!* back up, start over.  I'm not that kind of fan.  Here's the real fan letter.
Dear Kate,
Um, hi.  Could we please be best friends?  You and I are totally one of a kind in our parenting.  You are so sarcastic and fab with your children, although you know them deeply and love them even deeper.  I think that you say the exact same words that I've said to my children, and we are bosom buddies even though you don't know it.  I think you're sassy and a little to the left of rude, and I can tell you right now that I love it.  All those peeps out there who think you're a beehotch are just softies who can't take the truth.  I talk to my husband like you used to talk to Jon.  Difference there is, that my husband isn't a spineless EdHardy clothed d-bag.  He can take it.  And he dishes it back, which we all know is what we sassy sarcastic girls want.  You're going to raise kids who can mess around with you and joke and tease and laugh and take it!  And they'll give it back to you!  Some might say it'll create an un-loving environment to be in.  I laugh in their faces.  We girls need to show the world that we can be brats, but we love fiercely too, and that's what matters.  Family comes first, but they get our love shown differently than is conventional.  Our sugary sweetness is reserved for those fools we have to deal with at Starbucks who can't figure out how to make a Hazelnut Signature Hot Chocolate (ummmm, add hazelnut flavoring, hi).  Little do they know they are being belittled voraciously in our minds.  Our family though?  They make us insane, so let's tell 'em!  Let's tell them they're being little trolls!  It'll toughen their hide and make them much cooler to be around later in life.  Now on one, two, three.... lets roll our eyes together at the critics!  Stay sassy Kate!  You know I will, and I will silently watch your show and wish we were besties, because we would have so much fun. 
PS I love your hair and if I didn't have a long horse face, I would totally have short hair too. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

U2- Glendale- Last Tuesday

I meant to post this after I got back but laziness and the search for a camera cord delayed me.

Opening for U2 in Glendale was Black Eyed Peas and while they tried their best to pump up the crowd it did not happen. Typical AZ fans (I spent 6 years there going to concerts and still go back for them) are usually too drunk, not even there yet because they are late, or too cool for it all. Which the last one is the worst like why did you come dude! They were good and here is a pic of Fergie because all the guys were in all black and we had awful seats so you cannot see them at all. They sang all their high energy songs and continued to talk about how U2 was the best ever for about an hour. This was my first Rock God Stadium concert where there were literally 90,000 people there. At least that is what they said, and just for reference here apparently about 60K people live in Santa Fe so all of Santa Fe and their neighboring Los Alamos were in the stadium. This tour was called the 360 tour because they wanted to make sure all the fans could see them and really hear them which is where this stage comes in to me it looks like an alien making sense since the stadium we were in looks like a spaceship. The person with me thought it looked like a crab.
Everyone came out and really all of U2 was fantastic and you can tell that this band gets along and they were all very talented and played the entire 2.5 hours, which considering they are not the youngest was pretty amazing. They started out with some of their new songs off their most recent album which while I understand their concept and get there are trying to stay fresh it just does not sound like U2 to me. There are some songs I dig but most I could take or leave. Then they hit the classics and I don’t use this word lightly, and then everyone was excited. Streets Have No Name, With or Without You, Sunday Bloody Sunday- everyone sang alone which are the moments I love. And there was also a point where he pulled three sisters on the stage and danced the waltz with each one- come on he is an Irish man. Then let the sisters sit up there for the next song. OK so here are pics I will explain.

Mr. Bono with his trademark sunglasses, sounded great the whole 2.5 hours.
The shot above was a screen shot, and this is the screen which was tiles all stretched out- yes awesome.
And there were also all these amazing lights etc. that was completely new and original looking. Overall even though Bono had his political moment I found him to be really cool, and well he is a straight up showmen with lots of talent who cares about his fans. I mean look at this stage they designed it takes 3 days to take down but everyone could see them and got a great experience. And all the members of the band are also very good at what they do. You can definitely see why they have been around so long and have so many hits.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I have a good memory for movie/tv dialogue and also get bored easily. It is for this reason that I do not particularly enjoy seeing shows more than once, even shows that I adore and can not miss weekly. The same goes for movies. I can't really explain it but I just don't do reruns or buying tv seasons or anything, even for ones I love. So this weeks question is one that I pose while not knowing how I'm going to answer it yet.

What tv show would you buy all the seasons of (if they weren't hideously overpriced) and watch over and over again?

Pssssshhhhhh. This one is so easy and I'm glad I'm going first. Duh! Friends! I love Friends, I have since it came out. I bought their compilations of each of the 5 best episodes long before the concept of All-Season DVDs came out and they were......tapes. I bought them in college and watched them probably every single day while I ate lunch after class. Over and over and over and never got tired of them. I can quote every single episode, I love them all. FRIENDS people, Friends. I have all seasons on DVD now and I still love them!
Runner-Up of course is the Office. No explanation needed here. Funniest show ever.

Heidi-The Office
Okay I decided. And while I agree with Abbey I can mostly watch Friends over and over, there's still too much of a story line there. And all the shows I love where you solve puzzles (House, CSI NY, Lie to Me, etc) I def can't pick them because I already know how it ends! But the first two seasons of the Office are priceless. I absolutely love Dwight and everything that Jim does to him. It's fantastic. I think it's gotten a little bit less funny as the seasons have gone on but I still love it and can watch it any time any episode. Basically I just love watching Dwight and everything he manages to make way more serious that it needs to be.
Favorite ep: the one where there's a bat in the office and Jim pretends he's been bitten and has become a vampire.

Okay, here's what's sad- I apparently don't mind paying exorbitant prices because for TV series because I own a complete set of a ridiculous number of shows. In my defense though, we all know I'm a bargain shopper so I'm pretty sure most of these were purchased for less than $20 when they go on sale at Target and Best Buy (check the weekly ads, they have great sales at Best Buy). Or they were gifts. But anyway, I just checked our entertainment cabinet and we (and by "we" I of course mean "me" because I guarantee Shiloh hasn't watched a single disc of any of these shows) already own "Friends," "Gilmore Girls," "24," and "The Office." I even have last season of "The Office," because I purchased that little present for myself as a celebration after my first OB appointment with baby #3! (This justifies paying the $27.99 for it, FYI.) I am only missing two seasons of "Scrubs" as well. Shiloh is apparently not quite as avid a collector as I am although he watches way more TV, but we have a few seasons of "House," "Family Guy," and "The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr." because of his tastes. And for the both of us, we have both seasons of "Burn Notice" and will absolutely be purchasing the 3rd season as soon as its out. But they do that crazy split season thing where the first half of the season airs in the summer and then the second half airs in January, so it'll be awhile before we can add that to the collection. Gives us time to save!
Cory- So many
I am like Kara pretty much if I am in Target it is on sale and I want to see it again I will buy. There are definitely shows I rewatch all the time. Alias- always get something new. Buffy, McLeod's Daughters, Veronica Mars and Felicity I have every season of and will rewatch if the mood hits me. I also have random one off seasons of The Office, One Tree Hill, Lost & some other shows that never finished airing Keen Eddie, Kitchen Confidential, The Black Donnellys. I have Gilmore Girls tape habitually on my DVR as a backup too. I only watch the eps I like and most of the time it is background noise. These shows were on when I was too young to get them or before the lovely invention of the DVR/Tivo which means a lot of it is new to me. But I will admit if I come across an ep of The Office or That 70's Show I always stop and get sucked in.

The Invention of Lying/Law Abiding Citizen

Two very different movies but that only adds to the fun.

First The Invention of Lying. Honestly I think that Ricky Gervais is one of the funniest human beings and this is such a funny concept for a movie. The human race has not evolved enough to lie, so everyone just says the truth. And apparently people just say everything they're thinking as well because there are no filters. Honestly the truth is a very funny thing, as long as it's not directed at you : ). So Ricky is a 'loser' because he's fat and not very talented, and no one in this world get's to know people, they only judge on what's on the outside. But he develops the ability to lie. This movie is funny because the truth is funny, and him learning how to lie is funny. Jennifer Garner plays his love interest in the film and she is perfect for the role. She is a nieve girl next door who perfectly buys into the lies and tells her truth awesomely. It's not a heavy movie in any way but still has a good message and is so funny. I could say some lines but they would not be as funny in words, so really I just recommend you seeing the movie.

Next movie is drastically different. Law Abiding Citizen has Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler. Butler lost his family to a robbery and Foxx is the DA who makes a deal with the guy who murdered Butler's fam. Butler gets profoundly upset by this and makes it his mission to bring down the flawed justice system. The movie is pretty violent but the message I find really interesting. The way that it makes you think about the justice system, you side with Gerard Butler even though he's doing these horrible things. Butler's character is also fascinating, he's a super smart guy who figures out how to bring the entire justice system down, from the mayor down to the prison guards. Butler plays the character totally believably, he is the grieving father but also the ruthless brilliant man who planned so many killings. I also recommend this movie, it definitely makes you think about things and keeps you interested while you're trying to figure out what's going on just like Foxx is.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Live, With Regis & Kelly!

I stay at home with the kids, and that means the majority of my TV watching occurs during the day (naptime).  I don't watch daytime TV though, I watch last nights DVR'd shows.  Except for Regis & Kelly.  I tape it and then watch it during naptime, every day.  I.  Love.  Regis.  And.  Kelly.  Mainly because I have a serious wish to be Kelly Ripa.  She is so cute, super funny, super in shape, always wears fabulous clothes, always has fabulous SHOES.  I love her sense of humor, she's totally unashamed and makes fun of herself, makes fun of everyone else in a kind way, and I think she is a great physical comedian as well.  So I have the female equivalent of a bromance on Kelly Ripa.  The rest of the show is great too, they always have good segments and since Kelly is so funny, they always get pulled off well.  Their guests I think (for the most part) like being there and interacting with them, so the interviews are always good too.  The conundrum here though, and what I am focusing on here is Regis Philbin.  I can't figure out how I feel about him.  Here is a list of my general feelings, and yes they conflict:
*He has a great sense of humor too
*He knows literally everyone in the tv/movie/music biz.  Everyone.
*He has a ton of knowledge of basically everything in the entire universe
*He's kind of an asshole
And here's why.  Do you ever get the feeling that famous people are just humoring the fans?  That they think us normal people are pathetic and useless and aren't worth their time?  But they have to act as though they're grateful for us because we make their paychecks nice and fat?  Well, that's how I truly believe Regis feels about everyone else but him and those he knows (which is a lot of people, granted, but).  Every day they make a surprise phone call to a viewer to see if they can answer trivia questions and then they get a nice vacation.  Regis' words are kind, but I consider myself a fairly good people-reader, and I see very clearly that underneath the kind words are "Good Lord, these people are pathetic.  Plain, boring, not rich, just normal.  How awful would that be to be normal?  I can't even imagine.  Oh the horror!  How long is this segment, how much longer do we have to talk to this fool.  I'm so much better than they are".  I honestly feel that he doesn't think anyone but those included in his circle are useful, have worth or contribute anything good to the world.  This might sound harsh, but I think he's a huge jerk!  And yes, he is a great entertainer and really makes Regis & Kelly great, and I won't stop watching the show.  But, like I said, I read people very well, and Regis is an ass. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bootmen / Vampire Diaries /Celebration- Madonna

So here it is all at once… because I am too lazy to post 3 times.

Bootmen is this Australian movie I got from Netflix, completely worth it. It has 2 very nice looking brothers in it who work at a steel mill in a small coastal town and they are looking for a way out. One brother wants to a buy a rig, the other wants to get out by dancing. Along the way a girl, some local thugs and a dad against it all crosses their path.
There is a tragic event in this movie which I feel I should warn people about and it is R. But the way they industrialize tap dancing is really interesting to watch. And Sam Worthington as in the latest Terminator is in it, it was really shocking in a good way to see him be funny and adorable. Definitely worth adding to your Netflix queue.
There are also just 2 things in general I love about Australian movies/shows: 1. The girls look real and 2. Being a great Dancer and a manly man are not exclusive parties, you can be both. Just look at another Aussie Hugh Jackman.

Vampire Diaries so me and Heidi have already talked last night’s ep to death. But since we are both enjoying it so much I would feel remiss if I did not mention. Ok here are some of my thoughts about last night’s ep: Although I covet Elena’s jacket and hair I really need her to stop asking dumb questions, looking confused in general and keep up with the story here. Old school suits are not flattering even on a boy as hot as that. Umm Katherine you are not that nice and not that cool either. The whole dancing away the day part really was hilarious and Ian Somerhalder pulled off perfectly. Really you are going to send the TV reporter after the vampire not the cop? Really that is your plan here? Hmm well good luck buddy!

Madonna Celebration CD- A greatest hit compilation. All the hits you forgot she had, mixed well with new at the beginning and the end. I literally forgot all these songs and this fun little CD reminded me of them.

New Addition!

I've very pleased to announce that we have a new addition to our HACKiness, in the form of Abbey's and my sister Megan. Alas she won't be added to the name (because I can think of nothing that we spell now...), unless we go with HACK'M like those Rock 'em Sock 'em punching dolls.... I'll leave that decision for another day.

But we don't just let people into our exclusive golden club!! First we have a trial period ;). Enjoy and Welcome!

**Disclaimer** Since we seem to be accumulating Zipperian's this is the part where Kara and Cory have to keep us in check! I know they both have siblings as well so I'm sure they're more than up to the task of dealing with the three of us : ).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tear Stained Pages…

This sounds like a Taylor Swift song. No just me? Cool good to know.

So here is this week’s question a little early but I pretty much was bored. What was the first book you ever cried over?- actual tears where you were literally so involved that you didn’t notice the crying until the dark stains showed up on the pages. I am really not a crier (I do and am not a robot) but hardly ever do I really cry, which is why a book that makes me do so is so special.

And here is my answer Little Women. Me and a group of friends read this in fourth grade back when we would have awesome read-ins. Oh I miss them. No I have HW-ins and clean house- ins, it is simply not the same. But not to wreck anything for anyone but I pretty much balled like a toddler when Beth dies and literally did not finish the book because of it. It still sits on my shelf and I need to read it all, but like a boyfriend who hit me I will not go back. The whole book just sliced my heart out and put it in front of me, to the Laurie and Jo drama and then him moving on with another sister (not cool dude ever!), burning Jo’s manuscript and so on and on. I have a feeling if I read it today I would not find it as melancholy but in those pre-teen years it was very sad for me.

Honorable Mention: The River King By Alice Hoffman I read this in HS and love her books, there is also a semi-funny story that goes along with this book. But it was another that just broke my heart with its sadness. I want to read it again but can never get my courage back up for the emotional wreck it makes me.

When I was small my mother used to read books to us. We read books like Little Women, Little Men, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, all kinds of things. First off let me say I only cry because of animals. Movies, books, whatever, when there are animals concerned, especially dogs... I cry. When I was 8 or 9 we read a book called Rascal. Wonderful book about a boy who finds a baby raccoon and raises it and finds in Rascal a fantastic friend. I also cannot finish this because I will start crying. I don't remember the entire story but I remember the book and I remember crying over my puppy mischief for a good hour. It was a pivotal moment in my life.
*Runner Up (This was added after Kara's because she reminded me of something) Of Mice and Men. I have spoken on my other blog of my love for Gary Sinese. In 9th grade we read, watched, AND listened to this book. It was narrated by Gary Sinese and when it gets to the end, and Lenny has to be dealt with I was totally crying. In my 9th grade-tryingtobecoolerthanyou-tryingtofitin class. Luckily I was not the only one crying.

Like Heidi, my crying books (and movies) all revolve around frakkin' dog stories (or animal stories in general I guess, I've been known to cry over movies with horses in them as well.) Because inevitably, the purpose of an animal in a story is for said animal to die, so that the boy/girl can learn some valuable life lesson. Around age 13, I declared a new rule in my life that has served me very well since then: I Don't Watch Dog Movies. This goes for reading books too. I have not, and will not, see or read "Marley & Me," especially since my family also owns a totally hyper and crazy yellow lab. While I was at my in-laws for Christmas last year, the rest of my family went to see "Marley & Me" and when they came back home, Shiloh and I started laughing because every single one of them was red-eyed, tear-stained and had a headache from crying so much. As far as I'm concerned, there is just no reason to do this to yourself, particularly when my own life often provides ample crying opportunities. I instituted this rule after I had to read "Where the Red Fern Grows" in my 7th grade Enriched Language Arts class. To make matters worse, we had to read that book in class, which meant that I cried in front of the rest of the class (although I don't think I was the only one.) Since then, I've stuck by my rule steadfastly. I love animals, but I don't need to read about their heartbreaking deaths.

Ditto Kara.  Ditto Heidi.  Ditto Cory.  So unexciting, I know, but it's true!  Mostly my problem is this:  I have a horrible memory.  I rememer how I felt and things like that, but not specifics, it's awful!  So all I can think of when Cory asks what book first made us bawl unabashedly, is that the first time I ever really did that was for the movie Powder.  It's not a book, I know, but since Where the Red Fern Grows and Rascal were already taken, it's all I can really come up with, given my awful memory!  So, I'll buck the trend of actually answering the question properly, and go with the movie Powder.  (Memory problem strikes again) I don't even really remember what the movie was about, but I just know I sat on the couch and I had to bring the box of Kleenex over next to me because I was sobbing.  Hiccuping, sobbing, mass amounts of tears, running nose, all of it.  I will think on this question though, and if at some point I remember a better answer, well then I'll change it!

I have to go with Abbey on this one. Ditto everybody. Ok, so I have to admit I am a crier. You catch me in the wrong mood and I will cry at a TV commercial, but the first book that I remember crying over was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. You know the scene. Aslan is calmly walking to his death with Lucy and Susan watching. The White Witch gloats for a while and then they kill him. I also have cried over just about any book, movie or TV show where someone, person or animal, dies. So I can't really judge what makes a book worth crying over, but I certainly remember the parts that tugged on my heartstrings better than any other part of the book.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

High School Songs

Driving down Barstow today and turning onto Wilshire to visit one of my childhood friends took me right past my high school, good ole La Cueva High, home of the Bears. It reminded me of thousands of early, early mornings when I'd drive down the same streets for zero hour band rehearsal. Adding to the sense of nostalgia was the fact that blaring on the radio at that moment was Smashing Pumpkin's "1979," and for a second I could literally have been a sophomore in high school again, being driven to school in the back of Bethany's old lady car (I can't remember the make right now) or Rachel's brown Volvo. Thus, I post this week's question: What are your iconic high school songs, the ones that when you hear them you could close your eyes and literally be back to those tumultuous years?

---Red Wine by I have no idea who this is. Back when I had my black Blazer that was so old I couldn’t wash it because the paint would chip off- but it ran fine. No AC and would drive home in the middle of hot AZ nights with the windows down for some reason this song always came on.
---Hot in Herre- Nelly Yup they always played during our HS lunches at Highland High.
---Pop- NSYNC’ Same reason and I remember there was a girl who knew all the choreography verbatim.
---Alive-P.O.D. Everywhere and anywhere but I loved this song so I did not care.

And these entire CDs remind me of HS:
---Gavin Degraw Chariot- One of the first CDs where I knew all of it by heart. I played it in my car my first day as a senior at my new HS in NM. Yeah I literally can remember what I wore and that feeling of let’s get this over with.
---Jimmy Eat World Bleed American- My friend BMWer copied this CD for me and I loved the whole thing. I can sit here and remember the first time I heard The Middle and saw the music video for it. I can remember sitting in my third car the VW bug and driving into Moriarty for school and there is this line that says “I Don’t care what they say I am getting out. Nothing here can change me.” At that time I especially felt that. 

* Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory -- I realize that this cd makes me sound a lot more hard core than I really am. But I truly loved this cd in HS. I always skipped to the next song when they started screaming but I listened to the cd all the time. I especially listened to this cd while training for soccer and when I was mad at my bf (translate to often). Abbey bought me the cd because I was obsessed with In The End.

*My second year of  HS I received a fun mix cd from Abbey away at college. Most of the cd was Kelly Clarkson and All American Rejects. Songs like Swing Swing, My Paper Heart, Beautiful Disaster, and Miss Independent were worn out in my cd player.
*Weezer - Beverly Hills -- I can't remember any specific moments around this song but I do remember it quite often and jammin out on the way to soccer practice.
*Good Charlotte - The Anthem -- So I was not the person in this song, I knew I was going to college, etc. But I belted the song out anyway because it relieved frustration. Loved it. 
*Lil' Jon - Get Low -- We used to listen to this song (and others but I don't remember them) while warming up for games for HS soccer. I hear it and thing of passing drills, stretching, and sizing up the other team.

- As I previously mentioned, for some reason "1979" plays into a ton of my high school memories, mostly involving band events and activities.  We used to have dances and parties in the band room at Halloween and such times (hmm, why did everyone think we were so nerdy? Hmm . . .) and I'm pretty sure that song was played every time.
- Jewel, "You Were Meant for Me," "Near You Always"- and basically that whole "Pieces of You" album remind me of my years as a ballerina in high school, when a few of my friends and I choreographed dances in one of our classes to a bunch of Jewel songs.  Tracy Chapman's "The Promise" from her album "New Beginnings" also falls into this category.  Our whole class choreographed 32 counts and put it together to this song, and I can still do the entire dance today.  (Well, maybe not DO technically, but if I were still in shape I could make a decent attempt!)
- I didn't have a car until my senior year, so I was chauffered around by friends, primarily Rachel and Bethany.  We all had (probably still have) pretty divergent tastes in music, so we would make mixed tapes to listen to while driving together that had a mix of songs we each liked.  Because of this I can't hear Keith Sweat's "Twisted" (not that I have recently, I guess) or anything by The Cranberries without immediately being transported back to high school.

Also, pretty sure my music selections demonstrate how much older I am than Heidi and Cory.  And probably Abbey too.  :)

Ok, I'm so late doing this.  Terribly sorry. I loved music in HS, but it wasn't really the music that everyone else did... 
*My first is Harvey Danger, Flagpole Sitta.  This song is just plain fun.  "Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding...."  It's like driving a jalopy but through song.  All bouncy and crazy and happy.  My friends and I loved to turn it up, roll down the windows and yell the entire song.  SO fun!!  It didn't come on the radio very often, so it made it even better when it did. 
*Next is the entirity of the Police CD Every Breath You Take:  The Classics.  I think I was the only one of my friends that enjoyed this album, and they all looked at me like..... ?  We're really listening to this?  But yes.  We are really listening to this.  Roxanne, Every Breath You Take, Don't Stand So Close To Me... all of it.  I listen to it, and I'm back to driving in my dad's big blue truck, popping it into the new deck he got just for me while I drove it to school and back.  I can smell the truck, I can hear the songs, I can mentally do the shifting again, oh my gosh.  I can taste it.  And this memory through song is a good one, because it was solely mine.  I alone loved the Police, I alone had a passion for them.  So these were my songs I yellunged (yelled and sung at the same time) while I was on the way back and forth from dates, on the way to Heather or Traci's house, anywhere.  Love it. 
*Anything Third Eye Blind:  Semi-Charmed Life, Jumper, oh gosh they were so good.  I love them.  They are good to sing to, a little bit rock and roll, very entertaining. 

I feel as though I should have a longer list for this question, but these are the songs that transport me straight back to high school, not necessarily my very most favorite songs (although I do love them all).  Remember, that list is coming someday... 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Still Alice

Alright let's hack this book apart a little bit.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Admittedly I am a book lover. In the worst way. I have on my shelf about 25 books (just the ones that came with me to Michigan) that I have not yet read. And I have amazing friends like Cory, Lauren, Abbey, and my mom who are either sending me books or recommending books I should comandeer from the library. And then there are books I find all on my own. If I could I would read all the time. But I have this thing called school that seriously cuts into my reading time. It is only my ability to read certain books in one sitting that allows me to know what a non-textbook is during the semester. This is one of those books. I think in all I read it over two nights and probably 6 hours in all. It's easy to get into.

A brief summary: Alice is a world reknowned psychologist who has taught at Harvard for 25+ years, has traveled the world, written a book with her biologist husband (about the connection between psychology and biology in your body) and has three kids. The book is told from her perspective which is perhaps the most heartbreaking part because Alice has early-onset Alzheimers. You're in Alice's life for about two years and you follow her from just a few symptoms to when she doesn't recognize her family.

The author does an amazing job of presenting the actual facts of Alzheimers and presenting it from the view of someone who was, by all standards, brilliant, she had a fantastic mind, and you watch from inside her head as it all slips away. Did I cry reading this book. Yes. Partly because I felt for this woman, and partly because it terrifies me that this could happen to me. This book is not exactly 'happy'. But it is fantastic. The empathy you feel not only for Alice but for her family is a product not only of the subject but of the writing. And it definitely gives a completely new perspective on people you may know with Alzheimers or just dementia. I totally recommend it, but be prepared for some sadness.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Most Iconic Movie?

Obviously the 4 of us have a great love for all things media (media as in books, tv, movies, music-news is another topic not yet breached!). But it had to start somewhere! So my question this week stems from wondering what movie floats around our brains as the one that started us down this path. What movie made you love movies? What movie sticks out in your life as important to you? What movie defines you (in a sense)? What movie is iconic for you?

I first saw Tommy Boy when I was about 14. Honestly, I didn't have the most well rounded childhood when pertaining to music and movies of the time (the 80's). I was exposed to a lot of country and a lot of Neil Diamond and Fleetwood Mac. Newsies is really the only movie I knew much about, I didn't watch any of the big deal movies of the 80's until I was in college. We moved when I was around 13 and I met my (to this day) funniest friend Traci. She and I laughed about everything anyway, so it was only natural that she introduced me to Tommy Boy. She could already quote it when I finally watched it, but we still watched it over and over. It was what introduced me to sarcasm and physical humor and the genius of Chris Farley. "Richard!". There's of course the schmaltzy parts of the movie, but basically I love Chris Farley. He improved the movie exponentially, and I think that movie will be funny forever. Tommy Boy is my iconic movie because of the humor, because I learned to laugh, and because I think it's the first time I realized people in movies are actors as their jobs and real people in their lives, but WOW Chris Farley was good at his job. You would never know of his personal problems while watching, but what you did know is that he knew how to be funny.
Honorable Mention goes to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and in part my husband and my's (I'm sure the grammar is wrong there somewhere) most beloved actor of all time-Jim Carrey. The guy is freakin' awesome. I'm so glad that this was already one of my favorite movies when I met Ben, it almost sealed the deal that he could impersonate him and could also quote the movie. Jim Carrey is a comedic genius.
To sum up my iconic movies-I love comedy! I love to laugh! And what's different about these movies is there doesn't have to be all the "I'm not wearing any pants, look at my junk for long periods of time, isn't that hilarious" bull%$&* that seems to be necessary in some of the recent comedies. They're just plain funny.

10 Things I Hate About You (Cory)

While I had loved movies before this, I think this was the first movie I endlessly quoted and bought with my babysitting money not only the tape but also the Soundtrack. I actually still love this movie a whole lot and it only got funnier as I got older. I was somewhere between 7th and 8th grade because we were in AZ and Andi Kortsen was still my best friend. I remember doing that whole lets watch my fave movie and I will watch you watch it because I want you to love it as much as me. I also fell hard for Heath Ledger in this movie, as in I am still falling. What can I say it was dry and witty and fun and the first time I found a movie like that. Even as I sit here so many quotes float through my head that are still hilarious. “I want you I need you ooh baby ooh baby.” “I like my Sketcher sneakers but I love my Prada backpack.” “But I Love my Sketcher sneakers.” “That is because you don’t have a Prada backpack.” “I know you can be overwhelmed, and underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” “I think you can in Europe.”
I watched this movie so many times I could sing along with the soundtrack the day I got it, I could also recite most of the movie in a way that is really annoying to all others in the room. I had to take a 3 year sabbatical from it because it was just too much, we weren’t appreciating each other anymore. I tend to go for a whole lot of funny and some heart in my iconic movies.

Honorable Mention: That Thing You Do! I think we pretty much broke this tape. Indiana Jones still a staple in our household and the coolest professor I have ever seen!

Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgandy - H
Okay I need to start with an explanation because this movie I actually didn't watch until I went to college, and I was a movie lover long before that. So this movie didn't put me on the path to movies per se but it has definitely influenced. If I were to pick the movie that definitely got me loving movies or the one I watched so much of I got sick of it, it would actually be James Bond movies. Let me preface this by saying it's going to get gushy. When I was eight we moved out to Edgewood and got this fancy satellite for our new house. Before this I watched Disney movies but had not experienced the wonders of Spike TV and their Bond marathons. When we first moved into our house, maybe a couple years after once my sisters were gone or mostly gone (Abbey wasn't home much) dad and I would be up late Friday nights watching movies, and Saturday marathons would be on while we cleaned and then again when I got home from soccer. I think I have seen every single Bond movie and it totally kick started my love of those kinds of movies. To this day I will choose an action flick over anything (unless someone else is with me then it's whatev they want.) So that's my Honorable Mention: All Bond Movies.
Second Honorable Mention goes to Gladiator. It's fairly new as well but for me, that movie introduced me to the power that a movie's score can have on a film. Really make or break it. That movie was amazing but the music put it over the top.
Now. My pick. Anchorman. This is definitely top three funniest movies to me ever. I adore it. It never fails to make me laugh hysterically and really there are lines in there that can apply to any situation you're ever going to be in. "I don't know how to say this, but, uh....I'm pretty much a big deal." Here we were introduced to the character that is Will Ferrel. Granted it's been a little overplayed but this is where he shined. His humor was like a reinvention of Chris Farley. Really bringing the fun of SNL to the mainstream. And we cannot overlook the brilliance of being introduced to hilariousness in the form of Steve Carell. "Years later, some doctors will label me as mentally retarded." Oh man I love this movie. And it is iconic for me because it brought me to comedy. Before that I had never really been interested in it. Probably because funny can slip down the line to stupid really quickly for me....But this got me on a comedy kick that I love. Before this the only comedy I can remember seeing and liking was Airplane! After this film I saw the Ace Ventura's, Tommy Boy, all the good ones. It started a Heidi-revolution in movie watching.

Undercover Blues- Kara
It seems like one of the main criteria for this iconic movie title for all of us is quotable lines, and for me, "Undercover Blues" is it- I saw it first at a middle school youth group sleepover.  Two of my friends from back then still quote this movie with me, our favorite lines being:
"Do you know who this is?"
"No, but you have a really sexy voice!"  (Lots of fun to call each other and start conversations this way!)
Another classic- "Cute baby!  Is it a boy or a girl?"  "Gosh, I hope so!" 
The premise of the movie is Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid are a married couple who work as spies for the government, but they've had a baby and they're trying to be a normal family by going on extended maternity leave to New Orleans, where of course they find themselves in the middle of some big international espionage situation.  Oh, another great line, Dennis returns from a walk with the baby with the stroller completely destroyed and tells his wife he got in a knife fight with would-be pickpocketers outside the hotel.  "You took our baby into a knife fight?" his wife asks, to which he replies, "It was a fair fight, two of us, two of them."  Love this movie!  Throughout the movie, they wear the same pair of pajamas- Dennis walking around in the bottoms and Kathleen wearing the top of course, and I've often threatened to buy my friends' pajamas so they can reenact those scenes with their spouses.
I have several honorable mentions, most importantly Gettysburg, because I'm a huge history nerd and this movie showed me how well historical movies can be made.  Historical accuracy can be achieved without sacrificing entertainment value and can bring the past to life about as well as anything I've seen.  It also taught me about the power of music in movies, since I can still picture the scene where Robert Lee (played by Martin Sheen) rides through the troops before he sends them to their deaths in Pickett's Charge just by hearing the first few notes of that score.  Also, this movie (and the book its based on, Killer Angels) introduced me to two of my favorite historical figures- Joshua Chamberlain and James Longstreet.
Back in the comedy region, two other classics for me would be Fools Rush In and 10 Things I Hate About You.  These were some of the first movies I saw multiple times in the theater, and like Cory said, I purchased both the movies and the soundtracks.  I actually bought both of them on DVD recently because I don't think my old VHS tapes will make it much longer and the idea of not having these movies in my collection is a bit unsettling.