Spring Break Miscellany

Greetings, friends! Spring break is officially here! Time to strap on your beer-funnel hats, slather on the sunscreen, and prepare to party. Well, or not.

While we had a quite lovely weekend with plenty of lounging, movie-watching, and mimosas at brunch, the official start of Spring Break (today) started off with a nasty pet situation. The cat, who is a known spite-pisser, decided to take a dump on the bathroom rug (again) and also to pee all over her bed. She has one of these cave-style beds, and she must have climbed on top of it and flattened it down and then peed on the top part. The pee went everywhere, though, including soaking all the way through the rug to the bathroom floor. So in addition to my usual pet-waste-related morning chores of squeezing the dog and emptying the litter box, I also had to do a load of laundry and clean the floor and scrub the cat bed. (CW helped, lest you think he is one of those lazy men you see on sitcoms & commercials who never does any chores at home.) I just. I mean. WHAT THE HELL, KITTY?!

[68/365] Sulky Cat
“I admit nothing.”

In completely unrelated news, we rented Gravity last night. Who has seen that? Was anyone else just a little, I don’t know, underwhelmed? It was much shorter than I expected it to be and (relatedly) the plot was much narrower than I expected. I had not realized it was almost entirely just…Sandy in Space. Because I hate to get even the smallest soupçon of a spoiler, I try to avoid most information about movies before I see them. I am usually satisfied to know the writer, director, star(s), and genre — then I can just watch the plot unfold as intended. I don’t like to see long trailers or to read reviews. In the case of Gravity, I managed to avoid all this. In fact, the main thing I knew about this movie going into it was that most of my Twitter friends were very adamant that they were too freaked out or terrified to see the movie, the trailers, or the awards-show clips. So, basically, I go in thinking it’s a terrifying space movie starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and then I get…well…I get… Gravity. Disappointed.

[56/365] Running Feet

Hey, here’s another unrelated update: Physical therapy has been going very well lately! I have been able to do three 3-mile runs in the past week. I’m feeling great about that! If I can maintain three short runs per week for a couple of weeks with no pain during or after, I will be well on the road to recovery (and able to start increasing my distance again). I have been working my ass off, I’ve got to say. My therapist has me doing all sorts of balance work, squats, and lots of bosu ball stuff (single-leg dead lifts standing on the bosu ball, you guys. Ridiculous!). Last week, he had me jumping off of a box over and over while trying to land silently. So that was interesting. I do not land silently, let’s just say. At any rate, I am really glad I went back to PT as soon as the hip problems cropped up again. I think as a result I’m going to be spending less total time in PT and less total time away from running or other workouts. Last time I was on my butt for several months; this time I’m up and running again after about one month.

And now I had better sign off, because I’ve got a ton of laundry to deal with (thanks, kitty) and some single-leg balances to do. Ooof.

Scary Movies

I decided to watch a bunch of scary movies in the month of October, aiming to see a few I hadn’t ever seen before. Most of these were with my boyfriend, who was really surprised at some of the classics I hadn’t yet seen. We managed to catch some but not all of the ones we wanted to, so the project may continue through the fall and winter months. Why limit it to just October, after all? Dark and dreary weather seems perfect for this kind of thing. Of course, I’ll make an exception for the month of December, during which I plan to watch nothing but Love, Actually, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, The Holiday, et al.

So here’s what we saw:

Paranormal Activity 1 and 2

We watched the first one together, but he deemed it too creepy to watch the sequel. It was really, really creepy, I cannot lie. However, that’s kind of the point, as far as I’m concerned, so I went ahead and watched the second installment on my own, on Halloween night, and live tweeted it with Clarabella so I would not feel so alone. I did not die of fright.

 

Jennifer’s Body

This came on cable one day when we were sitting at home working on school stuff (at his house; I don’t have cable) and I demanded that we watch it. It’s fantastic; if you haven’t seen it you should check it out. Unless you’re one of those people who dislikes Diablo Cody (I am a big fan, myself), in which case skip it, and also hmpf.

Twilight, New Moon, and Breaking Dawn Part I

Twilight and New Moon came on cable, too, so we watched them. I believe my boyfriend is a secret Twilight fan, or at least he has a secret fascination with the movies. We saw Eclipse in the theater together years ago, at his request (which is why we skipped it this time), and he was the one to request Breaking Dawn when he saw I’d bought a copy of it. He seemed to have no complaints about watching all three of these movies, although he would absolutely deny being a fan of any of them, for the record. I mean, yes, they are terrible. (Terribly awesome.)

From Dusk Till Dawn

I can’t believe I somehow missed seeing this movie back in the day when I was a big Tarantino fan (essentially during the Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction days — I mostly boycott him now after having seen him in interviews and growing to despise his public persona). This was really good, and I have to say I liked the Tarantino half (the first half) much better than the Rodriguez half (which starts when they walk into the strip club). A vampire flick is always cool with me, but in this case I liked the psychological suspense of the first half better.

The Crow

We watched this on October 30th, Devil’s Night, as was only appropriate. The Crow is another 90s flick that completely passed me by at the time. I suspect I simply wasn’t allowed to watch it, and then when I moved out and went to college, I never got around to it. It definitely takes me back to those days, though: the style, the soundtrack, the clothes — it was like paying a visit to my high school days. One of my favorite parts, I must admit, was repeating everything Bai Ling’s character said right after her, in a ridiculous approximation of her accent. “I like….de preeety lights….”

So now, I still need to see Poltergeist and Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street and probably Paranormal Activity 3. I’ll put those on the queue for some time soon.

Fall is Looking Up

[282/366] Flowers, Evening Light

Things are good here. Fall is on its way, and I took advantage of the crisp, five-o’clock air yesterday evening to go on a little photo walk through my neighborhood — with my real camera, even! I have been seeing these lovely wildflowers for the past couple of weeks, but when I notice them I’m usually on a run with no camera or phone to capture a picture. This time, I set out with just that intention:

Wildflowers

And Halloween is approaching! I love Halloween. As an adult, I’ve also started to enjoy horror movies — I was never allowed to watch them growing up because my parents had some strict ideas about television, so I missed a lot of the classics along the way. Now it’s time to catch up! My boyfriend was simply shocked at how many of his favorites I’ve never seen, so we have made it a plan to watch some classic horror films this month, in keeping with the season. If you’re a horror movie fan, which are your personal favorites? Leave a comment and maybe we will put them on our list.

In other pop-culture news, I’ve got a new TV show obsession. You know how much I love Gilmore Girls, so you might be wondering how it took me this long to check out Amy Sherman-Palladino’s new show, Bunheads. Well, the reason is that no one told me about it! Heh. I just saw it suggested on Hulu recently and checked it out. Sutton Foster, the star, is no Lauren Graham, but she’s good and continuing to grow on me. Kelly Bishop is fantastic as the mother-in-law — but really, when is Kelly Bishop not fantastic? Never. Bunheads has the same fast-paced, witty dialogue I know and love from Gilmore Girls and the story is quiky and charming. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, you might like to check it out.

And something fun to look forward to: next weekend we are going to see The Lumineers in Atlanta. I am very much looking forward to it! Have you heard their album? I like it a lot. Really looking forward not only to the good music but also a night out of town with my guy.

Hands up if you love fall as much as I do!

Pretty Liars, Criminal Bikers, and a Movie So Bad I'm Still Annoyed Two Weeks Later

You wanna talk about television? I have a couple of things I’ve been enjoying that you might enjoy, too. I’ve also got some questions for you, and an anti-recommendation. Let’s do this:

First and of utmost importance: Pretty Little Liars. No one in particular recommended this to me; I think I just saw it on Netflix and decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did! This show is the exact sort of thing that will absolutely suck me in to the point where I am marathon-viewing several episodes at a time whenever I get the chance. I watched two and a half seasons of it in probably two weeks, and no, I’m not ashamed of all that TV watching. I’ll have you know I was doing physical therapy during, ah, some of it.  It’s just what I like:  a dark, suspenseful mystery set in a high school with improbably good looking and fashionable people. It’s also chock-full of fun references to 20th Century American fiction, which happens to be my field, so it makes the nerd in me happy, too. If you think you’d enjoy seeing the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg on a billboard in a fictional TV town, you might also like this show. I have the bonus happy fact that although Clarabella and I didn’t talk about it beforehand, it turned out that she had also been getting into it and now we’re both caught up and when new episodes come back on air (soon?) we can discuss! You should watch it, too, so we can discuss. Recommended.

Sons of Anarchy is a show I’ve seen discussed quite enthusiastically on Twitter over the past year or so, but I’d never bothered checking it out. The other night, when the new season premiered, I was at my BF’s house and wound up watching it with him. He was able to give me the Cliff’s notes on who was who, and I found myself very caught up in the episode. Did you see it, too? Wasn’t that one thing just HORRIBLE? Oh man. So anyway, I wound up starting season one last night and watched two episodes. After two, I kind of needed a palate cleanser, though. It’s a really good show, but I don’t think I’ll marathon-view it quite as gluttonously as I did Pretty Little Liars just because the darkness and violence might get to be too much if I were to watch several hours of it at once.

I’ve also got season one of Game of Thrones still unfinished, and I may or may not complete that — I’m up to episode seven or so, and while it’s very good, I haven’t been drawn to return to it yet. I probably will, though.  American Horror Story – are any of you fans? I downloaded season one, but haven’t started it yet.  I’m also excited for my old favorites to return: Parks and Rec, Revenge, Once, and Grimm (which is already back on and I’m getting caught up). I feel like I’m forgetting some shows. I guess I’ll know when they pop up in my magical Hulu queue.

And what new shows, preferably available on Hulu, should I be watching this season?

Now for my anti-recommendation. A movie I hated so, so much. The only redeeming factor in this crapfest was that I was watching it with someone else and therefore had a snark partner:

Abduction. Do not bother. Not even if you are in the mood for a suspenseful action/thriller that doesn’t require too much thought, involves cases of mistaken identity, and is peopled by unusually attractive teenagers. Not even if you want to watch a movie that you know will be kind of trashy and bad. Not even then. This movie is flat-out terrible. You’d think Taylor Lautner would be slightly better than awful, at the very least, but he was not. His love interest is played by the worst actress I’ve seen onscreen in recent memory, whose name I’ve thankfully forgotten. But there are legitimate actors involved! Sigourney Weaver, WHY were you in this catastrophe? Anyone connected to this movie is now on my shit list.

Your turn: recommendations? Things to avoid? Hit me.

Chocolate Sauce and Love Tarps

I really love When Harry Met Sally. I believe we have discussed that film here before, in fact. It is fantastic. High five if you can quote every line! But do you ever wonder what happens between Harry and Sally after the New Year’s Eve party? After all the years of friendship and false starts and fights and relationships with other people and then finally making up when Harry puts his Mallomars aside and sprints down to that party to tell Sally, finally, how he feels, and the couple we all knew was supposed to be together is finally together? Of course, we do know all about the coconut wedding cake with the chocolate sauce on the side, but the rest of the story remains untold.

And you know I just got done with my big Gilmore Girls re-watch, and this time around, I suppose because I am older now, I spent most of my time watching Luke and Lorelai. They’re one of the best TV couples, are they not? And throughout all seven seasons we all know they’re supposed to be together, but there’s all the stuff with Max Medina and Digger Styles and then, of course Christopher. Can you believe Lorelai actually marries Christopher in the last season? And we have to wait that shit out before she can finally be with Luke again, like she is supposed to be? Infuriating. Christopher is so obviously wrong for her. It’s all worth it, though, in the end, when Luke stays up all night sewing all those tarps and raincoats together for the party and we know, we just know that what that man is doing is love sewing. Those are LOVE TARPS, dammit. But what comes next?

We’re always told the characters live happily ever after, or we’re just supposed to presume that somehow, but we never get to see them do it. What happens, after? I am in the process of finding out.

Dog Days

I am in complete denial about the fact that summer is winding down. School starts again in just 18 days, and I have a lot of work to do before that happens. I’ve got a new course I’m working on for the fall semester and lots to prepare. But, for now, I am comfortably dwelling in the last dwindling days of summer and I am hanging on with my whole heart.

I’m enjoying hot afternoons on the patio, taking care of my plants and drinking a cold beer from a can (with a foam coozy thing, just because I am a high-class lady). I have been taking long walks around the neighborhood, letting myself get as sweaty as possible. I’ve been making giant pots of coffee for chilling and icing, and huge salads with my home-grown herbs.

Today I went on a short run (PT prescribed!) and then came home and cleaned up my house almost from top to bottom. I still need to dust certain shelves and clean the patio doors, but it’s basically all ship-shape right now. Tell me, is there anything more satisfying than sitting around and enjoying your freshly cleaned home, watching your puppy nap in the sunbeams filtering through the windows? I submit to you that there is not.

[211/366] Sunbeams

I’ve been continuing to read fun things, currently Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, which I loved). I’m not that far into the book yet and it’s starting off slowly, but I trust that like the first book in the series, it will get more gripping as it goes on. I’m also marathon-watching a couple of TV shows: catching up with season four of True Blood from last year, and just starting Game of Thrones with season one. Basically, I am fully immersed in weird, nerdy, supernatural fantasy shit. Witches, vampires, and whatever the hell Game of Thrones is — I don’t know, but it’s good.

Side note: So I’m three episodes into Game of Thrones, and I already hate this insufferable little blonde teenaged boy with the Caesar cut. Joffrey. What kind of smug, twattish name is “Joffrey,” anyway? Not only is he terrible, but what is with the haircut? I was complaining about this on twitter last night and I thought I’d bring it up here, too. His hair, in addition to just being unflattering on his big-eared head, doesn’t fit in at all. Most all the other characters have longer, wavier, more natural looking hair styles, but this kid has a purposeful, precision haircut with highlights and what looks to be gel. GEL. IN HIS HAIR. HAIR GEL. I do not get it at all. Where is he getting it done? Is there a Supercuts somewhere in the Seven Kingdoms? Regardless, I like the show, so I’m sure I’ll keep watching and this important question will eventually be resolved.

I Didn't Intend This to Be a Rant about Felicity but There You Go

I’ve been house- and dog-sitting for a friend this week. While she’s on vacation in a tropical island location, I am on vacation in her fabulous house. I have been taking advantage of the big fenced-in yard where the dogs can run around safely, the big kitchen, the cable and Netflix, and the steam shower and jacuzzi tub. It’s a hard life, I tell you. All I have to do is take care of two extra cute little doggies.

Since I now have access to Netflix again for a little while, I managed to watch a little more Doctor Who and I finished Felicity. I love Doctor Who and I’m going to try to finish season six this weekend; we’ll see. If you haven’t seen that show yet I highly recommend it, starting with the 2005 re-vamp featuring the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston). For the record, the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) is my favorite, and Donna (the hilarious Catherine Tate) is my favorite companion. The Doctor-Donna, anyone? Love.

But you know what I really want to talk about for a minute? Felicity. Can we talk some Felicity? I remember really liking the show when I first watched it — I didn’t watch it at the time it originally was on the air; I think it was maybe a couple of years afterward. This time around, though, I am just not so sure I like Felicity, the character, all that much. For one thing, there’s all the cheating. Freshman year she re-writes Ben’s English paper for him without telling him and gets him in trouble for cheating. Senior year she plagiarizes her Art History paper, proving that she has learned nothing about academic honesty in her entire college carreer. For obvious reasons, this really burns my toast.

Then there’s the relationship cheating. She cheats on Ben senior year and then lies about it and then is all self-righteous when he has trouble getting over it. THEN, later, when Ben cheats on her, she just drops him without a second thought. For (again) obvious reasons, I am never sympathetic to the cheater, but this whole situation irks me.

And of course there is the poor-me drama about how she has these two guys in love with her for basically four years straight and oh my god it is just so hard for her to choose, and in season four the whole issue of her choice becomes literally a life-or-death matter where the other characters (Elena and Noel) are concerned. Because of course their lives revolve around her.

Surprisingly, I do not hate the last few episodes of the show — the time-travel plotline. I think this is an interesting way of dealing with those little voices (either belonging to fans or to the writers’ own second-guessing) saying Felicity should have chosen Noel. Well, what if she did? Let’s see. So that storyline is cool with me. What I did hate about the end, and I can’t believe I didn’t remember this until I saw the series finale today, is that they end the entire series with a clip show. An episode of clips. I know it’s been done before (Seinfeld comes to mind), and I don’t think the clips were just filler. They had a legitimate role in the finale’s narrative. But still, c’mon guys. A clip show?

Other issues: Why did she have to return to Pre-Med in the happy ending? In both the original timeline’s end and in the do-over, she drops art and goes back to medicine. Art, Felicity. Be a damned artist. You got rejected by a few galleries on that one day you tried to show your portfolio, but buck the hell up and be a damned artist. Or be a chicken, I guess. A daddy-pleasing, med-school chicken. On the other hand, at least the art world will be spared her series of garish piñata paintings, so let’s count our blessings where that is concerned.

And the hair. THE HAIR. Do we even need to TALK about the HAIR?

Apparently I have a lot of feelings about Felicity. Do you?