Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Time

This isn't a post about the meaning of Christmas. Watch the Christmas episode of Community to get that answer. This post is just about things that I love about Christmas and this time of year.

1. White Christmas

The best Christmas movie ever. Hands down, no contest. Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen (if you think she looks like an anorexic dancer it's because she was - people shouldn't really look like that). This movie is watched multiple times during the month of December in our house and it never gets old. It's got music, dancing, comedy, romance... it's just so good. Here's a list of specific things I love about this movie (this is in no way a comprehensive list):

A. Bing's smooth, silky voice
B. Rosemary Clooney's smooth, silky voice
C. Danny Kaye's matching jacket, pants, socks, and shoes in "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" number
D. "Well how do you like that? Not so much as a 'kiss my foot' or 'have an apple'."
E. "We'll follow the old man wherever he wants to go,
      As long as he wants to go opposite to the foe
      We'll stay with the old man wherever he wants to stay
      As long as he stays away from the battle's fray
F. Vera Ellen's phenomenal dancing skills. Seriously, phenomenal (watch "Choreography" for specifics)
G. The fact that Rosemary Clooney was 26 and Bing was 51 when this came out (ok, I don't love that part of it, it just makes me laugh).
H. The fact that the first half of the Minstrel Number has absolutely nothing to do with the second half.
I. The best version of White Christmas ever.

To sum up, I love everything about this movie. Except for the fact that Vera Ellen was anorexic. Random fun little fact, Danny Kaye died three days before I was born. I always figured we were friends in heaven for those three days.

2. Christmas in Connecticut

Second best Christmas movie ever. Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan. I say that like they're both great actors I love when in fact, I haven't seen either of them in anything else. But I do love them both in this. It's corny and predictable, but I still love it. It's hilarious and Dennis Morgan is pretty dreamy... Not dreamy enough to marry after knowing for two days (spoiler!), but it's still a fun movie. And one of my favorite quotes is from this movie. When Barbara Stanwyck shows her Uncle Felix her new mink coat, Felix says, "nobody needs a mink coat but the mink." I love this not because I'm anti-fur (I have no strong feelings either way on that, surprisingly enough), but because it's hilarious and I love Felix. Do me a favor and borrow this movie from me. Or just get it for $7 on Amazon.

3. Chocolate Crinkles

I don't know why these are our Christmas cookies of choice, but they are. I don't think we make them any other time of year besides Christmas. But when we make them, boy do we make them. Dozens and dozens and dozens. The dough is actually chilling in the fridge now and I'm going to bake them as soon as I'm done writing this post.

4. Snow

Although a White Christmas is rare these days. Blasted climate change... :)

5. My mug

This is the coolest mug ever. Hand made, weirdly shaped, and beautiful. I bought it at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia on one of the many occasions we went out to Charlottesville, WV for the horse races. Anyway, Harpers Ferry is the site of a Civil War battle and has fewer than 300 residents today. It's super cute and quaint and has a lot of history and fun shops for tourists. One had some amazing pottery made by people all over the country and this mug caught my eye. I can't remember how much I paid for it, but it was way more than a mug would generally cost. I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it though with all the hot cocoa I drink in the winter. This mug seriously is great. Also, it's dishwasher safe.

6. Ableskivers

Heavenly. Fun little bits of deliciousness from Denmark and pretty much the only way we celebrate that aspect of our heritage. They're similar to pancakes but way better. Usually we dip them in powdered sugar but we tried something different this year and it requires a back story. A couple weeks ago I went to a friend's house for dinner and turns out they had made ableskivers with a real ableskiver pan. This was the first time I had ever seen ableskivers anywhere but my house so I was pretty excited. Anyway, they made them with a cinnamon/sugar mix in the middle and I recommended trying this with my family because it was so awesome. Now that we know how to put stuff in the middle, I have a feeling we'll be trying a lot of new fillings. Ableskiver, after all, means apple dumpling so we should probably try them with some kind of apple filling sometime.

7. Paella

One of the many reasons I love being Quarter-Rican and our traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey schmurkey, ham schmam, goose schmoose. Paella is the only way to go on Christmas. My mom has a special paella pan (caldero) that she pulls out once a year. Puerto Rican rice, pork, chicken, and veggies, usually garnished with shrimp or shellfish. Puerto Rican food is 100% delicious (especially since sea food is more the exception than the rule) and this is the quintessential Puerto Rican dish. Mmm... I'm excited for next Sunday if only for this.

8. John Denver and The Muppets and Nat King Cole


My two favorite Christmas albums (although James Taylor, Christmas Belles, Bing Crosby, A Brasillian Christmas, and Parranda NavideƱa deserve recognition as well). These epitomize Christmas for me. To me, Christmas is synonymous with Nat King Cole and John Denver with The Muppets. They're both fantastic. 

Just to point out, the worst things about Christmas are the traffic and the Forgotten Carols.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

10 (except really 12) TV Shows I'm Thankful For

Keeping in the spirit of my last post, I'm going to write about 10 (except really 12) TV shows I'm thankful for. I couldn't narrow the last two down. Again, these are listed in no particular order.

1. Spaced

I didn't actually see this until the last couple of years which is weird since I've had a major crush on Simon Pegg a lot longer than that. All I can say is I'm sad I didn't see this years and years and years ago. All that time I could have had with the hilarity that is Spaced. The collective genius of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost (not to mention the crazy awesome rest of the cast) is given to us for the very first time in 14 fantastic episodes. Seriously some of the funniest characters I've ever seen came from this show. Don't watch the pilot of the American remake. Awful...

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Oh, Buffy. My love affair with this show is eternal. It may be tied for first place in my list of favorite TV shows, but if you took out the comedy category, Buffy would totally win (even though it's really funny still). I was first introduced to Buffy when I was 15 by my sister, Sara. I watched it begrudgingly at first, but I quickly fell in love with the show's wit, charm, and kick-a$$ female characters (I would later call that "feminism"). Also I kind of fell in love with Spike (Angel's lame. His hair sticks straight up and he's bloody stupid). 

Anyway, I was a closeted fan for several years until college. However, one day I stepped out of the Buffy closet and it was no longer my guilty pleasure. I wear my love (some would even say "obsession") on my sleeve. I tell my feminist friends who pooh-pooh this show as stereotyping and sexualizing that no, no, Joss Whedon is a self-identified feminist and he writes some of the most amazing female characters I've ever seen. He writes awesome male characters too, but those aren't as hard to come by. 

Sure, the first couple of seasons are campy and Angel TOTALLY sucks in this show (thank goodness he's only in 3 of the 7 seasons), but it really is worth watching. Even if you think you won't like it - give it a chance. I did, and almost 10 years later I'm planning a birthday party for my favorite heroine. 

Awesome things to come from Buffy: Angel (I like him in his show, just not Buffy's), Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan, Tom Lenk, Spike, Andrew, "that'll put marzipan in your pie plate bingo", the whole vampires-are-awesome thing, the first lesbian kiss on network TV, and the coolest female characters on television. 

3. Arrested Development

If I was listing these in order, this would be first. Comedy is my favorite genre of TV show and Arrested Development is the funniest and smartest show that has ever been or ever will be on television. I honestly can't imagine a world where there is a show that is better than Arrested Development. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is highly improbable. I will forever hate Fox for killing this after only 2 1/2 seasons. I will forever love Netflix for picking up the 10ish episodes to watch in 2013 and Twitter for allowing Will Arnett to tell me the good news while he peed next to Jason Bateman. I have never known anyone that has seen this and didn't like it and I don't think I ever will know anyone like that. If I do, we weren't meant to be friends anyway. 

4. Dexter

Everyone's favorite serial killer. I generally don't watch dramas often, and when I do, I rarely stay committed. That makes Dexter extra special. Sure, he's a sociopath who has zero reservations about killing people, but he only kills other bad guys, he's a really good father, a committed brother, and (generally speaking) wants to be a good person. It's that continual effort he makes that keeps me coming back, not to mention the awesome plot lines and crazy twists. I'll be honest, I'm not very interested in the bad guys this season (Colin Hanks really can't act), but I hated Lilah in the second season too and I got through it. And let's face it, a few mediocre (slash CRAZY annoying in Lilah's case) characters don't diminish the awesomeness that is Dexter. 

5. The Daily Show

If I could only watch one show for the rest of my life, it would probably be The Daily Show. If I had money to take one trip, it would be to see The Daily Show. If I could be a one-time home wrecker with no repercussions, it would be with Jon Stewart. If I could be famous for one thing, it would be something that got me onto The Daily Show. If I could meet one famous person, it would be Jon Stewart. If I got hit by a car but I somehow got to decide who the driver would be, it would be Jon Stewart. Are you starting to understand my devotion? Not only is this man my biggest celebrity crush, he's also kind of my hero. 

6. Parks and Recreation 

This got off to a rocky start. The six episodes that are the first season suuuuuuuuck. Leslie Knope was a Michael Scott clone and nothing about the show kept me interested which is why it took me two more seasons to start watching it. I'm oh so glad I did. It's currently the most consistently funny show on TV. Ron Swanson is one of the best characters ever written, and I pretty much always love Adam Scott. Rob Lowe's character is becoming really annoying, which just goes to show you that all good things must end, but it's still a fantastic show. 

7. Community

You better be watching this show. NBC recently benched it and it really does make me just so sad. Parks & Rec may be the most consistently funny, but when Community is on its game, it is hands down the funniest. It may be hit and miss, but generally it's closer to the bulls eye than not. It's very meta and introspective which makes it a super unique show. And that, by the way, is when it's usually dead on as far as perfect hilarity. I just love it so much. All I ask is just a season and a half more. Just get them through college like Dan Harmon planned on in the beginning. That's all they need. NBC, don't fail me. 

8. Pushing Daisies

Charming. Charming, charming, charming. Of the three shows Bryan Fuller created (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies), this one is the best (even though Wonderfalls is awesome and Dead like me is also good generally). I really can't describe how wonderful this show is. This was the saddest casualty of the writer's strike of 2007-2008. It never got the ratings back and ABC cancelled it after only 2 seasons. This deserved to go on much, much longer. It's always the very best that die early. 

9. Downton Abbey

One of Masterpiece Theater's finest. If you didn't watch the Emmy's this year, go see what show won a billion awards. It was Downton Abbey. It goes into depth with so many characters without being daunting or overwhelming. It's got wit, drama (the good kind), scandals, and Dame Maggie Smith. It bothers me when people are automatically turned off by period pieces. Let me tell you something: period pieces do not equal boring. Lame story equals boring and this is not even close to being a lame story. Season 2 has already come and gone in the UK, but it doesn't start here until January 8th. Can't wait!

10. Avatar: The Last Airbender 

My thanks needs to go to several people here: Scott Payne for planting the seed of interest, Mike Robertson for nourishing that seed, and Jacob Ashley for actually exposing me to it. This show is crazy awesome. It's light, it's intense, it's funny, it's exciting, and just plain fun. 

11. The IT Crowd
No, this isn't a show about a magic, floating couch. It is, however, the funniest show I've seen come out of the UK (it's been a really long time since I've watch The Office so I may not be objective here). I've heard people complain about the laugh track, but please don't hold that against this show because hilarity ensues in every episode. Mr. Bean had a laugh track, so stop being haters! Whatever you do though, don't watch the American pilot. Joel McHale replaces Chis O'Dowd's character and it just doesn't work (nor does any aspect of this version). O'Dowd plays an IT professional and he has that whole cute geek thing going on (although I totally find that attractive so I may be off on this assessment. Maybe he's just supposed to be a lame nerd). Anyway, Joel McHale cannot pull that off. He acts like he's trying to, but Joel is just too damn sexy. Seriously, he smolders me with his sexiness every time I see him and I just couldn't get past that. Nor could I get past the painful lack of good translation from British to American. Anyway, watch this show. And also anything Joel McHale is in (except maybe Spy Kids 4). 

12. Up All Night

Ok, this really doesn't belong on the list. It's fun and I watch it regularly, but compared to everything else, it's not that great. I'm just adding it on here because I would totally marry Will Arnett's character if I could. The stay-at-home-dad is pretty much my ideal situation someday and his character is the perfect amount of awesome, geek, hipster, and intellectual. So if you're ever curious to see my dream guy, watch a few episodes of this. That's not the only reason I watch it though - it really is funny :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

10 Movies I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving was a few days ago and blogs are full of gratitude. I'm going to partake in that as well, but just without the sap cause I'm not in the mood. Instead, I'm going to talk about 10 movies I'm thankful for. 10 movies that make my life better (in no particular order).

1. The Muppets

This movie has been occupying a lot of my thoughts lately. It's been out for 3 days and I've seen it twice. Yes, it's just as funny the second time. This movie just makes me so happy. I basically laugh the entire way though it. Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller did a phenomenal job writing something that could have been done by Jim Henson. The Muppets are long overdue for another movie as well as a resurgence in popularity. Jason Segal gave me a bit of a shock when he said that there is an entire generation of kids growing up who don't know The Muppets. Hopefully with this movie and their new show that will change. 

2. Amelie

Amelie might be my favorite movie of all time. It's quircky, it's charming, it's colorful, it's lovable, it's adorable, and just plain awesome. I'm never in the mood to NOT watch Amelie. I had never seen anything like it when I first watched it and I've never seen anything like it since (although Midnight in Paris is right up there). I fell in platonic love with Audrey Tautou when I saw this movie and few actors have captured my fancy like she did. It's also one of my favorite soundtracks (if not my very favorite). Everything about this movie is unique and just... charming. 

3. Midnight in Paris

This movie takes a close second to Amelie in terms of charm. First time I saw this film I smiled the entire time (and that's not an exaggeration at all). Really, charming is the best word to describe this movie. Owen Wilson is lovable in a way I haven't seen before and the plot line is light and refreshing even though it had the potential to be convoluted. It was just fun to see a time-travel movie that wasn't about time traveling. Rather, it was about people and experiences. If Amelie is my favorite soundtrack, this is again a close second. As of now they haven't released an official soundtrack and I'm having major trouble finding some of the songs to purchase. Hopefully Sony realizes its folly soon. I dare you to watch this movie and not love it. 

4.  Oscar

I just looked this up on Rotten Tomatoes because I realized I had never done that before. My jaw dropped when I saw that it is at 13%. To me, this is the perfect cult comedy. I realize not everyone is going to love it as much as I do, but I don't understand why. It's the only Sylvester Stallone movie I'll ever own because I typically can't handle his lack of acting, but I LOVE him in this. He, Marisa Tomei, and Tim Curry are just plain fantastic in this film. It makes me so sad that this movie isn't loved by everyone.

5. Breakfast at Tiffany's

Hands down, my favorite Audrey Hepburn film. Truman Capote wrote a great story and this movie is a perfect blend of his original idea and a great love story (aka mass appeal). I can't think Audrey Hepburn without Holly Golightly or vice versa. The poster for this movie hangs in my parent's basement (a Christmas present from me a while ago) and a woman in their ward commented on it once saying, "you do realize she was a prostitute, do you?" in a scandalized voice. But she really wasn't. She was a socialite, a society girl, and a carefree woman who just happened to take money from men. She's confused yet happy, and in my opinion, only really became confused after she met Paul Varjak (at least in the movie - the story in the book is quite a bit different). It's a simple boy meets girl story, but it's timeless.

6. Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/Paul

I can't pick one out of the three of these. Hot Fuzz wouldn't be without Shaun of the Dead, Paul wouldn't be without Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead, and none of them would be without Spaced (TV show so sadly not included in this list. Maybe I should do another blog for TV). Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright are the perfect comedic trio (even though Edgar wasn't involved in Paul - even though it's awesome, it probably would have been better with him) and each one is awesome independently. If I'm in the mood for a comedy, I'm going to be in the mood for one of these three.

7. Thoroughly Modern Millie

Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Charol Channing. 'Nuff said. This is movie is hilarious and is one of the most quotable movies ever. Really. I use "pook" on an almost daily basis cause it's one of my favorite exclamations. One of the first things my good friend Mike said to me when I met him was something about how my ring looked like the ring Mrs. Meirs wears in this movie. I liked him immediately because of that. Anyone who likes this movie is going to be awesome and it's as simple as that. 

8. Pride & Prejudice

I don't watch this nearly as often as I used to (I've discovered other BBC Miniseries like Wives & Daughters, North & South, Cranford, Jane Eyre...) but this is still the movie that I compare any period piece to. I constantly find similarities to this story in just about any chick flick. "He's such a Wickham" is a common phrase, any flawed yet changeable male character is compared to Mr. Darcy, and few female characters measure up to the witty and independent Elizabeth Bennett. On the surface it's the chick flick of all chick flicks, but if you really sit down and pay attention, it really is witty and shows some great character development. 

9. Bridesmaids 

This is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Kristen Wiig is a comedic genius and she wrote this so well. One of my favorite things about this movie is that it goes to show you that a comedy featuring a predominately female cast (or even a single female character that isn't objectified for the benefit of male viewers) can have mass appeal to both men and women of pretty much any age. It debunked the idea that women as good story tellers as men, particularly when it comes to comedy. If you don't think this is a big deal, you're wrong. It totally is. 

10. Birdemic: Shock and Terror

This movie is going down in history as one of the best worst movies of all time. The creator/director cited "The Birds" and "An Inconvenient Truth" as his inspiration. That should give you a small idea of just how horrifically awesome this movie is. In fact, here - go ahead and watch the trailer and judge for yourself. But please, watch this movie with the riff trax. You won't regret it (at least I didn't). Honestly, this has got to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my entire life, but I'm so glad it exists (and that they're working on a sequel). 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Time has been moving more quickly lately. Apparently that happens when you're enjoying something, or when you're busy. My life happens to be pretty heavily emphasizing the latter right now.

Monday: Job A 8-3, job B 3-7.
Tuesday: Job A 8-3, job B 3-7.
Wednesday: Job B 9-7.
Thursday: Job C 8-1, class 1:30-4:30, homework 4:30-7:30, fun Thursday night 7:30-10.
Friday: Class 8:30-2:00, working from home on jobs A and C for a while, then whatever the h@$% I want the rest of the weekend.

And let's not forget the commute from Orem to Salt Lake 4 of those days, none of which I'm driving all the way. It's either the express bus or driving to Sandy to take Trax.

I'm glad I'm getting done a few hours before bedtime now (that wasn't the case a bit ago).

I'm glad I usually have weekends to settle (although for some reason I can't find time to really clean up my space and it's starting to gross me out).

I'm glad I have a regular night of relaxation (even though I'm constantly worrying about driving the half hour home and getting up the next morning).

I'm glad I decided to not do any of my readings and to put as little effort into my assignments as possible (I have way more free time and I'm still getting As).

I'm glad I have 3 jobs that I like. It balances the 8 hours of class that I hate.

I'm not glad I wake up at 5:30 (I'm used to it now though - never though I had it in me).

I'm not glad that I spend 8 hours a week in classes that are either A) not in the least bit interesting to me; B) something I've learned either last year or in high school; or C) a combination of the two. Actually, two of my three classes are going over the exact same material we did last year and the third is a policy class that teaches me things I learned 8ish years ago or things that are just plain false like Congress is controlled by Republicans right now. Call me old fashioned, but I find it pretty unacceptable to be correcting your professor fairly regularly or watching School House Rock in a master's level course.

I'm not glad that I'm spending so much money on gas. Money I don't exactly have.

I'm not glad that my prospects of earning enough to pay off my student loans, car, apartment, and all the grand necessities of life are abysmal. Why I decided to rack up student loan debt in social work is beyond me.

Most of all though, I'm SO glad that I have 4 weeks left in the semester and 15 after that. That's the time I'm focusing on and no matter how busy I keep, it can't come fast enough.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I saw the film, 50/50 this weekend. It was an emotionally draining experience to say the least. I'll get the easy stuff over with first and move on from there. There are a few minor spoilers here.

I loved this film. It felt incredibly authentic. Will Reiser did an incredible job of translating his experiences to the big screen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did such an amazing job portraying the character. He was genuine and I had no problem figuring out what he was thinking and feeling. Seth Rogan was hilarious as always, but really, his performance paled in comparison. A truly fantastic movie and I highly recommend it. I would totally go see this again and I absolutely am going to own it.

There was one pretty big thing I didn't like. I hated that he got together with his therapist. I don't know if I saw any movies that depicted a client hooking up with his/her therapist at the end of the movie, but if I did I never noticed until I started my social work program. Since then I've only seen two (this and Mr. Jones) but both times it has irked me a ton. It's INCREDIBLY unethical and can have some serious implications. I realize this was based on a true story, but I'm going to assume that this part of it didn't happen to Will Reiser cause it's just that outrageous. Yes, there's a whole transference/counter-transference thing that goes on in the client/therapist relationship, but it isn't always sexual and if it is, a good therapist would either check him/herself before it went too far or they would have referred the client to another therapist. I realize this doesn't make for a good movie, but there's got to be another love interest besides the therapist.

On a side note, although I have no plans to utilize any of the therapy skills I'm supposedly learning, I still know that she was a horrible therapist. That's another reason I think this part of the movie was fictional: only someone who didn't know much about therapists would write a therapist like this.

Now to the grit. Turns out Adam (the main character) has a type of sarcoma. It's one of the crappiest cancers you can get. I don't know how cancers work, if there are groupings or families or something, but there are different types of sarcomas and they are all really crazy nasty. My mom had a sarcoma. I was already wary about this movie because of that experience (surgery, chemo, radiation, and all the emotional baggage that comes with it), but when I found out his cancer was a sarcoma, my stomach lurched. I told my friend that was the type of cancer my mom had, and I braced for a worse ride that I had anticipated.

It was awful. Generally speaking, if I wasn't laughing, I was crying. Seriously, it felt like every 5 or 10 minutes. One moment was particularly intense. At one point Adam is alone in a car and has a bit of a breakdown. The whole movie we've seen very little blatant emotional reaction, and all of a sudden he's screaming and pounding on the steering wheel. I was sobbing at that point. I have felt that for my mom. I've been so overwhelmed that I had to pull the car over on the freeway to do what I could to get it out. The pure anger and despair is incomparable. I've never been close to dying and so I've never felt that on the level of someone who has been (obviously Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn't really in that situation either, but he did an amazing job of convincing you he was), but I've felt it on a smaller scale and to be reminded that anyone goes through that isn't fun.

I could go on, but some things are better left for a journal or a social worker. I'm a terrible therapist so I wouldn't attempt to psychoanalyze myself :)

Anyway, I highly recommend this movie. Yes, it did resonate especially with me, but it'll do that with just about anyone. Go see it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

White Girl

I did zumba for the first time tonight. It did 3 things:

1. Made me SUPER sweaty
2. Made me have a lot of fun
3. Made me realize just how super white I am even though 1/4 of me is Puerto Rican

My Mexican roommate once tried to teach me how to do a body roll. This was like that but an hour instead of 10 minutes.

I wish I had more Latin blood in me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Political Venting

I try to avoid the urge to blog about politics. I follow things, I have opinions, I love talking about it, but for some reason I find blogging about politics... I don't know, cliche maybe? I feel like no one really cares I guess. Which is ironic considering this is a blog. As a warning, there might be strong language in this post. I'm a bit annoyed right now and have no desire to watch my language.

Anyway, I need somewhere to vent my frustrations on the recent debt ceiling debacle. As of now they've reached a deal that will be passed in both houses tomorrow. The day before the deadline. Did it really need to come to this? The deal they came up with isn't all that different from what they've been throwing around for months.

My first complaint is just about the petty politics. The pandering. Apart from a few idealistic freshmen who think they can change the world in the two years they're in office, politicians knew full well that a deal had to be made and that a deal would be made. There was never any real question if the debt ceiling was going to be raised or not. So why the hell do we need the theatrics? I like a good show as much as the next person, but not when you're dealing with an economy that's already in a bit of a shit hole. It's all about looks. That's all these negotiations have ever been. Any time progress was being made or it looked like REAL compromise was happening, pressure would mount from the far right and Boehner (spell check wants to change that to "Boner") would storm out to look good for the 10% of the country that doesn't want the Republicans to compromise. Same goes for those that kept saying how crappy the bill of the week was and that there was no way in hell they would vote for something so watered down. They knew something would pass just in the nick of time, but until then, they're going to look really good to those who vote for them in the primaries. Cause those are they only people that matter. The 20% (10 on the left, 10 on the right) that are the outliers who vote in the primaries. They are the ones that come up with the candidates and the rest of us only have extremes to choose from. But that's a completely different post right there.

My second complaint (and the one that will be the bulk of the rest of this post) is the lack of compromise. Real compromise. They're calling what they have now a compromise. The fact that the debt ceiling is being raised at all is a compromise. Cut with the BS, Sarah Bachmann et al. I'm gonna let you in on a not secret. Democrats want the debt ceiling raised. Republicans want the debt ceiling raised. The American people want the debt ceiling raised. World economies and governments want the debt ceiling raised. And if "want" is too strong a word for you, let's just call it a necessary evil. Either way, it has to happen.

So that's not compromise, that's the common ground you're starting from. The means to get there is where compromise comes in and I'll make it overly simple for you: Democrats think it's necessary to raise revenue. Republicans think it's necessary to cut spending. The compromise is we do both. I know raising taxes is hard for anyone (including Democrats - gasp!) to swallow when the economy is in the crapper, but if you really want to make the debt a priority right now (which personally, I think we can afford to wait on that one after people have jobs and the government has revenue), some kind of increase in revenue can't really be avoided if we're compromising.

Idea! How about we just close corporate loopholes so big business is paying the taxes they should be anyway? Sounds easier to take than flat out raising taxes and that's exactly what the Dems proposed. As it turns out, compromise is a dirty word and that idea didn't fly (even though the income and wealth gaps are wider than ever and getting bigger every day). Cuts in military spending were off the table too. As were any ideas for revamping medicare, medicaid, or social security.

It's a joke. Nothing of any real substance is getting done in this country because a bunch of assholes are more concerned about keeping their jobs by becoming more and more polarized than doing what is right for the country (because remember, it's the 10% on each end that decide if they have a job next election).

People always talk about how irresponsible Washington has become, and it's true. Wasteful spending is rampant, economic policies benefit the rich and leave the middle class and especially the poor in the dust, and overall this country is going downhill. What gets me though is that they know it. Those responsible for these things know that they aren't doing what they should. Whether you want to admit it or not, politicians are generally smart people. They've been to college, they have law and masters degrees, they have a grasp on basic economics. But they've collectively decided that instead of doing what's right for the country and maybe losing an election, they would rather stay in a position of power by trying to look good in front of that 20% on the edges of the spectrum, thereby slowly but surely leading us down a path of an unsustainable existence.

God bless America.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Homage to the Homage-O-Meter

I have a new crack pot idea. I recently bought and have been watching the British TV show Spaced (Simon Pegg - go watch it now) with the Homage-O-Meter. The Homage-O-Meter tells you whenever a pop culture reference is made and what the reference is. A few days ago I thought it might be fun to watch all the movies they mention. Today I thought it might be fun to not only watch all the films, but blog about them too. So I decided to try something out. I kept track of all the films they referenced in season 2 episode 1. It totaled to 14 films. 14 films in a 30 minute show! And that's just the movies - the Homage-O-Meter references artists, music, TV... It pops up quite a bit as I'm sure you can imagine.

Anyway, if we assume the average number of films per episode is 14 and multiply that by 14 episodes, that's 196 films to watch. I would have to watch just over one movie every 2 days if I wanted to finish in a year and that's going to be hard with school. Plus I'd have to learn how to write about film, which I totally don't, and to write about film I'd have to learn about film. I took one film class in college called American Cultures in Film and it was just what it sounds like. All we did was watch movies featuring different ethnicities (Tortilla soup, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Chosen, A Bronx Tale...). It was a lot of fun and I got introduced to several fantastic movies, but I learned nothing about film.

Not only that, but there are some movies that I REALLY don't want to watch. Well, only two that I can think of right now: Titanic and The Phantom Menace. Even thought Titanic came out two years before Phantom Menace, I saw Phantom Menace first (I'm taking care not to call it Star Wars). I can't remember why, but the school took us to see Phantom Menace in the theater (it was probably a reward for good grades or something) and in all honesty I can't remember what I thought about it. Now, however... I have very strong thoughts on the subject. As for Titanic, I saw that I think when I was in high school. My mom didn't let me see it when it came out because it was PG-13 and I was 10. All my friends were talking about how great it was and buying the soundtrack and I was so sad that I couldn't see it. As time went on I just lost interest and really didn't care one way or the other. Finally, when I was maybe 17 and our cousin was living with us, she let me borrow her VHS copy because she wanted me to know what I was missing out on. I hated it. I can't remember why or even much of the movie, but I remember rolling my eyes a lot and laughing at moments meant to be tender. My love of Kate Winslet and mild liking of Leonardo DiCaprio did nothing to quell the corn that was that movie.

So there you have it. Even with all those barriers the crack pot idea is still an idea. It'll be on a different blog if I ever do start it. I guess we'll just see if this comes to fruition.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bachelorette/grad pad

It's official - I'm staying here for the foreseeable future. The plan I had to move out with a friend went to pot and the alternatives of spending more than I could on a studio or living with strangers again really didn't sound all that swell. I'll admit, I'm pretty disappointed I'm not moving out. About 98% of my social life is in Salt Lake, work will be in Salt Lake, school will be in Salt Lake, and better single's wards are in Salt Lake. Unfortunately, I'm in Orem. Come late August, I'll be commuting 5 days a week for school and work, and probably a lot on the weekends for friends. Don't get me wrong, I love my family. They're pretty freaking awesome and I really enjoy hanging out with them. But my parents raised me to be independent (mostly) and life just seems so much better when I'm on my own.

There are a couple up sides though. I'll be saving a ton of money, I'll... Ok, so there's one up side. But saving money right now is a pretty big one. At least that's what I've been telling myself.

Still, I'm going to make the most of it. I'm in the loft of my parent's house and I just spent the last 6ish hours cleaning and unpacking (I had kept pretty much all of my stuff in boxes because I was thinking I was going to move out again this summer). I still have a few finishing touches to make, but it's just about done.

Back in the day when the loft was livable, Sara and I lovingly christened it "The Bachelorette Pad" even though there was nothing really special about it. It opens down to the main floor and that makes it hard to have raves or pretend to watch movies while making out. In fact, I can only remember folding laundry and watching Buffy while my mom complained that 2 TVs in such close proximity wasn't working when it was the bachelorette pad.

After announcing my intentions of staying here until (hopefully) May, Sara asked if I was going to recreate the bachelorette pad. I mentioned my extreme lack of social life down here and the fact that my time in the loft will either be sleeping or studying and Cecily fittingly dubbed it my "Grad Pad."

For years now the loft has been collecting dust and boxes filled with odds and ends belonging to all four of the Christensen kids, not to mention pretty much everything I own as of a couple of months ago. However, you wouldn't know it to look at it now. The banisters have been cleared of dust and spiderwebs, the built in desk is 100% usable again, the floor has been vacuumed, the walls washed, and there isn't a single box in sight (ok, there are still two. But they'll be gone tomorrow after those finishing touches get finished). When it's done, I'll have a nice sitting area with my bookshelves and movies fitting snugly against the wall and my computer set up at the desk complete with headphones to distract me from the goings on downstairs while I work. All I need now is a kitchen and a soundproof enclosure!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sudden Remembrance

I'm crazy tired and I want to go to bed but I wanted to write about this before I forget. And let's face it: when I want to do something, I want to do it now. If I put anything off it just won't get done.

I watched a couple of episodes of X-Men just now. The cartoon. X-Men: First Class prompted me to watch the first two films (I refuse to watch the third one again) and that got me curious about the animated series. I vaguely remember watching it as a kid but I remember very little about it. Because I don't remember it too well that makes me think that I didn't watch it a ton. At the same time, I was only 5 when it started. 

It got me thinking and I couldn't really remember shows that I watched as a kid. I remember being a little bit older and watching stuff my siblings watched. Shows like SNL, Friends, Seinfield, The Simpsons (of course I didn't fully get the humor when I was 9) but I couldn't remember what I watched when I was little. However, thanks to this handy dandy list of animated TV shows from Wikipedia, my memory was jogged and I felt like sharing (in no particular order). Cause I share useless crap. 

Tale Spin 1990-1994 (ages 3-7)
I remember a few select things about this show. The main character (a bear) had the same voice as Baloo from The Jungle Book, there was a girl bear who I always wanted to get together with the main character (they probably did and I just don't remember), she had a son who wore a backwards cap, they flew one of those planes that lands on water, and I watched it all the time. That's it. But I remember loving it and I'd totally watch it again. 

Tiny Toon Adventures 1990-1992 (ages 3-5)
I probably didn't need Wikipedia to jog my memory if I had thought at all before looking at the list but when I saw the name, a rush of memories came flooding back. This was one of my all time favorites and in all honesty I'll probably own this someday just because. Babs, Buster Max... those might be the only names I can remember. But still, it was awesome. I'm guessing I watched reruns closer to 1994ish because I distinctly remember watching the show around the same time one of the specials came out. 

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 1989-1990 (ages 2-3)
I for sure watched reruns of this. There's no way I would remember something from that young. For some reason this show and Tale Spin morph in my head. I have no idea why. I remember the characters in this well though: Chip 'n Dale of course (Dale wore a fur lined leather jacket) and a mouse and her father who's uncontrollable love of cheese got them into a fair bit of trouble. I could also sing a bit of the opening credits for you. 

Garfield and Friends 1988-1994 (ages 1-7)
This was one of the few shows I watched consistently and I will for sure own it someday. I remember watching it every morning before school and when it was over, it was time to leave for school. Generally I wouldn't finish getting ready before it came on and the babysitter, Jodee Dahl, would have to rush to find me socks and shoes. I wonder how old she was and why she wasn't at school cause mine didn't start till about 9:30... weird. Anyway, Garfield was fantastic. He was lazy and so was I. He love lasagna and I probably didn't at that time, but I'm sure I wanted to in order to be like him. Also his mouth didn't move when he talked which I thought was awesome. Then there were the little side shows within the show (the Friends part of it) and I thought it was weird that one of them (the pig?) had the same voice as Garfield. Totally threw me off. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987-1996 (ages newborn-9)
Obviously I didn't watch all of this. And in all honest, I didn't actually watch a lot of it when I did. Shredder scared the crap out of me and I'm pretty sure my only motivation for watching this was because my brother did. Or maybe I thought he did cause by the time I was old enough to watch and remember this show he was probably in high school. I do remember the movie though and that was awesome. I was SO mad when my mom threw it out. 

Batman: The Animated Series 1992-1995 (ages 3-8)
I watched this when I was closer to 7 or 8. Batman was totally my favorite superhero probably because I didn't really watch other superhero shows other than X-Men. I can't remember the name of the woman who worked for Joker, but good grief her voice drove me insane. By far though my favorite villain was Catwoman. Back then if I was a villain, I'd totally use a whip too. Probably not now...

Animaniacs 1993-1998 (ages 6-11)
I didn't know this, but Animaniacs was on Fox from 1993 to 1995 and then the WB from 1995 to 1998. I watched it on the WB. Towards the end I remember thinking I was getting a little too old for cartoons (even thought I remember my siblings sometimes watching it with me and they were 6, 8, and 9 years older), but I couldn't stop watching that show and I was SO sad when it was cancelled. Yacko, Wacko & Dot, Pinkie and the Brain, Good Idea/Bad Idea... It was all awesome. I'm guessing the first childhood show I buy will be this one. There's just no comparing it to anything else. I'm sure the fact that I can remember this one the best has nothing to do with it. 

Gargoyles 1994-1997 (ages 7-10)
I had completely forgotten about this but holy crap I loved it. I didn't watch a whole lot of darker stuff, but this was one. The gargoyles in some city came to life at night and for some reason I found this enthralling. I only remember one non-gargoyle character and there was a lot of sexual tension between her and one of the gargoyles (although I'm sure I didn't call it sexual tension back then). This is something that I remember practically nothing about except that I loved it. 

And there you have it. My list of childhood animated TV shows. Yet after writing about all of those, I still have the X-Men theme song stuck in my head. Let's see if I can fall asleep to that. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Worth the Wait?

I had a brilliant idea the other day. It's been a dream of mine to fly to New York and attend a taping of The Daily Show. Tickets are free but extremely hard to come by. I had four tickets last year but instead of New York my friend wanted to go to Rome, so we did that instead. Since then I've had two or three opportunities to grab tickets but I haven't been able to because of timing or money.

My brilliant idea was this: I would save up my rewards points and use them on a flight to New York next year giving myself a fantastic and cheap graduation present. However, I just figured out that I need to spend $5,904 on Amazon to reach the needed 25,000 points for a free plane ticket. And that's if all that money is spent on Amazon. If I spend it elsewhere, it'll take more. If I used that card for big items like rent I'd probably get there, but I don't know of many landlords who take cards.

After realizing this, I had a less brilliant but still good idea: I'd get up to the 15,000 points needed for $150 off a plane ticket since I'm about half way there right now.

Then I remembered something else. I used that card a couple months ago to pay for 5 cruise tickets, hence the boost in reward points. Not likely I'll be spending that much again within the next year with school and what may turn out to be zero income.

Do I wait and see if I miraculously have enough points for a free or discounted flight in a year? Do I practice instant gratification and turn 5,000 of my current points into a $50 Amazon gift card? Or do I simply look at rewards programs for other cards and get one that wouldn't be so long of a wait (assuming they exist)?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Celebrity Crushes

Being a good single Mormon can be a little... difficult at time. My biology and my mind tell me to go in two different directions. My biology says... well, you can probably guess and ignoring that makes me a good Mormon. At the same time my mind says, "boyfriend shmoyfriend" and consequently, "husband shmusband." This part probably doesn't make me a good Mormon, but whatevs. 

Anyway, to balance out these two parts of me I have celebrity crushes. Sure, it isn't a complete balance, but again I say whatevs. This post is a tribute to my celebrity crushes old and new. 

Elijah Wood was probably my first real celebrity crush. Lord of the Rings came out when I was in 9th grade and I was borderline obsessive for a few years. One of the reasons I hated Josh Hartnett so much was he got Elijah into smoking. The best part though - we was only 6 years older than me. Totally realistic that we could end up together someday. Fortunately that chapter in my life has passed. 

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement aka Flight of the Conchords. My friend showed me Jenny ( I think my freshman year of college and it was love at first sight. I watched their show on HBO and got a bunch of people into them. I bought their albums and listened to snipits of them on the radio. The highlight of our love affair was meeting them in person on my 21st birthday. I was in the Salt Lake City airport with a few other people waiting for the rest of our group when I saw someone like Bret walk through the doors. I thought, "wow, he looks just like Bret McKenzie!" I kept looking at him wondering, but convinced myself that if he really was Bret, Jemaine would be with him. Just at that moment, Jemaine walked in the door with a couple guys carrying guitar cases. I started freaking out and watched them check in from a distance. Once Bret was done he stood near enough to me that I couldn't put it off any longer. I got out a pen and a pad of paper, walked up to him and said, "Bret?" Seriously one of the best moments of my life. 

I think James McAvoy first showed up on my radar when I saw Atonement. I had seen him as Mr. Tumnus but really, who would think of him as sexy? In quick procession I saw his other movies like Penelope, Wanted, Becoming Jane, The Last King of Scotland, Rory O'Shea was Here, and I got all excited when I saw him in one episode of Band of Brothers. Once I found out he was married my feelings began to dwindle. 

This might not even count as a celebrity crush cause my crush isn't on James Marsters, just his character Spike, but I don't care. Spike... Oh Spike. We have reached the portion of this post where we reach current/ongoing affairs. Even though Spike is a fictional character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, our love is eternal. I don't generally like bad boys, but I have a soft spot for Spike. His long leather jacket over his tight black shirt and black jeans with bleached blonde hair... I love him evil and I love him with a soul. I love him trying to kill Buffy, trying to win her over, and when he's just plain crazy. I will forever act like a 13 year old when I watch Buffy. 

Joel McHale. An almost perfect combination of sexy and funny (see below for perfection). My only complaint is he's too tall. I like my men short. But good golly do I love Joel. Last April he was on tour and the closest he came to me was Las Vegas. My sister, Sara and I decided last minute that we were going to go see him. We took Friday off to drive down to Vegas and saw him perform that night. He was absolutely hilarious. He's on tour again and so far only has Florida and Chicago listed on his website but if he comes within driving distance to me, I'm absolutely going. 

This brings us to my final, biggest, and longest lasting celebrity crush. Jon Stewart. I've been watching his show since high school and I'll watch it till he retires. Which won't be before I make it to the show either as an audience member or a guest. Most likely I'll be in the audience but you never know. I could write an awesome book or hold some awesome political office and he'll want me as a guest. He may be 25 years older than me and happily married with two small kids, but I'd totally let him rob my cradle. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Hilarity of Ignorance

I need to explain where my main idea for this post is coming from. I recently saw an interview on Jon Stewart with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. That show is really hit and miss with me, but in general I think those two are pretty funny. When I heard they were making a Mormon musical on Broadway I didn't give much thought to it, although I was curious. I essentially forgot about it until their interview and it's getting such fantastic reviews that I may end up seeing it when I'm in DC this summer. I'm comfortable enough in my beliefs and religion that I can laugh at it. I think it's good to have a sense of humor about religion.

But this is beside the point. This clip from The Daily Show has a plethora of comments on Facebook and some of them were quite entertaining and I just wanted to share them with the world. Or at least the 8 people who follow this blog. I'm glad I'm not friends with people like this but I'm sure glad they exist for me to laugh at:

Mormonism is a cult.

Religion kills.

The Morman religion is a cult, not young and American! [Trey and Matt described Mormonism as being young and American as it is a new religion and born out of America]

Mormon is not a religion. It's a joke.

Id eather give more time and respect to jehovahs witnesses before a Moron. Rather*

Mormonism. The last acceptable persecuted religion in America.All religion is a cult and does nothing but tear the World and country apart

The Mormon church has a bigger welfare system than the federal government. You'd think liberals would care about that.

They are excellent socialists... they just don't admit it. (shy I guess)

Wow. You guys talk about Mormons like 18th century slaves or the Irish. Get a clue.

Brainwashed .. All of them ..

Religion is for the weak.

Just some choice gems. I made commented that I had been thoroughly entertained by some of the statements made there as a Mormon and not five minutes later a man sent me a message asking what convinces me that God exists. Not in a, "how can you be so ignorant" kind of way though. He's sincerely interested in my personal experience. 

Loving Jon Stewart has given me a missionary opportunity. Who'd have thought? :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen... The Beatles!

I've been on a Beatles kick the last few days. I always listen to them, but at times like this I breathe them. I watched Nowhere Boy Wednesday night and that kind of set me off. I found The Beatles Anthology on YouTube and I've been watching that since then.

Best part about this story is how I remember watching it when it was on TV and staying up past my bedtime to do so when I could pull it off. I looked it up and it aired in 1995. I will be the first to admit that I was annoying as hell as a child, but there were awesome aspects of me too. I loved The Beatles so much that I was willing to sit through a documentary about them at the age of 8.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I'm tired and my computer is about to die, but my heart is full right now and since I'm not one for bearing my testimony in front of an audience on Fast Sunday, I'll do that now.

I'm at my parents house tonight and when I'm here I read out of one of those flimsy paperback Book of Mormons. This particular one is one that I had planned on giving to a friend in high school, but ended up giving them a different one. Anyway, I have it and it has some really great scriptures highlighted. When I'm here I usually just flip through the book and read some of the highlighted passages. This one sentence in Mormon 5:23 had an enormous impact on me:

"Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?"

I felt a sudden rush of gratitude and joy at these words. I'm glad I have the Lord directing my life. I'm glad that I have the trials that I do. Cancer still sucks, but even if my mom departs this world prematurely, I will see her again. She will be saving a place for me in the next life and once there, I will hardly remember my life without her and I won't think on it with pain. It's excruciatingly painful now, but this life is just a moment in our existence. I don't think I've ever been more grateful for eternal families than I am right now.

In my moments of doubt and trying to rationalize religion (don't ever do that by the way) I have thought, "even if it isn't true, it's making me a better person right now." The first part of that sentence is a scary one. If it isn't true, why bother? If families aren't forever, what's the point of sticking around? That "even if it isn't true" is something that I've only thought a couple of times in my life and it's something that I am determined never to think again. How can it not be true when I'm feeling what I'm feeling right now? How can it not be true when I've felt this way hundreds of times before?

This moment is the first time I have felt ok with whatever may happen. Even if the worst should happen, it will be ok. Yes, it will be devastating and horrible and totally suck, but it will be ok. I wish I had felt this last July, but better late then never!

Who says the spirit goes to bed at midnight? :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The C Word

Movies, TV, radio, and people around me need to stop talking about cancer for a while. Nothing can hinder me from life as much as that one little word right now.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Photo Post February 2010 Edition

About a year and a half ago I decided to post some photographs of mine. At the time I said I'd continue to do so, but I haven't. Part of the reason is I've let my photography skills fall by the wayside. I have 6 of my favorite photos framed on my wall and every day I look at them and wonder why I don't take pictures like that anymore. It's been a while since I've pulled my trusty Nikon SLR out (minus at the Rally to Restore Sanity so I could use the telephoto lens) and I miss it. Anyway, here are some of my favorites since my last post. There may be duplicates since I don't know what photos I posted last and I don't want to take the time to look.

This would be a lot better if the pathway led t something other than a brick wall. This was in Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia two years ago.

This might be my favorite of any picture I've ever taken. I'm sure there are flaws with the framing, lighting, exposure... but I don't see any of that. I see a mist over Arlington National Cemetery. One of my favorite places in the world.

I think this was sometime in high school. Still one of my all time favorites.

This is my friend's backyard in San Diego in... 2006? And to answer your question, yes, I did put the leaf there.

Still friend's house in San Diego. He had a really cool backyard.

This is from Rome last May. This particular photo was taken at some ruins called Ostia Antica about 45 minutes outside of Rome. Probably the only picture I took in Rome that isn't all touristy.

I took this one in November of 2009 in California. I don't know why I love it so much, but I do. It is square on purpose if you were wondering.

The Colombia River in Spokane sometime last year. The picture kind of sucks, but the view was breathtaking.

A bridge somewhere in Idaho on the way up to Spokane last year. I went up twice and I can't remember which time this was taken. My OCD wants to clean some of it. Specifically the beam on the right closest to the camera. Seriously, why aren't they both dirty? I could have handled them both being dirty...

I added this in there just because I thought it was so hilarious. I found this at Swiss Days in Midway this summer. This painting has it all - Obama standing defiantly on the Constitution/Declaration of Independence (I guess that's left up to interpretation), Jefferson in shock at his lack of respect for the document, Washington, some other founding father, Adams, Reagan, Lincoln, and Jackson desperately trying to get Obama's attention on the downtrodden every-man (of course, as far as policy goes, Adams, Reagan, and Jackson weren't exactly champions of the little man, so that's awesome), Kennedy kind of pointing to the document but still doesn't seem all that into it, Bush II pointing at the every-man but really on the side of big government, Clinton and FDR cheering Obama on (want to talk about big government spending? Generally you wouldn't talk about Clinton as much as Bush and Reagan), and all the other presidents clearly taking sides showing their true loyalties. I still laugh when I look at this.

Just a beautiful fall day behind the Capitol in October.

By far my favorite picture of the Capitol I've taken thus far (let's hope there are many more). You really do need to enlarge this one to see the goldish tint from the sun. I'll eventually photoshop the people and the crane out of this shot, but oh how I love it. Sunrise and Sunset at the Capitol are amazing.