Spring and Summer TV and movies

June 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Seems like I’m always blogging about Liam or moving or play dates. I can hardly remember the last time I blogged about TV or movies. Especially strange since I’ve been watching so much of both every evening now that I don’t have any freelance work. So, without further adieu, here are some new shows that have caught my eye recently:

  • Game of Thrones (HBO). James and I love, love, love this show! If you’re at all into fantasy (think Lord of the Rings), you should definitely check this out. On our way down to Florida we listened to the audio book, and from what I heard (we barely got through what the series took 5 episodes to cover), the TV show stays remarkably true to the material. I especially love Peter Dinklage playing “The Imp” Tyrion Lannister. The dialogue is wonderfully written, and I’m completely riveted by all of the story lines.
  • Traffic Light (Fox). So disappointed this little comedy is not getting picked up for a second season. It is seriously laugh-out-loud funny. The three main guys are the main characters, but their wives and girlfriends definitely steal some scenes. I love how frank the story lines have been, and I especially love how they start the show off with the three guys talking on their hands-free phones in their cars on the way to work. Seems so much less contrived than most shows that have friends all meeting up somewhere.
  • Love Bites (NBC). I just discovered this gem, and it’s quickly becoming my favorite of the ensemble cast comedies. It has a Love Actually or Valentines Day movie feel to it, with characters and storylines that take place all over the country. It’s about love, sex, and all the trappings of marriage and dating. I particularly like how it’s broken into vignettes, and how you see that some of the characters are friends with each other even though they don’t live in the same city. I’m getting kind of sick of the Friends and How I Met Your Mother model of comedy where we’re stuck with the same group of friends in the same place, and they’re always pairing off and breaking up with each other. In only two episodes of this show we were introduced to at least a dozen new characters, which was refreshing.
  • The Borgias (Showtime). This show actually just wrapped up, but with Jeremy Irons playing the ambitious Borgia Pope, and all the intrigue, scandal, murder, and political plotting that for the most part really did take place at that time, it was a must-see at our house. The season was disappointingly brief, but so good that I’m sure there will be more episodes next spring.
  • On another note, I should mention that Showtime has some absolutely amazing shows in their lineup. I’m so glad I subscribe. In addition to my favorites Dexter, United States of Tara, and Nurse Jackie, there were three new shows on in the spring that were refreshingly different from anything else I see on TV these days: The Big C with one of my favorite actresses Laura Linney playing a woman coping in her own strange way to stage 4 lymphoma; Shameless with William H. Macy playing the deadbeat drunk single dad to a brood of dysfunctional kids in a rough area of Chicago; and Episodes with Matt LeBlanc playing a womanizing, idiot version of himself. Or maybe that’s how he really is, lol. I’ve heard great things about The L Word and Californication, but I’m so far behind, and I’ve only got so many hours in the day (or night, rather) to watch Showtime!

As far as movies, I don’t get the opportunity to see as many of those as I used to. Last night I watched Knight and Day, the Tom Cruise/Cameron Dias action/comedy. Funny in parts, but two hours I wish I’d spent doing something else. The best movie I’ve seen in the last few months was Away we Go, with Jim Krasinski from The Office, about a couple trying to find a place to settle down and call home for their baby on the way. Wonderfully quirky, sad, witty, and especially poignant for me – though we’re a little further along with our family and STILL trying to find home. With the prospect of lining up a babysitter, and even more challenging, finding a movie we both want to see, James and I probably won’t go back to the theater together until the new Harry Potter film comes out in July. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing Super 8 next week with my friend Stacy, who shares my love for Sci Fi books and movies, and all things Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams. If I’m not totally obsessed (or more obsessed) with our Florida move, I’ll try to remember to write a review next weekend.

More letters

January 1, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I recorded this video of Liam today, pointing out letters on the fridge. I still can’t believe how many of these he knows. I’ve got lots more videos and photos to go through, but I’ve been watching Season 4 of Dexter, which we picked up on sale last week, and I just might have to rewatch Season 5 on Showtime OnDemand. It’s amazing what you pick up on a second viewing, especially knowing the big kicker ending of Season 4. (Spoiler Alert!) When I watched season 4 last year, I was completely shocked at Rita’s death, and I found myself tearing up almost as much the second go around. I loved John Lithgow’s chilling portrayal of the Trinity killer, and I doubted anything could top that season. Until I got a few episodes into season 5 this fall, and Julia Stiles made an appearance as a rape and would-be murder victim who Dexter saves. I’ve always rooted for Dexter’s vigilantism, but with a victim right there along with him, I was completely riveted. Now that I’ve finished Season 4 on DVD, I want to dive right into Season 5 all over again! Dexter and Madmen top my list of favorite shows this year, ones I could watch over and over.

Anyway, enough about Dexter, here’s my cute (and smart!) baby!

Lost!!!!!!

May 24, 2010 at 12:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Getting my Lost on for the last night ever…and still trying to wrap my head around that ending. Perhaps it’ll make more sense in the morning (SPOILERS AHEAD!), but if I surmised correctly, all of the characters die at some point in time, and they all meet up in the end to “move on”. Why they were picked for the island seems unimportant in the grander scheme, except that it was for them to have experienced it together in life, and then after life. Jacob said he picked them because they all had rough lives, so maybe he was ensuring they’d have a happy afterlife together. And what Desmond says is right, it’s didn’t really matter if Jack saved the island or not. It reminded me a bit of the ending of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, which doesn’t surprise me, as JJ Abrams is admittedly a SK fan. Aside from some lingering confusion, I loved how they brought the storyline full circle, bringing back some beloved characters, and reminding us of all of the connections. I think the saddest deaths on  this show were Charlie and Juliet, and unsurprisingly, they were my favorite reunions.

So, if I’m getting this right, the sideways world where none of them end up on the island is like purgatory, sort of. They live out their lives there until they figure out they can move on by finding the others they’re connected to. I’m guessing that Rose and Bernard aren’t in the church because they made their own life together on the island, and said they didn’t want to be involved with the others. And Michael and Walt weren’t there because…Michael betrayed them, maybe? And perhaps Ben doesn’t enter the church because he needs to jog his daughter’s memory, and maybe even Rouseau’s, so they can all move on together. And I don’t think the physicist was there with Charlotte – Desmond alluded to that when he told his mother he wouldn’t be leaving with him, but as if to say he was leaving eventually.

Well, it’s still not making complete sense, but I’m getting there. Perhaps they’ll air a wrap-up with the creators so they can explain everything. Ha ha, or probably not…I think they like keeping their fans guessing. Either way, I think I may just have to re-watch that episode tomorrow. And at some point re-watch the whole series. Perhaps it’s not the last night for Lost after all!

What I’ve Been Missing

May 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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“Do you watch Glee?” So many friends and family have asked me this, and I invariably say, “No.” Not because I’m uninterested, but because I’m already watching so many other shows. But now that season finale season is here, I decided to take a gander at the latest episode, guest starring Dr. Horrible himself, Neil Patrick Harris.

Oh. My. God.

Why have I not been watching this show?! It’s American Idol and Freaks & Geeks all rolled into one! Needless to say, I’ll be catching up on season one next week. Thanks to all of you who recommended this show to me – clearly you know me better than I know myself.

Oscar night

March 8, 2010 at 1:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I spent the night making cookies for my baby-brother-in-law, who’s over there in Afghanistan fightin’ the good fight, and what do you know? Hurt Locker wins both the best pic and best director! First woman to win best director! What a night. Other personal favs: Sandra Bullock’s funny and touching speech, the music from Up wins best score (still makes me tear up when I hear it), Jeff Bridges actually talks like the Dude, man, and Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in Snuggies. I’m adding Hurt Locker, Precious, and Avatar to my must-see lists. Wish Up in the Air had won more – I actually saw that film, and I loved it.

Now, I really must get to bed.

Gearing up for Lost

January 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Check out this hilarious five-minute video recap of the entire Lost series. Yeah, the show is that crazy. And I love it.

My non-mom life

January 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Lest you think my whole life has been sucked into stay-at-home-momdom, I have had a surprising amount of free time to watch TV and read. Thanks to the DVR (blessed contraption!), I can catch up on all my shows after Liam goes to bed. And I can usually get in at least a good chapter or two in whatever book I’m reading at the moment. I’m certainly not as speedy as I used to be (especially in NYC when I was reading on the train and at lunch, about 3 hours a day!), but it’s better than I expected.

Right now I’m reading Richard Dawkin’s atheist manifesto The God Delusion. For as long as I can remember I’ve teetered along the edge of agnostic and athiest, but I’ve never been able to adaquately argue why I feel that way. I’ve just always felt in my gut that I don’t believe — which sounds a lot like the reason some people give for being religious! Dawkins is a bit harsher than I would ever be, but he does make the point that most of us feel like we need to tip toe around religion so as not to offend, and I definitely agree with that. I do it out of politeness — I like my religious friends, I respect their points of view, and I don’t want to get into an impassioned debate that might turn ugly. But I did have some wonderful religious conversations with my friend Lisa last week, which prompted me to dust off this book and finally dive in.

As for TV, I’m loving the new show Modern Family on ABC. Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Chuck are also on my comedy favs list. James and I have been watching more TV together — along with those three, we watch House, Bones, and Castle. The DVR goes into overdrive on Thursdays, much to James’s chagrin, since it’s almost entirely shows he doesn’t like — Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Office, 30 Rock, and Project Runway. I’m excited for Lost to come back in February — last season, wow!! — and Burn Notice is returning this week, yay! Finally, I’m finishing up Joss Whedon’s disappointing Dollhouse, a cool idea that I’m convinced flopped because of Eliza Dushku. Better luck next time, Joss! Firefly rules!

Besides books and TV, I’m also doing my pilates routine ever morning (my abs have become embarrassingly flabby), and I’m doing yoga once a week at Blue Heron. The weather’s been nice lately, so Liam and I have been going on lots of walks. I think he missed the swings. And I’ve spent most of this week on fruitless hold with the KS unemployment office. I haven’t received a payment for two weeks, and I’m beginning to think a lot of people didn’t get theirs, either. The line is either busy, or after going through 20 minutes on hold, it hangs up on me. As far as I can tell I should be getting this week’s installment…but we may come up short this month if it doesn’t go through soon. I’m paranoid they’re going to cut me off completely. Hence the constant redialing. Sigh.

Battlestar Galactica meets its maker

March 21, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Last night the final episode of Battlestar Galactica aired, and I have to say, what an amazing series this is! I initially had my doubts — the name sounds so geeky and 70s — but the creators of this show spun an old idea into something new, and took sci fi to a whole new level. As they say, everything has happened before, and it will happen again. The whole series makes a complete circle, and it all comes together wonderfully at the end. I’m pretty sure all of my friends who used to watch this show are now waiting for the DVD to see the final season, so I won’t spoil anything here. But the minute any of you finishes it, you better email me so we can talk about it. I mean it! And if anyone out there hasn’t seen it, rent it. You’ll thank me later.

NPR and TeeVee

March 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My days are filled with feeding, burping, changing, and rocking the baby to sleep. Over and over in roughly that order. These tasks would become utterly mundane if I didn’t have NPR podcasts and a DVR working overtime. During the night times and early mornings I listen to This American Life, Fresh Air, Movies, and Talk of the Nation. This episode, hosted by author Richard Florida about his recent article in The Atlantic was particularly poignant. While James and I eke out a living amid the rising costs of raising a child, we’re faced with an entirely new shift in thinking about The American Dream. Since our marriage in 2004 we’ve socked away money intended for a down payment on a house. Our intentions at home-ownership thwarted by our recent move from KC to DC, we’ve been looking for ways to start saving again so we can buy property here. In the meantime we’re renting a great house that’s within walking distance to the metro, close to our friends, right next to the highway, and surrounded by parks, hiking trails, and a surprising amount ofgreen space. I’m beginning to think, after listening to this podcast and reading the Atlantic article, the “in the meantime” isn’t where renting should be relegated. Renting apartments and houses over the past ten years has afforded us the flexibility to move to new cities, live in areas we might not ordinarily be able to afford to buy, and avoid pesky property taxes. When something breaks (or the pipes burst, as they did this winter), we call the landlord, and he foots the bill for the repairs. Sure, we can’t renovate, and we’re unlikely to paint because we’ll just have to paint again when we move. But, honestly, we don’t aspire to do either of those things. With the economy and the housing market in shambles, you’d think it would be a good time to buy. But we’re better served living close to mass transit and owning only one car — something I doubt we could do in a house in our price range. We’ve got a two-year lease on our current house, and something tells me we’ll be extending our stay for quite some time.

During the day and evening leading up to Liam’s bedtime I’m either working on the computer during his cat naps(lately researching nanny stuff) or watching lots of TV. I’m actually surprised by the number of shows I’ve been watching. Something that will likely taper off once Liam starts becoming more active. He’s still sleeping a lot these days, and he loves to be held. and i love to cuddle him. So we curl up on the couch and watch Big Love, Brothers & Sisters, Lost, Burn Notice, Life on Mars, The Office, 30 Rock, Grey’s Anatomy, ER, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Chuck, Battlestar Galactica (sadly, the last season) and Joss Whedon’s new offering, Dollhouse. On that note, I have to mention that I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be watching that last one. Whedon is responsible for my favorite show of all time, Firefly, and the creativity behind Dr. Horrible (be sure to watch the “Commentary the Musical” on the DVD — so worth it). But the three episodes of Dollhouse I’ve seen have been very disappointing. Not only is the timeline confusing, but the plot is kind of hokey. James and I find ourselves looking at each other incredulously as the main character very blandly switches from one character to another. She’s supposed to be imprinted with different identities, but so far they’ve been a slight variation on “hot girl/secret agent”. I’ve discovered a new show on Showtime, United States of Tara (incidentally, set in Overland Park, KS), which stars Toni Collett as a suburban mom with multiple personalities. Now here’s some good acting. I would have liked to have seen something on par with Collett’s performance in Whedon’s new show. But I have a feeling Dollhouse will be short-lived, and unless it picks up in the next couple of episodes, I’m deleting it from my lineup.

TV this Week, a political debate, and James buys golf clubs

September 28, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s premiere week for the networks, and my DVR was working overtime to tape my favorite shows. Heroes was my most anticipated, but I thought it fell a little flat. They aired two episodes in a 2-hour block, and the story finally started picking up there at the end of episode 2. I thought episode 1 was muddled and overly complicated, and like another of my fav shows Lost, I’m afraid you need a cross-referenced encyclopedia just to get through this show. I like a little mystery, but this opener left me with a lot of puzzles and plot holes. I’ll continue watching because I love the characters, but I hope they can pull this season through. My Monday laughs were much better: How I Met Your Mother spoke right to the heart for me — Ted wants his fiance to love Star Wars as much as him. Hear, hear! I also loved The Big Bang Theory, which I was afraid would lose some of it’s spunk once Leonard started dating Penny, but things are just as awkwardly geeky as ever, hooray! I gave the new JJ Abrams show Fringe one last shot, but after another convoluted and scientifically convenient episode, I’ve decided to call it quits. I don’t want to get wrapped up in another mystery show, and quite frankly, I don’t really care much about what “the pattern” is anyway. My Wednesday favorites Bones, Project Runway and Top Design were all solid this week. Grey’s Anatomy, another of my most anticipated, packed more of a punch than I expected. I was getting a bit disenchanted last season, but I thought this season opener was much better than some episodes of late, and I’m hoping they can keep this up. The Office was absolutely hysterical, hands-down my favorite of the week. ER was like a douse of cold water after the hilarity of The Office — they killed off a major character (Pratt), and I spent the rest of the night blubbering (probably those pregnancy hormones). Until the end, which was a little campy. I keep thinking I’ll delete this one from my queue, but it’s the last season, and I’ve been watching it for years. My as well see it through to the end.

Now on to the debate. James and I were celebrating our fourth anniversary at Pierpont’s on Friday, so I had to tape it and watch it this weekend. I got through about an hour of it last night before I nodded off. What annoys me to no end about these things is how many false accusations come from both candidates. It’s hard to tell as you’re watching what to believe. I found FactCheck.org an informative website that breaks down all the rhetoric of the debate and analyzes exactly what was fact. My impressions, having not watched much media commentary yet, were that McCain was slinging the most mud, and Obama was put on the defensive most of the night. Foreign policy is McCain’s bread and butter, and it showed. He kept throwing out phrases like, “My opponent doesn’t seem to understand…” or “That’s naive to think…”, which I’ll admit was probably a good debate strategy for him. I tried to put myself in the shoes of an independent, and I’m not sure if this debate was necessarily clearly won by either candidate. What I took away as an Obama supporter was a clear message from the Obama side that I already pretty much knew, facing a bull-headed republican opponent, again which I already knew. McCain sounded good, I’ll give him that, but I fear that if he wins, he’ll be putting Bush’s veto record to shame, block any progress by a reputedly weak Democrat congress, and push the same Bush policies that I’ve opposed for the past eight years. And although the VP usually doesn’t have much power, I can see Sarah Palin pushing her social conservative agenda as far as she can. Maybe living overseas isn’t such a bad idea…

And speaking of James (who I’m still trying to forgive for switching his vote from Obama to McCain) has started yet another expensive hobby. Golfing. Which I’m totally making fun him for. He bought golf clubs yesterday at Target, thankfully not over-the-top, and he’s been out at the driving range with Travis two days in a row. He says I should come with them sometime. For to laugh. I learned how to play golf in high school gym class, and it was booooooring as hell. Unless there’s a windmill involved, I’m not very interested. Thankfully, he and Travis need to work on their putting, so I might get an afternoon at the local putt-putt golf.

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