Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Matrix: Resolutions

(I resolve to be a badass in 2011.)

I'm really excited about resolutions this year. The last few years I've written long lists of things I want to get done and then cross them off the list as I pursue 'em. It's worked well and I'll continue to do it. But I wanted to share a few of the stranger/sillier ones from this year.

1. Grow my hair longer than I've ever had it in my life! This is going to be interesting. I haven't cut my hair since... August, I think. I must have cut it right before the Fringe run of my show, which was also right before Lin's wedding, and I had planned to get it cut in October before my birthday and the marathon, but I never did. And not it's grown in A LOT from what it was. So I think I'll just let it keep going. It's a pain in the ass to maintain, I don't know how ladies with long hair do it. On days I don't put a lot of effort into, I very quickly look sorta homeless. So I will have to make it priority in 2011. The longest I've ever had it was almost chin-length in my freshman year of college. Which was a loooong time ago. Let's see how far I take this before I chop it off again. Tom Brady will show me the way.

2. No cookies. No soda. I love cookies. I love soda. But they are not good for me, and once I start in with them I have no resistance and they are all I want to eat. They are out of the diet as of January 1st. Nobody who knows me thinks I can hold out on cookies for very long, but I need to get back into fighting shape. I've gotten a little soft this holiday season. Bye, cookies. It's not you. It's me. Well, actually it's you.

3. Take the physical challenge. I need a new athletic goal. I've not quite determined what it will be. But I'm determined to determine it. I've done the ING NYC Marathon 3 years in a row now, and I've applied for a 4th go-round, but if I don't get in, I'll need a new challenge. I've already been skydiving. Maybe bungee jumping? I'm sort of terrified of that. Maybe I'll do that... Tennis lessons? Hmm... I'm looking for something.

4. Write Paris blogs. I went to Paris six months ago and I took lots of notes about my trip and I planned to write it all down like I did with Rome, but I had all these other things to write. But starting this January. January I will write the Paris blogs!

5. Be Nice. I'm enjoying my (early!) 30's and while I ain't a kid no more, nevertheless I've felt myself experiencing some life growing pains as of late. It's made me grouchier and moodier in my daily interactions than I'd regularly care to be, so I plan to put some extra effort into returning to more Owen-like state of civility in the coming winter months. It never hurts to remember to be nice.

There are more, of course, but this is a good sampler. Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to everyone out there on the interwebs. Let's go after what we want with renewed vigor starting this January! Dreams come true, bitches. Oh, thank heaven. It's 2011!

2010: A Year In Review

(525,600 minutes. That's how you measure it. Also, in love.)

And so 2010 comes to a close. What a year it's been. Here's a quick look back.

Remember the 2010 Vancouver Olympics? Sure you do! That was THIS YEAR! I know, it doesn't seem like it, but it was. There were a lot of great stories that came out of the Olympics. Shawn White, Apollo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn and Evan Lysacek I'm looking at you, but not only at you. So many great champions, and it was also really great to hear the Canadian National Anthem sung so many times in victory by the proud host country. OOOO CAAAANADAAAAA!!!!!

This year I saw a lot of movies. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was my favorite movie of the year, but almost nobody saw it but me. Netflix it, y'all. You're missing out. Toy Story 3 made grown ups cry on its way to becoming the top grossing movie of the year. Everyone became very focused on spinning tops in Inception. 3-D movies were all the rage. Dragons were trained. Island's were shuttered. Titans clashed. Disney called Rapunzel "Tangled" so people would go see it, and it paid off. Sex and The City 2 was universally hated. And in the end, we learned the kids were indeed all right.

"The Bed Intruder Song" Youtube video took a news story about an almost rape, and made lemonade out of some really nasty lemons. Cee Lo Green gave the world one of the most amazing songs ever written which I spent many a day dancing in and out work listening to on my ipod. The Glee Cast dominated the charts by singing songs that were already dominating the charts. They also did a fun live concert tour. Lady Gaga wore meat dresses and made long-form music videos and went from someone I really wanted to punch in the face to someone who was kinda totally awesome. Bieber Fever exploded. Miley Cyrus imploded. LiLo went about as crazy as you can go without actually dying.

Roughly 37 million Hollywood icons actually died. Betty White lived it up like no one else. Simon Cowell left Am.Idol. Mia Michaels returned to an All-Star Season of SYTYCD. I broke up with Project Runway for good. Lil Russell lost back-to-back seasons of Survivor. The first All-Female team won at The Amazing Race. Lots of people (but not me) watched Jersey Shore and Teen Mom. Lost came to a mythologically frustrating, but emotionally satisfying conclusion. After months of drama Jennifer Grey finally vanquished Bristol Palin to the mirroball trophy on DWTS in an emotionally satisfying conclusion. True Blood focused on Vampires. Twilight: Eclipse focused on werewolves. The Walking Dead focused on zombies. Tiger Woods focused on apologizing for having 18,000 mistresses. The original Law & Order was inexplicably canceled right before it became the longest-running prime time drama in history. Jay Leno stole back The Tonight Show from Conan O'Brien when Jay's horrible new show tanked. Team Coco was born, Conan went on live tour and then got a new show on TBS. I'm with Coco.

It Gets Better became a national movement to help Gay Teens survive bullying and discrimination. Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed. The 9/11 First Responders Bill finally passed Congress. Health Care reform finally passed on Congress. Prop 8 was overturned in California but is still extended indefinitely awaiting appeal. There are still roughly 83 wars going on across the world and none of them are going well. We continue to pray for our troops in harm's way and hope they can come home soon. Mid-term elections gave the House of Representatives to the Republicans but less than half the country is aware of it. Witchypoo Christine O'Donnell lost her Senate bid. So did Crazypants Sharron Angle. Michele Bachmann remained at large and was actually named to the House Intelligence Committee (!!!). Wikileaks had a field day declassifying all sorts of documents. There was a lot Tea Party anger, right wing fear-mongering, left wing hand wringing, a huge trumped up fight over building a cultural center a few blocks away from Ground Zero and a very nice rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear organized by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held in our Nation's Capital.

The world faced horrible natural disasters with the earthquakes in Haiti, the volcano eruptions in Iceland and the Gulf Oil spill that raged on and on. This is just to name a few. The Chilean miners were trapped ungerground and eventually, amazingly rescued. To close the year out, some big ol' storms dropped non-stop rain in California and dumped multiple feet of snow across the Eastern Coastline right at the end of the year creating quite a mess for everybody who was traveling for the holidays.

This year we also learned about vuvuzelas, met Paul the Octopus and cheered for Spain's World Cup win. At least I did. Also good for Sports in Spain? RAFAEL NADAL. Our Hero fought his way back to the No. 1 ranking, winning the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open along the way to complete his career Grand Slam. I still can't believe I was at Roland Garros for the French Open Final. I went to Paris! Yay! Also the Saints won the Super Bowl, The SF Giants won the World Series, The Lakers won the NBA Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, and did I mention how well Rafa did this year??? I love him so much. But credit where credit is due, Roger Federer won the Aussie Open to begin the year and the Tour Finals to end it. Roger and Rafa also made this amazing video which still makes me smile whenever I watch it.
So that was the year at large. When I personally look back at 2010, I will remember it as being one of the most artistically satisfying years of my life so far. I started things out with a Die Vampire, Die! Workshop run by Susan Blackwell. It put me in a great creative mindset going forward. I sent my play into the Fringe Festival through Mind The Art Entertainment, got to do some singing on stage, took some improv classes where I met a great girl, had The Timing of A Day get accepted into Fringe and then we were off and running from like April to September. Putting up my first show in New York was a grueling, exciting, informative, scary and wonderful experience. I feel so lucky for the friendships that were made during the production and the existing ones that were strengthened through the process. The outpouring of support from people was so so soooo appreciated. To create something and have it put up on stage was a dream I always had for myself, but one I'd increasingly felt would not happen. But now has! And the show did really well for itself. And the experience brought into focus for me for what I want to continue to pursue in 2011. Since the end of Fringe, the production team has been working really hard to bring the show back and we look forward to making that a reality in 2011. I've also taken the last couple months to write three 10-minute plays and another full length one, on top of my blogging and, you know, work. So I'm keeping the creative inspiration going and continuing to write. Also I found time to see 30 performances by friends this year, plus 16 Broadway Shows and NYC Ballets. Looking back over the playbills and tickets stubs, everybody did a lot of great work this year. Super Inspiring!

There were plenty other personal highlights: another NYC marathon run, my delightful trip to Paris, my cameo in LMM's viral wedding video and lots more. For all the good things, there were a lot of painful times too, and the thought that keeps popping up in my head is that challenging times and painful experiences should not be allowed to prevent us from seeing the many blessings around us or experiencing the joy that can still be had. I take from 2010 a sense of accomplishment and an awareness that there is so much more work to be done.

Bring it, 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Today's Snow Day is Brought to You By Snowmaggedon aka Snowpocalypse (or maybe Santa God)

(Hooray!)
"It's a Marshmallow World in the winter, when the snow comes to cover the ground. It's a time for play. It's a whipped cream day. I wait for it the whole year 'round." - Brenda Lee

It's a Snow Day y'all. I'm so excited. I don't know the last time I had a real snow day. I've already watched The Dark Crystal (my personal Snow Day movie), had a nice warm cup of mint chocolate cocoa and now - before my first nap of the day - I'm streaming some Into the Woods on Netflix. Then when I wake up, I have several home projects to work on and Christmas toys to play with. SO EXCITING!

I was bummed to have to go back to work today on the Monday after Christmas this year, and it's like Santa God heard my holiday prayers, and dumped a foot and a half of snow on the City (along with 60 mph gusting winds) to shut down the subway and shut everyone inside. My Day-After-Christmas Wish was not intended to ruin anyone's travel plans, and for those of you stuck in the City or stuck out of the City, I sincerely hope you are able to get on your way soon. In the meantime, go outside and make a snow angel or go sledding, or have a snowball fight if that suits your liking. If you're like me, stay wrapped up cozy indoors and cherish these quiet hours with some favorite movies. This winter, it's a Marshmallow World!

Xmas 2010: The Year of Barbie's Dream Town House

(One picture for posterity of the Town House in its fully glory before all the pieces go missing.)

Merry Xmas, Y'all. I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. Mine was very nice. I went into it with "Blue Christmas" stuck in my head and came back to my apartment from seeing my family with "Home For The Holidays" on permanent rotation instead. That's a good sign that thinks went well. It was a marathon of playing with the nieces and nephew, and all the gifts I gave them went over well. It was quite the feat carrying all the presents all out there on the LIRR, as I had bought them in waves and didn't factor in the difficulty of carrying them all at once. Luckily they were just bulky and not really heavy. The Muppet WhatNots were a big hit. I have to start brainstorming what can top them next year. It will take me all year to think of something.

(Merry Xmas from the Muppet WhatNots!)

The biggest gift for the girls this year, in both importance and physical size, was Barbie's Dream Town House. When assembled, it's over three feet tall, three stories tall and has five fully furnished rooms. They key words there are: when assembled. The Dream Town House came with a Nightmare amount of parts and instructions that made no sense. I'm not saying they were hard to follow, but literally made no sense. It would go "Step 1. Install the elevator" and then show you a picture of the installed elevator. We were hoping they would provide a little more guidance than that, considering how there was this whole pulley system involved. Maybe they'd show us HOW to install it. Also, the many pillars that hold up each story of the house are not interchangeable. Each one is shaped slightly differently so you have to really look at them all, and not just jam them in, or it won't fit right. Then there are pages of decals to stick on the inside and outside so it looks pretty. And then there are a million tiny accessories for each room. A full set of plates and utensils for the kitchen, picture frames and a remote control for the living room, and hangers for the wardrobe and a full bed set for the bedroom. My favorite mini-accessories go with the bathroom though, the highlight is the toothbrush that is roughly the size of half a staple. You could easily mistake it for a pink nail clipping. But Barbie believes in good dental hygiene! A toothbrush is essential.

Despite its initial "tons of assembly required" drawback, the Town House is pretty cool. Things make noise and light up and it's all pretty fancy. I've always really liked playhouses. My sisters had one that my grandfather built that was pretty great. I had a small yellow Fisher Price one that my sister and I played with for hours on end, and I also had The Annie Mansion Playset:

(Now selling at $500 on Amazon. Dang.)

And The Annie Flying Limousine:
(the Limousine only flew when you chucked it like a football, but those toys were built to last and it survived many flights.)

I really like toy houses, but my imagination tended to go to a dark place as a child (who'm I kidding? it still does) so bad things always happened inside them. My sister and I would always play "Burglar" in the Fisher Price house, where robbers would try to break into the house while the Little People were asleep. And the Annie Mansion was haunted by Poltergeist (Annie and Poltergeist being two iconic 80's movies, and all) and Grandpa's Dollhouse also had an eerie other-worldiness about it, ghosts and aliens were lurking everywhere. Here's hoping the Barbie Town House can face less harrowing times, and if not, I hope it brings my nieces the same countless hours of enjoyment and imaginative play I got from playhouses when I was there age.

...And maybe I'll put one on my own Christmas List again next year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Support Citymeals-on-Wheels

('Tis the season!)

Hey Y'all. Just an important Christmas Time Charity shout out. As I was preparing to go out and do some last minute shopping, I saw a report on good ol' NY1 this morning that Citymeals-on-Wheels is WAY below their normal donation levels for the holiday season. Citymeals-on-Wheels raises private funds to ensure no home bound elderly New Yorker will ever go a day without food or human company. Last year, contributors helped bring over 2 million nutritious meals to 16,232 home bound elderly in every borough of New York City. In addition, over 1,500 volunteers collectively spent 62,000 hours visiting and delivering meals to those seniors in need.

I just made a donation online, and it's really easy. It's only 6 bucks and change to provide a warm meal and some company to a person in need. I know times are tight, but please consider making a donation. One hundred percent of all public donations go to the preparation and delivery of meals.

If you want to find out more information about the organization or make a donation, go to http://www.citymeals.org

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Survivor: Winners Round Up

(Class photo. The dude on the left won this time. Spoiler Alert!)

In honor of Survivor's 21st season finale, Dalton Ross at EW ranked the 19 previous winners of the 20 previous seasons based on how well they performed in their respective seasons, to reveal the most triumphant winner. I didn't agree with the rankings, partly because I thought it was a flawed system. I'll explain why in my own rankings below, now including tonight's winner, ranked 20-1.

20. Vecepia Towery - Marquesas. A season so boring I gave up on it way early. No rooting interest in her. I'm sure she's a lovely person, but this is considered (by those who actually watched it) to be one of the worst Survivor season's the show has to offer.

19. Earle Cole - Fiji. Again, I never got into the season. Didn't care who won. Although I did like that someone was named Dreamz. But I lost interest after only a few episodes.

18. Natalie White - Samoa. She basically just stayed out of Russell's super aggressive way on her way to picking up the million dollar check. Worked for me, 'cause Russell played too hard and annoyed me. But it didn't take much effort to look like a better option than Russell, so she doesn't stick out to me as a great winner.

17. Amber Brkich - All-Stars. Rob did all the dirty work. The jury just couldn't deal with handing him the title. Rob's loss was more of an injustice than Natalie's, but at least Amber was a partner in crime.

16. Chris Daughetry - Vanuatu. I really didn't like this season and also didn't watch the whole thing. Chris's win had more to do with the women turning on each other and the jury not being able to support the last person standing on their own alliance, than anything Chris really did. Maybe I don't give him enough credit though. Eh.

15. Brian Heidik - Thailand. Another season I didn't really like. Brian's win was fine, but was nothing compared to his soft core work in Virgins of Sherwood Forest. Mad skills, yo!

14. Bob Crowley - Gabon. Nothing wrong with Bob. He just never made a really strong impression on me. I don't think people considered him a threat to win at their own expense.

13. Jenna Morasca - Amazon. She too just never made a strong impression on me as a competitor on the show. She's got a cool attitude though. Nothing personal against her.

12. Aras Baskauskas - Panama: Exile Island. I actually liked his season. Cirie was the best contestant in terms of character, but at least Aras won over Danielle. That would've been crazy if he lost to her.

11. Tina Wesson - Australian Outback. An awesome lady, but she had a bit of luck in Colby being a gentleman and taking her to the final with him where she beat him. He shouldn't have done that.

10. Judson "Fabio" Birza - Nicaragua. I actually thought this last season was uneven, especially toward the middle, but ultimately it was satisfying. It was like watching a game of poker where most of the players are beginners. There isn't a lot of strategy at first or a real understanding of the game, but it makes the outcome less predictable because people make unconventional choices that sometimes pay off. I really didn't know how the last couple votes would go. But Fabio won immunity when he needed it at the end, and he had one of the best personalities this season, so good on him for taking it.

9. Ethan Zohn - Africa. I don't really remember the season in Africa, but I generally like when nice guy's finish first. And it's obvious that Ethan's a nice guy. So I'm putting him here at #9.

8. Todd Herzog - China. Todd was super smart, but he benefited right at the end when partner-in-crime Amanda totally unraveled in front of the jury at the end. She made it easy for him.

7. J.T. Thomas - Tocantins. All the contestants loved J.T. on his season. People were okay with losing to him even as they were still competing against him! He was strong and had a good read on everyone and walked away with the unanimous vote in his favor. They were buying what he was selling.

6. Danni Boatwright - A total scrapper. Was on the outside of a huge alliance and fought her way through to the final winning the last immunity challenge and then a 6-1 jury decision.

5. Tom Westman - Palau. This was an amazing season for the complete decimation of one tribe that meant there was no real merge. Tom was the dominant player on the dominant tribe throughout the season and though it wasn't a surprise that he won, it was certainly well-earned.

4. Yul Kwon - Cook Islands. Yul rocked. He was incredibly smart and strong and I think the best credit to his win was that he beat out the incredibly strong and well-liked Ozzy who came in second. This was one decision that actually could've gone either way and it would've been a fair outcome. But my vote would've gone to Yul and I'm glad he came out on top.

3. Parvati Shallow - Fans vs. Favorites. Parvati is an amazing player who obviously loves the game, knows how to play well and has made better every season she's participated in for her involvement. She came out on top in her second of three appearances, again helped by partner-in-crime Amanda who again unraveled in front of the Jury at the last tribal council. Still it wasn't just luck that got Parvati to the final twice. It was joyous game play that's just a cut above what almost anyone else can do.

2. Richard Hatch - Borneo. Richard is the original winner who showed everybody how it was done. He was the villain, but convinced the jury he deserved their respect and their votes for the way he outplayed them. And they agreed with him! Several contestants have tried that same approach with the jury since then and it has not gone as well. Still, that first win is a classic and Richard had to do it with no one else's play book to go on. Gotta tip your hat to him.

1. Sandra Diaz-Twine. Pearl Islands & Heroes vs. Villains. Listen, this bitch won twice. She's the reason there are only 20 people on this list instead of 21. That's why I think Dalton's system is flawed. It diminishes Sandra's two wins in two separate seasons. Hatch played twice, but he didn't win twice. Parvati played three times but only one once. Plus one of her losses was to Sandra. So I'm not really open to debating the merits of her putting her at the top of my list. Both her seasons were memorable. She wasn't good at individual immunity challenges, but she didn't let people push her around. She managed to argue her way around people voting her ass out, and when she got to face the jury, she convinced them she was the most worthy contestant left in the game. TWICE! Outwit, Outplay and Outlast. She's 2-0. When someone else goes undefeated in multiple seasons, you can come talk to me about how they're better winners than Sandra. Until then, Sandra is the Queen of Survivor.

Next season we get treated to Redemption Island. It seems like a better twist on the Outcast tribe from Cook Islands. At least everyone playing KNOWS about the twist from the beginning so they have to factor it in to their voting. We'll see how it works in practice, but it could be fun. It will give us a new element to watch and should increase the amount of challenges we see per episode.

DADT Repealed! An Updated Look at the Oppress-O-Meter

So yesterday was a little weird. Don't Ask Don't Tell, the much derided military policy banning gays from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces, was repealed by the Senate. Hooray! Soon it will be off the books forever. This is an amazing development, as it seemed like a dead issue only a few days ago. To briefly recap, the legislation ending the ban on gays had previously been included in a larger Pentagon policy bill, and Republicans refused to let the whole bill go forward, like they've refused every bill to go forward, because they'd rather point to how the country is falling apart under Obama than work to improve things. Or if you want to be charitable, because they thought dealing with taxes and spending was so important they couldn't deal with anything first, even if it was ready to be brought forward. Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell had its Republican backers, but they refused to join in cutting off a filibuster against the larger Pentagon bill. So all looked lost.

Then, in an odd twist, occasional throwers-of-the-monkey-wrench Senators Joe Lieberman (Independent "Democrat") and Senator Susan Collins of Maine ("Moderate" Republican), had Dem leaders in the House of Reps pass a measure earlier in this week that was a stand alone repeal of the ban. So outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Patrick Murphy (aka Congressman Awesome) did and it passed the House. Then Lieberman and Collins introduced the same bill in the Senate, and when it came up for cloture they had the 60 votes to end the filibuster and then it passed the Senate. It's a huge huge step in the right direction for equal rights and it's really exciting. It's a fulfilled promise by President Obama to have the ban repealed through legislation, and it's a career accomplishment for Patrick "Congressman Awesome" Murphy, a veteran of the Iraq War who worked tirelessly to see this bill get through the House (he actually got it through twice. Bravo.) Murphy lost his re-election bid this November, but it must be hugely satisfying to him that he got the job done on his watch. It's hugely satisfying to me.

You may ask, "If this is so satisfying, O, why are you not super happy?" Well, it goes like this: Even though the Senate did the right thing on this issue they are still acting like total douche bags on several other issues. And in one instance where the Senate actually got things right, The House then decided to go nutso.

We'll begin with the Senate, a body where the minority party has decided we no longer need to do any business by a simple majority. Any motion that does not have a super majority of 60 will get filibustered. This means even though the majority would vote to pass things. it's not allowed to get that far.

This is the case for the DREAM Act, that would create a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children and who then went on and completed additional requirements including attending college or serving in the military for at least two years, and passing criminal background checks. Only 55 Senators voted for it, so it doesn't go any further.

This is ALSO the case with the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, which failed to advance past a procedural vote in the Senate on Dec. 9th, on the grounds that Republicans didn't like how it was paid for and again because they refused to allow votes on anything until taxes were addressed. Not allowing this vote before the end of the year is just disgusting. Republican Senators invoke 9/11 all the time, but they don't want to help the ailing first responders? They dump billions and billions into foreign wars but get nitpicky about money when it comes to aiding sick heroes? It infuriates me. Hopefully, renewed pressure from Jon Stewart and other members of the media, the Senate Republicans will be embarrassed into allowing an up or down vote.

Beyond that, there is also START, the Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia, which Republicans in the Senate may also try to scuttle for bizarre logic. They claim the treaty would limit development of U.S. offensive and defensive missile systems, despite everyone telling them that's not the case. They also aren't keen on cutting atomic weapons and don't like Obama's goal of eliminating all nukes. The START treaty would commit Russia and the United States to cut deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 for each side within seven years. 1,550 nuclear weapons aren't enough to blow up the entire planet? We have 1,551 strategic targets to aim at?

President Obama, along with our military leaders and a horde of Republicans who were former administration officials, have been arguing that it's crucial to have the new treaty so inspections of Russia's nuclear facilities can resume. The old START treaty expired a year ago. And even though nine Republicans voted with Democrats to at least allow debate on the treaty, it's hardly a lock that all of them will vote to support its passage, which needs 67 votes to pass the Senate since it's a treaty. So that may or may not happen. Scary.

And if all THAT wasn't enough, the House decided to lose its collective mind and killed the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010. The bill would have recognized child marriage as a human rights violation, and developed comprehensive strategies to prevent those marriages around the world. The legislation had strong bipartisan support in the Senate, but was voted down in the House by Republicans who said the bill is too costly and could lead to increased abortions??? The bill had nothing to do with abortions. It's an argument with no basis in reality. But when has that stopped them from using that kind or argument before?

So just to recap where we currently stand on the oppress-o-meter:

Gays are (increasingly) okay. But still not quite equal citizens

Below them:

First Responders, who may or may not ever get a dignified response

Below them:

Immigrants, again with a DREAM deferred.

Below them:

Child Brides. So so sad.

We applaud progress when it comes. But one good vote in the face of four potential terrible ones over the course of the week does not work out to a good percentage. Our elected officials need to wake up and and allow votes on bills that protect us and improve our standard of living. These should be no-brainers. We must demand our officials stop with the partisan bullshit and get this stuff done NOW. I'm not asking you to do it, Senate. I'm telling.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Community Recap: 2.11 - Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas

A sympathetic hug and a long scratch of my head to Community, who got completely shut out of the comedy categories of the Golden Globes this year. The nominations were announced this morning, and it's a bummerit was overlooked because this show is effing hilarious. The Christmas Episode was on point. I've watched it several times while doing Christmas-related stuff in my apartment. Here's Neville and Dorcas to talk about. Video games for two straight weeks - that's what Christmas is for!!


Congrats To The Winners of The Amazing Race! (But Mostly Congrats to Me!)

(Sisters are winning the Race for themselves!)

I am very happy to report (several days after the fact, so it's not really breaking news) that the Season 17 winners of The Amazing Race are Nat and Kat. This is exciting because they are the first all female team ever to win The Race! It is also exciting because. I TOTALLY CALLED IT! I feel like my TAR Winner Doppler 4000 Radar Machine is back off the fritz after last year's horrible predictions. Next season is another "All-Stars" edition, which are sometimes hard to predict. The season also may or may not feature half the teams from... this past season? Including the biker couple from this year who basically quit at the end? I dunno, guys... sometimes they shouldn't come back.

Nat and Kat make great Race winners in my book though! They were positive, good-natured, steady people who challenged themselves, didn't complain or attack each other and won several legs along the way, so their ability to pull out the win didn't seem completely random and undeserved in the end. Nicely raced, ladies. Congrats!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

O's Christmas Tree: 2010 Edition

Seasons Greetings all. It has been difficult to write this month, since I've been trying to finish up two short plays for submission, and post-writing actually takes time (it only LOOKS like it was thrown together in under five minutes.) so all writing time has gone to that. But now those are mostly under control, so I can post again. Woohoo!

It's Christmastime! Accordingly I have set up this year's tree. Here's a picture:

Nice, eh? There was very little fuss this year. The biggest drama was figuring out where my tree lot had gone. There's a good one that always sets up shop on my corner. but they had to move a few blocks down this year because the new owner of the property where they used to be decided to be a dick and not let them set up shop there again. Boo-urns to that Scrooge, I say.

Anyway, I walked right up to the lot and saw the tree I wanted. Usually I have to go back and forth between a couple, but this one I knew right away. Helping me decorate is an old friend I found over Thanksgiving weekend.

YES. It's Professor Coldheart!! Old nemesis of the Care Bears. In case you're not up on his situation, there is this:



He is the best. We had a great time decorating the tree together. The newest edition to the tree is my Moulin Rouge windmill that I got in Paris. You can see it has a place of great honor near the Shirt Tales ornament which is the oldest ornament I have on my tree.

I have to go buy some more ornaments. I love getting new editions each year. There's always room on the tree for more!

Tomorrow morning is xmas and birthday shopping for the nieces and nephew in the City. Wish me luck! Happy Holidays!

(Don't mess with the Professor!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Community Recap: 2.10 - Mixology Certification

("Community is my favorite prime time comedy program.")

Ahh, all season I've been trying to figure out a way to recap my current favorite comedy on TV. Community. The show is extremely funny and creative and pop culture referential, but it's never recapped on EW.com or Televisionwithoutpity. Personally, I have a hard time describing the show to people, or writing about it in a normal way, even though on the surface it's about a group of wacky people who form a study group while attending community college. There are many TV and movie shout outs sprinkled into the dialogue and the visuals in each episode that I know are shout outs, but I'm not always dead certain of their source material. I don't have the time or energy to research them in a meaningful way and it makes it hard to talk about them without sounding stupid.

So in my place of me knowing what I'm talking about I give you Dorcas and Neville (they are themselves a nice little movie shout out) who can give you their opinions on the episode. As coincidence would have it, the first episode I decide to recap this way is the only one I thought wasn't at all funny. Isn't that always the way? Ah well. It's still a great show. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Am I xtranormal?

(Hello, Kitty. Or Bear... Or Piggy? Hello, whatever you are.)

So, just recently I stumbled upon xtranormal - an online movie module that has crazy cartoon characters having conversations in computerized voices. I watched several hilarious and informative ones, my favorites being "The Ben Bernanke" "The Parent Teacher Conference" and perhaps what will be my favorite forever "You Should Be on Broadway." I didn't realize that these were all coming from different people. I didn't know anyone could make one, given the time and inclination to type out the story and set the camera angles. I didn't know there were so many out there! LMM pointed it out to me last week, and I think I have come across a new medium for self-expression that's right up my alley.

I don't know about you, but I often think about things via conversations in my head. If I read about or see something that provokes a reaction, i often work through it in mental conversation. In fact, lots of times I feel like writing posts in conversation form, but I always feel it would be weird to read. I think it might be more fun to watch and listen too.

Which brings me to xtranormal. I have decided to dip my e-pen into this cyber well and craft some videos as part of my blogging. Some will be political, some will just be reviews of shows I watch on TV. I hope you enjoy them. The first one I wrote deals with the Pope's sort of okaying of condoms in Africa. It's a position I applaud, but I don't really understand what it means. I find it confusing. Here two friends try to figure it out for themselves.