Music Monday - Here by Alessia Cara

My friend Kerri has been doing Music Mondays for quite a while now.  I figured I'd jump on her bandwagon--at least for this week--to mention this song, Here by Alessia Cara.  (Thanks for the idea, Kerri!)

My sister sent me a link to the video the other day and said she could imagine me writing the lyrics.  She's completely right.  You see, I'm an introvert.  A strong introvert.  And I pretty much hate parties and gatherings with a bunch of people that I don't know.  And this song gets right to how I feel when I'm at one.  It really reminded me of going to high school parties with my boyfriend at the time.  He was an extreme extrovert and knew EVERYONE.  I'd go for various reasons--mainly so I wouldn't always be a spoil sport, or sometimes because I knew a few other people who would be there, but for the most part, this song describes how I felt.  Most people don't understand these feelings at all, so it's nice to hear them described so perfectly in a song. 

I was invited to a birthday celebration the other night for one of my very good friends, but because it was going to be a larger group than I usually prefer, I told my sister that I had a feeling I'd be singing this song in my head.  Coincidentally, when I got in the car that night to drive to the bar, this song was on the radio!  (Despite my initial misgivings, I ended up having a great time, but still, it felt good to come home.)


Eh, it's Fall TV Season

Usually, this is one of my most favorite times of year.  I love TV and I love finding new shows to watch and trying to decide my schedule.  I know I watch too much of TV, and I watch a lot of it that just isn't good.  But it's a guilty pleasure and I enjoy it.

This year though, I'm not so enthused.  For one thing, I started a new job in June that increased my one-way commute time by 40-45 minutes, and at the same time, has seriously cut into my TV-watching time because I have to get to bed earlier, and I'm missing out on at least 2 hours of time during which I used to watch TV in the evenings.  In addition, a lot of shows that I previously watched ended last season (Mad Men, Revenge, Nurse Jackie, Cougar Town, Parks &Recreation, Boardwalk Empire...), so that automatically (and thankfully) decreased my viewing schedule by quite a lot.  And finally, since I wasn't all too thrilled about any of the new shows starting this season, I've only added 4 new shows to my schedule, shown in bold italics:

Now, for someone who doesn't know me, or who might be new to my blog, I realize this still looks like a lot of TV to watch, but compare that to last year's Fall schedule. There's a lot more white space this year.  And honestly, these shows, old and new, better be good, because I will drop them if they're not.  I just don't have time for all of this any more.  (In the next year or so, I might put my house on the market and move closer to my job.  If that happens, maybe next year will be different and things can get back to normal!)

A few comments about the new shows:

Grandfathered with John Stamos looks cute, but I'm not expecting a lot.  Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.  I guess I actually am a bit excited to see Fred Savage on TV again in The Grinder.  The Washington Post gave it a pretty good review, so there's hope there.  Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a musical element to it, which reminds me of a show I used to love, Eli Stone, so I decided to give it a try.  And finally, I started watching Jane the Virgin on Hulu over the summer and really like it. so I'm adding it to the schedule.  That one is just new•ish.

Other comments:  I'm on the fence about Amazing Race.  I recorded all of last season, but never watched it.  When I realized I didn't miss it, I deleted them all.  I think sometimes I just need a break.  I'll watch the first few shows this season to see if there's anyone I want to root for.  I've given up on American Horror Story.  I enjoyed the 1st and 3rd seasons, but it's just too hit or miss for me, and I don't have the time to waste on it.  Major Crimes is another one I'm on the fence about.  I was ready to give it up last time, but the mini summer season was pretty good, so we'll try again.  The Wednesday night ABC line up got off to a great start with all the comedies, especially black•ish which is just so cleverly written and full of talent  Nashville, though.  Not so much.  I may end up dropping that one pretty soon.  I considered watching The Voice, but again, I haven't missed it, AND it's too much of a time hog.  If anyone IS watching and a guy named Dijon (like the mustard--those were his words) makes it, please let me know.  We saw him singing on the High Line in NYC over the summer, and chatted with him for a few minutes before he was on his way to audition for the show.  Oh, and the Mindy Project moved to HuluPlus.  My friend and I watched the first episode.  I wasn't impressed, so I'm done with that one.  (I wasn't too thrilled with it last season anyway.)

That's it!  I wish I could be more enthusiastic about all this, but I'm just not feeling it.  We'll see how it goes.


Butterfly by Kathryn Harvey

Butterfly (Butterfly Trilogy, #1)Butterfly by Kathryn Harvey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading Butterfly for, I think, the 3rd time. I first read it in the early 90s and again a few years later. It became my favorite "trashy" novel. I started recommending it to friends after all the hubbub over Fifty Shades of Grey (which I loathed) because this book is SO much better--it's actually well written, and it has a great revenge plot line as well as some good sex scenes. I decided to pick it up again now in 2015 to see if it still holds up, and it does! There are a lot of references from the 1980s that might be a little outdated, but they don't affect enjoyment of the story. And now that I'm 20+ years older than the first time I read it, I wouldn't even call it "trashy" anymore. It's just a good, fun read.

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Dope (the movie)

I saw Dope yesterday...I wanted to see it strictly based on a poster I'd seen for it:

I had no idea what it was about. Before I went into the theater, I sent a text to my sister to let her know I'd be out of touch for a while. She asked "Which movie is that?" and I wrote, "I don't know what happens exactly, but it's about black kids in the 80s."

Well, I was WAY off on that.

First of all, not all of the kids are Black. Second, it actually takes place in current times. However, the three characters in the poster define themselves as 90s (not 80s) "hip-hop geeks," hence the main character's high-top fade and the kids' style of dress. There's a lot going on, but essentially, the kids get into some shenanigans after a drug deal gone wrong. It's clever and a fun movie to watch. Zoe Kravitz is in it and looks JUST like her mom, Lisa Bonet. Little too much use of the N-word in this movie. (It's used in the familiar way ending with -a versus -er, the way they do in hip-hop culture, but it was still too much. I'm also possibly just a little sensitive about it right now in the wake of all that's going on after Charleston.) Still, it's an enjoyable movie that I do recommend. Stay for the dance moves during the credits.


The LItigators by John Grisham

The LitigatorsThe Litigators by John Grisham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hadn't read John Grisham in a long, long time, but had this on my shelf and decided to give it a go.  I really enjoyed it.  There's a lot of humor in it that I don't recall from anything I'd read previously (The Firm, A Time to Kill, Runaway Jury, The Client, etc.).  Though it wasn't a quick-paced thriller, like the others, it was a fun read and I found that I still enjoy Grisham's writing.

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Lose Yourself

I posted this on Facebook earlier today and have watched it 4 times now.  I love it.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before how much I love the musical, "Rent." One of my favorite performances--besides the first one we saw on Broadway with the original cast--was the one we saw at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.  There were sign language interpreters, one male, one female, and they were just so mesmerizing and fluid and beautiful.  I'll always remember that, and this video of "Lose Yourself" reminded me of that performance.


Tooting my own horn, a bit.

I was searching for something on my blog and came across this post I wrote in 2010.  It was fun to re-read and I must say, I'm kind of proud of it.


That was five years ago and not much has changed in my reading habits.  I just told my friend Kerri about Butterfly earlier today.  At the time I wrote the post, it had a 5-star rating with 97 reviews on Amazon.com.  Today it still has a 5-star rating with 210 reviews!  I need to read it again soon.


Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang

Fresh Off the Boat: A MemoirFresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'd really give this a 2.5 stars if I could.

I enjoy the ABC TV show based on this book, and decided to read it after seeing Eddie Huang in an interview and hearing about his disdain for the show. He was likeable enough on TV, and I was curious.

He should stick to the TV interviews because in the book, he's not really likeable at all and he definitely has a huge chip on his shoulder. His writing and the organization of the memoir is choppy and disjointed. He goes back and forth between passages heavily laden with street slang (much of which I didn't understand but didn't necessarily mind), to some really thoughtful and philosophical writing about his observations on being a minority in America. I admired those moments, but they seemed out of place with the rest of the text. He should have picked one tone and stuck with it.

P.S. I'm not sure what Eddie Huang thought would happen when he sold the rights to his story to ABC, which is owned by Disney. Of course the show isn't the same as his book. He needed to hold out for HBO or Netflix if he wanted to see his true story reflected.

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Marley (A World Premiere Musical)

On Saturday, my family and I headed to Center Stage in Baltimore to see Marley (A World Premiere Musical). It was so good. This was my 3rd time at the theater and they do such a nice job of setting the scene for the show. In this case, they transformed the lobby into a Jamaican village, complete with a sand floor. From the Center Stage website:
After surviving an assassination attempt in 1976, Marley left Jamaica for London, where he spent nearly two years in self-imposed exile. Chronicling the events surrounding this earth-shaking moment, Marley tells the story of a man transformed into one of the 20th Century’s most important cultural figures. Set in the soundscape of an era, this new musical weaves together the life and music of a man who, to heal himself, first healed his homeland.


Mad Men Finale

This is a quick post.

Although I'm so sad to see Mad Men go, I was completely satisfied with tonight's finale.  Perfect, clever ending.  I wonder how anyone born after the 70s will react though.