Hmmm...what's going on here?

As I mentioned, we went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum last week. I have the pictures posted on flickr.com, which shows you how many times each pictures has been viewed. I don't usually get a lot of views on my pictures, but something strange is happening with these wax figure pictures.

To wit:

Will Smith viewed 2 times

Tiger Woods viewed 3 times

Johnny Depp viewed 7 times


Jennifer Lopez viewed 116 times?!?!

What is that?!


Catching up on movies

On Christmas night, my family and I went to see Denzel Washington's new movie, The Great Debaters. Oh wow--it was fantastic! The cast was perfect, each actor did an amazing job, the story was intriguing and heartfelt, and we definitely left the theater on a high. I highly recommend this for everyone. Denzel and Forest Whitaker are two of the best actors out there. In this movie, Denzel says so much with just a grin or stern look. He's amazing.

Tonight, Debbie and I went to see The Savages with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. This movie was very good too, but it left me feeling a little depressed. It's about a brother and sister who have to find care for their father, who has dementia. My mom's and uncles are going through the same thing with my grandmother now, and it also got me thinking about the days when my sister and I might have to care for our folks. That's a sad thought, but the movie was really good. Laura Linney and PSH are two more great actors. They are always good, and didn't disappoint in this movie.

On DVD I watched Sherrybaby with Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress last year. This was the only Best Actress candidate I hadn't seen before last year's awards show. The movie is about Sherry, a prison parolee trying to make her way back in the real world. Maggie G. is another great actress, and her nomination was well-deserved.

Madame Tussaud's comes to DC

My family and I went to the (relatively) new Madame Tussaud's wax museum in DC on Wednesday. We practically had the place to ourselves, probably because of the holidays and the fact that it a cold and rainy day. We'd been to the museum in NYC, so it wasn't completely new, but the DC exhibit focuses more on politics and has different celebrities. We had a lot of fun.

Here are some examples:

Debbie with Tricky Dick

J. Edgar Hoover

Evander's Ear

Johnny Depp

Jennifer Lopez

Click here for more


I finally saw Juno

I've been wanting to see Juno for weeks and finally went last night. I loved it. In case you don't know, it's about a 16-year-old girl who gets pregnant and decides to have the baby and give it up for adoption. Ellen Page (who reminds me a lot of Janeane Garofolo) was fantastic and deserves all the award nominations she's received and is going to receive. The movie was heartfelt, but not sappy and it was funny, but not silly. I loved everything about it. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner play the couple who are going to adopt the baby. Seeing Jason Bateman and Michael Cera (most recently from Superbad) in the same flick prompted me to pull out one of my all-time favorite DVD sets, Arrested Development, when I got home. (Michael Cera played Jason Bateman's son.)

I think I'll have my own little AD marathon today. SmileyCentral.com


Is anyone else watching....

...Clash of the Choirs? The title of the show is so hokey, but I've really enjoyed watching it this week. In case you don't know, it's an American Idol-style show where five musical celebrities went back to their hometowns, held auditions, and put togteher choirs of 20 people each. Each night this week they've come on to perform live, and then good ole America votes for who they want to win. The five celebrities are Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton, Kelly Rowland, Nick Lachey and Blake Shelton. Each choir is hoping to win $250K for a charity of the celebrity's choosing. These choirs are really good.

I missed most of the first show and only saw Blake Shelton & Patti LaBelle's groups perform--both were good, but Patti's group was outstanding. I figured they should just stop the competition right then and there because they just blow everyone else out of the water. On the second show, Kelly's group got voted off--I never saw them perform, so I can't comment on whether or not that was the right decision. Last night, Michael Bolton's group was voted off--I do think that was the right decision. They just weren't as strong as the other three remaining groups.

I think tonight's the finale. All three groups are phenomenal, but I really think (and hope) Patti's group is going to win. The competition is tough though. For example, Nick Lachey's group sang Flight of the Bumblebees--a capella! That was VERY impressive. I'll have to check later to see if I can find that on YouTube--it's just too hard to describe how they used different syllables to sing the notes.

UPDATE: I found a clip--here it is:

NOTES: After this performance was over, Blake Shelton said something like, "I don't want to be too critical here, but I didn't understand a word of that!" Funny! Also, the chick standing next to Nick at the end? He was her first kiss! Aw...don't they make a cute pair?

Coupla observations:
  1. I've always thought it would be so cool to have Patti LaBelle as a friend. Still do. I think this started when I heard her on the radio talking about the first time she met Prince. He invited her to his home, and she cooked spaghetti for him--she said he needed to eat!
  2. I'm not a fan of country music and had no idea who Blake Shelton was until this show, but I must say, I'd like to know more about him now. He is a funny, funny guy, and he's not too hard on the eyes. :o)
  3. The hostess has commented to the teams that were voted off that there's a big surprise for them tonight. I suspect ALL of the charities are going to get something. That'd be in the Holiday spirit.
I finally finished Eat, Pray, Love. I truly enjoyed the first section where the author spent time in Italy. The other two sections, when she was in India and Indonesia, were rather slow to me. I tried to explain to Debbie that I think it's because the author is SO spiritual and was really on a spiritual quest with meditation and prayer every day, and I just couldn't relate to that at all. I think she's a great writer, but the last two sections kind of dragged for me.

Not sure what I'm going to read next. I was going to read Empire Falls, but I don't think I'm in the mood yet.

My friend L recommended a DVD movie called The Best of Youth -- it was apparently an Italian mini-series, mainly about two brothers and the different paths their lives take over the span of 40 or so years. It was a 2-DVD, 6-hour show, and I really enjoyed it. The shots of Italy were beautiful, the cast was great, the story was good...very poignant. It was a good recommendation, so now I'm passing it along to you.


Bookmark this post for the next time you need a laugh

My mom sent me this video--I've watched it at least 10 times so far...this little guy is soooooooooooo cute! I LOVE his laugh. Enjoy!


Can you tell me how to get to Avenue Q?

On Friday I went with Debbie and some friends to see Avenue Q at the National Theatre in D.C. I didn't know much about it, other than it featured Muppet-like characters, and I had absolutely no expectations going in. And I can say now that it's a great show.

Basically, it's sort of a parody of Sesame Street with adult themes such as entering the workforce, racism, getting an apartment, being different, falling in love, promiscuity, avoiding commitment, hangovers, Internet porn, discovering the world and finding your purpose. There are human characters along with the puppet characters. Trekkie Monster talks like Cookie Monster and is in love with porn. Rod and Nicky are like Bert & Ernie--and, Rod's a repressed gay Republican. Lucy the Slut has long blond locks ala Miss Piggy. The puppet handlers appear on stage. TV screens drop down periodically to show little cartoon lessons. If you grew up watching Sesame Street, it would all seem very familiar. Oh, and it's pretty raunchy! There's a VERY racy scene between two of the puppets!

Some of the songs are hilarious--such as "It Sucks to Be Me," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "The Internet is for Porn," and "Schadenfreude." Here's a clip of "It Sucks to Be Me" that the Broadway cast performed on the Tony awards:

I'm glad we got to see it--we had a good time. (Though, the guys of our group didn't seem to care for the love story that was part of the show. One of them commented that the second half of the first act suddenly became a chick flick. I completely disagree--it was just very sweet. Plus, this is a guy who hates musicals--of course he's going to find something to complain about. We're not really sure why he goes to the shows with us. He must love our company.) :o)

My friend L, who's in her 50's, saw it and didn't care for it much. Her theory was that it targets a different generation. Sure enough, that's exactly what it was--the writers geared it toward people who were reared on Sesame Street. I haven't had a chance to compare notes with L, but I suspect I will have related to much more than she because those puppet characters were so familiar. I'm looking forward to talking to her about it.



No, I'm not apologizing for anything--I didn't do anything! I'm here to write about the One Republic song, "Apologize" that I'm in love with. I saw them on Jay Leno a couple months ago and thoroughly enjoyed the performance, with the cello and all. Then Timbaland spiced it up a bit and put it on his album--love that version too.

When I had dinner with Debbie tonight, she reminded me that Danny and Anya danced to the song early in the most recent season of So You Think You Can Dance. I'd forgotten all about that. Their performance was wonderful, and the choreography to the song was amazing and so fitting to the lyrics. I told Deb I'd find it on YouTube, and guess what? I did!


Catching up...

BELATED Happy Thanksgiving! So, I'm a week late. Who cares, right? I hope everyone had a nice holiday.

My dad, sister and I participated in a 5K on Thanksgiving morning in support of an organization called So Others Might Eat (SOME). It was a beautiful day and we had a good time. Debbie ran, while my dad and I walked. This is the second year we've done it, and I think it's going to become a tradition. It's for a good cause, and also a good way to burn some calories before the turkey later in the day.

Go Debbie, go!

After our Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant called Georgia Brown's, we went to see This Christmas in Georgetown. $10.50! Damn. Anyway, the movie was okay--some parts were quite predictable, but there was a good cast, and as my dad pointed out, a great soundtrack. Also plenty of nice male eye candy (Chris Brown, Idris Elba, and Mekhi Phifer, for example.) I enjoyed watching the "Soul Train" line dancing featuring most of the cast at the end of the movie.

On Friday AND Sunday I watched Home for the Holidays as I normally do around Thanksgiving. On Sunday I watched with the Director's commentary on, and am so glad I did. This movie was directed by Jodie Foster, and she acknowledged that the movie wasn't that well received, but explained why it meant so much to her. Her commentary made me love the movie even more.

On Saturday, Mark, Erika and I went to see Denzel! Er...I mean American Gangster. I really enjoyed it, but then again, they could just put Denzel on the screen reading the encyclopedia and I'd find it amazing. He's just an electrifying personality and I thought his performance was wonderful. Oh, and that guy Russell Crowe did a good job too.

I think that's it for movies. I'm still reading Eat, Pray, Love and am enjoying it. I've finished the "Eat" portion, which I adored, and am now in the "Pray" section. It's slowed down a bit, and I don't relate to it as much, but Elizabeth Gilbert is a great author and I'm still very interested in what comes next. Check out this blurb about pizza in Naples:
...he gave me the name of a pizzeria in Naples that I had to try, because, Giovanni informed me, it sold the best pizza in Naples. I found this a wildly exciting prospect, given that the best pizza in Italy is from Naples, and the best pizza in the world is from Italy, which means that this pizzeria must offer...I'm almost too superstitious to say it...the best pizza in the world?....

So Sofie and I have come to Pizzeria da Michele, and these pies we have just ordered--one for each of us--are making us lose our minds. I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair. Meanwhile, Sofie is practically in tears over hers, she's having a metaphysical crisis about it, she's begging me, "Why do they even bother trying to make pizza in Stockholm? Why do we even bother eating food at all in Stockholm?"
Yummm....aren't you hungry now, and don't you want to travel to Italy?

OK, that's enough. Hopefully I can get back on a regular schedule so I don't wind up with these long winded posts!



Just wanted to let everyone know that if you're sitting at your desk at work, minding your own business, and a one-inch long COCKROACH suddenly crawls toward you from under your keyboard, drowning it with "Clean 'n' Disinfect" spray will help take care of the situation. Do NOT ask your coworker to come in and take care of it for you when she's the type of person who will leave her house if a bug enters.

Ugh. I feel sick now. Can I get some kind of workers' compensation for this traumatic experience?

[This reminds me of my favorite essay from Augusten Burroughs' Magical Thinking where he tried to drown a rat/thing in his bathtub with bug spray.]


Living by the Bible

I finished The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs some time last week. I really enjoyed this book. I consider myself agnostic and am not religious (at all), but I do find it a fascinating subject. The author--who’s also agnostic--read the Bible, wrote down all the rules & laws contained therein (I think there were over 700 of them), and tried to live by them as best he could for one year. He also wrote down what he considered to be the five strangest laws, such as not mixing wool and linen, and tried to live by those too, sometimes to hilarious results. He was also completely non-judgmental throughout the whole experiment. I thought that was great. By the end of the year, Mr. Jacobs realized that he’s still agnostic, but that he learned to appreciate things that were sacred—I admired that. I get a twinge of that every once in a while (like singing Silent Night at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve—that always touches me). I definitely recommend that everyone read this. You’ll learn a lot AND be entertained.

Up next: Eat, Pray, Love


The Historian

I finished reading The Historian a few days ago. I've decided to keep better track of the books I read on this blog, so at the end of the year I can say, "I read X books this year."

Anyway, the story of The Historian is about the hunt for the real Dracula. Not usually something I'm interested in (though I really enjoyed Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat.) I enjoyed the first half of The Historian immensely, but the second half got bogged down in too much detail and I found myself skimming. And the ultimate twist/explanation, was a let down--to me, anyway. I think the author, Elizabeth Kostova, is a wonderful writer--similar, but much better than Dan Brown, of The DaVinci Code--and I look forward to seeing what she comes out with next.

Now I'm reading a book by A.J. Jacobs called The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible and am loving it. I've laughed out loud several times and really enjoy Mr. Jacobs' writing. (He's currently the editor of Esquire magazine.)


What I've been listening to, apparently

I listened to my "Top 25 Most Played" list on the iPod recently. The current list is kind of interesting (to me), so here it is:
  1. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
  2. In da Club - 50 Cent
  3. If You Love Me - Brownstone
  4. Crazy in Love - Beyoncé (this is the one Beyonce song I like; I didn't at first--it's grown on me)
  5. This Love - Maroon 5
  6. Let Me Talk to You Prelude/My Love - Justin Timberlake
  7. No Woman No Cry (Live) - Bob Marley & the Wailers
  8. Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
  9. Buttons - The Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg
  10. Outstanding - The Gap Band (this is my favorite song of all time--so why is it all the way down at #10?)
  11. Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado
  12. Miss Independent - Kelly Clarkson
  13. Gold Digger - Kanye West & Jamie Foxx (this is the one Kanye West song I like -- well, one of two--I do like his new one, "Stronger.")
  14. Lovely Day - Bill Withers
  15. Tell Me Something Good - Rufus & Chaka Khan
  16. Pick Up the Pieces - Average White Band
  17. Hot in Herre - Nelly (I've never tired of this song. I wonder why--it certainly received enough play to make me tired of it!)
  18. Seasons Change - Corinne Bailey Rae
  19. Harder to Breathe - Maroon 5
  20. Like A Star - Corinne Bailey Rae (CRB)
  21. Enchantment - CRB
  22. Put Your Records - CRB
  23. Butterfly - CRB
  24. Choux Pastry Heart - CRB (Hmmm...seems I've listened to this album a few times...)
  25. Hey Baby - No Doubt (Not my favorite song of theirs--I think this comes up because it's part of a mix I did for Debbie that I play a lot.)

So, those are the 25 Most Played since I've had my iPod--I think it's been about 18 months now. I'm about to reset the counter, so we'll see how the list looks in a few months. What are you fellow iPod'ers listening to?


Gone Baby Gone

Debbie and I went to see Gone Baby Gone over the weekend. I loved it; Debbie thought the story had holes. I've always liked Casey Affleck, going back to his tiny role in Good Will Hunting, and I thought he was fantastic in this movie. He plays a private detective hired to find a missing little girl. Whenever he was in a scene, I couldn't keep my eyes off him. I loved his steadfastedness (?!) and unflinching persona. I also think Ben Affleck did an admirable job in directing the movie. The pacing was good and the scenes were shot well. I'm looking forward to reading the book some day.


This is cool!

My mom sent this to me. I love it! Just click the graphic in the center, click "Play," and then move your mouse pointer out of the way. Enjoy!

Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART


George Clooney as Michael Clayton

I went to see Michael Clayton over the weekend, and while I thought it was good, I did find myself wondering, what's all the fuss I've been hearing? There are a couple of scenes in the movie that I thought were fantastic--one dealing with the death of Tom Wilkinson's character, and the other between George Clooney and Tilda Swinton at the finale, but the rest of the movie...eh.

The performances were terrific, and it was very well directed. I think the pacing of the plot is what troubled me, and I found myself fidgeting throughout. I was confused for the first 20 minutes as I tried to figure out exactly what Michael Clayton does. He's presented as a "fixer" -- someone who fixes the problems facing a mega-law firm. As one review I read pointed out, however, he's "a fixer whom we never see fix anything." I think that's what bothered me. I wasn't thoroughly engrossed like so many of the movie critics seem to have been.

I perused the reviews on RottenTomatoes.com and found only one critic (Erik Childress from EFilmCritic.com) who expressed my thoughts about the movie. Eveyrone else is enthralled. I feel like I need to see it again to figure out what I missed. In fact, I think that's what I'll do--Roger Ebert said, "I've seen it twice, and the second time, knowing everything that would happen, I found it just as fascinating because of how well it was all shown happening."

Hmmm...it was a 10:30pm showing...maybe I was just tired.


New shows update

So, the new TV season is in full swing, and I've made some adjustments to Tivo since I created my original viewing schedule.

Chuck - it's a fun show to watch and I really like the lead actor. (Sorry--no time to look up his name.)

Bionic Woman - again, a fun show to watch. I've only seen the first episode so far, but it was enough to convince me to keep this in the line up.

Dirty, Sexy Money - my favorite of the new season. Peter Krause is great and I'm so glad he's back on TV again.

Life - this wasn't on the original line up, but I decided to check it out after seeing the commercials. I love it. In case you don't know, it's about a cop who was wrongly convicted of murder and served 12 years in prison. When he's exonerated, he goes back to being a detective with some unconventional Zen methods for solving crimes (he studied Zen while in prison). He's also trying to solve his own case: who framed him for murder. It's a great show.

Jury's Still Out
Aliens in America - about a family who takes in an exchange student from Pakistan. I've got mixed feelings about this one--at times, it's completely offensive and relies too much on stereotypes, but at other times, it's funny, and well-written. I'll give it a few more weeks before I make a decision.

Big Shots - This is the one with the eye candy, Michael Vartan and Dylan McDermott. I've only seen the first episode so far, and it wasn't great. However, I was intrigued by the sexual tension between Nia Long and Michael Vartan. We'll see.

Pushing Daisies - This also wasn't on my original schedule, but again, was pulled in by the advertisements. I thought it was very charming, but like my friend Jeanene said, I worry that it might be *too* cutesy, and it could get old. I hope not. The show is beautiful to watch--very colorful, like Ugly Betty, and the lead actors are wonderful. Again, we'll see.

Back to You - Kelsey Grammar's show. Ugh. I hate it. There's too much canned laughter and the jokes just aren't that funny. Then, when they do have a joke that is funny, they run it into the ground. No me gusta.

Private Practice - This is the spin-off from Grey's. I really wanted to like it, but just don't. I watched the second episode this evening, and stopped after about 45 minutes. Even though I like all of the actors, the characters just don't resonate with me and I find it boring. Oh well...

And finally, another plug for my favorite show on TV right now: Friday Night Lights was in fine form in its season opener. I simply adore this show. Please start watching if you haven't already! :o)


Can't judge a book by its cover

My mom sent me this email today--I figure it's worth sharing here.
This is a story about a guy, who like most of us, sometimes questions his existence, measuring himself to others, not believing enough in his abilities or his worth.

Then one day, his passion outgrew his fears as he stepped onto a stage, a stage that took him to a place beyond his self imposed prison.

Watch the faces of the judges as this guy walks out on the stage. You can almost see wha t they're thinking as they pre-judge this guy based on his looks and the fact that he's a cell phone salesman.

Maybe this guy stopped believing in what people told him for so many years and ultimately started listening to his passion.

Someone hand me a hanky please....


Thoughts on Feast of Love and other things

I saw Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear in Feast of Love on Saturday. I really wanted to like this movie--I love those actors--but realized when it was over, that I wasn't satisfied, and I couldn't figure out why. The performances in it were fine. The story is fine. I think the problem was with the direction, editing, and cinematography. The movie was jumpy, choppy, and dark. There was too much blue in the picture, when there didn't need to be. It was sort of depressing, even though, it ultimately had a hopeful ending. I saw Richard Roeper talking about this, and the guest host, Robert Wilonsky from The Village Voice pointed out that the movie is based on a very complex book. I think that helped explain the problem--they tried so hard to show how the various stories and characters related, but there was too much material. I'll have to check out the book some day.


I recorded the Today Show this morning so I could watch a segment about strange and exotic (read: gross) foods. Along with this, I got to see Anne Curry interview Jenna Bush. OH JEEZ. Why on earth would they give Anne such a big interview? Apparently, this was Jenna's first TV interview ever, and they left it to Anne?! She's the worst. She talked to Jenna like Jenna was five-years-old. The WHOLE time. Plus, Anne gets all flustered and babbles on and on. The only interviews I see her do that are decent, are when she's interviewing little children. They should just leave her to that, and leave the big interviews to Matt and Meredith. Ay yi yi.

Anyway, Jenna's new book sounds really interesting. It's about her experiences working with children with HIV/AIDS while she was volunteering with UNICEF.


After week one of the new TV season, my favorite new show so far is Dirty, Sexy Money. And my favorite opener of shows I already watch was The Office. FUNNY. I also loved Ugly Betty. And I know I mentioned it before, but Curb Your Enthusiasm is really, really funny this season.


You gotta have priorities

Tonight, my friend Mark convinced me to start reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. He's been pushing it for a long time, and I finally told him, okay, I'll start reading it. He went on about the evocative language, and how it'll be really good to read in the Fall, and that it'll be good to curl up with when I've got my fireplace going. Okay. Sounds good to me! It sounded like it'll make me a little more intellectual.

But then he pushed his luck. He said, "So, are you going to start reading tonight?"

I was like, "Tonight?! Nooo....I've got TV!" I then told him I've got The Office, and Ugly Betty, and ER, and Grey's Anatomy, and My Name is Earl!! That's 5 hours of TV I need to catch up on, just from this evening!

So much for being intellectual. I do plan to start it this weekend though....


My Fall TV Lineup (Finally)

Premiere week is upon us, and I realized last night that I hadn't yet picked out what I'm going to watch this year. Well, here it is. New shows are in bold, and I included the date of when each show is supposed to start. At this point, I'm most looking forward to The Office --I can't wait to see what happens with Pam and Jim.

Anyway, here's my chart--plenty to watch! (You'll have to click on the graphic to clearly see the whole thing.)

Some comments and observations:

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm has been really funny this season.
  • Aliens in America is an Entertainment Weekly pick -- it's a comedy "about a Muslim Pakistani kid plopped in the Midwest."
  • K-Ville is on Mondays at 9:00 about two cops in post-Katrina New Orleans. I'm not adding it to my list, but if I did, it would only be because that cutie Cole Hauser is in it. :o)
  • There's a 3-way conflict on Mondays at 8pm. I'll give Chuck a try this week, and if I like it, I'll have to work my way around this for the following week.
  • The Biggest Loser has three teams this season, and now the show is too damn long. The last two shows have been two hours, and EW is showing that it's slated for 1.5 hours. Debbie and I both mentioned that we've been fast forwarding through stuff. I guess it'll get better as the number of people reduces, but for now, it's annoying.
  • I've heard mixed reviews about Kelsey Grammar's new show, Back to You. I figure I'll watch it this week and make a determination as to whether it stays on as a Tivo Season Pass. I missed the first show last week.
  • Bionic Woman isn't my kind of thing (I didn't watch it or the Bionic Man as a kid either), but I'll give it a try based on some good reviews.
  • I decided to try Dirty, Sexy Money solely because Peter Krause's in it.
  • Not sure what Big Shots is really about, but it's got some nice eye candy with Dylan McDermott and Michael Vartan, so who cares?

  • I again plead with everyone to please give Friday Night Lights a chance. I'm afraid it's going to get buried in this stupid Friday night lineup, so people need to be watching and supporting it!
OK, that's it. Let's watch TV!


One more quick recommendation

Joan Osborne - 'Breakfast in Bed' CD cover
Love it, love it, love it! The CD includes her two live performances from Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown. Her rendition of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" is wonderful.


You must read this book!

I was at the nail salon recently when a lady struck up a conversation with me about books. She saw that I was reading Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle, and asked how I was enjoying it. I told her that it was a bit difficult and painful to read so I was having a hard time with it. We started talking about other books and we seemed to have similar tastes. Then she recommended Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and told me it was about the circus. I was like, huh? The circus? She then went on about how much she enjoyed it and said I should really check it out.

I looked at it a few times at the bookstore, but just didn't think I'd be interested. I've been to two circuses in my life, and though one was the center of a great childhood memory*, the other I thought was great fun, but I never felt a burning need to go to another. (Though I do want to see Cirque du Soleil, but that's a different story!) Anyway, I finally went ahead and bought the book, and I'm so glad I did. I LOVED this book! (And now I'd like to see another circus!)

It takes place during the Depression Era and follows a train circus that traveled around the country. The author's research into the circus life was thorough, and the whole world seems so interesting. I loved the way she wrote about the animals--they had such personalities, especially Rosie the elephant. I can just picture her smiling, as she likes to do.

The author mentions at the end that she'd never really had an interest in the circus either, until she read an article in The Chicago Tribune about Edward J. Kelty, a photographer who followed traveling circuses in the 20's and 30's. She bought two books featuring his photography, and says, "By the time I thumbed through them, I was hooked."

She also mentions in the interview that many of the stories that take place in the book are based on real-life accounts. My favorite is about stolen lemonade. I'll leave it at that, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.

There. Now you have to go read it, so you can find out what happens! :o)

*When I was five, my dad surprised me and took me to the circus. I don't remember how my parents proposed it to me--I just know we got in the car and I didn't know where we were going until I saw the huge big top tent. I remember being in awe, and feeling SO special because it's the first time I remember doing something with my dad by myself. My mom stayed home with Debbie, who was two at the time and too little. What a great memory!


A proud moment

The folks at Rotten Tomatoes have listed the top 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2007, and thankfully, I haven't seen any of them (nor do I want to.*) I don't think I've seen anything this year that I really didn't care for, so I feel my nearly $10 a pop has been fairly well spent.

The following is actually quoted from washingtonpost.com:

1. "License to Wed" "A pastiche of tortured slapstick, groan-inducing dialogue and a lethal dose of treacle, apparently awaiting one of [Robin] Williams' trademark sprees of riffing and vamping to save the day." (Los Angeles Times)

2. "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" "Like 'Tootsie,' only without the drag. Or the class. Or the laughs." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

3. "Daddy Day Camp" "We try to remember the good times, when we actually enjoyed watching [Cuba] Gooding on-screen." (The Washington Post)

4. "Captivity" "Sick, slick sleaze." (New York Post) I don't even know what this is. ~val

5. "Rush Hour 3" "None but the mad will want to see it." (Financial Times)

6. "I Know Who Killed Me" "Incoherent and semi-vile." (Chicago Tribune)

7. "Bratz: The Movie" "Apparently, Jon Voight can do worse than 'Baby Geniuses 2.' " (Efilmcritic.com)

8. "The Invasion" "Plays as if it had been made by someone in a trance, though not a cool one." (New York Times)

9. "Georgia Rule" "The subject matter is grim, the relationships are gnarled, the worldview is bleak, and, at any given moment, you suspect someone's going to be hit with a pie." (Variety)

10. "Evan Almighty" "Shamelessly juvenile, pseudo-religious, mock-sincere." (Rolling Stone)

SOURCE: Rottentomatoes.com

*Okay, full disclosure. At first, I wanted to see Georgia Rule and Evan Almighty after reading about them in Entertainment Weekly. But then I saw previews and heard a few reviews and changed my mind.


What a hot mess

Of course I'm referring to Britney Spears' awful opening performance on MTV's Video Music Awards last night. (Though, I could also be referring to the show as a whole.) Britney was awful. Her face had no expression, she was lip-synching badly (I don't know why they bother to put a "mike" on her), and she looked drunk as she walked back and forth--she definitely lost her balance a couple of times. It was horrible. I love this quote from the Ohmylord Update blog: "Cuts to the audience revealed fellow artists rolling their eyes. 50 Cent looked like he might have just thrown up in his mouth, and Rihanna was flat-out laughing to a table guest."

It was so true. A couple of other artists like Puffy/Daddy/Diddy/whoever looked confused. It was just painful.

Oh dear.


The Fall Season is Coming....

I got my Fall TV issue of Entertainment Weekly on Friday! Can't wait to go through and figure out what my viewing schedule will be starting later this month.

Stay tuned....

Na na na na-na-na-naaaa

I bought a new car recently (which I LOVE) and am now on the mailing list for the Nissan dealership where I bought it. Today they sent a newsletter with various articles, including one about the top 10 sing-a-long songs. (It doesn't say according to whom, but I did a search on Google and found the source here.) Here's the list:
What do you and crew do in the car? Why not have a sing-a-long? Who knows you might be the next American Idol. Have fun, keep the windows rolled up tight and sing with all you got!

Here are the Top 10 All Time Pop Sing-A-Long Songs
  1. Baha Men - Who Let the Dogs Out
    This hit illustrates the narrow line between great singalong and disturbing annoyance. For most it’s the former and for some the latter...particularly faced with a rowdy crowd reveling in imitating barking dogs. The chorus is so irresistibly catchy it nearly forces you to sing along if only in your head.

  2. Beatles - Hey Jude
    As the legend goes, this song was originally written by Paul McCartney to try to cheer up a young Julian Lennon when his father John was breaking up with Cynthia. Regardless of how it came about, it soon had the world singing along about taking a sad song and making it better, and, particularly, that extended "Na na na na" chorus.

  3. Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
    You always wanted to try out your falsetto, right? To get it absolutely right, you have to match Barry Gibb's other-worldly falsetto note for note while strutting down the street a la John Travolta.

  4. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
    This is the gold standard for aspiring pop divas. If you can match Whitney Houston here, you might have the goods for divadom. If your tastes lean more to country than r&b, listen to Dolly Parton's original recording of this song and singalong with her.

  5. Tommy James and the Shondells - Mony Mony
    Where would wedding dances be without "Mony Mony?" It's possibly the most memorable wedding dance shout-along in history. The original by Tommy James is still the best, but Billy Idol works up a good head of steam on his version as well.

  6. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I Love Rock and Roll
    You not only sing along with Joan, but you want to crank up that guitar as well. Few songs do so well at truly uniting rock and pop fans in 3 minutes of pure bliss.

  7. Don McLean - American Pie
    "Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry, them good ol' boys were drinkin' whisky and rye singin' this'll be the day that I die." Could Don McLean have had any idea at all this would be one of the most familiar lyric lines in the history of pop music?

  8. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
    The movie Wayne's World showed Wayne and Garth rocking out to this classic in their car, but it was only a reflection of what so many of us had been doing for 15 years. It's goofy and over the top, but easy to sing along and full of killer hooks, that's pop perfection.

  9. Santana Featuring Rob Thomas - Smooth
    On "Smooth," Rob Thomas showed us all how an ordinary white guy could transform himself into a sexy Latin crooner. Sing along and you can imagine yourself there.

  10. Village People - YMCA
    Thousands of people in stadiums and arenas around the world stand up, spell out letters with their hands and arms, and shout the abbreviation of the Young Men's Christian Association when this is played over loudspeakers. It is a pure singalong phenomenon.

Hmmm....I think I'd take out "Who Let the Dogs Out" (I hate that song), "I'll Always Love You" (hate this one too), "Mony, Mony," and "Smooth" and throw in Wild Cherry's "Play that Funky Music," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Marvin Gaye's "Heard it Through the Grapevine" and Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" (you know you love singing along to that!).

OK people. What else?


What are your favorites?

I participated in a poll from Entertainment Weekly earlier this evening. They asked two questions:

1. What are your top 5 favorite movies of all time?

2. What are you top 5 favorite TV shows of all time?

I started with the movies:

1. Godfather II
2. Godfather I
3. Moonstruck
4. When Harry Met Sally

Then I got to #5. I wasn't sure what to put. I started with The Princess Bride but then thought about the fact that even though I LOVED that movie, I never bought it, so that must mean something. Then I put Shakespeare in Love, but deleted it because even though I LOVED that movie, I don't feel compelled to watch it over and over again. Then I thought about more recent movies that I loved like The Departed or Little Miss Sunshine, but it didn't seem right to count them as favorites of all time since they're so recent. Then I went to my old standby: Terms of Endearment. I loved this movie too, but don't think it's in my top 5 anymore. I finally put The Breakfast Club, which was the first R-rated movie I saw w/o my parents there. My friend's mom bought us the tickets and then left. (I don't think parents can do that anymore). I can quote so much of this movie and watch it every single time I come across it on TV. It meant a lot to me when I was in school, and I "grew up" with it, so, yes, it definitely goes on my list of the top 5:

5. The Breakfast Club

TV shows were a bit easier:

1. Freaks & Geeks
2. Seinfeld
3. Sex and the City
4. Arrested Development
5. Friends

Other contenders: The Sopranos, The Cosby Show, and Friday Night Lights (again, too new to be an all-time favorite, right?)

So, that's it for me. What are your top 5 lists? You can only list 5, but feel free to write long paragraphs of explanation if you need to. :o)


Best new show of last season

I've been touting Friday Night Lights since it began last year, and wish everyone would please watch and push the ratings up so that we don't lose this gem. Luckily, for those who haven't seen it yet, the first season will be available on DVD next week. Universal Home Entertainment is even offering a money back guarantee if you buy it. They stand behind the show that much. Please add it to Netflix, or pick it up at Costco or Target, or whatever you need to do, so you can see this show before it starts again in October. Check out this review from Jen Cheney of The Washington Post - she says it all.


Laugh 'til you cry

On FOX tonight there was a show featuring TV's Funniest Moments as voted on by...somebody. (I didn't see the beginning so don't know who voted.) I only saw the last hour, and I don't necessarily agree with the order, but there were definitely some funny clips in there. One of the funniest things I've ever, EVER seen was this clip from The Carol Burnett Show with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. Tim is the dentist, Harvey is the patient. Tim stabs himself several times with the Novocaine, and his acting through the numbness is hysterical. What's even funnier is that Harvey Korman can't keep it together and is laughing just as hard as the audience. Check it out:

Another funny one was this clip from Roseanne where Jackie is telling a hard-of-hearing aunt that Jackie and Roseanne's father passed away. I was ROTFL with this one. (NOTE: the clip I saw this evening was only the first 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the clip below.)

The following clip by Chris Rock was voted #1. I disagree with it being #1 (see above--Tim Conway's funnier), but I did laugh out loud. It's Chris Rock talking about the progress of Black people. Funny stuff.

Talk to Me

Deb and I went to see Don Cheadle as Petey Greene in Talk to Me on Saturday night. It seemed we better hurry and since it'd been out for a few weeks and it wasn't playing in that many theaters, which is a shame. Don Cheadle's performance was fantastic. It is amazing how he can play a role so completely that you forget you're watching Don Cheadle.

My dad remembers seeing Petey Greene on D.C. television all the time when we moved to the area in 1980. I don't remember him (I was 10 and not paying that much attention to the local TV/radio scene), but I felt I got a good sense of the man in watching Don Cheadle's portrayal. I read this morning, however, that Petey Greene's family is upset with the film and says the portrayal was not accurate. They feel he was portrayed as a womanizer and a clown, but I didn't see it that way. I felt the character was someone constantly struggling with his own demons, but who was able to connect with people through his radio and later TV shows. For all we know, he was a womanizer before he met his wife. I don't know what's right, but I do know that I enjoyed the film tremendously.

I was disappointed that it didn't play more widely in the DC area. You'd think it would've been playing everywhere, since Petey Greene was from here, but alas, the closest theater to me that was showing it was a 25-minute drive.

I encourage you to go see it while you can!


It's a girl!

SABRA won SYTYCD!!!! Good for her! I think it was so well deserved. I was exhausted as I was watching the show, so I didn't really pay much attention. I know the judges each chose a routine they'd like to see again--I was surprised we didn't see Lacey & Kameron's first passionate performance. Also, throughout the show, Cat Deeley kept alluding to her upcoming dance with Nigel, "on this stage!" It started to get annoying, because she mentioned it at every commercial break. Finally, the moment came, and instead of Cat and Nigel dancing on stage, we had to watch a bit that JibJab put together. Groan. After all that build up, it was so stupid. I usually get a kick out of the JibJab cartoons, but this one just got on my nerves.

Anyway, I'm thrilled for Sabra. Woo-hoo!!



It was a big show last night with plenty to see. Each of the four finalists performed with each of the others. They also performed solos and one dance with all four of them. How do they remember all that?!

The group dance was a Broadway routine done to "Mein Herr" by Liza Minnelli from the Cabaret soundtrack. All four performed well, but I couldn't take my eyes off of Sabra and Neil--I think they're both perfect for Broadway.

Here's how I rated the couples' performances:

6. Lacey/Sabra - Jazz Contemporary - "Koyal (Songbird)" by Nitin Sawhney. One word: odd. Lacey and Sabra were supposed to be playing a mother and baby fox. The movements of the fox were weird, and like Nigel said, if Wade Robson hadn't stated that they were foxes, I wouldn't have known what they were supposed to be. I don't think there was anything wrong the girls' performances--this time it was just the choreography that was wrong (well, not wrong necessarily--just weird).

5. Sabra/Neil - Hip Hop - "Whine Up" by Kat Deluna. It was okay, but not great. I agree with the judges that it needed a little more down and dirty-ness.

4. Lacey/Danny - Viennese Waltz - "Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne. It was a beautiful performance. Very "flow-y."

3. Sabra/Danny - Cha Cha - "Gotta Get Down (La Negra Tiene Tumbao) (Spanglish Remix)" by Celia Cruz. Sabra and Danny make a great pair. What fun this was to watch. Hot! Hot! Hot!

2. Lacey/Neil - Lindy Hop - "Bill's Bounce" by The Big Elliot Swing Orchestra. I got winded just watching this thing. The final flip was so cool. Lacey and Neil did a great job.

1. Neil/Danny - "Are You the One?" by The Presets. LOVED IT. Mia's choreography was spectacular, as usual; the fight scenes were terrific, and I love how Neil can be so theatrical. His facial expressions were great.

And here's my rating for the solos:

4. Lacey - "Technologic" by Daft Punk. She's got such a fun personality, but her solos just aren't impressive like those of the other three.

2. Two-way tie for Neil and Sabra. I know it's a cop out, but I honestly just couldn't choose which one I liked more. Sabra danced to "Wonderful World" by James Morrison and was beautiful. Neil danced to "Gravity" by Shawn McDonald and as Dan Karaty said, it was very dynamic.

1. Danny - "We Are the Champions" by Gavin DeGraw. WOW. I think this is the first time I rated Danny first in anything, but my god, his performance was simply AMAZING. He did a series of leaps around the stage that were incredible--so fast and perfect. I've really come to like him over the season and was so glad to see this performance. (I watched it twice.)

Now, who's going to win this thing?? While the judges feel that any of the four would be deserving of the win, I'd have to say that because Sabra, Neil and Danny are so much more technically advanced than Lacey, that one of the three of them should win over her. I love Lacey though, too, so it's so tough! I did call in some votes for Sabra, but I wouldn't be disappointed or crushed with any of the four winning. I'll be watching tonight! (Well, not live, but I'll see it on Tivo later on.)


SYTYCD Final Four





We said goodbye to Pasha and Lauren tonight. I was a little surprised about Pasha, but it was a really tough choice among the guys.

Tonight's show was a bit dragged out, but we did see two great dance performances...one was an African dance and the other was Krumping. There was also a feature of a community program that SYTYCD has created. The choreographers from the show spent some time teaching various dance teachers from the L.A. area that teach in after school programs. Those teachers will take what they learned from Mia Michaels and Shane Sparks back to their kids. They hope to implement this in cities across the country--I think it's a great idea. I'd love to see in future shows where they show a performance of some kids from one of these programs--show what they've learned.

Anyway, the finale is Wednesday--who's gonna win?!?!?

BTW, Erika, you asked in a comment somewhere if I'd be interested in seeing the tour. I think so....Should we do it??? (Do you think we'd be much older than much of the audience?)

Returning to the real world

I took a trip to see family earlier this month and haven't quite gotten myself back together enough to catch up on my blog. Oops! Here are some things I wanted to mention:
  • SYTYCD - I just caught up on the last two weeks' worth of shows last night. I was crying my eyes out at the Mia Michael's piece from 2 weeks ago about her and her dad meeting in heaven. That was beautiful. I also enjoyed from last week Sabra and Neil's boardroom dance--very passionate. Sabra is awesome. Also, WHOA on that kiss from 2 weeks ago between Dominic and Lauren!!!!!! Hot! Hot! Hot! Tonight's the last elimination before the season finale. I think Lauren will go from the girls, and I'm just not sure about the guys. My friend Erika has mentioned in the comments that it might come down to how many teeny boppers are voting and who they have the biggest crush on...if it goes that way, then I think Neil and Pasha will be in the final four. However, people might be opening up to Danny more as he seems to be opening up. I know I have. It should be an exciting show to watch.

  • Bourne Ultimatum - AWESOME!!!!! A++++++++!!!! What a fun movie. I LOVE Matt Damon. My friend Dana said she'd written him off as a sex symbol during The Departed, but this movie made her reconsider. I just love his physique! Even from the back he looks quite sexy, with those broad shoulders.....ooo la la!!

  • Becoming Jane - Good. A solid B. I enjoyed Anne Hathaway's performance, as well as James McAvoy's.

  • TBS movies - while in Omaha, Debbie and I were up late each night watching great movies: The Breakfast Club, My Cousin Vinny, and Ferris Beuller's Day Off. If you're channel surfing late at night, check out TBS.

  • Summer TV - The Closer with Kyra Sedgwick on TNT is awesome; I'm enjoying Holly Hunter in Saving Grace which follows. (The say "shit" a lot on this show--it's kind of weird since I'm not watching HBO. I always want to say, "Ooohhh...she said a bad word!!!") I hear Damages is great, though I haven't caught up on Tivo yet. Also hearing great things about The Company. Top Chef has been a lot of fun this season too. I get a kick out of Howie. My guilty pleasures have been (do I dare admit these?): NBC's The Singing Bee, Brett Michael's Rock of Love on VH1, Scott Baio is 45 and Single also on VH1, and I just added a new one called The Pick-up Artist on VH1, where a self-proclaimed ladies' man (who goes by "Mystery") is teaching a bunch of awkward young men (plus one 45-year-old virgin) how to get with the ladies....it's hilarious.

  • Looking forward to: Stardust with Clare Danes, Robert Deniro and Michelle Pfeiffer. (I mentioned this to Dana the other night and she said, "I thought you didn't want to see that!" I said, "Huh?" She said, "When I told you about it before, you said you didn't think you'd be interested." I suddenly remembered that conversation and told her, "Well, you didn't tell me about the CAST! Or about the fact that it was being compared to one of my favorites, The Princess Bride!" She let me off the hook...I think.) Also looking forward to Superbad written by Seth Rogen from Knocked Up. I love his sense of humor. Saw a preview for American Gangster with Denzel. That looked really good too, but I'm not sure when it's coming out. I love mob movies!
Geez,that was quite a lot for a quick check in. Thanks for hanging in to the end (if you did indeed make it this far!).



Sue told me about this video created by Will Ferrell...it's hilarious. The Landlord is so cute!!
The Landlord


Well, I got this one right

Kameron and Jaimie are saying goodbye, thanks to YOUR votes (or lack thereof), America. I think it's the right move this week. After they named the bottom four, each dancer performed a solo, even though it didn't affect their position on the show. Jaimie danced beautifully to "Your Ex-Lover's Dead" by Stars. Her performance was definitely heartfelt.

Dominic came out next and danced to "It's Just Begun" by Jimmy Castor Bunch. Holy cow. He spun on his head like an ice skater spins on his/her skates. Amazing. I got dizzy watching it the 2nd and 3rd times.

Lauren danced to "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercyme. She had a huge smile on her face the whole time and she put her heart into it.

Kameron then danced to "Oh Timbaland" by Timbaland. (That's a Windows Media link.) (Is this song based on something by Nina Simone?? Sinnerman maybe? (Youtube link.) I dunno. Maybe not.) Anyway, when he ended, he looked pissed. His expression said, "Take that."

Oh well, he's gone. He and Jaimie will still be on the tour, so they'll do well for themselves. We're now down to the final 8!

Another great laugh

I challenge you to watch this video and not ROTFL. This is from my local Channel 4 newscast with Jim Vance and George Michael--I remember seeing it live a while ago, and now it's making the rounds in email and online video. (Sorry, again, about the blocked access at work--definitely watch from home.)

News Anchor Cant Stop Laughing At Model - Watch more free videos

Young Jennifer Hudson

I received this in email and just had to post it. I'll refer back to this post whenever I need my mood lifted. (Note: If you work where I do, the site will be blocked, so please check back from home.) It's less than 4 minutes long, and you've got to watch the whole thing.

What a darling this little girl is. She reminds me of a young cousin of mine. We were at Jimmy Buffett's restaurant, Cheeseburger in Paradise, in Omaha a few years ago, and there was a performer in the restaurant playing "Margaritaville." My little cousin, who was about 2 at the time, was grooving to the sounds. She had her arms up and was trying to snap her fingers as she swayed back and forth. If only I'd had a video phone then. It was just about the cutest and funniest thing I've ever seen. Everyone in the restaurant got a good laugh too. She had the whole place watching her!

Another SYTYCD resemblance

My friend Jeanene pointed out that last week Anya looked a LOT like Geena Davis. I'd have to agree. Do you?


Geena Davis


Eh. Underwhelmed.

Well, I'm hoping it's because I'm just not feeling well today, but I was pretty underwhelmed with tonight's SYTYCD. I hate saying that because I love this show, but I really didn't get excited about much on tonight's show. But, like I said, maybe it's my killer headache that was the problem.

There were a LOT of performances tonight. In addition to 5 couples' performances, all of the dancers performed solos of the same Wade Robson routine, to John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." This was an interesting idea and I think it's the first time we've seen all the dancers do the same thing, so you could really compare them to each other. Sabra was my favorite, I just love watching her dance. Same with Neil. Even though the judges criticized his posture a bit, I think his leaps and expression more than made up for it. When he leaps, it's like he's suspended in the air. He jumped so much higher than the previous 5 performers before him too. I'd love to see Sabra and Neil teamed up for a contemporary dance--I'm sure it'd be spectacular.

For the couple performances, this was the first week that they were pulled away from their pairings of the past however many weeks. I really don't have much to say, but I'd rate them as such:

5. Jaimie/Dominic - Vienneze Waltz - "Man of La Mancha" by Linda Eder: Agree with judges that Dominic's performance was a bit over the top--I usually love his facial expressions, but it was too much tonight. I was disappointed.
4. Lacey/Danny - Samba - "Hip Hip Chin Chin" by Club des Beluges: Danny actually showed some expression today. Finally.
3. Sabra/Kameron - Contemporary - "Amazing Grace" by Crystal Lewis: Sabra was beautiful; agree with judges that there wasn't enough from Kameron
2. Lauren/Pasha - Hip Hop - "Fuego" by Pitbull: Shane Sparks choreography was awesome here
1. Sara/Neil - Disco - "Knock on Wood" by Rachel Stevens: So much fun to watch, and I'm always a sucker for disco.

I think that Kameron and Jaimie are at risk to go this week, and I'd be okay if they did. It's getting harder and harder to see dancers go as we move along. I'm pulling for Sabra to win the whole thing though!


You can't stop the beat! (Hairspray - possible spoilers)

Just came from seeing Hairspray and just like after I saw the show on Broadway, "You Can't Stop the Beat" is running over and over through my head. The movie was great--energetic and fun. There was a group of girls that literally danced out of the theater! Nikki Blonsky played a great Tracy Turnblad, and John Travolta and Christopher Walken were terrific as her parents. Creator John Waters and the original Tracy, Ricki Lake, had good cameos that I think were completely lost on the young people in the theater. It seemed that people my age or older were the only ones to chuckle.

When I was in line buying tickets, the couple behind me were discussing the movie. The girlfriend said she wanted to see "Hairspray 2." Boyfriend replied that it's not "Hairspray 2" because it's not a sequel. Girlfriend responded that she knew it was based on the play. Boyfriend said, "Yeah, but the play was based on the original movie." She said, "Oh I know--that movie was done in, like, the 60's or something." He sighed and said, "1988." She just said, "oh." I had to shake my head as I was feeling old. I wished I could've turned around to see what they looked like.

Now I must get the original movie on Netflix--I haven't seen it in a while. (Probably not since we saw the show on Broadway!)

Check out amazon.com for a clip of one of the movie's performances.


End of the journey for Hok and Anya

Anya/Danny, Jaimie/Hok, and Lauren/Neil had to dance for their lives tonight. Anya's solo to Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" was SO much better than her previous solos--however, she's still not my pick. And she wasn't the judges' pick either. Hok did one of his amazing break routines--it's like he's made of rubber. I was thinking that if I were to pay to see SYTYCD on tour, I'd much rather see him than Danny, but Danny has such better technique in more styles of dance. It's only fair that he stay (even if he's not my preference).

Oh, the judges criticized Jaimie's performance as being a bit desperate. Um, well....she was desperate! She was "dancing for her life" for crying out loud! I didn't think that was fair.

I fast forwarded through Enrique Iglesias' performance. I don't like watching his facial expressions as he lip synchs. Ugh.

Jason Samuel Smith did a tap performance that had me mesmerized--I absolutely loved it. He has a very similar style to Savion Glover, whom I also love. It was great to see tap included on the show.

I'm so, so impressed by Neil's solo performances. It's like he has a springboard under his feet--it's amazing how high he leaps and jumps. I thought he was great and definitely deserves to be in the top 10.

OK, I know these thoughts are sort of scattered, but I'm trying to finish up so I can go to bed. What did everyone else think??


Final 12 on SYTYCD

Judging tonight's show was tough. I didn't completely love any particular routine--not to the point where I want to watch it over and over again like I have other performances. Plus, in rating the performances, I was also thinking of who I'd like to see in the Top 10. That definitely played into my ranking.

Here we go:

6. Anya/Danny - Fox Trot - "It Had To Be You" by Brian Evans: I just can't agree with Mary that this performance was the best of the night. Maybe I'll give it to Nigel that it was the best fox trot seen on that stage, but that's as far as I can go. This couple just doesn't do it for me. I don't connect with them when they dance and though the judges felt Danny came out of his shell and connected tonight, he didn't reach me. Maybe I need to watch the performance again, but that's not happening tonight.

5. Lacey/Kameron - Hip Hop - "Here I Come" by Fergie: Cute routine but I didn't love it. As much as I like Kameron, I have to agree that he didn't give it his all tonight. Lacey outshone him again. I still want them in the top 10 though...even though Danny is technically a better dancer than Kameron. To me, Kameron has more overall appeal. I just realized tonight that Kameron reminds me of Adam Levine. What do you think?

Kameron - SYTYCD Adam Levine

OK, so it's not an identical match--he just reminds me of him. (Doesn't Adam look good in that suit??) Anyway, I digress.

4. Jamie/Hok - Broadway - "Mr. Bojangles" by the Original Broadway Cast of Fosse: Jamie danced beautifully. I loved the part toward the end of the performance where they bowed to each other--I thought it was very sweet. I agree with the judges that if Hok hadn't mentioned in the footage that he was playing an old man we wouldn't have known. Jamie got rave reviews from the judges--Hok did not.

3. Lauren/Neil - Contemporary - "Let the Drummer Kick" by Citizen Cope: This was an interesting performance with very complicated and intricate choreography. I liked it a lot. And though the dancers' synchronization was off a few times, I thought they were great. Side note: I was very aware of how long Neil's body is--never noticed that before.

2. Sara/Pasha - Jazz - "Body Language" by Queen: Loved it. Loved their chemistry. Loved how they often stared into each other eyes, and of course, Pasha is still so cute. Here, the synchronization was right on.

1. Sabra/Dominic - Jive - "I Do the Jerk" by Ryan Shaw. I'm probably becoming biased here because this is definitely my favorite couple, but this was also my favorite dance tonight. It had so much energy and was fun to watch. I just LOVE this couple and am so sad they might not dance together again after tonight. They have such great chemistry. Dominic is hilarious.

That's it from me. Tomorrow night we'll find out who the top 10 dancers are. It'll be interesting.


Weekend catch up

Here are several things I'd like to post about from the past week or so:
  • Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen - I went into O12 expecting the worst because of the terrible reviews I'd heard, but actually enjoyed it. Vice versa on 13. I'd heard great reviews of 13, so went in with high expectations and just thought it was okay. I think it looked great though--I love the bold colors of those movies, not to mention the male eye candy--(right Jeanene?)

  • Everything I Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume - a great collection of essays edited by Jennifer O'Connell that brought back SOOOO many memories of my Judy Blume days. I'm now reading Wifey, her scandalous adult novel. My friend Dana and I read this in 7th grade, hiding it under the mattress whenever her mom would come around. I'm curious to see how I'll feel reading it as an adult. (For those who don't know, Wifey is about an unhappy and unfulfilled housewife who has a sexual awakening. What fun!

  • Live Earth - Thank god for Tivo. I recorded all of the coverage on The Sundance Channel and was able to fast forward through stuff I didn't like. Favorite performances: Corinne Bailey Rae, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer ("Gravity" - he's gotten a haircut and looked kinda cute!), Joss Stone, Alicia Keys ("Mercy, Mercy Me"), Macy Gray, and Madonna. Madonna did a great version of "La Isla Bonita" with some Gypsy musicians--the performance was a lot of fun. Madonna looked fabulous. It was interesting to see some of the concerts from around the world--Germany, China, Japan, Australia (where actress Toni Collette performed), ANTARCTICA! Scientists from Antarctica performed in WAY-below freezing weather, with no gloves on, and sounded pretty good, actually.

  • Singing Bee - This is the show where "you don't have to know how to sing, you just have to know the lyrics." Tom Shales gave this a scathing review, but I watched with my mom and dad (again, we all had very low expectations), and we kind of enjoyed it. I actually did quite well--my mom was impressed! :o) I would LOVE to see my sister go on this show--she is AWFUL with lyrics and constantly makes things up. It's hilarious. Apparently Fox has a similar show airing tonight.

  • The Minisode Network - My friend Mark S. turned me on to this site--they run 5-minute edits of old T.V. shows--Diff'rent Strokes, Charlie's Angels, What's Happening, and The Partridge Family, just to name a few." I watched a minisode of Silver Spoons last night that was pretty funny. Ricky Schroeder and Jason Bateman were so cute! I'll definitely be spending a lot of time at that site. (Though not from work since the site is blocked....)

  • Vacation! - I'm heading to Maine to see my friends Jeanene and Rebecca this weekend. I'm SOOOOO looking forward to it!!!


Adventures in moviegoing

Instead of watching fireworks last night, I opted to go see Evening--the movie with Clare Danes, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Toni Collette, etc. I walked in to the theater and there was ONE other person in there. A guy sitting in the back row. Weird.

I sit down as the previews start, and by the time the previews are done (15 minutes later), I can hear this dude SNORING. Are you kidding me?!?! At first it was just the heavy breathing kind of snoring, but about halfway through the movie, he really started cutting logs. I thought about throwing my empty water bottle at him, but opted instead to move. He woke up for about 20 minutes to eat some candy (Milk Duds maybe? Something in a box..) and then he went BACK TO SLEEP. This dude paid $9.50 to take a NAP! Unbelievable.

Anyway, I hate to say it, but the movie was just okay. Claire Danes and everyone gave wonderful performances, but nothing happened. I'd heard the same thing from Roeper & guest last week, but wanted to make my own decision. I should've listened to them. The story goes back and forth between the 50's and present day, and I think it would've been more interesting to just see the story from the 50's straight through, instead of in bit and pieces through flashbacks. There were such great actresses, but the story is flat. Oh well. Wait for video on this one.

The movie everyone was at the theater to see, apparently, was Transformers. I heard someone say that it was playing in two theaters, and both were sold out. I heard someone else say that it's two and half hours long. Yikes. I wasn't interested in the Transformers when I was kid, so I'm not interested in them now, but that movie sure is getting a lot of hype. Someone on the radio said it was the best action flick he'd seen in years. Wow. That's quite an endorsement. Not enough to get me to see it though....


R y G

On Saturday night Mark, Erika and I headed to Baltimore's Ram's Head Live to see Rodrigo y Gabriela. Finally. We've been trying to see them since March. We had tickets to see them in DC, and then the show was postponed for one month. A week before we're ready to see them in April, I get an email saying the show'd been canceled all together. We were so disappointed. At one point I'd heard that Rodrigo had an injury, but now, based on what he said during the show, I think there were some immigration issues. Anyway, Erika saw that they'd be performing in Balto. so we jumped right on it. The show was SOOOOOO worth the wait. It was so much fun.

Rodrigo and Gabriela are two guitarists from Mexico City, who used to perform thrash metal, but now perform their own style of music. It's hard to describe what they do--it sort of sounds like the Gipsy Kings, but it's all instrumental and there's more of a rock feel to it. It also sound a bit like Flamenco, but Gabriela stresses that it's NOT Flamenco! Whatever it is, it sounds damn good, and it sounded even better live.

I'd first seen R y G on Jay Leno a while ago and thought they were amazing. I was mezmorized by the way Gabriela's hands moved across the guitar. And now that Rodrigo has short hair, I've got a bit of a crush on him. :o) You just have to see them for yourself. (Lucky for you, you can do this below!) I *highly* recommend their self-titled CD and also that you go see them if they're playing in your area. You won't regret it. (Hey Mark & Erika--they're going to be at the 9:30 Club on October 21!!)

Here's one of their performances from David Letterman. They're playing a song called "Diablo Rojo." I'd originally seen them on Jay's show, but this clip has better sound than the others I found on YouTube. (Note: the performance starts about 45 seconds into the clip.)

If y'all wanna party like we do....

Erika, this is for you. Remember when we were talking about Justin Timberlake's go-go version of "Sexyback" that was H.O.T.? (See my post from 2/6/2007.) Then I asked if you'd heard "I'm Classy," (which is actually called "Classy Girl." You hadn't, so here it is for ya:

I LOVE this song!!! Reminds me of the old school go-go. (I don't usually like the stuff I hear nowadays.) One of my coworkers is ALWAYS playing Chuck Brown--now that's the good stuff!!

A-ha! Guess what I just found?!?! JT doing the go-go Sexyback at Verizon Center!! The first clip has the full song and is shown from the exact same vantage point we had at the show (i.e. nosebleed seats--I think whoever recorded this must've been sitting right in front of us). The second clip is short, but you can see Justin's cute self (kind of) up close! ;o) Enjoy!

EDITED 12/31/2007: The first video I'd found is no longer available. Too bad--it was a good one!


Oh puh-leeeeeezzzzzzz

Just came across this headline about Isaiah Washington from Grey's Anatomy: "Ex-'Grey's' star cites racism for firing." Is he serious?!?!?! Does he seriously expect sympathy now? Grey's is one of the most racially diverse TV shows on the air. How obnoxious can one person be?

Whatever. I say good riddance. What an asshole.

Sabra & Dominic's Rumba

I found a clip of the Rumba Sabra and Dominic did Wednesday night. My favorite part comes at 4:21 (the timer counts backwards)--simply gorgeous. Enjoy!

The SYTYCD elimination

In summary:

This was tough. Turns out my prediction about Cedric and Shauna getting enough votes to stay in the competition was right. I was also right that Lauren/Neil and Anya/Danny should be in the bottom three. With Shauna/Cedric out of the running, the last couple was Sara/Jesús, which was quite surprising. Jessi, after receiving the OK from her doctors, also danced for her life.

Danny looked PISSED when it was announced that Cedric & Shauna were safe. His eyebrow was cocked and his expression said, "You have GOT to be kidding me." It didn't last long, and he was soon hugging and play fighting with Cedric, but still, that look was there.

Niles said there could be many reasons Shauna & Cedric didn't make it to the bottom three. He mentioned Cedric's touching speech, but I still say it's because Mary and Niles were so adamant that he should no longer be in the competition. People felt sorry for him and doubled their votes. It's the Simon Syndrome, I tell you!

All three guys were outstanding in their performances. The girls...not so much. Neil's leaps and spins were incredible. So were Danny's. And so were Jesús', but someone had to go, and if you compare, Jesús just doesn't leap as high as the other two. The girls were boring and didn't give much of themselves. It's a shame we couldn't let two of them go tonight (Anya and Lauren would've been my choices), but in the end, the judges chose Jessi. That poor girl's had a rough week. She said she's going to remember Pasha the most from the competition. The two of them defnitely had chemistry and I truly hope they become lifelong friends.

Now Pasha will be paired with Sara. I just don't see it. I don't think she can be as graceful as him, but we'll see.

One more thing...I enjoyed Fergie's performance with Ludacris (I just love his voice!). I hated hearing F. lip sync through the chorus though. She's actually a great singer. Check out the Wild Orchid CD from her previous life.


SYTYCD - Great show tonight!

Rating the dances tonight is SOOOOO difficult! I liked them all, but there have to be a bottom three, right? Let's go.

8. Shauna/Cedric - Contemporary - "I Thought We Had" by The Family Stand: I LOVED Shauna's performance, but Cedric was a bit weak. This was the first time Shauna and Cedric danced together and I actually think they have great chemistry. Cedric just doesn't have enough experience to match Shauna's abilities. I didn't care for his "acting" either. The routine was choreographed by Mia who said the routine was about saying goodbye and the feelings that go along with that. There was a segment where Cedric sits off to the side, "crying" while Shauna danced her ass off. The cameras should've stayed on Shauna and ignored Cedric's crying because it was awkward and such bad acting. Mary & Nigel went on and on about how this will likely be Cedric's last week, and that they probably made a mistake in keeping him last week. Cedric held his head high and said he was just happy to have learned all the new styles. Debbie Allen was a guest judge and she invited him to attend her dance studio on a free scholarship, no matter what happens tomorrow night. She loved him.
My guess is that people will be calling in like crazy to keep Cedric in the competition, and he may not end up in the bottom six. It's the same thing as when Simon says something particularly unpleasant on American Idol. Whenever he does that, the contestant soars through to the next round. We'll see.

7. Lauren/Neil - Tango - "Tanquera" by Sexteto Mayor: These two also have great chemistry, and their tango was pretty good, but it just didn't measure up to some of the other great performances tonight.

6. Anya/Danny - Hip-Hop - "Oh Timbaland" by Timbaland: I thought Dan Karaty's choreography here was terrific, but that Anya and Danny were off sync a little bit. I loved the sexy ending where Danny laid over Anya and she arched her back--it was very sexy.

5. Lacey/Kameron - Quick Step - "Big & Bad" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: The choreography was so fast and so fun to watch. I think Kameron looked great with his hair slicked back--such a cutie. Has anyone else noticed that when they show scenes with Lacey and her hair's long and straight that she looks like Lisa Marie Presley?

Lacey Schwimmer    Lisa Marie Presley

(Lacey's the first picture...)

4. Sara/Jesús - Krump - "It's Okay (One Blood)" by The Game featuring Junior Reid: The routine was hot! Their synchronization was awesome, and I loved watched Jesús' intense facial expressions. These two are great together.

3. (Melanie)/Pasha - Cha Cha - "Let's Get Loud" by Jennifer Lopez: Whoa. Pasha's partner Jessi was unable to perform tonight because she had earlier in the week been rushed to the hospital with chest pains and difficulty breathing. Pasha got to dance, instead, with the choreographer's assistant, Melanie LaPatin. As soon as I saw her during rehearsals, I remembered seeing her on What Not to Wear a while back. She looks so much like Bette Midler! (I thought that all through he WNtW episode too.) She's a former professional ballroom dancer, and I believe she now owns her own studio in NYC. Anyway, Pasha was fantastic! I love his hip action and could watch him all day. The pair received a standing "O" from the judges. Niles explained that if she's able, Jessi will have to dance for her life tomorrow night. If she's unable, she will be cut from the show. Goodness. I do hope she's OK.

2. Jamie/Hok - Jazz - "The Chairman's Waltz" from the Memoirs of a Geisha Soundtrack: Beautiful! The dance portrayed a hummingbird (Hok) and a flower (Jamie) and it was wonderful. It was choreographed by Wade Robson, who's my favorite choreographer on the show. His dances are always so interesting. By the way, Jamie needs to stop with the "up talk." Everything she says ends in a question? And I find it soooo annoying? I love watching her dance, but hate the interviews with her?

1. Sabra/Dominic - Rumba - "Stickwitu" by The Pussycat Dolls: They are my favorite couple. Their dance was so awesome. So sexy. They have wonderful chemistry with each other. I just love them! There was a move discussed in the preview where Dominic is holding her leg and their weights are counterbalanced--they executed it perfectly! When clips are available, I'll add one here. It was a gorgeous performance.

OK, that's it for me. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Cedric tomorrow night. And also to see what happens to Jessie and Pasha.

Man, I just love this show!