Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lost Is Found

Don't forget: tonight's the season premiere of "Lost" on ABC. But don't be fooled. It's not a two-hour premiere like the network would like you to think it is. The first hour, at 8pm, is just a recap show; the actual season premiere is at 9pm. I suppose there's a chance they'll put some goodies in the recap, but I've watched some of those recap eps in the past, and they've always proved to be kind of boring if you have any memory of what's been going on in the series. But then again, it's been eight months since last season, so maybe a recap isn't such a bad idea.

Also, did you watch the rerun of season three finale last night? How annoying were those pop up "facts" they threw in there? "Ben draws a mean triangulated map...and speaking of triangles, there's a mean love triangle going on between Jack, Sawyer, and Kate."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

December Round-Up

Remember December? And Christmas? Wasn't that awesome?


Here's the last round-up of 2007. I still haven't decided if I will keep these up this year. I imagine I will, not because they are so wildly popular, but because I like having them as reference because my memory ain't what it used to be...

So, here goes.

Movies Seen: Thirteen, with two in a theater. Of the DVDs watched, I'd have to say "Once" and "Waitress" were my favorites. Two little movies that just kinda make you feel good inside. Neither are perfect; "Waitress" suffers from some moments that are just too whimsical for their own good, and Keri Russell's accent is far from convincing. The problems I had with "Once" have more to do with my own taste than with any actual problems with the movie, I think. I have issues with musicals in general, but since this one is so naturalistic, that didn't really come into play. But the music just wasn't really my cup of tea. I will admit that some of the songs are insanely catchy, and if I were to watch the movie again, I'd probably come away from it loving the music. And the only other problem I had with it was the lead male character is just kind of a jerk, and I never really cared if he found happiness or not...

As for the theater movies, one was "I Am Legend," which I saw because I have this inexplicable love of post-apocalyptic movies. As far as making New York City look like an empty shell goes, the movie delivers. But when it comes to the roaming threat of the "infected," the film kind of fails miserably. Never do you look at those creatures and think they are anything but CGI creations, which just makes you wonder why Will Smith is so freaked out by them. The other theater experience was "The Golden Compass" which may seem an inexplicable choice, but it will make more sense when I move on to...

Books Read: Four, two of which were the first books in the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, "The Golden Compass" and "The Subtle Knife." Now, it's kind of weird that I chose to read that trilogy in the first place, because I really don't like fantasy books. As I kid I loved "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," and maybe two of its follow-ups, but that's about as far as my fantasy novel reading went. I only recently was able to get through "The Hobbit," and never bothered with the rest of the "Rings" trilogy. Fantasy novels are just tough reads for me; they're too difficult. It's like reading something that's partially written in a foreign language, where I constantly need to figure out what the hell "weregild" is, or where Lindon is in regards to Mordor.

But the "Dark Materials" books take place, for the most part, in worlds that are pretty much like our earth. Sure, souls are represented as talking animals that live outside the body, and can sometimes shape-shift, and are the best friends one could wish for (and how freaking cute is that?), and witches live in the north pole, and polar bears can talk and are fierce warriors, but none of that is really hard to understand. I'll admit some of the appeal of the books came from the controversy surrounding their alleged anti-religious message, and I suppose that's in there, but it's really not that distracting. (Although the appearance of God in the last book is kind of shocking...and pathetic.) Also, how awesome is it that the hero is a pre-teen girl, for once? So, that's a long way of getting to why I decided to see "The Golden Compass" in a theater. I had just finished the book, my work shuttle literally stopped across the street from the theater, and a showing was just starting. I had to see what Hollywood would do with the story. In short: they shouldn't have bothered.

Fancy Dinners Out: One, on New Year's Eve at Palio d'Asti. It was a special fixed price menu, with all-you-can-eat dessert, and it was really good. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't at the beginning stages of the flu, and hadn't broken into cold sweats by the end of the meal, though.

Shoes Bought: One pair of five-dollar, on sale, red flats with pom-pons purchased at Old Navy, perfect for Christmas lounging...Perfect for lounging because the one time I wore them outside, they gave me monster blisters.

Edited to add: Live Shows Seen: I totally forgot, but I saw a play in December! It was ACT's production of "A Christmas Carol," which I hadn't seen in many a year, after seeing it many, many times during my youth. Alas, the production had been completely revamped, so it wasn't the show I remember so fondly, but was instead a production that tried to be a musical--but a really half-assed musical, which is even worse than a full-fledged musical, in my opinion. Many of the actors were really good, particularly the actor who played Scrooge, and the actress who played his maid, but I can safely say I prefer the old version much, much more.

Monday, January 28, 2008

No One Should Be Forced to Wear That Much Denim

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist, if a little late.

Warning: Light-wash denim ahead.

The Year of a Million Screams

I'm back from Disneyland. (To see photos, click the picture above.) It was fabulously fun and a great way to spend my birthday. I screamed, ate prime rib, drank a glowing cocktail, and was wished a Happy Birthday about a hundred times thanks to the Disneyland Hotel-issued birthday pin I wore for two days straight. I also got an autographed photo of Goofy and a balloon upon check in to the hotel, which was awesome. For the most part we lucked out weather-wise, only getting hit with rain towards the end of Saturday night, and bit Sunday afternoon.

As for the flying, I suppose it was pretty good, considering the weather; I've experienced worse turbulence, although any amount is really too much for me. Virgin America was impressive on the way down, what with the in-flight entertainment (even if some of it didn't work, like the games) but on the way back, it wasn't working at all. On Sunday we got to the airport early enough that they were able to put us on an earlier flight that had been delayed. Turns out it wasn't done being delayed, and it ended up taking off about the same time as our original flight, so we ended up getting home just five minutes earlier than we would have if we had stuck with that original flight. Ha HA! But at least I got a free cocktail out of them because of the delay.

So now I'm home, and I think I will spend the entire day in my pajamas catching up on some TV and writing, before I have to get back into real life, and real life worries...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

While I May Look Like a Monkey, the Jury Is Still Out On My Smelling Like One

Tomorrow is my birthday, WOOT! I'm going to Disneyland for the weekend, WOOT WOOT! I'll be flying down there tomorrow afternoon, WOO-OH NO!

It's no secret I hate flying, because of how TERRIFYING IT IS, and that terror will not be helped by the fact that we will be taking off during a storm. Fab. It's also supposed to be raining in Anaheim, but that actually doesn't bother me that much. It might keep the Disneyland crowds away, and I'd much rather it be cold than excrutiatingly hot. But still. The flying with the wind and the rain? No fair!

I probably should have known this would happen as it has rained on my birthday more often than not, and it normally doesn't bother me too much. And I'll try not to let it bother me this time, as I am clutching my arm rests in complete and utter fear on that chic Virgin Airlines plane.

Don't forget to check out the SF Gate Culture Blog on Sunday for my week of Tube Tops, and buy the paper on Sunday and check out that TV Week guide!

As for the photo above, that was taken on my third birthday, and to prove not much has changed, a few years ago I made myself a poncho in pretty much that same pattern, and my mother recently made me a hat much like the one I am wearing in the photo. Perhaps I will make my travelling companions don masks for much of the trip to help maintain tradition...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Once Again, I Blame It All On G.W.

The death of Heath Ledger (Death of Heath!) has me kind of freaked out. Not really sure why, but I think it's a combination of that, the fact that the economy is in the crapper, and possibilities of lay-offs where I work that has made this day really kind of anxiety-inducing. I also think all the cake I had after lunch, as an early birthday celebration thrown by my co-workers, didn't really help my overall state of mind (although I did win a game of Wii Bowling, so there's that).

Anyway, it's a bit of an all-around stressful time. But I guess the following is kind of funny...

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's the Louvre Museum!

I'm posting these a little late, but yesterday I had a migraine, and just couldn't look at a computer screen for more than five minutes at a time...Anyhoo, this week's Tube Tops is up on the SFGate Culture Blog AND this week's reality TV locals post is up on SFist!

Warning: Extreme designer douchebaggery ahead.

Monday, January 14, 2008

No, He Won't Be Back

I watched the first two episodes of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," or "TTSCC" for stupid, and I enjoyed it. Which isn't to say I thought it was good. But I really, really liked the first two movies, so perhaps it's just my longstanding hope that some kind of sequel or off-shoot will come close to being as entertaining that is making me like it. (And no, "Terminator 3" didn't come close.)

I don't think the actress playing Sarah Connor this time around comes close to being as bad-assed as Linda Hamilton in "T2," which is a problem, but I am enjoying Summer Glau as the perky, good Terminator. Of course the physics of her being able to kick the shit out of a 500 pound, 6 foot 5 boy terminator doesn't make a lot of sense. But then again, if I try to figure out how any of the time travel stuff could actually work, my head starts to vibrate.

But the biggest issue I have with the show, and with the sequels, is that John Connor always comes across as being a whiny little weakling. Shouldn't he be bucking up and taking charge at this point in his life? Or is it the ultimate irony that he never turns out to be the revolutionary he's supposed to be, and is always being dragged reluctantly into battle, when he'd rather sit at home listening to emo records.

Hello Mary Lou

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist!

Warning: Jersey girls ahead.

Let's Get Physical

I don't know what it says about me, but one of the types of humor that will always get me to laugh so hard I've got tears streaming down my face, is slapstick. That probably makes me one of the few females on the planet who thinks the Three Stooges are hilarious. I can't explain it, I really can't, but I can watch clips like this over and over again, and still have to lay my head down on the table every time because I am laughing so hard I can't hold my head up any more.

Or maybe it's just my version of hanging my head in shame.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's the Coliseum!

This week's "Tube Tops" column is not up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Also, be sure to check out the Sunday Chronicle's TV Week insert so you can see that caricature in all its glory.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Return of the Psycho Ex-Girlfriend?

Last night I watched "30 Rock"--the last episode of the season, unless the strike is settled, like, tomorrow--and loved it. Of course. During one scene, Liz Lemon starts to drunk dial a co-op board because they haven't called her back about the apartment she wants to buy. During one moment, she's on the floor of her bathroom and says, "I'm going to the hospital! I hope you're happy!!" and...well, click here and watch the clip. I can't figure out how to steal it and embed it here.

Back? OK. So, I immediately recognized that bit about going to the hospital as words spoken by the infamous Psycho Ex-Girlfriend whose crazed voicemails were on the Interwebs back in 2001. You can listen to them all here. Story was, this chick just left voicemail after voicemail on this guy's phone--about 50 messages, I think--each more crazed than the last. He posted them on a Web site, and a sensation was born. Oh, the innocent days of the Web! Anyway, I, like many people who listened to them, became a little obsessed by it. Were they real? Was it all a hoax? They certainly sounded real to me. But the alleged ex-boyfriend never divulged the ex-girlfriend's name, and she never showed up anywhere angrily screaming about how that jerk had embarrassed her on the Internet. (Of course, it probably would have been a smart move to keep your mouth shut about it.)

So, when I heard Liz Lemon channelling the Psycho-Ex Girlfriend, I started to check around and see if there was any further news about her. I found that someone on YouTube had posted all the original voicemails as videos, with helpful transcripts. Here's the one with the hospital bit:

Then I saw that someone else on YouTube had posted some psycho-ex girlfriend voicemails, different ones, saying that he thinks his ex is the same woman as the infamous voicemail ex. And I'll be a monkey's uncle, but the woman really does sound EXACTLY like the same chick. Here's one of the videos. Sound is pretty crappy, so be warned.

I commented on the video, asking if it was real, and the guy responded. (You can read the exchange on the YouTube page.) He insists they are real. Now, I know it's not unheard of for people to go through a lot of trouble to create a minor hoax on the Internet. But let's assume for a minute that this is real, and this woman did the same thing to this guy that she did to the original guy. That's weird enough. But here are some other "facts."

* She was apparently older than the guy she was dating during the original voicemail insanity. He was 25, and I think she was in her late 30s. The guy with the new voicemails is 26, and says he dated her two years ago, when he was 24. She must have been close to, or in her 40s at that point. Which, you know, fine. She likes 'em young.

* She is still leaving crazy voicemails. Which would mean she either never heard about all her voicemails turning into an Internet sensation, or she knows about it, and really doesn't care. Which would lend credence to the "psycho" part of her moniker.

* If you listen to some of this new guy's further voicemails (here and here) she starts talking about having his baby. What's THAT about? Did she have his baby? Or was that another "I'm going to the hospital" ploys to get him to call her back?

I guess I could engage in further exchanges with the guy on YouTube, but I'm reluctant because if it is a hoax, I don't want to seem like a total rube that bought into it. Even though that's totally what I am.

So, my obsession with the psycho ex-girlfriend continues. Is she real? WHO IS SHE? How can she be so crazy? And how can she be so crazy and continue to snag young guys into her crazy web of lunacy?

And if anyone ever finds out who she is, please don't give her my phone number.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kiss Me Not, Watch Me Not, Write Me Not, Etc.

This week's Streets of San Fauxcisco post is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Looks like the Streets will be empty until the premiere of that lawyer-who-has-visions-of-George-Michael show at the end of the month!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Cajun Style!

Because Hillary won New Hampshire, and because James Carville is one of her advisors, and because my dad is currently in Louisiana, I present this clip from "30 Rock."

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It's the Tops!

As reported earlier, some words I wrote are currently appearing on the cover of the "TV Week" supplement (sounds so fortifying!) in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle. Here's a really bad pic of it over on the left (click on it for a larger view). My name's there and everything! (If you're looking through the paper and can't find the damn thing, much like I did earlier, it's there. It's just hidden inside the pages of the Pink Section, AKA the Datebook.)

Now here's the potentially confusing thing: On the next page of "TV Week" are some more weekly picks called "Best Bets." I did NOT write those. I actually have no idea who writes those, as there doesn't seem to be any credit given. Here's the deal with that, as I understand it. I think the Chronicle doesn't actually publish "TV Week." I think it's kind of a generic TV guide that appears in a lot of newspapers, and the Chronicle is able to "personalize" the cover while the rest is created by another company. So, if you want to read the rest of my weekly picks, you need to go online, like the cover says. Here's this week's post in handy link form!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cats, Dogs, Lemurs

Wow. That was something. The wind was so strong this morning it woke me around 7:00am, which is tough to do since I wear ear plugs when I sleep. But it was shaking the hell out of my building, and thus my bed, that I immediately thought "Earthquake!" until I removed said ear plugs and heard the commotion outside. Needless to say, I decided to work at home. (Which I was planning to do anyway since I am still at the stage of my cold where I need to run to a sink every five minutes to hack up part of a lung.)

Here's something exciting: I'm going to be in actual PRINT this Sunday, and every Sunday, on the cover of the "TV Week" mag in the Sunday Chronicle! You know, that little TV guide no one ever uses any more because everyone has online guides and TiVo? Exciting, yes? There will be a few pithy sentences on the cover written by me about some TV picks for the week. I'll also have a post up on Sunday on the SFGate Culture Blog with TV picks for the whole week. Both will be called "Tube Tops." Clever, yes? (You can thank my lovely and talented editor Eve for the title. If it were left up to me and my feverish state of mind it probably would have ended up being called "Me TV Like...YOU WATCH!")

Why does having 50 words in actual newsprint seem so much more exciting than entire blog posts on the Internets?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Journey Ends

I've got another Streets of San Fauxcisco post up on the SFGate: Culture Blog!, this one covering the final episode of "Journeyman." I'll have another post up tomorrow--something new and exciting!

On the cold front (MY cold, not the cold front currently blasting the City), I've reached the phase where I am constantly in danger of chocking to death on my own snot. This is the part of a cold I dread the most. It's horrible, and I'm no fun to be around, what with the constant hacking of loogies. HATE. IT.

Also, I don't know if it's the winds outside or what, but my DSL is acting completely douchey right now, flashing on and off for no good reason, allowing me to stay connected for all of two minutes at a time. What fun!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

What Year Is It? Where Am I?

Happy New Year! I'm sick.

I've got a cold; my first serious, hacking cough, genuine fever, every bit of me is achy cold since about June of 2006, which I guess is testament to my immune system. Not sure what I did wrong to encourage this one along, but oh well. I rang in the new year watching Dick Clark and freaking out a bit about him, kissing my cat, and falling asleep to a Mark Ruffalo movie, which led to feverish dreams in which I dreamed I kissed him at the strike of midnight, and not my cat. I just hope my cat wasn't anywhere near me when that dream was occurring.

Today my entire head aches, including my teeth, which is just weird. Getting off the couch seems an impossibility; who has that kind of energy? What time is it? What's that green thing in the corner, covered with lights and toys? What's my name?

Pass the Nyquil please.