Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Giggles

On Wednesday even! This is a rare occurrence.

So by the glory that is "Recommended Sources" from the "Explore" tab in my Google Reader I stumbled upon this brilliant blog - AKA The Oatmeal.

Along with forming a instant, firm, and well substantiated crush on such this blogger and his literate snarkdom, I pretty much laughed for an hour straight. This little quip is the tip of the iceberg.

I hope he doesn't mind my posting* this comic or linking to him but this was too good not to share.

*All of this hilarity was totally and completely brought to pass by Mr. The Oatmeal it all belongs to him *leagalmumbojumobbuttcoveringsemantics* and I'm not gaining any thing by posting except for maybe some cool points and from the look of the blog I'm fairly sure he can afford to spread those around and only 7 people read this anyway. Ka-POW

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wednesday Giggles

Retroactive Style!!!

These are what gave me some of the best laughs this (and previous weeks)

This picture -

This video clip

This ad on Craigslist

This Orbitz Commercial

and this Kristin Chenoweth promo for the Critic's Choice Awards that shes hosting this year


Friday, January 1, 2010

Lizzie's 2009 - Literary Edition

So I'll admit it. I'm a learned English major type but do you know how many books I read on my "reading level" this year?

The big bagel - 0

I have found that when under duress reading is an escape to me. 2009, for the most part, = duress. Hence I have not been too interested in most grown up books.

I've got my daily blogs I read and stuff. I keep up with my Economist etc so I'm still reading grown up stuff per say - I'm staying informed. But in terms of the time I've taken to cuddle up with some glue, binding and black print I've been picky and I'll be honest... most of my reading has involved multicolored covered books that are found in the Adolescent Reading section of my B&N. They're simply the best kind of books. They're fantastic story telling, amazing characters, and pertinent plots but without all the angst and bawdiness that is so prevalent in most (grown up) fiction.

So I'm not sure how valuable a 2009 favorites list of mine would be to my faithful 7 readers but I think the books merit recognition anyway.

They're both series and they're both wonderful.

One is The Old Kingdom Books (ie Abhorsen Chronicles) by Garth Nix.
I've mentioned these previously on here when I was in the midst of them. They're just beautiful. Until my friend E recommended them to me, it had been a long time since I had come across a book that was original and written so gently and so brilliantly. Its a fantasy-genre book about a few magical girls named Sabriel and another named Lirael. Sabriel has grown up "across the wall" in a non-magical world but is a part of an intricate and beautiful magical civilization on the other side of the wall and its a story of their brilliant journeys. Its everything I love in books; strong but feminine female characters, humble Christian undertones, a good dose of fantasy and the impossible, music, a clear Good vs Evil story, and a beautiful love story.

The other series are The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Books by Rick Riordan.
I'm not sure if there is something else that has given me more giggles and absolute pleasure than these books this year, with the exception of my friends. Rick is another amazing writer that I kicked myself repeatedly for not discovering earlier. I love Greek Mythology and I love smart, character driven writing and I have a huge soft spot for scruffy, frustrated, brilliant kid types. I worked in a day care center my freshman year of college and I was routinely given the 4 year old A.D.D. kids (mostly boys) that always had dirt on their faces and ripped clothes and were constantly bored, and therefor rambunctious because they were so smart. Pipe-cleaners and circles didn't interest them, taking things apart to see how they worked and bugs did. They were my specialty. I somehow got them to focus and cooperate, or wash their faces and not destroy things for a prolonged period of time. I think its because I just loved them and in turn I LOVE Percy. He is one of those kids, my kids, and now I know why my kids were so squirrely and obstinate. I won't ruin the charm of these books by summarizing but I will say this; the Greek gods are still alive, they're still in charge, they're still moody, they're still having kids, they live in New York (Olympus is on the 800th floor of the Empire State Building), they're still fighting with each other and mortals are still in the middle of it all. There's a movie coming out soon but there's nothing better than those books. My children will have them and love them and be the heroes of their own lives.

So yeah - that's about it for my literary pursuits this year. I'll try harder next year. I promise.

Lizzie's 2009 - Movie Edition

Its official. My family is completely made up of movie people. We like stories and we like art and we like music and movies are the perfect cross section of all of those.

I may or may not have a list in my blackberry of release dates of movies that I want to see, another list of movies that I have seen that year, and another list of movies recommended by other people that I should queue up on Netflix.

There also may or may not be versions of those lists for books, CDs restaurants, beauty products and comedians.

I like lists Okay! Don't judge. I also don't trust my memory and don't like forgetting things. I write things down. Its what I do.

*Theater releases*

The Brothers Bloom - I love love love smart movies and smart storytelling. I love caper flicks and I've had a massive crush on Adrien Brody since I saw him eating chicken fingers at the Johnny Rockets on Melrose once. All of these lovely things make up this movie. I also love movies that make you feel something without assaulting you, again deilvered with class and wit. Real wit. That's a rarity you know. It was directed by Rian Johnson (a relative new comer) but hes brilliant. It takes amazing acting/direction/editing to make the best character in the movie a completely silent one but they did it. Viva la Bang-bang

Bright Star - I was excited for this one for a while. Keats is one of my favorite poets on the planet. My senior quote was a line of "Ode on a Grecian Urn". I'm a raging geek. I know. I was an angsty profound adolescent at the time. Now I'm a silly over educated eccentric and I like it that way. I love Empire fashion and poets and chaste love stories. It was a perfect storm. Go buy it an love it today.

(500) Days of Summer - There is not a more perfect relationship movie out there than this one. It deserves every ounce of praise it got. I love Zoe Dechanel too. Not just because I've been told we look alike (which I find amazingly complimentary) but because she has the gift of coming off as genuine like the movie. Its a sweet, honest film and it was shot here in my beloved Los Angeles. My fair city isn't romanticized very often in film but it really is an enchanting city. The music was flawless, the characters are amazing, there is dancing in the park and animated birds and real tears or horror and its just an amazing bite of life.

UP! - I saw this with my Ace Gang and as the bunch of hyper intelligent and verbal girls that we are we ADORED this movie, cried through the last 20 minutes, and then proceeded to have an intense 40 min discussion about the concept of true love and relationships in the movie theater directly after the credits and shared stories about our families and lives. All of which was conjured up this movie. Its a cartoon but its that good. I'm convinced they mixed love, hummingbirds, babies laughter, daisies, saltine crackers and red balloons together one day and out popped this script and cast. I've never wanted to hug a cartoon character more than Russel. Except for maybe Appa

Star Trek - So not only have I been a Trekkie since I was a zygote, I love JJ Abrams. I think hes one of the best storytellers to come along since Lucas and when I heard the two were joining forces (Star Trek and JJ Abrams) I almost lost my hat. I was excited but scared because I knew this was either going to be mind blowingly amazing or a train wreck. There was no mediocrity option when working with a concept on the scale of Star Trek. Like, Godzilla doesn't just trip and scrape his knees up. A city gets destroyed in the process. I'm happy to report there was no city crushing. Godzilla danced Swan Lake and then made dinner. It was that good. I adore confident movies and this one was just that. It wasn't a remake. It was its own entity and it was brilliant. I've been a Chris Pine fan since Princess Diaries 2 and he was just amazing as Kirk. Kevin Smith said it right that only he could have played Kirk without doing a Shatner impression.

Theater releases that I think you should stay away from:
Year One - total Jack Black letdown. It just goes to show if you have horrible writing no amount of direction or acting can make up for it. Or bathroom comedy and heracy in this case.
I Love You Beth Cooper - I'm really glad I didn't pay for this movie or I'd be writing the studio.
Wolverine - It should have said under the title "starring Hugh Jackman's jeans" because they were the most interesting part of the whole movie. Once again - webbernet - hear me! If the writing stinks no amount of special effects or muscly arms can make a movie gel. Put the money in the writing and you'll be good.

*Netflix Exploits*

John Adams tops this list. I adore Laura Linney and John Adams is my favorite founding father. Mostly because he was always faithful to his wife. Abagail Adams is one of my heroes. As in capital "H" heroes. As in I want to name my future daughter "Abagail". I highly recommend the series and the book David McCullough wrote that inspired it.

I finally saw Wall-E and loved it. Yay for environmental treatises and yay for the Hello Dolly soundtrack.

I apparently have a lot of movie catching up to do because I hadn't seen American Beauty till this year as well. Like I've said before and I LOVE confident movies and this one defines that genre. I was speechless for about 5 min after I finished it. It was one of those moments when you get the feeling that you're in the presence of greatness. It deserved every single Oscar it walked away with. I could write blogs and blogs about how great this movie was but I'll spare you.

*TV Shows*

I'm so glad that TV has finally gotten its act together and hired some real writers and decent actors. Also, I think that DVDs have made TVs shows a bit relative. Like - I've discovered TV shows and bought the DVDs after they were canceled but they're still "my shows" that I regularly watch (re: Firefly, Arrested Development, West Wing). So considering that, along with Hulu it's a rarity that I actually view something on the day and time it airs or is even still *on* the air. I'm just not all with the TV in real time. However, there area few shows that I've discovered/been turned on to this year that I wasn't aware of before. I felt like my had my TV viewing time full with my regular LOST and 30 Rock exploits but now, thanks to the good taste of my amazing friends I've been turned on to

Glee - as a former band and choir nerd I feel an alarming connection to this show. It makes me happy and I am SO glad that music and dancing and art and expression are starting to come back into the public eye as SOMETHING IMPORTANT that needs to be funded in our schools and is essential for healthy development as an individual. Go dust off your clarinets and dancing shoes people. It's time to be ourselves again.

How I Met Your Mother - NPH is back in the saddle and that makes me happy.

Bones - I just kind of want to be her.

I don't have enough time to be this entertained but they're such good shows!

Alas - I must peel my face off of whatever relative screen it's been looking at for the last few hours and go smell a flower or something.

May 2010 be as full of wonder and bonding type media as 2009 was.

Lizzie's 2009 - Music Edition

It's been a difficult year. This is no secret. I've have a number of life preservers that have gotten me through it but the principle one has been and will always remain music. I would be a boring, bitter, lost, and severe person without it.

My musical 2009 reads thus:

*new Artists discovered/been turned on to/finally listened to my friends and checked out and have hence loved*

Joe Pug - thank you NVIII
viva gmail statuses and their informative power

Phoenix - thank you Lauren W
You're my guru.

Elizabeth and the Catapult - thank you Greg for choosing them to tour with you

Regina Spektor - thank you Hannah
Best. Road. Trip. Sing-along. Buddy. EVER.

Missy Higgins - thank you Nickie
You are made up of good taste and tenacity.

The Rescues - thank you Hotel Cafe.
You never stop giving.

Christopher Lawrence - thank you Coachella
VIVA the Sahara tent!

Groove Armada - thank you (again) Coachella and Lauren W (again)
You are King and Queen of Concerts.

*most listened to Albums of 2009*

In Rainbows - Radiohead
I took a break from it for a while but when I went back to it this year it was exponentially more amazing. Radiohead is truly on my Top 5 Favorite Bands of All Time list.

Nation of Heat - Joe Pug
This music has made me a changed woman. I feel my consciousness elevate every time I listen.

On a Clear Night - Missy Higgins
Her voice and songwriting is just addictive. I love love love her.

Only by the Night - Kings of Leon
Just when you thought Nashville would stop surprising you...

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
Its about time someone wrote a song about Franz Liszt. Thank you Frenchies for hearing the call.

Tall Children - Elizabeth and the Catapult
I'm really glad I saw them live before I bought the album because though this album is very good they're amazing live and I got to relive that lovely set every time I listened.


COACHELLA - Indio Polo Fields, CA
I have a very long list of favorite things but a very short one of perfect things. I think perfection is possible but in moments and I've been able to be privy to a few.

Family hugs in the Celestial Room of the Temple
The rose garden at the Huntington Library in Spring
George Washington Parkway in Fall
Disneyland at Christmas
and the 3 spring days of the Coachella Music Festival

This was my first year going and it gave new definitions to "amazing" and "awesome". It truly was, as in inducing the state of awe. I went a few concerts this year but nothing, I think, will ever compare with those 3 days. Nothing. Except for Coachella 2010. Hopefully.

Phoenix - Greek Theater, CA
Ever have a platinum kind of friend having a birthday and despite your unemployed and impoverished state insists that you come and are therefore dragged to an outdoor amphitheater during a California September at night with about 15,000 hipsters and a crazy fun, smart and happy French band and end up forgetting your rather heavy mind for a tic and end up dancing your butt off after a euphoric tapas dinner? I do/have.

Greg Laswell - Murray Theater, UT
Ever been in a really strange place, staying on a loved one's air mattress during a really stressful time without your wallet and you just needed a little bit of home and to not feel like a bump on the stump of humanity, just for an hour even, so you see, via twitter (it does have its uses people), that (one of) your favorite musicians is playing a local theater that night so you call one of the best concert buddies ever that's local and it turns out to be a set of your fav artist (even though you've been to about a squillion of them) that is EXACTLY what you needed and openly wept at more than one song and still have parts of it videoed on your camera and still cry every time you watch it? I have/did/do.

Gas Light Anthem - The Music Box, CA
Ever randomly win tickets from a radio station via text messaging to a concert of a band that you're still pretty new to but know people that really like them and you like those people so it must be worthwhile and you take your friend who managed to make it into her late 20s without ever going to any kind of concert ever and that just wouldn't do? I have.

India Calling! - Hollywood Bowl, CA
Every get a random phone call from a musician friend that had tickets for a World Festival concert a the Hollywood Bowl and she "couldn't think of anyone else that could appreciate World Music like you" and you've often said that you would go see The Wiggles if they were playing the Hollywood Bowl because you love that venue so much (and you're kind of afraid someone might call you out on that someday) so you pack a picnic dinner, hike up to your seats essentially having NO idea what to expect but are ready for an adventure and the Bowl keeps filling up with EVERY kind of fun person imaginable and you end up having a multicultural music and dance-in-the-isle good time with the slew of anglo 14 year old girls in front of you and the insanely large Indian family that managed to sit in the rest of the area around you and you realize that this is the best party you've been to in a while and music really can bring anyone and everyone together without pretense and you're already in love with Indian food and literature and fabrics and art and now their music and people just found a permanent place in your heart? It is seriously good times. And they give you grab bags and incense when you leave. :)

Joe Pug - The Mint, CA
Ever rapidly and utterly fallen in love with an artist and hes still pretty unknown and isn't from your area so the only thing you pray for to the music gods is for him to play a set in your area soon and you get wind that he is but only remember about an hour before the show that it was that night. So sans wingwoman you jam out to a tiny venue that doesn't use tickets or a list even to see this mesmerizing man that can still a room with a glance and one harmonica cord but are a bit self-conscious about being there by yourself so you randomly start talking to a table of people and end up sitting with them for half the show and the other half you take your black notebook and pretend to take notes like you're a writer for Spin or something but truly believe you are witnessing greatness happening in front of you? Yeah - that would be me.

Wow - looking back this was a really great year for concerts. I'm amping up for another one and soon. Joe is going to be back at The Echo in LA in Feb. and I might or might not already have tickets.

There were a few shows that I had to pass on because, well - tickets are expensive and I wasn't working for 7 months out of the year...

Bon Iver
Swell Season
Imogen Heap
Depeche Mode
Jason Mraz and a slew of others. I really wonder if I can make a living out of just going to concerts... I do it so well.


If you were wondering, and only IF, here is my complete concert breakdown from 2009

The Presets
Paul McCartney
The Crystal Method
Zane Lowe
TV on the Radio
Fleet Foxes
Thievery Corporation
Band of Horses
The Chemical Brothers
The Killers
Super Mayer
Friendly Fires
The Gaslight Anthem
Sebastian Teler
Lupe Francisco
Lykki Li
Peter Bjorn
Anthony and the Johnstons
Perry Farrel
Pump DJs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Horrors
Christopher Lawrence
The Cure

* The Rescues - The Hotel Cafe
* Laura Jansen - The Hotel Cafe
* Greg Laswell, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Jordan Booth - Murray Theater
* Refueled (Fuel) - Mesa Crossing
* Phoenix - The Greek
* Gaslight Anthem & Murder by Death - The Music Box
* Friendly Fires, XX & Holly Miranda - The Music Box
* Snow Patrol & The Plain White T's - SDSU
* Justin Nozuka, Elizabeth and the Catapult, and Sam Bradly - The Glass House
* Every touring Indian musician ever @ INDIA CALLING! - The Hollywood Bowl
* Joe Pug - The Mint