Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List: The Early Years

Sadly I had a deprived childhood. Despite my warm loving family, inspirational speeches, stylish back to school wardrobe, and lack of curfew during my teenage years (however I was the perennial good girl, I stayed out late because I was hanging out with Joooan!, RToo, and Weather Girl and playing Trivial Pursuit), I always felt that something was missing. That something was a subscription to the Disney Channel.

When I was very young, and my family still lived in the booming metropolis of Concord, California; we did have the Disney Channel Subscription, and I lived for Kids Incorporated. So when we finally moved to Washington state, I was heartbroken when my cruel, cruel parents refused to subscribe again. So that means I lived, lived for the Winter and Spring Preview weekends, where I would watch all the great shows that I could not watch normally. And I was addicted to both Kids Incorporated and The New Mickey Mouse Club (or MMC).

Some of my earliest TV memories are watching Kids Incorporated, and when I was three and four Martika (she later went on to sing Toy Soldiers) was my favorite. Here's the intro: behold the fabulous Martika applying blush and Fergie (yes, the little blonde Stacy Ferguson playing jacks grew up to be the infamous Fergie) before she had any street cred. Also for more interesting, and probably well known by now, trivia -- Renee and Stacy were in the short lived group Wild Orchid together. Ahh the bonds of Kids Incorporated.

I'm not going to lie - the theme song is still damn catchy. And I still maintain that the seasons from 1985 - 1989 were the best (they rerunned those seasons all the time). Jennifer Love Hewitt and Eric Balfour could not compare. See what I mean?

Amazingly Eric's character, named Eric, did not die, and Kids Incorporated went on for two more seasons.

Anyway, during preview weekends, I also discovered the wonders of the MMC. Now the media made a big ole hoopla about J.C., Britney, Christina, Justin, Keri Russell, and Ryan Gosling being Musketeers, but I was there from the beginning when Tiffini was the coolest and when they formed the rockin band The Party. Jennifer and Lindsey were my favorites from the show, and they were on all seven seasons, so whenever preview weekend came it was always comforting to know they were still there.

However, I had totally forgotten about Video Jam! If you had thought that early 1990s power ballad videos were too gritty, edgy, and inappropriate - no worries, the MMC was there for you with the cheesiest, most sanitized videos ever - safe for even the most sheltered of youth. Here are my favorites!

Watch a bunch of MMC hotties frolicking in open fields covering Toad the Wet Sprocket.

There's frolicking, twirling and rainbows! Draw your own conclusions.

And Disney even thought Amy Grant was too edgy for its audience and needed to be more innocent. And what's more innocent than flirting on bicycles?

I would have coveted Terra's purple leggings when I was ten.

So thank you You Tube for allowing me to relive my childhood. And I don't even need a Disney Channel subscription (though now it is included on extended basic cable on Comcast). However, Disney Channel does not show these gems anymore. Hannah Montana does not compare.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gauche and Unsophisticated Potpurri

Oh, I have sunk to new lows during the past few weeks. Let's just get to it, shall we?

Good Thing I'm Not a Celebrity:
Otherwise my picture would be posted on Go Fug Yourself....
After lamenting the rise of the leggings since 2006, I finally succumbed and bought two pairs (brown and black, depending on what I want my outfit's neutral to be). I'm so ashamed!

Back when I was in elementary school I lived in leggings. I had a fun lace trimmed pair in second grade. In third grade I was all about the paisley and floral prints. In the fifth grade I discovered the wonderful plaid. Finally in sixth grade, I discovered the wonders of solids. In fact I was sad when the middle school dress code stated no spandex, and my mom told me, I would not be wearing leggings. Thanks Mom for saving me from middle school fashion humiliation. (Instead I started wearing overalls, and I had the hottest red Mickey Mouse sweatshirt - I was the envy of all of Vista Middle School). However after sixth grade, I realized that leggings were such a bad idea.

When leggings returned to the scene, I was appalled. I did not want to relive my horrible fashion moments. However then I found three very cute sweater dresses and one cute sundress, with very flattering necklines, but they were a wee bit short. Hence the leggings. However, I will only wear them with said dresses, and not with tunic tops, oversized t-shirts, or even regular sized t-shirts like a BU undergrad, and brown and black will be the only two colors I ever own. There will be no paisley, plaid, lace trim or flowers. I mean it! Nope!

Hopefully Heather and Jessica will forgive me!

Helen Hunt's Best Movie Role Ever:
I wish I could be Lynn Stone...
When I was at Target about two weeks ago, I found the dance epic Girls Just Wanna Have Fun on sale for $5. This 80's movie starred Sarah Jessica Parker, as a Catholic school girl who loves to dance and just wants to star on Dance TV; Lee Montgomery, as her 5'5" "rebel" dance partner in the dance contest (though he is slightly more threatening that Adrien Zmed); Shannen Doherty, as his little sister who tries to be more grown up by dressing "punk," and Jonathan Silverman, as "the rebel's" dorky best friend with a budding career in selling knock-off goods. But the best character was Helen Hunt as Lynn Stone, who created awesome fashion creations out of her Catholic School uniform, sang Calypso music in choir so SJP could sneak out to dance practice with Pocket Rebel, and had the brilliant idea of inviting a bunch of punks and outcasts to evil, rich girl's debutante party. I haven't like Helen Hunt as much in any other roles she's ever played. Lynn Stone is the best, and honestly if the movie was about her and her exploits, the movie would have been much more entertaining, though I do love the movie so.

Seriously, though, this movie was so low budget that they did not even use Cyndi Lauper's "Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun" for the soundtrack, instead it's a terrible cover with shouting "hey, hey!" and clapping. The plotline is so incredibly cliched with good girl discovers herself through dance and brings around her strict parents, while falling in love with a not-very-threatening rebel. Then this team of opposites wins the dance competition with their tumbling passes and backflips (that's where Neil from So You Think You Can Dance got his solo strategy!) and find love. However, I must say that SJP's character here in this movie is much, much, MUCH more tolerable than Carrie from Sex and the City.

One Tree Hill is influencing my music choices
Like many of my favorites songs during the summer months, I always enjoy the exit song from So You Think You Can Dance. This past season it was, "It's Only Life" by Kate Vogele. This song also was frequently used in numerous movie trailers (and I also enjoy the pop music used in movie trailers as well - what can I say? I'm plebian). Anyway, so I finally bought her CD. Then I learned that she played a character on One Tree Hill. It was a small point of pride for me that I never watched OTH (hey let me cling to small claims to having decent taste in very few situations), yet here I am indirectly supporting one of their stars. Sigh...

Tis the Season...
One of my favorite things about December is the great number of cheesy Christmas movies. If the movie is a Christmas Carol remake/modernization/retelling, the main character discovers the importance of family/small towns, the main character finds true love with the small town boy she loved many years ago, or the son or daughter of Santa Claus discovers the true meaning of Christmas, then I will be sitting in front of the TV on my couch with my feet on the coffee table, with a cup of hot chocolate.

Speaking of Cheesy Movies....
Many people watch Lifetime Women In Peril movies as guilty pleasures. But I take those movies way too seriously and cannot deal. However, I do love their romantic comedies. I cheered on Tara from BTVS when she decided to do the 7 things on her list (that she wrote when she was 12) before she turned 30, and of course this led to self-discovery, true love, a fulfilling job, and a wedding. I quite enjoyed Janeane Garafolo's road trip with her mom's dog which led her to figure out all her commitment issues. Of course, by watching these movies I keep Canadian movie production companies in business, and since I grew up in Whatcom County which is right on the border with Canada, I'm really indirecing supporting the Whatcom County economy. Plus, Degrassi guest stars always seem to be in them, so it always exciting to see pervy Mr. Oleander as a romantic lead who loves Tara just the way she is, or Tracker, Sean's responsible, yet troubled brother, as Janeane's one true love. (Yes, I realize I need to let Degrassi go already, but I did love that show once!)

Until next time...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Personality Test

My friend Patti, with whom I spent my middle school and high school years debating about many social issues of the day - including a rolicking debate about school vouchers at KeeleyMarie's 17th's birthday party (however we both hate novels about tedious suburban angst), has linked to the Typealyzer on her blog. Supposedly, this program reads your blog and tells you what Myers-Briggs Personality Type you are. Since, I'm such a woman of mystery, and all you dear readers have NO IDEA what I'm like, I sure you'll find the results fascinating.

ISFP - The Artists

The gentle and compassionate type. They are especially attuned their inner values and what other people need. They are not friends of many words and tend to take the worries of the world on their shoulders. They tend to follow the path of least resistance and have to look out not to be taken advantage of.

They often prefer working quietly, behind the scene as a part of a team. They tend to value their friends and family above what they do for a living.

One would think that with all my whining about college hippies and Barbara Kingsolver novels, the computer would have found me to be more judging rather than perceiving, and I don't think I'm particularly quiet. Also who knew that overuse of the word totally, blatant reference to the reading audience, and comma splices would be signals for gentility and compassion?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Maybe not so apathetic after all...

I may have been apathetic all election season, but when I watched the election coverage on Tuesday and found out that Obama won Ohio, I did herky jumps in my living room that totally would have put me on the FHS cheerleading squad back in high school. And I cheered obnoxiously. My poor downstairs neighbors.

However, boo California, boo! Unfortunately, I think many of my family members in California (the ones that called me a Communist when they found I was a Democrat and the ones that think I'm a heathen for swearing during the annual Thanksgiving Poker Game - I really should never play poker against my relatives - they're ruthless) may have contributed to the success of Proposition 8. And since I'm no longer in California, I can't lecture them about it during Thanksgiving at Grandma's.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gauche and Unsophisticated List: More Bad TV!

After the three week hiatus, 90210 is now losing its luster. When will the showrunners realize that Annie, Ethan, and Naomi are not that interesting, and stop writing episodes that focus on their tedious love triangle? Argh...even bad TV should at least focus on the more interesting characters!

That said...I am addicted to two more reality TV shows. These shows appeal to my love of "try-out" competition shows.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team: This show really should offend everything I stand for. "Young ladies" try out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders squad where they have the honor of being paid $50 per game and wearing heinous puffy sleeved blouses. The director Kelli McGonigall Finglass pokes at the auditionee's non-existent fat and very seriously says that if they don't look right in the uniform they will be cut. The fitness director lectures the girls that their body fat percentage must be between 11-15%, which is about the equivelent BF % of marathon runners. These poor women have to do ridiculous fitness challenges, get make overs with big Texas hair, get humiliated during "etiquette training," get publicly lectured by the sanctimonious Kelli and choreographer Judy, and go through all this agony while smiling, except when they are hysterically crying when they get cut. Yet, I have watched every season, and I am even happy for the poor girls when they finally do make the squad.

Scream Queens: In this VH-1 show, 10 struggling actresses are all vying for a "break out role" in Saw 6. So far they have had to seductively eat fruit, get attacked by a snake while in the bath-tub, get chased by a doll, and pose for ridiculously titled movie posters. Of course along with the ridiculous challenges that are supposed to show that they are prepared to be leading ladies, there is the requiste sniping, crying, and bitchy confessionals. Of course I have my favorites! I am rooting for either Lindsay, the former child star (she was Caitlin on "Caitlin's Way" and I loved that show), Tanedra, who has had no formal training, or Sarah, the talented yet "ugly" one. Of course my favorites never win. I am still bitter that stealth bitch Bailey beat awesome Autumn on Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods, so now I am incredibly happy that the show did nothing for the musical's sagging ticket sales and it wound up closing. But I sincerely hope that Lindsay, Tanedra, and Sarah will at least get some exposure from this show and be cast as characters with actual names in either movies or TV .

Why do I get so invested in stupid TV? Why?

Bad Liberal List: Election 2008! Where I was apathetic, but judgmental.

So this election season, both during the primaries and the general election, I felt nothing but apathy. Which is odd. And my inner teenager would be very, very ashamed of me right now.

Before I could legally vote, I loved politics and was fascinated by the presidents. Sis RoyalTurkey and I made up a game, called the President's Initial Game when we were about seven and eight respectively. She would turn to the Presidents section of our 1984 Funk and Wagnell's Encyclopedia and then give me a president's inititals and then I would guess who that president was! It was very exciting I tell you. During the 1992 Presidential election, I loved the Presidents unit in the fourth grade, and I learned many, many facts and myths about them. I was super excited about the collected biographies of Presidents and First Ladies that I received in the fifth grade for my eleventh birthday. I lectured my elementary school classmates about many political issues that I had very little knowledge about. I was heartbroken in 1996 when the Republicans took back Congress (ugh!), and I ranted and raved for days about Rick White beating Maria Cantwell for her House of Representatives seat (even though she was not in my district!). My senior year of high school, I so wanted to vote, even though my birthday was on Inauguration Day and therefore I would not be old enough to vote in the 2000 election. I threatened to move to France if Dubya got elected. My mother told me to calm down and stop exaggerating, and my AP Government teacher Ms. Kubic suggested that Finland might be a better option since they have an excellent socialized medicine program.

Then I went to college, and the obsession continued. I went to CMC because the school was proud of its Government program. I loved my U.S. President Class, not only because I learned many interesting things about Presidential history and political strategy, but also because now I am able to list all of the presidents in order (except I can never remember the 11th president). In that class, after learning about the Reagan backlash in 1986, I wished I had stronger political memories of 1986 so I could remember the Borking and general Democratic Congressional Dominance. (All I actually remember about 1986 was that I played with Barbies, started preschool, and bobbed for apples and unsuccessfully tried to hit a pinata at one of my many cousins' birthday parties back when I lived in California.) I stayed at the Ath for four hours with a bunch of my college classmates as we watched the 2004 election returns come in, and then I paced around my college apartment ranting and raving about those returns. All-in-all, I was a your garden variety political dork, surrounded by many others at good ole CMC. In fact I was one of the less politically active - since I was not an active member of the Claremont Democrats, I did not phone bank, and I did not prescinct walk. Maybe that was a sign of thing to come.

Here's a list of my shameful behavior and thoughts this election season:

I did not vote in the Democratic Primary. For some reason after I moved to Boston, I never got around to registering to vote in my district. Shameful, lazy, a disgrace to CMC grads everywhere, I know! Further, I did not have a strong opinion one way or the other about Obama or Clinton. They both had similar voting records and experience in the Senate. Also, for all of the hoopla about Obama being against the war in Iraq, once he got to the Senate he certainly voted for many of Bush's reccommended National Security bills including the renewal of the Patriot Act, just like Clinton! So really, we had two rather moderate democrats who had more charisma than past Democratic primary candidates. Further, the complaints about Clinton's "electibility" rubbed me the wrong way. The gist of the argument seemed to be that many people thought Clinton was a bitch and that was the reason they did not vote for her, and nobody would be saying that if a man had Clinton's personality. Also, I had no problem with Clinton fighting the primary as long as she did. The vote was pretty damn close, and I would have fought too. But that said, I was not really amazed by Clinton or Obama, and I could not decide.

I did not watch political coverage during the primary. This was supposedly one of the most heated primaries of all time, and I did not particularly care. What will I tell my grandchildren?

I did not watch the political conventions. In the battle between watching self-congratulatory fanfare of both parties and bad summer television, bad summer television won.

I did not watch one political debate. Then again, I always hated watching political debates, even back when I was a budding political wonk in elementary and middle school. The debates always seemed to be repetition of the same points, and then whining about small things, such as the hoopla over Bill Clinton not calling Bush 1, Mr. President, during the 1992 debates, during the 1996 debates. Also, by the time the primary season was over, I already knew I was going to be voting for Obama, so what was the point of watching? Especially since Project Runway was airing at the same time.

Both parties pandered to the public with their VP choices. And pandering has been a political strategy for centuries, so I did not understand the outcry.
When Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running-mate, many people in the media and bloggers ranted about how the Republicans were pandering to the moderate women who were upset that Clinton was not picked as Obama's running mate. First of all, of course they were pandering to people, politicians do that all the time. However, it was not a very effective pander, since Sarah Palin ran counter to all of John McCain's campaign slogans of being an experienced maverick. Since McCain is the oldest or one of the older presidential candidates of all time, I thought it might be a good idea to have a more moderate running mate, since many are afraid he'll die and might worry about a more conservative VP becoming President, and there is no major conservative third party threat. But he did not do that. He actually had a shot of getting the moderate vote before naming his running mate, but he certainly shot that all to hell. And managed to aliente some of the elites in his own party. Good going!

However Democrats pandered too! Their pick of Joe Biden basically reassured their more traditional base and some moderates, that not to worry, the Democrats have an old white man on their Presidential team too! I also thought that it definitely proved that Obama was going to pick Edwards before he got caught with pants down. Therefore, he had to go with the second best old white man who suffers from both asshole tone (more traditionally known as having a condescending, defensive tone of voice or sounding like a prick) and foot-in-mouth disease.

But, although I was apathetic, yet judgmental, all election season. I finally registered to vote here in good ole Central Illinois, and I will be voting for Obama at the B-N YMCA on Tuesday. Happy voting everyone! Avoid hanging and dimpled chads! Goodness, I was so apathetic this election season, I'm even using dated voting jokes. Sigh....

P.S. Since I'm getting political anyway: If you are registered to vote in California please vote "No" on Proposition 8 on Tuesday. There are good conservative and liberal arguments against it, so there's even a rationale for everyone! Everyone should have a right to get married to the person they choose and should have those benefits of being a married couple in the eyes of the law.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gauche and Unsophisticated List: Redemption and New Lows

So I disappeared again, and I really have no excuse, since I spent the last month or so lounging around and having my mom do my laundry. However, now I am an officially an adult and an actual lawyer (weird!) with my own one-bedroom apartment in the midwest and an actual job with a contract that is longer than the summer. Since I have only worked two days at the grown up job, I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this adulthood stuff yet.

Enough about my real life though, time for more confessions about my tragically bad taste.

First some good news!
After the horrible Mr. Boston bullying debacle I did not watch another episode of "I Love Money." Okay, so I watched about 15 minutes of the next episode. However, I found that after the bar exam that these contestants were awful, horrible, no good little twerps, and I could not root for any of them. Plus, a show watching them do nothing but form alliances and hissy fits, is dull. Yay, I have some standards! They may be low, but they are still there!

Now, the bad....
Since I had quit watching Degrassi: The Next Generation and Gossip Girl I had not been watching any cheesy teen dramas or teen dramas that rip off plot lines from 1970s storylines of Soap Operas. Then came the new, hip 90210 (because putting the city name in front of the zip code is so 1990s).

When I was in the fourth and fifth grade, I loved Beverly Hills 90210. My mom refused to let me watch the show until halfway through the fourth grade, but then I was hooked. I was glued in front of my tv set during the "Donna Martin Graduates" rally in season three. I was honestly concerned that Donna Martin would not be able to graduate because of her drunken shenanigans at prom, and I thought the school board was being totally unfair!

However, my favorite character on that show was Brenda. I thought she and Dylan were the best couple ever. When my friend LV and I would discuss 90210 in Mrs. Scheck's fourth grade class (right before Mrs. Scheck sent me to the quiet corner for being too chatty), he would always rant about what a bitch Kelly Taylor was for stealing Dylan away from Brenda and that if Brenda was able to go to Dylan's party, Dylan would have chosen her. After gently admonishing LV about swearing in class, I would agree with his general sentiment. (Somehow though, I was still shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, when LV came out senior year of high school. Sadly, I did not hone my oversensitive gaydar until college.) And in the season 4 finale when Brenda and Dylan kissed before she went to London, I was giddy. Of course then Brenda never came back and the writers decided that Kelly and Dylan were soulmates and the show got lame. So halfway through season 5, I gave it up. I think it was the first guilty pleasure show that I quit watching. Valerie would never live up to Brenda!

When I first heard about this spin off, I did not care one bit. Kelly Taylor as the guidance counselor? Lame! What was she going to do? Teach students how to steal their best friends boyfriends while being condescending and sanctimonious? However, then the showrunners managed to get Shannen Doherty, the awesome Brenda!, to return and then I was in.

I have watched every single poorly written episode. Objectively this show is not good. The interesting storylines move too fast (i.e. Silver, Kelly Taylor's much cooler sister, dealing with her mother's, Jackie Taylor - fashion show cokehead!, alcoholism). The really tedious, annoying storylines drag (i.e. Naomi, supposedly the bitch, tries to save her parents marriage and scrunches her face to show she has layers!). The lead female character, Annie Wilson, is such a "Mary Sue" (seriously students were applauding her in the hallway) and really needs some flaws and for other characters to call her on her crap already.

Somehow though I am invested already. I love Dixon and Silver! They are the new Brenda and Dylan. They are so flirty, and cute, and Dixon punched out the sleazy, inappropriate agent that was hitting on Silver, and Silver called out Dixon for presuming that making out would lead to sex. Hopefully the writers don't screw this up.

Also Brenda is back and was so-o past the high school drama, even when I thought she totally should have called Kelly on her crap in the last episode. It was glorious when she told boy toy teacher that he dodged a huge bullet by not having a relationship with Kelly, and then flounced off with him. Glorious!

I actually even like most of the new characters on this show, even Annie has her moments. If the writers would have Ethan the cardboard, yet sensitive, jock stop mooning over Annie and their summer relationship from two years ago, and give him storylines about dealing with his autistic brother and school and sports and balancing it all, then he would even be interesting. However, there is no hope for Naomi, and she should just be sent to boarding school.

Despite this, I faithfully DVR the show every Tuesday, and then watch it after Greek, so I can fast forward through all the commercials and Naomi's scenes.

At least I have a new teen show to watch, but knowing my track record with teen shows, my relationship with 90210 will probably only last about two seasons. Of course by then I will have fallen in love with another cheesy show that I will blog about.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List: Studying for the Bar Made Me Do Bad, Bad Things.

The reason this entry is dated July 4, is because I began typing a post about my new lows on that date. But then studying for the bar took up all of my time and I never finished the entry. So now here's an ultra long entry which contains those thoughts from so long ago as well as my bar agony.

So, I disappeared for awhile. Because the Massachusetts Bar Exam sucks...a lot. Now I know that all of the people that took bar exams that are actually considered difficult like NY and California feel no sympathy, but at least in those states you can use a laptop for the essays. I had to numb my horrific handcramps after the essay day (don't worry it was after MBE day - I was done) with Long Islands, White Zin, and drunken consumption of sushi. It was glorious. And hopefully I passed the bar, my fingers are crossed that the rumor that Massachusetts is actually Passachusetts is true, because I don't want to go through that agony ever, ever again.

Now I will be back in Washington for awhile, starting on August 5. I don't have a job yet, so I figured now would be a good time to visit, and I can do phone interviews just as easily at home with free groceries and laundry, instead of in my apartment in Boston where I actually have to pay for those things. During this trip I will be dragging poor Joooan! and RToo to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (at least RToo claims she wants to see that movie). So if I have any loyal readers left, and I know you, and you're going to be in Washington (state not DC!) too, we should get together!

However because studying for the bar was miserable that means my poor brain could not handle any other intellectual materials. I had to memorize the rules of priority for secured transactions, my brain had less space for deep symbolic messages and capability of interpreting great art than usual, and that means that the music I listened to and the TV I watched was worse than usual. Since you've been reading the blog this long, however, I doubt anything should surprise you anymore.

I could not resist the bad 1990s music:
Now I posted earlier about the tragic car break-in of summer 2004 where the inept robber cut my turn signals and stole all my CDs including "Let Go" by Avril Lavigne, and of course I was inordinately sad about this, as well as ashamed. However, in my earlier blogging days I thought I should maintain a sense of decorum and only confess my more palatable guilty pleasures, I did not mention that I was also upset that the inept thief also stole my "Runaway Horses" CD by Belinda Carlisle. Yes, the Belinda Carlisle, former lead singer of the Go-Gos. Yet, this was not ever-so-slightly punk Belinda Carlisle who had a spiky haircut, and was involved in 1980s scandal like doing coke and having unprotected sex, so at least back then she had some bad girl cachet (though remember drugs and unprotected sex are bad!). This was 1990s Belinda Carlisle, who sang cheesy power ballad esque lovesongs, and had a mom bob. By the time she released "Runaway Horses" she was happily married and wearing floaty dresses like the kind my mom was purchasing at the time. I was not listening to Top-40 Belinda, but Adult Contemporary Belinda.

I was too ashamed to purchase the CD again because I was afraid of the mockery I would face at Cellophane Square - used music store and hipster central of Whatcom County. My Aunt Squeezer originally gave me Runaway Horses along with many of her other CDs when she started listening to Christian contemporary music exclusively. When I was studying for the bar exam though, I missed those songs, especially the tragic song "Summer Rain." So I went on to You Tube, and watched the music videos. So cheesy, so nineties, so oddly comforting. And now you too can see the floaty dresses and mom bob in action.

Now in case that did not appall you enough, I also listened to Place in the World by Michael W. Smith numerous times. Michael W. Smith was one of the Christian contemporary singers of the 1990s, and Place in this World was his crossover hit. My Aunt Squeezer loves him! However, Michael W. Smith is not hip. My intervarsity friends in college most certainly did not listen to Michael W. Smith. They listened to the hipper, slightly less preachy groups like Caedmon's Call and Jars of Clay. This song is on Time Life compilations where in the commercials the audience has their hands in the air and are swaying back and forth with their eyes closed! But somehow, I could not resist the siren's call.

Well, I guess you should all be slightly reassured that I did not actually by this music, but only watched on You Tube.

TV shows which may be the newest low in entertainment? I'll watch!
I also discussed earlier that I cannot resist TV shows that have competitions and obstacle courses. So of course I've watched Wipeout since the premiere. Do I care that not one person can complete the course without falling into the water or mud? Nope! Do I giggle insanely when the contestants fall off the Sucker Punch Wall and the Big Balls and when the Johns make mocking comments. Yes! Would I also try the courses if my run through them was not aired on national television. Yes! Sigh...

This is not the worst of it. Oh no, I also began watching I Love Money on VH-1. Now, I don't really watch dating reality shows. I pity all involved, and just think they are sleazy. However, now that the famewhores from I Love New York, Flava of Love, and Rock of Love aren't humiliating themselves for the love of has beens or fellow famewhores, but rather in humiliating competitions for money, of course I'll watch. (Aww hypocrisy...ain't it fun!) But even I drew the line during last week's episode when Whiteboy and Chance were mercilessly bullying Mr. Boston, so I quit watching that episode. However I will watch tonight's episode. Also I sincerely want chronic martyr and wacky laugher Rodeo to win so she can launch her BBQ sauce business and take her son to Disney World. Good lord, what is my problem?

Despite the fact that now you all know that my taste has reached new lows, I expect that you still will want to see me when I'm home.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List: Where I Earn the Scorn of All English Majors and Professors, Bluestockings, and Book Critics

Now, I love to read. I've even been known to read decent books on occassion - I highly recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and I swear at some point I will finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. However, there is one whole genre of novels I cannot stand, and that is novels about Suburban Lives of Quiet Desperation. Here's a few examples: Empire Falls, A Spot of Bother, The Corrections. I hate them, and find them pretentious yet dull.
"But why, Miss Royalturkey?" you ask, "Such novels reflect gritty realism, and they're so edgy." Well dear readers, I don't find them edgy, and all that "grit" is so damn repetitive. Here's a list of tedious plot elements:
* Middle aged man suffers crisis, or has some small life decision to make that takes at least three hundred pages for him to decide
* Said middle aged man is so distant from his wife or significant other and the couple can no longer relate to each other
* Wife is having an affair because distant, minor crisis ridden husband no longer relates to her because they have been married for thirty years, and husband has worked outside the home for the entire time they have been married, and the wife was supposed to be submissive, so she never told him what she wants. Of course during this affair she finally has an orgasm for the first time in her life.
* Quietly dysfunctional couple also has quiet dysfunctional relationships with their children.
* Characters may have a hobby, but they don't really enjoy said hobbies, they just do them because it has become so tragically routine.
* Characters contemplate their bodily functions and/or genitalia, so authors can prove how "edgy" they are.
* Lots of cursing! Because edgy!
* Lots of long supposedly creative metaphors, which may involve discussion of genitalia or bodily functions (a two-fer)

Now I don't mind repetitive plot points. I'm always a sucker for quirky characters and wacky hijinks, but these plot points are so dull. I don't need all plot points in books to be huge or momentous, but these books never even depict the simplicity or every day routines of these characters lives in an interesting way, so I am just bored. I realize that everyday life is not that exciting. But if you insist on writing about everyday life, authors, you still have to make me care. However the authors of these books never do.

Further, the authors think it is enough to explain what is going on these characters lives, but they never really give me a reason to care about these characters. These characters are merely stock types that are really not that different from one book to another, their minor crises are just a bit different. Further, not only are they stock characters (because two-dimensional wacky characters still amuse me), these characters are miserable, and the only other character trait besides being miserable is that they are unable to communicate with those they love. I don't want to read at least three hundred, if not four hundred, pages of characters being miserable and unable to communicate and therefore becoming more miserable. These characters are just as two dimensional as their more entertaining counterparts (The wacky grandma! The nosy neighbors! The overly intrusive family! ), and even worse they are not even entertaining or interesting.

I really do not understand why these books garner such acclaim. Is it really that interesting that authors use the words fuck and penis, write overly involved metaphors, and explain the everyday minutiae of life in a step by step way? Is it supposed to be innovative that not one character is happy or at least has some interesting character traits? I hope not.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List: Guilty Pleasures Update

Just in case you were all concerned that bar studying has prevented my ability to consume large amounts of fickle entertainment, have no fear. My viewing habits continue to be shallow and fickle and here's an update!

Now I'm sure, my many loyal readers (just let me have my delusions of blogging grandeur, okay?) have been wondering why I have not described my movie guilty pleasures with many tangential anecdotes, and that is because my movie guilty pleasures are really too numerous to list. Let's just say if it is a cheesy romantic comedy, where the leads have excellent chemistry, and there are many two dimensionally quirky supporting characters - I will probably love it. Here's a few examples - While You Were Sleeping, Miss Congeniality, The Wedding Singer, and The Cutting Edge (only first one though - not the sequels - I have some standards). Also I frequently rewatch cheesy teen movies - Can't Hardly Wait, 10 Things I Hate About You (when I was 16 I watched this six times in one weekend - and still watch it more than once a year), Bring It On (again, only the first one), and Drive Me Crazy (Adrien Grenier is so-o dreamy). This is just the tip of the iceburg though, I have enjoyed many a cheesy movie, over and over again.

Somehow my close high school friends, Joooooan!, RToo, and Weather Girl, who did not care for these movies at all, still patiently went with me, and even smiled and nodded when I extolled the fact that our little foursome was similar to group of friends in Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood without the abusive childhoods, tragic deaths, and alcoholism. And I'm still grateful that RToo did not smack me once when I started asking if the first Lord of the Rings movie was going to end soon at the hour and a half mark.

What is summer without more bad television shows to watch? Though I am supposed to be studying for the bar, I do love many summer television shows. Of course I am watching So You Think You Can Dance and The Mole, but here's a few more that are slightly less justifiable.

Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods:
The title really does say it all, but here's a brief synopsis - this is a reality show that is casting for next girl to be Elle Woods in Legally Blonde the Musical. Ten young women from ages 18 - 28 live in a house and go through "Broadway Bootcamp" (singing, dancing, scenes), and one of them will learn so much from the experience that she will be picked for the part. Now I was very involved with high school and community theater back home. I portrayed such deep and evocative roles as Wife #4 in the King and I, Scottish Girl with Solo in Brigadoon, and Rosie the Dance Hall Girl in the Annual Ferndale Heritage Society Murder Mystery in the Park fundraiser. Sadly my biggest role was when I was Captain Hook in my elementary school production of Peter Pan when I was in the sixth grade. Once I hit college I was quite involved with the musical theater club. Despite this involvement, I never learned to harmonize, improvise (I suck at the game Freeze) or pick up choreography, so sadly I will never be a Broadway star.

However, I have done my fair share of auditions and know plenty of theater people, so this show just amuses me. The singing, the choreography, the cold reads and overemoting for the stage, the frustration when someone who is weaker than you gets praised and you get criticized - I love it all and remember the agony. Though the process is drawn out, the presentations in front of the judges are similar to an audition, though we never got feedback. Also, I firmly believe that theater people should never live together, and they have all ten hopefuls living together in the same house, so of course there's plenty of drama and fighting. Along with sniping, I quite enjoy self righteously criticizing the performances - She was flat! She is phony! She is using the wrong tone in her line reading! She is behind on her choreography! Half of these auditioners are too young for the part! Though I have no skills, I still love to judge. Of course I am overinvested in this series and if either Autumn or Natalie don't win, I will be very disappointed.

American Gladiators:
I have mentioned before that when I was younger, I loved the original American Gladiators. When the new series came out, at first I thought that it would not compare to the cheesy fantasticness of the old series, and I was appalled that there weren't more burly women. (Come on, Gladiators are supposed to be intimidating, Venom is not intimidating - Ice could totally snap her like a twig!) That said, I have become addicted to the new series as well - Wolf and Titan's antics amuse me, Justice is so strong yet so sweet and such a good sport, and I am impressed by Crush's joust skills - still undefeated! However, that said, I have to watch this show recorded on DVR, because this show has way too many contestant interviews and Hulk blather, I just watch it for the wacky events and Gladiator posturing. Also on DVR, I can watch the entire show in 25 minutes.

Also, I am looking forward to the premiere of Wipeout on ABC in a few weeks. I already love the wacky obstacles courses and events on both American Gladiators and Ninja Warrior, so why not add one more show with those elements?

Of course these are only the cheesiest shows of the cheesy - there are some marginally good shows that I've also watched frequently including Bones (but not the finale - slight spoiler coming, I can handle most things except for character assassination - poor Zach!), Greek (will Casey stand up to Rebecca already? Sheesh!), The Middleman (rapid fire dialogue and meta references make the show slightly intelligent, right?), and Army Wives (Affairs! Surrogacy for money! Child against Parent domestic violence! Melodramatic high school relationships! Two hostage situations! And all in the first season, who knows what the second season will bring?).

All right back to bar studying. Ugh!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

If I wind up failing the bar, this is why - others who share my literary guilt

I'm not the only one who loved The Babysitters' Club and Sweet Valley High throughout my early adolescence. Enjoy! Especially if you are taking the Massachusetts bar in July (mua-ha-ha).

Also Heather and Jessica from Go Fug Yourself also have individual blogs.

Oh internet, why must you be so tempting and evil?

Now two days later
I also found a blog mocking Lurlene McDaniel books (you know the books where beautiful, yet terminally ill, thin girls find love and die).

How am I ever going to focus on common law and Massachusetts distinctions when I can read snark about Claudia's outfits, Lila's bitchery, and tragic love?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gauche and Unsophisticated List: I am so middle-American

Now when I was an angsty adolescent back in Ferndale, I longed for the day when I would escape to the wonders of college where of course I would protest, participate in open mike nights, engage in wonderfully intellectual discussions, and such.

Well...that did not happen, I found I really wasn't confrontational enough for protesting in college and I was unimpressed by the pseudo hippies at my school. College hippies annoyed me, in fact. Here were my thoughts on college hippies: oh for Pete's sake, freshman year you were waltzing about in tight, expensive outfits, and you insisted on washing your hair two days into the WOA (outdoor orientation) trip, possibly polluting the lake we were swimming in, and now all of a sudden you're wearing hemp - please! What - college a time for self discovery? Nonsense! As you see, I did continue to be slightly sanctimonious. Shocker!

Here are some other reasons why many might consider me quite representative of all that is wrong with America!

I love free refills. The one thing I really missed when I was studying abroad in Chile, was that I could not get free refills for my soda. This was very sad.

One of the main casseroles in my recipe repertoire is a chicken noodle casserole (which I so creatively named Creamy Chicken Noodles when I was five) that uses one can of cream of mushroom soup. Preservatives have never tasted so delicious.

Since living in Boston, there are times that I miss Target and Old Navy. Both of these stores are in the Boston suburbs, which are a pain in the neck to get to on public transit. One of the bigger highlights of my Spring Break - was a field trip to the suburban strip malls - it was grand.

You know those fruity or chocolately alcoholic beverages that desecrate the majesty that is liquor, I drink them, I love them. Hard alcohol is delicious when mixed with fruit juice, coconut milk, or Baileys. Also I hate scotch, beverages should not taste like BBQ smoke.

I made an effort to go to the Brookline Farmers Market this summer. While the strawberries were delicious, I found that I like having a wide variety of produce year round (when I remember to eat produce), so eating locally is never going to happen for me (no avocados, no pineapple, no thank you!). I also like being able to buy all my groceries in one place, yay convenience!

Finally, the only Barbara Kingsolver book that I liked was The Bean Trees (and I love this book), the book she wrote before she decided to lecture her readers about her issue d'jour in her novels. Yes that means that I do not think that The Poisonwood Bible was the best book ever or a new classic.

My inner seventeen year old is so ashamed right now.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gauche and Unsophisticated List: I am a bad union daughter!

My parents are both proud union members, and my dad has ranted to me about right to work states for years (though he was a Republican for years and voted for Bush in 2000 - odd!), and my mom frequently emphasized that her union ensures excellent health care coverage for all its employees. So I try to be a good union daughter - not crossing picket lines (Dad has threatened to disown me if I ever did), avoiding shopping at Wal-Mart, and all that. The writers strike has made me very annoyed about the lack of decent T.V., and I do support the WGA's efforts and think they should not write another word until they get better residuals for both DVDs and new media. Therefore during the writers strike, I thought I should make a valiant effort to avoid watching the new reality show dreck and not buy TV on DVD.

However....these valiant efforts have not stopped me from getting sucked into the new American Gladiators. I have tried to justify this latest TV obsession by telling myself that this show was in development before the strike, so therefore it was likely to have made the schedule anyway, and I should not feel so ashamed. Entertainment Weekly, however, seems to want to do its damndest to make all the watchers feel guilty and stupid, which of course makes me annoyed because I hate it when quasi-hipster magazines and websites call me stupid.

However, tonight Eli Stone is premiering on ABC. The trailer looks intriguing, it has received good reviews, Berlanti is the show runner. So I should totally watch this right? Well, it is being recorded on the DVR. What am I watching instead? Make Me a Supermodel on Bravo.