21 December 2011

Christmas songs that should be retired

During my two and a half years in retail at Bed Bath and Beyond, I worked - no suffered - through at least two holiday seasons. The craziness of the shoppers wasn't the problem. The five weeks of stale Christmas tunes was the torture only a retail worker can understand. The regular classic tunes were fine but after the 12th time hearing them in one day they begin to annoy and anger the listener. My angst against Christmas music has continued - even ten years later - and while a most of the songs I can stand between Black Friday and Christmas day, there are a few gems that make me cringe anytime I hear them.

1. Wonderful Christmastime - by Paul McCartney

"The merest snatch of the squelchy synth intro to this festive monstrosity is enough to drain the Christmas cheer from St Nicholas himself," said Chris Vinnicombe on MusicRadar.com

2. Favorite Things by Julie Andrews

This song has reached my top list of horrible songs because it isn't even a Christmas song. It's a song from a musical. I also despise it's message about 'things.' This is my least favorite thing about Christmas - the commercialism of it all.

3. Do They Know it's Christmas by Band Aid II (Feed the World)

This song was created by a group of stars to help the children of Africa. While this is worthy cause, the song sucks and the lyrics are terrible. I mean, do Africans even celebrate Christmas? Are we going to convert them? What is the point of the song? It's the whole Californication thing where everyone has to be Christian and 'proper.' The song was a nice idea but it falls short of the message and now it's just annoying.

While Christmas tunes generally make me scream, I've become okay with a few funny ones.

Bob and Dougs "12 Days of Christmas"
"The 12 Pains of Christmas"
"Christmas in Hollis"
"Baby Please Come Home" by U2
"All I want for Christmas is You" from Love Actually - not the Mariah version
and to give a little to those Hanukkah celebrators out there "The Hanukkah Song" by Adam Sandler

30 June 2011

MINIBot vs. the Firepit

How a fight broke out between me, the MINIBot, and a fire pit.

In preparing for a Pre-Fourth of July bash, I purchased a freestanding fire pit at my local Wally World. I've always been crazy jealous of any one with a fire pit in their backyard and the $48.00 deal was the clincher. I found the 30" Round Home & Garden Outdoor fire pit on the second shelf - and of course, out of reach for my short stature. It also looked heavy and the last thing I needed was to throw out my back at in the Garden Center of the Jordan Landing Walmart.

It took me a second but I actually found an employee in the next section... unfortunately the acne-covered teen pawned me off on the non-existent garden center crew by saying, "Um, I think the Garden Center can help you. They might have to use that scissor thing." As I walked back to garden center and through the sliding glass doors to the outdoor area of the store, I passed the 'scissor thing' and noticed that it was a smaller one of those lifts that construction crews use to fix power poles and traffic lights during rush hour.

When I found another employee, he was working at the register and couldn't leave. He did ask the lady restocking flower stuff to help me - third time's the charm. I walked her over to the fire pits and pointed out the one I wanted. I usually pride myself on being pretty self-sufficient with lifting and finding things in stores but the box was awkward. After the garden center lady reached up and easily pulled it off the shelf, I just thought "Wow! I'm now that girl in strappy sandals at the Big Ass Show clutching my Kate Spade purchase trying to keep my hair from getting messed up." Flower lady and I rearranged my already-selected stuff to get the big square fire pit box into the cart.

Only after purchasing the fire pit and walking to my car did I think that it might be too big for the MINIBot - even with the seats down and the front seat pushed up all the way. I parked the cart next to the MINIBot and opened the boot.


This could be tricky.

I loaded all of the small stuff into the front seat (which I pulled completed up). I moved all extras from my tiny trunk space (yes, MINI coopers have a trunk). I then picked up the rather light fire pit box and began to push it in flat.


I twisted the box to a diagonal angle.


I flipped the box thinking that one end was larger than the other.

Fat chance.

Breathing heavily and now worried that I'd have to make other arrangements to get the $#%& thing home, I tried to think of other options. Maybe it would fit into the back past the front seat. The problem in getting it into the back of the MINIbot was that there were two ledges (one on either side of the car) about two inches from the back hatch door and halfway up each side that held the top that covered what was in the trunk while the seats were all up.

Maybe the box would fit into the MINIbot if I pushed the box in behind the passenger seat. I moved the stuff I had just squished into the passenger's seat and pushed the seat forward all the way.

Narp! (DAMMIT!!!)

I put all the stuff I just removed back into the passenger's seat and put the seat back into its spot. I looked at the box. It was square and packed well (to not damage the coolest purchase ever).

What if I removed the packaging? The actual pit might fit into the car while the box was too big. But I didn't have a knife.


I pulled out my MINIbot's tough laser cut key and began to hack away at the packing tape that seemed to cover every inch of the box. This was more difficult than getting into a new DVD.

I pulled and yanked and the lid came off. Styrofoam encased the fire pit and it came out in pieces covering me in little static-y balls of white snow. I mutilated the entire fire pit's nicely presented packaging while innocent families and other onlookers watched my almost manic behavior.


I pulled out piece after piece of the pit and then came the moment of truth: the round base and largest part of the fire pit. I pulled it from the styrofoam and carefully pushed it through the back door of the MINIbot.


I did a little happy dance and placed the rest of the parts in the back of the MINIbot. The demolished cardboard, styrofoam, and plastic that had encased the fire pit was loaded back into the cart and wheeled to the flower/plant entrance of Walmart. I told the not-so-helpful workers that I had to remove the fire pit from the box and I didn't want to be 'that customer' and leave it in the parking lot. They looked at me like I was crazy... but I didn't care. I had just battled for 30 minutes to get my new purchase into my tiny MINIbot... and I won.

26 June 2011

Oops! I found a funny video clip

Comical clip from a so-so romantic comedy starring Michelle Pfiffer and Paul Rudd. In this scene, Saorise Ronan (playing Michelle's daughter) is singing in the mirror an excellent rendition of "Oops! I did it again."

11 June 2011

Miss March: The worst sex comedy ever!

Plucked straight from my blockbuster online queue, "Miss March" arrived at my house for viewing this week. I occasionally enjoy a raunchy comedy but this film was a big mistake. Had I known that the film was written and acted by those involved with the IFC show "The Whitest Kids U Know," I would have deleted it from my queue and never wasted my time.

"Miss March" begins as Eugene and his friend, Tucker, are finishing high school. Eugene is dating Cindy and they head up the abstinence club. Cindy finally convinces Eugene to 'do it' on prom night, but before the they can do the deed Eugene falls down some stairs and goes into a coma for four years.

Upon waking via baseball bat to the head by Tucker, Eugene discovers that his virginal girlfriend, Cindy, has turned into Playboy's latest monthly centerfold. The two morons decide to travel across the country to the Playboy mansion to reunite Eugene with Cindy for his first time.

The film tried to be funny on a frat boy level and constant bathroom humor just makes my eyes roll. What the film lacked was an ability to make me care about the characters - oh ya, and actors who could convince me that they were the characters and not just future comedy variety show actors. "Miss March" missed the beat and unlike films such as "American Pie" lacked the human emotion element that made the audience care about Eugene getting Cindy in the end.

My ruling... don't waste your time.

14 April 2011

Whirlpools - not the appliances

Japan is still dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake that started a catastrophic tsunami. But one thing that caught my eye was the Uzumaki whirlpool that formed off the coast of Japan. Now obsessed with whirlpools - and how cool and scary they are, I've been YouTubing videos and looking up information.

Here's what I learned:

1. There are several "We're all gonna die!" groups that think Japan is going to sink or that the end of the world is near. Whatever.

2. A whirlpool is a swirling body of water usually produced by ocean tides - like the one around Japan.

3. The vast majority of whirlpools are not very powerful. This makes me happy because whirlpools are quite scary if you think about it. What I'm interested in is... where is the water going? The naturally forming whirlpools the question remains but there are a lot of man-made vortexes. These usually happen when a lake or pond is drained into another area at a very fast speed.

4. The scary (or more powerful) whirlpools are more properly termed maelstroms. But my favorite mythbusters determined that a whirlpool couldn't suck in a ship but then they tested if it could suck in a person?

5. And vortex is the proper term for any whirlpool that has a downdraft.

02 February 2011


Turkey… also the name of my favorite meat… is the first country I researched. This whole part of my Mission in 2011 stemmed from the fact that John Gidding, a designer on HGTV, is from Turkey and – aside from knowing that my cousin spent time there while her husband was in the military – I don’t know much about the place. From my research, Turkey was once part of the Ottoman Empire and it officially formed as the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923 by Kemal Ataturk.

With over 75 million people, the country is ranked 17th largest and their biggest city is Istanbul (was also the capital for the Ottoman Empire). Other fun facts is that the country’s currency is the Turkish lira, the new capital – as of the 20s – is Ankara, and the country is transcontinental (Europe and Asia). The country’s Internet domain is .tr and to call someone on a phone in Turkey you would use the calling code 90.

While the country was founded as a secular republic, the Islam-based political party won the presidential elections in 2002 and many fear their efforts to create an Islam state. There is also speculation about the military (called the guardians of the secular system) and their attempts or plots to overthrow the government to prevent such actions.

People of Turkey are called Turkish but there are other cultures and groups living in the country that refuse to assimilate or Turkify themselves. One group is the Kurds and conflicts and tension have continued until even today as the Turkish government sees many of the groups fighting for Kurdish rights as ‘terrorists.’

Aiding the U.S. has become a habit; Turkey was near the Soviet Union during the Cold War and is now next to the Middle East – which allows the U.S. to have a close base of operations. Turkey also has the second largest standing Armed Forces (the first being the U.S. Armed Forces).

Turkey has been in negotiations to become a member of the EU and with this changed many of their laws to allow for women’s rights among other things. One thing that differs from the U.S. to Turkey is that Turkish journalists reporting in the country do not have the First Amendment on their side. TV news (the most popular form) has often been shut down for broadcasting sensitive materials. There is also speculation that journalists reporting stories about the military, Kurds or other ‘sensitive’ topics are imprisoned or attacked. While the government can block websites such as YouTube, citizens have learned ways to get around the system. And there are about 22 million Facebook users in the country.

For more info on Turkey… Google it yourself! I’m going to bed.

29 January 2011

Sundance Movies #4 & #5

Margin Call

What if you knew about the bad economic times to come and you could save your company from a huge lost at the expense of those you sale your stocks to?

That is the dilemma faced by several employees at a company right before the last economic disaster. Sam (Kevin Spacey), Will (Paul Bettany), Peter (Zachary Quinto), and Seth (Penn Badgley) discover that the stocks are worthless on the day that their company lays off most of their department and the Risk Management guy who finds part of the mystery. The film doesn't skimp on the confusing financial jargon but that doesn't matter. The audience is glued to these men and women as they try to make difficult decisions while spewing witty and reflective dialogue.

POPCORN: 3 of 4


Do not mistake this film for fluffy emo story about a sparkly vampire that just wants to be understood. This gutsy project was written and directed by Shunjai Iwai. He tells a strange tell about Simon (Kevin Zegers), a 28-year-old biology teacher who drinks the blood of the victims he meets on a suicide website. This artsy flick takes several existential turns with the introduction of a vampire loving club with another sadistic killer and several suicidal women gravitating toward Simon. The quirkiness of the film and the amazing acting by Zegers does not make up for the awkwardness of the editing and the repetitive music score. There were a few moments of hilarity brought by Laura (Rachel Leigh Cook), a girl that believes she's Simon's girlfriend after only one date.

POPCORN: 2 of 4

26 January 2011

Charlie Hunnam and Freddie Highmore star in films 2 and 3

As the week progresses, I find that my movie watching ability has not waned. I love cinema. I love it... probably because for a few hours I'm able to escape into the world that another person has (or should I say other people have) created.

Tuesday's flick was a serious story about a man on a ledge. Gavin (played by Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy fame) walks out and stands on the ledge of a tall skyscraper building. He doesn't seem like he wants to be there and as he tells his tale to a cop (Terrance Howard) the audience is able to see why he ended up so high up. The film has really two possible endings: he jumps or he doesn't jump. As the story of why he's going to kill himself unravels, the audience begins to realize that there is more to Gavin than meets the eye. The film takes shape in the form of a tragedy, a love story, a family drama, a thriller, a philosophical reflection piece, and even highlights a comedic moment or two. "The Ledge" features four characters that all have their own baggage of shame and heartache. Their struggles make you like and dislike their actions (no character is completely innocent). But the end is always looming. Will Gavin jump?

I would recommend this movie to those who don't mind sitting on the edge of their theater chairs while contemplating morality, religion, death, love and other larger issues throughout "The Ledge."

POPCORNS: 3 of 4

Wednesday's film was a little more lighthearted. "Homework," of course, focused on high school student, George, who doesn't do his homework. Any of it. Ever.

Brit actor, Freddie Highmore, played the New York-born teen who's attending an upper crust prep school with intelligence and showcased the off-beat nature while delivering exquisite lines and subtle gestures. The story begins to unfold when George takes the rap for Sally's (Emma Roberts) smoking on school grounds. When Sally thanks him, she begins to open up his quiet and withdrawn nature and quiet, simple relationship begins to bloom.

Screenwriter/director, Gavin Wiesen, did a fabulous job in capturing realistic, yet intelligent, high school students by the incredible dialogue featured in "Homework." Some of the quotables would be lines such as 'Teflon slacker' or the comment about how Valentine's day is commercial. The film also captures little (and often hilarious) moments of realism, for example, showcasing George's anguish by having him play a sad song on repeat for days as he sulks over a situation.

I would recommend this film to anyone. It's reminiscent of other film fest movies such as "500 Days of Summer" that take a new or simple approach to that crazy little thing we call love.

POPCORNS: 3 of 4

24 January 2011

Sundance Movie #1: The Guard

The film begins with a crash... literally. The camera steadily follows a car packed tight with five teen boys who are speeding around Ireland's vast countryside while poppin' pills and drinking liquor. The sounds of N.E.R.D fills the speakers alongside the quick gear shifting as the red tin can (AKA car from the UK that wouldn't pass a US safety inspection) swerves across the two-lane road. Captivated, the audience waits for the inevitable but it doesn't come. The car just weaves back and forth.

Cut to the film's star, Brendan Gleeson, who's playing Boyle, an Irish guard (or cop) zoning out effectively in his parked Garda car's speed trap. With the camera straight on Boyle in his car, the five Irish teens speed past the disinterested cop and the theater is flooded with the sound of a car crash. Gleeson doesn't react but leisurely takes his time to get out of the car, inspect the now five dead teens sprawled out along the road, and their tiny red car that is now flipped over after hitting a rock wall. Boyle searches for what you think is evidence or signs of life until he finds the pills, states that the kid's mom wouldn't be happy to find those, opens the bag, and drops acid.

A dark comedy "The Guard" features unorthodox humor and a refreshing lack of politically correctness. Gleeson's Boyle is a three dimensional character who is good at his job, likes to shag prostitutes, and always seems to make you laugh at what mainstream media would call 'inappropriate comments.' The other additions to the cast, Liam Cunningham, and Mark Strong - to name a few, swirl around Boyle's as he tries to bust a drug smuggling ring with an F.B.I. agent played by Don Cheadle.

Writer/director John Michael McDonagh did an amazing job showcasing a side of Ireland that isn't Dublin (funnier if you've seen the movie) by bringing a witty lead character who doesn't apologize for who he is... and even with screenplay's constant jabs toward Americans, English, and even Ireland you walk away loving the characters and the story that came alive on screen.


RATING 4 out of 4 popcorns

17 January 2011

Back to the Workout Workout

When you exercise do you feel like an elephant trying to wear roller skates?


I met up with my good - and evil exercise-inflicting - friend, Lisa, who tortured me with some easy workout moves. They were easier exercises but since I've been out of the game for a while my abs and thighs are feeling the burn.

All I can say is that after sitting on my chubby behind all day yesterday drooling over Michael Fassbender (Mmm... Michael) in "Hex," this little step toward a healthy activity will help me reach my Run a Mile target by working out so I don't feel so... bleh!

01 January 2011

Run Fat Girl Fun - after tweaking my back

With a fun back injury from shoveling a couple of feet of snow (ya, I'm that cool), I wasn't able to jump into the 2011 Mission on January 3rd like I had planned.

Last year (as in New Year's Eve) started with a painful bang and a blackout and a half.

The first order of New Year's Eve was to get dressed. Since I wasn't showering before I shoveled snow I thought I get in some grubby clothes which included my Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. shirt, jeans with holes, socks from the day before, and my RSL hat to hide my unkept hair - a seriously awesome fashion statement.

As I lifted the fifth shovel-full of snow off the walkway from the driveway to the front porch, I was immediately halted by a sharp pain in my back. The sting - felt like a hot poker was being shoved through my back - on the left side just above my hip immobilizing me. I slowly stood straight, squeezed my eyes shut. The pain was deafening... literally, it was like my hearing was being controlled by a bratty child with an iPod's volume knob. I fought the urge to pass out and hobbled to the back door using the shovel as a crutch. When I reached the door, my parents wondered what was wrong. I told them and immediately became nauseated. Great! Just what I needed.

My mother helped me lie down on the couch. She laughed 'with me' as I commented that I felt like I was an 80-year-old woman. New Year's Eve was then spent on the couch with a Mt. Dew and a few of my favorite French films, Amelie, Mic Macs, and The Brotherhood of the Wolf. The New Year rang in just as Amelie finally found her Nino and they, of course, fell madly, crazily in love.

New Year's Day started with an inventive rolling maneuver to get out of bed with my awe-inspiring back spasm. I had stiffened up but, at least, standing and walk/hobbling wasn't too difficult. The morning was going okay as I returned to camping out on the couch. After about an hour of TV and some breakfast, the transformer blew (and not the cool ones that Shia fights in the movies) in my neighbors yard with a loud boom. The next several hours the house began to get chilly but I was fortunate enough to still have to read my book club book, "The Lost Hero."

But a week and a half-ish after my lame back incident, I started to work on Target #1. I think I should've entitled it Run, Fat Girl, Run! I walked about a mile and half at 3.7 mph. I worked up a sweat and decided I would need to step up my game along with revamping my workout playlist for running. I need more from the Run Lola Run soundtrack... cuz it's motivating.