Back in the Habit

My apologies to those of you who clicked on this post expecting to read something about Sister Act 2, which I can only imagine is most of you who clicked on this post.  Indeed, as soon as I absently filled in the title of the post I was all, I should write about Sister Act 2 instead of my original planned topic..although I have surprisingly little to say on the subject of that movie, it would turn out.

Like, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is pretty good.  I enjoyed it, but not as much as the original.  Great pun in the title.  Young people who are no longer young are in it, like Lauryn Hill and Go Home Roger and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Also, I am a fan of Kathy Najimy. Read More

The Year of Chicken Noodle Soup

Thus far my main prediction for 2013 is that I am going to eat a lot of chicken noodle soup.

In that sense, 2013 will not be so very different from the last month of 2012, during which time I also ate many a bowl of chicken noodle soup. I’ve always enjoyed chicken noodle soup, sure, but lately it’s suddenly one my favorite foods and the only thing I ever want to eat.

You could say chicken noodle soup is the new microwave burritos.

Meanwhile, I am unable to predict much else beyond noodle soup; I am nonetheless hoping that some additional, slightly-more-exciting-than-chicken-noodle-soup-consumption things will happen to me in the coming year.

Some burning questions I have about 2013 include:

  • Will I complete Couch to 5K and finally become a runner? (Yes!  No!  Yes!  No!  This one could go either way!)
  • Will my neighbor ever find Butchy once and for all? (I don’t think so!)
  • Will I be forced to move against my will because the apartment I live in gets sold? (Maybe?!)
  • Will I find myself a future-husband, as so many of those around me (including my little sister!!!) have been doing lately? (Only if he’ll get up early and make me quiches, I have decided!)
  • Will I finally save enough money to take my trip to France? (Let’s talk about that in 2014!)
  • Will I get a summer job? (I better or else!)
  • Will I finally write that novel I’ve been saying I’m going to write? (YES or maybe that other novel, but definitely one of them!)

I genuinely like the New Year.  Even though intellectually I know that nothing really changes all that much just because a new year starts, I always feel like it might and I like that feeling.

Welcome 2013, and bring on the chicken noodle soup please.

16+ cups of homemade broth ready for the freezer, 2013!

16+ cups of homemade broth are ready for the freezer, 2013!

Real Moments of Genius

Dearest Readers,

Tonight I am sharing with you three imaginary plots (along with some casting!) for nonexistent made-for-TV holiday movie romances that I have dreamed up in my head.  I came up with them for no reason at all, except that it was fun and (I thought) a better way to discuss Fa-la-la-la Films and 25 Days of Movies for Christmas Movie Week than to just list a few of my favorites (ahem12MenofChristmasahem).

You wouldn’t know this if I wasn’t about to tell you, but in its original conception this post was to include Photoshopped movie posters.  But today…sigh…today I just don’t have the energy or the Photoshop skills (mostly the skills thing, to be frank) to make them.  You will have try to visualize these imaginary made-for-TV holiday movie romances based solely on my descriptions.

It will not be hard.  They are brilliant.



  • The 12 Puppies of Christmas – Up-and-coming Manhattan ad executive Piper (Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester) has no time for love, fun or puppies, until her eccentric Aunt Agnes drops her 12 dogs (of comically different sizes) on Piper’s doorstep before jetting off to Europe for the holiday.  Puppy-themed hijinks ensue:  Tacos the chihuahua puppy chews up her Laboutins and Martha the golden retriever eats the mock-up she did for work! Lucky for Piper, David (unknown actor who looks like Josh Duhamel but isn’t Josh Duhamel.  Or is that Josh Duhamel?  No, no, he just looks like him) is a handsome man who just moved in next door and happens to be a scruffy but kind-hearted vet who wears plaid and is all too happy to lend a helping hand.  Just when she starts warming up to the puppies, however, Rufus the bull mastiff tackles her boss (who is terrified of dogs) and now, Piper will have to pitch head to head with another, evil puppy-hating ad exec to win a super-huge client – on CHRISTMAS EVE no less!  Of course, with the help of David, Piper realizes that all this ad campaign needs is 12 puppies in Santa hats to win the day – and win it she does!  By the time Aunt Agnes returns from her holiday, Piper has learned all about the true meaning of Christmas: love (and puppies).

Roxie the bulldog puppy, who pees on the Christmas tree!

  • Christmas Eve in Jail – On her way to meet up with the man of her dreams on Christmas Eve, hapless but charming jewelry designer Drew (Melissa Joan Hart) is arrested after a mix-up at a gas station convenience store by sexy but stoic small-town cop Joe (Joseph Lawrence).  When it becomes clear to Drew that identity theft is the at the root of the mix-up, she tries to convince Joe to help her fix the problem.  Joe is only interested in getting to Boston by 9pm to pick up someone named Candy before “it’s too late.”   Madcap adventures ensue (and sparks fly!), as Drew accompanies Joe from the police station in rural Vermont to the big city and they encounter quirky character after quirky character (all with suspiciously Canadian accents).  In the end, Drew’s name is cleared (the man of her dreams, whom she met online, turns out to be an internet scammer – the one who stole her identify!) and Joe gets to Boston in time to pick up Candy (who is not, as Drew suspected, Joe’s girlfriend but actually his recently deceased father’s dog that was about to be shipped off to a kill shelter in Kentucky.)  In the cop car along the way, Drew and Joe overcome their initial dislike of each other and fall in love!

One thing we can all agree on: these two have chemistry that just won’t quit!  Also, in my movie it will be snowy.

  • The First Noel – Preston Blake Noel III (Scott Porter aka Jason Street from Friday Night Lights aka George Tucker from Hart of Dixie)  is guilted into returning home to his snooty family’s Connecticut mansion for the holiday season, after his grandfather (Preston Blake Noel I, played to perfection by Richard Gilmore) has a heart attack.  Preston III hasn’t had any contact with his grandfather or father since they disinherited him for failing to take over the family pharmaceutical empire and pursuing his dream of being a Doctor Without Borders and opening a small community healthy clinic in Queens instead.  Presiding over the holiday festivities are his crotchety, wheel-chair bound grandfather and his sassy live in nurse (played by Della Reese), as well as Preston III’s emotionally distant playboy father Preston Blake Noel II (Dan Scott from One Tree Hill).  Annabelle (Cheyanne from Reba) is a local interest reporter and single-mother to a precocious 7-year-old boy named Cayden; after being contacted by the press-hungry Preston II, she shows up to to do a story on The Noel Family: Three Generations of Success.  When she begins work on her story old family secrets and resentments are churned up, as well as a few new surprises.  Preston III begins to forgive his grandfather for the past as he learns what motivated the old man, even as he develops feelings for the tough (but vulnerable) Annabelle.  Though everyone is saddened by the tragic Christmas night death of Preston Blake Noel I, the incorrigible young Cayden gets his wish for a new dad after all, and we learn that nurse Della Reese has actually been an angel this whole time.  The end!

FACT: 15-years-ago Jonathan Lipnicki is the only actor qualified to play the role of Cayden.

15-years-ago Jonathan Lipnicki is watching you, imaginary cast of The First Noel.

I think we can all agree that I have found my calling in life (Photoshopping aside).  I am expecting the call from ABC Family Channel or Lifetime: Television for Women any day.

Look what you did, you little jerk.

Christmas Movie Week…go!

Home Alone is the Christmas movie I watched tonight.  Here is some stuff you need to know about Home Alone:

  • It is still the highest-grossing comedy of all time, at least according to IMDB.  Crazy, am I right?  Also, I learned that Mrs. Doubtfire is the 6th-highest-grossing comedy of all time and 3 Men and a Baby is the 17th-highest-grossing comedy of all time, and that both of those are ahead of ALL the Adam Sandler movies.  This sort of renews my faith in humanity, but makes me question my faith in humanity at the same time.
  • If I had been left home alone, things would not have gone down the way they did.  For starters, when I realized I was home alone I would almost certainly have called the police myself and they would have taken me somewhere safe or had cops checking in on me all the time or something.  I was always very skeptical about the police’s lack of interest in Kevin’s situation; even when I was 8, I thought that had the ring of unrealistically convenient for the the story.  Now, in the odd event that I hadn’t done that, then at the very least I would have called the police BEFORE 9 p.m. and had them show up when Harry and Marv’s were just starting to break and enter.  No hilarious shenanigans, sure, but also no risk of accidentally committing manslaughter or riling up two criminals into a murderous rage.  I’ve thought about this a lot over the past two decades.
  • Another thing that I am sure has bothered us all: how did Harry and Marv not die?  I still think they would have died
  • Another thing that really bothered me tonight: when the police come to pick up Harry and Marv at Kevin’s neighbors’ house, do they not wonder to themselves, “Hey!  The man who lives here called us to report this crime!  Where is he now?  Also, how did these men get so many comical injuries all over them?  And for another thing, how did they come be unconscious? How has the water in this house been running for what would appear to be days if they were only robbing the house tonight?”  I think real police might have looked into things a little further, is all I am saying.
  • When Kevin McAllister finally gets that cheese pizza all to himself, I totally grok that.  I’m all,  “Kevin, dude, is that not the best feeling IN THE WORLD?  Being like an adult and being like, yeah, this whole cheese pizza is just for me and who’s going to do anything about it?  Oh yeah, NO ONE.”  I still experience this feeling, sometimes when I order whole cheese pizzas just for myself, sometimes when I put clothes I can’t afford on my credit card, sometimes when I stay up till 2 a.m. on a week night just because I can.  Being a mature adult living on her own is the best.
  • Stand-up comedians have things to say about Home Alone too because it is one of the movies of our generation:

Aziz Ansari mentions Home Alone and also Joe Pesci:

He also tweeted these last week:

We would be BFFs, me and Aziz.

Also John Mulaney at 1:09 gives his perspective on Home Alone 2: Lost in New York:

  • Finally: which of the awful things that happens to Harry and Marv makes you cringe the most?   Although it probably doesn’t hurt as much as a paint can to the face, etc., I think the part when a barefoot Marv lands on all the delicate glass ornaments upsets me the most;  my second worst is the nail in Marv’s foot.  Blergh – foot stuff just gives me the heebie-jeebies!!!

Now, watch the video below to refresh your memory of the pain and humiliation Harry and Marv suffer, and tell me which one would upset you the most in the comments!

say goodnight, not goodbye

The series finale of Dawson’s Creek was the first DVD I ever bought.  Seriously.  It was used and on Amazon for like $9 and it came with a heinously water-damaged insert, though the disc itself was intact.

That DVD has paid for itself about ten times over, my friends, mangled insert and everything.

I just watched it once again after marathoning season 3 this past week and it was as cheesy, lame, heartbreaking and beautiful as ever.  I JUST LOVE IT.

Like my favorite quote from Dawson:

It’s interesting how people use that expression, “life and death.”  As if to imply that life is the opposite of death.  Birth is the opposite of death.  Life…has no opposite.

Deep stuff, Mr. Leery.  Real deep.

Because of the sadness of Jen, the happy ending of Jack and Deputy Doug, the mending of fences between Dawson and Joey/Pacey and the fact that Joey actually ended up with Pacey for real, for real, for real, these have always been two of my favorite hours of television, even if they do make me sob like a pathetic weirdo.

Now, I hear from my mom that thousands of people across the city of Providence are without power from the storm, so I better get started watching Youtube montages of Pacey and Joey set to emo songs before I too am without electricity and have to do something lame with my time, you know, like read a book or something.

outstanding in that capacity

So earlier tonight I found myself sitting alone in the dark in my apartment, eating chocolate cake and watching The Breakfast Club on DVD.

Writing it out like that, it occurs to me that some people might interpret that situation as sad or lame or lonely sounding.  But to be clear about things, I am sharing this with you because it was awesome.  So transcendentally awesome that I felt the need to write about it, even though I don’t have much to say beyond what I have already said.

Except to add that Judd Nelson is very attractive for someone with such large nostrils, is he not? Also I just found this drawing at an ETSY shop while searching for pictures of him, and I love it, wonky eyes and all:

Other (unrelated) things I wanted to share with you:

– Here is the link to Ina Garten’s Tabbouleh recipe.  It is delicious and quick and healthy and did I mention delicious?  I make it and I mix in a little feta cheese and put it on my salad instead of salad dressing.  This tabbouleh is an important part of my life these days; it is phenomenal.

– This video is beautiful (as are his previous videos, too).  We are all just people, man!  Cry cry cry.


– Ever have a vanilla steamer?  It is just steamed milk and vanilla syrup.  You should try one, unless you think you wouldn’t enjoy drinking pure happiness in a cup.  Is it a little too sweet and also totally bad for you?  Yes but I just do not care on a crispy fall night when I happen to pass by a Starbuck.

– I like my job, guys.  I like kids so very much, even (or maybe even especially) when they go on about protecting their library books from swooping eagles.  Seriously, swooping eagles absconding with library books in their talons is not exactly the number one problem plaguing students in the library today (uncapped water bottles in the backpack probably is) but one kid thought that scenario up and shared it, and then his classmates just ran with it.  Adorbs.

So many good things going on in my life lately, I could probably go on and on.  I’ll stop, though, because shit is about to get real at Shermer High and I need to give John Bender my full attention.

Body Heart Head Tater-tots

This is what is for dinner tonight:

chicky cutlet; roasted Brussels sprouts

My Body is all: YES! lean protein and vegetables!  Just what I am craving!

My Heart’s all: WHAT? lean protein and vegetables?!?  But where are the tater tots?!?!

Well, they’re in the freezer, Heart, because last night I listened to you and all we had for dinner was tots with hot sauce and sour cream plus two frozen waffles and two graham crackers.  That simply will not do.

Body, I could tell that the meal of tots-waffles-grahams was not your idea of a good time.  You missed having some protein, so for the rest of the evening we were sort of listless and lightheaded and we tossed and turned when we went to bed.  I am trying to remedy that sitch, Body, with this sensible but still pretty tasty (though not tots-level tasty) dinner.

Of course, my Head is all: quit talking to yourself and eat your damn dinner, weirdo.

My Head has a wisdom that my Heart and Body sometimes lack.

Then again, my Head just sanctioned a screening of The Notebook on a night when my Heart is feeling all maudlin about its state of affairs, so it’s kind of an idiot too.

Noah Calhoun, you get me.

P.S. Tater Tots is a tag I have used on this blog already.  Tater Tots.  Deep stuff, this.

The Sweetness, etc.

I am watching (500) Days of Summer.

And I’ve just realized something:  I am Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon Levitt).

It is funny, because I completely identify with his character despite the fact that I have been, at times, likened to Zooey Deschanel, who plays Summer Finn.  I mean, it’s pretty amazing the comparisons blue eyes, bangs and a generally cheerful disposition will get you, but I like being compared to her so I will spread it around even if it’s probably not so true.

Sometimes I also like to pretend that I am a little like the character Summer Finn – independent, quirky, hip, free-spirited and untamable.

Truth is, that I have much more of Tom “Perfectly Adequate” Hanson in me than Summer Finn.  Namely in that I have a long and storied history of developing wild crushes on people based upon fictions. Even when I have gotten to know people, I can still project my own version of someone onto someone and carry that around with me for a long time.  Like, a long, long time.

omg we like one band in common! we’re totally getting married!

It is why I am not only still single, but am always single.  The constant disappointment of learning that people are real people and not the built-up, fictional versions of themselves that I have been obsessing over makes dating hard.

It’s probably why I hated Summer Finn the first couple times I saw this movie.

You see Tom jump to all sorts of conclusions about his compatibility with Summer based on non-legit criteria (like a shared interest in banana slugs) and develop a relationship with her that is built on selfish projections, if not full on delusions.  The train-wreck of their relationship is almost entirely his fault because of this.

This problem I have also relates to The Jake Ryan Complex, which is a classic issue stemming from the movie Sixteen Candles.  See, Molly Ringwald has a crazy crush on Jake Ryan because he is hot.  That is all she really knows about him, but in the way of high school crushes, that is all she really needs to know.

He is really way super hot, in fairness to Molly Ringwald.

really way super hot.

In Sixteen Candles, Jake Ryan turns out to be a nice guy and also interested in Molly Ringwald.  He shows up to her sister’s wedding in a tiny convertible and gets her a birthday cake.

I have always wanted that – the guy who you obsess over from afar turns out to like you too and also turns out to be a person worth liking.

Here is a Ze Frank video that discusses a similar topic as well:


I know I post a lot of his videos, but it is because they tend to really hit me where I live.  This one especially speaks to my soul, even more than all the Cheese Monster stuff he put out.

The craving for The Sweetness has been the main problem of my life, worse by far than my addiction to cheddar.

From now on, I am going to try very hard to stop being like Tom Hanson, and to stop waiting for a Jake Ryan, and to let go of the Sweetness, is the whole point of this blog post.

I think it will be hard, but I think it is worth trying.

Did I fall asleep?

Here’s some free advice for you:

If you are a person who suffers from frequent, intense and incredibly realistic night-terror hallucinations in which you become convinced that people are somehow invading your bedroom and using technology to steal your life and/or control your mind, maybe don’t watch a whole bunch of episodes of the TV show Dollhouse right before you go to bed.

Dollhouse, in case you didn’t know, is a show in which technology is used to steal people’s lives and control their minds.  It is very good, actually – made by Joss Whedon, features Tahmoh Penikett: Handsomest Man Ever, has a slew of really excellent characters, makes me forget how much I cannot stand actress Eliza Dushku in most things – just all around top-notch storytelling, I say.

But seriously, man…I suffer from night terrors and have since way before I ever watched Dollhouse.  Not like wake up in another room holding a knife or scream my head of at 4 am or punch the person I’m sleeping next to night terrors.

I just sometimes wake up (or do I?  Am I actually just dreaming?) in the middle of the night, and believe that I see things (wires, cameras, other DEVICES) and feel things (like my soul being sucked out through my fingertips or my arms being controlled by outside forces) and I usually believe it to be my neighbors behind the plot and it scares me a lot.  I freak out, naturally, but I never get up or make noise.  I just wait a few minutes and my mind both clears and gets fuzzy; it returns to its regular, non-terrified state and I realize I’ve been having a night terror but the thing that had been terrifying me becomes very vague and difficult to remember.

Then I fall back asleep and that’s that.

[I was going to embed a video of one my most favorite television scenes involving night terrors, but it wouldn’t let me embed it, so click this link you and it will take you to one of my most favorite television scenes involving night terrors]

In the moment, I always really believe whatever thing is happening is real…so much so, that I sometimes kind of believe the whole situation is real when I am awake and talking about it.  It just seems like this happens an awful lot for it to not be real.  And I mean, pretty convenient that I never quite remember exactly what it was that I saw, you know?  A little too convenient…

Of course, I do realize that the nice PhD candidates who lived downstairs from me at my last apartment were not trying to use dark magic/surveillance cameras to steal my life force.  And while the elderly British mother-son duo who live in the adjacent apartment to me and smell like soy sauce may be hoarding stuff, I understand that they are certainly not feeding wires from their kitchen through my bedroom window to control my mind.

This is a problem for which I currently have no solution.  I’ve spent a lot of time moving furniture and decor in my bedroom(s) trying to blame the terrors on bad feng shui.  In my experience, good feng shui does help to ease the symptoms, but it has not been a total cure.  Truth is, when I feel stressed out about something my night terrors happen more often.  New school year, for example, combined with oh-so-many episodes of Dollhouse before beddy-bye, it’s just a recipe for disaster.

I will have to risk one more night of it because I have one more episode of Dollhouse left and I must know how it ends.

Not so handsome as Agent Paul Ballard [swoon], but Topher Brink here is my favorite.

Also, I meant to write about Good Stuff during Good Stuff Week, like Love and My Family and Streaming TV on Netflix.  Unfortunately, I am moving on to Back to School Week, which means Whatever I Feel Like Week, because going to back to school is hard.  But those are some examples of Good Stuff in my life, aight?

Good Stuff: My Health

Although my rampant hypochondria may suggest otherwise, I am generally an incredibly healthy person.

Plus the truth is that my hypochondria has decreased by many-folds since I was a teenager; none of the diseases I had convinced myself I had ever actually manifested and even I could not continue to suspect that I had a weak constitution when I never actually ever got sick.

As an adult I do continue to spout ideas for diseases that I likely have with every little symptom I get but that really comes more out of habit than any real sense of concern.

Of course, when I found the tick on me in April, my several-days long obsessive WebMDing of Lyme Disease was legit.

But then again of course, I never got Lyme Disease.

With the notable exception of my first year of teaching (two sinus infections, strep throat and a truly heinous norovirus) I rarely get sick as an adult.  I get about a cold a year, and sometimes at the tail end of a cold or when I have a really exciting trip coming up, I’ll get a barky cough that won’t go away.  It will be my only symptom, usually and I am so used to it that it barely phases me.  Plus, since I always get these coughs before and during exciting trips, the taste of Halls Cherry Menthol cough drops reminds me of All-Eastern Orchestra in Pittsburgh, Disney World, Disney Land, Scotland, &c. in the very best of ways.

Anyway, today I feel kind of crappy.  Symptoms are a headache and a body ache and the occasional bout of dizziness, plus also my body is reacting poorly to shifts in temperature. Intense shivers at the grocery store, the sweats when I am outside.

Part of me -the old hypochondriac part – believes that I have West Nile Virus.  This is because I got two big mosquito bites the other day and my mom said, “Be really careful about getting mosquito bites.  All the mosquito diseases are rampant this summer” which is an insane thing for my mother to say to me.  She’s usually smarter about not suggesting diseases to me and my sisters, because she knows how we are.

But most of me believes that this is just a mild Megabug from the Megabus, and it will pass in no time.

I am sure one day my health will not be as good as it is.  Bad Shit, you know?  But for now, my health is Good Stuff and I celebrate it.

Also, to make myself feel better I had breakfast for dinner.  Eggos, Tater Tots, Bacon…only the best meal ever.  Even though I encountered serious First World Problem on my way to brinner:

two whole blocks away, no less!

And finally, all this thinking about how lucky I am to have good health has had this scene running through my head:

So brilliant, I think I will eat another Eggo and watch The Princess Bride now.