Saturday, December 11, 2010

31 Days of Christmas in One

Caffeinated Joe has been doing the 31 Days of Christmas. It's supposed to be a daily challenge, but I decided to do it all at once. I really wanted to do a Christmas meme this year. With scattered, unrelated Christmas pics throughout.

1. Favorite Tradition
I don't really have one anymore; Christmas can be rough here, with being pulled to spend the day at several places, and Becca being so overworked and stressed out from it (her hours go up to 60 a week in December). I like to put up our four-foot tree and listen to Christmas music. We have the things we like to watch every year, too. And I love it when custard nog starts coming out...

2. Favorite Elf
Huh. I go right to Tolkien. Christmas elf? I'm honestly not sure I like any of them all that much.

3. Santa or Mrs. Claus
Santa! My favorite Santa? Probably still Edmund Gwenn in A Miracle on 34th Street.

4: Favorite Reindeer
None of them really have much of a personality, do they? I like the name Blitzen, though.

5. Favorite Holiday Snack
The aforementioned custard nog, which is nice and smooth in a glass, zippy in a cup of coffee, and heavenly as a batter for french toast. It's become mine and Becca's thing, since we don't generally make Christmas cookies. We would if we had more time together during the lead-up to Christmas, I think--we've done it in the past.

6. Favorite Decoration
My tree-topper. I've had it up here before; it's Santa Claus, draped in white and gold with presents under his arm, looking like Odin atop the roof of the trees.

7. Favorite Christmas Movie
It's hard to pick just one. My yearly viewing: Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime; The Muppet Christmas Carol; the version of A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart; Richard Williams' animated version of A Christmas Carol; the original Miracle on 34th Street; A Christmas Story (it's essential to avoid TNT's 24 hour marathon in order for me to still enjoy the movie); It's a Wonderful Life; Love Actually; Mickey's Christmas Carol.

8. Favorite Christmas Song
I could fill an entire entry with Christmas songs I love. I'll pick my absolute favorite, though, which is Nat King Cole's version of "O Holy Night."

There's no spot for Christmas albums. My favorite is A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector.

9. Favorite Christmas TV Special
A Charlie Brown Christmas.

10. Favorite Thing To Wear
I don't have any special Christmas clothing.

11. Favorite Christmas Book
I like to read A Christmas Carol every year. I'll be doing that soon.

12. Favorite Gift You Ever Got
One year, it snowed pretty badly, and I couldn't get out anywhere. Becca's Mom and Grandma both went out of town. We had the entire day to ourselves. That was the most perfect Christmas, especially since this is the time of year when it feels like we never really get to spend any time alone.

13. Favorite Gift You Ever Gave
I'm just grateful on years when I can actually give presents. Spoiler alert: this year is not one of them.

14. Favorite Candy
I don't really have any Christmas-specific candy that I like. I really hate candy canes. My Dad usually puts some Hershey's Kisses in the stockings, though, and I do love those.

15. Favorite Christmas Website
I wouldn't even know to look at one.

16. Favorite Tradition You Used To Do
I used to enjoy when Jayne and I were a lot younger and Mom would put us in the car, put on one of those True-Value Christmas cassettes, and drive us around the neighborhood to look at the lights.

17. Favorite Part of Christmas Eve
Late, when it gets very dark and quiet here.

18. Favorite Part of Christmas Day
When it's all over.

19. How Early Do You Get Up on December 25th
Same time I get up every day, between 6 and 8. Maybe later if Becca doesn't wake me up and I've been up late the night before. When I was a little kid, I used to get up very early, too excited to sleep for long. I remember when I was 7 or 8 waking everyone up at 3 or 4 in the morning.

20. How Late Do You Stay Up on December 24th
Same as every night, 'til 11 or 12.

21. Favorite Christmas Picture
I like those Haddon Sundblom Santas.

22. Anticipation or the Day
Anticipation, I guess. I like the music and the TV specials and the lights. The day itself can be very trying.

23. Advent Calendar You're Doing
I am not. I should do one on this blog next year. Typically, it would just be daily pictures of sexy chicks.

24. Favorite Christmas Thing You're Doing/Done In School
I always liked having the vacation. Does that count?

25. What Did You Get? 26. What Did You Give?
I got nothing, I hope, since I can give nothing.

27. What Did You Feed Santa
28. What Did You Feed The Reindeer
When I was a kid, we did milk and cookies. Now I wonder if my Dad actually drank the milk or dumped it... Huh, I don't know if Dad likes milk or not. Anyhow, at some point my younger sisters started leaving carrots for the reindeer. We didn't do that when I was a kid.

29. Do You Believe In Santa
Well, of course. Well, not literally, but I love Santa Claus.

30. Are You Sad?
Christmas doesn't make me sad so much as it makes me tired.

31. Favorite Part of the Season?
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I really wish winter could just be contained to those four or five weeks. Afterward, I just want the snow gone and the temperature back up.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Republicans Officially Declare Class War

Yesterday, all 42 Republican senators signed a letter declaring that they would block Congress from all action until tax cuts for the wealthy are extended.

42 senators are not a majority, with or without Joe Lieberman.

Democrats, do your fucking jobs for a change. The Republicans have made it clear who they serve. Who do you serve?

Hell's Kitchen and Other TV

Russell? Russell? Are you kidding me?

Well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After Trev was eliminated (mercifully), I knew it was going to come down to a man and a woman, because it always comes down to a man and a woman. Hell's Kitchen is a little too gender-focused, I think, what with its "Battle of the Sexes" stratifying of the teams, and I knew it had to be Russell and someone else. And, as I called on the first episode, it's Nona.

I have to admit, the last couple of episodes--especially last night's--made me really like and respect Jillian, and I was really sorry to see her go. I would've much preferred a face-off between Nona and Jillian than anything involving Russell. And I think Russell's going to crash and burn in the final service, because as much as he thinks (as he said last week) that his criticism is constructive, he just can't lead. He's still the psycho who screams at teenage girls, and he's going to scream his way to a loss next week.

My problem with Russell was so aptly displayed in one scene last night, which was his precious attitude towards the challenge. The judges--all four of them, including Gordon Ramsay, great chefs--didn't like his dish. His attitude? "I don't care what anyone says, I know I made the best dish here." That's the attitude that makes me want to slap him hard across the face. I've got nothing more to learn, I'm perfect.

I really hope he doesn't win. Jillian was robbed.

Other TV:

:: I just found out that Cougar Town is going to be off the air from February through April so that ABC can air a new sitcom, Mr. Sunshine. Yes, because every week I look at the television landscape and ask, "When are we finally going to get a new terrible Matthew Perry show?"

I'm not going to watch it. I just don't care. You've already lost me when you take a show I love--Cougar Town--and take it off the air. I understand that, business-wise, the slot after Modern Family is big for ABC right now, but I like Cougar Town and Matthew Perry sucks. I don't need to ever see him in anything again.

The show will actually be on when I can watch it, too. Right now, I have to watch Modern Family and Cougar Town on because they air at the same time that I'm watching Hell's Kitchen and DVRing Hellcats. But Hell's Kitchen won't be on then (will it?), so I'll have the half-hour free. But I'm still not going to watch Mr. Sunshine. Call me when Cougar Town is back on.

:: Earlier this week, after airing A Charlie Brown Christmas, ABC also aired the newest Disney short, Operation: Secret Santa. It featured the same characters as last year's Prep & Landing special, but with an important difference: it was much, much shorter. It ran something like seven or eight minutes.

A LOT of Disney's productions lately have been too folksy and overly-sentimental for their own good, and their much-lauded Prep & Landing (which is airing tonight on ABC) was no exception. Maybe it wasn't as bad as Bolt or the dreadful Chicken Little, but it was excruciatingly boring. I'm really getting sick of watching animated characters sit and lament their lot in life and how they just want to belong or succeed or make someone proud or something. It's a rare animated movie these days that can handle it in an organic way anymore (How to Train Your Dragon did it) so that it feels like part of the story instead of another beat in a formula to be plugged in.

I'm also sick of the secret agent shtick, especially in relation to Christmas. A few years ago, DreamWorks did a great short with the Madagascar Penguins called A Christmas Caper that did the secret agent operation thing in a way that felt funny and fresh (the penguins, once again, being the only good thing about those Madagascar movies). Seeing Disney play catch-up on that... it just felt tired. Putting it into a seven-minute short format worked better than making a half-hour special built of spare parts and retreads.

Disney... I want them to like what they do, but they make it so hard sometimes. Operation: Secret Santa felt like a bit of a throwaway, but at least it didn't try to convince me I had to care about these characters.

:: This week, Castle proved to me that it could put on an extremely cheesy episode of the show and I'll still love it. God, I love this show. I think a lot of it has to do with Becca. She's much harder on scripted TV than I am, and tends to hate a lot of what I watch. The only scripted TV show she actually looks forward to anymore is Castle, and she LOVES Castle. So it really feels like it's our show, the one we both watch and enjoy together. She works late on Monday nights, so we TiVo it and watch it on Tuesday night, but it's worth the wait, because it really makes her happy.

Thanks, Castle, for being so awesome.

(Also Venture Bros., her other favorite show.)

:: I don't care much about the Emmy Awards, but if Irrfahn Kahn doesn't win an Emmy for this season of In Treatment, what's the point of having awards for such things?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Stuff Like This Is Also Why Daniel Radcliffe Is My Boy


Oh, Fanboys, Really...

Mel Smith, director of the excellent The Tall Guy and the execrable Bean, made a remark the other day that George Lucas--who wrote and produced Radioland Murders, which Smith directed--was buying up the film rights for dead actors "in the hope of using computer trickery to put them all together in a movie, so you’d have Orson Welles and Barbara Stanwyck appear alongside today's stars." It sounded to me like a bit of spiteful commentary or a joke taken out of context. But, of course, since it was a "rumor" involving George Lucas, the crybabies on the internet took it and ran with it without verifying whether this was actually true...

Of course, Lucasfilm had to deny this, because this is apparently the sort of Extremely Important Internet News that needs to be dignified with an official denial. And once again, the fandamentalists who can't just get over it have to be placated.

Look, guys, I get it, alright?

You're pissed off that the Prequels didn't recapture your childhood because, inconveniently, you'd spent 16 years sort of growing up before The Phantom Menace came out.

You're pissed off that George Lucas didn't make the prequels sooner.

You're pissed off that CGI exists.

You're pissed off about Jar Jar Binks.

You're pissed off about the Special Editions.

You're pissed off about The Clone Wars.

You're pissed off about Shia LaBeouf and prairie dogs and all sorts of things that can't possibly be Steven Spielberg's fault.

You're pissed off about Howard the Duck and Labyrinth and Radioland Murders and all of the other stuff George Lucas made in the 80s and 90s that wasn't Star Wars.

You're pissed off that Boba Fett is a character who did nothing but stand around and look kind of cool for a movie and a half and then didn't die the epic death his barely-any-screen-time character supposedly deserved.

You're pissed off, for nearly three embarrassing decades, that George Lucas used Ewoks instead of Wookies under the misguided and frankly idiotic belief that he would have somehow merchandised the shit out of Wookies less than Ewoks.

You're all so damn pissed off at George Lucas simply because, in 1977, he did you the favor of creating a fictional universe that you love and wish you could live in.

I get it, alright. I get it.

You don't need to complain to me any more about any of this retarded bullshit, because I totally understand where your stupid, stupid neuroses are coming from.

But, seriously, this one was just embarrassing. You guys hate George Lucas so much--you're so angry at him--that someone makes an off the cuff remark and you all run with it, holding onto your injured anuses and rushing to your blogs and chat rooms to cry and sob and righteously heave about what new injustice George Lucas has done to your precious feelings, without even taking a second to think "Wait, that's stupid, maybe I should see if that's remotely true."

Christ, you people are an embarrassment.

This is why it took me nearly a decade to love Star Wars again. Because all you people ever do is ruin it and make it unpalatable to just like some damn movies because, you know, those of us who aren't caught up in the untenable rage of being fans can apparently never like them enough.

Seriously, you so badly want to believe that George Lucas is this evil person that you'll hear something this profoundly dumb and simply believe it because you want this negative opinion confirmed so terribly.


Jesus, someone could say that there's a hole in the ozone layer that was caused by all of the CGI computers at the Skywalker Ranch and you'd just swallow it and be up all night raging to the internet that George Lucas has to be stopped.

You people are ridiculous.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

You know, there just aren't enough good horror movies that use Halloween iconography. This one may not be perfect, but I had so much fun with it that I just didn't care. Girls in sexy Halloween costumes, werewolves, serial killers, trick or treaters, pumpkins, urban legends, creepy kids, the scary old guy whose house no kid goes to for candy, this movie has all of those things in several interconnected stories that jump back and forth in time on one Halloween night. I can't believe this thing sat on the shelf for two years; it is one of the most enjoyable Halloween movies I've ever seen, and one destined to become an annual staple in my house. I'd love to see even more of these, honestly. More installments, please. ***1/2 stars.

And Now, a Rather Stately Gorilla

All State Champion Running Back. *grunt*

Monday, December 06, 2010

Letting Me Down Gently?

ME: Okay, here's a movie idea for Disney: a live action version of Adventures of the Gummi Bears.


ME: But, listen: you do it as a semi-serious fantasy epic with CGI Gummi Bears. Like the first season of Gummi Bears, where it was about that kid meeting legendary creatures and fighting off Duke Igthorn and his trolls in a medieval kingdom.

BECCA: That's so stupid.

ME: It's Lord of the Rings with CGI Gummi Bears.

BECCA: I had this dream last night that someone took a big shit in the sink.

ME: Ew.

BECCA: And I had to clean it, and it was disgusting. And then later, I had to do laundry in the same sink, and it was just mired in crap. Like, the crap would just never come out.

ME: I... I kind of hate you for telling me about that.

BECCA: And that dream? That sounds better than your Gummi Bears movie.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Song of the Week: "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You"

Really? I've never had Elvis Presley up for Song of the Week before? I'm a little surprised at myself. Well, it's a Winter Wonderland outside right now, and I'm thinking of my Grandma Davis this time of the year. She loved Elvis, and so do I. So here's my favorite Elvis song, from 1956. I'll never have my Grandma's Christmas cookies again, but I'll always have Elvis and Christmas music and my memories.