Wednesday, September 26, 2012

TV 2012: Partners

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It's time for another live review! Let's see what happens!
  • Little kids don't dress like that. Sweaters over button-ups and polos? Nope, not believable. We don't need them to be wearing the EXACT same clothes to figure out it was them aging. 
  • The laughtrack is soooo loud! Just because other "people" are laughing, it doesn't make me think it's any funnier.
  • I love the cast, but I don't think I'm going to like any of the characters. On the same note, the title sequence is pretty cute, though.
  • There's been about a five minute period where I haven't thought anything about this show. My brain has literally shut down. 
  • If this show were about Sophia Bush and Brandon Routh's characters, I would definitely be enjoying this more. Is it too late to switch this around?
  • Can the secretary be anymore stereotypical? It's really racist actually...
  • This show would be so much better if they stopped going for the easy jokes. Or the dirty jokes. If it were just the sweet moments, it might actually be good and it might actually be funny.
  • TV show pet peeve: don't sit all on the same side of the table! 
I give it a D+! I'm really sad this is on after "How I Met Your Mother", such a good time slot wasted. I'd hope that it could get better, but let's be real, that's not going to happen. Fingers crossed they let it die after one season, but I do think they'll make the mistake of giving it a full season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TV 2012: Revolution

Sorry I'm a little behind on reviewing pilots due to traveling last week, but I'll hopefully be catching up over the next couple of days. 

Quick summary to start things off: this show takes place 15 years after the entire world loses power. Somehow physics stops working properly. No electricity, batteries, nothing. The country is now ruled by militias and one of them has come for the Dad (I never know anyone's name in pilots!) because they believe he knows how to bring back the power. He's killed, his Son is taken, and his daughter, Charlie, goes looking for her Uncle with her Step-mom and Google guy to save the Son.

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I actually really enjoyed this show. After "Lost" debuted, so many shows tried to duplicate its success and they all failed for one reason: they didn't know how to walk the line between questions and answers. I call it "The X-Files Dilemma". For a show like this to work, there needs to be a framework, a big over-arcing storyline, in which everything takes place, but most episodes need to focus on things within this structure. And then, every once and a while, answer some of the major questions of the show. In "X-Files", it was the presence of aliens and how the government was covering it up. One or two episodes each season really focused on it, but the rest of the episodes were one-off stories that developed the characters. In "Lost" (at least the first couple of seasons), the framework was the mysterious island and what it actually was, but individual episodes focused on just trying to survive after a plane crash.

From the pilot, a lot was established for this framework. We know that some people still have power, but keep it very hidden. We know that there is a dystopian militia ruled by the former friend of the Uncle, who I refer to as ER guy because I only recognized him as the playboy Australian doctor on "ER". However, given the wasteland that the country has become, there is a lot of play for singular stories of things and people they encounter, allowing the framework to stretch and grow before they ruin it by creating more mysteries.

The key to a show like this is all about the timing. You need to give enough answers to keep people hooked, but at the same time, you need to develop the mystery, or the plot, to keep people hooked. The reason I mention developing the plot is because I don't see how they can keep the mystery unsolved for more than three seasons without really creating a mess. That was the problem with "Lost". They refused to answer questions and it just became so confusing and convoluted that no answer made any sort of sense anymore. It was also the problem with "Heroes" where they answers too many things too soon and then had to come up with secondary plots that sucked. My ideal vision for this show would be for the world to somehow have power restored in three to four seasons and the rest of the series would be about the fall-out form having power back. That would work for me.

Anyway, I'm starting to babble. I would give this show an A-. I doubt it'll stay an A- for long, but I am quite looking forward to it, for now.

Packing List for Business Trips

Every time I have to go on one of these quick three day business trips, I always forget something. Well, not anymore! I'm developing a system! I wrote out everything I thought I would need for this past trip and I'm posting it just so I won't lose it again!

I broke things down into which bag they go into, for simplicities sake. Feel free to use this or adapt it as your own, but this is my list for a three day business trip with air travel.

Business Trip Clothes

Suit Case
  • Clothes and shoes. [Side note: I've learned packing is MUCH easier if I plan everything out in polyvore first. That way, I can form outfits using minimal pieces and really think about the function of each piece. Also, layers are key.]
  • PJs. I always forget PJs. If you really want to do double duty and are planning on using the gym at your hotel, you could bring comfortable work out clothes and use them as pajamas, you know, before you sweatify them.
  • Socks. Wear one pair under the boots and pack four more. Always pack extra socks.
  • Bras. Wear one and pack another. Don't judge me!
  • Underwear. At least three comfortable, sleeping pairs and two thongs.
  • My tools for repairing the robots, which are oddly shaped and making packing looooads of fun.
  • Non-liquid toiletries.
    • Make-up remover pads.
    • Hair brush, comb, two pony tail elastics, two smaller elastics, spin pins, and at least six bobby pins.
    • Toothbrush. 
    • Contact case.
    • Pads and tampons (if necessary).
    • Retainer. [My husband has never seen my gross retainer and I only wear it when one of us is on a business trip.]  
    • Deodorant.
    • Make-up brushes and solids, like concealer stick.
  • Laptop.
  • Laptop charger.
  • Book.
  • Cellphone charger.
  • Earplugs.
  • Scarf. [Planes are always cold and it can also be used as a blindfold if it's too bright to nap.]
  • Paperwork for the plane tickets, hotel reservations, rental car, directions, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • Water bottle (empty).
  • Ipod.
  • A couple of granola bars in case we end up missing a meal.
  • Watch, if the battery is working.
  • Purse.
    • Wallet.
    • Phone.
    • Car keys.
    • Camera.
    • Work Badge.
    • Sunglasses and case.
  • Liquids bag.
    • Toothpaste.
    • Lotion.
    • Liquid make-up, like mascara and foundation.
    • Contact Solution.
Once I get through security, I throw the liquids bag in my suitcase, fill my water bottle up at a water fountain, and just sit around and wait until I can take a nap on the plane.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Never Sunny in Philadelphia

On yet another ridiculously quick business trip, I went to Philadelphia. It was going to be a pretty standard trip: fly out Day 1, work Day 2, fly home Day 3. And it was going to be better than most because it would actually be during the week. I'd get to keep my weekend for a change!

This is until it was decided that we had to work on the robot during the night as to not hinder it's use during the day when it was needed most. Fun...

So last Monday, we flew out to Philly. Everything went smoothly except for a half hour delay on the last leg of our flights. We quickly began to do the math at hand realized that with the delay, we'd only have about an hour to get dinner before heading to the customer site. Add in the extra half hour it took to get the rental car and we were quickly losing time.

The biggest difficulty though? I had the wrong address for the hotel. There was a hotel only five minutes from the customer site, so I naively assumed it was the one that was booked. Only after arriving and finding out that there were no reservations under our names did we realize our work had booked them at the hotel with the same name twenty minutes away. By the time we got to the correct hotel (plus a couple of additional times that I got us lost), we had just enough time to drop off our luggage and change before heading to the customer site.

It was pretty easy work at the site. It went as smoothly as you could hope and with the time difference between coasts, it didn't feel as late as it was. Although I can't mention the specific site I went to, while I was there, I did see a minor celebrity. And I use the term "celebrity" loosely (if at all) because she was on "Dancing with the Stars". (If you really wanted to figure out the customer site, it wouldn't be hard given who she is and when I was working.)
Although everything went smoothly, it was still after 3:30AM by the time we finished. Even though I had a candy bar about midway through, I had no energy and think I slept the best I've ever slept in a hotel bed.

The best thing about working through the night is that it gave us most of Tuesday to explore Philly! After finding a place that served all-day breakfast (I was in desperate need of some french toast), we set off for downtown Philly.
Our hop on/hop off tour bus
The steps from "Rocky"
You can see New Jersey across the river
Just chilling with the Liberty Bell, in my new, cool jacket
Because we got a late start, we missed the last tour of Independence Hall, but we did make it just in time for the last tour of Congress Hall, the building that housed the first House of Representatives and the Senate.

The clock tower of Congress Hall
Sites were starting to close and it was beginning to sprinkle, we headed to the Reading Terminal Market to kill some time and fill our bellies a bit before heading to dinner. I really wish we had a whole day to spend there and just eat and eat and eat the day away.

Here's the reason this one was a poor decision: it was a mile from where we wanted to eat dinner. Not a big deal on a normal day, but this was not a normal day. About half mile into our walk through downtown, this happened.

I have never before seen rain like this. And there was nowhere to hide. We shielded ourselves as best as possible until the rain let up and then tried to run to the next awning. By the time we got to the restaurant, I looked like this.

We ate at the City Tavern, which has all kinds of history, but pretty blah food. It definitely did not agree with me.

But other than getting lost a bunch, working through the night, and getting soaked to the bone, fun trip!

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...'s a big old plane with the space shuttle on it!

At 11:15 yesterday morning, the space shuttle flew over Tucson. It was a sweet gesture from astronaut Mark Kelly to his wife, Gabby Giffords, and the rest of Tucson got to enjoy.

As soon as I got to work, I put a reminder in my calendar to head outside at 11:10 to watch it fly over head. I've never seen the space shuttle before and with the shuttle program ending, who knew if I'd ever get to see one?

Once the reminder went off later that morning, I hustled outside to find a bunch of people already gathering. No one knew where it would appear exactly, but we had the general knowledge that it was going East to West.

Less than a minute after walking outside, someone had spotted it. It was flying very low, about 1500 feet and over the main part of town. But because it was flying so low and the main part of town is probably six miles from my work, the shuttle was hidden by the office buildings.

We all dashed deep into the parking lot, hoping to get far enough from the buildings and the trees to see it. About a minute later, it reappeared.

Here's what I expected to see:

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Here's what I actually saw:

If I extended my arm to full length, it was smaller than my thumb nail.

But I don't care! I still saw it! I saw the space shuttle!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Get it right, son!

Whenever older guys, mainly ones who haven't met me in person, only over the phone or email, want to be clever or friendly, they call me 'Carol'.

Don't call me Carol! My name is not Carol! It's Carolyn! I have never, and will never, called myself Carol. It's not my name! If it were, my mother would have named me Carol! I would introduce myself as Carol, I would sign emails as Carol, and damn it, I would go by Carol!

Rule of thumb for everyone out there on the internet (not that I think you need it, because clearly you're smart, but it should just be out in the ether): don't refer to someone by a name they haven't called themselves. You will only get yourself into trouble.

End of rant.

Monday, September 17, 2012

And Things Got Bloody Remarkably Quickly

This whole story takes place over the span of about a week. It went from "neat anecdote" to "Oh my god! What is Happening?!? How do I stop this?! There's so much blood!" in two twists I did not see coming.

Friday: Dan was working in the garage on his off Friday (lucky duck gets every other Friday off). While he was working, I'm not sure if he heard a rustle or just looked up and saw movement, but he spotted this:

Can you see it? If you can't, try this one:

It was a bobcat.

Bobcats in general aren't a big deal in Arizona. They are a danger if you've got small dogs or outside cats, but for us, it's kind of just a rarity to spot one. It's an "Aww, cool! A bobcat!" moment and we got on with our lives. 

Tuesday: I was at home alone, after getting off of work. I was getting ready to work out before Dan got home and some movement caught my eye.

This bobcat was definitely comfortable in our backyard. I assumed it was the same one that Dan saw and now we knew this bobcat was determined to stick around for a while. Like I said before, no biggie. The cats didn't even notice.

Tuesday, thirty minutes later: In the middle of an intense Jillian Michaels DVD in the living room, movement caught my eye again, but this time, I wasn't as calm. This time there was A LOT of swearing for two very important reasons.

Reason #1:

This bobcat had kittens. And as cute as a pair of bobcat kittens were, it means you do not want to mess with mama. With just one bobcat, you can pretty easily scare it off, but with a mama and kittens, there's now the possibility that she will feel the need to defend them and that could get ugly fast.

Reason #2:

They were heading for Turtle!

I panicked. I didn't know if desert tortoises are prey for bobcats (they are) and I didn't know if he was out of his house (he wasn't) because it's not like he can outrun them. My split-second reaction was to just bang on the windows to try to scare them off, but that failed to work. I armed myself with my bat-day baseball bat and was about to head outside to try to scare them off a little more forcefully, if necessary.

Luckily, that was when Dan arrived. Between the two of us, we were able to scare them over the wall, but not before noticing that there were actually three kittens, not two.

Thursday: this was the bad day. When I walked through the door to the house from the garage, the cats were there to greet me at the door. Usually they don't, but I just thought they were being cute or maybe they knocked something over and were playing innocent.

As I walked into the kitchen, I quickly saw what was wrong.

The family had decided to take up residency on our back porch. It took me a couple of days to notice, but if you look at the right-hand side, you can see paw prints where they must have scared the bejesus out of my kitties. I won't post some of the pictures I took, but they also decided to have a messy dinner there. We also noticed later that they had used our jacuzzi as a litter box. That's just rude.

And because they were more comfortable now, it was harder to scare them off. They hung around the backyard and near the guest room long enough for me to get some great pics.

My husband was a champ and cleaned up the mess once they left.

Fortunately, Turtle is safe and they have only been back once since this incident. One of my realest fears at this point is that I'll walk around a corner, not paying attention, and get between her and her kittens. That would be bad.

The easiest solution we've heard off is to pee around the backyard to mark our territory. I'm surprised that Dan is as reluctant as he is to pee around our backyard. He has my permission, so just do it! Otherwise, I will and odds are I'll end up getting cactus needles somewhere you never, ever want cactus needles.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

TV 2012: Guys with Kids

In a change of pace, I'm going to live review this one. I'm pretty sure it'll be crap, but follow along and see what I think as it happens. [Note: this isn't really live, but you get what I mean.]

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  • Wow, they sure are pushing the Jimmy Fallon angle, aren't they? "Hey! It's from Jimmy Fallon so it must be at least mildly amusing! We even got him to say the part about the studio audience at the beginning so it must be good!"
  • No sane woman would be charmed by a man with a baby in a bar. Bad parenting isn't sexy.
  • Wait, did Jimmy Fallon do the theme song, too? Poor Jimmy Fallon...
  • Uh oh! He needs a babysitter for his date and his ex-wife won't let him? I bet hijinx ensue...
  • Jokes about children ruining your life. If you didn't want so many kids to take away everything you loved, wear a condom. Personal choice, suck it up.
  • Overly intrusive laugh track? Check!
  • Vanessa from "The Cosby Show" may be the only thing saving this show. I'd say the guy from "Bring It On" is a plus, but he's just a tool.
  • Why is the ex-wife so much of a bitch? Can't they at least make her a realistic bitch? Does she need to be over the top? Is it really the worst thing that the baby is in the sink? She can still be the villain, but have some sort of motivation.
  • I actually kind of like the other white guy, whatever his name is. He's kind of charming, in a goofy way. I'd still be pissed at him for ruining the evening, but the make-up gesture was pretty cute. 
I give it a D! And that's probably being generous.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

TV 2012: Go On

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One thing I am guaranteed to love? Matthew Perry being zany. I miss Chandler Bing and I want him to channel Chandler all the time. As much as I love him, I will admit that the previews for "Go On" did not look good and had me worried.

Fortunately, the show was much better than the previews. The previews were setting it up to be like "Community", a bunch of people thrown together who become a misfit family. However, after watching the pilot, it felt more like "Scrubs", some crazy characters with an occasional moment of tragedy. It is about a loss support group, after all.

Now to the details!

  • Matthew Perry being zany. I'm glad he finally got back to his zany roots after disappointing in "Studio 60" and "Mr. Sunshine".
  •  Characters I like:
    • Owen - sometimes being the straight man in a room full of crazies is the most appreciated role.
    • George, the old, blind guy - every show needs an old guy. It just does. Someone to be overly honest and kind of outlandish.
    • Fausta, the Hispanic lady - every show needs a foreigner. There are just too many good language/cultural jokes to make to not have a non-native. And she's just so excited when she wins the grief game.
    • Anne, the angry lady - is it any wonder that I like an angry female character? Nope, didn't think so. Also, she's played by the mom from "Transformers", probably the only redeemable character from that franchise.
  • I appreciated the montage of the people dealing with their grief. To me, it felt more real that way, like the opening montage in "Up". The greatest asset of this show will be its heart.
  • Under utilizing John Cho. While I'm glad the whole cast is strong, I want John Cho to be a more central character. He's Harold from "Harold and Kumar" for Pete's sake! My fear is that, down the line, the show will either have to focus more on the therapy group or the radio show to thrive. They'll cut the radio show, like "Up All Night" is cutting the talk show, and we'll lose those characters, which I like better than most of the support group people at this point. Maybe those actors will go on (ha! go on) to other projects that they'd rather work on, but I'll still be attached and sad.
  • Characters I don't like:
    • Sweater guy - he's too over the top right now. My prediction is that they're going to give him a terrible and twisted back story tragedy to explain his behavior, especially with him being creepy in a Lamaze class. But for now, I just don't get it.
    • Lauren, the therapist/leader - why anyone takes her seriously is beyond me.
I'd give it a A-. It's a very fine line it's walking right now. If it stays on the current path it's on, it'll get better. If it becomes more sitcom-y, it'll be worse. Focus on the heart of the characters rather than making them comedic and zany (even though I love zany), and it'll shine.

I'm Going to Get Heatstroke...Again

I only have one rule when it comes to fashion: I am only allowed to buy one jacket a year. Only one. I live in Arizona, I don't really need the majority of the ones I have, let alone another one. I thought I did good last year and didn't buy any, but when I was cleaning out my closet a few days ago, I realized I'd actually bought two. Oops!

But I've been bad. So bad, especially because it's only September [Side note: a "jacket year" is not a calendar year, it's from one summer to the next]. Over Labor Day weekend, barely in the fall season and still over 100 degrees here, I bought a jacket!

It was just too pretty to pass up!

In my own defense, it was ridiculously cheap. Originally priced at $118, it was 30% off, plus I had a $25 off coupon on top of that, which made it roughly $58, or more than half off.

And doesn't it just look lovely on me? The faux leather is so creamy and feminine and the cut is just so bad-ass.

See those little cat ears at the bottom of the picture? Guess who wanted to be another diva and get all the attention?

How'd I end up with two little prima donna cats? It must be me...


Now, if the temperature would only drop about 40 degrees so I could wear my new jacket...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TV 2012: The New Normal

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If ever I have been torn over a show, it's this one. Since I knew it was getting so much hype, I should at least review it, but I was not looking forward to it. I'd almost talked myself out of it when I stumbled into watching it one bored night.

After my first watching, I was even more torn. I like elements of this show so much, but other parts of it make me want to throw up all over myself just so I have the excuse to leave the room. Let's break this divide down.

  • The writing was terrible. Aside from some Sue Sylvester-esque quips every once and a while, the dialog was just plain bad. And I think that's what concerns me most about this show is that it's a Ryan Murphy show, creator of "Glee". I used to love Glee. The first couple of episodes were perfection, but everything after that makes "Degrassi" look like Shakespeare. I appreciate consistancy in my characters. I don't need to be able to predict everything they do, but their actions should at least make sense. I can't become invested in another show to have it go all haywire again.
  • Some details confused me. Was her boyfriend the father of the little girl? [Side note: this review would be so much easier if I knew any of their names! Why aren't they wearing name tags or something?!] Wait, she's wearing a ring on her ring finger, are they married? Were they living with him or with the grandmother? Why wasn't the little girl more upset with everything she knew changing around her? No eight year old is that stoic and logical.
  • List of the characters I don't like:
    • Bryan - the over-the-top gay man. I liked him for the first minute, but then he went batty. Wanting a baby just so you can dress him? Requesting a skinny blond child? Yeah, I'm out.
    • Nene Leakes. She didn't add anything. Period. Her sass didn't make things any more enjoyable and didn't even make me laugh. It's not her, it's the writing, but I still don't care.
    • Nana. I get it, you're hateful, but oddly enough, that's not why I don't like her. Why try to make her redeemable in the pilot? Can't she just be a terrible person and we find out down the line that she's got history for her hate? And quips don't sound funny coming out of her mouth, just mean and poorly delivered.
    • Goldie - the star of the show. I don't want to watch another pretty, doe-eyed girl/woman protagonist. We have Zooey Deschanel for that and she's at least quirky and awkward on top of it. Maybe she'll develop a back bone or some other honorable quality, but for now, she's just a pretty, soft-spoken doormat.
  • I'm a big fan of gay characters that are characters, not caricatures. While Bryan is waaaaay over the top, the other guy isn't (I watched it twice and I still don't know his name). Not every gay guy is all about the show tunes, pop stars, and being effeminate. 
  • Some moments are so incredibly sweet. When the characters are being real and human, it's very difficult not to get caught up in all of the emotions, like when deciding who will be the biological dad. More heart, less quips.
  • Nana pulling a gun on the cheating boyfriend. I'm not pro-gun, but even was a nice little show of support for the granddaughter she really doesn't support.
  • The little girl and her mother actually look related. It really bugs me when there isn't some sort of resemblance when casting families. No, I don't ignore the fact that they don't look related because they act like such a family. Suck it up cast directors and hire people that look like!
  • I would watch this show just for the reaction shots of the little girl. Maybe not, but still, they are pretty classic.
Based on the pilot alone, I give this show a C+. There's no doubt in my mind that it'll get a full season pick up, but whether or not I watch more than the next episode has yet to be determined. I'll probably add it to my hulu queue, but it's just so easy to delete episodes that don't hook me for a whole season, so that doesn't mean much.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The First Fight

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As a married couple, of course we bicker and argue, but on Saturday, I think we had our first official fight. The screaming, yelling, refusing to back down sort of fight. It took us almost five years, but we finally got there and honestly, it's kind of a relief.

Let's start at the beginning. Saturday afternoon was our second annual open house. Just finger foods and drinks and catching up with the friends and coworkers who could drop by. Last year, the party went really well, so I was already feeling a lot of pressure to have similar results. As crazy as it sounds, we started planning six weeks ago, making a list of everything we wanted to finish on the house before the party. That list spurred a lot of progress, like the bedroom update.

With one week to go, I wrote another list. A list of all the smaller things that had to be done before the party, like all the party related details ("plan menu and make grocery list", "vacuum", etc.) and the day they needed to be done. I will be the first to admit that we quickly fell behind. Fortunately, Dan had Friday off and would be able to play catch-up, or so I thought.

To help him out, I numbered the items on the list so he would know what I thought was important. I showed him the list and he said "Ok, as long as I can take my Jeep in to get the last bit welded." My mistake #1: I shouldn't have assumed that because he said "Ok" it meant he thought he could get the list done. His mistake #1: he should have spoken up if he hadn't planned on doing it.

Friday evening, after getting home from work, an unproductive trip to Target, a marathon grocery store trip to buy food for the party, and decompressing while eating dinner, I asked about the status of the list. He tried to play cute, but he'd gotten one, maybe two, things done on the list, leaving at least six or seven things untouched.

I really wish there was a way to punish husbands. If I could ground him, my life would be so much easier.

Since it was already dark and I couldn't tackle a majority of the things he failed to do that day, I spent Friday night preparing as much food as possible. I woke up early Saturday morning to keep cooking (just a side note, don't try to make these caramel apple bites from Pinterest. The caramel doesn't stick. It just flows off and makes a huge mess.) and was already overwhelmed. I woke Dan up to help me and to join me in the craziness unfolding. I was running around like a chicken with their head cut off and I just wanted some help and some initiative. He just wanted me to relax and didn't understand why I needed certain things done.

Communications really started to spiral out of control and somehow, we were both outside screaming at each other. "Why did you ask me what you should do if you're going to do something else?!" "Because it doesn't make any sense!" "What doesn't make sense?!" "None of this makes any sense!" "Why didn't you say anything days ago if you felt this way!?"

You get the point.

This went on for at least half an hour. Each of us scrambling to get things done, panicking until the other one did something that got interpreted as being confrontational and the screaming began again. The only reason I think the mood finally broke was when I had an almost incident with a bobcat (I keep meaning to post the story from weeks ago, but it'll make more sense after I post that.) It's hard to be mad at someone when you think you're about to be attacked by a bobcat.

After the party, we finally got to sit down and talk and apologize to each other. Nothing got resolved so I'm sure this'll happen again, but at least we now know how big of an issue this can become. I feel like such a marriage cliche, "My husband and I can't communicate and it's causing all kinds of problems." How boring.

The relieving part is that now I know that it's not that big of a deal if we fight. Until you've fought with someone, it's almost impossible to predict how they fight and the ramifications of it. Do they fight dirty? Do they hold a grudge? Do they spin every single little thing into something bigger? Can they stay on topic or do they throw in everything they've been saving up? Do they dish it but can't take it?

We survived our first big fight and there seems to be minimal fall-out. Yes, I can hold a grudge and take things personally, but everything seems back to normal. At some point we'll need to sit down and hopefully come to some sort of agreement on how to fix some things, but let's be honest, it'll probably take another four or five fights to drive that point home.

At least after almost five years together, we still have some firsts.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fan of Fridays: Week of 9/7/2012

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Top Gear (The British version, not the knock-off American version)

Although I seem to be constantly bemoaning our lack of cable, we get on pretty well without it. Between the free channels, hulu, and Amazon Prime, there always seems to be something worth watching.

Do you know about Amazon Prime? Perhaps the greatest thing Amazon has ever come up with? It's three-fold. First, free two day shipping, which basically makes online shopping as easy as going to the grocery store. Secondly, you can check out an e-book once a month, which really doesn't affect me since I don't have an e-reader, but is still awesome none the less. And lastly is the free TV and movies. While their library is quite limited, it does contain almost a dozen seasons of the greatest show to ever air: Top Gear.

Top Gear is pure perfection. Put three crazy British guys together with a bunch of the world best cars, some outlandish challenges, and a different celebrity every week and you have lightning in a bottle.

And here's the great thing about this show: you don't have to be a gear head to enjoy it. Yes, my husband the car guy loves the specs on horse power and torque and the zero to sixty times, but my little sister will happily watch hours of it with us. This is the reason why millions of people watch it world wide every week and why the revamped version has been on for 18 seasons.

The three hosts have wildly different personalities. First is Jeremy Clarkson. He's loud, stubborn, and opinionated. He's brash, a prankster, and pretty impractical. He interviews the celebrities who compete to race in their "reasonably priced car". 

Second is Richard Hammond. He likes flashy cars and being the most stylish. He's fairly gullable, can actually fix cars, and tends to be made fun of constantly for his height.

Third is James May. He's the most practical, but also the most boring. His nickname is "Captain Slow" and is usually the victim of the pranks of the other two. He tends to lose challenges, usually because his car catastrophically failed, but every once and a while, he pulls off a great win.

It's really hard to accurately describe it, so just watch the clips, track down full episodes, and become an addict like me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TV 2012: Ben and Kate

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Quick summary: this show is about a woman, Kate, who works as a waitress, her young daughter, and her crazy older brother, Ben, that comes back into town.

  • Montages of little things, like entering the house with a bloody shirt and asking, "Do you know Portuguese?" 
  • I really like Kate. She seems like a real person to me, not just a model pretending to be a waitress. Her hair isn't perfect, she wears an ugly fancy pack (and not in an ironic way), and she just has these mannerisms with the other character that makes it feel like she actually has history with them. 
  • Maddie, the daughter, is just as cute as a button.
  • A waitress would never be able to afford the house she lives in. Some realism with finances TV people, that'd be awesome.
  • I don't really like Ben. He's supposed to be quirky and outlandish, but I just find him unrealistic and kind of annoying. Maybe he'll become less cartoonish as the series progresses, but right now I would watch this show in spite of him rather than because of him.
  • A couple of supporting characters were introduced, but it's hard to tell which way they will swing. They could be great or they could be filler, time will tell.
I know this is a short review, but there's really not much to this show yet. I'd give this show a B. It will get picked up for a full season, mainly because of it's air time after "New Girl", and I'll continue to give it a shot, but it won't be able to knock it out of the park until Ben wins me over. He doesn't necessarily need to be likable, but he needs to at least be interesting and not annoying.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Workout Wednesdays: The Cleanse Tea

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Have you seen this cleanse floating around Pinterest?

I swear I see it at least once a day on my daily Pinterest check-in. I usually ignore it, but then I found this: a testimonial of someone who actually tried out the cleanse. I was suddenly all ears.

After reading her assessment and review, I decided to give it a try. It was remarkably simple once you bought the dandelion root tea off of amazon (link). The only other requirements were diet cranberry juice, lemon juice, and a pitcher.

Here's how I made it. I poured 20 oz of boiling water over the tea bag every night. After letting it sit for a few minutes, I added the remaining 40 oz of water, the cranberry and lemon juice, and I let it chill in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I filled up two water bottles to take to work and drank one in the morning and one in the afternoon. When I got home from work, I drank whatever remained in the pitcher. Besides that, I just ate and exercised like I normally do.

It actually doesn't taste that bad. It tastes kind of earthy, but it's not bad. I didn't even notice the taste if I was eating something at the same time. It just tasted like really cold water. It always seemed to be colder than regular water for some reason.

According to the testimonial, the water weight would immediately melt off of me. The morning of the second day, I weighed myself and expected the two to three pound weight loss like the reviewer. I think I lost 0.2 pounds, maybe 0.4.

After a week of drinking this tea and eating normally, I lost a total of 0.6 pounds, saw no difference in my body, and had no adverse effects to the tea. It was really no skin off my back, minus the $8 I spent on the tea, but I was really hoping for a quick solution. It wouldn't have been a big deal if I'd lost five pounds of water only to have it come back a week later, but it would have been nice to have a trick up my sleeve if I needed to slim down in a hurry for a pool party or a known ex run-in or something.

Maybe this tea will work well for other people because it could be that I just don't retain much water (then why do I feel so puffy?!) or it works well in conjunction with starting a diet or exercise regime, but for me, it wasn't worth it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why the Home Shopping Network is Both the Greatest and the Worst Thing Ever

When you don't have cable, you end up settling for a lot of bad TV. Now that the Olympics are over, it is nearly impossible to find anything worth my attention between 5PM Friday to about 6PM Sunday. If it's a slow weekend, it means I end up watching A LOT of HSN.

Sometimes it's the good stuff, like celebrity clothing lines and old lady jewelry (wow, how does her wrist support that much turquoise?). Sometimes it's the crap like vitamins or hair care. No matter, if I am bored enough, I will soak it up like a sponge.

Last weekend, it was a whole weekend of "trunk sale", whatever that is, but it was ALL designer clothes and jewelry. Let me tell you, at about 11:30 on a Friday when you are loopy tired from a long work week but are determined to not go to bed early like the old lady you secretly are, it becomes very hard to resist their sales pitch. While most of the year, I swear it's 90+ degrees in Tucson, I was convinced this was the greatest thing ever and would complete my life:

Isn't it gorgeous? I'm a sucker for jackets, and granted it costs more than all the jackets and coats in my closet combined, but wouldn't it look great on me? You know, for those four days it's actually cold here?

Also, they had these jeans:

Aren't they genius? They're colored on the front, but black on the back, but the black wraps around half in on each side to slim you. They're jeggings that visually slim you! So smart! Can't say I'm the biggest fan of the color selection, but I would totally wear them.

Now, I've never purchased anything from HSN and I never intend to, but these ladies are just so convincing! I want to buy everything they're selling. It's like they are half news anchor, half used cars salesman. There's a reason why everyone who calls in talks about the dozens and dozens of pants they've purchased before and loved. They are brainwashed by these hosts!

Someday, hopefully long in the future, when I've finally had my mental breakdown, it will be evident by the sudden insane credit card bill as I've caved to the TV succubuses.