Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I Learned in September: 2014

1. There's a lemon cupcake -- the Lemon Blast -- at Epcot, that I must try. As soon as Food and Wine Fest is over, though. I have too much on my list to add in a random cupcake right now.

2. There is a new gorilla baby at Animal Kingdom! I remember when the last one was born. New births are always exciting.

3. I had to say farewell to a couple of Epcot favorites. The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corp, and Maelstrom, in the Norway pavilion, are going to be no more. That makes me sad. I've enjoyed them both so much.

4. I finally figured out how I like Greek yogurt: Mix in whatever it is that I will be mixing in, stirred well, and then allow it to sit for about fifteen minutes. I'm not sure which part of the process is the key -- I found it by accident on a day I got interrupted at work after doing those steps -- but it works for me.

5. The kid who plays Henry on Once Upon a Time, played Bobby Draper on seasons three and four of Mad Men. I stumbled upon that by searching IMDB, as I am wont to do approximately once a day, it seems. Now I want to go back and see if I can recognize him in Mad Men, because looking at him now, I really cannot see it!

Every month, Chatting at the Sky shares what she learned. Big things and little things. Life lessons from the serious to the silly. I've decided I want to participate. Just another means of capturing who am I along this broken little road called life.


Monday, September 29, 2014


For reasons I will never truly comprehend, he's chosen to saddle himself with my particular brand of crazy. For others, I've been too much...or not enough. But he? He chose to stay. When he says I know you -- you'll love that (or hate that), I believe him, because he does know me. And still he stays. And so I trust.

I can be ridiculously silly. Or excessively sappy. Or remarkably stubborn. I'm low maintenance, but I think I require a lot of...understanding. I cannot make a decision in a timely manner. I do things in my own time and in my own way. I probably drive him crazy a dozen times a day (at least). Yet here he is. He holds my hand on the puddle jumper airplanes when I get a little nervous, and rides Space Mountain to confirm for me that I really wouldn't enjoy it very much, and not once has he mocked me for it. I am a thousand quirks, and I run the range from pensive to chatterbox sometimes within the same hour on the clock, and though he teases me, we laugh and it's the banter of comfortable everyday love.

He said I do, and every day, he does. He hugs me before he leaves for work and kisses me when he heads to bed. And as he promised, he's taken this woman, to have and to hold, and and darn it, if this isn't the most fun I've had in all my life. Everyone says marriage is the hardest work you'll ever do, but it hasn't been work with him, not once, not before our vows and not after. Not that I've noticed anyway. But perhaps that's the best kind of work: the kind that comes so naturally, you don't know you're doing it?

We no longer qualify as newlyweds, and yet our marriage is certainly a baby in the grand scheme, but by the crazy math that comprises a marriage, we manage to be both one and two, in an easy give-and-take, ebb-and-flow balance, like we've been doing this dance forever. Whatever it is, I know I'd marry him again, every. single. day. Without a moment's hesitation.

Two is such a little number, but it's a lot of days, and in the grand order of things, the little numbers must precede the bigger ones. Thanks for keeping me and my barrel of crazy, Mr. P. It must be my lucky day.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

This Week on My TV: September 27, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(TurnS1E9 "Against Thy Neighbor"Did Abe leave Anna a trail of goldenrod to lure her to an intimate rendezvous?? That's a *weed*!! How long, I wonder, before Anna is with child as a result of these sexy times? -- I didn't think it was possible for Simcoe to sink lower than he already had, but to poison Hewlett's horse and start framing residents of Setauket? I've never loathed him more than I do now. -- Watching General Washington talk strategy with Ben Tallmadge about the intelligence that has been uncovered, planning to allow the British to think that their faked plot of attack is fooling the Colonists, I wanted to cheer. Washington, you brilliant leader, you! -- That had to have been awkward for Baker, listening to Mary go on about Abraham's marital misdeeds. -- Baker [to Mary]: There is love here, Mrs. Woodhull. I know, because I know what its absence feels like. -- Simcoe [to Judge Woodhull about Lucas Brewster, with his palsy, being a suspect in poisoning Hewlett's horse with an apple possibly meant for Hewlett]: A weak constitution is an excellent  cover for a devious mind. -- I do actually feel bad for Major Hewlett. I think that horse was the only friend he had. -- Holy crap! Judge Woodhull, shot! Why do I suspect Simcoe is behind that too, just like he was behind poisoning Hewlett's horse, so he can set up the people of Setauket. -- Watching them remove that ammunition round from the Judge, I sure am glad medicine has advanced since colonial times. That looked...not fun. -- Hewlett: Your weapon will be returned to you when I'm reassured the town is once again safe. Resident of Setauket: Safe...from *who*... -- I kinda loved that Rev. Tallmadge whipped out a second gun after Hewlett questioned why a man of the cloth needed a weapon. -- I don't know how Anna doesn't full-body shudder every time Simcoe leers at her. -- That was some quick and clever thinking on the part of Abraham to serve in his father's stead as magistrate. I bet he's going to try to find a way to save those arrested for suspected treason from the gallows! -- Judge Woodhull: Mary, perhaps whatever distance has grown between you and my son, it's time you acknowledge the part you have played in it. ... Indeed. It takes two to tango. And the judge was also correct in pointing out that she tried to pull strings by having Selah Ward pardoned as a way to "fix" things with Abraham instead of being direct. -- As difficult as it was to watch the trial proceedings, even knowing Abe's plan was to fail, it was worth it when Simcoe tried to load the ammunition in the Reverend's gun and it didn't fit! Explain *that* one, Simcoe! -- Rev Tallmadge: A man may believe in freedom from tyranny, and not be a rebel or a traitor. If he is not free to make up his own mind, that is the worst form of tyranny. -- Oh, Mary. That messy table and the still made bed do *not* mean what you think they do. (This time, anyway.) TALK TO  YOUR HUSBAND. -- Thomas! You totally just blew your daddy's cover, you too smart for your own good baby! I wonder how Mary is going to take this new found knowledge...and what she's going to do with it, especially being so angry at Abe.

**(The Good WifeS6E1 "The Line") Alicia said no to running for State's Attorney. Which can only mean that Eli will not let it rest. -- What on earth is up with Cary's arrest?? That seemed like it came out of absolutely nowhere. -- Man, David Lee goes from snake to charmer in the blink of an eye, when he gets in front of a client. -- Finn!! I love his character. Even if he has to face off against Alicia in Cary's trial. -- Eli's daughter: I liked your old office better. This is more like a dentist's office. Eli: We're saving money. Daughter: I thought Chicago was corrupt. Couldn't you just steal more? -- I was dying, *dying*, over the conversation between Eli and his daughter about the intern without panties. -- Eli's hair got darker, but Peter's hair got more grey! -- Sheesh. The least Bishop could have done was offer some money to help Cary post his $1.3 million bail, when Alicia came to warn him about Cary's arrest. Lord knows he has enough dough, and if Cary's charges are drug-related, we all know Bishop was involved in this somehow. -- When Alicia was in Diane's office, asking her to represent Cary because Finn had Alicia thrown off the case, Canning and Lee looked like two vultures watching them from across the common area. -- The look on Alicia's face when Bishop's "investor" "decided to post Cary's bail" and handed over the duffle bag of cash: pure comedy. Weirdest day ever, huh, Alicia? (Or maybe it was week, not day, I don't know, the time lapse was unclear.)

**(The Big Bang TheoryS8E1 "The Locomotion Interruption") OMG Sheldon in the train station with no pants. -- Not a fan of short hair on Penny. -- Raj: I'm having my windows untinted. Howard: Why? Raj: I've got a hot girlfriend now. I want the haters to know. --  Sheldon [to the officer who was supposedly looking for Sheldon's stolen belongings]: You know Sherlock Holmes liked to use cocaine to sharpen his senses, but I'm sure those Cool Ranch Doritos are doing the trick. -- Man interviewing Penny: You're scared of Bernadette? Penny: Yeah, kinda. Man: I thought it was just me! -- I totally fell for Sheldon's test to see if Amy was listening or not, when he told Leonard he wanted to have coitus with Amy when they got home. -- Amy [to Sheldon]: So what if it didn't all go your way? That's what makes it an adventure.

**(The Big Bang TheoryS8E2 "The Junior Professor Solution") I thought Penny and Bernadette were friends. What's with  Bernadette being so harsh with Penny all of  a sudden? -- Sheldon [to the woman in HR at the university]: So pouting and running away actually worked. I must say, that may not be a lesson you want to reinforce with me. -- Penny: Hey, ready to go to lunch? Amy: Just give me a minute. I'm stimulating the pleasure cells of this starfish. I just need to turn it off. Penny: What happens if you don't? Amy: Then I have to sit through lunch knowing this starfish is having a better day than I am. -- Amy [to Penny, about Penny's vented frustrations with Bernadette]: Usually when someone is being talked about behind their back, it's me and it's right in front of my face. -- Sheldon as a professor. This could prove interesting and highly amusing. After all, he does have "a voice like dark caramel." ::snort:: -- Sheldon's reaction to Howard's spitball going into his mouth. ::tears streaming down my face:: -- I'm a little disappointed that it appears Sheldon may not actually teach a class that consists of anyone more than Howard. Those jokes will get used up quickly.

**(UnforgettableS3E12 "Moving On"Bartender [upon sizing up Al]: Nothing says cop like that suit and haircut. -- I'm bummed. Ever since I pointed out the frequency with which Eliot wore purple...not a single time. Not violet, lavender, or plum. Nothing. -- Talk about a screeching 180. What started out as a celebrity obsession case became human trafficking? I liked the way they danced around all the celebrity obsession variances, though. True obsession. Hopeful screenwriters wanting a break. Teenage crushes. Fan boys. Media sensationalism. -- One of these days, Carrie and Al will at least kiss! Their chemistry just crackles across the screen! And this will-they-won't-they thread is so trite, but with them, I can't resist!

**(The Last ShipS1E7 "SOS"So, the guy who was in isolation on the Russian ship apparently infected himself six months ago. He's still alive...but all indication was that his wife was coming down with the virus...possibly infected by him. -- The extra strand of DNA in the virus is human? I wonder who put it in there... Can't be the Russians or why would they need Sarah to help make a vaccine? -- Hmmmm...a girl stranded alone on a boat, possibly immune, as she is the only one left on it, after the ship has picked up her distress signals on more than one occasion and they've logged her messages. But if the Russians are listening to radio signals as well (which they must be), surely they would recognize Chandler's voice when he contacted her "in disguise" as a fishing boat. -- I was way stressed out when Chandler and company were on that boat, looking for Patrice, convinced it was some kind of setup. -- I can't decide if Chandler or Tex makes me feel more patriotic. -- I have to admit I didn't expect Quincy to help the XO as long as he promised to take out Ruskov when this was all over. It's a fair price, I suppose, and one they can agree on. I also have to admit I didn't expect Quincy's wife and daughter to still be alive on that Russian warship. -- So now they have Patrice, brave girl, who is officially immune. I wonder what her immunity will teach Rachel about the virus and a possible vaccine... -- Pretty much loved the bonding Chandler and Tex were doing while they were floating in the ocean. -- XO [to Quincy, who is translating the radio signals by the Russians]: I swear to God if you're lying to me, I'll strap you to a torpedo. -- No no no!!! The Russians just picked up Chandler in a helicopter he and Tex thought was from the Nathan James! How will the Americans get the Captain back? What about Tex?!

**(The BlacklistS2E1 "Lord Baltimore"I'm thinking it's a bad idea to pull a gun on Red and hold it to his head. Not if you expect to live to tell about it. -- Red: Give me what I want or, so help me God, I'll make it rain fire on you. -- Red: Life is far to important a thing to ever talk seriously about -- Diagnosis for Harold? What kind of diagnosis?? Cancer? Something else? -- I was *not* expecting that ambush in the stair well! -- Samar Navabi: Aren't we confident today. Red: I'm confident every day. -- Naomi Hyland is Red's ex-wife...what?? ::brakes screeching:: And he just drops that into the conversation like "whoops, forgot to mention" no big deal. Oh, Red, you dickens. -- The twins case as Lord Baltimore was *so* well done. It's like I saw it coming and I didn't. Just the right amount of sinister creep factor. -- Naomi [to Liz]: You can't imagine what it's like to have a man like Raymond Reddington turn  your life upside down. ... Oh, if you only knew, Naomi. Liz knows better than anyone. -- Mary-Louise Parker, as former Mrs. Reddington, and Krysten Ritter, as Lord Baltimore, were superbly cast. -- Who is watching Liz? One of Red's people? Someone from the FBI? One of Berlin's henchmen? Tom?? -- Well, this eliminated my theory on the relationship between Red and Berlin. I was convinced that the daughter Berlin had, who was returned to him piece by piece after falling in love with "a dissident," was one and the same as Red's wife. Clearly *not* the case, because Red's wife is still alive and in witness protection, and I'm guessing Berlin would recognize his own daughter if the body parts he had been sent were a hoax to make him believe she were dead. Now I'm back to wondering what role Red actually played in Berlin's daughter's death (if any, because Berlin could be assuming incorrectly), and how all of this relates to Liz. Could Liz be the product of Berlin's daughter's love affair with this unknown "dissident" and potentially Berlin's grandchild? Time will tell... I love that this show constantly gives me just enough to chew on and then I have to wait and see if the next clue revealed fits in the puzzle.

**(The BridgeS2E12 "Quetzalcoatl") The exchange between Monte and the boot man was weird. I wonder how often Monte comes in with bloody boots to be cleaned? Because that guy did not bat an eye. And speaking of Monte, he is an interesting character. I don't get the impression many people scare him. -- Fausto is a very sweaty man. And he's also quite a jerk sometimes. -- Hank [trying to make a point about the hopelessness of making a difference in some situations]: You ever spit in the ocean? Sonya [being Sonya]: Why would I spit in the ocean? Hank: It is vast...and we are not. -- I almost didn't recognize clean-shaven Muttonchops in the Mexican police station, looking for the Captain. -- Linder: You tell him...no man can run from his past. Juarez PD Receptionist: And who are you? Linder: I'm his past. -- I can't figure out if Linder has chew in his mouth all the time, some kind of injury or speech impediment or what is the cause of his mumbled speech cadence. -- Hank [in disbelief]: So the DEA is trying to bust Fausto while the CIA is helping him? -- I knew the Marines giving Fausto safe passage came too easily and that the Marines were going to open fire, but I thought it was actually on Fausto's SUV and that Marco was going to end up an unfortunate casualty. I actually shouted out "OH NO!"-- The Captain shot Linder??? Nooooo!! -- This show shows no mercy in killing off it's characters. Charlotte and (assuming) Linder both gone, just like that. I almost thought Hank was going to be on that list as well, following that massacre in the model house. And speaking of Charlotte, where the heck has Ray gone?

**(The MiddleS6E1 "Unbraceable You"Brick: It's hard enough being the weird kid, without being the weird kid who shows up a week late. ... How perfectly Frankie to have the wrong date for back to school. ::snort:: -- I absolutely called that Sue was going to lose her retainer, and then the Hecks were all in the dumpster, looking for it. I just about died when Sue said she found it AND POPPED IT RIGHT INTO HER MOUTH. Ewwww! And then laughed so much much when she realized that one *wasn't* hers. Also ewwww! -- I liked the direction of this season. I hope we keep up with the Year of Sue theme.

**(Madam SecretaryS1E1 "Pilot") Very smooth start, for a pilot. -- Whole lotta recognizable faces here: Tea Leoni, Tim Daly, Marin Hinkle (who played Judith on "Two and a Half Men"), Bebe Neuwirth (best known for her role as Lilith Crane on "Cheers"), Keith Carradine as the President, Geoffrey Arend (who was on "Body of Proof"), and Zeljko Ivanek (who was on the final season of "Revolution"). -- I'm getting a "The Good Wife" crossed with "Blue Bloods" vibe from this show. Not in content, but in feel. A little intrigue, a little drama, a little home life. If this keeps up, I can live with that. -- I can't say anything of importance happened (or not), being the pilot and all, but I feel like they laid a foundation and set the stage.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cringe Sox.

A partial and ever-evolving list of things about the Red Sox that make me cringe in 2014:

1. Allen Craig in the lineup.

2. Anyone in the starting rotation not named Joe Kelly (and that only barely).

3. When talk starts about Clay Buccholz having a particularly filthy outing.

4. Fly balls that look like they will hit off the Monster when Cespedes is in left field.

5. Any of the infield youth attempting to throw out a runner at first.

6. Koji warming in the pen.

7. Mujica coming in to make a save.

8. JBJ coming up to the plate with bases loaded.

9. Any mention of Mookie or Vazquez being trade bait.

10. A Red Sox lead of fewer than five runs.

11. The other team scoring first.

12. Games that go into extra innings.

13. A glance at the standings.

14. Rumors about where Jon Lester will sign as a free agent.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round One


::whispers:: It's here.

And not even the rain was going to stop me. Or the sun that came out after the rain and turned the whole World into the largest open air steam bath known to man.

I took my initial spin around World Showcase -- that's when I scope the scene, and get my kiosk and menu photos -- as quickly as I could (considering the air was so thick, I was practically drowning in it). And then... Bring me the foods!


Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and "Singa" Sauce.

I believe this is the third year in a row that they've offered this dish at this Marketplace kiosk. I have to say, this has, by far, been the best serving I've had. The fish was mild and not at all dry or slimy (two issues that are fairly common with mass produced fish, in my experience), and it hasn't been any of the times I've had it in the past, but this time, I got the perfect balance between fish and rice, and a generous portion of that amazing "Singa" sauce, which drooool. I started in Singapore because the line was nearly non-existent. People clearly do not know what they are missing!

Fest officially kicked off on a good note and off in search of another short line...


Teriyaki Gyoza Bun.

Hmmmm...a new menu option! I'm in! So good. *So* good. The steamed bun was so light and airy...

...and filled with deliciousness. The veggies and chicken were nearly swimming in a sweet teriyaki bath that was packed with flavor. Proof not to judge a book by its cover or a dish by its unassuming "wrapper."

Having already made the circuit around the World Showcase lagoon once, and seeing as how I had dressed for cooler, rainy weather and was now sweltering in jeans, I decided the rest of my choices needed to come between where I was (roughly the mid point of the far side of World Showcase) and the walkway where I would be making my way toward the exit. This left me around eleven Marketplace kiosks from which to decide...


Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream.

Being so hot, I was all about lighter foods. Belgium was offering the same three variations on waffles as last Fest. Once again, I just wasn't being enticed by the savory option. And now let this be a testament to that berry compote. 2013 was the first time they offered the option with the chocolate ganache. My love affair with chocolate is well-documented and no secret, and, being a new menu option, I was all over it, especially having had the berry version each year since Belgium made its debut in 2010. Well, here we are in 2014, and I am being offered either berry or chocolate...and I was all about the berries! There is just something about the berries with that airy waffle. Yes, it trumps even the chocolate. I tried to get a little more artistic with my photo, with some berry-drenched waffle and a spot of cream, perched on my fork, but it kept falling off and I was getting impatient to eat this little lovely. So, no creativity for you. Just yumminess for me.

Immediately next to Belgium, actually in the space that Belgium occupied in the past, was a Marketplace that was impossible to miss.


Pao de Queijo.

What's that, you ask? It is Brazilian cheesy bread. Cheeeeeesy. Like super extra cheesy. There were two pieces -- the one on the fork was about a third of one piece -- and that serving would have been more than enough to share, because did I mention cheesy? One the outside, it was like a biscuit, and I bit into it, expecting that there would just be a cheese mixed into the dough, giving it a flaky texture and a cheesy flavor. Oh, no. That was an ooey-gooey cheesy center, with what amounted to a crust of biscuit on the outside. It was very good, but two made me feel like I was about to burst.

Remember when I mentioned that you couldn't miss the Brazil Marketplace? Well, before I move along, I have to share why. It is decorated with all these colorful banners. The vibrancy, the flutter in the wind, the visual texture...irresistible! Must stop and play with camera while I digest some of that cheesy bread.

Just a tiny bit of room left for some dessert. Creme brulee in France? Too heavy... Line in Ireland? Too long... No dessert options in Canada... or Greece... I know!



This, I learned, is pronounced "cruh-nack-in." And it consists of  whipped cream, raspberries (not whole, but not as liquidy as a sauce), and toasted oats. Light, not too sweet, a little crunch? Perfect. And I was exactly right. My one complaint, and it was minor, because it didn't ruin the dish for me, was due to refrigeration, the toasted oats were a little spongy, so they didn't provide a satisfying crunch, but they did still add a bit of interesting texture. And really? I'm pretty content with raspberries and cream.

Time to waddle my stuffed, sweaty self back to my car, crank up the air, and plan my next round...


Sunday, September 21, 2014

20 Questions: The TV Version

1. What was the first TV show you remember loving?
Not counting Looney Toons on Saturday mornings, or Sesame Street, Mr Rogers' Neighborhood or Reading Rainbow on PBS, the first network TV show I recall loving was The Dukes of Hazzard. Waylon Jennings' hands and Just-a good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm...

2. What was the last TV show you watched every episode of?
Not counting shows still currently in production, I believe that would be Dexter, because I don't think I've seen all the old episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

3. What was the last TV show you watched entirely online?
I have never watched more than a random episode online, usually because the DVR goofed up or I wanted something to entertain myself with while I ate lunch at my desk.

4. What was the last TV show you gave up on before it ended?
None that I got invested in very deeply. The last one I attempted and scrapped was a summer show called "Married." I think I made it through half of the first episode before I deemed it unwatchable.

5. What's the one TV show you can always watch reruns of, no matter how many times you've seen them?
Oh, please. Friends. Anytime, anywhere, even if I've seen it twenty times.

6. Who is your favorite late-night host, past or present?
I never have the television on long enough to watch late-night TV! I usually watch a baseball or football game til it's over, maybe squeeze in a show off the DVR, then head to bed with a book by 11. At that point I am usually done with screens.

7. What is your all-time favorite cartoon or animated series?
Looney Toons. They just don't make cartoons like they used to! (And then I shook my cane and yelled at those kids to get off my lawn.)

8. What is your all-time favorite reality show?
I don't watch much reality TV. The closest I get is the cooking competition show, Top Chef, which I do love.

9. What is your biggest guilty pleasure show?
Ooo. Hmmm... I loved The Carrie Diaries, but that didn't get renewed for a third season. So, regular season, probably Reign. Summer season, Reckless. Winter season, Dallas!

10. Who is your all-time favorite TV character?
Let's call it a three-way tie between the infamous J.R. Ewing, and my two favorite James Spader characters of all time: Alan Shore (Boston Legal) and Raymond Reddington (The Blacklist).

11. What TV character can you most relate to?
Monica Geller (Friends) in some aspects, and Sue Heck (The Middle) in others.

12. What TV apartment/house would you choose to live in if money/location/logic made no difference?
Oof. Probably...the Frank Reagan's house on Blue Bloods!

13. Who is your all-time biggest TV crush?
Oh my heck. I don't know how to choose this! Most recently, Hook from Once Upon a Time. I don't think I can name one "all time" though. Too much pressure!

14. What is your all-time favorite TV theme song or opening sequence?
Dallas. To this day, I hum it to myself at random. The second I hear it, I'm back on my grandparents' couch on Friday night. I am thrilled that they kept it the same (other than the character credits) for the reboot.

15. What is your all-time favorite comedy? (Limit yourself to three four if you must.)
 Friends. How I Met Your Mother. Everybody Loves Raymond. The Big Bang Theory.

16. What is your all-time favorite drama? (Limit yourself to three if you must.)
Boston Legal. Parenthood. The Blacklist.

17. What are your top three "TV blind spots"—the famous/seminal shows you’ve never seen?
The Office. Breaking Bad. LOST.

18. What TV show do you insist everyone you know should watch?
Boston Legal. Pure comedy *and* drama genius. Plus: James Spader.

19. What show cancellation broke your heart?
Pan Am. I really enjoyed the premise and the characters, and I thought it had boundless possibilities, since they landed in so many various destinations and came across so many people who were passengers.

20. What TV moment makes you cry every time?
"I got off the plane." (I shouldn't even have to say more than that!!)


Saturday, September 20, 2014

This Week on My TV: September 20, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(RecklessS1E10 "Fifty-One Percent"Roy in his top hat and handlebar mustache get-up for his daughters' tea party? I die. -- Who is leaking all these details from the police station? First, Lee Anne's tape, now the information about Joyce's pain pill problem? -- I'm not sure I trust Terry telling Lee Anne that they found Arliss's dog tags near a gator's nest. He has too much to gain from her giving up on searching for Arliss. -- Was Judge Embry wearing a neon green shirt with a coral tie under his robes?! -- I can't figure out how I feel about Preston, because I really like Roy. Probably a good thing I'm not Jamie.

**(UnforgettableS3E10 "Fire and Ice") Sure seems like Carrie has found herself in a lot of tunnels lately. First, the case of that kid who went off the grid and lived in that commune on the deserted island, in an old sanitarium. Then, the secret passageways in that private school. Now, the subway tunnels entrances that allowed a bomber to move around undetected between targeted buildings? -- I wasn't all that into the whole bombing story, but that laser bomb trap security system that Carrie navigated was a pretty cool use of her memory. -- There's never any backup when our heroes need it. -- Precious moment where Cherie and her daughter, Maya, remember the husband/father they've lost. Almost made me tear up. -- Carrie and Al carry on, sometimes, like no one else is in the room...except they are.

**(UnforgettableS3E11 "True Identity"Al: A "who's who" of people you'd rather we not piss off? -- Why is there always a client list that's unavailable because the clients expect "extreme discretion"? If you want the benefit of extreme discretion, STOP BREAKING THE LAW. -- Fact: people trying to escape through the woods always fall down. -- I have to admit, I didn't see the direction this episode took coming in the slightest. A victim who worked for a high-end match making service was really tied into a Mexican drug cartel? Whoa. That's a leap.

**(RecklessS1E11 "And So It Begins"Dec: People to sue, hours to bill! -- This entire episode, it drove me crazy trying to figure out where I recognize Vi's ex-husband from. I still can't place it. -- How does a woman who supposedly barely knew she was pregnant and doesn't even show yet happen to know the gender of her baby? -- I still don't give a flip about Terry's illegal arms deal, but so much for that $4000 roll of cash being "all the money he has in the world." Holy toolbox full of stacks of hundreds! -- OMG the jury tampering *was* a set-up! But...by whom?? -- Roy [to Jamie]: Look, I know over the next couple of weeks, we're going to be at each other's throats. We're going to do things we regret and say things we don't mean. But this is my promise to you: No matter what happens, win or lose, when this is over, I'm going to make you fall in love with me. ... ::fans self::

**(RecklessS1E12 "Civil Wars (Part One)") This show does an excellent soundtrack. -- Terry *acts* like he really loves Lee Anne, but I just can't stop being suspicious of his intentions. -- So, it was Chief Flynn that tampered with the jury, and obviously to prevent Lee Anne from winning her lawsuit. -- How did Roy get the footage of Lee Anne and Terry on the night of the Mayor's Ball from Terry's spycam in Jamie's office?! -- Ew, with the guy in the sweat-stained wife beater. -- Holy. Crap. No wonder Lee Anne didn't think Jamie should talk to that former detective who had suffered a mental breakdown. She was using him to get drugs from evidence, playing all kinds of sexual games, broke up his marriage, and when he'd had enough, she moved on...to Terry. Whoa. -- Lee Anne and Dec are scheming together?! They planned this whole thing?! Did they just kiss?! What. Just. Happened.

**(RecklessS1E13 "Civil Wars (Part Two)"I can't believe when Jamie confronted Lee Anne about orchestrating this whole lawsuit, Lee Anne just haughtily admitted it all. And Dec orchestrated all this to...get into the Mayoral race? That's it? -- Shelby left Nolan?? And she thinks Roy should, what, welcome her back with open arms? That's not the way it works, sister. -- Man, all that sympathy for Lee Anne being victimized and humiliated, while she is, in reality, so manipulative and devious. I can't believe I actually feel bad for Terry the way she's playing him. And then he gives it right back to her by throwing her under the bus when he takes the stand as a witness for Roy. They might actually be perfect for each other. -- I can't figure out if Lee Anne actually loves Arliss or if that, too, is all an act, another lie. -- Ha, Jamie freaking out over the jury deliberating for six days. Because she clearly wants that date Roy told her was coming no matter what the verdict. -- I think I was on pins and needles as much as Jamie, while she waited for Roy to show up. (Especially when they showed the feet of a male who had clearly been shot and Roy was late! Ack!!) And show up, he did. ::fans self:: -- Roy [to Jamie]: Then I realized a gentleman doesn't leave the women he loves waiting alone. ... And swoon. -- Dec was shot? By whom?? His wife? His scorned, pregnant former lover? Lee Anne? Any of the other enemies he's made? And now I'm on edge, waiting for the announcement of whether or not I'll get a season two! ::fingers crossed:: ::toes too::

**(DallasS3E10 "Dead Reckoning") I'm glad JR's watch and belt buckle survived the fire. -- How do their phones never break when they get dropped in dramatic horror? -- A soul patch, Christopher? Really? -- I notice, despite her bitter vehemence, Pamela is still wearing her wedding and engagement rings. -- Oh, Pamela. You told John Ross that you're tired of being with men who put greed and ambition before you. You revisionist fool. Christopher never treated you that way. *You* treated *him* that way. -- Mark my words: no matter what she claims, Pamela will end up back with John Ross. They are the new Sue Ellen and JR: destined to be together, whether it's because they are on darkly powerful "good" terms or locked in a destructive pattern. -- Poor Christopher. Why can't he be allowed some happiness? Looks like his new flame is going back to her ex-husband. -- Considering the care they took to show Nicolas poking a hole in Elena's diaphragm, Elena's going to end up with more from John Ross than possession of his letter from JR, isn't she.

**(The BridgeS2E11" Beholder"While that opening scene was a little gross, what with Sebastian's junkie daughter going through an involuntary detox at Fausto's hand, it was still pretty amusing to watch Fausto get annoyed that his gun wasn't loaded for the video he recorded to send Sebastian. -- Did Adriana and Frye seriously break into the dead DEA agent's house?! OMG. -- Diagnosis in Sonya's file?? That's it? No further explanation? -- Muttonchops (aka Linder): My beard affords me special powers. ...What?? LOL. He is such a trip. -- When Fausto asked to dance with that guy's daughter at her quinceanera, despite the expression on the father's face, all I could think was "there's no one who's telling Fausto no when he asks." -- That was a very sweet scene between Eva and Muttonchops, when she shaved off his beard. -- I wish I could remember what Sonya said in the first season about her mother. Was she always a junkie or did Lisa's murder push her to it? -- Well, crap. That rogue CIA agent, whose name I have no clue, sprung Eleanor to "clean up her mess." That's bad news for Sonya with that Ledger of Doom in her possession and Eleanor knowing it. -- Ambush ending! Fausto's goons, I bet, and they're going to grab Marco.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Top Five Things to Love about Epcot

With this being the kickoff weekend of the 2014 Food and Wine Fest, I've had Epcot on the brain. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite park, most of the time, but if you forced me, I'd probably choose Epcot. It is simply a world unto itself. As many times as I've entered this park, I can make it a different adventure every time, there is just so much to do and see.

1. The Fests.
Of course, my love for the Fests is well-documented. Back when it was just the annual Food and Wine Fest, I counted down with so much anticipation. You might think it has waned some, having been to so many now, and with the addition of the "Outdoor Kitchens" to Flower and Garden Fest, but no. I am grateful for the shorter wait between culinary delights, now, but I look forward to *both* with extreme excitement. I am a big fan of "small plates" meals. It makes my harrowing ordeal of decision making (hello, I'm a Libra) so much easier when I have weekend after weekend to conquer everything on my list, and the small portions allow me to try so much more than just a single meal would ever allow.

2. The food.
I am unafraid to try new foods (as long as they aren't *too* extreme) and World Showcase offers me so many delightful places to try them! There are counter service locations, sit down restaurants, food carts, and little places tucked here and there that offer appetizers and small plates. The hardest part for me is deciding whether to choose some place new or revisit an old favorite. The two restaurants I'm drawn to most are Tutto Gusto (in the Italy pavilion), and Biergarten, which, for me, is just like eating my Gram's kitchen again.

3. The "lesser" attractions.
Everyone knows about Test Track and Soarin' (and Mission Space, for those of you with stomachs stronger than my own), but there is something truly amazing about the non-thrill rides Epcot has to offer. Living with the Land is a quiet little boat ride through some greenhouses, but, when you have the opportunity to ride as frequently as I do, you realize that this ride changes all the time! Yes, plants grow, but they are constantly changing the current produce and rearranging the plant configurations. It was on this ride that I first learned how pineapples and Brussels sprouts grow! Spaceship Earth...like a grand and miraculous spaceship, indeed. The narration has changed a time or two, even just since I moved to Florida and became a (nearly instant) Annual Passholder, but the ride itself, that slow-moving classic in the "giant golf ball," remains fun to visit again and again. There's that unknown Egyptian pounding reeds into papyrus, Gutenberg and his skinny little legs, Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (and that portion of the soundtrack OMG), Foxy Cleopatra in the giant computer room, and that glorious moment, when your car swivels to face center and you're looking at planet Earth from far off. I've seen it dozens of times and I always settle back with the same sense of thrill. And then there's Maelstrom, sadly not much longer with us, but can you really top that skinny polar bear and those trolls popping up to threaten you -- Back! Back! Over the falls! -- before you zoom down that little hill to splash into the waters below the oil rig, and then depart in that charming little Norwegian village? Such kitschy fun always lay waiting, as the Viking boat climbed its way up toward Odin's glowing eye while hearing "You are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last. Those who seek the spirit of Norway face peril and adventure. But more often find beauty and charm. We have always lived with the sea, so look first to the spirit of the seafarer." These attractions are fascinating, and if you'll just slow the pace of your pursuit of the next thrill, Epcot has so much more to show you.

4. The countries.
The World Showcase, with its plentiful food options, interesting shops, various shows (the movie in China is my favorite!), and a couple of boat rides, has much to offer, but for me, it's a playground for my camera. The colors, the architecture, the details. I've walked the paths of the pavilions countless times, and I never fail to find something new to capture my attention.

5. The entertainment.
Storytellers and musical ensembles. The Candy Lady in Japan. The acrobats and the guest participation comedy skits of the World Showcase Players. The shows are a treasure worth stopping for.

Ok, fine, if you know me at all, you know there aren't five. There are six. Because that's just how I roll.

6. The American Adventure.
This may actually make me feel more patriotic than the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom. The condensed history of the United States is told well, but it's the animatronic scenes that steal the show for me, sliding in from either side of the stage, raising up from the floor. I wandered in, once, for an air conditioned place to rest my feet for a few minutes, and fell in love.

(inspired by this post)


Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Watch TV 2013-2014 Season: The Broken Road Awards - Finale

I'm getting the "wrap it up music," so without further ado, the Broken Road Awards finale (winners in red italics)!

A reminder of the shows in contention:

Returning Shows:
Dexter (SHO, final season). Once Upon a Time (ABC). The Good Wife (CBS). The Mentalist (CBS). Mad Men (AMC). How I Met Your Mother (CBS, final season). 2 Broke Girls (CBS). Mike and Molly (CBS). Dallas (TNT). Chicago Fire (NBC). Person of Interest (CBS). Revolution (NBC, cancelled). The Middle (ABC). Law and Order: SVU (NBC). Modern Family (ABC). CSI (CBS). The Big Bang Theory (CBS). Grey's Anatomy (ABC). Scandal (ABC). Elementary (CBS). Parenthood (NBC). Last Man Standing (CBS). The Carrie Diaries (CW, cancelled). Blue Bloods (CBS).

New Shows:
Sleepy Hollow (FOX). Mom (CBS). The Blacklist (NBC). About a Boy (NBC). Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC, single season spinoff). Reign (CW). The Michael J Fox Show (NBC, cancelled midseason).

Summer Shows:
Low Winter Sun (AMC, new, cancelled). The Bridge (FX, new). Unforgettable (CBS). Motive (ABC, new).

Most Anticipated New Show
1. The Blacklist - Spader. Spader. Spader. Spader. Spader.
2. Reign - I almost never get into teen angsty drama, but those costumes. And the accents. I was intrigued from the first trailer.
3. The Bridge - We kept seeing trailers for the show. All we could tell was that it was some kind of murder-mystery-ish police drama. That's usually enough to pique our interest.

Most Disappointing Drama
1. Revolution - Oh, Revolution. You had so much potential and you let it slip away. You weren't even "so bad you're good." You were just a dismal failure.
2. Chicago Fire - Are you kidding me? How many things can go so terribly wrong in one fire house?
3. Dexter - I'm still not sure how that series finale was supposed to work.

Most Disappointing Comedy
1. 2 Broke Girls - This borders on unwatchable. The lines are so awkwardly and stiffly delivered. They should have gotten past that midway through the first season. There are three seasons in the books now. What's the excuse? If it weren't for Sophie, we'd stop watching all together.
2. Mike and Molly - Not a fan of this new direction they're taking Molly. She isn't funny. She's obnoxious.
3. How I Met Your Mother - Only one thing: HOW COULD THEY KILL OFF THE MOTHER?? ::weeps::

Most Disappointing New Show
1. The Michael J Fox Show - I do love MJF. I wanted to like this show. I really did. Other than him and Anne Heche, though, this show just fell flat.
2. Low Winter Sun - I was hoping for another summer show. What I got was a depressing, dark tale of dirty cops and druggies that never felt like it had a purpose.
3. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - We knew from very early on that this was designed to be a single season spin-off. And that's fine. But the CGI in this show was so bad, it was nearly painful, to the point that sometimes it was difficult to pay attention to the story.

Best Episode, Drama
1. Parenthood S5E15 "Just Like at Home" - The Braverman sibling dance party, when the four adult siblings show up at Julia's house when they know she's at her lowest.
2. Grey's Anatomy S10E22 "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Who knew the return of Preston Burke would be such a satisfying piece of the story?
3. The Blacklist S1E11 "The Good Samaritan" - The Blacklister of the week was nothing special, but Red "cleaning house" after Anslo Garrick's attack, leading to Luli's murder, all while Johnny Cash's "When the Man Comes Around" plays was masterful. And then, there was the "Janice scene" which was brilliant in its own right.

Best Episode, Comedy
1. The Big Bang Theory S7E15, "The Locomotion Manipulation" - The Sheldon and Amy kiss!
2. The How I Met Your Mother series finale - I loved seeing how Ted and Tracy's life played out...until they killed her off.
3. Modern Family S5E23 "The Wedding (Part One)" - Cam and Mitchell getting ready for the wedding was hilarious, but it was Lily that stole the show when the dropped her in the chute at the dry cleaner and she got stuck on the carousel.

Best Season Finale
1. Grey's Anatomy - Holy bombshell, with the revelation that Ellis Grey may have borne Richard's child and given her up for adoption.
2. The Good Wife - Diane jumping ship at LG and offering to bring all her clients to Florrick-Agos. Whoa!
3. The Big Bang Theory - Penny and Leonard, finally engaged!

Best New Show
1. Reign - Lived up to my every expectation. It's pure brain candy and I do not care!
2. Sleepy Hollow - I actually resisted this show at first, but somehow I got roped in, and was shocked at just how much I ended up enjoying it.
3. The Blacklist - One of those shows we had to watch the next day (it airs too late for T to watch before bed) and we're on edge waiting for the next episode every week.

Best Drama
1. The Blacklist - James Spader never disappoints. Ever. I would watch this show if he were the only one on the screen for an hour every week.
2. Parenthood - It only occasionally fumbles with a story arc, but the emotions, the chemistry, how real it feels. Top notch.
3. The Good Wife - Best season of this show yet. Start to finish, they hit the ground running, with Alicia telling Cary she was in on starting their own firm straight through Will's death and still going with a stunning finish.

Best Comedy
1. The Big Bang Theory - Always good for a laugh.
2. How I Met Your Mother - This group of friends made me realize this is the first show I will miss as much as when Friends ended.
3. The Middle - They did an excellent job weaving Axl into the season, even though he was away at college, and Sue's relationship issues and junior year stresses made for great laughs.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I Watch TV 2013-2014 Season:The Broken Road Awards - Part Three

Onward, to Part Three of the Broken Road Awards (winners in red italics)!

A reminder of the shows in contention:

Returning Shows:
Dexter (SHO, final season). Once Upon a Time (ABC). The Good Wife (CBS). The Mentalist (CBS). Mad Men (AMC). How I Met Your Mother (CBS, final season). 2 Broke Girls (CBS). Mike and Molly (CBS). Dallas (TNT). Chicago Fire (NBC). Person of Interest (CBS). Revolution (NBC, cancelled). The Middle (ABC). Law and Order: SVU (NBC). Modern Family (ABC). CSI (CBS). The Big Bang Theory (CBS). Grey's Anatomy (ABC). Scandal (ABC). Elementary (CBS). Parenthood (NBC). Last Man Standing (CBS). The Carrie Diaries (CW, cancelled). Blue Bloods (CBS).

New Shows:
Sleepy Hollow (FOX). Mom (CBS). The Blacklist (NBC). About a Boy (NBC). Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC, single season spinoff). Reign (CW). The Michael J Fox Show (NBC, cancelled midseason).

Summer Shows:
Low Winter Sun (AMC, new, cancelled). The Bridge (FX, new). Unforgettable (CBS). Motive (ABC, new).

Best Wardrobe, Female Character
1. Julia Braverman, Parenthood - She makes comfy-casual look so...put together.
2. Pamela Barnes Ewing, Dallas - Seriously, she can go from cocktail dress to jeans and cowboy boots, and never looks out of place.
3. Olivia Pope, Scandal - I have a crush on her closet. The end.

Best Wardrobe, Male Character
1. Raymond Reddington, The Blacklist - Red just always looks good. Suit. Hoodie and jeans. Trench coat and fedora. It all works.
2. Mr Reese, Person of Interest - Business casual with a side of badass. Bam.
3. Frank Reagan - The Commissioner is impeccable in his three-piece suits. Always.

Best Costume(s)
1. Once Upon a Time, in Fairy Tale Land - Storybrooke is nothing special, but the costumes they put together for our group, back in their home land, are out of this world, especially the outfits they dream up for Regina!
2. Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow - Abbie is constantly making fun of Ichabod's Revolutionary War get-up, but for heaven's sake, stop trying to stuff him into skinny jeans and just let him be. That period costume is played off to perfection!
3. Reign - I am certain these gowns the ladies wear are the furthest thing from historically accurate. I do not care. They are to. die. for.

Strangest Story Arc
1. "Peter Pan," Once Upon a Time - The way they weave fairy tales together is masterful. Finding a way to tie it to Rumplestiltskin was pure genius. But that whole traipsing around Neverland with poison coursing through Charming's veins, fighting over Henry, and Emma acting like a school girl as she goes back and forth between Neal and Hook -- it all just felt kind of goofy to me.
2. "Kristina Braverman running for Mayor," Parenthood - Ok, I am the first one to rave about how they portrayed Kristina's battle with cancer, but this whole "running for Mayor bit? Come on. I don't care how many Bravermans there are in town, it still isn't enough to win her an election.
3. "Jane falls for Lisbon," The Mentalist - I found it completely awkward that, after all this time, Patrick Jane is suddenly staring at Lisbon longingly.

Best Story Arc
1. "Is Red Lizzie's father?" The Blacklist - All season, they danced around this topic. First making it look like maybe he was, the having him deny it, the whole time, dropping clues and subtle comments for the watcher to notice and add to the puzzle. There's still a lot to learn about Lizzie and Red, but this question was visited and revisited the entire season.
2. "Julia and Joel's separation," Parenthood - They nailed this. It felt raw and honest. It covered all the emotions, without glossing them over or speeding up the timeline.
3. "Cristina's farewell," Grey's Anatomy - This show is notorious for farewell to departing characters via the Grim Reaper, so I appreciated that with one of the original cast members making her exit, they took the whole season to tell her story, to say goodbye, to send her out on a high note but with a sense of resolution.

Worst Story Arc
1. The entire last season of Dexter. - What *was* that?? I mean, the Brain Surgeon part with Dr Vogel was certainly intense, but Dexter planning an escape with Hannah and that whole series finale bit, with Deb dying and Dexter burying her at sea during a hurricane and then turning up in a lumber yard in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest or where ever that was supposed to be? What a weird ending.
2. "Molly has a midlife crisis," Mike and Molly - How on earth did they get from that super storm season finale from the previous season and wanting a baby to Molly having a nervous breakdown, fleeing her classroom, and deciding to become a writer? Most abrupt transition ever.
3. "William Lewis," Law and Order: SVU - I thought this thing would never end. Every time they would finish with him (so it seemed), two weeks later he'd pop up again, like some kind of deranged jack-in-the-box. I realize, with the premise of the show, that there will often be uncomfortable subject matter, but this was twisted, the explicit means of torture and the weird obsession with Olivia.

Most Memorable Moment
1. "Ted's proposal," How I Met Your Mother - It was everything I wanted it to be.
2. "Sheldon and Amy's Valentine's Day kiss on the train," The Big Bang Theory - Now *that* was a move I never saw coming.
3. "Red's speech to Janice in the closet," The Blacklist - It's been nearly a year and it still comes up in conversation with friends who also watch. Everything about that scene was perfectly Red and classically Spader.

Biggest Shock
1. "Will Gardner's courtroom murder," The Good Wife - My jaw hung open and I just gaped at the tv. Out of the clear blue, in the middle of all the turmoil with Alicia and Carey leaving to start their own firm.
2. "Carter's death," Person of Interest - I couldn't believe they killed her off like that!
3. "Jake killing James," Scandal - I never expected James to end up dead. Shot maybe and then a recovery but...dead??

Most Disappointing Cancellation
1. The Carrie Diaries - This show was adorable. And they did an amazing job of casting young Carrie and young Samantha. I was looking forward to meeting Charlotte and Miranda, and seeing how these stories were told.
2. How I Met Your Mother - Less "cancellation" than an expected end to this show's run, but oh, how I wish we'd had more time with Tracy.
3.Revolution - This show had the potential to be excellent. Its basis held so much possibility. And then they just muffed the kick. It failed not once, but twice, after they pulled the plug on season one and blew up the whole show for a different direction season two.

Best Opening Song/Credits
1. Once Upon a Time - They are so clever, the way they work that episode's theme into the woods scene of the opening.
2. Dallas - Classic. Same format as the original. Same theme music. I stop and watch, with this goofy nostalgic grin plastered all over my face.
3. Reign - I loved the "long may she reign" voiceover they did for the first half of the season.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Watch TV 2013-2014 Season: The Broken Road Awards - Part Two

Part Two of the Broken Road Awards (winners in red italics)! This is making me look forward to the new television season like crazy!

A reminder of the shows in contention:

Returning Shows:
Dexter (SHO, final season). Once Upon a Time (ABC). The Good Wife (CBS). The Mentalist (CBS). Mad Men (AMC). How I Met Your Mother (CBS, final season). 2 Broke Girls (CBS). Mike and Molly (CBS). Dallas (TNT). Chicago Fire (NBC). Person of Interest (CBS). Revolution (NBC, cancelled). The Middle (ABC). Law and Order: SVU (NBC). Modern Family (ABC). CSI (CBS). The Big Bang Theory (CBS). Grey's Anatomy (ABC). Scandal (ABC). Elementary (CBS). Parenthood (NBC). Last Man Standing (CBS). The Carrie Diaries (CW, cancelled). Blue Bloods (CBS).

New Shows:
Sleepy Hollow (FOX). Mom (CBS). The Blacklist (NBC). About a Boy (NBC). Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC, single season spinoff). Reign (CW). The Michael J Fox Show (NBC, cancelled midseason).

Summer Shows:
Low Winter Sun (AMC, new, cancelled). The Bridge (FX, new). Unforgettable (CBS). Motive (ABC, new).

Best Hair, Female Character
1. Angie Flynn, Motive - I feel like she has a style I could realistically pull off without getting annoyed.
2. Kristina Braverman, Parenthood - Her hair was so ridiculously cute all season. My hair *never* looks that cute.
3. Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife - I don't know what it is about her hair. It's usually pretty no-nonsense. I just love how sleek it looks. And that color.

Best Hair, Male Character
1. Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow - Honest to God, I cannot believe a man with long hair is even on my list, but I would *kill* for his hair. For *myself*.
2. Hook, Once Upon a Time - I think it's the facial scruff that does me in, especially when his hair is a little messy.
3. Jake Ballard, Scandal - Clean cut, yes, please.

Most Enviable Style, Female Character
1. Olivia Pope, Scandal - No joke, I have a crush on the style she pretty much radiates. She has more style in one stray hair than I have had in my entire life, combined.
2. Joan Holloway Harris, Mad Men - I love the way Joan carries herself. She's ladylike and strong and very at ease in her own skin.
3. Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife - I like that she pulls off professional and sexy at the same time, but never looks trashy.

Creepiest Character
1. Peter Pan, Once Upon a Time - There was something one hundred percent unnerving about his eyes and his shadow. Pure evil.
2. Oliver Saxon aka "The Brain Surgeon," Dexter - There is something unspeakably unsettling about a person who can look and act so normal on the outside and be a brain-cutting serial killer in his free time.
3. The flying monkeys, Once Upon a Time - Straight out of my childhood nightmares!!

Best Villain
1. Rumplestiltskin, Once Upon a Time - He speaks out of both sides of his mouth. You never know whether or not to believe him. You *definitely* never trust him! And that cackle. ::shudder::
2. Catherine de' Medici, Reign - That woman stops at *nothing*. Finding yourself on her bad side can have no good ending.
3. Rowan "Eli" Pope, Scandal - Every single time I think maybe he's got Olivia's best interests in mind, he does something utterly ruthless.

Most Twisted Character
1. David Tate, The Bridge - All the ways he toyed with Marco, purely for revenge.
2. William Lewis, Law and Order: SVU - The numerous ways he tortured his victims, the way he worked his charms on so many women, the way he mercilessly tormented Olivia. Possibly one of the most terrifying characters I've ever encountered on television.
3. Cyrus Beene, Scandal - Is there anyone Cyrus *hasn't* tried to have knocked off?!

Character with the Most Straight-Up Crazy
1. Root, Person of Interest - There is something so humorous in the way she moves around, semi-detached and only half explaining herself while she talks to "Her."
2. Emma Ryland, Dallas - She bought the exact same lingerie as Pamela, wore it for John Ross, made him perform certain acts, then sent him home to kiss his wife. Are you kidding me?!
3. Maya Lewis, Scandal - Chewed through her own wrist. Need I say more?

Most Badass Character
1. Snow White, Once Upon a Time - Snow, before she became Mrs Charming and, later, Mary Margaret, was cheer-worthy levels of awesome.
2. Mr Reese, Person of Interest - He materializes out of the thin, exactly at the crucial moment, shoots without missing, then cracks a bemused half smile. That's the guy *I* want having my back!
3. Sebastian, Reign - He isn't afraid to declare his love *or* fight The Darkness.

Most Friend-Worthy Character
1. The Mother aka Tracy McConnell, How I Met Your Mother - Clever, funny, wise, direct, sweet, quirky.
2. April Kepner, Grey's Anatomy - I try to be annoyed by her, but, secretly, she's exactly the kind of upbeat, optimistic person I'm drawn to.
3. Sue Heck, The Middle - Sue Heck is high school me. I'd be friends with me.

Most Swoon-Worthy Character
1. Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow - His bewildered disdain for modern life is only part of his charm. I could also listen to him talk all. day. long.
2. Sebastian, Reign - Holy crap, those eyes look right through a girl, even from the other side of a television screen. And the way he treats his lady? That's the kind of "hot" a real woman goes for!
3. Hook, Once Upon a Time - I don't usually go for bad boys, but that smoldering stare? ::fans self::


Monday, September 15, 2014

I Watch TV 2013-2014 Season: The Broken Road Awards - Part One

I wanted to change things up a bit for my "tv season review" but I've struggled to figure out how, exactly, I wanted it to be constructed. After much consideration, I present: The Broken Road Awards.

And since the new television season is set to start on September 21, it's time to launch this baby! It will run in four parts, with the winner of each category in red italics.

Here are the shows in contention:

Returning Shows:
Dexter (SHO, final season). Once Upon a Time (ABC). The Good Wife (CBS). The Mentalist (CBS). Mad Men (AMC). How I Met Your Mother (CBS, final season). 2 Broke Girls (CBS). Mike and Molly (CBS). Dallas (TNT). Chicago Fire (NBC). Person of Interest (CBS). Revolution (NBC, cancelled). The Middle (ABC). Law and Order: SVU (NBC). Modern Family (ABC). CSI (CBS). The Big Bang Theory (CBS). Grey's Anatomy (ABC). Scandal (ABC). Elementary (CBS). Parenthood (NBC). Last Man Standing (CBS). The Carrie Diaries (CW, cancelled). Blue Bloods (CBS).

New Shows:
Sleepy Hollow (FOX). Mom (CBS). The Blacklist (NBC). About a Boy (NBC). Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC, single season spinoff). Reign (CW). The Michael J Fox Show (NBC, cancelled midseason).

Summer Shows:
Low Winter Sun (AMC, new, cancelled). The Bridge (FX, new). Unforgettable (CBS). Motive (ABC, new).

Favorite Character, Drama
1. James Spader as Raymond Reddington, The Blacklist - This character was made for Spader. Every line out of his mouth is pure gold. Every amused expression that passes over his face is genius.
2. Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, Blue Bloods - As smooth, tough, and respectable as Frank is, I love that he also comes across as extremely real.
3. Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni, The Good Wife - It's like she's straight out of one of my all-time favorite shows, Boston Legal. Quirky and smart.

Favorite Character, Comedy
1. Cristin Miliotti as The Mother (Tracy McConnell), How I Met Your Mother - I don't think I've ever loved a character as quickly as I did her.
2. Eden Sher as Sue Heck, The Middle - Oh, Sue Heck, I get you. It's rough to have a heart of gold and a totally awkward demeanor.
3. Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory - Pure hilarity.

Most Annoying Character Drama
1. Desmond Harrington as Joey Quinn, Dexter - I can't think of a more useless addition to a cast. He was constantly in a secondary role and that's exactly what he felt like: filler.
2. Tony Regbo as Prince Francis, Reign - Nowhere near as strong as he'd like to make everyone believe, he changes allegiance with the direction of the wind, even with his own wife.
3. Emilie de Ravin as Belle, Once Upon a Time - Three words: Grow a backbone. I don't care for the way they portray Belle. She doesn't come across as intelligent or curious, at all.

Most Annoying Character Comedy
1. Minnie Driver as Fiona, About a Boy - Holy helicopter mom.
2. Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn-Biggs, Mike and Molly - I know they decided to capitalize on Melissa McCarthy's slapstick movie humor payday, but the direction they've taken this show by reinventing Molly midstream feels caricature-ish.
3. Kat Dennings as Max Black, 2 Broke Girls - Hard to say which annoys me more: the stiff delivery of every line she's had over three seasons or The Joker lips painted on her face.

Best New Character on an Existing Show
1. The Mother aka Tracy McCarthy, How I Met Your Mother - Every appearance by The Mother, and they didn't come nearly often enough, was magic.
2. Zelena, Once Upon a Time - I enjoyed the way the writers wove the details of The Wizard of Oz in with the existing story and tied it to Regina.
3. Finn Polmar, The Good Wife - I immediately liked Finn. There's something humble about him, which is refreshing among so many huge (character) egos.

Favorite Couple
1. Sue and Darrin, The Middle - I was so sad when they broke up and was cheering (literally) when they decided to get back together.
2. Ted and Tracy, How I Met Your Mother - They are fifteen different kinds of adorable. So worth the wait for Ted.
3. Meredith and Derek, Grey's Anatomy - I appreciate that, even though they hit bumps and things aren't always easy, they stick together, fight through it together, and their marriage ends up stronger. It's so easy to just split marriages up on tv to create turmoil and change up the story. I like that they've survived.

Most Annoying Couple
1. Robin and Barney, How I Met Your Mother - I never really liked them together. They became more of a joke than anything else.
2. Kristin and Ryan, Last Man Standing - They set my teeth on edge the second they are on the screen.
3. Carrie and Sebastian, The Carrie Diaries - Too needy!

Family That Makes You Wish You Were One of Them
1. The Reagans, Blue Bloods - I want to go to family Sunday dinner!
2. The Pritchetts, Modern Family - I'd really just like to sit back and watch Phil's antics, and take some of these family vacations.
3. The Bravermans, Parenthood - I'm really just not sure how you wouldn't want to be part of this family.

Best Cast Chemistry
1. Parenthood - I can't think of a single line situation that has felt forced or awkward (unless it was *supposed* to feel that way). It doesn't even matter who is on the screen. They actually feel like a family.
2. The Good Wife - With such a high emotional intensity on this show, and the number of characters that may be on for an episode or a longer story arc, it's easy to pick up people who don't feel like they fit. This show never seems to miss a beat.
3. The Big Bang Theory - Even when they added new characters in previous seasons, it felt like they were always part of the gang. And their characters have continued to evolve in sync, which is really rather impressive.

Worst Cast Chemistry
1. 2 Broke Girls - Has there ever been a single episode of this show that the characters haven't felt as if they were reading off cue cards? After three seasons, they should feel more fluid in their delivery, at the very least.
2. The Michael J Fox Show - New shows, especially new comedies, seem to struggle to feel comfortable in their own skin. This one never seemed to get there.
3. Revolution - I never felt like this cast was cohesive. I understood that in season one, between being a new show and having characters killed off at an alarming pace, but that seemed to ease off a bit in the second season, and they still seemed to lack that spark that makes you want to suspend disbelief and feel as though they are real.

Part two, coming tomorrow...


Saturday, September 13, 2014

This Week on My TV: September 13, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(The BridgeS2E9 "Rakshasa") I'm not sure how to process that Eleanor had a son. I wonder if he was the result of her father's abuse? -- When the Mexican police brought in the high girl, I did not expect her father to be that CLIO guy, Sebastian Cerisola (or whatever his name is)! -- I can't quite figure out why Fausto thinks Eleanor betrayed him. Why doesn't he suspect Sebastian? Or does he think Eleanor is working for Sebastian now? -- I guess Sonya will be back to trusting Marco again, now that he saved her from The Chopper. -- Still trying to piece the timeline together. Is this shootout that resulted in the bloody scene Monte walked into at the start of the season? Is this another gruesome scene? And now Charlotte is dead and Hank's...dead? Missing? Holy. Crap. -- Marco [to Sonya]: That war is here now. And the border won't be able to stop it.

**(MotiveS2E13 "For You I Die"I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get the full story on whatever case is resurfacing from Angie and Mark's past. -- I did NOT expect Samantha to be this week's victim! -- If Rule Number One of a horror movie is never run upstairs, then Rule Number One of a crime show is never find yourself alone in a dark alley. Either way, no good will come of you. -- Why didn't they just test Mark's hands against the handprints on the two victims? -- Angie can't really quit...can she??

**(The Last ShipS1E6 "Lockdown"I sure hope the crew monitoring the transmissions is getting counseled by someone, because that has got to become severely depressing in a very short period of time. -- Rachel: The biggest breakthroughs almost always come after the most enormous setbacks. You just need to be patient. ... True about much more in life than scientific research on vaccines. -- I really like Tex. But I'm still not sure if he or CMC Jeter is my favorite. -- Eric Dane: master of indignant brooding. -- Quincy is a real pot stirrer. -- Tex: I'd follow you into the gates of hell. CO Chandler: That's only because you think it'd be exciting. -- Predictability: I knew Green wouldn't have the virus. And I knew none of the sailors would end up leaving the ship. I still understand why they have to set up tensions though. -- Teary eyes and goosebumps: when the sixteen sailors whose enlistment was up showed up on deck at the time appointed to get on their boat and leave, and one stepped forward to the CO with a folded flag...and said they all requested to re-enlist. I didn't know whether to cheer or weep, but I was moved. -- CO Chandler [to Quincy]: I hear you and Chandler have been doing a lot of talking. [pregnant pause with a smoldering stare] No more talking. ... Now *that* made me want to cheer, no question!

**(The BridgeS2E10 "Eidolon"Finally some missing puzzle pieces in the timeline. What happened in that car with Eleanor's first thug. The moments leading up to Monte arriving at the bloody shootout and those after he looks up to see a woman looking back down at him from the landing. -- I'm so conflicted about how I feel regarding Cesar. He's been one of my favorite characters on this show, but working for Eleanor, I feel very uncomfortable liking him, though I do pity him. -- Lyle Lovett may be one of the best random characters on this show. So well cast! -- I feel really bad for Jaime. I don't know that he's actually done anything wrong, since I don't believe he really has any idea of right or wrong. His mind is too simple. I felt a little better when Sonya was able to communicate with him about why he was carting around all those bodies. -- Frye: C'mon you gotta give me something! Detective Cooper: I'm going to give you a boot in your ass if you don't get off my crime scene. -- Was Eleanor staring at Marco before she dropped to the ground, or was she just staring off into space?

**(RecklessS1E7 "Deep Waters"Roy kinda has a point. Jamie seems to like them on opposite sides of as many cases as possible...so she doesn't have to face her feelings for him? -- That new judge brings new meaning to "no nonsense." -- I typically like the way Roy dresses, but, subtle or not, there was too much plaid going on with that suit, shirt, and tie, during the first part of this episode. -- I'm rather over Arliss and his "poor me" attitude. -- I can't figure out if Joyce Reed is sincerely trying to help Lee Anne or sabotage her case against the city. -- The dress Lee Anne wore for the ball looked like she had a dinner napkin poking up from her waistline. -- Because of course fancy-dressed Jamie and Roy had to dance, all slow and intimate, at the ball. Good glory, that was some steamy exchange. The sparks nearly shot off the screen of my tv. HOW DO YOU RESIST HIM, JAMIE?? -- I did not expect that steamy scene between Terry and Lee Anne. Jaw. On. Floor.

**(RecklessS1E8 "When the Smoke Clears"Roy just has all the pretty ladies throwing themselves at his feet. -- I don't think I could actually care any less about Preston's undercover gun trade arc. -- Vi found Terry's spy cam that he blackmailed her daughter into installing! And if he's the one who installed it, shouldn't he have remembered that before he got all hot and heavy with Lee Anne in Jamie's office? Or...was that the idea?! -- ::pointing at screen:: Roy caught Lee Anne and Terry kissing in secret!! -- Ed, the computer geek, looks like a young Ray Barone (from Everybody Loves Raymond). -- That gun exchange shootout location looked like a bad video game scene come to life. -- I get the impression I was supposed to feel some kind of anxiety over Preston getting shot...except...nothing. Not even with Terry standing over him, telling him he planned to use the final two bullets in his gun on him.

**(UnforgettableS3E9 "Admissions"When Carrie scans a bunch of framed photos, I always wonder which one she'll recall later and why. -- I'm always a sucker for a crime procedural episode that takes place in a private school, though I'm not sure why. -- The girl who did the hacking at the center of this case, Kendall, with the blonde hair, the dark thick eyebrows, and the huge black-rimmed glasses...that look was all a little much, all together. -- I pretty much loved the exchanges Eliot had with Jay and Cherie. They're humanizing him more, since the case that revealed he was having problems with his wife.

**(RecklessS1E9 "Damage Control"They sure go out of their way to make sure we know what a lech Dec is. -- I'm not sure how I feel about them trying to make Dec more of a prominent character on the show, with his wife, his open marriage, his pregnant mistress, by putting him in the court room opposite Jamie, but I loved when she used one of his old case arguments against him to win. -- Who leaked Lee Anne's tape?? And what's happened to Arliss??


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5. 10. 15. 20.

1994, 20 years ago - Don't let that smile fool you. I was terrified. Uncertain of looming adulthood. Unsure of the direction I was going, into the complete unknown, out of the nest, shoved into thin air, where the options were either flight or gravity. I felt small, invisible, inadequate. I was the girl no one really saw. I lacked any degree of confidence, was uncomfortable in my own skin, and had no clue who I wanted to be.

1999, 15 years ago - Don't let that smile fool you. I was faking confidence. Even though I was gainfully employed, I felt like a fraud, like there was no way I was an adult. I slapped on that smile like it was part of my uniform. I learned to look sure of myself while I quaked inside. I was hesitant, but I never wanted it to show. I drew the conclusion that adulthood was an act in making everyone else believe you had confidence and some kind of clue, but I had no more definition than I did at seventeen.

2004, 10 years ago - Don't let that smile fool you. I could snap it onto my face just like Mr Potato Head over there. Adulthood was proving to be as terrifying as my worst nightmares when I wore that graduation cap a decade earlier. My skin was thin and my confidence was thinner. A decade had given me no more direction, just some baggage stuffed full of realized fears and underdeveloped confidence...and not much leading me to believe that this wasn't what life was just going to be like. Plaster on that smile and pretend it's all under control. Inner peace was, as far as I knew, a scam.

2009, 5 years ago - Don't let that small smile fool you. For the first time in my life, I thought I was maybe in on the secret. Pieces were clicking into place. I was more tentative than uncertain. I was more curious than afraid. I'd hit my thirties and suddenly, it was occurring to me that maybe, just maybe, I was someone worth knowing, no pretense, no act.

2014, present - That smile is the real deal. I feel no more need to justify the things I enjoy, pretend to be someone I'm not, or impress people who think I should be someone or something different. I've traded a thin skin and a shaky interior for a soft heart and a quiet confidence. Not everyone will love me, but not everyone needs to; I'm seen by the people who matter and who love me *because* I'm me. I know who I am, what I like, and how to use my own voice. When I'm shaken, I rebalance quickly. I'm comfortable moving in my own space, at my own pace. I've learned to look in the mirror and work hard to be a person I can look in the eye: genuine, pleasant, silly, cheerful, strong, grateful. A girl at peace is a beautiful thing.

Oh, what a difference the passage of time makes. If I could just reassure that poor girl in 1994 that it would all be ok, that she'd grow into herself, and look at life as an adventure, and hold her head high as she laughed from the tips of her toes to the top of her head...


Monday, September 8, 2014

On: September 8, 2014


VANITY | Our bathroom vanity is one long stretch of counter with his-and-hers sinks. On my half, my toothbrush and a bottle of hand soap (Method Sweetwater). On his, a bottle of hand soap, his toothbrush and a little square white ceramic dish where he puts his wedding ring when he isn't wearing it. In the middle, a box of Puffs tissues in a brushed nickel cover, a matching cup filled with Q-tips, and a matching covered container with cotton rounds inside. The less stuff that's out all the time, the easier it is to keep clean!

PERENNIAL TO DO LIST | Exercise and make the bed first thing in the morning. Wipe down the bathroom sinks after getting ready for the day. Either cook or clean up after dinner (whoever cooks, the other cleans). Zap the sponge in the microwave (on high, 30 seconds) and get my lunch bag prepped before shutting down the house for the night. Balance-bills-budget every Sunday evening. Make sure my photos are backed up the first of every month.

REFRIGERATOR SHELVES | Yogurt. Eggs. Sour cream. Salad dressing. Pickles. Tomorrow's lunches for work. A big bowl of salad. A bottle of grape juice and a bottle of milk.

ITINERARY | Saturday - Haircut, library run, Bath and Body Works. Later this month - Food and Wine Fest at Epcot, a Disney weekend for our anniversary, belated birthday meal for my guy (he was waiting til we were closer to Orlando before he cashed in on his request).

FANTASY ITINERARY | I'd love to get back to San Francisco again sometime. Another trip to Fenway. Really wanting to go museum and monument hopping in Washington DC. Hawaii.

PLAYLIST | I'm all over the place, as usual: Glitter in the Air (P!nk). The Shape of Us (Ian Britt). Glass (Thompson Square). I Won't Give Up (Jason Mraz). Made to Be Free (Tim McMorris). Home (Phillip Phillips). All My Days (Alexi Murdoch). In My Life (The Beatles). Good to Go (Jason Aldean). Strong (Will Hoge). Blessings (Laura Story). Future Days (Pearl Jam). Luck Be a Lady (Frank Sinatra). Overwhelmed (Tim McMorris). How Great Thou Art (Carrie Underwood).

NIGHTSTAND | Lamp. Glasses case. "Wolves of the Calla" (Stephen King). Another stack of books I've been wanting to work into the rotation. A wooden "memory" box. Box of Puffs tissues. Photo of me and my Gram that she used to keep on her own nightstand.

WORKOUT PLAN | Anywhere from 15-30 minutes in the morning, depending on how much time I have, before I start getting ready for work. I change it up. Something cardio to get my heart pumping. Choose an area for the day to target on toning. Some planking or (girlie) push-ups. Finish with a little more cardio and then some stretching to cool down.

IPHONE | Texts. Photos. MLB At Bat. Instagram and PicTapGo. Tweetbot. Cartwheel. Disney app.

TOP 5 LIST | That man I married. Disney. Red Sox. Photos. Laughter.

BUCKET LIST | Take an actual sleighride in the snow. See a game at every ballpark in MLB. Stay at the Wilderness Lodge at WDW.

MIND | How unbelievably blessed I am. Missing my girls (I haven't seen them in almost two years! Booooo...).

WALLS OF YOUR FAVORITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE | Barn red paint and nothing else. Our living room has limited all space!

LIQUOR SHELF | A bottle of port Daniel left behind at Christmas and some Chardonnay in the fridge.

LAST CREDIT CARD STATEMENT | A zero balance on one and a healthy payment on the other, thank you very much!

SCREENSAVER | A slide show of favorite Red Sox photos I've both taken and collected.

TV EVERY NIGHT | Around the Horn. PTI. Local news. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Red Sox baseball.


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