Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Waning Days of Autumn

The last day of October is probably a fitting date to show you one of the reasons that I love my beautiful state. We actually got a nice bit of autumn this year, unlike previous years in which we had crisp mornings and sweater weather for about, oh, five days before the snow fell in buckets.

Day One: Car on Street
Leaf Level: Low

Day Two: Car on Street
Leaf Level: Insane

I jumped in those.
Really.
They were piled about a foot deep.

The Focus is scared and cannot see properly.
I used my snow and ice scraper to clean off the car.

And, lo! Before I knew it, it was Halloween! I journeyed to my parents' house to see my nieces dressed up for the day of sugar and ghosties.

Steven was a little exhausted after the trick-or-treating.

Kari and her babies: a witch and a 50s girl.
The 50s girl had some chocolate.
Okay, more than some.
When I arrived, she was spinning in circles.

Oh, and here's my brilliant pumpkin
of geometrically pleasing shapes:

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's About Time

You know what's nice about having a great job that you love? Actually wanting to do the work.

It's been quite some time that I've been actively engrossed in my work. There were always distractions, always something better to do. And when you're temping, it doesn't matter how much you like the people for whom you're working, because it's still temporary and it's not what you want to do nor are remotely interested in doing.

I'm not saying that I believe this feeling will go on forever. I realize that there are bad days ahead, annoying assignments, obnoxious situations, and frustrating deadlines. But I don't care.

I don't care because I feel that I am finally doing something right. I have the job I have been waiting for since I finished graduate school way back in 2004.

It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Night of the Chick Flicks

I spent the other night watching two chick flicks: Elizabethtown and Definitely, Maybe. Both were cute, and both were better than I expected.

I can't watch these with Mike, you see, because I made a promise to never make him watch formulaic chick flicks, and I am an awesome girlfriend, you see. Besides, he had his own night planned, and I was looking forward to popcorn and my comfy couch. I'm rarely at my own place anymore as it is.

I started with Elizabethtown, because of the two, I expected it to be the weaker. It was, but still mostly enjoyable. Drew (Orlando Bloom), a recently fired shoe company exec who is single-handedly responsible for a billion plus loss for his company because of a horribly designed shoe. On top of his severe depression, he faces a trip to Louisville to deal with his father's funeral arrangements, as he has passed away while on vacation to his hometown.

While on a plane upon which he is the only passenger, he meets Claire (Kirsten Dunst) a flight attendant who was forced to fly the red-eye. Most of the movie spans their early get-to-know-you routine and examines Drew's relationship with his father's family - a family he never really knew because of some kind of disagreement between them and Drew's mother. I don't remember it being that important, but maybe I was focusing on Claire's adorable wardrobe and waiting for their inevitable first kiss.

I actually appreciated the plot because it was fairly simple and pretty believable. Drew and Claire's relationship begins to bloom over a long telephone conversation and while we learn cute little stories about each of them, we also start to see why they were meant to be together. She's optimistic and upbeat, and he needs a little saving. Cliche, perhaps, but sweetly choreographed and very much appreciated. Oh, and Susan Sarandon's bit part as Drew's mother is pretty funny.

Elizabethtown won't (and didn't) win any awards, but it's a nice little distraction of a movie.

Definitely, Maybe, another romantic comedy, was also a bit formulaic, but a really pleasant surprise. I love Ryan Reynolds, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I know that people see him and only see Van Wilder, but I can recognize that there is something else there. He has rare comedic timing, great delivery, and .02% body fat. He's nice to look at.

Will Hayes (Reynolds) is at the tail end of his divorce, and however amicable it may be, he's upset. Luckily, his daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin, on an acting high since her brilliant turn in Little Miss Sunshine) is extremely understanding and accepting of the developments and only wants her dad to be happy. Precocious and intelligent (aren't they always?), she begs her dad to weave her the tale of how he met her mother. Not far into the tale, it's clear that her mother could have been one of three women: Emily (Elizabeth Banks), Summer (Rachel Weisz), or April (Isla Fisher).

Cleverly executed, Definitely, Maybe is sweetly written and worth a watch on girls' night. The writing makes it a little tricky to discover who "mom" is, but that's not what the viewer is concerned with: we want to know who Will eventaully ends up with.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hello, Benefits! Parte Dos

I just want to reiterate that I HAVE BENEFITS now.

I cannot wrap my brain around how the insurance industry (yes, industry. Blue Cross Blue Shield is a non-profit, MY ASS) estimates the price of drugs, nor do I want to try and understand. I have a feeling that it will result in me ripping out all of my hair just before my brain explodes out my eyes. I don't know how the system works. There has got to be a way to change the current system for the better, but there's no way to make everyone happy. Living on the poor side of the system for the better part of two years, I cannot imagine being stuck there forever, and my heart goes out to those who are without. Especially those with families.

All I know is that when I didn't have employee-sponsored benefits, prescription eye drops that I've been on since June cost me $211.75 each month (each MONTH). With my fancy new benefits?

Fifteen dollars.

FIFTEEN. DOLLARS.

The same thing happened with my super ridiculously expensive, but 100% effective, migraine pills. Without insurance, a month's worth of pills (which, I might add is just nine pills. Nine pills for the month. Explain that one, because I can't) cost me $207. With fancy new benefits?

Thirty.

THIRTY. DOLLARS. Bwuh huh huh!

Count von Count thinks that Blue Cross can go suck it.

I told the pharmacist that I am just as excited for my new benefits as I am the job. Possibly more.

At this point? It's pretty even.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reasons I Shouldn't Live Alone, But Probably Also Reasons That I Am Living Alone

Everyone does stupid things, I'm sure. I am temporarily stupid, like most people, though sometimes I really wonder what could possibly have been going through my head to make me do such asinine things.

I'm extremely organized, it's true, but there are times - like the present - where I have let things get a little out of hand. Usually, it takes something to make me fix it. There's a line to cross before I get my ass into gear.

For example - I usually wash my clothes at Mike's house. He has a much better washer and dryer, and also - he lets me. But when I cart my clothes home again, fresh and neatly folded, they tend to stay in my laundry basket. For days. Even weeks. Days that turn into weeks! I just take what I need from the basket, and all is well. But when it comes to doing laundry again, I need the laundry basket. An empty basket. So I transfer the clothes - not as neatly folded as they once were due to me rifling through them searching for one of my possibly hundred black shirts, tanks, and/or sweaters - and place them on my window seat.

And there they sit.

I am not proud to admit that summer skirts still languish there, along with t-shirts and other summer clothing that I haven't worn in months. So where's the line? Usually, the line is crossed when I just can't find what I'm looking for, have been searching for days on end, and I just get too fed up with my slovenly ways to continue on any longer. Then I put everything away. It takes about an hour.

At least they're clean, right?

(That is one thing that I am actually good about. Dirty clothes go into the hamper - nowhere else.)

I lock my keys in the car sometimes. And by "sometimes," I mean, "on more than one occasion, upon which I realize that the car is not only locked, but still running." This has happened once in front of my own house upon which I had to call a tow service to open the car - which cost me forty bucks; once parked behind Mike's garage - which meant that his car was in the garage, and I had to call my lovely sister-in-law to drive to Mike's, pick me up, drive me to my house, drive me back to Mike's, and deposit me; and once (in high school) in the parking lot at Applebee's. My dad had to bring me the spare set of keys, and delivered them with a lecture on responsibility. Thanks, Dad!

(from antiqueappliances.com)

Another example: When it comes to my fridge, the line only materializes when you can smell the decomposing food without opening the door. (I'm almost positive that I just made Mike's mom recoil in horror and possibly faint, and I apologize for that.) And my lovely sister-in-law can attest to this - I once PAID HER to clean out my fridge while I was at work.

(No, I am not proud of this.)

But I like to cook. I like to cook too much, I think, because I always end up with leftovers. Leftovers that I take for lunch and eat for dinner, but after a few days I become bored with this routine and return to chopping at the cutting board and sauteing at the stove. Thus, there is more food to eat than I can actually eat.

And then it goes bad. And I am disgusting. The end.

Also, let me tell you a little story about that fridge up yonder. Growing up, this was the EXACT fridge in my kitchen. It turns out, when my parents got married, they were poor (as most early 20s couples are). So when my grandparents got a new fridge, they gave my parents the 1953 Crosley pictured above. My parents were married in 1975, putting the fridge at over twenty years old. It was a pretty awesome fridge in its heyday, with a water dispenser and built-in egg cups. Egg cups! Of course, when we got it, my aunt had long ago broken the water dispenser by putting Kool-Aid in the mechanism, so we were not able to utilize the awesomeness. We did have to defrost the freezer every few months, so that was always good for when you wanted to sit in front of the open fridge with a hammer and a screwdriver.

(I am not kidding about this.)

Anyway, it lived until I was a sophomore in HIGH SCHOOL. Just to paint you a picture, I was born in 1980. So a little simple math (1995-1953=42) will tell us that the Crosley fridge lived a full, satisfying life. Of course, even though my dad wanted to get it fixed and keep it in the basement, my mom won that one and it ended up on the street.

(Of course, the model above is for sale at the website for $5800, which prompted my dad to exclaim, "I knew we should have kept that fridge!")

Anyway, I seem to have gotten off course by sharing such interesting anecdotes. This is what Mike calls my "peripheral nonsense." What inspired this entire post is the following:

I got home from work the other day and realized that I should have taken out the garbage, oh, like, five days ago. (In my defense, I hadn't been home in days.) I deposited it outside in the garbage can, and returned to an apartment that smelled of lingering nastiness. So I lit some candles, and sat down to dinner feeling accomplished. I eventually went to bed, forgetting to extinguish the candles.

"Do not leave us alone with Heather. Please."

It wasn't until I returned home from work the following day that I realized that the candles were STILL BURNING.

How do I let these things happen?

(The candles were pillars from Pier One, in case you were interested in cost-effective, long-burning candles.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hello, Benefits!

OMG, you guys. Remember me? It's been a long time! I was doing OH SO WELL with the frequent posting back in September, and then October crept up on me like a spider in the shower and before I realized what was happening, I had washed him down the drain in a death orgy of soap and water.

And by "spider," I mean "October." Of course, you knew that. You guys are so smart.

So I got this kick ass new job, and that's been going great. And while the job is wonderful, there are also BENEFITS. Benefits, people! I haven't had employer-sponsored benefits since I left DC, and I cannot tell you how fantastic it is to know that I can be much more careless with my health now that I know someone is going to pay for it!

For example, if I wanted to get swine flu, I TOTALLY COULD.

If I wanted to get the flu shot, I TOTALLY COULD.

(Disclaimer: I have never gotten a flu shot, as shots make me pass out, but I am told that if there was ever a time to get the flu shot, it is now.)

(And I still have yet to get the shot.)

So while I would be against getting swine flu, it would be nice to get something easy and treatable, like... strep. Sure it wouldn't be the best, but it would be COVERED. My doctor's visit? COVERED. Prescription for amoxicillin? COVERED.

Anyway, this is a grand realization for me.

Of course, it doesn't change the fact that I am still sitting on over one thousand dollars of debt from last summer's MRI, opthamologist visits, and dermatologist visits. I know that I'll get on top of it all eventually, but it's beyond frustrating.

But at least now I can go to the doctor without knowing I'll be adding to that debt. So, yay!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Sweetest Day, Love!

I know that we are supposed to ignore the made-for-profit holidays, but let's just say that someone forgot Sweetest Day last year, and someone did not. And I am one of those two people.

(Also, that link just taught me that Sweetest Day is a Midwestern holiday. I blame the weather.)

It's not that Mike and I don't think that it's a fake holiday (because we do), and it's not that Mike and I are super romantic every waking hour (because who is?). What it really comes down to is that I was the one to forget about Sweetest Day last year, and he was the one to remember. And it's been held over my head ever since.

So even though I was rebelling against it, because you shouldn't have to wait for a calendar date to tell someone how much you love him, I gave in. Because what do you do when you find the CUTEST Sweetest Day card ever (with birdies!) at Target? You have to buy it. And I did.

And even when your boyfriend says that the CUTEST CARD EVER makes it "even" and he goes ahead and gets you a really sweet card anyway, therefore now (and probably for all eternity) making it uneven, you know that it's all because he knows that he can tease you (and that you secretly like that he teases you) and that it's all just another part of your awesome relationship.

And since there will never be a card that says exactly what I want, I'll let a band do it for me. In excerpts!

Must Have Done Something Right
Relient K

We should get jerseys
Because we make a good team
But yours would look better than mine
Because you're out of my league

And I know that it's so cliche
To tell you that every day
I spend with you
Is the new best day of my life

If anyone could make me a better person you could
All I gotta say is I must have done something good.
You came along one day and rearranged my life
All I gotta say is I must have done something right

I love you, honey!
(HAPPY FAKE HOLIDAY!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Beauty of Shuffle

I have a good number of playlists on my iPod, from "upbeat" to "commuting" to "classical" to "newish." But lately I've been stuck on shuffle.

It's so much more exciting to have no idea what the next song will be. This morning, from the time I got to the bus stop to the time I arrived at work, I heard the following:

"Brand New Day" by Joshua Radin
"Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
"Macy's Day Parade" by Green Day
"God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys
"Cold" by Matchbox Twenty
"Lose You" by Pete Yorn
"Reckoner" by Radiohead
"Wild Montana Skies" by John Denver & Emmylou Harris
"Keeping" by Embrace

I actually have some new songs to add, but I don't want to plug in to my laptop because it will reset the shuffle and be back to 1 of 900-something songs. And that wouldn't be fair to the other songs that I have yet to hear!

(In case you were wondering, yes. Yes, my songs have feelings. Apparently.)

What was your commuting playlist this morning?

Monday, October 12, 2009

DC, How I Love Thee

So I went back to DC over a month ago, and I've just been too lazy to actually record my visit here. UNTIL NOW.

It sure is your lucky day, isn't it?

THURSDAY
I got to the airport early, as is my routine. I know that people think I'm insane, but I really like people watching, and I HATE to be rushed. I stopped for some Jimmy John's on the way as Little Caesar's (bastards!) closed their restaurant in the main terminal, thus forcing me to alter my well-oiled routine. So instead of Little Caesar's, Coke, and people-watching, I was forced to have Jimmy John's, Coke, and people watching. It was unnerving.

I meandered through the ridiculously large terminal, pulling my suitcase and juggling my bag o' travel diversions (sudokus, cryptograms, books, and iPod). I plopped down at my gate and ate my sandwich while watching the pilot go through his pre-flight paperwork. It was fascinating.

Once on the plane, I was greeted with several welcome surprises: Northwest is now Delta, and since Delta is based in Georgia, and since Coke is bottled in Atlanta, Northwest now has Coke instead of Pepsi. It was a banner day to fly the friendly skies, let me tell you. Couple that with honey roasted peanuts (Northwest had discontinued snacks!) and snazzy uniforms, it was a great flight!

I am so easily amused.

When I got to the airport metro station, there was a huge clusterfuck of tourists attempting to figure out the fare card machines. I really didn't want to wait, so I thought that I would try out my two-year-old SmarTrip card. You know, the one that my old job furnished?

It worked! And it still had $30 left. Score!

So I was pretty much spacing out on the yellow line, waiting for it to cross the Potomac so I could see the sights, and I felt like a local again. It was my first time back to DC since I moved away almost two years ago. I didn't have to think twice about where to go and which metro train to take. I immediately fell back into my townie skin and settled back on the train with my book.

I was proud that I remembered where to go, though I guess that's the appeal of a system that hasn't changed much. When I got to Chinatown, I knew exactly which escalator to take, exactly which direction to go. DC's metro welcomed me back with open arms by having half of the escalators in the station shut down, and I felt more at home than ever, lugging my suitcase up several flights of stairs.

And that's when things started to get a little floopy. When I got to that last level before the street, I stopped. I moved over to the wall and stopped. I couldn't breathe. My heart was racing. I was sweaty, but I wasn't sure if it was from the escalators/stairs or an oncoming freak-out. Then I realized what was going on.

I was nervous.

I was so close, and I was nervous. I don't know why it came over me, nor do I understand. I was about to see my friends! Why was I scared? It was extremely strange, but I finally managed to get over myself and get my ass up to 9th and G.

Of course, once I wheeled my suitcase into Ella's, all it took was a glass of sangria in my hand, and I was fine. People arrived one after another, and soon we had a great group. I was so happy and so flattered that so many of my friends came out to see me!


Me and my Merrick

Mike & Meghan

I LOVE HER.

Gabe!

Merrick, me, and Meghan.
In the bathroom.
No, I don't know why.

Me and Lauren

Shane, Katie, and Gabe

Some of the old group with the best bartender EVER.

FRIDAY
I was really excited for the day to begin. Everyone was going to work, but I was going to run amok in our nation's capital. I didn't have that much planned, but I definitely had some hot spots to hit.

First, Laurel picked me up at Merrick's and we went to breakfast. She was leaving that evening for Switzerland (bitch!), so we didn't have that much time together. That's okay, because any time spent with food is fine with me. We went to Bread and Chocolate, which is as amazing as it sounds. I got fruit crepes and a mocha. Laurel got, well, this:

(Chocolate banana french toast)
(Also, I'm sorry that I cut off your head, Laurel.)

Laurel had packing to do before leaving for Switzerland (bitch!), so she dropped me off at L'Enfant Plaza to visit my old office. I was also very excited to see if Shooze was still in existence (Surprise news flash: It's not. Sad.) That I did, which was nice, and then Gordon and I went to lunch at another place I miss. He came in to work on his day off just to see me. SUPER NICE.

After lunch, I strolled down to the National Mall and stopped at the National Museum of Natural History. The Ocean Hall had been closed since before I moved to DC (2002), and had remained closed when I left (2007). But it had reopened sometime in the last two years and was just as amazing as I remember when I was twelve.

The new Ocean Hall at Natural History

Soon, I was antsy to see my old stomping ground, the National Museum of American History. It was completely closed to the public when I moved away, and, after massive interior renovations, looked like nothing I remembered. My friend and former co-intern, Mike, gave me an awesome tour of the new space.

Me and Stephen Colbert
(In case you don't know why his portrait is here,
follow this link to read all about the hilariousness!)

Sexy George. Obviously.

Fun fact: I'm still on their website, posing with a famous robot. (Scroll to bottom of page.)

By the time the work day wrapped up, I was ready for food. We met in Old Town for dinner and beers at Murphy's. Coincidentally, and of interest to anyone but me, we were placed at the same table that we celebrated my going-away not two years ago. Weird!

K-10 and me

Saturday
I risked the ire of many by demanding that we meet at Eastern Market at nine o'clock. It was totally worth it, however, as the Market didn't really start to get crowded until we were leaving. And that's when we went to Capitol Hill Books, one of the coolest used bookstores in the city.


At Capitol Hill Books, possibly my favorite used bookstore EVER.

What's not to love in this picture?
Books? Good.
Chandelier? Good.
Organized chaos? GOOD.

The rest of the afternoon was spent gallivanting around the city. We headed to Dupont and stopped in at Secondi for consignment heaven (I got a scarf!), we toured Columbia Heights and Josh's new house, and we stopped in at Pulp, one of the coolest little shops in the city.

And then it was time to eat. Again! (I swear, most of my trip revolved around restaurants.)

Me and Joshy at Logan Tavern

Then there is this, basically an amazing piece of art. Is this dinosaur dead? I think so, because of the X's for eyes. Did waffles kill him? Lack of waffles? IT IS UNKNOWN.

Waffles?
YES.

K-10 and I watched the second half of the Michigan-Notre Dame game, most likely scaring people in her apartment complex with our screaming. After a nail-biter of an ending, we met Merrick for dinner in Del Ray - at the Evening Star Cafe. It was just as good as I'd always heard.

Sunday
After a sleepover involving pillow fights and popcorn, we slept in before heading to breakfast. Then it was just a mash of street fairs, more shopping, and heading to Chinatown for an early dinner.

Obligatory Mall shot

Shane and me at my favorite Thai place

K-10, Jen, me, and Merrick

Interesting fact: I almost missed this plane for a myriad of reasons, the most irritating of them being the $&@&** shuttle bus driver at the airport. National Airport isn't large, but terminal A, from which Northwest arrives and departs, is a nice ten minute walk from the main terminal. In over five years of flying out of National, I only twice waited for the shuttle instead of walking to terminal A. Chalk it up to years of experience, because my decision to take the shuttle was one of the stupidest plans in the history of the world (the stupidest being "Who Wants to Marry My Dad" and The Holy Land Experience). The $&@&** shuttle bus driver almost get ten feet up his ass for driving like a degenerate who had never once been inside a moving vehicle. What should have taken one minute (two minutes, TOPS), took fifteen.

It's possible that all of this could have been avoided had I left the restaurant at a normal time instead of one hour before my flight.

It also might have helped that I had the correct time of my flight in my head and not the time that I had settled on, which was 7:30.

It was not 7:30.

I was that person that people sneer at - the one bustling onto the plane at the very last second, ruining the illusion for the two people in my row who were silently hoping that I would miss the flight.

I didn't, and that's how I got the coolest shot ever:

(Click above for amazing detail!)

Bye DC! I miss you already!

(All pictures from my sweet ass trip can be viewed here.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Maybe They'll Be the State's Problem Soon

So Mike has trashy neighbors. There are at least two families living in the two-bedroom condo, they turned their garage into another room, and they treat both the parking lot and their "front yard" as their own personal domain.

There is constant screaming, breaking of things, stomping, and absolutely amazing amounts of swearing. And with a minimum of five children living there, you can imagine how horrifying this is to hear.

They had a small little terrier for a while. It was constantly yipping, which, of course, resulted in constant yelling and swearing. Mike watched two of the kids chase it around a tree until the leash was wound too tight for it to go anywhere. Then the kids put a bag over its head and started hitting it. Mike ran outside but realized he couldn't do anything. That's when one of the mothers came out, picked up the dog and dragged her kids inside. We never saw - or heard - the dog again.

They have had many different cars parked outside of their garage, including a twelve-foot trailer, two motorcycles, and, my favorite, an SUV with a decal advertising a church's website. Ironic, no?

One of the worst experiences happened this summer when Mike was golfing. I was at his house getting ready to meet a friend for lunch, and the parents had been fighting for a good hour. The kids were screaming and crying, I heard things smashing against the walls, and the swearing was absolutely unbelievable. I wanted to call the police, but I wasn't sure what would happen since I still have a DC phone number.

Luckily, when I decided to just leave, there were five police cars outside, tons of policemen, and still - lots of screaming. I was just relieved that someone had made the call. I will next time.

Today was no different. The children were outside playing. With a box.

No big deal. I remember playing with a huge refrigerator box once. But I'm pretty sure that I was wearing shoes. And possibly socks. And probably PANTS.

And if I was a toddler, you can bet that I probably wasn't outside by myself. At least not for longer than a few seconds. Oh, have I mentioned that the high to day was 49 degrees? FORTY-NINE DEGREES, and this poor kid was not wearing SHOES, SOCKS, or PANTS. Just a sweater and a diaper.

I'm not a parent. I don't know what's best for kids and I'm not trying to pretend that I do. But I am guessing that constant swearing, constant yelling, and NOT PUTTING PANTS ON YOUR CHILD in cold weather do not a great parent make.

GOD.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Masters of the Universe

Okay, so we just finished watching Masters of the Universe, and I have to say that even though it was amazingly, laughably, ridiculously horrible, it was still better than Hot Shots. (Ugh.)

My battle gear is surprisingly effective. And warm.

I am going to recap it in full, so if you are planning on Netflixing this one, I'd stop reading now. But for everyone else who knows better, I bring to you now the fantastic 1987 film, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE.

He-Man lives on Eternia, a planet also home to the evil Skeletor. No, not Maria Shriver, but an honest-to-goodness man. Well, a man of some sort. Wearing a skeleton mask. Or it's his face. I'm not sure. It wasn't really clear.

He-Man and his two warriors, Teela and Man-at-Arms (no, really, that's his name), apparently the only three people needed to defend the entire planet, are in the middle of a battle. Skeletor has already taken control of Castle Greyskull , a magical place where the MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE resides. And where the Master's power originates. Or is that from the sword? I don't know. It wasn't really clear.

Skeletor has also captured Judy Gellar, aka The Sorceress of Greyskull, who holds the castle's power. Wait, I thought that it was the castle that held the power? Or the sword? THIS IS CONFUSING.

He-Man, Teela, and Man-at-Arms are doing a bit of light hiking in the hills and come upon an obnoxious dwarf named Gwildor who I immediately likened to Jar Jar Binks and was therefore annoyed every time he spoke in his high, squeaky, wanna-be-Yoda voice. Apparently, Gwildor is a genius who designed a time-traveling device called, "The Key." It opens dimensions to anywhere. And, of course, Skeletor has it. Convenient.

Zoinks!

BUT SQUIDGY LITTLE GWILDOR BINKS HAS MADE ANOTHER. Oh, snap! Avoiding Skeletor's forces, they accidentally warp themselves to Earth, circa the decade of amazing hair and clothes, the eighties. Monica Gellar, I mean Julie Winston, is about to hit the road and move to New Jersey (though I think that Conan O'Brien might try to dissuade her) because her parents died in a plane crash and she thinks that it was her fault, blah blah blah. She's visiting their graves with her boyfriend (but planning on dumping him soon), Kevin, when something causes an ear-splitting explosion.

It's because He-Man and his minions have warped to Earth, but they wouldn't know that. The crash was the stupid key falling to Earth, away from the posse of spandex and laser guns. Hmm, you'd think that someone would have held on to that.

Soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend is a dolt and thinks that it's a synthesizer, which would make his band's performance that night completely super radical, because the eighties was nothing without synthesizers, and takes it to his buddy's guitar and music store for identification. That's when Skeletor's greatest warriors/bounty hunters bust through the time-space continuum and make a mockery of the high school by BURNING IT DOWN. School's out for summer! INDEFINITELY.

Julie escapes and runs to an alley where the henchmen almost get her, but then He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, and that annoying elf-dwarf guy rescue her. Instead of fleeing from their spandex (Teela) and inexplicable nakedness (He-Man), Julie clings to them and immediately believes everything they say. As you would.

Detective Lubic, assigned to the arson case, catches up with them and is understandably PISSED about all of the fire and destruction and demands that they hand over the stupid key.

The unsuccessful henchmen return to Eternia and get reamed by Skeletor and his bitch minion. Her name is Evil-Lyn, which seems a little like naming a white poodle, "Whitey." What I'm saying here is that it was lazy writing.

My real name is Evil-Gwen, but Skeletor's ex-girlfriend
was named Gwen. So I changed it.


So Evil-Lyn decides that since she's the only one with balls, she'll go to Earth and get the stupid key. She takes the form of JULIE'S DEAD MOTHER and screws with her brain long enough to ensure that Julie nonchalantly hands over the key. Once everyone else realizes what happened, it's too late. Soon after, He-Man is quickly captured and made to promise to be Skeletor's slave. He agrees, so long as his friends can go free. So Evil-Lyn leaves them on Earth with no way home. Nice!

Back on Eternia, Skeletor is waiting for the eclipse or something to do with the planets so that the castle will recognize him as the MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE. With He-Man's sword firmly in place in his throne (hee hee! Dirty!), the transformation begins. Or something. It wasn't really clear.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Kevin mimics the sounds the key made with his sweet keyboard, and they magically warp to Eternia. This was all very simple.

Of course, the amazing magic of the jimmy-rigged key brings not only their rag-tag group of warriors, but half of the car behind which they were hiding, the wall of the building, Detective Lubic, and all of Courteney Cox's hair.

The battle ensues, Skeletor dies or something (I'm not sure. It wasn't really clear), and Evil-Lyn escapes. Most likely leaving room for a sequel.

Detective Lubic decides to stay in Eternia because the twenty minutes he's seen of it consisted of lots of flashy lights and a partially-clothed woman feeding him grapes, and that's enough for him. Julie and Kevin return to Earth, though Julie can't resist one last partially-clothed hug from He-Man. They all bid one another "Good Journey," instead of "Good Bye" because it's more positive and less I-hope-you-don't-die-on-the-battlefield, even though Julie and Kevin are only returning to Earth.

But sneaky Gwildor returns them to Earth the morning BEFORE Julie's parents die in a fiery plane crash, and everything is all hunky-dory and Julie doesn't have to move to New Jersey after all, which would probably be worse than having dead parents anyway.

THE END.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It's Time for Fall! And a Surprise!

It's finally feeling like fall here in good old Michigan. The trees are changing color, the mornings are a little more than chilly, and the apples are ready for picking at the orchards.




Oh, and the final picture?

Those are the flowers from my aunt and the beer from my mom.
To congratulate me on GETTING THE JOB.

Yay!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

It Was Just After Augustus Bit the Dust

Did you ever watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and think, "Wow, the people behind this movie must have been dropping acid on an hourly basis, because that tunnel scene just made me pee my pants in terror." No? Just me?

Well, here is that scene played backward. Now you can pee. You're welcome.



(Note: I have no idea what it means to "drop acid.")

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Yay Nature!

The other night, I caught one of the installments of Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Best Idea on Detroit Public Television. I felt bad that I had no part in the "brought to you by viewers like you" part, but I have no money and must resort to using unsolicited return address labels rather than giving to good causes. You know, in place of writing my own damn name on the left-hand corner of an envelope.

God, I'm lazy.

Anyway, I missed the first half hour or so, but the portion that I caught was brilliant. I learned a great deal about Teddy Roosevelt - I knew that he was an avid hunter, but I had no idea that he was so passionate about nature. I loved learning about his great relationship with environmentalists like John Muir and that he slept under the stars in Yosemite. Roosevelt was instrumental in adding to the number of National Parks in America, often against the wishes of big business.

It's annoying to me that his memorial in DC is the only one I have yet to visit.

Because I am a child of nature. I grew up outdoors, camping in the spring and summer, visiting Michigan's metroparks weekly, and playing outside until the street lights came on and I reluctantly trudged back home. I remember collecting a bucketful of tiny frogs one summer at a cottage on Lake Huron. I remember seeing a complete rainbow - a circle in the sky (really!). I remember waking up in the middle of the night just to go stargazing. I've hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail, I've seen whales breach from the ocean, and I've watched little birds flit about for hours at a time.

So this miniseries is right up my alley.

If you're a nerd like me and like history, nature, and nature history, then tune in!

Monday, October 05, 2009

And I Just Hope That it Doesn't Get Cancelled

I've been catching up on some of the new fall shows with hulu (love!), and without a doubt, Modern Family is the best new program of the season.

It reminds me of a cross between Arrested Development and The Office with a little 30 Rock thrown in for good measure. Which, for some people, might make them run far, far away. But I'm hoping that they won't.

Modern Family revolves around three different families: The Dunphy's - married sixteen years with three kids; the Pritchett's - married six months in a May-December kind of way, with one young son from a previous relationship; and a committed gay couple who have recently adopted a baby from Vietnam. They are all related, and it's amazing.

As the patriarch of the clan, Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill in a wonderfully-acted, understated role) has recently remarried Gloria, a younger woman of Latino heritage. Her son, Manny, is an adorable roly-poly boy of eleven who wears his heart on his sleeve. Their storyline revolves around Manny wanting to profess his love for a sixteen-year-old girl. He's written her a poem and everything! Jay wants to stop him from making a fool of himself, but Gloria thinks that they should encourage him to be himself.

Jay's daughter, Claire, is married to Phil Dunphy, and they have three kids: daughters Haley and Alex, and son Luke. Haley is the eldest, in high school with a wild streak, Alex is the intelligent, dry-humored, mature-beyond-her-years middle child, and Alex is the youngest and a bit of a screw-up. The first episode revolves around Haley bringing a boy over for the first time, Luke shooting Alex with a Nerf-like BB gun, Phil attempting to prove that he's a "cool dad," and Claire attempting to stop Haley from becoming a slut. Because she was a total slut at Haley's age, apparently.

Mitchell and Cameron start the episode on a plane with their newly-adopted daughter, Lily. Everyone on the plane thinks that she is just adorable until Cameron arrives at his seat. Then the passengers get judgemental and there is a hilarious scene where Cameron lectures the whole plane on love. It's painful and amazing, just like any episode of The Office.

The episode ends at Mitchell and Cameron's, where Cameron has invited Mitchell's whole family for dinner, but mainly to introduce them to Lily. It's all kinds of hilarious and awkward, but ends on a sweetly upbeat note.

Here are a few lines from the episode that had me rolling, though they are, of course, better in context.

Mitchell: "May I take your multi-colored coat and bejeweled cap?"

Cameron: "I can't turn it off, it's who I am!"

Jay: "She's one of us now. Let me see the little pot-sticker."

Phil: "Where's the baby oil?"
Claire: "It's on our nightst... just find it!"

I highly recommend Modern Family. Watch it on hulu today!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Overachiever

Someone's eager for autumn.