Oscar day is my own personal holiday. For the past 10 years or so, I have written down my sister and my predictions for what we think the Academy will honor. (In addition to our predictions for Golden Globes ceremonies, etc…) So far I have never lost between the two of us… though this year I was cutting it close. I only out-predicted her by one category (Thank you, Best Editing). My gray notebook only has 3 pages left in it, so this time next year, I will have to start up a new notebook. But my old gray notebook that I have dragged around from state to state (I’ve moved 6 times in the past 10 years…) will forever be close at hand, as it truly holds the beginnings of my epic love for all things Oscars.

I will probably just do a quick-ish post tonight and expand on my thoughts of tonight’s ceremony a bit more in depth a little later this week.

However, I will say that while I was not overly impressed with this year’s telecast, it wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever seen either. I was really looking forward to James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosting. Hathaway seemed to really embrace her job and kept a super happy/really into it attitude the whole night. She seemed excited to be introducing the people throughout the night, and I thought it was super cute of her to high-5 those PS22 kids at the end 🙂

Franco turned in a very Franco performance. He cracked some jokes, seemed a bit aloof at points, and gave some awkward line readings. But I dig his humor, and for the amount of stuff this guy is involved in, I think he did a pretty all right job with what little time he probably had to prepare. I think James Franco is a hoot, but I also totally respect him as an actor. For ever General Hospital or Pineapple Express performance (which j’adore…), he gives a serious turn in Milk, Howl and 127 Hours (which I still need to see, but it’s in my Netflix queue). He’s really talented, and probably a lot smarter than people give him credit for.

Things I disliked about the show:

– Kirk Douglas’s introduction of Best Supporting Actress. I totally respect Kirk Douglas and am well aware of his cinematic legacy and the roles he played back in the day. But it is super hard to understand him, and even though he was cracking some decent jokes, they came at an epically slow pace (not the best way to spend time in the early hours of the show).

– Melissa Leo – Granted, her performance in The Fighter was amazing. But I really lost a lot of respect for her with those ads she put out for her nomination. And then she totally dropped the F word. And I’m sure it’s really shocking to win an Oscar, but pull yourself together woman. It’s your time to shine, but standing up there and gawking and rambling is less than classy. Especially when you probably knew you were going to win anyway… geez.

– Misuse of the set – I loved how they were using the back of the set to display scenes and moments from old films. But, after the first half hour or so, they didn’t do that anymore. I don’t even really like Gone with the Wind, but I was in awe of how they were using the set to show the fire scene… that was just gorgeous. But then after the Shrek bit, they didn’t use that backdrop to its full potential. Sadness 😦

– People with lists. Yes, I’m talkin’ about you, Colleen Atwood. I love your costume designs for Alice in Wonderland, but your speech was so robotic and boring because of your list. Boo.

What I did like:

– The opening bit. I’m a sucker for when people comedically insert themselves into films. And I was a big fan of James and Anne getting into the Delorean… punch that shit into 88 mph!!! (Back to the Future is one of my all time favorite movies… totally in my Top 20 favorite movies I could watch over and over again, for sure. Plus that score/theme is AMAZING.)

– The Best Score/Best Song presentations – I am also a sucker for ridiculously moving scores. So, before they introduced this year’s nominees for Best Score, I was all over that little medley of past Best Score winners. The theme from Star Wars will always have a special place in my heart (I love Star Wars like you don’t even know… and was totally obsessed with it in middle school. And even now I still love it… I wear a Yoda Hat.) And then the theme from Lawrence of Arabia… be still my heart! That is one of the most gorgeous pieces of film music EVER. If ever there were a score that could make your ears pregnant, it’s definitely the theme music from Lawrence of Arabia. I dare you to not fall in love with it. I need to rewatch that movie… for the music (and Peter O’Toole) are to die for. And even though I HATE E.T., the music is pretty pimp. And how about those Best Songs? I wasn’t really familiar with any of them, but I dug them all. Randy Newman is always great. And I love Mandy Moore, but I had NO IDEA that Zachary Levi could sing like that! I don’t watch Chuck, and yet now I am a little bit in love with Zachary Levi just because he can sing… And I like that lady from Florence and the Machine, so that song was pretty cool. And, even though I’m not a huge country music fan, I like Gwenyth Paltrow and appreciate that she actually sings pretty well live. Yay music.

The “movie musicals” bit. I laughed so hard I was almost in tears at this auto-tuned mess of songs from HP7, Toy Story 3, The Social Network and Eclipse.

– 4 wins for Inception AND The King’s Speech – They were my two favorite movies of the year, so I was thrilled that they both walked away with some serious hardware. This probably sounds snobby, but I like that movies that I thought were good were recognized as the “best” in their respective categories by the Academy. It kinda reinforces, for me, that my taste in movies doesn’t suck 🙂 I mean, I see and love crappy movies too, but when I am really into a movie that also happens to be critically acclaimed, it makes me feel like I kinda know what I’m doing when it comes to understanding why a film is good. I mean, I can read a critic’s review and know of other people’s opinions and whatnot of a film, but when I go see a film and formulate my own thoughts before reading anything from critics and it turns out what I thought of the film is similar/the same as what the critics said, then I feel good about my abilities to understand the grammar of film. While I may not be the best when it comes to the grammar of the English language, I take pride in my quest to further understand the grammar of film. My Film Theory and Criticism class in grad school helped immensely when it comes to this, but since high school I have been reading up on and doing some independent study in this area. I know I’m a dork, but I do think of film as a language and am very much interested in continuing to learn how the various components of filmmaking are used as audio and visual forms of communication.

– There were some pretty solid acceptance speeches. Randy Newman never disappoints. I was moved by Christian Bale and Natalie Portman’s speeches, as well as the writer of The King’s Speech and Tom Hooper.

Well, I’m tuckered, so I’m going to head to bed… I’ll write more about the Oscars tomorrow or Tuesday.

Have a good one

Well, folks, today was a busy day for my eyes and ears.

I woke up this morning and before I got out bed, I grabbed my Mac and watched a stream of the Oscar Nominations. I was groggy, so my initial reactions were “What?!” (when the Coen Brothers were nominated for Best Director instead of Christopher Nolan) and “Hey, I saw that!” (when it was announced that Dogtooth was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film).

A full list of nominees can be found here

On a whole, there were a couple surprises – mostly omissions. The aforementioned Christopher Nolan omission in the Best Director category really got to me. He’s such a great director. His work on Memento, both Batman films and especially Inception was really something special. EW has an article about how his Best Director omission is not the worst thing, and how he was nominated in Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. But still… the dude directed a friggin’ mind-f**k of a masterpiece. Give the man some recognition!

Another omission I was a bit shocked about was that Andrew Garfield was *not* nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work in The Social Network. What the what?! I was tickled pink that Jesse Eisenberg was nominated for his performance as Mark Zuckerberg, but Garfield was the emotional core to that movie (kinda in the same way that Mark Wahlberg was in The Fighter to Christian Bale’s live-wire performance, and Wahlberg was overlooked but Bale earned a nomination… and will likely walk away with the Oscar too. For reals.). Garfield deserved to be recognized.

And, I didn’t see Blue Valentine yet, but from the reviews I have read, it seems that Ryan Gosling was overlooked in the Best Actor category. He is one of the finest actors from his (my) generation. And while he was nominated a few years ago for Half Nelson (he earned that nomination… did you see him in that movie? Amazing.), the Academy should have probably recognized him again. I am glad that Michelle Williams earned a nod. She’s also a super talented actress from my generation. I am a huge fan and have seen a number of her films (as well as Dawson’s Creek in its entirety… go ahead and judge).

I was also a bit bummed that The Town did not get a Best Picture nomination. I really liked that movie… Ben Affleck is a great director. I am glad Jeremy Renner was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. He’s truly a great performer. I’m glad his role in The Hurt Locker has propelled him forward… he’s super talented.

Colin Firth will win Best Actor. Christian Bale will win Best Supporting Actor. Natalie Portman will win Best Actress. Melissa Leo will more than likely win Best Supporting Actress. However, I am still rooting for The King’s Speech to take home Best Picture. I liked The Social Network and all (and would be fine if that won), but I enjoyed The King’s Speech more. I am a sucker for British films, what can I say?

After the excitement of the Oscar noms, I got down to business and Wii bowled with my mom. I am losing points left and right 😦 Then, my mom ran some errands while I called my thesis chair. He did not sound surprised in the slightest to hear from me. Though our conversation was brief, I have a restored hope that a thesis proposal defense will happen sooner rather than later and that I will be able to graduate in June. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

After the phone call, I opted to play some Wii Glee Karaoke (I’m trying to complete all the Scrapbook levels… I finished Quinn and I’m almost done with Puck and Rachel) and then I played some American Idol Karaoke, but then my mom came home after one medley.

After lunch, I threw in some laundry and then my mom and I Latin Danced/Cardio Boxed and Dance on Broadway. We did the hardest level on the Latin Dance… it was a bit ridiculous, but we made it through. We didn’t do too many Broadway numbers, but my mom still managed to get two or three new high scores today. What?! Our arms were hurting, so we stopped. I’m going to have ginormous biceps come the summertime from these games… Watch out.

Post-dancing, I put in my DVD of Newsies and watched it with commentary (yes, I am a dork). I was sitting in my dad’s recliner and Moose jumped up on my lap and stayed there, all curled up, for over an hour and a half. She is warmer than a blanket, but my feet were cold, so I grabbed the blanket off the back of the chair and threw it over the both of us. And there we sat for the remainder of the movie… it was really nice to just pet my dog and watch Newsies. The commentary was pretty good… though they were really championing the movie and how it seemed to help launch the careers of the kids who played the Newsies. Um, okay. Regardless of how self-congratulating it all was, I was glad to hear what the filmmakers had to say. And I just love Newsies… the music is great. The cast is great. It’s so cheesetastically wonderful. “The World Will Know” will always be my favorite song from that show 🙂

After Newsies, I watched some HIMYM and then the rerun of Glee. It was the “Furt” episode… the one where Kurt’s dad and Finn’s mom get married. Awwwwwww 🙂 I’m not an emotional person when watching TV or movies, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t getting a little verklempt during the wedding and reception scenes. Mike O’Malley is a joy to watch on that show.

They had commercials for new Glee in February… I can’t friggin’ wait. Need. New. Glee. Now.

And of course we watched the State of the Union. I’m not going to get all political on you, but to be honest I am an Obama supporter and was a big fan of a lot of what he was saying tonight. I didn’t watch any Republican response (not that what they have to say isn’t important… but I can only handle so much political talk in one night), but I’m sure I’ll read about it online tomorrow. Can we win the future? I sure as hell hope so.

I will close for now… gotta catch up on some reading and watch another episode of Six Feet Under. I was never really a Peter Krause fan, but I’m getting there. Plus, I heart Michael C. Hall. (especially when he was macking on Adam Scott a couple episodes ago…)

I’m off from work tomorrow… hopefully more commentaries and crazy dancing will ensue. And some Idol – whoa-oo-whoa.

Have a good one

Before I spout on with my opinions of the Golden Globes, I will quickly recap my day…

I didn’t sleep much, then got up at 7:30 and had some oatmeal and watched Party Down before I went to work. I worked from 9:35-4:30. I helped a couple for 1-2 hours to pick out luggage. After I rung them up, I went on my break… when I got back from my break, my colleague told me that not two minutes after I left, they returned the luggage. What the what?! Oh well.

The drive home was pretty crappy… always in our neighborhood. The roads are never awesome around here, which sucks because it makes the last 5 minutes of the ride horrendous. It’s like, I’m so close to home, but I have the biggest chance of getting into an accident. Bah!

I just got done watching HIMYM. And once again, the tears were welling up like whoa. Jason Segel just makes me want to cry, and I mean that in the best way possible. As an audience member, you really feel for Marshall. Sad Jason Segel, I love you.

Now I’m waiting for Castle to start. My mom and I friggin’ love that show. I have 40 minutes yet, so I have plenty of time to type up my thoughts about last night’s Golden Globes awards.

So, Ricky Gervais was pretty rude, eh?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Ricky Gervais and I usually dig his mean humor. But it seemed like he was being extra cruel last night. And not even funny cruel… just cruel. (Well, he was trying to be funny, but he kinda wasn’t.) I loved The Office, Extras, and Gervais’s standup. I get British humour. (yeah, I just “ou”-ed you there) And I’m a fairly mean person at times, but even I thought he went a bit over the top. I don’t even like Charlie Sheen or Tom Cruise, but I even felt a bit bad for them getting picked on when they weren’t even there.

As for the actual awards portion of the show, nothing was really super shocking. I was super thrilled that Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor. He was AMAZING in The Fighter. I mean, he’s amazing in everything he’s in, but I’m glad that he finally got recognized for his superb acting skills. I thought it was really great that he gave Mark Wahlberg a shout-out for how Wahlberg’s performance as the straight-man/anchor allowed Bale’s performance to be able to be that big. They were great foils. And if Wahlberg wasn’t up against Firth, he might have had a shot. I was also glad that The Fighter won for Best Supporting Actress. Melissa Leo was great as Alice. She deserved recognition.

Colin Firth, like Bale, was a shoo-in for an award last night. His performance in The King’s Speech wasn’t showy, but it stood out for the epic humiliation vulnerability, frustration, and ultimate triumph that King George VI achieved. Natalie Portman winning Best Actress Drama was another sure thing. She is another actor who always turns in a solid performance. The combination of the difficulty of the dance and the psychological journey she took her character and audience through warranted her winning the award. I predict she’ll win the OScar for Best Actress.

In the comedy acting categories, I was not surprised about Annette Bening’s win. Though Julianne Moore was equally great in The Kids Are All Right, Bening’s performance stood out a bit more because it stood out less. It’s kinda the opposite of the Bale/Wahlberg pairing. Instead of Moore’s more open and carefree character, Bening’s character had her emotions more reeled in. She wasn’t a victim, but definitely the more adult/mature character between the two of them. Bening’s reserved performance shined because she was overshadowed. If that makes any sense…

As for Paul Giamatti. Well, good for him. I like him a lot. To be honest, I know nothing about the movie he won for. I voted for Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland (my sister and I do our own predictions each year for the past 9 years… I got 16 right this year whereas she got 13. I always win. 🙂 ).

My sister and I both voted for The Kids Are All Right to take Best Picture – Musical or Comedy. Of the films nominated, it was the only one with any real sense of prestige or critical acclaim. Though we both voted for The King’s Speech to take Best Picture – Drama, I wasn’t surprised at all that The Social Network took home the award. I really liked The Social Network. It is one of the only quality/critically acclaimed movies that really defines my generation. The script was so smart (Aaron Sorkin is so money) and the ensemble was so great (and completely age-appropriate for my generation as well). There weren’t any explosions (except for verbal ones). There weren’t any aliens. There weren’t any guns. There was just rapid-fast dialogue, relatable conflicts, and Facebook. My generation to a friggin’ T. I expect The Social Network to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. (I was also not surprised by The Social Network‘s script, director and score to win last night. All were deserving, even if I liked Inception‘s score better. Hans Zimmer 4EVER!)

As for television… yay Glee!

I was beyond thrilled that Chris Colfer won Best Supporting Actor. I voted for him, so I was happy about that, but I was more happy for him. Colfer is a talented, young actor whose presence on television the past year and a half has been nothing short of a blessing. Colfer’s Kurt Hummel is a much-needed character on primetime television. I have a feeling it was this season’s plot about bullying that really launched Colfer into the hearts and minds of HFPA voters. Seeing Kurt being shoved into lockers and fielding death threats from a bully, then dealing with these issues (and then some) with poise, honesty, and dignity is pretty special. It helps that Colfer is very likable in interviews and seems to be taking his newfound fame really well. Also, yay for Jane Lynch as Supporting Actress (even though I voted for Kelly Macdonald). (btw – how often are two openly gay actors winners of awards on the same night? Someone could probably do a study about that…) And yay for Glee winning Best Musical or Comedy (even though 30 Rock is still my favorite show ever and Modern Family was equally deserving of recognition too) 🙂 Best part about Glee winning awards was that we the audience got several glimpses of Darren Criss in his tux and bow tie (so cute!).

I was not surprised that Boardwalk Empire won a couple awards. I haven’t seen the show, but I have heard good things about it. Yay for Jim Parsons winning Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. I have only seen a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory, but he’s just so darn likable 🙂 And his acceptance speeches are always good (see also last year’s Emmys). I haven’t seen any of the Mini Series or Motion Pictures Made for Television, though Temple Grandin is in my Netflix queue.

Even though the show was fairly predictable (no big stunners or upsets), I still like watching the Golden Globes. It’s the best of television and film – two media that I love like whoa. I am very much looking forward to the Oscars. James Franco and Anne Hathaway will likely be more entertaining than Ricky Gervais was. Fingers crossed, at least.

Well, off to bed I go… okay, that’s a lie. First read some blogs. Than read some more of Gilda Radner’s autobiography, “It’s Always Something”. Then sleep. Tomorrow I’ll run errands with my mom, work on my thesis stuff (still haven’t heard back from my prof since the last time I emailed him a week or so ago, though I haven’t checked that email account in a day, so who knows), and watch the Glee rerun. I think it’s the “Never Been Kissed” episode. And you know what that means… Darren Criss singing “Teenage Dream” 🙂 Woot.

I’m tired. Away I go…

Have a good one

I have two phobias that outweigh all of my other phobias combined:

1. E.T. (yes, the little alien guy from the movie of the same name)
and
2. Tornadoes

I have been scared of E.T. ever since I was a little girl. He gives me the willies and I still have to sleep facing a wall because I have this feeling that if I don’t face a wall, I’ll wake up and see E.T. next to my bed. I know this is highly unlikely, but I can’t risk it. Besides intruders, E.T. is the reason I sleep with my softball bat next to my bed.

And then there are tornadoes. Now, I’ve never been in a tornado. But, I saw Twister in theaters and that has f-ed me up ever since. (Somehow the tornado from The Wizard of Oz never scared me, but those ones in Twister have made me the most sky-aware person you will ever know.)

For many, many years, I have had several nightmares per year featuring tornadoes. The location is always somewhere I am very familiar with. The people I’m with are either family, friends and/or famous people. And it’s usually the same kind of scenario… everyone is talking and having a good time, and then all of a sudden the sky goes weird and one or more tornadoes form off in the distance. Me and the others are forced to take cover and/or lie/crouch down in a ditch with our arms covering our necks like we did during tornado drills in elementary school. No one ever gets sucked up or blown away, and the tornadoes usually disappear off into the distance once they’ve past, or just disappear altogether. Even though there are no casualties, the nightmares usually disturb me enough to wake me up and make sure that I am in my bed and not in the tornado-infested area.

Last night, I experiences yet another tornado. However, I will not categorize this one as a nightmare, but a dream as it ended up being pretty awesome because of the celebrity appearances (Alec Baldwin was in the one that took place at Hardesty Park in Akron, OH).

Like they say in Inception, I don’t know how the dream started, but I was already in the swing of things.

In the first part of the dream, some family and friends and I were out at some buffet and we were sharing with each other hand-drawn pictures that we ourselves had drawn. Upon exiting, we were walking to the entrance of the movie theater that I frequent here.

Then, I was in some sort of office setting. I was sitting on a chair in a circle of chairs with colleagues (who I didn’t recognize) having some sort of meeting. We all had pens and reporters notebooks. The phone in the office rang, and it was Darrn Criss leaving a message for me. Embarrassed, I got up from my chair and went to the office to try to jot down the phone number he was leaving, but I missed it. The message light was blinking, indicating that there were several messages on the machine. I pressed the button and it was him, rambling on but saying different things than the message we all heard to begin with.

Later, I was in Akron, OH on the street where I grew up. I wasn’t in my house, but the house next door – the one we shared a driveway with. However, instead of being that house, it was more of a barn/wooden storage facility. The same family some friends from the buffet/movie were there, but there were to be others as well. While my family and friends were chatting, I noticed that Darren Criss was sitting by himself underneath one of the windows facing the driveway. I walked over to him and asked if I could join him. We started talking about the Chronicles of Narnia movies. I mentioned how I saw The Lion, the With and the Wardrobe in theaters and told him that I initially didn’t like it, but upon second viewing thought it was okay. I mentioned how I saw Prince Caspian and didn’t like it, and had now interest in seeing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

As we were talking, the sky went dark and it was thundering and lightning. The wind whipped the large tree across the street so hard I thought it would rip out from its roots. There were no tornado sirens, but we could see through the front window that a tornado had formed and was coming our direction. Everyone stopped what they were doing and laid down, face down on the floor, and put their arms over the back of their necks. As the tornado approached our building, Darren Criss was talking to distract me from the tornado. Even though the wind was so loud and the nearby trees were shaking, he remained calm. I’m surprised I didn’t wake up because in the dream I was shaking and just knew that this time, I was a goner. Although my face was facing the floor, I could see out of my peripherals that the tornado was coming up our street and headed toward us. It ended up swirling left into our driveway, right between the houses, and then it stopped. The sun came out and the tornado got smaller and smaller until it just disappeared back up into the sky.

Everyone went outside to survey the damage. Our brick street was torn up pretty bad, as was our driveway. It was afternoon, but going on dusk. As the sun began to set and we were all still outside, a car followed by several cop cars came speeding down our block. The car didn’t stop in time and it ended up crashing onto the brick rubble down the block a bit. The cop cars stopped in time to flank the crashed car.

As the sun finally set, all our neighbors came out and we had a block party. There was a big bonfire and everyone was having a good time. Then, Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Seth Meyers, Rachel Dratch, Chris Parnell and Amy Poehler showed up. They were all wearing red t-shirts. Ferrell had this huge Earth ball-like thing that he kept rolling toward people. While in the driveway, he rolled the ball toward me and was goading me on in some ridiculous voice. As the ball knocked me down, I began quoting Shakespeare.

And then I woke up and saw it was 10:01 am.

Bonkers, right? I didn’t watch anything SNL related yesterday, but yet there they all were… I guess Darren Criss was there because I watched some of A Very Potter Musical last night, and he is the background on my computer. But I have no idea why we would discuss the Chronicles of Narnia movies. That’s just silly… As for the Shakespeare, that doesn’t make any sense either. I definitely haven’t been keeping up with the Bard as of late.

So I will probably have another tornado dream/nightmare in a few months. Hopefully it’s as entertaining as this one. (It was entertaining to me… probably not to you people who read this.)

But I totally slept, and I slept in. Woot.

It snowed some this morning, but my mom and I still decided to go to the mall (had to do a return and then I wanted to go to Victoria’s Secret. Too bad they don’t sell bigger bra sizes, as $12.99 is ridonkulously cheap. Alas.) and then to see The Fighter.

The Fighter was great. It did wrap up nicely with a bow, but on a whole I dug it. The ensemble was amazing. Christian Bale best get the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. For reals, yo. He’s so good, he’s scary. And Melissa Leo?! Amazing. But I love Mark Wahlberg… even though Mickey Ward is similar to several other characters he’s played before. I’m glad I saw it before the Golden Globes this weekend.

After the movie, my mom and I came home, drank some hot tea/cocoa (it’s coooooold here, yo) and then did our carido boxing/latin dance workout. We were both tired, so we didn’t last long. We watch some Bones with dinner, then I started watching Barry Munday. It’s only meh. But I love Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer.

I work all day tomorrow, but then have the weekend off. I hope to finish coding. And I’m soooooo looking forward to the Golden Globes!!

Have a good one

Well, 2010, it’s been real.

I can’t believe 2011 is happening so soon. It feels like 2010 just started, but I guess it has been a whole year. So much has happened. So much hasn’t happened. So much should have happened. So much will have to happen next year to make up for lost time in 2010.

I started 2010 in the apartment I shared with my sister in SE Ohio. I watched the ball drop and went to bed, hoping that 2010 was going to be my year. It was and it wasn’t all at the same time.

As 2010 started, I was starting my second of three quarters of graduate school for Journalism. I was hoping to become better friends with the people in my program (10 weeks fall quarter was just not enough time to get to know people… especially when more than half of the people in my program weren’t in any of my classes, and my assistantship was off of the main campus). I was hoping to figure out a topic for my thesis. I was hoping to figure out where I was going to be in 6 months when I was done with school.

I honestly thought I was going to finish my thesis before school ended in June and was going to move somewhere awesome and get a grown-up job doing something I loved. You know, living to work as opposed to working to live.

The winter months in SE Ohio were dreary as per usual, but my spirits were up. I did become better friends with some of the people in my program. I was doing well in school. I thought I was figuring it all out.

Spring Break was spent with my mom, sister, brother and an entire high school marching band. (My sister was a band teacher… and her kids were off to Disney World to march in some parade. I was chaperoning, kind of.) I thought it was going to be a pretty lame spring break, but it ended up being kinda awesome. I had a lot of fun with my family. And while pieces of that trip will now forever cause me simultaneous happy smiles and sad tears, at the time I was actually really happy. I hadn’t felt that happy in a long, long time.

(Full disclosure, I’m actually tearing up while I’m typing this… I am going to blame hormones for a majority of those tears. I seem to be extra emotional right now. One of those times of the month where I have the potential to tear up at a commercial for the Home Makeover show. You know what I’m talking about…)

Anyway – I was happy. In fact, I was so happy back then, that I decided I was going to wait to work on my thesis in the summer and I was going to finish the rest of the school year focusing on my classes and my friends. I don’t regret my decision, though there are surely times where I have questioned what I did or did not do with regards to everything. (btw – I know this is all probably epically cryptic. Not that anyone is actually reading this. But I’m not naming names and I’m not spilling super personal stuff. This is the Internet. I know once something is out there, it’s out there. So I shall continue my cryptic broad strokes…)

I admit, I kinda lost it a little bit spring quarter. My grades were fine. I was getting my class work done. I figured out what I would be doing for my thesis and I assembled a committee. But, my personal life was caving in like whoa. I didn’t know what was ahead for me. I didn’t know where I was going to be. I didn’t have any sort of job lined up. I didn’t know who I would be living with. I didn’t know what I was going to do. People had been talking about moving to Los Angeles. People had been talking about moving back home. People had been talking about doing this or that. I had dreams of moving to NYC, but I didn’t have the money to just up and move to the city.

My BFF was going to be moving to MN to go to school, so I finally agreed that I would move in with her. My parents lived in the same town, so I would just live with them over the summer and then move in with my BFF when it came time for her to come to school. While at my parents house, I would live rent-free and work on my thesis. And everyone would live happily ever after… right?

Hells no.

As my school year screeched to a halt, I found myself wondering what was going to happen to the friendships I had made over the last 9 months. I had befriended several people in my program and we had various levels of friendships/relationships. Some got stronger as the year ended, others started to fall apart. I knew I would be back in the area in a little over a month and that most of my friends would still be in town.

You wouldn’t believe how much can happen in a little over a month.

During that time, my mom and sister went on a 6 week road trip around the entire country. I lived with my dad in MN. My great-grandmother passed away and I found out while sitting in the parking lot of a movie theater after seeing Toy Story 3. I got a shit-ton of reading done for my thesis proposal. After a lot of discussion with my parents, we decided that it would be best if I didn’t move in with my BFF because of my financial situation. Among other things…

So, I get back to SE Ohio to try and finish packing up my sister and my apartment. Also, see some friends from school who I missed dearly.

It’s amazing how much can happen in less than a week.

(12/31/10 – Okay, so I did a bad journalist thing and deleted a couple paragraphs that I had typed out and posted. I was borderline venting and though I meant what I wrote, I shouldn’t have written it.)

Needless to say, I was beyond grateful when my mom said that we had to leave SE Ohio a day earlier than planned that week because my dad got injured. Not only was my dad waaaaaaaay more important that my personal life, but it was just nice to not have to be in Ohio anymore. (Even though, for the record, I wish I had more time during that visit to spend with my best grad school friend ever. You know who you are, Oh mighty thesis dominator!!!)

I am giving myself exactly one more day to cringe at that week in OH and the events that transpired. I am giving myself one more day to question what did or did not happen during grad school and why. I am giving myself one more day to dwell on the past.

See, I have a really good memory. Like, freakishly good. I remember conversations. I remember where they happened. Who was there. What people were wearing. What the weather was. Facial expressions. Body language. What I was feeling. What I was thinking. What happened. What didn’t happen. What I wanted to happen. I remember movies. Who I was with. What we did after. I remember dreams. I remember nightmares. This goes back to grade school and before. Whether I want to or not, I remember a lot. Maybe not everything, but enough to have completely vivid mental images of a lot of moments in my life. Happy ones. Sad ones. Regretful ones. Proud ones. I seem unable to repress the ones that I want to forget. If Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘s plot were real, let’s just say that there are some things I would pay to not have to remember. I’m not saying that I want to erase anybody, but sometimes I wish I could just forget something, or at least have the ability to let it go for awhile. But I can’t. And all this information – happy, sad, regret, proud, joy, loss, celebration, etc… – is just always there, and it just weighs down my brain sometimes. (Like now… one would think that with each tear that falls, some of the weight would be lifted. But instead, it just seems to weigh me down even more.)

But I digress. Boy, do I digress.

Anyway, after I got back to MN in July with my mom and we made sure my dad was all right, we got into our new routine. Yes, I live with my parents. I am in my late 20s, I have one degree and am working on completing my second one and I live with my parents. (Talk about something that weighs down my brain… yikes.)

I got a (crappy) job to pay my bills. My BFF goes to school in town and I get to see her on occasion (though not as much as I’d like… hopefully in the New Year she’ll also want to hang out more). I am working on my thesis proposal. (I am emailing my thesis chair after New Years and asking him to let me know what I need to edit so I can defend the fucker already.) Life’s not perfect in the slightest, but it’s pretty darn good.

I have a family who loves me unconditionally. I have some friends who I love unconditionally. I can afford to pay for the bills I have. I am trying to save up some money so I can move out of my parents house as soon as humanly possible (hopefully this summer). I am working on my thesis proposal and coding when I can (I am at 700+ cases already!). I have my health (which can totally be improved… but I will be exercising and eating better in the New Year, for sure. We have several Wii dancing/cardio games to help with that. Woot.).

I know that in the New Year, if I want a good job and success that I will have to work my ass off for it. I am ready to face the world and conquer where I can. I am going to finish this thesis. It is going to make a difference to someone. I am going to make a difference. I am going to work hard. I am going to be a better person. I want to keep in better contact with people. And I am going to make 2011 my year.

I still don’t know where I’m going to be or what I’m going to do exactly. But I want to be happy. I am going to be happy.

🙂

To you and yours, Happy New Year!!

Um, so I watched the Pushing Daisies pilot (“Pie-lette“) again. I can’t help it – I love this show.

But let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start.

Because of my epic need to read these days, I was up till probably 1:00 this morning (I’ll finish Sarah Silverman’s book tonight, at the pace I’m going…). So, I was not super happy to be up at 5:00 this morning when I heard my mom leave. (Those who know me best know that I like to at least attempt getting 8 hours of sleep a night.) I tossed and turned in bed, trying to will myself back to sleep. When that didn’t work, I turned on my computer, rearranged some movies in the Netflix queue so I would have easier access to them, then read a really great interview with people who work on How I Met Your Mother. It was a reassuring read – looks like Season Six will be more like the earlier seasons of the show than last season. I didn’t hate Season Five, but it was not my favorite season either.

After going on Facebook to publicly wish my father a Happy Birthday, I shut down the computer and slowly trekked to the main floor of the house. I was greeted by Yukon but had to let Moose out of her coup to get my good morning from her. Mom doesn’t trust Moose to roam free like a good girl (she’s only two and a half) because sometimes she’ll bark at random stuff, so I freed her and then gave both dogs breakfast. (As I’m typing this, Moose is laying at my feet and licking them… ew.)

We went outside and I saw that the construction people were back. Once the dogs were done with their respective business, we went inside where I made a banana strawberry smoothie because there were 4 dodgy looking bananas on the counter (I’ll have another smoothie tomorrow morning to finish them off). With my smoothie in hand, I sat down to start watching Synecdoche, New York (2008), as there are only a few more days where it is an instant-stream movie on Netflix and I was in the mood for some Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Though I only watched an hour of it before I turned off the TV to get a shower, do laundry and read some articles for thesis stuff, I saw enough to understand why it was so critically acclaimed. Great cast + interesting/unique/original script from Charlie Kaufman = a solid film.

After some shores, I must admit that I caught up on some Comic-Con news and watched some Late Night with Jimmy Fallon clips that I missed this week. *Then* I read two and a half articles for my thesis proposal. I had a few false-starts, as I had accidentally had duplicate articles in my list of stuff to read. Lucky for me I have a freakishly good memory, so a sentence or two into the duplicates, I realized I had already read some of those articles before… over a month ago. Awesome.

When my head felt like it was starting to explode, I shut down my Mac (I should have a name for my computer by now, but I don’t… I must think on that. My car’s name is Blue Car and my iPod is named The Pie Maker, so surely I should think up a name for my computer…) and took the dogs outside. Excellent timing on my behalf – I managed to get both dogs out and in before they starting paving the street with the giant machines that make the loud noises. (Gotta do my best to make sure Yukon doesn’t have to get more high-strung then she already is.)

I fixed myself a chicken salad sandwich, grabbed an orange and my water bottle, and settled back onto the couch to finish watching Synecdoche, New York. With the whole play-within a play-within the movie going on, I began to rationalize it out like when I was watching Inception. Synecdoche, New York was a good movie, but it made me sad as much as it made me think, so I don’t think I’ll be watching it again any time soon.

My mom called before the movie was done and told me that she was in Kansas, but my dad and sister were not. She sounded a bit weird on the phone and was all like “I’m here. I’ll call you later, okay. Talk to you later.” (That doesn’t read as dodgy, I know, but her tone of voice made it seem like she knew something -perhaps something bad – but was avoiding telling me flat-out what was going on.) Of course I was worried, but she said she’d call back.

When my movie was over, I had good intentions to read more thesis stuff, but I ended up tagging prior blog posts (yeah… I should have just done it while I was posting the first time around. Whoops.) Somehow, my post yesterday about my love for Constantine Maroulis gave my site a bit of a boost 🙂 I’m glad there are other people out there who appreciate the previous American Idol contestant as I do. Thanks for reading my post!!

When it got to be 2:30, my mom hadn’t called back yet and I got extra worried. So, I called her and left a voicemail on her phone. Since she didn’t pick up, I was assuming the worst had happened and my dad and/or sister was hurt (or worse). After a few more minutes, I called my dad. Thankfully, he picked up. I asked if everything was okay and then I burst into tears because I was worried that mom didn’t call back or pick up when I called. He assured me everything was okay and I tearfully wished him a Happy Birthday.

We hung up and I had no desire to work on school work so I opted to fold laundry. I popped in my You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown soundtrack and belted it out along with Anthony Rapp, Kristin Chenoweth, Roger Bart and the rest of the gang.

When that chore was done, I returned to my computer, determined to work on more school work. I got 1/2 a page of notes done when I found myself watching youtube videos of Glee stuff – I can’t help it. I love Glee.

Five o’clock rolled around and I fed the dogs and let them outside. One of the across the street neighbors came out while the dogs were poking about the front yard. Usually no one on the block acknowledges my presence, but this guy decided to yell, “Welcome back, Sue!” at me and the dogs went berserk. They started barking, so I thought the guy would stop waving, but instead he kept talking and Yukon bolted across the street and Moose started dragging me toward her as I tried to command Yukon back to our yard and communicate to the neighbor guy that I am Sue’s daughter. I corralled my dogs back to the yard while the neighbor guy commented that I look so much like my mom letting the dogs out. If by “you look like your mom from a distance” means “you and your mom are both girls,” then he would be correct. My mom and I look a bit alike, but not from a distance – I have long dark brown hair, she has shorter light brown hair. I am pasty white while my mom is very tan. I was wearing an “I ❤ NY" t-shirt and cargo shorts while my mother would never wear that… Come on, neighbor guy. Please do not yell across the street when I am trying to shepherd two large dogs about the yard.

(Commercial for Charlie St. Cloud… totally going to go see that even though it looks beyond cheesy. Go ahead and judge – I like Zac Efron. I totally have all 3 HSM movies and saw Hairspray, HSM3 and 17 Again in theaters…)

When I got back inside with the dogs, I scolded them for running across the street like they did. They understand more people words than one would think (breakfast, biscuit, treat, coup, food, dinner, hungry, deck, outside, leash, ball, duck, rope, bone, banana, animal cracker, etc…), so I’m assuming they got the gist of it because Yukon went in her coup without me saying so.

I had picked some tomatoes from the backyard and had those along with my burger for dinner. Instead of watching another movie or the next episode of Dexter, I opted to rewatch the pilot of Pushing Daisies. It was nice to see it now being familiar with all of the characters. Love. This. Show. Maybe I’ll watch some more later…

(Charlie St. Cloud trailer again… twice on NBC in less than 15 minutes. Must be distributed by Universal. *checks movie’s website* Yep. It is.)

After Pushing Daisies, I did some more house chores and then turned ye olde computer back on to type up this blog post while watching Community/30 Rock/Glee. And then I’ll watch something else… though I’m not sure what. Either Blindness, Dexter, Pushing Daisies or something musical. Hmmm…

Regardless, thesis proposal articles can wait until tomorrow.

Before I crawled into bed to type up this blog (as seems to be my nightly ritual), I was brushing my teeth and inspecting the t-shirt I had on – it’s a Marvel shirt with dozens of characters on it. And I noticed that there are not one, but two Iron Man’s. The red/gold Iron Man that we’re all used is kinda tiny and seems to be in mid-flight. But then the Iron Man that Tony Stark first crafts up is friggin’ ginormous and featured prominently toward the front of the pack (next to equally large Incredible Hulk and Thor). My questions are, “Why are there 2 Iron Mans on my Marvel shirt?” and “Why is the red/gold Iron Man so small?”

These questions will never get answered, but I’m okay with that.

So, I woke up this morning in a better mood than the past few days. I felt rested (always a plus), but more importantly, I had a dream that at the time kinda sucked, but after some thought, decided it was surely a sign of sorts. I will not delve into specific details, but let’s just say that at the location where the dream took place, I had a hand-drawn schematic to share and the other person had a fully-loaded (pictures included) scrapbook/photo album. I took the dream to mean that the other’s person’s photos were a physical representation of his/her situation, while my hand-drawn schematic was just an idea of how I thought things should be. I know that is uber cryptic, but it makes sense to me, and that’s really all that matters for this specific scenario.

I walked upstairs to find my mom back from dropping my dad off at the airport. She was halfway through a chocolate chip muffin and told me there was one for me waiting on the kitchen counter – aww, moms. I grabbed a peach and glass of juice and my mom and I played some Yahtzee as we planned our day – errands and chores.

It was a hot one in MN and the weather people were predicting some storms for later in the day. I was told I needed to be ready to leave for errands at 10:15. I brought all my mail and magazines to my room and got ready. I also checked my email and saw my friend Michael Match WON Cincinnati Opera Idol!!! I was soooooo happy for him 🙂 He’s a great performer and totally deserves this amazing honor!

By time I walked upstairs at 10:15, my mom was on the phone with my sister. We switched on and off talking to her (she told me about seeing Inception a second time and fully understanding the movie while I shared Glee news from Comic-Con) for 30 minutes, so my mom and I ended up leaving around 10:45.

We drove somewhere so I could pick up my dad’s birthday present (his b-day is tomorrow). Then we drove to a couple stores to pick up what my mom wanted to get him (success!). We stopped at Panera for lunch and I got the low-down on family stuff. Remember, my great-grandmother passed away a few weeks ago, so eventually we’re getting a truckload of furniture from Florida. There’s a bajillion family stories floating around, but seeing how this is my blog and stranger people don’t need to know all my family’s business, those stories are staying with me 🙂

After Panera, my mom and I went to the library so we both could get some books and stuff. My mom reads more than anyone I have ever met in my entire life – which I think is an awesome thing. Everyone in my family is big on reading. I’m just thankful I finally have some time to enjoy some books. I read 4 books in the past few weeks (not including me being in the middle of HP7 again). I got 3 Broadway CDs (Aida, Ragtime and The Producers) and 6 books… I love biographies and autobiographies (non-fiction interests me – I like learning about people’s lives, which is probably why I am more drawn to writing non-fiction than fiction). Having just finished that biography on Gilda Radner, I got her autobiography, “It’s Always Something”. I also got autobiographies from Julie Andrews and Sarah Silverman. I picked up Denis Leary’s “Why We Suck,” a book from the guy who wrote “Little Children” as well as the book that the movie “The Prestige” was based on. Ah, books… love them 🙂

We got home and played a quick round of Yahtzee while we plotted the rest of the day. It was hot as balls outside, but the grass needed mowing. So, mom mowed the front lawn while I vacuumed the main floor of the house (w/o breaking anything this time!). We reconvened for cold drinks and Yahtzee upon completion of our respective chores. Then mom went through all of the brochures and stuff from her and Sarah’s trip while I sat in my dad’s chair to read the latest issue of Rolling Stone (hello, Leonardo DiCaprio… day-ummmmm). Then somehow I fell asleep again… only for an hour this time. But still – I have never napped this much in my entire life.

Upon waking, I played with the dogs for awhile. Then my phone rang – it was Robin!

I sojourned downstairs to my room and we chatted for almost an hour and a half… always nice to catch up on what is/is not going on in Ohio as well as thesis stuff 😉 I am super thankful for coming out of this ridiculous year of grad school with her as a friend!

After we said good-bye, I helped my mom get dinner ready. She grilled chicken while I chopped up some vegetables for chicken nachos. (Delicious.) We turned on the TV during dinner to see if the storm was on its way – it was. There was a giant string of storms working its way toward the Twin Cities. It hit our house around 8 and lasted an hour. Some big flashes of lightning and a few loud crashes of thunder accompanied the rain that fell kinda hard. Our power stayed on and Yukon didn’t flip out too bad, so we knew the storm wasn’t going to be horrible. I watched an episode of Dexter while my mom updated her lists of books she wants to read.

When the storm let up, we let the dogs outside and then called it a night. Which brings me to now… I’m typing this up while listening to an epic Glee-mix on my iTunes.

Oh – I almost forgot – I had a minor epiphany today with regards to my Literature Review for my thesis proposal! I had an idea of how I can frame my literature review so that my overall thesis topic comes across as more academic and relevant than people might assume it is. See, because my topic is not super popular or well-researched, I’m having to piece together other kinds of studies to be like “see, all these other ones combined kinda equals my study”. But, I thought of how I can link the other studies together to legitimize my topic! This too sounds cryptic, but it makes sense to me.

I didn’t actually work on any thesis stuff today, but our street is going to be paved in the next couple days, so I won’t be able to leave the house… which means I will totally get some more work done this week. Just not tonight. Tonight I’m going to keep reading Sarah Silverman’s book…