Category Archives: t.v.

What I’ve been thinking about lately…

Everyday, I read dozens of little news items about the whole gamut of human experience. Literary and movie news, scientific discoveries, music, random celebrity-ness (yes, I admit) and current events. My co-workers do as well, and from time to time, one of them will announce some odd or interesting factoid or this-just-in and the rest of us will listen.

My first week at my new job, one of my co-workers said into the large, silent office we all share: “So, what’s going on in the world?” One of my other co-workers said, “A woman says Steven Seagal made her his sex slave and Treme got picked up for a second season.”

Random. But then, we’re news and information junkies.

Throughout each day, I have an ocean of factoids and images in my head, each swimming around in there like strange aquatic life. One day, I read the Wikipedia page on the Donner party and had those horrific deets bouncing around, and then read a review of Exit Through the Gift Shop and did my budget. That’s just modern life.

So, here are some links to randomness that I’ve been thinking about the last few weeks.

-A man rescued a woman being attacked, got stabbed and died on a NYC sidewalk as bystanders avoided and ignored him. So horrified by this one, I read a second article later the same day.

-Lane Bryant plus-sized lingerie commercial censored. This pieces mentions a Victoria Secret ad that I saw about 20 minutes before (and an hour after) reading this.

Women make less money when they get married and take their husband’s last name?

-Even though I worked on The Final Destination, apparently there will be a 5th in the franchise. Not so final, after all. Are any of us surprised? I remember reading the script and thinking, “Last one, huh? Yeah, right…”

-A book of Marilyn Monroe writings! I’ll certainly read that book. Feel free to send me an advance copy for review, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Seriously.

-An utterly hypnotic YouTube video of 500 years of female art subjects morphing into each other. Check it out!

-Kelly Osbourne gets flak for claiming that she looked healthier and skinnier after she started wearing self-tanner on Dancing with the Stars.

-Author Kathryn Stockett has a Google Maps application on her site with her readers’ names and locations. This kinda just scares me. Especially since my mom’s book club is reading The Help next month.

New Mark Twain manuscript has surfaced, in memory of his favorite daughter, who died.

-Cadillac driver stops a purse snatching! With the car!

-Molly Ringwald’s therapist told her to stop dating writers and be a writer.

Darth Vader-narrated GPS! Hysterical video. 🙂

Daughter of serial killer writes book.

How the pill liberated women – the author’s mother counts it as the most important invention of her lifetime.

-“Sea Waif” tragedy survivor breaks 50-year silence.

CW is resurrecting Moonlight! Well, just reairing episodes along with The Vampire Diaries. But still cool. Alex O’Loughlin is wonderful. See The Back-Up Plan for evidence. I did, last week, in a double feature with Date Night.

-The breeder of the labradoodle regrets the designer dog trend.

-The story behind the Carrie Underwood song “Play On.” And her fellow AI alum, Kelly Clarkson, has a new song I can’t wait to hear (it’s been pulled anywhere you might be able to hear it online) – “Wash, Rinse, Repeat,” apparently lambasting the music industry in general and “Already Gone”/”Halo” co-writer Ryan Tedder in particular.  And while we’re on AI, 5 potential replacements for Simon Cowell – I’d love any of them.

The Art of ConfessionCurtis Sittenfeld interviews Meghan Daum and Emily Gould! Wonderful piece – I wish it were five times longer. You might remember that in my very first blog post (almost 2 years ago!), I described my attraction/repulsion to blogging thusly:

So that’s my way of saying I’m ambivalent about blogging. Primarily because of delicious little trainwrecks like this: Emily Gould Blogs All

-This lovely photo project, Dear New Orleans, came to my attention because of the wonderful Scene Magazine‘s most recent issue.

-Somebody recently told me that Mr. Rogers was formerly a sniper in the army and I repeated this to a co-worker, who got me hooked on Snopes.com by using it to REFUTE THIS RUMOR!

-And now, we come full-circle to my horror at the NYC left-for-dead-on-the-sidewalk circle with a much more positive story about a group of individual female students rushing a man who was attacking another woman. They pinned him to the ground till the authorities arrived – and probably, as all parties acknowledge, saved her life. A round of applause to those woman, and my admiration.

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Filed under American Idol, art, books, funny, movies, music, New Orleans, politics, pop culture, t.v., weirdness

Random Treme Post

I’ve managed to see every episode of Treme so far, remarkable since I don’t have HBO. Episode one was at a friend’s house and the last two weeks have been with friends at a local bar. It seems most everybody in this city has some connection to the show.

My connections? My former teacher, writer Rodger Kamenetz, had a cameo in the second episode, “checking into hotel with Steve Zahn about ten secs.” And another friend is working on the show.

Was recently reading Back of Town and saw this great making of video. Near the end, there’s a great quote from David Simon: “This city really does matter to America, even if America doesn’t get it.”

Check it out:

Here’s an interesting article about how uncomfortable filming can be in neighborhoods.

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Filed under music, New Orleans, pop culture, t.v.

Lie to tell the truth – Treme

As a fiction writer, I’ve had the “lie to tell the truth” conversation many times with other artists. Sometimes, it is the lie, the fiction, the thing that never happened, or just didn’t happen when you say it did, that speaks the greatest truth. That’s the luxury of a fiction writer – we get to play with the facts and make things up. We are telling the truth of the heart, not pretending to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as seen objectively (is there an objective truth?).

Since Treme started production in New Orleans, and especially as it’s gotten closer to premiering, several people have asked me, “So, what do you think. Will it be good? Will it tell the truth?”

I don’t know, is my truth.

I’m fascinated by the “translation” between books and movies and I’ve often said that a movie adaptation of your favorite book cannot be the same. It can’t. It has to change because of the basic, irrefutable, physical fact that a movie is not a book. Successful adaptations, to me, are the ones that keep the feeling, philosophy and heart of the original work, not just try to re-create written scenes as action.

The same could be said for history, for facts, I imagine. In order to tell the story of people who didn’t exist–but probably could have–in the aftermath of Katrina (or any historical period), you’ll likely have to tweak the facts a little in order to tell the thematic truth.

Hey, I watched K*Ville, even though I cringed when the title was announced, even though one of the first episodes make it look like the airport was off of Tchoupitoulas Street. Mostly, I was enamored with the possibilities. And Cole Hauser. I always had more confidence in Treme than K*Ville, mostly because of the good work done on The Wire, and really the titles of the two New Orleans-based t.v. shows do speak volumes. And at least it’s not The Big Easy, eh, especially as a diabolical reference to post-Katrina New Orleans.

So, tonight, I’m watching Treme. And I’m doing it with more assurance having read David Simon’s open letter in today’s Times-Picayune, which makes the argument about lying to tell the truth very well.

Your sensibilities matter to us because we have tried to be honest with that extraordinary time — not journalistically true,  but thematically so. We have depicted certain things that happened,  and others that didn’t happen,  and then still others that didn’t happen but truly should have happened.

This is a nice way of saying we have lied.

Why? Why not depict a precise truth,  down to the very Hubig’s?

Well,  Pablo Picasso famously said that art is the lie that shows us the truth. Such might be the case of a celebrated artist claiming more for himself and his work than he ought,  or perhaps,  this Picasso fella was on to something.

That’s just a sample from the middle. Check out the whole thing at the link above. Enjoy. Hope it makes you want to get a Hubig’s pie and watch Treme.

And here’s another great example of lying to tell the truth. Students of a popular show choir talk about the differences between their reality and Glee. I’m not sure who thought Glee was realistic, but as one student says, there’s one thing Glee gets right, “People from different backgrounds can come together and make some cool music,” he says. “The Classics has athletes, speech club people, drama club people, and if we didn’t have show choir, we probably wouldn’t make eye contact in the hallways. But because of show choir, we hang out and we’re actually friends.” That kinda sounds like the point, the truth in all the flash.

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Fess Up Friday – the way too long edition

So far, 2010 has involved a lot of being sick and already several doctor’s visits (surgery next week). Lots of time back and forth to Baton Rouge interviewing folks for my latest 225 piece about The Dictionary of Louisiana French – will have to do a post soon on the behind-the-scenes story of this latest piece, because it’s been fascinating.

My goal was to do a NaNoWriMo-like pace in January, trying to finish any new writing that might be necessary for the 3rd draft. I set my goal word count kind of arbitrarily at 30,000. I achieved just over 11,000 new words in actuality. Half of those words would probably never have been written, if it weren’t for Ronlyn.

As I reported last month, Jamey “fixed” my novel. But I wasn’t fixed–my process wasn’t. I’ve had a thousand little revelations (and maybe a dozen giant ones) in the years I’ve been working on this book. The fact that I’m still surprised to learn something about the book or my characters or my process or myself still surprises me, but I suspect the learning (and the surprise) will never go away.

I wrote Ronlyn an email asking her for advice and something in my email triggered an awareness in her that I needed something other than (in addition to) what I was asking for, so she suggested we talk on the phone. I wrote her back and said I was going to Baton Rouge and why not get coffee. We met at a coffeeshop I wrote a lot of my thesis at, which is a lot more active in the middle of the day than it used to be, when I was there. Ronlyn came in with a bandage on her chin (she writes about that injury and another in her newest Nervous Breakdown piece). We chatted about her injury and the day I’d been having and then segued into The Issue(s).

Like a writing therapist, she listened. A lot. And then diagnosed The Issue. “Your process isn’t working.” In short, I had developed habits and rituals that didn’t work for me. Ever, or anymore, that was hard to tell. But they didn’t work. My body would hurt if I didn’t get up and go to Cheers everyday and try to get one of my favorite tables. Except, I would sit there all day and not write. I was there, butt in chair as they say, but I was restless, I was annoyed, I was undisciplined.

The other problem, as I then confessed to Ronlyn, was that I was afraid I’d lost my joy in writing. For good. “It’s almost never fun to write anymore. I remember when it used to be the thing I always wanted to do most.” I was paralyzed because I was afraid that my book sucked and it wasn’t satisfying or fun or pleasant to write to top it all off. But the worst part was that I was afraid writing would never be fun again, that it would always be arduous torture.

Ronlyn then said several things that consoled and comforted me, that woke me. She made some great suggestions, too. First, she reassured me that not all books are enjoyable to write. But, clearly, this book needs to be written because it won’t let me go. Writing can and will be fun and satisfying again, she convinced me.

Next, she suggested that I find new places and ways to write, as my habits and rituals are failing me. She urged me to go back to handwriting, which is how I wrote until I went to college. She gave me another piece of advice that I’ll have to keep private, but which is embodied by the picture below.

The above picture was taken in St. Andrews, Scotland. This is the place where I did my first writing in several months, after finishing my thesis draft of the book. I was weary and burnt out and in Scotland was lucky enough to sit in on my friend Rachel Marsh’s writing group. My first writing in months was an assignment for that group meeting, the Yellow House assignment.

I came home from that visit with Ronlyn in Baton Rouge and I vowed to handwrite in a notebook for an hour every day, before doing anything else. I’ve managed that most days. Sometimes, it’s regrettably at the end of the day and I have missed a few days, what with illness, doctor’s appointments and Saints games. But, I’ve written more days than I haven’t. And I was shocked at how relatively easy and yes, enjoyable, the process was. Several people have told me this over the years and handwriting used to be my primary method. I knew it was true that handwriting would probably be more fun and efficient in the long run for me, but I stubbornly clung to my broken rituals, trying to shove my creativity into the shape of my habits like a difficult puzzle piece.

And then, I was lucky enough to attend the Peauxdunque Writers’ Alliance retreat in Hopedale, Louisiana and I had an amazing, peaceful time. We prepared meals together, toasted J.D. Salinger and had shop talk in incredibly beautiful surroundings and it gave me just that extra bit of creative energy I needed. Below is a picture of the writers at the retreat. Though it’s highly overexposed (we’d set the timer on a camera and were standing on a dock in extremely cold weather), I really enjoy the expressions on our faces.

Bryan, Susan, Terri, Emilie, Tad and Maurice

Recently, someone asked me what the new timeline is for the book and I froze. I don’t know. I’d hoped, ambitiously, to have all the new writing done in January and then just breeze through a shellac/edit, sculpt those new pieces into place and then pop it into the EasyBake. That’s not going to happen. I still want to be done soon. I’m still restless. But I’m figuring it out. I’m that much closer.

One piece of good news is that every time I’ve been asked this year what I do for a living (at doctor’s offices, etc.), I have answered, “self-employed writer.” With hardly any hesitation, too!

But while I’m eliminating my hesitation and waiting for a reasonable timeline, I have much bragging on to do.

Jamey is in 225, talking about her recent and perennial reading. Also, she has finished and exceeded the 32 Day Challenge, which means she wrote every day of the first 32 days of the year. And she’s still going. Not one single day off.

Barb’s book More of This World or Maybe Another was just named a Barnes and Noble Discover Awards finalist.

Dave’s newest film project, Night Catches Us, premiered at Sundance.

Toni is appearing at Baton Rouge’s CitiPlace Barnes and Noble February 12th at 7 p.m.

The Saints are playing in the SuperBowl on Sunday. That’s certainly something to brag on, as well.

Check out this picture I found of some of my favorite people:

Classic. James Wilcox, Jamey Hatley, Ronlyn Domingue and Clarence Nero

And some presents to leave you with:

Pink performs an aerial routine similar to what my character would be doing at the end of my book.

The Legend of Jeremy Shockey – so funny I almost ran the car off the road while listening to it on the radio.

And five seasons of Lost reduced to under 10 minutes by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, below. My thoughts as I started watching it? Ohmygawd, I watched all 104 hours of Lost in December. But trust me, I’m going to enjoy watching the upcoming 16 hours of Season 6 just as much, if not more.

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Filed under bragging on, Fess Up Friday, freelance work, Friends, pop culture, t.v., writing updates

A new gig

A quick post to tell y’all some news. Perhaps you will see less SYTYCD comments here, because I’ve been asked (okay, after significant campaigning, I’ve been allowed…) to write occasionally for Pure So You Think You Can Dance, one of my favorite blogs period. I’ve linked to it a lot on this blog and especially love it because John, the host, goes to significant trouble to track down the extraordinary music that appears on SYTYCD.

Look for my intro post soon. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know.

The best part? I now have a bona fide “excuse” to never miss an episode. Dude, it’s my gig! 🙂

[6.25.09: My first post is up! Check it out!]

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Filed under freelance work, pop culture, So You Think You Can Dance, t.v.

SYTYCD judges answer some questions

As part of a piece I’m working on for 225, I was able to pop by the SYTYCD auditions in New Orleans today and speak for a few minutes with the judges. Two of them anyway. Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman and Lil C were there, though Lil C went back into the auditions before I could speak with him. You’re going to have to forgive me if I seem needlessly mysterious. Because these auditions are for Season 6, which won’t air for a few months, information about the progress of individual contestants is protected until particular episodes air. However, it’s my understanding that everything not related to the progress of contestants that was said to the press (that would be me, as well as reporters from The Times-Picayune and offBeat), or in front of us, is fair game.

Adam spoke about how the SYTYCD judges tend to give lots of (positive) feedback to the dancers, even the ones they know won’t go forward or even appear on the show, because every single one of the judges has been in the contestant’s shoes, trying to begin careers as professional dancers. He also commented on his tendency to encourage contestants to continue dancing even if they might not necessarily be the best, if it’s clear that dance brings them joy.

Something I enjoyed finding out about was that the judges now often watch monitors (on the show) so they can give feedback on what the audience sees after a performance. A while back, Adam mentioned, he gave feedback that he got lots of flak for and he realized later it was because what he’d mentioned hadn’t even been shown on the televised show. They are live shows – so the camera doesn’t always catch details the judges see.

He said that the bar’s been set higher than ever for the contestants currently trying out for Season 6 because not only are they having to follow memorable dancers from every previous season, but they’re essentially competing with the current Top 20 for the judges’ attention. They have to stand out not only in their own cities, but also against the tough competition of Season 5’s Top 20. That being said, I’m happy he was so impressed by a contestant in New Orleans, saying in one of his latest Tweets, “Just saw a kid audition that I swear will be top 20. Unreal.”

It’s no secret that Adam Twitters, but I was not expecting him to Twitter while he was answering our questions. Presumably, from what I gathered at the time and since, someone sent Adam a direct Tweet, telling him to keep his eyes open for a particular contestant. Can’t name names, and this is all hearsay (I was standing next to him at the time) of course, but I have good reason to believe that the contestant Adam was Tweeted about may be the same contestant he mentions in his Tweet. 🙂 For the record, Adam and the other judges had already seen the contestant in question by the time Adam received the Tweet. Whew! Technology!

[3.31.10: Can’t believe I never added this after the fact. For the record, the contestant all this hubbub was about is Jakob Karr, who not only made Top 20, but also Top 10 and Top 4 and eventually came in 2nd place to Russell Ferguson. And he auditioned in New Orleans. I got to see his audition, in fact, though I didn’t know it was him at the time.]

What really gets me is this picture Adam Tweeted – I didn’t know Cat Deely was there! Why didn’t I get to interview her?

One of the reporters asked Mary how well the judges are able to keep track of former contestants after each season and she amazed me by reeling off (without any notes or hesitation) many contestants’ names and their current projects. You definitely get the idea from watching the show that it’s a pretty tight community, that the judges remember and look out for the contestants, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised she was able to name around a dozen contestants and what they’re doing now. I didn’t know, for instance, that Neil had been injured and probably won’t be able to perform for a year.

While the other reporters interviewed the other two judges, (the reason I missed Lil C!) I stayed behind to ask Mary more questions.

Mamma Mia! wanted me to ask her how the hot tamale train got started. When I did, confessing that my mom wanted to know and that we watch the show while texting each other after every routine, she laughed her trademark laugh and told me that she’s called dancers hot tamales throughout her career. She happened to put one of those hot tamales, Anya from Season 3, on the “hot tamale train” and the catchphrase was born.

If you read my blog, you know I go on sometimes about SYTYCD and that I was recently upset about Natalie Reid getting cut without being asked to dance for her life. The circumstances of that seemed odd to me (and others in the blogosphere, from what I can tell). So, I asked Mary what happened with Natalie. She seemed genuinely sad when she said that Natalie hadn’t been standing out throughout Vegas week, hadn’t been living up to the expectations of the judges, who remembered her (of course) from last season. Many dancers, she said, are able to stand out in their cities and sometimes don’t carry through in Vegas, when the best of the best are together. She said that by the time Natalie was cut, there weren’t any more opportunities to dance for your life. In the episode, other contestants dance for their lives after Natalie was cut, but it looks like the editing of the episode may have a lot to do with our confusion. In the clip, Natalie even mentions, “They just kept saying ‘you’re not living up to our expectations,'” which you don’t really see them say in the episode. I just keep coming back to Sonya using Natalie and Brandon as the example of her choreography, Sonya jumping up and hugging Natalie after she got cut (Nigel did, as well, I should say).

Both Mary and Adam seemed genuinely warm and demonstrated that they’re very passionate about discovering new dancers and mentoring them. SYTYCD has always seemed like “kinder, gentler reality show” (as reality goes) from my viewpoint as a fan on the couch and that’s only been strengthened by meeting two of its judges. And before our interview ended, Mary asked me to tell my mom “hi,” which Mamma Mia! loved, of course.

When Season 6 airs in the fall, I’ll confirm whether the Mystery Contestant Adam’s excited about now does indeed progress to the Top 20. And of course, when it prints, I’ll link to the 225 piece that started it all…

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Filed under freelance work, New Orleans, So You Think You Can Dance, t.v.

Some updates

The Book: One reader has gotten back to me – finishing the book in a day and a half! Which is good news itself. She had some really good feedback and I did break down after 9 days and begin a bit (very little) work on the book. The things that need to be fixed are relatively minor and just a matter of layering in a bit more, fleshing some things out. Which is what I was hoping for. Now, it’s been two and a half weeks and except for that bit of work, I’ve been focusing on other things. But the cool thing is that my brain is still processing the book, coming up with the things that I need right before I lay down to sleep or in my sleep, etc.

The Next Major Project: I already have what I believe will be my next book in mind. It will be drastically different from TCB/TWC, very genre. Me said that it sounded like the kind of thing I used to write when I was younger, before grad school, more like the books we read growing up (Dean Koontz). I won’t divulge here, but it will have a kick-ass female protagonist who will literally kick ass. For now, I may do some plotting and research occasionally, but probably won’t get to working on this in a major way till NaNoWriMo in November.

SYTYCD: Very upset that Paris and Tony got booted last week. I really liked them both and enjoyed their hop-hop. Honestly, I think Tony experienced some reverse-favoritism because of his looks, his lack of experience and his height. I suspect Paris got sent home primarily because none of the other boys in danger were tall enough to partner her. She clearly danced better than the other two girls in the “dance for your life” aspect. I really hope Asuka leaves soon cause she annoys me and she seems really one-dimensional as a dancer. Of course I’m watching tonight.

[6.18.09: I claimed that no one was tall enough to partner Paris and watching last night, I realized that Ade probably is (of the guys in the bottom three last week). But I tend to forget about him. He’s a great dancer when he’s right in front of my face, but I never remember him. After watching last night, I’m agreeing more and more with this post by Lyndsey Parker where she discussed the potential for the judges to be giving opposite feedback. Something is off with the judges this season – they claim to be wowed by routines that leave me cold and needlessly pick on routines that I love. For instance: they loved Asuka and Vitolio’s waltz (Mary cried, which I don’t buy) and I was so bored and disinterested. I can’t connect to either of those performers and luckily, it seems like people (other than the judges) agree with me. Whereas I love Randi and Evan, adored their performance last night and the judges seemed to be looking for negatives to pick at. I tend to agree with this break down of the couples and last nights’ performances. We’ll see how it goes tonight. What I really love is that Mamma Mia! and I text each other throughout the show.]

Last night: I experienced a phenomenal show last night, The Devil Makes Three at Hi-Ho Lounge. I hesitate to say much about it here, for the moment, because I’m hoping to review the concert. We’ll see. However, it was perhaps the best live show I’ve seen in a good long while. I’ve already listened to the new c.d., Do Wrong Right, twice since I bought it at 1:30 this morning. The show was opened by a (local? it’s hard to tell, I can’t find them online) band called Death By Arrow that was pretty interesting, especially once they hit the mid-point of their set.

Some quick links:

An SLS teacher of mine, Tom Swick is in the latest issue of Oxford American.

I’m writing about the latest One Book One Community read, Poor Man’s Provence, for 225.

Dave Eggers writes non-fiction about Katrina.

AP Style gets with it re: Twitter.

Toad and Frog, some of my favorite characters, have new adventures.

This piece about race in a community magazine has a bit of a Rorschach test in its title.

Christian group wants to burn Francesca Lia Block books as part of an effort toward “Safe Libraries” and I’m thinking they’ve never read Fahrenheit 451. Which would make sense. This makes me very angry and there’s a lot more flip and funny and mean things I could say, but I won’t. Read the piece, read all the press and I’m sure those flip, funny and mean things will come to you naturally.

Ending on a good note, Flashlight Worthy Books is on Twitter. And everywhere else, too. 🙂

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Filed under freelance work, literature, musing, politics, pop culture, random rant, So You Think You Can Dance, t.v., writing updates

One week later

So I finished my “quick edit” on the book a week ago, after finishing it and not looking at it for 24 hours. I’m making myself not read it for a least two weeks so that I can do another read-through and edit relatively fresh-minded. And you know what? It’s actually pretty hard. I haven’t so much wanted to tinker with it as read it. I want to read my own book! I hope that’s not another indication of delusion. 🙂

In the vein of not thinking about it, I have been reading a lot, watching SYTYCD, having dinner with my Papa Bear and friends and spending way too much time on Facebook. I haven’t worked any on the essay that I wanted to go back to, not yet. So basically, I’ve been giving my creative juices a big ol’ break.

Speaking of SYTYCD, I’ve been enjoying it immensely (and will even more next week, when the Top 20 are paired up), but I’m very, very angry about one thing. Why did Natalie get cut without even a chance to dance for her life? She’d done everything right up till that point, had even been asked to demonstrate (with Brandon) the dance she got cut on. What’s with that? I smell some sort of conspiracy or cover up, but haven’t been able to find anything online, just other people really upset and angry over it. Did she get offered a contract at the last minute and rather than explain that she had, they cut her? I don’t understand. Were they being accused of favoritism because she’s Katee’s former roommate? They’ve been really hard on favorites who tried out and almost made it in other seasons, but why cut her? She didn’t dance the routine that badly, and even if she had, it was her first mistake (televised anyway). I guess that’s enough rumination there.

Some great stuff:

Video of Toni Morrison talking about post-Obama writing.

Awesome journal, One Story.

I’m like the last person to discover Texts from Last Night. Kinda painful. And glorious.

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Filed under family, funny, literature, musing, pop culture, So You Think You Can Dance, t.v., writing updates

Fess Up Friday (Just Tell the Story edition)

I’ve been writing throughout the week and socializing like a fiend on the weekend. Big sigh. But how do you say no to drinking at new bars with visiting friends, 12-hour adventures with D. (a seasonal treat) that involve the recording studio, Elizabeth’s, Apple Barrel and the casino and then matching R. and B. drink for drink at the local after said 12-hour adventure (never, never, NEVER again)? Why are y’all colluding to make me have fun? Stop the conspiracy! 🙂 I need better willpower.

I wish I could say it’ll be better this weekend. But with N. in town and J.‘s birthday…that might not be likely. At least there will be less drinking…right?

And of course, with the t.v. I watched AI, yes, I did, and saw Kris win (very glad because though I love me some Glambert, I think Kris needed the positive reinforcement and we all know Adam needs nobody’s approval to be hisself). It was a great finale, with a lot of fun performances. Could’ve done with less Gokey and more Alexis and Megan, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Allison singing with Cyndi Lauper – AWESOME! And loved Megan and Michael with Steve Martin on “Pretty Flowers.” I agree that “No Boundaries” is The Worst Song Ever, but Kris did an admirable second go of it (I prefer his to Adam’s, and with a singer like Adam, that’s probably no accident) and it was really good to see him embrace his wife right as the show signed off.

But probably the worst news for my book – So You Think You Can Dance started again Thursday. I love that show. Like seriously love it. Cat Deely is The Best Host Ever – case in point, she went to congratulate a contestant and being profusely sweaty after his audition, he was wary of messing up her couture jacket. She grabbed him in a hug, crowing, “Dry cleaning!” Hysterical.

Finished The Song Is You and while the plot got a little weird for me, the writing was always incredible and, most impressive of all, Arthur Phillips managed to consistently convey those indescribable things that music makes you feel. Utterly personal things and yet somehow universal at the same time. I’m reading some new books now (I can never read just one), so look to your right for that.

I took a quiz on Facebook called “Are You a True Bengali?” The questions were in Bengali (I assume, I don’t know Bengali) and I used deductive reasoning and picked whichever answers sounded the best when I tried to read them out loud. Turns out I’m 100% Bengali. I thought perhaps the quiz was rigged, but one of my non-Bengali friends (lol) took the quiz and her result was of the “why, dude, why – why did you even bother to take this quiz?” variety. I feel like I have achieved something here.

Enough with that, my deadline is ticking ever closer, so the fun may have to be quarantined. Hands off Sunday! I have nine days left and I’m going to crush this sucker – just watch.

New words –
5.15: 183
5.17: 601
5.18: 1,714
5.19: 526
5.20: 637
5.21: 248
5.22: 710 (so far today, one monstrously difficult scene).

In a weird sort of reverse logic, it’s a good thing to see fewer words because that means I have less new writing to do (don’t worry, there’ll be some whopping numbers coming up next week). I’m making some real strides in understanding a few things that eluded me previously. But I made the mistake of going to read the rules for a contest I want to enter soon and that stymied me for about a day and a half. Bad idea – I need every day and a half I can get. And I have a few of these hard scenes coming up, so I’ve been floundering a little bit.

But, as the card I wrote and put on my desk says: JUST TELL THE STORY!

It’s a bit early, but on the 26th, I will have been writing this blog for a year. You won’t hear from me again till the 29th with the last Fess Up Friday this month, so I thought I’d say something now.

In parting, some links:

D. worked on one of these top Sundance films.

Longest running fictional character.

Green Day takes on Wal-Mart. Finally.

JUST TELL THE STORY, EMILIE.

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Filed under American Idol, books, bragging on, Fess Up Friday, Friends, music, musing, New Orleans, pop culture, random rant, review, So You Think You Can Dance, t.v., what I'm reading, writing updates

A yummy all-media post

Going back to one of my favorite things to blog about – media. Yum.

Let’s start with movies. In a distant time and place (okay, say for a while before spring 2007 and in Baton Rouge), I used to have a Sunday-movie tradition that got disrupted by graduation, my European tour and moving to New Orleans. I re-established it with Confessions of a Shopaholic. I haven’t read the books, but I did enjoy the movie. I remember reading somewhere (EW?) a review that questioned whether big-spending would go over well with a recessed audience. But I think some of the messages of the film – don’t count just on material possessions, credit cards and debt collectors are the devil – is all the more poignant because of this recession. Isla Fisher is amazing and I always love Hugh Dancy (oh yes, I do), so even though I felt like the romantic elements were a little rushed, I still believed them cause the actors are awesome at what they do. I love that Isla Fisher is such a physical comedienne, which is reminiscent of the best of Debra Messing (I’ve been a fan since 1998’s 13 episodes of Prey, which was NOT comedy) and, even better, Lucille Ball (who I’ve been compared to in my dizzier, hopefully more brilliant moments).

Now let’s talk t.v. I think I’ve come out as an American Idol fan before and if I haven’t, I suppose this is my big confession. I started watching a few seasons ago and probably got hooked cause it was fun to watch with my neighbors and friends. Now I’m just hooked. The good, the bad, the ugly, I’m there. Sad to say. I am more reluctant and less enthusiastic about the early train-wreck auditions, if that does make you feel any better. Enough defense. 🙂 So far, though this season is definitely weird, I’m entirely satisfied with the first six going through. I looooove Alexis Grace and Allison Iraheta really blew me away (she wasn’t really on my radar before her performance). However, if anybody is reading this, I do hope this is heard – Megan Corkrey and Stevie Wright MUST, must, do you hear me, be wild card picks for the top 12. I’ll tell you now, I don’t care what happens to Megan Corkrey on this show – I will buy any c.d. she puts out. I love her voice. It’s probably too early to say the word “favorite,” since I haven’t even seen 12 people perform and I do love some others, but… Predictions for the three picked from this last set of 12 (really, AI, confusing) are: Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds and let’s say…Alex Wagner, but I remember liking Kendall Beard, too. Let’s see what happens tonight.

[3.6: I must’ve had a premonition that they’d pick four contestants, rather than just three. And I was right about two of the last set of three before the wild cards. That was a pretty easy call, though.]

More t.v. Can I just say that, after catching up with all three episodes of Dollhouse so far, I am a BIG fan. No, I won’t be staying in on Fridays to watch it, but YES, I will watch it. Hear that, Fox peoples? Let’s have a deal here and now, between you and me. I will watch it, do not cancel it. But then, I knew I would love it, since I do love my Joss Whedon (insert collective sigh for Firefly here). Big fan of Eliza Dushku, too (in part thanks to Joe, love you dear). This show is smart, funny, addictive. And it’s slick and pretty. Has all the best elements of classic Whedon, also reminds me of Alias a bit (which is great as J.J. Abrams is another big love of mine). I think, honestly, it would’ve been paired better with Fringe than The Sarah Conor Chronicles (Fringe has a strong, kick-ass woman lead, too and my mamma mia! and I text throughout the episodes), but maybe the Fox folks felt that was too much science and technology and weird conspiracy for one night. I will bow to their greater knowledge of these things – provided they don’t cancel either Dollhouse or Fringe. Have I revealed yet just how big of a dork I am?

Now, books. Reading this cool French girl-adventurer book called The Princetta (and the Captain, apparently). It’s massive and translated and really, really good. Just finished a fun (if a bit weird with the Brit-infected “New Yorker” main character) book called Me and Mr Darcy. Not as good as Austenland, a bit too reminiscent of Bridget Jones, but fun nonetheless. Also, while I’m always a big fan of Sarah Dessen, I was blown away by Lock and Key. Even wrote the author a very personal fan letter.

And something I’ve been wanting to blog about for a few weeks. Let’s see if you can follow this. In a distant time and place (okay, circa 1996 as far as my documents certify and in Georgia), I started reading an author named L.J. Smith. I became a BIG fan, getting involved in a massive fansite online (remember in my first blog when I talked about first engaging in an online life?) called The Night World, which was devoted to all of her books. She wrote several trilogies and a quartet of books (after two linked stand-alones) before beginning a longer series called The Night World, which was supposed to be 10 books long, the last of which, Strange Fate, would be released right before the new millinnieum (which featured in the series). However, due to mysterious illnesses and etc., the book’s never been released. Now it’s 9+ years later and, to my knowledge, the book’s still not out. She’s reappeared, writing under the name Ljane Smith and according to her website, she’s still writing Strange Fate. And coolest of all, as I discovered while at my not-so-local bookstore (I was in Baton Rouge), her series’ are being re-released, omnibus style!! There’s lots of L.J. (as I’ll always know her, short for Lisa Jane) news lately, actually. The CW is apparently creating a t.v. show from The Vampire Diaries. It has a lot to do with the success of the Twilight books and movie, almost certaintly, but these books pre-date all that and rock in their own right. As I said in my comment responding to this piece on Pretty Scary. However you get into L.J. Smith, get into her. I love these books. They predate when I was educated about writing (and judgmental) and just enjoyed books for all their cheesy potential (see: Dean Koontz). And you know what? I was a kid when I read L.J. Smith and Dean Koontz. And all these years later, I still get crazy excited about them, still enjoy their books. So that must say something… Can you tell me what? 🙂

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Filed under American Idol, pop culture, t.v.