Dead Like Me: Life After Death liveblog

Layout 1I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a huge Dead Like Me fan. I was always really sad that the show only got two seasons, and also that it ended so abruptly. My sister Fish alerted me to the fact that they were making a movie, although she did extensively lament the fact that Mandy Patinkin (Rube) wasn’t involved. The movie came out yesterday (it was straight-to-DVD) and of course immediately showed up on Surf the Channel, which is why I love that freakin’ site. At first I was Twittering my thoughts, but then I was like, “You know what? I’m going to keep wanting to say things, and am I seriously going to have three pages of tweets about this?” So I decided about fifteen minutes in to do a live blog while I watched. This is the first one I’ve ever done, so I guess we’ll see how ridiculous it is. Ready, set, go!

If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about a young girl named Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth) who died at eighteen after being hit by a toilet seat from the Mir Space Station upon its reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. She joined the ranks of the reapers, dead folk who take the souls of the living just before they shuffle off this mortal coil, and fellow lost souls Betty (Rebecca Gayheart, left halfway into season one), Daisy (Laura Harris, replaced Betty), Mason (Callum Blue), and Roxy (Jasmine Guy) become her makeshift family. They are given their reaping assignments by boss cum father figure Rube (Mandy Patinkin) and mostly hang out at a restaurant called Der Wafflehaus. The catch of being a reaper is that they can be seen by people and interacted with (they appear to the world differently than they did when they were alive, but they see each other the way they looked then); they need jobs and transportation and have no special powers aside from the reaping thing. In secret, George frequently checks in on her family, whom she mostly resented when she was alive; it consists of her mother Joy (Cynthia Stevenson), her father Clancy (Greg Kean), and her little sister Reggie (Brit McKillip). George also has a job at the Happy Time Temp Agency, working under a woman named Dolores Herbig (“as in ‘her big brown eyes'”). Okay, I think that’s all you need to know. Let’s roll.

15:05 Der Wafflehaus burned down, sad. 😦 Impressions so far: I miss Rube way more than I thought I would. They have recast the Daisy Adair character, who was played to perfection by Laura Harris but is now being played by this ridiculously terrible Sarah Wynter person who I only recognize, get this, from the pilot of Sex and the City (she’s the British woman whose boyfriend takes her to look at property about ten minutes after they start dating and then eventually stops calling, which, duh). Daisy is my favorite character, so as you can imagine I’m very upset about this. They seem to have dropped the Daisy/Mason ‘ship, which is good because it worked between Callum Blue and Laura Harris but with this Sarah Wynter it would be a nightmare. Britt McKillip (Reggie) has grown up to be very pretty and actually looks a lot like Ellen Muth (George), which is convenient. They’ve replaced Rube with some d-bag named Cameron Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) who died in 9/11 and is training them to get their reap information on Trios. Holy 2006 product placement, Batman! At the very least, use iPhones. It’s Seattle, not darkest Peru. Last but not least, they’ve recast the girl who plays “Millie”, George’s face-to-the-world; this new one is much prettier, but also less awesome.

15:28 Oooooh, a boy likes Reggie! He smiled at her. She’s a bad driver and also sort of a sour puss sad sack. She is George’s sister, after all!

16:15 Joy wrote a book about grief? It has George on the cover. CREEEEEEPY!

17:33 I forgot that everyone thinks George is a recovering alcoholic because that’s her cover for the reaper meetings. Dolores has Murray the cat strapped to her chest like an infant. Oh boy, that’s so Bri’s future.

22:24 Wow, the Happy Time offices got a major face lift. I don’t understand this mock interview scene.

25:20 George is a literal ambulence chaser now. Also, she missed her reap. Cue the world crumbling.

26:50 OH GOD DAISY LOOKS ATROSH. This woman’s performance is seriously under par.

29:47 Okay, the new boss is David Bowie in Labyrinth-level creepy. He keeps calling George “Princess” and actually just KISSED her. On the lips. IN SLOW MOTION. Who directed this thing?

34:30 The boy who smiled at Reggie earlier is George’s failed reap. Name is Hudson Hart. Not only that, but she can’t take his soul now; he’s on life support. Reg just stopped by to see him and some bitchy girl who looks like Shenae Grimes (you know her from Degrassi and 90210! ugh) tells her to leave. SNAP! Poor Reg.

35:43 OMG SCANDALZ! Looks like Reg was secretly dating Hudson, or so says the pictures of them canoodling that she tore up and threw in the trash outside of the hospital that George picked up.

37:01 Figures Megavideo stops working during Reggie’s sexy flashback. Actually, Megavideo, I have not watched 72 minutes of video today. I’ve watched THIRTY SEVEN minutes of video today. I guess I have to watch a season 2 episode on Netflix Watch Instantly while I’m waiting to get the privilege of watching more Megavideo.

37:47 And we’re back! Who knows for how long, though. Hudson says he loves Reggie, but he wants to keep their relationship a secret. Reg, from one woman to another: that is never a good sign. Also, apparently he has a public girlfriend, who Joy calls a “beautiful girl.” Nice, Joy. WAY TO PAY ATTENTION. I love Joy and I appreciate how she’s really trying with Reggie, but she really hasn’t learned anything from George’s death.

40:46 Roxy: “There are no consequences for anything we do.” Uhhhhh….

43:20 I can’t decide if this random comic book stylization that happens every once in a while is cool or just unnecessary. Cool, I think.

43:55 Roxy just saved a reap. This is not good.

47:08 Daisy just tripped an actress so that she could take over her part in a play. Also, the woman who plays this actress would’ve made a better replacement for Laura Harris than the other girl they’ve got here.

49:32 Daisy just lost it on stage. Like, LOST IT. It was totally dumb. Oh, she was drunk. Who wrote this thing?

50:46 What is going on with Mason? For the first time in forever, the reapers are the least interesting part of this show. Movie. Whatever. More Reggie!

52:27 No. More. Daisy. PLEASE! Although, her reap from the beginning of the movie has turned into a poltergeist. That’s interesting. Not at all relevant, though.

53:59 The reap Roxy saved died anyway. Duh. Haven’t you ever seen the Final Destination movies, Roxy?

56:06 Sweet sisterly heart-to-heart. Reg doesn’t know it’s George yet, but I’m guessing she eventually will. They’re talking about Hudson. Reg doesn’t want Hudson’s friends to think that he’d like someone like her, JIC he dies and it ruins their perfect illusion of him being a d-bag who only dates cheerleaders although, QUITE FRANKLY, it doesn’t seem, from the evidence shown in his interactions with Reggie, that he’s really any better than that. George left cab money (“for you to get to the hospital”) in the tip jar.

56:58 Uh, whoops, Reggie runs into George at the hospital as she tries for the frillionth time to reap Hudson to no great effect. She chases George down and, inexplicably, GETS INTO THE CAR WITH HER, because that is what you do when you feel like you’re being stalked, GET INTO THE CAR WITH YOUR STALKER. Real smart, Reg.

57:23 George told Reggie who she is! The way she proves it is by reciting a litany of horrible things that she did to Reggie when she was little. Nice, George. Reggie: “I think I’m gonna puke.” George: “Do it out the window, I just detailed the car.”

59:00 The Lass girls have another heart-to-heart, this time for real, even though the inevitable consequence of that is that Reggie thinks she’s losing her mind, that George is a figment of her imagination. Sad pancakes.

1:00:20 Uh oh, George just lost her job at Happy Time. Oh, and Reg wants to move in with her. That sounds like a good plan. Is George still living with Daisy in that house Mason gave them?

1:02:48 The chuckleheads have come to their senses about how lame a reap leader (terminology??) that Cameron guy is (although, to be honest, I don’t get his presence in this story whatsoever) and decided that they’re going above his head. What would Rube do? being the guiding mantra. This will not end well.

1:03:14 Unless Cameron is in some way an imposter, I don’t get this. Death/God/whoever would not appoint someone like him to take care of the reapers. It makes no sense. Oh, good, Roxy knocked him unconscious and they’re coming up with a plan.

1:06:01 Aw, George got Reg to go to the hospital and apparently Hudson asked for her. His parents are excited to meet her. Well, as excited as you can be about anything when your son is practically comatose, and also despite the fact that they A.) thought Reggie was a boy (her real name is Regina) and B.) he has a girlfriend already and they have no idea who Reggie is at all. Oh, NO NO NO. George just got a text message on her Trio saying that she needs to reap him now. Hudson’s dead. REALLY SAD PANCAKES.

1:09:16 Hudson’s soul wants Reggie to know that he’s sorry he kept her a secret. It took dying to figure that out, did it? Cute. You’re a jerk. Enjoy your football game-themed heaven. Meanwhile, Reggie is out of control speeding in George’s car. I like how George’s main argument against Reggie killing herself is that her soul hasn’t been reaped and therefore it will hurt a lot. THAT’s your strategy? “Have you ever hit a wall at 100 mph? Ouch!” George talks her down, and then tells her that she can’t see her anymore, and then OH WAIT MEGAVIDEO SAYS I NEED TO WAIT 54 MINUTES TO SEE THE LAST TWENTY MINUTES OF THIS MOVIE. I hate Megavideo.

While we wait, here’s a question: Why is it that the only convincing romance this show has ever had was the one between George and that schizophrenic guy, Ronnie, she reaped in the first season? I don’t have an answer to that, but feel free to let it keep you up at night.

1:12:01 Aww, George learned a lesson about how she should’ve been nicer to her family when she was alive. Except, wasn’t she learning that all through the first and second seasons? Shouldn’t she have figured that out by now? Oh well, at least she told Reggie she loved her before kicking her Lindsay Lohan-outfit wearing ass to the curb.

1:13:01 The other chuckleheads are trying to “kill” Cameron Kane because he’s “evil”, which, I would buy that if he had done ANYTHING AT ALL except force them to use Trios, which I agree is pretty mean, and not give sage advice like Rube. Also, you can’t kill him, you idiots; he’s already dead. That’s how he has the job he has! Morons.

1:13:23 Gunshot to the head: FAIL.

1:13:43 Drowning in fountain: FAIL.

1:13:57 Dear God, Mason’s breaking out the chainsaw. Remind me again why this guy has to be disposed of? He seems pretty bored with you clowns, I think he’d just…go away if you ignored him for 8.5 seconds.

1:14:36 George is with Dolores at the vet’s, and a little blond girl just reaped Murray, so he’s a goner. (In the mythology of the show, dead kids reap animal souls.) Too much time in this already short movie was spent on Murray’s fate. Too much time in the show in general was spent on it, actually.

1:15:06 Oh yeah. I forgot that J.D. (the dog George inherited from a reap that she gave to her mother and sister) died. Sad pancakes.

1:15:29 Aw, Joy finds Reggie at George’s grave. Remember the end of the second season, when George appears to them at her grave, looking like she did when she was alive because it was Halloween? WHOA, Reggie is whoopsing George’s continued existence to Joy. Joy naturally thinks Reg is loony tunes. They decide to go on vacay, a road trip, because when you think your child is having a nervous breakdown the obvious solution is highway hypnosis.

1:18:25 The chuckleheads are roasting marshmallows over what I assume is the fire they set to Cameron’s chopped up remains, which, ew. Also, WHY? George seems to accept this no problem.

1:20:53 Okay, Dolores’ extreme attachment to her cat is no longer funny. It’s just sad. In the pathetic way. I’m all for loving pets, but seriously?

1:21:11 It might be a little late to not go with the flow here, but A. how did they get permission to shoot Murray’s ashes up into SPACE? Is that a thing you can do now? B. Since when is there a rocket launch location in Seattle?

1:22:14 George stops by one more time as Joy and Reggie leave for their vacation. Imagine my excitement when George and Reggie catch eyes and “Boom Boom Ba” by Metisse (a song they used a lot during the first season) starts playing.

1:22:52 George gets hit with a shower of Post-Its. Oh God. Someone in upper management put her in charge of that merry band of fools. In her own words: “I am so fucked.” You’re not the only one, pal.

Okay, I’m glad I didn’t buy this. It was not the best thing in the universe. I liked the whole Reggie/George storyline, but the rest was gibberish. It really suffered the loss of Mandy Patinkin and Laura Harris and they bent the rules they created which I never countenance. Hope you enjoyed the liveblog! Verdict: You don’t have to see the movie; the show’s two seasons will do.

Behold, the relationshipocalypse

Ugh, you guys. I saw He’s Just Not That Into You last night and as you might imagine I HAVE SOME THOUGHTSICLES.

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First of all, where they get off calling this clown show a “romantic comedy” I’ll never know, because it was neither romantic nor particularly funny. Actually, it was totes depressing. Which, you know, is fine generally; none of our lives are sunshine and roses all the time, and the manufactured, solipsistic bullshit suffering most romantic comedies put their characters through for no reason is not preferable, but man. I’ve never wanted to die in a theater more than during this movie.

I won’t say, though, that the movie is “unrealistic” in its portrayal of women disecting a man’s texts and verbal cues and body language for signs that he’s “into” her, because of course people (all people, men and women) do that all the time. I’m a completely reasonable woman and I found myself doing that over and over for about nine months in recent memory, and while I don’t need a movie to remind me of how stupid that is, remind me it did. So, ugh, stab me in the eye. Some moments of this movie were physically painful to watch, and even though I’m loathe to admit it, some of those moments that made me want to vom had the imprint of recognition on them. As in, I’ve done that before. I did that yesterday. Kill me.

So, spoilers ahead, for those who care.

But most of what made me sick in this movie was just the godawfulness of the characters. When the lights came up, I turned to my friend Cambria and said, “I just wanted to set them all on fire.”

In retrospect, though, it wasn’t all of the characters. I really like Ginnifer Goodwin, and while her character, uh, Gigi was it?? was horrifically self-involved and so obsessed with getting a guy to like her that she never, ever asked herself, “Do I like this person?”, I sympathized with her unlikeability predicament and secretly hoped that she’d wise up and calm down. And she did, kind of. So that was an achievement. Although, even when she figured out that Justin Long was “into” her (I’m sorry, I just can’t write that without quotation marks to indicate my complete dissociation from the term), she was more like, “Yes! He likes me!” instead of “Yes! He likes me and I like him!” And anyway he didn’t like her, and then she made that impassioned speech, “At least I put myself out there even though I might make myself ridiculous most of the time and who cares if you think I’m a moron because at least I try!” and while I don’t think that would have made Justin Long either fall in love with her or realize he’d fallen in love with her without his own knowledge (something else I don’t buy, the whole “I loved you but I didn’t know it” thing, a common conceit in romantic narratives that annoys me), I fell in love with her a little bit because, yes, own it girlfriend. You get points for trying. So yeah, when he came to her door and professed his “into”-ness I was happy that she held back, referencing the fact that he is a totally emotionless tool who treats women as if they’re disposable and that he hardcore rejected her not such a long time ago and that people don’t change. But then I was like, “He’s cute and he’s there so just kiss him already,” and that’s what happened so I was glad-ish.

Drew Barrymore was hardly in this mess, but I’m glad she got a happy ending anyway, because, while her story was asinine, she was just generally confused more than anything else and, whatever, MySpace is a black hole from which many people never emerge. I could give a damn about Kevin Connolly generally, and his character in this movie was not that great, but it was nice to see how sincerely he wanted to be with someone for real, it just wasn’t Ginnifer Goodwin. So him getting together with Drew Barrymore was fun at the end, especially because they had known each other the whole movie but had never really interacted.

And, FINE, the Jennifer Aniston/Ben Affleck story was all right. I hate reading reviews that say she “demands” that he marry her because, uh, she doesn’t, unless finally admitting what you’ve been too afraid to say that you want is a demand. That’s what you’re supposed to do, be honest about what you need in a relationship, right? But it was pretty obvious the whole time how much they loved each other, and both of their characters were sympathetic and easy to like. I would’ve preferred that he would’ve capitulated about the marriage thing when she came to the boat to capitulate about the non-marriage thing, because that would’ve been very Gift of the Magi, instead of later in their house, because “now that she doesn’t need to get married I’m sort of okay with it” is kind of passive aggressive. But whatever. No complaints, that was a totally tolerable storyline.

BUT OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. The Scarlett Johansson/Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Connolly storyline made me SO. ANGRY. I hate the idea of cheating, I hate it when people do it, I always think it’s completely, totally morally indecent to do it, and I absolutely hate Hollywood’s ongoing attempt to normalize and glorify it. Bradley Cooper’s character was literally the scum of the earth. If you don’t want to get married to someone you don’t get married to them. If you get married to them even though you didn’t particularly want to you find a way to make it work or you end it in as dignified, respectful a way as possible. You do not, I repeat, DO NOT cheat on them repeatedly while feeding them lies about wanting to make it work and ambushing them with the fact of your infidelity in a Home Depot! UGH. I really don’t like Scarlett Johansson at all, and I like Bradley Cooper in Alias but now…I don’t know. Poor Jennifer Connelly. She should’ve been all, “YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME” and been done with it.

So there. Sitting through He’s Just Not That Into You was, on the whole, a terrifying experience for a young single gal like me. I comfort myself with the knowledge (delusion?) that romance and happiness are not easily quantifiable, nor is there a formula for human interaction or a “rule.” There’s just common sense and mutual respect and if you lose on both counts, well, there’s your answer. Happy Valentine’s Day, you guys! (It is not Valentine’s Day yet, calm down.)

At least she’s got that dead-eyed stare down

My blog stats are taking a nose dive, and you know what that means! Time to start talking about Twilight again. What? It’s not like I didn’t warn you that that’s my strategy. Haters to the left.

344802103_1edeec9687When I first heard rumblings that they were going to cast Dakota Fanning in New Moon, I was all, “What is this noise? Who would she even play? It’s not like there are any preternaturally intelligent creepmaster flash children in this series.” At least not until Breaking Dawn. ZING! I’ll be here forever. Try the stuffed chicken breasts. (Okay, you’re right, that was not a zing.)

First of all, fun fact: after being ten-going-on-eighty-seven for the past, oh, century, apparently Dakota Fanning is almost fifteen now. Speaking of vampires, I always kind of thought of her as a real-life Claudia from Interview With the Vampire. Now that theory is ruined, although we’d really have to test her DNA to be sure.

Second of all, funner fact: people are saying that they’re going to cast her as Jane in New Moon. Personally, I think this casting choice, if indeed it is true, which, shouldn’t this all be settled right now? Don’t they have to start shooting this movie two weeks ago if it’s supposed to come out before the end of the year? Or are we in for yet another faithful but soulless adaptation, complete with clumsy editing and a terrible soundtrack, because nobody seems even remotely capable of planning ahead and the whole thing gets rushed? At least they’ve got more money this time around, so maybe the Volturi temple of doom set will be kick ass.

What was I saying? Oh, this casting choice is dead on. I barely remember Jane, but what I do remember was that she was small and creepy and had truly terrifying mind powers–I think maybe she was able to make people feel excruciating pain they weren’t really experiencing? That’s bananas. Which leads me to a question: Aro is, like, totally power hungry and yet he and his posse of ancient bloodsucking lunatics have absolutely no desire to maybe take over the world? Why don’t vampires rule the universe, if indeed they’re so impossible to outwit or defeat? Why are they afraid of being revealed to the world by mad hoards of newborn vamps or Edward stepping into a crowded Italian piazza and *~*SPARKLING*~*?

I think about this way too much. Time to get a life.

Random Veronica Mars thoughtsicles

FIRST THINGS FIRST: The Veronica Mars movie is offish happening, you guys! I’m not even playing some kind of evil prank on you, because, though I am known for being many things, an evil prankster is not one of them (it requires way too much effort, although I’ve recently been tempted by some of my Blair Waldorf tendencies, but…no, still too lazy to plot–anything but books, that is! Oh ZING).

Anyway, back to the Movie That Dreams Built. According to that article above, Kristen Bell is on board like a surfer (on board like a surfer?), which, like, SHE’D BETTER BE, because they really couldn’t make a Veronica Mars movie without her. And Rob Thomas is penning the script–another must. Also, they’re scrapping that whole “VM at the FBI” thing they cooked up in an attempt to save the show and picking up with V right after she graduates from college. Excellent choice, Robbie Tommy. (Robbie Tommy? What is wrong with me today?) Jason Dohring’s not on board (like a surfer?) yet, but seriously what else is that clown doing these days? (That’s a crime against humanity, IMHO, but at least it frees him up to be in the Movie That Dreams Built so you won’t hear me complain…anymore.) Enrico Colantoni might be more work, but since I’ve never heard of this so-called new show of his (Flashpoint), maybe we’re good on that front as well. Oh, wait, I just IMDb-ed Flashpoint and apparently it’s a real show? That’s on the air? And has had one (nine-episode, let’s not get too scared) season and is having another one? What channel is this thing on? I know I don’t have a TV, but I like to think of myself as at least semi-culturally relevant. CBS? What?

Anyway. Colantoni’s show not withstanding, it’s looking pretty good for the VM fans of the world. Personally I hope they bring back the whole gang, except Piz who is boring and Parker who is even more boring if you can believe it. It’d be nice to see Wallace again, and Mac for defs, and Weevil and Vinnie and Dick. Especially Dick! Ryan Hansen, what are you doing now? Hm, a bunch of movies and TV pilots I’ve never heard of including the unholy Friday the 13th remake? I’m guessing you’ll be down to recreate the magic, too.

I actually meant only, like, a paragraph of this post to be about the Veronica Mars movie (the rest of it was supposed to be LOLZ about the behind the scenes mini-documentary about Gossip Girl that I was watching because my season 1 DVDs came yesterday, but we’ll save that for later), but apparently it’s taken on a mind of its own and morphed into a VM Where Are They Now? extravaganza, so let’s go with that. What are our favorite Neptune peeps doing? Let’s take a look:

kristen_bellKristen Bell (Veronica Mars): By far the superstar of the VM alumni, although that’s to be expected. Recurring character on Heroes, two seasons as the disembodied voice on Gossip Girl, big supporting role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and like a billion more movies slated for 2009. How does girlfriend get all this done? Plus, I’m still waiting to see her in Fanboys, which is…coming out February 6? I can’t even tell if that’s in theaters or on DVD. Whatever. The point is, she’s done quite well for herself so far, but she has yet to carry a movie. We know she can do it, I mean, Veronica Mars sat squarely on her pixie shoulders, but she has yet to show us any magic on the silver screen. Am I the only one who feels this? The traditional romantic comedy roles are way too bland for Kristen Bell. I hope the newer stuff is more dynamic, but I sort of doubt it will be.

enrico_colantoni_veronica_marsEnrico Colantoni (Keith Mars): Erm, so like I said, Flashpoint or whatever. Also he’s guested on some other shows and he’s playing Rene Angelil, NO JOKE, in a TV movie about Celine Dion called, appropriately, Celine. UHHHHHHHH…Get on the horn to RT immediately, Colantoni, because you are way too cool for this weird stuff you’re doing right now.

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Amanda Seyfried (Lilly Kane): Remember when I said Kristen Bell was the most successful VM alumni? Just kidding! You know you like it when I kid. Amanda Seyfried’s star is pretty on the rise as well. She’s my favorite character in one of my favorite shows (Sarah Hendrickson in Big Love), and she was enjoyable as Sophie in Mamma Mia! this past summer. Also, she’s going to be in Jennifer’s Body, written by Diablo Cody, which a lot of people are looking forward to. Too bad Lilly Kane’s been dead since the start of season one, but Seyfried comes alive in flashbacks and I think they should work a couple of those into the movie, for nostalgia’s sake.

vm_percy_dPercy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel): Has done nothing since the end of the show but guest in a few ill-fated dramas and some movie called American Son? Don’t know, didn’t see it, but it also has Nick Cannon (a.k.a. Mr. Mariah Carey) in it, so it can’t be very good. However, it has Chi McBride in it, so it could also be awesome. Coin toss. Anyway, he could probably use the work, and I have a warm little niche in my cold, dark heart for Wallace, so I’d love to see him back in the game as V’s devoted sidekick/bestie.

jasondohringJason Dohring (Logan Echolls): I mean COME ON. What would this show BE without Logan, our obligatory psychotic jackass? Veronica and Logan were the first Blair and Chuck, the mutually insane couple who despite all their flaws and pathologies and machinations are absolutely perfect for each other. As I have already noted. Only this time around, they need to make sure that V and Logan together doesn’t result in Logan getting declawed because, like Chuck, he’s better when he’s angry. Which is why they shouldn’t have them get back together until the END of the movie, so they can antagonize each other and yearn for each other throughout. Oh, yeah, right, what’s Jason Dohring doing with himself these days? A whole lot of nothin’, it turns out, after Moonlight, which as most everybody knows had dismal ratings and was canceled. Anyway, his character Josef, as far as I saw, was just a pale ghost imitation of Logan, so good riddance. He’s in the Washingtonienne pilot, though. I wonder how that show will fare. Whatever, he’s available, let’s tap that.

francisFrancis Capra (Eli “Weevil” Navarro): NOT related to the legendary director Frank Capra, I’ll have you know. Since VM, our favorite PCHer has guested on such shows as “The Closer” (which I love), “Friday Night Lights” (which I love), “Criminal Minds”, “Heroes” (VM reunion!) , and “Sons of Anarchy”. He’s due for another recurring role, if you ask me, which nobody has. He’s probably up for another rematch with Logan, anyway, and they left Weevil’s story on a weird cliffhanger (?), if you can really call it that. In any case, we know he’s not quite finished with his criminal ways. I think it’s time to revisit that.

dickstandRyan Hansen (Dick Casablancas): Yay! My favorite! Like I said, not much going on here besides the Friday the 13th remake, which, why? Another VM alum for whom the current roles available don’t really live up to the potential of the actor (Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring being the other obvious victims of this problem). I love how Dick started off as a throwaway character and by the end of the series was fully integrated and had even started to display some depth of emotion we might never have seen if his brother hadn’t (SPOILER) whoopsed himself right off the edge of a building at the end of season two (END SPOILER). I liked where Dick was going and I want to see more of him.

28203656Teddy Dunn (Duncan Kane): Ah, Teddy Dunn. Very pretty to look at, not a very talented actor. I do not wish to see him return for the movie, but for fun let’s see what he’s up to. Oh yeah, Jumper. Maybe he could get some temporary work as Scott Porter’s body double.

f_44195561 Michael Muhney (Sheriff Don Lamb): Not that Muhney can come back, because (SPOILER) Lamb is clearly deceased (END SPOILER), but I loved Lamb. Muhney has done/is slated to do a lot of movies, but none of them look like anything special. Too bad. He’s a real gem.

VERONICA MARSTina Majorino (Cindy “Mac” MacKenzie): Aw, at least we know Tina Majorino is doing well. Just like Amanda Seyfried and (I’m getting to it!) Kyle Gallner, she’s on Big Love, as Heather Tuttle, Sarah’s Mormon bestie. At this point, she doesn’t seem to be doing much else, so I hope they ask her to come back for the movie and I hope she accepts. What would V be without her Q? (Too many initials.)

0000034960_20061021043236Kyle Gallner (Cassidy “Beaver” Casablancas): Another favorite that is ineligible for a return to the show because (SPOILER) he’s dead (END SPOILER), but despite how incredibly creepy he seems to be in EVERY. SINGLE. ROLE. HE. PLAYS. I still love him. He’s been doing some stuff: The Closer, that creepmeister kid on the Law and Order: SVU episode with Melissa Joan Hart, Smallville, Medium, CSI: NY, The Shield, and Big Love (as yet another creepy young dude). (How many times can I unoriginally use the word “creepy” to describe a Kyle Gallner character? Wait and see!) He’s also in Jennifer’s Body along with VM alum Amanda Seyfried, where he’ll probably play a creepy young dude! Four times! That’s gotta be a record. What?

Okay. That’s enough. This post is getting way too long. I could tell you what Max Greenfield (Deputy Leo) or Alona Tal (Meg Manning) or Tessa Thompson (Jackie Cook) or Daran Norris (Cliff McCormack) or Chris Lowell (Stosh “Piz” Piznarski) or Julie Gonzalo (Parker Lee…srsly? Lee? That was her last name?) or Ken Marino (Vinnie Van Lowe) or any number of actors are doing these days, but I don’t care. Except Daran Norris and Ken Marino–we need Cliff and Vinnie back. The rest of them can skedaddle. Although Max Greenfield is on Ugly Betty sometimes and Chris Lowell is on Private Practice. Not afraid to be servicey!

Recreation

The big idea is recreation. You know what that means? …Well, let’s break the word down, shall we? Re-create. To create again. Begin again. To start over. People need to do that. Work is fine, but every now and then, you’ve got to take a break and re-create…Remember, recreation isn’t about relaxing. It’s about redefining…whatever’s become undefined.

This past weekend I did a little recreating myself. (That quotation is from Joan of Arcadia, by the way.) I didn’t really plan for the weekend to go exactly as it did, but I’m glad I changed my plans at the last minute. Super glad. Like, “What was I thinking when I made my previous plans?” glad. This weekend was the emotional and social equivalent of one of those cleanses where you only drink lemon water with honey and cayenne pepper or some such; you flush the toxins out so there’s more room for the good stuff. Or more toxins. I guess it kind of depends on how dedicated you are to what comes next, which I TOTALLY AM you guys.

I left New York on Friday morning. My flight was scheduled for 10 AM out of La Guardia, so I caught a cab a couple of minutes after eight. It would’ve been exactly at eight except for some unfathomable reason I was locked IN to my apartment building. I couldn’t get out through the front door because I guess it was locked from the outside? This has never happened before and it was totes weird, but I didn’t really have time to go knock on my super’s door and explain to him patiently that the fact I pay rent to this building doesn’t make me its PRISONER. I went to the basement, shimmied up the fire escape and then rappelled down the side of the building to get out, and let me tell you, that is not easy when you’re carrying a twenty-five pound duffel bag.

It was one of those mornings where New York throws you a freaking bone (except for the getting locked in my building part). I got a cab no problem, there wasn’t any traffic, security was a breeze, and my flight was on time. I did sit next to an elderly couple who were complaining about Barack Obama and how because he’s from Illinois he’s probably corrupt because “everybody there is on the take.” Oh, Blago. Why’d you have to go and give the Land of Lincoln a bad name just when people were starting to believe? Whatever. Old people make the darndest assumptions about state politics that are probably more or less true!

We landed in O’Hare a little bit early, but I don’t know if you knew this, O’Hare has seceded from the nation and is now its own country, so it took me six hours to walk across it and I didn’t even get to go through the tunnel of light, which is my absolute favorite part! Bygones. The El was pretty easy to find, but also a squillion miles away from my gate. Because I am awesome, I still have my Chicago Card from two years ago and didn’t have to worry about getting a CTA pass, which is why I didn’t notice until a little bit later when I was reading some of the signs on the train that a single ride on the El has gone up to $2.25! With 30-day passes at $86! That’s more than New York (although I’m sure that our fares will get hiked again really soon). Also, my train went express for no reason. Chicago! It really is just like New York except with lower taxes and less bodegas! Here’s an idea: let’s have the 2016 Olympics there.

It was SO COLD in Chicago on Friday, you guys. SO COLD. My friend Marisa told me this horrifying story about a friend of hers whose ear fell off when it was that cold (this may or may not be apocryphal, but it certainly gave me a mental picture I did not want), so I was reasonably worried about my extremities, and the four block walk to Browne & Miller HQ did make me want to lay down and die, but all was well when I arrived (a teeny bit late for a late lunch) to two famished literary agents. Obvs, we vamoosed right out of the office and down the street to Mercat, which has amazing fries, if you ever find yourself hungry on S. Michigan Avenue.

I love Joanna and Danielle. Not only are they amazing agents, but they’re really smart and fun. Lunch was long and delicious, with lots of talk about marketing and the industry, and when we went back to the office Joanna and I talked about what comes next. I have to finish MB for my editor so that I can get it to her, I hope by the end of January–it would be nice if showing her MB coincided with sending AUT into the copy editing stage, but that depends on if there is still any work to be done on AUT. We’ll see. But also I have my two other books in the pipeline, and after talking to J it looks like I’m going to follow my instincts and work on GR first. I have about twelve pages and a page of synopsis for GR, so there’s a lot of work to be done. I’m excited to write a book from scratch again, it’s been a long time since I’ve done that, since when I was writing MB this summer I was writing off a synopsis and six chapters I’d written almost a year before.

I spent the rest of the (mercifully a little bit warmer) weekend with my aunt and her family in the suburbs. My beloved cousin Emma picked me up from the train station and when we got home my aunt was waiting for me with a glass of wine, and my uncle came in approximately fifteen minutes later with Giordano’s pizza. My cousin Matt grew approximately sixteen feet, Jacob Black-style, since I’d last seen him a year ago. On Saturday, Emma and I went to see Slumdog Millionaire, which was excellent, and then we went to Matt’s basketball game.

Now, about this basketball game. Matt’s team was solidly beating the other team until the second half, when the difference between the two scores was a point or two throughout. With twenty seconds left, Matt’s team scored and it looked like they were poised to win, but in the last SIX SECONDS the other team was able to get the ball two thirds of the way across the court and a guy SHOT and SCORED at the buzzer. It was sad our team lost, but also, that’s pretty amazing. As my aunt said, “That boy will remember this day forever, and we got to be here. Isn’t that cool?” Then we went home and watched The Dark Knight, which they LOVE but which I’d never seen. Not to beat the obvious horse completely to death here, but Heath Ledger was a super star. His performance in that movie was so impressive.

On Sunday my aunt and I went to fetch my grandmother from the city and we went to Jameson’s, a steak house in the suburbs. It was so good to see my grandmother; I realized then that I’d only seen her once since I moved out of her house and to New York. I wish I’d gotten to spend more time with her, but hopefully we’ll be in Chicago next Christmas so there will be plenty of time for that. I’d also like to go to Chicago one more time before then, so we’ll see what kind of flexibility this summer affords me. That evening we watched the season premiere of Big Love and I watched an ENTIRE EPISODE of Desperate Housewives AND Brothers and Sisters, both of which I dislike, although I will say that the DH episode was sweet and interesting. On the other hand, Snoozeville, Population: Bros and Hos. Also I indulged in some Jon and Kate Plus Eight, because you know how much I treasure that show.

On Monday we went bowling (God, this is probably so boring, I realize that now–sorry!) and, true to form, I sucked. But I still had SO much fun. This whole weekend was very calm and restorative and full of love and laughter and right now I’m giving y’all diabetes with my sappiness, but I’m telling you, if you have family you adore, make all efforts you can to see them. It’s better than Prozac.

So, how to take a happy girl down a peg? Give her a two hour delay on the tarmac and a crazy guy in the cab line and a two thirty AM bedtime. Oh well. I’m exhausted, but Barack Obama is president now and I’m going to see Equus after work with three of my best NY girlfriends. Recreation.

P.S. I had a dream I was friends with Stephenie Meyer and we were at her son’s school. I wish there was an emoticon for “mildly confused shrug”. Dream Stephenie was super nice, though.

Highlights from my trip to California

When my family first moved to California eight and a half (oh God, really?) years ago, I volleyed between despondent and massively pissed off. I was a senior in high school and had lived practically my entire life in one house in Chicago’s north suburbs, fifteen minutes away from my aunt and cousins and half an hour away from my grandmother. I had lots of friends at my giant, award-winning, nationally respected high school, I was on a very hardcore swim team and a State-winning water polo team, and I was taking all these advanced classes. Then we moved to the Tri-Valley, clear halfway across the country, where I was enrolled in a tiny (by my standards) public school with no water polo team and only a handful of AP classes. I basically resigned myself to just pushing through that last year; I didn’t really feel confident about making friends or forgiving my parents for depositing me unceremoniously in that hell hole, so I figured I’d just get through it as best I could and then go back to Chicago for college.

As with many preconceived notions, mine were dashed when I met probably the most important people in my life besides my family. I ended up making some amazing friends that year, and these girls are not only still my best friends in the whole wide universe, they’re pretty much my sisters. Anyway, usually my family goes to Chicago for Christmas for about two weeks, but this year my mother, who has been doing a lot of international traveling for her job, pretty much said “Enough planes already!’ and instead of all of us convening in Chicago, I flew out to the Bay Area for Christmas. Lucky for me, my best friends (whose families also still live in the Tri-Valley) were there as well, and we spent ten days hanging out, during which a lot of really fun stuff happened. Here is a partial list:

  • Christmas Eve brunch: I went out for breakfast with my friend Kim, her sister Jennifer, Jennifer’s boyfriend (of like five or six years who for some reason I’d never met) Steve, my friend Cambria, and my brother JJ. IHOP (I know, we so classy) was really crowded, so we went to this ancient breakfast place that I’d never actually been to and ate our fill of greasy food. The best part of that morning was going to our old high school (where my sister’s still a student), which is being razed to the ground and rebuilt. It was like exploring the ruins of Rome, except not as pretty–seriously, there were walls torn down and we saw a mural that we’d never seen before in our collective nine years of attending school there because it was in the teacher’s lounge. The new building was sleek and cool and we were all super jealous because we had to attend class in dark, cramped buildings from the seventies.
  • Christmas Eve: My mom cooked a full Wigilia dinner (delish!) and we opened presents. It was fun and low-key and I wore a kick-ass Blair Waldorf flower headband but I seem to have misplaced my camera and so the only pictures are on my parents’ ancient digital, good luck to me getting a hold of them. That’s actually the theme of this whole vacation–ten days and I have no pictures to show for it.
  • Town Dive Bars: We spent many of our nights exploring the limited number of bars in the valley, because we usually just go to one and, fun as it is, we thought we might have a better time at the others. Pretty much they were all let-downs, because let’s be honest: this is a suburb, and we all live in real cities. Still, the Bud Light is dirt cheap and the company was amazing.
  • Jenny’s birthday/mustache party: Jenny had been talking about having a mustache party for her birthday ever since she came to New York in October, probably, or at least since Th4nkSgiving. Anywiz, as luck would have it I received stylish mustaches in the office White Elephant game, so we wore them to one of the aforementioned dive bars one night. Let me tell you, it was amazing. Cambria’s mustache made her look just like her father, which pretty much creeped us all out. There were a couple of guys with us, but they were all clean-shaven, which made it all the funnier. These pictures are so hilarious, you guys, and if I ever get them I will defs share them on the blog (knowing Jenny and her current lack of any sort of computorial apparatus, it may be a while…possibly June). The best part of the whole night, though, happened before the party, at my parents’ house while my brother and I were getting ready to go out. My mother saw the mustaches on the kitchen table and asked, “What are those for?” I told her about the plan–wear the mustaches to the bar–and she gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m so glad I’m not young anymore.”
  • Harry Potter Clue: At the risk of sounding like a huge nerd here, Harry Potter Clue is THE MOST AMAZING GAME ON THE PLANET. It’s SO MUCH BETTER than regular Clue, which I find sort of boring. The board MOVES, with secret passages appearing and disappearing and doors opening and closing. Also, there are spells and Dark Marks and the whole thing is a Harry Potter fan’s dream. I even won once! I almost never win at games, and since Cambria has been playing Clue ever since she was a small child, and Kim is a veteran board gamer, I was pretty proud of myself to have beaten them. Oddly, we didn’t play Apples to Apples or Phase 10 this time, which are our staple games. (Someday I’ll blog about how Phase 10 is the answer to life, the universe and everything. It really is.)
  • Eating: Time at home with friends is usually our excuse to pig out. There’s a lot of great restaurants in the Yay* that we just don’t have in New York and even San Diego, so we try to do a nice sampler any time we’re home together. I went to Pasta Pomodoro, Jack in the Box, Red Robin, In ‘N Out, Zachary’s, and Fuzio, and the only reason that list isn’t longer is that I had of lot of dinners at home with my family, on purpose, because I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.
  • Santa Clara: While I was home I went out to Mountain View to visit Carmen, my best friend from college. We had dinner at this lovely Mexican restaurant in the Pruneyard, El Burro, where the service was terrible but the food was delicious, and I saw an old acquaintance from college, Celeste, who was the editor of our literary review, the Santa Clara Review, when I was the fiction editor.** On our way back to Carmen’s house, where my car was parked, I asked her to drive us past Santa Clara, and I oohed and ahhed at the new fancy business school (Carmen was an accounting major, so she’s impressed by/slightly bitter about it) and the BRAND! NEW! BIG! LIBRARY! Because even though there was a whole article about it in the alumni magazine I inexplicably receive at work, there were no pictures, which is the dumbest thing ever. Anyway, our old library was a HOLE, totally inconsistent with the gorgeous mission-style architecture of the school, dark and ugly and pretty useless. They destroyed that monstrosity and put up this stucco-and-glass beauty. Direct quote from me: “Maybe if that had been the library when we were going to school, I would’ve used it more than once or twice a year.” On the way home I got slightly lost and ended up going past Santa Clara again (because I knew how to get home from there, curse the badly marked 101/237 junction), taking the long way to gaze at it one more time. Nostalgia has such a powerful influence on me; I sort of miss that place, and I can’t believe that my life now isn’t one long summer vacation and that I’ll never go back for another year there. Sad.
  • New Year’s Eve: Actually, this was sort of a weird night for me. Not bad, really, but I did end up going to sleep on the floor, freezing cold***, stone sober, at around five thirty in the morning, far after everybody else went to sleep, so…weird.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Kim and I went to see this film super late one night, and let me tell you, I thought it was great. Anyone who knows me knows I couldn’t care less about Brad Pitt, but I loved the movie. It was long, yes, but the pace was leisurely rather than plodding, which added to the supple Southern feel, the story was beautiful and heartbreaking, and the CGI was terrif (I don’t agree with some reviews that it veers into the territory of the Uncanny Valley, because these weren’t CGI people, they were live actors)–I mean, when Cate Blanchett was supposed to be eighteen, she looked eighteen. I really thought for the longest time that they’d found a young girl who looked exactly like Cate Blanchett before realizing they’d done fancy computer stuff to her face. I cried about eighty-five times. People are complaining about how the plot has very little to do with Fitzgerald’s short story, which, come ON! You really couldn’t film that short story; the premise is great, but it’s ripe for a tragic love story and you don’t get that from Fitzgerald.

I’m sure I’ve missed some things, but those are the highlights. I really wish I had pictures of that mustache party. I think y’all would really enjoy them. Sigh. Someday. Related: I should find my camera before my birthday party on Saturday night. That I’m sure I’ll want pictures of.

*You’ve got to check out the Urban Dictionary page for “Yay.” It’s fantastic.

**Actually, that day was what I’m calling the Day of Randoms. I went to the mall with my mom and sister and we ended up seeing the mother of one of my sister’s friends, a family that my sister used to carpool to school with, my friends Kim and Jenny, and a girl my sister goes to high school with. Then we went to another mall and we saw our dentist. Then I saw Celeste. It was so so weird. I didn’t run into a single other random person while I was there. Curious.

***Actually, I was cold the whole time I was home. I don’t think I was ever really warm once. I didn’t bring a coat because I’m an idiot and ended up having to wear my old high school letterman’s jacket just so I didn’t freeze to death outside. People, listen to me: Just because it’s California doesn’t mean it’s going to be warm in January. Take it from me. I should’ve known better, I’ve lived through those winters. I thought all I would need was a rain coat. I was dead wrong.

I wonder if Ryan started the fire

So, for a while my revisions have been stressing me out. I don’t know why, it’s probably a combination of exhaustion and time crunch, but whatever the reason I could feel my mind resisting the work. This is not an unusual feeling for me, but usually I’m able to worm my way through it more easily than now.

I almost never work during the week because I have a day job and by the time I get home it’s almost eight and I just want to have dinner and relax. But this week was different. This week, I sat down every night and worked. I’ve been going through the marked up manuscript my editor gave me, making small changes and flagging bigger questions or things I’ll have to fix with more than a tap of the delete key. I’ve been dreading the turn of every page, which I know is melodramatic, but it’s true.

Finally, I decided I needed a change of scenery. Writing in my tiny room in my tiny dark apartment is fine, but revising in a cave is not good for my spirit, so I decided I needed space and sunlight. Lucky for me, there’s a branch of the New York Public Library about fifteen blocks away from my apartment, so this morning I jumped on the bus with my laptop and manuscript in tow and settled down at a table in the adult books section (I wanted to sit in the YA section, thinking for some reason it would be more inspirational, but there’s a big sign that says THESE TABLES ARE FOR TEENS ONLY which, do they police that? I didn’t want to risk it) and got to work.

2798968914_3144b124831Exhibit A: my wee bedroom.

At first, I felt as resistant as always, but after inching along all week I was finally close to the end of the MS and I slipped into a groove eventually. Then I reached the last leg, Part Four of AUT, which my editor had noted needed some reorganization. And for some reason, I suddenly felt very good. It was like all week I’d been climbing up a long staircase to the top of a water slide, and now I had finally sat down on my inner tube, gotten the signal from the lifeguard, pushed off and was now coasting to the bottom. Pardon the weird simile, that’s really how it felt!

And then–THEN. As if the world doesn’t want this book to ever get done, THE FIRE ALARM WENT OFF. Are you kidding me? Ugh. I had to quickly gather up my stuff and leave the library with everybody else. The thing that really bugs me is that I think some confused lady opened a fire door, which is a good thing because that means there wasn’t an actual fire, but also? READ THE DOOR, LADY.

Anyway, they weren’t letting anybody in there until the fire department showed up and checked out the place, so I knew it was fruitless to wait around forever when I lived a few blocks away. But, being me, I was like, “This is the perfect time to buy Wanted on DVD!” So that’s what I did. Because I love That James McAvoy and Wanted was an awesome movie. On the Venn diagram of movies both my brother and I would enjoy, I think Wanted is the only overlap. And the reason for that, of course, is my fake husband TJM. (Not to be confused with my fake boyfriend, RPattz. They know about each other, it’s fine.)

gearcrave-interview_james-mcavoy_wantedYeeeeeeeah, that’s right.

I also bought The Last Unicorn because it was on sale for $5 and it was one of my favorite movies as a kid.

Despite the disruption, during which I appear to have made lemonade out of lemons anyway, I’m still feeling pretty good about these revisions now. What seemed insurmountable a couple of days ago I’m now looking forward to tackling, which is excellent. This is turning out to be a great weekend all around. I spent last night with my closest NY friends because Katie, who moved to Chicago a few months ago, was back in town for  a visit. Tonight one of my other friends is having a fondue party, so we’re going to that, and then tomorrow is brunch at Essex House (I’d better make sure someone made reservations…) and then back to writing for me.

Okay, I must go now–Mary’s foolishly promised to let me DJ tonight, so I have to update the Party playlist on my iPod. Gotta remember to include all the newest Hanson tunes!*

*Just kidding.