This is a long one:
- It was very tough to say goodbye to 30 Rock, but I will save this list of the best 30 jokes forever. I remember when I heard this one for the first time, I realized I’d found a soulmate comedy:
- Nora Ephron’s son wrote this lovely, moving, and (depending on your personal experiences with sick relatives) difficult to read tribute to his mother.
- So… I still love Derek, but I might be transitioning into a Tigers fan. This season is going to be rough for my beloved Yankees.
- I thought this was a great read from Silicon Alley Insider on the importance of working at the office for 20-somethings:
Never underestimate the value there is in showing up.
When starting a job, the best way to prove yourself is to be present and dependable. Working from home on a regular basis sends a message to your boss that your first priority is not always your job. It’s tending to your cold. Or recovering from a big weekend. Or simply taking a morning off from your daily subway commute.
The people who come to work every day at the same time?
They become rocks.
- I’m pretty jazzed by this program we’re doing with Jalopnik. It’s incredible social advertising and I can’t wait to see upcoming videos:
- Based on this aggregated list, I may secretly be Hannah Horvath. In the last two years, I’m positive I’ve said numbers 4, 5, 13, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22… but especially 10.
- Special thanks to Susannah for sharing this amazing Barbershop performance of “Sexyback” from JT & Jimmy Fallon:
- This is old, but Andy Greenwald’s writing on the state of food television and follow up on the brutal things producers did to the Top Chef finale were both brilliant pieces.
After two people in the last week have reminded me what a terrible blogger I am, I realized it only right to, at the very least, share some things that have been entertaining me recently:
- Les Mean Girls combines images from Les Mis with quotes from Mean Girls and is 100% worth your time.
- With the Super Bowl tomorrow, Susannah reminded me of the greatest halftime show of all time:
- I totally agree with Grantland (what’s new?), you need to binge watch Parenthood stat!
- You should also be watching Nashville for the music, Connie Britton, the delicious soapy plotlines, and the handsome men. Thanks to BuzzFeed for helping us tell them apart. It took three episodes for me to tell Deacon from Gunnar from Teddy.
- Apparently Hanson gets better with age:
- And I adored this accoustic rendition of Ignition… taking me back to freshman year at Williams
- 10 & 2 is so last century, apparently we’re all supposed to switch to 8 & 4:
- I also love this elementary school in Buffalo for using tweets from NFL players to help teach grammar. Brilliant!
Yesterday, I finally had the good fortune to see Les Miserables the movie in theaters. Like many lovers of the musical, I could not possibly have had higher expectations.
You see, Les Mis played a key role in my childhood. I practically wore out the soundtrack (Broadway, not London cast) throughout elementary school. And then my oldest brother (now El Paso Brother) STOLE the soundtrack and took it to college with him. Over various school holidays, we began to steal the set from each other back and forth until Tokyo Brother gifted me my own copy freshman year of college. By that point, I’d seen the show on Broadway (thanks to a generous graduation present from Liz). Since that time, I’ve seen the show live three more times, listen to the soundtrack constantly, and get my fixes from the 25th Anniversary Concert (which has also single-handedly changed my perception of Nick Jonas).
I can hardly believe I waited six days from release to see the movie and offer up my humble opinions below.
- So many of the greatest dramatic moments aren’t able to be as big as they could be on stage: it’s the French Revolution after all! Watching Valjean climb through the gutters, following soldiers through the streets, watching prisoners pull in ships — the big screen brought much larger visual impact.
- Samantha Barks is a brilliant Eponine and brought me to tears during “A Little Fall of Rain.”
- Colm Wilkinson’s cameo as the Bishop.
- Anne Hathaway was as good as everyone said.
- I even loved Sacha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers, but can understand those who thought they overplayed the roles (disagree as they were always meant to be the comedic relief).
- The big screen made a number of the smaller moments so much more powerful. I can’t remember ever being as grossed out by the “Lovely Ladies” or as moved by “A Heart Full of Love.”
- While it made the smaller moments more powerful, I felt like some of the big moments were lacking something. To hear “One Day More” and have the theater not erupt in applause after was heartbreaking.
- Similarly, Hugh Jackman acted Valjean beautifully but wasn’t quite strong enough when singing the part. Although as Rembert Browne of Grantland said: “I didn’t have any problems with his voice, Emily, but maybe that’s because I was just doing the natural thing of comparing him to Javert/Crowe, which, in turn, made Jackman sound like all Three Tenors combined.”
- Oh my, Russell Crowe. You might look like Javert and you might act like Javert, but you do not sing like Javert.
I think it’s a must-see. Although you may leave it wishing there was any single male vocal performance that approached this:
I take TV very seriously and always have — even when my well-meaning parents had their “no TV at all on school nights” policy (which I still equate with child abuse).
Those who know me well know that the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview is the highlight of my September and leads to the annual creation of a color-coded spreadsheet planning my viewing schedule. (Those who know me *really* well are lucky enough to get access to this chart as a Google Doc. I debated posting the link to the spreadsheet, but I don’t think we’re close enough for that yet).
Anyway, we’re well in to the fall season and I figured I’d offer up what I’m watching now (and what you should be too):
Must See TV
- Homeland. I shouldn’t even have to tell you why.
- Nashville. Connie Britton + country music = dedicated viewer. Praying Coach Taylor shows up.
- New Girl. I would dump most of my friends to hang out with Schmidt.
- Happy Endings. Not as good this season as last, but hasn’t moved down a category yet either. Frankly, I’m just hoping for another round of whores’ baths.
- Start Ups: Silicon Valley. The whole cast is full of absolutely awful terrible people and I love it.
- Real World/Road Rules: The Challenge. There was an actual challenge that involved beating someone else with a large fish. Even Japanese game shows wouldn’t stoop that low.
- Parks & Rec. Perfection. Also slowly coming to terms with the fact that Leslie Knope and I have a surprising number of similarities.
- Elementary. I’m biased because I love justifiably arrogant men, but I’ve found this to be one of the most enjoyable crime dramas I’ve seen in ages.
- Blue Bloods. I can’t believe I’m enjoying this more than the Good Wife this season.
- Next Iron Chef. This succeeds where Top Chef: Masters fails – likely because being an Iron Chef means more than a made up Bravo title when you’ve already made it. Also, Alton Brown is like the Jeff Probst of the culinary world and I love Alex Guarnaschelli.
Still Watching but… Meh
- The Good Wife. Not really sure what’s going on here, but I’m with it as long as Josh Charles is.
- Parenthood. Rough this season given how close to home the “mom with cancer” plot plays, but compelling stories and great portrayal of family. Also, same show runner as Friday Night Lights so I’m sticking around.
- The Mindy Project. Overrated but I’ll give Mindy a full half a season.
- 30 Rock. I still laugh, but…
We Broke Up
- How I Met Your Mother. Much as I feel about Facebook friends, babies make everything less interesting.
- Last Resort. Grantland’s Andy Greenwald told me to watch this and I trusted him. Big mistake.
- Real Housewives of Anything. I tried Beverly Hills and Atlanta again. And I stopped watching.
- Made in Jersey. WTF CBS? You canceled after one episode? It wasn’t that bad, I swear!
- Partners. WTF CBS? This is on the air and Made in Jersey isn’t? How low is the bar for comedy?!
Me: you should watch Veep. You’d love it.
Mom: I checked but we don’t get that channel.
Me: you get HBO.
Mom: no, it’s on some channel we don’t get. TV-MA?
Me: shakes head
I’ll be honest: I had no idea what to expect from Kid Rock’s concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) but I knew the people watching would be fantastic. Fortunately for me and Jeff, we didn’t have to look far to find one of the loudest characters in the joint.
Full thoughts on the concert/experience follow a short detour about a Kid Rock devotee.
I’ll call her Polly Peekaboo. She was about 48, was wearing a silver paisley vest over a black shirt and miniskirt. She was at what must have been her 100th rock concert with her best leather-clad girlfriend. And they were wasted. Like so drunk the usher seating us looked at her, look at us, and said “maybe she’ll pass out.” She greeted us with “Peekaboo kiddos!” in a loud Southern accent and we were off to the races. Actually, the minute she said that, I made Jeff change seats because I can smell crazy and it smells a lot like excessive boxed wine.
Things Polly Peekaboo said to me and/or Jeff in the first few minutes of sitting near each other:
- I’ve gotta go tinkle.
- [To Jeff]: Good that you tricked your high class girl into coming to a Kid Rock show!
- [To Me]: Can I take my shoes off?
- [To Jeff]: Are you wearing heels?
She then asked us if she could get us more wine and upon returning with it, decided that rather than ask us to move again (the first time being “to go tinkle,”) she would crawl over the seat in front of her. With a quick “sorry kiddos,” she lifted her already mini mini skirt and swung her legs around fully exposing herself to all those to her left. I’ll spare you graphic details but let’s just say that “Peekaboo” proved to be a double entendre.
Fortunately for all of us, her alcohol had severely impaired her judgment and in addition to throwing things repeatedly at the head of the man two rows in front of her, she decided to pull out and light up a cigarette. A big enough no no that she and her friend were promptly escorted out. Because even though Kid Rock encourages badassery, he doesn’t condone fires.
The evening overall was incredible. It’s tough to know how to dress for such an affair — given that at the last Kid Rock concert I went to, I saw women in matching rhinestoned tube tops that read “Kid” and “Rock” respectively. I figured best to dress for the DSO and saw a sea of suits to… well, more rhinestoned tube tops. Regardless of attire though, every single person there could feel the energy and spirit for what would be an incredible night.
I’ve documented my surprising love for Kid previously on this blog and extensively on Facebook/in person, but as a little girl who loved classical music, watching the merging of two opposite genres in the name of salvaging a cultural institution in a town known for the hard times it’s faced was pretty special.
I’ve copied the set list from the Detroit news article (which includes more detail and flavor than I provided), but will offer up that once again “Bawitdaba” proved to be a transcendant song so I can’t wait for whatever videos/recordings are made available later.
Set list for Kid Rock with DSO:
— Fanfare for the Common Man (DSO only)
— Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 I. Allegro Con Brio (DSO only)
—”Hoe Down” from Rodeo (DSO only)
— Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2 (DSO only)
— Finale from Overture to William Tell (DSO only)
— Devil Without a Cause
— You Never Met a… Quite Like Me
— All Summer Long
—Lay It On Me
— Rock On
— Purple Sky
— Times Like These
— Rock N Roll Jesus
— Only God Knows Why
— Born Free
—Son of Detroit (Rock’s band only)
— Wastin’ Time (Rock’s band only)
— God Bless Saturday (Rock’s band only)
So anyway, words can’t describe the sights and sounds (and smells) of such an evening nearly as well as I’d like them to, but kudos to Kid Rock for being so generous with his time, congratulations to the DSO for being willing to try new things and successfully raising $1 million, and apologies to Polly Peekaboo who left her silver paisley vest behind and will never see it again.
Links of the week: start-up generator, Game of Thrones viewer experience, coping with distractions/bad days, and more…
Technically a blend of pictures and links; regardless, here’s what I loved this week:
- The venn diagram of my to do list courtesy of swissmiss:
- BuzzFeed’s 13 Simple Steps to Get Through A Rough Day came on a day when I was whining a lot, so, well-played BuzzFeed!
- It’s like SkillShare meets someecards! OBSESSED with this “WTF is my startup pitch?” auto-generator.
- Lifehacker offered great tips on focusing at work. I bookmarked this one.
- The Game of Thrones viewer experience (hat tip @AWElliott)
This is the first in what will be a very valuable series to KU Says readers with tips for succeeding on various reality television programs. With “Chopped All Stars” premiering on Sunday, it seemed appropriate to kick this off with with “Chopped,” a.k.a. the greatest food competition program involving multiple surprise ingredients since “Ready, Set, Cook” with Sissy Biggers.
Since J and I are devoted “Chopped” viewers, here are some tips we prepared if you don’t want Ted giving you the knife.
You’re supposedly a professional (except for that lobster roll delivery dude). Get the basics right.
- Cook your protein correctly, above all else. Here’s the thing: if three people screw up, the guy who got a nice sear with a medium rare temperature is definitely making it through.
- Don’t leave in bones, strings, cartilage, or anything else inedible. That’s just amateur hour and this is usually where the home cooks/caterers/private chefs who specialize in “kosher locavore dining” fail.
- Don’t forget your sauce. It cures dryness, pulls multiple components together, shows your personal style, and allows you to mask an ingredient you didn’t understand how to use properly.
- You should know how to budget time for: starches (rice, pasta, risotto, potatoes), protein (see #1), and baked goods. Poorly cooked rice is a common competitive food show enemy; unless it’s in the basket, we recommend staying away.
Embrace what Chopped stands for: creativity and resourcefulness.
- If it’s in the basket; it must be transformed. We know you didn’t know what to do with those corn chips, but crumbling them and sprinkling on the side isn’t incorporating them into the dish. If you didn’t fool us, you’re not fooling Zakarian. I mean, the man’s basically one step away from God (did you see him get a perfect score on “Iron Chef America?” Does that even happen?)
- No clue what an ingredient is? Regardless of round, you can probably put it in a blender.Other tips:
- Appetizer round: use for vinaigrette or chop into salad
- Entree round: gastrique that bitch*
- Dessert round: blend with Marscarpone
We know you’re not a pastry chef, but go out with a bang.
- Your dessert needs to be a dessert (not breakfast, all ye French toast offenders), but it can’t be too sweet. None of the judges like that (except sometimes Aaron Sanchez).
- If you think you can make an ice cream, do it. A good ice cream pretty much always wins this round. That said, if you think you’re going to make an ice cream, get to the machine first. I shouldn’t have to tell you that if you lose that machine, you’ll be stuck trying to make a last minute parfait and hoping the deep freezer works faster (spoiler: it never does).
- Don’t bake anything, it will not be done in time (unless you’re a baker and they’re looking for that from you). If you are able to bake successfully, by all means do, and feel free to offer a touching story about how the recipe for that crisp came from your blind grandmother who you’d like to use the proceeds from winning to visit.
Seriously, this is television, be presentable.
- Plate before the 1 minute mark and don’t use a ring mold if what you have won’t set, it will ultimately look like dog food. There’s very little you can cook in under 60 sec and the judges reward strong presentation.
- Don’t contaminate your food by double dipping/tasting. The judges who need to eat that food are maybe 12 feet away… what’s wrong with you???
Additional personal pet peeves:
- J doesn’t like people who cut themselves and bleed nor does he like people who are a**holes.
- K doesn’t like people who tell long stories about how they want to win for their [insert sob story]-afflicted family. It’s called Chopped not Make A Wish.
*K believes that gastrique is to Chopped as sous-vide is to Top Chef. Discuss.