May 31, 2011

151: O, Canada

As soon as I pay the credit card bill that arrived today, my tickets to Vancouver will be bought and paid for.  So, while I know that my beloved friend and erstwhile college roommate will have some ideas, let me ask you, Random Internet User: any advice for places to visit if you're in Vancouver for a few days?

May 30, 2011

150: Memorial Day

Red, white, and windy
Navy Pier, Chicago, 2007.
"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay, but we can honor their sacrifice, and we must."
President Obama, Arlington National Cemetery, May 30, 2011.

May 29, 2011

149: Bonus Conan

I think I'll just swing through and share a couple of amusing things I found while looking for a photo of Conan for yesterday's Ginger Celebration (both via We Heart It).

Jesse Eisenberg and I would get along, I think.  If either of us could ever manage to summon up the will to socialize, that is.

May 28, 2011

148: Favorites XVIII: Ginger edition

I've been watching Doctor Who today, and since the Doctor is constantly disappointed that he isn't ginger, here are five of my favorite folks who are redheads:

 Karen Gillan
Amy Pond!  Most charming Scottish accent on Who since David Tennant.

Felicia Day
Great as herself and extra endearing as Codex on The Guild.

Deborah Ann Woll
My favorite vampire on True Blood, hands down.  Yes, we all love Eric, but there's something about newborn vampire Jessica that is very sweet...and deadly.

Christina Hendricks
Joan Holloway (Harris).  Need I say more?

Conan O'Brien
Team Coco forever.

photos via We Heart It

May 27, 2011

147: Caught on video

Home security footage from the Joplin, MO tornado.  Terrifying visual evidence of the power of nature.

May 26, 2011

146: McGregor

from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

I never sympathized with Mr. McGregor in Peter Rabbit until the fattest, dumbest rabbit you ever did see decided our backyard was his own personal salad bar.  It ate all the tulips that came up, and keeps hanging around to chow down on the new grass.  I'm seriously considering investing in some kind of Nerf gun for long-range vermin control so I don't have to keep going out and chasing it off to protect the Easter lilies that are growing now.  How many times do you have to scare the damn thing off before it stops coming back?

Frakking rabbits.

May 25, 2011

145: School pride, or whatever

New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries is in the news today for getting engaged to Kim Kardashian with a 20.5-carat ring.  I find this endlessly amusing because I used to see Humphries in the hall in high school, back when he was a senior and the star of our apparently very good basketball team, and I was a sophomore who didn't care.  I'm reasonably certain I never spoke to the guy, nor did I go to more than one basketball game or have any impression of him except for "is that the guy on the basketball team who's some kind of big deal?"  Well, whatever, congratulations and good for them, I guess.  I hope they're very happy, etc.

But with Humphries in the news, I have to admit that, as little as I liked my high school, it's got a pretty good record for turning out a public figures.  Oprah's favorite interior designer, Nate Berkus, entertainment reporter Samantha Harris, and rapper P.O.S are all ex-Royals.  There's also Wide Angle host Aaron Brown, a former president of the ACLU, several Olympians, a guy arrested by the FBI, and Blake Hoffarber, who made the ESPY-winning shot seen 'round the world (fun fact: I was in the stands about 20 feet away with the pep band):

So, all things considered, I am grudgingly impressed with old Hopkins.  Also, I can't complain too much, since the majority of the teachers I had were very, very good, and genuinely cared about their students.  There's also the fact that they taught me enough to help land me on the brainiest of all brainy game shows at twenty-three years old.  That's pretty good, I suppose.

In any case, I'll ask that you excuse me while I go off and continue to be amused by this Humphries/Kardashian thing.

May 24, 2011

144: Apropos of nothing

Sometimes you just want to post some unrelated GIFs.

From Downton Abbey via Period Drama Love
I love those two old broads.  The sight of Dame Maggie Smith's character discovering the horrors of swiveling desk chairs is priceless.  Also, Harriet Jones, Prime Minister.

From 30 Rock via F*** Yeah Liz Lemon
And this, which I do constantly.  I really am Liz Lemon.

May 23, 2011

143: Community

photo by Darrin Rogers via
Yesterday afternoon, a tornado ripped through North Minneapolis, blowing down trees, taking off roofs, and knocking out power to much of the area -- that's $166 million in damage, according to the Star Tribune.  We only caught the very edge of the system, but it was enough to make it look like a hurricane was rolling through.  The storm damage in North Minneapolis is so severe that Xcel Energy cannot even find evidence of telephone poles to reconnect power lines, so electricity may not be restored to parts of the city until Wednesday.  Today, throughout North Minneapolis, there was an extraordinary outpouring of community support and neighbors sharing resources and doing whatever they could to lend a hand to those who need it most.  Meanwhile, Joplin, Missouri is dealing with the aftermath of a much stronger tornado that caused shocking devastation and killed as many as 30 people (per the New York Times).  Those of us fortunate enough to have dodged the meteorological bullet are keeping them in our thoughts.  Please, if you are able, consider donating to the American Red Cross or North Minneapolis Recovery Fund.

May 22, 2011

142: Closeup

A closer look
Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, 2007.
Sometimes fun pictures happen by accident.  I was all framed up on the art alone when another museumgoer leaned into the shot.  Instantly more interesting.  Thanks, lady.

May 21, 2011

141: Favorites XVII

There's booming, bass-heavy music coming from the park across the way, so: five favorite soundtracks in my iTunes library this week.

Pirates of the Caribbean
Sure, it gets overused during TV golf coverage (why? I don't know) but don't try to tell me you didn't walk out of the theater humming the now-familiar "He's a Pirate."  There's something very sweeping and adventurous about Hans Zimmer's score for the first Pirates film.  The music in the sequels wasn't quite as good, perhaps because it was very reminiscent of what we heard in the first, but there were some really good pieces to come out of the whole series -- I particularly enjoyed "The Kraken" from Dead Man's Chest.

Beauty & the Beast
Angela Lansbury singing that title song is intrinsic to my childhood.  Also, "Gaston" came on my iPod while I was in the car the other day, and I had forgotten how utterly ridiculous the lyrics are.  Best of all is "Be Our Guest," sung by the late, great Jerry Orbach.

The music, like the film, is delicate and pretty and just a little bit odd.  For fans of the piano, it's happy listening.  It was my daydreamy summer driving music for a while, and it's basically the perfect background study/work music. 

North & South
I don't think the BBC ever released the soundtrack for its TV miniseries adaptation of the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, but that's okay.  I don't mind having to watch Richard Armitage mope around every time I want to listen to the music.

Star Trek, or anything else by Michael Giacchino
Nothing makes you feel like you're in an iconic film quite like "Enterprising Young Men" from J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (enjoy the song and long, slow pans across the Enterprise in the video below).  Michael Giacchino is my favorite film and television composer in recent years, having scored Lost for the full run of the series, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up (and won an Academy Award for the latter) for Disney/Pixar, and almost everything J.J. Abrams has done since Alias.  There's a fun quality to his compositions, most of which are beautiful, and some utterly inspired (e.g. using bits of plane wreckage as percussion instruments for Lost), and I enjoy his often tongue-in-cheek song titles.  Best of all, it's not music that takes me out of the scene when I'm watching (like, say, some of the more bombastic music from Doctor Who), but something I enjoy going back and paying attention to when I realize I'm humming it hours later.

May 20, 2011

140: Rapturous

So rumor has it the world's ending tomorrow.  I'm skeptical, but I am enjoying the Rapture-infused tweets, especially from Mike Augustyniak, WCCO's morning meteorologist and my very favorite:

And then there's Damon Lindelof, executive producer of LOST:

Now, I have my own opinions about what will probably not happen tomorrow (i.e., I will probably still be throwing random photos up with pathetically minimal commentary come next week), but in the event that the Rapture does not, in fact, occur, I can't imagine how awkward it's going to be for family profiled in this New York Times article.  I hope they get some college scholarships.

But I also hope the world sticks around for a few more millennia; after all, we've all been promised a Star Trek sequel and I'm still on the library waitlist for Mockingjay.  These things are important, really.

May 19, 2011

139: Grin and bear it

Minnesota Zoo, 2008.

Some days are just grayscale-photo-of-a-bear-staring-at-you kind of days.

May 18, 2011

138: Springy

It must be getting close to summer.  We've finally had several sixty- and seventy-degree days in a row, which means it must be time to break out the linen, chambray, and awkward facial expressions.

(Narcissism ahoy.)

May 17, 2011

137: The Killer

The Minnesota Twins lost number 3 today.
An old-school sports hero and a legend.
Rest in peace, Harmon Killebrew.

May 16, 2011

136: Sleeping in

Tomorrow, I get to sleep as late as I like.  In a perfect world, I would wake up to have Liz Lemon's job, the TARDIS would be waiting in the driveway, and I'd be sleeping in some sort of bed-in-a-nook like these.  Add it to the Imaginary Future House file.

photos via We Heart It

May 15, 2011

135: Two weeks from everywhere

After tomorrow, I have a couple of weeks off before I go back to test-scoring.  Naturally, when faced with two weeks of anything, I think about this clip from the brilliant O Brother, Where Art Thou?

May 14, 2011

134: Favorites XVI

My five favorite websites this week:

Does what it says on the package.

Witty fashion criticism from two smart and funny ladies (who also have a YA novel coming out soon).

It's where the knitters are.  Patterns, forums, groups -- it's the ultimate in crafty social media.
(login required)

If you're a fan of Michelle Obama or her style, it's a must-read.

Pete Campbell's Bitchface
Nothing fills the Mad Men-shaped hole in my life quite like the ridiculous facial expressions of Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell.

May 13, 2011

132/133: Brows of outrage

Blogger was down yesterday, so I couldn't do blog #132, however lame it may have been.  Friday the 13th wasn't too bad -- a cop pulled up behind me at the first stoplight on the way to work, but since I obsessively obey speed limits anyway, I didn't worry.  Then I almost fell asleep at work (par for the course).  And then I came home to hear the news that Law & Order: Los Angeles has been canceled.  Then, I tweeted.
 I find it difficult to articulate my thoughts on this, because NBC's programming decisions continue to prove utterly incomprehensible.  They renew great shows like Community, yet they canceled the Law & Order mothership series when it seemed to be in a creative renaissance -- season 20 was truly enjoyable, and the episode that ended up being the series finale was probably the best of the show's final three seasons -- and now, after putting so much time, energy, and (presumably) money into developing and reworking Law & Order: Los Angeles, they've canceled it after airing only a handful of rebooted episodes.  I grew up watching Lennie Briscoe and Jack McCoy on L&O, and there is little else in the world of television that has a place in my heart the way Sam Waterston's eyebrows do.

I understand that networks are feeling the pressure to produce shows that are unquestionable and immediate hits, and that they're trying to compete with the programming on cable television, which is better than it's ever been.  I also lament the fact that this is the entertainment culture in which we live.  It used to be that a show that got a lukewarm -- or even mildly chilly -- reception from viewers had a decent shot at getting a second season, especially a show that's part of a cash-cow franchise like L&O.  I think, given a shot at a sophomore outing, LOLA could have figured out its identity as a show.  They had some great elements working for them; a few great actors (Alfred Molina, Corey Stoll, and mothership import Alana de la Garza), the ripped-from-the-headlines plots that this franchise loves so much.  If nothing else, LOLA had the uniquely bizarre culture of Los Angeles, which is completely different from the setting of the original L&O.  The city of New York was a character in and of itself in the original series, and the environment was as integral a part of the show as the dramatic legal twists and that iconic "chung-chung" sound.


L.A. is such a great, wackadoo backdrop for the kinds of cases that the franchise loves -- crimes that turn out to be about something completely different from what the early signs indicated.  A city that bottle-blond and plastic is definitely hiding something.  If the network, the producers, and the writers had all been on the same page at any point in time, they could have produced a show that did for Los Angeles what the original series did for New York, and had the two ever aired at the same time, I think they would have been great bookends for the franchise.

(As TJ muttered in Law & Order: LA episode 5, "Pasadena," bitter much?)

This is why so much of the great television writing talent is on cable now -- you rarely see this kind of bureaucratic asshaberdashery from cable networks (the AMC/Lionsgate/Mad Men circus notwithstanding).  It seems to be a level of idiocy reserved for the land of Network Television, and NBC in particular (remember Conan?).  I feel like it would be hard to produce a quality product when you're encountering that much interference from the businessmen.  The standard operating procedure in cable seems to be to hand the money to the showrunner and just let him make his television program.  I'll let you guess for whom I'd rather work.

In any case, my quiet love affair with Det. Jaruszalski comes to an end.  I will miss him, I will miss LOLA, Law & Order: Criminal Intent (now in its final season), and the Law & Order franchise altogether.  Now, all that's left is to start saving up for the DVD sets.

(okay, maybe it wasn't so difficult to articulate my thoughts, after all.)

May 11, 2011

131: Wishlist

I want the full set of these books.  They're just so pretty.  But I have no more bookshelf space left.  I've started stacking books underneath the chair that serves as my bedside table as a last resort, and we're running out of room there, too.  ...It's probably a good thing that I've become a lot more discerning in my book-buying.

May 10, 2011

130: Stormy

West of Minneapolis, 2011.
 Weird, weird clouds during the first of two hailstorms we had tonight.  Click to enlarge.  Bizarre.

May 9, 2011

129: Zzzzzz

via We Heart It
I don't know what was up today, but I was totally exhausted from the minute I got into the car to the second I hopped on the exercise bike after work.  Weird.  Lunch, when I was able to close my eyes without being terrified of being caught dozing, was the highlight of my day.  And now I'm glad that the only decision left to make today is whether to watch Castle or Law & Order: Los Angeles tonight (or which one I'd rather watch on Hulu over breakfast tomorrow morning).

May 8, 2011

128: Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all moms, everywhere.  My mom is especially cool.
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, 2010.

May 7, 2011

127: Lazy Favorites XV

I'm reading Tim Gunn's book, Gunn's Golden Rules at the moment, and he put together several top-five movie lists.  Inspired by Mr. Gunn's lists, here's my five fictional hangouts I wish were real:

The Pie Hole
Pushing Daisies was candy-colored fun, and I still miss it dearly.  Most of all, I miss Ned's pie shop.

The Old Haunt
Sure, they only featured the bar on Castle once, but anywhere Castle, Esposito, Ryan, and Beckett hang out is A-OK by me.  Besides, (if I recall correctly) it has a secret exit in the basement that connects to a tunnel system.  What more do you want from your bar?

The library
Otherwise known as the place all of my friends and I wanted to hang out.  The Beast's gift to Belle in Beauty and the Beast, I think it's the one thing that all little readers wish they could be given one day.

I'll take a pass on the world with vampires and werewolves, but the only bar and grill in Bon Temps, Louisiana is one of the home bases for the insanity on True Blood.  Between Lafayette's infamous "AIDS burger," the handsome proprietor, and the cast of colorful locals, I'd pick it over Fangtasia any day (sorry, Eric and Pam).

The holodeck
Every vacation ever, all in one.  Best invention for Star Trek: The Next Generation, hands down.  Why, you ask?  Because with a holodeck, you could simulate every other location on this list, populate it with the appropriate characters, and have your own little adventures in the safety of virtual reality.  When do we get this technology for real?

Photos via We Heart It.

May 6, 2011

126: Made for walking

via We Heart It
It's finally starting to feel like summer's around the, of course, I hauled out my autumnal boots.  Boots that, incidentally, smell very strongly of leather, which I did not realize until it was too late.  That led to some pointed looks from the people who sit around me at work.  Sorry, guys.  I may smell like dead cow, but at least my feet look nice...?

May 5, 2011

125: Opera

A study guide for any aspiring Jeopardy! constestants out there.
Also, my favorite thing-shown-between-PBS-programs from my childhood.

May 4, 2011

124: Velocipede

First bike ride of the season today.  Also, first time forgetting to use my inhaler before leaving (NERRRRD) and first time forgetting to take water with me.  Still, it's nice to get out on the streets instead of pedaling away on the exercise bicycle from the 1980s.  Ultimately, I'd like to be able to bike the 6 or 7 miles to work.  Of course, that's probably just wishful thinking.

(My bike isn't as nice-looking as any of these.)