Monday, December 31, 2012

J: TV of 2012

You know, in years past, TV was always the easiest thing for me to write about. But this year I have to admit that I've definitely lost enthusiasm for television and there have not been a lot of shows that I really kept up with. Here's what still on my list:

  1. Downton Abbey - Of course! The second season had some cringeworthy developments - like that bizarre fling between Lord Grantham and the housemaid, all of the Bates drama (and I love Bates!), and that really brief Patrick Crawley thing. But overall,  this show is still addictively entertaining. Season 3 is the the first thing I'll be looking forward to in 2013, even with the confirmation that it is the last for Dan Stevens (and Matthew Crawley...I hate when casting has to direct story). 
  2. The Olympics - I always feel like I don't get to watch as much as I'd like, but gymnastics this year was pretty darn awesome. McKayla Maroney's essentially perfect vault from team finals still gives me chills. Swimming and beach volleyball and even track were great too. 
  3. Parks and Recreation - Leslie and Ben are engaged! Possibly the cutest moment on television all year. There were definitely some new things going on this year with Leslie's campaign and then being on city council, Ben being in DC, etc. but I think the show handled them quite well. The Tom/Ann romance was stupid, but this new, semi-responsible Tom is actually still funny. Oh, and Jerry is married to Christie Brinkley??
  4. Community - Sad it hasn't been on this fall so looking forward to it coming back in the spring!
  5. Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project - I'm lumping these together for some reason. Ben & Kate is much more about family, and The Mindy Project has much more about career, but both are pretty much about characters in their twenties/thirties, which I guess I am finally resonating with? That is, instead of teen shows...
  6. Like The Vampire Diaries. I'm still watching this, but somehow it's gotten a bit tiring. I am still impressed by just the sheer volume of story that the writers seem to be able to come up with and execute at such speed but I guess I'm just finding myself caring less and less about the characters.
  7. The Amazing Race - I was disappointed by this season's winners (was rooting for the Chippendales) but I think the show is still basically consistent. 
  8. How I Met Your Mother - Yes, I'm still watching this?? And it got renewed for ANOTHER season. When will it end? Why can I not give up?
  9. Parenthood - Actually finally finished last season! Haha, so I'm behind, but I'm getting there. Like Mira has said, it's a show that doesn't always do things that we like, but that still just does them well.
  10. Bunheads - It took a few episodes for this to grow on me, but I ended up finishing the season and really liking it, even the teenagers that I initially deemed inconsequential. 
  11. Game of Thrones - I watched seasons 1 and 2 this year because I had a free HBO promotion and while I thought the cast and acting and all the sets and locations were really excellent, ultimately I think that all the graphic sex and violence just aren't for me (like most HBO originals). I'm going to stick with the books.
  12. Girls - It got a ton of buzz this year and I can see why - it has this very honest and very un-glossed-over view of young, female New Yorkers that hasn't necessarily been seen much on TV.  Unfortunately the result of this is that the characters do really stupid things and aren't always very likable. I think I like having characters to root for in TV shows. Anyway, undecided whether I'll keep up with the show since I won't have HBO.
  13. So You Think You Can Dance - Still love watching the show, but definitely not as obsessed as I used to be. It took me a minute there to remember the most recent winners and I can't say there are that routines in particular that I remember...

M: 2012 Year in Review

I love what Jenn did with her Year in Reviews, so-- my turn!  However, I'm going to simplify it a bit for myself.  Besides, if I did a movie review like Jenn's, a good chunk of my comments would be similar. :)

Movies from 2012:
I think I did a decent job on my movie resolution this year, which was to watch at least one newer release movie each month.  I think I hit every month, whether it was in the theater or watched later in the year on a plane. I listed the movies roughly in the month they were released in theaters rather than which month I watched them just to make it easier on myself.
January: Saw both Joyful Noise and We Bought a Zoo on the plane. The latter was really, really good.
February: Month of romances with The Vow in the theater and This Means War (plane). First was predictably sad, second was silly.
March: Was super excited for The Hunger Games, which I enjoyed and thought brought the book to life well. Less excited for Mirror Mirror (plane), which lived up to my low expectations.
April: Was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed and laughed during The Five-Year Engagement (plane). It helped that most of the movie was set in Ann Arbor (Go Blue!).
May: Caught up on The Hulk and Captain America in anticipation of The Avengers, which I enjoyed a lot.  Had no expectations of What to Expect When You're Expecting (plane) and it was just okay.
June: Only movie I saw in theaters this month was Brave, which as Jenn described was way different from what I thought it was about (but good!).  Saw on the plane: Snow White and the Huntsman (meh!), Rock of Ages (cheesy), and Your Sister's Sister (loved, loved, loved!).
July: Lotsa movies in the summer that I saw in the theater: The Amazing Spider-Man (was okay and I think it sets up a new direction for the Spider-Man franchise), The Dark Knight Rises (one of the best ends to a trilogy ever), Step Up Revolution (gratuitous dance movie that hit all the right notes for me!).
August: Think I was still watching July movies in August, but I did catch one later on during a plane ride -- Celeste and Jesse Forever. Surprisingly enjoyable.
September: Saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower with Jenn. Enjoyed it a lot but it was really annoying listening to Emma speak American English.
October: Saw Pitch Perfect and enjoyed every moment of it; so much so that I want the DVD!
November: Saw Skyfall and it was fine.  Most of my plane movies were watched this month and in August.
DecemberLes Misérables, which was everything I hoped it would be. Rise of the Guardians, which was surprisingly a lot of fun!
Movies I still want to seeCosmopolis; ArgoAnna KareninaLooper; The Bourne LegacySilver Linings PlaybookThe HobbitThis is 40

Music from 2012: 
This year I actually listened to some new music and can talk about some new favorites.
Bands I liked: Of Monsters and Men, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Walk the Moon, Grouplove, Mumford & Sons, AWOLNATION, Foster the People...
Favorite song: "Demons" by Imagine Dragons
Favorite CD: My Head Is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men

TV from 2012:
Dropped: Beauty & the Beast (not great); The Mindy Project (didn't keep my attention); The New Girl (got grating); Grey's Anatomy (fell behind); Private Practice (fell behind); Parenthood (lost motivation to stay caught up); Two Broke Girls (fell behind); Hart of Dixie (forgot about it); Hawaii Five-O (fell behind); Secret Circle (got canceled); Chuck (ended so this doesn't really count); GCB (got canceled, I think); Smash (forgot about it); 666 Park Avenue (did not like); Switched at Birth (got annoyed); Jane By Design (got canceled, I think); Pretty Little Liars (cut myself off); The Lying Game (not sure if it's still on but cutting myself off); Fairly Legal (this upsets me because I love this show, but it was CANCELED.)
Picked up: Nashville (trashy drama? I'm in!); Arrow (surprising how much I enjoy this show); Go On (quite a bit behind, but enjoyed what I've seen so far!)
Still Watching: How I Met Your Mother (can't believe I'm still watching this!); Revenge (still one of my favorites); Glee (has its ups and downs and many more downs than ever, but I'm still watching); Once Upon a Time (similar to Glee); Amazing Race (love it); SYTYCD (less "new" and exciting than previous seasons, but still I love it); Nikita (quite a few episodes behind, but still enjoy it); Covert Affairs (same as Nikita)

Books from 2012: 
Failed on my resolution to read books off my bookshelf.  I did use my Kindle a lot, though! Not much worth mentioning, unfortunately.

Conclusion: Quantifying my resolutions (SMART goals?) did not help me achieve them, really!

Friday, December 28, 2012

J: Music of 2012

Actually probably the best way to sum up music for this year would be to go back and list my weekly Thursday check-in picks. But I'm lazy, so here's what just what I remember...

Japandroids - Celebration Rock (Continuous Thunder and The House That Heaven Built)
Passion Pit - Gossamer (It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy and Constant Conversations)
Cults - Cults (Abducted and You Know What I Mean)
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Steve McQueen and Midnight City)

Other songs:
Kishi Bashi - Bright Whites
Florence + The Machine - Shake it Out
Yeasayer - Henrietta
Regina Spektor - All the Rowboats
Mat Kearney - Ships in the Night
Metric - Youth Without Youth

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 52

Mira: I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO POST LAST WEEK!  Jenn gave up on waiting for me and posted anyway... Well this is the final week for 2012 and we'll have to decide if we want to continue to try to do a weekly post and, if so, what we want to post on...
Watching... Random old favorites with my cousins -- Up, Music & Lyrics, Love Actually... And in theaters -- Les Misérables
Reading... Random free Kindle books that are Christmas-y.
Listening... Pandora's Les Misérables station.  Have I ever mentioned that Les Mis is only my absolute favorite musical?

Watching... Saw Anna Karenina in theaters last week, which was actually not what I expected. The sets and scene transitions were very unique and different. I liked it a lot though, even though it's just a really inherently depressing story. Planning to see Les Misérables this weekend!
Reading... Finished Gone Girl which was SO GOOD. A pageturner for sure, really suspenseful and surprising and just a tiny bit...frightening??
Listening... Finished up the audiobook of Heist Society, which I enjoyed but maybe didn't completely understand? Just wasn't paying attention for some important details probably. Anyway, it's completely implausible and silly but I liked the characters and I've already requested the second audiobook from the library.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 51

Watching... Decided to catch up on last season of Parenthood for some reason. Still a great show, just fell off my plate for awhile there.
Listening... Finished up the audiobook version of Bossypants by Tina Fey (read by Tina Fey) which was pretty awesome. It was almost too short! Moving onto Heist Society, probably a dumb young adult novel, which is really the best kind to listen to while running. Only 6 more weeks of marathon training...
Reading... Working on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which did actually grab me from the very beginning. Looking forward to having time to just sit down and dig in this weekend.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

J: Books of 2012

Wow, it was not a good year for reading. My count for 2011 was 38 books, this year it's less than half that. I was caught up in other things - training for a half-marathon and now a marathon, preparing for a 6-day backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon, weddings, etc. All the running did increase my audiobook count though.

I'm not going to name favorites, because honestly, if I finished it, it means I really liked it (*with two exceptions). I didn't have the time or patience to finish something I wasn't into.
  1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  2. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  3. Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James
  4. Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan
  5. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  7. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  9. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
  10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  11. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  12. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  13. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  14. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson
  15. **Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  1. *How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
  2. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
  3. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
  4. *Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  5. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
  6. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
  7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  8. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  9. **Heist Society by Ally Carter
* I liked most of How I Live Now but it eventually got really weird. Incarceron I kind of hated. But it's a lot easier for me to slog through an audiobook than a regular one...
** Hoping to finish before the end of the year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

J: Movies of 2012

I'm not sure why, but increasingly, watching a movie seems to me to be a big mental commitment. I can sit down and watch two or three hours of TV, no problem, but ask me to watch a movie and probably 9 times out of 10 I'm not up for it (just ask my boyfriend). That said, I did watch more movies in theaters this year than I did last year. Since there are so few, mini reviews of each!
  1. The Hunger Games
    The first theater we tried to watch this in had a fire alarm go off right at the moment where Prim's name gets called at the reaping and we had to evacuate! So we had to go to a second theater to watch it again from the beginning. I thought they did a pretty good job with the movie, even though I still don't think Peeta is right and I feel like people who didn't read the books would be confused. I did not like the second or third books in the series as much so I'm a bit apprehensive about the upcoming movies.
  2. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
    Honestly don't remember much about it except that it was fun?
  3. The Avengers
    I really enjoyed this! Of course I'm a Joss Whedon fan so I wasn't surprised but my only qualm was that I can't stand Iron Man or Robert Downey, Jr. But I thought the amount of Iron Man was very tolerable. I loved Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk and even Scarlett Johansson was pretty good.
  4. Brave
    I guess the trailers for this really didn't say much about the plot because halfway into the movie I was like, "Oh, this is what the movie is about!" Super cute and fun though.
  5. The Dark Knight Rises
    Great filmmaking for sure, but I'm not sure if I really liked it, especially when compared to The Dark Knight. I could not understand a word that Bane said, thought all the stuff in that prison was way over dramatic, and Christian Bale's Batman voice drives me crazy. But Anne Hathaway was surprisingly good as Catwoman and Joseph Gordon Levitt is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors!
  6. Step Up Revolution
    Pure fluff. Gotta love the people behind the Step Up franchise for realizing that plot is totally secondary and the audience is just there for the dancing. Was happy and a little relieved to see that Kathryn McCormick, one of my favorite So You Think You Can Dance dancers of all time, acquitted herself respectably as an actress and the flash mob stuff was pretty darn cool. Bonus: Eyebrows! Peter Gallagher is always welcome on my screen.
  7. Premium Rush
    Fun adrenaline kick. Another Joseph Gordon Levitt movie!
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    I was apprehensive about this movie because I had read the book it was based on back in high school when it was all the rage among angsty teenagers and kind of wasn't sure what to think about it because I didn't feel like I really related to it. But the author of the book wrote and directed the film adaptation so I was hopeful too. And I'm so glad I saw it! It's just a great coming of age story, and the three leads are great - yes, even Emma Watson and her odd American accent.
  9. Pitch Perfect
    At first I was like, why is Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick slumming it in a Glee-derivative a capella movie? But really, there is nothing to be ashamed of with this movie. It's a lot ridiculous but actually pretty funny and smart.
  10. Argo
    The only "serious" movie I saw this year probably? A great story that I didn't know much about coming in, and kudos to Ben Affleck for making it really suspenseful and compelling.
  11. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Liked it, even though it was really...long. Martin Freeman was great as Bilbo and it just made me happy and nostalgic to see Middle Earth/New Zealand again. It's funny, I remember the book as being kind of a cute children's book but the movie made it all seem much more epic and serious. I'll have to read it again.
  12. Anna Karenina
    Update - Saw this! I really liked it - the staging and sets were really different and not what I was expecting, but thought Keira Knightley was great. Hoping to see this with my mom before the year is out. I've never quite finished reading the's been on my list for years but have never gotten around to it and now I won't have time before seeing the movie, but oh well...
  13. Looper
    A bit more violent than I usually prefer, but very interesting premise and good acting. (I had no idea Emily Blunt was in this movie.) I was highly distracted by Joseph Gordon Levitt's facial prosthetics though.
  14. Les Miserables
    I watched the musical on Broadway years ago, but honestly never really understood the story? So this movie helped a lot in that respect. I thought there were quite a lot of pretty great performances - Anne Hathaway surprised me, and Eponine and Enjolras and Marius were all very strong. The biggest disappointment was Russell Crowe. His singing voice just annoyed me throughout the whole movie. I know they were going about it a little differently - emphasizing acting over pure singing, but he just did not sound good...
Movies I missed:
The Secret World of Arietty, Friends with Kids, The Cabin in the Woods, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Dark Shadows, Moonrise Kingdom, Safety Not Guaranteed, Your Sister's Sister, Beast of the Southern Wild, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Queen of Versailles, Wreck-It Ralph, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, This is 40

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 50

Watching... Hoping to see The Hobbit sometime soon! I'm still a little perplexed by how they turned a slim children's book into a movie trilogy but I'm excited to delve back into Middle Earth.
Listening... Still Christmas music and stuff off of year-end best lists (including All Songs Considered's editor and listener picks).
Reading... Just started Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I've heard so many good things about this book, hoping it lives up to the hype.

Watching... the Knicks! Also, I am really excited about the movies this holiday season. :)
Listening... Nothing.
Reading... The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan.  The third in the Heroes of Olympus series.  Probably the only author whose series I read as each book is published; usually I wait until a series is over before reading the books.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 49

Watching... Finishing up season 6 of Doctor Who and catching up with How I Met Your Mother.
Listening... Perusing all the year end best music lists. Frank Ocean topped almost every list and I'm surprised to find that I'm actually kind of drawn to his songs because I'm usually not at all into R&B. Check out "Thinkin Bout You".
Reading... A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. One of my favorite books, adapted as a graphic novel. Loving it so far!

Mira: Oops, sorry for the late post!
Watching... Caught up on The Amazing Race, Glee, and How I Met Your Mother... Dropped The Mindy Project. 
Listening... Christmas music on the radio.
Reading... Nothing new!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 48

Watching... Saw a bunch of movies on the plane on the way home.  The one that I enjoyed the most: My Sister's Sister.  Emily Blunt is almost making my short list of favorite actresses.
Reading... Back home and continuing to read Code Name Verity.  Perhaps I'll even finish it sometime soon. :)
Listening... Nothing new. Still loving "Hey Ho" by The Lumineers, which is popping up in commercials and movie previews. :)

Watching... Catching up on The Amazing Race, The Vampire Diaries, and Top Chef.
Reading... The Lost City of Z by David Grann.
Listening... Is it too early for Christmas music? Sufjan Stevens, the Charlie Brown Christmas album, etc. Also just started another audiobook, Bossypants by Tina Fey, read by Tina Fey!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 47

Watching... Saw Skyfall in the theaters yesterday with Korean subtitles that I could mostly ignore except when I wasn't sure what was said. :)  Enjoyed it, but now it definitely makes me want to go back and rewatch the older 007 movies.  Also confused how Daniel Craig has within the span of a couple of years played "young Bond" and now "over the hill Bond."
Reading... So I'm traveling again, which means I spend lots of time reading on my Kindle.  As a result, I actually finished the 50 Shades series, which I surprisingly enjoyed more than I expected.  It took me quite a while to get into it (started book 1 in August and then put it aside because it wasn't keeping my attention), but by the end I was surprisingly interested in the layers of the main characters.  Definitely not high-quality lit or anything, but the author was at least good at keeping the character development going and consistent throughout the books, I think.  My only complaint was that there was one loose end at the end of the series (really tiny, and not integral to the storyline at all but enough to bother me).
Listening... Nothing!

Jennifer: Late again...sorry!
Watching... Keeping up with Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project, both of which I'm still enjoying. Also almost done with season 2 of Game of Thrones.
Reading... Nothing right now. Thinking about starting Anna Karenina again since I kinda want to watch the new Keira Knightley movie version.
Listening... Just old stuff on my iPod, mostly while running.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 46

Watching... Covert Affairs has my full attention and I must say I'm actually excited about the season finale.  This season has been kind of bleh, though, because Annie going rogue has gotten pretty old.  The highlight of the season is the additional depth in Joan's character, and the complexities of her relationship with Arthur.
Listening... Nothing new. I constantly have "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons stuck in my head and it makes me happy to hear it as well.  Didn't realize until last week that it was the song in The Perks of Being a Wallflower preview/commercials, too. Somehow that made me like it more and makes me think of the essence of the movie, which I enjoyed, too.
Reading... Code Name Verity upon the recommendation of my friend. We're going on vacation tomorrow and I'm not going to take the library book with me, so it'll have to wait until I get back to get finished.

Jennifer: Eek, I'm out of town and I totally forgot to blog! My fault that this is late!
Watching... Decided to stick with Top Chef, and was kind of pleasantly surprised by the twist in this week's episode. CJ  and Josie are whatever, but I'm a secret Stefan fan...
Listening... Finished up the audiobook of Why We Broke Up. It's a high school romance so of course theses kids are dumb, but even I was kind of surprised at what a jerk the guy was. Bonus: an interview with the author at the end of the audiobook!
Reading... Finished The Art of Racing in the Rain at the airport waiting for our delayed flight. So sad but a quick and satisfying read.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 45

Watching... The CW. Arrow is so good! Beauty and the Beast is not as good. Tried Emily Owens, M.D. and I'm still undecided on what I think of it.  Pretty sure that I'm ready to drop Beauty and the Beast.
Listening... to nothing new.  Just the same few songs I was obsessed with last week. :)
Reading... Picked up Code Name Verity, per a friend's recommendation. Hope it's good!

Watching... New season of Top Chef? I'm not sure if I'm over this show yet or not.
Listening... Audiobook of Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler.
Reading... Re-reading The Little Prince. Not really anything else right now...

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 44

Watching... Caught up with Bunheads, which I ended up liking quite a bit. Looking forward to it coming back this winter! Also starting up on the new season of Suburgatory.
Listening... Finished the audiobook version of How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr this morning, which I really loved. I listen while running and I was actually getting a little misty-eyed. Next audiobook on the docket is Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler.
Reading... Re-read The Great Gatsby, which I'm happy to report is still interesting. Dipping into The Art of Racing in the Rain when I have time.

Watching... Caught up on Revenge and Covert Affairs, thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy.
Listening... "I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons is growing on me.
Reading... nothing new!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 43

Watching... How am I already behind in TV? The only shows it seems I'm really keeping up with this season are The Amazing Race, Parks and Recreation, How I Met Your Mother, The Vampire Diaries, The Mindy Project, and Ben & Kate. My good intentions for others have not panned out. I am slowly finishing up Bunheads though, for some reason...
Listening... Potential marathon training has me running 4 days a week and the audiobook for How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr has been totally key in getting me through it. I'm actually kind of bummed that I'm getting near the end of the book.
Reading... Re-reading The Great Gatsby. Also getting back into The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Watching... picked up Arrow this past week and we rather like it.  It's very much like Batman.
Listening... Obsessed with a song, and listening to it on repeat with 3 other songs: "Demons" by Imagine Dragons.
Reading... Catching up on episodes of Hart of Dixie and Vampire Diaries over recap websites like

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 42

Watching... Rather liked Nashville, even though country music is so not my thing AT ALL. Connie Britton is of course amazing and there's a few different storylines to keep things interesting. The only problem--Hayden Panettiere is annoying, which makes her kind of perfect for the role but not any more watchable...
Listening... Ben Gibbard's solo album, Former Lives.
Reading... Finally finished A Clash of Kings! Yes, it took me almost a year to read, not because it wasn't good, but because it's just...dense? And like the first book, it doesn't really get going until the second half. Anyway, the book left me kind of depressed. I mean, you don't really read these kinds of epic fantasy series expecting a lot of happiness but man, George R. R. Martin is not afraid to kill off characters and completely change the game (no pun intended). How many books is this series supposed to be? Seven? Not sure if I'm going to dive right into the next one or take my time, considering it seems to take Martin like 5 years to write each book.

Watching... Jenn and I saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower last Friday! I hadn't read the book but really enjoyed the movie.  She had read the book and liked the movie better, I think.
Listening... Bought The Lumineers' album, but haven't listened to all the songs yet.
Reading... nothing worth mentioning. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 41

Watching... Playoff baseball -- mostly the O's vs. Yankees series.  Really, it's the husband that's watching while I read on my Kindle...
Reading... What am I reading? Junk. Cuz when I read on my Kindle, that's all I read.
Listening... One of my favorite songs on the radio right now is "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers. Trying to decide if I like it enough to buy the CD on Amazon, though.

Watching... New season of Amazing Race. Want to check out Nashville and Arrow and this PBS series Call the Midwife...maybe this weekend.
Reading... Same as it's been for weeks. Notes from a Small Island and A Clash of Kings. Also re-reading The Great Gatsby because it's been years and I don't remember it at all really.
Listening... Really enjoying my latest audiobook, How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr. It has a lot of cliched teenage stuff in it but is written really well.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 40

Watching... Surprisingly I really liked the pilot of Last Resort, even though the premise is rather preposterous. Andre Braugher is always amazing and there are some nice surprises in the cast, like Scott Speedman (Ben from Felicity!), Dichen Lachman (Sierra from Dollhouse), and Autumn Reeser. The story gets spread out among quite a lot of characters and settings but the pilot juggled them pretty well. I have no clue where this can all go but it was interesting enough for me to want to check it out again.
Listening... New Matt & Kim album! It's Alright and Let's Go among others. Also, starting a new audiobook: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.
Reading... Same as it's been for weeks now: A Clash of Kings and From a Small Island. I may abandon them for awhile to re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the umpteenth time article at NPR gave me the itch!

Watching... Excited that Revenge is back! I know it's super soapy, but it's just so... twisty and exciting and fun in all the right ways.
Listening... So I had been actively not posting about "Gangnam Style" by Psy, but now it's turning up on the local radio stations, too! And a surprisingly large number of my coworkers have no idea what it is -- internet sensation, tv sensation, iTunes chart sensation and all!
Reading... Finished the Condie books and trying to get myself to finish The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 39

Watching... Surprisingly enjoyed The Mindy Project, and realized how much I don't particularly enjoy The New Girl. Not sure if I'll pick up The Mindy Project, but The New Girl is off my DVR record list. Also dropped Switched at Birth
Reading... Ally Condie's sequel to Matched, Crossed.  Finished Crossed in the past week and it was enjoyable so I'm reading the next in the series.  I think I mentioned them in a post weeks/months ago. :)
Listening... Not sure how I feel about the new Mumford & Son's single, "I Will Wait."  But I am interested in hearing the rest of the CD sometime soon...

Watching... The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. There always seems to be an Asian team that kicks butt. This season it's Seoul Sausage from LA. Finale this week.
Reading... Still working on Notes from a Small Island and STILL on A Clash of Kings. Why is this book taking me a year to read?
Listening... I started this audiobook, Chime, but it hasn't really been holding my attention...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 38

Watching... New fall TV is starting? Trying to make time to check out Revolution and The Mob Doctor.
Reading... Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. I'd always wanted to read more of his books (loved A Walk in the Woods) and mentioned this to my boyfriend's roommate, who promptly ran to his room and fetched a copy of this for me. I'm a big Anglophile to begin with, so of course I'm loving it!

Watching... Behind in a lot of TV right now, but currently catching up on Covert Affairs. This show belongs in the same category as Nikita for me; always surprising how much the storylines, crazy as they may be, keep me entertained!
Reading... Silly books on Netflix instead of the library books due in a week...

Listening... Seeing Street Corner Symphony (from The Sing-Off) live tonight!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Jennifer's Fall TV Grid

My TV schedule for this fall is relatively light compared to years past -- most of the new shows (in pink) I included are ones that I'm planning to check out at least once but I expect that I won't keep most of them. There are also quite a few shows that I still need to finish the last season of (in yellow)...

Check in Thursdays: Week 37

Watching... Catching up on So You Think You Can Dance. I'm rooting for Eliana and Chehon for the win, although I haven't really been that into this season. I think they did the best they could with the format change, but it was still a bit of a bummer. Fall TV is starting soon and I'm all discombobulated and totally unprepared -- I never really got around to catching up with various shows from last season! But hopefully this weekend I can get my TV schedule organized. I'm planning to downgrade my cable to the minimum and rely mostly on Hulu Plus in the near future though which may make things interesting.
Listening... PTX Volume 1 - Debut EP from Pentatonix!
Reading... Getting back into A Clash of Kings. Man, I haven't been to the library in weeks. It's bad.

Mira: [A day late because of me... apparently I remember Thursdays better when I'm traveling overseas!]
Watching... MasterChef! I don't think I've blogged about this show before, but my husband has been watching the season and I started off by listening to the episodes while reading and then slowly got drawn into the competition.  Premise is home cooks with no training or no professional kitchen experience competing for a chance to win a cookbook deal and $100K (presumably to open their own restaurants). My favorite was Christine Ha, a Vietnamese-American creative writing grad student who also happens to be blind. She was phenomenal and truly inspiring.
Listening... Still just Fun. cuz that's the only CD on my iPhone right now.
Reading... Have 4 library books but am not reading any of them. Oops.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 36

Burkie (filling in for Jenn):
Watching... football!  college & pro!  go 'horn!  go ravens! 
Listening... lyle lovett's latest, "Release Me."  some good stuff on there.
Reading... still working on "As You Like It" for the book club (grins), and just picked up "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" by laurie king.  it looks like my kind of thing: a mystery, putting characters (Sherlock Holmes, in this instance) from other authors/eras into a different setting, and Holmes just happens to be a beekeeper in his retirement days, which is my intended post-retirement profession :)

Watching... Caught up on So You Think You Can Dance! I really do like a lot of the dancers this season, but don't always love the numbers. I mean they're good numbers, just few of them really capture me. Maybe it's from watching so much of the show? I have no idea.
Listening... Bought Fun.'s full album Some Nights mostly because I really like their single "Some Nights".
Reading... Uh... Not too much since I've returned home. Need to finish As You Like It, though. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 35

Watching... The pilots for The Mindy Project and Ben & Kate are available for preview on Hulu. I really liked The Mindy Project - it wasn't super groundbreaking or anything but Mindy has a unique voice and I have high hopes. Also, random reality dance show A Chance to Dance in which the BalletBoyz (recently seen as judges on So You Think You Can Dance) are tasked by Nigel Lythgoe to form a dance company in 30 days and perform at the Dizzy Feet Gala.
Listening... Japandroids - Continuous Thunder. I'm not always one to pay attention to lyrics but this one really got me. Probably one of my favorite tracks this year so far.
Reading... Uh, A Clash of Kings here and there but really not much. This has been kind of bad year for reading.

Watching... Been catching up with season 3 of Parenthood. It's interesting because for the most part I kind of hate where so many of the storylines are heading but watching the story unravel is pretty amazing. The characters and how they interact in a way that is so realistic; I muse at the end of each episode how surprising it is to me how much I love this show.
Listening... Still got my iPod but I am starting to get rid of my alarm mix. To switch it up, I've started listening to some random Korean pop music on my iPod.
Reading... The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. This is the book that had some to do with Oprah and her book club, I think. Someone had mentioned it to me as being their favorite book ever. It's well written but in a kind of pretentious way and none of the characters are really likable. As a result, I'm having a difficult time getting into it. We will see what my final verdict is...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 34

Watching... The web series Dating Rules From My Future Self. Apparently my attention span and free time has decreased to the point where I can only watch 5 minute webisodes? The first season starred Shiri Appleby and the second season has Candice Accola (from The Vampire Diaries). Dumb but cute and fun.
Listening... I've mentioned Passion Pit multiple times but this week's obsession is It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy.
Reading... Chipping away at Swamplandia! and A Clash of Kings.

Watching... What a coincidence; I was going to write about a web series this week, too! I'm also caught up on the one Jenn mentioned above and was looking into other web series and came across this one: The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. It's a mash up of videoblogs and other social media to provide a modern day reselling of Pride and Prejudice.
Listening... My iPod wakes me up every morning with the same playlist in the same order... "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men, "This Modern Love" by Bloc Party, "Honey Bee" by Blake Shelton, "The Shining" by Badly Drawn Boy, "The High Road" by Broken Bells, "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.... Then I usually actually get up. Well, sometimes.
Reading... Rereading the Twilight series, embarrassingly enough. Mostly because I caved to curiosity and bought 50 Shades of Grey. A few chapters in and I couldn't shake the feeling that it was basically the same as Twilight but somehow less enjoyable. I felt like it had a distinctively British writing tone for a book set in the Seattle/Portland area and... I dunno. Not on that bandwagon. So, I decided to give the vampire series another try and am enjoying it much more. Halfway through book 3.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 33

Watching... Random movie recommendation, this week! Chalet Girl starring Felicity Jones (I don't actually recognize her from anything, but she's totally like a British Ellen Page in this movie) with Brooke Shields, Bill Nighy, Chuck Bass (or Ed Westwick), Sophia Bush, dorky guy from the tv version of 10 Things I Hate about You. This movie was basically a British Whip It (maybe its the Ellen Page similarity) on snowboard. Well, in some ways it is like Cutting Edge, too, but whatever, it was fun! I'm glad Netflix had it on streaming!
Listening... Stuck with what is on my iPod, but this week's nostalgic music: Stroke 9.
Reading... Random free books on my Kindle. Oh, and tv gossip like Ausiello on Oh, and As You Like It.

Watching... Now that the Olympics are over, I'm back to So You Think You Can Dance and forever trying to catch up on last season's TV. I also finally watched The Dark Knight Rises, which I liked but didn't think was as good as the last one.
Listening... Metric - Youth Without Youth is getting radio play? Also, new song from Frightened Rabbit.
Reading... Started Swamplandia! byKaren Russell while I was at the beach this weekend.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Check In Thursdays: Week 32

Watching... Well, I've stopped watching the Olympics because I haven't really turned on the tv in my hotel room. Instead I'm catching up with ABC TV on Hulu. First up: the last few episodes of Once Upon a Time.
Listening... Uh, I brought my iPod with me so that means I'll be listening to mostly music that I already had been listening to. Nothing new to report!
Reading.... Finished The Botticelli Secret before I left but not the other two books.  Am reading a lot of junk on my Kindle, but balancing that out by starting As You Like It. (Burkie and I are going to attempt a virtual book club. Details still to be worked out.)

Watching... I was traveling for work this week too so didn't get to watch much of the Olympics either. Trying to catch up with at least gymnastics online but the NBC streaming isn't so hot.
Listening... Umm...nothing. At all.
Reading... Didn't get much reading done this week - it was just work, eat, sleep. But still working on Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Hoping to get some quality reading time in this weekend at the beach!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 31

Watching... The Olympics! NBC coverage is terrible, of course, and I can't watch the live feed because it's during the work day, but gosh, I love gymnastics! The US men's team melting down was pretty painful, but our girls winning gold was amazing! I'm kind of obsessed with McKayla Maroney's ridiculously perfect vault--I rewinded and watched it like 5 times. And how amazing was Gabby Douglas? It's amazing how everyone was concerned about her consistency and focus only a few months ago. I'm definitely sad that Jordyn Wieber didn't qualify for the all-around though (stupid rule) but I was really happy for Aly Raisman. I believe she's been told in the past that she should just give up bars completely since it's her weakest event but she stuck with it. Unfortunately the result was a little heartbreaking - lost the tiebreaker and the bronze to Mustafina. She still two event finals to go though. Also very happy for Danell Leyva's bronze (and his ever-present towel, which has its own twitter feed, and his super excited stepdad/coach). Bummed for John Orozco but I think he's young enough to come back.
Listening... Spotify on Android! I listen to most of my music in the car so I'm pretty excited about this. Passion Pit's Take a Walk was my pick a few weeks ago, now listening to the full album.
Reading... Still working on Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Just read a really interesting chapter on how Asian-American students often feel overlooked/inadequate because of cultural introvert/extrovert norms and perceptions.

Mira: (posted a day late again, cuz... I forgot!)
Watching... The Olympics are taking over my life, too.  Staying up until 1AM every night and not being able to do anything but sit in front of the tv after 8PM.  What a productiveness-drainer! But oh so exciting. I love gymnastics, too, of course, but my surprise Olympics crush? Missy Franklin!
Listening... So it's been quite a while, but I really like the Awolnation's "Not Your Fault." The song gets me super energized while listening to it (don't know why) and I am curious about the rest of their music.
Reading... Finished the Rick Riordan and Mary Higgins Clark books. Also finished a Nora Roberts book. Unfortunately had to return one of the Marina Fiorato books to the library before I started it, but currently working on The Botticelli Secret.  On deck for the weekend: two young adult books by Allyson Condie, Matched and Crossed.  More teenage dystopian fiction. :)

Assorted thoughts on the Olympics

Man, I love the Olympics! In my normal everyday life I could care less about professional sports but whenever the Olympics roll around I'm staying up late every night, tearing up at random athlete profile segments, and finding the most obscure events interesting -- like team handball?? Anyway, of course my number one priority has been gymnastics and I hate that I haven't had the time to pay attention many of the other events, but here are some of my random thoughts on the Games so far:
  • I didn't particularly like Team USA's opening ceremony outfits...outside of the whole Made in China controversy I thought they just looked overly preppy and the berets looked stupid. I guess that's Ralph Lauren for you though. The Nike warmup suits also initially struck me as strange - those gray hooded rain jacket things (for London's rainy weather??) and the neon green sneakers - but actually it's kind of grown on me.
  • I definitely approve of all the purple! If I were to have an Olympic medal, I'd definitely want one on a purple ribbon!
  • I know Ryan Seacrest is supposed to be like the successor to like everyone in media, but I find him interviewing athletes to be really strange. 
  • Ok, time to start complaining about NBC's coverage. I know that everyone loves swimming but must they cover every friggin semifinal in the primetime slot? Must we really see every single appearance by Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte?? How about some equestrian or something? Americans like the royal family! Zara Phillips won a medal!
  • What was up with the men's gymnastics all-around coverage? Germany's Marcel Nguyen surprisingly takes the silver but the first and only routine they show from him was his last!!
  • More gymnastics chatter - the commentators will not shut up about how the Russian girls are all divas and drama and pretty much crying every day in the gym. I mean, there were definitely a whole lot of tears from them during the team and all-around competitions, but I wonder. The Russian head coach, Alexander Alexandrov, actually coached in the US for years, so I'd be curious to hear his thoughts on this.
  • Interesting story I heard on NPR this morning about how bronze medalists are often happier than silver, i.e. "I made it on the podium!" vs "I lost the gold."
  • I was wondering what was up with the divers and their little towels so I looked it up
  • The skimpy women's beach volleyball outfits generally make me feel a little uncomfortable, but the bikini-top-over-shirt combos that some of the teams have been wearing due to the weather look pretty strange...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 30

Watching... Summer Olympics start this Friday! I'll be avoiding spoilers and cursing NBC TV coverage of gymnastics all week.
Listening... Nothing notable or new...finishing up the The Penderwicks at Point Mouette audiobook though.
Reading... Finished both Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me ? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The former was really funny and smart and I'd totally want to be friends with Mindy Kaling but I think I'd be too lame for her. The latter lived up to every bit of its hype! John Green writes teenagers like no one else and even though I've never been in the situation that these characters are in (or even been close to anyone who has), it just felt so...true. I couldn't put it down. Anyway, next up, getting back to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking and also have The Art of Racing in the Rain on the Kindle. (All from the library of course).

Watching... Step Up 4 Revolution TOMORROW!!!!  And summer reality TV finales -- The Bachelorette and Love in the Wild. Oh and this video is pretty fantastic. Watch it!
Listening... Nothing new for me this week, too. Feeling rather nostalgic, actually; especially for Dizzy Up the Girl by The Goo Goo Dolls. :)
Reading... In the middle of 3 out of the 6 library books I have right now. The Rick Riordan one mentioned last week, Botticelli's Secret by Marina Fiorato, and The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark.  Perhaps the problem is none of the books have really drawn me in so I just keep starting something else. Oh well, will probably finish 'em all off over the course of this weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 29

Watching... Political Animals on USA. I'm not much into shows about politics and this seems rather un-USA-like, but Greg Berlanti shows pretty much always grow on me (Everwood, Jack & Bobby, Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone).
Listening... Two new songs by Stars: The Theory of Relativity and Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It. New album out this fall!
Reading... Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, a cute collection of mostly autobiographical essays by the super funny writer and actress (of The Office and the upcoming The Mindy Project). Also, I got The Fault in Our Stars by John Green from the library and I am SO EXCITED. Waiting for a nice block of time to read it because I have a feeling I'm not going to want to stop once I start.

Watching... One more episode of The Bachelorette! And only one more episode of Love in the Wild. (I think). Thank goodness! :)
Listening... Liked Of Monsters and Men's "Little Talks" so much that I bought the entire album. It's very reminiscent of Mumford and Sons except with a female vocalist as well.
Reading... latest book in Rick Riordan Egyptian mythology series: The Serpent's Shadow.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 28

Watching... New episodes of Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece Mystery! Yay!
Listening... Taken by Trees - Dreams.
Reading... As is typical, I had to return A Discovery of Witches to the library before I could finish it. I was just starting to get into it, too. Sigh. Anyway, instead I've started Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, which I've been wanting to read ever since I watched her TED talk on the topic.

Watching... Ridiculously obsessed with The Bachelorette. Only one more episode left to find out who Emily picks, but not for 2 weeks! UGH.
Listening... Hmm, nothing much really.  But it's really hard to avoid Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and Maroon 5's "Payphone" on the radio these days... Both annoyingly catchy.
Reading... Truthfully, a lot of free books on my Kindle -- meaning silly romances, really.  This weekend, I will be traveling and taking another Marina Fiorato (author of The Glassblower of Murano) book with me to read.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 27

Burkie (filling in for Mira this week):
Watching...USA & TNT shows in season such as Necessary Roughness, Suits, and Fairly Legal.  looking forward to new seasons of The Closer (last season), White Collar, and a new show called Perception next week.
Listening...not new, but recently re-enjoying Poet: A Tribute to Townes van Zandt.  some really good interpretations of this brilliant Texas songwriter's work. 
Reading...listening to on CD, actually, The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthus Phillips.  again, one of those books i should have written as it has many themes that i favor: cons & art crimes; Shakespeare; Shakespeare conspiracy; a lost Shakespeare play; twins; interesting charaterization.  i'm quite enjoying it!

Watching... Catching up with Switched at Birth. Ah, teen drama.
Listening... Kishi Bashi - Bright Whites. Another happy summer song!
Reading...Starting to get more into A Discovery of Witches and also have gone back to A Clash of Kings, but I've backtracked a little because it's been awhile since I stopped reading it. I'm reading it on Kindle and one of the things I dislike is not really knowing how far into the book I am. I bought the first four books in the series in a bundle and the Kindle treats it as one big book so the percentages and "Location" don't help much.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 26

Watching... Catching up on Cougar Town. And Olympic trials! Gymnastics this weekend!
Listening... The Very Best - We OK. Definitely not my usual thing, but a happy summertime song.
Reading... A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Witches and vampires, but for grownups.

Watching... So You Think You Can Dance top 20! Also, caught up on the first half of season 1 of Necessary Roughness.
Listening... Liked a random song at the end of the first Bunheads episode and ended up buying the entire album: The Shakespeares.
Reading... Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Has the same issue as Catching Fire in The Hunger Games series -- as book 2 of probably a trilogy, it kinda just serves as a story bridge than a really good self-contained story.  Easy read, though, and almost done.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 25

Watching... ABC Family -- Jane By Design, Pretty Little Liars, Bunheads.
Listening... So I've become a little obsessed with the ease of buying music on and having it go straight to the Cloud Player.  This week I bought the Grouplove album, Never Trust a Happy Song, because I really like the song "Tongue Tied."  I also bought the Walk the Moon album, Walk the Moon, because I really like "Anna Sun."
Reading... Finished The Glassblower of Murano and enjoyed it enough that I really want to blog about it. We'll see if I ever actually get around to doing so. Then read the summer trilogy by Jenny Han (young adult fiction, of course) and really enjoyed it: The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, and We'll Always Have Summer.  Easy reads and I really enjoyed them. (So much so that I read all 3 in one evening on Monday!)

Watching... Caught with the rest of the first season of Girls, which was interesting, to say the least. Maybe one of these days I'll write a more complete post about it.
Listening... Just started a new audiobook, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. Third in this super cute children's book series.
Reading... Finished both The Help, which was a quick, fun read (I can finally watch the movie now!) and Born to Run, which was actually really fascinating. Next up is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which seems crazy, and Habibi by Craig Thompson (a graphic novel).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bunheads: First Impressions

A show on ABC Family by Amy Sherman-Palladino (of Gilmore Girls) about dancing?? Yeah, of course I need to watch Bunheads! Kelly Bishop (from Gilmore Girls) is in it and fantastic, per usual. Additionally, I'm amused by the fact that Kelly Bishop's character is named Fanny and think it's fitting she's playing this character as she was a trained American Ballet Theatre dancer. (Fanny owns and runs a ballet studio.)

There's a lot going for the show to make it a perfect Mira-formula show: the dialogue is quick (typical Amy S-P), the characters are quirky (typical Amy S-P), and the show is set in a quaint town (à la Gilmore Girls)... Bunheads is a show about a former trained ballet dancer, Michelle (played by Sutton Foster, of Broadway fame). Michelle is a Vegas showgirl who feels her life has hit a dead end and impulsively decides to accept a marriage proposal by an ardent admirer, played by Alan Ruck, and moves to Paradise, Oregon. Landing in a sleepy town with no movie theater, she learns that her new husband still lives with his mother, Fanny, who is conveniently the owner and teacher of the town's ballet studio. She quickly establishes a rapport with the girls in the advanced level ballet class, starts to build a relationship with a mother-in-law who had no warning of her arrival, and well, becomes a widow.

For the three reasons highlighted earlier (dialogue, quirky characters, quaint town), I will probably continue to watch the show. Two things that disappoint me about the show right off the bat, though: 1) I really was prepared to like Alan Ruck's character, Hubbell, and am really sad that he was killed off like that! 2) I'm not fully sold on Sutton Foster. There's something about her that's very stilted to me and not natural, maybe it's the Broadway thing. And when she dances (and so far it's been non-ballet), she's just so skinny and gangly that it really doesn't look like good dancing... The moves she had the girls doing looked so awkward and dorky, and actually looked way better when the high school girls were dancing it!

Regardless, I'll watch Bunheads, cuz, well, I'll watch almost anything on ABC Family. I just hope that Sutton Foster grows on me because she is the main character and all.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 24

Watching... Bunheads on ABCFamily. Also Thorne on Encore, of all places. I'm not into American crime dramas at all but set them in the UK and suddenly I'm all about them...
Listening... Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built from their new album. Peppy, upbeat stuff.
Reading... Same as last week. Born to Run and The Help.

Watching... ABC Family is back -- Pretty Little Liars and Jane by Design! Oh and I watched The Choice and now have a major crush on Jeremy Bloom.
Listening... The Foster the People concert was good. I especially liked a song by one of the openers, The Kooks: "She Moves in her Own Way." The other opener was weird but interesting, Kimbra; apparently a Kiwi who is the female voice part in Gotye's "Somebody I Used to Know."
Reading... Read three of Mary Higgins Clarks' latest novels last weekend; I hadn't realized she was still writing! Am currently reading The Glassblower of Murano, which so far is a really interesting and fun read. It's especially cool because it is set in Venice, where I visited a few years ago, so some places sound familiar and I find myself racking my brain to see if I can visualize the geographic landmarks mentioned. We wanted to go to Murano during that visit but unfortunately did not get the opportunity.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 23

Watching... New season of Love in the Wild! I'm not thrilled that Jenny McCarthy is the new host, but this was such a fun surprise last summer and the top two couples from the first season were so cute and are still together!
Listening... So You Think You Can Dance continues to be a surprisingly good place to discover new music. This remix of The Naked and Famous - Young Blood was used in one of the auditions. SO GOOD.
Reading... Still pretty engrossed with both Born to Run and The Help.

Watching... Love in the Wild as well. And I HATE Jenny McCarthy.  Plus there is no couple or person as likable as Samantha and Mike (last year's winners).  I seriously hate Jenny McCarthy. She overenunciates everything and everything she says sounds cheesy/goofy. UGH!
Listening... Foster the People CD, since I'm going to the concert this coming weekend.
Reading... Just finished book one of "The Immortals" series, Evermore, and would have to say that it's somehow a really bad Twilight. And Twilight doesn't even rank as being particularly good, so yeah, it's just really bad. Bad enough that I'm not going to bother reading more.  Currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth, another young adult book set in a dystopian society.  Many might compare it to Hunger Games, but I'd say it's much more reminiscent of The Giver and so good that it might merit its own post. If I get around to it... :) Gotta finish it first!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Upfronts - What's coming this Fall 2012

I know, I know, upfronts were a few weeks ago and this post is late. But it's still super early if we're talking about planning for fall TV! Here's what I found notable coming out of this year's upfronts. Overall, nothing I'm super excited about, but there are always surprises. One of my favorite new sitcoms of this past season was Suburgatory which I didn't even mention in last year's upfronts roundup and the dramas I was most looking forward to? Ringer (awful, and cancelled), Awake (cancelled), and The Secret Circle (cancelled). Go figure.


  • Elementary - Modern-day Sherlock Holmes set in NYC. Suspicious timing so soon after the British Sherlock (which I love)....but Jonny Lee Miller is in it so I might have to check it out. I don't know about Lucy Liu as Watson though. There's inevitably going to be sexual tension and I feel like that just doesn'
  • Ummm nothing else. Interestingly CBS has decided to partner up The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men on Thursday nights and is not using them to launch any new sitcoms. I guess they have that luxury...
  • 666 Park Avenue - Something about supernatural occurrences in a NYC apartment building. Interesting cast, including Terry O'Quinn, Vanessa Williams, Dave Annable, Robert Buckley...but sounds kinda dumb. 
  • Nashville - Normally would not be interested in a show about country music, but Connie Britton is in it. Mrs. Coach!
  • The Neighbors - Suburban family discovers that their neighbors are really aliens. Oh geez...
  • Last Resort - I don't know get what this is about exactly...something about the military and an island or something. But it's from Shawn Ryan, who has a good track record (though I've never watched any of his shows) and has a great cast including Andre Braugher, Autumn Reeser, Robert Patrick, and Scott Speedman (Ben from Felicity!).
  • Don't Trust the B* in Apartment 23 was renewed. I do want to catch up with that...
  • The Mob Doctor - Pretty much exactly what the title says it is. Sounds kind of terrible but I do like Jordana Spiro and Zach Gilford is in it too (Matt Saracen!!).
  • The Mindy Project - I stopped watching The Office awhile ago but I always knew that Mindy Kaling (Kelly) was going places. First look seems funny, hopefully will live up to expectations.
  • The Goodwin Games (midseason) - Kind of reminds me of one of my favorite children's books, The Westing Game. Scott Foley and Becki Newton are two of three siblings put through an elaborate game to win their late father's inheritance. 
  • Community renewed but banished to Fridays. And creator/executive producer Dan Harmon basically fired. Not sure what this all means...
  • Parenthood renewed!
  • Revolution - I'm not quite so turned off by J.J. Abrams anymore, but I'm wary of this one. Takes place 15 years after all electronics basically stop working and focuses on a family that might have the answer to what happened. 
  • Four new sitcoms, all look kind of dreadful.
  • Infamous (midseason) - A detective returns to the home where she grew up as the maid's daughter to investigate the death of her childhood best friend. Sounds soapy and fun, and Victor Garber is in it! 
  • Gossip Girl renewed for a final season. Amazingly I have stuck with this...
  • Emily Owens, MD. Lame title, but I like Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter). Nice match with Hart of Dixie.
  • Beauty and the Beast - Didn't really dig into the details but I gather it's basically a procedural with the star-crossed romance somehow being an element.
  • The Carrie Diaries (midseason) - Sex and the City prequel. I thought this had a lot of buzz but for some reason the CW is holding it for midseason. I like AnnaSophia Robb and there should be a lot of crazy 80s fashions so seems like it could be fun.

Check in Thursday: Week 22

Watching... Summer shows are starting, and apparently this is going to be my summer of dance TV? Along with So You Think You Can Dance, there are two new dance shows I'm planning to check out: Breaking Pointe, a new CW reality series that follows dancers in Ballet West, a ballet company out of Salt Lake City, and Bunheads, a scripted ABC Family show from the creator of Gilmore Girls.
Listening... Radiohead show this Sunday! They are #1 on my live show bucket list so I'm super excited!
Reading... Pretty engrossed in The Help right now. Also starting Born to Run because I guess I'm a runner now and I'm interested in books about running...

Mira: Apparently Thursday was yesterday... I'll pretend Memorial Day threw me off and not my own inability to ever remember to post on Thursdays...
Watching... So You Think You Can Dance season. YAY!
Listening... Nothing new. But I have found myself with "Cough Syrup" stuck in my head quite regularly. (From week 11.)
Reading... Uh, I'm in a 4 book Nora Roberts series. Also not worth naming.  But I am reading like crazy cuz I'm getting books from the library. Not high literature at all, but fun, mindless summertime reading. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 20

Watching... Season finales. Well, of the shows that I'm caught up on anyway...
Listening... New songs from Passion Pit (Take a Walk) and Yeasayer (Henrietta).
Reading... Still on The Marriage Plot and Ready Player One.

Watching... Season finales, too! Currently, Revenge.
Listening... Getting ready for the Lady Antebellum concert this Sunday!
Reading... magazines. Us Weekly and Real Simple to be precise. Yeah, not a book yet. Yet!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 19

Watching... Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery! Loved the first season and so happy that it's back for another! On a related note, apparently CBS is developing another modern-day Sherlock series called Elementary with Jonny Lee Miller (who I do love) and Lucy Liu, of all people, as Watson. I'm skeptical, especially because it's CBS. Oh, upfronts are next week!
Listening... Ben Folds Five - Do It Anyway. They're coming out with a new album? I used to be a big fan back in the day, more so than his solo stuff.
Reading... Still working on Emily, Alone and Ready Player One. Also re-obtained The Marriage Plot and optimistically, The Help from the library. Unlikely I'll get to it in the next three weeks before it's due though.

Mira: Per usual, my fault for the late post!
Watching... Caught up on How I Met Your Mother. Catching up on Hart of Dixie. Also just watched The Avengers (highly recommend) in theaters and Joyful Noise on the plane (don't recommend)!
Listening... Saw Ingrid Michaelson in concert at the 9:30 club on Wednesday night -- as always she is FANTASTIC.  Of course, this is the fourth time I've seen her live so obviously I'm an uber-fan.
Reading... Found a random series of books I purchased at some point on my Kindle.  There are a lot of bad sentences and a lack of transition (unless it's screwed up Kindle formatting). I really hope I didn't pay for it, but it's the Bootscootin' series by D.D. Scott.  Don't think I recommend it to anyone though. :)

Monday, May 07, 2012

What I'm watching...and what I'm not

It's been a crazy spring and I've fallen behind on nearly all my shows and completely cut off others. Here's where I am:

Caught up: (Notice these are mostly half-hour much easier to keep on top of!)
The Amazing Race - The only reality show on my docket right now. It's been a pretty lackluster season, but the travel envy keeps me watching.
Community - They just keep coming up with crazy new concepts for episodes but are still doing a great job exploring the dynamics among the group.
Parks and Recreation - Possibly not as strong as it was last season but it still makes me laugh out loud probably more than any other show.
New Girl - I liked it from the start, but it's been really growing into its own. Even Winston has his moments!
Suburgatory - Somehow, despite a weak premise and awful title, this dark horse has become my new favorite sitcom of the season. Allie Grant as Lisa and Cheryl Hines as Dallas are standouts.
The Big Bang Theory - Been really enjoying the increased female presence on the show with Amy and Bernadette as regulars alongside Penny, but really, this show never changes much.
How I Met Your Mother - Apparently I'm sticking with this until the bitter end because it's just really not very good right now.

Cougar Town - It's still super fun, though Jules can be a little too much in general. I am glad that Jules and Grayson are getting married though and they're not dragging it out.
Gossip Girl - I've been sort of intrigued by the idea of Blair and Dan together for awhile, but now that it's happening? I'm not so sure about it. Especially with all the ridiculousness of Blair actually going through the wedding with Louis and the ever-present Chuck drama and blah blah blah. I am sort of interested in what's going to happen with Ivy and Lola though, for some reason.
Smash - I gather that the intention of the show was to have us root for Karen and not Ivy, but interestingly I kind of don't really like either of them. I feel like they're kind of stretching it with the musical numbers but overall I think it's been pretty consistent. I'm way behind though, and man, Ellis SUCKS.
Girls - People are pretty mixed on this show but I've liked it. It's one of those uncomfortably real sitcoms, not exactly fun but funny because of its honesty.
Veep - I usually am not into political shows but this is really just a workplace comedy.
The Vampire Diaries - I've lost some of my enthusiasm for this show, even though it's been just as crazy and twisty as ever. I don't particularly like what they're doing with Alaric, and I'm not much of an Elena/Damon or Caroline/Tyler shipper.
Mad Men - I wonder if Betty was the reason I sort of dreaded watching this show in the past? It somehow seems a lot more watchable now that she's barely there. I've been liking what they're doing with Pete and Peggy and Joan this season, even as I'm beginning to see Don as kind of an irredeemably scary jerk.
Don't Trust the B* in Apartment 23 - This one kind of lives in the same world as Suburgatory - generally preposterous but a lot of fun.

Planning to catch up eventually:
Parenthood - A couple of dumb storylines this season kind of turned me off - Adam and the office assistant, Julia and Joel's adoption saga, Seth returning - but I do still care about the Bravermans.
Chuck - Haven't even started the final season!
Justified - Last season was fantastic so I was a little disappointed that the beginning of this season didn't grab me right away. But I still love Raylan and Boyd and co. so it's still all on my DVR.
Switched at Birth - Just fell behind because Hulu Plus expired the episodes. But they're back now so I'll get to it eventually.
Modern Family - Kind of the same old, same old. but still funny.
Game of Thrones - I have an HBO promotion, but I'm just not sure if I want to read the second book first or not.
Awake - I loved the premise for this show and the pilot, just need to find time to fit it in.
Doctor Who - I'm always behind on this...

Probably hopeless:
Once Upon a Time - Watched the first couple of episodes and found a lot of the characters annoying but I still like the premise.
Grimm - Does this have buzz?
Revenge - Watched the pilot and thought it was ok. People tell me it's this year's soapy, guilty pleasure though.
Hart of Dixie - It was a lot of fun but ultimately inconsequential...

Given up:
Nikita - I don't know, I actually got really into this show last season but never got around to picking up this new season and I now have no desire to.
The Secret Circle - Lost interest.
The Voice - Too much time commitment and didn't really have anyone I was rooting for.
2 Broke Girls - Just not funny.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 18

Watching... Will detail this in an upcoming mammoth wrap-up post!
Listening... New song by the Silversun Pickups - Blood Mary (Nerve Endings).
Reading... Still working on Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan. Also hoping to get back to Ready Player One which I started back in...February? Geez, it's been a crazy spring.

Watching... Knicks vs. Heat playoff series. Go Knicks!
Listening... Need to get ready for my upcoming concerts -- first on the list: Ingrid Michaelson!
Reading... Nothing. Am now wasting my time playing silly games on sporcle...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 17

Jennifer: Oops...posting a day late. I was busy pulling a quad muscle at softball...
Watching... Catching up on pretty much everything, including Suburgatory, Mad Men, The Vampire Diaries, New Girl, and Smash.
Listening... Ravens & Chimes - Division Street. I actually went to high school with the frontman, Asher Lack. We didn't run in the same circles but I was in a couple of classes with him. I went to a math/science high school but interestingly there are actually quite a few alumni who have made it big in the arts/entertainment world. Two of the guys in Das Racist were a few years below me too.
Reading... I'm starting a new book! Emily Alone by Stewart O'Nan.

Mira: I just plain ol' forgot..
Watching... NFL Draft apparently.
Listening... The Wanted "Glad You Came."
Reading... uh... um... time to start reading something! Will have an update next week? :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 16

Jennifer: It's crunch time! Not a lot this week.
Watching... I'm not a Julia Louis-Dreyfus fan or anything and I generally don't like political shows but Veep looks like it might be pretty funny. Yay for a free year of HBO! (After which I might consider cancelling cable altogether...)
Listening... Some interesting covers of the Flamingos "I Only Have Eyes for You." This song still reminds me of that episode of Buffy where Buffy and Angel are possessed by a couple from the 50s.
Reading.. Trying to finish Death Comes to Pemberley before it's due back at the library. Will probably fail.

Watching... catching up on Revenge. Except what we thought was a new episode last week turned out to be a full season recap.  Grr!
Listening... nothing worth mentioning.  But Russ manages to get "We Are Young" by fun. and "Rumor Has It" by Adele stuck in my head at least once a day, sometimes more.  Sigh.
Reading... nothing! But starting next week I can start reading again!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 15

Watching... Looking forward to the premiere of Girls on HBO, which has been getting quite a lot of good buzz as the anti-Sex in the City.
Listening... More picks from All Songs Considered! Hot Chip - Flutes. I don't go clubbing or anything but if I were, I think this would be the kind of music I'd want to be playing. Also, I've never heard of this guy before, but I loved this: Peter Broderick - Colin.
Reading... Still working on The Marriage Plot and Death Comes to Pemberley. Oh and I finished 1Q84! I liked it quite a lot but was slightly disappointed that quite a few plot threads were not at all resolved. It didn't ruin the overall effect of the book though, which is just so rich and weird.

Watching... my final Netflix DVD movie in a long time -- One Day.  With the return of this movie, we have officially cancelled our DVD subscription.
Listening... Probably the song I've heard the most recently is Puff Daddy's "I'm Coming Home" because Russ loves the song and it is his ring tone.  Plus, I misplace my cellphone at least twice a day so we keep having to call my phone to find it.
Reading... NOTHING. Still knitting!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 14

Watching... Don't Trust the B* in Apartment 23. I watched the free preview on Hulu and it was actually pretty entertaining. I have no idea where it's going to go but Krysten Ritter is outrageous but funny as the aforementioned bitch, and her sidekick is, of all people, James Van der Beek playing James Van der Beek.
Listening... New song by the Dirty Projectors - Gun Has No Trigger.
Reading... There are a ton of Jane Austen sequels out there, but this one, Death Comes to Pemberley, piqued my interest because it was written by P. D. James who's a very respected author. (I haven't actually read of any of her other books, though I have been intending to read The Children of Men which the movie was based on.) It's a murder mystery!

Watching... catching up on The Voice and caught up on Fairly Legal.  Love Fairly Legal.
Listening... jumping on Jenn's bandwagon. fun. does really annoy me because of its weird ass name that I cannot accept.  But I love "We Are Young" cuz it reminds me of other songs by other bands I like such as Mumford & Sons and Blue October.
Reading... nothing, I have no time to read! Need to knit up a storm!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Check in Thursdays: Week 13

Watching... Mad Men returned this week after a very long hiatus. This show is a bit weird for me -- I think it's excellent and one of the best shows on TV right now, but at the same time, I sometimes find it a bit of chore to watch because it can be very deliberately slow and there's always this lurking sinister feeling in the background for me. Oddly enough the show can actually be really funny too though. Bonus: Game of Thrones returns this Sunday!
Listening... The Flaming Lips with Bon Iver - Ashes in the Air. Interesting collaboration, described by Vulture as a "razzle-dazzle, chillwave-inspired death march." Love it.
Reading... I got 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami back from the library! I'm going to finish it this time!

Watching... I saw Hunger Games as promised!  Not going to write a review until Jenn watches (tomorrow).  But I was satisfied. :)
Listening... A couple of pop songs: "Glad You Came" by The Wanted. "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars.
Reading... Nothing, but want to reread Hunger Games  as soon as I get a chance. Realize that I haven't read it again since I blew through all three books 2.5 years ago. Now that I don't have the movie to anticipate, I can reread and not be disappointed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dance Academy

While browsing through my Netflix instant watch suggestions on my TV, I discovered something super duper exciting. (Jenn, you should get excited, too!)  An Australian TV show from 2010 called Dance Academy!  It's a show following a small-town girl, Tara, as she gets into a highly competitive dance school.  What better combination than teen tv drama, dance, and Aussie accents?  I've only watched the first episode so far, but I'm already extremely excited about the show and can't wait to watch the rest of it!!!!

It's like Satin Slippers (book) in TV form!! Yay!