Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Goosalicious Christmas!


I hope you all have a wonderful night, with lots of food, lots of presents, and lots of awesomeness. Love you all :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another random post.

The 100 top grossing films of all time (not adjusted for inflation): bold what you've seen, underline what you own.

[With commentary because...well, when DON'T I have something to say?]

Numbers 26-50:

26.Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: How such a bad movie as PotC ever got made into a franchise will always remain a mystery to me.
27.Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi Love it. Love it. LOVE IT.
28. Independence Day Hands down my absolute favorite so-bad-it's-AWESOME movie. Must have watched it about 1500 times.
29. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Giant turd of a movie.
30. The Sixth Sense: Oh Shyamalamalamalan. You used to be so good. I think it's a universal rule that everyone knows someone who claims they 'saw the twist coming a mile away!'. Uh huh. SURE you did.
31. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: lame book, lame movie. Made no sense whatsoever.
32. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: I could never get through more than half an hour of this extremely long, extremely boring Disney fuckfest. What a horrible adaptation.
33. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back: Absolutely the best of the trilogy. I grew up watching this, over and over and over again, and it's STILL not boring.
34. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Really great visuals. Ultimately, though, it was pretty forgettable.
35. Home Alone : eeeeh.
36. The Matrix Reloaded: I know I watched it, yet I can't remember a single thing about this movie. I'm very happy about that.
37. Meet the Fockers (2004): never, ever, ever. I can't bear to watch such good actors play second fiddles to Ben fucking Stiller.
38. Shrek (2001): it was cute. Unfortunately it spawned a horribly repetitive franchise. Somebody make it stop.
39. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Meh. Lame book, lame movie.
40. The Incredibles (2004): Absolutely loved it. I watch it all the time, and every single time I'm amazed by how effortlessly awesome this movie is.
41. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Never.
42. Jaws: I've never been able to make it all the way through this.
43. I Am Legend: Hated it. It was so long and meandering. Hated the ending.
44. Monsters, Inc.: Absurdly cute movie. Hilarious and sweet.
45. Batman: It's really not a bad movie, just badly miscast and too Burtonian for my taste.
46. Night at the Museum (2006)what the FUCK with Ben Stiller, people?! HOW is this on here?!
47. Men in Black: This was really a lot of fun. The chemistry between Smith and Jones is just fantastic.
48. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: My favorite of the HP movies. Cuaron really did some awesome work with this one.
49. Toy Story 2: Ooh man, so awesome. Pixar can do no wrong.
50. Cars: OK maybe this one wasn't as great as the others. I think it's a little hard for non-americans to really get this one, though it was still cute and gorgeously animated.


More cookies to bake. More art to finish. No time for anything, and yet here I am, wasting time. Hurrah for me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A random post, a meme, and movies.

Disclaimer: Excuse the bad writing in this post. It's late.
OK, I haven't updated in a while.

For the first time in months, I've been very, very busy. I've been baking cookies all day, plus some painting when I've had the time, reading, going to bed at outrageously early hours (for me), collapsing after some very long days.

It's a good thing, though, because without all this to-do I'd probably be losing what's left of my mind in anxiously waiting for Friday. That's when the Future Mr Fig comes to visit after a painfully long time of being away from each other, and it's all I can think of whenever I've had a moment to spare for thinking.

So, busy Fig is a sane Fig. Sort of. I have cookie orders coming in like mad, which is awesome in that I'm going to make a lot more money than I had anticipated, but disturbing in the amount of work it entails. I made 430 cookies yesterday, and still have 150 more to bake to fill up orders for my mom's office. When I'm done with those I have several more orders from family members to take care of.

On top of that, I have to finish my Christmas gifts--I'm down to one portrait, a painting and and something for my grandmother that I have yet to start making. Of course I could've done all this in the six months or so since I've been unemployed, but hey, since when have I done work when I've had the time? Deadline Figgy, that's me. Poor Future Mr Fig will probably have to sit there and watch me scramble to finish my gifts and bake cookies all the time he's here. Because I'm a big lazy dork like that.

Still have to write a review for my 5th Cannonball book. I'm almost done with the 6th one, but I'm afraid that those will have to wait until I have some time to gather my very scant wits about me.

So for now, with no new reviews or anything interesting to write about except how busy I am with my very boring life, I have a meme. Don't I always.


The 100 top grossing films of all time (not adjusted for inflation): bold what you've seen, underline what you own.

[With commentary because...well, when DON'T I have something to say?

And because this was so damn long, I've broken it up into 4 parts so as to have something useless to post in upcoming days]

1. Titanic: I wonder how much of this was foreign box office? That movie was HUGE even outside the US.
2. The Dark Knight (2008): Mmmm. Christian Bale. I think this might be the only movie from this last decade on my Favorites List.
3. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977): Obviously.
4. Shrek 2 (2004): Too full of itself to be very good. Recycled jokes and bad animation.
5. E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982): Aw, tiny Drew Barrymore.
6. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999): Fuck you, George Lucas. You're dead to me.
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006): The franchise that should never, ever have existed. I still have no idea what the hell this movie was about. Hell, does anyone?
8. Spider-Man (2002): I hate Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. WHY did I watch this? My damned hunger for superhero movies. It made me watch Daredevil, too.
9. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005): See above.
10.The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003): Whee LOTR. Horrible as adaptations, but freakin' awesome eye candy.
11.Spider-Man 2 (2004): Alfred Molina made me watch this. And he made it almost bearable. Almost.
12.The Passion of the Christ (2004): Fuck Mel Gibson and his torture porn. The very existence of this movie is an insult. Don't even ask me why I watched it.
13.Jurassic Park (1993): I love this movie. So much.
14.The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002): The worst of the three. But I still watch it all the damn time.
15.Finding Nemo (2003): Hands down one of the best animated movies of all time.
16.Spider-Man 3 (2007): Two was more than enough.
17.Forrest Gump (1994): I liked it. Shut up.
18.The Lion King (1994): This one's in my top 10. The animation is gorgeous.
19.Shrek the Third (2007): never fucking ever.
20.Transformers (2007): Cute. Forgettable.
21.Iron Man (2008): It was good. But didn't blow my mind.
22.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001): Oh they were all so damn cute back then.
23. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008): I commpletely REFUSE to watch this movie. My life will be better if I ignore it ever existed.
24. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001): The best of the three, probably because it's closest to the book. That, and Sean Bean.
25. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002): See above.

Stupid, horrible Hollywood. I didn't count, but it disgusts me to see how many of these are horrible sequels or remakes. Even more discouraging is to see how few of these films are actually worth watching.


Part 2 coming tomorrow. Now I'm gonna drag my ass off to bed and finish my book.

Oh, speaking of. Did you know that in all of Tegucigalpa there is only ONE single bookstore that sells books in English? And that half of the books in said store are either Stephen King or Nora Roberts novels? Do you know how sad this makes me?

Very sad. That's how sad. Stupid country.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Book #4: Everything's Eventual, by Stephen King

I remember, very clearly, the first Stephen King book I ever read. It was 'The Drawing of the Three', and I read it when I was 13 and only learning English. I stumbled through it, confused by idioms and weird expressions I'd never heard before, but oh man, I loved it. When I was done I started reading every King book my dad had, loving the crazy stories and his easy and exciting way of writing, all the time practicing my English. You could say I owe a lot to Stephen King. Now, we have just about every book he's ever written, and I still love his work with a passion, though now I can be a bit more critical about it. While I concede that a lot of King's work can be cheesy and repetitive, you'll never take away my conviction that no one can tell a story like King does, sucking you in and leaving your brain feeling like it's been sucked dry. It's very unfair (but easy) to dismiss King as nothing but a 'horror writer', yet he is much, much more than that, and "Everything's Eventual" is good proof of this.

The book has been sitting on my shelf, unread, for a very long time. I'm not a very big fan of short stories in general, and aside from 'The Bachman Books' I haven't really enjoyed King's other short story collections. But I finally decided to give it a chance, and I'm glad I did. If you ever need a crash course on everything that makes King who he is, this is the book to read. It's a great, entertaining collection with a few truly great stories, and it makes for a good, guilt-free weekend reading that can be disturbing, touching, amusing and scary by turns.

'Autopsy Room 4', a scary, yet funny story that works as a great example of something that King does brilliantly: he creates a complete, three-dimensional character in a few paragraphs, and he puts them into completely believable, and terrifying situations. 'In the Deathroom' and 'Lunch at the Gotham Café' fall into this category as well, and all three were some of my favorite stories in the book. King uses his talent for quick personality sketches and fast-paced action scenes to write stories that are engaging and fun to read, that leave you wondering how you would react in those situations.

'The Man in the Black Suit', 'The Road Virus Heads North', 'Riding the Bullet'(which I really didn't like) and '1408' take a different turn, dealing with the sort of supernatural horror that King loves writing. Again, he takes ordinary characters and throws them into some seriously scary situations, made even more disturbing for their supernatural aspects. I love horror stories that deal with ordinary days and ordinary aspects of real life taking on supernatural qualities, and King is a genius at this. '1408' was seriously disturbing, and I don't recommend anyone with an overactive imagination (like mine) to read this while alone in your room in the middle of the night. You won't sleep.

At the other end of the spectrum, 'All That You Love Will be Taken Away' and 'Luckey Quarter' are both stories that highlight King's talent for creating completely believable and sympathetic characters, to whom nothing extraordinary happens. They're just regular people living their regular lives, and King shows extraordinary insight into the turmoil that goes on in the human mind while the world passes them by. In both these stories he writes about truly lonely, sad people trapped in their lives, and they are both moving and well written. There's something to be said about a writer who can take you from haunted paintings to a sad man contemplating suicide in a cheap motel. "L.T.'s Theory of Pets" sort of fits into this category; it's not a horror story at all, but it's a touching and hilarious story about regular people, though the ending is a little jarring and strange.

I was extremely happy to find that two of the stories in this book are tied into the 'Dark Tower' series. For those of you who have read the series, 'The Little Sisters of Eluria' is a great little story about Roland Deschain's early travels, and we get to revisit the extraordinary universe and mythology that King created for his epic series. This was easily my favorite story in the book, but I wonder if readers unfamiliar with 'The Dark Tower' will like it as much. This goes for 'Everything's Eventual' as well, which deals with the backstory of another Dark Tower character, though it's not nearly as interesting as story as Roland's. They're both great bits of fantasy writing, but I wonder if readers will get much out of them if they haven't read the 'Dark Tower'. And if they haven't, what the hell are they waiting for?

There are two stories in the collection, 'The Death of Jack Hamilton' and 'That Feeling, You Can Only Say What it is in French' (what a clunky title), that don't really fit anywhere. The first is about a dying mobster, and the second is a very strange story that King in his little introduction tells us is about hell. I found them both a little strange and not very engaging, and I wonder at the decision to include them in the collection.

I suppose, however, that they serve, like the rest of the collection, to show the reader every aspect of King's writing. He can be funny, sad, terrifying, bizarre, shocking, romantic…this is a writer who can write you a story about anything you can think of. He's admittedly written a lot of his books just to get the stories out of his chest, books that he seems to write in the course of a couple of days or only a few weeks. While those stories might not be great literary masterpieces, King knows how to entertain his audience, and what I find even more likeable about him is that he clearly loves to write. King often gets criticized and dismissed for this type of story, but I think you need to look at his full body of work to understand why some of us consider him to be a truly gifted and admirable writer who can't be pinned down into a single category.

'Everything's Eventual' is a good collection, and while not King's best, it's a good tour through his style and imagination. If you haven't read a book by Stephen King, I suggest you pick up one of his classics*, and if you have, this is a nice addition to the collection.

*'The Stand', people. Please, please read 'The Stand'.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Meme Time on Fig Journal:


-Finished NaNo at 50,201 words. No, you can't read it. At least, not yet. Even I can't stand to read some of it. I'll start editing as soon as I get over my own stage fright. It's hard to explain.
-Reading two books at once, so as not to fall too far behind on Cannonball Read. They are 'Everything's Eventual' by Stephen King, which is a collection of 14 short stories, that I can't stand to read at night, and 'Embers' by...some author whose name I can't remember. This one's a lot shorter and very good so far, and I read it to cleanse my brain of horrible Stephen King images.
-Will start baking my world famous cookies soon so I can start selling them
-Have cramps, but feel a lot less grumpy than I did yesterday. Stupid hormones.
-Cousin's birthday today. If I'm lucky there shall be cake.
-Added a header to the blog. You like?

*end of news vomit*

And because I have nothing interesting to post today, here is a fun meme:


-Put iTunes on shuffle, take the first line from the first 20 songs and use them to make a poem.
-Use the first line of the 21st song as the title.
-Use the first four words of the 22nd song as your band name.

You are my Sweetest Downfall
by You Don't Own Me

My darling I am dreaming
In the jungle, the mighty jungle
Kiss me too fiercely
I can't control this flesh and blood

I can't stop loving you
Lying in my bed I hear the clock tickin'
Give me one reason to stay here
I've never, never seen you look so good

Hey, where did we go?
The kids 'round here look just like sticks
I cannot dare to look
I'm down here in the well

Come gather 'round people
I've been loving you too long,
I walked across an empty land
With one light on in one room

What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man
Tommy used to work on the docks
I heard you on the wireless back in '52
Loving you isn't the right thing to do


Hee. That could be something!

The songs:

Title: 'Samson' by Regina Spektor
Band Name: 'You Don't Own Me' by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

1. 'Down by the Old Millstream' by the Mills Brothers
2. 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' from the Lion King Musical Soundtrack
3. 'As Long as you're Mine' from the Wicked Soundtrack
4. 'Live Like Horses' by Elton John
5. 'I Can't Stop Loving You' by Ray Charles
6. 'Time After Time' by Eva Cassidy
7. 'Give Me One Reason' by Tracy Chapman
8. 'Talk Dirty to Me' by Poison (shutup)
9. 'Brown Eyed Girl' by Van Morrison
10. 'Midnight in Chelsea' by Jon Bon Jovi
11. 'Budapest' by The Reindeer Section
12. 'Up from Under' by the Wallflowers
13. 'The Times are A-Changin'' by Bob Dylan
14. 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' by Otis Redding
15. 'Somewhere Only We Know' by Keane
16. 'Hunter' by Dido
17. 'What a Man' by Salt n Peppa
18. 'Livin' on a Prayer' by Bon Jovi
19. 'Video Killed the Radio Star' by the Buggles
20. 'Go Your Own Way' by Fleetwood Mac

I love music memes. I like how they let you see my very bizarre and mixed taste in music.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Random List, Inspired by Yesterday...

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year.

No, not because it was Thanksgiving. I mean, I love turkey day, but we don't celebrate it here. When I went to college in upstate New York, every year my friend would invite me over to his house and we'd have a huge dinner with his family. I love any day that allows you to eat that much and just have a nice time with people. Americans have so many more days of gorging that we do. Sigh.

But no. I had no Thanksgiving Dinner, but I did get my National Dog Shows.

Crazy confession: I absolutely LOVE dog shows. I can't help it. I can't explain it. But I love them and can't stop watching them and I get very much into them and start rooting for my favorites and it's all a little strange, but awesome. Every year I wait for the Dog Shows, my favorite being the Westminster Show, which plays on USA for like three days and it's a seemingly endless parade of cute and fluffy dogs all primped up and looking super excited to be strutting around a room.

It's kind of psychotically glorious, really.

Yesterday was the National Dog Show, and it was a blast, though it was sadly shortened for time and I didn't get to see all the dogs. I hate when they do that. They pick a few to show you and ignore the others. Absurdly, it makes me feel sad for the ones who don't make it on screen.

I get really into it. Everything is such a hilarious show. You have the overly primped-up dogs (poodles. I hate primped up poodles), the hilarious little tiny dogs (oh man have you ever seen a show Pekingese? those things are awesome), the seriously gorgeous dogs that even the uneducated eye can tell are beautiful animals, the ugly dogs, the ones that sit down in the middle of the floor and don't move, because, well, they're dogs. Then there are the commentators, who every year say the same thing, and make horrible dog jokes. There are the handlers with their horrible shiny clothes and ugly shoes, the crazy crowds (honestly, who GOES to a dog show? I can't understand it).

And there is, always, invariably, the pangs of envy as I look at some of the dogs and think "Oh, God. I want one of those. I WANT!!" This happens a lot. By the end of the night I end up with fifteen fantasy dogs and I scare my fiance by claiming that one day I will have ten dogs in my house. I tell him I am just kidding.

I'm not kidding. Sucker.

Anyway, because I love dogs and I love lists, and I have to post pictures of everything, here are my Top 8 Fantasy Dogs. If I had money, space, time, money and a dream house with a giant yard, these are the dogs I would get:

The Newfoundland. A few years ago one of these won the Westminster show, and I immediately fell in love. They're huge, yes, but they have to be some of the prettiest, sweetest dogs I have ever seen.

Great Dane. Again, this one would be bigger than I am, but damn I love those dogs. And apparently they're as sweet and caring an animal as you could get. Bonus: scares bad people away.

PBGV. Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. Look at that thing. It's impossibly cute with its little legs and its hot dog body and the ears. They always look so happy.

The Beagle. Who doesn't love beagles? They're little spitfires.


The Miniature Schnauzer. They're so tiny, energetic, and gorgeous. I saw one of these at the pet store the other day, and had to force myself not to spend the small fortune on buying it. Beautiful dogs.

And now, the Terriers. Terriers are my downfall.

Tibetan Terrier. Need I say more? Just look at that thing.


Hands down one of the most beautiful little animals in the world. These are a bit stand-offish, but loyal.

The Norfolk Terrier. I normally don't go for tiny dogs, but these just win my heart every single time I see one.


Ta-da. I was going to make it an even 10, but I don't feel strongly about any of the others. Runners up would be Dalmatians, Black Pekingese (they have the most hilarious faces), Corgis, English Bulldogs and Havanese.

But my heart belongs to mutts. All my life we'd had mutts. The three I have right now, my three stinky babies, are part Havanese, part Maltese and part something else. They're lazy and kind of dumb, but they also hunt down mice and they are incredibly patient, specially with children.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A very long, very angry post about TV...

What's happened to TV?

Why am I suddenly so angry at it?

Several reasons come to mind.

1. ANTM is over for another season. The finale was pretty lame, as I was forced to admit when they replayed it on the weekend. Did anyone really think Samantha had any chance at all of winning? Nope. She wasn't special enough for Tyra. She was very, very bland and boring, and McKey (who is a horrible hunched-up runway walker) completely overshadowed her with her huge smile and awesome photos.

That runway? What the hell, Mr Jay? What new brand of absynthe-laced Tang were you drinking this week? Not only did the over-long and ridiculous pink runway make it obvious that the "show" had an audience of about 20 people, but it also made every model walking look ridiculous as they tried to run up a pink hill in those hideous dresses. Even Whitney looked embarrassed to be there, and that chick will do anything. It was a horrible show, and both the girls did really horribly bad on it. I loved how the runway was hardly even discussed at panel.

It was a big let down. McKey clearly had the better photos, but she wasn't a very exciting participant. That being said, I think for the first time a winner might have a chance of actually having a good career. It's just a matter of fixing that stupid makeover Tyra imposed on her. I wonder if she'll change her name back?

Anyway, now that it's over, my Wednesdays will be deadfests. I am glad I never got too attached to Pushing Daisies, as it had 'cancelation' written all over its cute, quirky self. Network TV audiences just don't do quirky, people. That show really had no chance at all.

2. There is absolutely nothing to watch on Tuesdays. I can't stand to watch five minutes of 'House' these days. Hey, look! House is being a dick and he has a mystery patient! No way! that's so new and exciting!

Or not. Oh, tonight ABC is showing A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, my second favorite holiday movie of all time (the first is their Christmas special), so for once I won't hate Tuesday night TV.

3. I am done with Heroes. Completely, absolutely, irreversibly done with it. I have packed my bags, slammed the door, taken the dog and driven away from Heroes. That bitch had better not call me again, or so help me.

I tried giving it a chance to win me back after the disastrous second season. After all, Lost proved to me that you CAN make a comeback from the lowest pits of TV hell, so maybe Heroes could do it as well.

But, after 10 episodes of only mildly interesting moments surrounded by hours and hours of horrible writing and meandering, useless plots, Heroes has outlived its second welcome, and has now been kicked out of my house. How much do I hate it now? Let me count the ways:

1. All the characters are horrible. No exceptions. They spend half the time whining about their powers, or about each other, or about how hard their lives are. If I wanted to watch people with superpowers go emo all over the damn place, I'd watch Smallville or Spiderman. I hate them all. I'd give Claire a pass, but she's surrounded by such large amounts of suck that I can't take it.
2. It is beyond me how a group of writers can make a show about people with some pretty awesome super powers so damn BORING and pointless.
3. The relationships are painful to watch, all of them. Are we really supposed to believe that all these couplings MEAN anything, when the show has given us nothing but some really bad, cheesy dialogue to tell us that these people like each other?
4. All of the women on this show are cheesy, horribly drawn characters that make me want to punch them in the face. All of them. There isn't a single redeeming female character on this show. Even Claire, who is the only person on this show who seems to THINK about herself and others, has been increasingly whiny and pathetic, begging for some male character to come redeem her. Every other character is a double-faced, insipid, irrational cliche who spouts off bad dialogue while trying to seduce one of the male characters. Complete fail.
5. The overarching plot is so convoluted that even the writers themselves seem to be confused. Subplots and characters are completely forgotten and turned aside, and the show keeps stepping on its own history and mythology. And if the writers themselves can't get this shit figured out, who can? Or who will care enough to try?
6. There are still too many characters. And they're all equally annoying. The worse thing is that the writers feel the need to give them all their own little subplots and stupid quests, which get drawn out for episodes only to come to unsatisfying and often enraging conclusions.
7. Bad acting. Oh good lord. If I have to watch Milo Ventimiglia try to look troubled (or angry, or worried, or sad, or whatever) by frowing and waving his hands a lot any more, I will punch the TV. And I like my TV.
8. All these people do is talk and talk, and whine, and whine some more, about what they want to do, or who they are, or what they did wrong two episodes ago. For the love of everything holy: either DO something about it or shut the hell up and get out of the show.
9. All the fake-outs about possible deaths or people coming back from the dead. When you don't care about a character, you're not going to care about whether they live or die. Even more when you know they'll probably come back to suck some more.
10. This show is going nowhere. There will be more walking and talking and whining, and no action until the big battle that will decide nothing because these characters will never, ever change.

Phew. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go on that long. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I became at this show. It had SO MUCH potential. Superheroes! pretty people! A really great budget that allowed for awesome visuals!

But no, what do we get? Hiro with the mind of a 10 year old (which is different from regular Hiro how?) chucking corn at Matt Parkman in a Kansas field while he emotes about some stupid girl we're supposed to believe he's in love with.

I was so angry I got up and turned the television off on Matt's face. It felt damn good to do that.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, why TV sucks these days. Well, that's my list, really. Loss of ANTM, nothing to watch on Tuesdays, and Heroes sucking. All that leaves me with is all the good shows playing on Thursdays, and with no DVR it's impossible to watch them all.

The Office is a bit annoying these days, but I still love it. The supporting characters are better than ever, and we're drawing close to some potentially great episodes.

30 Rock is my new love. It's funnier than the Office, and satisfies my craving for the absurd and hilarious. I want Tina Fey to be my best friend, you guys.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a recent discovery (to me) that often has me laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Why hadn't I watched this show before? It's crude and often disgusting, but outrageously funny as well. A new favorite.


So there is hope yet. I can't wait for Lost to come back so I will have a good drama to watch. Because other than Heroes, there are no other dramatic shows that I'm into. That's pretty sad.

That's the end of this week's TV Rant. I'm sorry it was so long. But I am angry. If I could, I'd put in a squiggly, angry-eyebrowed stickman into this.

I think I need a cookie.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book #3: "Why Girls Are Weird" by Pamela Ribon

I have a love-hate relationship with any book that gets labeled as "chick lit". These are the books that, more often than not, have brightly-colored covers that almost invariably show a pair of legs with tights or funky shoes on (what is up with that? Why the legs? Why?), and they're usually badly written pieces of fluff about shopping and cheap relationships. Yet, when done right, a book directed at (certain types of) women can be funny and insightful, and they make for easy, fun reads when you're not in the mood for something too dense.

After my last two books, I definitely needed a break. A change of pace. I needed something small and colorful and for God's sake, something with a happy ending. This book fit that bill pretty nicely.

The plot is pretty simple. The main character, Anna Koval, starts up an online journal, where she posts stories about her life as Anna K. Most of the stories are true, but her online persona is changed slightly: she is part of a couple, and an actress among other things, while the real Anna is a bored librarian who has been single for over a year. Soon she starts getting barraged by fan mail, and she keeps on tweaking her life for her journal. She strikes up friendships with two fans in particular: a ditzy college student named Tess and a charming male fan who goes by the handle of LDobler, with whom she starts flirting over email. The plot follows Anna as she goes through her boring, single life while having writing on her journal.

Anna is miserable in her job and her love life. Though she broke up with her boyfriend more than a year ago, she is still stuck up on him (or the idea of him anyway). Her best friend, Dale, who is gay and preternaturally happy, observes her life and makes clever little quips about it. Anna soon discovers (thanks to Tess) that meeting fans of her online persona might not be such a good idea after all. She's afraid they'll all discover how fake she is.

Having been hooked on the internet myself for about 10 years now, I know how easy it is to pretend to be someone else through your online self. I found Anna's insecurities and fears about meeting online friends relatable and very, very true to life. There's the fear that you'll never be as fun or smart as your online persona, or that the person you'll meet will turn out to be a serial killer. But the truth (to me, anyway) is that unless you or the people you meet are huge psychotic liars, you can be yourself online, and you can get to know someone pretty well without actually meeting them. What I mean to say with all of this is that I never understood all the drama Anna creates. It felt blown way out of proportion. She just made herself a little more interesting, and who hasn't been guilty of doing this at least once in their lives? From the way she goes on you'd think she had pretended to be a millionaire or a celebrity, or a man. So it's problematic to me that I was supposed to be shocked by the double life Anna was leading, and I wasn't. At all.

My biggest problem with this book is actually that Anna Koval is sometimes unbearably dull. She has great stories, yes, and we're supposed to believe she's had a hilarious and interesting life. We're supposed to find her conversations with her friends funny and charming, but I honestly found them painful and almost embarrassing to read sometimes. I got a strange feeling while reading this book, like I had been watching a medium-quality sitcom. No one talks like this, I thought. It's funny, I guess, but…come on. The supporting characters, apart from Anna, never felt real to me, and she feels profoundly dull sometimes. I could imagine Ribon pulling real quotes from her own friends and forcing her characters to say them. In the end, Anna and her hipster buddies come off as just not that interesting. Then there's the completely unnecessary subplot involving Anna and a high school girl she meets. It felt tacked-on, serving only to provide a cheap moment of enlightenment for Anna, as if we didn't know all along that all she needed was to stop whining and take control of her own life. It's only her that takes an entire book to figure this out.

In the end, Why Girls Are Weird just seems badly matched with itself. There are moments of hilarity and sweetness, where I felt that this could've been a great book. Anna's relationships with her father and with LDobler both felt real, interesting, and touching. But then there are passages where I almost came to hate Anna Koval and her neediness, where it seemed like a whole other character had been put in place, one that I didn't like all that much. I wasn't as impressed by the secondary characters as much as I felt Ribon wanted me to be.
Ribon is undoubtedly a talented writer, witty and smart, but I don't think this book did her talent justice. It felt a bit empty, to be completely honest. That being said, it was an easy, short, fun book that perfectly fulfilled my need for a harmless read. And I got my happy ending, even if it was predictable and silly.
Now…can someone explain to me what the hell is up with these covers and the disembodied legs in funky socks and shoes? And to the boys: no, this book will not help you find out why girls are weird.

Note: I've been reading Pamela Ribon's online work for a while now. I first discovered it back when she used to write some awesome recaps for Gilmore Girls for Television Without Pity. She has a nice online journal of her own,, if you're interested.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Freebies List

Ooooooof. I am halfway through my Novel. I have 25,000 words and 51 one pages of story. I am almost completely proud of it. It'll need editing but I feel very happy with it so far.

But my brain is mush. I'm trying to finish my third Cannonball Book, and also trying to start up a cookie-selling scheme so I can make some money for Christmas presents. I am so poor, you guys.

Anyway, I think for days of brain mush one needs a bit of a breather. And my breathers usually come in the form of ogling pictures. Sometimes it's pictures of pretty places. Sometimes it's pictures of cute animals. Today is a day for the third type: pictures of hot men. There is a just a point at which your brain is so overwhelmed that all you want to do is be completely shallow. You know?

So today I give you my Freebies List. With photos. And annotations.

(For those of you who don't know, a 'Freebies List' consists of the 5 celebrities you'd most like to do whoopie with. No consequences or regrets. Just pure enjoyment. I spent waaay too much time thinking about my list back when it was a Pajiba comment diversion, and here it is in full. Enough with the parenthetical aside...)

Because I can.

Figgy's Five Freebies

(somewhat in order)

1. Eric Bana

Have you SEEN him in Troy? Yowzah. He really needs to get better roles., because I am convinced he is a good actor and the world needs to take more notice of him pronto. Mostly so I can look at him some more. I'll even watch STAR TREK for him, even if he's under 20 pounds of makeup.

2. Christian Bale

Well, come on. Do I even need to say anything about this one?

3. Gerard Butler

I had briefly considered taking him off the list after I heard he was doing a movie with Kate Hudson. Also, he's not exactly a brilliant actor. But then I saw 300 again and I was helpless to keep him here. Those eyes. The muscles. The accent. Etc.

4. Reynaldo Gianecchini

Chances are you don't this one. He's a brazilian soap opera actor that I happened to catch on tv by accident. Now I'm addicted to the damned show. He is possibly the most perfectly built man I have ever laid eyes on. He's perfect. Almost annoyingly so. Almost too pretty, but there's something about him.

5. Sean Bean

Oh, Sean Bean. Another Troy alumn, which just goes to show that while a movie might be completely horrible, if you have enough beefcake in it some people will watch it over and over and over again. Just to see Sean Bean with curly hair and a skirt. This man is gorgeous and brilliant in everything he does.

(And here is where Figgy passes out from so much hotness)

Honorable mentions:

1. Russell Crowe, but only during his Gladiator/Master and Commander/ Beautiful Mind phases. After that he really let himself go. Too bad.
2. Daniel Craig, who wears a tuxedo like nobody else can. I'd break my no-blonds rule for him.
3. John Krasinski, because he's just adorable.
4. Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I can't explain it.
5. Raoul Bova. Look him up.


So that's it.

I think I'll be coming back to this entry quite often. I know I will.

I promise to get back to regularly scheduled seriousness and deep thoughts and--HA who am I kidding. This is the most shallow journal of all time.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nothing can ever top this. Not ever.

Guys, I have been reduced to nothing but a pile of melty goo on the floor. I can't take it. I can't take it.

Hands down the most ridiculously, outrageously, nauseatingly, over-frakking-whelmingly cute thing I have ever *EVER* seen:

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Warning: might cause your jaw to break from smiling too much, make your heart burst into flames because it can't handle that level of adorable and reduce you to nothing but a mushy mess that can say nothing but 'aaw'.

Oh good lord it's too much.

(Infinite thanks to . This made my freakin' week. Nay, MONTH!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book #2: "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer

First: No comments on my NaNo excerpt? come on! where are all the people who were pressuring me to post? Was it THAT bad? Pssh. See if I ever post anything again!

"Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer

What a strange book this was.

I finished it two days ago, and I've spent the time since trying to think of a way to review it that will do justice to its bizarre genius while at the same time not getting me too much flak when I admit I didn't fully understand it. It left me with a very confusing mix of feelings, and I'll do my best to explain them here.

In essence, the book is about the main character's (Jonathan Safran Foer, in a strange meta twist) trip to Ukraine, where he attempts to find the woman who helped his grandfather during World War 2. He hires a guide to help him do this--but what he ends up getting is Alex, the translator who speaks in amusingly broken English and his cantankerous grandfather, their driver. Coming along for the trip is the grandfather's dog, Sammy Davis Jr, Jr.

The book switches back and forth between three different threads. First, we have letters that Alex writes to Jonathan in hilariously bad English, where we learn that the two young men have become friends. To these letters, Alex attaches what becomes the second thread in the book; chapters detailing the story of the trip the three main characters make to find the woman who saved Jonathan's grandfather. The third thread consists of chapters written by Jonathan himself, that tell the story of the shtetl (or village) of Trachimbrod, where his grandfather was born. These go all the way back to the 1700s, and they trace the story of Jonathan's ancestors.

Each of these threads is written in a distinct manner, which is an impressive demonstration of Foer's talent, but it was one of the main problems I had with the book. The chapters told from Alex's perspective are funny and moving in their simplicity, and are very entertaining to read. The characters of Alex and his grandfather are carefully and beautifully drawn and written, so that we become attached to them and their story.

On the other hand, the chapters taking place in the shtetl are confusing, somewhat rambling and disjointed. They jump from amusing little stories of the villagers to the longer stories of some of Jonathan's ancestors. There are also excerpts from the 'Book of dreams', which were amusing and interesting, infused with a sort of magical realism that reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writing. And then there are two or three consecutive pages filled with nothing but the words "We are writing...", and a full page of nothing but periods. There are some chapters written as plays. It's a crazy little trip that can be entertaining in parts, but in some others I found myself growing impatient and frustrated. Was all this really necessary to the story? Or was it just some strange way for Foer to show off? While I admire breaking away from traditional styles (and some of the book's most beautiful writing is in these chapters) I couldn't help but feel confused over why Foer wrote these scenes like he did. I'm sure a true literary critic would be frowning and looking down at me for being so ignorant, but I have to be honest here. Maybe the whole thing was just beyond me, and I am not worthy of Foer's genius, and maybe there is a point to all of this confusion. I don't know. I just know that these chapters felt a bit dry and strange, and they are very, very hard to write about.

While there is a slight feeling of disconnection between the chapters themselves, the entire book flows beautifully when viewed as a whole. The early chapters are almost uniformly funny and light, which led me to believe this was going to be a completely different book from what it ended up being. Then the mood of the book starts to subtly change. As Alex's writing becomes less broken and more elegant and emotional, so the entire tone of the book changes as new revelations come to light. It's like a downwards spiral, and the three threads of the story fall together, each becoming more ponderous and dark, like turning the dial down on a lamp. The final chapters are moving and sad as each of the threads reaches its conclusion. It's haunting, really, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about those final chapters since I read them.

Do you see why it's so hard to write about this book? I can't even properly voice why I didn't exactly "like" it. I enjoyed it, yes, and it was a worthwhile and impressive read, but in the end, my final feelings on a book come down to two questions. One, would I recommend it to other people? Maybe. I don't think everyone would enjoy it, and some may be put off by dryness of the shtetl chapters, and the whole strangeness of it. I would recommend it if you want to read something different and interesting. After all, I've never read anything like it and I was glad I gave it a chance. It's an insightful, captivating look at the past and how it can come back to haunt us, written in an unique and talented manner.

My second question is, would I read this book again? And my answer to that would be "probably not". I would probably benefit from reading the shtetl chapters with a little more patience, but I have the feeling I would be skipping quite a bit of it on a re-read, and that wouldn't do it justice. Maybe I can go back to it in a few years, but for now I'm going to let it lie, even though I feel it pulling at my mind to go back and read some of the passages I marked for this review.

But no. Bad book! Do you know I just spend two hours writing this? You sit there on the shelf and think about what you've done!

On a completely unrelated note: I don't usually notice this, but this book has one of the most beautifully designed covers I have ever seen. It's the Harper Perennial Olive Edition, if you care, and you should check it out. It's really quite pretty.

Another note: Was the movie for this any good?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How do I still have the energy to post this? Another rant about all the writing I'm doing.


Sorry about the lack of updates, but November has been a crazy busy month for me. It's great being busy with something again. I stopped being productive for a couple of weeks there, and the laziness monster was eating at my brain.

First there was Paheeba Day over at Pajiba, which was fantastic fun to write for, as well as freakishly satisfying and one hell of an ego booster. My obsessions do come in handy sometimes.

Then there is NaNoWriMO (National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated), where basically you sit your ass down and attempt to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch. I've done it two times in the past, both times reaching the word count but not finishing my stories. Can you imagine how long-winded those things are?

Anyway, the first one I did was in 2005, and it was a very fun story about brothers and sisters and love and romance (of course) that I stopped in the middle of nowhere after November had ended. I hadn't even looked at it in two years, but I opened it last month and gave it a read, pleasantly surprised with the result. While it needs a loooot of editing and chopping up of useless scenes, I am really happy with the story and some of the stuff I wrote.

The second time I did it, in 2006, it was a completely different story, that of course I never finished. I liked my writing on that a little better but the story isn't so hot. It was a bit more "modern" (set in real time as opposed to Ye Olden Unspecified Days like the other one) and it just sunk into my making up shit about places I had never been to and a story that relied too heavily on 'the Matchmaker' for inspiration for me to feel very happy with it. I loved my characters, but they deserve a better story around them, so maybe I'll go back to it someday.

I did nothing last year as work was driving me completely insane (I was teaching 12 groups of middle school kids--that's 260 13-15 year olds-- giving 30 hours of class a week and frankly going out of my mind with stress) and I was too tired to do much outside of that.

Now that I am unemployed and being mostly useless (though I keep myself busy with productive stuff...sometimes) I figured, why the hell not try it again?

I started out writing a new story on November 1st, but I really wasn't feeling that one and ditched it when I was 3000 words in. I then pondered taking up my very first NaNo and finally finishing the damned thing and DING DING DING, I opened it up and lo and behold, word vomit ensued! And I have been going crazy over it since.

I am loving it, you guys. My writing feels smoother and less...terrified of itself than it's ever been, and I am so very excited over how it's turning out. It's still scary of course, but I am loving my story and going back to the characters I made. Not to jinx myself, but this could really be good.

I might just get over my crippling shyness when it comes to you know, actually having people READ what I write and I MIGHT post some of it here. Maybe. I'm really freakin' shy about it. No one has ever seen more than a few paragraphs. But I think I feel confident enough about it now to actually unlock the vault. Maybe.

So that's where I'm at.

Oh, I am also working on my second book for the Cannonball Read, and I'm almost done with that. Oh boy...I'm gonna have to write a review for that. I don't think my fingers will be working by the end of November.

Anyway, it's really fun and exciting and Christmas is almost here and there are more good things happening soon.

Check back tomorrow when I may or may not post a scene from my NaNo.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Book #1: "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger

[Note: this is the second time I am reading this book, so I might be a little biased]

I'm not quite sure how to even begin talking about this book. It's quite possibly one of the most unique and beautiful love stories I have read, and one of the most haunting. I know most people cringe inwardly when they hear a love story praised, immediately picturing cloying schmaltz and cheap little romantic platitudes, but 'The Time Traveler's Wife' is anything but.

The book focuses almost entirely on the two central characters: Henry DeTamble and Claire Abshire. Henry is a time traveler. But this is no fun and amusing condition; for him, it is a disease that he has no control over and more often than not throws him into dangerous and possibly fatal situations. Niffenegger takes an often used science-fiction device and twists it into an entirely (to me, anyway) new concept: Henry is cursed by his "ability", never knowing when he might vanish or where he will reappear. The only thing keeping him from disintegrating entirely is Claire, his wife, whom he meets when she is 20 and he is 28 (though when Claire first meets Henry she is 6 and he is 35) . We learn of Henry and Claire's life together, as her life follows one straight line interrupted every now and then by meeting Henry as he reappears in her life--sometimes he is 34, sometimes 41.Their story is intricate and fascinating; we learn early on that the two will eventually get married, so it is a matter of learning how they came to that point, their love growing and changing, painful and filled with absence and longing.

The story shifts between Henry and Claire's points of views. Niffenegger gives Henry an always urgent, almost frantic voice. Because he cannot control his time traveling and can disappear at almost any time and reappear in an unknown place completely naked and lost, Henry is always on the move, always alert. Niffenegger makes Henry a very complex character; while sometimes he comes off a little unlikeable (certainly so to some of the people around him), he is always sympathetic. There are points when he knows everything that will happen, but more often than not he is thrown into horrible situations, and he rages helplessly, trying only to survive and return to Claire.

Claire could have easily been a weeping wallflower, doing nothing but staying at home waiting for Henry to return. Yet she is written as an incredibly resilient and patient woman; strong for herself but also because Henry needs her to be. She suffers, yes, but she remains always strong and hopeful; she accepts Henry's problem without a second thought, because she believes so strongly in their love, and because they need each other to survive. She is the unshakable and impressive, and she easily became my favorite character. Her family makes for a set of very interesting supporting characters, and the scenes set at her family home are as tense and strange as any family reunion you have ever been to.

Niffenegger is a gifted storyteller. She flows flawlessly through the complicated timeline and draws fascinating characters everywhere; even the supporting players are clearly written and could have great stories of their own. And she understands love. This is hard for me to explain, but Niffenegger writes Henry and Claire's relationship with no embellishments: they have fights and problems, their characters are very different but they compliment each other. Their love is beautiful and touching because it is so real, as extraordinary as their circumstances are. It is one of the most insightful looks at relationships I have ever read. And it made me cry about four times. Claire and Henry's love is so powerful, true, and sad, and told so simply and beautifully, that the writing never comes off as unrealistic or cloying. It's moving without being cheaply sentimental, simply and beautifully written.

'The Time Traveler's Wife' deserves a second read. The shifting timeline might get a little complicated sometimes, so a re-read will help sort out the threads of the story. And, like Henry discovers, knowing everything that is going to happen won't take away any of the magic of living it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An irresistable pull.

Oh, no.

It's 2:30am and I can't go to sleep. My usual routine involves watching TV after I've turned off the computer. Then I get into bed and grab whatever I'm reading until I'm tired enough to stop. Taking off my glasses always helps expedite this process.

But every now and then, my reading material turns out to be something I can't for the life of me put down and stop reading even though I know I should because it's already very, very late and I really should just get some sleep.

This time, it's "The Time Traveler's Wife". It's my first book for the Cannonball Read (100 books in a year...I think I've done 50 before). I started it last week and haven't been able to put it down, and now that it's getting to the end I'm getting that feeling of dread in my gut because I don't want to finish it. In this case I also have a horrible feeling that the ending will leave me in a puddle of my own tears and I won't be able to sleep anyway. Sometimes I fucking hate really awesome books.

So even though my eyes aren't that tired yet, I decided to get up and try to make myself sleepy by writing this.

Doesn't work. Dammit. All I keep thinking about is going back to bed and finishing the damned thing already--might as well, right?

Of course right. Stupid book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another totally random and pointless list:

Top 5 Movies I Will Watch Any Time They're On TV (...and they are on ALL the time):

1. Sense and Sensibility
2. The 40 Year Old Virgin
3. The Last of the Mohicans
4. Grease
5. Independence Day

Yes, I have impeccable taste.

Friday, October 17, 2008

TV Wednesdays: An Ode to America's Next Top Model

Oh, I have fallen behind!

Never fear, the update is here! And boy, do I have a lot to say!


This is one of my favorite nights of the week. Why? One very simple reason: it features what is probably one of the best shows (and by far best in the reality category) in Television history...

America's Next Top Model

That's right. I said it. This is my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, the show that has never disappointed me in my search for the highest levels of ridiculous imaginable; the show that has introduced me to such classic terms as "Fierce!" and "smile with your eyes!" and "Ugly pretty!"; the show that makes me cackle in glee with every episode.

You guys, this is the best show *EVER*.

I know what you're thinking. Let me put it in equation form.

You say....

Models + Tyra Banks + reality show = everything that is wrong with the world.

I say...

Brainless girls (because, come on, none of these girls will ever be a real model, let alone a "top" model) + relentless camp + hilariously bad clothes + Tyra Banks's utter insanity + everyone (but Tyra) knowing this show is a complete joke and pretending to take it like it's the most important show in history = TELEVISION GOLD.

I cannot stress the pure, unadulterated enjoyment I get out of this show. It's a ridiculous hour of television, but everyone involved knows it, and there's nothing I love more than mindless, harmless entertainment. This is one of the things TV was made for You take this show with a grain of salt, and it'll be the most fun you ever have.

Though of course, if you even think about it a little bit, you'll be disgusted (as you probably are reading this) and will try very, very hard to ignore it for the rest of your life. Don't blame you. I used to loathe the very mention of this show until I watched it by accident with my college roomate (we had nothing better to do, ok?) and realized that it was one of the few honest shows in television: it knows it's a joke, it knows it's a circus, and offers nothing more than to give you a good time. It's the one show that never disappoints. There are no bad episodes, because they're all equally hilarious and silly. And it's a pleasure to watch.

Every episode follows roughly the same formula. The girls (14 to start with), who all very seriously believe that this show will get them fame and fortune (even though after 10 seasons not one of the previous winners has even come close to reaching super-modeldom) are given some sort of modeling "class" and "challenge" at the start of each episode. These usually range from learning how to pose with a guy called Benny Ninja, my favorite supporting character who is the most flamboyant gay man you can imagine, to learning how to walk down a runway with coach Miss Jay (a black man who is, expectedly, beyond flamboyant and insane), to learning how to shill cheap Cover Girl products to high-class make-up stores like Wal-Mart. Mmhmm. A challenge winner is chosen and gets some cheap prize, usually consisting of jewelry or ugly clothes.

The second part of the episode is a photo shoot. Tyra picks out some ridiculous concept (natural disasters, "voting is sexy", underwater photography, etc) and the girls take turn practicing what they learned in their "lessons" while having this guy called Jay Manuel (another flamboyantly gay man with orange skin and silver hair, whose job has never been clearly specified) shout out useless instructions at them while they pose. The episode ends with "Panel", where each girl's best photograph is judged by Tyra Banks, Miss Jay, a bitchy british photographer called Nigel Barker and a real, former supermodel (the role has been filled by Janice Dickinson, Twiggy, and this year by Paulina Petriskova [sp]).

Panel is the best part of the entire episode. The girls are SUPPOSEDLY judged by how good their photographs are, but the guidelines for this are very blurry, and most of the time the girls are judged by something outside the photographs; their personalities (because everyone knows that what counts in modeling is how shrill and "crazy" you are in person), how bitchy they were to the photographers, or just how much Tyra Banks likes you. This is where our illustrous host shines. The show is clearly all about Tyra, and she lays down the law over who wins or who gets to go home. She gives out ridiculous advice ("smile with your eyes!" "stretch your neck!") with her insane eyes, and woe to whomever encourages the wrath of the Tyra monster. There was an epic moment a few seasons ago when Tyra exploded in fake yelling at a girl for "not being grateful" that Tyra had magnanimously put her on the show.


In the end, two girls are picked for having the worst pictures, or rather, for not being good enough for Tyra. One is kicked off the show and fades into utter obscurity. And that's the show.

With a formula this simple, it's easy for a show to get repetitive and predictable; but that's not a danger in ANTM. It's completely predictable only because we know how insane Tyra Banks is, but it can't be repetitive because the range of girls chosen is usually highly varied and the photoshoots and challenges get increasingly more insane as the seasons go by.

It's the one show you can watch that will never disappoint you. You can root for one girl or another, but you know it won't make a bit of difference how good a model the girl is, because Tyra will choose whomever will make Tyra look better. Tyra LOVES picking out "firsts", for example, the First Blonde Winner of ANTM, the First "Plus-sized" Winner (who was, hilariously, a size six), and the First Winner To Come Out of Tyra's Model Camp (that's a real thing). She loves pretending that any of this matters, while everyone around her knows that if any of these girls were really meant to be models, they wouldn't have auditioned for this show at all.

In short: you don't watch this show for the realism: you watch it because it's hilarious and insane. Judge me all you want for loving ANTM, I will keep watching as long as its on, and at least I'll know before you do that the moment has come in which Tyra Banks has decided to take over the world.

And who'll be laughing then? HA.


Oh, boy. Do I ever shut up? NAY! There's more!

OK, not really. The only other thing that's watchable to me on Wednesdays is Pushing Daisies , a quirky little show about death and love, that is sadly too formulaic and too over-the-top cutesy for me to watch regularly. It's a visually stunning show, Lee Pace is a total dreamboat and Kirsten Chenowith is hilarious, but, really, it's very twee and too saccharine for my tastes. And I know, I just spent an hour praising ANTM, but if I can't get into a show, I just can't. Besides, it doesn't seem like it'll last very long, so better to not get too attached. As with a lot of other shows, I'll watch the odd episode every now and then, but will usually lose interest halfway through. It's a procedural wrapped in very pretty paper and bows, and not something that'll hold my interest for very long.

Check it out if you like murder mysteries and quirk with a touch of dark, if that's your kind of thing. You might like it.

And that's it. Please give ANTM a chance, and remember: don't feed the models. Or Tyra Banks, because she will eat your hand, and then, THE WHOLE WORLD.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The pit that is Tuesday nights, plus a movie reccomendation





Nothing. I watched nothing at all. Tuesday night is the deadland of the television week; the pit, the desert, the Bermuda Triangle, the North Dakota of the week. It is where bad shows half-heartedly pushed by the networks go to die. It's a night of procedurals and results shows, the night where absolutely nothing catches my interest. Tuesday night is a night of Channel Flipping.

I suppose I could have watched House, but there's only so much of that formula I can take. House is the Corn Flakes of cereal-- bland, unsurprising, repetitive, the thing you eat when there's nothing else in the house, and it might be tasty for about 5 seconds but you'll end up bored by the second spoonful. While Hugh Laurie is fantastic, he deserves something better than this frutrating and stupidly repetitive show, where he is surrounded by annoying characters and increasingly ridiculous plot lines. I'll watch maybe one episode a month, but it's definetely not something I can watch week after week.

The only other choice this night is the Dancing With the Stars results show, and if you don't watch that silly show on the night that matters, why would you watch an hour of 'tense' expectation and filler? Not worth it, even if you do like the competition. Results shows are the pits.

I'm very lucky to have a pretty varied package of channels from our cable provider, so there's always something or other playing that might catch my interest for a while. Last night, for example, I watched "Memento" for about the 6th time, and was again confused because I didn't pay attention for 5 minutes. Oh brain movies, you deserve better than my scattered brain.

Watch this movie. It's trippy and strange and confusing, but with flawless direction by my new hero, Christopher Nolan, and Guy Pearce's freakishly angular yet fascinating bone structure, it's definitely worth a watch. It also features my favorite That Guy!, Stephen Tobolowsky, who makes every movie he's in pretty awesome indeed.

So that was my Tuesday night. Memento, reruns, pointless talking at the tv for being useless, and other such filler.

I'm bored just writing this entry. I'll have something better tomorrow, I promise, for tonight is the night of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures; America's Next Top Model, plus Pushing Daisies, a nice little show I have some thoughts on (oh Figgy, what don't you have thoughts on? Shut up!). I also have to tell you guys about this craptastic Mexican teenage soap-opera I've been watching, whose rampant misogyny and stupidity deserves its own lengthy post. It shall be forthcoming.

This is such a colorless entry. But it's been raining since before I woke up this morning; I can't go out into the garden, I can't play with the dogs, I've been sapped out of all energy to do anything, even write very enthusiastically.

This calls for a video game.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TV Review: What I'm Watching on Mondays

Confession: I watch a lot of TV.


Shocking news, I KNOW!

I won't attempt to justify it or explain myself; one of the things I've pledged to myself in starting this blog is that I'll stop justifying or defending myself for the things I like or don't like. It's my life and I'll do what I want to, etc, etc, etc rousing 80s music. Don't like it, don't read it, go find someone else to lecture on the effects of trash tv on intelligent brains. Talk to the hand cos the fig don't wanna hear it.

Oh, right and I need to be less defensive all the time ;)


So, yeah, I watch TV a lot. And one of the things I'd like to feature on this blawg is just reviews of what I'm watching, listening to, reading, loving, hating, etc at the moment. In the best of cases, I could convince someone to give something new a chance. In the worst of cases, no one will care, but at least I would've written it down, myself. So, win/win. Win. We ALL win!

Well that's all nice and fine, Figgy, but where's the damned entry?

Oh, right! Here it is!


WHAT FIGGY IS WATCHING ON...MONDAY (onday! onday! onday):

Now that the TV fall season is in full swing, my TV watching schedule is finally shaping up, and I've settled on a slew of shows to watch every week. Of course, this is only sustainable until one of four things happens: a) reruns start showing up, b) the times change due to DST ending or starting, c) one of these shows starts to suck and gets the figurative axe in my mind and d) I get a job again and can't stay up til 1am every day. So while I'll have some DEFINITE shows on my viewing ritual, there will also be ALTERNATES and changes. What I'm saying is nothing is written in stone.


Monday night starts with Heroes.

I've been watching Heroes since the very first episode, mostly because I'm a sucker for anything with superheroes in it and will give most of these shows a chance. Smallville fell by the wayside half an episode in, but Heroes managed to hook me completely in the first season. Good characters, lots of good super powers going insane, very pretty visuals, good storyline, not to mention the oodles of man candy prancing around in very little clothing. It all worked really well, and I was easily addicted.

Then came the second season. To put it succintly, it blew chunks. Big ones. The shrinking of the season (because of the writers' strike) apparently shrunk the talents of everyone involved in the show. The plots were either messy or completely uninteresting. New, largely useless and disposable characters were added left and right while older characters became increasingly stupid and annoying while being mired in nonsensical plot lines that never went anywhere. The whole thing sucked, and we went into summer hiatus hoping for an improvement for the next season.

The new season's started (the 5th episode aired last night), and I've been largely disappointed. While the show has somewhat returned to caring more about its lead characters and some interesting plot lines have been set in place (but again, not til last night!), the show has become largely dependant on rehashing plots (visiting the future, saving the world, people making stupid decisions and having to fix them) and very impressive visuals while sacrificing character development and, well, interesting plots. It's become really soap-operaish, and there's no end to the amount of yelling I do at the TV every monday night.

Last night's episode was decent; I'd give it at most a B. While some really annoying characters SEEM to have been taken care of, I wouldn't put it past the ridiculous plot "twists" of this show to bring them back. The writers seem really scared to go balls-out with killing characters or plotlines; they usually settle for predictable and melodramatic, and it wears very thin very quickly. I can easily think of 5 characters (Tracy, Matt, Mohinder, Hiro, Nathan) who either need to be killed off or get some IMMEDIATE revamping before I get completely tired of them. When we've come to the point where I'm completely uninterested in Mohinder's impressive shirtlessness, you know we're in trouble.

While Hiro seems to have made quite a surprising switch-around (though again it might be some lame fake-out), Nathan and Tracy have done nothing but stand around pondering their lives and powers and not making a decision for 5 episodes, and it's come to the point where I get angry when they even show up on screen. And I used to LOVE Nathan and Hiro! And where are Elle and Micah and Monica? If you're gonna hire someone as cute and awesome as Kirsten Bell, have her DO something in your show! And Monica's power was pretty interesting, but she seems to have completely disappeared from the map.

Is there a way out of the hole that Heroes has dug itself into? Maybe. Probably not; by this time in the season thing should've gotten better, you know? But all is not lost yet, and maybe the writers will be clued into the fan's disgust from the falling ratings (between week two and week three Heroes viewership dropped 11%!) to make some necessary changes and bring Heroes back to its first season of awesomeness.

Will I keep watching? Sure. For a while, anyway. The only other option at this time is Dancing With the Stars, and while that might be fun when you need something useless and glittery, it's not something I'll ever get into. It's too repetitive for my tastes.

Oof. That was a long rant. But let's keep going.

Next is Gossip Girl on the CW. Yeah, I know, I can't believe I'm watching a show called 'Gossip Girl', either. But I admit I'm a sucker for clever little teen soap operas with pretty clothes and fun storylines, and this show fills those requirements perfectly. Yes, it's vapid and ridiculous in its depiction of uber rich children in Manhattan, but the writing is surprisingly clever and insightful, and it can be pretty hilarious at times. It's a pretty fantastic guilty pleasure of a show, and it's refreshing to watch a well written silly show every now and then. Plus, you get to see some ridiculous clothes (Oh, Chuck) and outrageous storylines, which is always fun.

After that, my COSMOPOLITAN CHANNEL (yurgh) shows a marathon of Sex and the City from 10-12 (6 episodes) that I watch out of some inexplicable compulsion to make my brain hurt. It's a fantastically stupid and sometimes offensive and insipid show, but every now and then you get a fun plotline and very pretty clothes (none of them involving Carrie, surprise surprise) and some clever writing. I started watching to see what the BFD was, and I got sucked in, and while it's largely annoying and vapid and I want to slap Carrie every time she opens her mouth, I like it enough to watch it after everyone has gone to bed and there's nothing else playing on tv but news and bad movies.

So that's my Monday. If I get annoyed at any of the former there's always some Seinfeld or Friends rerun airing somewhere (it's a truth universally acknowledged that you will find either of these shows, plus Law and Order-which I don't watch- playing on some channel at any time of the day, any day of the week) and I'll watch that while playing a computer game or drawing.

Hey, I also read a lot. So don't give me that look.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's presentation of What Figgy is Watching On Tuesdays. I promise it won't be this long.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A good start to a bad morning:


Who doesn't love baby animals? Who doesn't love giraffes? Who doesn't need a good dose of cute on a Monday morning?

For no reason at all, here is a gratuitious list:

My top 5 Favorite Animals:

1. Elephants
2. Turtles
3. Giraffes
4. Really tiny monkeys
5. Sloths [have you seen them? they're hilarious!]

I will watch just about anything on Animal Planet (except for those shows on chimpanzees, I am just not cool on those). I find myself specially entranced by those shows on the Discovery Channel where they go down to the bottom of the ocean and find those total freak show animals with lots of legs and shiny eyes. Nightmarish stuff, but completely fascinating.

A good start.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The beginning of a beautiful friendship...


So I've decided to start this new, more public blog so as to have a place where I can write about less personal, more general topics and not be worried about who'll get to see them.

Basically, it'll be rants, whines, and other such general "Oh-I-love-to-hear-myself-talk" posts on topics from tv and movie reviews to how cute my dogs are. You know, just general crap not fit for my more sikkrit journal.

*twiddles thumbs*

I'll post something else eventually.