Saturday, December 31, 2011

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Clearly, this video is the vogue pick of New Year's Eve 2011/2012. :) Zooey Deschenel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt strum along on "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve." Enjoy!

'Til next time!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy 75th Birthday, Mary!

It happened approximately two years ago. In my Composition class, my teacher assigned us to pick an ennobling figure in history. For the rest of the semester, we would go through the detailed and incredibly frustrating steps of writing an essay on exactly why this person was a respectable being.

I said, "That'll be EASY!" First thing was first; I needed to pick my "ennobling figure." Many celebrities came to mind in those early thoughts. John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, and Eleanor Roosevelt are some of the names. And I easily started researching biographies I could check out from the library or buy from the local bookstore. In the end, I found nothing that would intrigue me to write a ten page paper, however.

About a week later, I decided upon the "Unsinkible Molly Brown." She was ennobling enough. She had gusto, achievement, and opinions to boot. PERFECT. But later that night, I found no existence of a biography. We needed a biography for one of the papers. I didn't have a biography for my person. I WAS DOOMED! It was not the first time I had been in a dilemma about the class, either. And I had only been in there for three or four weeks! My mom, knowing I had to find somebody, walked into the kitchen, where I was pouting just then, face down on the counter.

"Can you think of anybody?" I asked in desperation. "I need to decide by tomorrow."
"You should do someone cool. Like Billy Graham or someone like that."
I may have twisted in disgust. No offense to Mr. Graham, but I did not want this project to be completely educational. I wanted it to be fun, light, FUN.
"I'm more into pop culture."
She turned the water on to do the dishes. "Carol Burnett."
"I don't know her."
"Well, there are a lot of people you could do," she said encouragingly. "Dick Van Dyke."
A spark went off. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Mary Poppins. He seems like an interesting character. He did have his own show.
"Was he ennobling?" I asked.
"He made a lot of people happy. He was a great dancer. He had his own show."
I exploded. "Duh! Do you think I was born yesterday?" (I become a bit crabby in those stressful times.) "Did he progress society in any way?"
"I don't think so."
"How am I supposed to write a ten page paper about him then?"
"How about Mary Tyler Moore? She had her own show. Plus, she was a pretty big thing back then. I loved her."

I eventually decided to take on Mary Tyler, although all I knew about her was that she was on the Dick Van Dyke Show. Needless to say, I had a lot of work to do.

I began researching. Mary struggled with diabetes, felt the need to be a perfectionist, and rose as a strong but subtle push for feminists everywhere. I read books, journals, and did nearly everything else I could. And somewhere in the process, the sweetheart of the 70s swept me away with her winning smile and difficult yet shining life. She lifted my spirits, made me beam, and showed me a life far removed from my own. For someone who I have never met, she taught me more than a lot of people. I could have never known at the time, but Mary ended up being one of the closest friends I would never meet.

On spring break that semester, I traveled down to the Twin Cities to go to a play at the dinner theatre there. (I had received tickets for my birthday.) Knee deep in three Mary books, a couple seasons of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and articles about feminists on TV, I felt a need to expound on my research.

It is a known fact that the Mary Tyler Moore Show is set in Minneapolis, where Mary's character is the associate producer at WJM-TV, a news station. In honorarium, a statue of Mary, in her award-winning, berret-twirling pose, stands on one corner of Nicollet Mall, where the opening credits were actually filmed. While I scoff at the innacuracy in its location, (She did throw it at that corner, but she was filmed tossing her hat in the middle of the intersection, not on the sidewalk. The story of it is quite endearing, how she was dodging traffic and all.) I begged my fellow travelers, including my dear friend Jamie, to stop at the statue on our way through Minneapolis.

"We're going to go around the block once and be back here then. Okay?"
"Sounds good!" Jamie and I yelled as we hopped out of the van.
We hadn't known that a Vikings game was ensuing in the coming hour. We also didn't know how many people walked to the game. We waded through crowds of purple and gold, swerved between taxis and runaway buses, and nearly fell victim to theft as we crossed the street with a camera in tow.
There, gleaming in the overcast smog of the metal jungle, was Mary. I had known her for so long, and here she was. Finally.
"Let's go! They're going to be back," Jamie said.
"All right. Let's hurry."
"Go and stand by her," Jamie said, pushing the camera up and nearly backing up into traffic.
She snapped a picture.
"Perfect. Now me."
We exchanged the camera. She copied Mary's classic berret-tossing pose, one hand in the air.
I snapped the picture.
At that point, the statue was relatively clear of tourists. However, when somebody sees someone taking a picture, others take one too. It's mob mentality, I believe. I can just imagine: "That statue must be important! Let's take one too!" That is exactly what happened.
Two men speaking a foreign language rushed up the statue in apparent enthusiasm. They shoved a camera at Jamie and posed for a picture. A group of middle-aged women snapped pictures both from near and far. At this point, I would not have been surprised if Ferris Bueller came floating down the street in a parade, eventually whipping off his German song float and popping up on the statue to kiss Mary on the cheek.
Jamie handed the camera back. "Let's go!"
It became a frenzy around the statue as we rushed away.

As the class ended that spring, I was both happy and sad to see my time with Mary draw to an end. I had connected with her in so many ways. I found so much of me in her. I learned a lot in the class as well. You see, I have this theory. The more frustration a class causes, the more a student learns. Considering that I bawled my eyes out one day, on a scale from 1-10 (1 being not learning and 10 being learned a lot), I would rate the class at 11. I owe my teacher and Mary for those valuable lessons in Composition.

Thus, I conclude. To the woman who taught me to stand up when times are tough, who could turn the world on with her smile, and who caused social change with mere inferences of feminism, I would like to say one thing. Happy 75th birthday, Mary!

'Til next time!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Music Monday (Kind of): 'Til the Season Comes 'Round Again

Throughout this holiday season, my mom's Christmas mix CD played well over 100 times. I kid you not, I could predict exactly what song came next just after the previous one finished. Overall though, it's a great mix of Christmas tunes. The essentials really. The Carpenters, Bing, Andy Williams, and all those other fantastic folks we associate with Christmas music are on there.

The final song that plays on the CD is "'Til the Season Comes 'Round Again" by Kenny Rogers. Quite appropriate, if you ask me. From earlier posts, you fine folks know that I'm addicted to those classic artists. The Dollys, Kennys, Karens, and Pauls of the music universe, but this one touches me in that yuletide way that makes me run for a cup of coacoa and a Christmas book, as is the urge of many other listeners. It's amazing how Christ's birth can bring families together in that way. And even for one day in the year, even with the stress, and the disappointments that happen so frequently, we are together. The sweet melody of this tune gets me everytime. :) I hope you enjoy!

'Til next time! Merry Christmas! (P.S. I was informed today that the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" refers to the first day being December 25th. Therefore, I can validate posting Christmas things until January 6th.) ;)

Favorite Holiday Quote this year:
Mom: "Grandpa always kind of looked like Andy Williams. But his voice sounded exactly like Bing Crosby."
Me: "Well that's pretty biased."

Becoming Superheroes

My friend Jenn and I decided we're going to become superheroes in our free time.

And let me tell you right now, it wasn't an easy decision. All in all, I think it was hardest to pick our powers. In the concept of "moonlighting" hero work, I named her Moonbeam and me Apollo. Naturally, she'll be able to manipulate light, and I'll be able to manipulate solar radiation. I'll be her sidekick.

For costumes, I was thinking maybe a darker blue for her costume with accents of white and lighter blue. Maybe purple. For me, a sheer rustic orange with whites and yellows and reds creating a soft glow. [See pictures above for the color schemes.]

Either way, Savers is calling our names. Facemasks? Yes. Capes? Of course. Tights? You wouldn't be a super hero without them! What a fantastic idea.

Watch for Moonbeam and Apollo in a city near you! (Maybe, we'll see.)

'Til next time!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Music (Christmas) Monday: It Could Happen Again

This is a song that my family has played time and again every Christmas. "It Could Happen Again" by Collin Raye. It's one of my favorites. :) Johnny Cash introduces it.

'Til next time!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rent-A-Film Friday: Home Alone

It's time for the Christmas classic we all love! Am I talking about It's a Wonderful Life? That would be a no, Bob. I'm talking about the (yet again) John Hughes classic Home Alone, starring McCulley (sp?) Culkin (sp?)! I tell ya, those names get me every time.

"I made me family disappear? I made my family disappear. *Eyes flail with enjoyment. Cue jazz music."

With music composed by John Williams (duh, Jurassic Park and Star Wars), there's a whole lotta talent. Katherine O'Hara, the "wet bandits," the dweeby sister that thinks she can speak French because they're going to France. FANTASTIC!

So go rent Home Alone! Classic kid movies #FTW (in true "That Hapa Chick," who was featured in a WALL STREET JOURNAL article[!!!], style)

'Til next time!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grab Me That Crystal Ball...

I'm a fortune teller!

A while back, I commented on how I was super excited for Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie and Clyde. (With no signs of Broadway in sight, mind you.) Well, it has run it's first show on the big Broad Way! Starring Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan, this obviously is going to be a smash hit. (I called it, so it must be so.)

I'm gonna take a whirlwind trip to New York to see it, soooooo... yup. It's a real thing. And it's totally not going to be like all the other things I say I'm gonna do and put off for years upon years... Totally not. Okay, maybe it will be. :(

Hahaha! I rule the world! Guess what? The Newsies, you know that other musical that I plugged in one of my longer posts, is headed to Broadway too. Hmmm Hmmm Hmmmm!!! Hahaha! Oh man.

This is one I needs to see. So, all you readers out there... coincidence? Or just my genius that aligns perfectly with the producers of the stage world? ;) I'm completely kidding, but I do find it really cool that they're both coming or are there! How about you?

'Til next time!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And then those 2-VHS sets again...

Today is December 7th, a "day that will go down in infamy," as FDR put it all those years back. When Pearl Harbor struck my mind this morning during devotions, I had such a shock that I nearly fell off my rocker. The attack on Pearl Harbor happened 70 years ago. I'll say that again. SEVENTY YEARS AGO! Yet it is still so prevalent in my mind. It is one of the few dates I remember from American History, after all. Why? Another act of magic by Hollywood, I presume. "Correct as usual, King Friday."

It's even been a while (15 years?) since the movie starring Ben Affleck and that other guy and that one girl and I think Jennifer Garner came out, but it's still one of those classic blockbusters. It was on TV last weekend, I believe. I guess the point of this post is to say that movies really do do a good job of preserving history, even for people that aren't necessarily enthralled with the idea of pouring over historical textbooks. Or if the love story in the movie did not actually happen. That reminds me of Galinda from Wicked. "I don't understand why you can't just teach us history instead of always harping on the past."

Such a sad time. Reflect on all that happened 70 years ago today... 

'Til next time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Want This In My Town

Candy Chang is an urban planner who is clearly and utterly a genius! Check this out.

In her New Orleans neighborhood, she developed a concept that brought the dreams of a community into one moving piece of art. It's called the "Before I Die" project and has spread to various cities throughout the world as well.

Basically what it is is a giant chalkboard developed on the side of a run-down building. Here, chalk paint was plastered on the run-down and make-shift boards, and white spray paint left blanks for citizens to fill. With dreams of hope, this particular city filled the board within a day.

Of course, it has to be approved! :)

I had to laugh at the "Meet Justin Bieber" on the bottom there. :) But everyone has dreams...

And now you can make a difference too! Check it out!

And please check out Candy's website as well.

I hope you were inspired by this! The urban planner in me sure was! :)

'Til next time!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Music Monday: Those Teen Pop Sensations

Don't ask me why. I have no idea, but America seems to wrap these little beep-bops in their little finger. I don't know whether it's supposed to be like this. (After all, they are just kids.) But they seem to come out with some good music. Let's take roll call of the kids that are skipping class today.

We'll start off with a double-whammey! Justin Bieber (my bro's fave) and Jaden Smith are too cool for school. J-Biebs (as I like to call him) is finally growing out of that falsetto voice. I don't know what that means for his plan to take over the world with those double-high E's of his, but we'll see... Jaden Smith is obviously Will and Jada Smith's kid. He's got some talent to boot. I wonder if he goes to school...

This Rhianna wanna-be has some talent, I'll admit. But I kind of wonder what she's doing right now... it'd be 12:30 in New York. She's actually probably out to lunch with Rhianna. Do you whip your hair back in forth?

And then there's those Disney channel stars who've seemed to take a liking to "that Bieber kid." One of which includes Selena Gomez. No doubt that she's besties with Taylor Swift, who she's sat by at many award shows in the past. Plus, she seems creative enough. Her album covers say as much... but then again a bunch of other people are responsible for that.

And those are just the current ones! We can't forget about Shaun Cassidy or Donny and Marie or anyone in the Mickey Mouse Club or any other of those pop teen sensations. Question of the day: Did these kids choose to go into showbiz or was it their parents "encouraging" them? We all know the power of parent influence, do we not? So let's just mull that one over.

Talented? Yes. Happy? Only time will tell.

'Til next time!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rent-A-Film Friday: The Music Man

Disney's 2003 rendition of Meredith Willson's The Music Man will forever have a place in my heart. #1 Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is in it and is fantastic. #2 Kristin Chenoweth is on my list of top actresses. That woman is talented. #3 "You really ought to give Iowa a try..." So why not watch it?

Last night, I watched a movie on a week night for the first time in... FOREVER. It's no coincidence that it was The Music Man. I love it and have this nagging thing about watching a movie or reading a book when a certain part is stuck in my head. I just love the whole movie, so I needed to watch it. I didn't get to finish it, so I'm picking up on it tonight. :)

"Trouble my friends. I'll tell ya we got trouble right here right here... Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with pool. Now I know you're all the right kind of parents..."

This being written, I highly recommend it, even if you are partial to the first rendition of the classic. "He's a music man. He's a what? He's a what? He's a music man."

I hope you have a new-found craving for seeing this movie and running out and trying to find it at a late hour. :D You're welcome.

'Til next time!

Music Monday/Friday: Fine By Me

Now that this song has hit the waves, I don't have to be ashamed of liking it. So I've been addicted to Andy Grammer's song "Fine By Me." I guess you could call it a wake song... It's in the wake of his earlier single "Keep Your Head Up," which is equally as good in my opinion. I realize that people disagree though. One of my classmates blatantly referred to it as "Crap Music." I'd like to know what he's listening to that SO much better. Indie rock? I don't think so...

But anyway, here's "Fine By Me."

Now this is a big deal for me. If you haven't noticed by my choices in music, I'm not exactly a big fan of any guy singers. However, Grammer has that sort of jazzy vibe in his music that I find addicting. Will he have 5 singles on one CD like Katy Perry? Unlikely, but some of them are rather good. What are your thoughts?

'Til next time!
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