30 Days of Me: Day 08 - A photo that makes you angry or sad

Well I can't really think of one specifically, but any photos that show abuse, cruelty or make fun of people in a not nice way really upset me.

I once saw an LOLcat picture where it was A TON of kittens in hamper sack or something. It was taken to be funny, but I agreed with a lot of the comments where that's just cruel as they're all piled on top of each other and clearly they're struggling to get out - gotta feel bad for the poor kittens that got stuck on bottom with all the others on top - that's just cruel!

And of course the Urban Outfitters ad with the super skinny teen wearing the "Eat Less" shirt - something like that which promotes troublesome stuff, I'm just not a fan of.

I guess you could say photos of my ex upset me a bit too - I removed all the photos of us together during those years in college and put em all in an envelope. I'm not one to burn or destroy photos and stuff like that (unlike my sis apparently), as who knows, maybe one day I won't be so bitter towards him for wasting that much time of my life and I'm sure our kids will probably one day ask about our exes as well. As much as I hate that I wasted nearly 3 and a half years with him, hoping he'd get his shit together and we'd have a future together, there were some fun times during our first year or so, although things toward the end and even after kind of jaded my feelings towards the entire relationship. I just prefer not to keep those photos handy as at this point in my life, it just angers and upsets me to look at them, as it reminds me what a lazyass he turned out to be and the waste of time I spent with him during the majority of my college years. Maybe one day I'll be able to look back at them and remember the good times, but for now, I'd rather not.

What photos anger you or make you sad?

My first pedi

http://www.expressnightout.com/content/photos/20100625-spreadmain-250.jpgToday I got my first official professional pedicure.

Shocking, I know, that I'm 26 and never had one before. I've had friends do them in the past and of course I've done stuff at home, but I've never actually gone to a salon and had them done.

And no, I didn't get one done for my wedding. I found a nice spa and salon in town that had the best price on massages and since I was paying for it myself I opted for just the manicure, as I didn't have enough to spend to get the pedicure and I figured my dress was long enough so it wasn't like anyone was going to see my feet anyway so I just painted my toenails myself.

My family is going to a wedding at Gettysburg this weekend and mom wanted her feet to look nice and decided to treat me to one too for my birthday. My sis also came with us.

It was pretty interesting!

I got there a few minutes before my mom and sis since I was driving over from work and my mom had to pick my sister up from school. At first the fumes were like "whoa!" when I walked in and smelled the nail polish and acetone and stuff -  I'm sure my preggo hormones were amplifying it by like a million too - but after a few minutes I was fine.

We each picked out a color - I got like a teal/turquoise color. It looked more blue in the bottle but on my toes it's got a slight tint of a blue-greenish color to it.

They had us roll up our pant legs and slide our feet into the tub portion of the chair which was filled with warm water and had like jets blowing. The chair we sat in had a back massager in it too which felt nice. They started making our feet look nice, doing a process one foot, then switching to the other and back and forth a few times. Then they massaged lotion onto the bottom of our legs and feet, which felt nice and then they eventually colored our toenails and then had us sit around for a bit while they dried.

They had a TV with GSN on so we got to watch the end of Deal or No Deal, where this guy sold his case for $81,000 when he still had like 4 or 5 amounts left in each column. He had gone another round, the offer would have been $249,000! Eventually, had he kept going, the highest deal he could have gotten was almost $550,000! They opened his case... dude had the $1,000,000 case and he sold it for $81,000! Ouch! We also watched a half hour game show called Catch 21, which is hosted by Carlton from Fresh Prince. The dude on that one won the grand prize of $25,000 as in the final round he got all 3 sets of cards to 21.

But yeah, that was my time in the salon. Doubt I'll go again this winter, as no one sees your feet in the winter, but maybe at the beginning of next summer I'll go - for $20 it was a pretty good deal and mom says the polish stays on and doesn't chip for quite awhile too!


Birthday Weekend 2010

As some may know, yesturday I turned 26.

I'm kind of indifferent about 26, as it's a number of no real importance. All it means is that I'm 1 year closer to 30 (yuck!). It also doesn't help that it's an even number and unless the number is 24, 54 or 72, I don't really like even numbers - weird, I know, but it's just one of those strange little things, lol...

I decided I'm going to be like Fran Fine from The Nanny and just stop keeping track of my birthday after 29, lol... afterall, 29 is my golden birthday (which is also the same year as hubby's, as he'll 30 on the 30th of October the same year I turn 29 on the 29th of August - big party that September? I think so!)

Anyways, I mentioned in this past Friday's Flashback Friday that I had to get the sticker on my plates and my driver's license renewed, as my license expired yesturday and my sticker expires tomorrow, so Friday I went and spent a good hour or so doing that.

I got there and there wasn't a line for either, so I went up to the main line and told them what I needed to get done. The girl asked which I would rather do first, and I asked what she would suggest. She looked around the room - there was already a ton of people waiting for renewals and other stuff on the one side while the line for the sticker only had 1 person in it. She suggested I quickly go get my sticker first, that way if the renewal took awhile I wouldn't have to worry about not getting my sticker today. So I did that and came back and got a number to wait for the renewal. I was #83, they were only on #69 when I sat down. Fortunately I have a Moto Droid so I sat around and did Facebook, Twitter and played Sudoku while I waited.

While waiting, I saw 2 Asian girls being helped - one must have been a slightly older relative while the one must have been a teenager, as it appeared she was getting her license for the first time - she also didn't seem to speak English very well or understand the process as the other girl kept having to ask her stuff and verify. Anyways, I noticed later, while the one getting her license is sitting at the computers along the back wall, taking the "written" test, the other it sitting in the row of chairs behind her, turned around, helping her! One of the staff that works there came over and told the older one that she could not be sitting anywhere near the other one while she was taking the test, not to mention there were signs up all over the place saying that if it appears you are cheating on the test and are caught you will have to wait 30 days before you can take it again - this girl was lucky she got a warning! The other one moved across the room, while the younger one had this horrified look on her face like "oh no! What's going to happen?" Oops!

Anyways, when it was my turn the process was pretty simple and the guy was thrilled that I had everything handy and was promptly answering his questions - he said it made his job go much smoother. He had me take the vision test and then move over to the cashier who told me which computer in the back to go to for the "written" test, which should really be renamed the "touch screen test" as all you do is select an answer on the screen now. It was mostly signs though and about half the other questions had the correct answer of "all the above" - I aced it, 28 out of 28, woot! I think last time I took it I missed 3 - 2 actual questions (both of which I chose the "more cautious" answer) and 1 sign (in which they show you the color and shape of the sign but there's no text on it).

In the past when they took my photo it was always from the neck up so they got a good profile, but not this time - no, it was basically a close up of my face from the chin up, so basically my photo box is just a blob of skin with some hair, my eyes, nose and mouth. It looks HORRIBLE! And I actually took the time to make myself look good too, but with a close up like that, it just isn't possible, lol...

So that was my time at the DMV on Friday afternoon.

http://whi.s3.prod.lg1x8.simplecdn.net/images/3421089/sem209_39_large.jpg?1282065018Hubby worked til 9pm at the Verizon store Friday (which by the way, he is now officially THE manager at the store he works at, which means a minor pay raise and he gets more bonuses to work towards), so we took a late dinner. I had coupons for both Chili's and TGI Friday's, granting me a free dessert for my birthday, but since I didn't have a preference I let hubby make the call and we went to TGI Friday's and split the Brownie Obsession dessert for free. It was really good - it's a warm moist brownie with Godiva chocolate syrup on it with vanilla ice cream... so yummy, we devoured that!

Sunday we spent the afternoon with my family, having a birthday lunch cookout since my dad had to leave by 230 to catch a plane for this week's business trip and hubby worked all day Saturday.

It was fun, casual and relaxing with hubby, my parents and sis and my aunt, uncle and cousin who all live in town. We had barbeque chicken and mom's awesome potato salad, plus there was fruit and brats. And we had cake and ice cream too - they actually put 26 candles on the cake too, it was a bit amusing!

I pretty much got everything that was on my birthday list - my aunt and uncle gave me the live action Alice in Wonderland DVD while my cousin gave me Disney's Cinderella on DVD (score! Now I just need Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast on DVD). My sister got me the Hot Tub Time Machine DVD, with the intent that I'll let her watch it with me as she hadn't seen it yet and wants to. My parents got me both the Lego Indiana Jones game for Wii (the first one) and Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 for Wii, as well as "A Touch of Dead" which includes all the Sookie Stackhouse short stories (minus "A Tale of Two Blondes" - a short story with Sookie and Pam that came out last month). Mom also wants to take me and my sis for pedicures either tomorrow or Wednesday too, as they're going to a wedding this weekend (at Gettysburg! I wanted to go, but hubby's boss at UPS wouldn't give him Saturday off and I didn't want to leave him home alone for the long holiday weekend). I've never had a pedicure before (shocking, I know!) so I'm excited to finally get one - mom says they do all this massaging stuff too and the seats have massagers in them... sounds great and relaxing! Hubby also ordered me the WoW Windrunner cub - it should be here tomorrow! Yay!

I came home, hubby did laundry and I took a nap and then we had usual Sunday night pizza while watching our regular shows.

All in all, it was a pretty good birthday!

Music Shuffle Monday 08.30.10

1. "Dance, Dance" by Fall Out Boy
http://www.veryicon.com/icon/png/Media/iPod,%20Therefore%20I%20Am/iPod%20Mini%20Blue.pngNot really one of my favorite bands, but these guys got kinda big when I was in college and so you couldn't escape hearing some of their songs. This was one of the few that I didn't mind too much, as it's got a catchy beat and chorus... it was also in a commercial for a sing-along video game thing and that was how I was first exposed to this particular song of Fall Out Boy's. On a funny note, a friend of mine, while in between "bigger" bands, was briefly in a band with a few buddies called "Fall Out Boy Sucks" lol... I thought it was amusing, as when they formed their band, Fall Out Boy was just getting airplay up here.

2. "More Than Words" from the Forgetting Sarah Marshall soundtrack
One of the funnier movies of 2008, the soundtrack to Forgetting Sarah Marshall features a lot of music featured in the movie both by the fictional Aldous Snow fronted band Infant Sorrow, as well as Jason Segal doing is "Dracula's Lament" puppet musical and tracks from that. Some of the other tracks are Hawaiian versions of classics, such as this one. While the lyrics are in Hawaiian, the music is still familiar and quite pretty. You can hear this version play during the end credits of the film.

3. "Nobody's Fool" by Avril Lavigne
This one is from Avril's debut album and has a late 90s/early 2000s pop-rock feel to it. I bought this album as she seemed to dress a lot like me and she seemed like a rocker, although I was quite disappointed after giving it a listen to and realizing that she's more of a poser. As a female singer/songwriter, her stuff is alright and she's gotten better thanks to her work with Glen Ballard (who worked with Alanis Morisette on her groundbreaking debut), but as a rocker chick... no. She has the look, but her sound and attitude it just don't necessary cut it - her sound is definitely not rock, and her whole "attitude" just seems a bit forced, almost like an act.

4. "A Different Kind of Pain" by Cold
This is from Cold's 3rd major album and the last one before their break. There is a lot more piano on this album than the others and it has a completely different feel than their previous albums, which seemed to be more anger-fueled - a lot of the tracks on this one have a feeling of peace and calmness as well as hope. I liked their first big album - 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage - and I really really liked their 2nd big release "Year of the Spider" but this one is up on par with that one in my opinion as the content is just as good, but different in a good way.

5. "No More Tears" by Ozzy
This one was overplayed for awhile on our local rock station, but it's still a pretty fun song to listen to, despite being over 7 minutes long... what rock fan doesn't have some Ozzy in their music collection?


The Right to Drive

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_utpn85k5ndo/S38v5P_J4bI/AAAAAAAAAJw/mw1r8Sd4oxE/s1600/flashbacklogo.jpgToday I have to brave the hell that is known as the DMV - the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Not only do I have to stand in the ridiculously long line to get my license plate sticker renewed (along with everyone else who waited til the end of the month), but I have to wait in the other ridiculously long line to get my driver's license renewed AND take the written test.

Yep, that's right - it's been 10 years this weekend since I started driving and in most cases, for the 10 year renewal you often have to retake either the written test, driving test or if you're really unlucky - both!

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/rules_of_the_road/image/rorcover.gifI got a copy the other week of the latest Illinois Rules of the Road book to look over and study. I figured, I hadn't taken the written test since I first got my permit 10 and a half years ago, so refreshing by reading through the book again might be a good idea! Sure, most of the stuff is common knowledge while driving or you just follow what everyone else is doing, but there's little precise information that you don't really think about - like how far in advance must stop from train tracks, or behind a school bus? How far in advance must you turn on your turn signal? Do you know what causes you to specifically get your license revoked? Or suspended? Even going through the book and the practice questions, I noticed a few that were trick questions! Last time I took it, I think I missed 2 question plus 1 sign - one of the questions was about hydro-planin, the other I think involved a school bus question, in which I put the more cautious answer than the standard one they wanted (what's wrong with take extra precautions around a stopped school bus?).

In light of today's trip to the DMV, I decided to take a flashback to when I first got my driver's license.

At my school it was pretty common that on your 16th birthday, you missed the first few classes of the day to get your license. With mine being within the first week or 2 of school I didn't have to worry about missing a test or anything too important, so my parents let me skip my first few classes and mom took me to the DMV in the neighboring town, as that location was known for being less crowded and they didn't have you drive in any major traffic or on any major roads to take your test.

My 16th birthday was on a Tuesday.

I remember I straightened my hair all perfect, like I often did back then, and I wore a sleeveless light blue turtleneck top (or was it the olive green one?). I wanted to look nice for my photo.

I was a bit nervous though, as I still could not seem to park in a straight parking spot - I could do angled parking just fine and my instructor was shocked when I parallel parked perfectly the first time he had me try it, but I just could not park straight into a spot. I practiced over and over with my instructor, as well as with my mom, but it just wasn't happening. I was relieved to see that the parking lot at his DMV was all angled parking spots!

Unfortunately, when we got there at 8am when they opened, all their computers were down and they weren't sure when they would be back up. There were about 5 other people there with us, all waiting. It wasn't until after 9am that things were back to normal and they could start helping us.

The driving test was simple - I was driving my mom's blue 1995 Pontiac Bonneville which I had practiced with outside my Drive-Right instructor's cars. The tester had me go down the street, make a few turns into a neighborhood and then requested I park on the street either downhill or uphill (I forget which it was). I did as he requested, although I was a bit confused as we weren't on a hill at all - it was a flat street in a neighborhood. We then went around the block (most of this test was right turns I noticed) and were on a busy-ish street in this town, but after a mile or so, we were turning back onto the street where the DMV was located and it was all done. I passed.

My picture turned out pretty awesome - one of the best that I think I ever took! I was sad when I got it renewed at 21 that they didn't let me keep at least the picture like they had always let my dad - the cranky lady at the DMV down near school just tossed it before I could even ask!

http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/W2w6yeOZR1scmYkVuSF9UhdUtQfxq1-EcJBg8aUAqF8A0Yev-XGe2JxmRuhZ4PSlZ2gKMyxd-sxMoAE4LYcSqskPHWp2m_fktsm-ngnqeqGmaWmcmnR9bog9l_fKCqXXaCtT3CxO3gyv4unJEAMbDQI think part of the problem with way I could straight park was because all the cars I had tried with were too "big" - when we got me a car of my own to drive around (a '95 Chevy Corsica, like the one in the picture) I parked straight my first time out with it!

Now there were rules though - unless told otherwise by my parents, I couldn't have any friends ride with me for the first few months til I got used to driving by myself and then I could only have 1 friend riding in the car with me, so I wouldn't be too distracted. I also had to be home by a certain time (I think it was 10pm) as they didn't want me out driving too late at night. They also got me a cell phone a few months later, but it was only for emergencies, in the event that I got in accident or my car broke down or something came up and I needed to call home and let them know I was running late - they didn't want me to be stranded by myself, especially at night, with no way to contact anyone for help.

I hope I easily pass the written test today and that the DMV doesn't take a million years - last time, when I got my name corrected after I got married, it took forever as the first lady messed it up and the 2nd one couldn't figure out what she had done! I could just see having to call up hubby, or my mom even and tell them to come pick me up as I didn't pass the test and couldn't get my license! I also hope I don't look too fat in my photo - being preggo, obviously I've put on weight and it probably shows a little in my face... oops!

Do you remember when you first got your driver's license?


A Retired Person's Trip to Costco

 My dad forwarded this little amusing story to my inbox the other day and I thought I'd share.
Yesterday I was at my local COSTCO buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pets, Riley & Askim - the Wonder dogs.

I was in the checkout line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog. What did she think I had … an elephant?

So since I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog. I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms. I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that  it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again.

(I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both. I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Costco won't let me shop there anymore.

Better watch what you ask retired people - they have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say!

Don't you just love it when people ask you stupid questions in which the answer is obviously a "duh!"? I know both hubby and myself often wish we had made a wildly sarcastic response to such stupid questions!

30 Days of Me: Day 07 - A photo that makes you happy

Well more like a site of photos that makes me happy - I love the LOLcats at the I Can Haz Cheezburger site! Funny pictures of cats in amusing positions with often hilarious captions in "LOL speak."

Just going through the photos and pages on this site, how you can not giggle, laugh or at the very least crack a smile at some of these kitties?

And if you are more of a dog person than a kitty person, they also have a partner site, LOLdogs!


30 Days of Me: Day 06 - Whatever tickles your fancy

Hm... well, there's several of these in this meme.

A song just came up on my iPod that I LOVE - "Halfway Gone" by Lifehouse.

While "Hanging By a Moment" was HUGE when it first came out, I find a lot of Lifehouse's stuff to be a bit too soft and/or sappy for my liking, but for some reason I just love this song - it has a catchy beat and chorus to it and lyrically, it's a pretty simple song, I think, but it's good too (at least I think so). I can't help but sing along and rock out a bit to this one every time it pops out.

Here's the video the pretty neat video (it uses that neat optical/camera illusion) and the lyrics below.

You were always hard to hold
So letting go ain't easy
I'm hanging on but growing cold
While my mind is leaving

Talk, talk is cheap
Give me a word you can keep
Cause you're halfway gone and I'm on way
And I'm feeling, feelin' feelin' this way
Cause I'm halfway in but don't take too long
Cause I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone

I'm halfway gone...I'm halfway gone...

You got one foot out the door
And choking on the other
Always think something more
Is just around the corner

Talk, talk is cheap
Give me a word you can keep (you can keep)
Cause I'm halfway gone and I'm on way
And I'm feeling, feelin' feelin' this way
Cause you're halfway in but don't take too long
Cause I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone

If you want me out, then I'm on my way
And I'm feelin', feelin' feelin' this way
Cause you're halfway in, but don't take too long
Cause I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone (whoa, whoa)

I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone (whoa, whoa)

Now I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone

Don't take too long
Don't take too long
Cause I'm on my way
If you take too long

Cause I'm halfway gone and I'm on way
And I'm feeling, feelin' I'm feelin' this way
Cause you're halfway in but don't take too long
Cause I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone

If you want me out, then I'm on my way
And I'm feelin', feelin' feelin' this way
Cause you're halfway in, but don't take too long
Cause I'm halfway gone, I'm halfway gone (whoa, whoa) 

Cause I'm halfway gone, and I'm halfway gone (whoa, whoa)

Cause I'm halfway gone, yeah I'm halfway gone.


14 week check-up

Today we had our 14 week check-up.

All seems to be good!

Today they checked out my cervix, as I had the LEEP done almost 2 years ago and wanted to make sure the length and everything was good or not as that could cause complications later - doctor said my cervix is nearly 40mm long and said that anything over 30 is considered good, so mine is looking fantastic! They're going to check it again in 4 more weeks as he said up until this point my uterus hasn't really stretched and expanded yet as baby wasn't big enough yet and was just filling in the empty space, but that should begin to change soon.

We saw baby again today too, although the angle from cervix wasn't as good a view as the previous angle we had at our last appointment. Baby appeared to be waving at us this time though - it was cute! The technician didn't mention how big baby was (I think it was hard to measure from that angle) but we did get to hear the heartbeat and it was at a normal 162bpm.

Other than that, the appointment was pretty quick. The doctor said next time we come in we need to let them know if we'd like to do that additional testing which includes checking for spina bifida and other stuff. Do most people do that? Is the testing usually covered by insurance?

Our next appointment is September 20, at 18 weeks 1 day, and then we'll find out at 22 weeks 1 day - days before we go on vacation near the end of October - what baby's gender is (assuming baby is cooperative in its positioning).

Music Shuffle Monday 08.23.10

http://www.veryicon.com/icon/png/Media/iPod,%20Therefore%20I%20Am/iPod%20Mini%20Blue.png1. "Say the Words" (remix) by dcTalk
This one starts out with the intro that kicks off the Jesus Freak album, however this song - which is a remix of the song with the same title that can be found on their early album Free at Last - was one of the "new" tracks found their 2000 greatest hits CD, Intermission. This song has a bit of dance/pop feel to it with a signature rap thrown in as well. This was also the last dcTalk album to feature any new material, as the group released some of their previously unreleased tracks from their early years before taking a break and each member doing their own solo thing - tobyMac becoming a huge success on his own, with Michael Tait being well known as well and eventually becoming the front man for Australian/New Zealand Christian band Newsboys. During my preteen and early teen years these guys were huge at my church and school, as they've been called "the most popular overtly Christian act of all time" which is believable, as their album Jesus Freak broke records in the Christian market and many awards, including a Grammy. Unfortunately I never got to see them live, despite how badly I wanted to catch their Jesus Freak tour back in the day, but rumor is that they're trying to arrange an upcoming reunion tour in the next year or so.

2. "IMN" by Mudvayne
From their album Lost and Found (the first one without the masks and facepaint), this song is typical Mudvayne, with a heavy sound and growling vocals with some melodics. I remember listening to this whole album on my iPod during my Painting I class back in college. Overall, I'd give the album a B, as there were some tracks I really liked where there were others that were just "meh."

3. "Stolen" by Dashboard Confessionals
These guys were big near the end of my high school years, as their song "Screaming Infidelities" was all over the radio. I wasn't too into them really - a tad too emo for my liking - but I remember when this song came out in college and was played regularly on VH1 (which I often fell asleep to, as they played music videos from 3am on) and I liked it as a pop-rock ballad.

4. "Dr. Feelgood" by Motley Crue
Ah, the Crue... one of my favorite former 80s hairbands. Their songs always have amusing lyrics with a driving guitar rhythm and well, it's just fun 80s hairband metal, lol... looking back, I would have loved to have been an older teen or a 20-something in the late 80s, just because of how fun rock and metal seemed back then! Music-wise, there's not really anything that came out of the 80s that I didn't like!

5. "Let the Monster Rise" from Repo! The Genetic Opera
One of my favorite "darker" musicals... this track is near the end of the rock opera, after evil Rotti Largo gets in Shilo's head and pits her against her father in a means of revenge (Rotti's former lover Marni left Rotti for Nathan and the 2 were married however Marni died mysteriously while pregnant with Shilo). This song is between Shilo (Alexa Vega) and Nathan (Anthony Stewart Head). People either love Repo! or hate it. If you like musicals and/or rock operas, especially dark ones, be sure to check out this one out (not to be confused with the horrible non-musical rip-off Repo Men)!


Let's watch... a Disney Channel Movie!

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:CRUDKLzBP2WImM:http://i33.tinypic.com/2e5l72d.jpg&t=1In the mid-late 90s our local cable provider finally made the Disney Channel part of our basic cable set up. By this time I was already in Jr. High and High School but my sister was still in grade school and I saw my share of the Disney lineup.

One thing I remember was the introduction of Disney Channel Original Movies.

Originally, the Disney Channel would introduce a new original made for tv movie every few months, but after several years it became a monthly event, introducing the newest film on Friday after hyping it for a month and then airing it all throughout the weekend.

While the first Disney Channel Original Movies were in 1997, I didn't really watch any of them until Smart House premiered in summer 1999.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/21/Smart_house_movie_cover.jpg/200px-Smart_house_movie_cover.jpgSmart House stars Katy Sagal and tells the story about a boy named Ben in which him and his family (consisting of dad and little sister) win a state of the art smart house, in which everything is controlled by a computer named Pat which can create holograms of stuff to enlighten your time and imagination. While Ben's dad is out on a date with the house creator Sarah, Ben and his sister throw a fun party at the house, thanks to Pat who can instantly clean it all up when dad gets home. However dad finds out about the party and is disappointed in both Ben and Pat. Pat then becomes stricter and stricter, even regulating what food the family is allowed to have! After viewing clips of the news on the television, Pat decides the outside world is too dangerous for anyone to live and locks the family in her house, creating a human looking hologram of herself as well. Will they be able to reprogrammed Pat and escape her controlling clutches?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/73/Johnnytsunamifilm.jpg/200px-Johnnytsunamifilm.jpgAnother Disney Channel Original Movie that premiered in 1999 was Johnny Tsunami. In this one, we are introduced to Hawaii surfer kid Johnny as he is suddenly uprooted to live in snowy Vermont. In order to fit in at his new private school he must trade in his surfboard for a pair of skis, but he finds he enjoys the snowboards that the public school kids ride much more. Not understanding that the local snow mountain is split in 2 - one side controlled by the skiers while the snowboarders are stuck to a different side, Johnny rides with the skiers anyway, upsetting Brett and the popular boys at his private school and resulting in a fight. To make matters worse, Brett's crush Emily has been hanging around with Johnny. While at home, Johnny's parents are fed up with his lack of fitting in and accepting their new home and announce they're moving to Iceland. Not wanting that, Johnny and his friend sneak off on a plane to Hawaii to visit once again with Johnny's grandfather who shares an old family story that inspires Johnny to go back and challenge the skiers to a race, where if he wins, they all share the snow mountain.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/0f/Zenonzequel.jpg/200px-Zenonzequel.jpgIn 1999 we were also introduced to Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century, which eventually had 2 sequels. In the first film, Kristen Storms stars as free-spirited teenager Zenon who lives with her friends and family on a space station in space. After getting trouble though, Zenon is exiled to live with her aunt on Earth, however she soon learns that her home in space is to be deconstructed piece by piece. Wanting to expose the person behind it and their greed, she stows away with rockstar Protoza and his band as they are about to become the first band to play in space, playing on Zenon's space station. In the 2001 sequel, Zenon the Zequel, Zenon is put on monitoring duty as a punishment, comes across what appears to be an alien transmission, however no one believes her. She believes the transmission is aliens singing Protoza's song "Zoom Zoom Zoom" and stows away on a flight down to earth to find the retired rock star and get him to come back to space and perform for the aliens. In the 2004 sequel, Z3, Zenon is competing in a teen space athletic competition which includes events such as racing across the moon, however one of the contestants is not how they seem.

In 2000, the Disney Channel started releasing a new movie every month. Some of the more memorable ones I enjoyed were Miracle in Lane 2, Stepsister from Planet Weird, and Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire.

Miracle in Lane 2 is based on a true story and stars Frankie Muniz as a handicapped youngster who struggles with having a very athletic sibling and comes to love soapbox racing and dreams of racing and winning. With help from family, they are able to custom-build a car for him and his special needs which includes a special handbrake for him to use. After he gets in a bad crash during a competition though, his family reconsiders letting him race, fearing it might be too dangerous and hazardous for him to continue.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/94/Stepsister_from_Planet_Weird.jpg/220px-Stepsister_from_Planet_Weird.jpgIn Stepsister from Planet Weird (which I remember babysitting for a young girl who was so excited to watch this one when it premiered, and then we watched it all night until bedtime), we are introduced to teenage Megan, her younger brother and her windsurf-loving mom. When her mother begins dating a strange man named Cosmo Cola and the two begin to get serious, Megan is introduced to her potential future stepsister Ariel, who is even stranger than her father. Eventually, as the story progresses, we learn that Ariel and her father are aliens, as her father was once a freedom fighter on their home planet and escaped to Earth, despite his daughter's longing for her home. This one was pretty amusing to watch as the kids struggle to understand and accept each other as their parents are about to be married.

Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire stars Caroline Rhea (from Sabrina the Teenage Witch) as mom, Laura Vandervoort (aka Supergirl on Smallville) as her older daughter, Charles Shaughnessy (from The Nanny) as mom's new date, with an appearance by Robert Carradine (younger brother to the late David Carradine and dad on Lizzie MacGuire) as a vampire hunter. While mom's youngest son Taylor quickly comes to conclusion that her new beau is a vampire, his older siblings Adam and Chelsea soon realize the truth too as they put Dimitri - mom's dad - through a series of subtle tests and learn he doesn't have a reflection. Eventually Dimitri puts their mother in a trance and takes off with her to his mansion, but not before the kids can enlist the help of vampire hunter Malachi Van Helsing to help them get their mom back.

2001 and 2002 brought us inspiring girl power fueled movies, including Motocrossed and Double Teamed.

In Motocrossed, we are introduced to Andrea (Andy) Carson and her family of motocross experts and racers. When her racer twin brother Andrew is injured and out with a broken leg, Andrea decides to cut her hair short and masquerade as her brother in order to keep the family team going, despite her father's concern that the sport is too dangerous for a girl. To everyone's surprise, she's actually pretty good at the sport, but what happens when it is revealed that she is a girl and not her brother?

In Double Teamed, is the true life tale of WNBA stars and sisters Heather and Heidi Burge. While one sister feels stuck in the shadow of the other, she decides to try out for theater at their new school, which dad has moved them to in hopes of a better chance at them both getting college scholarships. The other sister is interested in volleyball, until a coach notices her height and insists she gives basketball a chance, saying it will help condition her for volleyball season. Eventually they both end up playing, befriending their rivals and becoming the stars of the school's female basketball team, leading them to victory and eventually going on to play in the WNBA.

With the success of the several Disney Channel original series, they started making movies to use as vehicles for their series stars. Two of which I enjoyed were 2002's Cadet Kelly, starring Lizzy MacGuire's Hilary Duff and Even Steven's Christy Carlson Romano and 2003's Cheetah Girls starring That's So Raven's Raven Simone.

In Cadet Kelly, Kelly's mom marries a Brigadier General who becomes of the head of the local military cadet academy, which unfortunately for Kelly is the only school in the whole area and she is unwillingly enlisted. She has trouble fitting in at first with the all the strict rules of the academy and even begins to butt heads with Cadet Captain Stone, in which the girls have a rivalry over a fellow male cadet (played by Shawn Ashmore). Kelly eventually joins Stone's drill team, bringing to it a style of improvise and freestyle the team isn't used to. Realizing that by adding something new and different to the routine will help make them standout more, Kelly helps them shine their way into the upcoming competition, eventually winning Stone over too.

The Cheetah Girls tells the story of four friends from different backgrounds who all enter the school talent competition together and win, eventually catching the attention of some major execs who sign them to a record deal. However the glory of fame seems to affect them all in different ways, threatening to tear them apart. Will they be able to set their sudden fame aside for the sake of their longtime friendship or will the Cheetah Girls be no more?

By this point I was of at college and got out of the habit of watching these movies regularly with my little sister and eventually my younger cousin. But the Disney Channel is still putting out original movies on a regular basis - the most popular of the past few years being the High School Musical series and Camp Rock.

Here's a full list of D.COMs that have been put out over the years - which ones did you see? Which were your favorites?


30 Days of Me: Day 05 - Your favorite quote

I have a few favorite quotes actually.

One of my longtime favorites has always been this one by Nietzsche:
"What doesn't kill me only makes me stronger."
I think it's very fitting for life, as life has a bunch of ups and downs and when you face struggles or tough times it's important how you deal with them. A lot of times we come out of the struggles and tough times stronger than we were before, as the downs in life are often learning experiences that we grow from. So if you come out of whatever you're going through alive, it's only going to make you stronger in the long-run.

Another good one I heard from a friend (I believe they posted it on Facebook) is this one:
“A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one.”
-Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Having been in a relationship with a guy that turned out to be quite the loser, I think this one holds pretty true, as it made me so much more grateful to be in a relationship with a great guy like hubby. Girls, Ladies - it's very rare that you'll marry and spend your life with the first guy you ever date. While it has happened, it's very rare and uncommon that you'll get that lucky.

While I don't recommend purposely going out and wasting your time on a guy that's clearly no good for you, it is a good idea to date awhile before you decide to commit any one person for the rest of your life - after the fresh, new, exciting "honeymoon" period of your relationship is over and you both begin to settle, you might decide you don't like the guy as much as you thought you did or he's not the same person he was at the beginning when he was all about impressing you and winning you over. Sometimes after this "honeymoon" period, the guy will start show his true self, which might be quite ugly.

It's the bad relationships and guys that makes us girls and ladies really appreciate and realize just how grateful and thankful we are for the good ones when they come along.

And lastly, there's this cute one a friend shared on Facebook that's by Oscar Wilde:
"Women are made to be loved, not understood."

That actually is quite true, as often times guys just don't seem to get us and often claim that we and our logic make no sense. I know there's been plenty of times where I've confused and baffled hubby as what I said or suggested makes perfect sense to me, but he just doesn't seem to get it.Oh well, he still loves me!

What are some of your favorite quotes?


I'm part of a statistic

While referencing Wiki to help myself update my movie review blog, Movie Bits, I came across this cited piece of information regarding the new movie The Expendables:

"Though the majority of moviegoers were men, Lionsgate was surprised to find that 40% were women, giving "Expendables" somewhat broader appeal than expected."
Source: The LA Times

I get the impression that Lionsgate under estimated the sex appeal that some of these action stars have and that they forgot that, like men, many women will almost always see something that their favorite piece of eye candy is in!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/76/Expendablesposter.jpg/220px-Expendablesposter.jpgI was one of the 40% of female moviegoers that saw The Expendables opening weekend (opening day to be exact!).

Hubby and I went and saw the 11:40am Friday show at our local AMC, as on the weekends movies before noon (and all day Monday-Thursday) are only $5 and we both wanted to go see this one - hubby for the action and the cast of action stars together, and well, I have a huge celeb crush on Jason Statham.

Being a huge Jason Statham fan (he's hot, British and makes action look good while wearing suits and sports coats!), I had been looking forward to seeing this film all summer as he hadn't been in anything since Spring 2009's Crank sequel. I was a little worried, with a huge cast, he wouldn't get much screentime, but to my delight there's a reason he's got 2nd billing under Stallone - he's one of the main characters and not just a smaller supporting role. I only wish he took his shirt off!

Hubby doesn't mind me gushing too much over Statham and these guys, as he's the same way about Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Milla Jovovich and Scarlett Johansson.

For those under a rock, The Expendables is the new summer action flick written, directed and starring Stallone and has an impressive who's-who cast of other action stars, such as Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, and Steve Austin with amusing cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger thrown in. It is also a throwback to the 80s and 90s action movies pre-CGI, as all the explosions, fights and gunfire are real - what you see on screen was achieved through real, physical means and not computers. Also, as many of these stars are known for doing in their films, the majority of the cast did all their own stunts.

You can read my review of the movie here.

It's a WoW Fashion Show!

To be honest, I haven't played much the last week or so - I got really into playing the Goblins in the Cataclysm Beta but then after I got out of the starting zones, I just haven't had a desire to play/explore more in the Beta, let alone in the current version of WoW.

Bethany of Sorority Girl Plays WoW, whom I mentioned before is new to the game and I love reading her awe-like wonder as she learns how to play and finds her way around in game, often shows off her character's outfits. I thought it would be a fun post this week to show off some of my favorite outfits that my toons have. Being on a RP server where there was an active RP community once upon a time, saving gear and putting together outfits for different occasions was pretty common back then and I've gotten in the habit of saving some of my favorite pieces of gear and making outfits out of them just for fun!

Check out my stash of clothes for Flour, Sam, Yarris and Nailed after the jump


Question - please give me your thoughts on this!

Here's 2 questions that I would like your thoughts on.

  • Would you invite someone to your wedding whom you hadn't seen or really spoken to in nearly 5 years and you haven't really even considered a friend for roughly 7?

  • And do you think that said person has a legit reason to still be "hurt" and "angry" over the fact they didn't get invited, nearly 2 years after the fact?

http://literacyconnection.wcpss.net/images/girl%20thinking.jpgHere's the backstory:

This girl and I were somewhat friends in Jr. High - we had a mutual friend in common whom we were both close to and so the 3 of us hung out often.

Then in high school mutual friend went to a different school for a few years, leaving the 2 of us to stay close. She got picked on a lot and me being her friend, a lot of that also got deflected onto me. We had our ups and downs - there were times she hurt me worse than any of the popular kids could have just to make herself feel better, I recall one time in 9th grade she got so mean to me I ended up crying in front of all our classmates on a bus.

Anyways, 11th grade, mutual friend transfers back to our school and we're all back to our trio, but not really, as me and mutual friend were both getting sick of her constant "pity parties" - she had low self-esteem back then it but seemed like she was ALWAYS saying and doing things to make you notice and give her attention - everything had to be about her, she was never happy for anyone else. It got really annoying. Mutual friend and I both called her out on her behavior quite a few times, however she always got mad at me, but stuck like glue to mutual friend - it seemed like even though we both said the same thing, together, mutual friend could do no wrong by her. It baffled both of us. We didn't even pay attention during our first hour history class, as the 3 of us sat in the back of the room, passing notes, constantly getting in arguments over something stupid that she wouldn't drop.

I had had enough and pretty much cut ties with her, only really tolerating her at school and school functions for the sake of mutual friend and to save myself the headache - it was too much of a constant drama fest and headache trying to being her friend. I've told her all this in the past too, and of course she had a fit, but whatever, I was done.

After high school ended, I didn't bother trying to keep contact with her. My freshman year of college, mutual friend came down and visited me a few times throughout the year and we had a lot of fun together. Sophomore year, mutual friend joined us once again for homecoming weekend at college, but the other girl tagged along too; she also tagged along once again when mutual friend came to visit but they both left early that night. The only other time I saw her that semester was when I was in my hometown and mutual friend invited me and my now-ex to come hang out at some house. This was fall 2003.

Flash forward to sometime in early-mid 2008, I somehow come across her on Myspace (I forget who found who) and while we were "friends" on there, we never really talked at all, aside from a rare occasion comment here or there.

My wedding was that September, and as it is, between all my relatives coming that we didn't expect to actually come and all the people my mother in law invited, aside from our bridal party, hubby and I really didn't get to invite a whole lot of friends - he invited 2 co-workers plus dates, I invited 2 old friends I had kept contact with over the years plus their dates, as well as my childhood best friend and her date and a roommate who I had been friends with for years and her date. I had to leave off a handful of co-workers I saw regularly and even former dorm-mates I would have loved to have invited.

A few months later she finds me and mutual friend on Facebook. We learn that she's upset we didn't invite her to our weddings. Mutual friend had her own reasons for not inviting her which it isn't my place to share, however I know her husband would have been pissed at her if she did invite her after the mess that she caused for mutual friend years prior. I didn't even think to invite her as like I said, I hadn't seen or really even had contact with her in nearly 5 years - even if I did want to, I didn't have her address or phone number! Not to mention, like I said, hubby and I had to leave people off the guest list that we would have liked to invited as there were certain people we had to invite and we could only squeeze about 115-120 guests into the reception hall for dinner.

It is a bit ironic though that she keeps bringing up the fact I didn't invite her to my wedding more than she does the fact that she wasn't invited mutual friend's wedding either. It's just another case where we both do/say the same thing to her, but mutual friend can't seem to do any wrong in her eyes.

Was I wrong in not inviting her to my wedding 2 years ago? 

Aren't you just supposed to invite your close friends and family to your wedding and not every single person you've come in contact with or every acquaintance you've had throughout your entire life, including ones you haven't spoken to or seen in years?

What would you have done?

30 Days of Me: Day 4 - Your Favorite Book

I grew up with A LOT of books - I had shelves full of them when I was a kid, including a ton of the Little Golden Books, and I looked forward to the book fair every year at school. As long as I could remember my parents would read a story or 2 (pending the lengths of them) to me when I was little and couldn't quite read to myself yet. As I got older I would often read some at night before bed, occasionally staying up half the night as I'd get so engrossed in the story I couldn't put the book down.

I got out of the habit of reading later in high school and the first part of college, as I was just too busy to read for pleasure - I had enough text books to read in college during my Gen-Ed years that the last thing I wanted to do was pick up another book. It wasn't until I started working Projection at the movie theater that I started reading for fun again. While working projection back then when it was still 35mm they had a desk and chair set up there so you could read or do homework while keeping an eye on the projectors - so long as you did roller checks every so often and started the movies on time they didn't really care what you did up there. I started reading the Harry Potter series that summer, often taking the books into the box office with me when I was scheduled up front during the weeks that fall, as during the weekdays of the school year business was pretty slow and you could get in quite a bit of reading.

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:x375rJMbwc1tBM:http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EMccKW6wL._SL500_.jpg&t=1Anyways, I've mentioned it before, but right now I'd have to say my favorite series are the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris - also known as the books that the HBO series True Blood is based off of.

I got introduced to them almost a year ago, as I knew several people who really enjoyed the show and knowing it was based on a book series, I was intrigued.

I read the first book as I watched the first season, and to my surprise, the show followed the book pretty well, adding in subplots for some of the minor characters. I did the same thing with the second season, which was a looser adaption of the book than the first season was, expanding the whole Maenad storyline more than it needed to be.

Not wanting to wait a whole year to read the third book along with the third season, hubby got me the 1-7 boxset of the books (which is now sold as books 1-8). I worked my way through them last fall, not wanting to put some of them down, as the story was so good, and for Christmas hubby got me books 8 and 9. I finished those both quickly and promptly bought book 10 the day it came out, this past May. I made myself pace myself while reading it, as I didn't want to finish it in a day - I dragged it out for about 3 or 4 days!

I'm actually glad I didn't wait to read the rest of the series, as watching this season this summer, so far we have seen characters that don't appear until book 4 and book 9, and they're about to reveal what Sookie's true nature is and from the preview they showed last night, Eric forces Bill to tell Sookie "the truth", both of which aren't revealed until book 6. Considering how they changed a lot of the storylines this season, they did kind of need to speed up certain things so it makes more sense with what happens in the next book, but still... the third book was good enough on its own to not need all the changes they've made.

http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/104/cache/400_x_600_anna_paquin.jpgFor those not familiar with the show or the books, it takes place mostly in small fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana and is told through the point of view of Sookie Stackhouse, a cute Southern blonde mid-20s waitress at the local bar hangout Merlotte's whom many of the townsfolk deem as crazy, but really she's just telepathic and tries her best to stay out of people's minds. Recently, after the Japanese have developed a type of synthetic blood, is revealed that vampires do exist and have been living amongst us for years, however not to worry - they can live off this synthetic blood, often sold and served in a bottle beverage called True Blood, so it is possible for both humans and vampires to peacefully coexist. Sookie's world suddenly changes when a vampire named Bill Compton walks into Merlotte's one night - he is the first vampire to visit Bon Temps and Sookie learns her telepathy does not work on him, which she greatly welcomes. After rescuing him from a couple of Drainers (people who drain the blood from vampires and sell it on the black market, as "V" is quite a profitable drug) the two begin a friendship turned relationship. Throughout the series, Sookie is introduced to a whole underworld of supernatural and eventually begins work on the side, using her telepathy to help solve various mysteries. She learns a lot about herself and her "ability" throughout the series, and grows as her morals and values are often tested.

http://fc05.deviantart.com/fs49/f/2009/189/8/a/True_Blood_by_Gigei.jpgWhile the series is dubbed as The Southern Vampire Mysteries, there's more than just vampires in the series - there's many different types of were creatures (not to give anything away to those only watching the show), as well as the shapeshifters, and other supernatural creatures (again, I won't list them as to not give anything away to those only watching the show). The books have a lot of mystery and action to them, as in every book it seems someone has gone missing or someone is killing people off. Sookie is a telepathic who at first hates her "gift" as she can't have a normal relationship, but over the course of the series she comes to use it for good, helping track down killers or those that are missing and helping solve whatever mystery is happening in that book. There's also a little bit of adult romance, as Sookie dates vampires as well a were, and she has several other suitors as well (seems most supernatural men she runs into are drawn to her). While on HBO they really up the "romance" aspect up a lot, the books don't have nearly as much as the show does - a lot of the readers of the books are actually annoyed with how much sex the characters have on the show.

While Sookie in the books is a lot stronger female role model than say Bella of the Twilight series (she actually thinks about others needs than her own and doesn't let the men in her life walk all over her), this definitely isn't a series for kids, as there's some language (not nearly to the degree of what you hear on the show though), and the occasional "romance" scene in each book, as well as quite a bit of violence, as like I said, there's always someone going missing or getting killed in the books.

Right now there are 10 books in the series, plus a book of short stories. It has been said that author Charlaine Harris is contracted to write a total of 13 books in this series.

If you like fiction about vampires and supernatural creatures with mystery, action and a bit of romance, be sure to check out these books (if you've watched the TV show, you would probably think the books are tame in comparison, although I find the books to be much better!).

Other favorite books include:
"Catcher in the Rye" by JD Salinger, The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, and the works of Neil Gaiman


Baby Showers and more

Wow, just realized I haven't posted in this blog at all for August yet - my bad!

We have our next doctor's appointment a week from today, at 14 weeks, 1 day. We're going to be having another ultrasound, but while I'm sure they'll let us see the kiddo, this one is actually to take a look at my cervix and make sure there won't be any complications when it's time to deliver as I had the LEEP procedure done almost 2 years ago (in December) and they just want to make sure it's open enough and not closed or shortened or anything strange.

When exactly does the 1st trimester end and the 2nd trimester begin? I thought 13 weeks was the beginning of the 2nd trimester, but I've also read online that says it's 14 weeks, or even 16 weeks!

I went to a baby shower over the weekend - not for myself, no, that's waaaaay too soon! It was for my husband's 2nd cousin's wife, as they're expecting their first, a little girl they believe (as far as the U/S technician could tell, as the baby was being difficult, straddling the cord at one point and not facing the right direction another), near the end of October.

Hubby and I got them this Johnson & Johnnson gift set that has lotion, shampoo, and other goodies in it; a cute hooded towel and a set of wash clothes with a little star shaped cloth toy; a rattle that was on their list as well as a 3 pack of teethers they asked for. I also got them the book "Love You Forever" as they had a bunch of books on their list and that was one of my favorites to read with my mom when I was a kid. When I saw she had the Johnson and Johnson gift set on their list I had to get it for them as that's our last name and thought it was amusing - hubby and I joked about telling our kiddo that it's named just for them! hehe...

She had only registered at Babies R Us, but after taking the advice of my mom (who suggested that when we make our registry to check out Target and Walmart as they carry a lot of the exact same stuff but for better prices) I printed out her list and went to Target. Sure enough, I got several items that were the exact same ones on her registry for at least $1 less if not more, as well as a few comparable items to what she had listed.

I had fun shopping though this time around, as I was taking all the baby stuff in, getting ideas for when we do our registry later this fall.

She had 3 other pregnant ladies at her shower, including myself, and got us each gifts too! My bag had this cute little white onesie with yellow trim and ducky feet; a set of plastic toy keys; a nightlite, and 2 Winnie the Pooh bibs. It was all really cute!

And when I came home, my Infantino ecoSash Baby Carrier I had won last month was waiting for me! It definitely looks like something we'll get use out of, that's for sure!

Looks like I might have to go maternity clothes shopping soon, since they're starting to get stuff in for fall. I also wore my pair of tan cloth capri's yesturday and could barely fasten them, which is kinda sad, as those are really comfy! Right now I think I'm down to my jeans and my jean capri's fitting, and a few of my tops are starting to look a bit tight too. I also need to get a new jacket for winter since mine was a little snug last year - there's no way I could get it to zip over my bump this winter! I'll also need new boots too as the only pair I have are heels and yeah... probably a bad idea to wear those when I'm 6-9 months preggo!

Music Shuffle Monday 08.16.10

http://www.veryicon.com/icon/png/Media/iPod,%20Therefore%20I%20Am/iPod%20Mini%20Blue.png1. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
This one brings back memories of pep band in high school as it was one of our favorites to play during football and basketball seasons. Being that I played the oboe, which really isn't a marching/pep band instrument and no one seems to make sheet music for it, I always ended up playing off the flute part or the keyboard part, pending which version fit my range better.

2. "Ostego Amigo" by Static X
On every album they have an "Ostego"-named track - this is one for their 4th album, "Start a War". This album was part of my regular car CD player rotation for summer 2005, along with "With Teeth" by Nine Inch Nails. I've said plenty of times when they pop up on this summer - Static X is definitely one of my favorite bands and I love seeing them live as they always put on a great, fun show!

3. "Tug-O-War" by Chevelle
This sounds like typical Chevelle as I'm more familiar with their singles than I am their individual albums. Gotta admit though, I never really got too into them. Sure I like some of their songs, and hubby has all their albums, but they're not one of my favorites - a lot of their songs sound the same to time.

4. "Insomnia" by Faithless
This song is from the Night at the Roxbury soundtrack and until I got it, I had never known what this song was called or who it was by, but I realized that during the 90s, VH1 used it often for some of their specials (most notably the fashion show specials). You've probably heard it at some point too as the one riff in this electronic/techno/dance piece is pretty familiar and was used quite a bit in the 90s if I recall correctly.

5. "Fadeaway" by Celldweller
Celldweller (aka Klayton) is one of my favorite solo artists - he blends electronics with rock for a unique industrial-type sound. And he's got a pretty good voice... and is kinda hot considering he's in his 40s! I believe I've shared before, but I first heard of Celldweller while cleaning the theater that was playing The Hills Have Eyes 2 as one of his songs was part of the closing credits. I loved it, went home and looked it up and ended up getting all his discography. While cleaning through some stuff, I came across a sample CD and free ticket for Celldweller I had acquired from the people that stand outside the House of Blues after shows and pass you free stuff for other artists. This CD and ticket were 2 years old by this point, but the CD had a few of the songs I had just gotten. I also learned that Celldweller did the Criss Angel Mindfreak theme and a lot of the music used in the show, as Criss and Klayton were in a group called Angeldust together and got to be good friends (they've recently posted pics of Criss showing Klayton around Vegas on their Twitters). He's talking of doing another tour soon - I'm hoping to catch him when he comes back to Chicago, as I would LOVE to him do his thing live!


The County Fair

Today marks the beginning of fair season in my area, as the county just next to ours has theirs this weekend while my county has ours next weekend.

While I live in one county, we almost always go to the fair of the county next door as it's just better organized and easier to navigate.

I remember as a kid checking out the petting zoo, visiting the animals, and walking around bored with my parents while we roamed the various exhibit halls or sat and watched local musicians.

http://www.gilroydispatch.com/content/img/f222489/County_Fair.jpgAt the end of the night we would go over to the rides area and I'd get to ride a handful of them and occasionally play the midway games with my dad. Dad was really good at the racing game where you shoot the water on the target while your numbered racer rushed across the board behind the counter - he would almost always win. In addition to the stuffed animals my dad would win me, I often ended up with a goldfish - since we usually went to the fair on a Friday night the goldfish was usually dead by Sunday night, as the ones from the fair never live very long! Growing up I loved riding the bumper cars though and when I was big enough, my favorite ride was the Zipper - the one where they put in you a cage and you spin round and round, upside down. I also enjoyed the fun houses that were similar to the one in the movie Grease.

Now that I'm older, I don't ride the rides so much these days and the games have kind of lost their appeal.

I do enjoy walking around the fair grounds now though, checking out a lot of the different vendors and all the exhibit halls - the 4H arts and crafts hall has some really neat stuff in it that people have entered to win ribbons! I also enjoy sitting and resting for a bit, listening to whatever local band or musician is playing. We've also gotten in the habit of watching some of the performers who have booths/stages set up throughout the fair grounds - last year we watched a show with dogs that could do different tricks, another time we watched a magician. We also once stopped and played a few rounds of Bingo (my sister couldn't play though as she was under 18) and my mom won something like $20 off her card!

I can't stand walking through all barns though and seeing the cows and other animals - they're usually all gross and wreaking of the smell of poop and you have to be really conscious of where you're walking!

http://holeinthedonut.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/sarasota_county_fair8.jpgI do have my favorite fair foods though. One set of boy scouts always has a booth selling warm fresh sweet corn on the cob - it's delicious! Another set of boy scouts offer yummy baked potatoes with a wide variety of toppings. While you can get typical fair dessert, I always opt for several scoops of ice cream from the local Merry Maids booth - it's sooooo good! I have to get these items every year at the fair - while the ice cream is something I've always gotten at the fair, my dad was the one that introduced me to the sweet corn on the cob and my mom introduced me to the yummy baked potatoes - I've since gotten them for years!

http://www.keypromotions.co.uk/store/images/products/mixed-large.jpgAnother little tradition that hubby started is getting me 2 wooden roses each year from a vendor at the fair.

It all started our first year together, as he went to the fair with his family but I wasn't able to get the night off work to join them. He rarely ever buys me real roses (his argument is that they die so would he give me something that doesn't last?), but he bought me a few of these wooden roses since I could go with them. Every year since, he's gotten me 2 more to add to my bouquet of wooden roses. While I've had them for several years now since they don't die, I do have to fend off Tiger from them, as she realized that they crunch when she chews them and she likes the noise!

Did you ever go to the fair when you were a kid? 
Do you still go now that you're older? 
What things have changed over the years?


30 Days of Me: Day 03 - Your favorite TV program

Oh geez... this is a toughy.

Honestly, right now, I'd have to say I don't have one current absolute favorite, but 2 of my all-time favorites from are Freaks and Geeks and Pushing Daisies.


Freaks and Geeks aired for 1 season during the 1999-2000 TV season, however due to NBC yanking it's timeslot around, it's rating dropped and it was canceled prematurely - It had a good 2 week run, then it was taken off for football for a good month or so, returning for another week or so on a new night and then holiday programming began and it was gone until Spring where it returned for a few more weeks but on another night and then got pulled again for some other programming, returning for a few last episodes before it was gone forever (with 3 last episodes being aired later that summer to give it some kind of closure).

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_p6LvnZTumKQ/S9ieKgvdDZI/AAAAAAAAACk/eRD5acDbRHg/s320/Freaks_and_Geeks.jpgThe series follows Lindsay and Sam Weir who are high schoolers in 1980 and live in a fictional suburb of Detroit. We learn that over the summer their grandma died. Lindsay, a junior, begins to question everything in life, including her place in it and the direction she's going and dons an old army jacket and trades in her "good girl" status and the Mathlete club to hang out with the school burnouts, or "freaks" as they're referred to. She still struggles fitting in with them though while still trying to be the nice, considerate person she really is. Her younger brother Sam and his friends Bill and Neal are all freshman and quite the geeky trio, which in addition to normal high school hazing, they also get bullied and picked on frequently just because of their interests.

This was one of the few high school dramas/comedies that depicts high school in a pretty accurate fashion. Cleverly written and created by the likes of Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, clearly it was too smart for its time.

While finding it on TV during its original run was a pain, I tried to watch it as much as I could. It went into syndication for awhile on Fox Family (now ABC Family) where they aired all the episodes in order, including a few that didn't get aired when it was canceled early. When I heard there was a petition to get the series on DVD, I quickly signed up, although they wanted to include all the original music which was holding it up (the same reason there has yet to be a complete series DVD release of The Wonder Years). You can bet I bought it when it did come out though, watching all 18 episodes back to back, and then watching my favorites over and over...

This show had a great soundtrack, featuring all types of music that was big in the 1980-81 period and featured a great cast with tons of cameos! You had Joe Flahtery and Becky Ann Baker as Mr. and Mrs. Weir, with Dave "Gruber" Allen, Thomas F. Wilson (aka Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future trilogy), Steve Bannos, Trace Beulieu, Leslie Mann and Steve Higgins as the main faculty. There were lots of guest stars (some which had re-occuring roles), including the likes of Ben Stiller, Jason Schwartzman, Allen Covert, Shia LeBeouf, Joel Hodgson (from MST3K fame), Lizzy Caplan (from Mean Girls and True Blood), Rashida Jones (from The Office and Parks & Rec) as mean girl Karen, and Ben Foster as mentally handicapped student Eli and many many more!

http://img.webring.com/r/f/freaksngeeks/logoIt was also a launch pad for kickstarting the careers of many well known actors today - Linda Cardellini, who played Lindsay, went on to star as Velma in the Scooby Doo movies, as well the female lead in the comedy "Grandma's Boy" and eventually landing a regular role (as a blonde) on ER for its last few seasons. Busy Phillips, who played "freak girl" Kim, went on to play Joey's trouble roommate Aubrey on Dawson's Creek, had a few minor roles in films (such as Patrick Dempsey's "Made of Honor") and is currently on the show Cougartown. James Franco, who played "head freak" Daniel Desario and was Lindsay's crush for the first part of the series, went onto star as Harry in the Spiderman films and has had steady work in movies over the past decade. Seth Rogen played "freak" Ken and well, we all know he went on to become a huge comedy actor over the past 5 years, starring in other Apatow-related projects such as "The 40 Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Pineapple Express," "Funny People"... and the roles just keep coming. Jason Segal, who played "freak" Nick who was an aspiring drummer with a huge drum kit and was briefly Lindsay's boyfriend (the 2 also dated in real life for several years), has slowly been working his way to stardom, with a small supporting role in "Knocked Up" along side Rogen, a regular role on the TV show How I Met Your Mother and eventually having his breakout with his film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" - which he wrote and is supposedly, in part, about his break up with Cardellini - and starring alongside Rashida Jones and Paul Rudd in the bromance flick "I Love You, Man."

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_JG8Xsu6_HC8/SbJLbSTuzaI/AAAAAAAAAIQ/YixqA8Hsmus/s400/freaks+and+geeks+ep+6.pngThe Geeks have also had their share of the big screen - John Francis Daley, who played Sam, went on to star in the cult movie "Waiting..." playing a new hire who gets shown the ropes of a restaurant franchise, and has become a series regular in the hit TV show Bones, playing pathologist Lance Sweets. Samm Levine, who played Neal, has had a hot and cold career, having made single guest appearances on numerous shows (including Lost), with minor roles in film such as "Not Another Teen Movie," "Club Dread," "Pulse," "Sydney White," "I Love You, Beth Cooper" and most recently as one of the Basterds in Quentin Tarentino's "Inglourious Basterds." Martin Starr, who played Bill, has had minor roles in many films, such as Tom Green's "Stealing Harvard," Will Ferrell's "Kicking and Screaming," "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "Walk Hard," "Adventureland" and Ricky Gervais' "The Invention of Lying."


As I mentioned, another show I LOVED was the short-lived Pushing Daisies, which aired on ABC from 2007-2009.

http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Cast-Photos-pushing-daisies-332796_1280_960.jpgThis little gem of a show focused on pie-maker Ned (Lee Pace) who has a gift - with a touch of his finger, he can raise the dead. However, touching them again puts them to eternal, final rest and they cannot come alive again; also, if he keeps them alive for more than 60 seconds, something (or someone) else must die in their place to keep the balance. Ned first learns of this gift as a child, when his dog keels over in the yard one day. Sad, he holds his dear pet and it magically comes back to life, however moments later, his mom drops dead. With the death of his mother, his father ships him off to boarding school, abandoning him. As Ned got older, he put his gift to good use, creating delicious pies and pastries with fruit that tastes as fresh as possible, although Private Detective Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) catches on to Ned's gift and enlists him in help solve cases and splitting the profit by sneaking into the funerals of the recently murdered, asking them about the last thing they remember (ie: "who were you with? who killed you?") and putting them to permanent rest.

All goes well, until Emerson has Ned raise Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel) from the dead to learn about her mysterious death - turns out Ned and Chuck were child best friends and sweethearts and he hadn't seen her since he was sent off to boarding school. He makes the hasty decision to not send her to final death and, not wanting to hurt who aunts (Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz) who would think she faked her death and be hurt if they knew she wasn't dead, moves in above Ned's pie shop in the city - The Pie Hole - and helps out there while tagging along with Ned and Emerson on their cases. While Ned can't touch her or his dog Digby, the two have a cute, innocent relationship, improvising physical contact as best as they can (he installs a divider in his car with a reversible rubber glove so they can hold hands and they often kiss while holding a sheet of saran wrap between their lips). Pie Hole waitress Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth) is not pleased though, as she's had a long unrequited love for Ned for years and feels Chuck is ruining her chances of ever being with Ned. While trying to figure out Ned and Chuck's strange relationship, Olive accidentally comes in contact with Chuck's aunts and slowly begins to piece together the puzzle.

http://www.thepiemaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/pushing-daisies-1.jpgWhile the underlying plot of the series is the love triangle between Ned, Chuck and Olive, as well as Chuck trying to lay low from her aunts, each episode has Whodunit mystery to it, with Ned, Chuck and Emerson trying to solve a case that week. It had a great blend of whimsical fantasy with mystery, comedy and innocent romance. At the time it aired, it was one was best show on TV as it had plenty of fun for adults but was innocent enough to watch with the kids. While the first season was hyped and advertised very well (I heard about it thanks to the promo commercial that played during the movie preshow at the theater I was working at), unfortunately the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008 really was the downfall of this gem, cutting the first season short. When it was renewed for a second season and returned 9 months later, due to lack of hype and advertising, not many people knew it was back and the ratings suffered greatly. By November it was canceled and the last few episodes that were filmed were aired during summer 2009, just before the second season DVD release.

While the show was cute, clever, witty, cutting edge and humorous, it also featured a slew of guest stars playing the different mystery of the week suspects and villains, such as Jayma Mays (from Glee), Joel McHale (from The Soup), Stephen Root (Milton from "Office Space), Molly Shannon, David Arquette, French Stewart, Rachael Harris, Daeg Faerch (of "Hancock" and young Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's "Halloween"), Paul F. Thompkins (from Best Week Ever), Fred Willard, Orlando Jones, and Wendy Malick among many, many others. Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman) also had a re-occurring role as olfactory expert Oscar Vibenius which was originally planned to become a main supporting role as it drove him crazy that Chuck smelled dead, but he couldn't explain why, despite his efforts to uncover the truth.

Other TV shows I like include:
The Soup, Community, The Office, Dateline: To Catch a Predator (I <3 Chris Hansen), True Blood, Entourage, Pawn Stars, South Park, Tosh.0, Glee, Caprica, Persons Unknown, CSI and CSI:NY, Metalocalypse


Thought for the night regarding homeless

Living in a bigger city, it's not uncommon to see people dressed kind of homeless-like on street corners or the edge of parking lots.

Now I know there's a lot of "legit" homeless people out there, but there's also a lot of scammers too.

http://metromag.com/files/image/main/LARGE/HomelessSign.jpgI recall reading somewhere awhile back there were businessmen who quit their jobs to work 9-5 on the street corners in major cities, pan-handling, as they figured they could make plenty of money sitting outside, doing nothing. Walking in downtown Chicago once a year and seeing all the street performers and various homeless asking for change around the city, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that some of them aren't really homeless...

As most know, for the last portion of college I worked at the local movie theater down there and eventually became management. Our theater was located back behind the local Walmart Supercenter which had a decent little shopping area built up around with a Kohls, Best Buy, Office Max, Ruby Tuesday and Steak n Shake all in the same area. At the end of the main drive is stop light to the main road. I noticed my last few summers there that every summer there was a guy, possibly college aged or at least in his 20s sitting down in the middle of the grassy median at the end of the main drive near the stoplight with a sign saying he was traveling cross country trying to get home and needed money for food. He would sit out there all day for about a week street, often with a cute dog (I believe it was a huskie) and try to get the cars that waited at the stop light to give him money. The first time I thought it was a bit suspicious, but then when he showed up the next 2 summers, sometimes with a girl joining him, I started to believe he was just a scammer, as he had the same sign every summer - you think he would have moved on by then - who spends every summer trekking cross country to get home? Which way was he even going?

Another type of scammer I see on occasion is at this one intersection I pass all the time to and from work. It's almost always a girl and she's standing there on the corner with a sign saying her car ran out of gas and she needs money. Only she's there several times throughout the year (usually when it's warm out - never saw her in the winter), and well, there's never any car sitting off to the side of the road and you can literally see the nearest gas station from the corner she's on as it's not even a block from the intersection. You'd think if she was that desperate to get some gas in her tank she'd just walk up there and ask if someone could spare a few bucks for her to buy a plastic gas can and put a gallon in to get home... but yeah... I thought about even offering that once, but considering this was the 3rd time I had seen her out there that year, I didn't want to take the rest that she was a crazy scammer.

Also, there's a Walmart near that intersection and at the back end of the parking lot is a 4 way stop. Last Spring, a friend had mentioned she was over there and saw a guy standing at the corner of the stop there with a sign (I recall it was a similar deal to the broken down car scam). I drove over there a few days later, picking up some stuff and there was the guy she described, different clothes though, but same sign. I kinda rolled my eyes.

One interesting thing my friend left for us to ponder though - if these people are truly homeless, how do they get the markers to write on the cardboard and make signs?

I mean obviously they use like sharpies or whatever so it's legible to a car but yeah... is there some secret homeless stash of markers somewhere so they can make signs or are they swiping them from Walmart or do people donate them?

It's an interesting thought to ponder...