Thoughts from a Sixth Grader

So this weekend, because I’m such an awesome sister, I’m letting my little brother spend the night at my place. For those who don’t actually know me in real life, this is Hunter:

"What do you mean, 'Take a goofy picture'?"- Hunter

“What do you mean, ‘Take a goofy picture’?”- Hunter

He’s in sixth grade and he’s pretty cool. I thought it might be interesting to ask his opinions on various important – and some not-so-important – questions.

Here’s how it all went down:

Awkward Redhead: How are you liking sixth grade so far? 

Hunter: It’s pretty good. There’s more freedom compared to elementary school.

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AR: Favorite subject in school?

H: Mmmm… probably World Cultures. The teacher, Mrs. Stevens is cool because she’s funny. It makes the class feel like it’s only five minutes.

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AR: Favorite Restaurant?

H: I’d probably have to say Johnny Carinos. Their Bowtie Festival is probably my favorite food. And they have bread there! haha

AR: What do you like to do in your free time? 

H: Probably watch sports or play the PS3

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AR: Beyonce or Lady Gaga? 

H: uhh… I don’t know… maybe Beyonce because I know more of her songs?

clothes

AR: What movie do you think everyone needs to see?

H: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That movie was so good, my favorite of Marvel’s so far. It’s action-packed, I guess you would say, and because I said so.

captain_america_the_winter_soldier_ver20

AR: What’s your favorite TV show right now? 

H: The Amazing World of Gumball. It’s very funny, in my opinion. Gumball, himself, is the person I like the best. He kind of acts like me, he likes to do funny things- but in a better way. I probably wouldn’t want to have blue skin like him though, I’d look like a smurf.

Gumball_gwgifs_pencilinnose

AR: What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on TV or in the movies?

H: In Kung Pow, the voice-over things making fun of the movie. I don’t even get what the movie was supposed to be like, but it was funny.

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AR: Do you have a special memory that involves a movie or TV show? 

H: I like when dad, you, and I have seen a movie more than once and we can make fun of it, Like Mystery Science Theater 3000. It kind of makes the movie into something new and different.

Mystery-Science-Theater-3000-silhouette

AR: Is there a TV show or movie coming out soon that you’re excited about? 

H: Probably the new Star Wars movie. Oh, and apparently Full House is coming back, that’s going to be cool. Let’s look that up- “Full House is returning…”

110413_fullhousereboot

AR: If you could make a movie or TV show, what would it be about? 

H: Umm… a documentary about the 2004- 2005 Astros. There are about 4 of the best players of MLB history on that team that year- Craig Biggio (who set a record), Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Jeff Bagwell. They even made the World Series that year, but they lost to the White Sox, unfortunately. And all after that season, all of the players either retired or moved. All 4 players left the Astros and then they were stuck in a sinkhole… and now we’re stuck in it.

NLCS ASTROS CARDS GAME6

If I could make another documentary, it’d be about the 1994-1995 Rockets. Rudy T., Hakeem Olajuwon, so many great players. Hakeem could finish it! Both of those years they won the championship. The Rockets were the only Houston team to win a final title in their sport. None of our teams have done it except for them.

hakeem-olajuwon-10

AR: Is there a book that you’ve read that would make a good movie? 

H: Probably the one I’m reading now. It’s called Zoo Break, by Gordon Korman, it’s these three kids, this girl, Savannah, who loves animals. She has monkey that she loves so much. Her two friends notice one day that her monkey isn’t there and she freaks out. The next day they go on a field trip to a stinky, run-down zoo, and they find a monkey that looks exactly like her monkey, though the zoo owner says that it’s not. And whenever she goes back home, she finds a banana peel that says something like “kidnapped,” so now she’s mad at all of these people and she can’t get the monkey back. So her and her to friends, Ben and Griffin, gather a team of people to try to break in to the zoo and get the monkey back. It’s pretty good, so far in my opinion. I’m not finished with it yet, I’ve still probably got 120 pages to read, but I like it.

Zoobreak

That would be a job that would be cool to do- if I don’t get a job in sports- to maybe go and make some of my favorite books into movies. That’d be cool.

AR: Tell me a joke:

H: So I stepped on a cornflake, does that count me as a cereal killer?cereal

or maybe-

Knock knock.

Who’s there? 

Ya

Ya Who? 

Actually I prefer Google…

dwight-hahaha-o

AR: Any parting words of advice? 

H: I like the quote that Ellen makes at the end of her Friday shows, “Have a good weekend, be kind to one another.” I just like that phrase, “be kind to one another,” it’s nice. You can do it, like, dash Ellen DeGeneres…

bekindgif

 

Well there you have it, folks. If you were curious what a sixth grader thought about, now you know. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m showing him the pop culture gem that is National Treasure. He’s never seen it before, and I’ve got a DC trip to plan.

My to-do list is getting pretty full...

My to-do list is getting pretty full…

Like Hunter and Ellen say- be kind to one another! ‘Til next time!

What. A. Day.

At what point in the day does one look at the day’s events and just think, “Well, I think I’ll just go back to bed…”? Because that seems like the kind of day I’ve had. From the ridiculous morning commute featuring drivers that can only be described with four-letter words of which my mom would not approve, a found hole in a favorite cardigan, and the complete annihilation of my DVR, it seems that the universe (or what have you) has been increasingly determined to tell me I should not have left my bed this morning.

eye roll for dayssss

eye roll for dayssss

There were some small respites, though, from my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, which are probably owed some thanks.

 

The first “thank you” is reserved for the nice Sephora cast member (yes, that is what they call their employees, I googled it).

Let me tell you, one reader from Vermont, the struggle to find auburn color eyebrow pencils is about as real as it can get. I recognize that that may be the most first-world-y, white girl problem sentence I have ever written, but it’s true. Now, my sister’s eyebrow game is strong (don’t tell her I said that), but my eyebrow game is not. YouTube and Pinterest are filled with beautiful, brunette and blond women with the entire eyebrow makeup world at their feet. Little do most of them know that I, and many other redheads like me, are faced with the dilemma of getting a product that’s a tad too brown and looking like Peter Gallagher fresh from his coma.

Yeah, I know I look good.

Yeah, I know I look good.

So I found myself at the mall this afternoon for the soon-mentioned second reason, and thought I’d stop in Sephora to see what they had. Short story? Nothing I was willing to risk on this ill-fated Monday, but I did talk to one of the cast members (so weird saying it) about my vampire porcelain skin. “She went in for eyebrow pencils and asked about foundation?” I know, just go with me here.

Did you know that they have a device called Skin ID, where they will literally scan parts of your face and match it to a Pantone-esque swatch? Well, now you know. Today I found out that I’m so pale, that my Skin ID is 1Y01. That’s Pantone for “find the lightest shade, and it’ll still be too dark.” The whole process though was very interesting. They scanned my face, uploaded the ID number, and up popped a list of popular foundations that match my swatch. I was even able to email it to myself for future reference.

Most of their foundations (ok- all of their foundations) where a little pricey for my budget, but let me tell you, they have some good customer service at that Sephora. There was something extremely pleasant about their cast members (still weird) going to great lengths to scan my face and show me how see-through I was. There also seems to be something empowering about knowing what shade of foundation truly matches your skin tone, whether you fork over the cash or not. I recommend trying it, it’ll at least make you feel a little Sasha Fierce.

Well, maybe a little less Sasha Fierce...

Well, maybe a little less Sasha Fierce…

 

Second “thank you”- my “thank you” to my mom.

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So a couple weeks back, my apartment had a little run-in with some bugs. Long story short, it was awful. I could not even stay in my apartment. So my parents, being the awesome people they are, let me stay on their couch for a couple days to regain my sanity. So the reason I found myself at the mall this afternoon was for a secret trip to James Avery to buy her a cute little charm to add to her bracelet. It’s a cute little house and they call it “Home Sweet Home,” a little way to say thanks for making me feel at home even when my home is about 5 minutes away.

It all worked out great, too. of course they wrapped it and I got a cute card and surprised her with it. I don’t mean to brag, but she loved it. Though, in hindsight, I kind of got her an errand, since she’ll have to take her bracelet in to get the charm added. Oops. Well, when she reads this part of the post (hi, mom), then she’ll realize this too and send me on the errand instead. Problem solved. (Oh, and my bug problem is solved too, just for the record)

Now, I’m not very good at giving advice apart from movie and TV recommendations, but if someone were to ask me my bad-day cure, I’d probably sum it up like this:

1. AC/DC Pandora Radio to rage dance your problems away

I can't explain why this helps, it just does

I can’t explain why this helps, it just does

2. Treat yo self (even if it’s just an ice cream or something)

treat-yo-self2

3. Do something nice for someone else

And watch them make this face

And watch them make this face

Trust me, all three of these have been road tested by me on more than one occasion, and they really do work. If I had to narrow it down to the most important one, it’d be number three, for sure. Just finding a way to do a nice thing for someone else, like complimenting a stranger on their awesome leopard shoes, for example, will make you feel much better. Their face lights up, you’re able to step out of your problems for a bit, it all works in your favor.

 

So I guess this day wasn’t a complete waste. And hey, I even got a blog post out of it. It had nothing to do with TV or movies, but oh well. My blog, my rules.

 

Besides, it might be for the best, since I lost all of my DVR recordings 😦

The-lord-is-testing-me-gif

 

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

I Miss My Weekend

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I am Kevin. Kevin is me.

It’s always weird coming back to work on Monday and having people ask me what I did over the weekend. I’m never sure if I should lie and sound like a productive adult, or come clean about catching up on Gossip Girl. For the record, even my most TV-filled weekends include the obligatory apartment cleaning, laundry, and grocery run, so I’m not some lame-o. My weekends just tend to include marathons of the TV variety.

 

This weekend’s theme: Guilty Pleasures.

aww yiss

aww yiss

Thanks, ABC Family, for playing  Step Up 1, 2, and 3(D) back-to-back on Saturday. I don’t know what sweet Siren song Channing Tatum’s hips are playing, but every time I see those movies on, I’m sucked it like a weak sailor.

Those hips don't lie

Those hips don’t lie

Also in true guilty pleasure fashion, Titanic was on all weekend. Of course I had to watch it. When I lived in Florida, it was probably on at least once a month. It was ridiculous. Between that and the constant reruns of Extreme Home Makeover, television was a roller-coaster of emotions.

She'll never let go!!

She’ll never let go!!

This weekend also marked the season-end of my summer hate-watch/guilty pleasure show- AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. I talked about this a bit way back when on my family’s podcast thing, but after completing the season, I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it.

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe and Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe and Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan

For those who aren’t in the know about Halt and Catch Fire, it’s set in the 1980’s in Texas’ Silicon Prairie. The show focuses on a fictional computer company building a faster, lighter, fiction-ier version of an IBM computer. The show stars Lee Pace, who some may remember as the Pie Maker, Ned, from Pushing Daisies (others may recognize him as the fabulous Thranduil in the Hobbit Trilogy, but whatever). Joining Pace’s Joe MacMillan on his technically-illegal quest are Gordon (Scoot McNairy), a face-in-the-crowd computer engineer, and Cameron (Mackenzie Davis), a young, female?!, computer prodigy.

In theory, this show sounds good, and for the most part it is. I’ve said it before, new shows have a lot they have to throw at you in the first few episodes to develop characters and plot lines, so it’s a lot for viewers to process all at once. Add to that the fact that this show has to live up to the precedents set by Breaking Bad, the Walking Dead, and Mad Men, and the pressure to possibly become the new “it” show.  I have no problem with any of that, though. The problem seems to be, like my aforementioned Black Box, that they have a prime opportunity to develop some butt-kicking females- who build computers – but they mainly just deal with stupid boys. For example, the first four episodes mainly consist of Cameron trying to get the guys on board with true-to-life graphics and interactive interfacing, to which Gordon replies “It’ll never be done!” (I say as I look for a moving image of a cat booping a dog on the nose.)

What a time to be alive.

What a time to be alive.

But I will give the show credit for getting better throughout the season and ending well. Cameron and Gordon’s wife Donna (Kerry Bishé) actually end up with better season 2 set-ups than their fellas. I guess my hate-watch show has started to grow on me, and I’m kind of looking forward to what the future holds, especially for Joe (because we all need more Lee Pace in our lives, IMO). In some of the final scenes of the finale, we see him hike off into the wooded sunset,

Joe hikes off towards the woods, into the sunset

And we all know what happens to him next:

#fabulous

#fabulous

Side note: In the finale, they reference the MacIntosh “1984” commercial that aired during the Superbowl, which you can watch here. Another interesting video I found was the footage of Steve Jobs unveiling the MacIntosh for the first time. Watch people lose their minds over paint and text-to-voice capabilities. Meanwhile, I yelled at my tablet for taking five seconds to load my Pinterest app. Watch this show and appreciate the fact that we are no longer in the technological dark-ages.

 

Other than that… have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy?????

BYkPcAJ

Marvel expands its universe (literally) with this new film that of five misfit heroes as they try to make some money, exact revenge, and save the galaxy- all in that order. Parks and Rec‘s Chris Pratt leads this group both in missions and comedy. This movie was very funny, in my opinion. I knew what I was getting myself into with Marvel’s typical cheekiness, but this on point and borderline parodical. Vin Diesel’s scene stealing Groot, a tree humanoid, was probably one of my favorites.

Who wouldn't love this little guy?!

Who wouldn’t love this little guy?!

As far as whether this movie is appropriate family-fare for all ages, I guess that would depend on your family. Just like its predecessors, the characters don’t shy away from the occasional choice phrases and innuendos, but that’ll fly past most kids’ heads. I will warn you, though, that any kid under the age of 12 will probably be parroting the phase “I am Groot” for the rest of the summer. The movie sports amazing visual and make-up effects, smart writing, and a solid soundtrack. It’s a summer blockbuster, do I really even need to make a case for it? Side note: Lee Pace (you know, from like ten seconds ago?) plays the weird bad guy. See also: Lee Pace + more + our lives, above.

 

During the previews they previewed Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey’s newest film about interstellar space exploration that was one of the “cool kids” of Comic-Con. It looks good, but my weird fear of space has me kind of saying “Oh no, oh no, oh no….” (hah, McConaughey reference)

But really, I'll probably pass

But really, I’ll probably pass

 

Ugh, my weekend already seems like it’s a year away. Let’s go back to those simpler times, where real pants weren’t required and no one request read receipts on their emails.

Seriously- don't request them. You're not the president.

Seriously- don’t request them. You’re not the president.

 

It’s been 4 months since my last post??!

Oops… But I can explain:

The past few months, for anyone reading this and curious, have been very interesting for me. I recently moved out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment (FINALLY!!). You guys, if you haven’t lived on your own, I totally recommend it. Everything is just way better, especially having my own DVR and high-speed internet. Now I don’t have to worry about my shows being bumped off for a rerun of Storage Wars, and 10 gigs of internet to use all on your own is like having the Autobahn all to yourself. I’m sure 10 out of 10 doctors would recommend.

I also recently got a promotion and a raise at work, which is going to make my previously mentioned apartment very happy. (Author’s note: I should probably go on record, for my mom’s sake, and inform any readers that my apartment could be called “The Place that Clearance Built,” because I don’t mess with that full price stuff).

But all of this change and growing up has left little time for me to do any writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching things, A LOT of things, it’s just that I was having a minor existential crisis about writing a blog and who would even want to read it (*womp womp*).  However, just when I felt like giving up, life’s perfect little timings slapped me with this nugget of wisdom:

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” – Cyril Connolly.

Thanks, Mr. Connolly, and thanks, life. There’s just one main problem:

You said, Chuck.

You said it, Chuck.

 

To that I say, oh well! I’m just going to not look back at those unwritten four months and move forward. So while I shove those lost months, thoughts, shows, and movies, into a too-small closet and struggle to shut the door, I’ll talk about the present. Apologies, in advance, if that strained closet door opens back up momentarily in the future. Just ignore it…

 

Have y’all seen The Grand Budapest Hotel yet?? If not, you need to get on that.

It's like Wes Anderson Guess Who

It’s like Wes Anderson Guess Who

Set in the fictional mountainous town of Zubrowska, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a flashback within a flashback, within a book enactment (“whaaaa?” I know ), and follows the interesting and suave M. Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and his new Lobby Boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori). The movie seems to have everything you want in a movie night: a bit of humor, a bit of romance, some mystery and suspense, and a star-studded cast. I have a coworker who regularly asks me for movie recommendations, and I’ll tell you what I told him: “It’s basically just a bunch of big stars in small parts, and it’s almost a quirky ‘Murder on the Orient Express.'” If none of that makes you want to see it, I’m not sure what will.

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What I would give to be part of this conversation…

Critics seem to all agree that this is Wes Anderson’s best film of his career, so far. Receiving 91% from critics and 88% from viewers on Rotten Tomatoes, praising the eccentricity and stylish way that Anderson presents this story. If you liked Wes Anderson’s other films, or want to have some more Lord Voldemort in your life, then grab some macaroons and enjoy!

 

Keeping with the star-studded cast theme, but heading back to 2001, let me take a second to talk about Gosford Park.

Look at all the British people! and Ryan Phillpe...

All the British people! and Ryan Phillpe…

I’ll admit this first off- I’ve known about this movie since it’s premier, but it took me 13 years and 4 seasons of Downton Abbey to truly appreciate (and honestly get through) this movie. I include the 4 seasons of Downton because Gosford Park was written by Downton‘s creator, Julian Fellowes. It’s got all of the things Downton fans love, the Upstairs/Downstairs dichotomy, Maggie Smith, the dressing gong…. it’s all there. It’s the perfect movie for anyone needing a Fellowes fix, or a Clive Owen fix (you’re welcome). It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and loaded up on nominations for supporting roles, costume design, and best picture (it was beat out by Russell Crowe and A Beautiful Mind). Like I said, if you’re missing Carson and the rest of the Downton crew, or need sassy Maggie Smith to join you on your summer vacation, then watch this. Go! Do! Watch!

USA Films is actually one-third of what is presently known as Focus Features. The more you know!

 

It’s summertime, and for this pale-skinned TV lover, it mainly just means hiding from my natural enemy- the sun- and watching second string TV shows. There aren’t really too many to write home about, but let me quickly talk about one I’ve been watching:

Black Box is ABC’s attempt at drawing in Scandal‘s Gladiators during its summer hiatus.

x

 

It follows Dr. Catherine Black, a famous neuroscientist at the Center for Neurological Research and Treatment, as she tries to balance her job, personal life, and the secret that she has bipolar disorder. Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately it starts to get uninteresting pretty quickly. Dr. Black’s fiance, Chef Will Van Renseller, and her have very little chemistry to the point that I’m rooting for them to break up. If that’s the master plan, then kudos to the writers, because I want more than anything for them to break up. The show is procedural, each week dealing with a new disease or disorder, but none of them every get too interesting; and even though they have a prime opportunity to feature a smart and strong female lead, she just gets defined by her disorder.

Now, I’ve mentioned most of these things on my family’s podcast (oh yeah, my family is trying out a podcast), but I’ll mention it here too: the show makes me want a bread bowl. They’ve set the whole show underneath some overpowering jazz saxophone. I feel like I’m back in college, sitting in my neighborhood Panera studying and jamming out to some smooth sax. I keep coming back to it every week though, probably because of fellow redhead Kelly Reilly, and I’ll definitely finish the season since I’ve made it this far. It’s a new show, so I understand it has a tall order to establish a cast of characters and an overall plot, and while each week has it getting better than the last, I have a feeling it might not be back next season. Sad too, because I really want it to stay on the air, at least to keep that street saxophone player working.

C'mon, let him keep his job.

C’mon, let him keep his job.

 

Other than that, it’s mainly just been me watching the Cooking Network, making pies, and watching Jeopardy. I’ve basically spent the early days of summer turning into my grandmother, now I just need to be retired to complete the transformation. My neighbors probably think I’m weird. Oh, and in case you missed it, this was an actual Final Jeopardy response last week:

For the record I knew the real answer- Alfred Nobel

For the record I knew the real answer- Alfred Nobel

Well, maybe with my new outlook on writing, and with a better grasp on my changing work life, I’ll actually start doing some more regular writing.

Yeah I'll probably see you in another four months...

Yeah I’ll probably see you in another four months…

Moms Call for Less Zest

If you pick up a magazine, you’ve probably seen him. Or, perhaps, you’ve had the pleasure of seeing one of these commercials:

Anderson Davis, or “The Zesty Guy” as he is known to the public, is the new face for Kraft salad dressing, and he is causing quite a stir.

In an interview for Yahoo! Shine, a spokesperson for Kraft said they were keeping in mind their consumers who might not be house wives, and to give a spin on their consumers’ idea of Kraft salad dressing. And spin, they did. While many groups, like my friends on Facebook and Tumblr, are swooning over Zesty Guy’s steamy adverts, there are others who seem to find fault in them.

One Million Moms, the group that brought you the boycott on Ellen DeGeneres and JC Penney, is working to pull the advertisements from circulation. Despite the misleading name, the group consists of individuals who wish to clean up the images that inundate our everyday lives. Primarily championing the end of child exploitation in media, they work to put a stop to all things vulgar and wanton. Through their website, they urge their members or anyone outraged to email Kraft urging them to pull the ads. While there, you can also send emails to people like ABC Family, for their newest show “The Fosters”- a show about a lesbian couple raising a family- or even drop a line to the CEO of Disney asking them to put an end to Gay Days in their parks. After reading through their website, I feel very torn with my opinions of One Million Moms. That might be a different can of worms for a different time, however, so let me stick to the visually appealing matter at hand.

“Shame on Kraft,” is how they begin their zesty manifesto. The group continues by describing the ad found in People Magazine, noting that the man is “n*ked” and the strategic placement of the blanket over his “g*nitals.”

No he’s n*ked! Photo: Kraft

They continue by saying that until these ads are pulled, Christians will not be able to buy salad dressing. They also note that, “The consumers they are attempting to attract – women and mothers – are the very ones they are driving away,” and until they’re act is cleaned up, salads will be eaten dry! (Okay, I added that last little bit, but you get the idea.)

A couple things about this…

First: the advertising agency has exploited women’s sexuality from the beginning of the game. If it needs to be sold, a woman in a bikini can typically sell it.  When I first saw the ads while on Youtube, I thought “Finally, women can now have their eye candy.” As a member of the target audience that Kraft is trying to market to, I think they’re doing a spot-on job. I would even venture to say that I’m jealous I wasn’t the person to come up with the concept. The people I see talking about it on Tumblr and Twitter seem to like it as well. Thanks to Zesty Guy, more people seem to have a craving for Kraft salad dressing.

Second: if you think something on television or in a magazine is offensive to you, don’t look at it! The writer of 1MM’s perturbation says that they first saw the ad in a People magazine. If  you have problems with networks like ABC Family or shirtless men, why would you be thumbing through pages filled with celebrities and even more sexual images? I talked to my mom, who is a Christian salad eater, about her opinion on the issue, “If you don’t like the subject, don’t watch it. No one is setting you down and forcing you to look at these things.” It’s as simple as that. “But, sex is all over TV and movies…” you say? I guess if you’re really committed, then you’ll be picking up more books. It’s not becoming complacent to a society you don’t believe in, it’s setting yourself apart from it (think about the Amish).

Like Yahoo! Shine reports, and like I see in social media, it doesn’t look like One Million Moms will win this fight with Kraft. For now, Zesty Guy will live to steam steam through another shirt or to take a picnic alfresco.