Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye to an Artful 2013, Hello to an Artfuller 2014!

I feel like a lot of year in reviews are pretty much either brag-fests or suck-fests - what did we accomplish, what went wrong, why this was the greatest year EVER OF ALL TIME, why this year BLEW DONKEY CHUNKS, etc. I was thinking about writing what I did and did not accomplish this year. I think it's a good idea to really sit and think and analyze, "How did I move forward and how can I learn from the ways I didn't move forward," but they may be better suited for personal introspection than a blog post read by a whopping seven people. Frankly, that's five and a half people too many. I will say this was a really big, super-stellar year for me, life-wise, and I'm very grateful for that. I hope 2014 brings a lot of amazing things, too, and not a lot of sad, bad, unhappy things. I hope I grow as a writer and finally start to live up to the opportunities I'm given and seizing. I hope I become a better friend, daughter, sister, wife, co-worker, citizen of my community and the world. And for you, my dearest seven readers, I hope you all had a fantastic 2013 and an even more amazing 2014. If nothing else, your loyalty to my ramblings certainly have earned you that much.

Not solid on what my resolution will be next year - last year was more photos, this year was more music... I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, these two posts on the NKF blog are pretty solid reads.

Filmography 2013

Gen Ip's Filmography 2013 is my favorite kind of year-end movie-mash-up: one that examines and juxtaposes the recurring themes of that year's cinema (300 films!) in a tight seven minutes:

Woah. Makes you really want to go watch all those movies, right? Even that terrible one about the turkeys. Ok, maybe not the one about the turkeys.

[via /Film]

New "How to Train Your Dragon 2: The Retraininging of the Dragoning" Trailer

Alright, that's not the sequel's title, but appreciate that our pal has gone from gangly-cute to near-Disney-Prince-level animation hottie. Spoiler alert! There's a spoiler from 1:00-1:40, so skip over that part if you don't want to be spoilered. Or skip the whole trailer if you really don't want to be spoilered. But if you honestly, truly don't want to be spoilered, then you better skip the first How to Train Your Dragon - spoilers throughout the whole dang movie!

I think it looks fun!

Other rejected sequel titles:

How to Train Your Dragon, REMIX!

How to Retrain Your Dragon - Remember, Consistency is the Consistence-Key!

Pow! TWO Train Your Dragon!

How to Train Your Donkey - Dragons Were Too Expensive and Also Donkeys are Real so it's More Practical

How To Train Your Dragon: Electric Dragonloo, or: How The Vikings Discovered Electricity

Best Use of Emoji's and Eisenstein's "Montage" Ever

If you're wondering what early 20th century Russian film director and theorist Eisenstein meant by "montage," but don't want to read or watch anything about it and instead want to watch a short film composed solely of music and emoji's, this is the lecture for you:

Probably not what the creator intended, but still extremely effective.

[via The Hairpin]

Videogum's Favorite Animal Videos of 2013

Not for the faint of cute, though possibly my favorite year-end round-up out there, despite its disturbingly low amount of dog-related videos.

"Mr. Guinea Pig Watches the Rain" is clearly best.

To quote Videogum, "Today, [thinking back on the previous year, contemplating moving forward into the next] we are all this [guinea pig]"

J.K. Rowling really misses Harry Potter, you guys

In addition to writing the screenplay for the much anticipated (in the sense that I'm flipping out over it and therefore everyone else should, too, probably. I mean, magic + New York + Steampunk time period + ALL THE ANIMALS!? Are you flipping kidding me!?) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film adaptation, J.K. Rowling is also working on a stage play about our dear friend Harry Potter's formative, pre-Hoggy-hoggy-Hogwarts years. Honestly, it sounds pretty depressing. From what we've read, Harry's childhood was mostly super sad on top of super abusive on top of even more super-er sad, but maybe this is her way of doing a "gritty reboot" before Christopher Nolan does. Aside from the Battle of Hogwarts and certain scenes involving certain elves, godfathers, kindly father-figures, facing one's own death, and unconditional, eternal love, Harry's childhood might just be the darkest part of the series.

If Ms. Rowling's working on it, it's sure to be great, so for whatever reason she's returning to Harry's world (even if it is pre-magic), I'm delighted to hear about it and then come up with an excuse to go to London and see it!

Angie's Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

/Film always has a good idea of what's coming in the new year (though they are a little obsessed with superhero movies), and Angie's list (not that Angie's List) is a great example - a mix of movies I'm super stoked to see (especially The Giver!!!), but also movies I didn't remember were happening and now I'm excited about again (The Boxtrolls!). Hooray for movies!

PS. Her favorite movies of 2013 aren't bad, either. I still need to see a few of them (looking forward to finally watching Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Short-Term 12), too, so it serves as a good reminder!

Anna Kendrick, "It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish"

Anna Kendrick hits it out of the park with, "It's Not Where You Start , It's Where You Finish" for Shirley MacLaine at the Kennedy Center Honors 2013.

Ms. MacLaine seemed moved while watching it, mouthing the words along with Anna. Pitch Perfect really hit off her singing career!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wendy Davis' Texas

The Hairpin has an interesting article from a Texan woman on her experience with the Wendy Davis filibuster. It's a fascinating read, and a great reminder that while most Texas politicians are the worst (Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Ron Paul, Pete Sessions, etc), some politicians and Texans are super awesome people trying to preserve our rights as women and move our state forward progressively.

Maybe Pairing Harry Potter and Christmas Makes More Sense After All...

Alyssa Rosenberg just reread the whole Harry Potter series, a most delightful chore, and she came up with some interesting connections between the beloved series and the beloved holiday (Christmas, that is). Well worth the read - even if it just inspires you to reread the whole series for the nth time yourself!

The Artful Nails to Come (in 2014)

So what'd you think? Some progress, some devolution into obsession, not too bad. In 2014, I'm going to get some more colors (kelly green, cobalt blue) but not too many new colors (I'm quickly running out of space on my desk). I'm going to try and balance my themed nails (i.e. holiday) vs my abstract nails (i.e. chevron or wavy stripes). I'm also going to try and get a little faster at it. I think that will happen naturally, but who knows? Since there's no limit or anything, I'll try to do some more different, fun themes, like various kinds of art or nature things or animals. The sky's the limit! Or not, since I already did a sky one... Haven't tried a sunset yet, though.

I'd like to do some fun New Year's nails, but I'm super busy right now, so they might be New Year's themed but actually get painted after New Year's proper. We'll see!

December: Sandy Christmas Nails, or: I'm on Vacation and Got Lazy

For the first time, my family spent Christmas away from Dallas and in a tropical paradise (St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands). I wanted to celebrate the occasion with some killer beach+Christmas nails, but I ran into a couple of problems:

1) We left for St. John the day after our last day of work, so I spent the whole day packing and getting our last hang outs with friends before the break, leaving me no time to do my nails when I was in NYC.

2) Once in St. John, I was having too much fun to leave adequate time to paint my nails!

3) Because we had to pack for St. John, I obviously couldn't bring all of my fun nail colors, so I just brought the ones I thought might work, but aren't necessarily my favorites.

That left me frantically doing them on Christmas morning before breakfast, realizing far too late that that was not enough time to do them well, and also that I simply did not have the right colors. So what you see is my attempt to do a beachscape with a palm tree decorated with ornaments and a delightfully out-of-place snowman. The sand and sky colors work just fine, but the water color is way too dark (I should really get a nice cobalt blue), and the palm tree leaves color is too light (my green is almost the same color as my blue - I need more of a kelly green).

Altogether, not my best work. However, the awesome view of the beach behind my nails is pretty spectacular, which more or less makes up for it, right?

December: All the Christmas Nails, or: Rudolph Takes Time

As you can see, I decided to keep Snoopy for a second week. Mainly because he was too darn cute to get rid of, but also partly because I couldn't think of a better design to use on my thumb instead. From left to right, we've got Santa's stomach with belt and white fluffy fringe, a wrapped present, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and holiday sweater design.

Wrapped presents was my husband's idea, the Santa tummy is based on an image search, the sweater was my friend Liz's idea, and Rudolph was all mine. I image searched him and looked for a YouTubetorial (TM!?!), but I didn't find anything I was super satisfied with (some are admittedly way better than mine, but they looked too complex for my abilities), so I just found a good image of him from the movie (of course the claymation version from '70s, why would I use anything else!?!? What am I, a MONSTER??) online and then did my best to emulate it. As you can tell, I mainly used my tiny nail brush for everything, but I did use the dotting tool to shape Rudolph's head and to make this nose. Everything aside from Rudolph probably took about an hour total, but Rudolph alone took at least forty minutes for both. It was a long night, but well worth it, I think! He's pretty cute, and I think I got the eyes right, which is what really makes or break a character like that (same with Snoopy - I got his eyes wrong at first and he looked like a hot mess, but then I fixed them and he looked halfway decent!).

December: Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown (and Snoopy) Nails, or: My Favorites

Right hand

Left hand
So far, I'm hitting it out of the park, holiday nails-wise, but the question was, "What next?" By this time, all the holiday movies (and, inexplicably, Harry Potter, which I'm not arguing with I just thought it was a random but appreciated choice) have been playing on a loop for a few weeks now, so I thought back through them and figured, "You know what? I could probably do Snoopy and that sad Christmas tree Charlie brown makes before his friends - and I use the term friends pretty loosely because they're super mean to him a lot - fix it up using magic fast-hands." So I did! Dotting tool for the snow, shaping Snoopy's head and body, and ornament for the tree. Regular nail brush for the French tips-style snow. Tiny nail brush for Snoopy's features, legs, tail, hat, Christmas tree and leaves, and the little white dot on the ornament and Snoopy's nose to make them look shiny.

Now here's where you're totally justified in asking me how long it took: two-thirds of a football game, which is, more precisely, a little over two hours. By far my most ambitious nails, and I'm super proud of them. They look really, super great! They give off a feeling of Christmas tinged with sadness and hope and cold and warmth and nostalgia. It's really a whole scene.

December: Candy Cane Nails!

These are by far my husband's favorite nails. My favorites are coming up, but I agree that these turned out epically awesome. I did a lot of image searching for this one, and more or less combined several different designs and techniques into one. This was all tape, which in some ways was easy because at least the tape didn't have to be meticulously squiggled, but since I was doing the kind of candy cane that has different width of stripes, that meant I did have to meticulously cut all the various widths the same, which was a huge pain. I touched them up a tiny bit more after this photo was taken, but I think my favorites are my thumb, index finger, and pinky. They look pretty cool, right? Hitting the holiday season hard, nail-wise, at least.

November: Thanksgiving Turkey Nails!

This idea was a mix between my friend Shira and my husband: basically, it's a hand turkey (like the kind you'd draw as a little kid), with the thumb as the face and the other fingers as the multicolored feathers. The adorable googly eyes (dotting tool using the larger dot as the white part and the smaller dot as the black part) and design of the beak and waddle were all mine, though. I think they turned out pretty cute, and they were a big hit at my in-laws' Thanksgiving festivities this year.

November: Red and Gold Nails, or: Fun with Nail Brush

Here I decided to vindicate myself re: horrible freehand chevron from the summer. While I still don't think these nail-brushified chevrons look as nice as my taped chevrons, they took about five minutes vs fifty, so that needed to be taken into consideration. Also, although I really liked my gold and white designs from a couple weeks before, I felt like you couldn't see them all that well in the photo, so I thought gold on red might show up more clearly. They work as a "Hey, the holidays are coming up pretty soon, so we should probably start thinking about them, huh?" reminder, too.

November: Snowflake Nails!

Dotting tool + tiny nail brush + super cool new steely gray color = super awesome snowflake nails. These are crazy fantastic, aren't they? Simple and reminiscent of "Winter is Coming, but Maybe Winter Isn't All Bad?"

Also, here's where I feel like I'm experienced enough that I can safely stray from my earlier rule that every nail pattern needs to be the same (when you're making all the nails the same basic design), which is especially important here where it's supposed to be falling snow and that would be really creepy if all the snow was falling the exact same way. Who wants to live in that kind of world? Maybe Stephen Hawking because of how mathematically improbable it would be, but not me. Spoiler alert: I'm not Stephen Hawking.

November: Gold and White Designs for a Wedding, or: Dotting Tool Time!

My cousin got married in at a fancy place called the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, so I decided to paint some equally classy gold and white nails to honor the occasion. I took my inspiration from this design, and I think I did it proud - especially considering she used a Sharpie and I used actual polish. To do those nice, thin stripes and that weird V with stripes pattern on the thumb, I utilized my fancy new brush. Also, I used my new dotting tool (I GOT TO IT!) to make the perfectly round white and gold dots on my forefinger and ring finger. The dotting tool is essentially a metal stick with a round ballpoint pen-style metal ball at the end of it. You dip it in a little pool of polish and then lightly touch it to your nail - near-instant dots!

The other things I forgot to mention around the nail brush are that to use it best, you get yourself a tiny sheet of aluminum foil to be a makeshift painter's palette, dollop drops of each paint color (as needed) onto the foil to dip your brush into, and then a cap's worth of nail polish remover to clean the brush in between uses and colors. It makes the nail painting feel a lot more like painting, which I think is fun and also a little sad since it still isn't real painting, but I'm nowhere near getting back into that right now, so I'll stick to the less-artistic-but-also-less-time-intensive nail painting for now.

November: Falling Leaves for Fall Nails, or: I Got a Nail Brush And Never Looked Back

A tiny nail brush is a tiny paint brush that you use on your nails. Is your mind blown? My was when I went to the Sephora and saw this $10 nail kit in the checkout lane that included a tiny nail brush and a dotting tool (I'LL GET TO THE DOTTING TOOL IN THE NEXT POST!). I thought, "$10 is not a lot to spend on my super weird habit of more and more intricately designed nails." I also thought, "I hope this is the most I spend on my weird habit and not the beginning of an increasingly-expensive habit that eventually leads to my downfall by either being swallowed by a giant pile of infinite nail colors or simple destitution and homelessness by spending my last $8 on JUST ONE MORE non-toxic nail color." It could happen.

So these leaves, am I right? I did my image search research this time, a general, "Fall nails" search, thinking there would be plenty of leaf-based options, and there were! When I was doing my many tape-based nails, I realized that maintaining consistency over all the fingernails is important to making them look clean and nice, which is why all the leaves are in the same place on each nail. I don't think doing it that way always necessarily makes nails look better, but I think for a first-timer like me, it was very helpful. Not bad, right? Leaf-like and everything! The best part? Using the brush, this only took me about half an hour instead of the usual hour or more! Boom. Fall fail no more.

October: Daenerys Targaryen Nails for Halloween!

My husband and I are reading Game of Thrones right now, and Daenerys Targaryen is my favorite character. This is not surprising because she's pretty much everyone's favorite character (which makes me constantly worry that George R.R. Martin is going to kill her off ASAP), but I've got long blonde hair and a feisty dragon-may-care attitude, so I thought I'd dress as her for Halloween this year. These nails are a loose homage to her - the light purple an ode to those famous Targaryen eyes and the thumb an abstract fiery white/yellow/orange/red in honor of her dragons. The fire didn't turn out as baddass as I wanted it to (because nail painting can definitely be baddass, right?), but I still didn't have a tiny nail brush (GET READY, I'M GETTING TO IT IN THE VERY NEXT POST!!) so you really can't blame me.

October: Picnic Blanket Nails

I thought I used tape on a few of these nails, but looking at the photo, I'm not actually sure I did on any except for my middle finger, where I used it too late and it took off a chunk of polish, but I think it actually gives the nail a funky-cool look. Right?? Anyway, the thumb on this one is by far my favorite. It looks super classy, whether you're thinking of it as a picnic blanket or just abstract white and red stripes. Definitely a step forward from the apple disaster of the previous week.

October: First Attempt at Fall Nails

Epic fall, you guys. And by fall, I mean I'm doing a terrible pun for epic fail in the fall. I didn't even Instagram this one because my best laid plans went awry. What I should have done was image search for "apple nails" and check out the best way to do apples in the fall. See this, this, or this. Instead, I decided to come up with it on my own, and I came up with a thumb that looks like a red butt emitting a green poo. The color contrast between red and yellow for the polka dots is not so fantastic, either. Oh well, you live and you learn and some people learn a lot about nail painting.

October: Gold and White Classy Sun Nails

Now realizing that these stencils can really only be used at best twice, I decided to give the sun one I had gotten a go on my thumbs and then classing up the rest of my nails with French tips over a gold base. I think it turned out pretty well, especially once I realized how crazy-simple it is to do French tips - you just take your brush and run it half over the nail and half over the tip of your finger. Then it looks great on the nail and you just wipe off the excess on your finger. Boom. Not-instant-but-still-pretty-easy awesome.

September: Blue and Orange Wavy Nails!

To make up for my Emmy nails, I taped out these badass squiggly-wavy nails with a choice orange and blue color combo. As you can see, I'm getting pretty good with that tape technique. As you can't see but I'm going to tell you, I also had plenty of time to get it right since we had an entire day of football playing in the background (not that it took me all day, but probably between an hour or two). And if you're wondering where the wavy scissors came from, it's that when we were looking for pinking sheers in NYC, they only came in packs of six with five other kinds of craft scissors. This design comes from one of those other scissors.

September: Emmy Nails!

By the lucky coincidence of getting married to a guy who would soon be nominated for his first Emmy, I was able to go to the Emmy's this year! What up! I wanted to have epically awesome Emmy nails to show my appreciation for the chance to live it up on the red carpet, so I used this nail stencil I had gotten as a gift on my thumb. Looks pretty nice and classy and not terrible at all, right? Well, apparently you really shouldn't use those stencils twice, because as I applied it to my other nails, it grew progressively less stable and eventually collapsed in on itself into a heaping mess of semi-dried nail polish goo and flopped-over-sticker paper. To hide my stencil-shame, I painted over them in gold polish. It looks ok as just an accent nail, but I would have liked to have had a more epic design on them. Oh well, there's always next year maybe!

September: Chevron Nails, Part II: Or, Vindicated with Tape

Oh yeah, check that beautiful nail goodness. Smooth lines and a clean finish that can only be achieved by two hours of tape-cutting-and-layers while watching a rerun of Castle. That's my kind of Sunday afternoon right there, and with football season starting, I knew I'd have plenty of football games to paint through in the coming months. I know the pointer finger there is kind of shoddy, but I cleaned it up later. That pinky, though, and the middle finger, and the thumb!? A work of art (not really) if I've ever seen one (I've seen plenty and this is not one, but I did get a couple of compliments at work about it).

August: Chevron Nails or: Using the Tape Was a Better Idea

Before our big trip up to Maine at the end of summer, I decided to try to freehand paint some pink chevrons. We were running low on time and I didn't want to spend another hour and a half cutting up tape (Or twenty minutes or however long it was. I kind of lose track of time when I'm in the "nail zone" (Definitely TM)). This proved to be disastrous. Look at those nails - sloppy, uneven, globs everywhere. What a mess. The only one that turned out even sort of acceptable is my thumb, and that's only in a "artfully sloppyily handwritten by a Brooklyn hipster on a wedding invitation" kind of way. Also, the fact that this image is of my right hand tells you just how terrible it was - that my right hand (i.e. done with my non-dominant left hand) turned out better than my left.

Note: I always do my left hand first and then my right hand because I want to give my right hand even the chance that it will look somewhat near as good as my left hand. That's because my left hand inevitably ends up as my, "Let's try this and see how it turns out" and then my right hand is my, "Ok, now I know what I'm doing it but I'm doing with super-shaky lefty over here" so it generally turns out pretty even.

In the future, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to do chevrons freehanded if I had a tiny nail brush (OK I'LL STOP MENTIONING IT UNTIL I GET ONE IN A LATER POST!), but with your standard attached-to-the-top-of-the-lid-of-the-polish-cap brush, no dice.

Good color choice, though, am I right?

August: Chevron Toenails, or: Did I Just Blow Your Mind?

This could also be titled, "The Month I Started Doing More than One Nail Pattern A Month That was Interesting Enough to Instagram" Check out that incredible orange and white chevron (fancy word that's inexplicably popular right now "for wiggly, zig-zag stripes") pattern on my toenails. Clean, smooth lines. Sharp contrast between the white and orange. Surely this must be some sort of stick-on decal that's not even really painting your nails at all (NOT GETTING TO IT! Google it yourselves)!

Nope! I created my own nail stencil by using tape. When I first thought about doing chevron nails (Sometimes I think of these ideas DAYS in advance), I figured I'd probably use tape. 1) Paint a layer of white, 2) Meticulously cut out chevron pattern of tape, 3) Layer the tape on toenails, 4) Paint over it in orange, 5) Peel off tape to reveal incredible nails. However, just in case, I went to the internet to see what they were were doing. Although some people were, in fact, painting it freehand like ballers and others were using tiny nail brushes (GIVE ME A MINUTE AND I'LL GET TO IT), most people were using tape. And yet, they were not cutting the tape up like I thought I'd have to do. They were using pinking sheers to help them meticulously cut up the tape, since they already have a chevron pattern embedded in them.

This is when I learned that using tape takes a lot of time. At least an hour or more. This is because you first have to cut up the tape, which, even using pinking sheers, takes a while since you want to make sure the width of each chevron is the same and that the top cut of the tape matches the bottom cut of the tape. It's clearly an immensely complex process much easier to describe using a YouTubetorial (TM, why not?) than me trying to write for you. Here is one is clearly mocking how much time it actually took me to do compared to how much time this video makes you think it will take.

August: Clouds and Sun, or: When I Start Trying to Paint Stuff that Looks Like Other Stuff

Clearly, by this point I've masted the without-a-dotting-tool polka dots (CONTINUE TO NOT PANIC. I PROMISE I WILL EXPLAIN WHAT A DOTTING TOOL IS IN A LATER POST. YOU CAN READ THAT POST NOW IF YOU WANT TO AND THEN COME BACK TO THIS ONE), so I decide to try my hand (get it!?) at something more literal: clouds and a sun. Surprisingly, the clouds turned out pretty much the way I had wanted them to: mini-replicas of the clouds from The Simpsons or Andy's bedroom in Toy Story. The sun also doesn't suck - check out the way I used the flat end of the yellow brush to make the lines that for some reason we always draw on suns even though that's not the way a real sun looks. Yeah, I got a little too close together on some of them, but it's not like I had a mini-nail-brush to use (WHAT? YEAH I JUST THREW THAT OUT THERE! WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE WHAT IT CAN DO!) or something. I'd say Matt Groening would be proud, but I strongly doubt it. A) the clouds on The Simpsons are probably the least interesting thing to him, and B) he probably has never once in his life thought about nail art (a phrase I'm positive he would disagree with).

July: Summer Polka Dot Nails

When we returned from our honeymoon, I thought it'd be fun to combine the trip's toenail colors with the fingernails' polka dots. This is how it turned out. Altogether, fairly successful. This was also one of my first forays into "not every nail has to be the same" which is a pretty life-altering revelation to have in the world of nail art. One in which every nail artist (strong word choice there) must go through at some point in time. From then on, the question becomes, "When to do all the nails the same and when to do all (or some - WE'LL GET TO THAT LATER, TOO, DON'T PANIC!) different?" Note, I still don't have a dotting tool (Still getting to it - STOP WORRYING!) at this point, so the fact that they don't all look like monstrous blobs is astounding. Check out the pointer finger's yellow dots - magnificent.

June: Honeymoon in Hawaii Nails, or: A First Attempt at Dots

For my fingernails, I wanted to do something more fun than just a bunch of colors - perhaps a bunch of colors in dot-form! So for the first time, I went to the internet for advice. I quickly found about a billion YouTubetorials (TM? Somebody has to have thought of that before...) on the subject, but I liked one that mostly coalesced the dots at the tips the most, so I went for it. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Nothing fancy, but the dots look alright for not having a dotting tool (DON'T WORRY WE'LL GET TO THAT - STAY TUNED!) and I think the colors are fun and/or tropical. Very appropriate for the occasion.

June: Honeymoon in Hawaii Toenails!

I have no idea what I was doing with my life in May, but it was not documenting my nail colors. This is probably because after my fun "something blue" in April, I reverted to simple, single-color nails - very effective for curbing my nail-picking habit, ineffective at being interesting enough for the internets or even my iPhone (which is surprising, because not much is deemed uninteresting enough for me to not capture it on my phone).

In July, though, I knew I wanted to do something fun for my now-husband (!!) and my's adventurous, relaxing-ous honeymoon on the Big Island. To capture the spirit of the island (?), I decided to paint my toes in a bunch of fun, tropical colors, that also happened to be pretty much all the colors I had at the time.

April: "Something Blue" Toenails!

For my "Something Blue" I thought it'd be fun to through in a blue accent nail on my big toes. I'd say it was a success, don't you think? At least in the sense that I still got married, regardless of my toenail color. Admittedly, it'd be pretty weird in the fiance broke up with me on our wedding day because my nail choice was sloppy and absurd.

April: Wedding Nails!

The first nails of the year came in April for my wedding. As you can see, my photo framing and finger display are a mess, but I think I picked an excellent color for my spring nuptials (our scheme was green, coral, and blush... which basically means green and pink and red). Not bad for a first go 'round, especially considering I did them the night before my wedding at around midnight while watching Moonstruck.

Artful Nails of 2013

Hello! To celebrate the end of the year, I'm posting each of my fun weekly nails I had starting around the time of my wedding up until the end of the year! I hope you see a steady progression toward excellence, but I'll settle for, "Well, they're certainly interesting" or "You have too much free time." Why did I start painting my nails in the first place? I have a terrible habit of picking at my nails (not biting), and I realized that I don't pick at them nearly as much when they're painted. Why did I get so crazy detailed about it as the year went along? Pretty soon, just painting a single color alone didn't seem like enough fun. So I started coming up with my own ideas, and I also realized that there is a SUPER INTENSE community of nail-obsessed people on the internets (big surprise) and they had a lot of great ideas for nails, too. I've been learning from their posts, and I think as I improve, I'll eventually really start coming up with my own ideas. For now, though, enjoy the nails of the past year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

And Also We're This Dog, Too

Yep, this is generally how I feel, too:

At least unless someone's asking me to how eat cookies. I can eat the shit out of cookies. Not literal shit, though. That'd be gross.

Today, We Are All This Cat

Or, well, actually every day I feel like this cat. It's so straight-up sad and hilarious, just like me:

I could watch that all day. Leap and flop. Leap and flop. Leap annnnnnnnnd flop.

New Details on Way-Distant 'Moana' Film

Looks like Disney may actually be serious about diversifying its films, if the rumors about its not-as-of-yet-officially-disclosed feature, Moana, are correct. Sources are saying that it's going to center around a young Polynesian explorer and chief's daughter who must help her family, presumably by setting sail (maybe by discovering Hawaii?). The not-necessarily-official concept art is certainly interesting, and the story sounds like a really cool idea (and not just because I just honeymooned in Hawaii!). Also, I guess it doesn't have to involve Hawaii. That's probably me just Americanizing it. If it just straight-up takes place with the Polynesians sans Hawaii, it'll probably be even better. Anyway, don't get too excited yet, because even though it's being directed by the legendary John Musker and Ron Clements, it's not set to hit until 2018, and, as we all know, there's plenty of time for it to get canceled between now and then.

2013 Black List is In!

The 2013 Black List dropped a couple of days ago, and Scott Myers helpfully categorized it for our informational digestion. One of the funniest things about the Black List at this point is that many of the films that are "un-produced" are such in name only at this point. However, that doesn't mean they're not great scripts (you'd hope at least some great ones are getting produced, right?). The good news is there are almost twice the number of women writers on the list as last year. The sad news is that means they still only make up about 18% of the writers on the list. I guess we have to take what meager progress we can take. On the funnier end, in a moment of weird Hollywood synchronicity (which seems to happen a lot - Armageddon, Deep Impact anyone?) there are two separate scripts about the making of Jaws and two separate scripts about Mr. Rogers. Weird, right? Head on over to GITS to read more!

ThinkProgress' 13 Biggest Clean Energy Breakthroughs of 2013

Speaking of year-end round-ups, ThinkProgress also has a clean energy wrap-up that discusses a lot of cool stuff that I'm sure they posted throughout the year, but that I totally missed. The stuff that's going on with electric vehicles (powering buildings!), wind turbines (smarter and more stable!), offshore ocean wave technology actually in practice (with no detrimental effects to the environment!), and more efficient batteries for cars (safer, too!). In a year where congressional (read: GOP) intransigence cost us so much, it's nice to see that we were still able to make some gains in the fight against global warming.

ThinkProgress' Year in Culture: TV

Alyssa Rosenberg has been doing a year-end wrap up of all things pop culture, but I especially enjoyed her year in TV wrap-up, which is more a revisiting of her most significant posts from throughout the year. It reminded me what a great year for TV, and especially for women and women of color in TV, it has been, even when at times it still seems like white men are getting all the attention (coughBreakingBadcough). Also, I almost forgot that Ben and Leslie's wedding happened this year on Parks and Rec and it was the absolute best! The only thing she forgot to mention (and she forgot about it at the time, as well), is how great of a show Go On was, and how it definitely deserved at least one more season. It was, indeed, Goon too soon.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Claire Danes, Feminist. Deal with It.

Way to go, Claire Danes, for boldly declaring her feminism and stating how "f--king crazy" it is that society isn't equal and that women are underrepresented in Hollywood:

"I am a feminist. And I’m so glad that [Girls creator and star] Lena Dunham exists, because she is one too, and she’s quite vocal about it. Yes, women have more freedom and more influence than ever, but it’s hardly equal. It’s just not. It’s really f--king crazy. I’m sorry I’m cursing. But it’s wild that women are underrepresented [in Hollywood]. I have real anxiety about directing, and that’s something to question and challenge and correct."

You can read the rest of her interview in the January issue of Glamour.

[via HuffPo]

Merry Christmas from two of the ladies from 'Orange is the New Black'

Love this holiday medley from Danielle Brooks and Uzo Aduba of Orange is the New Black supporting the charity, Artists Striving to End Poverty:

Really puts me in the holiday spirit!

Lizzy & Wendy: Awesome 'Bob's Burgers' Sister Writing Duo!

This interview with sisters Lizzy and Wendy Molyneux makes me really want to be a writer on Bob's Burgers - not only is the show super funny (which I already knew), but also the workplace environment seems like a blast!

[via VideoGum]

'Sherlock' Mini Episode to Debut on Christmas Day!

My only confusion amidst my excitement that we're getting a Sherlock mini episode (note: my confusion is not what is a mini episode because frankly I don't care since a regular Sherlock ep is the size of a full-length feature) on Christmas is what the heck is BBC's Red Button service and do we Americans have access to it. Anyone know what's the haps with that?

United States of Pop 2013: Living the Fantasy!

Speaking of end-of-the-year mash-ups, here's DJ Earworm's mix of the big pop songs from this year:

That's some good jams. Although, it also reminds me how much all pop songs sound the same, even really awesome ones like Lorde's "Royals."

[via The Hairpin]

V-Mars Movie: Coming At Ya Pi Day, 2014!

That's right, Marshmallows, Veronica Mars is getting released in theaters on March 14, 2014 - Say whaaaaaaat?! To complement that great news, Rob Thomas released from the new flick on Entertainment Weekly. Oh man, I could watch Veronica verbally bitch slap Madison all day. More importantly, though, I want to know what Wallace and Mac have been up to! Sounds like Mac is some sort of nerd success story, but I need some sweet deets. And what has Wallace been doing besides thinking about getting with some rando girl at his ten-year high school reunion!? When does this movie come out again? Now March 14, 2014 doesn't seem soon enough!

Washington Metro's Super New, Super Sexist New Ads

Shout out to my friend Shira for writing a great Happy Place article about the horribly sexist new Washington Metro ads claiming that, basically, "Women Be Shopping!" Give it a read!

Just Another Reminder How Terrible Dog Breeding Is

Gawker pointed out this concise post called, "100 Years of Breed 'Improvement'" on a Dog Behavior Science blog. Comparing photos of eight breeds from 1915 to today, the blog runs down the list of hereditary health ailments that have been bred into or exaggerated through breeding these dogs. The bulldog is, of course, the worst of all (and if you look at images of bulldogs before 1915, you'll see how healthy and normal they used to be even prior to then). The fact that people still breed and sell bulldogs at all disgusts me. They're forcing a being into a life that literally can't breathe or live healthily in any real capacity. I cannot understand why any humane person would want to do that.

Frozen's "Let It Go"

This might be my favorite sequence from the new Disney movie Frozen:

While I agree with the critiques that this movie's musical numbers are a little too pop-anthem-focused at times (someone said they felt pre-packaged to be covered by your Carrie Underwoods and such), I absolutely love this sequence.

Her whole life, Elsa's been told her conceal her talent, and finally she gets a chance to explore and revel in her powers. The animation is spectacular, and it feels revolutionary to have a Disney Queen (not a princess) both have powers and not be evil for having them (even if others make her feel guilty and evil for them). It reminds me how much this film critiques previous Disney classics' ideas of romantic love (at first sight!) and women in power (jealously trying to destroy the younger, more beautiful/innocent girl). It's basically the Disney-fied version of "Defying Gravity" complete with booming, Broadway powerhouse Idina Menzel vocals. And she brings it in a big way.

Year-End Movie Mash-Ups!

Below are mash-ups of movies from this year all edited together real pretty-like.

From Sleepy Skunk below. Movies listed here.

David Ehflich's Top 25 Movies of the Year (Definitely disagree with this, but fun to see all the clips, and the intro sequence is really well-edited)

Another year in cinema!

[via /Film]

Monday, December 2, 2013

Oral Fixation: Bun in the Oven

So proud of my sister for telling her story at "Oral Fixation: Bun in the Oven" this year.

I've always been a strong supporter of women's rights, but it was truly eye-opening to have it all hit home so directly this year.

It was so scary, educational, and inspiring watching Wendy Davis' filibuster, knowing that the outcome had direct implications for my sister and her husband's lives. Scary because if she had received the test results a few weeks later, she would not have been able to have her procedure in Texas. Educational because, while I know one in three women have an abortion, I never knew before why a woman would have one after 20 weeks. Now I do. If more people watched Nicole's story and the stories of the many women like her, I know they'd rethink their opinions on abortions after 20 weeks. And i was inspiring to see someone stand up so strongly for women's rights during a time when they're being taken away slowly but surely nationwide. Just today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an absurd case arguing that a corporation (Hobby Lobby) can refuse to cover contraception - contraception! - for their employees on the grounds of religious freedom. As Colbert would say, I laugh to keep myself from crying. It's that bad.

In order for women's rights to stop being attacked all over the country, more brave women like my sister need to share their abortion stories (and electing Wendy Davis as Governor of TX can't hurt, too!)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

How 'Friends' Made the Greatest Romantic Pairing Ever...

... Or at least until that point in TV history. Also, spoiler alert: it's Monica and Chandler! Duh! If you thought it was Ross and Rachel, you can officially stop reading this blog because you do not know me at all (although bravo for reading 1700+ posts before finding that out!). Continuing Vulture's 1998 series, Friends writer Scott Silveri discusses how he and his (now wife) Shana Goldberg-Meehan wrote the incredible London episode wherein we discover the two totally did it, as well as how the writers approached the relationship as the complete opposite of Ross and Rachel's amped-up-all-the-time drama.

My favorite quote (re: wanting the hook-up to be a surprise):

"The only real debate was around just how we'd get Monica and Chandler there that morning, how many crumbs to drop to lead the audience and the characters to the moment, all in hopes that the fact that they ended up in bed that morning wouldn't feel unmotivated and false.” In earlier scenes at the rehearsal dinner, Chandler had tried to talk a drunk Monica out of her funk over having no boyfriend, and a drunk party guest mistaking her for Ross’ mother. "Who wouldn't want you?" he asked. Says Silveri, “[We were] basically shooting for the spot between, 'This stinks, that never would have happened!'; and, 'This stinks, I saw that coming.' More of a delighted, 'That is surprising but also very satisfying and organic. It might not stink!'"

It might not stink LIKE A FOX!

Anyway, you should read the whole thing because it's great. Then go ahead and re-watch all of the major Monica and Chandler episodes. I know you have the DVDs. Or at least got one of them off of Netflix once and then "lost" it. Enjoy!

1998's Greatest One-Hit Wonders

As part of its series about 1998, Vulture posted a list revisiting that year's one-hit wonders, and they are a DELIGHT. In addition to to-this-day classics like "Bittersweet Symphony" and "Closing Time" there are gems like "Too Close" (which, unbeknownst to my 11-year-old self at the time, is about a gentleman dancing too close to a lady and getting a boner - yes!) and "Flagpole Sitta" (which I somehow knew all the lyrics to but never the name of the actual song) as well as songs I completely forgot about but loved like, "You Get What You Give" and "Crush." Check it out! Just don't think about the fact that 15-year-olds likely only heard these songs in utero.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Awesome Snow Demo Video from Disney

Unless you're well-versed in computer animation or general physics, don't expect to understand the first minute or so of this video. However, once that's over, watch all the cool snow demo's that display all different kinds of snow types and reactions that Disney used in Frozen. It's super cool!

Whaaaaa? How did they even do any of this? I love it! Makes me want to watch the super snowy scenes in Frozen again in slow-mo... or should I say, "snow-mo" am I right???? I'm not right? Ok.

[via /Film]

Nine Things Progressives Can Be Thankful For

ThinkProgress has a great list of Nine Things Progressives Can Be Thankful For this year. They're all excellent points, and it's important to remind ourselves that despite the setbacks and growing insanity of the GOP, there are still big things out there moving in the right direction. That alone is something to be thankful for.

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

I almost forgot to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Here it is: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

I'm grateful for the (seven or so?) of you who read this blog, because I'm 99% sure I know who all of you are, and I really appreciate that you care enough about to me to keep my page views above zero. It's just you and people Googling "artful stews" looking for elaborate soup recipes and clicking on this by accident. Honestly, though, I'm grateful for those soup lovers and their mistaken clicks, too.

I've been crazy-blessed this year (and every year!), and I hope that I maintain enough perspective to share my blessings with everyone around me and appreciate what an incredibly lucky and wonderful life I lead. Thank you.

TPM's Realist's Take on Obamacare

Another well-written piece of perspective on Obamacare, this time from Talking Points Memo. Oh, Josh Marshall, how you soothe the soul with logic.

Alert! Possible Dino DNA in Existence!

A 2005 discovery of soft tissue from a T-Rex has been confirmed to be legit! And there may be dino DNA inside!! It's like time traveling to the past!! Without getting eaten by a T-Rex.

Paul Krugman on Obamacare's Secret Success

This is what I'm talking about! Also this! Gotta love when Krugman doesn't have to wear his "this is how we're destroying America and/or the world" hat. Yay, Affordable Care Act!

'Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' Kick Box Office Ass + Thoughts on 'Frozen'

'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' and Disney's new 'Frozen' have proven (for the billionth time) that having well-rounded female protagonists in big studio movies pays off. Both are on track to break all kinds of records - Catching Fire is the third movie ever to break $250 million on or under eight days (the other two: The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers - so basically, Katniss is equal to the entire Avengers team) and Frozen may pull in $100 million in its first five days, shattering Thanksgiving weekend records.

What makes me even more happy about this is that both films are really good! I've already commented on Catching Fire (though I could go into further detail: I haven't even mentioned Jena Malone's perfect depiction of Johanna!). I just saw Frozen this afternoon, and I really loved the strong story of sisterhood, the delightful takedown of traditional Disney princess romances, and the way the hero, Anna, completely leads the film. She is not a passive protagonist: She constantly makes bold choices and gets herself into and out of trouble. Without spoiling anything, the ending proves this point to the nth degree. An extra perk? The movie passes the Bechdel Test within the first five minutes.

Bonus! Jennifer Lee, the screenwriter/animator behind Wreck-It Ralph wrote and co-directed Frozen. She's the first female director of a Disney animated movie, and I think the influence is both clear and welcome. I say this not to take away from Ms. Lee's individuality as a writer/director (I'm sure Kathryn Bigelow would HATE it if someone said that her directing clearly had a "female influence"), but simply as a woman who has experienced a lot of the same emotions, relationships, and thought-processes that I saw onscreen today that have not been present in any previous Disney features, which makes me think (logically) that Ms. Lee may have had something to do with that.

Sidenote to anyone else who saw Frozen: how much did you love the "You fell in love in one day!?" takedown (yes, I realize Anna and Kristoff kiss at the end of the film, but they have a very different "one day" than Anna and Hans, plus they only kiss and aren't getting married or anything rash like that)? And Anna telling Kristoff, most assuredly, that the way to end the eternal winter was simply to talk to her sister (and work things out like two normal human beings, instead of blowing the whole thing out of proportion like they'd do in another movie)? Loved it.

Oh! And I'm SO HAPPY that Kristen Bell is finally in a good movie. That lady deserves it!! Way to go, Woman Formerly Known as V-Mars!

Everyone's a Musician on 'The Simpsons'

Not just a musician, but also their own musical instruments! It's based on an old Silly Symphonies cartoon, "Music Land."

Pretty weird, but I guess also cool? You have to wonder who pitched that and how he/she decided that, "Yes, this MUST be a [couchless] couch gag!"

[via /Film]

Vulture Tries to Convince Alfonso Cuaron to Direct Harry Potter Spin-Off

Yes, please!

(Although, having just re-watching HP 6, 7.1, and 7.2, I am reminded that David Yates did an admirable job, and how important the consistency of those last films really was to the overall cohesion of the series. That being said, Alfonso Cuaron + Fantastic Beasts = Amaze-pants)

New Trailer for Laika's 'The Boxtrolls'

I can't figure out how to embed Apple Trailer videos, but here's a link to the latest trailer for Laika's (the stop-motion company) new feature, The Boxtrolls, out next September. While I have no idea or clue if this movie is going to be any good, I love the trailer. It's basically just stop-motion porn: gorgeous shots of stop-motion animation in progress. I could watch that all day! You can read a little more about it at /Film.

Amy Schumer's 'Train Wreck' To Be Directed by Judd Apatow

We already knew Judd Apatow was producing Amy Schumer's feature writing-starring debut, Train Wreck (though I'm not sure we knew the title or the plot details yet), and now we know he's directing it, as well! The super vague plot is that the film follows "a basket case as she tries to rebuild her life" - generic, I know, but with Amy Schumer writing and starring and Apatow directing, it's likely to be anything but a (wait for it) train wreck.


'The Heat' Spinoff in the Works

We may never see a The Heat sequel (at least according to Sandra Bullock), but we very well may see a The Heat spinoff starring Melissa McCarthy's character's two sisters (or sisters-in-law or girlfriends-in-law, I don't remember the exact details, but regardless they're related to her in some way), Beth and Gina. For whatever reason, Boston-based comedy is having a real moment right now, so I say go ahead and capitalize on it. I can't say I totally understand it, but being a Texas girl in New York, I don't think I'm necessarily the target audience for all the inside jokes. So for me, as long as the characters have a great arc and the non-insider jokes are funny, I'm game!

To give you a refresher on the characters:

[via /Film]

Kids' Books: All About the White Boys

File this under "Blaaaarg":

According to a comprehensive study of children's literature from the last 100 years by the University of Florida:

  • 57% of children's books published each year have male protagonists, versus 31% female.
  • As with television and film, books with animated characters are a particularly subtle and insidious way to marginalize based on sex, gender and race. In popular children's books featuring animated animals, 100% of them have male characters, but only 33% have female characters.
  • The average number of books featuring male characters in the title of the book is 36.5% versus 17.5% for female characters.
Isn't that completely nutbar? It's unsurprisingly worse for children of color:
  • Of an estimated 5,000 books released in 2012, only 3.3% featured African-Americans; 2.1% featured Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders; 1.5% featured Latinos; and only 0.6% featured Native Americans. 
This is 2012, not 1912! White and/or male writers need to gain some perspective and include great characters who are women and people of color. Furthermore, we need to inspire and nurture and encourage women and people of color to become children's authors and illustrators in the first place. The same holds true, of course, for children's TV, video games, and movies. 

Entertainment is a two-way mirror on society: the more society changes, the more entertainment must change, and I guarantee you that the more entertainment changes, the more society will change, too. Children are sponges. They absorb what they see. We need to make sure what they see reflects an equitable and multi-faceted world filled with the people who actually populate it, not just the ones who happen to be in charge right now.

[via HuffPo]

Obama Visits Dreamworks

President Obama visited DreamWorks Animation on Monday to praise the film industry (and, of course, key campaign donor Jeffrey Katzenberg). LA Times has a nice write-up of the event. Below are a couple of videos from the meeting (warning: poor audio) of Obama watching mo-cap in action and meeting Steve Martin (elbow-to-elbow, since Steve had a cold).

Obama learning about mo-cap:

Obama watching an animated character use his voice!

[Videos via /Film]

Actor Paul Walker Has Passed Away

At age 40, actor Paul Walker (most well known for his Fast and Furious series), died in a car crash while attending a charity event north of Los Angeles today. A friend of his, driving the car, also perished. Walker was known for using his fame and fortune to help causes he cared deeply about, especially shark conservation. /Film wrote about the accident and a little about Walker himself, and included a statement from his representation. Variety has a full obituary. It's horrible when anyone so young passes away. He will be missed. My thoughts go out to his friends and family during this terrible time.

'Muppets Most Wanted' Trailer

The new Muppets movie's first trailer was released. Check it out!

I like the badge joke, Tina Fey's character, and evil Kermit's weird voice. Plus, it looks like there will be at least one musical number! What do you think?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Slate's The Hunger Names

In case you were curious as to the meaning behind all the wacky names in The Hunger Games. One Slate writer attempts to decipher them. Plus, a little textual analysis. Because why not?

New 'Sherlock' Trailer!!

New trailer for season three of Sherlock on the BBC!

Is it ok that I am way more impressed by the size and fluffitude of Martin Freeman's 'stache than the meta "Sherlock lives" social media aspect of the trailer?

Is he going to shave it!? Will it be there all season!? I MUST KNOW!

Albuquerque Preserves Women's Right to Choose

Voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico reaffirmed women's right to choose, striking down a provision that would have limited women's right to have an abortion after twenty weeks. Support for such measures (which legislators have passed in over a dozen states - including Texas) is based on medical misinformation and callous disregard for women's lives, as well as their - often times very much wanted - fetus' lives. Way to go, New Mexico voters, for not buying into the hype and understanding that one in three women have an abortion for a variety of reasons - all legitimate, and all their choices to make.

International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women

Today is the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women. You can read more about it here and here. Important stuff.

THR: Animals Were Harmed

This Hollywood Reporter feature on the complete inadequacy of AHA regulations and oversight is both revealing and horrifying. I had heard rumors about this for years. I'm glad that THR was bold enough to print this. I hope the outrage it causes effects the changes that are clearly necessary to get this reprehensible problem under control.

HBO + Oprah + Diablo Cody = Yes, Please!

I'm excited to see what this combination of talents comes up with. Interesting premise!

Disenfranchisement Gets Real

Now that Texas' voter ID has gone into effect, we're already seeing a microcosm of the disenfranchisement of women, minorities, and poor voters it's causing. It's truly a disgrace that Texas Republicans devalue the lives of so many people in so many ways: from restricting women's control over their own bodies to believing that just because someone is poor or Black, he or she doesn't deserve to have his or her voice heard in this republic. Clearly, they understand that the only way to hold onto power is to strip it from everyone else. It's a sad, desperate move, that I hope will be remedied. The question is, will it be remedied soon enough to avoid catastrophic consequences?

Dallas is Getting Sunnier with Solar!

A group called Solar City teamed up with a home-builder in Texas, PSW, to build 80+ homes in the Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) area with pre-installed solar panels, tankless water heaters, and all kinds of energy efficiencies (i.e. Energy Star appliances, etc) built right in! How cool is that? They're part of two communities, one around 1600 Kings' Highway (which I'm not familiar with) and the other in the Bishop Heights community, which is in a really cool, up-and-coming part of town. Consider it the Greenpoint of DFW.

The homes are pretty big - 1700-2700 sq. ft. with 3-4 bedrooms and 2-3 baths, priced around $300,000 - great for new families. The ThinkProgress article I linked to above does point out that $300,000 is not affordable for most of the Dallas community, but I think this is a solid start. Once one or two of these communities are built, I'm sure the demand will increase and the cost will decrease.

Way to go, Dallas, for being a leader in the green communities movement!

NPR's Take on Gender Roles in The Hunger Games

I appreciate NPR's short article on gender roles in Catching Fire. It is an exploration of the "traditionally feminine" aspects of Peeta's character, especially in relation to his relationship with Katniss. Peeta reveals a different side of masculinity that is not often shown in teen films. I think the film is successful in many ways, despite its hindrance of being a funhouse mirror of the first (blame the book), and this is one of them.  Others are the emphasis on Katniss' PTSD, the varying and realistic reactions of the other former victors to the situation they're tossed into, and the way that emotionally raw scene between Katniss and Cinna was handled.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First Trailer for Disney's 'Malificent'

Disney released the first trailer for its darker, Snow White and the Huntsman-esque take on Sleeping Beauty, Malificent.

The film's supposed to be from the (apparently) used-to-be-good-turned-evil fairy Malificent's point of view. The trailer doesn't give us any of that, instead showing us the live-action version of the original Disney animated movie. I hope that's just to keep all the fun parts of the movie from being spoiled. Despite so many movies (Hunstman again)/episodes of Once as evidence to the contrary, I still think the darker, fleshed out, feminist re-tellings of fairy tales can work. Maybe this one will do it, maybe it won't. This trailer's not giving us enough information to make a guess either way, but maybe that's the point.

'Divergent' Trailer

A few days ago, they released the new trailer for Divergent, the latest dystopian YA novel adaptation.

When I heard it was getting a film version, I figured the series was worth reading. I give it major credit for going in super weird places and taking bold choices (unlike the second Hunger Games book, this series doesn't retread its past plots), but that doesn't necessarily mean the choices are successful. More importantly, the whole premise of the novel is super illogical and, though explained in the third book, never quite coalesces for me. That being said, who doesn't love a steamy teen romance, especially with the promise of some sweet shirtless random hot guy scenes? Plus, we all know Shailene Woodley can act, so she'll probably elevate the movie about its original text.

[via /Film]

The 'Simon's Cat' Story

Simon Tofield, the creator of the "Simon's Cat" series, posted a short video about his background as an animator and his inspiration for his art and stories. Sounds like his four cats are quite the handful! But how wonderful that he gets to do what he loves professionally.

[via Neatorama]

New Wes Anderson Short, "Castello Cavalcanti"

Wes Anderson has a new short out (courtesy of Prada) set in Italy, 1955. Jason Schwartzman stars as a race car driver (of an adorable race car). It's got some nice music and is pretty sweet overall. Ended kind of abruptly, but otherwise I enjoyed it.

[via /Film]

Tribute to Kumar Pallana

A favorite scene-stealer in Wes Anderson's films, Kumar Pallana passed away last month at the age of 94. Below is a tribute to him courtesy of Dallas Morning News, assembled and broadcast at a screening of Bottle Rocket and book signing for the recently released The Wes Anderson Collection. It's a loving tribute to a great actor and a greater person.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!!

What are you all dressing as? Or are you dressing as nothing because you've either a) lost your soul or b) you misread that as "dressing in nothing" because you will be too busy being naked and having lots of intercourse. Because then you are dressed as the warm embrace of love, and that works just fine. Or c) You are misread it as "dressing as The Nothing" from The Never-Ending Story because that IS a scary costume. And what an imaginative costume for a character who is all about the end of imagination! You readers are very interesting indeed.

I am dressing as the Mother of Dragons from Game of Thrones because

And my husband will be my dragons because he supports me like that. Also, because puppets are fun.

Anchorman 2: Funny on Lines, Little on Plot

Looks to be funny like the first, plus if I'm not mistaken... musical number!!!

Also - characters of color! That's neat. Hope it's good!

How to Write Good YA Fiction

I should probably read this all the way through. Seems legit!

Happy Endings' Eliza Coupe Gets a New Show!

She'll be starring in a new USA legal comedy called Benched to air hopefully at some point? As I said before, I love me some procedurals, and if this one follows the comedic lead of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it'll be totally awesome. If it's more Franklin and Bash then we'll see... But yay, Eliza! From that last weird season of Scrubs to greatness on Happy Endings and beyond!

Veronica Mars Movie: Love Triangle Update ALERT!

As a V-Mars Movie Kickstarter backer, I got the link to this (and also my awesome t-shirt which I wore all last weekend and it was awesome, and probably smells bad now) hot off the presses, but in case you haven't seen it yet, here is a fun featurette on the new Mars movie:

Oh man, I was SO not a fan of Piz. Mainly because he has the WORST NAME OF ALL TIME. Also, not because he's a nice guy - I love me some nice guys (I married me the best nice guy), but because he just didn't seem to understand Veronica. He acted like she was a person she was not. If I were to give him the benefit of the doubt, it would be that he saw her as the person she could be if she had not had grown up the way she did, but that shit went down and she couldn't change that. Also, Logan became a nice guy. That was his arc. From bad boy to tame, sweet boy in love. He was changing and growing and Veronica was totally not supportive. Again, though, the third season as a whole was a huge mess. Let's not beat around the bush. Let's also hope that Rob Thomas, genius-face that he is, understands that the third season was a mess and makes the movie align more closely, quality-wise, with the first and second season. Of course, having Piz in it at all, much less in such a prominent role, is not a good sign, but I have high hopes nonetheless!

Rant complete.

How to Not Screw Up Halloween

ThinkProgress' Alyssa Rosenberg also has a nice guide (and links to another, more comprehensive guide) on how not to be a Hallo-douche or to have a Douch-a-ween. Good to brush up on before the big night!

Lovely Interview with Michael Schur on World-Building in 'Parks an Rec' and 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

As you know, I LOVE ME some Parks and I am super getting into Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as well. Much of that is due to the diverse, unique characters on both shows, and the elaborate world-building that goes into them. For a deeper look into that process, check out Alyssa Rosenberg's interview with creator/showrunner Michael Schur over at ThinkProgress.

Barf Barf Fox Buys Rights to Turn 'The Knot' Into Wedding Movie Barf Barf

Seriously!? Fox, just give me your moneys and I will write you some delightful movies that do not need to be based on websites that admittedly I used and found very helpful while planning my wedding but the story of my wedding is FAR more interesting narratively than the website I used to plan it! Same goes for 'The Nest' and 'The Bump' - Come on! For realz! Other hyperbolic statements!! LOUD NOISES!

Playing with a Platypus!

Seriously, this is stupid cute.

Cute because it's a platypus playing. Stupid because what if it's venomous spur stings you!?!?! Playing with fire right there. Adorable, cuddly fire.

[via Neatorama]

Love Google's Halloween Doodle!

This year's Halloween Doodle's into is really fun. The actual interactive part is not super exciting, but I LOVE the stop-motion part!!!! Give me more stop-motion please!

X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer

Oh! I also generally like the X-Men movies, well, ok I like the first one fine, I really liked the second one, and then I thought First Class was pretty fun, too. Bryan Singer is a class act. So below is the trailer for the next in what will probably end up being a million movies, X-Men: Days of Future Past

Kind of a shit move to make Wolverine the time traveler instead of Kitty Pryde, but what can you do? People like claws, I guess?

Honest Trailer: Thor

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I have seen all the superhero movies that have come out in the past few years. Actually, the reasons are knownst to me - they are 1) popcorn 2) M&Ms and 3) air conditioning (i.e. the reason why anyone sees any summer blockbuster anymore). I feel like this honest trailer wraps up a lot of the reasons why I don't generally enjoy them all that much*, try as I might:

Admittedly, the abs are excellent.

*excepting most of Iron Man and Iron Man 3.

[via /Film]

Final 'Catching Fire' Trailer is Out!

Below is the latest/last trailer for the new Hunger Games film, Catching Fire

Spoiler alert: I was not a huge fan of the second book, because it had the exact same plot as the first. I thought it would have been far more interesting in terms of character arcs and growth (seriously, I'm alerting you to the spoils here) to have Katniss and Peeta coach other innocent victims instead of having to dive back in themselves, but what can you do? Seriously, I'm wondering what the writers did to make it more interesting. I'm sure they tried very hard, and I hope they succeeded. We will see on Nov. 22nd!

Weirded Out in a Good Way by Paul Yee

I just realized my super-awesome RA from a summer NYU program I did a million years ago has been contributing to my favorite food blog, Serious Eats, for the last year. Go, Paul! He's also doing lots of interesting film stuff, but you'd expect that from a TISCH grad. You would not expect all the snappy food writing! How weird and wonderful.

OK Go! Just Crowdsourced their new music video, and it's actually really good!

The band OK Go! had a competition to see who could make the best music video for their new song, "I'm Not Through" and here is the winner:

It's really fun and right on beat. I can dig it. Sounds like this promising young director is going to have some pretty high expectations to fulfill now! Sorry, buddy.

[via HuffPo]

No Shit, Sherlock's Coming Back in January!

It's true! Sherlock's long-awaited, much-anticipated third season premiere is on January 19th!! EEEPS! Can't wait.

So Much Writing Advice, So Little Time

Haven't had a chance to read this Buzzfeed article about how to write an awesome movie because I'm too busy writing a shitty one. Hmm... maybe I should I rethink my strategy...

'Friends' Quiz!

Vulture has a fun, quick Friends famous line quiz. I got 9/10 right, and I think the one I got wrong was totally reasonable, considering it was from a later season and the freeze frame has zero context clues.


Sloths Slowly Invading Your TV

One so-slow-you-don't-notice-it-moving show at a time. Animal Planet is airing an eight-part series called, for reasons unknown, Meet the Sloths starting Nov. 9th. I guess because the Animal Planet execs think of their parents as sloths? I don't know.

Better titles:
- Slothing Out
- One Toed, Two Toed, Three Toed, Blue Fish
- Sloth's (Every) Day In
- Sloth Against the Machine
- A Tisket a Sloth in a Basket Sounds Really Cute
- Sloth in Slotherderland
- Too Cute: Sleepy Sloth Edition
- Slothing Beauty

Just saying.

PSA: Stay Away from White People on Halloween

I have to be honest: I am part of the problem. I witnessed a pumpkin carving last week and did nothing to stop it. In my defense, though, I never watch scary movies. If I want to be scared out of my mind, all I have to do is go to sleep on a plane. Don't ask. Also, check out the end part where they preview clips from other sketches - seems like All Def Digital is a pretty funny group!

Aziz Ansari: Let's Treat Each Other Like Black People Treat Magicians

It's a pretty weird idea, but it just might work...

Now I really want to go see a magic show at the Apollo, because I was not aware of this stereotype and would like to see it in action (if it is truly the case). Anyone in?

'Murder, She Wrote' Starring Octavia Spencer? Yes, please!

I really hope this 'Murder, She Wrote' pilot gets a series order.

A) I love Octavia Spencer starring in anything.
B) I love procedurals with a lighthearted, drama's-version-of-comedic bent (i.e. Bones and Castle)
C) I love both together!

Plus, NBC doesn't have any fun procedurals. I should know because I watch one from every network except for NBC (Elementary is my CBS one. I definitely don't get what everyone sees in CSI: Anything or NCIS).

Octavia, do you need any up-and-coming writers for your new show? I can write jokes and also character arcs!!

New 'Catching Fire' IMAX Poster

Love this poster for Catching Fire out in a couple of weeks. It reminds me of the old '80s movies posters, like for The Neverending Story or The Labyrinth. Very cool!

[via /Film]

Simpsons' "Hobbit" Couch Gag

Very soothing, peaceful couch gag this week on 'The Simpsons'

Correct me if I'm wrong, Tolkeinites, but I thought the part with the ghost warriors was in LOTR, not The Hobbit. Other than that, I thought it was very sweet, if not crazy funny (and it doesn't always have to be, sometimes it's nice just to see the journey and homage). Solid music. Favorite joke was "Part 1 of 6"

[via /Film]

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Screw You, Cancer - Glamour Series

Really awesome webseries from Glamour called "Screw You, Cancer" by comedian Caitlin Brodnick. Check it out.

And that's just the first episode. You can watch the rest on at Glamour.

[via Comic's Comic]

Comedic Hurdles

Another perspective on Kenan Thompson's comments.

As for me, I generally blame the system. From not enough encouragement, support (financially, emotionally, etc-ally) when women and people of color (and women of color) are starting out, to bad management and guidance when the lucky few finally breach the system, to executives just plain not caring all that much because if your friend or friend of a friend is a talented white guy, why not just hire him? It's way easier, and you know you'll get along well.

In the Same Vein: Be Blacker

Just in case we didn't get the point across.

Love the ending. Those clams are super important.

[via The Hairpin]

Nyima Funk is just plain not ready to be on SNL!

In response to Kenan Thompson's allegation that there aren't any black comedic actresses ready to perform on SNL:

I don't know what was so different about that last part, but I'm definitely ready to watch her on SNL now!

[via Comic's Comic]

Hell No: The Horror Movie that Makes Sense

As someone who hates scary movies, this sketch that's been making the interweb rounds this week really speaks to me:

People make smart choices and no one dies! Yes, please!

Unprocessed October!

It's that time of year again! I'm back on Unprocessed October, the month in which I avoid highly processed foods like cereal and Oreos, but am still ok with mildly processed foods like bread or ice cream from reputable vendors. It's been really fun, and I've been eating really well, including lots of delicious things (like ice cream from reputable vendors!). It's been going SO well that I actually gained weight - Oops! Anyway, I'm almost back to normal, but it does remind me that eating unprocessed doesn't necessarily mean eating more healthy in terms of weight (so much ice cream), but it does mean healthy in terms of knowing what's going into my body and feeling good about where it came from. Hooray!