Thursday, December 5, 2013

Warning: May cause reader to binge watch

All television shows should come with a warning. CAUTION: Side affects include loss of brain cells, loss of eye sight and chance of extreme binge watching. Binge watching is like my drug. If binge watching was in the Olympics, I would have every gold medal in every category.

It all started five years ago (is it weird that that I can pinpoint exactly when my binge watching started? Probably. Moving on) when I was persuaded to watch the television show 30 Rock. I didn't know much about it other than it was starring Alec Baldwin and SNL's Tina Fey (ah, how much can change in five years). I had asked for the first three seasons on DVD, and alas an obsession began. I watched all three in the time of my winter break and even illegally caught up with season four so I could watch the rest of it live during the spring. And so, a hobby began (and not so coincidentally this all started at the same time as my college career). 

And as more winter breaks came, so did more television shows. During my sophomore year it was Friday Night Lights and Parks and Recreation. During my junior year it was Arrested Development and Game of Thrones. During my senior year it was Alias and the start of the West Wing (that took be a solid three months to finish, but hey, it is seven seasons long). There were summers that allotted more time, like when I was in Champaign and watched all four seasons of Dexter in two weeks. Or when I watched the first season of community in two days. Or when I watched the first season of 24 is three days. Or my second summer in Champaign when I watched all 10 seasons of Friends and the first four seasons of Modern Family. Binge watching is a disease.

Luckily, it was typically constrained to when I wasn't in school. However, the activity would soon become a dog released from its leash. For I graduated in May, giving me an insane amount of free time. Given the fact that my days off during the summer were on the week days, I didn't have much to do. So, naturally, I picked up Scandal and New Girl. I also rewatched most of Grey's Anatomy and Friday Night Lights.

Once I started my new job, finally entering the real world, I thought my binge habits would stop. I was an adult now, I had responsiblities. No. I'm sorry to say it actually got worse. Thanks to MTV and ABC Family I could watch four hours of Boy Meets World before I had to go to work. Now that isn't quite binge watching because it was on TV so it had commercials, and I already had seen the show, but you get the point.

But finally, October arrived. My new shows have started again! With my night shifts, I would spend most of the day catching up on my 15+ shows. This worked out well for a while. I thought since I was watching a new episode it justified me spending most of my free time in front of the television. During that time I actually had read two books. Even saw a few movies. And on the rare occassion hung out with friends. Life was getting back to normal.

Then it happened. I was about to watch my usual 30 Rock epsiode to fall asleep to one November night, when I saw on Netflix that the show Chuck was now available. I had always wanted to watch the show even though I knew how it ended. The genre was pretty intriguing. It seemed light-hearted, an easy one-episode-a-night kind of show. It was suppose to be something I could watch before going to bed.

But was I wrong. 

Chuck has brought my binge watching disease to new heights. At first, it was doing exactly what I wanted it to do. I had watched an episode each night before going to bed and that was enough. Until I hit the last two episodes of the first season. I would eventually finish the 91 episode, five season series in about three weeks (most of which was done in the last two weeks). I could divulge into more facts (like when stayed up till 4 a.m. watching it to only wake up at 9 a.m. to continue watching until I went to work), but that would be embarrassing for me, so I won't.

I don't know what it was about Chuck, or maybe it's just the time of my life, but for some reason I was hooked. I actually chose to watch this show that was two years removed from being on-air versus the shows I watched live (save for Scandal, but that's only because I couldn't risk finding out what happened when I went to work the next day). I just kept hitting the next episode button on my Netflix.

The worst part of it all? I knew how pathetic it was what I was doing. I knew it. I looked at myself and thought, 'this girl needs some friends,' and yet, I kept hitting the next episode. It's one of those things you know you shouldn't be doing but you do it anyways. Chuck was my drug and Netflix was the applicator for me to take it. However, I don't really regret what I did because I enjoyed 63 hours of my life watching a great TV show. You could probably add another five hours of my life dedicated to re-watching YouTube clips of my favorite scenes and interviews with the cast – but that's neither here nor there.

And how am I doing a week removed from my greatest binge yet? I'm sitting, writing this blog, listening to a playlist I made of songs that played in Chuck. Currently, I'm listening to the song where Chuck and Sarah have their second "real" kiss. It's a good (hmm, on second thought, should I really be admitting all of this to you? Oh well, to late). Oh, and to answer my question, clearly, I'm doing fine. I like to remind myself there is always another binge around the corner, it's just a matter of time until I find the next new show. 

Until then, I obviously recommend watching Chuck. It's a hybrid show. Combining almost every genre into one while making your heart melt (all thanks to Zachary Levi). It has a killer soundtrack, a bunch of pop culture references and is available on Netflix. However, I would like to give you one piece of advice. Warning: It may cause binge watching. 

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Respect the ending

Completing a series is a tough thing. Not that I know firsthand, but let's be real, whether it be a books, TV or film, it's rough. No matter how you slice it, you cannot make everyone happy. It's a shame really, but it's true. I'm sure there is someone on this planet that thought the ending to Harry Potter sucked (whoever that person is, we will never be friends). From what I can tell most people were not happy with how the last Hunger Games book ended, I have yet to meet someone who liked the Dexter finale and on the flipside of that I haven't met someone who disliked the Breaking Bad finale.

I recently completed another series, the Divergent books. For those of you who haven't finished the third book, Allegiant, which came out last week, you can keep reading, I will not spoil anything. For those of you who haven't read them at all, why are you wasting your time reading this blog when you could be reading those? Come on now. Go buy them, it takes like 5 seconds if you have Kindle. 

Anyways, once you finish, I highly recommend you read a blog the authorposted on her site. It explains, not defending, her choice to do certain things and not others. There is one line that she said that struck me. "You are allowed—encouraged!— to continue to feel however you want to feel, or think however you want to think, about the ending, no matter what this blog post says. I’m the author, yes, but this book is yours as well as mine now, and our voices are equal in this conversation." I respect what she says, but I disagree.

In my opinion, the creator of whatever I'm consuming has the right to do whatever they want with the characters they've created, and I have to have, at the very least, respect for what they've done. Now, does this mean I can't have an opinion on how something ends? Of course not. But the way I look at it, this is their creation. I don't think the book is mine as well as hers. Yes, I have read it, obsessed over it and analyzed it. But I haven't lived with it, breathed it, thought about it endlessly, as I'm guessing she did. 

I think consumers can get just attached as the author, they can have a sense of belonging to the character, but ultimately I believe the characters live with the creator for the rest of their lives. Susanna Collins, Veronica Roth, especially JK Rowling, all have more ownership over their characters than me the consumer. And because of that fact, I have decided to on more occassions than not, to respect how they end something.

This rings even more true when I discover the ending of the series was the decision from the very beginning. If the writer (because in every creative thing, books, TV, film; it's the writer who makes it great, unless Meryl Streep is in it) decided from the beginning they were going to kill this character or not kill that character, then I have even more respect for that decision. Because it means they didn't allow the audience to alter the story they wanted to tell. And to me, that is one of the most important qualities in storytelling. 

There are shows where the writers actually have zero clue where the next season is going when they write a finale, where they make their characters get in the worst possible holes and then some how dig them out, but aren't quite sure how they'll do it. Actually, that is the case with most television shows. But there are some, like Mad Men, that have creators already picturing the finale scene. Or books like Game of Thrones, where the author lets the characters tell the stories and he just goes along for the ride. I can't fathom what that's like, not knowing how you're already five-book series (and most likely seven-book series) will end. No matter, the point is, when the creator of something has a clear track for a character, I've decided you've got to respect it.

I hated the Dexter finale, I thought it was dumb, unbelievable and pretty much a disservice to the series. However, I have a small amount of respect for it because the producers and the writers decided this was the way to end Dexter's journey. Just because it wasn't the finale I wanted doesn't mean I should totally rip it apart and yell at the creators. It only gives me a little right to do that. It's much easier for me to come to peace with how something ends when I come to the conclusion that the creative minds behind this medium wanted it this way, so I'm cool with it.

Essentially, I believe that it is exciting to consume a book, a TV show and a movie and I'll have my opinion to how it ends, but ultimately it doesn't matter. The creators actually don't care what we think, most of the time. I think some of them are grateful to the success (like Breaking Bad) but I don't (and truly hope) that success of something doesn't alter the way it should truly end. As long as the quality of the show, the quality of the characters and it's still downright entertaining, then how they end should be up to the creators. 

So, when you're watching a series finale (like HIMYM in the near future) or you're reading Allegiant (wait, you're telling me you are still reading this and you haven't started Divergent yet? Get ready to feel stupid when everyone is talking about it) keep in mind the creator(s) have ended it the way they want to and we should respect that. And though it may not always be a happy ending, and though it may not be the ending you had in mind, it is the ending they wanted. Let's just hope it's a satisfiying one. 

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's that time of year... EMMYS!

It's that day of the year folks. It's like my Christmas. The best time of the year if you ask me. All in one week we get to celebrate the winners at the Emmys only to have the rest of the week to enjoy premieres of all the shows we have been so desperately waiting for since May. We have spent our summers watching reruns, binge watching new shows and trying to avoid all that's wrong with summer television.

But no longer. No. It is now time for fall premiere week. But first, the television's Oscars, the Emmys. We get to watch recent Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris try to out do his stint at the Tony's (which won him the Emmy at last weekends Creative Arts Emmy awards). We get to watch Tina and Amy perform together (and announce they'll host the Globes again on national TV?! – Hey a girl can dream). We get to watch old and new winners take the stage for what I think will be a fun and exciting show with a lot of ifs in the air.

So, as to not embarrass myself completely, I'm going to tell you all what I hope will happen today. These are not my predictions of who will win, but the ones I would like to win. That way you can't hold it against me when all these people do not win. Let's get started.

Best Drama: This is incredibly difficult, I call for a five-way tie. Honestly, I want Game of Thrones to win because never have I watched a show that is so unbelievably unpredictable, enthralling and confusing at the same time. However, I have a feeling it may have a better chance come next season with the hyped up 4th (but second half of the third book). So this year, I'm saying Breaking Bad. I got into it this summer, and even though it took forever to get into, it finally grabbed my attention and in the final season episodes hasn't lost it once. It deserves to win.

Best Comedy: Duh. 30 Rock. In its last year of contention I have to pick my true love and cry thinking I will never see Liz Lemon with new sassy comebacks again. But it's not just a want, the last season of 30 Rock was awesome. It had everything a true fan wanted including a lot of laughs. Please, please by the hammer of Thor can Modern Family not win this year? That's all I ask (but it's doubtful to happen).

Best Actor - Drama: Again, I'm going to have to go with my new found love, Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston. Who knew this comedy actor had so much depth to him. I'm a little late in saying that, but nonetheless, this guy rocks. (Though I wouldn't be angry to see Kevin Spacey win for making another bad character so good.)

Best Actress - Drama: This might be the hardest category (see my last post) but who I really want to win is another binge watching show of late, Scandal's Kerry Washington. Not only would it make history but it's totally deserved. I would be surprised if Claire Danes doesn't snatch it up for the second straight year but I think Washington has a very good chance. Here's crossing my fingers for her. (But really, anyone can win and I'll be a happy camper).

Best Actor - Comedy: As to not pick the obvious choice I want (Alec Baldwin) I'll also put my support toward Louie C.K. Everyone was upset he wasn't nominated last year and everyone said how great his show is (yeah, I don't watch it). However, I am a fan of his and I think he would give a really great acceptance speech (plus I love him as policeman Dave from Parks!)

Best Actress - Comedy: Yeah, I know who you think I'm going to say, but you're wrong. If she can win some writing things and the show can win, I'll be a happy camper, only, ONLY, if Amy Poehler beats Tina for this one. If it isn't Amy, then I want Tina. But the fact Amy has yet to win is just really stupid and needs to change, like right now. So yeah, I'm rooting for Poehler. (But let's all be realistic, I'm pretty 100 percent positive Julia Louis Dreyfess has this one in the bag for the second straight year for Veep).

Best Supporting Actor - Drama: This is another tough one but building off my Breaking Bad high I'm gonna go with Aaron Paul. I saw him on Jimmy Kimmel the other night and this guy is just the most likeable actor I've ever seen, not to mention he is able to realize how lucky he is and displays it. This guy is from Idaho. He already has two Emmys under his belt for his role of Jesse and I'm rooting for a third.

Best Supporting Actress - Drama: For this one I'm going to have to go with the one and only Maggie Smith. Yeah, I know she's won the past couple times and yes I know she is never there to collect her reward, but guys, she's like 80. Give her a break. Honestly, all these women had exceptionally awesome seasons, so I wouldn't be all that mad if Christina Hendricks or Anna Gunn won. You know what, Gunn hasn't won yet, so maybe I'll root for her.

Best Supporting Actor - Comedy: I'm so sick of the Modern Family men being nominated and winning. It's ridiculous. OK, it's not really because I know how funny they are because I watch the show. But this year I'm rooting for Tony Hale in Veep. He is absolutely the reason I have kept watching that show. He has some of the best comedic timing and the tone of voice he uses in certain situations is genus. He's like a smarter Buster, and it's great. For that matter, let's say Bill Hader, too. I just don't want a Modern Family guy to win (I swear I do like this show, but want to see some new blood win). Not to mention, Hader had an awesome sendoff as Stefon that deserves a win.

Best Supporting Actress - Comedy: This one is easy. She hasn't one yet and just for the fact that she sang this song, kept a straight face and actually articulated whatever the lyrics were is just amazing. That's right, my vote is for Jane Krakowski, he last eligiable year for 30 Rock. I'm a big fan of Merritt Wever on Nurse Jackie (she's actually the only funny thing on that show) but gotta give the vote to the Krawkoski's last shot. MUFFIN TOP FOR THE WIN!

All right, that's all I'm predicting, no one cares about the miniseries or made for TV movies anyways. Though, I would like to see Elisabeth Moss win for Top of the Lake because her Australian accent is uncanny and I would like to see her just win an Emmy because I'm not sure if she ever will for her roll as Peggy.
Hit me up if you disagree with any of these or think I should be rooting for anyone else. I'll be live tweeting the Emmys (and by live tweeting I mean writing whatever comes to my head about the Emmys as I watch them in my pajamas on the couch).

Also keep in mind the series finale of Dexter is on Sunday and I will be watching immediately following the Emmys. Also keep in mind the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad is on, which I will be watching directly following the finale of Dexter. Cool, that's a wrap folks, excited to talk to you all on Sunday.

With that, I say... Live long and prosper.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gladiators in suits

So, I didn't want to wait this long to post something, but I was distracted. I know, it's usually my excuse, but this time it truly was the biggest distraction ever. A show called Scandal.
I surprised myself when I didn't start watching this show when it came out, since I'm known to bow down to the brilliant feet of Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice creator) but for some reason, initially, the premise didn't intrigue me enough. It premiered at a bad time (April of 2011) and I just missed it.

Then when all the buzz started to happen during its winter finale of the second season and then even more throughout the spring, I knew this would be a show I would like. And yet, I was afraid to start watching. I was afraid my expectations might be too high. And honestly, I thought if I took on another show I would start forgetting what ones I did watch.

Then it hit me. True Blood is officially calling it quits next season. Dexter leaving me in this week. Breaking Bad in two weeks (yes, I realize I started watching this in July, but still). Fringe and 30 Rock left me this past January. I realized I needed a new show (yes, to add to the 18 others I watch).
And were my expectations met and exceeded. Watch this show everyone. Do it. Go, it's on Netflix. This is what TV is all about. It won't be rolling in the Emmys like a Mad Men, but man is it fun. (NOTE: Kerry Washington is nominated – who, if she wins, could be the first female black leading actress in a drama to win an Emmy. Also, it also just scored a best guest actor award for Dan Bucantinksy. END NOTE). No, it's not this intense deep down-to-the-core analyzing who these people are, like Breaking Bad is. No, it's just a downright, fun, juicy show. The best comparison I have is Revenge, but less campy.

My mother started watching the show when it first came out and really enjoyed it. She watched the first whole season, but was unable to return. Why? The gross, scumbag, nasty president.

For those of you who have never heard of Scandal, the premise is this: Olivia Pope (Washington) is a "fixer." She takes public figures (senators, governors, rich people) who get themselves into trouble (have affairs, accidentally kill people, have affairs) and help them fix their issue. We learn she had a very deep (and sexual) relationship with the current U.S. president. As the season progresses, we learn she was the White House director of communications, until the affair with good ole Mr. President got to be too much and resigned, starting her own firm.

So, the show follows her team of "gladiators in suits" as they fix things. It's a mixture of a procedural and then an over arching storyline throughout the season. The main one being her relationship with POTUS. So, my mother stopped watching because she couldn't handle watching the president have an affair, be stupid and do it while his wife clearly knows what is going on (for the record, the wife is a nasty piece of work).

I agree with my mother, the majority of the time I can't handle him. But as the president (Tony Goldwyn) drove her away, Olivia Pope kept me around. Washington makes the most ridiculous storyline believable. The key to a leading lady. I love this character. Sometimes I want to slap her and tell her to stop going to the White House to see the scumbag, it only makes it worse. Then 10 minutes later I'm screaming that she needs to marry him and be First Lady! That is all, easily, Washington's doing. She is a master at making me want to strangle her but believing everything she is saying.
I am, 100 percent, behind her winning the Emmy. Granted, I want pretty much every woman who is nominated to win, except for maybe Vera Farmiga, but only because I don't watch that show. My guess is Claire Danes wins again, especially if she submitted the interrogation episode for her Emmy pic, because that episode is golden. Though, many experts are saying Washington has a chance. I love this year of unpredictability.

Who cares who wins, honestly, because it's great to see these powerful, bad ass woman on TV. I'm not referring to Danes' character (who always looks like she's about to cry), but Washington's and Robin Wright's on House of Cards, and Elisabeth Moss on Mad Men and Connie Britton on Nashville. All have power, money and leverage. It's fun to watch women be awesome.
So, if you don't watch any of the nominated women for this year's Emmys, I suggest you pick one. More so, I suggest you pick Scandal. Especially, if you're not looking for complicated plot, but just straight up political and relationship backstabbing (kind of like House of Cards, but more fun).

Here are some of my other notes:
1. J.K.! J.K.! J.K.! J.K.! J.K.! That's right, my girl, the one and only, the most famous, the most talented, the rock star of all authors is writing a screenplay. And not just any screenplay. No, she's basically writing a prequel to Harry Potter. OK, prequel is wrong. It's like a side story. From her book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, similar to Quidditch Through the Ages one she wrote. Can you tell I'm excited?
2. TINA! TINA! TINA! TINA! TINA! It's been a good couple weeks for me. It was announced she will host the premiere of SNL on Sept. 28. She's going to whip all those newbies into shape for the new season. Can you tell I'm really, really excited about things?
3. As a note, I plan to live tweet the Emmys this year (I know exciting right?!) So this is my promotion for all of you to follow me so you can find out what I think since you can't all watch with me (I know, try not to shed any tears). But follow me @sammiekiesel and it'll be like you're sitting right next to me! (Also, if you don't even have a Twitter, get one.)

And with that I say... Live long and prosper.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I'm back, bitch!

The title of this post is not meant to use profanity in a negative way, but instead quote my new favorite show I got into just at the right time... "Breaking Bad." That's right, I've finally jumped on the bandwagon and caught up a week before the first of the final eight episodes aired. But before I get too much into that I want to first apologize for my lack of posting. The blog returned earlier this summer with an idea I had while driving the hour from work as writing down the conversations I had with myself. Unfortunately, I figured out commuting's unwritten secret: audiobooks.

That's right, I listened to Tina Fey's "Bossypants," "Prisoner of Azkaban," "Goblet of Fire," "Half-Blood Prince" and "Deathly Hallows" for the remainder of my very long commute from the city. Which, allowed me a chance, not to think, but to listen to some of the greatest words ever written (if you're wondering why I didn't listen to all of the Harry Potter books, and why not the fifth one, it's because I had a very thought provoking process where I listened to the ones I owned).

Alas, the books and my weird hours kept me from posting. But now, I have no excuse. I am no longer in school. I don't have an extra long commute, though I am still working nights, giving me another reason to bow down to whoever invented DVR. And as it is now officially Sept. 1 and basically the fall, it means all of our favorite things are back. TV, Oscar contending movies and college football.

OK, enough with this chatter! Time to catch you up on five things I've been dying to write about. Sit back, relax and get ready for the return of Sammie Kiesel, bitch!

1. "Breaking Bad" is on track to close out its series with the best eight episodes ever. If you haven't watched this show, or tried but stopped, try again. The series is a slow burn, but the past three weeks are making my time binge watching totally worth it. "Dexter" is killing me with its final season. It's enjoyable, it's typical Dex being Dex, but it is not giving me this is the end kind of vibe. Walter White, on the other hand, is laying all of his chips on the table and the audience is loving every minute of it. Expectations keeping getting higher and met, week by week.

2. Tina has had a productive summer. Who said Tina Fey needs a break. The girl has already filmed at least two movies and developed two TV shows (both of which have already been picked up - one by Fox the other by NBC). Not to mention, she killed it (per usual) on Letterman last week. And on top of it all, there are rumors that her and Amy Poehler have been asked back to host the Globes. You know I'm a real happy camper right now.

3. OK, I've been really bad this summer about getting to the movies, but there are a couple I am going to make an effort to see, and so should you. "The Way, Way Back" got great reviews, not an Oscar contender, but definitely something you should all rent. It's Steve Carell being an ass and Sam Rockwell getting very early Oscar backup (but I'm calling that super doubtful at this point). The other is "The Spectacular Now," which has been deemed the first real coming of age film since John Hughes made them all back in the 80s. It stars one of the biggest actresses right now, Shailene Woodley, and I have only read positive things. I just opened worldwide this weekend. The last one is "The Butler," which actually has a longer name but I'm lazy. It got mixed reviews but is still an Oscar contender at this point. I mainly want to see it for all the famous people playing presidents (Alan Rickman, James Marsden, Robin Williams!)

4. You all need to read "Divergent" before the movie comes out. Yes, this is the series you've sort of heard about as being the next "Hunger Games" and yes it does star that aforementioned hot actress at the moment. I read these a while ago, but have yet to discuss them with you. With the movie coming out next year, and the third and final book in October, I highly recommend them. If you need some insentive to read it, here is a featurette on the film. I'm not sure if they are "Hunger Games" stature but they're a fun, a quick read. Plus you can decide who you hate most, Katniss or Tris. Girl power!

5. Finally, the upcoming year of television is going to be real interesting. Shows I have been watching for years are leaving me forever. HIMYM ends this season. "Dexter" ends Sept. 22. "Mad Men" begins shooting its final season in November. I've already lost "30 Rock" and "Fringe." Rumors are "True Blood" may have its final season next summer. And finally, Sandra Oh is leaving "Grey's Anatomy" after this 10th season. I'm getting worried. But fear not! There are always new things in the works.  CBS is airing a show called "Hostages" staring Toni Collette, which will air all 15-episodes in one swoop (the future is unknown). Robin Williams and Michel J. Fox make their television return in "The Crazy Ones," and "The Michael J. Fox Show," respectively. J.J. Abrams is back with another produced sci-fi show called "Almost Human." Joss Whedon is helping bring the Avengers to television in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," with the "Avengers" director filming the pilot. And the one deemed as the most likely best new drama is NBC's "The Blacklist" starring James Spader as one of the most wanted men in the world turning himself in to catch other bad guys. All of these, plus a a few more, I'm going to check out when most shows return the week of Sept. 23. Look here in the future for what shows you should be watching.

Hopefully, you all are excited to see me back. Hopefully, I'll be on top of my stuff (I mean, I don't really have many friends in the real world so what else will I do with my life) and keep you updated to all the things entertainment, and sports.

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Conversations with myself: Week 2 and 3

Another two weeks have gone by meaning so much more time for me to think. I have spent more time in my head in a quiet space than I think I have my whole life. This week there are many varied topics, the biggest, I'm realizing, is my fascination with transportation.

However, the topic I thought most about these last two weeks is my screenplay/TV pilot/fictional novel/memoir/historical novel. That's right, I was trying to decide which one I should tackle first and which one I have the better idea for. Obviously my memoir is down the road, considering all I have to put in it is I had the most boring upbringing ever. I think I'm leaning toward the TV pilot, which I have been joking for the last year that it will be my life when I don't have a job at the end of this summer. I'm calling copyright on both of these ideas, one of which is about a college newspaper (duh) and the second about a girl returning home after college to live with her parents (a little boring, but it's all about the characters!)

While thinking of my television show I also contemplated what it would be like to write a novel. Like a realistic fiction, or a fantasy or historical fiction. How do authors get these ideas? For J.K. Rowling it was while on a train, for Stephenie Meyer it was from a dream, for Suzanne Collins it was while watching TV. So, my point is, maybe by the end of the summer, while driving in my car all the time, I'll think of the next brilliant novel that will eventually get turned into a movie. It could happen, right?

And now, here are the other conversations I've had with myself, these ones are a little bit longer since I've thought about them for two weeks.

 1. The biggest thing I've discovered while driving the highway twice a day for more than two hours is there are so many bad drivers out there. Like, awful. I can't decide what makes me more upset, someone driving incredibly slow in the left lane or someone on my cars butt when I'm not the one driving slow. I think maybe the latter.

2. Despite the shitty drivers, cars are really cool. If you think about it, its just a giant machine that allows you to travel many miles in a short amount of time. We complain about traffic, but it's pretty amazing how quickly we can travel places these days.

3. But we complain anyways, because we're human, and traffic in Chicago is so annoying. Maybe one of the worst things ever. The amount of times I've starred at this billboard is eventually going to drive me insane (get the pun, drive. I'm hilarious). 

4. Traffic also allows me to recognize how many ugly cars there. Yes, they're really cool, but really Honda, that new SUV is so, so ugly. There are an insane amount of car types and companies and you design probably the ugliest car I've ever seen. Pick up your act Honda, you're better than this. It looks like this Acura (who is owned by Honda). (Note: I apologize if any of you own this car.)

5. Who would of thought we'd still be using trains? Do you think all those people in like the 1900s would think in the 21st century trains would still be relevant? Did they think cars were going to change the way we travel? I mean it does, but trains are so awesome. My preferred way of travel.

6. Theater tickets in Chicago and New York are insane. During the Tony's they said how theater struggled this year. Well, maybe you should price the tickets lower. All I want to do is see Book of Mormon but dang, it's so much money. Lower your freaking prices and I'll come. It's like around $100 a ticket. I don't have that kind of money. And New York is even crazier. But don't worry, I still love the theater.

7. Spring Awakening is a real depressing musical. Music is great, but still sad. Also, Lea Michelle and Jonathan Groff (Rachel and Jesse from "Glee") were in the original production. So, if you listen to the original soundtrack you actually discover they can sing! For some reason, that makes me feel much better about the fact they are on "Glee" because at least they can sing. I've recently rediscovered the album and forgot how good the music is. (Note: The Tony awards were last weekend, hence the theater focused thoughts).

8. How do you think Starbucks has still thrived? I bought a coffee the other day and it was like $5. That's like a sandwich. And it was a small coffee. Have you ever seen a Starbucks close? There are like two in a one block radius on Michigan Ave. How do these things never close? Oh yeah, because coffee is like blood for some people, they need it to survive. But come one, $5!

9. Why do people just wear plain white gym shoes if they're not old, a nurse or a doctor? Don't. If you do at this very moment, start a fire, and burn them! Then go buy some cool gym shoes. Call me, I'll help you pick them out.

10. Do you guys think Twitter will survive? Where do we go next after this social media craziness? Oh yeah, Google glasses. Those things freak me out.

11. Have you noticed how much more people are on Facebook during Finals week than any other time during the year? The definition of procrastination.

12. Have you ever thought about how weird language and letters are? That the words we write mean and communicate something? It used to be drawings, but now when I type "boob" you know it means a body part. How strange. As "Mean Girls" said: "I like math" "Eww why?" "Because it's the same in every country." Well said Cady, well said.

13. And then on top of language there is music, a completely different kind of language. When you see a note on five lines you know what note to play. So strange. Who decided all of these things, I ask? But when I do that it takes me back to like why are we here and that's too deep to be thinking in my car while listening to Vampire Weekend.

14. What if we only spoke in music. Like if you didn't sing a sentence then no one would know what you were saying. Oh, well I guess they kind of do that in Les Mis and it's annoying as heck. So, no, let's not do that. Plus I'm tone deaf so no one would ever want to talk to me.

15. Weddings are strange, too. They're weird. Don't get me wrong, they're awesome. But you spend all this time, like over a year, to plan one day. One. Day. When do you ever plan that long for one day? Never. Maybe that's why it's OK for people to plan weddings because you "never" get to do that again. Of course, in this countries divorce population, people might be doing it more than once.

16. I just thought of this one, but thought I'd include it. Whoever invented the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is my personal hero. It's currently my lunch, and what a great sandwich. Probably the best duo in the whole world. I would say it could even rival peanut butter and chocolate. PB&J FOR LIFE!

All right, that's all I got for now. Great thoughts though, right? Clearly you're all wishing you were in the car with me while I drove to work.

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Conversations with myself: Week 1

Hello again. It's been a while. And as excited as you all might be of my return, don't get too excited. Though I plan to continue to talk about movies, TV and sports in my blog this summer, I am here today to start a new segment. And by new segment, I mean the only segment I've ever made. I like to call it: Conversations with myself. 

For those of you who don't know, I have started an internship at the Chicago Tribune this summer. It will last 12 weeks and be an amazing opportunity, yadda yadda, boring details. But, the hours are late meaning no Metra rail for me, and for a kid who lives an hour (hour+) outside from the city it means quality time with myself in my car, with my thoughts. I've found that this time has allowed me to really ponder the important things in life. So, I've decided as to not let these things go to waste (because obviously I'm a thoughtful person and these are worthy items to discuss). I will write about all the things that pop in my head once a week. Most of what I write will be the tangents that went inside my head, so enjoy the thought process.

How will I remember all these great things? Well, not to upset my parents, or the police reading this blog, I may or may not have written them down. See below.

But if you think about it, people do way worse in the car. Like, texting has to be worst than this, right? Or like, don't people shave or put makeup on in the car? I feel like that's gotta be worse. Anywho, if it makes you feel better I did this only when there wasn't any cars around me (it was a Sunday night), I was driving cruise control and I didn't look down to see what I actually wrote, resulting in me not really knowing at all what I wrote at all.

Anyways, in hopes to translate my beautiful penmanship, here is Week 1 of Conversations with myself.

1. I wonder what architectures feel after they see their building appear in a skyline they built. Like the guy who designed the Sears Tower, (which despite being a Chicagoan and loving that building, it's pretty ugly) how great that must feel to see that be so superior in the sky. I bet that's how Ted Mosby felt in HIMYM. Barney was right, guys who design buildings are hot, and I'd totally date one. Like, think of how much power that must feel to build a building like that; something that is so permanent. Well, I guess until it gets torn down to build a superior building. 

2. Why do some cars have wind shield wipers on their back window and others don't? While driving I noticed most SUV's and anything bigger have wipers but anything the size of a normal car, like the Lexus I drive, doesn't. Who makes that decision and why is it safe for some cars to have it and others not?

3. Why the hell does anyone put 18 inch wheels on a car that should only have the normal size (its 15 inch, right?) Like it just looks stupid and wrong and the car looks uncomfortable to be that high.

4. God I'm so hungry. (NOTE: About the majority of my car ride home is me thinking about food and what I'll eat when I get home. Hence the Facebook status I posted earlier this week. If you didn't see it, and I'm sure you all did because you're all my friends, it was pretty witty, if you ask me. If you didn't see it because you're not friends with me on Facebook, then YAY! I got a non-friend to read this blog post. Cool.)

5. Cruise control is such a cool invention. When I was younger I thought auto-pilot was a myth and just a thing they did in the movies. But it's actually real, and I can do it in my car. Well, sorta. Don't worry, soon enough the car will be driving itself.

6. People really suck at driving.

7. Cops are so nerve-racking. Any time I drive past a cop I slow down and I go like 10 miles under the speed limit for at least 10 miles after seeing hi,. Wonder if all cop go on power trips with all the power they hold. 

8. If you could only have one Disney song played at your wedding (I know most everyone has at least two) which song would you choose? I think I'd pick the Circle of Life. I don't really know why, I just feel like it's super epic. And obviously since my wedding (and marriage) will be super epic, it fits.

9. Why would anyone wanna adopt a highway? Like, what do you get from that? Does the head of the department of transportation (that's a thing right? I should Google that before I post this. Oh, not head, it's the Secretary of Transportation. Close enough). Anyways, has he adopted a highway? Because if he doesn't have one, then I feel like it's a broke system to adopt one.

10. Why are all direction signs green. Like the highway signs, street signs. Who decided to use the color green? And is it green everywhere you go? All the places I've gone they're green, but I haven't been everywhere, so they could be say blue in North Dakota and I wouldn't know it. But really, why the color green?

11. Glasses are great. Who invented them and decided people actually couldn't see correctly. I recently learned I couldn't see far away so I have had my glasses for about a week. Man, is the world a whole new place or what! To think I was driving without these (I got lost a ton because I couldn't read street signs till I had already past them).

12. The lights on some of these cars have to be illegal. Like I'm already blind, I think these will make me blinder. But really, they have to be illegal. Unless these idiot drivers have their brights on, which actually wouldn't surprise me.

13. I really wish I knew how to play the guitar. Maybe when I get really rich, I'll just stop working and hire someone to teach me all the parts of "Never Going Back" by Fleetwood Mac. If you don't know that song, listen here. What a cool instrument.

14. I'm saying the word sure a lot at work. I don't know why. Maybe I got sick saying "OK" after someone tells me something to do. Sure just sounds better I guess. New suggestions of words to say other than OK or sure or right are highly welcomed. Wow, and I've said the word "like" a ton in this post. 15 times actually, well 16 now if you count the one I just wrote. Don't worry, I won't edit any of them out once I edit this.

15. Fog is a weird thing. It must be what pilots experience when they drive through clouds. It can be kind of scary. But what a cool effect it has in movies.

16. At the end of every night when I get home between midnight and 1:30 a.m., every thought that runs through my head is this: I should have been a teacher. 

All right, those are my 16 thoughts, or at least the thoughts I could remember from this week. Please let me know if you have any answers to those questions. That's have the reason I've decided to write these things out, gotta have a dialogue of some sort with you people after driving by myself for at least 10 hours a week. Wow, I just tallied that up in my head and that is a lot of hours. Dang. So much driving.

I hope you all are doing well and look forward to these lovely, random thoughts of mine. Stick around later this week because I've got a lot to discuss in terms of movies (GO SEE STAR TREK, NOW!), TV (HOLY COW, GAME OF THRONES) and sports (HAWKS SCORED HOW MANY GOALS SUNDAY NIGHT?!)

With that I say... Live long and prosper.