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Downton Abbey Christmas Spoof with George Clooney December 21, 2014

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Part 1 What better early Christmas gift than a peek at Christmas Future with George Clooney and the Downton Abbey cast. It seems that Carson likes women’s shoes does he? It’s hilarious and all done for charity. Watch both parts. It’s a gift for Christmas Present since the new season won’t begin in the U.S. until January 2015.

Part 2 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

https://www.anglotopia.net/british-entertainment/brit-tv/downton-abbey-watch-hilarious-downton-abbey-cast-spoof-starring-george-clooney/

Breaking Bad Blues December 24, 2013

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WW3

Happy Holidays from The Whites by Paul Gitto at redbubble.

The seasonal malaise started early. I’m not talking about Christmas, but the Season 5 finale of Breaking Bad on Sept. 29th.

After teaching third graders all day and having to repeatedly remind them to sit “criss cross applesauce,” I so enjoy watching TV shows that prominently feature the alphabet – as in V for Violence, L for Language, and S for Sexual Situations. I like to think of it as a yin yang kinda thing, so the end of my five-year escape to the dark side with Walter White and Jesse has me down.

I was stepping out to buy more butter for making cookies this morning when I found this card in my mailbox. It had been hand delivered by a friend who for the longest time couldn’t fathom my interest in watching Breaking Bad.  

“How do you reconcile the fact that he’s a drug dealer?” she asked. I could only shrug. She has since binge watched all five seasons and had a dazed look after the finale. Whoa! What a ride!

I’d thought about posting something nostalgic as it IS Christmas, but when it’s in the 80s in SoCal, it’s so not a Love Actually scenario. In the interest of trying to view the glass of eggnog as half full…

When I was in the UK over the summer, everyone was all aflutter watching The Returneda French series (Les Revenants), but it was only available via Channel 4. Think of it as a French Twin Peaks. I was excited to see that The Returned began airing on the Sundance Channel in October and highly recommend  it.

My husband and I have also been watching Getting On on HBO, which is based on a British series with the same name. It took me two episodes to fully embrace the show, but now it’s a must see.

That said, none of the above series feature a sidekick who can use the word “bitch” with the regularity and conviction of Jesse Pinkman. Sad face. If you’ll never look at the Periodic Table of Elements again in the same way, then here’s a holiday gift for you.

Click HERE to read the 60 most memorable quotes from Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad-ify Your Name September 2, 2013

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brabadfinaltop-710x400

Watching Breaking Bad is one of my guilty pleasures. It helps that it’s on Sunday night because come Monday, I go into G-rated teacher mode and get to hear who had a visit from the Tooth Fairy.

I remember when Walter White was just a schlubby high school chemistry teacher and his star student, Jesse Pinkman, had an unlined face.  Time flies when you’re having fun/or on the run. What an amazing ride!  And what fun to watch Bryan Cranston, who I best remember rollerskating on Malcom in the Middle, undergo his own professional development. (I had to throw in some teacher talk.) On KROQ radio the other morning, they played Aaron Paul’s audition tape for the the role of Jesse. It was so much fun to listen to Jesse’s innocent voice.

So it’s with some nostalgia that I watch the final season. Today, my friend Buddy put up his name on Facebook, so it looks like the Breaking Bad credits. I’m not going to use his name, nor mine, but it’s easy for you to do. Go to Breaking Bad-ify Your Name and find the Name Lab Facebook App (which will then “cook” your name.) You can only do this to the name you’re registered under on Facebook and can then either download a cover or profile pic. Dang! I’d hoped to Bad-ify my blog Planetjan and even make a cool name tag for my door for Back to School Night. I’m afraid those ideas have now gone up in smoke.

You know it’s occurred to me that I usually sign my name with a double M. MM.
Turn that upside down and you’ve got WW.  Serendipity?

If you haven’t watched the show, boy what a binge-watch you have in store.

Close to Home August 7, 2012

Posted by alwaysjan in Entertainment, Personal, Uncategorized.
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As a child, I couldn’t for the life of me sell Girl Scout cookies. My next door neighbor, Mrs. Dodge, would buy two boxes from me every year and I suspect my mother called her ahead of time.

So, when my filmmaker husband asked me to blog about his film End of the Beginning because he’s looking to raise $23,000 via crowdfunding on Indiegogo, I visibly winced.

What can I say, filmmaking is his passion. The script is great (I know because I did the final edit.) and those involved are professionals of the highest caliber. Want to buy a cookie?

Check it out. Click End of the Beginning. Even only one box of cookies would help. Boxes of cookies start at $20.

Dexter’s Response to the Casey Anthony Verdict July 10, 2011

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What can I say? It’s Why I Love Dexter.

 

Christmas is a Wrap January 2, 2011

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As much as I love Christmas, once the lights come down and the decorations are carted back upstairs, I feel an overwhelming sense of relief.

Oh, the foot?  My son bought that one year for Halloween at the 99 Cent Store. It’s become a family tradition to put it in the foot of one of the boys’ Christmas stockings as a stocking stuffer. In my house, we’re big on traditions. These are the lasting memories that are the stuff of childhood (and later on – therapy).

Unfortunately, our annual tradition of going to see a really inappropriate movie on Christmas Eve was crushed when we showed up to see Rare Exports only to be told it didn’t start until Christmas Day.  In past years, movies have included  GremlinsDeuce Bigalo Male Gigolo, and Bad Santa. What can I say? I live with men. As much as my husband enjoys Love Actually, you can only watch it so many times. Ditto on It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story (though Darren McGavin’s character always reminded my husband of my father).

This year my friend Nora introduced me to The Bishop’s Wife which stars Cary Grant as an angel (think early George Clooney). The movie was released in 1947 when what a woman wanted most was a new hat. The coolest thing the angel does is make it so that the non-believer’s bottle of brandy automatically refill after it’s been poured. Now that’s the spirit of the season!

The day after Christmas we did make it to Rare Exports (Click Here to watch the trailer) to learn the story behind  the Real Santa Claus. It was actually a rather clever movie though it could kill tourism to Finland faster than you can say “dead reindeer.”

Surviving Christmas and the Zombie Apocalypse December 7, 2010

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Shaun of the Dead t-shirt available on Amazon.

As I watched the movie Rec 2 the other night I found myself making a mental list of  “must have” items to fend off the undead.  I hinted to my husband that Santa might want to leave a Swiss Army knife in my stocking. As the movie unfolded, I ticked off other items.  I added a cross as you never know when someone has a drop of vampire in them.

I got a Swiss Army knife one Christmas when I was in college. I opened it and the blade promptly snapped shut and sliced my finger. I’m confident now though that I could use it to disembowel a zombie. This comes from religiously watching Dexter and teaching Third Grade for five years. Nothing grosses me out anymore. Today school ended at 1:30. At precisely 1:29 one of my students stood up and began vomiting a lake about the size of Lake Erie. I know how to calculate area, so this is no exaggeration. I’m afraid the only tool I had was a plastic bag. Too little too late. I wiped the spittle of his face and then handed him a piece of cherry-flavored hard candy to freshen his breath. Where were my night vision goggles when I needed them?

I’m not sure where my new-found interest in survival comes from. I could have cared less when there was all that hoopla about Y2K. I believe it’s possibly a variation of, “We’re not prepared for the Big One.” I had a flashlight hanging next to the bed. The key word is “had.” I’ve taken to putting on pajamas in the middle of the night for fear that if I run out of the house butt naked, I’ll scare my sons. I’d also be cold.

I had to laugh when my friend Cathy’s son-in-law Ryan published a link on Facebook to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. Who knew there were entire lists of items recommended to buy on Amazon?  I’m still wondering about that duct tape that’s available new or used. Another “must have” item is an iPod. I guess if you’re in “End of the World” mode you’d want a little theme music. What was funny was that people who commented were concerned about how long their batteries would last.  My husband has assured me that there is now a solar battery that you can use to recharge you iPod.  Whew!

I’m not sure what this obsession with zombies is all about.  How scared can you be of creatures you can outrun?  But I noticed in Dead Set the zombies move a lot faster and seem to be caffeinated.  That’s not a good combination.

There’s a few items that aren’t on the list that should be. If you’re going to be doing battle with the undead, you’re definitely going to need some caffeine so you can outrun them. So add an espresso machine to that list. Personally, I’s also need some Coke Classic to keep me in zombie-killing mode. If you have had the pleasure of surviving the movie The Road, you know how good the Real Thing can be. Finally, a little chocolate to boost the serotonin levels when the Prozac runs out would keep my spirits up. Fighting the undead looks to be hard work – kinda like teaching 28 third graders.

Last night we ventured off the couch to see 127 Hours. Whoa!  That Swiss Army knife is definitely at the top of my list.  If no zombies appear or I don’t have to cut off my arm, I can at least open a bottle of red wine. Cheers!

Hands On Learning October 24, 2010

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I haven’t written a new post in what seems like a bazillion years, but I have what seems like a bazillion more students this year AND I’m working on my Gifted and Talented (GATE) Certification online.  I hope to have it done this week, so I can begin walking around with a pyramid on my head, so as to look the part.  (I’ve already got the Albert Einstein hair thing going.)

My husband sent me this link, and dang, if this ain’t gifted, I don’t know what is.  These two get even more creative as the video progresses.  I guess I’ve got to quit telling the girls to stop those hand clapping games while they’re standing in line. Who knew?

Who’s Your Daddy? Dexter! September 30, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Entertainment, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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My husband, a hopeless romantic, surprised me with this shirt

The only thing that’s gotten me through the the first two weeks of the new school year was knowing that the fifth season of Dexter was premiering Sept. 27th. I first wrote about my fixation on this show in Why I Love Dexter.

I, for one, loved watching Dexter balance his new role last season as a doting daddy with being a serial killer. Nothing like a sleepless night to throw you off your game. But from everything I’ve read about psychopaths (and I’ve read way than you’d ever want to), the one false note of last season was how Dexter’s becoming a daddy made him think twice about putting someone on ice. Dexter, himself, said that being a better killer made him a better father. Go figure.

In the Season 5 premiere, Dexter can’t even conjure up any fake tears for his dearly departed Rita. “I got some mouse ears,” he says, matter-of-factly. Yeah, that’s as good as it gets. It should be interesting to see how the writers handle Dexter’s parenting of his stepchildren Aster and Cody, and son Harrison this season. I’m afraid they’re taking some artistic license so as not to make Dexter too dark and despicable. He is, after all, America’s favorite serial killer, so the audience needs to be rooting for him. But what’s it really like to have a psychopath for a parent?

Psychopaths have strong narcissistic streak. It’s all about them. Just like those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), they view their children as extensions of themselves – things to be manipulated. The parent projects their “ideal self” onto them, so the child has to follow “the script,” or they’ll anger their parent. Yet, no matter what they do, it will NEVER be enough to earn the love of the parent with NPD. Many children spend their entire lives trying to get in their parent’s good graces, or just to get their parents to notice them, not realizing that this is impossible.

Last season, Dexter’s nemesis, the genial Arthur Mitchell (aka the Trinity killer), appears on the surface to be the consummate family man. It is only as the season progresses, that cracks appear in the carefully crafted image that Arthur has created, and Dexter can see how Arthur’s wife and children live in mortal fear of his rage. The majority of psychopaths are not serial killers or even physically violent. They kill the spirit of those near and dear through their callousness.

I have several friends and relatives who have children with narcissistic spouses. After coming to terms with the disorder themselves, they’re often at a loss as to what to do when sharing joint custody of a child. How do you prop up a child’s fragile self esteem when the other parent views the child as an extension of themselves, and/or delights in cutting the child down? One friend said she can only hope to give her son the skills to cope with his father’s taunts and criticism. He’s three years old.

If you think back to Dexter’s attempts to play Daddy, he mimics cultural stereotypes to play the part. When he asks,”Who wants pancakes?” it sounds more like a TV commercial. That’s because Dexter, like all psychopaths, is merely playing a part. In this case, he’s playing the part of TV dad.

The following comment was received from EMZ on my Close Encounter with a Narcissist series. She grew up with a narcissistic father and I think her experience is fairly typical.

My father was a classic narcissist. He was married to a woman (my mum) who all her life was, too, a narcissist. One of my brothers I fear is also. They undermine every achievement with a heart-stopping accuracy and coldness that you are left to wonder your own sanity. They contradict themselves just to oppose an opinion you may have dared utter. As a child you are dependent upon their guidance/encouragement/world perspective. But as a child they train you to know that you are worthless (to them), but you must accept it and pretend that it is normal.  So you question – does every parent act like this?  Is everybody just “acting’ normal.” I began to think and unfortunately hoped that all parents did hate their children, and it was normal to degrade and emotionally abuse friends especially boyfriends. Obviously, friends abandon you.  You don’t realize why, as nothing seems to fit together. I knew I was not normal.  It is such a relief to know that it is they who have a disease of the mind and very soul. My parents watched me suffer for years with a slow-growing brain tumor. I survived, but my father said, “The worst thing that could happen is you don’t fully recover and we might have to look after you.” Yeah…that would be a serious annoyance for you? It never came to pass, and I thank you lord.

Amen.



Reading The Girl Who Played with Fire July 19, 2010

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Book #2 in Larsson's Millenium Trilogy, all of which were published after his death.

Holy crap! What a ride! Although I loved Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first 100 pages read like an annual report. Larsson’s second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, puts you in a chokehold on Page One.

I’ve entered Day Five of being consumed by this book, which I literally haven’t been able to put down. Okay on Day One I took it to Children’s Court, but tucked it inside How to Improve Children’s Reading, so as not to tip my hand. It seemed downright wrong to be reading this book with so many children about. My husband pointed out that the movie is now out and got great reviews, but any bibliophile knows it’s not the same. So now I’m looking at another late night.

It’s not that I’m a slow reader, but there are so many twists and turns that I can only read a couple of chapters till I’m flat out exhausted. Then there’s the matter of IKEA. When Lisbeth Salander furnishes her new apartment, every item she buys at IKEA is listed, so it’s like I’ve been inside her apartment. Hey, I’ve got those BILLY shelves too!

Speaking of things that begin with “B.” I’m beginning to think half the surnames in Sweden start with a B, which makes it a challenge to remember who’s who. Blomkvist, the yin to Salander’s yang from the first book is easy to remember along with Berger, his long-time lover, and her husband Beckman. Then there’s Bjurman, Lizbeth’s guardian, and now in this book, detective Bublanski (Good Cop), and Bjorck (Bad Cop) and Bohman (Former Cop). I was half-expecting Bjork to make a cameo appearance.

And what’s with the characters grabbing a bite to eat at a 7-11? Or McDonalds for that matter? Something must be missing in translation as the last place I’d pick up pasta is 7-11. That’s where you go for the bladder-buster-sized soda or some lotto tickets, or to make some quick cash. No not Lotto – robbery!

Lisbeth’s obsession for Billy’s (there’s that “B” again) Pan Pizza got me to wondering, so I googled it. Who would have known?  To learn more about the best pizza you’ve never tried, you can go to Billy’s Pan Pizza – Comfort Food for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Gotta go. Chapter 26 awaits. But if you’d like to read more about the series and Stieg Larsson’s untimely death, check out  Steig Larsson.com.

Post Mortem – I finished the book yesterday and came up for air. Whew, my heartbeat has returned to normal. Book 3, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, is now out in hardcover, but I’m biding my time. My husband’s friend couldn’t wait, but didn’t want to shell out the big bucks. His solution?  He went to Borders for three days in a row and stood and read the new book. He says it’s a slam dunk. I can wait, but I am feeling the need to go to IKEA. UPDATE: The Borders Option is no longer available.

Que Hora Es? June 20, 2010

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My friend Cathy sent a link to this hilarious clip on YouTube – a soap opera for people who only had three weeks of Spanish in the Fourth Grade.  I’ve written about my attempts to learn Spanish in My Spanish es Muy Malo. I tried watching Spanish soaps (telenovelas), hoping to learn a thing or dos, but the actors were obviously from the school of eyebrow acting.  But this one I can follow.  Enjoy!

 

Baby Doll Brawl – From Bach to Iggy Pop June 28, 2009

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rollerderby

“Girls, fishnets, track slapping, heart stopping ACTION!  Could there be anything more American?  Red, white and bruise!”  How’s that for a promo? That’s how I came to be standing in one very long line on a hot Saturday afternoon in East Hollywood outside The Doll Factory.  Just the night before, we’d driven to Claremont to hear my niece play Bach on cello in a picture perfect setting.  What a difference a day makes.

“We’re roller derby virgins,” the woman ahead of me announced.  She had a husband in tow and a couple of kids.  No visible tattoos.  Not at all what I’d expected.  “Me too,” I volunteered. “Do you think this means we’re going to be sacrificed to a volcano?” From the rumbling coming from inside The Doll Factory, this seemed a distinct possibility, as the DJ had the bass cranked up.
This was my friend Kelli’s (aka Kocoa Krunch) skating debut with The Baby Dolls, the up and comers in the L.A. Derby Dolls.  I’d been hearing Kelli talk about roller derby for almost a year.  At 39, she’s a little long in the tooth to be an up and comer, but she’s also got long legs that stretch to Cleveland, her hometown.  An actress (and sometimes substitute teacher), Kelli may be the only person I know who can pull off wearing silver lame hot pants.

The Doll Factory is an airy warehouse.  Instead of a mirrored disco ball, there’s a mirrored roller skate suspended over the banked track.  For $10 you get standing room only tickets and a trip to the porta-potties outside. We’d sprung for the $20 VIP tickets so we could sit on bleachers and use the VIP bathroom.  (It’s VIP because there’s only ONE toilet.)

Inside it was loud – like being  trapped inside a pinball machine.  There was a Vendor Village where you could buy everything from pizza to organic enchiladas (Hey, it’s L.A.!) and the Beer Garden where you could swill Tecate while watching the action on a big screen. During the Skate Out, when the players warm up, they really crank up the music.  But it set the mood which was fun and raucous.  And somewhere in the middle of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, my stuffed up ear from my summer cold blew out.  Suddenly, life was good  – and much LOUDER.

Roller Derby is an American sport (the only other being basketball), so we were asked to stand while Jes-sicka Rav-edge sang the national anthem (and did a bang up job).  Two periods.  Lots of action.  Kelli had a very vocal contingent and her husband, Kap’n Krunch, got a shout out.  She spent some time in the penalty box, but since I’m a newbie, I figured that was because she looked too good in those hot pants.  But I have lots to learn. Kelli’s team, the Meteorfights, came from behind to beat the Scars and Stripes then took a victory lap around the track.

A sampling of the skater’s names:  Marina del Rage, Queen Elizadeath II, Wanda B. Onya, and May Q. Holla on the Meteorfights and Tilda Whirl, Eat-It Piaf, Got MILF?, and Helen Surly Frown on the Scars and Stripes.  Everybody has a name, including the referees (e.g. Charlie Frown), who in their black and white striped shirts, were referred to as “zebras.”  The official photographer wore a shirt emblazened with “Stalkerazzi.” I think the only person on the track who didn’t have a name was the EMT.  He needs to get crackin’ before the bones do.

Since everyone I know seems to have The Cold, I thought I’d put up the cure (not to be confused with The Cure).