Monday, June 25, 2012

The Newsroom

When I found out Aaron Sorkin was writing a new TV show for HBO, I was pumped this excited.  Seasons 1-4 of The West Wing constitute maybe absolutely some of the most perfect television ever.  I've re-watched the series more times than I can count.  I have to buy a replacement disc for Season 2 because I wore out the disc with "Two Cathedrals" on it.  I spent a year of my Notre Dame education writing a thesis about it.  I'm a fan.

That being said, I went into The Newsroom with an open mind.  I heard a few lukewarm reviews today, so I watched the premiere tonight without expecting to love it.  I, however, thought it was fantastic and can't wait to see what they have in store for the rest of the season.  Say what you will about Aaron Sorkin as a person, but as a writer, he is simply brilliant.  Off to a good start on this one, Mr. Sorkin.

Here are a few of my thoughts in no particular order:

- The opening was a little preachy.  I watched the trailer no less than 12 times in the weeks leading up to the premiere, and I was pretty psyched about Jeff Daniels's rant culminating in "When you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Yosemite?" In the episode, though, this doesn't immediately cut to the West-Wing-esque opening credits.  Instead, he slows his roll a little bit and continues on, saying we used to be the greatest country in the world and still could be if we had an informed electorate and so on and so forth.  Ok, sure, this sets up the concept of the show: let's make the news great again.  And yes, Sorkin totally sells that idealistic Capra-corn and I eat that shit up for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.  But Daniels/Sorkin definitely speak with a rose-colored lenses view of American history, nostalgic for the "good old days," whenever those were.  Come on, Sorkin.  I expect more from you (not from him).

Jim Harper
And he tells his audience of college students that we're the worst period generation period ever period.  Rude.  Also, wrong.  Especially because his "senior producer" who saves his ass by the end of the episode is most definitely part of that generation.  He looks like he's 26.  And he's a senior producer.  And he has an anonymous, exclusive source for every piece of breaking news.  Not the worst. 

- The aforementioned Doogie Howser senior producer is named Jim Harper, and I'm gonna love this guy.  He's like Josh Lyman meets Jim Halpert meets Mark Lyons.  I know what you're thinking.  That's a lot of sexual heat.  But what can I say, it's HBO.

- Sam Waterston dropping f-bombs makes great TV.  Sam Waterston shouting at a grown man that he will kick the shit out of him, no matter how many protein bars he eats, makes excellent TV.  Sam Waterston putting on his jacket like this would make the best TV.  Take notes, Sorkin.

- Emily Mortimer is a B.O.S.S.  CJ Cregg was arguably the strong female character on The West Wing (barring guest characters like Amy Gardner) and certainly the only one that ended up in a true position of authority.  And even that was well after Sorkin had left the show, and she still wasn't the boss boss (she was promoted to Chief of Staff in the sixth season).  Sorkin is making progress, though..  Because even though Mortimer's week-to-week contract is in Daniels' hands, as his EP, he has to do what she says for one hour every day.  Baby steps, Sorkin.  Now let's work on easing up on the ladies-love-shopping jokes.

- Allison Pill is a gem.  On TWW, it took seven years for Donna Moss to get a promotion.  Pill got promoted twice in the first episode and Jeff Daniels learned her name.  Get it, girl.  Let Emily Mortimer take you shopping.  You've earned it.

- Dev Patel aka Neil aka Punjab aka the IT guy: Also a gem.  I hope he starts dating the President's daughter.  

- Can we make sure Oliver Platt gets a recurring guest role on this show?

- A big huzzah for the lack of clown music during the closing credits.  #TheWestWing'sOnlyFlaw.  But seriously, go to 0:39.  It's the boner killer of television scores.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Little Piggy Wore Tracksuits

Today at work, I was arguing that no other state fair could possibly be more impressive than the Iowa State Fair.  Full disclosure, I haven't been to the Iowa State Fair since I was about 8 years old and suffered from a minor case of heat stroke BUT I do like to defend my home state with fervor and this seemed like an argument I could get unnecessarily defensive about so I went for it.  My co-worker, who was also keen to participate in this useless debate, said that the New Jersey State Fair would have a pig show (or something like that).  Uhh... I did say "Iowa" right?  Chris said, though, that pigs at the Jersey State Fair would be wearing tracksuits.  This elicited one of my deafening cackles, followed by me immediately Googling "pig + tracksuit," "pigs wearing clothes," etc.

Ok so that picture is awesome BUT I found something even more important.

I discovered that the following Tumblr exists:

Baby Pigs Wearing People Clothes

You're welcome.

2 days until the Global Guts Pub Crawl.  D-d-d-do you have it?  Guts.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Drawsomely Bad

While I am still an avid Words With Friends enthusiast, I've let most of those other games fall by the wayside.  Hanging with Friends was sort of boring (translation: I was really bad at it and was sick of losing) and Scramble gave me panic attacks (I don't like timed games.. my palms would sweat. No seriously, I would open the app and would dread seeing that it was my turn to scramble. Then I remembered that I did this by choice.  App deleted).

When Draw Something came out, though, I was instantly hooked.  I was on a shoot for work, and as the evening was coming to an end, a few of my co-workers and I decided to pass the time by downloading this Draw Something app that everyone was talking about.  ZOMG.  Insta-fun.  This was the night I would discover that apparently I think Eskimos look like characters from South Park.  #ShelteredLife #Iowa

As my range of colors and drawing skills expanded, so did my number of games.  Over one fateful brunch, I was telling Kelly McKenna about this new obsession.  She downloaded it immediately and ever since then, Kelly has been, hands down, my favorite competitor on Draw Something.  I work for a design/visual effects studio so my friends from work tend to be on the artistic side.  Here are a couple of drawings from my co-worker, Fionna:

No big deal.

We can't all have Fionna's artistic talents.  Though I must say, I excel when I draw what I know:
Percy's.. my ultimate muse.

Enough of tooting my own horn, though.  Back to the artist formerly known as omgpop81714284.  Kelly's drawings are simply amazing.  I only started saving screenshots recently because it took awhile to realize this would make a good blog post.  I have uploaded these in chronological order so you can experience them the way I did.  So, Kelly, as a faithful follower of Most Likely to Have Bad Hair, I dedicate this post to you (and your creative process):

As you can see, after 64 turns, Kelly still does not care to buy new colors even though she must have at least 249 coins in her Draw Something bank by now.  Minimalist.  Respect.  As you will see, that is a common theme in her art.  I also enjoy how after 64 turns, she still refuses to switch to any other brush weight.  There are 4 different brush weights you can use but the fact that Kelly always uses weight #2, always makes these drawings look like finger paint art.  Again, Kelly.. I am not making fun of you.  I love this (and you) so much.  Please remember this as I proceed to caption these comical Somethings you have Drawn.
I haven't read Harry Potter in years so I had totally forgotten that his wand was 4x as long as his T-Rex arms... and that he was distantly related to Mr. Bill.
This is the first time I have ever seen a hairy pinata.  I hope it won't be the last.

I appreciate a few things about this drawing.  1) Kelly gave the pregnant mom a short "mom haircut." #Practical 2) The "stroller" in question looks like a blue Pac Man with a tongue. 3) The Pregnant Mom is walking on ground level but pushing the Stroller on some sort of elevated surface that starts about mid-calf.  Where is she taking that baby?
Here's what I see here.. "Snow White Minus Plus MINUS"
That is some gnarly armpit hair.

When I managed to decipher that the above drawing was a towel and then two hands twisting a towel, I knew Kelly and I were BFFs.. for realz.
Before she wrote "Bud," I thought the picture on the left was a case of hot sauce bottles.  I really like to think of Kelly McKenna saying/thinking/drinking "BUD."  Preferably on a rickety porch with a piece of straw in her mouth and a shotgun at her side.
So glad you drew bagpipes.  This one was a winner.
After 94 turns, this is where our streak met its bitter end.

In my defense, "Scarlett" with 2 t's, as Draw Something offers it, refers to Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind.  The Scarlet Letter (which is what I'm assuming Kelly was going for), spells "scarlet" with 1 t.  Also, Hester Prynne had to wear a scarlet "A" to indicate the sin of adultery, not an "L."  Come on, McKenna.  ENCARTA IT.
Skiing, I get it.  But what is the Mickey-Mouse-Sasquatch-creature on the right.  Seems like an important part of the scene.
Not drawn to scale.
This guy is legless and has two torsos and still manages to scuba dive.  That's perseverance.

Eating meat off a floating plate is totally normal.  But the dalmatian-reindeer cross-breed that it came from... Classic McKenna.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mouse Hunt Part III: Continued

Spoke too soon.  I woke up this morning, and as I was tweeting my victory, I thought I heard something in the kitchen.  That's right, there was a second shooter mouse.

Time for another burial at sea.

This one was stuck in the sticky trap under the fridge.  It was an even sadder sight than the night before because he was also still alive but was lying on his side with his head resting on the peanut-butter-covered oatmeal square bait like it was a pillow.  Can't talk about it anymore.

Carolyn, once again, I'll replace your Tupperware containers.

Let's hope this is the last casualty.  This time the disposal involved less tears - I've been hardened by war.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mouse Hunt: Part III

The mouse is dead.  Before I could even post my "help us name the mouse" poll.  Name candidates included The Earl of Snackington, Herman Muenster (spelling intentional), William Jennings Bryan (three-time candidate for President and opponent of the gold standard.. how fun would it be to say things like "William Jennings Bryan chewed a hole in the Triscuit box" or "I just saw William Jennings Bryan behind the fridge"), and Heisenberg.  I'm post-humously naming him Heisenberg.  Respect.

I walked home tonight after getting dinner with my cousin Katie.  I called my parents to chat as I made my way home.  I was still on the phone with my mom when I walked into my apartment, and immediately saw the trap that had made its way a foot and a half out from under the kitchen counter.  Stuck to it was Heisenberg himself.

Not. Dead. Yet.

Heisenberg, ya dead? No, man.

After some incoherent squealing coupled with the poor cell reception in my apartment, my mom insisted I slow down and tell her what was happening.  I told her the mouse was caught in one of the sticky traps but wasn't dead.  The lower half of his body was caught in the trap but he was using his face and/or hands to scoot his way forward.  He was sporadically flailing his head about as I talked my way through this which only led me to question how long it had taken him to move a foot and a half.  How long had I been torturing this furry little creature? Suddenly, I was no longer out for blood, determined to eliminate this pest that had settled in my apartment without an invitation.  Maybe it was because I had a long conversation with my co-workers today about the death of our family pets.  Maybe it was because he seemed a lot smaller and cartoonish up close.  Maybe it was because he didn't even get to eat any of the peanut butter out of the trap.  But suddenly I felt very sorry for the mouse.  And suddenly I was crying.  Like really really crying.

I shall remember you as the adorable mouse that you never were.
My mom put me on the phone with my dad who proceeded to talk me through the rest of this situation. (Sidenote: Carolyn, hope you're having fun at Bonaroo.  This weekend has been eventful.  We'll catch up over some Seamless web in a few days.)  Dad was not really having any of this crying business, so he told me my best option was to.. wait for it.. drown the mouse in the toilet.

Hang on a second..

Yes, I heard that right.  Drown the mouse.  In the toilet.  That seems like it would calm my nerves, right?  How am I supposed to get the trap out of the toilet then?  What if the mouse comes out of the sticky trap in the toilet and then I have to pick up the DEAD, TOILET-WATER-SOAKED MOUSE out of the toilet WITH MY BARE HANDS?

Dad: Ok, do you have any other traps?  Yes, obviously I have 9 of them.  Ok, take one of those and put it on top of the mouse and then put the whole thing in a bag and take it out to the trash.

Somehow this mouse trap sandwich idea seemed a little undignified.  Can't explain it, but it wasn't sitting right with me.  I asked my dad if maybe I could put some of the mouse poison pellets in front of Heisenberg so that he could inch his way toward them, eat them, and then die in his sleep.  That idea was.. well.. we'll say it was "scoffed at."  Back to the drowning plan...

I took a tall piece of Tupperware (sorry, Carolyn.  I'll replace it before you get home) and filled it with water.  Bear in mind, my dad was on the phone with me for this whole process.  Bear in mind, the mouse was still squirming around during this whole process.  Simply horrifying.  Nevermind the fact that as I was narrating this, my dad said, "Of course he's moving around, he's fighting for his life."  Oh my GOD, not helping.  Now I had to work up the nerve to pick up the trap, with the live mouse still wriggling around on it, and stick it in the Tupperware container.

It was one thing to set a shitload of traps in the hopes of "catching" the mouse.  I knew catching the mouse meant killing it but, you know, out of sight, out of mind.  Now I wasn't just catching the apartment mouse anymore.  I was putting Heisenberg to death.  There's an episode of The West Wing that deals with the morality of capital punishment.  I don't remember the exact crime committed but there is a man who is on death row who is about to be executed and there is a chance the President might spare his life.  Whatever the crime was, it is clear that is was something really horrible but even as basically everyone is agreeing that he should be put to death, C.J. Cregg, the Press Secretary, says, "I just wish I didn't know his mother's name, that's all." Well, I wish I hadn't looked Heisenberg in the eyes or known he likes peanut butter or mentally associated him with those dogs with wheels instead of hind legs.
BRB, just have to go drown this adorable, handicapped puppy in my toilet.
I was very upset at this point and told my dad how small Heisenberg was.  "Yeah, of course he's small.  There's millions of them.  You want them to give you diseases?"  This was said in the you-know-who-else-cut-corners?-Janis-Joplin Mr. Weir tone.  Amazing.

His best line, however, was when he was trying to convince me that the most humane thing to do would be to drown Heisenberg:

"Remember how the people died on the Titanic?  It's a peaceful way to go."

I could hear my mom laughing from the other room.

Anyway, shaking and wincing and crying my way through it, I picked up the mouse trap and quickly lowered Heisenberg, head first, into the water-filled Tupperware container.  It all went so fast.  My parents simultaneously launched into rapid-fire questioning:

Do you have the lid on it?
Do you have a plastic bag to put it in?
Is the lid on yet?
Do you have your keys?
Are you headed downstairs to the garbage?
Do you have your keys?
Is he dead?
Ugh, yes, I just looked him in the eyes.
Why did you look him in the eyes??
Is he dead?
Yes. His eyes were definitely dead.
Dad: This is a big step for you. I'm proud.

Post-humous texts from my parents include the following:

Texts from Mom:

Text 1: Glad the mouse hunt is over.  Good job!
Text 2: Mariel caught the mouse and got rid of him... She's somewhat traumatized.
Text 3: I meant to send to Nick and sent to you ;)
Text 4: Hope you got a glass of wine! I did!

Texts from Dad:

In conclusion, here is my dedication to Heisenberg.  Hope you're eating peanut butter in a better place now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mouse Hunt: Part II

Just know that there will be a Part III.

I thought this was going to be a 24-hour-turnaround kind of deal but apparently that is not the case.  Good to know.  Glad I brought home dinner just in case.  I kid, I kid.  All joking aside, as gross/psychopathic as this sounds, I was 30% excited about finding a body.  Not in an I-can't-wait-to-perform-experiments-on-it kind of way.  I was just looking forward to the sense of accomplishment I would feel having brought the intruder to justice.  But alas, the suspect remains at large.

See you in hell.

Expecting to have caught the little varmint by this evening, I brought home a couple of items from work to aid me in disposing of the body: latex gloves and chopsticks.  And no, I don't work at a P.F. Changs.  I used the chopsticks to slide the sticky mouse traps out from under the oven.  The gloves were obviously to protect myself from mouse diseases in case I'd been successful.  I added peanut butter to one of the sticky traps since both my mom and Mark Lyons told me peanut butter is the way to go.  And now.. we wait.

I would like to include an email I received from Wrecking Crew member Greg in response to Mouse Hunt: Part I.  Thanks for sharing, Greg.  This little monster sounds like a pro.  Rest assured, one day you'll get him on tax evasion. 

Here’s some advice.  MOVE!      That might sound like an exaggeration…  but not if you were like us, and happened to have the smartest lil bastard of a mouse ever to squeak in this fine city.    While Ben viciously hunted and killed many of his brethren – super mouse just came and went as he pleased.      [ed. note: Ben was Greg's roommate apparently and was cc'ed on this email. Ben, nice to meet you. I'm still waiting for your reply-all but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.  Welcome to the Wrecking Crew]

·         He ate the peanut butter out of the mouse trap we set and then left us a turd on top of the trap - just to send us a message.   [ed. note: my first LOL of this email. I like where this is headed]
·         He ate the cheese out of Ben’s ‘orange cracker and cheese with red spreading stick’ snack pack – but just left the crackers! (why does a grown man still have cheese and cracker snack packs?  That question is for another day – this is about the mouse)
·         He made a shoe-nest out of my fly ass pair high top Nike dunks  
·         We cornered him in the garbage can dozens of times – smashing the can and its contents to bits – only to investigate the bag and find no mouse remains.
·         Ben once caught him in his Burton back pack eating some potato chips.  He quickly hustled the bag outside to find not a mouse, but a little hole nibble in the corner of the bag where the super mouse ejected to safety in the nick of time.

His favorite food was sour cream n onion potato chips.  Ironically that’s Ben’s favorite food too – so you can imagine the epic rivalry created and ensuing battle.  How did it all end?  How did you finally defeat super mouse and his reign of terror?  Ben and I surrendered and moved out of the apartment. I can only speculate that super mouse is still living on N7th and Bedford – doing whatever the f*** he wants to do. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mouse Hunt: Part I

Only cute when voiced by Michael J. Fox and/or holding tiny teddy bears
I was standing in my bedroom (the only place I get consistent cell reception in my apartment) chatting with my mother on the phone this evening when I spied with my little eye something grey scurrying across our kitchen floor and running under the oven.  Mouse in the hizzouse, ladies and gentlemen.

I don't consider myself a stereotypical girl when it comes to most things.  I don't know how to walk in heels (I look like a baby deer standing for the first time).  I don't enjoy shopping.  Etc.  This mouse, though.  I freaked out a little bit.

Dealing with a mouse seems like one of those things that comes with growing up.  You have your first apartment, you're paying rent, you're dealing with leaky bathroom ceilings... and you have to figure out how to kill your first mouse.  Fortunately, I have my wonderful mother who knows everything about everything and tells me what to do in all of these first-time situations.  So after I screamed and asked her who I call to kill the mouse, she assured me that this is something I can handle myself.  Oh right, mouse traps.  I don't know why my first instinct was that I had to call an exterminator.  Probably because 0% of me wanted to walk past the oven to get to the front door.  WHY DOES HE KEEP POKING HIS HEAD OUT TO LOOK AT ME?  WHAT IS YOUR ANGLE, MOUSE? DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT EATING MY FACE.

When I told her that I didn't know where any hardware stores were around my neighborhood, my mom assured me that I could find what I needed at the grocery store or a Duane Reade.  She spent a few more minutes calming me down and then asked me how close the nearest drug store was.

Me: Oh, I'm already there.
Mom: [laughing] That was fast. Did you run there?
Me: I've got my reasons.
Mom: Alright, did you find the mouse traps?
Me: No, I got distracted by some scented candles.

Pound cake scented candles.  I've got my reasons.

Still on the phone with my mom (and candle in tow), I find a Rite Aid employee and ask the mustachioed woman where the mouse traps are.

Mustachioed Rite Aid lady: [quizzical look]
Me: Mouse traps.
Mustachioed Rite Aid lady: [still looking quizzical, still mustachioed] Mouse traps?
Me: Yes. Traps. For catching mice.
Mustachioed Rite Aid lady: Oh, sure [points to aisle 14]
Mom: Seriously?
Me: Yes, I just explained to a grown woman what a mouse trap is.

I sorted through their selection but there were no sticky mouse traps which is what my mom was telling me to buy.  My poor mother was still on the phone with me, the saint that she is, as I talked through my options.  Ok, not getting the old school wooden snappy things.  I was trying to explain this one big trap that seemed pretty sturdy..

Me: Ok, there's this one.. I can't tell how it works.  It looks like the mouse walks in and then the door closes behind it.  But I think that means the mouse is going just hang out in there?  Alive?  I can't tell what this is.
Mom: [pause] It sounds like you're describing a mouse hotel.

Anyway, after much deliberation I bought the mouse hotel and mouse poison pellets to go with it.  That's right, mouse.  You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.

$18.26 later, I walked a couple blocks further to the Duane Reade.  Surely they must have sticky mouse traps and employees that know what mouse traps are.  Nope, no sticky mouse traps.  I decided to buy a set of 4 Tomcat traps (mini hotels) for good measure and, a set of two Rid Rite pest control systems.  You plug these bad boys into your wall outlets, and they send out ultrasonic signals through the walls so mice won't want to come inside.  Let's end the bloodshed here, my furry brethren.

$34.82 ($53.08 total), I headed home.  Eh, I was passing the grocery store anyway.. might as well take a look inside.  Yup, sticky mouse traps.  Bingo.  And it was only $2.17 for the CatchMaster set of 4!!

I set 5 of the 9 traps just to be safe.  I will consume this mouse with fireballs from my eyes and bolts of lightning from my ass.  FREEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMM.

Take no prisoners.

To be continued.