April 28, 2012

See This Movie: Young Adult

Another snowy Alberta weekend, another flick at home; it’s this time of year when last year’s biggest and best movies come out on DVD and Video-on-Demand (VOD), and this weekend we watched Young Adult.

This dark comedy starring Charlize Theron got good reviews and sank at the box office. I see why; this is not a mainstream Hollywood comedy --- no heroic underdog, no “meet cute” romance, no heartfelt lessons learned, no sweet ending.

Oscar winner Theron is brave and funny as Mavis, our lonely bitchy boozy “Young Adult” novelist. She is the vain, mean girl from high school who never grew up; the town remembers her as "the psychotic prom queen bitch.” Mavis is cruel, self-centered and self-pitying. And while I didn't like her, I sure did like watching her.
The movie is dark, the cast is stellar. It was great to see Jill Eikenberry again. Patton Oswalt may be my new hero. Patrick Wilson is just hot. And Up In The Air director Jason Reitman shows he is one of our generation’s best.

Mavis is a drunken wreck, bored in her big city life, so she comes back to Mercury, the small town where she grew up, a place she dismisses: “Did I really get that much better? Or did everyone else get that much worse?”

She is intent on stealing back her old boyfriend, who is happily married and new father - a domestic life she compares to being held hostage.

Young Adult challenges the conventional Hollywood wisdom that a protagonist must be likable. It ignores movie norms about high school, small-town life, heterosexuality, Minnesota and the capacity of human beings to grow.

This is not a light or lighthearted movie. Theron shows her character's nasty and snarky side, and also shows the pain and fear beneath it. Young Adult is fearless and funny, a brave and somewhat cynical look at people who don't grow up. This movie will get a split reaction - it did in our house. I liked it. See Young Adult.

April 26, 2012

Alfie's birthday fundraiser...

It's no secret that Alfred is the non-human love of my life... and today the little dude is five years old!

So while we may have a toy or two or twelve for the little furball, it is a tradition on alfred lives here to mark this occasion in a bigger way.

So in honour of the birthday of the world's cutest canine, also known as Alfred, Alfredo, Alfie, furball, ADD Alfred, Ewok, Mooch Pooch, Beagle Wannabe, Alfie Poop, Little Dude, and The Instigator ... here's the deal:

As I know that Alfie is more pampered than your average pooch, we are gonna celebrate his birthday by raising money for the Humane Society. For every comment left on this post today and tomorrow, April 26 and 27, we will donate $1 from Alfie's allowance to the Humane Society. Last year we donated $40... How much money will Alfie raise this year?

Leave a comment and help shake the little dude's piggy bank!

April 24, 2012

Not Your Average Vibrator Movie...

First I read that Lysol began as a douche. Then I read that vibrators began as feather dusters gone astray. Now my eyes hurt. And I gotta stop hanging out on twitter....

As it turns out, that vibrator feather duster bit was actually from a movie coming soon, called Hysteria. It stars the talented and ever-so-cute Hugh Dancy and yes it is about the creation of the vibrator. I don't remember that from high school history class.

Thanks to Downton Abbey, we all seem hungry for soapy romantic comedy/drama set amid the hoity toity accents of British high society. Add in the invention of the vibrator, and you've got that with a twist in Hysteria, about a young doctor who runs afoul of a spirited feminist as he strives to invent a new device to cure his female patients of hysteria.... hmmm....

What’s this motorized feather duster invented by his buddy? Wonder if that has any other possible uses? And why aren't I surprised it was invented by Rupert Everett?

Here's the trailer. Looks like fun....


... on another subject entirely, my weekly post at Sprocket Ink goes up today. It's a change of pace for me... it's Canadian, it's political, it's fairly serious; check it out at sprocket ink.com ...

April 22, 2012

Happy Jelly Bean Day!

Forget all those other so-called important occasions, forget Christmas or that today is your spouse's birthday... today April 22 is a holiday of major importance... National Jelly Bean Day!

How do you celebrate? National Jelly Bean Day is a time to enjoy gobs and gobs of jelly beans. While they are especially popular at Easter, jelly beans are popular year round. Cuz they're awesome.

While my extensive research, also known as a five-second Google search, did not discover the origin of National Jelly Bean Day, I would guess Ronald Reagan had something to do with it. That dude loved his jelly beans!

Fun fact: Jelly beans date back to at least the 1860's. Advertisements promoted sending jelly beans to Union troops fighting in the Civil War. The original candy maker is unknown. Once again, I would guess Ronald Reagan. That guy was really old when he was President.

Jelly bean flavours are limited only by the imagination of candy makers. If you've never enjoyed the multitude of flavors in a box of gourmet jelly beans, I suggest you head right out to the store and buy yourself some. And buy a box for me too. My jellybean gumball machine is empty (and yes I really have one of those).

My husband has been known to surprise me with boxes of Jelly Belly's. Tonight would be good timing, honey...

Favourite flavours? I like licorice, green apple, sour cherry and root beer. Oh, okay, all of 'em... what's your favourite flavour?

(a version of this was originally posted April 22/2011)

April 19, 2012

Pajamas & Coffee & Vibrators....

My bloggy buddy Mary McCarthy of Pajamas and Coffee has just published her first e-book, called The Hump Day Diaries. And it's about damn time.

I love Mary. She is smart and sexy and talented and hysterically funny and gay-loving and batshit crazy, all in a good way.

When I first entered the bloggy world she was the first big-time blogger to be warm and welcoming to me with some attention and feedback. It meant the world to me and still does. Sure, I later realized she's not actually so big time (love ya Mary!) but really, she should be.

Hump Day Diaries is a collection of 19 "lost" posts from Pajamas and Coffee, published on Wednesdays ("hump day") and focusing on geeky naive adventures with sex toys and dirty words, with chapters like Fuck A Duck and Bad Boyfriend Voodoo Doll. Keep it classy, Mary!

Also featured is one new essay, about a $100 vibrator. A hundred dollar vibrator? Hell, where I grew up you could get two vibrators, a barrel of flavoured lube, and a happy ending for less than that. Or uh so I've heard...

I remember reading these posts when they first came out. I was entertained and amazed and felt prudish. Reading them again, I chuckled and laughed and admired the writer's skill even more.

As Mary says, she is a humour writer, not a sex writer, so these essays are funny rather than sexy. Or maybe they are sexy for some, I don't know, she writes about her boobs a lot, and boobs really do not do it for me. Apparently Mary's are enormous and fabulous, in case you were wondering.

How non-sexy is this? Mary watches her first porn and is surprised at how graphic it is. Um, girlfriend, that's WHAT PORN IS. Or uh so I've heard...

Mary writes that the most popular post here is Fuck a Duck, her first sex toy review, about a rubber ducky vibrator she names Johnny Depp and has to give CPR to. It's hysterical. My favourites are the Clone A Willy posts where Mary discovers her husband's penis is crooked and suggests that merits a handicapped parking space at Target. Or maybe my fave is Mary Had A Little Lamb, where she reviews a talking sheep blow up doll. And invokes the spirit of Tom Cruise. Awesomeness.

You can buy The Hump Day Diaries e-book for $3.99 on Amazon. Get it and laugh. And please Mary stop pretending that was your first porn experience...

Note: The author sent me a reading copy of this book. This review is entirely my own, and I received no compensation for writing this review. If she really cared, jelly beans would have been nice...

April 17, 2012

One Million Hateful Moms...

After failing to force JC Penney to fire out lesbian Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson, and failing to bully Toys-R-Us into pulling a gay Archie comic from its shelves, the anti-gay One Million Moms group has now targeted apparel retailer Urban Outfitters over a photo in its April catalog.

The pic is above. It's of two women kissing, and apparently is going to bring down civilization as we know it.

One Million Moms, which is apparently linked to the homophobic American Family Association, is urging its moms to email Urban Outfitters and demand that they stop the circulation of the catalog.

One Million Moms is demanding that an apology be mailed to every home that received the photo. Get a grip, you hateful crackpots. If you don't like the catalog, don't shop there -- that is democracy. If you don't like Ellen DeGeneres then it is your choice to not shop at that company, it is not your right to demand she be fired. And mailing out apologies? Who has ever done that? And don't you people owe humanity an effing apology?

As Ellen pointed out, for a group called "One Million Moms" you have like 46,000 Facebook fans... where's the rest of you?

Since the Ellen controversy, there's hundreds of funny and cool Facebook groups against you including my favourite, Four Million Moms and Dads Telling "One Million Moms" to SHUT UP! ... Good advice, hateful moms... take it!


.... on another topic entirely, my weekly Tuesday post at sprocketink.com goes up today. Check it out, especially if "Get The Knack" means anything to you music fans!

April 15, 2012

Child Actors Against Kirk Cameron...

A few weeks ago former teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron was on CNN's Piers Morgan show, and the actor turned evangelist called homosexuality "unnatural" and "ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization". Let that heart light shine thru, Kirk!

Several of his former co-stars quickly denounced his comments, including Tracey Gold and Alan Thicke. Many bloggers took aim at him as well --- including me, cuz he is clearly a douchebag.

Now comes the best response of all... former childhood stars are rallying against Kirk Cameron in a new Funny or Die video, taking aim at his controversial remarks on homosexuality.

I love this one!

The group calls itself "CCOKC," or
Child Celebrities Opposing Kirk Cameron. Good name for a smart and funny video; watch it here...

April 12, 2012

Love Coffee, Love Gadgets...

How much coffee is too much? How many gadgets are too many? And is our plethora of coffee machines about the coffee or about the machines?

I probably have two cups of coffee a day, plus tons of water, and diet coke, and tea as well. So yes I pee a lot.

When I lived alone, I rarely made coffee at home... I hate the instant stuff, and making a pot just wasn't sensible.

Then I got this.. the first generation Tassimo coffee maker. It was cool and alien looking and brought together my love of coffee and my extreme love of shiny new gadgets. Technology wise, it was a big step forward, even though it was loud and not so fast and broke down too often.

Then a couple of years later I got the newer updated Tassimo after they changed manufacturers from Braun to Bosch. It was faster and quieter and didn't break as often. Looove...

After we got married and built our house, we got new appliances including this coffee maker, because we are married and live together and we can share a coffee pot now.

And later we treated ourselves to a fancy dancy espresso machine...
A few months later the Tassimo was out for repair and we were feeling coffee-deprived, so when we saw them on sale we bought another one. And then they sent us a replacement for the broken one, so we now have a spare. Let's call it bench strength (hey, lookie at me with a sports reference).

So you think we'd be good for coffee right? I mean we have all the equipment, and I go to Starbucks so often they mailed me a personalized gold card.

But.. there is a Cuisinart Keurig machine that we have been stalking for a year, not being able to rationalize the expense. Obviously we don't "need" it. But we love it. It looks cool, has some amazing flavours we can't get otherwise, there's a cool attachment to use your own beans for a single serving coffee, and then I read that Starbucks had left Tassimo for Keurig. So it was only a matter of time....

And eureka --- then it was on sale, and we had points to cash in, so we got it for less than half price, and yes it now lives proudly on our kitchen counter...

The new machine is fantastic. We stocked up on all new flavours of coffee. And we should be good now, right?

I guess the expression about "boys and their toys" does ring true here... while these all make good coffee, the argument could possibly be made that with two people in the house, we do not need them all... or do we?

Ooh, but then recently I had a sample from this Nespresso machine, and it was awfully good....
Plus my secret boyfriend George Clooney does Nespresso ads. Oy, we don't have enough counter space for this. I wonder if there is a 12-step program for coffee gadget addiction....

April 10, 2012

My next fave TV show?

From Aaron Sorkin, who brought us The West Wing, Sports Night, and The Social Network, comes this new HBO series, The Newsroom... and it looks awesome!

Sorkin writes stuff that is fast and funny and smart, and this looks like it will be no different, in a Network-y kind of way... plus Jane Fonda is in the cast! I'll be watching in June...

April 8, 2012

Big Fat Popcorn Lawsuit...

I love movies, and love love popcorn, so popcorn at the movies is always a treat. A big fat eighteen-dollar unhealthy fat-laden gooey barrel-sized treat.

Every so often I read about how bad movie popcorn is for us, even versus the relatively healthy air-popped stuff we make at home. I read that a large tub of movie popcorn has 1,200 calories, 980 milligrams of sodium, and 60 grams of saturated fat... but hey I usually skip the butter-flavoured goop topping, so it's pretty much like having a medium-sized apple, isn't it?

Now there is a new mini-scandal in the world of theatre popcorn, and I for one would like to raise a glass of butter topping to Joshua Thompson for this righteous if frivolous lawsuit: he has sued AMC theaters for overcharging on concessions!

On December 26, Thompson paid $8 for a Coke and a pack of Goobers at a Detroit theatre, nearly triple the $2.73 he paid for the same items at a nearby drug store, and the suit accuses AMC theaters of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by charging grossly excessive prices for snacks. The suit seeks refunds for customers who were overcharged, a civil penalty against the theatre chain and any other relief the judge might grant. My first question... only eight bucks for Goobers AND a Coke? That would be like $12 here!

Of course movie snacks are a ripoff, and we all know it, and yes sometimes people smuggle in food under their coats (no names, people); but this lawsuit is total silliness, as no one put a gun to his head and forced him to buy the treats at that price (yes, I am assuming there was no gun involved).

And let's face it, in the movie theatre business, concessions are where the profit is... making $2.8 billion on Avatar just doesn't cut it, they also need to charge you nineteen bucks for a soda and extra-large popcorn.

My beef with the concession stand isn't the prices, it's the crappy service... you people are making like 98% profit on my diet Coke, and paying those kids behind the counter minimum wage, couldn't you at least schedule more of them so I don't have to wait in a long twisty line to be ripped off?

We go to the movies far less than we used to, yes partially because of the huge cost of tickets and treats, and partially because of the rude crowds and sticky floors, but mostly because so many movies suck... enough with the Twilight and New Year's Eve crap, people, bring on some good flicks!

April 5, 2012

Sprocket Me, Baby!

The wise, witty, and oh so snarky folks at Sprocket Ink asked me to come on board as a writer there. I was excited to jump into their smart sassy take on news and entertainment... and The Celebrity Apprentice, which doesn't qualify as either news or entertainment.

You can find them at sprocketink.com and I will be posting there every Tuesday.

My first post went up this week, and without giving it's deep intellectual secrets away, it has something to do with a big movie, a big ship and this monstrously big hat .... check it out...


April 3, 2012

I am a liberal...

Here in Canada we have like 23 major political parties, and the top three are Liberal, New Democratic, and Conservative. The ruling Conservatives were formerly the Progressive Conservative Party, but they understandably changed their name now that there is not a fucking thing progressive about them.

And while yes, our system is flawed and filled with morons, we do often look southward in amazement at what the hell goes on down there in the good ol' US of A.

Politics everywhere seem to be getting crazier. Or maybe we just see and know more due to the internet and constant media coverage.

In all the western countries, most of the major parties have moved to the centre to get votes, and moved philosophies around to get votes, so that the meaning of "liberal" has been blurred to the point that I'm not sure what the word means today. And for many it seems to be a bad word. Hey, I don't embrace the word and I am totally liberal...

However, with this reminder of the accomplishments of liberals from commentator Lawrence O'Donnell, I'll wear the label proudly.

April 1, 2012

Happy April Foolish Day....

It's April 1st... happy April Fool's Day!

April Fools' Day is celebrated on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play all kinds of jokes, pranks and foolishness.

Here in Canada, the silliness is supposed to last only until noon, but in other countries it goes on all damn day. I guess for a fake holiday with no rules, you can make it up as you go along.

I've never been a big fan of the April foolishness, as I am not much of a prank lover, and I believe in silliness all year long. But some people really know how to run with this one.

According to The Museum of Hoaxes, here is the number one April Fool's Day hoax of all time:

On April 1, 1957 the British news show Panorama broadcast a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The success of the crop was attributed both to an unusually mild winter and to the "virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil."

The audience heard Richard Dimbleby, the show's highly respected anchor, discussing the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The segment concluded with the assurance that, "For those who love this dish, there's nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti.

"The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest hoax generated an enormous response. Hundreds of people phoned the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this query the BBC diplomatically replied, "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

What can I say? That is effing brilliant....