Tag Archives: nerd alert

i can’t even blame jeff

18 Jan

I’ll just go ahead and say it: This was my most pathetic year of movie watching yet.

Eight? Eight movies? That’s all I watched?

What the shit was I doing with my time?

No, really, can someone tell me? My memory of 2018 is hazy at best at this point. (A defense mechanism, as trying to process all that went on last year in one fell swoop would most likely make my brain and heart and toes throw themselves up and declare defeat.)

I could maybe squeeze it to nine movies, if I count all the partials of Netflix/Hallmark holiday movies I watched. I don’t think I finished a single one, gripped instead by the exciting world of sleep that drew me in, drew me away from whatever PR rep/caterer/event planner was falling in love on the screen with the high school boyfriend who got away/prince in disguise/hotshot business man. But seeing as how they’ve all melded together in my mind into one giant super holiday movie (now THERE is an idea for a screenplay!) I’m not sure I should.

And unlike last year, when it was completely and utterly Jeff Bezos’ fault that I didn’t watch very many movies, the fault is all mine this year. In my defense, though I watched only a few movies, the movies I did watch were quality movies and quite spectacular: Lady Bird, Molly’s Game, Black Panther. I watched some simply terrific movies this year.

So at least there’s that.

Movies I Watched + 3 takeaways from each

January 1, 2018-December 31, 2018

 

  • 1. Black Panther*–1. Black Panther has, by far, the best superpowers of any superhero. 2. “I thought you meant Coachella, or Disneyland.” 3. Golden spears and pet rhinos would make the world a better place.
  • 2. Lean on Me*–1. Morgan Freeman and Robert Guillaume. Does it get any better? No. 2. I think we can all agree that the 1989 version of the song Lean on Me is FAR inferior to the Bill Withers version. 3. Charmain! Oh, Laaaance.
  • 3. Sing!*–1. Johnny the Gorilla singing I’m Still Standing is the best. The best! 2. A pig in sequined spandex and a German accent? Yes, please. 3. I really can’t stand that singing mouse. Sorry, Seth, McFarlande.
  • 4. Molly’s Game*–1. Aaron Sorkin, you’ve done it again.Thank you for being talented. 2. Apparently the character played by Michael Cera is supposed to be, in real life, Tobey Maguire? And Tobey Maguire is apparently a complete dick in real life. 3. Idris Elba is in this movie, which I didn’t realize and which I love and also he works for Gage Whitney, which WELL PLAYED, MR. SORKIN. (And if you don’t know what that means then you clearly need to watch the West Wing another few times.)
  • 5. All the Queen’s Horses*–1. I would LOVE to hear Rita’s take on all of this. 2. Who the hell keeps 300 horses? 300 HORSES. That’s just…a lot of horses. How do you keep them all straight? 3. It’s still astounding to me that the city of Dixon never noticed that such large sums of money were going missing.
  • 6. The Secret Life of Pets*–1. You know, even cartoon movies about animals in potential danger make me a little anxious, and are hard to watch. 2. I had to do a LOOOOT of IMDBing to find out the voices behind the characters for this one. Though Kevin Hart, surprisingly, I got right off the bat. 3. This movie made me want to take my dog with me everywhere all the time. More than I do already. Because I’m That Person, and I’m fine with that.
  • 7. Lady Bird*–1. Laurie Metcalf is the newest person to be added to my Fantasy Dinner Party that includes Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Kristen Bell, and Reese Witherspoon (and John Goodman and Tom Hanks, if I decide to make it a co-ed dinner party). 2. I used to wonder why parents would get all uptight about their kid going far away to college or moving to a city far away, but I get it now. You spend so many years raising this person that you love more than life itself, and then they want to leave and there’s a risk that they might never come back and it’s heartbreaking to think about. 3. Yup. That’s 2002.
  • 8. Crazy Rich Asians*–1. This was much like and yet nothing like the book. 2. I would not mind going on a free shopping spree on a private island. 3. The long-lost dad thing makes sense in the book, but makes absolutely no sense here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2019 year in preview

3 Jan

I’m not sure if you know this, but 2019 is the Year of the Pie.*

It is because I am declaring it so.

I’ve made a few pies in my life. I mean that literally. I’m not trying to be clever or shrug off a major accomplishment as if it’s no big deal, like really I’m a pie expert and could make pie in my sleep and have won pie contests 16 years running but when I’m asked if I’ve ever made a pie simply reply with a non-committal “Oh, I’ve made a few pies here and there.”

I once made a chocolate pie for a Thanksgiving gathering that never set, so it was more like chocolate goo in crust. I didn’t even bring it to the gathering. I’ve made a pumpkin pie. It was okay. I’ve made fresh tomato pie—the only time I ever attempted a homemade crust—and while delicious I know it did not turn out how it was supposed to. (Though if it was still delicious, does it really matter if it doesn’t meet what the recipe says?) I’ve made lemon meringue pie twice and they were both spectacular, far and away my best pie success.

I’ve always been a fan of eating pie, especially good pie. And I define good pie as pie that has a delicious filling (obviously) but also has a crust worth eating. Because you may or may not know this, but a lot of pie crust? Is dumb. And terrible for eating. It’s as bad as having terrible pizza crust, the kind you leave discarded on the plate because there’s no point in spending the energy to chew it.

But last year, while staying with kind friends during The Renovation That Engulfed Our Lives, my friend made three pies in two weeks. And they were amazing pies—complete with amazing crust. They gave me faith in pie crust that previously did not exist. And it made me want to try my own hand at making pie, not once, not twice, but 12 times. Once a month, one new pie I’ve never made. (PS—I’m taking suggestions.) So that’s what I’m going to do in 2019.

Pie.

*I mentioned in a post long ago and many moons away that 2017 was the Year of Ice Cream, and I was WILDLY successful (by my standards) at making one new ice cream flavor per month. I ended up making 10 of the 12 months, with some terrific hits (brown sugar bourbon comes to mind) and some bleh misses (I’m looking at you, baklava ice cream). 2018 was going to be the year of the cookie, but I only made one (pan-bang chocolate chip cookies, which are delicious) and then got tired (pregnancy and house renovations will do that to you) (I know, I know, I sound like a broken record when I say things like that, but that was my 2018, and I’m sure I had other feelings and emotions and that other things happened but for the life of me I can’t remember them right now).

 

 

 

 

 

unpacking, again

8 Nov

We’re still unpacking.*

And it’s making me question many of my life choices.

Why do I have all of these knick-knacks?

Why did we register for 17 different platters? Because now we have 32 different platters.

Why did we pack a paper grocery bag full of junk mail and sundry papers?

Stuff upon stuff upon stuff and it’s overwhelming sometimes to even look at it, let alone dig deeper than the first layer of crumpled newspaper used as protection against…what? Ourselves? Because it’s not as if it was used as protection from other objects banging around next to it. That would require that I’d packed these things in some semblance of order.

I didn’t.

Towels are in with steak knives. Plates are packed with baby toys. Shoes are packed with silverware. There is little rhyme or reason to my packing. If there is any rhyme or reason at all. Really it’s more like it was an unrestrained flinging of things into the nearest container possible and shoving it out of sight. Which worked at the time, and probably made sense to me at the time. A lot of things make sense to Past McPolish. Present and Future McPolish are often left beffudled.

Why do we have so many coffee mugs?

Do I really need a platter specifically for deviled eggs?

Why did I pack all of this janky, half-burned Gladware? It’s stained with the remembrance of 1,000 chili lunches. Why did I think I would actually reuse it?

Another bag of junk mail and random papers? WTF?

I am desperate to not fall into the adage of “filling the space you have.” I am desperate to get rid of crap we don’t need.

Is a cheese knife really necessary? Will a regular knife not work just as well?

Where does this random unidentifiable plastic object belong? Can it belong in the trash? Is it an essential piece of this house and the house will come tumbling down if I throw it out?

Why do we have multiple packs of Q-Tips?

SERIOUSLY WHY THE FUCK ARE THERE MULTIPLE BAGS OF JUNK MAIL AND BULLSHIT PIECES OF PAPER STORED IN OUR BASEMENT AND CRAWL SPACE?

I’ll get there eventually, Interwebs. Maybe.

 

*Current unpacked box count, as of this typing: 3

kind of like glee, without the drama

25 Oct

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A couple weeks ago I went with two of my pals to Choir! Choir! Choir! 

If you’ve ever been to this event, you just clapped your hands and got very excited and started humming the song you learned, trying to remember the harmonizing notes.

If you haven’t ever been, here’s a brief overview: It’s a high school choir reunion with alcohol.

This is the second time I’ve participated in Choir! Choir! Choir! and both times have been memorable experiences. Not because I was suddenly discovered to have a voice like Norah Jones and signed a record contract (my first album will be titled “What the Shit is Going On Here and Where Are My Car Keys?” Look for it this Christmas); but rather because now I know all the words to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen and “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. And not only that, but I can harmonize the shit out of both songs.

And I’m a better person for it.

The two guys who founded this event, Daveed and Nobu, basically teach a crowd of people who have typically consumed between one and four glasses of wine or beer the music to popular songs. You self-select into highs, middles, or lows, depending on your vocal range, and learn your part of the music. And sometimes you can stick with your part. And other times your ear fails you and you end up singing a totally different part of the music. (Maybe you’re better at melodies. Perhaps you can’t resist the harmony. Whatevs.) There’s a little bit of comedy, ALL of the audience participation, and more than one person who thinks they have a voice like Norah Jones but in fact is the opposite of Norah Jones and really their voice is more akin to a Muppet but who gives a crap because it’s fun and no one is really getting a record contract so let’s all just calm the hell down and sing a bit.

Singing makes me happy. I’m not terribly good at it, but I so love it. I loved being in choir in high school, and I’ve never made time to pursue community choirs or the like as an adult. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. One day. But in the meantime, I love these types of one-off events that make my heart happy and make me feel like the world IS in fact a beautiful place and people are not completely terrible. Singing feels good, and I like being a part of something that is bigger than just me, even for just a little bit. Together we make a nice song.

(Check out the video of the Chicago event!)

since we last met

18 Oct

Since we last met—and I mean before this lovely autumnal month of changing leaves and earlier sunsets and an acceptable time to wear knee-high boots—a lot has happened in the McSwedolish family.

For one thing, we undertook a kitchen and bathroom renovation in the house that we purchased last year. It was and was not probably the best idea we’ve had.

For another thing, we went to Canada. It was magical. It involved bagels, and poutine. I’ll have to tell you about it some time.

For a third thing, we had a second baby. She is more magical than Canada.

But the most exciting thing that has happened since we last met, my friends, is that I saw where Missy Elliott lives.  

No YOU get UR freak on, because I am not even bullshitting you about this.

In February we went to visit some friends in Atlanta, and one afternoon, as my pal and I were driving….to the grocery store? To get frozen yogurts? Honestly, I’m not sure where we were going. I’m sure there was a point to our drive, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now except to see where Missy Elliot lived.

And my friend presented the option to me all casual-like. “Oh, hey, while we’re driving down this road, want to see Missy Elliott’s house? My friends live right around the corner from her and we’re nearby.”

Do I want to see Missy Elliott’s house?

Do I want to see where the woman whose music informed much of my drunken early- to mid-20s lives?

Do I want to see what the home of a woman who has been a powerhouse of music looks like?

Do I want to furiously look up the lyrics to that garbled part of “Work It” and finally figure out what she’s rapping?*

Yes. To all of the above.

So we did.

We pulled into a cul de sac, and drove around slowly and my friend pointed and said, “That’s it there. That’s Missy Elliott’s house.”

And it will probably come as no surprise to anyone (including myself) that Missy Elliott’s house is just a normal house in a cul-de-sac. It’s modern and lovely—different than the Spanish style and lovely houses of her neighbors, which does make it stand out a little. Well, that and the firmly displayed No Trespassing signs—and it was so normal looking that if you didn’t know it was Missy Elliott’s house, you wouldn’t know it was Missy Elliott’s house. I guess that’s the point, though? Celebrities, just like us, etc etc. It’s not like I expected her to be popping moves while floating rhymes on her front lawn while Timbaland and Ludacris made guest appearances, jumping out from the backyard.

Though that would have been amazong.

We admired Missy Elliott’s house for a couple of minutes and then, not wanting to look like suspicious stalkers casing the joint, drove away. I gave a little wave, just in case Missy Elliott happened to be looking out her window at that moment, though what I really, really wanted to do was lean out the window and shout “ICHI NI SAN SHI!”** I did not, though, and you’re welcome for that, Missy Elliott’s Neighbors. But you can damn bet that on my next trip to Atlanta, I just might.

 

*According to the Interwebs it’s “put my thing down flip it and reverse it” backwards

**No idea if I’m spelling that correctly.

 

jeff bezos doesn’t want me to watch movies; or, the 2017 mcpolish movie list

29 Jan

I think the best word to describe my movie watching in 2017 would be “anemic.”

I had some substantial meals in there—The Last Jedi, the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary, for example. But when a list of only 11 contains almost a third of Netflix and Lifetime holiday movies* (yes, they count), there are clearly some essential movie vitamins and minerals missing here.

I can make you all sorts of promises that I’m going to up my movie game in 2018, but almost a month into the year and it’s not looking likely. There’s hope, of course, as there are a quite a few movies out currently that I want to see.

But let’s be real—getting out to a movie, while I love going, requires carful coordination these days, thanks to Baby McSwedolishan not being old enough to A) attend R-rated movies, 2) not being old enough to watch himself, and III) his general lack of sleeping through movies like he did as an infant. Also, he hogs the popcorn, so going to the movies with him these days is just not enjoyable.

You know what, though? I don’t want to be one of those moms who blames her lack of social life and movie cultural knowledge on her kids. And if I’m really being real, Baby McSwedolishan is not to blame. Jeff Bezos is.

I love Amazon as much as the next person who has fallen under their dreamy 2-day delivery spell—despite that they are often lying liars who lie about when a package was delivered, and yes, I will call customer service every damn time this happens—but they have played an enormous role in my lack of movie watching. Where they could be a huge boon to my movie consumption they are more often a hindrance—either Prime doesn’t have the movies I want to watch, or they do, but I can’t rent it, I have to buy it for $15.

For God’s sake, Bezos, get it together. Why would I want to buy a movie I’ve never seen?

Sure, I’d pay the same to see a movie I’ve never seen in a movie theatre. But for the cost of a movie ticket, I also get surround sound, recliner chairs, and a screen the size of my house. You know what watching a movie at my own home doesn’t include? Surround sound or a screen the size of my house. It does sometimes include a recliner chair, I’ll give you that.

So no, I don’t want to pay the same amount to watch a movie online as I do to watch a movie in a theatre, simple as that.

I guess we’ll see what 2018 will bring by way of movie watching, though neither my bar nor my hopes of busting this year’s number are set terribly high. Jeff Bezos, you can change that. Be a helper, not a hater, Bezos.

In the meantime, and in at least an effort to queue up some worthwhile films, do you have any suggestions for movies I should see, dear Interwebers?

*And it’s safe to say that that number is actually higher, because I know there are other holiday films I watched throughout the season that I forgot to write down though does it really matter because let’s be honest after awhile they all blend together anyway.

Movies I Watched + 3 takeaways from each

January 1, 2016-December 31, 2017

  • Joy*–1. Robert DeNiro and Isabella Rosselini are in this movie? I had no idea!; 2. Jesus Christmas, Robert DeNiro and Isabella Rosselini’s characters are awful people in this movie; 3. I should watch more QVC.
  • Hidden Figures*–1. God, I love Octavia Spencer; 2. I want to watch this movie 100 times; 3. Why don’t people dress up more for work today? They really should, it adds an air of elegance.
  • Pride & Prejudice (the Colin Firth 1995 version)*–1. Holy Mother of God, I don’t know who is more annoying, Mrs. Bennet or Lydia Bennet; 2. I’ve always liked Colin Firth, but I understand now how he came to be the hunk that he is; 3. Lydia is played by the woman who plays Saffy in Ab Fab, and I like her MUCH better as Saffy.
  • Becoming Warren Buffett*–1. Warren Buffett essentially had two wives at the same time; 2. I find his friendship with Bill Gates kind of brodorable; 3. Warren Buffett seems like a relatively happy, normal guy for being a billionaire, but I also get the sense that he can be a real asshole and crabby sometimes.
  • Legal Eagles*–1. There’s something very jarring about 80s movies, like half the plotlines never get fleshed out, or maybe some of the key elements get left on the cutting room floor; 2. Robert Redford is goofy in this movie, but it works; 3. Seriously, what is up with Daryl Hannah? She is the most emotionless actress I’ve ever seen.
  • Wonder Woman*–1. So good. SO GOOD! 2. Is the guy who played Steve supposed to be like a new, young Matt Damon? Because he kind of looks like a new, young Matt Damon. 3. I think there should be a Wonder Woman 2.)
  • A Christmas Prince–1.Yes, Netflix holiday movies totally count. 2. So many plot holes. So many. 3. But who doesn’t love a good cheesy holiday film?
  • Naughty & Nice–1. I quite like Haylie Duff. 2. Why are all these cheesy holiday films suddenly casting wooden, expressionless male leads? 3. Again with the plot holes.
  • A Christmas Note–1. Meadow! From the Sopranos! Now in Holiday movies! 2. Wait, the husband isn’t dead? 3. Sisters forever!
  • The Vietnam War (Ken Burns & Lynn Novick)*–1. This was incredibly hard to watch at times. 2. All 20 hours were worth it. 3. The lies from the government were/are absolutely astounding. Like, mind-blowingly inconceivable and terrible.
  • The Last Jedi*–1. I love BB8. By far my favorite character. 2. I keep calling this movie Return of the Jedi in my head, which is obviously not correct. 3. How did I not catch on to the whole “Luke using the Force” thing when Kylo Ren was trying to blow him up? Well played, movie people. Well played.)

*Denotes recommended movie

 

welcome to 2018. i have no idea what’s going on.

11 Jan

Well, it’s happened. 2017 ended, and its ups and downs are packed away to make room for new highs and lows for the year to come. We can look back fondly on the good parts of the holidays; the fun summer days picking cherries and making it to the beach exactly one time which may have technically been in the fall if I’m going by the calendar but whatever it was still blazing hot out; the smell of wet grass and mud in the spring; the cozy winter nights when red wine flowed like delicious, delicious…red wine.

And we can look at those things that were maybe not so great with some distance, so maybe they don’t sting as much or perplex us as much or concern us as much, before we simply put them off to the side, knowing that they’re there, we can see them, and remember them if need be, but the things that aren’t so great don’t have to be in our direct line of vision anymore.

I love a new year, and if you haven’t guessed that about me by now, after how many years of New Years posts, then Hello. Welcome to this blog. You must be new here. Sit down, I’ve got some chips and Diet Pepsi around if you like. I love a new year because of its clean slate, its stretch of days ahead of you of which you can make whatever you damn well please. You own your life so you’re responsible for how you live it.

While I’m not one who goes around throwing confetti and blowing noisemakers every time change comes my way, a new year is a time I herald it gladly. I like not knowing what’s going to happen in the next 12 months. (That thump you just heard was my Swede falling over in shock and disbelief.) I like the idea of things being a little off balance because we don’t know what’s about to come our way. I like the idea of so many things that could potentially take shape, knowing that any one of them may come to fruition. Or maybe none of them will. Hard to say because as much as I’d like the capability, I unfortunately do not have ESP.*

I know. I’m sad about it too.

So here’s to the New Year, to 2018.** Here’s to you, may this year be your best yet. But most of all, here’s to the unknown, and here’s to the possibility of it all.

*And also because as I am the owner of my life, I’m responsible for what I do or do not do. And knowing that I am sometimes (often) easily distracted by books and other things that are not what I “should” be doing, like decluttering my bakeware rather than working on a blog post, or discussing with my dog how she is just the best little pibble on the planet rather than get my ass organized for a big work project, it’s hit or miss as to whether cool shit happens.

**Yes, I realize it’s not like SUPER New Year anymore, considering this post is coming in almost two weeks into 2018. But today is always a good day to start new, amiright?