Tag Archives: television

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: march 2017

14 Mar

One: Yesterday I turned 38. I don’t put much stock in numbers, and to be quite frank for the past few years I’ve had to stop and think when someone asks me my age because they all seem to blend together and I can never remember if I’m 36? 38? 34? 37? I’m somewhere in my 30s, right?

Anyway, so far 38 is treating me pretty well, and like when New Year’s rolls around, at my birthday I like to take a moment to reflect on the past year, and look forward to the year ahead. Set an intention, if you will. And this year’s intention?

To have more fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a crapton of fun on the daily. I can’t not, living with my Swede and Baby McSwedolish, and The Beasts. But why shouldn’t I have more fun? What’s stopping me?

Nothing. Nothing is stopping me, except maybe myself sometimes.

And that is just dumb.

I can’t predict what sort of shape this additional fun will take, because it could be anything. I think going grocery shopping is fun. I think writing in this little corner of the Interwebs is fun. Singing showtunes on a beach is fun. Whichever form of fun strikes me, I will throw myself into it wholeheartedly. Because life can really suck the life out of you sometimes, with worry, and bills, and not having a trust fund so you have actually be cognizant of income and work or make compromises. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, it doesn’t mean I can’t have fun, while dealing with all of those things, and not let them suck the life out of me, amirite? Because none of us are getting out of this thing alive, and this isn’t a dress rehearsal.

So ratcheting up the Fun Factor sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Two: I’ve developed a strange obsession with The Wheel. I’m not entirely sure when it started, but almost every night at 6:30 pm, Baby McSwedolish and I tune in to see if someone will actually solve the final puzzle, even after they are given RSTLNE. (Success level: sporadic.)

How is it that Pat and Vanna are unchanged after 30 years on the air? What does Vanna do to keep her arms toned now that the turning of letters has been eliminated, and they’re all touch screen? Has anyone ever actually won the $1 million? Or is that just a tactic they’re using to make it all the more exciting, since the whole “shopping the rooms with your winnings” is a thing of the truly distant past?

Three: Of all the things I make that are amazing*—pot roast, cupcakes, brownies, the list goes on—the one thing I haven’t yet mastered is soup.

I know, right? Soup, for God’s sake! How hard is soup?

Apparently quite tricky, if you really want something that is restaurant quality. For me, at least. I’ve gotten a better in my efforts recently—in part because I’ve actually tried following recipes and quantities and not just dumped in stuff that has a higher solids to liquid ration and then wonder why everything comes out more like a stew than a soup—but it’s never quite as good as you’d get at a restaurant or Mariano’s soup bar.

So the other day while I was at the grocery store, I bought a whole magazine about soup. I’m not kidding. There are at least 100 recipes in there, many several of which look incredibly tasty, and by God I will master the making of soup! Or at least one soup recipe! I’m not asking for much here, people. Just one go-to soup recipe!

Mark my words.

PS—I am having a wild love affair with cream of mushroom soup lately. And if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Four: For my Chicago readers: Do the female weekend anchors and weather women on NBC 5 have a uniform? I’ve been watching a lot of news lately (a lot) (thank you, nursing time), and I swear these women are all wearing similar dresses. Or perhaps they have three or four styles of dresses in certain colors that they’re supposed to wear. Or maybe I’m just imagining it. But am I on to something here?

And before you get up in arms about, “McPolish why are you focusing on their looks?”, I’m not trying to make their looks a Thing. I’m asking because they are stylish dresses and I want to know where they got them. Also, because if there is some sort of uniform style going on, if they Obama-d their wardrobes to decrease the number of silly decisions they have to make in their lives, then my hat is off to them, because that’s just plain smart, and Well Done, You, NBC Female Weekend Anchors.

 

*Yes. I said that. Yes I did.

 

 

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: february 2016

10 Feb

1) I loathe paying late charges. I really, really do. I see it as an absolute failure at something so simple, and the sign of a completely disorganized life. I’m guessing that no one really enjoys paying late charges, so I take comfort that I’m not the only one out there (though it’s possible that people don’t find them quite as abhorrent as I do, which is fine, to each her own).

There is one exception to this: library overdue charges. It’s rare I can remember to return my books on time or renew them within the proper window. Why? I don’t know. Possible it’s due to (no pun intended) the fact that I go to the library multiple times in one month and check out oodles of books so they all have different due dates, and it’s not like I’m reading said checked-out books in any logical order. Anyway, the point is I have no qualms about paying library fines for overdue books. In fact, I actually feel quite good about it. I consider it my duty as an active reader living in the City of Chicago. I know part of my tax dollars goes toward funding the library, but whatever the amount actually is I’m going to argue it’s not enough. And while I could just donate directly to the Chicago Library Foundation—and I probably should, no really, I must add that to my To Do list, now that I think about it—CPL will have much better luck garnering monies from me through my lack of attention forgetfulness flagrant disregard for missing due dates.

2) HGTV always seems to be showing marathons of Flip or Flop whenever I’m at the gym, which on a scale of 1 to 10 of my HGTV preferred shows rates a Meh. I like the idea on the whole, and if I didn’t like seeing the transformation from crappy to happy, well, that would pretty much go against everything I love about HGTV. I like Tarek and Christina El Moussa, and I root for them each episode, that they’ll make a profit and won’t get totally screwed over with their latest purchase. And I truly appreciate Christina’s commitment to false eyelashes—to wear them on the daily is no joke, you guys.

But for all that is holy and decent, can someone please give these two some acting or some such type of lessons? Because their monologues to the camera are killin’ me, Smalls.

An example for you–about 8:14 seconds in when Christina starts telling–not describing, telling–the camera everything their plan.)

It’s fine when they’re being filmed going into the house. Their reactions are as genuine as possible for something that’s probably filmed three different times from four different angles. But it’s those moments when one or the other is talking directly to the camera and telling us what’s happening that irk the hell out of me. They are scripted within an inch of their lives, and the lack of emotion just, gah. It really distracts from the excitement they’ve just created in showing us the major transformation of the property.

3) I’m making a concerted effort to watch more movies, both at home and in the theatre. Swede and I love going to see movies, we just…don’t…very often. But! That’s changing–since Christmas we’ve seen The Big Short (holy God, a wonderful movie that makes you lose your faith in humanity) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (FOMO) (kidding) (about the FOMO, not seeing the movie. We did actually see it, and it was quite good) in the theaters. And much like I keep track of books I read, I’m keeping track of movies (and documentaries) that I watch. (PS—Thank you, PBS station on Netflix, for your American Experience series helping in my efforts.) What have you seen lately that I should add to my list? (Don’t worry about me having already seen the flick—I’m notorious for having never seen many a hit movie, including, but not limited to: Die Hard [though I’ve seen Die Hard 2, for some reason], The Godfather, Anything Nominated in 2015 for Best Picture, and It’s A Wonderful Life [though I have absolutely no desire to see that one.]) (Surprisingly, I have seen a hefty portion of movies nominated for 2103 Oscars. How that happened I have no idea, but well done, me.) And if they are available on Netflix or Amazon Prime, all the better.

 

 

 

 

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: october 2015

14 Oct

One:

I’ve been watching the show My House, Your Money on HGTV, and it’s a train wreck multiplied by 12. Plus infinity. And yet I can’t turn away from it. On the one side you have these entitled brats demanding they get what they—and only they—want. And on the other side you have these other entitled brats demanding that their parents, or their aunts and uncles, or their nanas, pay for it.

Ugh. It’s just…No. None of it. I want no part in it. It is all just so catty and the opposite of empowering.

That’s not to say that parents (or Nana) shouldn’t help out their kids with the down payment on a home, if the parents can afford it and are willing. And I’m not trying to say that kids shouldn’t accept said down payment from their parents, if said parents can afford it, and if said child—like anyone buying a home—can be a responsible adult when living in said home. But the upshot is if you don’t trust the person you’re giving money to, or from whom you’re taking the money, then maybe don’t give or take the money. Or at the very least, don’t expect a damn thing in return.

Two:

It’s dark out now when I get up in the morning, and it’s really throwing me off my game. (Not that I ever had any game to begin with, but if I did, it would all be shot to hell by now.) I realize that this is the cycle of the earth and the moon and the sun and blah blah blah WORLD, but seriously, it’s always a bit jarring when you wake up and it’s just as dark as when you went to sleep, and then you think you still have four hours of sleep to go but really you only have four minutes and sonofabitch then you spend the next six weeks adjusting to the seasonal change and wake up in a panic every day because you figure you’re late for…something…because it’s always dark out. Also, September was even weirder, because if it’s dark out, I wake up expecting it to also be cold (dark + cold = peanut butter + jelly). But it wasn’t. It was dark and humid.

And dark and humid is just weird. Dark and cold? Sure. Dark and stormy? Of course, there’s a whole freaking genre of movies and books based on dark and stormy. And a cocktail, too. 

But no one has ever written anything brilliant about dark and humid.

(Until this post, of course.)

Three:

Can we all agree that recipes are getting a little overzealous with their names these days? No more do you see a recipe for “cheesy baked ziti,” but instead you get a recipe with Every. Damn. Ingredient. in the title. So instead of whipping up cheesy baked ziti for your family on Meatless Monday, you’re concocting, “pecorino-romano and smoked gouda wheat ziti with roasted red pepper roma tomatoes baked in caramelized onion broth of a thousand passion flowers picked by monks on the second Tuesday in July.”

Which sounds delicious. And like Charles Goddamned Dickens has been writing recipe headlines.

Mark my words, there is going to be a backlash to hyper-naming of recipes. And it’s starting here. We’ll go from over-complicating recipe names to under-complicating them, and start calling dishes simple names like dinner. Or eggs. Or pickles.

And it will be amazing. And just as delicious.

Four:

I had a little bit of a blogging break last month, because life got a little busy. Swede and I decided to get married, and it turns out getting married and going on a honeymoon takes up a boatload of a girl’s time. But it was well worth it, as now I am officially Mrs. McPolish Swede and he is now officially Mr. Swede.

Getting married was pretty fun, in part because we had donuts at the reception, and also in part because Mr. Swede is a helluva guy, and if you’re marrying a helluva guy (or girl) how can it not be? Well, I guess it could be if your ceremony and/or reception venue was taken over by rebel aliens who confiscated all of the aforementioned donuts and wouldn’t share, but thankfully that didn’t happen to us. Though honestly if it had, Mariano’s was right across the street and probably would have delivered more after the aliens finally left.

Ring of power

Ring of power

losing it

4 May

I moved into my apartment almost five years ago. Four-and-a-half, if you want to get technical. There I was, fresh-ish off… my car?…having moved to DC, where I spent the first three weeks bouncing between three different friends’ apartments while I looked for a job and a place to live, never staying at one place too long for fear of making a nuisance of myself as a houseguest.*

My apartment hunt didn’t last very long because A) I hate looking for apartments, and 2) I’m lazy, and III) there was an apartment available in a building across the street from one of the apartments where I was staying, so 4) because of A, 2 and the convenience factor of III (having friends nearby), I snatched it up and moved in my stuff, signing a lease just a few days after I officially accepted a job.

Yes, things clearly fell into place quite quickly, much of which I chalk up to luck and God’s will. I could end this here and leave the story at that – how I moved to DC with little more than the clothes on my back**, landed on my feet and TA DA! LOOK AT ME NOW, WORLD.

Except that’s boring, and totally not the point.

The point is, after I moved into my apartment, and after I went to the Best Buy in Tenleytown and purchased a television, I brought said television home, plugged it in, and HOT DAMN, MOTHERFUCKERS, I HAD CABLE!

And thus began my cable adventures.

‘Adventures’ might be pumping it up a bit. There really was no more adventure than me plugging in my television, seeing that I had cable channels, and absently wondering if I was supposed to have cable. Was this included with my rent? Or was I inadvertently stealing it from someone else? I shrugged my shoulders and decided I’d just go with it, because it was good cable, too. All the channels, plus HBO and Showtime. My friends, to say the least, were not a little jealous.

After almost a year, right when I was getting interested in the first season of Big Love, I turned on my television one night only to discover that I no longer had HBO or Showtime. Bummer, I thought to myself, but it’s a give. I didn’t watch it all that often, truth be told, so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Besides, I reminded myself, it’s not like I’m paying for it.

And then, about 18 months after that, right as I was getting very interested in this new show (Have you heard of it? So good, so intriguing, the style! The culture! The research that must go into it!) I’d caught called Mad Men*** I lost AMC and a couple other channels (that I didn’t watch anyway, so I didn’t really care).

While I am a friendly neighbor, I’ve never really been friends with anyone in my building, so I didn’t know whether this was happening to other people, or just me. And I wasn’t about to call Comcast and be all, “Bitches! Bring Don Draper back to my apartment!” lest they were all suddenly, “Woman! You haven’t paid for cable in three years, we are cutting your ass off!” I didn’t want to jinx anything, so I just kept quiet and suffered the sacrifice of Sterling Cooper****.

And then it happened.

It was after a recent TND, and the girls had left and I’d flipped on the television for some background noise as I cleaned up plates and wine bottles. I automatically turned to HGTV, but instead of Suzanne Wong’s bizarrely placid face and dead eyes staring at me I was greeted with a stagnant screen with a Comcast message telling me something about now the cable was digital and something about me needing a box. Damn, I thought to myself, I lost HGTV. I flipped up a channel and down a channel, the same stagnant message appearing again and again. I breathed a slight sigh of relief when I got into the 60s and saw that I wasn’t completely without cable channels—I still, at least, had TNT, USA, and a few other channels. I readjusted my mindset, breathed deeply over the loss of Bravo, and carried on.

But a couple weeks later, after another TND, again as I was cleaning up plates, shuttling empty wine bottles to the recycling bin (I’m green and eco-friendly in my boozing!) I flipped on the TV, tuned into USA in hopes of catching an episode of White Collar or maybe Psyche, only to discover…they were gone.

THEY WERE ALL GONE.

I stared at the remote for a minute, then flipped to the 20s, noting that it appeared I had all the basics. Plus WGN and some channel called ion.

(I mean, thank sweet baby Jeebus for WGN, because everyone knows I love watching the WGN News at 9, even though, you know, I don’t even live in Chicago. I like to keep up with the haps, whatever, no judging.)

I quickly scrolled through the channels again, all of the non-local network ones posting the same stagnant screen telling me I needed a cable box and to call Comcast and everything would be dandy.

Except for that part about how I haven’t called Comcast ever, and really have no inclination to start now. Not that I think they’re going to berate me for bogarting their cable for the past 4 years, but because, well, I really don’t want another bill added to my current roster of bills. And when I think about it, there’s not all that much that I watch on the cable channels that I can’t find on Hulu or get through Netflix, and you know what? It turns out that I’ve become accustomed to not watching commercials, and watching entire series of shows in one sitting. It’s quite lovely, truth be told.

So for now, I’m without cable. And after an initial minor panic (It’s change! Panic! PAAA-NIIIIIC!) I’m quite cool with this new turn of events.

Though I will say that may have been the last time I have those bitches over for dinner. Who knows what I’ll lose next. Cable’s gone, maybe next time it’ll be my microwave.

*I have since been informed that I am actually quite the splendid houseguest because guess what Molly likes to do when bored and job hunting in a new city? Bake cupcakes. That just so happen to be ready as soon as you walk in the door from work. Yeah, that’s right. AWESOME!

**Total lie. I had a whole moving POD full of crap that eventually showed up a week after I moved in.

*** GIRL.  Don’t EVEN get me started on how much I lurv that show and how much I would give my left big toe to have a date with Roger Sterling and have him order me one of those lovely wines. GIRL. FOR SERIOUS.

****Which actually worked out for the best, because it spawned Mad Men Mondays, where friends and I gather to watch that week’s episode, eat massive amounts of artery-clogging popcorn and yell at the television and rewind our favorite parts. God bless you, JMac, for paying for cable with DVR.

The Real Life

14 Apr

Have you seen the sneak preview of The Real Housewives of New Jersey? And if you have, then you will understand when I say: WOW.

I’ll admit that while I don’t care for The Real Housewives of Orange County, I do catch the Real ones of New York and Atlanta. I don’t know why I like those ones better than Orange County – it’s not like the women are any more interesting or the subject matter any more scintillating. It’s all pretty much the same, save for the location: We are women, we have lots of money, and other people knowing we have lots of money is very important to us. Depending on the city, the topic of having money and making sure everyone knows it is covered on a boat (Orange County), in the Hamptons/at a rooftop cocktail party (New York), or at a fundraiser hosted at a McMansion (Atlanta).

There is nothing “real” about these women, and it’s all ridiculous, yes I know that. These people are the epitome of ridiculous. If your life is one where you place the utmost importance on “being seen,” anywhere, but especially in an atmosphere that strives to be the upper echelon of society but really is little more than high school + 20 years, I’m going to call it right now: You! You are ridiculous! So don’t mind me while I sit on my couch and giggle at you, hausfraus. (Especially you, Alex and Simon, in your unabashed determination to be climb the social ladder. I’m honestly curious as to why this is appealing, what you think it will get you in the long run, and how achieving this success will sustain you and bring you contentment in your life? I find you both very strange creatures.)

BUT! The New Jersey hausfraus! New Jersey! Robin Givhan of the Washington Post had a great column about this on Sunday. And from what I saw in the sneak preview, these women are….I’m just not sure what words to use to best describe their train wreckiness. Delusional seems too light and quippy of a word, and self-involved is a given. (These are, after all, women who go on TV so they can extol how great their lives are because they have oodles of money.) Perhaps megalomaniacal? Though no more, I guess, than the other hausfraus who appear any of the other incarnations of the Real Housewives. God knows they all certainly suffer from bubble syndrome.* The New Jersey Housewives are…well, they are one-of-a-kind. And I do not mean that in a good way.

I wonder if this franchise is going to be like MTV’s Real World and just start going around to any city where it can find 5-7 women who are not a little full of themselves, more than a bit fame-seeking, and a tad skewed in the head when it comes to the thrill of money. Will we soon be seeing The Real Housewives of Dallas? The Real Housewives of Charleston? The Real Housewives of Phoenix? The Real Housewives of Boston? The Real Housewives of Virginia? (And why do I think The Real Housewives of Chicago would be pretty boring? Though I think the Real Housewives of DC could be interesting, particularly if they were wives – or husbands! – of high-ranking political figures.) Could they make a series The Real Housewives of Boca or Palm Beach, pitched as what Real Housewives do when they retire? (Is it any different than what they do now? Maybe their sunglasses get bigger as they age to more fully-protect their eyes while lunching on patios?)

Side note: I’m always curious about one thing when I watch these shows—how much debt – bad debt – do these hausfraus and family have? I’d bet you anything that at least some of them have some pretty hefty chunks from trying to keep up with the Joneses. But that’s another story altogether.

For now, though, we are left with peering in on what “life” is like for “housewives” in New Jersey for our next installment of reality TV, which, the way Bravo cuts it, involves a plethora of loud voices, fake nails, semi-big hair, vague insinuations of mob ties, and enormous, sparkling SUVs and jewelry – sometimes simultaneously.

Oh, Jersey. How does your garden state grow?

*Bubble syndrome – n., from the human MVS (1) a deterioration of the mind and thought process when you live in a bubble and have no idea how life outside of the bubble, i.e. Actual Life, operates. (2) Completely out of touch with reality and/or the majority of people in the world.