Tuesday, December 30, 2008

iTunes FTL (angry face)!

As demonstrated fairly regularly on this blog, I'm pretty shameless. I admit to liking music others find atrocious, I blog regularly about what most would consider a v. unhealthy television addiction, and I often post about free food deals at fast food joints. The thing is, I see no reason to hide my guilty pleasures, and if even one person can benefit from the "information" contained in my blog, I've done my part.

That said, I have no problem telling my readers that, after last night's debut of The City, I logged onto the iTunes store to download not one, but two Pussycat Dolls songs. The first was "Top of the World", the theme song to Whitney's new gig. After the second ep of the hour premiere, there was a video clip for PCD's "I Hate this Part", so I figured I needed that, too (who doesn't love a good, healthy, choking sob-inducing breakup song?). "I Hate this Part" was not difficult to locate, but "Top of the World" (the song I even bothered logging in to the iTunes store for) was NOWHERE. I searched everything imaginable, and it is not there. This isn't the first time iTunes has done this to me, and I don't think it's an unreasonable demand to expect current songs that are featured on the radio or television shows (watched by millions of tweens, the iTunes target demo) to be available for purchase. I am not that on the cutting edge of what's new in music!

I was so upset that I didn't download a single thing. Instead, I revamped my OTG for a special occasion occurring this morning. For the first time in (honestly?) probably 18 months, I went to the GYM. I use my shuffle during any type of exercise (my out of shape ass can't take the added weight of the 80G video), so my OTG isn't technically an OTG, more like the first ten songs on my shuffle's playlist. It's posted anyway, though... that holiday stuff had to go. I'm sure I will utilize more oldie-but-goodie workout songs as I take advantage of my coupon for a 30 day free membership (let's face it, a gym contract is not in my financial future). If you'd like to download any of these gems, I would *not* recommend iTunes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The year in review.

It's almost New Year's! I have never been one to dwell on the past, so I hate to recap my year, but I am *thrilled* when my favorite tv "news" programs do it for me. The Dish highlighted this year's best moments in pop culture on this weekend's ep, but if you missed it, it is airing all over Style Network for the next week and a half. The Soup (E!) debuted their first half of the top 40 clips of 2008 countdown, and paid homage to some very remarkable pieces of footage I had forgotten about (spaghetti cat, anyone?). Best Year Ever (now anchored by my favorite commentator, Paul F. Tompkins) aired their yearly summary last Friday. Taylor Swift will host the top 50 country music videos tonight on GAC, and that special will air about 156 more times, as well. On New Year's Eve, I'm sure there will be more fabulous countdowns all over cable.

2008 was a good year overall, with lots of memorable events -- 2 DLO reunions (one with the concert of a lifetime), a new nephew, a new (fabulous!) job, and a mom officially in remission. I think 2009 might be even better. I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning, so I'm completely incapable of recapping my year months by month. Instead, here's a breakdown of the highlights I am looking forward to the first half of this year:

January -- Playoff time. Can't wait to buy my Dallas Clark and/or Bob Sanders SuperBowl jersey!
February -- New Dierks Bentley CD. Maybe his new tunes will motivate me to participate in the 26.2 with Donna half-marathon. Maybe I'll just cheer on the real athletes... (Massive SideNote: XBox is releasing a "Guitar Hero Goes Country", which will feature "Free and Easy", and undoubtedly about a thousand other fabulous country tunes. Will this be the game that breaks me and forces me to invest in a new gaming system?!)
March -- Britney in Tampa and the Legally Blond Broadway Cast in Orlando! I haven't acquired tickets to either of these events, but am looking forward to both of them.
April -- Nothing yet. No doubt lots of pre-wedding and DLO bachelorette adventures?
May -- Emily and Casey's wedding! I will spend the first third of the year looking forward to this event, and the last two thirds of the year looking at the pictures.
June -- Deane's family reunion in Gatlinburg, TN. Dollywood, here I come...!
July -- I turn 28 and officially look down the barrel of 30. I'm thinking excitement will wane as the day draws near.

It's too early to call the rest of '09. I'm sure on Thursday, I'll make a few resolutions. I've been reading that instead of picking huge, daunting goals (i.e. "I'm going to the gym every day!" or "No more Starbucks, EVER!"), you should focus on small goals that will be easy to accomplish, yet contribute to your overall resolution. On a personal level, I'd like to be more fashionable, so I am going to accessorize more and limit my ponytails to no more than 4 days a week. For my overall wellness, I do have a weight loss goal, but my resolutions are to limit food court breakfast treats to one per paycheck (that's only one trip to Panera every two weeks!) and pack my lunch at least twice a week. I also plan to walk Lilly at least once a week, instead of just turning her loose to run all her energy out in the backyard. As far as my knitting goes, I am thinking of picking a project to work on during this season's American Idol, so that in May, instead of focusing on the countless hours I wasted watching the show, I will have some fabulous knit garment to envy! I'm taking suggestions...

I'll probably revise my resolutions by January 1. I can't even remember what I wanted to do last year. I think it was "Get Lasik", which I clearly forgot about. Do you remember what you wanted to accomplish in '08? Did you do it? What do you resolve to do in '09?

"Baby, it's New Year's Eve
Time we can believe
In making wishes
Dreams come true
Just for me and you...
Kiss me at midnight
Dance into the morning light
Party into the new year...!"
Happy 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

R.I.P. Sparks.

You can officially mourn something when wikipedia begins referring to it in the past tense. Sadly, this is the case (as of December 19, 2008) for this blogger's favoritey-fave caffeinated malt beverage.

Sparks will still be available for purchase; however, the brewer (MillerCoors) will remove all caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng from the product as well as making some marketing changes. Apparently, Sparks looks too much like other energy drinks (Tilt, Monster, RedBull), and kids can't tell the difference. Who cares if kids can't tell the difference?! The cashier who has to verify that the purchaser is 21 years old can tell the difference!

Fellow Sparks enthusiast Lindsey says her local Kroger is already sold out of the black top (7% alcohol versus the orange topped 6%) Sparks. On a search for what I thought was a limited time Holiday Sparks (needless to say, this was a myth), I purchased the last orange top at my local gas station last night. I am traveling to southwest Florida to spend Christmas with my mom and other family this week, and you can bet we will be buying out the remainder of Sparks across the Sunshine State.

RIP, Sparks. RedBull and vods could never touch you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Does anyone have a calculator?

**Attention: If you have not yet watched 'The Biggest Loser: Families' finale, and plan to, do *not* read from this point on.

Ok, I got home after work/shopping for a new outfit for DM visit today around 11 pm last night, but I knew I had to watch the BL finale. I was pulling for Michelle, and I had seen all the bio pieces every other 17 times they have shown them throughout the season, so I figured the 2 hours of DVRed fluff could be narrowed down to about 40 minutes with proper editing.

Here's the big question of the night: If America had voted for Heba to be a finalist, would she have beaten out Michelle (LOVE you Michelle, WTG!)? I deleted the ep before I even thought about it, but I *think* Heba had lost over 50% of her body weight, and Michelle lost 110 of her original 224 (?) pounds, which would have put Heba ahead.

That said, THANK YOU AMERICA, for not voting that big meanie into the finalists' circle. She controlled everyone (especially her husband), but she couldn't control the nationwide vote! Everyone from this season looked great, especially Jared, who really has his life back. I can't wait to start watching the next season ('Couples', AGAIN, don't *any* NBC producers read my blog? Can I getan AllStars?) on January 6th.

January will also mark the return of the Tuesday night fight for my DVR love, when Idol comes back to Fox! This season will have some changes: the addition of a 4th female judge (with someone else's quips to listen to, will the episodes be stretched to 2 1/2 hours?), a drastically reduced airing of the audition rounds (prompted by the obsessed Paula Abdul fan/rejected auditioner suicide), more footage of the Hollywood rounds, and the return of the wildcard vote (I love this round. Who can forget Clay singing, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down?").

Hey, isn't this blog supposed to be about knitting...? I promise to return to my blogging roots after my holiday gifts have been distributed!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MA Guide.

Cheers to Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' for another fine episode this week. Thank goodness we have taken it back to the OC -- New York was mildly entertaining but ultimately forgettable, and Hot-lanta was a hot mess. Only Vicki, Jeana, Lauri, Tamra, and Gretchen (the new girl!) can do it right. This week's ep included some awesome footage of downtown Indy, IMS, and the 500 in all its glory, including cameos by racing greats.

Jeers to the same network, for teasing one housewife's departure, and airing a trailer for next week's episode during the first commercial break. The teaser for next week included the introduction of the newest housewife and showed the group photo, which, even at 4x DVR fast forward, I could see did *not* include Lauri. Way to blow the suspense! Boo, Bravo!

Now, Deane and I had a bet going in to this week's 'Housewives' sesh -- my money was on Lauri to leave, choosing to deal with her son's heroine addiction in a more private setting (of course I was right). He thought newcomer Gretchen would be the one to go, leaving the limelight to take care of her ailing (and older) boyfriend, Jeff, who was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia (wikipedia spoiler alert: Jeff passed away on September 13th of this year).

I don't even know if any of my readers watch 'Housewives', but if you don't, you should start!

In other viewing this week (actually, it's all been done today, on my v. rainy, dreary day off...!), I had an idea while watching The Biggest Loser. Bob mentioned that the season one winner, Ryan, has gained back alllll the weight he lost while on the show. As I found myself pondering the fate of other contestants, I was hit with a brilliant idea! Season 7 should feature the return of previous participants in the show who have not managed to keep their weight off. Let's get them back on the ranch and find out what issues we didn't deal with the first time around. Think of the things Jillian would have to say!

In even more TV news, I was attempting to uncover the date for Oprah's annual 'Favorite Things' show, when I realized I've already missed it entirely (it aired the week of November 24th). Now worries, though -- the economy has been especially rough on this talk show host, apparently, because her show featured "Recession-Friendly Gifts that Cost Next to Nothing". 'YOU get a pinecone ornament! YOU get a pinecone ornament! You're ALL getting pinecone ornaments!!' If I had managed to get tickets to that show, I would not have left the premises without a fridge with an LCD TV in it. Bah humbug, Oprah!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DVR alert!

Attention Whitney Port fans: don't miss tonight's 90 minute MTV special, 'Whitney: From The Hills to The City'. It should let us all know if Whitney, her NYC boyfriend, and her fabulous new job at DVF are entertaining enough to support her new series.

Anyone have an ETA for 'The Hills' series finale? Is the final nail in the coffin on this show, or will it be continuing?

'Whitney...' airs tonight at 10pm, and again at 11:30.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A 5 year tradition.

Today was one of my favorite days for holiday tradition... the holiday photo session. I knew I could pick this Sunday, as the Colts were facing the Bungles, and I could half-watch the game pretty non-comittally. When I was thinking back about the photos we have used on previous Christmases, I realized this year will be the fifth holiday card that Deane and I send together as a family. Each year, the card features our dogs (Roach and Lilly), with the exception of the first card ever (before Lilly was even born!). Sometimes Deane and I are in them, and sometimes not, but this year we decided to go for the all-out family pic. We tried to work out some ideas to get all 12 cats into the picture, as well, but short of hiring a professional photographer, that wasn't going to happen.

Picture day always stirs up a lot of emotions for me (mostly that of a spazoid freak). I want to make sure my family looks beautiful for those near and dear to me who don't get to see us too often. I have to ensure there are no weird objects in the background of the photo. I have to be the one to hit the button that sets the timer, then position myself back into the picture with hair/makeup/gut-sucking-in all in place. I also want to make sure the dogs are well-behaved and looking in the general direction of the camera (a difficult feat, indeed...). The day never ends without a lot of bloopers and general disagreement among all parties involved, but we always end up with a precious holiday photo (in which Roach nearly always looks like a rabies-crazed wolf, but that has pretty much become the tradition, anyway).

Without giving away the final chosen pic (which my blog readers will no doubt be receiving via real mail), here is a mini-photo diary of today's events:

We start the day with general protest from the dogs about wearing their holiday bandanas/posing for a picture:
Take it outside for some chances at pictures involving one or two cats (coincidentally, only one cat made it in):And after all of our antics, the day ends in complete exhaustion...

I can't reveal the indoor bloopers without giving away the final chosen pic, but I might post those at a later date. Today's time spent snapping pictures of ourselves and the dogs in our holiday best reminded me that Christmas is only 18 days away! What's your favorite tradition?

Friday, December 5, 2008

'Tis the Season for Re-gifting.

Every year, I receive a gift from someone that begs me to ask the question, "Who gave this to you in the first place?". I can't give details on the worst one ever, as a blog reader may stumble across and reveal me for the materialistic bitch that I am, but let's just say it involved a dusty, half-used bottle of something from Avon.

Usually the re-gifting would happen at work, and 2 years ago, an employee of mine gave me a scarf that ANOTHER employee of mine had MADE for her the year prior! I felt awful being in the midst of this uncomfortable predicament, and wouldn't wish it on a mortal enemy (although I'm sure there's a few exceptions).

This year, as I set forth on my craftiest (read: brokest) of holidays to date, I found myself examining my yarn stash in preparation of Christmas gift planning. I realized that I have received a lot of yarn as a gift in the past (love the gorg Malabrigo hand-picked at a yarn store, hate the cheapo WalMart clearance bin weird colors/textures). I can't remember who gave me what when, or for what occasion. I started to try to separate the yarn I had purchased for myself from the yarn I've received as a present. In the midst of doing so, I found myself struggling with a moral dilemma:

Is it ok to make a gift for someone out of yarn I received as a gift from someone else?

Don't get me wrong, blog readers. There are times where I have tiptoed along the re-gifting line myself. I mean, is it 100% wrong to use your Wachovia Rewards points on a gift card to give to someone else? I earned those points, and that gift card *would* be for me, but I am unceremoniously parting with it for the betterment of someone on my gift list. What about spending a gift card you received on a gift for someone else? Is that ok?

Please, readers, weigh in on your thoughts on this important issue facing all of us this and every holiday season. And please, in the name of everything holy, don't even thinking about re-gifting an MA* original knit piece!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Misleading punctuation.

Readers, this blogger has been duped by what I believe to be a misplaced colon. Yesterday, I viewed 'Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel'. Now, I know the title of the show does include the word 'party', but I had been lead to believe that this show would actually have something to do with rehab, and, in retrospect, that was probably a pretty naive assumption. However, truTV's episode info showed no details other than 'Reality, Medical'. Medical! It *must* be about rehab. On Tuesday, I blogged, 'It looks a lot like intervention meets Dr. Drew...'. How wrong I was.

Rehab is actually a massive poolside party held every Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Although this episode did recap a previous one where an unconscious 23 year old female had to be attended to by paramedics (which I thought would lead to a stint in actual rehab...), that was the closest truTV got to admitting the insanely high BAC floating in the overcrowded pool. This week featured security cracking down on a ring of counterfeit wristband producers, a $500 incentive to cocktail waitresses who could sell a 9 liter bottle of champagne (retail price: $20,000), and a barback who got written up for spraying a patron with water when she came behind the bar ('Do we sell WATER in this bar? Hell no, H20!' Coyote Ugs, anyone?). I would estimate that 30% of the hour long show featured gratuitous footage of bikinis, big tattooed biceps, rolls of 100 dolla bills, and screaming while holding drink cups high in the air.

All in all, the show was mildly entertaining, and something I may watch if my DVR were broken and I stumbled across a marathon when I was home sick one day from work (chance of this happening: 2%). It was pretty frustrating to watch customers spend more on one afternoon of alcohol than I spend on mortgage payments in a year. I also hated this rookie cocktail waitress (Kelly, maybe?) who was bitching about only receiving an 11% tip on a $1700 tab. She waited on this cabana for like 2 hours, and she was a horrible waitress, yet she still made $187 -- in addition to all of the other customers she served that day. Good work if you can get it.
Watch and decide for yourself; Rehab airs on truTV Tuesdays at 10pm.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


It is December 2nd, and I officially have lists EVERYWHERE. I have always been a huge lover of lists. I make lists for the store, lists of daily tasks, lists of items to pack for a trip, lists of songs I hear at work and want to download later, lists of Bare Escentuals eye shadow colors I hope to own... I even make lists of what I need to make lists of! Today I made a list of holiday lists I need to make. It looked something like this:

- Christmas card list
- Christmas gifts to be shipped list
- Christmas gifts to be hand-delivered list
- Holiday budget list
- Gifts for co-workers list
- Baking supplies list
- Recipients of homemade cookie trays list
- Holiday tasks planned for days off between now and December 23rd list

In light of all of these exciting holiday tasks to accomplish, how could I neglect my favorite list of all? The list I could *never* live without - my DVR's To-Do List.

Every Sunday, I sit down and scroll through my DirecTV guide for the upcoming 7 days. Never technology-wise, I do not trust myself with my DVR presets, and live in constant fear that a Tim Gunn's Guide to Style Marathon could potentially overlap the season finale of ER, or some other comparable fiasco. Instead, I use myself as the quality assurance DVR scheduler, checking all days and times on my top favorite channels (FOX, NBC, CW, Bravo, VH1...), ensuring no overlap, checking that shows that always run over their allotted time (I can never believe that "The Hills" editors are unable to get that shit down to 28 minutes!) are scheduled into the next hour block, and so on.

In the spirit of the season, networks and cable channels alike are running Christmas specials all over the place this week. In scrolling through, I chose to record some and skip others. Here is what my DVR is set to record this week, along with some substitutions you may want to make for yourself and your viewing preferences. I kept it to prime time only, for the sake of time (and blogger web space). Unfortunately, my post is a bit late for you to catch Monday's programming, but if you missed Gossip Girl, it replays on Friday nights usually. You also missed 'Inside the Actor's Studio: Daniel Radcliffe', but I'm sure that will be shown again when the new HP movie starts getting promoted heavily.

Tuesday 12/2:

8pm: 'Biggest Loser: Families', NBC. I am 3 weeks behind on watching this show, and disappointed in this season's vindictive and mean-spirited contestants (I wish Heba and Vicki would just eat each other!). This week is MAKEOVER WEEK, and the contestants' new looks will be revealed on the scum of daytime talk shows, Tyra. I'm sure Tyra will find some way to make this episode about her.

8pm: '90210', CW. It's a repeat, but a good one! Watch as Naomi takes the fall for Adriana's lipstick full of coke.

8pm: 'Santa Claus is Comin' to Town', ABC. I skipped this on my DVR. Is this the one with the HeatMiser?

10pm: 'The Real Housewives of Orange County', Bravo. Back to the OC wives, who do it right! Looking forward to some great drama this season. Tonight, Vicki's husband threatens to leave her when she wants to buy a yacht. Maybe he is looking for a huge alimony...?

10pm: 'Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel', truTV. I have not yet tuned in to this series, but I am going to watch the new ep tonight and might invest some weekend time in a marathon. It looks a lot like intervention meets Dr. Drew. Will report back. (Due to programming constraints, my DVR is set to record the 11pm run of this new ep).

10pm: 'Ace of Cakes', FoodNetwork. If you haven't watched this show in EIGHT MONTHS, it's new to you! When will Duff and the gang start filming again?!

10:30pm: 'Sports Soup', VS. 'The Soup' (E!) meets this week's sports highlights. Best of both worlds. I *love* this show.

Wednesday, 12/3:

7pm: 'Center Stage: Turn it Up', Oxygen. Natch, this is saved on my DVR already, but if you missed it, get it now! Peter Gallagher is back and Cooper Nielson still can't act.

8pm: 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer', CBS. I watch this classic every year. Love that Abominable Snowman!

8pm: 'Christmas From Rockefeller Center', NBC. The 76th annual lighting of the biggest tree in the nation! Performances include (but are not limited to) Miley, Beyonce, Tony Bennett, Faith Hill, and Rascal Flatts. Stephen Colbert also makes an appearance! (but so does Rosie O'Donnell...)

9pm: 'Grammy Nominations Concert: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night', CBS. A concert featuring the nominees, with co-hosts Taylor Swift and... ready? Ready? LL COOL J. 2 great tastes that taste great together?

9:30pm: 'Throwdown with Bobby Flay', FoodNetwork. Bobby takes on gingerbread in this holiday-themed ep!

10pm: 'A Christmas Story', TNT. It's just not the same if you watch it on DVD. Something about the commercial breaks, maybe? Reminisce with the RedRyder, the flagpole, the snowsuits, the joy of it all!

10pm: 'Top Chef', Bravo. My favorite show on TV right now. Shout out to Denison alum Chris Homlish, Field Producer! You go, Hom!

Thursday, 12/4:

8pm: 'Ugly Betty', ABC. More laughs ensue as Betty and Amanda get into some (un?)predictable hi-jinks.

8pm: 'The Polar Express', Disney Channel. I have not yet seen this, but I think it will be a good holiday view.

8pm: 'Disney Holiday Magic with Samantha Brown', TravelChannel. Samantha shows us Mickey's Magical Christmas Parade and other fun things to do at Disney.

9pm: 'Grey's Anatomy', ABC. Cristina gets the solo surgery, and Callie is *still* a lesbian. Look for more surprising twists!

9pm: 'The Office', NBC. The Scranton branch discovers a huge cash surplus and debates the best way to spend it. I laughed just reading the ep descrip!

9pm: 'The Princess Bride', Bravo. I'm not recording, but you should, if you haven't seen this gem in a while.

10pm: 'ER', NBC. Another show I am 3 weeks behind on. I have no idea what will be happening this week, and I probably won't know until about February.

10pm: 'Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008', ABC. Cyrus! Phelps! Palin! And I hear Tina Fey talks about how she got that scar on her mouth. Number one will be announced on the show.

11:30pm: 'Larry the Cable Guy's Star-Studded Christmas Extravaganza', CMT. Deane assures me this special will be worth the 90 minutes allotted on our DVR memory. I'll report back.

Ok, there it is, folks. I'm stopping before Friday, even. This took forever! I am sure I left out quite a bit (I didn't even *touch* premium movie channels), but please feel free to share when your favorite holiday special is airing this season. Enjoy your viewing!