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April 30, 2010

Vampire Diaries 1.19, "Miss Mystic Falls"

(I'm going to try doing some more TV blogging. I know I've said this before and it hasn't stuck. We'll see. You can assume that any posts that mention an episode title will have spoilers for the show in question through that episode.)

I know some Vampire Diaries fans were on the Damon bandwagon from day one. I wasn't. I'm not one of those girls who automatically goes for the bad boy. If anything, I go for the sad boy, the emotionally and/or psychologically tortured boy*, so the Elena/Stefan pairing was fine by me. At the beginning of the show, Stefan was good and Damon was evil. It was all fairly simple. But, fairly quickly, Damon began to get more complicated. Stefan stayed good, and good was starting to look boring. And then, of course, Stefan abruptly turned evil, and that was also boring. Meanwhile, Damon became probably the most complex character on the show, and it became obvious that, much as he denied it, he actually did care about both his brother and Elena. And there started to be these moments - just looks, sometimes, or throwaway lines like Damon referring to Elena as "our girlfriend" - that made the chemistry between Damon and Elena undeniable.

And then this happened. A little background: Elena is in a town pageant that basically plays out like a debutante ball. Stefan is supposed to be her escort and perform this historical dance with her, but he has suddenly and mysteriously vanished, so his brother steps in. Earlier in the episode, Elena and Stefan danced this in practice, and, despite Stefan's best efforts, it was cute but not particularly hot. After being told by a teacher (? authority figure of some sort) that they weren't supposed to actually touch hands during the first part of this dance, Stefan claimed that "The near-touch is overrated." Remember that, and watch this:

So. No, Stefan, the near-touch is not overrated. You're just not your brother. Okay, a few things here:

1. Please tell me I was not the only one struck by the Pride and Prejudice look of this scene. Oh, how I do love dancing scenes.

2. Damon's dance with Elena, in which he followed the rules and didn't touch, was a heck of a lot hotter than Stefan's version. Honestly, I do think that Ian Somerhalder (Damon) is just a better actor than Paul Wesley (Stefan), and has been chemistry with Nina Dobrev (Elena). But he's also being given more interesting stuff to work with, so who knows. The way he plays this scene is great - it's so controlled that it practically explodes from the tension. As Cindy McLennan says in her recap, "Damon's gaze is mature, appreciative, flattering, and not at all a leer. He changes into the antebellum southern gentleman he was meant to be. When it's time for them to part, Elena realizes she's just had OMGEYESEX with her boyfriend's brother. She can't meet Damon's gaze. He can't take his eyes off her." Oh, DAMON.

3. And on a plot level - Damon has spent a lot of time talking about how he doesn't care about Elena, at all, but he really doesn't have to do this. Sure, people would be curious if Elena had no escort, but they'll be curious anyway, as her escort's name was very clearly announced as Stefan Salvatore and it was Damon Salvatore who showed up. And the whole town knows who the Salvatores are, so the intention wasn't to fool anyone. He really just did it to save Elena from the humiliation of walking down those stairs and having no one there to meet her. And I don't think he even tried to justify it some other way afterward.

So. After this, I have to say that I am firmly on Team Damon. Cindy McLennan again: "And that's it. That's the moment. That's the game changer." At this point, an Elena/Damon pairing at some point in the future seems inevitable. Honestly, I hope it takes a while. What I think would be really interesting, and I have no spoilers here, so this is all speculation, would be if Damon and Elena recognized their feelings for each other, but also realized that since Elena is all Stefan is living for at this point, she couldn't just break up with him. And that situation would make for some delightful angst all around.

* Really, show me any book or TV show or ANYTHING and I will automatically gravitate toward the guy most likely to jump off a bridge or put his hand through a window. It's a talent. Or something. For example, I couldn't figure out why I liked Gossip Girl's oft-reprehensible Chuck Bass so much until he started threatening to jump off buildings, and then it all made so much sense!

Posted by Kat at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Song of the Day: "Sway"

One more from Veronica Mars:

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2010

Endnotes (4/29/10)

Mike Allen: Hobo or Robot?

Remember that HuffPo "best book people on Twitter" thing? Here's a follow-up that includes a bunch of great people they left out of the first one.

Wait wait wait. Austin is only the 63rd most fun city in the country, but Bridgeport is number 15? I call shenanigans. Have they been to Bridgeport?

Dana Stevens hilariously reviews The Back-up Plan:

"But at least it's not reprehensible, misogynistic, or cynical, and the lead couple isn't made up of a shrill female narcissist and a proudly slovenly male lug. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend this movie, but if you were tied down and forced to watch it, you wouldn't necessarily have to chew off your own leg to get away."

I had somehow missed these Vampire Diaries liveblogs until now, but they're awesome:

"I think we'll all have to disagree with Stefan's earlier statement about not-touching being overrated. Damon and Elena are proving that touching is completely unnecessary. That wasn't an earthquake you just felt, it was just the result of millions of Stefan/Elena fans falling to their knees in surrender."
Also: Yes. Yes it was. I am now firmly on Team Damon.

Posted by Kat at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

Song of the Day: "On Your Porch"

More from Veronica Mars.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

Booking Through Thursday: Restrictions

Today's question:

God comes to you and tells you that, from this day forward, you may only read ONE type of book - one genre - period, but you get to choose what it is. Classics, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Cookbooks, History, Business ... you can choose, but you only get ONE.
What genre do you pick, and why?
I suppose I have to go with mysteries. For one thing, if you absolutely made me pick a favorite genre, that would be it. But more importantly, for this question, at least, the mystery genre includes an incredibly wide range of styles, settings, etc. It would be much less likely to get monotonous than most other genres.

Posted by Kat at 01:00 PM | Comments (3)

April 28, 2010

Endnotes (4/28/10)

The idea of Sandra Lee as First Lady of New York fills me with horror for some reason I can't pin down. Maybe it's just because I keep picturing her tablescapes in the Governor's Mansion.

Who's to blame for the way American Idol keeps running long and messing up Glee?

I don't know anything about the DC restaurant in question, but Ackerman's devastating review is worth reading anyway.

Tuning instruments is more complicated than you thought.

Posted by Kat at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

Song of the Day: "I Know I Know I Know"

Continuing our Veronica Mars theme . . .

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Town, anyone?

Anyone planning to try the new ABC show Happy Town tonight? I have to admit that the promos have done absolutely nothing for me. They haven't really given that much of an impression of the show itself, just a vague horror-like theme. Maybe. I think. (I just read this description and it helped a little, but doesn't it sound kind of like the backstory of the prefab families that come with The Sims?) And Alan Sepinwall's review doesn't do much to make me more hopeful.

But the cast. Oh, the cast. First of all, it has Steven Weber, and as a matter of policy, I will watch at least an episode or two of any show that employs one of the Studio 60 regulars. But if Weber weren't enough - Amy Acker (That Joss Whedon Girl)! Sam Neill (Merlin - no, the other Merlin)! Geoff Stults (the firefighter Kinkirk brother from 7th Heaven)! Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under)! So. I'll give it a try, although I'm not expecting much. I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by Kat at 10:00 AM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2010

Endnotes (4/27/10)

I'm having computer issues, so posting might be sporadic for a bit.

Celebrity Jeopardy: Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Kaczmarek, and Cheech Marin, all together? Wow.

News you need: Courtney Love texted Aaron Sorkin. I fear no good can come of this.

Here's a nice little interview with Kristin Chenoweth.

Prius minivan! I'm not quite sure why I'm excited about that, but I am.

10 Most Anticipated TV Kisses (That Have Actually Happened) Here's the order I'd put them in: 3, 1, 9, 2, 8. (Didn't watch the other 5.)

What I want to do for my birthday: Go see Promises, Promises.

Posted by Kat at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

Song of the Day: "I Hear the Bells"

I couldn't find decent versions of the first few songs I was looking for, so, well, you can never go wrong with this one. I first heard it on the Veronica Mars soundtrack, which is actually one of my favorite albums. Hey, let's do a week of songs from that soundtrack. Why not?

If you prefer to see it set to lots of Logan and Veronica talking and kissing:

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

I'm horribly behind on book reviews, but I'm just going to jump in, and maybe go back later and catch up. Or maybe not.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 371
Rating: 8.5

Okay, here's the thing. I have a good friend who reads a lot of Regency romances, and who has very high standards, so when something she reads actually meets her standards, it's generally a good idea to pay attention. And Julia Quinn is her favorite, and she's been telling me to read her for years. And I just . . . didn't, for no particular reason.* Until this week. And now - oh my goodness, I cannot figure out why I waited so long, but I am so excited that I have so much of her backlist to catch up on.

The Duke and I is the first in her eight-volume series about the Bridgerton siblings. Daphne Bridgerton's mother is very determined to see her married, and Daphne is just as determined to fend off suitors she doesn't like. The men she does like don't notice her. Simon, her brother Anthony's best friend and the new Duke of Hastings, has just returned to England and is having every unmarried girl in London thrown at him. They meet at a party and decide to give them both some breathing one, and increase Daphne's popularity, by pretending to be interested in each other for a while. As you might guess, they actually fall for each other. Of course, the Duke has a Deep Dark Secret and has Vowed Never to Marry or Father Children. But then they're caught in a compromising position . . .

Quinn does an impressive job of sticking within the conventions of the genre while playing with them at the same time, and this book was a delight from beginning to end. Quinn's writing is witty and grammatically correct. Simon and Daphne were sympathetic main characters without being too perfect; their flaws, for the most part, made them more real, although I thought Simon's Deep Dark Secret wasn't necessarily quite as dark as he thought it was. Daphne is a strong heroine who thinks for herself but avoids the anachronistic qualities of many "strong" heroines in historical novels. They both actually act like adults most of the time, which is nice to see, and while I certainly didn't agree with some of their actions and decisions, they stayed in character. This was refreshing, as there's little worse in romance novels than stupid made-up conflicts thrown in just to generate tension.

Perhaps the best part of the book was the interaction between Daphne and Simon and Daphne's extensive family, especially Daphne's three older brothers. So I can hardly be blamed if, immediately upon finishing this book, I ordered the next three in the series starring those brothers. Right?

* Actually, part of the reason is probably that when I'm in a romance mood, I tend to read whatever this friend has passed along to me. And she doesn't give me the Julia Quinns because she likes them so much that she keeps them to reread.

Posted by Kat at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2010

Song of the Day: "'Til There Was You"

I was thinking yesterday that I'd write a post about my favorite covers by the Beatles. Apparently there was something in the air, because The Curvature got there first. The one I was going to include that they did not was "'Til There Was You," from The Music Man.

Pop quiz! Which of my favorite writers sent a woman flowers and then had this song sung to his answering machine as a response? Here's a hint:

Posted by Kat at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2010

First Encounter with an iPad...

A very kind coworker knew that I was interested in actually trying out an iPad, so he left his with me while he was in a meeting yesterday so I could play with it for a while. Some quick impressions:

1. It's heavier than I expected, but also less awkward to hold than I expected.

2. I would want to get a dock, but it was perfect serviceable both on my lap and placed flat on my desk.

3. Typing was a million times easier than I expected. I am not a touchscreen keyboard fan, but this was by far the easiest touchscreen keyboard I've ever used. After just a few words, I was typing accurately without having to look at it.

4. It was fast. Much faster than my netbook or my smartphone.

5. The Marvel comics app is incredible, and I'm not even particularly into comics.

6. I knew the video would be great, but I was impressed by just how great it was. I used the ABC app to watch the beginning of an episode of Castle, and it looked better on the iPad than it had on my TV.

I tried out as big a variety of stuff as I could, so if you have any questions, let me know and I'll try to answer!

Posted by Kat at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2010

One last bit of Shakespeare today...

Next week on PBS:

William Shakespeare + David Tennant + Patrick Stewart = WIN

Posted by Kat at 10:29 PM | Comments (1)

Endnotes (4/21/10)

If you're only going to read one article about the upcoming British elections, read this one.

The Food Network is spinning off a Cooking Channel, but from this article it doesn't necessarily sound like most of the content will be cooking-related. Hunh?

How to Correctly Pronounce Authors' Names

Here's the big Times Magazine piece on Mike Allen. I think I'm going to wait and actually read it in my paper copy on Sunday.

Posted by Kat at 10:10 PM | Comments (1)

Things I Wish My TiVo Would Do

(I am, of course, hoping that one of you will tell me that my TiVo actually does do one or more of these things, and I've just never noticed.)

1. Let me clip recordings. What if you just want to save a particular scene or two? Or if you set the TiVo to record for extra time in case a live event went over, but then it didn't? It would be great to have a "delete from this point on" option or something like that. I'd prefer to be able to clip to whatever increment I wanted, but even clipping in 15 minute or half hour increments would help.

2. Let me make my own folders, and move things between folders. The TiVo will currently put recordings in folders by show or wish list word, if you ask it to. But sometimes I have recordings that are related but not actually called the same thing, or different things I'm saving for reference for the same project, or something. It would be great to make a folder, call it whatever I want, and move things into it.

3. Allow a "never record this episode" option. When you get a Season Pass for a show, you can have it record new episodes only or new episodes and reruns. But what if you're trying to catch up on a show in frequent reruns? Or if you like Alton Brown but don't actually need to see that one chicken episode for the twenty-seventh time? It would be nice to be able to tell it to stop recording certain episodes you've already seen.

4. Let me jump to certain points in a recording. Okay, this may be less important to those who aren't spending a lot of time writing extensive recaps of short commercials that appear in the middle of longer programs. But it would be awesome if I could tell the TiVo to go right to minute 16, say, instead of doing so much fast forwarding and rewinding.

Posted by Kat at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

Song of the Day: "My Best Friend's Girl"

Finishing off our week in 1978...

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!

It's (maybe, sort of, possibly) Shakespeare's birthday today, and I was going to find a passage to quote, but it's Friday morning and hey, let's have some music instead. Other favorite songs that reference Shakespeare's characters, anyone? I feel like I'm forgetting about something really obvious.

October Project's "Ariel:"

Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet:"

And the same covered by The Killers, which I'd somehow never heard before:

Taylor Swift's "Love Story:"

And hey, Shakespeare references "Greensleeves," so that's as good as excuse as ever to make sure everyone's heard Loreena McKennitt doing Tom Waits doing "Greensleeves:"

Posted by Kat at 07:43 AM | Comments (2)

April 22, 2010

Song of the Day: "Werewolves of London"

We're in 1978 this week, in case anyone missed the previous posts. I was sort of looking for something romantic, since today is actually the day of my parents' anniversary, but all that struck me from the list I read was Billy Joel, and that would defeat the purpose, as my father dislikes Mr. Joel's music rather a lot. So! Werewolves!

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

Covert Affairs

The promo for the new USA show Covert Affairs:

I don't really have anything interesting to say about this, other than that it looks promising, so go read Alyssa. Actually, here's the one thing I have to say: I was planning to watch this even before I saw the promo, because I'm spending a lot of time playing catch-up on USA shows I didn't watch from the beginning, and a lot of their shows are really really good. So at this point, I'll give practically any new show they come out with a chance. That's pretty impressive for a basic cable network.

Posted by Kat at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

Interweave Knits Summer Preview!

It's here, if you're interested. On first glance, my favorites are Lacy Leaf Satchel, Teacup Pinafore, Essential Cardigan, and Picnic Cardigan. Overall, I'm not wildly in love with it, but for a summer issue isn't not bad.

Posted by Kat at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)

April 21, 2010

Song of the Day: "Don't Look Back"

Continuing our week in 1978 . . .

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Let NH vote?

Signs from the group Let NH Vote have been popping up around town. They use slogans like "Support Democracy" and "Let the Voters Vote" to promote the idea that same-sex marriage should be put on the ballot. (It was legalized by the legislature here last year.) If you read past the first page of their site, it's easy to see that what they actually want is for same-sex marriage to be outlawed, not just to have a vote on it and go either way. I disagree with this, obviously, and I think I disagree that this should be voted on at all, but that's not why I'm bringing it up.

What actually interested me here is the marketing. One of their signs features the slogan "Don't Be Intolerant." It's pretty clever of them to use an argument that those on the opposite side of the debate uses against them in order to get support. They know that they already have the support of those who are against same-sex marriage. Presumably they're hoping that those who support same-sex marriage will see these liberal-looking signs, just look at the (pretty neutral) front page of their Web site, and decide to support the call for a ballot question. Not a bad strategy.

Posted by Kat at 08:30 AM | Comments (1)

April 20, 2010

Endnotes (4/20/10)

Tom Hanks sent the White House press corps a new espresso machine.

Parenthood has been renewed for a second season. That probably means I should catch up, huh?

Mystery writer Kathy Reichs is coming out with a YA series. Interesting.

Posted by Kat at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

Why I Won't Be Watching Romantically Challenged

I watched the premiere of Romantically Challenged last night. Now, a caveat up front: I'm generally not much of a sitcom fan. I think the only current ones I watch are How I Met Your Mother and My Boys. I generally prefer my shows to be an hour and my comedy to be mixed with drama. But a few friends were excited about this one, so I figured I'd give it a try.

But even given my indifference toward sitcoms, this show failed for me on a few levels. First of all, there were the common sitcom issues: laugh track. Overacting. "Jokes" that weren't funny. I think I laughed twice during the half hour, but now, the next morning, I can only remember one funny line: "I didn't really grow up in New York. I grew up on Long Island." And that's not even that funny, and I'm not sure how well it plays out of the New York area.

The acting was . . . not great. The two guys were serviceable, at least, and if the show was focused on the dynamic between them, I might watch. I know Alyssa Milano has a lot of fans, but from this, I can't say I understand why. She came across as tense, wooden, fake, and thoroughly unfunny. (I thought she did better in her guest spot on Castle, in which she more or less just stood there and looked fragile.) And the actress who played her sister - well, she came across as a mediocre actress trying to be Kristin Chenoweth. Which meant she basically just ended up as annoying.

But there are lots of questionably funny sitcoms out there, and usually I can take or leave them. This one I actively disliked, because the humor - or, more frequently, the unsuccessful attempts at humor - came from a really questionable place. It took a very antagonistic stance toward its main character. Sure, a lot of comedies are centered around jokes at the expense of the main character(s), but the viewer usually gets the impression that the show is on the character's side, when it comes down to it. That was not the case here. Rebecca (Milano) was barely even a character. She was a collection of stereotypes thrown together for the purpose of mocking them.

Quick recap: Rebecca receives an invitation to her ex-husband's wedding so her friends and sister convince her she needs to start dating again. She glances around their regular coffee shop (no, really) and finds a guy to go out with, because God forbid the writers exert themselves and come up with a way for her to meet the guy. At her friends' suggestion, she lies about her son's age to make herself sound younger, and then also lies about other stuff for no apparent reason. She says a picture of her 15-year-old son is actually her ex, and the guy buys it, which . . . I don't even know. ANYWAY. Once her lies are eventually revealed, the show implies that she shouldn't have lied because it just makes her more worthless and pitiful - but there's no suggestion that she shouldn't have lied because she was worth dating as she actually was, without feeling the need to change herself.

In another "Is lying actually bad?" subplot, Rebecca's teenaged son passes off one of the adult character's short stories as his own. As you can probably predict, this is actually a set-up for jokes in which the teacher says the stories aren't very good and the actual author, who is supposed to be a writer of some sort, is offended. But no one seems concerned about the cheating aspect. And, I don't know, it's not like I demand my TV shows adhere to some high moral standard. I'll defend Gossip Girl with my last breath, for heaven's sake, and some absolutely reprehensible things have happened on that show. But they always happen for a reason. Here, it was just - careless. A cheap laugh. And it made the teenager into another non-character.

The other main subplot was about one of the men (and I remember the name of neither character, nor their supposed relationships with Rebecca, so you can see how memorable this all is. Actually, I had to look up Rebecca's name, too) who starts dating a woman who wants to be spanked, among other things that the man finds objectionable. In a general sense, this subplot was playing for laughs the idea that a woman who is sexually assertive, and who knows what she wants, is scary and unfeminine and necessarily emasculates her partner. And - seriously, haven't we gotten past that yet?

More specifically, it was this subplot that brought the line that almost made me turn off the TV right then; I'm paraphrasing, but it was something close to "I have to go over there and beat the crap out of her so she'll love me." I understand that it was trying to be a joke about consensual behavior, but it missed. It became an unfunny "joke" about domestic violence instead. I won't say that TV shows shouldn't be allowed to joke about that, or any specific subject. I'm all for freedom of speech, and pretty much any subject can be used effectively in fiction. But I have no interest in watching something that treats this serious subject so carelessly as to use it in a throwaway line that wasn't even funny.

Posted by Kat at 03:20 PM | Comments (2)

Song of the Day: "FM"

Continuing with our week in 1978...

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Food Recommendation: Santa Barbara Salsa

Last week, I kept thinking about that fresh kind of salsa that you get at Mexican restaurants, but I didn't actually want to go to a restaurant. And I'd been craving cilantro for days because of that article that was going around. The jarred Newman's Own stuff I had just wasn't cutting it, so I decided to see what I could find the the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

What I found: Santa Barbara salsa. This stuff is amazing. I got the Medium under the "Fresh Salsas and Dips" heading. (The site won't let me link you right there.) I was slightly disappointed that my store didn't have Hot, but this was almost hot enough as it was, honestly. The tomatoes and onions taste fresh, the peppers and spices blend well, and you can really taste the cilantro. Perfect.

I was worried that fresh salsa would have to be used within a few days, but the label says this is fine for four weeks after opening (in the fridge, of course), and there's no way it's going to last that long here - I'll probably eat it in a week. Note: This is also kosher and gluten-free. And delicious. If I didn't mention that.

Posted by Kat at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

Endnotes (4/19/10)

Sorry, forgot to publish this last night...

Pretzel M&Ms? Yes please.

I've been meaning to read Robert Harris's Pompeii since it came out. Maybe the upcoming miniseries will prompt me to actually do it.

Gail Collins on Attorneys General as candidates. No, really, it's hilarious. Read it.

This whole legislating thing seems to be harder than Scott Brown anticipated.

Posted by Kat at 06:39 AM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2010

Song of the Day: "You're the One That I Want"

My parents' 32nd anniversary is on Thursday, and so, in their honor, I'm going to do a whole themed week: Hits of 1978! Obviously we must start with something from Grease.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

The 100th Episode of Bones (Spoilers Ahoy!)

(I know a bunch of you were a week or two behind on Bones, so I hope waiting a week and a half is sufficient to avoid ruining things. You've been warned.)

There are so many things to say about this episode that I'm not even going to try to be comprehensive. Also, Alyssa said a lot of what I was thinking here, so make sure you read that. Overall, I thought the episode was excellent, almost perfect, and I was surprised that I was surprised, if that makes sense. I read a lot of spoilers - love them (and more on that in its own post soon) - and this episode got a lot of advance press. And yet, there were some things that happened that honestly astonished me. It's rare that that actually happens with TV (and yes, I realize it's my own fault for reading spoilers, but yes, I like it that way), so I'm very impressed with the execution.

It's also rare that episodes heralded as "game-changing" actually are. This one was. By flashing back to a year before the show started and having such major things happen in the characters' personal and professional lives, the entire framework of the show was called into question. The history assumed by the viewer was rewritten. And the kiss and conversation at the end of the episode, in the present day, also shaped the entire future of the show. It was quite the double whammy. (And I really need to stop for a moment to praise the excellent acting and wide ranges displayed by all the actors, but especially David Boreanaz and Emily Deschenel. There was more here than the show usually demands of them, and they rose to the challenge. This would have been a very easy episode to overact, but they didn't. Boreanaz was also directing, which makes it all the more impressive.)

It was somewhat surprising that they tried to rewrite the past and the future in one episode, but the really surprising thing was that it worked. Usually, when a beloved show decides to go back in time and change the past, fans are left feeling cheated and even betrayed. I haven't heard from anyone who felt that way about Bones (although I'm sure there's someone out there who will hurry to correct me on this). On the technical side of things, it helped that they were careful not to contradict anything that had been actually established about the past. They only contradicted what viewers assumed had happened. In that article about Agatha Christie I linked yesterday, Christine Kenneally wrote that "Christie's greatest talent, or at least the one for which her readers most adore her, lay in knowing exactly what her reader would think and feel, and in subtly exploiting that." This is what the Bones folk did as well.

And on an emotional level, this rewriting of history worked because it just made sense. I spent most of the episode saying (typing) things along the lines of "I can't believe this is happening," but by the end of the episode, it seemed impossible that it could have happened any other way. It's hard to make something simultaneously shocking and inevitable. What happened changed what we had assumed about the characters and their relationships, but ultimately, it changed them in a way that made them both more real and more like themselves. And going forward, of course, the challenge for Bones will be to resist ignoring these changes, and instead to move forward in a way that stays faithful to the new reality they have so masterfully established.

Posted by Kat at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

Sandal recommendations?

I need some new sandals for work for this summer. The past few years I've gotten whatever Target has that seems reasonable, and that's been okay, but I figured I'd throw this out there for other recommendations. Here are my criteria:

1. Work-appropriate. We're pretty casual, but flip-flops are discouraged.
2. Comfortable. I want to be able to wear them all day, and do a fair amount of walking without blisters or anything. I take walks during breaks at work, and I'm much less likely to actually do that if I have to change my shoes.
3. Versatile. I want to be able to wear them with more or less anything. The ideal color would probably be a "natural" brown that looks neutral enough to wear with black, as well.
4. Cheap and/or durable. Obviously, cheap and durable would be best. But if you swear they'll last me for years, I'm willing to spend a little more. On the other hand, if they'll only last me one season, they'd better be cheap.
So! Suggestions? Your favorites? Brands or styles you would NOT recommend? Thanks!

Posted by Kat at 07:42 AM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2010

Endnotes (4/18/10)

Whoa. It's a teensy tiny Enterprise.

The Forbes Fictional 15

Agatha Christie certainly had some odd writing methods.

Posted by Kat at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Song of the Day: "Louie Louie"

So, who can figure out why I picked this song for today?

Posted by Kat at 02:44 PM | Comments (1)

April 17, 2010

Madonna Songs I Hope Are on Glee

Glee is doing an all-Madonna episode next week, and since I more or less missed the eighties, I'm somewhat less excited about this than many fans seem to be. The Jane Lynch version of "Vogue" is getting the most buzz, but I've actually never seen the original video, so I'm kind of meh about it. (Yes, I'll look up the video before Tuesday.) But here are some Madonna songs I actually know/like and hope they will include!

"Crazy for You"
"Papa Don't Preach" (Yes, they already sort of did this, but they can do it again, right? It's just too perfect!)
"Like a Prayer"
"Take a Bow" (Too bad the inevitable Jesse betrayal probably won't be happening yet, because this would be perfect for that.)
"Beautiful Stranger"
What songs are you hoping they do?

Posted by Kat at 04:04 PM | Comments (3)

Song of the Day: "The Ugly Bug Ball"

In the same vein as the "middle school crush" song earlier in the week: today is my middle school best friend's birthday. For some inexplicable reason, we were all obsessed with this random Disney song in eighth grade. (Really, if there was a reason, I don't remember it. Aren't eighth graders these days far too cool for this sort of thing? Hmm.) It's pretty silly, but I thought of it, and her, this morning, so here you go. Happy birthday, Heather, wherever you are!

Posted by Kat at 03:18 PM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2010

Endnotes (4/16/10)

TWoP has had a lot of good galleries recently, it seems. Here's TV's Worst Towns. Oh, and here's Quit When Ahead: TV Shows That Should've Ended Sooner. This entry for Life Unexpected is perfect:

The very first episode was practically perfect: sweet, romantic and utterly charming. We instantly fell for the little abandoned teen that had reunited with her birth parents and wormed her way into their lives. But then a mere week later, we realized what a brat she was, how grating her mother was, how dopey her dad was and how very much we hated everything to do with this town and its mysteriously popular morning radio program.
And really, I think Battlestar Galactica should have ended with "33."

I'm one of those dorks who loves the game Concentration, so I was delighted to find this In Plain Sight version.

Not The Onion: Stranded leader runs country by iPad

Posted by Kat at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Song of the Day: "Nostalgia"

I usually try to be a bit peppier with the songs on Fridays, but I woke up thinking about this one. I'll take Songs I Found Through Masterpiece Mystery for $100, Alex!

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Steven Weber Blogs!

You may know him as the oddly lovable network jerk from Studio 60. No, wait, that's how I know him; you probably know him as the guy from Wings. (I really want to see that sometime, if only for Weber and Daly. So much prettiness!) But you know what he also does? He blogs for the Huffington Post, mostly about politics. And he's pretty funny, if rather more extreme than is usually my taste. (He frequently uses phrases like "right wing morons." I do not.) Give him a try if you're into that sort of thing. Really, I'm always delighted to find out that actors I like are informed and engaged, even if I don't necessarily agree with them.

Posted by Kat at 10:00 AM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2010

Song of the Day: "Wuthering Heights"

I heard this for the first time in a while today, and - wow, I'd forgotten quite how bizarre it is.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Pizza! In! New Hampshire!

I've been living in New Hampshire for almost eight years now, and since I got here, I've been searching for "real" pizza. Now, I'm spoiled. I'm from Connecticut. Connecticut has good pizza. There's New Haven pizza, for one thing, which is basically the most delicious thing in the universe. But even "regular" New York-style pizza from practically anywhere in Connecticut is better than any pizza in New Hampshire. Part of the reason is that an awful lot of pizza here is Greek. And most of the rest is just bad. (Why? Why? Why is this hard? I don't understand.)

So! Last weekend, I finally found good pizza. It's not great, but it's acceptable. Unlike all other pizza I've found in this godforsaken state, it at least tastes like real pizza. The winner? Sal's. It's a chain, even! (I've only tried the Merrimack location so far.) But it's good! The cheese was high-quality. The sauce was neither too sweet nor undercooked, as so many sauces are. The crust was thin but not cracker-like. ALSO, they sell it by the "slice," but a "slice" in fact seems to be two rather large slices, which meant I got two meals out of it for about $3.50. And it's only a few miles from my house. This is potentially a dangerous discovery.

Posted by Kat at 08:27 AM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2010

Endnotes (4/14/10)

Swoon: Geithner plays cricket. You're welcome.

Cats Love iPads I'd be worried about the screen...

Hate cilantro? It might be genetic. Except not necessarily, because I used to hate it and now I love it, to the extent that reading this article prompted me to eat salsa for breakfast.

Five Ingredients That Make USA Network Shows Work I've been catching up on some of these shows, and honestly, USA might be my new favorite channel.

Don't be fooled by the title; this piece is delightful: Diary of a 'Food Racist'

TWoP cast Whedon favorites in The Avengers. Yes, please.

Posted by Kat at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

Song of the Day: "I'll Get You"

I was looking at the calendar this morning and realized that today is my Big Epic Middle School Crush's birthday. This was my favorite song throughout most of that time, and I always associate it with him. It's still one of my favorite lesser-known Beatles songs.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

TV Couple Quiz Answers

Okay, apparently these quotes were harder than I thought, because the most anyone got without hints was 2. Christine (kiss_me_cassie) and Katie (politiKitz) - let me know what show you want me to try! Here are the answers:

1. "Better than kissing my dog." - Gus Pike and Felicity King, Avonlea

2. "Are we done here?" "I'm almost certain we're not." - Matt Albie and Harriet Hayes, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

3. "No one writes songs about the ones that come easy." - Logan Echolls and Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars

4. "Get a soul." "Get a brain." - Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan, Bones

5. "All the girls think you look really hot in this shirt." "Gimme that." - Josh Lyman and Donna Moss, The West Wing

6. "Cross away, for I have no problem with this, as you are my girlfriend and she is my sister." "Then why are you talking like Theodoric of York?" - Jeremy Goodwin and Natalie Hurley, Sports Night

7. "Eight letters. Three syllables. Say them and I'm yours." - Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf, Gossip Girl

8. "You unbelievable moron. You've known me for fifteen years. Flirt with me." - Casey McCall and Dana Whitaker, Sports Night

9. "Rules are rules, right?" "Maybe I'm sick of the rules." - Wayne Rigsby and Grace van Pelt, The Mentalist

10. "Welcome to reality, superstar." "Well, I never did much like reality." - Rick Castle and Kate Beckett, Castle

11. "I hate that it's so hard, and that you can hurt me so much. I know everything that you did because you did it to me. Oh God, I wish that I wished you dead. I don't. I can't." - Buffy Summers and Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Posted by Kat at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)

Endnotes (4/13/10)

I started this Monday, forgot to post, added to it Tuesday, and forgot to post again last night. So I'm just putting it out there now so I can start a new Wednesday post.

Apparently Bones and a bunch of other FOX shows I don't care about are doing musical episodes. This confuses me because I thought Hart Hanson had said he'd never do a musical episode, but maybe I'm confusing him with a different showrunner. Hmm.

12 Best Adult TV Characters Seen as Kids The best, of course, inexcusably left out of this gallery (because she's British?) is Julia Joyce, who played young versions of Billie Piper characters at least three times (Doctor Who, Mansfield Park, The Ruby in the Smoke).

This TWoP piece on Gossip Girl plotlines to be revived or killed off is spot on.

Aaron Sorkin's Moneyball might finally be getting underway. And yes, this: "Michael Lewis’ fantastic book is full of tense, high-stakes scenes where characters spew jargon, and backstories and personal beefs often affect outcomes; if that’s not Sorkin’s wheelhouse, I don’t know what is."

Posted by Kat at 06:16 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2010

Song of the Day: "Maybe This Time"

In case you haven't noticed, I'm really excited about Glee tonight. :) So, for our song of the day - "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, as performed on Glee by Lea Michele and the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Glee Day!

Glee returns from hiatus tonight. The fans (including me) are pretty excited. To put it mildly. You should give it a try, unless you hate music and funny things. Then you might not like it, I suppose. To those who have asked whether it is basically a TV version of High School Musical - no. Not at all. I mean, they are both about high schoolers involved in music programs, but the similarity pretty much ends there. Glee is much funnier, and smarter, and more adult. And it takes itself a lot less seriously.

There were two lines in the midseason finale that really encapsulated the reasons why I love this show. The first occurred when one of the students (Finn) asked the teacher why he always had to be the one to step up to the plate. Mr. Schuester's response: "Because sometimes being special sucks." So often, adolescents who are talented in some way (be it academically, musically, athletically, whatever) are told how lucky they are, and how many opportunities they have, without any acknowledgment from adults that there are drawbacks to being the different one, the special one, and that it can be a burden as much as a gift. So Mr. Schue's blunt statement was refreshing, and the show deals with this dichotomy well in general.

At the competition that comprises the climax of the first half of the season, the glee club discovers that they need to change the songs in their program at the last minute. When asked if she has a solo ballad she could sing, one of the main characters, Rachel, immediately responds with "Well, I do have something I've been working on since I was four." And I had one of those instant flashes of recognition of a kindred soul, because don't we all have something like that? Or, as I said to my mother when I was trying to explain why she should watch the show, "Haven't you spent forty years just waiting for someone to come along and say 'Help! We need someone who can recite The Sound of Music in its entirety, right now!'?" This scene was perfect wish fulfillment, for a character who often has a hard time of things on the show.

And here's the song she'd been practicing since she was four:

Watch tonight. Really.

Posted by Kat at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2010

Song of the Day: "No Blue Sky"

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

On the other hand...

I stand by all my reasons for wanting an iPad. But today? The stupid things are causing so much trouble at work that at this rate, by the end of the day I won't actually want one anymore. (And the issue isn't iPads themselves, just work stuff involved with how we're dealing with them.)

At least I'd save myself some money...

Posted by Kat at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2010

Song of the Day: "Slow Ride"

Yes, it's in the promo for The Good Guys. But it just seems like a good lazy Saturday morning song as well.

Posted by Kat at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2010

Endnotes (4/9/10)

This list of 50 book people to follow on Twitter is decent, except for the inexplicable and unforgivable omissions of @maureenjohnson and @realjohngreen.

Violins (and other string instruments) get better the more you play them. For some reason, people often don't believe me when I say this, but it's really true. Anyway, someone has invented a doohickey to simulate this effect. The reactionary Luddite in me says that's cheating.

Here's an intriguing Gossip Girl spoiler for next season.

Posted by Kat at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

TV Couple Quiz, with a Prize!

NOTE: I forgot a really important one, so if there was no #11 when you looked, look again.

It's Friday. Let's play a little game! Here's how it works:

1. I'll give you a list of quotes that have to do with my favorite 'ships (couples on TV shows I want[ed] to get together). The order is random. There could be more than one from one show.
2. You see how many names and shows you can get. No Googling!
3. Leave a comment with your guesses. I'll screen the comments for a while so you won't be influenced by other people's answers.
4. Whoever gets the most answers correct gets to pick out a TV show I don't watch, and I'll give it a try (as long as it's available on Netflix/online/whatever).
Ready? Here we go!

1. "Better than kissing my dog."

2. "Are we done here?" "I'm almost certain we're not."

3. "No one writes songs about the ones that come easy."

4. "Get a soul." "Get a brain."

5. "All the girls think you look really hot in this shirt." "Gimme that."

6. "Cross away, for I have no problem with this, as you are my girlfriend and she is my sister." "Then why are you talking like Theodoric of York?"

7. "Eight letters. Three syllables. Say them and I'm yours."

8. "You unbelievable moron. You've known me for fifteen years. Flirt with me."

9. "Rules are rules, right?" "Maybe I'm sick of the rules."

10. "Welcome to reality, superstar." "Well, I never did much like reality."

11. "I hate that it's so hard, and that you can hurt me so much. I know everything that you did because you did it to me. Oh God, I wish that I wished you dead. I don't. I can't."

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (4)

Freaking out over Bones? (No spoilers here.)

OMG! Bones! No, I won't spoil it for you, but honestly - when a TV show hypes a "game-changing" episode, I generally don't expect it to be actually game-changing. This one was.

Dying for some scoop on what's going to happen? (These links may contain spoilers. I'm not even going to post the titles of the articles, for those of you who haven't watched yet.) Try here, or here. I'll add more later if I find more.

Posted by Kat at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2010

Endnotes (4/8/10)

World's largest DVR? Yes, please.

The Atlantic has the best post I've seen on the Qatari terrorist-who-wasn't.

Never mind the iPad. I want the Gemini. (h/t Yglesias)

In News That Baffles Me: The following people are all doing a movie together: Cory Monteith (Glee!). Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl!). Andie McDowell. Selena Gomez (one of those Disney girls?). Based on a YA novel? Filming in Budapest, among other places? Huh.

Posted by Kat at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

27 Words Per Second

A lot of my blogging these days is going on over at Good Guys Fans, and if you're interested in any of the following, I recommend checking it out: Bradley Whitford. Colin Hanks. Matt Nix. Jenny Wade. Diana Maria Riva. Burn Notice. Dallas. Comedy. Explosions. Hot men in suits. Quality television.

For those who have not been able to catch the promo they've been airing on FOX, I watched it approximately a million times and write about it in excruciating detail. Want 1200 words about a 45-second video? Sure you do.

Posted by Kat at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

The Anti-GVP Revolution

We know Ezra Klein always brings important things to our attention. Yesterday he took on the vital issue of the grilled vegetable plate. First, an important definition:

Let's get something straight: A vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat meat. It's not someone who loves vegetables. Or dislikes composed meals. Or thinks food doesn't benefit from seasoning, and saucing, and a variety of textures and grains and cooking methods.
This is, indeed, what all vegetarians fear when going to a new restaurant:
Actually, the kitchen was doing a grilled vegetable plate. He hoped that was alright. It wasn't. The grilled vegetable plate -- or the GVP -- is so lazy as to be legitimately offensive. That meal cost actual money. Was pasta really too difficult of a charge? A sandwich? Frittata? Stir fry? Gazpacho? Stew? Curries? Pizza? Salad? Bruschetta? Dumplings?
Read the whole thing, ending with his call to arms:
Vegetarians of the world need to stop accepting the GVP. It's an insult, both from the kitchen to the diner, and from the kitchen to itself. It's not that hard to cook without meat, and choosing to eat less meat shouldn't result in a form of culinary punishment for diners. We can do better. Change is possible. We are the ones we've been waiting for. So say it with me: "No. The grilled vegetable plate is not acceptable. Do you have pasta? Or pizza? Or salads? Or an employee trained in the art of putting different kinds of foods together on a plate in order to create a satisfying dining experience for customers? Because if not, my party and I will go elsewhere."
Come on, vegetarians! We can do it!

Posted by Kat at 07:44 AM | Comments (2)

Matthew Morrison slays me.

Hey, I found some posts I started before Texas and never posted! Huh.

This scene from the mid-season finale makes me laugh and cry all at once, no matter how many times I see it. And I know it's all about Lea Michele, and she's completely amazing, of course, but I am just astonished by how much acting Morrison can do while sitting at a piano alone, not saying anything:

And, oh, never mind. I had a video here but it's been removed from YouTube. Argh. I would recommend watching the full episode, "Sectionals," here.

As a friend says, his duet with Kristin Chenoweth just kills me dead, every time:

Less than a week until new Glee!

Posted by Kat at 06:12 AM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2010

Endnotes (4/7/10)

A few links on net neutrality:
The Net Neutrality Debate All on One Page
Everybody Calm Down About This Net Neutrality Thing
Thanks for the links, everyone!

I don't know if any of you are quite the exact brand of nerd to get as excited about this as I am, but Endeca is working on faceted search for the JFK archives. OMG. It's like they write these stories just for me.

Confederate History Month - to promote tourism? Really, Virginia? Really?

This is what passes for "details" on the super-secret Whedon(/Whitford/Jenkins/Acker) Cabin in the Woods project: There will be monsters. We think.

Ron Moore might be sort of vaguely interested in doing a Star Trek series. Please, God, no.

ABC is premiering some stuff this summer, if you care.

Oh, I actually care about this one: Showtime is picking up Shameless. John Wells! Emmy Rossum! William H. Macy! Allison Janney!

Posted by Kat at 10:52 PM | Comments (1)

Royal Coverage on GMA

Good Morning America just had a delightful little piece on Prince William and whether he's planning to marry Kate Middleton sometime soon. I have to say - I know all the Diana stuff, I assure you, but it was still a refreshing change of pace to glance up at my TV on a Wednesday morning and see that old familiar video of Charles and Di's wedding. I could get used to that. Also, GMA having a correspondent standing outside Buckingham Palace? Awesome.

If you're curious, no, there is no real news on William and Kate. He's going to fewer night clubs! There's a blank date on the royal calendar - could be an announcement! Even though they say it isn't! Yeah. The really funny part, though, was when GSteph asked Tina Brown whether the engagement rumors could be related to the rumors that the Queen was going to skip Prince Charles and have Prince William succeed her. Brown's response was basically "Have you never heard of the rules of succession, you American? That's just not done." Here's the video:

Of course, now they have Bristol Palin on, which I suppose is a different sort of royal coverage. I'll stick with William and Kate, thanks.

Posted by Kat at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

Net Neutrality Bleg

So, I know there was a big decision yesterday, and it's supposed to be . . . bad? For . . . us? The Internet? Everyone? Yeah, obviously I haven't been following this story the way I should But I'm sure some of you have! Can anyone point me to a good summary of the issue and recent developments? Thanks!

Posted by Kat at 07:30 AM | Comments (1)

April 06, 2010

Read This. Right Now.

Yes, I realize that I will not be the only one making that awful joke today.

Dave Weigel, who has been covering the conservative movement for The Washington Independent, has moved over to the Washington Post. And he has a new blog: Right Now. If you're in any way interested in politics, you should be reading him. He's pretty objective/balanced, his writing is solid, and he does a good job of actual contextual analysis of a subject that tends toward hysteria from either side. Read him!

Posted by Kat at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2010

So, that happened.

If you watched American Idol last Tuesday, or The Simpsons last night, you probably saw the first promo for The Good Guys. Lucky you. I didn't, and ended up going nuts trying to figure out a way to see it. I finally managed, with help from some lovely friends who happened to have it DVRed. So I watched it and then I wrote kind of a lot. What you need to know: Whitford. Hanks. Mustache.

Posted by Kat at 08:42 PM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2010

My new favorite song

This is actually really well done. I especially like the Robert Frost bit in the middle.

Posted by Kat at 07:33 AM | Comments (1)


In case you were wondering. Please do not try to fool me. Thank you.

Posted by Kat at 06:56 AM | Comments (1)

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