THINGS I LOVED / HATED THIS WEEK #93

LOVE:

Nativity!:

I have never been big into Christmas movies. I don’t know why, but when things like A Miracle on 34th Street or Elf comes on, I get annoyed and turn the channel. So, I’m not entirely sure how Nativity! found its way onto my Netflix queue. I have a vague recollection of some mention on my beloved Graham Norton Show, so perhaps that solves the mystery. Either way, I finally got around to watching it after the dawn of the new year, and I absolutely loved it. Not at first, though. I started it and found myself too distracted to pay attention, but when I put my work away, I found myself caught up in the story. It’s cheesy and it’s sappy and it’s silly, but that’s what I love. After all the movies I’ve seen, I’ve discovered that I like the fluff the best. This was fluff at its finest. Martin Freeman stars as an elementary school teacher who is put in charge of the annual nativity play. He is reluctant to do so, since he’s something of a whiny grump. When he meets up with his old friend and current enemy, who is a teacher at a rival school, he decides to lie and say that their old friend, who lives and works in Hollywood, is coming to film his show. He’s going to be famous. It’s a big fat lie, and it soon grows enormous. The children have their hopes up. The school is getting the attention it needs. Everybody is having a great time, so poor Martin has to keep up the lie, which only makes it bigger. The children actors are fabulous and the whole thing is such fun. I’m not going to give any of it away because it’s too charming. Get it at once, doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or the Fourth of July to enjoy it. I think I’ll probably find myself watching it every year!

Book of Mormon:

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My knowledge of musicals is pretty remarkable, but The Book of Mormon has mysteriously not been a part of my repertoire. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a Broadway play without already knowing the lyrics by heart. When I saw The Book of Mormon last week, I was happy to discover that prior knowledge was unnecessary. And I think it was probably for the best that I had no idea what I was getting into. Most everybody has seen the play it seems, and it earns all the rave reviews it garners. The plot revolves around a narcissistic Mormon missionary and his nerdy companion who jet off to Uganda to convert the people there. They are optimistic at first, but soon discover that the local people are set in their ways and are being terrorized by a warlord and their own misinformed scientific views. That’s a very sterile analysis of the plot, but it’s nonetheless true. When you add delightfully catchy music to it, the show becomes fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have been singing it nonstop now, too. There’s something oddly satisfying about belting out at the top of your lungs whist running on the treadmill, “I BELIEVE THAT THE GARDEN OF EDEN WAS IN JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI!” Get the cast recording, readers; go to the show! Enjoy the theater!

Free College:

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Even though he has not really been allowed to shine the way he should, I have nothing but praise for our president. If the warring factors in Washington would put aside their petty arguments and think of the nation for a teensy tiny bit, I think we could be in a remarkable place. Just look at what we have achieved under President Obama so far — we have the beginnings of a wonderful healthcare system and the economy is heading back in the right direction. We’re like Europe all of a sudden, and suddenly becoming more like them. The President recently announced an idea that I support with every fibre of my being. He proposes that the first two years of community college should be free for students who meet certain academic requirements. This is beyond fabulous. I did not attend college until this week because I was rebelling against the system. It didn’t do me any good, and it certainly didn’t change anything. I just never liked the idea of paying thousands of dollars to take a math class and hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a degree at a nice school. It doesn’t make sense to me and it never will. This new idea is fabulous. Kids can get a start in college now, if this is approved, without worrying about putting themselves and their family on the precipice of financial disaster. College needs to be a system for building optimism, not for drowning in debt. I applaud the president tremendously. Many people disagree, but they should just shut up. Yes, certain people qualify for scholarships that will pave their way, but many don’t. This is only furthering equality amongst the people in our nation. Everybody should have the same opportunities.

Jean Béraud:

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This week, I began an art appreciation class, and they already expect me to appreciate modern art. I can’t do it! How am I supposed to appreciate a bunch of colored boxes that allegedly show a representation of a cow? Or a bunch of actual garbage wrapped together with wire? Or a picture of a pipe drawn on money? I just can’t. My brain must not be aligned this way. I much prefer art that looks like something fantastic made by somebody who clearly has more talent than I can ever aspire to have, not a mass of scribbles. So, my artistic side is soothed when I discover new artists. By new, I mean dead, but still new to me. Jean Béraud is my latest find and I am obsessed. I normally prefer Impressionism, but this stunned me. Béraud painted Belle Époque Paris with such precision, feeling, and clarity, that you get the overwhelming sensation that you are there, walking down the Champs-Élysées and stopping before the Grand Palais, hunting down Karl Lagerfeld. In others, it looks just like you’re walking along the quays by the Seine. Perhaps it is just because I adore Paris more than any other place on Earth, but I think he’s absolutely sensational. Look through his paintings. I want to get a mantle and hang one of these masterpieces above it.

Facetune App:

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I don’t listen to people that complain about technology. Why do they think they’re morally superior to me for going off of Instagram for a month to “reconnect.” Please! That’s just something to say if you’re boring and have nothing interesting to share. I am sick to death of the assault on selfies, too. Why should people be ashamed of showing their face? There’s nothing wrong with thinking you look hella cute and posting it all over the place. You should never feel bad about having confidence. But, there are certain days when you aren’t feeling on fleek — I’m so young, listen to my language — and so I have discovered the most amazing app. It is called Facetune and it has absolutely changed my life. It’s like Photoshop for your face! You can easily smooth out your skin, get rid of little bumps and lumps, whiten your teeth and eyes, even bring out more details in your irises and hair. It is absolutely fabulous! Look at this heavily edited selfie!

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You can go overboard at first, but once you practice, you learn how to subtly enhance your natural beauty. Just don’t click the before button because you will discover that you’re actually a monster and not a supermodel of the world. I love it. I unashamedly use it. Buy it today, readers.

Airport Extreme:

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For the past few months, the Internet connection at my house has been getting worse and worse and worse and worse. It became a regular occurrence for the connection to be completely dropped. I relied on my cellphone for my connection to the world. This is not a problem, but I became dangerously close to using all of my data allotted for the month. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I didn’t want to go through the effort of switching providers…yet. It’s a matter of time, though. Instead, I bought a new router. A good and fancy one at the Apple Store. I was so pleased. It was very simple to install, and I soon had a new network connected with a name and password that I liked. Not the nonsensical one that came with the old router. It worked quickly at once and I was so pleased. Unfortunately, there were some issues after setting it up, but this was no trouble because the router actually tells you what to do to fix it! So, I solved that mystery without pulling out what’s left of my hair! Fabulous! Besides that, the machine is beautiful and connects to a hard drive for me to back up everything onto. All the devices that can be are Apple now and I could not be happier. My internet could be much faster, but I don’t blame anybody but my Internet Service Provider. Bless you, Apple.

“Charade”:

I am always amazed when I come across films that I surely should have known about. How did I not know of a thrilling romantic comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant set in Paris? I fixed this mistake the moment I learned about it and hurriedly put it to the top of my Netflix queue. I watched it last night as I was doing a bit of preparing for online courses I’m taking, but I soon found my eyes riveted to the screen. The writing was fabulous, the mystery was curious, the outfits were flawless. I have never been enamored of the 1960s, but I can see myself appreciating 1960s Paris. Paris is wonderful in any era. The film is about Audrey’s husband who was murdered because he was in possession of $250,000. This money was stolen from the United States government and they demanded its return. Unfortunately for Audrey, she is being spied upon by more and more thieves who will do anything to get the money. I refuse to tell you anymore about this forgotten gem, but you should immediately watch. I guess it is in the public domain, so it’s perfectly legal to download for free. You have no reason to miss it. I posted the whole thing for you. Just wait for the dramatic chase through the Métro! I was clutching my pearls. And the scene outside the Palais-Royal! I was clutching my cat to my bosom. The movie is divine!  I regret all the years I spent disdaining Audrey Hepburn. I wrongly assumed that all of her films were like that mess, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I am glad to have learned my lesson. And, are we sure that Cary Grant is not really a vampiric George Clooney? They’re twins.

Immersion Blender:

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For a good long time, I have wanted an immersion blender, but never bought myself one. Don’t know why. It’s just one of those things on my never ending shopping list. Happily, my sister bought me one for Christmas, and I finally had the chance to use it last night. I was procrastinating something fierce to avoid doing classwork, so I made bread, soup, baked a cake, went running, tidied the house, gilded the cake with 24-carat gold, and whipped up some lemon curd. I mean, I was productive, but I wasn’t exactly doing what I needed to be doing. Whatevs. Yolo and all. I was thrilled to try out the blender instead of digging out the antique one I usually have to use. I was mesmerized as it almost instantly pureed my lentil soup into the perfect consistency. I was honestly astonished and shouted, “HASHTAG BLESSED!” to my cat, who watched on, disinterested. You need this device in your kitchen, readers, today!

HATE:

Fashion Police Reboot:

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I’m not happy to admit this, since I was adamant that Kathy Griffin should replace the sadly departed Joan Rivers on Fashion Police. I stand beside this decision and support her, but perhaps the show should have passed away with Joan. It just doesn’t feel right. Kathy was funny and I laughed at her jokes and the insults she hurled, but the chemistry between the four of them put me off. Why is Brad Goreski there? I have nothing against him, I think I dressed up for him on Halloween years ago, but I don’t like him on the show. Where is George? The essence of the show was there, and it felt like the Fashion Police that I fell in love with, but with Joan gone there was no soul. The four of them weren’t really connected. There wasn’t raucous laughter. It was fine. But it wasn’t. It needs Joan. We all need Joan. I miss her.

Boring Illness:

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If I’m sick, I don’t want a boring malady, I want full blown ebola. Instead, I just have a cold. What glamor is there in a sniffle, achy body, and upset stomach? You don’t make national news for a cold, and you surely don’t get hopeful notes for your recovery in the mail. There’s no fun. And so, I’m not terribly happy. Every muscle and bone and hair on my body aches, but everybody is currently dying from the flu, so I’m far from unique. Instead, I just sit here, chugging green tea, and hoping for a nap. Le sigh…

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