Monday Musings: On productivity and defining our times.

Happy Monday to you.

For some reason, I was incredibly productive this weekend. That’s highly out of character. In two days, I wrote, at least partially, eight blog posts, cooked four new recipes to share with you on Culinary Cousins, caught up with family, socialized, finished reading the book before book club, bonded with Oliver. While I am usually a marathon weekend sleeper, my eyes popped open by 9:30 a.m. every morning, and I fidgeted if I sat down. It was weird, but I feel very accomplished. And like it’s been 17 years since Friday. That’s how a weekend should be, I suppose.

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I’ve been reading all the comments Mad Men has been getting this season. To sum it up, y’all are mad. I’ve always recognized that MM is a slow burn, building from the beginning of the season into some explosive, cathartic storylines near the end. So, I’m being patient. But the crux is that everyone’s tired of Don being his brooding, depressed, drunk, womanizing self. They want some character development. While I see their point, that got me thinking in another direction. Continue reading

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Monday Musings: On childhood, book movies and gelato.

Happy Monday to you. I’m back with more random, wacky things on my mind.purple_flowers

Finally (finally!), spring weather seems to be breaking through. This weekend down south was only slightly cool but gloriously clear and sunny, which does loads for my mental and physical health. Don’t mind me while I go roll in the warm grass like Oliver does, reveling in spring. I just wish we didn’t go straight from freezing to sweating this year.

I finished reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth, this weekend. Have you had the pleasure? It’s great. Really creative and suspenseful, and I highly recommend it. It’s of the same genre and post-apocalyptic undertones as the Hunger Games series. And therein, I guess, lies the scary part. These books are for young adults — meaning pre-teens and teenagers, right?. Books about killing and war and sex, even. Hey, when I was 15 I was reading questionable things too. But more like romance smut from the vaults of Danielle Steele and Judith McNaught. Not dark, violent books about evil people who want to take over the world. I’m just sayin’.

Speaking of books, it’s starting to bother me when a popular book that everyone’s read becomes a movie. Think Gone Girl or Fifty Shades of Grey. It seems a waste to recreate a story that everyone already knows. To me, it destroys the magic, replacing all of the imaginative visions I created with Hollywood’s interpretation. And it becomes so much more about who’s going to be cast than about the words or the work. I prefer when an obscure book becomes a movie — think Perks of Being a Wallflower and Silver Linings Playbook. Then I can read the book to fill in details. But I suppose my definitions of “popular” or “obscure” are relative.

Mad Men season 6 premiered last night. I’ll tell you how it’s gone for me by the time you’re reading this. I watched it live, but also recorded on my DVR. I will spend all day today reading through the TV writers’ and fellow viewers’ analyses. Then I will watch the whole thing again tonight or later this week with fresh eyes. Because it’s visual literature, remember? I know, obsessed.

Have you tried Talenti gelato? You can probably find it in your supermarket. All I have to say is this. Salted Caramel gelato with chocolate-caramel truffles mixed in. I have no other words.

Have a good week, all.

Monday Musings: On burgers, hotel beds and backlash.

Good Monday to you. Here are some of the random, wacky things on my mind this week:

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I don’t know if you heard, but I’m trying to be a vegetarian. Except for the cheeseburger I ate this weekend in NYC at Shake Shack. Or the brisket and sausage at Hill Country. But now, back on the horse.

I love hotels. There’s something icky about them, especially if you really think about it: all those people in and out of the same rooms night after night, how quickly you can really sanitize a bathroom or “clean” a carpet. But I relish a nice, upscale hotel experience. For one, I sleep better. I find the orderliness and luxury of the room relaxing, the beds warm, soft and comforting, and when you have few personal effects to distract you, that’s all there is to do: watch TV, read a book, sleep. And then there’s room service. Bliss.

Have you all been following the flack about Anne Hathaway following the Oscars last week? I didn’t realize so many people are annoyed by her. However, she’s always been on my list of actresses I irrationally hate. None of them have ever done anything to me, and I actually think some been amazing and charismatic in certain roles. I loved Anne in Les Mis, Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain AND Bridget Jones, January Jones in Mad Men. But then there’s Scarlett Johansson. Gwyneth Paltrow. Taylor Swift sort of counts, and Kate Hudson and Katie Holmes are dangerously close to being officially included. Who might be on your list?

Who designs most women’s pants? What’s with the weird placement of pockets that make our hips look bigger?

Speaking of Mad Men, I heard a rumor that it returns to us in April. You have no idea how happy that makes me. No idea.

Have a good week, all.

It happens tomorrow.

It’s been 17 months in the making, but Mad Men’s back in less than 30 hours!

Even though I try to keep my obsessions in check, I just can’t suppress my glee on this one.

I knew it had been awhile since the last new episode aired, but the repeated seasons on Sunday mornings have been tiding me over. So I was shocked when I saw that the last Mad Men season finale aired in October 2010.

October. 2010.

Think about how much has happened since then in real life — a whole calendar year, no less.
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Obsession depression.

I had to go home last night and watch the Mad Men finale one last time. I might just cry myself to sleep every night this week, now that it’s over. Whatever will I obsess about now?

Okay, I’m sure I’ll find something…

Here’s the thing about Mad Men. I couldn’t stand English class in grade school, even though I loved to read and write. It was utterly boring and seemingly unnecessary to break apart “Of Mice and Men,” “Huckleberry Finn” or “A Tale of Two Cities.” Surely the authors didn’t intend all that irony, foreshadowing, symbolism, characterization we had to discuss for hours. I mean, can’t we just enjoy the story? Keep reading »

Student of history.

I was a history major for half a second in college, in between business and journalism. Like any college student trying to figure it all out, I was drawn to what I enjoyed more than what I could make a career of. Then my dad asked what I was actually planning to do with a history degree, and pragmatism won out. To finish the history program, I would have had to take the seminar class, where I’d write a (90-page?) thesis on some topic of history throughout time. I’m pretty disappointed that I never made it that far, since I do enjoy writing a good, long research paper.

Warped, I know.

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She’s an astronaut.

I don’t plan to make a habit of recapping every Mad Men episode, since I realize not many of you (none?) share my obsession. But here are just a few observations from this week:

  • I’m not even going to address the Miss-Blankenship-drops-dead-at-her-desk gag.
  • Although I did enjoy the, “It starts with an L.”-“The hell it does.” exchange.
  • How many red dresses does Joan own??
  • I think I hate Dr. Faye.
  • What the heck did Abe’s manifesto say? Did I miss that?
  • I will share a cherry cheesecake with Roger anytime.
  • My bet’s on Megan as Mrs. Draper #2. (Or is it technically #3?)

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Maybe we rushed into this.

Oh, Betty Draper, I do love thee. I know that’s not a popular opinion, but I just do. And I enjoy the episodes of Mad Men more when she’s in them … maybe I identify with icy, detached, petulant ennui.

(Kidding. I think.)

I also truly enjoy January Jones as Betty Draper. Despite her disastrous turn on SNL, I think she’s brilliant in her portrayal of the ’60s desperate housewife. She’s trapped in the social norms of one decade as the world is moving through drastic societal change in the next. In one of his interviews (or maybe it’s on the DVD commentary), Matthew Weiner said she gave a mesmerizing audition and that she brought the childlike characteristics to Betty; he didn’t write her that way. So I feel for JJ when everyone attacks her ability.

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It’s about that time.

This has always been my favorite time of year. The hot summer is fading into fall … but most importantly, it’s Fall TV Premiere season!

I’m such a nerd that I usually print out the fall schedule calendar, buy the TV Guide preview edition, read up on all the new shows, then dutifully program my DVR. I revel in it.

(I don’t yet recall all the stress the DVR causes me later as it inches toward 100% capacity.)

Keep reading »