I always knew Andy Dwyer was my Spirit Animal

I recently started a 6-week summer job, which means I’m back in my office for office hours. Those first office hours always seem to drag on, as most students don’t come to office hours the day after their first session and I have no papers to grade yet. So, what did I do to pass the time? In addition to some class planning and other busy work, I took this quiz, of course.

I answered truthfully instead of trying to manipulate the outcome (it’s so easy to get the result you want on these stupid quizzes), so the fact that I got Andy Dwyer means A LOT. What does it mean, exactly? It means that ANDY DWYER IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL.

I loved Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy, but Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer is still my favorite thing. I think it’s awesome that he has found such success as an action star–just like it’s amazing the success that Melissa McCarthy has found after “starting out” on GG–but goofy, good-natured, hopelessly helpless (most of the time) Andy is my favorite character.

PLUS, HE IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL. Here’s how I know, expressed in GIF form, of course.

When I’m running in a 1,000 degree heat for the half marathon my friend Cassie and I signed up to run in September: 


Why we decided to train for a race in the MIDDLE OF THE FREAKIN SUMMER, I will never know. Or, better yet, why the marathon people decided to hold a race that forces participants to train in the MIDDLE OF THE FREAKIN SUMMER.
In all honesty, my runs have actually been very frustrating lately. Like, discouraging to the point that I dread a run, which has never happened before. Sure, I’ve not wanted to run sometimes, but I’ve never dreaded it. The only way I was FINALLY able to run three miles yesterday without stopping was by watching “Parks & Rec” on TV. 

When I explain to anyone that will listen (because I talk a lot) why I’d never be able to do any of those crazy diets because I love cheese too much:


Seriously. I love cheese. And diets are stupid. (Tell that to Katherine who ate pizza twice on Saturday…#oops #noregrets)

Whenever I surprise someone with my intellect:


Whenever I try to do anything related to technology in anyway: 


Technological related things Rahul has had to help me with in the past: losing my entire iTunes library, not being able to figure out how to set up new pages on WordPress, signing up for HBOGo and then not being able to access it on my computer, getting locked out of my Verizon account, 1,000 other things I can’t think of right now…he’s very patient when it comes to me and my lack of technology knowledge.

Whenever I try to do things in general: 

anigif_enhanced-11666-1406775913-1OK, I’m maybe not THIS bad, but I have broken two wine glasses this year, a plate, spilled my water bottle in my bag and on student papers more times that I can count, broken a fourth of the blinds in my apartment (they’re really crappy blinds!), and other general problems.

When I realize how frustrated I am at my current lack of creativity:


This is actually a serious, legitimate one. I’ve been in a major creative rut lately. I can’t seem to land on a story idea that I like enough to keep writing. Also, all of my recent ideas have become too long, and I really, REALLY just want to write some short stories right now until I feel up to finishing my thesis project, which is a novel-length project. I feel like I used to have SO MANY story ideas and, lately, I’ve had nothing. It’s very frustrating and upsetting and makes me question my abilities as a writer. A lot of the stories I’ve started recently start to feel POINTLESS because I don’t know where they’re going or what to do with them. Plus, all of my plot lines become too serious and too bizarre, and I just want simple storytelling. I loved the first season of the TV show “Broadchurch” (seriously, go watch it now if you haven’t) for many reasons, but one of the main reasons I loved it was because of the last episode. The whole season centers around a young boy’s death in a really small town, where everyone knows everyone. Thus, the idea of a killer among them was hard for the townspeople to grasp. Instead of the show leading up to a serial killer or killing someone to cover up a secret (kind of like in “The Killing”), the death was caused by pure human error. It was caused by a character who was experiencing something he didn’t fully understand, which caused him to do something he never expected to do. I’m speaking cryptically because I don’t want to give anything away, but I LOVED this about the show. Even though the mysteriousness of his death kept me watching, I loved (I can’t stop saying that word) that his death was caused by humanity, in a sense. So, all of that to say, I’m trying to find a way to do that in my writing, and it’s hard. And it makes me feel like the above gif. Sigh.

Whenever I try to explain science-related things:

anigif_enhanced-21527-1406774805-3 (2)Also, on a related note, I love snacks. Written while I shovel popcorn into my mouth. I LOVE this popcorn but I can’t find it in my grocery store anymore, but their website says it should be in stock there…LIES!

Whenever I miss Bella and try to convince Rahul we need a cat:

Plo5yPpBecause cats are the best…

Whenever I’m at the grocery store and I forget the difference between 1% milk and skim (read: every time):


Whenever I drive in D.C. and get upset at the terrible, mean, type-A drivers who clearly all have more important places to be than anyone else on the road and I consider throwing my  car into the Potomac (because I have superpowers like that):


Whenever I accidentally find myself in a conversation about politics or anything government related: 


Lastly, whenever I’m freaking out about my medical complications, which happened a lot this past year. 

I used the phrase “they took my blood away for science” WAY too many times. But hey, it kept me laughing during my super anxious moments, as did this!

Source for above GIFs: NBC via Imgur & Buzzfeed.




Conflicted over Interstellar

Rahul and I have been making pretty good use of our weekends since he’s been here. We’ve been to housewarming parties, been to comedy shows, been ice skating, been lazy, and (been to) saw Interstellar last weekend.
I had to keep the “been” thing going.

Interstellar is one of those movies that has been on everyone’s radar for months, because, you know, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN. Oh, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN makes the best movies. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN can produce trailers to movies that make no f**king sense yet we all go to the movies anyway. Oh, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN can turn us all into mindless humans willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money to see his movies in IMAX.
And what is IMAX? Please, someone, answer this question for me. 

Okay, let me back up, because this post is not a rant about Christopher Nolan. Rahul and I were definitely two of those eager movie goers, because the previews looked awesome and because Inception. So, previous track record in support, we went to the movies expecting a show.

And got one, we did. But here’s the rub: I still have no idea how I feel about the movie, almost a week later.

3ZH4ZZ8Also, you should stop reading here if you are not a fan of SPOILERS.

When I say no idea, I mean I’m conflicted as hell. Immediately after the movie, I was laughing at some of the latter scenes (the library thing? Come on) and disappointed in the “love” theme that was supposed to carry a huge portion of the movie.
I’ll say now that I was NOT gunning for Anne Hathaway’s demise, like Rahul was. 

I was also disappointed at how nicely everything wrapped up in the end, even if it was sad that Murph had aged and Cooper had not. But, seriously, they might as well have packaged the whole movie in a box and wrapped it with a big, shiny bow, because that’s how the ending felt.

At the same time, I was also fascinated by the set-up, specifically the “changed the textbooks to reflect the truth” thing. I was loving Cooper and Murph’s relationship and the whole family thing. (Better love than Amelia’s mystery man that we NEVER see). I was enthralled as the space adventure begin and saddened (or, as one of my student said, “struck in the feels”) when Miller’s wave planet lost them 23 years on Earth in a matter of about 2 hours.

And then Matt Damon happened.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t it exactly, but it was like the movie LOST IT! The best way I could phrase it immediately post-movie was “it was trying to be too many things at once.” But seriously. A space movie, a romance, an end of the world movie, a funny movie (I did like the robots), etc etc. I lost track! And I get it now, with the movie starting with a view of the bookshelf, but I CAN NOT GET OVER HOW CHEESY THAT PART OF THE MOVIE IS! It just didn’t work for me. I’m all on board with the 23 years passing, I’m sad, I want to get back to my family, etc. But looking through the bookshelf in some other dimension? I just wasn’t feeling it. Honestly, I would have been happy if his character had died–which Rahul tells me is silly to wish because it’s a Blockbuster. But happy endings, much, Nolan? Sheesh.

After the movie, I read a couple of reviews and articles to feel better about the fact that I didn’t absolutely love a movie that everyone else (at least now) is claiming to love. It’s much easier for Rahul, he just decides and that’s that. But, knowing that this was a Nolan movie and supposedly AMAZING and BEST MOVIE EVER and ETC GOOD THINGS ETC, I felt compelled to find reviews that were as conflicted about the movie as I was. My favorite? The one that called Nolan out on his inability to create strong female characters who aren’t  bound in some way by the men in their lives. The author is spot on when she points out that Amelia, while being the only female astronaut on the mission, is “literally only on the spaceship so that she can go see her boyfriend and have babies.” She tries to derail the mission for her own personal means, looooove. Even Murph in this movie is defined by the “loss” of her father and her conflicted relationship with her brother.

After discussing it with Rahul, reading/watching stuff online, discussing it with my students, and thinking about it in my spare time (read: long drives to work), I still don’t know how I feel about it. It’s one of the movies I want to like but I just don’t know if I do, or if I can.

If you’ve also seen it and have similar thoughts, please share. I’d love to hear what others are thinking.

Why Everyone Should Love the Oscars

Academy Awards on display at WB Studios, 2005

Last night marked an event way better than the Superbowl or any of those other big events that take place at night: the 84th Academy Awards.

I love the Academy Awards. I love the Golden Globes. I love the movies and the TV shows and the everything else when it comes to Hollywood. Granted, I still haven’t seen a lot of movies that are must-sees (and I’m watching Father of the Bride II on my now working Roku box while writing this, a movie I have seen 1,000 times), but I have a freakish capability when it comes to connecting movie actors to other movie actors and what movies/TV shows they have been in. Really, it’s frightening, and almost obsessive. If I could free up that brain space, I would probably be way smart. But, in a way, I like knowing all that stuff, even it does nothing to help me in my graduate school career.

High school performance of Crimes of the Heart. I was Lenny, played by Diane Keaton (who reminds me of my mom) in the movie version. Oh, and clearly we are not in costume in this picture.

Occasionally I’m overtaken by a spontaneous desperation to be a movie star and wish that I could move to Hollywood or NYC and make it big. Which I could probably do (the moving part, I mean), but I don’t think I have the heart to transition my focus completely from writing to acting and would never make it (yeah, that’s the biggest issue here with this plan). But, my middle and high school life was marked by the plays I was in every year, starting as an Indian in Peter Pan in 6th grade and ending with a 1-act play a friend of mine directed my freshman year in undergrad where I had to (somewhat awkwardly) kiss someone on stage. I don’t blame that kiss or anything for ending my theater life. I just simply grew too busy and by the time I refocused after an insane freshman spring semester, I was moving steadily down the writing path instead of splitting my time between both.

"Ah, Wilderness" my senior year. I had four children. My dad was also in this play with me, but my favorite performances with him were Hello, Dolly and My Fair Lady. It's an interesting experience to help your dad put on eyeliner.

But, that never changed my affinity for Hollywood and everything related to it. And, because of that, I love watching the Oscars and seeing the very best that Hollywood has to offer that year. Sure, sometimes random people get nominated (I was thrilled Melissa McCarthy was nominated, forever Sookie in my mind, but I never would have called that), but for the most part it’s a glittering, fascinating, awe-inspiring show that leaves you with a greater faith in the movie industry than existed before the award ceremony began. Seriously! If you’ve ever watched it, you know how inspiring those speeches about the magic of the movie industry can be—especially when it’s coming from someone who has been in it for a long time, like precious Christopher Plummer talking to his Academy Award as if it was a she. Or even the mini blurbs from well-known actors about their first movie experience, or the experience of performing in a movie.

The costume they tried to make me wear in My Fair Lady. Um, NO.

So that’s why everyone should love the Oscars, no matter what you think about the movie industry or your opinion over the movies nominated, or the actors that win. Even though this year The Help was a big controversy among social groups, I still champion the movie (and the book), not just because one of my old theater directors appears in the movie—she’s the woman reading the book in the grocery store scene—but because I think it’s an inspiring story and was extremely well-acted. You can fight me on that all day long, but I won’t budge.

But, I’m getting sidetracked. Have I not convinced you why you should love the Oscars? Other reasons:

  • Octavia Spencer’s acceptance speech.
  • The star-studded crowd. But Angelina?? Come on, put that leg away.
  • The show’s host. Anne Hathaway and James Franco are not good examples of this, beyond the opening spoof they had put together prior. But Billy Crystal—yep, he will do.
  • Emma Stone = girl crush. Enough said.
  • Reactions to the announcement of winners.
  • Reactions to other things. This calls for a game of “Who’s the Most Bored in the Audience?”
  • Speaking of boredom—Stacy Keibler’s face during the Cirque du Soleil performance. She’s crazy, because that performance was freaking amazing. And a major testament to the magic of movies. Think Annie! Seriously.
  •  The montage of great movies over the year and the montage of the year’s nominated movies.
  • Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech, even though I was totally rooting for Viola Davis to win. And, Jean Dujardin’s acceptance speech, even though I was rooting for George Clooney.
  • Even though the show is pitting actors against each other, everyone seems to put aside their disappointment over not winning for the night and just enjoy that they’re there. Plus, I have to imagine just getting nominated is baller—this is something I would known by now if I had moved to Hollywood and made it big. Plus plus, the Hollywood community is a community like any other, the Academy Awards providing a chance to catch up with old friends/fellow actors. For some reason, this fascinates me—as if actors/actresses are a breed all to their own. Which, some might say, they are.

The "Friends" coffee shop! Not the movies, but close! I have a lot of other pictures from WB Studios (like the Ghostbusters steps!), but they're not as clear.

Finally, the biggest reason I love watching the Oscars: the ballot Rahul and I create beforehand and keep a tally of while watching the show. I’ve beat him two years in a row (NBD) but, really, the best part about it is that he wants to watch it with me in the first place. He makes me laugh during the show, lets me get competitive about who’s winning, and appreciates my star-struckness and obsessive need for Hollywood knowledge. For that, I’ll watch any sports shindig big event hooplah he wants me to.

Oh, and before I forget, I was actually impressed by Justin Bieber in Billy’s opening spoof. Not a lot. But enough. More than I was by Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez. Come on ladies. What happened to letting Nicolas Cage present an award??

Just in case you missed the Oscars, find the winners here.

I ♥ Sophia Grace

So I just found the Sophia Grace videos on Youtube for the first time and I have to say, I love that little singing girl. Not only is she a badass singer, but she wears a princess costume every time and owns it. She has also revitalized my interest in Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” and I would sooner watch Sophia’s version than Nicki’s video.

What I wanted to write on, though, was Sophia Grace getting to meet Nicki Minaj on “The Ellen Show.” I love when things like this happen on talk shows, and I don’t even watch talk shows. I’m more interested in the stories of people like Sophia Grace than I usually am of celebrities, especially when it’s Tom-Cruise-jumping-on-Oprah’s-couch comparable. I mean give me a break.

That’s why I’m totally in love with the moment when Sophia Grace realizes she’s about to meet Nicki Minaj—so many emotions cross that little girl’s face in less than five seconds and the best thing about them is that they are raw emotions. She’s not afraid to essentially freak out, scream, and jump on Nicki Minaj to give her a hug. Essentially, she’s not afraid to just be and display what she’s actually thinking, instead of remaining contained in the risk of losing face or embarrassing herself. And that’s the great thing about children—up until a certain age, they’re not afraid to show what they’re really thinking or wanting because they don’t know any different. I guess you could say that in some cases, this could be annoying, like maybe if a kid wants to beg for a snack all the time because they don’t any better but, I would argue that most of the time when this true emotion happens, it’s completely wonderful.

If you haven’t seen the moment on “The Ellen Show,” watch here. It will definitely brighten your day.