Tag Archives: pop culture

Pop Culture Taught Me : Meaningful Mornings

I know that I can talk about the ongoing love affair that I have with my coffeemaker pretty constantly–

(we're thinking a June wedding)

–but until I actually get coffee into my system, no talking usually occurs. You see, I’m not exactly a morning person, and by “not exactly” I mean that I walk around in a zombie-like state for a long time and every day I bless my parents for having to grow up with the grumpiest crankiest child for 18 straight years of mornings.

However, television makes me feel even worse about this.

On every show that seems to have any little trace of family values, the morning is used as a normal, productive time. Television show characters all sit around the breakfast table and drink neon-orange juice out of spotless glasses, Dad reads the paper with his coffee mug in one hand and Mom asks the kids about their upcoming school days. IS THIS REAL LIFE?!

I’m not saying that my family didn’t communicate and love each other, but it certainly wasn’t as put-together and picturesque. I mean, everyone in tv shows is dressed and ready and super-awake when the sun comes up. Full House was always a party in the AM. Leave It To Beaver constructed major plot points before 7 o’clock. Heck, even the drama of The OC had happy times with bagels!

Some shows have countered this with a little more truth. Modern Family probably gets the most realistic, everyone-on-their-phones approach,

and, of course, Arrested Development will ALWAYS take the cake in my book,

but even so, I still feel like every morning is supposed to be shiny and Brady-Bunch-happy-go-lucky!

This is probably not ever going to be reality–

–but give me a breakfast taco and some caffeine and I’ll do my best to add my own laugh track. Or, at the very least, a coherent sentence once in a while before I rush out of the door to bigger and better things: like, say, lunchtime.

Photo credit (1,2,3)
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May The Odds Be Ever In Your Trailer

I was going to write something much more philosophical today, but I can’t think of much else except that THE HUNGER GAMES OFFICIAL TRAILER HAS BEEN RELEASED!!!

Observe:

First things first, if you haven’t read the books, you should. They are amazing and totally NOT an over-hyped teen book sensation that goes off the deep end towards the finale (I’m looking at you, Twilight). They’re dark, fast-paced, and suspenseful and you can finish them in like a week! What’s not to love?

Secondly, seeing this trailer lets me breathe a sigh of relief. You see, in my pop-culture-obsessed-heart, I have been let down by so many book-to-movie adaptations before. The characters become too literal, the scenes don’t match up like they should and the casting is more Hollywood-focused than actually using great talent that fits. But this one really looks just like I imagined that it should- everything from the muted colors of the districts to the over-colored city life in the Capitol, all with that end-of-the-world urgency and sweeping music to tie it all together. AHH! Could we have another masterful book-to-script-to-screen masterpiece like the holy duo of Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter on our hands?! DO I DARE COMPARE?!! DO I NEED TO GET A LIFE BESIDES WATCHING FILMS AND MAKING ANALOGIES ABOUT THEM? (Probs.)

I’m really hoping that The Hunger Games trailer doesn’t just pull a bait-and-switch and cause the happiest overflowing joy in my soul, only for the movie to lack actual delivery (I’m looking at you, Across The Universe*), but I’ll keep crossing my fingers. I also might start a countdown until the movie comes out on March 23rd. I also might pretend I’m Katniss Everdeen every time I’m in a forest-y area now and that I’m training for the Games.

Judge me, internet.

(*This trailer gave me goosebumps and made me tear up for months. The movie was alright, but the plot just sorta hung there with nothing super interesting. The soundtrack/songs were really the best part. But seriously, whoever edited this trailer should be given an Oscar. Or just a big Beatle-y hug from me.)

The World Is A Golden Girl

I judge people based on which Golden Girl they most closely resemble.

(i'm a dorothy, obv)

Ever since I decided owning TGG (oh yes, it has its own abbreviation in my house) on DVD was a good idea, it’s been so apparent. You see, I have this little routine where I watch at least one episode before I go to sleep every night. It’s lighthearted and fun and features four strong women with bold fashion choices, so naturally it is a great pseudo-lullaby or bedtime story.

But the problem is, now I’m fully invested and think about the Golden Girls far too often. I mean, with some tv shows, the writers present a lot of material to chew on. With a program that’s a sci-fi gem like Battlestar Galactica, you can delve into the storylines and arcs and look for symbolism and references. With a comedy like Community, you can wonder about the will-they-or-won’t-they chemistry between Jeff and Annie. With The Golden Girls, all that you can speculate on is what flavor of cheesecake they are going to eat in the next episode.

So, while it’s not exactly edge-of-your-seat-tv, I find myself thinking about it long after I’ve stopped watching, and then applying Golden traits to those around me, for better or worse.

  • I’ll hear someone telling a long story with no end in sight and I’ll think, “that’s so Rose Nylund of them!”

  • I wait for old women to mention how their life was better back in Sicily like Sofia.

  • Those girls I see that are always updating their statuses on Facebook with love song lyrics and tweeting about boy problems? Total Blanche move.

  • If I make a good sarcastic comment, I’ll feel myself channeling Dorothy. I can’t help it!

And because I’m a Dorothy (based on my low voice, short temper fuse and adoration for puns), there might be times where I’m annoyed with Roses around me, roll my eyes at those Blanches and cottle the Sophias that I know, but when it all comes down to it, at the end of the day, we all live in the same house and we all eat cheesecake together to solve our problems. See?! It works! I think that sentence may provide the answer to world peace. Let’s all just be active retired females and get along! You’re welcome, world. Thank you for being a friend.

(Photo Credit: here and here)

Good Days Call For Happy Songs!

You ever have one of those days where it is just almost too perfect that you just feel the need to break out into song?

I have had a few of these days in my short 21 years and they always take me by surprise.

You see, today was one of those days, but I didn’t see it coming at all. I didn’t get enough sleep, I woke to a needy kitten meowing at 6 am for food (he’s cute in pictures, but oh-so-demanding) and I had a full day ahead of me school-wise. But today actually was that day. Today my caffeine level was exactly on point, I actually played a sweet little solo in guitar class, engaged in discussion in my biology class, shot a easy and relatable story for my TV News class and got the email that I’m officially approved to graduate this semester! Not to mention I made a killer sandwich for lunch, high-fived quite a few people, wore my favorite sunglasses, and came home to one of my oldest friends, Emily, in town for a little surprise visit in my living room! The combination of all this simply made me feel incredible. Seriously, I feel like I could do a backflip off the Eiffel Tower!

(please note how excited Arlo is to be in Paris with me)

(don’t worry, Mom, I’m not going to actually try)

The only thing that could make today better? A soundtrack, of course! And so, in case of great-day emergencies, I present you with my list of:

EMERGENCY OH-SO-GOOD CELEBRATION SONGS!

If I was going to break out into song today, it would have been one of these tasty tunes!

Need to celebrate at this very minute? Need an instant pick-me-up? Play these! It’s good to have a list of happy tunes ready at all times in case of the sudden need to party in honor of wonderful things!

6. How You Like Me Now? – The Heavy (I totally feel like I could dodge a bullet to this song. It’s that empowering!)
5. Crazy In Love – Beyonce with Jay-Z (If you know me at all, you know I love B. She could sing the phone book and I would pay money to see it and dance, yell, and cry during her performance. This happens to be my all-time favorite Beyonce song and I can’t NOT dance when I hear it- although Countdown is becoming a close second!)

4. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates (It’s mentionable because it’s so unashamedly HAPPY! And because even if you weren’t a major H&O enthusiast prior to seeing (500) Days Of Summer, this scene should have made that change instantly!)

3. Twist & Shout – The Beatles (Yes. Just one big yes. When it’s a song this good, it will never go out of style. This song can make everyone from your 15 year-old cousin who is going through a teenage angst phase to your 88 year-old grandma who has had hip replacement surgery get down and shake it to the beat. Plus, Ferris did it, what better reason could there be?!)

2. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen (This one really shouldn’t need any explanation besides the lyrics. I mean, he’s literally going to explode at the 1:48 mark! Freddie Mercury, you will always be a shooting star leaping through the skies like a tiger defying the laws of gravity in my heart. I will never stop you.)

1. September – Earth, Wind & Fire

(It’s so important that yes, I’m posting the video for the second time. A lot of songs could have been Number 1, in fact, I hate countdowns, but if you cornered me and asked point blank what my favorite song in the entire universe is, 9 times out of 10 it would be September. The joy I feel when I hear this song is unparalleled. I think this is what heaven’s gonna sound like, only ten times louder. I can’t stay still when it starts! Play on, EW&F, play on!)

Honorary Mentions: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson (a fantastic sing along and bonus points for Motown goodness!) and Any Way You Want It by Journey (classic!)

Now, get out there and be happy!

And of course, I’m always open to suggestions. What songs do you use when you need an instant declaration of happiness?!

Don’t Blame It All On Zooey Deschanel

I don’t want to blame Zooey Deschanel, honestly.

I love the girl. I love her style, I love her singing so dearly, I love that she was in Almost Famous (one of my favorite movies of all time) and for a while I was bonafied obsessed with her bangs.

However, I have to say something. Zooey Deschanel has given a dangerous example to follow.

Enter: the quirky girl.

(or as I like to put it: JUST BE WEIRD AND THE BOYS WILL BE LININ’ UP FOR YA!!!!!)

I guess we can blame Hollywood moreso and the fact that several scripts in the past ten years have crafted female lead characters who are quirkier than an antique store. Cleverly called Manic Pixie Dream Girls, or MPDGs, these ladies often are so overexaggerated to the point of annoyance. I will quote film critic Nathan Rabin-

” An MPDG is “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures’.”

Sound familiar? Furthermore-

“MPDGs are usually static characters who have eccentric personality quirks and are unabashedly girlish.”

Famous examples include: Annie Hall, Summer Finn in (500) Days Of Summer, Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown, Sam in Garden State, Sophie Fisher in Music and Lyrics and (my beloved) Penny Lane in Almost Famous.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I am a fan of Zooey, was entertained by Natalie Portman in Garden State, love Annie Hall so so much, consider Almost Famous one of the greatest movies ever made, get told my parents and nearly everyone I know that I am Sophie Fisher and still identify heavily, I mean, HEAVILY with Claire Colburn from Elizabethtown.

(Sidenote on ETown: Yes, I know it’s not everyone’s movie. But it’s my movie and I am emotionally attached!!!! And yes, it’s a little sad to identify with a character so much and tell other people. But I trust you, internet. I’m being truthful, don’t judge me. I’m a Claire! Always have been! And Elizabethtown is a masterpiece! I will forever be defending it. But that’s another conversation, moving on-)

Ahem.

All this to say that somewhere in the past ten years, girls like myself were taught that there is a certain cuteness in toeing the ‘weird’ line. Having strange obsessions and different music tastes  has always been interesting to a certain extent but it has been dialed up to where “awww, her vintage spoon collection is so adorable!” and “she has the whole weather girls discography on vinyl?” is not so far off from admirable. I’m not saying these things are wrong at all, but I’m just saying that sometimes weird quirks are just that….WEIRD! And there’s not anything wrong with that! It’s okay to be a little strange!

I don’t by any means think that every single thing I do is supposed to be cute, quirky or not, but I feel like certain movies lead us to believe that there are certain girls whose very sweat is adorable. Me blowing my nose? Not exactly precious. The fact that I seem to always finish my food first? No one’s lining up for that. How my first crushes were Han Solo and Marty McFly? Uhh, yeah.

So while I’ll continue to be sucked into films with women who have a boatload of little quirks, I aim to remember that not telling everyone every detail within the first ten seconds of meeting them is okay. Leave a little mystery. Have your quirks, but don’t assume they are all downright attractive! And most importantly – don’t aim to be quirky for quirks’ sake! Love what you love and if it’s a little weird, don’t worry. I assure you that everyone else is as well.

Oh and one last “toeing-the-cute-line” quirk – The way I listen to Lord Of The Rings audiobooks often and cannot talk about Middle Earth in a serious manner without nearly tearing up because I am so attached to Tolkien’s masterpiece and furthermore, Peter Jackson’s magnificent film adaptations and even furthermore, cannot hardly WAIT for the new Hobbit films to be released and will see them twice in theaters, both in 3D and regular and compare them? Well, if you think that’s cute – PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL ME, BY ALL MEANS.*

*We’ll ride off into the Rivendell sunset on Shadowfax together.

My Two Cents on The Big C

Kevin posted something a lot like this entry HERE, and I actually have him to thank for even getting me on my Springsteen kick, PLUS, his post is a lot more put together and lovely, so I suggest reading it instead, ha, but I have had this post sitting in my drafts for too long and needed to hit publish! SO, onward-

I know this is late and lame, but I have to say a little something.

I’m not a seasoned rock and roll music critic and there are plenty of people that know more about Bruce Springsteen than I. However, Clarence Clemons was my favorite member of the E Street Band and I got to see him twice live on two different tours.

Put simply, the man was amazing. My concertmates and I were on the front row both times, but it was clear that from any place in the arena, you could just feel the energy from this enormous man; all his laughs and smiles and dances were such a joy. He wailed that saxophone almost like it was a weapon, and his parts of the song were always electric. He just had this fire, ya know?! We cupped our fingers and held up C’s with our hands through Born to Run and Livin’ In The Future and Badlands and most of all, JUNGLELAND (!) and he saw them and let out this enormous grin and I couldn’t help but grin as well. It was infectious. He loved what he did, he loved making music, and for those two nights, we got to send him a little love back.

He and Bruce were in sync at those two shows, which are only, of course, two tiny snapshots of forty or so years of friendship, playing in a band, surviving a band breakup and coming back to tour- all to make great music together. This band’s ‘legacy’ or whatever you want to call it is so much bigger than me, bigger than a fanbase, bigger than a few (great) records. I don’t know any of my favorite musicians personally, but if I had the right stationery to send to the Big Man, (and his address in Saxophone Heaven) I’d have to pen a thank you for the music that provided the soundtrack to me growing up. The music that I could listen to on both sunny days and dark nights. The songs that stuck with me and seemed to resonate like no other. The songs that made me dance and wanna shove the accelerator on my car hard and just GO with them! The songs that I could drop my turntable needle onto, skip my cd towards and shuffle my ipod with and it would just fill me with that little musical spike-happiness-feeling when you realize something is wonderful.

So thank you, Big Man. It might take me a while to tell people why I love you and they might still cock their head when I list you in my favorite musicians.

I didn’t grow up in Jersey.

I didn’t go to years and years of shows.

Being only 20, I didn’t get to see you back when the magic began.

So, I know you mean a lot of things to a lot of people and nothing to some people, but you gave this blonde-haired wide-eyed girl who stumbled upon a now-lifelong love for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band a bunch of songs that she’ll never get over or tired of.

And if I get a little misty or this big grin on my face when I hear a sax solo, you can be sure it’s because my heart’s still happy from hearing the Biggest Man in the world show me how it’s done firsthand.

(Photos provided by the lovely, wonderful Katie Darcy, as taken at the greatest concert of my life!)

Time To Ramble On?

I have been searching on eBay and Craigslist for a Volkswagen Bus for years now.

You see, I have a dream of packing up my life into a Volkswagen bus or an airstream trailer and taking to the open road. I’d still call and write and send picture messages, but the freedom of the open road is so tempting. Plus, I love small towns, breakfast foods, people who can play the heck out of instruments and historical landmarks, and I have a feeling that there are so many of these things out there that I haven’t seen yet!

Miranda Lambert’s ‘Airstream Song’ always hits truth with me. “Sometimes I wish I lived in an airstream, homemade curtains, lived just like a gypsy- break a heart, roll outta town, cause gypsies never get tied down.” Maybe it’s the escape of traveling that I love so much; kicking up dust and never looking in the rear view mirror. Maybe it’s because the music closest to my heart and my style from decor to clothing always points to the fact that I always wanted to be a carefree child of the 60s and 70s, rolling down the highway with my little hippie caravan family along for the ride. Blame my gypsy soul. Blame it on my wild heart, even. Whatever it is, it remains at the back of my mind and gets stronger every time I take a road trip or when I watch the Discovery Channel or even when I hear an especially good Led Zeppelin song and want to start ramblin’ on.


For a time I always thought it would just be me on this trek, but more and more I think I’m gonna need someone in the passenger seat. I don’t often get crushes (we’ve been over this before) so it wouldn’t have to be romantic. Just someone to switch off driving shifts with, take pictures of scenic moments, sing along to classic rock (the official soundtrack of the open road!) and share waffles when I order too many of them. That’s not so much to ask, right?

I mean, sure, if it was all cute and crush-y, I’d be all sorts of lovey-dovey. Is it too hippie of me to want to spend my first years of marriage (if in fact I do get roped into gettin’ hitched) on the road? How perfect would that be? Just exploring the countryside and wearing out the radio with great music for miles and miles, and of course, make the goal of getting at least one kiss in every single state, because well, IT’S CUTE. And the pictures would be cute and true love travels miles and documents these miles and you know, while I’m daydreaming I might as well daydream sickeningly-cute goals, right?!! Thousands of miles, hundreds of diners, one bus, two of us and at least 48 kisses. Not too shabby.

Oh- what’s that? Is that you calling, real world? What’s that you’re asking? What will I do for money on the road? You mean no one wants to pay me to blog and stargaze and picnic and come up with puns and amateur-ly play my guitar and ukulele yet? Really?

Guess I’ll have to hold out a few years.

(Airstream Picture Link, Volkswagen Picture Link)