Saturday, July 14, 2012

This week in pop culture

What I've been obsessed with lately. 

They're scared of the vampires!

I realize I'm like a decade or so late on this, but I'm finally catching up on Joss Whedon's masterworks, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel. It's kind of been my summer project. I just got finished watching , "Once More, With Feeling," the season 6 musical episode that many fans and critics regard as one of the best Buffy episodes ever, and I knew it was time to blog about how dang awesome this show is. Really. If you haven't seen it and were like me, being slightly turned off by its geeky fans and demons/vampires premise, then get over it and watch it. It's a much deeper and smarter show than you would first think. Not only does it break every cliche in the book, it also explores some really beautiful themes, such as what it means to live and love and be a leader. Everything's a metaphor for something else. It's both hilarious and dramatic and sometimes downright terrifying. Angel is probably the darker of the two shows, but I'm really digging it as well. And the acting is superb. James Marsters. Enough said.

Anyway, here's a list of my current favorite episodes so far, if you're interested:
- Passions
- School Hard
- Hush
- The Body
- Once More, With Feeling
- The Plyea arc on Angel 

Oh, the only thing I'd recommend is to just get through the first season quickly if you're not that into it. It grew on me halfway through that season, but season 2 and beyond are just leagues above it.

Well, hello there.


Season 9 baby! I'm so obsessed with this show. The top 20 finally performed this last Wednesday, and they were all superb. I love reality shows where the contestants actually have talent. This was probably my favorite dance from the episode:

Cyrus is probably my favorite guy. He's not the best dancer, but he's just so eager to learn and has such a positive attitude it's almost infectious.

And of course I love the ballroom best friends Lindsay and Witney, representing dear Provo and American Fork, Utah, respectively.

 You all should check out my friend Callie's blog, where she has a weekly in-depth review of each episode. It's great stuff.

Moonrise Kingdom

I'm a big fan of Wes Anderson (The Royal Tennenbaums and Fantastic Mr. Fox are among my favorite films) so I was pretty excited to see this movie. (Even if it was in hipster territory Pasadena at the Arclight. By myself. Don't worry about it.)  And I loved it. It's very Wes Anderson-y, quirky, colorful, and a little bizarre and absurd, but full of heart and a genuine romanticism. It features two outcast 12-year-olds who fall in love and escape their situations and even though their respite is brief, it was still poignant and special, a chance to get away from their problems and the world. I remember feeling like Susie at that age, so maybe that's why it stuck with me. It's an absolutely beautiful film, both in content, acting, and especially the cinematography and set design. Here's the trailer, in case you haven't seen it.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Another thing I should have read years ago. This deeply moving novel about a boy who "dares defy the universe" by refusing to participate in his school's cultish chocolate sale is both tragic and makes you think. It had me in tears and was definitely not what I was expecting. You all need to read this book.

This song, that I've loved for months now and totally geeked when I heard it on the radio:

And this song. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The good ol' us of A.

Happy Post-Independence Day, everyone! A WWII veteran just spoke to us at church today, so I'm still feeling that warm patriotic spirit. Also, I've been catching up on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and I just finished season 5, episode 19, where Anya announces her revelation that she’s not just human, but American, deeply enamored of "the good old us of A" and I thought that was very appropriate and also funny. Of course, she's more enamored with the concept of capitalism than democracy, but I digress. Anyway, yay America! Here's how I celebrated this week:

Dodgers vs Reds game! I was so excited to see my boys play. Even though they lost. I still love my Reds.

Shame on the Dodgers ticket office for spelling my hometown wrong. Low blow.

Fourth of July started at the beach. It was kind of cold but still pretty relaxing.

Brooke and I

Followed by a barbeque at the Womansion. Pinata and all.

And then fireworks at the Rose Bowl! One of the better shows I've been to for sure. And it was free because we found these sweet spots outside of the stadium.

Although this punk kept trying to play the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar and he was so baaaad. Like bleeding ears bad.

Friday night I went out with my friend Justin and we walked around The Grove and the Farmer's Market. It's a really beautiful mall where they have outdoor concerts.

And a pretty fountain.

And then we walked down Hollywood Boulevard at night. Justin was an awesome tour guide. He even knew where to park for free! And our waiter at Umami Burger recognized him from taking the Blazin' Challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings. Small world, even in Los Angeles.
Hollywood Blvd at night is crazy. It's like Times Square. You've got the crazies, the clubbers, the tourists, the druggies asking you to borrow money for weed. Definitely a unique spot in America.

Oh America. You are very special. And I love you.

And to end, here's a music video from one of my favorite bands, Imagine Dragons. "America":

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

California Road Trip

I present to you: pictures from my business trip up north. You're very welcome.

First stop: San Jose. I don't have a ton of pictures from here because it mostly just looked like this. Hills and buildings.

Although the hills were quite fun to frolic in.

The lounge in the Silicon Valley Edelman office

Weekend in San Francisco! You can tell where my first stop was...

I can haz all the chocolatez?

I need one of these in my apartment.

Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. Incredibly delicious.

The gang in front of the Golden Gate Bridge!

I took a lot of pictures of this thing.

I had lunch with my friend and fellow baseball fan Christine and we visited AT&T Park, home of the San Fransisco Giants!

Bay Cruise with my new sweatshirt, proving that I am indeed the ultimate tourist.

Yet another Golden Gate Bridge pic

Alcatraz and I

Do you know that tickets to get on the island sell out months in advance?? Yeah, neither did I.

This is where some dude escaped

Creepy prisons

Fisherman's Wharf. Crazy street filled with shops and restaurants and street performers.

Sea lions.

Muir Woods

Giant redwood tree!

Even gianter redwood tree!

Many giant redwood trees!

I got to go to church with my girl Christine! So great to see her!

Next stop: Sacramento. We visited Edelman, ACC and the State Capitol.

Assembly room. I recognized a lot of the names on the screen. I'm becoming very political.

The Capitol had a cool exhibit on women's suffrage. Which of course I loved.

Lovely quote from my girl Alice.

And then to end my journey, I came back to LA and hung our with the ward for Mormon Dodger Night! So much fun, although the Dodgers got creamed.

Some of the gang.
I wasn't close enough to get a good picture of Uchtdorf being a baller, so here's one from Deseret Book.

And a fireworks show! Set to Lincoln Park. Because nothing says "I Love America" than some good ol' "Burn it Down."

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun! We stayed in about 7 different hotels, which brought back memories of my study abroad (of which it's already been a year. Crazy, right?!) and drove A TON. Basically I'm an expert on the state of California now.

Coming up: My Cincy homeboys come to play, America's birthday and some movies I've been dying to see.