More Than Meh

A blog about the good things of life.

Radio DJ Gone Rogue September 30, 2011

Filed under: Music,Simple Pleasures — dwhren @ 2:51 pm

I was listening to WRNR, a radio station out of Annapolis, MD, on  my way to work this morning. The DJ was playing Dreams by Brandi Carlisle, which is a song I really like and apparently he does too since as the song was ending instead of putting on another song he said “Sorry, but I really like this song and want to play it again” and then he did. That’s just about the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard on radio before. I totally love that he was just like you know what I want to hear this song again, and I have the power to make that happen so I’m going to. It gave me a great big grin and got my Friday off to a great start, so thank you WRNR DJ for having some fun with your job.

 

Fall TV Watching September 28, 2011

Filed under: Television — dwhren @ 9:14 pm

Here it is my long awaited post on what I’m watching on TV this fall. I’m sure you’re all been waiting with bated breath and haven’t watched anything yet this season until you got my recommendations so here they are.

So I mentioned in a previous post how much I love television. This post is about to reveal fully the big dark secret of how much TV I actually watch. My friend Jenny is equally as addicted to television as I am and has requested a run down of what I’m planning on watching this Fall, and since the new Fall TV season always makes me happy I will oblige her.

New Shows

Hart of Dixie

This show as my husband put it is Doc Hollywood meets Northern Exposure but in Alabama. The premiere was kind of cute and the feeling of some of the old WB shows, which I always enjoyed. I wasn’t completely sold, but I’m going to give it another episode or two and see how I feel about it then.

Suburgatory

This show totally reminds me of Clueless, which is kind of funny since Jeremy Sisto is playing the father. It’s scary to think how old that movie is now. Anyway, it has the same kind of vibe and is about a single father who moves his teenage daughter from Manhattan to the suburbs to finishing bringing her up in a supposedly better environment for raising kids. So far it seems pretty clever, and I really like the girl who’s playing the daughter.

New Girl

A new comedy starring Zooey Deschanel as a geeky girl who moves in with three guys after discovering her boyfriend cheating on her. Whether or not you like this show is probably dependent on how you feel about the tweeness of Zooey Deschanel. If you like it you’ll like the show. If it drives you nuts, then you’ll want to avoid this show at all costs. I happen to be a big fan, so I’m in.

Ringer

I am a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I was a sucker for this new show starring Sarah Michelle Geller. She plays twins who both have some dark secrets. Bridget is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict on the run after witnessing a murder. Meanwhile her twin sister Siobhan fakes her own death, so Bridget assumes her identity thinking she is really dead. So far it’s no Buffy, and it takes itself a bit too seriously for the campy drama that it actually is but I’m enjoying it enough so far to stick with it.

Up All Night

Up All Night stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as a long-time married couple who accidentally get pregnant, and are now adjusting to life as new parents even though it wasn’t something they planned on. It also stars Maya Rudolph as an Oprahesque talk show host that Christina Applegate’s character works for. So far I haven’t found it horribly funny, though I’m sure many new parents can identify with the situations in it, but I’m liking the characters enough that I’m going to give it awhile to get its legs.

Homeland

This show doesn’t actually premier on Showtime until October 2, but we saw a sneak preview through DirectTV. It stars Claire Danes as a CIA agent questioning whether or not a Marine who has recently been rescued after having been held captive in Iraq 8 years ago was turned and is now working as an agent for the enemy. There is definitely a lot of intrigue in the pilot, and I think it will be a good show at least for the first season. It could start to feel very dragged out in subsequent seasons though.

Revenge

Revenge was not a show that was really on my radar when I was deciding what new TV shows to watch this season. I didn’t remember hearing anything about it from the press tour, but then I saw a preview for it at the movies when I went to see One Day. It kind of looked like good old, fashioned soapy fun and I liked Emily Van Camp in Everwood, but I still wasn’t convinced I should watch it until it came up in one of the podcasts I listen to. In one of the segments Extra Hot Great did recently they talked about the Fall TV shows they were most looking forward to and Tara chose this one. Joe, who has seen a screener of the pilot said he really enjoyed it, and he felt like the creators really new what kind of show they were writing and really playing with it. This is in contrast to what I said and have heard others say about Ringer also having what should be a campy, soapy type plot but taking it way too seriously. Although I had already missed the premier by this point, I caved and watched the show on ABC.com and I’m glad I did because I’m totally on board with this show now. It really is mindless entertainment at its most fun and for some reason that is what I find myself being drawn to this season.

Once Upon a Time

This is the one show I plan on watching, that I can’t actually comment on at this point because it doesn’t start until October 23. If I enjoy it once it starts perhaps I’ll blog about it on its own later.

New Shows I Tried that Did Not Make Me Happy and thus that I Won’t Watch Again

Pan Am

I saw very conflicting reviews from critics about this show. I fall on the side of the detractors. This show was campy, but not in a good way. I did not get drawn into any of the characters stories, I didn’t care about any of the plots especially the espionage one, and my husband was really unhappy with the CGI and unrealistic sets. We won’t be watching this one again.

Terra Nova

The special effects in this show are pretty cool, but I was totally bored and tuned out after the first half hour of the 2 hour premiere. I won’t be watching it again. I think my husband may stick with it for awhile, but given the ratings and how much this show costs to make I’m suspecting he won’t be watching for long.

The Secret Circle

The Secret Circle is a new show on the CW based on a series of books written by the same author as The Vampire Diaries and created for television by the same people who converted The Vampire Diaries. I am a big fan of The Vampire Diaries (see below), so I decided to check out this show. Unfortunately, the pilot really didn’t draw me in. If I was willing to give it a few more episodes my opinion of it might change, but as you can tell I already have way too many shows to watch to add ones that don’t immediately grab me in some way.

2 Broke Girls

I had no intention of watching this show, but we wound up watching it while waiting for Castle to start the other week. I didn’t care for it, and we won’t be watching it again. Plus, if the first episode is any indication if I want to continue liking the song Second Chance by Peter Bjorn and John I should not watch this show. Not only did the use Second Chance as the theme song, which is fine, they also used it as a bridge between every single scene. That got old really fast.

Returning Shows

The Amazing Race

The only reality show I watch. Much of reality television is just trash, and I don’t care about most of the competition shows (dancing, cooking, singing). I would much rather spend my time watching scripted television. An ex-boyfriend got me hooked on this show though, and I love watching all the places the contestants get to travel to.

How I Met Your Mother

I started watch How I Met Your Mother in it’s third broadcast season. We plowed through the first two seasons on DVD to catch up and then started watching when the show returned in the fall. I used to love this show. It was so creative, and all the callbacks really paid off long-time viewers. Like many shows entering their later years, How I Met Your Mother has faltered. The writers have run out of ideas and try to recreate the magic of some of their better episodes with diminishing returns. Plus, with the whole conceit of finding out who the titular mother is, it’s gotten to the point where it often seems to just be treading water since it has become obvious that they don’t plan to reveal the mother until the end of the show. The show received a two season pick-up going into this season. It’s not official, but many people suspect that these will be the final two seasons of the show. I’m on board with that idea. Seven seasons is a great run for a series. Shows that extend beyond that usually are pretty terrible in those later seasons and this show is already running into that problem. I’m hoping the writers will treat these two seasons as their last and use that to craft a great ending to this once great and now only okay show.

House

Speaking of once great shows that I am only watching out of habit rather than actual enjoyment of the show, there’s House. I loved the first three seasons of this show, but was never on board the firing of House’s original fellows in season 4. It felt like something shows do when they’re in those horrible later seasons when the writers have run out of ideas, but instead it happened early in House’s run when they were still on the top of their game. The show has gotten less and less interesting me from there. Also, I’m not looking forward to the lack of Cuddy which just seems wrong, since they were unable to renegotiate Lisa Edelstein’s contract. There are many rumors that this will be the last season of House, and I am counting on that. I’m willing to stick with it for one more year since I’ve been watching it this long, but I’m pretty sure I would quit watching it now like I did with ER if I thought it was going to drag on for several more seasons.

Mike and Molly

I’m not super in love with this show, but it’s a decent sit-com and I have loved Melissa McCarthy since her Gilmore Girls days. It gives me enough laughs that I keep watching it, but it’s definitely not must see TV for me.

Castle

I have already written extensively about my love for Castle.

Glee

I have a love/hate relationship with Glee. I love the music, but the plot lines in this show are all over the place and it’s likely to give you whiplash with the tone changes. I was really on board with this show in its first year, was less enamored in its second, and found myself only paying half attention to the first episode of this season. Unless it ups its game I suspect this might be my last season of watching this show.

Parenthood

Parenthood was created by one of the creators of my beloved Friday Night Lights. There are many similar elements in the filming styles of the two shows. Like Friday Night Lights, Parenthood seems to present life as it’s lived. It’s not quite as realistic in some of it’s elements as Friday Night Lights, but the stories about Max’s Asperberger’s are wonderful. And of course I am super in love with Lauren Graham. She got the part after Maura Tierney had to back out due to her breast cancer. I’m of course not happy that someone had cancer, but I really do think Lauren Graham is a better fit for the part.

Modern Family

This is just a good solid sit-com. And you know it did just win all those Emmy’s and everything.

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is one of the most solid comedies on TV right now. It always delivers lots of good laughs, and being friends with lots of nerdy guys as well as married to one makes some of the situations on this show all too real.

Community

I don’t even know how to describe Community. It’s a very meta sit-com, and I can see why it doesn’t get huge ratings. I love it and some of its episodes are genius, but I can see it appealing to only a limited number of people. I thought the second season was much more uneven than the first as they got a little bit too gimmicky for their own good, but I am hopeful going into the third season.

The Vampire Diaries

In some respects I am totally a 12 year old girl at heart. I am totally in love with this show, which is most properly aimed at teenage girls. This show is just absolutely delicious and jaw dropping. I have never watched a show that burns through plot as fast as this one does. It’s rather amazing. They seriously go through as much plotline in one season as many shows do during their entire run. The writers of this show do not leave you hanging for long. In other shows situations are dragged out forever, characters create all kinds of stupid misunderstandings with each other, etc. just to keep things moving at a snails pace. Never on this show (or rarely). And let’s just talk about this weekly cliffhangers. There is rarely a week when I don’t end the episode saying holy crap and immediately ruing the fact that I have to wait another whole week to find out what is going to happen next.

Chuck

Oh my dear sweet show, Chuck. This show holds such a special place in my heart. It was always the perfect mix of comedy, action, and drama and I will never understand why it never gained a bigger audience than it got. Forever hanging on by a thread, Chuck will end in style with a 13 episode fifth and final season starting in October. I will be sad to see it go, but am happy that the writers are getting a chance to send it out on a high note with all the stories tied up.

Dexter

The show about everyone’s favorite serial killer. I don’t have much to say about Dexter. It’s a show I enjoy, though I do think it’s far enough in it’s run that they need to up their game a little and quit with the Dexter is getting caught oh wait no he’s not game. Obviously he can’t just get caught out and out by the cops because then he would just go to jail, but it would be a really good story for Deb to finally find out and have to figure out how to actually deal with whether or not she should turn in the brother she’s always admired so much.

 

Ryan Adams’ Ashes and Fire September 26, 2011

Filed under: Music,Songs I Love — dwhren @ 7:28 pm

NPR Music provides “first listens” of many upcoming albums on their website. One of the albums that is currently available is the upcoming release by Ryan Adams, Ashes and Fire. Its release date is October 11, but I’ve been enjoying getting to listen to it early. I won’t lie. I spent the entire day at work listening to it on repeat. I’ll definitely be adding it to my music collection when it’s available commercially.

I’m not going to bother linking to it because it will soon no longer be available on the NPR site, but if you’re reading this before October 11 you can go listen to it there. If you’re reading it after October 11, just go buy it.

 

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice September 25, 2011

Filed under: Simple Pleasures — dwhren @ 4:44 pm

Like many, many people out there I am a big fan of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice flavor and am excited when it returns every fall. I however absolutely hate coffee, so I will not drink their pumpkin spice latte. They don’t actually list this drink on their menu, but I always order a creme based frappucino with pumpkin spice in it. It’s wonderful, and it makes me very happy. I also can’t abide drinking frozen drinks in the winter, so my opportunity to enjoy this tasty beverage is pretty much limited to the fall months when it has not yet gotten too cold outside.

I was at the mall this morning attempting to find a anniversary present for my husband. Sadly, I was not able to find anything for him. All I managed to do was redecorate my entire house (in my head) with stuff I found in Crate & Barrel and The Pottery Barn, oh and also to get myself a tasty pumpkin spice frappucino. It totally made the trip to the mall worth it.

 

Bonus Happy Experience September 23, 2011

Filed under: Random,Simple Pleasures — dwhren @ 9:34 pm

I saw something on my way home from the gym today that made me extremely happy. Baltimore has once again been deluged with rain over the past couple days with more to come. We have officially had the wettest September on record as of today, so needless to say it’s been raining here a lot lately. The extended gloominess has been getting me down, especially since it’s ruining the short amount of time we should have before entering the neverending gloom of winter. However, I saw someone today who was making sure to take the time to enjoy the rain in whatever way she could. She was walking her dog in rain boots, and as I was driving by I saw her jump off the sidewalk into a puddle on the side of the road splash around a little bit and then keep walking. It was a great reminder to stop and just be joyful no matter what.

 

WXPN

Filed under: Music — dwhren @ 9:22 pm

WXPN is the University of Pennsylvania radio station, but you can actually hear it in Baltimore (sometimes). WKHS, which is a radio station from some high school in Kent County, simulcasts WXPN for significant portions of the day on 90.5. You can also listen online to their stream at xpn.org.  I stream the station at work most days when I’m in my office. If you live in Baltimore, you’re probably familiar with WTMD the Towson University radio station. WTMD has definitely modeled themselves after WXPN, but I like WXPN much better. The are also the home of The World Cafe, which is broadcast on over 200 radio stations around the country including WTMD, so you may be hearing some of their content and not realizing it.

WXPN plays lots of indie rock very much focusing on singer songwriters. It’s a great mix of new, upcoming artists and old favorites. Sometimes the artists I hear played there I only ever hear played there and other times I’ll eventually see them break out into the mainstream like Mumford and Sons.

WXPN is a member supported radio station. In addition, to being the UPenn station they are also an NPR station. They have been running their fall fund drive this week, and I finally managed to get my act together to renew my membership this afternoon. WXPN is the one place I ever donate my money that is not some social justice type organization or organization seeking to cure some medical condition. The music they play makes me happy every day and I am happy to support them financially.

 

 

 

A Cupcake from my Husband September 20, 2011

Filed under: Baltimore,Food,Simple Pleasures — dwhren @ 7:51 pm

I know I said I was going to blog about my fall television viewing today, but I think I’m actually going to put that off until this time next week once I’ve had a chance to see all the pilots. Right now it would be weird because I would be writing about both shows I have seen and shows I haven’t seen. That way I can also give an indication if it’s something I’m going to stick with or if I was out after watching the pilot.

Instead I am going to blog about my husband bringing me a cupcake. Baltimore has a cupcake truck who has been taunting me with their newest flavors over Facebook and Twitter. I saw them tweet that they were going to be parked outside of Social Security Administration today, so I jokingly asked my husband if he had any work he needed to do there today. He does actually do work there from time to time and has in fact picked me up cupcakes there before. I say I asked jokingly though because I knew he wasn’t doing any work for them at the moment. He is sweet though and got me a cupcake for dessert. It wasn’t from the cupcake truck, but it’s the thought that counts. He went to Whole Foods earlier today to buy me some fish for dinner (isn’t he the best) and stopped at the Charm City Cupcakes branch that recently opened there. So now I’m looking forward to a eating a turtle cupcake.

What sweet things does your significant other do for you?