More Than Meh

A blog about the good things of life.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Review November 28, 2016

Filed under: Pop Culture,Television — dwhren @ 7:49 am

As you may have guessed by the title of this blog post I’m going to be talking about the new Gilmore Girls episodes, so if you haven’t seen them yet and don’t want to be spoiled on anything stop reading now and come back later. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I got together with some friends yesterday afternoon to watch all 6 hours of the new Gilmore Girls episodes on Netflix. We ate a ridiculous amount of junk food based on what they eat in the show. Now I feel like I should only eat fruit and vegetables for the rest of the week.

So here are my random thoughts on the show done bullet journal style (Just kidding, maybe. I don’t even really know what bullet journaling is. I just know it’s a thing.)

  • It was really nice to have these characters back in my life again even though some of the things they did rang a little false to me. Mostly it did feel like picking up where we left off only 10 years later though.
  • There were definitely some inconsistencies not only compared to the older episodes but also within the same episodes or even two scenes right next to each other. Who is keeping track of these things? Rory somehow can’t get cell reception in Stars Hollow yet everyone else is walking through the town chatting away? Also there’s a scene where Rory is at her grandparents’ house and there is snow on the patio and yet Emily is on Nantucket with spring looking weather wearing a light sweater and crop pants. Get it together people.
  • I loved all the little cameos not only of all the characters from the original show, but also other people connected to stuff the Palladinos have done or other cast members from Parenthood like Peter Krause, Lauren Graham’s real life boyfriend and brother on the show, Jason Ritter who played Mr. Cyr , and Mae Whitman who played Lauren Graham’s daughter, Amber.
  • I also of course adored Sutton Foster and Christian Borle in Stars Hollow: The Musical. Realistically that bit went on way too long, especially given the limited series but I thought it was hysterical and I love them, so I don’t even care.
  • I loved Paris. She seemed exactly like she would be, though I’m not really sure I buy her career. I’m bummed she and Doyle are getting a divorce. That’s probably realistic, but I’m hoping those two crazy kids work it out.
  • April is still terrible, and I will never forgive the Palladinos for her. I really wish they had left her out of these episodes, but thankfully her presence was limited.
  • I’m still super sad about Edward Hermann. His presence was sorely missed, but I think they did a good job honoring him.
  • I always liked Lorelei’s boyfriends except for Christopher so I was happy to see Jason Styles return at Richard’s funeral. It made sense that he would be there, and I’m happy they wrote him in for that little scene.
  • Emily felt like the character that rang the least true to me in these episodes, but maybe it makes sense that she wouldn’t be the same after her husband of 50 years died. The fact that she would have a maid with a crazy amount of other family members including kids living in her house made no sense to me though.
  • I’m happy that Luke and Lorelei have been together all this time. I’m happy to know that they’ve been happy together since the show ended and that we just got to see them get married.
  • I really did kind of want to see what a Steely Dan flash mob looks like.
  • Rory on the other hand is still a mess when it comes to guys. I always thought she had terrible taste in men and I apparently that hasn’t changed. She is terrible. First of all I thought the whole forgettable boyfriend Paul thing was ridiculous and made everyone seem horrible, especially Rory. Second did she really not learn anything about being the other woman from when she was cheating with a married Dean? I can’t believe that she would now be cheating with Logan who is engaged to someone else. Realistically I wanted her to be with someone other than Dean, Jess, or Logan but of the three Logan would have been my choice. He gets bonus points by association from my love of his character on The Good Wife. Also I rewatched only the back half of season 5 in the last year, which features Logan at his best in their relationship so without the before and after his character didn’t seem half bad. I really didn’t mind him in these episodes except for the part where HE’S CHEATING ON HIS FIANCE! I really wish they hadn’t done that because it made both him and Rory seem terrible. I wish it had just been written as it was originally intimated with both of them seeing other people in a casual way and doing the same with each other whenever Rory was in London. I’m happy they made Dean happily married with kids because that is exactly what I would have expected from his character. I never liked Jess, so I was not pleased with the longing looks at the end that suggest something more might happen between the two of them in the future.
  • The final four words: I, like everyone else who ever watched this show knowing anything about the Palladinos, have been wondering what those final four words of the series were going to be. I’m happy that we finally got to know. I sort of wondered going in if they would be able to make sense so many years later.  Obviously the fact that Rory tells her mom she’s pregnant still makes sense even all these years later, so I’m happy that worked out without having to feel forced. Of course it changes things slightly from Rory doing this when she was much younger like Lorelei did, but it still works. Now it just feels sort of  like a cliffhanger that we won’t get resolved though. I do appreciate it as an ending though. Although after I thought about it a little bit, I’m not sure I like where I think it was going. Obviously the kid has to be Logan’s, which I’m fine with. I don’t doubt that Logan would leave his fiance and go be with Rory, who is actually the woman he loves. I could see them being a happy little family together even though the idea of that is tainted for me by the who fiance cheating thing. Why Palladinos? But here’s the thing, I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen at all. I realized that this is what Rory’s whole conversation with Christopher was about. She’s planning on insisting on raising the baby on her own like Lorelei did. I think that’s crap because the only way I can even see that happening is if Rory doesn’t tell Logan. That’s a terrible thing to do to both him and the kid. Logan is not Christopher. He would never just go away and not insist on being fully a part of his kid’s life. So while in concept I liked the final four words, I don’t really like where I think they would be leading.
  • Overall I really enjoyed watching the episodes though. I miss having good family dramas in my life. As I’ve lamented many times here before they just don’t really make them anymore. Gilmore Girls is one of the best and it was wonderful to have all these people back in my life for a few hours. Everyone likes to blame the demise of Gilmore Girls on season 7 and the lack of the Palladinos, but if people are honest with themselves the Palladinos wrote that show into a terrible place in season 6 so they are not blameless in that show not ending in a way that felt satisfying to fans, but I’m happy they finally got a chance to do it their way. I think it was worth the wait.
 

The Best Possible Break-in November 27, 2016

Filed under: Baltimore,Uncategorized — dwhren @ 9:38 am

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving while we were out of town visiting family our house got broken into. Obviously this isn’t something that really makes me happy, but if my house had to get broken into I’m happy for how it went down. He apparently forced open the window next to our back door and let himself in. It actually was for the best that this happened while we were out of town. Normally on a Tuesday morning my husband would have been home working in our basement. Who knows what would have happened if he had come upstairs when he heard someone walking about?

Also because we were out of town all the stuff I think the guy was hoping to take in a quick snatch and grab wasn’t here. We both had our laptops, cell phones, and iPads with us as well as our wallets of course. Although we of course have lots of stuff I suspect much of it doesn’t have good street resale value aside from the stuff that we had taken with us. He didn’t even bother with our tv I suspect because of its size.

He also didn’t seem to go upstairs at all. All of our bedroom doors were still closed and none of the drawers were opened. I don’t have a lot of it, but the jewelry I do own was thankfully all still there. The only thing we could find missing once we got home was our spare house and car keys. Again thankfully my car was still there. Once my husband noticed those were gone I was worried he stole my car, but we went outside and it was still parked on the street where I left it. It didn’t even seem like he got into it at all, which is surprising given that it was actually parked very close to our house for a change and would have been easy to find by clicking the alarm on the key fob. I park on the street, so I never keep anything of value in my car not even loose change, so he wasn’t going to find anything there even if he did look. Perhaps the fact that I drive a manual transmission kept him from being able to actually take the car itself, or maybe he found the street in front of our house too crowded to be able to do anything with the car. I don’t know, but I’m glad it was still there.

Also it’s lucky that he left the back door open when he left. The cat thankfully didn’t run away even though the door was open all day long, but it alerted our friend who was watching our cat for us that someone had been in the house. So little was touched or taken that had that door not been open it might have been quite some time before we realized that someone had broken in and taken our keys and broken the lock on our window.

It feels super creepy that someone out there has keys to our car and house, but most of that is fixable. We’ve already replaced the locks on the house and replaced the broken lock on the window. Apparently the window lock wasn’t super great, which in some respects seems bad but in other ways is good because it means he didn’t break the glass in the window like he did to the house next door. I obviously can’t do much about the fact that he has my car key other than to hope he never decides to come back for it. You can’t really change your car locks like you can the ones on your house.

At any rate if the only thing we have to do is replace our locks and the stupidly expensive car keys, then we got off pretty easy. Maybe there’s someone more we haven’t realized is missing yet, but really if there is it’s just stuff. Most importantly we weren’t home and are safe, our friend didn’t come over to feed the cat and surprise him in the process, and our cat is still here. I hope we never have to go through this again, but I’m happy that since we did it was such a minimal issue. It could have been a lot worse.

 

Thanksgiving 2016 November 26, 2016

Filed under: Family,Life,Movies,Travel — dwhren @ 6:52 pm

For the past several years we’ve done Thanksgiving in New York with my husband’s family and Christmas in Arizona with my family. This my sister is going to her in-law’s in Boston for Christmas, so we decided to switch things up and go out there for Thanksgiving. The only way to make the trip affordable was to take vacation time on Monday and Tuesday and fly out the Saturday before and then come back the day after Thanksgiving.

My nieces are 8 (as of December 13) and 4 1/2, which are really fun ages. I spent a lot of time playing with them and thank god didn’t have to play Barbies one single time. The only time they were playing Barbies while I was there my youngest niece told me to go away and I gladly did.

On Tuesday while my husband and sister were working and my nieces were at school, I went on a hike in Catalina State Park with my parents. We did the Romero Pools trail, which was definitely one of the more difficult trails I’ve hiked between the rise in elevation and how rocky it was. We were kind of lame and turned back probably about .2 of  mile before we got to the pools. Once we reached the top of the ridge and realized we were going to start going down the other side of the mountain and thus were going to have to hike back up it again we decided to turn around. We had already hiked 5 miles, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. My husband, father, and I also did a quick 3 mile hike nearby where they live on Thanksgiving morning. It was a piece of cake compared to the other one we did.

Wednesday we took the kids to see Moana (or rather I really wanted to see Moana and suggested that we go). I enjoyed it and could definitely tell that Lin Manuel Miranda wrote the music for it, which was really the best part of the movie in my opinion.

We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for which I was roped into making a pumpkin carrot cake. Since I’m more likely to make a cake than a pie, I decided to make straight up pumpkin pie my dessert and only tried a bite of the cake. It pretty much tasted like carrot cake for the most part, which is not a bad thing since it’s one of my favorite desserts. I’m not sure I’d bother with the pumpkin version of it again. There was lots of other delicious food and fun times with my family and friends.

It was a fun trip and it went by way too fast.

 

Songs I Love: 11 Blocks by Wrabel November 16, 2016

Filed under: Music,Pop Culture,Songs I Love — dwhren @ 8:27 am

Music is always healing for the soul, so it’s time to get back to writing about songs that I love around these parts. I’m sure it’s going to get way overplayed on the radio and I’ll wind up hating it in a few months, but right now I am Ob-sessed with the song 11 Blocks by Wrabel. Let’s not talk about how many times I’ve listened to in a row.

The music is super catchy and it’s easy to sing-a-long to because the lyrics are fairly simple and they repeat a lot. I like the image the lyrics paint of someone who is in a new relationship but can’t stop thinking about his ex, what they’re doing, and how easy it would be to drop back into their life. Now excuse me while I go listen to it a dozen more times on repeat.

 

Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party November 14, 2016

Filed under: Pop Culture,Television — dwhren @ 6:54 pm

 

I honestly don’t feel like writing anything on a blog that’s dedicated to things that make me happy as I don’t feel very happy right now, but that’s all for another time and another place. We carry on. The day after the election my friend Jenny tweeted at me, “In happier news, anxiously awaiting your review of Martha and Snoop Dogg’s show.” She like many of the people who know me know that one of my all time favorite videos to grace the internet is this gloriously ridiculous segment from the Martha Stewart show in which Martha and Snoop make mashed potatoes together.

Everyone who was like huh? when VH1 announced this show had obviously never witnessed this. Sadly I can’t say that Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party is nearly as delightful. It seems way too scripted and like it’s trying too hard. Martha seemed like she was reading off a teleprompter during a lot of the show. I don’t know if she actually was or not, but she didn’t seem to acting naturally like she does in the above video.

I don’t think the people who named the show know what a potluck dinner party is. They do in fact have some guests show up for dinner, but none of them arrive with any food. I don’t know if this is the set-up for every episode yet, but it was built as more of a competition between the two of them. Each of them was cooking their own fried chicken recipe with Seth Rogen being paired up with Snoop and Wiz Khalifa being paired up with Martha. Ice-T showed up towards the end to join them for dinner and judge whose wings were the best. Spoiler it was a tie. They also played some version of two truths and a like while they were eating for no good reason. There was also some sort of DJ/Commentator that just seemed entirely unnecessary to me.

I haven’t deleted it off the DVR because it’s still something that might be good when I want something mindless to watch, but it doesn’t have the same heart as the original video.

 

Me in NYC November 7, 2016

Filed under: Family,Theatre,Travel — dwhren @ 9:15 am

As is probably apparent by now I travel up to New York City fairly frequently. Usually I’m going up with my husband and we’re visiting his sister, her husband, and our niece and nephew. We usually take in a show while we’re there too, but the rest of our activities on those trips are rightfully dictated by what will keep two small children entertained. If I happen to be there not visiting family I’m usually doing the slightly crazy trip to see a show with friends in which we go up in the morning, get up to the city in enough to time grab lunch, see a matinee, grab dinner, and then head back to Baltimore. There’s not really much time to do anything else in those ventures. So there’s just a lot of things that the city has to offer that I never have a chance to do when I’m there.

Now that my husband’s office is technically in NYC even though he works from home it now makes sense to occasionally go up so he can go into the office and I can tag along and play by myself in the city. Our holiday plans got all switched around this year, so we’re not going to NYC for Thanksgiving like we normally do. I really wanted to see Sweet Charity, which has a limited run, so I told my husband we needed to go up another weekend in November. He said if that’s the case let’s go on a Friday so I can go into work and you can do whatever you want.

After I derided it in my post about London, New York decided to finally offer me a beautiful fall weekend while I was there. We took the train up on Friday morning. The first thing on my agenda was an exhibit at the New York Public Library’s Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center about shows that have won both Tony Awards and Olivier Awards (London’s West End equivalent to the Tony’s). Since the weather was nice I decided to walk up to Lincoln Center from Penn Station.

The exhibit was great. It’s not crazy huge since it’s in a library not a museum, but I’m glad I went. They had lots of things from shows including footage from them and interviews with actors playing on televisions, lots of costumes, stage notes, production designs, etc. If you like theatre and you have a little time to kill I’d recommend it.

After that my plan was to head over to the Upper East Side to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which I don’t think I’ve ever been to. Though it’s possible I went as a kid with my family and I don’t remember. Getting there involved walking across Central Park, which wound up being slightly more complicated than I anticipated. The New York marathon was this weekend, and knowing nothing about it I managed to walk across the park at pretty much the exact spot where the finish line for the course is. This was Friday and the actual marathon wasn’t until Sunday, but apparently there were some kind of kids events going on Friday and a ton of kids were running to the finish line right when I got there. Getting through the crowds to get on the opposite side of the finish line so I could continue across the park was really annoying.

My plan was to eat lunch before going into the museum, and I almost stopped and outdoors at a Le Pain Quotidien in the middle of the park. They had a nice little patio I could have sat on and stared out at the park on a lovely fall day, but I decided I would prefer to find something non-chain to eat at. Big mistake! I wound up coming out of the park much farther north than I anticipated due to my race detour, and there was pretty much nothing around in terms of places to eat. I had one option, which was E.A.T., which I guess is fairly well known restaurant that I had no idea about and in retrospect I was annoyed at having to eat at. If there was literally anything else around I probably would have gotten up and walked out after I was handed the menu and I saw the prices. Those fancy pants Upper East Side New Yorkers might think it’s reasonable to pay $24 for a grilled cheese sandwich, but I do not. Aside from a small bowl of soup that cost $12 everything else that was literally just some regular types sandwiches were $22 or more. At least the soup came with a basket of bread, so it did wind up amounting to a decent lunch even though I was annoyed by the whole experience.

I spent the next four hours wandering around The Met, which is really, really large. I didn’t even come close to seeing everything. I specifically wanted to see the exhibit they had on Jerusalem: 1000-1400, which had a lot of artifacts from the city in that time period most of them having to do in some way with the three major religions that consider that city their Holy Land. There were a lot of illuminated manuscripts, but also all kinds of other stuff including pieces of buildings, weapons, pottery, tapestries, and other artwork. The other exhibit I didn’t set out to see but wandered into was Valentin de Boulogne, who was a French painter in the 1600s. Turns out I really like his work, so I’m glad I got to see that exhibit. I didn’t make a good plan for the rest of the museum, and I always get so confused in museums because there are entrances and exits on 3 or 4 sides of every room and I never know which way to go. So I saw a random amalgamation of things ranging from Egyptian artifacts, literal rooms from houses and hotels with fancy furniture and decorations that were removed from their original locations and installed in the museum, and I think most of the modern art.

After the Met, I met up with a friend who lives in New York for dinner before meeting up with my husband to see Sweet Charity. It’s not particularly one of my favorite shows, but this off-Broadway production is starring Sutton Foster who I really like. I knew from having seen a previous production of the show that there were a lot of instrumental interludes in the music that involved a lot of dancing. In my memory, which we have recently established is very faulty, I thought there was a lot of tap dancing which I love and which Sutton Foster is great at (I probably shouldn’t tell you how many times I’ve watched videos of her tap dancing in Anything Goes on YouTube). I don’t know if this production is just different or I remembered wrong about what kind of dancing was in the show the last time I saw it, but there was only one really short tap number this time though of course still lots of other dancing. I’ve never been to an off-Broadway show before, so that was kind of fun and it was nice to be in such a small house and be so close to the stage. I’ll never be rich enough to afford tickets that close on Broadway, not even in Baltimore really. It’s still not one of my favorite shows, but I definitely enjoyed it more this time than the first time I saw it.

On Saturday we took my niece and nephew to the National Museum of Mathematics, aka MoMath. It seemed like they had a good time, but as an adult I can tell you it’s a pretty lame museum on top of which half of the interactive exhibits were broken. There were an awful lot of out of order signs on things in a place that isn’t all that big to begin with. For the things that did work their signage did not really give very good explanations about what you were supposed to go or what mathematical concept was being applied. I’m glad the kids had fun, but overall I give two thumbs down that museum and would not recommend it. We then had to race back home to get the kids to their swimming lesson on time. After that we took our niece to one of those paint your own pottery places. Then it was pretty much time for us to catch our train home. All in all an excellent couple of days in New York doing some things I don’t normally do.