NPR’s Invisibilia Podcast

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about how I didn’t have time to listen to anymore podcasts? So about that. I did actually listen to season 1 of Serial on a road trip, but that wasn’t so bad because it was a contained few hours. What I really didn’t need to do was add another hour long podcast that posts on a weekly basis into my listening routine. However when I heard about NPR’s Invisibilia podcast I couldn’t help but check it out, and now it’s part of my regular weekly listening routine.

The podcast is hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel and in their own words is about “the intangible forces that shape human behavior–things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and emotions.” Essentially it’s various topics related to psychology and neurobiology. As someone who majored in psychology as an undergrad and who has a Master’s in counseling, this podcast is right up my alley. Each week they pick a topic such as fear or categorization and then find a few specific cases studies that they focus the discussion around. The cases aren’t always the things I think they’ll focus on based on the topic, but they are always fascinating.

I also love that they end each podcast with a “dance break”. It’s totally random and it makes me smile every week. It’s just a little thing that makes the podcast truly great. I highly recommend checking it out. It posts weekly on Fridays wherever you choose to download your podcasts from.

Most Memorable Pop Culture of 2014

It’s time once again for my annual round up of the pop culture that I have found the most memorable over the past year. As I point out every year this is not a best of list. I don’t necessarily think any of these things are the top in their categories. Instead this is a compilation of the things I most enjoyed this year and that meant the most to me in 2014.

This list was actually little harder than usual for me to put together this year because in many ways it felt like a very meh year in pop culture to me. Not in every category, but particularly in music and books there weren’t any real standouts to me. I definitely am not the only one who felt that way about music. I’ve heard a lot of professional music critics saying the same thing, so I feel justified in that. I’m not sure everyone else felt the same about books. Perhaps I just wasn’t reading the right things, but out out of the 125 books I read in 2014 I only rated 4 of them 5 stars on Goodreads. I felt like I had way more than usual that I gave 2 or 3 stars to. Hopefully 2015 will be a better year for me in these areas.

Movie I Saw in a Theatre

Last year in this category I talked about Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight. This year he gets another mention with his film Boyhood, which was filmed over a period of 12 years following the life of a young boy with all of the actors returning periodically to film scenes so that as the actors aged the characters did as well. It was an impressive piece of filmmaking and deserves every lovely thing that has been said about it. With a project like this it can sometimes feel like you’re supposed to love it because it’s like nothing that has ever been done before, but in this case the movie itself and the story it tells are wonderful and it’s not just the gimmick that is deserving of praise.

I would also be remiss not to mention the Veronica Mars movie in this category. I guess like Boyhood it also has some historic value as the first crowdsourced movie to be released in movie theatres. I loved the show and this movie was everything I hoped it would be. I certainly don’t think every canceled television show should have a movie made from it. In most cases I think it would only result in diminished returns, but in this case I supported it and think it really worked.

Movie I Watched at Home

I so rarely watch movies at home, I almost thought I didn’t have anything to put into this category this year. Then I remembered that we recently rented Chef with some free credits we had from Amazon from deferring 2 day shipping on our Prime account. I had heard lovely things about this movie when it was in theatres, but it just didn’t work out for us to see it at that time. I remember it being out when we were vacationing in Key West last May. There was a little theatre a couple blocks from the place we were staying that was advertising it. Had it actually been playing while we were there we probably would have gone to see it one night, but it didn’t start until the night before we left. When we were looking for something use our credit on, I remembered this movie and decided it’s what we should rent.

It’s a great little movie written by, directed by, and starring Jon Favreau. His character, as the title suggests, is a chef who falls down on his luck and loses his job. In trying to figure out what to do from there and really use his culinary skills in the way he wants to he connects with his young son who he has grown distant from since his divorce from his son’s mother. If you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend checking it out.

Fiction Book

As I was mentioning above I didn’t really feel like a read a whole lot of books this year that I really loved. I definitely had to look through my Goodreads list to see what I actually even gave a good rating to because there wasn’t anything that was jumping to the top of my memory. I rated 3 fiction books with five stars and of those the one I feel like I should write about here is the book Someone by Alice McDermott. This was my pick for one of my book clubs this past year. I don’t think everyone enjoyed it as much as I did, but that’s okay because I thought it was beautiful. It’s a simple book that just follows Marie, an Irish-American living in Brooklyn, throughout her life. The story itself isn’t particularly compelling. There’s not much of a plot to speak of, but McDermott has such a way with words that reading the way she describes things is a great treat. There were so many wonderful little morsels in this book that I loved, so it’s the book I’m going to go with in this category.

Non-Fiction Book

Looking back at the non-fiction books I read over the past year listed in Goodreads there was only one that I gave five stars to, and it’s actually not the one I want to write about in this category. For the record that book was You Are the Music: How Music Reveals What It Means to Be Human by Victoria Williamson. I still think that was a great book, and as someone who loves music it really resonated with me. However the one book both fiction and non-fiction that has really stuck with me from this year is The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs. For some reason I only gave it 4 stars when I rated it, but it’s the one book I really haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it. It’s the true story of a brilliant boy who grew up in a horrible neighborhood in Newark. He was surrounded by violence and drugs, his father was in prison for murder, and yet he managed to make it out for awhile. He attended Yale and had a bright future ahead of him before he wound up pulled back into his old life in Newark. The book is written by his friend and former roommate at Yale, who unapologetically recounts Robert Peace’s life and examines the reasons that his life was cut short and why it isn’t as simple to walk away from what you know for a supposedly better life.

TV Show

There is a lot of good television these days. Between what I watch on network television, cable tv, pay cable like HBO and Showtime, and then what Amazon and Netflix are now putting out I can barely keep up with what I’ve chosen to watch and I still feel like there is a ton that I’m missing. There is just no way to keep up with all of the excellent television shows that are being made these days. However, the television show that I’m most interested in right now is probably not one that is making any television critic’s best of list. Over the summer my friend Sarah convinced me that we should both start watching Arrow. It was something that I had heard good things about and did have interest in watching at some point, so it didn’t take much arm twisting. She never wound up watching it all, which I say is her loss because I plowed through the first two seasons and was anxiously awaiting the third when it started this fall. I don’t think the third season has actually been as good, but I’m still enjoying it and it’s probably currently the television show I most look forward to getting to watch every week. There’s probably a bit of a recency bias with this choice as well, but I only get to pick one show so this is the one I’m going with.

TV Episode

Luckily for me I also given myself the TV episode category, so I can talk about more than one tv show. Parenthood is now in it’s final season and we’re getting ready to hit the last four episodes. This show has been wildly uneven over it’s six years, but when it is firing on all cylinders it will gut you. That is why this show is the perfect fit for this category. Many storylines the show chooses concentrate on just don’t work and when you hit episodes that strongly focus on those plots it’s not great, though the love of the characters often pulls it through in those cases. However, when this show focuses on the smaller, more realistic moments it is amazing. Season 5, Episode 19 “Fraud Alert” was one of those episodes that just about killed me. It was especially heart wrenching with two stories going with the younger kids. It was the episode where kids peed in Max’s canteen on a field trip and Sydney and Victor are having a really hard time with their Julia and Joel splitting up. Both Max and Victor have very understandable breakdowns during this episode and they broke my heart. It was so good. I am really going to miss this show when it is gone. I will be sad to no longer be sharing life with the Braverman family when it ends.

Album

As I have already mentioned there wasn’t really a whole lot that stood out to me in music this year. Honestly if I could I would like to write about Jason Isbell’s Southeastern again as that album from last year still resonates with me more than any new album I’ve listened to this year. Looking through the albums I bought this past year I want to give special mention to Nickel Creek’s A Dotted Line because I do love them, I do like this album, and I love that they got back together to put this out for the 25th anniversary of them playing together. I also thought about Jessie Ware’s Tough Love because I listened it on repeat a ton of times. However, ultimately decided to go with Ryan Adams’ self titled album. I have probably listened to it more times than any other album I bought this year, and it was one of those albums where when I was listening to it I would think this is my favorite song on this album, then the next one would come on and I would think no this is actually my favorite song from this album all the way through. This album came out three years after his last release, which is unprecedented for him. He usually turns out material crazy fast, which can sometimes show. In this case the extra time was well worth it and resulted in a fantastic album.

Song

In some ways I want to spread the love around a little and pick a song by a different artist, but if I’m being honest with myself here I really have to go with Ryan Adams again and the song “Gimme Something Good”, which I obviously listened to a lot on the album, but was also very happy to hear every time it came on the radio and of course was very happy to hear him play live at the Newport Folk Festival this past summer.

Artist

You would think having given Ryan Adams both the song and album categories that he would be the only choice for artist, but you would be wrong. Thanks to the way I put this together I can actually pick a musical group that actually didn’t put anything out in 2014, but 2014 is the year I became aware of their existence so I get to write about them now. That honor goes to The Oh Hellos. They were one of the first artists that The Newport Folk Festival announced for their 2014 lineup. I immediately fell in love with their music. It is so joyful it makes my heart swell with happiness every time I listen to it. They have a short 4 song Christmas album that I listened to on repeat at work one day during December, and it made me so happy.

Even better than just the music itself is their stage presence. They are a large band. I think there’s something like 12 of them and they just get up there and play their hearts out. I got to see them twice this year, once at Newport and then opening for needtobreathe at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Both times the audience was composed largely of people who had never heard of them before and both times I got to watch as they completely bowled everyone there over and made them instant fans. It’s been a few years since they’ve put out any new music and I hope that 2015 will provide some.

Concert

Obviously The Oh Hellos are at the top of my list as far as the best concerts I saw this year. I also have a special love for Jason Isbell concert at the 9:30 Club this past January with Holly Williams opening for him. They put out two of my favorite albums from 2013, so getting to see them play together at the beginning of 2014 was a real treat. Holly Williams playing “Waiting on June” was the first time I have ever been at a concert where everyone around me was in tears, which was a very special moment. My biggest regret of 2015 so far is that I won’t be seeing Jason Isbell when he comes back to DC to play the Lincoln Theatre in a few weeks. I don’t know anyone who wanted to go with me, so I didn’t buy tickets but then once they sold out I really regretted not getting any.

The concert I’m actually going with here though is Mavis Staples at 2014’s Newport Folk Festival. This year’s festival was a celebration of her 75th birthday. She was obviously the closing headliner, but she also popped up throughout the weekend to sing songs with during other artist’s sets. It was so awesome to hear her singing with so many other great musicians. Her set was amazing. It was so great to be able to see a musical legend like Mavis Staples sing live and because of the venue to be able to have so many other artists I love join her on stage to sing with and celebrate her.

Broadway Theatre Production

Of the four Broadway shows I saw this year it’s really hard to choose which one I should write about here. I loved seeing Sutton Foster live again in the beautiful show Violet. Seeing Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch was an amazing experience. Aladdin was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Ultimately though I’m going with Cabaret starring Emma Stone and Alan Cumming. I have always loved Cabaret. I love the show itself and the music. Finally getting to see Alan Cumming as the Emcee after all these years was fantastic, and I really thought Emma Stone was great as Sally Bowles. I’m very happy I got to see her in her Broadway debut.

Baltimore Theatre Production

This year I’m going to go with one of the touring Broadway shows at the Hippodrome for my choice of most memorable Baltimore Theatre Production. I’m picking Sister Act because I really enjoyed the show a lot, but more so because it surpassed my expectations exponentially. I was not really looking forward to the show very much and figured it was going to be yet another awful musical stage adaptation of a movie. I was kind of blown away by how much I liked it. It was a lot of fun, and was probably my favorite show of our season last year. I definitely wasn’t expecting that at all.

Podcast Episode

I often wind up picking one of the Nerdist podcast episodes for this category because of the podcasts I listen to it is the only one that features guests in almost every episode making it very easy to remember them. The other podcasts I listen to are just the hosts talking about things, so it is often hard for me to distinguish one episode from another at the end of the year. This year though I specifically remember the Extra Hot Great episode that Alan Sepinwall guest hosted on. With Joe Reid leaving as one of the regular podcast hosts at the end of 2013, they decided to continue with 4 hosts every week but with the fourth chair being filled by a guest host every week. Alan Sepinwall is my favorite television writer. We agree on a lot of, though not all, television shows. If I’m watching a new show you can usually bet it’s because Alan told me to. If I’m wondering if I should try out a new show that’s coming on he is the first person I turn to in order to find out. Thus I was very excited to see that he was going to be appearing on one of my favorite podcasts. As expected his episode was a lot of fun. In one of their segments they talked about The Knick, which I never watched, but was amused by Alan’s constant rubbing in that he had received more screeners than Tara, Sarah, and Dave had. The Game Time was one of the television theme song ones, and I remember laughing out loud at the gym while listening to them have so much fun playing it. It was an excellently fun episode. I demand more episodes with Alan Sepinwall!

Playing Catch Up

I’ve been really busy lately both with work that is kind of overwhelming at the moment as well as actually doing the fun activities I’m going to write about in this post and thus have had no time to spend here writing about anything. Here’s a quick look at some of the fun things I’ve been up to lately.

1. This past Saturday was the annual holiday party that one of my groups of friends holds every year. For a decade we rented out the upstairs bar at Max’s for a few hours of fun every December, but time moves on and there are now too many kids to make that an option. Last year we thought we found a good alternative that was family friendly by renting out the Women’s Industrial Kitchen, but that sadly closed and ruined the chances for that again this year. Instead of undertaking the difficult search for another venue that would be good for our group in it’s current configuration our friends Kevin and Tracie decided to just go ahead and hold the party at their house. It was a different dynamic, but it was still great fun to hang out with friends that I don’t always see as often as I’d like. Most of them have moved out of the city and have kids now, which means that a lot of the time I only see most of them when there is a party. I wish that wasn’t necessarily the case, but I get it. We still kept with tradition and held our white elephant gift exchange. This year I came home with Brewopoly, which is essentially a beer themed Monopoly game. Paul came home with something called The Whole Brain Game, which I brought home from this same gift exchange 2 years ago, never played, and brought back last year. Whoever it took it home last year obviously brought it back this year. I suspect I know what one of our gifts for next year will be.

2. Sunday was a very busy day. It started off with my friend Carissa’s annual birthday/parade brunch prior to Baltimore’s Mayor’s Christmas parade. It was fun to hang out with an almost entirely different set of friends from Saturday and of course to watch my favorite parade in the world. I have said many times in the past that I love that parade so much. It’s so perfectly Baltimore with it’s random assortment of people and things. I don’t care about some big, fancy, polished parade I just love the heart that is this parade. We headed straight from the parade to meet our friend Heather for dinner at Alewife. Speaking of friends I normally don’t see enough, it had been quite some time since I had gotten to hang out with Heather outside of our most recent book club meeting. She doesn’t have any kids, but she commutes to DC for her main job and then takes on 85 other side jobs so she is always busy. We added on a ticket to Newsies at the Hippodrome to our season tickets for her, so we met up for dinner and then went to see the show. I saw the movie once when it first came out many moons ago, so I didn’t really much about it. I enjoyed the show though aside from the family (of all adults I might add) that were annoyingly disruptive coming in late, going to the bathroom, and the person sitting next to me reeking of marijuana. I don’t really know what their deal was.

3. Monday night was one of my book clubs. I was hosting this month and had us read Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose. I had heard an interview with the author on NPR and thought the book sounded really interesting. We pretty much all agreed that the concept was intriguing, but it failed in execution. Too bad. I always hate when I pick a book for book club that isn’t that great. We had a delicious dinner, a good discussion, and white elephant book exchange so not all was lost.

4. Tuesday night I headed down to DC with my friends Heather and Karen to see Pop Culture Happy Hour Live. I’ve been to 3 of the 4 live shows they’ve done in DC. Sadly I had to miss the last one because I was out of town. They had been selling out their space at the NPR Headquarters in a matter of seconds, so this time they moved to the Sixth and I Synagogue. There were probably about 3 times the number of people, which gave the show a good energy. I definitely laughed a ton, and really enjoyed being there. Unfortunately because of coming from Baltimore and the need to snarf down dinner once we got into DC, we weren’t there when the doors opened at 6, which meant we had to sit up in the balcony. My view from the balcony was almost on par with my view during their first live show where I was standing in the back of a standing room only event in the middle of a pop up NPR store next to their old headquarters. This time I could only really see Barrie Hardymon. If I craned my head the right way I could sometimes see Glen Weldon’s face while he was talking, but mostly just his torso. Stephen Thompson and Linda Holmes were pretty much out of view for me. I appreciate that the larger venue allowed for more people to attend. When they asked at the beginning how many people had and hadn’t seen a live show before the people who hadn’t been able to attend in the past far outweighed those of us who had. Hopefully maybe they’ll be able to find a venue that supports the right number of people as well as provides everyone in attendance with a decent view. Even if I couldn’t see very well I still had an excellent time and am glad I went.

Songs I Love: Music Roundup

I feel like it’s been awhile since I wrote about the songs that I’m really loving right now, so here’s a quick roundup of some of my favorites.

Saturday’s Song by Hiss Golden Messenger

Ok, so there’s not really much going on with song lyrically, but I love the jangly guitar in it so much I can’t even tell you. Despite the lyrics about how he’s going to “get a little crazy” when Saturday comes the music itself is super chill. I always like a song where the lyrics and music are juxtaposed like this. This song is definitely going on my chill summer playlist.

Put My Heart Down by Sara Evans

“Put My Heart Down” is the second single off of Sara Evans’ album Slow Me Down, the title song of which I’ve already written about. I’m obviously really digging the singles coming off of this album, so I should probably actually take a listen to the whole thing, which I haven’t actually done yet. Again I don’t have much to say about the song lyrically, but that doesn’t really matter so much to me these days. I’m a visual person, so I don’t always pick up on lyrics when I’m not looking at them. Since I no longer have the time to sit around and exclusively listen to music while reading along with the lyrics like I once did when I was younger, I find that lyrics are the least important part of a song to me these days. I love the way the song sounds and that they lyrics are in fact easy enough for me to pick up enough of to sing along when I hear it in the car.

She’s Not Me by Jenny Lewis

I’m generally hit or miss with Jenny Lewis’ music. I like some of it and some of it I just don’t for whatever reason. I did really enjoy seeing her live at the Newport Folk Festival this summer though. I know so many people who loved “Just One of the Guys”, the first single off her album The Voyager from which this song also comes, but I didn’t really like it. I’m also the person who liked Under the Blacklight, the last Rilo Kiley album, which I guess real Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis fans consider to be far inferior to the ones that came before. Whatever, everyone is welcome to their opinion and sometimes there are certain songs that just aren’t for me. I allow others the same latitude. I’m about 50/50 on The Voyager album as a whole, but “She’s Not Me” is a great song and my favorite from the album.

Pitch

Every time someone recommends a podcast to me I just sigh knowing that even if it sounds amazing I just don’t have time to add another podcast to my slate. I can’t even keep up with the podcasts I already listen to. So many people have been raving about the Serial podcast, and I admit that it sounds really great but I can’t fit another hour long weekly podcast into my life right now. With that one I’m thinking I’ll wait until they play out the entire season and then it will make for good road trip listening.

I am very glad however that I listened to Glen Weldon, when he recommended the Pitch podcast on Pop Culture Happy Hour. It averages about 10 minutes every other week, with short encore episodes of 2-3 minutes of material cut from the original podcast filling in the weeks in between. Even I can manage to add about 15 more minutes of podcast listening into my life over the course of every 2 weeks. The podcast is produced by Whitney Jones and Alex Kapelman and is a documentary show about music. I am a great music lover, so of course it’s right up my alley. I think it would appeal to other people too though.

When I say that it’s about music, it may not be what you think it’s about. They don’t sit around talking about what music is popular or what bands and songs that they like. They talk about things that are related to music and sometimes the production of music, and who knows what else will come in the future. In the most recent episode they talked about the history behind the no dancing signs seen at many places where music is played in New York City. Some of my other favorite episodes have included an interview with Cristin Milioti about how she had to quickly learn to play the piano in order to get her role in the Broadway musical Once, how certain sounds you hear out in the world can remind you of songs, and pauses in music.

There are only 10 episodes at this point, so you can easily catch up on all the episodes. I highly recommend that you do so. It’s a great little podcast that looks at how music intersects with our lives.

MASH

At the end of every episode of her J.V. Club podcast, Janet Varney plays MASH with the guest. If you’re a woman around my age, then I can’t imagine you not knowing what MASH is. For anyone else MASH is a game little girls play to forecast their future. In the version I played as a kid you usually gave 3 choices for categories such as who you were going to marry, what kind of car you would drive, how many kids you would have, what your job would be, etc. The MASH part stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, or House. In the little kid version of the game like with the addition of living in a shack as one of your potential futures, whoever you were playing with would also pick out something bad for you in each category. Janet doesn’t do that to her guests, so unless they pick something bad for themselves the worst thing they might wind up with is living in a shack.

Janet plays an updated version with her guests with mostly non-traditional categories. She has a standard rotation of categories that she uses, while changing them up and also adding categories that might be special for a particular guest based on who they are or the conversation they had leading up to the MASH game. It’s really fun to listen to every week, and the guests always get so excited about playing and hearing their “futures”. Since every week I think about the answers I would give, I thought it would be fun to take some of her standard categories and write my answers for them here on my blog.

A Food You Can Have Anytime You Want

This is Janet’s favorite category. She always uses it. It can be a general food like pizza or a very specific food perhaps something you can’t get easily or at all anymore. I decided to go with foods that I loved that were from restaurants that have gone out of business, so I can no longer get them.

1. Cheese Danish from New System Bakery – This was a bakery that was in my neighborhood for decades. It sadly went out of business a few years ago. I still miss it and am sad every time I walk by their abandoned location. I used to eat a cheese Danish from there every Saturday. I think what sets it apart for me is that it had more of a sweet bread base as opposed to the more flakey danish base that is typical of well danishes.

2. White pizza with tomato slices from Alyssa’s – Alyssa’s was a pizza/Indian place (For some reason there are a number of these in Baltimore. It’s an odd combo I’ve never seen anywhere else and in my experience the Indian food at them is lousy as you might expect.) in my neighborhood. They used to have 1/2 priced pizzas on Monday, and a group of my friends and I used to go every week. Even after that kind of fell by the wayside my husband and I still used to get pizza from there for ourselves most weeks. We always shared a white pizza with tomato slices. Their white pizza had sort of a garlic/olive oil sauce on it as opposed to the bechamel sauce you typically see and which I’m not that found of. It was a really good pizza and I still miss it.

3. Chicken Burrito from Curbside Cafe – Curbside Cafe was one of if not the first food truck in Baltimore. They only operated for a little over a year I think, then deciding that the food truck life was not for them. I heard them say they had no desire to spend another cold winter sitting in the truck, a sentiment I totally get. I do really miss their chicken burrito though. They used to park on my block for lunch on Thursdays, which was the day I didn’t go into work until 1:30, which meant that most Thursdays I treated myself to a burrito before a late night on the reference desk.

A Band that Writes the Soundtrack to Your Life

I’m amused now that I’m looking at the artists I put down. I seem to have a type in that all of these gentlemen play variations of music that I would consider to be southern, alt-country, folk rock type music. The second key for all of these is that they will play a mix of music both fast and slow because if you’re going to have someone creating a soundtrack for your life you’re going to want them to be able to write music to fit the mood.

1. Tom Petty – Tom Petty was the first person that popped into my head for this. I’ve loved him since I was a little kid. He’s the only artist whose music I’ve owned a box set of, and American Girl is my theme song. There is no way that Tom Petty was not my top choice for this.

2. Jason Isbell – If you’ve been reading this blog over the past year and half and somehow didn’t think that Jason Isbell was going on this list, you’re nuts. People can continue to ignore me, but I will still keep trying to tell you that Jason Isbell was one of the best singer-songwriters we have right now. I love him so much. Too bad I feel too guilty to drag my husband down to DC for a second time to see him this February after doing it last winter, and I somehow haven’t convinced any of the rest of you people that he is amazing.

3. Ryan Adams – I love me some Ryan Adams. He’s a crazy prolific songwriter, so I have no doubt he would be an excellent choice to soundtrack anyone’s life. He has a great mix of fun songs and more poignant songs. His songs also vary from rock to quieter songs. He would be brilliant.

Where You Have a Vacation Home

1. A lake house in the woods – I have always wanted a lake house with a dock and a little speedboat docked at it. I would love to have a place far enough way to feel like you’re getting away, but still near enough that you could go for a weekend. Stupid Maryland that has no natural lakes in it makes this somewhat of a pipe dream, but in my imaginary future I have this.

2. Bora Bora – I have never been to Bora Bora, so I may perhaps hate it there, but I doubt it. I chose this solely based on the awesome looking place they stay at in the film Couples Retreat. It is not a good movie, but the place they stay at in the movie looks amazing. It’s these cottages over the water where you could jump directly from the floor of your room into the clear blue water. I don’t have enough money in real life to stay somewhere like that, but in my fantasy life I do.

3. London – I love water, which is evident in my first two choices in this category. I decided to mix it up a little bit with the third. I have been to London a number of times including living there for a semester while studying abroad. It’s a city I love and which has affords me many of the cultural things that I love to do without the overwhelming crowdedness I feel when I’m in New York.

Your Celebrity Spouse

This category is full of people who I think are both attractive, whose roles in film and television I generally like, and from what I know of them I would like them in real life. If you know anything bad about any of them please don’t tell me because I don’t want to know.

1. Matt Bomer

2. Zachary Levi

3. John Cusack

Your Superpower

1. Go-Go Gadget-ness – As a shorty I always wanted to be able to reach things or see over things. In my head that always seemed to be like something that would be so easy to do if I could just say go-go gadget arms or legs and make myself taller or my arms longer.

2. Teleportation – I like visiting other places and there are lots of places I wish I could just pop into and out of to do a specific thing, but the time and money it would take to travel there makes it impossible do as much as I want. Being able to teleport places would make that so much easier.

3. Ability to be 2 Places at Once – It always seems that there are multiple things that crop up that I want to do that fall on the same day or I go to a music festival and the bands I want to see are playing at the exact same time. If I could have multiple mes that got to all go to different activities at the same time life would be so much easier, and I wouldn’t have to choose between multiple things that I want to do.

My Future

Playing the game through I have a mansion that is apparently a lake house. I’m not sure how that works, but I’ll take it. I can call up a chicken burrito from Curbside Cafe at any time I want while I listen to Ryan Adams play the soundtrack to my life. I’ll be doing all this with Zachary Levi, and we won’t have to worry about getting back and forth to wherever our lake mansion is because we can just teleport to get there.