Friday, January 30, 2015

The Quest for Forgiveness: Brianna's Terrible Support System

Last time, the news about Brianna singing at the MPAs was released and Sonya explained to the press that they had stolen her music. Then it jumped ahead to like a day later when everyone was theorizing about Brianna. Then it jumped back in time to Sonya picking Brianna up at the airport. So that's where we are.

The paparazzi doesn't manage to get a good glimpse of Brianna, but we do learn that the awards ceremony is tomorrow night.


And as we discovered last time, the MPAs are looking to fill advertising slots. Well, that or Rothdiener doesn't understand how TV advertising works and that if more people watch the ceremony, they'll magically make more money from advertisements they've already sold. Given how he explains it, this explanation might be the closest: "After seeing the worldwide publicity over the teen, they realized the monetary gain from advertisers around the world would be huge. The ceremony would draw an enormous audience."

If they work the way real TV advertising works, then I guess they haven't sold their last slots yet, in which case, yes, they probably can charge more for them (unless it's not legal to switch it up like that, though I'd imagine it would be).

Brianna tells Sonya that fame is easier than living on the streets, because now people use her to get to her fame, when before people used her to get to her body. Which, yes, I suppose is better, but it doesn't make their interactions any more genuine.

Sonya tries again to talk about 1) Ethan (multiple times) and 2) Christianity, and is surprised and saddened when Brianna shuts down the conversation... like she has EVERY SINGLE TIME THIS HAPPENS. In fact, what was that exchange Sonya and Brianna had a chapter ago?
“That’s part of my life I never want to talk about and won’t. Do you understand?”   
“No. I sure don’t, but there’s someone who does. I will abide by your wishes.”
So I was completely justified in assuming that Sonya was not in any way going to abide by Brianna's wishes like she said she would. Ugh. Sonya's the worst.
Sonya wisely changed the subject. “How about a man in your life, you know, a romantic relationship?”  
Brianna giggled.
Again, that's a WEIRDLY naive and innocent response to that question. I highly doubt you get girly embarrassed giggles about "romantic relationships" when you've gotten accustomed to men using you for your body and then discarding you.

Incidentally, this is just more proof that either 1) Sonya doesn't listen to Brianna, or 2) the author frequently forgets what he's already written. This exchange happened thirty pages earlier:
“You seem down on men.” 
“Down isn’t the word. If I never have another relationship in my life, it will be all too soon.” 
. . . “I’ve never seen a seventeen-year-old down on men as much as you are. Usually girls your age are gaga over guys.”
Sonya's conversations with Brianna seem to go something like this:

Sonya: "Let's talk about Ethan."
Brianna: "I don't want to. Ever."
Sonya: "What?! Fine, I won't. How about God?"
Brianna: "I don't need God."
Sonya: "What?! Fine, we won't talk about it. How about men?'
Briana: "I don't want a relationship."
Sonya: "What?! Fine, we'll drop it. How about Ethan?"

Repeat. Forever.

Brianna gushes in the book that talking to Sonya makes her feel like she has a true friend. But that's only because Brianna's life has been very sad and so she thinks Sonya's awful, insensitive pushing counts as friendship because it's better than what she had before.

Sonya brings in Brianna's new bodyguards, three men and one woman, who will act as a decoy on occasion. (Though SURELY no one could EVER be mistaken for someone as BEAUTIFUL as Brianna!) One of the bodyguards is Sonya's brother-in-law, who was with her husband when he died.
Brianna continued, “Isn’t seeing your husband’s brother hard on you? And Sonya, why do I need four guards? Isn’t one enough?”  
“My, you always have so many questions.”
Sonya's not used to people asking different questions instead of same three over and over again, so it just seems like a lot.

She then explains to Brianna that she will be super famous and will want some time to herself, and that's what the bodyguards are for. But then she talks about being alone like it's an impossibility forever if you're famous. Being alone in public, sure, that's tricky, but, um, doesn't Brianna get a home? Doesn't she even get a backstage area or a hotel room while she's on tour? Not according to Sonya.

So the bodyguards show up, and Brianna is instantly attracted to Bodyguard Conrad, who is Sonya's brother-in-law.

Cue new people commenting on Brianna's looks in 3...2...1...
He reached his hand out to his new client as he lost himself in her eyes. “Wow, she has a strong handshake. When Sonya said you were gorgeous, she wasn’t kidding. I can see why you need protection.”

Why do these people not understand appropriate lawyer-client or bodyguard-client behavior? I'm pretty sure that's considered unprofessional. Although at least he's talking to her instead of to Sonya about her.

Cathy and Jonathan are married bodyguards who served in the Marines together and they decide to chat with Brianna about relationships.
Cathy added, “A little advice from another girl. If you want to get the right man, run from him... eventually you will catch him!”

Brianna protests she doesn't need bodyguards, and Conrad tells her some stories about celebrities being killed by stalkers, and she's like, "Oh."
Brianna stepped closer to Conrad, and brushed her finger down his chest in a flirtatious gesture. “Do I have to be afraid of any of you coming on to me?”  
Without even a glimpse of a smile, Conrad spoke. “No Ma’am, you said it— we are all business.”
"Well, I mean, except for a minute ago when I got lost in your eyes and told you you were gorgeous. But FROM THIS MOMENT ON, I promise, all business."

Sonya tells Brianna to concentrate on sleeping and getting enough rest, and to avoid drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and men. At least until tomorrow night. Brianna says she hopes her real parents are watching.
“I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, sold myself and my talents. I have... I’ve destroyed people’s lives. I can’t stop now, or it will be all for naught.”
"All for naught" is some really old school speak for a 17-year-old who has been living on the streets the past several years. Also, isn't "selling her talents" the entire point of being in show business? It might not belong in the same category as lying and stealing.

Conrad cheerfully tells her that maybe her parents don't want to be found and don't want anything to do with her.

Yup. All business, this guy.
Brianna stopped her strumming and stared at Conrad, almost oblivious to the others in the room. “I can’t believe I’m talking to you about this. Who are you anyhow? You’re just a bodyguard.”  
She began strumming and with a voice of an angel, the lyrics flowed— words she had never penned. No one knew if the message came from her heart, head, or an experience from her past.  
Who are you, but just a man? You can’t possibly understand The heart of one searching, The love that I’m bringing This is the story, I’m going to keep singing
...Well, THAT'S unnecessarily insulting.

"Here, Mr. Just a Bodyguard, let me sing an improvised song for you about how YOU'RE JUST A MAN AND YOU'LL NEVER UNDERSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND ME!"

I feel like she's just pouting that he's not returning her romantic advances and so decides to be like, "Pffft, then I shall insult you and your lowly station in life and your lowly gender!"

Conrad reveals that he grew up in foster care until Sonya's brother's family adopted him, so he does kind of know what she's talking about, even if he's just a man/bodyguard. He also tells her about God, because that's typically well-received in a professional relationship you've just begun. Brianna is clearly not receptive to this, and Conrad gets sad about that and pushes further because sure, that's the best plan.

Brianna changes the subject and asks him about his real parents. Conrad says he found them and they were drug addicts and alcoholics, so that didn't go well.
“My, aren’t we on a roll? Am I going to have to listen to his lectures the whole time he protects me?” Brianna smiled at Sonya to help lessen her sarcasm.  
Sonya answered. “I’m afraid so. Conrad has been many places and done countless things in his short life on earth. His knowledge far exceeds one’s expectation. You may want to learn from him.”
Oh, great. Sonya hired a bodyguard not to protect Brianna but mostly to impart his wisdom to her. That's lovely.

Sonya says they'll be staying at her house that night.
“Your house?” Brianna questioned, her voice sounding sort of bewildered. 
“Yes, I figured it would be the safest place for you.” 
“Is it big?”
Brianna sounds about five years old right now. "Is it big? Does it have a pony? Is it red? Do you have a bathroom? Do you have a pool?"

Brianna says she wants to take a shower, and there's a really creepy exchange where they joke about the bodyguards showering with her. I forgot just how bad the flirting was in this book. It's the worst, guys.

We've covered about half of the rest of the chapter, so we'll finish up chapter eight next week. I've had all the terrible conversations I can take for one day.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tune In Thursday: Chicago

That's Chicago the musical, not the band. Just to make it clear. Specifically, the song "Roxie," which is a really entertaining tune from the show, sung by Roxie Hart about all the fame she imagines she will have someday. It also gets stuck in my head all the time, so now it can get stuck in yours!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The One Kind of Kids' Joke That Always Makes Me Laugh

I've begun my wrap-up of my massive 2014 movie challenge and I hoped to have it ready for you today, but, nope, that's going to take until Monday. But I realized that I have never posted about my undying love for a very specific style of joke: the elephant joke.

Elephant jokes appeal to the absurd side of my sense of humor. According to Wikipedia:
An elephant joke is a joke, almost always an absurd riddle or conundrum and often a sequence of such, that involves an elephant. Elephant jokes were a fad in the 1960s, with many people constructing large numbers of them according to a set formula. Sometimes they involve parodies or puns.
Elephant jokes are frequently told in groups, where each joke builds upon expectations of the previous one. And for some reason they just amuse me greatly. So I figured I'd share a few of my favorites. You will either love them or just... not understand their appeal at all. And either is a fair response.

Why do ducks have flat feet?
From stamping out forest fires.
Why do elephants have flat feet?
From stamping out burning ducks.

Why do elephants have flat, round feet?
To make jumping on water-lilies easier.

What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephant coming over the hill?
Here comes the elephant over the hill.
What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephant coming over the hill with dark glasses on?
Nothing. He didn't recognize him.
What is the difference between an elephant and a plum?
Elephants are grey, plums are purple.
What did Jane say when she saw the elephants coming over a hill?
Here come the plums. Jane is colorblind.

Why do elephants paint their toenails red?
So they can hide in cherry trees.
Have you ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree?
No, because it works.
How did Tarzan die?
Picking cherries.

How do you know there's an elephant hiding under your bed?
Your nose is pressed against the ceiling.

Why do elephants buy yellow shoes in bulk?
So they can save on shipping.
Why do elephants wear yellow shoes?
So you can't see them when they float upside down in the custard.
How many elephants do you fit into a mini-cooper?
Two in the front and two in the back.
How can you tell if there's an elephant in the fridge?
The custard looks slightly different.
How can you tell if there are two elephants in your fridge?
They giggle when the light turns on.
How can you tell there are three elephants in your fridge?
It doesn't close all the way.
How can you tell there are four elephants in your fridge?
There's a mini-cooper parked out front.

How do you fit an elephant in the fridge?
Open the fridge door, put the elephant in, and close the fridge door.
How do you fit a giraffe in the fridge?
Open the fridge door, take the elephant out, put the giraffe in, close the fridge door.
Which one will win a 200m race, an elephant or a giraffe?
The elephant, because the giraffe is in the fridge.

Why is an elephant big, gray, and bumpy?
If it was smooth, white, and round it would be an aspirin.

Three elephants jump out of an airplane. Two of them hit land, one hits water...What do you get?
Buhdum Tss!

How does an elephant get up a tree?
They stand on a seed and wait for it to grow?
How does an elephant get out of a tree?
They sit on a leaf and wait until Autumn.

How do you catch an elephant with a phone booth and a bike?
You go to the savanna and leave the phone booth out in the open, with its door open, close to a path used by elephants. Then you hide nearby with the bike. When an elephant comes along, you ring the bell on the bike. The elephant will think the phone is ringing, and will go inside the booth to answer. Close the door quickly, and you have your elephant.

Why did the elephant step on the marshmallow?
So he wouldn't fall in the hot chocolate.

Why was Dumbo so sad?
He was irrelephant.
Why was Bambi so sad?
His mother was murdered.

How do you kill a blue elephant?
Shoot it with a blue elephant gun.
How do you kill a red elephant?
Hold its trunk until it turns blue, then shoot it with a blue elephant gun.
How do you kill a green elephant?
Paint it red, hold its trunk until it turns blue, then shoot it with a blue elephant gun.
How do you kill a purple elephant?
Purple elephants don't exist, silly.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tune In Tuesday: Music and Lyrics

This very silly movie included some very, very silly songs -- most notably "Pop! Goes My Heart," which I present for you in all its glory here. I don't think it needs much more of an introduction. Just enjoy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Would You See a Movie With These Crazy Plots?

One of the things I've been doing for a long time (several years) is collecting data from movies' synopses as I see them. The four things I usually collect in lists are:

1. Characters (examples: alien family, legendary director, intruder)
2. Settings (examples: boys' boarding school, 1900s countryside, hokey small-town Missouri)
3. Inanimate Items, both concrete and abstract (examples: new film, secret experiment, fame)
4. Actions (examples: goes through advanced training, overthrows the emperor, gives up)

Typically I use these as writing prompts for myself. I randomize the list, toss a couple of these together ("an alien family at a boys' boarding school goes through advanced training involving a secret experiment") and come up with a short story, either to become something real later or to just get me writing. But more recently I've also been playing around with a sillier use for them.

I've been looking at new theatrical releases on IMDb, looking at their synopses, and swapping out the elements in them with elements in my own.

For example, the IMDb synopsis for The Boy Next Door says this:

Shortly after getting a divorce, a woman falls for a younger man who has recently moved in across the street from her, but their torrid affair soon takes an obsessive, dangerous turn.

So I replace "newly divorced woman" and "younger man" with new characters, "getting a divorce" and "has recently moved in across the street from her" with a new action, and "torrid affair" with a new item to get this final masterpiece:

Shortly after finding love, a magical shapeshifting raccoon falls for a goofy producer who picks up girls, but their aesthetic soon takes an obsessive, dangerous turn.

Some of these are more coherent than others, but here I present to you my favorites.

A Victorian-era miser, an extraterrestrial enemy, a God-fearing bluesman and a snobbish investor, and their misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful toothbrush.

A documentary that tells the story of suburban Connecticut's famous New Yorkers through the eyes of a troubled couple.

A group of recruits travels to the last day of high school in search of a destructive meteor. Finding themselves lost and alone in the afterlife, they meet the duke's son, who deals with a bully.

Alice, a Kermit the Frog look-alike, starts to struggle to come to terms with her personal problems. When she decides to skip Christmas altogether, Alice and her family are sent to the past.

Four Judas Iscariots uncover a Russian plot. With 100,000 Deutschmarks, dream-sharing technology, the Watergate scandal and a paragliding accident, they are merely a figment of a hallucinatory imagination.

As a young girl is interviewed by Samwise Gamgee, it becomes increasingly clear that she is is still listed in his little black book.

In Thailand, the disappearance of a hero draws together three children, a recently deceased ghost, and a dark lord in Vietnam.
(That sounds like it could be a real story.)

In the first summer out of high school, a good girl is faced with the apocalypse during 1978.

In a nuclear attack, a wild young woman is forced to fight the outlaws when she blows their cover. She recruits James T. Kirk to rebuild her team, but the man's chaos brings further misfortune.
(This is the plot for Star Trek 3.)

The art curator Angela is rescued from southeast Asia and taken to a small English town to buy an eight-millimeter movie camera. However, it is unbeknown to the mobsters that she makes his world a better place.

After a near-fatal daring robbery in the lost continent of Atlantis, three women named Louis spend a harrowing 47 days in a luxury cruise ship with two tellers before they're caught by the shy young man and sent to surburban Cleveland.

A brilliant professor and the lust of the world of prostitution that changed Houston for ever.

Nasty mother Chris's artificial intelligence saves countless lives in a news satire program and turns her into a not-so-bright man. Back home to his sparring partners after four disfiguring facial scars, however, Chris must retrieve the book of the dead.

A drama about the special gadget-laden tuxedo of woman Margaret, her public-access cable show in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, and the subsequent island culture she had with her galactic emperor, who begins to disintegrate in international high school.

Emperors Charlotte and Caroline both fall in love with the imprisoned Monkey King Friedrich. Joining an eccentric pop band, they decide to dress as police officers. What begins playfully soon turns serious as it leads to the end of job pressure.

An agent is forced to engage in a war against a dead husband and keep the terrifying Rocky Balboa from acquiring precious long-life treasures and obliterating all of a small town in Italy.

When his wife unexpectedly informs him that she is trying to survive, American intern Otto finds himself thrust back into the last day of high school, where he travels to Hong Kong.

A defiant group of scientists rise up against an Egyptian pair of aging boxing rivals, setting 600,000 cute wives on a monumental journey of escape from an apartment complex and its terrifying cycle of energy experiments.

The lady of his dreams tries to make it as an ailing son when her temple monk fiancée talks her into being forced to rely on a deer.

In lower class Las Vegas, Mr. Spock investigates the disappearance of a struggling salesman.
(Star Trek 4?)

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Quest for Forgiveness: Press Conferences Make a Difference

Last time, Brianna was prepping for the Motion Picture Awards, but she barely needs it because she's already the most beautiful and the best singer and the best dancer and the best basically everything else.

This first section is just... very confusing to decipher. I think what happens is that the news announces that an unknown singer will be performing "Time," the Motion Picture Awards respond with, "That's just a rumor! Judd will be performing it! Nobody can replace him!" and then we learn that Burns (the dude who stole the money) ratted himself out to the press for money and then left the country. Which seems... awkward. I mean, did he get enough money to be able to not have to work in another country? Otherwise that seems like a step backward.

Sonya holds a press conference announcing that, no, Judd Stevens can't legally perform the song at the MPAs.
All the entertainment media were present, as well as the major networks; no denying the fact, it was big news!
Well, actually, one can deny that it's big news. It's about a dispute over song ownership at an awards show, not a breakthrough in medical technology or a declaration of war. No one who doesn't already know this song has any reason to care about it.

Sonya takes it further and says that:
If Brianna is prevented from singing at the ceremony, MPA will also be held in contempt of this court order. . . . If they lock her out, we will be forced to pursue other options, possibly even an injunction against the MPA. Make no mistake... we could shut the awards down completely, if necessary.
I'm not sure that's something they can order in the first place. I mean, if they had decided that no one was going to perform their songs at the awards at all, I'm not sure Sonya could have gotten any kind of court order forcing Brianna to perform hers. It's not a job, it's a performance. They could put pressure on those financing the awards, but I don't think they can legally order them to include something specific.

Sonya tries to be the good guy, saying they wanted to keep this all quiet, but she kind of loses the high ground when she continues:
"Unfortunately, a couple people involved thought they were bigger than the system, and decided to make something out of it by going public. It will destroy their careers— I will see to that!"
No doubt followed by a maniacal laugh.

She then tells the media they have the power to change the outcome and runs off to pick up Brianna at the airport. Understandably, everybody follows her to get a picture of Brianna.

Big news like the war in Iraq and the presidential race are shoved to page two because the first page is ALL about unraveling the mystery of Brianna, and everybody in America sides with her. Finally, the MPA people have a change of heart:
After seeing the worldwide publicity over the teen, they realized the monetary gain from advertisers around the world would be huge.
This is like four days before the awards. Surely they have most of their advertising all locked in by this point? It's a little late to start on paperwork for that. In 2012, ad spots for the Oscars sold out a full month before the awards. I'm not sure how much space they have left for the monetary gain from these last few advertisers to be "huge."

And then... wait, what? We jump backwards in time to Sonya picking up Brianna at the airport. Are we to assume that it took Sonya a full day to get to the airport? Because that's how long it took for the events they described to take place. Was Sonya driving from L.A. to an airport in Dallas?

So with our abrupt jump back in time, I'm going to have to release this post because I'm a little bit behind on blogging and rushing to finish it before it's due. :-) Hoping to catch up this weekend so I can spend more time on blogs before they go live!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tune In Thursday: Matilda

I talked about this song fairly recently in my blog about favorite songs of 2014, but now it gets to stand all on its own. "When I Grow Up" is a fairly simple song about children listing all the things they'll do because they can when they're adults, but it's also a song about the difficulty of growing up general. It's truly lovely.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recycling Lyrics Into Clearly the Best New Song Ever

OK, so I may have forgotten to write a blog for today. I was scrambling for a little bit but then found this old note on my Facebook from years back. So we're going to do this.

Rules: Put your playlist on shuffle and write down the first 25 songs you get...

1. This is How It Happened (!HERO: The Rock Opera)
2. Goodbye May Seem Forever (The Fox and the Hound)
3. Joseph Dear Oh Joseph Mine (Mannheim Steamroller)
4. Buenos Aires (Evita)
5. When You're In My Arms (They're Playing Our Song)
6. Mercy Me (Aurora)
7. Hold On (Roko)
8. Sweet Darlin' (She & Him)
9. A Friend (Out of Eden)
10. You're the One That I Want (Grease)
11. Little Red Hat (110 in the Shade)
12. One Night Only (Dreamgirls)
13. Girlfriend (Avril Lavigne)
14. Country Grammar (Nelly)
15. Poor Robyn (James Marsters)
16. Help (Linda Eder, it's a Beatles cover)
17. Sailing With Russell (Chris Rice)
18. We Gotta Go (The Life)
19. Get Busy (Sean Paul)
20. The Promise (Plus One)
21. Dead Gay Son (Heathers)
22. Lost in the Wilderness (Children of Eden)
23. On the Open Road (A Goofy Movie)
24. Better (A Class Act)
25. Shut Up and Drive (Rihanna)

Now take the first line from the first song, the second line from the second song, third line from the third song, etc. and put them in order below to make your scrambled song. If the song doesn't have enough lines loop back to the beginning--like if you need the 22nd line but the song only has 15 lines, you start counting again with the first line as line 16 and end up using line 7.

#3 is an instrumental version of a song with lyrics, so I've included the traditional lyrics even though they don't sing it. I've also broken it up into... things that are vaguely verse-like.

I knew this assignment was different the first time I saw it
You looked at me needing me so
God reward both thee and thine
I get out here, Buenos Aires

You’re my melody
Holding my heart through it all
Hold on tonight
Just a little bit longer now

A friend is one who listens, always there for you
You're the one that I want
And then with a rush
So let's forget about chances, it's one night I will give
You're so fine, I want you mine, You're so delicious
Just to navigate it, wood decorated on chrome

Don't make me feel
Won't you please, please help me
When I'm sailing with Russell
But what about how good it was?
In a the club them want flex with us
His love is waiting patiently
They were not dirty

Hey, what've we got to lose, boy, when already we are 
When I see that highway, I could cry
Go improve on better
Get you where you wanna go, if you know what I mean

So that'll probably be a top 40 hit any day now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tune In Tuesday: 13

Jason Robert Brown is one of my very favorite songwriters. His songs are beautiful, funny, and profound. 13 is often regarded as one of his less prestigious shows, and that's understandable. It's about a group of pre-teens and their lives. All the cast members (and in the original Broadway run, all the members of the pit as well) were young teens. This cast recording took me awhile to get into, as it's definitely... lighter than his earlier ones. But a few listens later, and I'd fallen in love with this one too.

"The Lamest Place in the World" is one of my favorites to sing along to. The central character of 13 is a boy who moves from Manhattan to central Indiana, and he hates it. This song is sung by a girl who befriends him, introducing him to his new hometown -- she clearly isn't that fond of it either. As someone who grew up in the Midwest her whole life, I can definitely relate.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Best of 2014: Books

I'm holding off on doing my "best movies of 2014" until next week, when I'll have finished my movie challenge and will be reorganizing most of the movies of 2014. So this is my last regular Best of 2014 post, aside from the movie one, which will be written next Monday or Wednesday.

This last year, I set a book challenge goal on Goodreads of 100 books. Thanks to my Kindle and my insomnia, I met that goal and read ten extra. These were my favorite ones I read last year:

Books I Wholeheartedly Recommend

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. This was a reread, and I found it just as delightful and engaging as I had the last time I reread it, years ago. I got seriously sucked into this story.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh. I got this for Christmas in 2013, and it was everything I could have hoped. It contained all my favorite stories from the Hyperbole and a Half blog, plus plenty of others. I laughed out loud a lot.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. This is the author that wrote Gone Girl, although I haven't read that one yet. But based on this one, I very much want to. This book is beautifully written, with a very relatable main character and a good mystery to solve. She even resolves it in a way that with any other author would have seemed far-fetched, but somehow she makes it work.

The Cider House Rules by John Irving. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany a year or two ago and loved it. While this one isn't quite that great, it's still a fascinating story. I got really wrapped up in the lives of these characters.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler. I discovered this year that I really like Anne Tyler's writing. I read three or four of hers and this one was my favorite. Her characters are really easy to connect to. And I particularly liked this book's method of cycling between the characters, telling all their stories a piece at a time.

Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow. So apparently this is the second in a series, and I didn't realize that when I picked it up, but it's a super fun YA time travel story, so I may have to look up some of the others.

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall and Escape by Carolyn Jessop. Apparently this year I was really into memoirs of women escaping the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. The second book in particular looks at how this specific polygamous sect got more and more cultlike, with leaders claiming to hear directly from God about creating new rules that, oddly enough, benefited them the most. These are fascinating reads and very exciting when the women finally make it to freedom.

Death Comes As the End by Agatha Christie. I think this was one of the few Christies I never read -- I certainly didn't remember it at all. In many ways it's a typical Christie mystery, but it's set in ancient Egypt, and seeing one of her stories unfold in this very unusual setting is great fun.

The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft. Although there are quite a few startling moments of blatant racism that leave a bad taste in my mouth, there are also so many excellent gothic horror stories, my favorites being "The Curse of Yig" and "The Colour Out of Space." This was well worth the long read.

Bossypants by Tina Fey. Since my favorite thing about Tina Fey has always been her writing, it's probably not a surprise that I really enjoyed her autobiography. I read most of it in the day when our power was shut off during 2014's snowpocalypse, so my memories of this book largely involve snuggling under a blanket with Jacob and my Kindle.

Books I Read and Have Ranked High on Goodreads But I Don't Really Remember Much About Them At the End of the Year So Maybe They're Not As Good As I Thought When I Read Them

Cloaked by Alex Finn

Alexandra, Gone by Anna McPartlin

The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Quest for Forgiveness: Brianna Begins Her Rise to Fame

Last time, Brianna went into the meeting after Harry creepily hit on her a bunch, he's sarcastic with the opposing lawyers for no reason, and then everyone fights.

We jump back into the action this week with Sonya trying to convince them that Brianna will be a profitable artist for them, which is probably the best tactic, even if it does involve her referencing Brianna's beauty for the thousandth time. Just as she suggests this, Judd Stevens (the guy who's singing "Time" from Time at the awards show) calls and is really mad about the cease-and-desist he just got.
“Settle down, Judd, settle down. I’ll take care of everything. It’s a little misunderstanding.” Burns turned off the speakerphone, and slowly backed toward the door.
LOL, smooth. That's very cartoony. I can still imagine the voice screaming from the phone, just quieter now, as the guy on the other end just sneaks out the door.

The other people in the room are like, "Uh, no, stay here and listen to him," so Burns does.

Judd continues to rant:
“I’ve been summoned and have to appear in court at some Podunk town in Tennessee.”
That "Podunk town," by the way, is Nashville.

CEO Barbara Evans takes the phone, tells Judd Brianna will be singing the song, that she "makes you look like the nobody" (which can only be referring to her physical beauty AGAIN because she's never heard Brianna sing or seen her perform), and that Barbara Evans herself will be suing Judd for... some unknown reason. Then she hangs up, fires Burns, and screams at him to get out of the building.
Evans studied her from head to toe and motioned Brianna to turn around. “Wow!” She exclaimed. “Young lady, if you can sing half as good as you look, you are going to be famous... and very rich.”

This is really getting to me this time around. The CEO of a music company is examining Brianna like a piece of meat. And I'm not sure it's any less creepy when it's a woman doing it than when Harry is doing it, although Evans has a more legitimate reason, perhaps -- it's a sad but true fact that a lot of pop stars are made on their looks alone. But it continues to distress me how often Brianna's self-worth is tied into her looks. Everything else is an afterthought. So there's a lesson for you young girls out there: No matter how talented you are, you will never be better than Brianna Bays because she is talented AND beautiful, and therefore she is better than you.

Brianna has two weeks to prepare to sing her "Time Time Time" song at the Motion Picture Awards. Evans says, "I don’t know if we can keep this from the media," which, uh, no, they can't, They're going to need to explain why the person who performed the song in the movie and in the record stores isn't performing at the awards show. It'd be like if some random person nobody had ever heard of sang "Happy" at the Oscars last year and nobody questioned it.

As the next chapter begins, we find Sonya starting to be a manager for no reason when she was a lawyer just a few minutes ago:
Preparing Brianna for the Motion Picture Awards (MPA) was Sonya’s highest priority. She knew this was a make it or break it chance, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the teen. Her singing and voice were flawless, but Sonya was not as confident in Brianna’s choreography. Sonya concluded that she needed professional help with that skill.
How does Sonya know? Did her law school have a special course in Pop Star Choreography? How did it somehow become Sonya's job to get her ready for the MPAs? Wouldn't it be smarter to go with, say, an actual music manager or a director or a producer, rather than a copyright lawyer? At least Sonya hasn't decided to choreograph this big moment herself.

Instead, she flies in a Las Vegas choreographer.
“Can you have her ready for the Motion Picture Awards?” 
“MPA? That’s less than two weeks.” 
“Yes, it is.” Sonya replied, batting her eyelashes.
I can't decide whether Sonya is flirting with the choreographer because she's suddenly interested in him despite no indication up until this point or in order to persuade him to get Brianna ready in time, which... he shouldn't need. This is his job. He also has already said Brianna is one of the most talented dancers he's ever seen (of course she is). So there's no need for Sonya to apply awkward feminine charms to get him to do his job.

Whether due to the eyelash batting or not, the choreographer agrees.
“You will be compensated well!” Her tone was reassuring.
"Don't worry, we'll pay you and stuff!"

I actually think I'm going to break here, since I'm somewhat running out of time to post this. So this was just a short update. But on the bright side, we're almost halfway through this book! 46%. Whooooo! And tune in next week to find out all the other things Brianna turns out to be good at. (The answer: Everything.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tune In Thursday: Bette Midler

I missed Tuesday! But here's a song for today. Man, this song has really strong memories associated with it. This song was the music we used for one of my very favorite skits in the drama company: "Hello In There." The skit went right along with the song -- it was about an old woman whose husband was old and sick and non-responsive, and a delivery boy (or girl, depending on who was on the team) who was the only person she ever really had contact with. The skit was beautiful and sad and one of my favorites to perform in. (I actually played all three female roles during my time traveling -- the old woman, the delivery girl, and the woman's imagined younger self.)

So here's that song.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Best of 2014: This Blog

Looking back on this year, which posts of mine have gotten the most attention? Here are our top 10. Some of these surprise me... and others I forgot I wrote in the first place.

10. My Top 8 Disney Soundtracks (April 2)
Alan Menken in the eighties and nineties was freaking AWESOME. The Little Mermaid has not only some of the most iconic Disney songs, but also truly some of the best. "Poor Unfortunate Souls" is a really fantastic villain song, "Part of Your World" is probably the best I-want-more-out-of-life song Disney's ever produced, and "Les Poissons," although short, is hilarious.
9. Best of 2013: Facebook Posts (January 1)
Last night I dreamed I was at a church and they sang this bizarre and terrible hymn called "The Lord Thy God Demands Thy Soul." All the verses said things like, "God, take my eyesight, but not my soul!" and every chorus was God responding, "BUT THE LORD THY GOD DEMANDS THY SOUL!" The final verse revealed that your soul is literally a magnet inside you (yes, literally) keeping you stuck to the earth, so if God doesn't take your soul, you can't fly off the earth to go up to heaven. 
My subconscious has some *goofy* theology. Also, that's a terrible hymn. Nobody write it.
8. What Happens When You Remove a Syllable from a Movie Title? (October 8)
Dependence Day: When aliens attack earth, a computer genius and a fighter pilot team up to assist the aliens in their invasion. Events come to a head when the president gives a rousing speech about the joys of bending knee to the new overlords.
7. My Favorite Underrated Actors (March 10)
I used to think I didn't like Tom Cruise, but when he has a chance to do something really good, he nearly always delivers. Turns out he just also picks a lot of blah movies with one-note action star characters -- which, yes, he does phone in a lot. But just look at his work in Tropic Thunder, Magnolia, Rain Man, Vanilla Sky, Collateral, or even the awesomely ridiculous Rock of Ages (where he was easily the best part of the entire movie), and it's clear that he's capable of so much more.
6. The Worst Children's Book Series Ever (February 24)
Then, once upon another time, we thought it might be fun to come up with as many rhyming phrases as we could. Somehow this morphed into creating a series of children's books, representing it with a rhyming one-sentence pitch. (We tried to roughly keep the meter the same throughout.) Since Baby Wayney was our placeholder name, it only made sense to center this series of kids' books around him as well.
5. Depression, Guilt, and Giving Advice (August 27)
Walsh says in his post that he has dealt with depression. A lot of people have claimed that's a lie. I am not a fan of dismissing people's personal experiences, and I certainly don't know him in real life, so I don't really have any reason to think he is lying. Plenty of people struggle with depression that you wouldn't suspect. What I can emphatically say, though, is that his depression must have been drastically different from mine. 
Mine comes with a built-in layer of All The Guilt. 
For me, this is actually usually the first symptom of an upcoming depressive period and the last to leave. I begin to believe that everything I'm doing, I'm doing wrong. I'm dealing with my depression wrong. I'm talking to my friends wrong. I'm writing this blog wrong. And then that guilt converts into crippling anxiety -- if I move or breathe or think or speak I'll do something wrong -- and then I get paralyzed.
4. Walking With God in the Midst of Depression (November 10)
For me, "walking in victory" isn't about the depression going away. It's not about walking in my victory because I feel awesome and I've conquered depression -- it's about walking in God's victory. It's about trusting that he can get me through the day, the week, the year, and my life. It's about realizing that if I can't walk any further, he can carry me, and I'm still victorious because I'm trusting him.
Turns out when you're not constantly in a situation where you have to socialize with people, it's easy to withdraw until you've withdrawn yourself all the way out into hermitiness. 
Not every introvert spends all their time in public staring at their phone or reading a book. You may be meeting introverts all the time and you just don't know it. To find an introvert in a crowd, try striking up one-on-one conversations -- an introvert is more likely to direct all their attention to one person for a long period of time, while someone more extroverted will probably still love talking to you but will include others in the conversation or move on to mingle with someone else.
"Let It Go" speaks deeply to me of the moment when you're like, "I JUST FIGURED OUT I DON'T HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE" and even though there may be a downside to the new arrangement, even though you may not have healed yet, it's still an incredibly joyous moment to find freedom of any kind... It just honestly never occurred to me to see it as a sad song. It feels very... self-empowermenty.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Best of 2014: Songs I Discovered

Special Live Irish Music / May 04, Monday @Failte from Flickr via Wylio
© 2009 [puamelia], Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
On with the best of 2014! Today we're looking at the songs I first discovered during 2014. Doesn't mean they were released during 2014. Quite a few of them are much older.

Last year, I only really fell in love with 18 songs over the course of 2013. This year, I found 27 -- though six of those are from Heathers: The Musical. I covered a few of them in a blog post I wrote in April, but now you get all 27.

I've also compiled all the songs on this list into two YouTube playlists: this one for all the choices (except for the one I couldn't find), and this one for only the songs with no cursing. So that way all my readers can enjoy!

1. "Let It Go" from Frozen. I know, I know, this was everywhere, but that's because it's good. I got the soundtrack at the beginning of the year and listened to it a lot, but this is still the best track. The lyrics, the music, and the vocal performance are all perfect.

2. "Frozen Heart" from Frozen. This song opens the movie and was the one that convinced me this was going to be a fun one to watch. Of course, I have a fondness for male choruses anyway, but this is a great little song -- very atmospheric.

3. "Royals" by Lorde. I promise this list is going to be more than just the most popular songs of 2014. But there's just something fantastic about this song. It's got a unique sound and unique lyrics, and it's ridiculously catchy. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I had this stuck in my head for about half the year. And now you can too.

4. "When I Grow Up" from Matilda. Jacob and I got to see this show when we were in New York for our honeymoon, but it wasn't until 2014 that I finally got the cast recording. It's quite wonderful overall, but this is the song that really stuck out to me. It's so wistful and melancholy and beautiful.

5. "Cop Car" by Keith Urban. I am not typically a fan of country at all, but every so often a song will come along that just grabs me. This is one of them. I am kind of captivated by the song -- these adventurous and somewhat aggressive lyrics sung with such a sweet, lovely tune makes the song so interesting.

6. "Let It Go" by Caleb Hyles. This cover made the rounds on the Internet and when I got around to watching it, I ended up subscribing to this guy. It's easily my favorite cover version of this song. The first time around I found myself almost holding my breath, hoping he'd hit the high notes. And even though I obviously know he's going to every time because recordings don't magically change, it's still... kind of amazing to me.

7. "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from Burlesque. Let me make it clear: Burlesque was not a good movie. And most of Christina's songs were insanely overperformed. But this song by Cher ended up being a surprisingly wonderful piece. Very much in the style of big Broadway ballads, this song is everything I love about musicals.

8. "Mr. Chu" by A-Pink. I do enjoy Asian pop, and I don't listen to it nearly often enough. This song is insanely cheerful and great fun to listen to and dance along with.

9. "Night Cap" by Jacques Slade. This song is on the Community soundtrack, and it was used as a "party song" a couple times in the background of the show... but, oh my gosh, it's hilarious. It sounds like some sort of rap anthem, but it's all about wearing a night cap when you go to sleep. I am a big fan of songs that sound serious and then... aren't at all. So of course I was going to love this.

10. "Love Never Felt So Good" by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Man, MJ and JT work so well together, musically. I'm very happy that this "contemporized" version of happened, because they sound great, and the song is another one that's just so cheerful. I love it.

11. "Separate Ways" by Journey. This is a song that I'd hear every so often, think, "What is that? I really like it. I should find it," and then not be able to find because I hadn't been paying attention to the lyrics. Then one day it came up on Pandora and I was like, "THAT'S THE SONG." So this probably could have been on a best of list like eight or nine years ago.

12. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. I don't care how overplayed this song is, I love it. With all my heart. I can't listen to it and not feel a bit better.

13. "Tacky" by Weird Al Yankovic. I have to admit, my love for this song might be partly a love for "Happy" overflowing onto it... but I do really enjoy it. Especially the music video, which is just great fun.

14. "Fight for Me" from Heathers. And now begins the huge amount of songs from Heathers. This was the first one I really fell in love with -- a funny and sweet love song sung in a girl's mind to a boy she sees fighting.

15. "Dead Girl Walking" from Heathers. An incredible power anthem that actually inspired an entire mix on my blog because, gosh, I love it SO. MUCH.

16. "Lifeboat" from Heathers. In contrast to the last two, this is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. It's sung by a character who is confessing that she's having suicidal thoughts, and as she sings, it becomes clear that the incredible pressure of being one of the popular ones is tearing her apart bit by bit. It's heartbreaking.

17. "Kindergarten Boyfriend" from Heathers. This song is absolutely going on the annual Anti-Love Mix I'll be posting next month. It's one of those songs I would have related to so strongly a few years ago, and even though I'm not full of unrequited love angst anymore, I still feel connected to this character. This song breaks me a little bit.

18. "Blue" from Heathers. All right... This song is probably the least family friendly of all the ones in this list, but it's one of the ones I love most. It's about two drunk high school jocks trying to convince the main girl in the show that they need to sleep with her. They do not succeed, but this ridiculous song has the musical sound of a boy band-style love song, and the lyrics... are not. It is hilarious and awkward and stupid and I really enjoy it.

19. "Change of Heart" from Love's Labour's Lost. This one, sadly, doesn't get to be on the YouTube playlist because it's not available on YouTube anywhere. It's a big dramatic ballad sung by a very intellectual character who was determined he'd never do anything as cliched a fall in love... and yet, here he finds himself doing that. It's a really lovely little song that makes me very happy.

20. "Meant to Be Yours" from Heathers. One of the songs at the very end of Heathers, once her boyfriend has gone full psycho killer. I LOVE how the song swings back and forth between angry gleeful murder plans and tender love song -- it's a great expression of his unstable mental state.

21. "Jeff" by Jeremy Morse. I rediscovered my love for songwriter Joe Iconis this year. He writes funny/sad songs that tell entire stories, and this is a perfect example. It's equal parts funny and tragic (more funny in the first half, more tragic in the second) and it's just fascinating to hear the story unfold.

22. "Michael in the Bathroom" by Seth Eliser. Another Joe Iconis song that taps into an experience that is awfully familiar to me and some of my introvert friends -- waiting in the bathroom at a party until you can go because you really don't feel like socializing just... at all.

23. "Lost" by Barrett Wilbert Weed. This performer was the lead in Heathers, and I fell in love with her in that show, so every so often I go searching for concert performances she's done, and this was my favorite, all about a girl getting lost in the mountains and separated from her boyfriend on what is turning into the worst date ever.

24. "The Shadow in the Door" by Bruce Robbins. I believe I found this song while reviewing it on Slice the Pie. The lyrics are rather silly and angsty, but I really enjoy the music, cheesy as it may be.

25. "Caramelldansen" by Caleb Hyles. So that guy who sang "Let It Go" and I subscribed to... he's done a lot of other covers, but this was the other one I really enjoyed this year. I love "Caramelldansen" anyway. So dancey!

26. "Gossip Folks" by Missy Elliott. I've been listening to a lot more women rappers in the last year, and Missy Elliott specifically in the last month or two, and this song is for sure my new favorite. It's just so cool and interesting to listen to. And I suppose it is also dancey, although in a very different way than "Caramelldansen."

27. "Not Perfect" by Tim Minchin. To end the mix on rather a contemplative note, here's a thoughtful and funny song from a comedy musician I really need to listen to more of, because every song I hear from him is kind of amazing.

What were your favorite new songs this year? Did you fall in love with any of these? Leave a comment and tell me!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Quest for Forgiveness: Meet the Creepy Lawyer Who's Supposed to Be a Good Guy

It's been a while since we visited Brianna! Last time, Brianna and Sonya talked about God and forgiveness on their way to The Big Music Company Meeting. One might even say they were on a quest for forgiveness. But the problem was that none of the things they said made sense because this author is... not so excellent at writing dialogue. Or description. Or plot... or song lyrics... Anyway, on to the next section, where I hooooope we'll finally get to the meeting.

Brianna and Sonya talk more about sin and forgiveness, and Brianna says her only wish is to meet her birth parents so she can ask why they dumped her. Sonya says maybe they were hoping for a better life for her, but Brianna is unconvinced:
“I was in an orphanage in Kuwait, and almost sent to Asia to become a child porn star at age six. Can you imagine the life I would have had on the big screen?” She shaped her fingers into a square and emphasized the word “Big.”
OK, at first when I saw "emphasized the word 'big'" I figured it was a sex joke, which didn't really work and seemed surprisingly risque for Rothdiener. But now I have no idea what that means. This is another one of those moment where I just want to sit him down and say, "Look. Look. DO this. Say that sentence while making a square with your fingers and saying 'big' with emphasis. Does this make any sense? Does this sound like something a human would say or do? No? Then don't write it."

Seriously, I have no idea what the square + emphasis have to do with her story. Is she being sarcastic calling it the "big screen" since it's not about legitimate movies? But if that's the case, then why the suqare? I'm assuming the finger square represents the screen, but all movies are shown on screens of some sort, so why would her finger square mean porn screens instead of cinema screens? NONE OF IT MAKES ANY SENSE.


The subject of Brianna's adoptive father comes up, and she says again, "No, he's out of the picture." That leads to this:
Sonya stared at Brianna. “Do you want to talk about it?” 
“I’d rather talk about the flu I caught last year.” 
“S-o-r-r-y,” Sonya deliberately drew the word out long. 
Again there was an uneasy quiet with only the soft hum of the car engine. 
Brianna finally spoke. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to belittle you. That’s part of my life I never want to talk about and won’t. Do you understand?”  
“No. I sure don’t, but there’s someone who does. I will abide by your wishes.”

This may have hit a pet peeve for me, but I don't like Sonya anymore. This is like the umpteenth time she's brought up Ethan, gotten the impression that he's not up for discussion, and yet she continues to do it. THIS time, she respond with a "Soooooorrrryyyy," which is clearly sarcastic, which is really rude since she KNOWS Brianna doesn't want to talk about it and is trying to instigate it anyway.

And then Brianna apologizes. For "belittling" her. What part of "He's not in the picture" and "I'd rather talk about the flu I caught last year" are "belittling" to Sonya?

Sonya's the one belittling Brianna. By doing that annoying awful supposed-friendship thing where they force people to talk about things they don't want to talk about and then get personally offended when the other person is like, "I SAID, I don't want to TALK about it."

If Sonya was a good person, then when Brianna apologizes and reiterates for the hundredth time that she doesn't want to talk about Ethan, she would say, "Oh! No need to apologize. That was entirely my fault. I knew you didn't want to talk about him, and I brought it up. I won't do that again."

Instead, she says that she apparently doesn't understand the concept of not wanting to talk about something (...really?) and then claims she'll "abide by [Brianna's] wishes," though I have no confidence she'll actually do that.

Guys, I've had like a page and a half of ranting already and we're only like four paragraphs into this chapter. Anyway. Brianna asks what's going to happen at the meeting (appropriate, as they're pulling into the parking lot right now), and Sonya instead asks Brianna if her baptism was real (less appropriate, as... it's just not). Brianna asks not to talk about it and Sonya acquiesces.

She explains what's probably going to happen at the meeting and what they're going to ask for: 1) an open-ended contract from Petrichor, 2) payment for all her songs, 3) a press release stating she wrote them, and 4) she will get to sing that "Time" song at the Motion Picture Awards.
A confused Brianna shook her head as if she understood.
She IS confused. When most of us shake our heads, it's as if we don't understand.

They arrive at Petrichor and meet Sonya's associate, Harry:
Eyeing Brianna, he blurted, “When you said she was beautiful, you weren’t kidding. She’s drop dead gorgeous. She’s... she’s a goddess. Look at those eyes.”  
Brianna smiled a sheepish grin.
Which is kind of a terrible way to greet a potential legal client. He's not even talking to her, he's talking to Sonya about her as if she doesn't even exist. Gross.

Also, this is part of my issue with the book as a whole -- it tries to paint Brianna as some sort of hardened, jaded cynic who's been burned by life, but she's clearly not. Someone with her past and with her proclaimed attitude toward men (annoyance that they can't leave her alone) doesn't grin sheepishly when yet another man gawks over her beauty, unless it's a ploy to give them a little bit of attention so when she then ignores them they'll still feel validated. "Sheepish" is how you describe someone to whom compliments are unusual, awkward, or a surprise. None of that applies to Brianna.

That's the problem with these books -- you can say "she had a tough life" but you can't actually show her acting like someone might who have had a tough life, because showing Brianna being manipulative or flirty or angrily responding to an inappropriate comment like Harry's is out of bounds or maybe even not a reaction the author would think of in the first place.

Characterization is not easy. That's why not just everyone should write a book.

Harry then asks, "Can I give her a hug?" because she's definitely not STANDING RIGHT THERE FOR YOU TO ASK HERSELF.

I'll tell you right now, if I was out with a group of friends and a friend's friend saw me, told my friend they thought I was beautiful, and asked if I would give them a hug, I would have to respond, "No, you cannot give her a hug, because she doesn't like hugs or when people talk about her in the third person as if she's not even there, so she thinks you're pretty dang creepy and demeaning right now."

We learn a bit more about Harry:
Harry and Sonya had a comfortable relationship. They kidded with each other, but both knew when to be serious. Their work ethic was identical.
Sonya also thinks it's totally cool to treat a potential client as a beautiful object who has no opinions or thoughts of their own. Harry and Sonya are both great people.

OH MY GOSH, Harry gets even creepier when he finds out it's Brianna's birthday and asks if he can give her a birthday kiss. I mean, he actually asks Brianna, so that's a plus, but, still, this guy should not be a lawyer.

Turns out Sonya is also taking on Brianna as a client... not through her firm? Just as a personal client? I'm not entirely sure how that works. Someone in charge at the firm says Brianna is Sonya's client because Sonya found her so they'll "step aside." I mean, I don't know what that would entail, or whether Sonya's allowed to do that or if this means she'll be quitting the firm to open her very own Just Brianna practice or what. (I did a little scouting on Google but couldn't find anything, so anyone with a better knowledge of how lawyers work within law firms should set the record straight on this.)

Sonya, Harry, and Brianna head on into the Petrichor building (with Harry making further sexual harassment-y comments about Brianna's appearance). Brianna's "I'm Thinking of a Time" song is playing in the lobby and in the elevator, and Brianna hates that version. Then they show up and all these CEOs and record label lawyers are there and they do weird trash talk for a few minutes -- they get especially snarky about Harry being there for some reason.

Petrichor's offer is: $25,000, no rights to the original songs, and a contract for one CD of Brianna's, and if Sonya doesn't take it, they'll sue Brianna for defamation of character. Sonya has an "AHA!" moment where she says, "But you listed all the songs you stole from Brianna, even though we never told you what they were." And they are stumped.

Harry plays one of Brianna's demo recordings from 2002 against the stolen version recorded three years later. We also get this weird exchange:
Harry picked up the CD and waved it around. “Oh, the miracle of technology.”
...That music can be recorded onto in 2002? I can't wait to see how amazed he'll be when he figures out MP3 players.

Of course, he is being snarky, and in fact, he's long-windedly snarky for two more pages.
Harry had the gift of sarcasm, and knew how to use it to his advantage.
I don't know what "advantage" he's getting from this. Mostly he's just being annoying, and he's not accomplishing anything that couldn't be accomplished by simply saying, "Here, we have evidence." Ta-da! Looks like you don't actually need sarcasm to be a terrible creepy lawyer.

Their revamped offer is a million dollars for Brianna and writing credit for those songs, an exclusive highest-price-available recording contract, and she sings the song at the Motion Picture Awards. The record people are NOT happy with that last one, charmingly putting it this way:
“There is no way that tramp is going to sing at the Motion Picture Awards.”
In response, Sonya and Harry announce that they're suing Judd Stevens, the guy who's been singing Brianna's "Time" song (from the album "Time Time" in the movie "Time Time Time") for $20 million.

The record people are not happy with that either. They argue that the statute of limitations has passed, and I had to do some fact-checking on this one. It gets complicated. "Plagiarism" doesn't have a statute of limitations because it doesn't exist in legal terminology, but "copyright infringement," which is essentially the same thing in legal terms, does: five years since the theft began for criminal proceedings or three years since the last infringement for civil actions OR since the infringement was discovered if it had been "hidden" in some way. Since these songs are obviously still being sold, the infringement's still happening, so Brianna's well within her right to sue them, because the clock on the statute of limitations hasn't even started yet.

So the three possible answers for how long the statute of limitations is, all based on different criteria: none, five years, three years.

What does the book say?
“Seven years is the statute of limitations, this copyright was six years ago.”
So... there's that.

And we'll see the exciting conclusion of the meeting with the music company next week!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tune In Thursday: Swingfly

I couldn't tell you where I found "Me and My Drum," because I genuinely have no idea. But it's so cheerful and happy and a LOT of fun to listen to, and now you can listen to it too! And that's about all the intro I have for this one.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Best of 2014: Facebook Posts

I've done this one several years in a row now, so let's continue the tradition by looking at some of my favorite Facebook statuses of the year, in order of when I wrote them. *deep breath* Here goes! Enjoy!

Jacob: I love you!
Me: I love you too!
Jacob: Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap!
Kind of a startling response until I realized he was talking to his computer game.

I tried to end a text message with, "Just so you know," but my phone changed it to read, "Just so high now." Um. No, phone. That is not what is going on here.

At like 3 this morning, while I was trying to fall asleep, Jacob started rubbing my back, which was quite nice and relaxing. But when I rolled over to face him, I discovered he was sleeping. So either he has learned how to rub my back in his sleep (which I can totally live with) or we have a massaging ghost. Which I can also totally live with.

(We got our bill at the restaurant but were still eating dessert.)
Me: So we'll pay for this later. Although not like... tomorrow.
Jacob: I'll pay for you tomorrow.
Me: Good, because Mom and Dad have been wondering when you were going to pay for me. They've been waiting for like six months. They could have gotten a new furnace a long time ago.
Jacob: (Looking at me with disdain) You think you're worth a furnace?
Me: (Looking sadly down at my lap) I guess not...
Jacob: Aww! No! You are worth TEN furnodes!
That was almost the saddest half-anniversary dinner ever.

So I'm reading The Arabian Nights. These are some CRAZY stories. The first story within a story is about a guy who can understand animals but if he tells anyone else what they say, people will die. One day he laughs at something he hears an animal say and his wife demands he tell her what it was, and she gets to the point where she says she'd rather die than not know why he was laughing. The guy is freaking out, apparently thinking he's just going to have to give in and tell her even though she will probably die, until he overhears his animals saying, "Duh, he should just beat her until she agrees not to ask anymore." So he does, she agrees, and everyone lives happy ever after.
This is going to interesting ride.

QI is a fantastic show. I learn such random stuff. My favorite fact of the day: Henry the Young King was crowned King of France and died while his father, Henry II, was still alive, so he doesn't get a numerical king number, and there is a story of how he got in trouble with his father when was 17 because instead of going home to his father's castle for Christmas, he threw a feast of his own where he only invited knights named William. Maybe that'll be *my* plan next Christmas.

I dreamed last night that I signed onto Facebook and got this message from the site:
"We have polled your Facebook friends and thought you should know the results.
1. 90% of your friends think your name is a silly teenage name.
2. 200 of your friends think that if you put on a little lipstick, you would then have the body of a Greek goddess."
I'm so sorry to my friends who are disappointed by my name. I don't know how to fix that exactly, because I'm not sure what makes a name not a "silly teenage name." And, uh, as to the second one, I can only assume they mean I should use the lipstick to draw a Greek goddess onto my own body. This will fool nobody, but I guess I would technically then *have* that body I drew...

The Arabian Nights has now had two separate stories about newlyweds whose siblings were jealous of their marriage and threw them overboard when they all went sailing together. Looks like it's a good thing I've been turning down all those free cruises my siblings keep offering. It's probably the only reason Jacob and I are still alive today.

Re: Martin Freeman's mustache in the new Sherlock episode:
Me: I seldom like mustaches without an accompanying beard. They just make you look like a villain. I mean, look at him. He's clearly going to commit a crime.
Jacob: I don't know. I think he's maybe going to become a plumber.

Some people stress eat... Turns out I anger eat. I was going to make just one peanut butter sandwich for dinner, but after Puppy got into the trash and threw chicken bones all over the kitchen floor, I was like, "NOPE, I NEED THREE SANDWICHES NOW."

Arabian Nights update for you all: I finished the section on Sinbad's voyages. On one of them, he gets stuck on an island with an old man who climbs on his shoulders, wraps his legs around his neck, and refuses to let go. For days. He kicks and strangles Sinbad to make him walk around and pick fruit for him. In the end, the only way Sinbad gets him to let go is by getting him drunk so his legs relax and he falls off.
These stories are wacky.

As I'm trying to sleep last night:
Me: Hon, whatever it is, you're dreaming it.
Jacob: I see it! It's a giant spider!
Me: Nope. It's not real. It's a dream.
Jacob: Nooo...
Me: I promise it is. You're dreaming.
Jacob: Really?
Me: Yes. It's OK.
Jacob: Weird.
(A minute later)
Jacob (still at least mostly asleep): There's no giant spider in our room.
Me: You're right. There's not. It was a dream.
Jacob: You're trying to kill me, I know it.
DANG IT, he caught on to what I thought was a foolproof murder plan - to scare him to death in his sleep by making him dream about giant spiders!

Once, while playing Family Feud on Facebook, I was asked to name something that would ruin a honeymoon. If I was the author of The Arabian Nights, I might have answered, "Wife cut my thumbs off because at the wedding I ate something with garlic in it and didn't wash my hands well enough afterward." Though that probably wouldn't make the top 100 most popular answers.

Me: So I have $40 I can spend on Amazon. I'll probably buy that game I want, and then hold on to the rest of it until I want something new. (Being goofy) And then I'll hold onto the game until I want something new.
Jacob: I'll hold onto YOU!
Me: Until you want something new?
Jacob: Yes. OH NO. WAIT. I didn't pay attention to what you said. I love you!

The little news blurb headline on the side of my Facebook says, "Drake Killed on Saturday Night Live Last Night." I went, "Wait, WHAT?" but thanks to Google, I discovered they were trying to slangily say he did a good job. Turns out nobody murdered Drake on live TV. This is how rumors get started, people.

Me: There are a lot of young contestants on Idol this year.
Jacob: Like 12-year-olds?
Me: Well, you have to be 15 to audition.
Jacob: 15 12-year-olds?
Me: Yes. Because you can audition if you're 12, but only in groups of 15.

First Phil was a background actor on the show Nashville, and now I discover Jonathan is as well. Clearly I should not have stopped watching this show after two episodes, because at the rate this is going, by season five, every crowd scene will consist entirely of people I know milling about in the background.

Some helpful life tips I have picked up from The Arabian Nights:
1) Looking for a fun prank to play on your friends? Drug them, put them in the king's palace, and convince them they are king. Then drug them again, put them back in their normal lives, and watch and laugh as they literally go insane and have to be put in a mental institution. It's fun!
2) If you need some extra money, just tell your spouse's friends and family they're dead, and they'll give you money for the funeral. Then have the spouse do the same to your friends and family. Voila! Free cash!

My new all-time favorite Jesus juke, courtesy of my sister Rebekah: "If you shovel someone’s sidewalk and they say 'thank you, that really blessed me,' you should say, 'I can shovel your sidewalk, but only God can shovel your heart!'"
THAT is how you do evangelism. Right?

The word I had to teach my phone today: "non-pooping."

Is someone you know not eating very much at mealtimes? According to The Arabian Nights, that could be because they are sneaking out to graveyards at night and eating corpses with a ghoul. Be careful confronting them about this, though. They may get angry and turn you into a dog.

Puppy's white plastic bone is the same color as she is, so for a moment, when I saw her chewing on it at a weird angle, I thought her leg had fallen off and she was eating it. ZOMBIE CANNIBAL PUPPY

I have just learned that sugar stops concrete from setting. My first thought after I learned this: "If I were a supervillain, I would run around pouring sugar on construction sites and then laugh evilly as I ran away and nothing new would EVER BE BUILT." I can only hope this is the premise of the Batman vs. Superman movie.

I was attempting to text a melancholy friend some encouragement and advice. What was meant to be, "I give you permission to stay in tonight and watch a silly movie" nearly turned into "I give you permission to stay in tonight and watch a adult movie." That is NOT the advice I meant to send. My phone's autocorrect is not so wholesome sometimes.

Arabian Nights' lesson about awful siblings for the day: Don't let your sisters help deliver your children, because they might hide them in the river and instead present your husband with a dog, a cat, and a piece of wood and pretend you gave birth to those instead. Your husband will then be SO MAD that you keep giving birth to non-humans that he will put you in a cage in the temple and tell all the people to spit on you when they go do their prayers. (If they don't, he'll put THEM in a cage in the temple too and have people spit on THEM.)

So, that Once Upon a Time character quiz... the description for Charming ends with "You literally charm the pants off everyone you meet." Jacob and I debated whether this means he is a sleaze trying to seduce everyone or just kind of a goofy prankster who uses magic to vanish people's pants away and just giggles about it. Either way, I don't remember ANY of that on the show.

I'm only about 1/5 away from finishing The Arabian Nights. Here's the latest lesson it has taught me: Be careful when rejecting people. If someone gives you a love letter, do not beat them up. If you do, they might trick you into marrying someone hideously ugly and then you will be sad.

My proposed plot for the Batman vs. Superman movie: Superman decides HE wants to be Batman, finds the lair, sneaks in, steals a batsuit, and declares himself to be Batman now. If that's not exciting enough, Lex Luthor and Alfred could both decide the same thing, and the final scene would have four people in batsuits running around all yelling, "I'M BATMAN!"

Jacob: I'm tired today.
Me: It makes sense that you're tired. You didn't sleep very much.
This somehow activated voice command on our Xbox, which then searched Bing for "retired sleep very much" and found 24 related videos.

I have finally finished the strange, strange series of tales that is The Arabian Nights. Its final bit of wisdom: Beware new restaurants, because sometimes you sit down and the floor gives way and you fall into a dungeon where a guy tries to kill you with a scimitar so the restaurant owner can essentially steal your wallet.

My last series of candy hearts:
"Get Real
Get Real"
Wow. That is a definite rejection.

Dreams are funny things. I just woke up from one with this vague sense of terror but I'm pretty sure I was dreaming about an uneaten sub sandwich sitting in our kitchen cabinet, which is kinda gross but not really all that scary. Weird.

Last night:
Jacob: Ahhh! The nrghrbrgh is on top of us!
Me: Wait, what's on top of us?
Jacob: The naked horse is on top of us!
Me: Nope. There's no naked horse on top of us.
Jacob: (Confused) Well, where else would it be?

Writing an article about sensorineural hearing loss (cochlea damage). The problem is, I keep writing it "sensoriurinal." I can only assume that's when you lose your hearing because somebody punches you in the ear while at a urinal.

Awkward Textbroker typo of the day: "Varicose veins are caused by blood pooing in the veins."

This survey I was taking talked about a chore chart that suggested kids 2-4 years old vacuuming. Hmm. While vacuuming isn't a HARD chore, it's a heck of a lot more complicated when you are shorter than the vacuum cleaner.

Jacob: What if I change your name to "Pludlonica"?
(This is a game he occasionally plays, where he offers to change my name to something new. Usually something terrible.)
Me: ..."Pludlonica"? No.
Jacob: But WHY?
Me: Because it starts with "Plud." That's an awful syllable.
Jacob: How about "Shmudlonica"?
Me: No. I don't like that "ud" sound in general.
Jacob: How about "Shmludlonica"?
Me: That still has the "ud" sound!
Jacob: Yes, but it starts with "Shml," which is beautiful.

Yesterday, Lumps pooped on our kitchen floor in the shape of a pepper. Today, it was in the shape of an L. I can only assume she is in the process of sending us a message, and I suspect that message is "Peppers, LOL." Because she probably thinks peppers are hilarious.

TV show narrator: Her wedding is a defining moment in the relationship...
My thoughts: Well, DUH. A wedding is OBVIOUSLY a defining moment in a relationship. If it's not, why are they even getting married? That was a stupid thing to say.
TV show narrator: ...between her and her twin sister.
My thoughts: Oh. Never mind.

What I wanted to text, referring to a FB message Mom sent me: "I saw it but I only looked at it briefly."
What autocorrect wanted to text: "I saw it but I only looked at Imbruglia."
Autocorrect is smart. It knows I ignore most Facebook messages and just look at pictures of Natalie Imbruglia instead.

I had just stopped reading and was settling down to go to sleep when Jacob mumbled something about cakes. I asked him what about cakes? He responded, "None of them are in the present OR the past!" So cakes are only in the future. Just so you all know. I gotta admit, a future full of cakes sounds pretty good to me...

Today, Lumps is sulking because I won't let her sit on my head. I feel, however, that this is a completely reasonable boundary to set with both humans and animals.

So I was sitting on the living room couch and Jacob came in from the kitchen where he was cooking. He was going to be all sweet and give me a kiss, but RIGHT as he got to the couch he tripped and stubbed his toe, which led to him essentially lunging toward my face with a terrible grimace. It was fairly startling.

(Jacob is playing Animal Crossing on the 3DS while I watch.)
Me: You didn't pick up that shell!
Jacob: It's not worth anything.
Me: Not even like... one bell?
Jacob: Well, it's worth a bell, but I'm not doing that 98,000 times until I can afford a new house.
Me: I would!
Jacob: And that's why you would be the only person in the world to lose Animal Crossing.

Catching up on the last couple weeks of American Idol. One contestant walks in the room to find out his fate, and he's crying before he even sits down. Jennifer Lopez asks him why he's crying, and he says, "So many reasons! I'm from Miami!" He was probably going to elaborate, but at that point my computer froze, so I was left with the assumption that living in Miami just makes people cry.

On this survey, one option I can select is "I am not apart of any fraternities or sororities." I suspect the survey makers would want me to check that box, but they unfortunately don't know the difference between "apart of" and "a part of." I cannot in good conscience check a box that says I have joined every single fraternity/sorority in the world.

(Listening to Happy by Pharrell on the radio.)
Jacob: This song is basically "If You're Happy and You Know It."
Me: I hope all his songs this year are rewrites of kids' songs.
Jacob: Me too! I'm excited for the one about the meatball that runs away!

Jacob and I were joking today about getting tattoos and trying to come up with something ridiculous. He said he would get a rose with the word "Grace" underneath it, and it would be significant because my middle name is Rose and my first name means "grace." So I decided I could follow the same pattern for him and get a tattoo of Daniel Day-Lewis with the word "Deceiver" written underneath. My tattoo would probably take a lot more explaining than his would.
It's probably OK that we're not getting tattoos...

I was watching the pilot for Black Sails with my headphones on, while Jacob made up his own dialogue for it next to me. According to him, the two pirates on the screen were having this conversation:
"I hate you."
"What? You can't hate me. I'm nice."
"Oh. OK. You're right. I love you."
Now that is truly gripping emotional drama.

Me: This survey question is "Which breakfast food do you prefer?" My options are oatmeal, cereal, "smothies," with one O, or "eggs and toasts."
Jacob: I feel like I'm in a really sketchy bed and breakfast.

Me: (Watching Say Yes to the Dress) I don't think they can say, "This is the most important garment you're ever going to wear," because what if you're an astronaut?
Jacob: Then you'd better wear your wedding dress underneath your space suit, otherwise you DIE!

Oh, my. My grocery list on my phone was supposed to include "chicken helper fried rice," but between autocorrect kicking in and me not paying attention to what I was typing, it ended up saying "chicken fried hell." That does not sound like a delicious meal.

Jacob: What do we want for food?
Me: Well, let's see. We have pasta, pizza, milk, eggs, tortillas...
Jacob: We could make milk egg tortillas.
Me: Yes. Where you fashion tortillas into a little bowl, fill it with milk, and then crack an egg into it.
Jacob: It'll be delicious!
Me: No. No, it won't.
Jacob: Hey, YOU told me how to make it.
Me: That is why you shouldn't take cooking advice from me.

This survey asks, "Do you sleepwalk?" and the possibly answers are "Yes," "No," and "Undecided." I'm glad they included that last answer, because I haven't decided whether I sleepwalk yet. Maybe yes, maybe no. I'll make up my mind someday.

Yesterday, while Jacob was making waffles for dinner, Lumps somehow got involved and got flour all over her face without him knowing about it. At least we think it was flour. Maybe it was cocaine and Puppy has a drug problem we don't know about.

Jacob: What time is it?
Me: 10:03.
Jacob: Like five minutes ago, it was 10:98.
Me: 10:98?
Jacob: 9.
Me: 9:98?
Jacob: 10:98:9.
I still have no idea what time he thought it was.

Jacob is playing that game again where he tries to figure out a new name for me. I've been objecting them all on the basis that most of the new names he chooses for me aren't people's names at all, so he's trying to fix that by adding "Patrice" to the beginning or end of it so it's at least partially a name. So we get suggestions like "Patrice Lampshade" and "Governor's Tower Patrice." I'm still not agreeing to any of this.

This collection of Agatha Christie books I have for the Kindle was clearly transferred from page to screen digitally. Mostly it works, but every so often I get a sentence like this:
"Arm, imm?,, l," said Rhoda.

So, fun story. Yesterday, while sitting with Jacob and crying (it was a particularly difficult day, depressionwise), at one point I accidentally cried directly into his eyes. That is true marital bonding, right there.

I just took a quiz a friend posted on Facebook about "How single are you?" Apparently I am PRETTY DANG SINGLE, even with the being married thing. But that's mostly because the indicators were things like "You have eaten pizza in the past week," "You have eaten pizza in the past month," and "You have eaten pizza in the past year." What kind of terrible relationships are people in that prevent them from eating pizza?

(Jacob has just started watching Game of Thrones. I've only read the first book.)
Jacob: I hope Bran lives. I hope he gets robot legs.
Me: That would be the best way for the series to end.
Jacob: He disappears and is gone for like the entire series, and then just shows up at the end with cyborg legs yelling, "I'M THE KING!"
Me: And if anyone disagrees, he kicks their heads off.
If George R. R. Martin dies before he finishes writing the books, don't worry. We've got this covered.

My sister Bethany just sent me this message. I will never hear these songs the same way again.
The other day I was singing "Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye" work song. Bekah said that sometimes she wants to start singing these words to that tune: "The sun, has gone, to bed and so must I; so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye." Which is in itself quite funny. But it's even better when you imagine the reverse of Gretl singing sweetly, "Look down, look down, don't look them in the ey-e! Look down, look down, you're here until you die-ie! Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!"

The text I meant to send: "Yay for returning to a normal schedule!"
The text autocorrect sent: "Yay for returning to a birdman schedule!"
What sort of schedule does a birdman have? Perhaps more importantly, why do I even have the word "birdman" in my phone?

I had a dream last night that I was babysitting some random kids, but then Elvis Presley and Taylor Swift came over to the house and started letting them play with knives. I woke up VERY angry at both Elvis and Taylor, and I stayed angry for like 45 minutes before I fully woke up and realized it was probably a little unfair of me to be mad at them in real life.

Well, this piece of IMDb trivia for The Blind Side is written awkwardly:
"Just before Leigh Anne Tuohy enters the gymnasium before the volleyball game, she mentions Patrick Ramsey. In real life, Leigh Ann was an interior decorator for Patrick Ramsey, then a NFL quarterback for the Washington Redskins."
I had to read it about four times before I realized Leigh Ann didn't go from being an interior decorator to being an NFL quarterback.

(Watching S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jacob: That guy's in other (something I can't understand) stuff.
Me: What? Other candy stuff?
Jacob: Kind of, but with an M and P.
Me: Ohhh, "campy" stuff.
Jacob: Nope. "Candymp."

The headline for a link posted at Reddit said "Two churches, Catholic and Episcopal, bless palms together." Before I realized they were talking about blessing of Palm Sunday palms, I thought it was going to be an article discussing how Catholic and Episcopal denominations always held their palms together when blessing people, like a "Namaste" kind of hand gesture.

Jacob was playing Bioshock while I was watching The Color Purple. Suddenly he pointed and said, "Look! A whale!" Turns out there was one in his game, but I was a little startled because I thought he was insensitively referring to the pregnant girl in my movie as a whale...

When I shower, I open up Pandora on my phone and set it on the counter so I can listen. Over the sound of running water, I can usually hear vocals but not background music. This means that sometimes I discover what I thought was a really awkward rap about finding cheap flights was actually an ad.

Six-year-old girl: Where do you live?
Me: Indiana.
Her: Oh. There's California where you live.
Me: Uh, no, we're pretty far from California.
Her: No, you just drive six miles an hour on the road, and there's the sign that says California.
So now you all know.

A distressing amount of the Letterboxd movie reviews for Ender's Game complained about it ripping off Harry Potter. Apparently 1) Harry Potter was the first series EVER to use the "he is the chosen one" trope and 2) it is possible to rip off a book 12 years before it is written. Who knew? I should get started on ripping off the big literary hit of 2026 so I can make a pile of money.

I was researching things to do in Lakewood, CO (for an article, I'm not going there any time soon) and came across a website that MOSTLY listed things to do in Lakewood... but then there was the occasional mention of national parks in Vermont. That seems like an unrealistic commute for a day trip.

Life pro tip: If you put your ear to your pillow when you wake up, you can hear voices! Note: This only works if your earbuds are still connected to your phone playing Internet radio and somehow end up under your pillow.

When "Everybody Hurts" and "I Will Always Love You" are right next to each other in an iTunes playlist, it's easy to accidentally mush their titles together and end up with a terrifying song called "I Will Always Hurt You."

I was watching The Switch and Jacob kept pointing at the screen and excitedly saying what I thought was, "Just go boom! It's a just go boom!" I had no idea what he was talking about until I paused the movie so I could actually hear him, and it turns out he was saying "Jeff Goldblum." But I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to call him "Just Go Boom" from now on."

Bethany texted me to ask if I wanted ice cream. Though my stomach is feeling a little better, I responded that I probably shouldn't tempt fate. Or, well, that's what I meant to respond. My phone thought I meant "I probably shouldn't robot date." Though that is true, I probably shouldn't do that either.

OK, guys, it's time to play "Guess Elizabeth's Catch Phrase clue." This is what she gave me: "Uh... like, whooooa! Whooooa! Also, I think it's an ice cream place?"
Good luck with this one.

(Exploring the grounds of a mansion.)
Bethany: I want to live in that house with the turrets.
Me: I want to live in...that boat over there.
Bethany: I want to live on that fence.
Me: I want to live in the clouds.
Bethany: I want to live in that tree.
Me: I want to live in that woman's hat.
This went on for much, much longer than you might think.

Playing Aaron Carter on the iPod. Bethany's observation: "He sounds like a cross between Nick Jonas and Piglet."

A few nights ago, JoJo asked us what we wanted to eat when we were at her house. I told her I wanted one egg, and if she tried to give me two eggs, I would walk out. So this morning, before we left, she gave me my egg. It's sitting in our cupholder.

Proofreading a biography of a psychic that I wrote for Textbroker, I discovered I'd written that "she says she receives her dreams in dreams." I meant she receives her visions in dreams. I receive my dreams in dreams, too.

I think with the next Call of Duty game, they need to think outside the box. It will be called (Phone) Call of Duty, and in it, you have all these phone calls you're obligated to make, like scheduling doctor's appointments and calling a plumber to fix the sink and returning a call from a friend who's having a really terrible day. I would play that game.

That Disney Princess Buzzfeed article claims, "Disney shot the entirety of Cinderella in live-action, using it as a guide for animation." Um, no. I just double checked on that dubious claim and it turns out Walt Disney did NOT try to shoot, for example, the scene where the mice sew the dress in live action. That would have been... unhelpful for the animators. Stop lying to me, Buzzfeed, and saying "the entirety" when you mean "the parts with humans."

My new favorite game: pretending that Facebook ads are actually synopses of new releases from a really, really crappy video game company. For example, these that are on my page right now:
"Say hello to your friends and family. Let AT&T keep you connected on the go."
"Watch HD movies and track your life down to the heartbeat."
"Earn your Master's degree in communication online!"

I don't even remember how this started, but Jacob and I somehow got into a discussion about what it would be like if no one could respect me or suspect me and whether that would be livable.
Me: I could walk into stores and walk out with all their merchandise and no one would suspect it was me. That'd be kind of awesome.
Jacob: But NOBODY would respect your personal space.
Me: No, that'd be okay, because I could like... forcibly shove them away if they tried to hug me, and they wouldn't get mad at me because they wouldn't suspect I did it!

Jacob (looking on ThinkGeek): They have a Star Wars lightsaber lava lamp! You can get a perfect Ebox!
Me: A... perfect Ebox?
Jacob: For fifty bucks.
Me: Yeah, but what's an Ebox?
Jacob: No, "for fifty bucks."
Me: OH! "You can get it for fifty bucks"?
Jacob: Yes!
Me: Ohhhh. I couldn't figure out what on earth an Ebox was. I thought maybe you were saying "Ewoks" wrong for some reason.

Guys, I picked up my phone and it was texting a message to Jacob all by itself. And when it was done typing, it sent. WHAT?
This, btw, was the message: "E TV, hmm Mcbride BBM c Zvezda NC m Xzibit McMahon VX5Z56HQ, c of Sri I for doggone"

I just took the "What Adventure Time character are you?" quiz on Zimbio, and it said I was Jake the Dog. It then went on to describe me as "adventurous," "fearless," and "a love guru full of smooth moves." This is possibly the most wrong a quiz has EVER been about me.

I was watching Drive Me Crazy for today's movie challenge assignment, and this dialogue happened: "I've read your yearbook. 'Onward through the fog! Light up and party! ‪#‎befree‬!'"
Super confused about the use of "hashtag" in a movie from 1999 (referencing a yearbook quote from 1973), I did a bunch of research to find out when "hashtag" originated and if there was an older, similar usage.
After several minutes, I rewound the movie and discovered he wasn't saying, "Hashtag be free," he was saying, "Have sex, be free."
But at least now I know ALL about hashtags.

In last night's dream, my aunt and uncle (who looked nothing like any of my real life relatives) were hooked on a drug called "fierce flint" which made them really mean. So I took their 2-year-old daughter away from them and hid her in a dorm shower at HU, because apparently that is the safest hiding place for a toddler. Then I just took off and left her there for the college students to find.

Jacob is playing Skyrim. His character was low on health, so to fix it, he ate 15 sacks of flour. It seems to me that would make you sick, not heal you, but then this is why I am not a doctor in a video game.

I went to heat up some food and when I came back, Lumps was sitting on the couch where I had been sitting.
Me: Hey, Puppy! What are you doing on my space?
Jacob: What? Puppy's on MySpace? She is behind the times.
I think my question is still valid. What IS she doing on MySpace?

I decided today that it would be awesome (and super mean) if at the VERY VERY END of Skyrim, there was a necromancer boss who brought back to life all the people and animals you killed, and they all fought you at once. So you'd spend hundreds of hours in gameplay, defeating enemies and killing spiders, only to find out at the end that you have to start the entire game over because the only way to win is to kill as little as you possibly can.
It's probably a good thing that I don't design video games for a living. I would do things like this all the time, and I would be unsuccessful and widely hated.

Someone being interviewed about someone else: "He played that song for me on his guitar, and I'm not kidding, it literally takes you down this amazing river."
Um, nope. Nope, not literally. Although if I'm misjudging the speaker and it IS literally, that guy should probably warn people about that before he plays anything for them. They may not WANT to be taken down a river. I certainly don't.

Browsing Letterboxd reviews of the 1988 movie They Live, one person commented, "It will never win an Oscar." Hey, don't give up hope so quickly! Maybe it'll win "Best Movie From 27 Years Ago" at next year's ceremony!

Watching Top Chef. One of the chefs introduced his dish and ended by saying, "And a black olive aioli." But at first, I thought he said, "And that black olive I owe you." I wasn't sure when he had borrowed a single olive from one of the judges and why he decided to repay them by putting it in a sandwich.

Last night, I dreamed that my grandfather (who didn't resemble either one of my real life grandfathers) told my family that for his birthday, he wanted us all to go with him to a Jewel concert while wearing ten-gallon hats and cowboy boots. When I told him I had cowboy boots but they were too small, he gave me a $600 Visa gift card so I could go buy new ones.

Breana: So I was literally in the middle of trying to do stuff... (She stops and looks right at me.) And I literally was. Like, I was standing here, and there was stuff on either side of me and I was literally in the middle of it. I just wanted to make sure you knew that.
Had so much fun hanging out with her this evening. Not everyone is that thoughtful of using "literally" correctly around me.

I played Skyrim for the first time today. Jacob stretched out a little and I took the Xbox controller away from him. I ran through the woods, hopped away from wolves, and finally found his character's house. There, I gave one of his adopted daughters 1000 gold and told her to go to bed, and I woke the other one up from her sleep to give her a dagger. And then I was bored and let Jacob play again.

While driving home from lunch, Erika suddenly turns to me and says, "If you could drive from here to your place, how long do you think it would take?" I stared at her for a few seconds, trying to figure out if she was asking me to drive her car or whether she was just trying to get me to tell her how much time left we had on the road... then finally I realized she had said "Europe," not "your place." Which is a different question.

The subtitles went CRAZY on this episode of Top Chef. It introduced one of the chefs' dishes as "a strestreudeludel." Which is the only thing I will ever call it now.

Jacob: I think it's cool that Oculus Rift is going to be, like... an actual thing in people's homes soon. That's cool.
Me: OK, so I know what Oculus Rift is, and yes, that is cool, but my mind decided you meant "Optimus Prime."

I dreamed last night about this new fad diet where every time you wanted to eat, you thought about worms instead, and that would take away your appetite.

Today, Jenny Lawson responded and retweeted responses to The Blogger I Shall Not Name, who suggested that depressed people just need to find joy -- because apparently nobody depressed has ever tried to be more positive or anything. The series of ensuing snarky tweets pointed out all the other ways that happy attitudes can fix biological diseases.
My favorite contribution: "I once saw jazz hands heal a bleeding head wound."
Thank goodness for snarkiness lessening the awfulness of stupidity.

As I read Shakespeare, I mentally cast people who have similar names to the characters, to help me keep track of everyone. For example, Leonato in one of my earlier plays kinda sounds like Leonardo, so I imagine his character as Leonardo DiCaprio. This makes it much easier for me to remember who is who and how they're connected because I have a mental image of everyone.
However, this also leads to weird moments, like the scene I just read where the mental image became Vincent Price conversing with Rex the dinosaur from Toy Story...

Discovery of the day: If I inadvertently rattle the shower door, it sounds like the Jurassic Park T-rex coming to get me.

We put Lumps in the bathroom while we went to the zoo instead of setting up her kennel. We came back to find that she had unrolled several squares of toilet paper, shredded it up a bit... and then re-rolled it. *blink* I'm kind of impressed.

Jacob: You're cool.
Me: Thanks. (A second later) Though I don't think I can accept that compliment right now, while I'm trying to fold the tag on this pillow with my nose.
Jacob: Yeah, I said it before I saw you were doing that.

Jacob; I forgot that BitTorrent was doing a sci-fi series.
Me: What? Who's doing a sci-fi series?
Jacob: BitTorrent.
Me: I thought you said "Rick Warren." The guy who wrote "The Purpose-Driven Life." That would've been weird.

Reddit question: "Who's that one girl you just hate at a party?"
Comment #1: "The crier."
Comment #2: "Yeah, I hate when a girl walks into a party with a decree from the King and is all 'Hear ye hear ye!'"
Now I can only hope I get invited to all the parties because THAT is exactly what I'm going to do.

The most recent review of The Quest for Skye on Amazon reads simply, "I love story."

Saw this post while browsing my RSS feed: "TIL that about 90% of the world's LSD supply vanished overnight when the chemist who was making virtually all of the world's LSD, got caught. he was making it In a nuclear missile silo."
Got super confused until I realized I was reading LSD as LDS. That'll teach me to skim. I thought it was saying that almost all world's Mormons disappeared in a nuclear disaster at some point in history, and I had no idea how I'd never heard of that...

What I meant to text Jacob: "I love you and you're amazing and fantastic."
What I nearly texted him, thanks to autocorrect: "I love you and you're shaving a fanatic."
Sounds like a weird day at work...

Reddit posed a challenge to create a scary story in 5 words or less. A lot of them were pretty typical, but this was my favorite of the night:
"2% milk. 98% spiders."

(I couldn't find my phone. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is on her phone, which kind of looks like mine.)
Me: Is that my phone? Are you texting all my friends right now?
Elizabeth: Yes.
Me: What are you texting Lisa?
Elizabeth: "I like grapes."
This led into a discussion of what would happen if we texted everyone in our contact list "I like grapes," and who would be the most awkward person to text that to. So, uh, if any of you get a random text at some point that says "I like grapes," now you know why.

Just wrote in Textbroker: "The pH level of your soul impacts how well your grass will grow."
What's the pH level of YOUR soul?

Jacob: Britain declared war on Germany...
Me: Wait, what?! Why? That came out of nowhere!
Jacob: ...75 years ago today.
Me: Oh.

Apparently, teaching Puppy not to bark or whine has led to her offering a compromise: a weird hybrid noise that sounds mostly like a quack.

I've been graduated for two years and I'm STILL having HUTC dreams. This week, I dreamed that Jay added "June Bride" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers into Singin' in the Rain, but that made the show run too long. To fix it, he decided that song, "Make 'Em Laugh," and "Singin' in the Rain" would all be performed simultaneously every night.
So... there's an AWESOME directing idea.

I like helping Jacob name his video game characters. His main one in this game is now called "€££æ". That is a fun one to try and pronounce.

For any of you men out there who have wanted to use Shakespearean compliments to woo a woman, this one from Troilus and Cressida is probably the best one I have ever found: "There is no lady of more softer bowels."

My new favorite hobby: coming up with terrible ideas for the next Star Wars movie. Ideas rejected by Jacob so far:
1) The movie starts off showing that the original series is all just Harrison Ford's dream, but when he wakes up he keeps seeing Star Wars stuff so maybe it WASN'T just a dream... dun dun dun!
2) A Planes, Trains and Automobiles reboot in space, where Chewbacca's just trying to get to his home planet for Life Day.
3) Luke becomes the new Emperor and turns evil. A young Jedi comes to defeat him and Luke reveals he is that young Jedi's father! Except it turns out to be a lie because he remembers how that reveal messed with his own emotions in the original movies, and he wants to throw the newbie off his game. But that's all in the second and third movies. The first movie is just all the other characters calling Luke on the phone and saying, "Don't be evil," to which he responds, "But I can make LIGHTNING now!"
I mean, *I'd* watch these...

Last night, at like 1:00, Jacob told me that "the people on the show" were "sitting in the closet." I sure hope he was sleep talking, because the idea that there were actually people in our closet is FAR too terrifying to consider.

This survey I just took asked, "If there was an Ebola outbreak in the U.S., how would you spend your time, knowing you may not have much left?" with options like "spend all your money" and "quit your job."
There wasn't an option for "stay calm and touch people even less than I usually do."

The Agatha Christie books I have on my Kindle are formatted weirdly, so occasionally we'll get pages that look like this:
"Nofret was wicked and Nofret was dead. Could she not leave it at that? Why this sudden stab of pity - of something
It's like Agatha Christie stopped writing for a moment and Rob Bell took over.

Jacob: (About someone doing voiceover in his game) This is fake Christopher Lee. I should figure out who he is.
Me: His name is Christopher Lee, but Lee is spelled "Li" and "Christopher" is with a K.
Jacob: I would like it better if it was a Q.
I am totally naming one of my NaNo characters Qhristopher Li.

I just laughed QUITE loud and scared the dog. Why? Well, let me tell you.
I was looking up old NaNo novels, and I ended up getting really engrossed in my novel from 2009. It's a serious dramatic novel about a Christian teen at a music ministry camp, and I was actually feeling pretty proud of it. There were a lot of good thoughts and serious character development in there.
And then at about 16,000 words my brain apparently just gave up. In a scene describing a church service, the pastor gets up and solemnly delivers a sermon... that consists entirely of the lyrics to the song "Purpose" from Avenue Q, switched to second person. (Sample sentence: "Doo doo doo doo doo. I don't know how I know, but you're going to find your purpose.")
The chapter ends with this paragraph:
"As he got down from the pulpit and went to sit in his seat again and the worship leader got up to do his songs, I couldn't help but feel that the sermon was less than inspiring."
That is an entirely accurate assessment.

I just tried to type "Shakespeare" as "Spakeshan."

Weird dream of the day: I dreamed that I was hanging out at a food bank, and Jason Borton came in and started pulling ALL the food off of the shelves and shoving it in paper bags. Then I heard him muttering to himself, "Maybe if I give all this food to the children's hospital, people will finally believe that I have feelings!"
...Um, OK.

(Tomorrow Jacob and I are going to go see a show in Chicago.)
Me: So we've got balcony seats.
Jacob: Like fourth-floor balcony?
Me: The balcony of the next building, actually.
Jacob: And we'll watch the show with telescopes and a radio.
Me: This is how I watch all my plays.
Jacob: That's why I'D like to pick our seats sometime.

My new favorite ridiculous hobby: standing near my husband and the dog while they are both asleep and making huge dramatic flailing arm movements that they would certainly react to if they were awake. This cracks me up today and I am not entirely sure why.

Awkwardly-placed line breaks sometimes complicate things. I was reading an introversion subreddit post and saw this:
Post: "I'm also going to bed and waking up at very different hours to other housemates, making it difficult to get high"
Me: "Well, that's a confusing complaint."
Post continues when I scroll down: "quality sleep sometimes."
Me: "Oh."

Today, Netflix suggested a series of movies in a new category: "Watched by Gob Bluth." It included movies about puppets, fathers and sons, and breaking out of prison. I have no idea when they put that together, but WIN.

(Jacob and I are watching The Music Man and talking about how poor lisping Winthrop is so sad at the beginning of this movie.)
Jacob: He's got a crazy name.
Me: That's probably why he's sad.
Jacob: Because his name is actually "Winsrop"?
Me: YES!

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether that noise outside your door is a) the wind or b) EVERY MURDERER.

My NaNo main character is being threatened by an angry mob, and I wrote this sentence: "For the first time in ages, I was afraid that I was going to get physically hurt."
That's a dumb sentence anyway, but apparently my character completely forgot that someone tried to murder her yesterday.

What I meant to say about our Thanksgiving meal: "The stuffing was my request."
What I typed at first: "The stuffing was my retreat."
Yes, with stuffing I can hide myself away from the cares and burdens of life.

Sometimes I get bored of writing my NaNo and decide to sing Jesus Christ Superstar in the middle of a sentence:
"I was a little startled to see this breakdown. Erik had always been so calm, so cool, no lover’s fool, running every show. He scared me so."

Jacob does not wear my favorite color just so he can match my eyes or plan a private picnic by the fire's glow. According to Giselle from Enchanted, I should probably doubt his love. I'm going to ignore that advice.

Jacob: The next Friday the 13th will be the thirteenth. Next year.
Me: ...The thirteenth?
Jacob: The thirteenth Friday the 13th.
Me: Since when?
Jacob: Since the beginning.
Me: (Has no idea what he's talking about because none of this makes sense)
Jacob: (Suddenly realizing) Oh! The next Friday the 13th MOVIE will be the thirteenth.
That was a very confusing conversation.

This Textbroker article I'm writing is a slow cooker recipe, with 250 words devoted to "an overview of the dish" and 250 words devoted to the recipe itself. That is a LOT of words to basically say "Put all this stuff in a slow cooker, cook it for 8 hours, the end."

Sleeping Jacob: I don't know WHERE Puppy is now. I mean... is she a dog?
Me: Yes, she is a dog.
Jacob: But don't you remember? Last night, she was made of rice.
Me: Um... no, she's not made of rice.
Jacob: You remember, don't you?
Me: I don't remember that, no.
Jacob: Huh.
He and I have been on completely different sleep schedules, so it's been quite awhile since I've had a conversation with him while he was sleeping. I've missed it :-) Yay Christmas break!

Just read a bizarre comment claiming that it wasn't possible to see only 10 movies released in 2014 unless you're not into movies.
It was vaguely reminiscent of the guy who told me I wasn't a real movie buff because I hadn't seen Taken.
People have weirdly specific standards sometimes. I should make up some of my own and start holding other people to it. But it'll be more fun if none of it is connected at all. "If you don't watch a musical featuring a song starting with 'R' every 3.5 weeks, you're not REALLY an animal lover." So this is the standard now. I'm watching you, people who claim to love animals.

My friend Travis is going to see The Interview tonight, so I told him to try not to die from terrorism. A little while later, this exchange happened and I couldn't resist:
Me: I am seeing Into the Woods next week.
Travis: Try not to die from whatever threatens musical fans.
Me: That would be Russell Crowe.

My sister Bethany asked everyone in the family to make up some new Scattergories subjects for us to print out and play together, just for fun, so Jacob and I have been texting her ideas throughout the week... although the ones we sent her today might have gotten a little silly:
"Types of dances, shades of yellow, things that are yellow, types of pipes, kinds of rinds, sorts of courts, stuff that's rough, things he sings, takes on lakes, things like rings, ways to haze, places for laces, parts of hearts, those with toes, uses for juices, sights with lights, sounds of hounds, rites for knights, plights for rights, towns with clowns, rhymes with limes, books for cooks, foods for dudes, looks for crooks."
And that is how we spent an hour and a half of our afternoon.

My favorite part of last night's round of Scattegories-with-categories-we-made-up. The topic was "things at a birthday party," the letter was F.
Elizabeth: I wanted to put "furry balloons, but that's stupid. And then I could only think of "furry cake, furry food..."
Kevin: Why not just "food"?
Elizabeth: ...Oh, yeah.