Everything I Know, I Learned From Fishing With My Dad

For as long as I’ve known my dad, 27 years now, fishing has always been his favorite hobby. Most Saturdays, he would get up very early and be back as we were just waking…any hobby that requires early rising sounds more like a job to me, but my dad loves it.

 

When I was little, and before I knew what was good for me, I would go with him. The night before, he’d ask if I wanted to go, I’d ask him what time he would be leaving and he’d usually say something like, “5:30 a.m.” I’d tell him to wake me up, and for a while there, I did.

Eventually, I realized waking up at 5:30 a.m. sucked and I would still ask him to wake me, but I wouldn’t, and then I’d ask him to wake me and he wouldn’t and eventually it became clear to all of us that fishing would not become a hobby we shared in common. But…in those times I did go, I believe it is safe to say that I learned everything I needed to know about life from fishing with my dad.

Much like fishing, life is all about patience and waiting. This has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn…because I hate waiting and I totally lack patience. I remember waiting in the boat for hours for something to happen, and when it did, when that bite finally came, it was so exciting. But that wait was torture. My dad never flinched at the waiting though. Some people, like my dad, were just born with a much more patient demeanor. If I only had a few words to describe my dad, patient would definitely be one of them. As I’ve mentioned before in other blogs, I was a difficult child to say the least. In my entire life, I can only remember a few times my dad got angry with me, or at least showed it (one time involved me and Whinny the Poo at Disneyland and I totally deserved it). He always remains calm, and although it has taken me many many years, I believe that because of his patient influence, I’ve grown a bit in this department. In life, I’ve had to learn that most things you have to wait for, but when that bite finally comes, it’s totally worth that wait.

Much life fishing, life is all about timing. My dad would explain to me that we would have to wait for the bite, then reel it in at just the right pace, and at just the right moment, we’d have to jerk the line, setting the hook. Jerking at the wrong time could result in losing the fish, and then we’d be back to waiting…So it was very important to get it right. Just as it’s important in fishing, it’s important in life. I believe I probably pushed things along a bit too quickly when I was younger, resulting in forced opportunities that didn’t work out. Waiting for the right timing goes hand in hand with patience, so it was never my strong suit. My dad has always been so good at knowing when to do something or when to say something and when to set that hook. Sometimes I still don’t understand timing and how it all works out, but he’s taught me to wait for the right moment and not rush it along.

Sometimes, much like fishing, you go home empty handed. I remember many times my dad walking in claiming defeat. I would just think, “Man, he sat there all morning in the cold and doesn’t have anything to show for it. What a bummer.” But it didn’t phase him. He knew, sometimes, the fish just weren’t biting that day, and he’d take another shot at it the next week. As I grew up, I realized that there were things that seemed worthless because I didn’t end up with that tangible outcome in hand, but my dad has taught me that lessons are to be learned in the process, and even though it might seem like a defeat, a lesson learned is not going home empty handed at all.

Sometimes in life, much like fishing, you have to throw it back. While fishing, sometimes we’d get that bite, reel it in, and my dad would say, “we have to toss it back.” I don’t really remember the reasons, to small, whatever, but the point was, after all that work, it was always so disappointed to just throw it back. In life though, the same applies. Sometimes, you go to a lot of effort with something, but you have to throw it back and start over. It’s always hard to do this, but in the end, the next one you end up keeping is always better. I’ve gone through some “fish” in my life, but my dad has always reminded me that there’s more in the sea and sometimes it’s just better to toss them back…and I can’t say how grateful I am for a few of those fish I tossed back into the murky water where they belonged.

Growing up, my dad was always there. He came to all my basketball games, he helped with my homework, and he played with us. We always went on vacations, we always went to church Sunday morning, and we always ate dinner together. I had a lot of friends growing up that didn’t have good dads. Some of them were just not around, some were abusive, and some just didn’t know how to raise a daughter. I got so lucky to have a dad that was patient and kind, and teased me, and coached my sports teams, and put(s) air in my tires, and is always there with great advice and wisdom. There are times I think about what my life would be like without a dad like mine and it makes me cringe. Most girls have daddy issues because their dad wasn’t good to them, I have daddy issues because my dad was too good, and it’s been pretty hard to find someone to live up to him.

In the end, after all the lessons I’ve learned from fishing with my dad, the most important is probably that anything that involves waking up when it’s still dark, peeing in bucket or off the side of a floating object, and sitting around waiting for something to happen while remaining quiet is the worse hobby ever. But my dad loves it and I love him, and I’m thankful for all the life lessons I’ve learned from him and for being the best dad any high strung, impatient, girl could ask for. I love you so much dad and will never forget the sacrifices you’ve made for us to give us such an amazing life.

A few of my fondest memories:

-Taking his big boots off when he got home from work

-Climbing around his Coke truck when he’s stop by for a surprise visit at home

-Every vacation we ever went on

-When he came and helped me get through my college friend’s funeral in Ellensburg

-When I called because I was having excruciating pain in my lower back and he told me it was gas…it was a kidney stone…not actually one of my fondest memories, but one of the few times I can remember him being wrong, so I had to throw that in.

-Every time I’d hit my brother and then run to him, and he’d yell at Drew for hitting me… Very fond memories…

-Climbing on his back and riding him around like a horse.

Why I Don’t Drink

People ask me all the time why I don’t drink…Specifically because I’m a bartender and have been for six years. While I suppose it is uncommon to find someone who is 27 who doesn’t drink, or rather, has never had a drop of alcohol ever, I guess it is even more uncommon to meet a bartender who hasn’t. Usually people ask me if I’m Morman and then tell me how noble I am for never drinking, then they take their shot and walk away. Kind of funny. After bartending for a long time, growing up a little, and learning some valuable life lessons, I’ve come to new conclusions of why I don’t drink and thought I would share them. This might sound like it will be self righteous and boring, but I promise, it will be entertaining.

I grew up in a house with no alcohol. My dad never drank a beer, my mom didn’t drink wine, and family functions were never made more interesting with a drunk uncle or grandpa (if you’ve met my family, on either side, you’d know they are pretty entertaining sober). Alcohol was very bad. We went to church and no one at church drank, or drank publically, and that was just how it was. When I got to high school, I was involved in youth group and drinking and partying was a sure ticket to Hell, so I never partook then either. Then I went to private college and took way too many classes to party, and by the time I reached 21, I had never had a drink and didn’t see the need for it, so I just never started.

If you asked me why I didn’t drink at different points in my life, I would probably give you a different answer every time. My perception of alcohol has changed so much over the years, but no matter the reason, the choice was always to not partake myself. I obviously didn’t mind others drinking, as I am the person getting many of them drunk on a regular basis, but for me, I just decided against it.

I’m not saying I’ll never drink. One of those life lessons I mentioned earlier is to never say “never” because you’ll definitely eat your words, but as of now, I don’t. While I think that there are a lot of reasons for ME to not to: I’d probably drink a lot if I did, I’d definitely be a light weight, there’s a very good chance I’d start a lot of girl fights, etc., there are a few examples in the last few months that have reinforced my decision.

This last Wednesday night, as I stood behind the bar watching the very young looking 21 year olds take shots, I saw something flicker out of the corner of my eye. My head immediately whipped to the right and there, about 15 feet away was a young girl sitting on a couch and her entire head was on fire. Yep, on fire. It wasn’t a small flame, or a singe…the entire back of her hair was ignited and the flame was burning higher and higher…she didn’t even notice. Not knowing what to do, I just started screaming trying to get anyone’s attention to put this poor girl’s hair out. Finally, the guys sitting right next her must have smelled the horrific odor and frantically patted the flame out. It had to have jacked up her hair and I can’t imagine it didn’t burn her in some way. I just stood there, wide eyed, mouth open and thought, “that’s why I don’t drink!”

A little while ago, after the bar was closed and cleaned and our head of security was finishing up his sweep of the premises, he came upon a girl lying on the sidewalk down the way from the bar. No one was around, and this girl, in her itty bitty dress, was passed out on the sidewalk right in the heart of Belltown at 2:30 in the morning. Luckily, she was found by our very kind security guard who gave her his coat, hailed a cab, and gave the driver her license and $30 bucks to take her home. All her friends had abandoned her and she was in no state to even stand up, let alone get home on her own. For every story like this, where someone was kind enough to sacrifice half his night’s pay and his jacket, there’s a not so nice story out there. When he told me about this incident, I just shook my head and thought, “that’s why I don’t drink.”

Here and there, a tranny will walk into the bar. He will have huge fake boobs, insanely nice legs, and a skimpy little outfit and will always turns heads. The heads of the other men in the bar that are too drunk to realize it’s a dude. The other night a really good one came in. Even I was a bit unsure, and it was only until we turned up the lights and saw the man’s thick foundation with stubble poking through, that I had the confirmation that it was in fact a man. It was particularly hard to tell because this man was wearing a string bikini (literally) and every couple of minutes, the little strap would slide over, exposing “her” entire double d implant and nipple. Every man in the bar was staring at her, buying her shots, and trying to dance with her. I’m not a man, but the concept of “beer goggles” came from somewhere, and I can only assume that when a man is drunk and there are big fake boobies, this is all they see, and the adam’s apple, facial hair, and oversized hands become invisible. These are purely my own statistics that I made up, but I can only guess from my observations, that 1 in 10 men have had a sexual encounter with a tranny that was not realized until later, or…never. Again, this is just my own made up statistic. I can tell you a dozen more stories of men hitting on men they think is a woman and how I always want to slip them a note saying, “dude, it’s a dude.” I could even tell you of an actual encounter that was stumbled upon in the bathroom, but I won’t. All I will tell you is that for every time I don’t slip that note saying, “dude, it’s a dude,” I am thinking, “and this is why I don’t drink.”

A few months ago, while bartending, a girl came up to me and said, “just so you know, there’s a girl on the floor of the bathroom in one of the stalls.” I put my bottle of vodka down, pushed my way through the crown, plugged my nose, and entered the bathroom. The last stall door was shut and I could see that there was a purse on the floor and a shoe. I lifted the door, a safely measure in place for this exact reason, and there, in child’s pose, was girl with her pants around her ankles, head on the floor. If you’ve ever seen a club bathroom, this is not where you want your head. I had grabbed a couple of the security guards to come with me, and they were standing in the bathroom door with looks of terror as I yelled out, “her pants are down!” Not wanting to embarrass the girl more, I tried to get her to stand up and pull up her pants before the guys helped her out, but by the looks of things, she had probably been roofied, and was so delirious, and a bit over weight, I couldn’t do it on my own. I got her awake and she insisted that she was fine, and I told her that she was sleeping on the bathroom floor with her pants down, so she probably wasn’t “fine.” I eventually had to have the two security guards lift her up and I pulled up her pants, not knowing where her underwear went because she claimed she had some on, and the security guards escorted her out. I returned to my station, picked up my bottle of vodka and thought, “that’s why I don’t drink.”

 I can literally tell you a hundred killer drunk stories like the man who pooped all over the bathroom and himself at Joey’s and then sat out in the waiting area, smearing his poop all over the leather seats, or of all the girls who flash important body parts to shleazy men, or of embarrassing slips, falls, and crashes. I can tell you a hundred stories of fights that I’ve seen, men on men, girls on girls, girls on men, I can tell you about all the purses that are stolen, the Ids that are left, the credit cards that are abandoned. And I have a million entertaining puking stories, but I’ll stick with the ones where someone’s head caught on fire, a girl was found on the sidewalk at 2:30 a.m. and in the bathroom on the floor, and of the tranny who tricked a bunch of men; remember 1 out of 10. People are always asking me how I make it through life sober, and to be honest, I find myself wondering how you make it through yours drunk….

Waffle Bar and Mimosas Brunch

If you know me, you know that I love to plan a party. My dad once said that he believes that I enjoy planning the party more than I enjoy attending the party, and the truth is…it’s true. For me, coming up with the theme, going from store to store finding the all the pieces, putting it all together the day of…that’s what I love. So when my friend Skye’s 30 something birthday came around, I thought it was a great opportunity to plan my next party.

Skye and I bartend together, and after all the customers are gone and the bar is clean, we usually sit around and count our money and moan at how hungry we are. One night, I brought my Christmas present from my sister-in-law, a good quality waffle maker, to the bar and we made strawberry waffles at around 3:30 in the morning. Skye is a vegetarian, so waffles and mac and cheese are really the only things we both eat, so when I was planning the menu, I thought it would be fun, and substantially easier, to do a waffle bar rather than try to prepare an all vegetarian meal.

Whether it’s for upcoming Mother’s Day, a friend’s birthday, or just an excuse to have friends over, brunch with a waffle bar and mimosas is a great option and below, I will give you all the resources you need to do it!

You must get a good quality waffle maker. When Kaylee gave me mine for Christmas a couple years ago, I thought it was a bit random. But then, I started using it, and now it goes down as one of the greatest gifts I’ve received from her. Mine is a Warring Rotating Belgium Waffle maker, and below is a link to the cheapest one I could find online for $55. I bought  my mom one last year from Costco and I think it was around $60. It’s totally worth it.

http://www.abesofmaine.com/item.do?item=WAWWM400BJ&id=WAWWM400BJ&l=FROOGLE

Because it was May 1st, I decided to go with spring colors: bright pink, yellow and orange. After an hour or so of looking on Marthastewart.com, I came across this banner, and knew I had to try it. The truth is, every time I try to do something from Martha, it ends up looking nothing like it, so beware, yours might not look like hers, but that’s ok. Below is the final product after lots of cutting, gluing, and taping. I was pleased.

http://www.marthastewart.com/article/clip-art-craft-festive-garland

After I decided on the colors and made the banner, I started on the table. I knew I wanted to do a variety of options for the waffles and after some Google searching I came across some great options. Labels are always a fun touch, so I found some that I could print on another blog: http://creaturecomforts.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/04/free-printable.html

 

One of my favorite parts of shopping for parties is picking the dishes. I’m very particular about my themes being perfectly cohesive, so I went with all glass serving dishes, but in different shapes and sizes, and white plates and serving platters. The best places to pick up glassware for cheap are local thrift stores. I already had a few of these bowls, but the majority of the different size dishes I got at The Goodwill for less than $1.00 each.

I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a good mix of toppings. Apparently you can put anything on a waffle, so choose which you enjoy and leave out the ones that won’t go over as well. My final menu of toppings was chocolate, Nutella, peanut butter, bacon, powdered sugar, strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, cheese, syrup, and sprinkles. I highly recommend hand whipped whipped cream and not the kind out of the spray bottle and sprinkles are a must because they make everything look pretty.

The next table to design was the beverage table. Staying consistent with the glassware theme, I put out different size, large wine glasses and glass pictures with labels. I did mimosas and offered three flavors: traditional orange, mango, and pink lemonade. The mango and pink lemonade were very well received. If you don’t want to offer mimosas, you can just put out a variety of juices.

Once set up was complete and guest started to arrive, I provided everyone with beverages and then started on the waffles. I had around 10 guests, and to save time, I borrowed my mom’s waffle maker and doubled up. The good thing about these waffle makers is that they provide four distinct sections. I recommend while making them, to break them up into 4’s so guests can begin making their designs and not have to wait for one large waffle.

We got really lucky to have one of the nicest days of the year, so we enjoyed the waffles and mimosas on the patio. We had croquet set up as well, but only myself and C.B. played and I won by a landslide. Everyone had very delicious looking waffles and Skye enjoyed her presents of purses, dresses, and popcorn.

All and all, this was one of my favorite themes I’ve done to date…and not just because I love waffles so much. We finished up the party with a crazy photobooth with props pulled from my closet room. If you want to have a fun party, include a photobooth. There’s nothing more amusing than people dressing up and posing. There were over 700 pictures taken, but I’ve included a few of my favorites for fun. Enjoy!


“Don’t Wish Your Life Away” -Mom

My whole life, I was always looking to the next phase. In elementary school, I always wanted to be in the next year: if I were in first grade, I wanted to be in second, if I was in second, I wanted to be in third, so on and so forth. I remember being about 10 and my mom had taken me to Lake Goodwin on a hot summer day, and I looked over at all the high schoolers and thought, “If I could just get to 16, everything would be perfect.” Then…I hit 16…and realized that 16 was just not quite 18. Hit 18, went to college, and all I could think about was life without homework, cafeteria food, and life without being really poor. Then I graduated, and I experienced life without homework and cafeteria food, but I experienced a new level of poor. Now, I could drive, I had gone to college and graduated, and was in this real world I was always daydreaming of as a child, but it just didn’t quite look the same as it did in my head as I stared up at my baby blue canopy bed all those years as a child.

Despite always wanting to move forward, I did have these moments that I realized that time I wanted to move on from so quickly wasn’t all that bad after all. I couldn’t wait to get out of elementary school so I could say I was a junior higher, but then I got there and realized the kids were meaner, school was harder, and junior high is one of the most awkward times of anyone’s life. I had the thought that elementary school was kind of easy peasy and a bit fun and I had wished it away…then I wished to be in high school.

(Picture from junior high slumber party. We tooth pasted whoever fell asleep first. This one fought back. Very good memory.)

One of the more obvious and emotional realizations of what my mom would always say to me, “Don’t wish your life away,” was when I came back home after my first semester in college in California. I loved being away, I loved freedom, and I loved the adventure of it all, but when I came home, back to that place where I had done all that wishing, I realized at that moment, I really wanted time to just stand still. Actually, I realized I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back to where I’d wake up in the morning to mom cooking breakfast for us kids, as I sat on the couch with my oversized Coke a Cola shirt of my dad’s that I loved to sneak out of his bottom drawer and wear because it had this special smell that erupted out of the dresser every time I open it. I would pull out one of the shirts and run down stairs and sit on the couch with the shirt pulled over my knees, my arms wrapped around them, and I’d watch cartoons, taking turns sniffing the shirt and sniffing the Norwegian pancakes my mom was making for me in the kitchen. Just as we would be finishing up breakfast and some good old fashion little kid sibling teasing, my dad would walk in from fishing and show us the gross slimy trophy he’d caught and then right there, he’d whip out his knife and start filleting it. He’d always try to get one of us to eat the eggs, or the silvery skin, and we’d all freak out, and then the house would be full of a different smell that reminded me of my dad: dead raw fish.

(My older brother Drew, myself, and my new baby sister Devoney. Very very happy childhood.)

That first night home from college, I was lying in my bed thinking of those simple times and how amazing they were and how I wish that I could go back and just sit on my dad’s lap and feel like everything was okay, or lay my head on my moms lap as she’d so lovingly stroke my hair and tell me she loved me (technically, this scenario still happens). I was lying in my room that I turned 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and started to cry at the realization that all those years were gone and maybe not appreciated for what they were. I slowly opened my door, walked the 2 feet it took me to get to my parents bedroom and with a sob, climbed in between my mom and dad as they slowly came back awake and tried to figure out what was going on. I just remember crying, “I don’t want to grow up!” My mom moaned her sympathetic moans that make you feel like no one else in the world could care more than she does, and my dad tickled my back in the soothing way he did when I was little and I’d say, “tickle my back datty, tickle by back.” We didn’t have a long conversation about the realities of life, my dad just said, “You spent your whole life wanting to grow up and now you are.” I slept between my mom and dad that night for the first time in probably 17 years.

You would think a moment like this would bring some perspective, but then I headed back to “real life” at college and rushed out of there as soon as I could. I took 45 credits/9 classes, both semesters my senior year to graduate and not have to go back. The real world had to be better than this…

(Taken the night of the greatest prank ever performed at Vanguard University. We plotted for months. This was what college was all about.)

The real world was one harsh reality after another of never having enough money, hating jobs, and real life scary and sad things happening that never made sense. I often find myself thinking of college and how amazing it was and how I didn’t even know it. How there is never a time in your life that you can wear whatever you want, stay up till all hours of the night, and eat fast food multiple times a day (although if you know me well, you’d probably say I just described my current life…). College really was pretty great, and I rushed that and wished it away.

(My two best friends in the whole world Lesha and Rachel, on Lesha’s wedding day. Happy day. I miss them!)

I say all of this because I have found myself wishing away my current status and desperately trying to move into the next phase. I find myself seeking a career that is more stable and wanting to get married and have babies and do all the things I haven’t done yet. Sometimes I get deeply saddened at the fact that I am not at this place, and then, last night, in this, what I can really only explain as an ambienesque (that’s for you Wesley) state of mind, all the times I had wished away came flooding back to me and I had to remind myself that before long, I will not be able to sleep in till noon (or noon thirty), I will not be able to jump in my car whenever I want and shop for hours, and will not always not hate wearing a bikini, cut off shorts, and high heels. I had this sort of flash forward of sitting at a desk, tired with ratty hair, wearing khakis that create multiple butts where they’re not suppose to, and drifting off into thoughts of my current status and wishing I hadn’t wished this time away. I am almost 27, and after rushing every pivotal time in my life forward, I am reminding myself to stop, smell the Norwegian pancakes and enjoy the now.  Weddings, babies, and all things adult will come, but I will never have this moment again.

(I think we’ll look back on these times fondly…)

The Greatest Television Characters Of My Generation

As a child, I loved to watch Nick at Nite. I’m not sure why…maybe it was because when I’d sleep over at my grandma’s, she’d let me stay up till 2:00 in the morning watching it with her, or maybe it’s because I’ve always had an affection for the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s (those were the shows that were airing at the time of my childhood…now shows from my childhood are airing….it all comes back around), or…maybe…it’s because Nick at Nite revealed some of the greatest characters of the era before me: Mary Tyler Moore – So progressive, and beautiful, and such an amazing wardrobe. I can only imagine that women back then strived to dress just like her. Lisa Douglas from Green Acres – ”Darling I love you just give me Park Ave…”-lllloooovvvveed her and her awesomely hard to understand accent. And Lucy…who didn’t, doesn’t, couldn’t…love Lucy. Lucy and Ricardo had one of the greatest couple dynamic ever. This is making me want to watch old school Nick at Nite.

While those characters of my parent’s era were great, I have to say, in the new millennium, television characters have gotten even better. There are a number of shows that I am a loyal viewer of that I find myself saying, “This is the greatest character of my generation.” I of course say it about more than one, so it’s really just a phrase, but you get the point. Below is a list of a few of what I believe are the greatest characters of my generation.

Nancy Botwin: Weeds

In 2005, Showtime debuted their new show Weeds. The short premise was that a suburban housewife loses her husband to a sudden heart attack while still in his 30’s, leaving her with a large home, 2 kids and no skills. Somehow, this was all many seasons ago, she got into the business of dealing weed to the local suburban parents who bought at school PTA meetings, soccer games, and other, wildly inappropriate places to purchase drugs. From this, Nancy Botwin, the world’s greatest drug dealing mother, came to life.

Sometimes there are characters that you watch that you find yourself thinking, “there is no one else on earth who could play this part like her.” After a few episodes of the first season of Weeds, that was exactly what I was thinking of Mary Louise Parker. Her large, doe eyed glares, her long fingers that always griped iced coffee awkwardly, and her wavy hair, porcelain skin, and long legs that get her out of one drug related incident after another, could only be achieved by Ms. Parker. Nancy’s character is the perfect combination of femininity, motherly instinct and love, and bad-assness. I always appreciated that she utilizes her sexiness, but is smart, and knows when she needs help, or a gun, or a plan. Even though her children are constantly doubting her, as a viewer, I never have. She always prevails, and sometimes it’s completely crazy, and always awesome, but beyond that, it is always so “Nancy.” If I ever have to be a drug dealer, I aspire to be just like her.

Ari Gold: Entourage

I’ve always loved Jeremy Piven. I remember watching him in one of my favorite movies, Serendipity, and thinking, “Why isn’t he a leading man?” I was impressed by his ability to give a very good ( and long) and moving speech. This ability must have contributed largely to him taking on Entourage’s Ari Gold, agent to the main character Vinny.

The truth is, I didn’t love this show at first. I rented the first season, and one evening, popped it in hoping for a funny new show I could catch up on and become a fan of. Instead, I made it through the first few episodes and realized it was crass, and lewd, and sometimes down right disgusting…I didn’t like it…at the time. A few years later, I started dating a guy I like to call Dan. Dan didn’t have cable, and you can only watch so many Seinfeld reruns before you become desperate for a change of scenery. So, due to boredom, lack of options, and three whole seasons to watch consecutively, I gave it another shot.

Needless to say, this shot went over far better than the first one did, and I found myself hooked on this very boy oriented, still crass, and still pretty disgusting, show. But once I got beyond the lewd humor, it was the characters that kept me interested. I loved “E”, and Vince, and loved to hate Johnny, and Turtle, well, he’s Turtle. But, after a couple of seasons, I realized that it wasn’t the main characters that I loved the most. Jeremy Piven’s character, Ari, was starting to dominate the show (and award shows), and I found myself caring more about his story line than the others. Ari has some of the best one-liners on television, and no one can deliver them the way Piven does. Season after season, he outdoes himself in becoming a bigger and bigger character, and now, I’d say, his story line is much more important than Vince’s. I care more about Ari’s (self-destructing) career, than I do Vinny’s, or E’s, or Johnny’s, and especially Turtle’s. I think Ari Gold’s character is the perfect example of a supporting role taking over the show, and for that, he has to be one of the best characters of my generation.

Michael Scott: The Office

While I am sure that Ricky Gervais is the greatest television character of all times in England, in America, he is only the guy that always bitches about being first when Steve Correll is up for awards for The Office. Michael Scott, the American office manager, has to be one of the greatest male character on Primetime. I can’t think of another character that makes you laugh, cringe, gag a little, and cry every once in a while, than Michael. He’s a character that you look forward to watching every episode because you can’t predict what he’ll do next. He’s absolutely despicable, but you still pity him. He can be such a jerk, but still the nicest guy in the world, and he can be what seems like the worse employee ever, but still be the best at his job. There is no other character on TV today that I can say evokes so many emotions out of me as a viewer.

All that said, I don’t think anyone could achieve all this but Steve Corell. One of the best parts of the show is that you know a majority of it is improvised, and there are not too many actors that can improvise as well as Steve (Maybe Will Ferrel and Vince Vaughn). Michael’s stupidity and ignorance is played out so well by someone who in real life is nothing like this. I think beyond being one of the funniest characters on television right now, the reason I had to put him on this list is because Steve Correll has done what very few successful television actors have done, and that is create a character that is so memorable and loved, but one that is not associated with him as a real person. I can’t think of anyone that believes that Steve Corelll is anything like Michael Scott, yet he is believable and successful as the character. As an actor, this is an invaluable trait in going on to do something beyond the one show (case and point: the entire cast of Friends, besides Courtney Cox would did had a career before the show). Though Correl is leaving the show, and as I predict (and probably most people), before long, this will be the end of it altogether, Michael Scott will remain one of the greatest characters of my generation because of Steve’s acting, improvising, and all around hilarious portrayal of a pretty horrible person, while not being one, or being mistaken for one, himself.

Carrie Bradshaw: Sex and the City

I almost didn’t list Carrie for one reason: they came really close to ruining her character with the second Sex and the City movie. Despite the last taste in my mouth being that of microwaved dog poo, I had to dig deep, and go back to to 2005 when I first discovered the show.

I came in on the show when it was probably in its third or fourth season, and watched the ones I missed while working on my degree in English down in California. There was something so comforting and familiar about watching this series while typing my Critical Theory papers on feminism and women in the media. Like most fans of the show, I felt like I related with the pleasantly neurotic writer as she explored life through lunches with friends, shopping when she couldn’t afford it, and lots of trail and error. What women doesn’t relate with that.

The character of Carrie Bradshaw was genius on so many levels. For one, the great Sarah Jessica Parker was the only person who could play this role. Parker herself is charming and graceful and has a comedic timing not too many women possess. While the other characters were interesting and viewers cared about them and their stories, Carrie always remained the center of the show (much to the distain of Kim Catrell as rumors revealed). Viewers were always most interested in who Carrie was dating, how she was feeling, and what she was wearing. A good main character will maintain the pivotal story line season after season, unlike Vince in Entourage.

Carrie Bradshaw revolutionized the female television character and created a fan base that might be hard to beat. People tried to dress like her, they tried to talk like her, and they tried to drink like her. Cosmo sales all over America skyrocketed as a result of Carrie. I don’t know that there is a television character that has even been as influential as Carrie Bradshaw. Just her scope of influence alone is enough to put her on this list.

I still love this show and this character, but I do severely disagree with their movie portrayals, and wish they could undo what they did in the second movie altogether. But…I still love watching reruns even though I’ve seen them all about 15 times, and there is still a part of me that hopes they’ll make a movie that does the show and the character justice.

Donald Draper: Mad Men

I love Mad Men so much, at the end of every season, I mourn its departure. As soon as they start to advertise the season finale is approaching, I’m filled with sadness. This is due in large part to the leading character, Don Draper. John Hamm, a completely unknown actor in his mid 30’s landed the role of his lifetime, his big break, and one of the greatest characters on basic cable, when he was given the lead of this new show, revealing the life of a 60’s Madison Ave. advertising executive, with a dark past, a beautiful wife, and every man’s dream job. If I were listing the best shows of my generation, Mad Men would definitely be on that list as well (oh wait, I think I did that one).

Don Draper is one of the most complex and well acted characters I’ve seen on television. He plays the many roles of an advertising genius, husband, adulterer, father, and boss, all while being someone he’s not. If that’s not deep, I don’t know what is. Jon Hamm is shockingly good looking, and has inspired a revival of 60’s men’s fashion with his gelled over hair, skinny ties, and perfectly pressed suits. He delivers his pitches with passion and conviction, and makes you forget that smoking cigarettes and drinking scotch all day is not a good idea (the power of advertising…). He somehow makes me want to erase 50 years of women’s rights progression, pin my hair back, and type in a room filled with smoke and sexist assholes: Genius. Draper is a character who came from nothing, gained everything, but is never satisfied, so he slowly self destructs little by little each season. One minute you think this character is invincible, and the next, you pity him. Draper has so many layers, and Hamm reveals them each flawlessly and with such ease. Mad Men hosts a cast of interesting characters, but the show would be nothing without its leading man played by the now very famous and admired Jon Hamm. His big break was good for everyone.

There are a number of others that definitely deserve shout outs: Dexter, Danny Devito’s character on It’s Always Sunny, Betty Draper on Mad Men, Dwight on The Office, Gemma teller on Son’s of Anarchy, Tony Soprano, but I have to say, the characters listed, are truly the most impressive, well developed, and well acted characters in the history of television. Years from now, I’m sure my kids will watch Weeds and The Office on Nic at Night and say they were good characters for the 2000’s, but I believe, like Lucy and Mary Tyler Moore, Nancy, Ari, Michael, and Don will always remain television’s classics and will be appreciated for years to come. I just hope TV execs can keep coming up with more shows like Mad Men and The Office and less like The Gates, Undercovers, and Melrose Place Part II.

The Female Don Draper

I knew that I wanted to create a new blog that I could condense all my posts in (I couldn’t figure out how to actually transfer them, so they literally just got reposted…) and have just one place to write about all my interests; fashion, television… informing people on how to not piss off their bartenders (my favorite topic). As I thought about what I wanted the picture for it to look like, I knew I wanted to incorporate my typewriter first and foremost. Then I added my vintage cigarette holder, and before I knew it, I had my inspiration; a female Don Draper.

Draper is one of my all time favorite television characters. I don’t know if it’s his shocking good looks, his mysterious demenour, or the fact that I love the 60’s and copywriting, but whatever the reasons, I find myself more obsessed with this era and this character with each season.

So when I came upon the female Don Draper concept, I knew there had to be the typewriter, the cigarette and a glass of scotch. Dating a photographer lends tremendously to indulging my photo shoot brainstorms, and one normal Monday evening, Dan and I transformed the living room into a our studio and began shooting. While I am always amazed by Dan’s work, there’s something extremely satisfying about coming up with an idea in your head and then seeing it realized perfectly. I got my new blog picture as seen on the actual blog, as well as some shots just for fun. Disclaimer: totally not a model, so don’t expect too much. Everything I’ve learned, I learned from watching all 45 seasons of Top Model. Thanks Tyra! And thanks Dan for being my personal photographer!

 

 

 

Photos by Dan Poss Photography http://www.danposs.com

Sucky Summer TV

Everyone loves summer; sunshine, swimming, sandals…and plenty of other things that don’t start with an “s”, but my degree in English forces me to list in alliteration. The one thing it is not good for, besides snowshoeing, is TV. In the past, or from what I can remember, there was no “summer” TV at all. Season finales were at the end of May, and then you watched movies and reruns till September. Or maybe I just didn’t notice summer TV as a child because I was playing outside and didn’t require the 2 hours (okay 3) of down time each night in front of the TV to recover from my day and relax me enough to actually fall asleep. So I suppose for the record, TV execs have taken some steps forward in regards to actually creating a summer season, but they haven’t figured out how to make that season very good.

Since this summer was less than impressive on the weather front, TV was a bit more important to me than the last. At the start, I was quite excited for the line-up. HBO had the return of Entourage, AMC had Mad Men, Showtime had Weeds, even Oxygen had Drop Dead Diva, Bravo had a bunch of Housewives, and ABC had Bachelor Pad. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, Bachelor Pad was my favorite show of the season…seriously, that has to say it all.  But again, that darn degree in English eliminates any hope of keeping is short. Here’s the break down of my opinion of summer TV.

Entourage: One of the 10 hot days we had this summer, I sat on my dock and hand wrote an entire entry about how horrible this show was this season. Because I hand wrote it, I lost that yellow note pad in the abyss of stacks of note pads, and didn’t want to rethink the whole thing again, so I’ll write the abstract. The show sucked. At the end of the last season, it appeared each of the cast members were moving on with life. I predicted this story line would make for a boring show the following season, and though it didn’t take the turn I expected….it did stay true to my prediction of boringness. The season was all about Vince going off the deep end. While this is pop culturally relevant and more likely than not what would really happen to him, it isn’t how we like to see Vinny. We love the fun loving, happy-go-lucky, generous Vince, that doesn’t let anything get to him, and doesn’t turn on his friends. This season, he starts doing drugs, dates a porn star, and goes crazy on his best friends, apparently cutting him out of his life for good. To keep this short, I’ll just say, if I wanted to watch a show about a young actor doing drugs and screwing up their promising career, I’d watch Showbiz Tonight’s nightly update of Lindsey Lohan’s life.

Mad Man: I think Mad Man deserves its very own entry. More to come.

Weeds: As one of my top 5 favorite shows of all times, I was pretty much counting down the days to the end of summer premier of Weeds. I literally subscribe to Showtime for this show alone (until I discovered Dexter, and now I have 2 reasons). But this season, though still going, has fallen sadly short compared to the others. After one of the most shocking seasons finales on TV last year, I was more than hopeful that Weeds would be able to deliver yet another, brilliant season of drug dealing, violence, and all around inappropriate behavior, but apparently being on the run and attempting to live a normal life is not good television. I hate Nancy’s wig, I hate that Shane is now a real psycho and not just a creepy kid, and I hate the boring story lines of hotel jobs, mini vans, and new identities; boring. I still think Nancy is one of the best female characters of all times, and I have great hopes that season will get better, but as of now, another disappointment. P.S. Did anyone else notice the superimposed “Seattle” scene in the first episode? You can’t view the whole Space Needle driving north on the 5, coming into the city…Come on Showtime.

Housewives: Another blog of its own to come shortly.

Bachelor Pad: So on a good note, ABC introduced its most brilliant idea since Dancing With the Stars (which I don’t watch, but apparently has a huge fan base and re-launches loosely named “celebrities” little careers into another couple minutes of fame), Bachelor Pad. The idea was to take previous contestants from past seasons and put them into the Bachelor house and make them compete for $250k. As we found out on the show, someone (not sure if it is actually ABC or not) hosts bachelor reunions, where contestants from all seasons are invited to engage in the same debauchery as on the show, just not on camera. As a result, the cast mates of Bachelor Pad already had relationships, again, a term I use loosely, with other cast mates. Throwing some of the show’s past most ridiculous characters into the house and then adding the incentive of money is pure genius. I loved every episode and it restored my hope that maybe they will either produce another good season of The Bachelor, or they will just ditch that concept altogether, and stick with the Pad version. Good job ABC.

Like I said before, The Bachelor Pad being the best show of the summer is a pretty good testament of how pathetic the season really was. But summer is over, and the Fall lineup is so huge, I think I’m going to have to upgrade my DVR space to accommodate all the new shows. I can only hope that the writers of Entourage, Weeds, and The Real Housewives (don’t act like they don’t have writers) will get inspired and do a better job next season. In regards to Mad Man, there are parts I love, and parts I hate, so I can’t simply lump it in with these other 3 failures. On a positive note, because the new summer seasons sucked so badly, I renewed my love for The Golden Girls. I can’t decide if I want to grow old and be the real life Betty White, or the Golden Girls’ character Sophia; it’s really a toss up.

Originally posted September 28, 2010

Gleeful Ending

As mentioned in my previous posting, I have been sent into a post-finale depression with all these deaths, chronic illnesses, and divorces. It’s bad enough that my favorite shows are ending for the season, but the creators have to leave me crying on my couch as the credits roll, backdropped with sappy music.

So I was pleasantly surprised with Glee’s finale that aired Monday night, and of course, watched today on my DVR.

I’ve been a fan of Glee since Fox so geniusly (not a word technically…) aired a sneak peak episode around season finale time, getting us viewers excited for the fall premiere as if we’ve been watching the show for seasons. Over the past year, we’ve watched the misfits become friends, Mr. Schuester and Sue Sylvester go head to head, and lots and lots of singing. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t downloaded some of the Glee covers. In the process, I’ve become a fan of Glee (though I won’t go so far as to call myself a “Gleeker”), and have been looking forward to regionals perhaps as much as Schuester himself.

Although a bit disappointed (but not surprised) that New Directions didn’t even place at regionals, I was thrilled that the season was left on a happy and conclusive note. Sue showed yet another glimpse of humanity by convincing the principal to extend New Directions one more year, and a lovely rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow duet played the show out by Schuester and Puck.

All I’m saying is, season finales can end on happy notes, without cliff hangers and dead people, and I’ll still look forward to the next season…

Originally posted June 9, 2010

Fall Boots On A Budget

There is no better time to buy a great pair of boots than the fall. Toward the end of every August, I start flipping through magazines, researching websites, and peering through shop windows for the perfect boot. In the past, I’ve always alloted a large budget for this one wardrobe necessity. This year I came across too many to choose from and so many good deals, I didn’t have to choose just one!

I’ve never seen so many cute boot options out at one time that are actually comfortable. All three of these boots are cute and don’t come with walking restrictions and day after chiropractic appointments.

Black Ankle Booties: Madden Girl

When ankle boots first came out a few years ago, I was not a fan. Then I put a pair of ankle cowboy boots on with shorts and I couldn’t believe how long they made my legs look. I highly recommend this style when trying to look taller…and what girl isn’t? I found these at Ross for 25 bucks.

Black Victorian Booties: Bamboo

I love love love these boots! If you are a true Ross shopper, you have to willing to search a bit. I first came across this boot in size 6 in the right shoe. I then went on to find 7 more, right footed boots. I was so sad, but after scouring the racks and racks of shoes, I gave up. 20 minutes later, a nice gentleman that worked there, tracked me down and offered my a size 7 in the left foot. Though I’m a true 7.5, I couldn’t turn down his good deed or these adorable boots. 18 bucks! Worth the search.

Brown Lace Up Combat Boot: Diba

I REALLY, really wanted a pair of military boots, but I’m predicting they are a one year fad, so I didn’t want to invest a lot of money on them. After a couple months of searching, I came across these for 50 bucks at DSW. I love mixing the tough military look with a girly dress or a pair of dressy shorts. They kind of remind me of the junior high days of Doc Martin boots, but I still think they’re a fun alternative to the typical dressy boot you usually wear in the fall.

Black lace up open toe boot heels: Nine West

I was so excited to find these Nine West heels for 25 bucks at Ross. The thicker heel makes these more comfortable than a normal high heel, and the lace style is sexy and Victorian all at the same time. They’re half boots, half heels. Love them!

Gray ankle booties: Madden Girl

Another exciting boot find at Ross. These gray booties were 23 bucks, and are so comfortable and cute. The three little buttons down the side are an adorable detail, and gray is a great boot color alternative to black.

Peep Toe Oxfords: BCBG

I’m not gong to lie, when I saw these at Ross I almost screamed out lout in excitement. BCBG lace up Oxford heels for 40 bucks! If that isn’t a killer find, I don’t know what is. I am obsessed with Oxfords right now, and these are a great, more dressy pair. The heel is quite high, so I recommend not wearing them if you are going to be walking on cobblestone, up or down a lot of stairs, or standing for extended periods of time….basically, if you plan to sit.

Yes, I know, this blog incriminates me on the grounds of buying 6 pairs of boots in a little over a month, but the total for all 6 is still less than what I paid for my fall 2008 boot, so I don’t feel too bad. Plus, it’s all for the sake of the blog; I’ll expense them…Can I actually do that?

Originally posted October 8, 2010

Dear Douchey Phone Guy,

I know, I know…you think you’re super cool with your navy blue blazer over an ironic tee shirt, and designer jeans. I know you think you look so good with your fake tan, and you probably think you’re fooling everyone with its authenticity…you’re not. And I’m sure Ice Man has been your hero since you first watched Top Gun 10 years after it first came out, but perhaps idolizing Hollywood’s token Doucher is not as great of an idea as you thought (do note, Val Kilmer’s career took a pretty pathetic plunge after this part). Maybe this act gets you a girl here and there (nothing lasting long as no girl wants to be with a guy that tells himself how beautiful he is rather than she), but I’m sure you’ve gotten more punches and tossed drinks to the face than lays. If you ever come up to me again, while talking on the phone, and demand a drink, and then refuse to pay till you finish your conversation, I will make sure the bluest drink I can make will accidently find you and smear your orange tan for everyone to see. If you want to be a Douchey tard, move to L.A.

Sincerely,

Your Pleasant Bartender

Originally posted June 12, 2010