Wednesday, June 15, 2011


So I've been watching Psych. It's one of those show that I've seen random episodes of but never really sat down to watch completely, in order. WHY? I have no idea because I'm 100% hooked right now and I'll probably end up watching the entire series in a week and then I'll be sad because it's over... until October I guess, when the new season starts. But still.

I'll talk more about what I love about this show later but for now I'll leave you with this, what has to be the hottest non-kiss I've ever seen:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More Things I'm Loving

1. This video

Look how much they've grown up!!! Oh crap, I need to go do some preemptive crying.

2. Tumblr
Yeah, yeah I'm about two years late on this one but better late than never right? So why do I love tumblr? Cause it's pretty. It's like twitter with pictures.

My tumblr link:

3. Honeysuckle in bloom
I had to take my car in for an oil change the other day and while I was waiting I walked down the street to Coffee & Bean. The sun was out, the warm day tempered by a slight breeze, and the sidewalk was lined with honeysuckle in bloom, tickling my nose with an aroma that is nothing short of delicious. Instantly I was reminded of my college days, walking with my roommates to the Caf for a dinner that would inevitably stretch into an hour plus of sitting around the table complaining about the food and eating too much desert and laughing so hard our sides ached. Honeysuckle grows aplenty around that campus and the scent of it never fails to take me back to this time. I still keep in touch with most of these girls but occasionally I ache for how much I miss the simplicity of life before the "real world."

4. My hair
It's narcissistic shallowness. I've always either loved or hated my hair which, when left to dry natural becomes a frizzy mess and when styled curly or straight is still unpredictable and prone to dry ends and oily roots. Good hair days can be few and far between and bad hair days can sink me into a foul mood of constant grumbliness about life in general. BUT. I've recently switched to a sulfate-free shampoo and silicone-free product and it seems to be making all the difference in the world. My hair as of late has been silky and bouncy and in turn I've found good moods much easier to come by. Shallow? Indeed. Do I care? Not really.  

5. Death Cab for Cutie's new album 
It hasn't received the most stellar reviews so I was a little wary but honestly, I love it. I haven't listened to it with the extent that I've listened to Narrow Stairs or Transatlanticism but it's a really lovely album. Ben Gibbard's voice will always make me happy though, as depressing as some of his songs can be (I have several DCFC songs on a playlist in my itunes that is entitled "Angst.") Although, it must be said this this album is by far the most cheerful I've ever heard this band. It's kind of refreshing and I enjoy seeing the transformation between albums. Favorite songs so far: Home is a Fire, Codes and Keys, Monday Morning, Underneath the Sycamore, Stay Young Go Dancing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Things I'm Loving

1. Nerdist podcast
Chris Hardwick, host of Web Soup, and his friends Matt Mira and Jonah Ray talk about nerdy things and interview awesome people. And when I say "nerdy things" I mean everything from video games to to stand-up to television to movies to crappy jobs and everything in between. I really don't know anything about comics and video games so that stuff loses me but I'm always entertained. My favorites are of course the podcasts with celebrity guests because they go above and beyond what you normally hear in celebrity interviews. The best in my opinion are are Joel McHale's (he tells hilarious stories about his kids, Donald Glover's (they joke about writing a Back to the Future musical based on Mayor Goldie Wilson and Donald describes the Simpson's Spec script that landed him his 30 Rock writing job), Rainn Wilson's (they have a fascinating conversation about religion and philosophy) and Damon Lindelof's (they discuss Lost and the different ways one can watch and enjoy a television show). But other awesome guests include Wil Wheaton, Ed Helms, Matt Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, Alison Brie and Danny Pudi. It's highly entertaining stuff and I'm pretty sure that listening to these podcasts is the only thing that kept me sane when I got stuck in traffic for 10 hours on I-5 the other day. Blech.

Also, if I can afford it I'm going to try to see their live podcast show in San Diego during ComiCon in July.

2. This video.

What was that you just heard? Oh yeah, it was the sound of my soul SQUEEING in delight. That one minute of video just made a top five list of CUTEST THINGS I'VE EVER LAID EYES ON. EVER.

3. The new Fleet Foxes album
Holy crapsicles. How did it take me so long to download this album? It's is in one word, CRA-MAZING-ALICIOUS. That's not a word? Whatever. This album makes me stupidly incoherent. Favorite songs right now: Lorelai, Battery Kinzie, Sim Sala Bim and Grown Ocean.

4. Coconut Frappucuinos from Starbucks
Chocolate is awesome. Coconut is awesome. Put them together and what do you get? A new addiction for Shannon.

5. Greendale Texts from Last Night
I find the website Texts From Last Night to be hilarious because I will always love crazy drunk people. And now there's Greendale Texts from Last Night which superimposes these amazing texts over screencaps from Community. Again, it's simple math. Add two already great things together and you get something that gives me irrepressible happiness.

One of my favorites.

I just spent a half an hour on that site looking for the best ones to post here. So pretty much it's just one big time suck for me. FYI, there's a Texts from Pawnee too.

Oh internet, I give up. You win.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Books of March, April and May

I've been slacking a bit in my reading so I'm combining the last few months into one post. You'll notice a bit of a commonality in some of these books: memoirs and humorous antidotes from strong, funny women. I didn't mean to read a handful of similar books; perhaps it's a theme that's drawing me at this moment in time but I'm finding these autobiographies fascinating. How did these women get to where they are today? How have their lives dictated this path? What makes them so interesting?

My life? Feels a little boring in comparison. But I want to believe a little bit that we all have interesting lives and stories to tell, enough to write our own memoirs if so desired. If I were to go through and pick out the embarrassing moments, the poignant memories, the scattered life lessons from my time line could I create an interesting tale? And what would it say about me? I really have no idea - this is just crazy stream of conscious rambling on my part. Of course, the books listed below are best sellers because they are written by famous people who we already know something about and want to know more about and the chances of me writing a memoir that the population at large wants to read are slim to none. (I say this because working in publishing has taught me that people have a huge need to tell their stories; but not all these stories can or should be published. As heartbreaking as that might be).

Enough with the blabbing; on with the books.

Shannon's Highly Mathematical Ranking System For Judging Literary Quality

2.  Meh.
3.  Good book, I'll add it to my collection


1. I Know I Am But What Are You - Samantha Bee

I've always liked Samantha Bee and admired the fact that she is one of the few female correspondents for The Daily Show. This book intrigued me because we don't often see the "real" Samantha Bee behind her television persona. I don't know that this book showed me that but also I don't know that it necessarily needed to. It's written from a very self-deprecating place (another common theme in these books) and I appreciate that because it makes her more human. There's a backwards insecurity to self-deprecation that I get and understand; I relate to it and use it myself, especially when referring to those horrible awkward years that lasted way too long. So, do I get her as a person any better? Not necessarily. But I very much enjoyed laughing and cringing my way through this book and I think I'll enjoy her presence on The Daily Show all that much more in the future.

RATING: Good book, I'll add it to my collection

2. Bossypants - Tina Fey

If you don't love Tina Fey then... well, I don't know what to say about you except that there is something wrong in your brain. Really, go see a doctor about that.

Much like Samantha Bee's book there is a infusion of self deprecation that pours off these pages that are part autobiography/part humorous essays/part life lesson manual. I loved reading about her days in Chicago, the way in which the Sarah Palin impression came about and the writing process of 30 Rock. There were more than a few moments that made me laugh so hard I had to stop reading, then re-read and laugh myself into giddiness all over again.

Through it all there is an ever present underlining of intelligence and self-awareness, especially when it comes to what it means to be a woman in her industry. She gets asked a lot about what it's like being the boss of so many people. But does Donald Trump ever get asked that? Why is it SO impressive just because she's a women? Because it's unusual? Or because of this idea that it's harder for a woman to be boss? This is honestly something that I've never really given a lot of thought to but I have to think it's a little bit of both. It IS unusual. So many of the writing staffs in Hollywood are dominantly male, the majority of CEO's are male, the majority of congress is male - a woman in her position IS impressive. The times, they are a-changing but it's a slow change and the pre-conceived notions about gender roles are so embedded into society that it's a legitimate wonder if we'll ever get to a place where a woman of power is seen as equal. With the likes of Tina Fey around though I have to think we're moving in the right direction. 


3. My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me - Hilary Winston

As a single woman in Southern California with a cat, this was one of the most relatable books I've ever read. I felt like I could have written some of these chapters and I found myself feeling better about some of the experiences I've had because I'm not alone! And I do the same weird things! And I close myself off in the same way! And I had the same almost word-for-word experience at Build-A-Bear! I want to run around and scream "SOLIDARITY SISTER!" But why oh why does it have to be so hard for some people?

I think I was expecting this to be MORE humorous than it is but that's not a complaint at all. There are some darker moments here, some bittersweet morsels that are funny only in their sadness and the way she relates them. Why I'm surprised by this I don't know because Hilary is a writer for Community and that show is most definitely a mix of funny and dark and heart. (Also, it's super interesting to wonder about the ways in which she influenced the character of Britta. The same emotional and broken beats are there in both women.)

HIGHLY recommend this one for the single ladies. 


4. Being Written - William Conescu

Is this what I get for breaking the pattern? Probably.  The premise is very interesting: a Stranger than Fiction-esque sort of story where the main character knows he's in a book -  Daniel Fischer's been continually relegated to the background but when he finds himself in the midst of a new story he attempts to take matters into his own hands; he wants a starring role. Okay? Sounds good and interesting.

But what it delves into is just... meh, weirdness. Daniel starts to believe that he IS the main character, that he's meant to be the hero and get the happy ending but this belief leads him to do awful and slightly creepy things all in the name of the "story." He's left at the end believing that everything is about to go his way when on the contrary, it is very heavily implied that if this book does have a happy ending, it is not for him. He's the antagonist and the antagonist is due for a comeuppance.

So, I get it. It's interesting and intriguing and it makes me think but in order for me to really be drawn into something I have to care about the characters and at least root along with them. I can't here and it leaves me feeling cold. 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let's Talk About Finales Baby

After an entire season of buildup this was pretty disappointing. In the penultimate episode we saw Peter flash forward ten years into the future and 3/4 of the finale was spent in this time period where the alternate universe has been destroyed, Peter and Olivia are married, Walter's in prison and our universe is unraveling to the point of destruction. It's interesting of course but finale worthy? Not so much. It never felt like there were any real consequences because I was convinced they'd eventually end up back in the present anyway; so Olivia dying and Peter tearfully delivering her eulogy didn't affect me the way it should have. The last five minutes were awesome I have to admit (Peter! Never existed! WHAT?!); I just wish the preceding moments had felt more important.

Fan-freaking-tastic. When I heard they were doing a paintball sequel I was wary but wow did it work. The first half of this episode - a full spaghetti Western homage complete with Josh Holloway (SAWYER) - was a thing of beauty. Annie was a BADASS, Jeff was working the cowboy look, the music was pitch perfect, and Pierce had a saloon-fort complete with Vicki and Garrett dancing for Twinkies. How is this even a real sentence? The second half turned into an epic Star Wars-esque showdown between Greendale (the rebels) and City College (the empire). Abed kissed Annie in a moment of Han Solo role-playing, we found out that Denny's is for Winners, background characters like Magnitude and Leonard and Vicki and Starburns all got their chance to shine, and when it was all said and done Pierce saved the day. The through line, other than paintball, was Pierce's recent villainy and the group trying to decide whether or not to ask him back after the summer so I assumed once he saved the school that everything would go back to normal. In the end though HE walks out on them, tossing out the surprising and sad reveal that he's been a student at Greendale for 12 years. Since I know Chevy Chase isn't leaving the show I'm not too worried that Pierce won't be around next season but still, it was a little heartbreaking. I love my little study group. All seven members. And as they've found in the past, they work best when everyone is present and accounted for. So, how will it be resolved? Is it Fall yet?

I'm really glad that the show is getting an additional 13 episodes to wrap things up but I actually would have been satisfied with this as the series finale. Chuck and Sarah are married, the Volkoff storyline is resolved, the Buy More is out of danger of being shut down and it's all a nice little bow on the top of four seasons. But now Morgan has the intersect in his head, the team has been fired from the CIA and a new mystery has been introduced. It should be an interesting ending.

How I Met Your Mother
Lily's pregnant (totally called it from the second she threw up) and Barney's getting married at some point in the future. I really only have one thing to say: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET IT BE ROBIN. 

Wow. Hands down this was the most intense season finale I watched. Favorite scenes: The verbal smack down Rick laid on Kate (Nathan Fillion was channeling Malcom Reynolds something fierce in this scene), the fight between Ryan and Esposito after they figured out the truth about Captain Montgomery (these two are my favorite and seeing them go at each other with such high emotion was simultaneously awful and amazing), and the moment when Castle has to drag Beckett kicking and screaming out of the hanger. (When he has her pressed against the car? GASP. HOTNESS). And then there was that ending. WHAT. THAT ENDING. Was not expecting that. AT. ALL.

Raising Hope
Really sweet episode. I tend to be a sucker for origin stories so it was cool to see how everyone ended up where they were at the beginning of the series. Loved scary!Jimmy and Sabrina being attracted to him; loved finding out how Shelley got her dead tooth, LOVED the scene where Burt and Virginia figured out that Maw Maw may have "Old Timers." This show continues to be a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top of my Tuesdays.

The Big Bang Theory
Penny and Raj? BLECH. No thanks. Can the show be focused on the antics of the women next season? The guys are starting to grate.

Parks and Rec
Awesome. Again, another comedy that feels like a yummy desert all the time, leaving me all warm and satisfied. And in a season where a lot of finales didn't have a "FINALE" vibe, this one did and left a lot of questions up in the air. Will Tom really quit? Why is Tammy # 1 so scary? Will Leslie run for mayor? Is her relationship with Ben in jeopardy? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN? I don't know but I can't wait to get back to Pawnee in the Fall.

The Office
I don't know. It seemed like this entire episode was just going around in circles; it definitely did not need to be an hour long. I'm not excited about any of these possibilities for the boss and whoever it is is just going to drive me nuts. They need to find someone who is NOT Michael Scott and who can play the role of the manager in a completely different way. But from what they've presented here it seems they're just going for a Michael Scott 2.0 (part ineptitude, part insanity). After seven seasons it's gotten old. So, I don't know. The heart's all gone and it makes me sad. (I am curious as to whether they or going to write in Jenna Fischer's pregnancy or not. Another Halpert baby? Either way I'm guessing that she'll be missing out on a few episodes at the front of next season). 

(WARNING: There's a lot of ranting ahead. If you enjoy Glee you might want to skip this one). By far the most redeeming moment: Kurt and Rachel singing "For Good." (Oh, and pretty much anything Puck did or said. And the reveal that Sam and Mercedes are together. And Brittany/Santana). Other than that? UGHH. The episode lost me the moment Rachel didn't know that Cats hasn't been playing on Broadway for years but QUINN did. WHAT? Is it that hard to write consistent characters? Really Ryan Murphy? This is why this show is losing me. I can't even begin to root for anyone because no one makes sense. Finn's an ass and I hate that he just flits from girl to girl at whim and they just melt for it and let him get away with it. And Quinn's apparently got this big evil plot to... get her hair cut? And suddenly things are fine and she's greeting Finn and Rachel like they're all besties? And Will... you know what? Never mind. It's not even worth talking about because again, his character is a self-absorbed, wishy-washy ass. (Sometimes. You know, when the plot calls for it. BAH). Oh, and remember that line from Community when Jeff yells at the Glee Club to "write some original songs?" Well, it was a bad idea. Keep it up with the Journey and the Lady Gaga. Because the original songs suck. Hard.

*Sadly (and I say "sadly" because I really did love the first season) this is the one show I'm considering dropping. It's not worth watching something when I barely even enjoy it anymore. (Although if Brittany and Mike Chang were to spin-off into their own show where they do nothing but dance for an hour, I'd watch that.)

Modern Family
Really nice episode. I really have nothing else to say. 

Cougar Town
First and foremost: ABED!!!! Or should I say, Chad? The love fest between Community and Cougar Town brings me endless happiness and when Abed talked about being an extra on Cougar Town in the "My Dinner With Andre" episode I thought it would be extra awesomesauce if it actually happened. And look! It did! SO COOL. (So, if Cougar Town exists as a show in the Community universe and Community exists as a show in the Cougar Town universe... WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? BRAIN = WRINKLED). Other than THE BEST CAMEO EVER this was another really good send-off episode. (Really depressed that it's not coming back until Winter.) Is it wrong that I want Travis and Laurie to actually happen? Cause they're kind of adorable.

Happy Endings
I'm really enjoying this show and I'm pleased it got picked up for a second season. Penny and Max are my two favorites (which is surprising because I was never a fan of Casey Wilson on SNL) and Damon Wayne Jr. is pretty flippin' adorable. If you haven't tried it yet, please do. Every episode is currently available on Hulu. Here's one of my favorite exchanges: 

Jane: Have you and your father ever said I love you to each other? 
Brad: No, we don’t have to say it because we show it. By not saying it.  Like how the mountains never say it to the sea yet the sea knows. 
Jane:  Do you ever think about these things before you say them, or just?
Brad: Yeah, I do. I think ‘Wow, that’s brilliant. I should say that out loud’. Then I say it out loud and it’s spectacular, it exceeds my expectations. 
Jane: Right.

So, thank you 2010-2011 television season. You've been lovely. See you in the Fall.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Doctor Who

Most of my shows will be airing their season finales in the next few weeks which leaves me with a three month void of bad reality shows and soapy dramas. (With the exception of the last few episodes of Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad, which starts in July). So as I've mentioned, I'm going to fill the time catching up on shows I've missed. On the docket: Party Down, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Parenthood and possibly The Vampire Diaries. I've started off the festivities with the BBC's Doctor Who. And I have thoughts.

Here's what you need to know: The Doctor is a 900-some-odd-year-old Time Lord who travels through time and space in a blue police box called the TARDIS. (It's bigger on the inside). He usually has at least one companion with him, usually a female who has relationship attachments in the form of family, boyfriend, or fiance that keep them slightly tethered to earth. In the midst of their travels they usually find themselves in dire situations involving any assortment of killer aliens, robots or reality-erasing cracks in the universe. The Doctor, being the genius that he is, is usually tasked with saving them and whatever planet they happen to be on in the process. Oh, and The Doctor can regenerate - meaning that when he's close to death his body can take on a new form. This is how eleven different actors have been able to play the part of the same man. Or mostly the same man. Each regeneration comes with new personality, quirks and tenancies.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

for the beauty of each hour

I've been troubled this past week over something my pastor said during his sermon on Easter morning about the excuses people make for not going to church. Maybe people, he said, claim that going to the beach or taking a hike or spending time with family are ways of worshiping God. But no, he continued, none of these things are a proper substitute for church attendance and surrounding ourselves in worship with fellow believers.

Well... I don't know if I would use the word "substitute" but I absolutely, 100% believe that walking along the beach or hiking through the canyons, or driving with the wind blowing through my hair, or spending a moment in quiet writing are ways of worshiping God. They are my ways. They are the moments when I feel the closest to Him and his creation.

Alright, I admit it: my church attendance as of late hasn't been... stellar. Which is strange for me. I was raised in a family that went to church every Sunday. My parents required that I go to Sunday School after service (something I HATED). I attended confirmation classes every Thursday for two years and was confirmed in May of 1997,  I was an active member of my church youth group,  and I attended youth gatherings and retreats and choir tours. After graduation I turned around and taught those Sunday School classes and confirmation classes for about six or seven years. I took classes to become a Bible Study leader. I was, for all intents and purposes an active member of church life.

But then, for whatever reason, I stopped teaching and started skipping church services here and there more and more often until it's come to pass that I rarely ever go anymore. I'm on the verge of that dreaded CEO title (Christmas and Easter Only).

Maybe it's because my sisters don't go as often. Or because I don't live with my parents anymore and it's HARD to get up when I don't need to and it's so much easier to snuggle under the covers a couple hours later and not set the alarm. Maybe it's because all my friends have moved away or gotten married or had kids (And I can honestly say that it freaked me out the day one of the girls I confirmed with brought her son into my Sunday School class. I don't feel old enough for this to be possible). Maybe it's because some of the political stuff behind the scenes left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's because a lot of what I took away from college, from life in general and so many of the people that I've known over the past few years have made me question those beliefs that were instilled in me from such a young age. Maybe it's everything. Maybe it's me.

Easter church service was lovely. The sanctuary was filled with sweet smelling lilies, the orchestra was powerful, the people were dressed in their Easter finest. But in so many ways for me it was lacking and empty. The hymns sounded robotic and dreary, the sermon was formulaic, the entire service felt akin to a stage production that we were watching and had no part of. How is this worshiping God? In so many ways it would make a million times more sense to go and plant a tree, feed the homeless, hike up to a mountain top and marvel at the sunset.

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I believe that He died for our sins. I believe in the love that He preached. I believe that He is in everything. And I believe that I can find him on the sandy shores of a Southern California beach just as well as on the alter of a church sanctuary. Everyone is different. Everyone feels and experiences things in a different way. Who's to say that I can't feel God the most when I'm watching a really good movie? Or when I'm caught up in writing? Or when I'm whipping up a batch of cupcakes? Or when I'm sitting around my parents' kitchen table and laughing with my sisters? Or when I'm talking with a group of friends about the mysteries of the universe? (That sounds weird and pretentious. I'm sorry. I don't actually ever sit down with friends with the intent to "talk about the universe." Usually it's a lot of meandering and nonsensical laughing leading to questions like "what IS the color red?" and "what are cats really thinking?")

For me, church can be found anywhere and everywhere and if I'm surrounding myself with people that can share and elevate and challenge my beliefs, and it brings me closer to God? Then I'm going to keep on doing just that.


 "God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars."- Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." 
- George Washington Carver