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Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ Category

Spoken Word Superstars

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Recommendations on May 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Almost everyone can tie themselves to alcoholism.  Either you have a family member who has battled it in the past, or still currently is, or you had a friend growing up with a parent who struggled with it.  For those of you fighting it yourself, I give you a virtual handshake.  While I have not struggled with an addiction, I have seen others and I know how difficult it can be.

Alcoholism runs in my family, both sides.  Both ym grandfathers were alcoholics.  My mother’s father quit drinking before I was born, but I caught bits and pieces of stories growing up from the bad days.  I witnessed how much his drinking and behavior while intoxicated still affected my family, despite his being sober.  It was obvious that fixing the problem may not always cancel out the conseuences.  My father’s father never beat his addiction to alcohol and, also before I was born, passed away.  Again, through family stories, I was made aware that his alcoholism maifested itself in 1-2 week long benders every couple of months or so.  During his last week long bender, he took his own life.

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Ridiculously Good Dinner – My Quesadilla Creation

In Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random, Recommendations on March 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm

This is the first Easter of my life that I wasn’t able to spend with my family.  I was kind of down about it at first.  It seemed like just the cherry on top of all the disasters that have made up my life in the last 3 weeks with work and personal things.  But I refused to stay down about it, so instead I decided to throw a little dinner party.  I cleaned up my place, invited some friends that I knew would provide good entertainment, and threw together some pretty awesome food.  I always have great ideas on how to make food, but it never turns out the way I envision it.  I’m not am amazing cook, but I love trying new things.  So I had this idea in my head of making quesadillas, which I’ve never done before, and was extremely surprised when they turned out to be possibly the best thing I’ve ever cooked.  All my guests loved them and every bit of the food was gone by the end of the night, so I figured I’d share my recipe.  Partially so I won’t forget how I made them, and partially so people can try it or make suggestions on how to make them better.  So if anybody tries it out, let me know how it goes.  If you have your own recipe that is great, share it with me, I’d love to try it!

I used chicken tenderloin from a bag, chopped up and cooked until they were no longer pink.  I sautéed onions and red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers for a few minutes, then combined them with the chicken and a packet of fajita seasoning.  I added in a bit of water, and little roasted red pepper flakes, and a dash of chili powder.  While that was all simmering, I melted Velveeta queso blanco in a pot with a little bit of milk.  It has jalapenos in it, so it has a tiny bit of kick.  Once this was all done, I put the chicken/onion/pepper fajita mix into a soft tortilla shell, drizzled the queso over it, threw in some tomatoes and shredded mexican style cheese, and toasted it on a griddle so it all melted together.

I can’t eat a whole lot in one sitting, since my stomach is like a bird’s, so I was only able to finish 1 off, but everyone else had 2 and was contentedly full.  All my friends raved about them, and I thought they were one of the best things I’ve ever created in my kitchen.  Since I love to cook, and this turned out so successful, I have decided that I’m going to start writing this stuff down and create a recipe tin for myself like my grandmother has with all of her creations over the years.  So if anyone has any they’d like to share, I’m all ears!

Oh, and Happy Easter!

Whatever You’re Doing, Stop Now And Watch…

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Random, Recommendations on March 12, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Watch.  Just watch this.  This woman amazes me.  Beautiful, fit, a mom, a wife, a singer, apparently a dancer, an all around success.  This song gets me every time, and the video is stunning.  So just sit back and watch it and love it, because I do…

Savior of Reality TV Might be on MTV…

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random, Recommendations on March 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I’ve turned into a leaking, whimpering mess these days.  What’s done it this time?  MTV.

I know, I know, but hold up and let me explain.  MTV has somehow managed to air a show that has made it to the second season that is actually worth something.  No sleazy, no partying, no gmy/tan/laundry or whatever the hell that whole thing was.  No, this show focuses on positive things.  That almost sounds like a foreign phrase anymore.  Granted, this show is not at all about music, but it is one of the few shows on television that is real.  It is called World of Jenks.  If you haven’t heard of it, check it out.  It’s worth it.  First of all, Jenks is a young guy that actual has plans and interests.  He looks for outstanding people to showcase using his abilities and knowledge of film.  And outstanding people does he ever find…

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Recommending: Shia Labeouf

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Recommendations on December 31, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I know my last recommendations post was on movies, but I saw something recently that YET AGAIN make me think twice about this actor and changed my opinion of him, so it’s too hard to pass it up or make this post wait.  But, as I always do, I must start at the beginning…

Two words: Louis Stevens. I don’t know one person close to my age that didn’t love Even Stevens.  If you don’t know what it is, it was your typical Disney show based on a dysfunctional family and the shenanigans they got into.  Shia Labeouf played the younger sibling, Louis, who was always in some kind of war or competition or fight with his older sister Ren.  They couldn’t stand each other, but when it came down to it, they would eventually have each other’s backs.  Shia Lebouf entered the world of entertainment as this goofy kid who actually did slapstick comedy really well (especially compared to most Disney actors these days).

Not gonna lie, even at 26 this makes me giggle.

 

The first is a scene showing how difficult things can become for a person with a disability, and gives a slight peek into how horrible people can treat others.

The second is a scene that truly shows how horrible people can be.  And also how those horrible people should be treated, in my opinion.

If you can stand it, I did find the entire Tru Confessions movie on Youtube in 5 sections, I think.  It’s not great quality, but if you want to watch something bad enough, you will.

Now we know this kid can actually act.  He does a couple more Disney projects, finishes up Even Stevens, then makes his break into movies not made for television.  He has small (but lovable) parts in I, Robot and Constantine (which has been on the SyFy channel every time I’ve turned my television on lately) and has a part in Bobby (which is also a great movie).  Then comes Disturbia.  It’s a serious movie, a suspenseful thriller with a little action thrown in.  I’m watching, I’m liking, I’m thinking, “Ok, so he can do a little physical stuff, too.”  Then *BAM*, he hits us with Transformers and Eagle Eye.  So this emotion evoking comedian now does action, too?!  What can’t this guy pull off???  I’m almost positive that any person could throw any concept and any scene at him and he could do it in his sleep.  Not to mention he has grown up to be quite the nice looking man.

So what is it that I came across that made me rethink Shia Labeouf again?  After all I’ve seen, what else was there?  Well…there was his full nudie scene in a music video.   I stumbled across the name Sigur Rós.  I’d heard it a few times, seen it around, and when a song randomly came on my Pandora, I became interested.  I looked it up on Youtube.  The music is beautiful and haunting.  Then I see that there is an actual video for this one song, Fjögur píanó.  There’s a warning that the video contains nudity, I’m expecting some boobs here and there since that’s generally all nudity is.  I see Shia Labeouf and the lady, which exposed boobs as expected.  But then it’s full frontal of both of them!  I literally had to pause the video and google it, thinking a man very closey resembling Shia Labeouf had to be this actor, but no – it is truly him throughout the entire video.  After the initial shock (not of seeing Shia Labeouf’s package, but just the fact that a guy’s junk was shown because, seriously, that never happens) I restarted the video from the beginning and watched it all the way through.  Yes, they are naked.  Yes, they are dancing together and holding each other and touching each other.  But I never found it to be sexual. The video, the music – it was beauty.  It was art.  It was breathtaking.  I am not an overly emotional person, but by the end I had tears in my eyes.

If you don’t like naked bodies, this isn’t the video for you…

So now he’s done it.  Yet again, this guy has amazed me.  He has danced and acted without even using one word, and made me catch my breath at how good it is.  I get it that lots of people think he is a d-bag.  I don’t know anything about his personal life.  All I know is that he continues to impress on-screen.  So basically, I will watch anything this guy is in – forever.  And I think all of you should, too.

Recommending: T-Rex Trying

In Funny, Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Recommendations on November 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I’m sure everyone has seen at least one of these drawings at this point: bulky, oddly shaped T-Rex pitifully trying to perform everyday activities that his stubby little arms prevent him from actually doing.  I stumbled across this on Pinterest several months ago when I found an image created by someone who had around 10 of these T-Rex Trying pictures all together, showing T-Rex trying to paint his house or make a snow angel or play a guitar, and they were absolutely hilarious.  I didn’t know at the time that this was a whole series of unfortunate attempts of T-Rex until I somehow stumbled across it again.  Only this time, and lucky for you folks reading, I found the Tumblr of T-Rex Trying, which is basically the motherload from the actual source.  The source, by the way, I discovered was a guy named Hugh Murphy, or as I will refer to him: The Dinosaur Comedic Genius.  This Tumblr is pages upon pages of funnies like these:

The Tumblr page also leads to the Twitter account, @TRexTrying.  Yes, I automatically followed.  I suggest everyone else do that same.  These quick little snippets of humor are exactly what get me through the day, so keep up the entertaining work Mr. Hugh Dinsosaur Comedic Genius Murphy.

Recommending: Books of Randomness

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Recommendations on November 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I love reading, and something that’s essential to good reading is having a good story line with good characters.  However, I have discovered a couple of gems that I think everyone should pay attention to for a couple of minutes.  And by that, I mean these books will actually only take a couple of minutes.  There is a clear theme and many different characters.  The plot is not hard to follow at all, the writing is short and simple, and the books as a whole are straight to the point and very entertaining.  I suggest buying one for yourself, buying one as a gift, or at least stop by your local Spencer’s Gifts (that’s where I found it) and taking the 2-3 minutes to read them in the store.

Each page features a different character discussing his or her or its friends.  For example, in All My Friends Are Dead there is a tree with a face stating that all his friends are end tables.  Turn the page and you find an end table with a face stating that he was never friends with that guy.  That’s priceless!  In All My Friends Are Still Dead, there’s an angel complaining because all his friends are, in fact, still alive.  Again, priceless!  Actually, the price for each is around $10 or so.  There are even Youtube videos of people reading these books, but I still recommend reading it for yourself, preferably out loud.  I tend to think things are always funnier out loud.  Kudos, Avery Monsen and Jory John!

Recommending: Burton/Depp Collabs

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Recommendations, Uncategorized on November 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I can’t remember the first time I enjoyed Johnny Depp. Oh, his acting abilities, of course 🙂  Probably when 21 Jump Street was still shown on television, as I have a vague recollection of jean jackets, a dangling ear-ring, and his careless finger combed hair…

I do, however, recall my first encounter with Tim Burton: Nightmare Before Christmas.  Despite my being a smart child, the trickery of this title eluded me and I went in expecting a holiday film.  I didn’t get it, it made no sense, and it kind of creeped me out.  But the older I got, the more I figured out what this movie’s true intention was and came to love it and respect it for that same strange, jittery quality that had put me off when I was younger.

But I was also introduced to the great births of every Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaborations.  I’m pretty damn sure I loved Edward Scissorhands before loving Edward Scissorhands was cool to this younger generation of hipster kids.  Who didn’t love this clueless, lonely man who popped water-beds and trimmed both hedges and housewives with his Swiss army hands?  Yes, this movie was out prior to The Nightmare Before Christmas and was equally creepy in its own respect, but I loved it.  I think it was because it had human characters and not animated ones.  I rarely was a cartoon kind of kid.  But who knew that this movie was just the beginning of a wonderful marriage of genius ideas and genius acting combined to create genius entertainment?

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Recommending: Covers

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Recommendations on November 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Since I already name dropped Melanie Martinez in a post, I thought it was the perfect segway into my first official Recommendations post about covers.  No, I don’t mean blankets or throws or comforters style covers.  I’m talking remakes of popular songs kind of covers.  Sometimes, sticking true to the song is the best way to go, especially if a song is so amazing to begin with.  Sometimes a slight change-up, such as a male singing a song originally done by a female, is the perfect little push in the right direction to take the song from good to great.  And sometimes (and often what has proven to be my favorite kind of cover), a complete re-imagining that is so out of box turns out to be a shining moment.

Although performance shows on television are rarely ever actually legitimate, they do produce some of the best renditions of songs.  Here are a few that have stuck out in my mind (and if you haven’t seen or heard them, click it and it’ll take you to the video):

Melanie Martinez – Toxic, Lindsey Pavao – Say AahColton Dixon – SeptemberDavid Cook – Billie Jean, and possibly my favorite of all time, Phillip Phillips – U Got It Bad

Those are all really different takes on pretty popular songs that ended up working out really, really well.  Then there are the covers that are completely unexpected and off the wall.  I find these very entertaining, and so far the best example I’ve found of these covers are the Punk Goes… albums.  Punk Goes Classic Rock, Punk Goes Pop, Punk Goes Crunk.  Some of these covers are really good, and I personally prefer them over the original.  Check out the covers of Umbrella, Disturbia, and We Found Love.  No offense, Rihanna, but these boys take the cake for me.  Some of them are just hilarious (Say Anything – Got Your Money).  Look into these more on Itunes if they interest you, there are numerous cd’s of different bands covering different songs.

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Recommendations On The Way

In Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random, Recommendations on November 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Obviously, I have a fascination with words – combinations, strings, the flow of them, the emotions they can evoke when placed in just the right way.  I think the emotion of it all is why I enjoy anything artistic.

Art, in any form, is breathtaking to me.  I attended an art fair at a local park downtown with booth after booth of local artists selling their wares.  There was abstract art, still life, conceptual pieces, some pieces that were so realistic that I almost swore it was a photograph.  There were sculptures and ceramics.  It was amazing, probably more amazing to me because I have absolutely no skill in anything of that sort.  My brain does not have the capacity to be that creative.  But the emotion of every painting and sculpture was evident to me, no matter whether it was an ethereal painted scene or a dark and dramatic photographed lady or a twisted and garbled wooden creation, that emotion was there.

Dance amazes me.  I used to dance.  I was on a “dance team” in high school, which mostly did jazz style.  In college I took ballroom, which not only fed into my love of music and dance, but also my love of all things vintage.  Most of the dances we focused on were either centuries old, to get an understanding of where our current dance trends originated from, or the popular dances from decades past, such as disco.  Swing was definitely my favorite.  The Latin dances were damn near impossible for me.  Sorry, Shakira, but MY hips DO lie…

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