Monday, June 22, 2015

a really good day

Some days are just good days, start to finish, and you just want every day to be that good. Saturday was a day like that. We did a lot of fun things, but we do fun things a lot. Something about the things we did and the mood we were both in just made it a really, really good day.

We woke up in Georgetown, north of Austin, after celebrating Miranda's wedding the night before. Since we were there, we figured we might as well do some fun things before heading home later that day. Andrew suggested Foreign and Domestic for breakfast. It's a place we have wanted to go to for over a year now, but have never made it in. I heard they had pancakes so I was totally fine with that.

It was a cute place where you ordered from a chalkboard menu at the counter and got your own coffee. I knew I wanted the pancakes, and I was a little surprised when the menu said "peaches, white chocolate crumble, creme fraiche, raspberry" beneath pancakes. I thought I was going to have to pick one, but the woman taking my order didn't ask for any specifics so I didn't offer any. All of those things made an appearance on my pancakes, in addition to syrup with a slight smoky flavor. It was a really unique take on a traditional breakfast and I loved it.

So, I knew the Presidential Libraries existed, but I didn't know anything about them. Did you know Texas has three? Both Presidents Bush have their libraries here, and so does Lyndon B. Johnson. I read a few weeks ago that a traveling Beatles exhibit was at the LBJ Library, and for a low admission price of $8, I insisted that we go. I love the Beatles and pop culture in museums and we were in Austin anyway, so why not? The Beatles exhibit was relatively small, but very well done. There were all kinds of Beatles items that were sold at Woolworth's, lots of handwritten notes and contracts, ticket stubs from concerts all over the country, Ringo's jacket from the Abbey Road album cover (soooo tiny), and a guitar John Lennon played when they recorded "She Loves You." Can you believe that Beatlemania only lasted for two and a half years in the US? The LBJ part was interesting, too. Apparently he had nearly every phone call he made from the White House recorded so that he could refer back to them (and used them to write his memoir, which I now want to read) and you could pick up phones throughout the museum and listen in on conversations. The section about the Kennedy Assassination was very well done, and especially interesting since we went to the Sixth Floor Museum last year. I want to check out the other Libraries next time I'm nearby.

John Lennon's guitar | the pancakes, bc they were amazing | John Lennon's glasses | A ticket stub from the Beatles show at the Sam Houston Coliseum put on by KILT, which is still a Houston radio station today. A pic of me on "Abbey Road" is on my instagram so I didn't want to double post it. 

The animatronic LBJ was kind of creepy but I liked it | That's four entire floors of LBJ's papers while he was president - speeches, briefings, notes, and other correspondence | a 7/8 scale replica of the Oval Office during LBJ's presidency.

After the museum, we made the familiar drive back to Houston. The route we take takes us through our old suburb, which has an Alamo Drafthouse, which we miss dearly. Andrew asked if I would maybe want to go see Jurassic World, and I didn't, but said I would if it was in 3D. We went to the movie (which I liked a lot, surprisingly), drove past our old house, got cookies from our favorite bakery, and then went to the empanada place we loved so much for a quick dinner. As much as we love our current house and neighborhood, our old area still feels like "home." On the way to our actual home, we went to the Korean bakery that I love so much for coffee since we were going past it anyway. Then we came home and finished Orange is the New Black and I snuggled with my very disgruntled kitty. He hates it when we leave him for a night.

It was a good day. We did things, and spent lots of time together. And there was good food. What else can I ask for in a Saturday?

Friday, June 19, 2015

what do you do for fun?

I saw something recently that asked as an adult, what do you do for fun?

It stopped me. I didn't have an answer. What do I do for fun?

I go out to eat with my husband. I see friends for pedicures, drinks, or shopping. I nap, read, and watch TV. On particularly nice days, walking my dog is more fun than a necessary chore.

But on the surface, those things sound so average and like a regular part of life - none of them seem fun.

I think of fun as playing outside, going to an amusement park, having a birthday party, or enjoying summer vacation. What am I doing as an adult that gives me the same thrill?

Along the same lines, I was talking to a friend recently who said that she just wanted to drop everything- her life and responsibilities- and go do something simple.

When I think simple, I immediately think of sitting around at home all day, napping and watching TV. I thought of that prospect and knew that as much as I love a good binge-watching session, after about a week, I would get bored. So I asked her what she would do in her new life.

She said she would bake or work in a flower shop. Simple. Much simpler than whatever she currently does all day, but something like that never crossed my mind. To me, those would still feel like work and responsibility.

So it's making me think about it - what do I do for fun? And what would I do if I could live life without the normal responsibilities?

Honestly, I'm not sure. Is texting my friends observations about my surroundings, trying new restaurants, reading books, and compulsive wikipedia-ing enough? Clearly I need a hobby. I need to work on my fun.

What about you?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

anniversary the fifth

I skipped the sappy anniversary blog post this year and went for sap on Instagram instead. I mean five years later and I still can't resist the opportunity to post a wedding pic. When will those get old?

So for anniversaries 1 - 3, we tried new-to-us restaurants with some poor results. Last year, we wanted a sure thing so we went to Hugo's which we already loved and of course it was amazing. We decided that moving forward, we would try to go somewhere we knew we liked - get our money's worth and really enjoy the experience, that whole thing. So for our fifth anniversary, we decided to go to The Pass.

We went to The Pass in December 2013, a few months after it opened, and loved it. It's one of those places with a set multi-course menu and you pick meat or vegetarian and just eat what is put in front of you because you know it will be good. I already knew I was going to be a vegetarian for the evening (the presence of shrimp and sweetbreads decided that for me) and upon looking at the menu, we decided to really go for it and ordered the eight course tasting menu instead of the five course.

And in the first world of first worldiest problems, it was not good. From too much acidity to too much salt to a garnish that tasted like freshly mowed grass, courses one through four ranged from forgettable to a stringy root covered in sauce just lying on my plate unappealingly. It just was not good.

After taking this pic and eating this dish, I gave up on the photos. It's a swipe of sauce, a root coated in the same sauce, and crunchy thingies on top. It was as tasty as it looks...

The fifth course was a falafel patty on lentils and it was pretty delicious. I seriously considered asking if I could just repeat it for the next course or two. In hindsight, I really should have. Andrew's fifth course was basically the same thing, only with lamb, and it was also good (but eating lamb makes me feel guiltier than other animals so I tend to say I don't like it). There was also an olive ice cream course which sounds disgusting - I hate olives - but it was strangely good and probably the second favorite of the meal.

Through our meal, we kept seeing a large cart come out for each table's final course that had 5 - 6 bite-sized dessert options on it. We overheard the cart get explained to the table next to us and the diners got to hear info about each treat and ask questions. As our meal wore on, I noticed the cart stopped coming out and that tables were getting trays with the desserts on them instead. It's a tiny gripe, but I'm Veruca Salt and I wanted the golden goose cart of sweets. It was kind of a let down. One of the treats was a lollipop of some kind that Andrew tried to eat the next day. It had some kind of seed in it and cut his mouth.

No coffee was offered, and we nearly always get coffee with dessert. At The Pass, a parting gift is always provided with the bill. but I guess our waiter was over it and just dropped it off at our table with no explanation - luckily, we had overheard the other table get a lengthy explanation of what it was, too. We left and immediately got online to find a still-open coffee shop in the area, a bit disappointed by what was supposed to be a great food experience.

But our coffee that followed was good, as were the mini s'more pies we ordered to accompany it. And the free cupcakes that were given away kind of made up for the sting of an expensive dinner that wasn't worth the money. We got a story out of it and we'll stop recommending The Pass to other people.

And maybe, next year, for our sixth anniversary - I'll just ask Andrew to cook at home and I'll make the coffee.

Linking up today because I like link-ups without rules.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

writing what i want to read

I I was chatting with some blogger friends today about the state of blogging and we all agreed that we need some new reads.

I confessed that some days, I don't even write what I want to read anymore. I know my ATX Festival posts were long and had you written them, I probably wouldn't have read them (except the Gilmore Girls stuff) but they were for me and my memories and that's okay, sometimes.

But if I want to get down to it and write, then I need to write the kinds of posts that I want to read. Bite-sized pieces of what I'm doing lately and real life that isn't hidden behind filters and things that are relatable. Even if they might be boring to some and aren't pinnable and might not get any comments (OH the horror!) they're what I loved about blogging in the first place and what I'm looking for in the middle of all of the how-tos and long line of ecards and affiliate links for things I can't afford and things that don't interest me personally but might be exactly what you love. And that's okay. There's plenty of room on the internet for everybody.

Just curious - are there any changes you want to see in the state of blogging, or is there anything you miss?

Friday, June 12, 2015

the atx fest! part two

The ATX Festival was fantastic. If you just want to get to what I learned from the panels, then check out this post.

Austin is a short drive from Houston, so to save money on a hotel, we decided to skip the Thursday night activities and drive up Friday morning, grab our badges when registration started at 9:00, and then get to a Bunheads panel at 10:00. HAHA. The registration line was really long at 9:15 and we saw on twitter that the line for Bunheads was wrapped around the building. By the time we got our badges a few minutes after 10, we didn't even want to bother with trying. I was frustrated because there was nothing else we wanted to see at that time and really bummed to miss the panel since is was the only chance I had to see Sutton Foster. But, we had gotten up early and skipped breakfast, so we decided to have lunch instead and try another panel later. Since we were there for the girliest thing we have ever done, short of attending a bridal show, I suggested barbecue and of course my husband obliged with a place he didn't think would have much of a line.

We arrived at La Barbecue around 10:30 and there were only about twenty people in line in front of us, including one horribly obnoxious woman who I wanted to punch, but there's nearly always one of those in a BBQ line. The line took forever and instead of trying to find a cab back to the festival area, we started walking and got stuck in a dead end with construction. It was hot (it's Texas in June!) and by the time we finally got back to the panel we wanted to go to, it was full. Strike out number two. A HUGE line was already forming for Boy Meets Girl Meets World, and since there was nothing else we wanted to do, we got in it and made it into the panel.

La Barbecue | Lady Bird Lake (on our way to FNL) | Our Texas themed clothes seemed FNL appropriate

We stayed at the Radisson, about six blocks away from most of the festival activities, which was a great location. We checked in after the panel and debated what to do that night. The new Denis Leary show was premiering, and I knew Andrew would love to go to that (and I wouldn't hate it), so we were deciding between that and the Friday Night Lights tailgate party happening about a mile away. The FNL party happens every year, and there's always some kind of surprise. I was hoping Connie Britton or Taylor Kitsch would show up and I knew that if something amazing happened, I would be mad to miss it, so I decided on FNL. We can always watch the Denis Leary show when it airs but I can't get another chance at seeing Tim Riggins in person. We grabbed a quick dinner at Homeslice (good, but I don't get the hype) and went across the street for the event (which was getting full 15 minutes after it was supposed to start!) If you've been following along, then you know how this story ends - the surprise this year was Gilmore Girls related and Hep Alien, a band from the show, reunited. I've already detailed it here but it made me so giddy and excited to have gotten to see that up close. So much better than Denis Leary.

Lane | Zach and Brian | Sutton Foster and Amy Sherman-Palladino | See, they were RIGHT in front of me! | Jackson 

Since the Bunheads line was really long on Friday, we decided to get an early start for Coffee with Amy (Sherman-Palladino) that was scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday. We thought surely getting in line by 8 a.m. would guarantee us a spot.... but no. Apparently some people started lining up by 5 a.m. and we were too late. At least the festival organizers counted the line and told us, rather than making us wait, so we were free to go elsewhere. We ended up at another event venue - the Google Fiber space - which was awesome (free sodas, water, and coffee and a great size) and where we stayed for two back-to-back panels. After that, we went back to the main festival area for the James L. Brooks presentation. I was hungry and went to the theater's snack bar for some food and drinks and accidentally spent $25 on next to nothing. Oops. I hope next year's festival has more food options!

There was another panel we wanted to go to after that, but since we had been to three things in a row and the overpriced peanut butter M&Ms and pretzels we shared didn't really tide me over, we went to nearby Royal Grocery for a quick sandwich followed by (free!) drinks at the hotel. In hindsight, I am so glad we took a break when and where we did because it was our last real chance for a meal. The Justified panel was after that, and we had fastpasses to guarantee entry. Andrew liked it, but I've never watched the show, so I was lost.

After the Coffee with Amy fiasco and because everyone who had been to the festival before said the lines this year were longer than ever, tensions were high for getting in line for the Gilmore Girls reunion, which was happening that night. We had fastpasses for that too (thank goodness!) but still wanted to make sure to get in line at a decent time to get a good seat. Festival volunteers wouldn't let anyone line up before 5:00, but people started doing it anyway around 3:00 and the police came and asked them to leave. It was crazy - people had paid a good amount of money, presumably for tickets to a festival, and they were spending all of their time just waiting. We headed out to the theater where the GG Reunion was happening around 4:50 and there were already "unofficial" lines (that I knew we would get cut if we messed with). We happened to hear where the official line was going to be and got in it. Even though I knew we were getting in, we were so far back. And it was 5 p.m. and the sun was out with barely any cloud cover and no breeze. The fastpass line was in direct sunlight and we had no shade. Everyone was hot, sweaty, and a little crabby. Luckily, there was a convenience store across the street so Andrew went and got water, and there was water being passed out in line. They also gave out pop-tarts, which makes sense if you like the show. Either way, it was H-O-T. The sun was brutal and we were all crowded together. The line for those without fastpasses stretched about 3/4 of the way around the block so it could have been worse. It was just a lot of sweaty waiting. (Have I mentioned the sun? Because it was AWFUL. Cheers for sunblock!)

When they finally opened the door, Andrew and I took our best guess at getting into the theater and finding a good seat. We went all the way to the right and found two seats together, six rows from the stage. The view was great. We sat down, and then the girl next to me said to look behind us - there were signs on chairs for half the row behind us and the two rows behind that that said "Reserved - " and then names of all of the major cast members. I. COULDN'T. EVEN. Emily Gilmore was supposed to be seated right behind me. I was instantly aware of how badly we all smelled from our long wait. A woman came by and asked us not to take pictures of the actors when they sat down, so we tried to be respectful, but once the actors came in, everyone else around us who didn't hear the request was taking pictures, so I snuck a few, too. Because of the way the event was set up, the main three actresses never sat with the audience, which is probably good because I would have probably embarrassed myself. Mae Whitman and Miles Heizer (Amber and Drew from Parenthood aka Lauren Graham's other TV children) ended up in that row, though, and you can tell they're close in real life.

The stage | I got out of line so I could check the red carpet and caught Jared Padalecki (Dean) | The reserved seats | My favorite pic of the whole weekend - Logan and Jess! | The marquee

Even though I completely enjoyed myself and loved every single minute of the reunion, I had a headache bordering on the hangries when it was all over, so we went to Swift's Attic for a late dinner. Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, and Alexis Bledel went there the night before. It wasn't that great, unfortunately. I wanted to join the crowd at the hotel stalking celebrities, but I also didn't want to be that person. I'm old and tired and knew the next day would be long, so we called it a night pretty early.

Fred Savage | Wilmer Valderamma | Carrie Coon (she's on The Leftovers and played Go in Gone Girl) | Adrianne Palicki

On Sunday, there was a line forming for people to buy badges to attend the festival next year, even though no programming has been announced. We decided to go ahead and buy them - we can always resell them, after all, and other than the lines and a rough first day, we enjoyed ourselves. It ended up that they were only selling a certain amount and I got the last two! So that was good. While I was in line for the last panel of the day, I saw Fred Savage. Yay Wonder Years. The line went outside and stretched around the building and I didn't think we would get in, but we did, with room to spare. After that, we went to Freedman's, which is a cool bar in an old building that also serves BBQ. There was no wait involved and there were mimosas, so it was a great ending to the trip.

BBQ and a mimosa because why not? Loved the housemade pickles and pickled red onions | smoked beets

I'm excited to attend this event again next year. In addition to the panels, there are lots of screenings, but we didn't end up at any due mostly to scheduling but a few times due to lack of interest. We definitely want to mix it up more next year. Now that I know what to expect and the size of the venues, I'll be able to plan better. This was a really fun experience for people like Andrew and me who like to know weird little trivia bits about TV so I'm excited to see what's coming in 2016 and spend another anniversary with the characters we watch on TV.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

the atx fest! part one

A few people have said that they want to read about my time at the ATX Fest. I'm happy to share. These posts are fairly detailed, mostly for me. I'm breaking my experience down into two parts because a lot happened in three days. This part is about the presentations I went to and what they were like or what I got from them and the next will be more about the logistics and what we did, kind of like a weekend recap.

I'm also mostly referring to the actors by their characters' names because I don't expect you to know who Kelly Bishop and Sutton Foster are, but if you do, you get extra bonus points in my book.

Boy Meets Girl Meets World
I binged about 12 episodes of Girl Meets World in the week before the festival and I loved Boy Meets World growing up and still watch reruns. Ben Savage (who still looks the same) pointed out that no one would want to watch the BMW characters for more than a few minutes to see what they were doing, so it was necessary to create a show for a new audience. Michael Jacobs (the creator) said that it was important to make the audience fall in love with the new characters before bringing the old characters to the forefront. Someone also made the point that the BMW audience already had their chance - it was time to teach lessons to today's kids. The actresses who play Maya and Riley are incredibly well-spoken. I had a bad seat so I unfortunately couldn't see them at all. Morgan, Mr. Turner, and Angela are all coming back and the Angela storyline is going to make people mad. And we'll get to see Minkus and he's married to someone we already know. These tidbits will probably get me to keep watching.

The panel: Riley, Maya, Cory Matthews, and the show's creator, Michael Jacobs | Ben Savage taking a selfie with a fan.

Friday Night Lights Tailgate
This event is open to anyone and has been going on since the festival started. Members of the FNL cast always attend. This year, the actors who played Matt Saracen's grandma, Billy Riggins, Mindy (Colette) Riggins, and Tyra Colette were there. When Mindy and Tyra got there, they went to the face painting tent and got blue paw prints on their faces. I snuck a pic of Tyra. We were just sitting and hanging out and I happened to look at my phone and the festival app send out an alert that there was going to be a surprise reunion of a Stars Hollow Band. Of course, it was going to be Hep Alien so I told Andrew and he said he would save our spot so I could go over to the stage area and get close. I am SO GLAD I did because a few minutes later, there were tons of people around and I was in the front row. Amy Sherman Palladino, Sutton Foster, Jackson Douglas, and the members of Hep Alien (Lane! Zach! Brian! But no Gil) came and were swarmed. ASP and Sutton Foster were taken to the front of the stage and sat down at my feet. I was giddy and weird. And then the music started, so there was no time for pictures. I could tell they were having a good time and ASP was taking pics and video (I was trying to see who she was sending them to but my eyes weren't that good). The band played songs they played on the show and a country-fied version of Single Ladies because Beyonce is from Texas and they wanted to be awesome. And they played the Gilmore Girls theme song because they had to. It was so fun to be there and watch and the actors were really into it. At first they were in character but later broke on purpose. It was so cool to be so close and with other people (adult women) as excited as I was. When I went back to Andrew when it was over, he said he couldn't even tell which songs they were playing from our seats so I was even happier I saw the alert. Jackson was taking pics and signing autographs so I went and got one and asked him his opinion on vegetables which is SO DUMB but I didn't know what to say and now feel better about that because he joined twitter and his username is jacksonveggies. So I feel a little less lame. We were hot and sweaty but I enjoyed the screening - it was the Mudbowl episode. Fun to watch it under the stars and with a crowd!

The tailgate set-up while it was still light out. Love the Dillon goalposts!

To Adapt is to Evolve
This panel was about adapting a previously created work into a TV show and the showrunners for Fargo, Hannibal, and Justified were the panelists. I loved Pushing Daisies so, so much and so even though I'm not a huge fan of any of those shows (Andrew likes 1 and 3 and we watched 2 for a short time, so I'm at least a little familiar with them), I wanted to go to something Bryan Fuller was involved with. He told a story about getting a speeding ticket in his Prius while listening to the Mad Max soundtrack and was just so strangely endearing that I wanted to know more about how his head works. It's hard to explain. The panel was really interesting, though - everything from Hannibal having access to some material in the Hannibal "universe" but not all, Fargo being like a Coen Brothers movie while not being one, and Justified trying to adopt the voice of its creator within the works they had the rights to. Just a really cool look at how an element of TV works.

Turn Down for What? A Look at Testing and Focus Groups
This panel was an unexpected highlight for me. There was a short presentation on audience testing and how it works and what it's said in the past. Seinfeld tested incredibly poorly when it first came out while some show about a nun adopting orphans tested well and which show do we still talk about today? Other shows that tested badly were Everybody Loves Raymond and The Office in case you were wondering. The moderator was the creator of Lone Star and Awake, both shows cancelled in their first seasons, and the panelists were two showrunners who have had shows cancelled early on and a studio executive. One showrunner actually wrote The Playboy Club, which I remember as being a huge joke on NBC a few years ago. He said that the pilot script he wrote was completely different than what aired, and a lot of that was due to the audience testing and the network's notes on what he needed to change. The panelists seemed to agree that while audience testing can provide valuable feedback, it shouldn't absolutely determine the fate of a show for numerous reasons. There were lots of cool tidbits about how shows get made and changed based on the feedback of a random sample of people.

Lifetime Achievement Award Presentation - James L. Brooks
I remember James L. Brooks' name from when I used to watch The Simpsons. He's been in TV for 50 years and worked on Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi, and The Tracey Ullman Show and many, many other things. The creator of Everybody Loves Raymond had an hourlong conversation with him about his career and he just has so much history. He talked about the controversy of Mary Tyler Moore taking a birth control pill and chose a sketch to show from Tracy Ullman that was definitely a tongue-in-cheek look at hiring policies in the late 80s to show, and to me he seemed like a great champion of women. I wish the presentation had been much longer since I'm sure he has great stories to tell, but I was happy to spend an hour with a legend.

James Hibberd from Entertainment Weekly as the moderator, Bryan Fuller (Hannibal/Pushing Daisies), Noah Hawley (Fargo), and Graham Yost (Justifed and The Americans) | The Audience Panel (the guy in white is the show runner for Wayward Pines!) | Phil Rosenthal and James L. Brooks

The Gilmore Girls Reunion
This was everything I wanted it to be. The show started with the theme song, which the whole audience sang along to, as the credits played all spliced together and with clips of the supporting cast (who were never in the regular credits) added in as well. The moderator was a writer for Entertainment Weekly and the panel started with ASP, Lorelai, Rory, and Emily. The crowd cheered the loudest for Emily - she still looks amazing. They all do, really. I'm not a crier but when they were walking across the stage, I felt weirdly emotional. I don't know what it was but I guess seeing these people who played these characters who have been in my life for fifteen years (I feel old!) got to me. No real tears though, I promise. Anyway, Rory seemed nervous the whole time. The actresses talked about getting cast and ASP talked about casting them. None of them remembered the origin of Copper Boom and Lorelai forgot about Oy With the Poodles Already but Rory reminded her. They confirmed the oft-repeated tale that Rory didn't know where to be in season one so Lorelai was always touching her. It was great. When the subject of Edward Hermann/Richard's death came up, Lorelai definitely wiped away a tear and ASP said that no one knew how sick he was and that he had been the first to sign on for the reunion. They played a great montage of him on the show - golfing with Rory, golfing with Luke, the toast at his and Emily's vow renewal, and other great stuff, and I got a little teary for that too.
After that, the screen went up and a bunch of chairs and signs for Stars Hollow businesses were above them. The rest of the cast came out. I thought there was a good mix of cast members giving answers and Danny Strong (who wrote The Butler and cocreated Empire) answered tons of questions with "Word" (he's a short, white man and it seems ironic that he has become "a voice of black culture" as the moderator put it. Maybe you had to be there). Jess is Team Dean and Dean is Team Jess and even my beloved Logan said that Logan was a dick and he was Team Jess. And Luke said that none of them were good enough for Rory. They all talked about where their characters would be now (Luke and Lorelai would be together and so would Lane and Zach, but Ms. Patty thought she would be with Luke. Dean would take over Doose's Market and Logan "would not be working").  I tried to just listen and soak it all in. It was weird because no one ever mentioned Melissa McCarthy which led to lots of speculation at the festival. If you're a fan, you should go watch the reunion on (though I read that it's heavily edited and there's no Edward Hermann tribute). Lucky for you, they omitted the audience questions, which were mostly awful. The two hours flew by but it was so good!

 The stage at first, with ASP, Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, and Kelly Bishop | Logan, Miss Patty, and Dean | The Gilmore Girls | Daniel Palladino, Luke, and Jess | Lane, Michel, and Paris | Dean, Doyle, and Jackson. We were sitting on the far right so you can't see Zach and Brian next to Jackson. The empty chair was left in Edward Hermann's honor.

The Directors
The panel was composed of four directors, all of whom happened to be female. There were a few interesting stories about making it into the business and how hard it was to be a female in a male-dominiated occupation, but overall this panel was a little too dry and industry-specific for me. It was my least favorite overall, but it was far from bad.

Dawson's Creek Pilot Script Reading
After Gilmore Girls, this was my favorite part of the festival. They offered these things called fast passes that you could register for ahead of time, and I asked Andrew if he minded using one of our three for this event because a surprise cast was supposed to be there and I was hoping for some Gilmore alumni. The line was really long, so I was happy we were guaranteed entry. We had great seats in the second row right in front of Arielle Kebbel (from Gilmore Girls [Lindsay] and Life Unexpected) and Nick Wechsler (Jack on Revenge) who read Tamara (Pacey's teacher!) and Bodie (Joey's sister's boyfriend), respectively. Apparently it's a thing at script readings like this to gender swap the roles, so they did that with Mae Whitman (Ann Bland! Amber on Parenthood!) as Dawson and Kerr Smith (Jack McPhee!!) as Jen (remember, Jack and Jen dated and then were BFFs on the show!). The actors who read as Pacey and Joey were actors I wasn't familiar with, but they were awesome. Grandma Saracen came back and played Gram and Billy and Mindy Riggins were Mr. and Mrs. Leery. It's hard to explain, but it was just so funny. The actors got really into telling the story and some of the lines were hilarious when read by someone of the opposite sex. My face hurt from laughing when it was done and even though this sounds like a waste of time, I would definitely attend a script reading again.

Kevin Williamson and Mae Whitman (with a framed pic of Tim Riggins that Stacey Oristano gave her from the FNL set) | Grandma Saracen, Billy Riggins, and Mindy Colette/Riggins | Kerr Smith | Nick Wechsler | Almost the whole cast taking a bow at the end.

We also went to panels about Justified and The Leftovers since Andrew watches Justified and Damon Lindeloff, the Lost creator, was at The Leftovers and Lost is Andrew's favorite show ever. It's his Gilmore Girls, so I went without complaint. I just kind of tuned those panels out, in the nicest way possible, so I don't have much to say about them.

The directors (the woman in blue directed Billy Madison!) | Damon Lindelof

A few other things I learned:

- Actors and actresses are TINY. Every single one seemed so small in real life, both in height and in weight. They are also beautiful and I don't know how they do it. Their skin, make-up, and everything was as flawless as I would expect.
- People are ridiculous jerks about famous people. Just calm down. You'll live without that selfie, I promise.
- That said, I do like taking clandestine pictures of famous people. Hi, Adrianne Palicki, Wilmer Valderamma, and Fred Savage.
- There were a few hosted happy hours in conjunction with the festival, and those meant free drinks. We took full advantage.
- Turn your phone screen's brightness down when you're away from a charger for a long period of time. It made tons of difference.
- Talking to strangers in line will make the time pass much faster.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

may books

If you follow me on any form of social media, you know that I just spent the past weekend at the ATX Festival, aka the Gilmore Girls reunion. In eager anticipation of this event, I spent more time than I should probably admit listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast, binge-watching Girl Meets World, and reading random wikipedia entries for shows featured at the festival. My reading felt light this month, and I miss it. I don't want to get back into my former ways of using all my down time for fluff. That said, I still made it through a few things.

As usual, audio books are denoted with an (A).

(A) The Art of Fielding - I'm not sure why I loved this book so much or who I would recommend it to. The description on Goodreads pretty much summarizes the book better than I ever could. I loved the voice, the friendships, the long prose, the sports camaraderie, the coming-of-age, and all the detail. I'm not sure if I would have loved it this much in print, but I highly recommend it as an audiobook; the narrator was very, very good. It's the book that I loved the most this month and the one I keep thinking about.

Stolen - I wanted to like this book, but it never quite clicked for me. I hate it when people tell me about their dreams in real life in detail so the fact that there were at least three dreams described in this book in detail just annoyed me. I've also probably read too much about real life kidnappings for this fictionalized story to leave much of an impression.

(A) Three Wishes - Do all of Liane Moriarty's books have three female characters, someone dealing with a death, and a central event that gets all of the major characters, no matter how unrelated, together? If that's her formula, then I don't need to read any more of her books. This book was fluffy and mindless but didn't really do much for me, though I slightly preferred it to The Husband's Secret and I love the pleasant Australian narrator in the audiobook.

Coming Clean - If you've ever gotten sucked into Hoarders, then you should read this book. It's a memoir by a woman raised by hoarders - her father who loved paper and her mother who loved buying things she didn't need. Aspects of her upbringing were absolutely disgusting and it was interesting to get the perspective of someone who loved someone with this disorder yet was powerless to just throw their stuff away. It's free in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and worth the download.

The Girl on the Train - I may have had too high of expectations for this book, or maybe it's because I read it a few pages at a time at some points. I liked it, but I didn't feel that the different narrators' voices were different enough to automatically know whose part I was on as I went through. It has been compared to Gone Girl, and as much as I hated that story's ending, I think I liked reading it better overall. It will definitely keep your attention if you like books in this genre, and if you can get over the downright ridiculousness of the main narrator, it's worth a read. I found Rachel's antics so hard to accept that I spent a lot of my attention thinking about how I would not respect her if she were a real person.

(A) Eleanor and Park - After I read Fangirl and mostly didn't like it, I almost skipped this one completely. Bre assured me that I should give it a shot (and looking at Goodreads, many more of my friends agreed) and I'm glad I did. Since the book is told from the POV of both Eleanor and Park, there was both a male and a female narrator, so it was great to listen to. It was a cute, YA story that had so many great descriptors of first love in it. It was a great trip down memory lane for me and something I would recommend to my almost fifteen year old niece, if she were into sappier stuff. It wasn't life changing, but it did make me feel warm and fuzzy (at times) and also made me feel lots of empathy for Eleanor, so overall, I really liked it.

I'm trying to get through The Farm, but it's written in such a rambling way that I'm finding it hard. I feel like I'm too far through to throw in the towel completely, though, and I do want to see how it ends. I also have Reconstructing Amelia checked out at the library and that seems like an easier read, so it's on the agenda. Plus, I have at least two massively long posts in my head about my amazing weekend, so getting that all out will cut into my reading time. It will be worth it, though.

I love this linkup and check out all the posts eventually, even though I don't comment. So happy that Steph and Jana host it each month.

Life According to Steph