Sunday, March 27, 2016

if nothing's good on tv

since pop culture is something that gets a lot of people talking - or else hot under the collar - let's talk tv!

it's funny, but i've never been a huge tv person. not so much when i was a teenager, because the newly-expanding "internet" was fulfilling my screen needs; not much as an adult, because i usually didn't own a tv. and so i've always had trouble sitting down and focusing for half an hour or an hour at a time. honestly, i'm so easily distracted, i need to be locked in a movie theatre if you want me to pay attention to one thing for a couple of hours straight. i'm not the kind of person who can zone out in front of the tv. my attention span always wants to see what else is going on.

so yeah, i was fine living life away from the idiot box until i moved to a place with 1) a decent tv set and 2) a wealth of cable channels. finally, i was able to take part in water-cooler conversation zeitgeist shows! before long, i picked up on true blood (which i watched in its entirety, feel bad for me) on hbo and the walking dead on amc, and suddenly it felt cool. it was fun to be a part of popular tv culture, because it gives you something to talk about with other people, whether around the water cooler at work or online. (shoutout to the av club's tv club, a place where you actually should read the comments, for once.) because really, everybody's got an opinion on the latest plot twist or the current must-see show, and if you can join the conversation, you're part of the in-crowd. add in the fact that "prestige tv shows" are becoming a thing, and there's actually never been a better time to get hooked on something decent.

i dunno, i still rail against the idea of feeling the need to be home on a certain day at a certain time in order to see the next instalment (i don't have tivo), so i try to keep my "tv show commitments" to a minimum. i'll never be the person who cancels plans just so she can stay home and watch her show, but maybe stuff like netflix will eventually make that sort of thing obsolete. who knows.

anyway, long story short, here are four shows i've been digging in tv land:

daredevil: the second season dropped on netflix a couple weeks ago, and it's entirely binge-worthy. i love the tone, i love the cinematography, i love the characters old and new (though i'll never understand the near-universal hate for matt in season 2; he's saving the goddamn world, sorry he can't be your best friend right now?). wasn't suuuuuper hot on the ending, but a few plot holes aside, it seemed to be a pretty decent close to the second chapter. i want a third season, but if that's it for dd until the defenders, i'm fine with that, too. (notable that i didn't give a shit about the daredevil franchise until the netflix series; now, i love it) also, i tweet the truth:

the walking dead: yeah, i'm still watching it. it's one of the few shows i'm watching right now that i've watched since season 1, episode 1 -- for some reason, i've stuck it out through all the slow and crappy seasons, and now we're just wrapping up season 6 and i don't regret it at all. (however, unlike last year, i'm going to choose to miss the season finale in favour of watching wrestlemania the same night. i may regret this, but i've never been too pressed about seeing spoilers online before i watch, so whatevs.) i still consider it more tense and terrifying than a lot of horror movies. also, plug for my buddy neil's tv recap blog -- he covers the walking dead and his write-ups are dead on (pun intended) every time.

girls: a lot of people despise this show and have long since given up on it, but i've been watching it since it started, and i find it decently enjoyable in a hate-watch sort of way. sure, the girls are all not-great people, but so are we all, right? if anything, i feel like it's a good portrayal of what life is like for a twentysomething girl in the big city, and how things change with your life and friendships over the years. also, it makes me want to live in (or at least visit) new york city.

broad city: fuckin' broad city, man. this shit is hilarious and brilliant and definitely not for everyone (occasionally-surreal feminist stoner comedy), but it's just so clever, and a great portrait of the bestfriendship between two young women in new york. as above, it features a lot of not totally likeable characters, but if you can embrace the fact that maybe they're just a bit like us, you'll understand it better. the whole show is weird and unique in the best possible way, but you might hate it. just give it a try.

and here are four shows that i'm looking forward to returning:

penny dreadful: this goddamn show. i'm not exaggerating when i say it's my favourite tv series of the last decade. it has everything i want: victorian goth setting, spoopy supernatural goings-on, eva green looking like the queen of the underworld, bisexual werewolf josh harnett, and such a mastery of pulpy horror-drama. season 3 starts in may, and counter to what i said earlier, i may actually refuse to make sunday-night plans just so i can watch it.

game of thrones: i know, i know. this is the show that everyone's watching, but honestly, it's for good reason. i've read all the books and it does bug me a little bit how they deviate from the canon, but i get that it's necessary to keep people guessing -- and holy shit, how could you ever guess what plot twist is going to happen next? swords & sorcery, dragons, full-scale battles, and ice zombies. game of thrones has got something for everyone.

the unbreakable kimmy schmidt: i didn't think i'd like this little netflix comedy as much as i did, but the first season had some genuinely funny moments (pinot noir!) and some strong character work. i knew it wasn't going to be another 30 rock (which sucks, 30 rock is probably my favourite comedy series ever), but it's a very sweet and fun show, and ellie kemper's ray-of-sunshine kimmy isn't as cavity-inducing as you'd think. the second season drops on netflix in a few weeks, and although it's more of a episode-by-episode watch rather than a binge,

mr. robot: late to the party on this one, but it was only streamable recently, and i wanted to wait til it was possible to watch the whole thing in one go. ugh, man. mindfuckery on the highest level, which is big praise from me -- and something i don't usually expect to see from tv shows. i definitely enjoy any show that has you screaming at the tv screen in confusion, terror, anger, etc. plus: what a fucking cliffhanger. when is season 2?!

so there you have it - my picks for decent tv and what i think you, yes you should be watching. agree? disagree? have other shows you think i should make room for on my tv dance card? feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on twitter. i'll probably never be a tv critic or commentator, but that's not to say i won't take a healthy interest.

here's a picture of some potato chips.

[ music | passion pit, "the reeling" ]

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

the things that i believe

the lollapalooza lineup, you guys!

yeah, so maybe i'll take any reason for a chicago weekend in the summer. but really, i'm mostly interested in the thursday and friday lineups, with the exception of grimes and st. lucia on saturday and halsey, bloc party, and silversun pickups on sunday. (hilarious that third eye blind is totally making a comeback) yet it's still a pretty expensive prospect for me, who's basically living hand to mouth and also at the grace of her generous and slightly frustrated parents. 2-3 nights at the hostel and the cost of two days of lolla tickets would be...a lot. especially if i don't feel like i need to see any of the bands, although many of them would be nice. (i've only been to one lolla before - lollapalooza 2006 - and honestly, i only really went because kill hannah was in the lineup that year)

but like, who knows? i wish i had more options and honestly, it feels like i should (i'm not exactly tied to a desk or the 9-to-5 grind right now, after all), but budgeting will be the death of me, and i can't take a chance on things like i used to. not when i don't have any fallback plans.

still, this highlights how i feel really out of the loop as far as music is concerned. i almost never go out to concerts anymore (no money), i rarely stream music on my laptop (no data to spare and my external speakers have been long busted), and i don't have any festival plans this year (yet). sure, i'm always plugged into my ipod when i'm out walking or at the gym, but it's not like i'm really listening to anything new. i just feel pretty disconnected in the scene, and the more i think about it the more it sucks. i used to devote so much of my spare time to the music industry - everything from going to gigs to street-team efforts to music journalism to blogging music news to simply putting on indie 103.1 all the time - and now it's such a lessened part of my life. i used to do so much for so little payoff and yet i loved every minute of it.

i don't know, it's been on my mind lately, i guess. spring is another one of those weird evocative seasons for me; it brings back a lot of memories, many of them built around that fundamental feeling of a new beginning, or a restart at the very least. back in the day, springtime signalled the end of another year of university (at u of t, classes typically wind down in april with exams being finished by may) and the beginning of a few months without school. every time i've gone out on tour with a band, it's been in the spring. i was getting ready to say goodbye to vancouver in march/april of 2008. it's definitely a season of renewal for me, or at least the notion that something better is about to begin.

these days, though? man, i don't know. it bothers me, and a lot of it comes back to the vital question: as you get older, how much of your past self do you hang on to, and how much do you accept is just done? how do you know when to cling and when to move on? because i feel like i don't have a lot left now that i'm interested in the way i used to be. do i try to resuscitate past interests or do i accept that i won't ever be into them like i once was?

ugh. stop, me.

ten things i am interested in lately:

1. wrestlemania and nxt takeover: dallas the first weekend of april
2. the very british things twitter account
3. cuddling all the neighbourhood cats
4. considering taking up ddp yoga
5. thai curries
6. dissecting the second season of daredevil with others
7. counting down the days til captain america: civil war
8. laughing at the flop that is batman v. superman
9. browsing cats up for adoption
10. pouring baileys into coffee

lastly, here are two pics of me with my buddy, the neighbourhood floof (i love her so much):

my hair is gross. later.

[ music | au revoir simone, "crazy" ]

Thursday, March 10, 2016

#Reverb16: Habits

If you could magically change one of your habits, what would it be and why?

oooof, i dunno. let's set aside the typical tee-hee bad habits - i've had mild dermatillomania since childhood (mostly fingers/cuticles and sometimes my face, especially in times of stress or boredom); i drink too much wine; i cling too much to daily routines - and go for a deeper cut: i have a bad habit of focusing too much on my past.

holy baaaaaalls, i know i've blogged about it before so many times, but yeah, i need to stop being so fixated on my twenties and start living now, in my thirties. but i think a lot of you know how it is -- it can be so easy to get caught up with the whole train of thought of, i was happier back then. i was hotter back then. i made more money back then. et cetera, et cetera. of course, that all just leads to the nagging (and often incorrect) question of, why don't i have those things now? you then start to blame yourself, for making poor decisions, for having less impulse control, for spending too much money and for not doing enough to fix things.

honestly, i don't compare myself to others so much as i compare myself to my past self. and it sucks a lot of time. i get caught up in a negative whirlwind of thinking back to my twentysomething years which, by the way, were a weird, mostly fucked-up rollercoaster of euphoric highs and really shitty lows. but because it's easy for the brain to put on the rose-coloured glasses of nostalgia and only see the good things, i end up feeling as though my life was at least 80% better "back then". i had steady employment that i was good at, and a lot of friends at work. i made decent enough money. i was getting to interview bands all the time and occasionally go out on tour with them, if i got lucky. i feel like i looked better (that young metabolism, don't you know). i had so much hope for my future, and what i could still become.

now, it really does feel like a lot of doors have closed for me, and like, that's that. and i know the better mindset is to think, there are still so many doors open to you, and probably more now besides, but i can't get out of the habit of focusing on what i've lost rather than what i have, and what i still could have.

so yeah, whatever. maybe someday, i will find that magical mindset switch and begin to realize that i have just as much value now as i did ten years ago. i hope it happens sooner rather than later.

[ music | florence + the machine, "shake it out" ]

Sunday, March 6, 2016

do what you should

lousy smarch weather. (actually, the weather's pretty fine right now, i just wanted an excuse to use the quote.) mostly it's just a reminder that tax season is, well, now, and i'm super nervous about doing it as a freelancer for the first time, and my parents are more or less strong-arming me into getting a financial advisor. financials make me nervous, the end.

on a happier note, the import boy and i celebrated two years together last week.

on march 1st two years ago, we went on our first date! we met via tinder, which sounds ridiculous but is 100% true. (allegra was also responsible.) but after a few days of beating around the bush through the app, we met up at a bar for a leafs game, and the rest is history. at some point we will have an apartment together, and also a cat that we will both spoil rotten.

in the meantime, these showed up at my door on the 1st:

with a vase too!

and, to my delight, a balloon:

(not pictured: i got him a cute card and a high-quality world of warcraft figure he wanted. nerd love.)

we were both busy working on the date itself, so when we had time off a few days later, we celebrated by hitting up the yorkdale mall (yes) to do a movie (eddie the eagle, which was absolutely adorable -- plus he's a folk hero in sean's native country of england) and dinner (pickle barrel, because we both unironically enjoy chain restaurants). the following day off was spent wandering around st. lawrence market before heading back home to binge-watch the entirety of mr. robot over something like, uhh, eight hours straight. yep. (obviously, it was very good, and very high on the mindfuckery. it gives me great delight when the unreliable-narrator device is pulled off so well.)

also: mystic muffin!

rice & peas, pasta salad, chickpea salad, green salad, roasted potatoes, fresh falafel, hummus, and pita, all for $10. it's the little hidden gems around toronto that give it such heart, i tell you.

but aside from being mushy all over the city, i've also been making a more concentrated effort to juggle my workload in order to have enough time to see my friends as well as my boyfriend. even if you've got a significant other, there's a whole lot of value in having friends, and as i've blogged about before, i've always been grateful for my girl group. (i have dude friends too, but they do sort of fade into the background when you've got a boyfriend, since it can get weirdly complicated otherwise.) so while i've been getting a lot of good work done - at least, i hope it's good - i've been trying to make time to see not only my boyfriend, but my friends as well. or maybe this is a phase i go through when i hit a certain hormonal cycle every month, i dunno.

either way, it's perfectly normal for me to basically barricade myself away from humanity three weeks out of a month, but then there'll be one week where i cram in as many friend hangs as possible. it's like i super-guilt trip myself over the fact that i can be so antisocial. but whatever works, i guess. it's always interesting to realize when you're at the point of your adult life where you and your friends have been together for so long that any prolonged absences are excusable and forgiveable (family, work, general life stress, etc).

random notes:

- the fact that the walking dead, broad city, and total divas are all back makes me so happy right now. it's somewhat nice to get back into tv shows after so many years away (i didn't even own a tv in vancouver). also: my absolute favourite pulpy victorian goth horror show, penny dreadful, returns in two months, and my life shall be complete. here is the most recent trailer!

vanessa gon' kill you, full stop.

- a "warmer than normal" spring is coming and i'm not ready for it to be here. i want more dark grey days and chilly nights and snow and moody atmosphere! also, not having to struggle over clothing (or lack thereof), sweating, sunscreen and general stickiness. i do not care for the warmer months. (the other thing is what this article from the globe and mail hits right on the head: the author, an introvert, explains that "I admit I usually prefer a rainy day over a sunny one, with all its attendant expectations of having Facebook-worthy fun." 110% me. not every sunny day deserves to be patio'd and facebooked and instagram'd and omg #blessed about! sit down, marks!)

- really, really obsessed with skyr right now. i actually have to stop buying it because i eat it so quickly.

- on some nights, i roam around the internet trying to figure out a way i could live and work in chicago or new york city. i mean, if only for a little while. (as i said on twitter, i definitely see the irony in some americans talking about moving to canada after the election this year, while here i am trying to find a way in.)

- lastly, been experimenting with lip colour lately (i've subconsciously taken one of sephora's ad campaigns - "lip boldly" - to heart, though i haven't taken the plunge for a blue or black lipstick just yet). here's the newest - bite beauty amuse bouche in radish:

i absolutely do have to use high contrast to wash out my horrible complexion. it veers between "corpse-like" and "pockmarked" on a daily basis.

[ music | saint pepsi, "fiona coyne" ]