Thursday, September 29, 2011

What you should be watching

Here's a leetle post about what you should be watching this Fall when you're not reading this blog.  This is what I'm watching when I'm not hiking or blogging.  Where do I find the time, right?  I know.

I have a theory that ALL pilots are inherently awful.  I'm serious.  You know how they say, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" (even though sometimes the cover is exactly right?).  Well, don't always judge a show by it's pilot.  Go back and watch the pilot of your favorite show.  It's probably terrible.  Because pilots have the daunting task of introducing you to all of the characters, setting the scene, and convincing network heads and then a viewing audience that the show is worth watching, pilots tend to be lame.  Even the pilot of 30 Rock was super lame.  With this in mind, I give tv shows a 2 or 3 week window to get it together.

SO - Here's my review of this year's new shows:

New Girl - Tuesdays 9pm FOX

New Girl is really funny and comes on conveniently right after Glee.  It's wholesome humor and I can totally picture Zooey Deschanel as a dork.  Not because she isn't insanely cool and really pretty, but because - I dunno - she's just goofy in this and it translates well.  WATCH IT. You won't be disappointed.

Up All Night - Wednesdays 8pm NBC

I wasn't going to give Up All Night a chance.  In fact, I didn't even watch the pilot when it aired.  A comedy about new parents?  Give me a break.  Luckily, I was bored at work earlier this week and the past 3 episodes are up on (for free. woot!).  This is hands down my favorite new show thus far.  The baby thing doesn't get annoying, because it's not that big of a focus and Will Arnett FINALLY has been re-cast as a normal person.  Thank God.  Maya Rudolph's character is hysterical and there are even cameos by Nick Cannon!  (Now you have to watch!)  Very good chemistry between the cast - and (I'm not afraid to say it) I closed my office door and literally laughed out loud on multiple occasions.  WATCH IT.  You'll LOL for sure.

Pan Am - Sundays 10pm ABC

Pan Am has only aired it's pilot so far, but I'm willing to take the risk and put it on my "ones to watch" list.  The pilot was interesting!!  Sex, Love, Family Drama and SPIES???  Yes, please.  

It's no secret that the cable networks are in search of a Mad Men-esque success this year.  In addition to Pan Am, The Playboy Club* also premiered, attempting to capture the 60s and all of the glamour of the AMC hit.  Pan Am I think may go the distance - it was interesting.  It definitely had a "Lost" theme with all the flashbacks, but I can dig it.  I'll be watching and reevaluating after the 3rd episode.

*You should not, however, be watching The Playboy Club - what.a.snooze.fest.

Hart of Dixie - Mondays 9pm theCW

Ok, this one may not be that great of a show.  Rachel Bilson as a cardiothoracic surgeon?  Puh-lease.  But I'm going to watch it anyway - for the same reasons that I used to watch The OC (even in it's loony 4th season) and why I currently watch Jersey Shore.  The Drama, baby.  Also - I'm trying to turn Matt onto this show because the CW is the only channel he gets and every song in the episode I have at some point heard him singing along to in the car.  If you like country and you want a mindless, this-would-never-ever-in-a-million-years-happen-but-I-think-Rachel-Bilson-is-a-nice-girl tv show to watch - Hart of Dixie is it.  Oh, and they misspelled "Heart" because Bilson plays "Dr. Hart."  Get it?  Heart? Hart? Cardiothoracics?  The double entendres are endless. How could you not watch?  I know.

Those are my standout hits.  I'm still on the fence about "Whitney" - starring the comedian Whitney Cummings.  The second episode airs tonight and I'm hoping the pilot was, well, just a pilot and that we can move on to the good stuff this week.

So what is Kathryn's Burn List?  Funny you should ask.

2 Broke Girls - God awful.  And I hate Kat Dennings.  She's a terrible actress and not funny.
The Playboy Club - For painfully obvious reasons.

Also - with the past 2 weeks' song selections and this obnoxious, "setting a bad example" Quinn story arc, Glee is about to be on my Burn List as well.  But I'll bite my tongue.  

Happy viewing hikers!  

Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Like Books!

What an exciting weekend!  This past weekend was the 2011 National Book Festival.  Started by Laura Bush in 2001, It's really an amazing event.

If only I kept in touch with my 11th grade English teacher - she'd get a kick out of the fact that the past 2 years I've been to the book festival, the authors I went to see were the writers of books we read!!

At the 2010 NBF I went to see Isabel Allende!

In high school, I fell in love with Magic Realism because of Allende's The House of the Spirits.  Awesome book - terrible movie.  But isn't that too often the case?  Joe and I saw her speak last year as well.  She's a teenie tiny Latina with a big attitude and quite the feminist kick - I dug it.

This year was equally exciting...


Toni Morrison, author of Beloved (among other things)

I went to see Morrison speak and was not let down at all.  She was interviewed by a book reviewer from the Washington Post and she had the most interesting things to share about learning to read, attending Howard University in a segregated Washington, D.C., and teaching.  I wish the interviewer had asked a little more about her inspiration, her characters, and writing.  But overall, Ms. Morrison was gracious, had a wonderful sense of humor and at 80 years old - she's still got it.

I didn't wait in line to get her autograph in my worn copy of Beloved because I was getting another author's signature as a surprise for Big Ed.  It's still a surprise...and he's let your imaginations run wild.

I like books.  I love books!  Can't wait for the book fest next year!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Freedom From?

A leettle sneaker review for you runners out there.

I recently purchased these Nike Free+ 2 sneaks from City Sports.

What they Free me from, I do not know...other than freedom from a soft cushion when I run, freedom from ankle support, freedom from healthy knees, and freedom from being able to run longer than 3 minutes without leg and lower back pain.  I'm not sure this is what FDR had in mind (Get it? I know.)

I returned to City Sports yesterday to inquire about said pain that I believe has a direct correlation with the shoes, which I've now been using for approximately 10 days.  The woman was very helpful, explaining that sure, I could buy insoles for cushion, but that new wearers were often mislead into doing "too much too soon" when using the Free for the first time.  The body needs time to adjust to how the Free simulates barefoot running (which I guess is some new rage in the exercise world...I tend to be of the belief that we're not cavemen so why can't I wear shoes?  But, I digress).  I explained that really, I'm just a run-walker, so I don't think that qualifies me in this group of doing "too much"...well, ever.  But she encouraged me to give the shoes some time and my fragile ankles and knees time to adjust to the lack of support.  

Let's be honest, the caveman who evolved into present day humans didn't say, "Actually, we're pretty happy with the wheel, but let's stick with the barefoot thing."  They progressed.  And invented shoes.  And then came shoes with support and cushion to absorb the shock of pounding over and over again onto cement.  Are we next going to say, "Eh, let's revert back to the horse and buggy.  Just give yourself some time to adjust to the slower pace of travel."  Am I crazy here?

I just don't know if I buy the barefoot running phenomenon.  But, always the sucker for new fads (and for some weird reason, items sold on TV) I bought these - so I have to give them a chance.

Any other Free wearers out there have some advice?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Locker Room Etiquette

Weather and conflicting schedules have not been kind to Matt and my hikes - and anyway, I'm afraid this blog may just evolve into the things I do day to day in addition to hiking.  I'll try to keep it interesting.  Which won't be hard because ridiculous things happen to me on a daily basis and self-deprecating humor is kind of my schtick.

Moving forward - I was at the gym today and an incident in the locker room made me think about locker room etiquette.  After long consideration, I've determined that there really only needs to be One Cardinal Rule in the ladies' locker room.  But it's an important one.

Ready for this?



You know who you are.

A lot of things led me to the conclusion that this is the only rule a locker room needs.  Picture the following as a flow chart - a window into the inner workings of my brain.

1.  We all have the same lady parts.  It's ok to be naked - you have to shower and change.  So do I.   

2.  People may argue other rules like: Wear flip-flops in the shower, Don't hog the blow dryers, Don't hog the mirror, Don't bend over... ew.  But really, those are personal choices.  If you think you're going to get a disease, wear shoes.  If you want to style your hair - more power to you (And I'm secretly jealous you got the last dryer available.  I'd hog it too if I'd gotten there before you).

3.  But the rule that impacts and benefits you and everyone around you?  Don't Stay Naked Too Long.

This one rule, I attest, will keep every little jogger, spinner and pumper in locker room harmony.  Because this is not your bathroom people, it's a group area.  We all know you have to change, but do it in a timely manner.  

People who go into stalls to change are weirdos.  We're all girls - and don't flatter yourself, I'm not checking you out.

But likewise, people that just hang out naked are weirdos too.  You wouldn't walk down the street naked - and there are arguably MORE people in a locker room AND we're closer together.  We're more likely to bump butts or bare biceps.  And if you're naked?  Well...ew.

Put on a bra, freak - you're making me uncomfortable.

The Incident?  Only Chris will ever know the whole truth - but I will tell you this:  Twice today.  Twice.  Twice in the course of ten minutes I was confronted with 2 exhibitionists in the ladies' room.  Hey, I'm naked - I'm going to stay naked - I'm going to stand in front of the mirror naked - I'm going to do my hair naked - my make-up naked - clean my ears naked.  And I don't care who looks.

This 'devil-may-care' predilection is not something to applaud.  I can picture you all thinking "Well good for them for being comfortable in their skin!  If only I could be so daring..."  Think again.  This is not a nudist colony.  This is the ladies' room.  Class it up.  

And though it's not an official rule or anything, you also probably shouldn't bend over.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

9/11 Exhibit

As promised, I went back to the National Museum of American History on Monday, during the appropriate hours, to see the 9/11 exhibit.  The line was an hour and a half long and wound around through another exhibit over to the East wing (the exhibit entrance was in the West wing).  Bring a book!  Luckily, I had my ipad so I googlereader'd and scrabbled my way through the line.

From the standpoint of a reviewer, with no disrepect to the remembrance of 9/11, I have to say I was very underwhelmed by the exhibit.  Upon entering, there were 4 tables set up - one with artifacts from The Pentagon, one with artifacts from the Pennsylvania crash, and one with a few artifacts from the Trade Centers.  The 4th and final table was a table dedicated to the TSA.  Really... with a big bin in the middle full of scissors and exacto knives that I guess have been confiscated in the 10 years since 9/11, and to your right an example of a TSA screening thing you have to walk through at the airport.

Uh...what?  It was really very strange.  Unless you haven't flown once in the 10 years since 9/11, and maybe there's the odd visitor who hasn't, I'm pretty sure we don't need to be reminded of the TSA's ever evolving way of inconveniencing travelers.  The whole thing felt like an homage to the Transportation Security Administration as opposed to a remembrance of 9/11...and if that was the exhibit's intention, doesn't that mean the terrorists have won?  Just a little bit?  I don't know, it weirded me out.

Overall, the exhibit's items were very moving however, to create a more 'intimate' experience the items were placed on tables, with descriptor cards in front (as opposed to behind glass) and with people stationed behind the tables to chat with visitors further about the exhibit.  This was all well and good, except that it created a total traffic jam for patrons and made the exhibit seem very Middle-School-Science-Fair-esque.  I think that compared to other 9/11 tributes I've seen, this one fell short of the mark.  If you'd like to see something moving, I recommend the 9/11 exhibit at the Newseum which is very compelling.

What I really enjoyed were the 2 videos shown at the American History Museum exhibit.  I was in 2nd period at St. Pete High when planes started crashing on 9/11 and therefore missed a lot of the breaking news element of the tragedy.  One of the videos replayed was a Peter Jennings interview and covered Good Morning America - mid-report about Michael Jordan - finding out about 'chaos' down at the World Trade Center - when no one realized that this was an intentional act of terrorism - to the anchors beginning to realize the magnitude of the day's events.  They were finding out awful news on camera, trying to maintain composure even though they were just as confused and worried as the rest of America, and re-watching that really brought back memories of the terror of that day.

Below are some pictures I snapped of the exhibit.

The line from where I started

The line wrapping through the American Presidency exhibit

Door of an FDNY fire truck

Artifacts from the Pentagon

Flight Log and items from the crash in Pennsylvania

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Museum Mile

My favorite museum in DC is the National Museum of American History - it's one of the only museums I ever bring visitors to.  You can see the Ruby Slippers, the inaugural dresses of past and present First Ladies, the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner and a wide array of constantly changing exhibits that are always interesting.  So when I read that there'd be a 9/11 exhibit September 3 through September 11, I penciled it into my Labor Day plans.  What I didn't read was that the exhibit is only open 11am to 3pm, daily.  Why?  I have no idea.   Why for only 8 days?  Again, no idea.  Needless to say, my lazy butt got to the museum after the exhibit had already closed.  I'm planning on going again either tomorrow or next Saturday (walking there of course via my 16th Street Route).

Despite missing the 9/11 tribute, I did catch some of the new exhibits and revisited the gowns and the ruby slippers that make the museum my favorite in the first place!

A few favorite dresses from the First Ladies exhibit

There was a totally new section open in the First Lady exhibit I'd never seen before! 
And Michelle Obama's Inauguration gown was on display.  Beautiful!

There's No Place Like Home

Muppet Muppet

A fun, new exhibit on Phyllis Diller (who I'd previously never heard of)...
one of the first female comediennes.

I guess you could say this will be part one of a two part post.  I loved visiting the museum today, but was definitely disappointed about missing the exhibit I had set out intending to see.  I'll be updating soon when I do get to go though.  Stay tuned! Woot!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Claudia DeMartini

Matt and I won't be going on a hike until this weekend - So...

I'd like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful, beautiful mother!

Lookin' good no?  I think so too - Thank God we look alike.

She's a great team player!

She loves Christmas and my birthday - Lucky for me!

She buys me Hurricanes on Bourbon Street!

She is the most caring person I know.

And I just LOVE spending time with her!

Mom's are great...but I think mine is the BEST.  Jealous?  I know.  

I hope she has the most wonderful day ever!  I wish I could be there today to give her a big hug and say THANKS for being the most awesome mom on the planet.  HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!