TV Tuesday: ‘Breaking Bad’

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I’m currently in the middle of season 2 of “Breaking Bad.” I haven’t exactly been binge-watching like some other shows; I went weeks between episodes, choosing to go for funnier (“Parks and Rec”) and lighter (“Grey’s Anatomy”) fare. But now I’m all caught up on “Parks and Recreation” and I need a new show to sink my teeth into.

To be honest, I’m still waiting for “Breaking Bad” to get really good; to get to the point where everyone says they can’t stop watching and calls it the best show on television. I feel like once Walt grows that goatee, like in the image above, that signals the turning point in the series. I’m still waiting for that goatee.

Don’t get me wrong, I like “Breaking Bad” very much. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have watched three episodes last night and two this morning. The story is definitely starting to pick up, but the pacing is hard for me to get into. Each episode starts off slow, and then right when it gets interesting, the episode’s over. Also, the parts of the story I find most interesting – namely Hank and the DEA – aren’t featured very heavily. It always seems to be Walt and Jesse butting heads over the same issues. 

Finally, someone please tell me Skylar will wisen up over Walt’s double life. It’s driving me crazy; she’s coming across as so naive.

TV Tuesday: ‘Parks and Recreation’

TV Tuesday is a new column on my blog where I’ll write about a TV show I’m currently watching or discuss recent developments in the TV world. As always, your opinions are welcome in the comments!

Parks and Recreation - Season 5

I know, I’m way behind the ‘cool’ bandwagon. In my defense, I did watch “Parks and Recreation” during its first short season. After that, it slipped off my radar, but clearly gained traction with others.

“Parks and Recs,” for those unfamiliar, stars Amy Poehler as the very ambitious, energetic and caring Leslie Knope, the deputy director of Pawnee, Indiana’s parks and recreation department. The show is filmed docu-style, much like “The Office,” and follows Leslie and her fellow parks and recs colleagues as they navigate through local government life.

I’m so glad I got into this show again. I was looking for a short sitcom to watch while I eat breakfast, and “Parks and Recs” fit the bill. The second season was a little slow to pick up, but once it did, it just keeps getting better and better.

The problem with starting any show late in the game is that you’re probably already aware of numerous spoilers, especially regarding casting. I’m still going through the sixth season, but needless to say I’ve already heard spoilers about what happens. Still, this doesn’t deter me from enjoying “Parks and Recreation.”  If anything, it encourages me to keep watching because I want to see how the events unfold. (This is probably the only time you’ll hear me talk about spoilers in a positive light. Don’t get used to it.)

Other observations:

+ I’m pretty sure Andy Dwyer is becoming more and more stupid as the show goes on. Yes, Andy’s stupidity is one of the endearing things about his character, but there are some moments that are a bit much. It’s one of those classic examples when a show realizes everyone likes Dumb!Andy and so they end up going overboard. Sometimes less is more.

+ One of the things I actually don’t like about the show is the treatment of Jerry/Larry. Maybe most offices have that one coworker everyone likes to poke fun at, but in the case of Jerry/Larry, it just seems downright mean. It’s pure bullying and it’s not okay. Maybe some of you think I’m being overly sensitive, but I cringe every time one of the characters is unnecessarily mean to him.

+ Chris Traeger and Ron Swanson are two of the greatest characters every created. Literally.

“Parks and Recreation’s” first five seasons is available on Netflix. Season 6 is available on Hulu Plus.

Image courtesy of Chris Haston/NBC.

Time to Come Out of Hibernation

It’s pretty dreary and cloudy in NYC today, but the past couple of days have shown signs that pleasant spring weather is here – it’s just facing a few minor setbacks. After one of the most brutal winters in recent memory (for me), it’s been nice to be able to leave the house without piling on layers or wearing leg warmers that keep slipping down.

To celebrate the beginning of spring, last week I went to the Macy’s in Herald Square to check out the store’s flower show. There were a lot of events scattered across the two week-long exhibition. When I went, I had a chance to see artist Joe Mangrum and his assistant create some beautiful sand art in the plaza in front of Macy’s. The inside of the store is also impeccably decorated, as you might expect. (Click images to make them larger)

In a few weeks, I’ll most likely be moving out of NYC, so I’ve started to curate a “bucket list” of sorts. One of the places I had never been to was Riverside Park, literally just a few blocks away from my apartment. Since yesterday was such a beautiful day, I went for an evening stroll to the park. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I really liked what I saw. It may be right next to a major highway, but you don’t really feel it. And check out this sunset!

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My First Tweet

On the eve of its eighth anniversary, Twitter unveiled a website that allows users see what their #FirstTweet was. 

Here’s mine! Twitter user for 5 years and counting. 🙂

OF COURSE my first tweet had to do with television. I’m a little disappointed it wasn’t something meta about being a first tweet, though. But it is interesting to see I didn’t use a single hashtag or @ reply – probably because I had no idea what those were. Becoming an active Twitter user is definitely a learning curve. I wish I could remember more about why I joined Twitter; it just seemed to be the next big social media craze, so naturally, I had to try it out and see what all the fuss was about.

Twitter’s #FirstTweet website lets you look up anyone’s first tweet, as long as their account is public. So what was your first tweet?

Aladdin: A Whole New World (On Broadway)

Before “Harry Potter,” there was “Aladdin.”

Many people associate me with the Boy Who Lived (“Hey Steph! What’s that one spell that turns on the lights?”), but since I was a child, Disney’s 1992 “Aladdin” movie had a stronger hold on me than anything else. So when Disney first announced last January that they were bringing “Aladdin” to Broadway, I was ecstatic. I knew I had to see it. And on Saturday night, a week after it began previews, I finally did.

Aladdin on Broadway

The show was everything I could’ve hoped for and more. It stayed true to the movie, while also adding and removing a few things to make it more adaptable for the stage. Obviously, the genie isn’t going to be able to shape shift into different people and objects, but that didn’t make his character any less entertaining on stage. From the opening number, “Arabian Nights,” I had goosebumps. They kept all the songs from the movie and even added a few more, which were just as catchy! Certain lines of dialogue from the movie were also included, but a lot was also changed to make it more relevant to the times we live in.

Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar in the movie, reprised the character on stage. I cackled so loud when he said, “Prince Abubu” and was on the edge of my seat toward the end when he sang his (evil) version of “Prince Ali.” My brain could not handle hearing Jafar in real life, just a few feet away from me on the stage. The rest of the cast was equally amazing; Adam Jacobs who plays Aladdin even sounded a bit like the character from the movie (and wore the infamous vest well); Jasmine was as feisty and beautiful as you would expect, and every time the Genie was on stage, you knew you were in for a treat.

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I went to the show with my cousin, who is just as big of a fan as I am. We both wore Aladdin shirts from Hot Topic – seriously, check out their Disney collection – and went a little overboard at the merchandise stand. But we made a friend named Zach, so shout out to him for being so patient and awesome with us!

I already have tickets to go back next month with another group of friends, and I’m counting down the (32) days before I return.

Have any more questions about the show and want spoilers? Ask them in the comments! I’m only too happy to dish and continue fangirling.

Just 10 More Minutes…

the simssPlaying The Sims is like going into a black hole. Once the game loads, it’s difficult to press stop.

I used to be obsessed with The Sims around 2001. Every day after school, I would hide out in the basement playing until dinnertime. Some of you may have had legit extra curricular activities after school; mine was The Sims. I like to think I learned some valuable life lessons from it, such as if you don’t keep in touch with a friend, they will stop being your friend. And you will only get better at cooking if you keep practicing. And don’t forget to pay your bills or the repoman will come and take away your stuff!

I was recently given a copy of The Sims 3 to play, and WHOA has the game changed since 2001. The Sims actually age and they have personal mobile phones! Plus there’s a whole town to explore! As if I can afford to procrastinate in my life, here I am transported to being a middle schooler again, playing The Sims for an average of two hours in the evening.

I don’t think there are any valuable life lessons The Sims can teach me now as a young adult, but I do appreciate the fact that it lets me turn my brain off for a few hours every night before going to bed. My biggest worry during those moments is whether or not my Sim is starting to smell like rotten eggs, not how much I need to budget for rent. I’ve never been much of a gamer, but this is one game I will make an exception for. Our brains are constantly on “go” mode, so it’s nice to check out for a little bit.

Does anyone else have fond memories of playing The Sims? Or better yet, still play it? (Ohmahgawd Sims4 coming out this year!)

There’s a mouse in the house

“There’s a mouse in the house.”

This is just screaming to be turned into a Dr. Seuss poem, but I can’t seem to find anything else that rhymes with “house” or “mouse.” And I’m really not the poet type, so if anyone’s up for the challenge – go for it. Best poem gets a cookie.

Anyway, yes, there is a mouse wandering around my building and sometimes it comes visit my apartment. I’ve set out two traps in the past couple of weeks, but nothing seems to work yet. This has led me to walk around my apartment completely paranoid, not knowing when this little rodent will scuttle past me again.

In hindsight, though, having a mouse as a sometimes-roommate has brought about some good changes.

1) It gets me to the gym

I’m a notorious homebody. There’s nothing I enjoy more than popping some popcorn and marathoning a TV show on Netflix. But I also recently signed up for a gym in my neighborhood, and I’ve been really good about finding excuses not to go. Oh, I didn’t buy a lock yet to use on the lockers. It’s below 30 degrees out, I’ll freeze! I simply don’t have enough time to get a full workout in before I  go to work.

But now I’d much rather not stay in the apartment longer than I have to, so I run off to the gym the moment I get off from work. And the crazy part? I kind of dig it. I can bring my iPad and keep watching TV shows on Netflix while sweating it out and creating a routine for myself. So I guess I can thank the mouse for my bikini bod once summer rolls around.

2) I keep the apartment clean

I always try my best to keep the apartment clean, but now I have more reason to. Those dishes I might’ve left in the sink overnight? Forget about it – they’re going straight in the dishwasher now. Those crumbs that just fell on the floor? Grab a paper towel and wipe it up! If there isn’t anything for the mouse to eat, or any smells to attract it, then maybe it won’t come back. Maybe. (I’m just fooling myself.)

3) Nevermind

My number three reason was originally going to be: now that I’ve seen the mouse, it’s not so scary anymore. But that’s no longer the case. I first saw the mouse with my own eyes two days ago. And just when I think I’m getting over it and start telling myself, “It’s not so bad having a mouse as a roommate. Poor fella is scared of me, too!” I SEE IT AGAIN. My heart starts racing, my limbs lock up and I freak out.

So I guess there are really only two good reasons for having a mouse invade my apartment. But no matter the positive outcomes, I want it gone. NOW.

Maybe if it were cute like this mouse, I wouldn't have a problem.

Maybe if it were cute like this mouse, I wouldn’t have a problem.