Live Blog: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Good evening and welcome to our liveblog of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Or, as I like to call it, Nerd Superbowl. Speaking of the superbowl, this is the one time every year that many of us will be voluntarily tuning into ESPN, so everyone, give yourselves a few minutes to track down the channel. Keep refreshing the blog to catch our updates, and follow our live tweets on Twitter — @cookiessangria

  • Like homeschooled 5th graders and NPR fans everywhere, I’ve been waiting all year for this. Literally, this time — I read American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and The Culture Of Word Nerds right after last year’s bee, and was pretty bummed I’d have to wait 12 months to see it play out.
  • Remember the big bee news of 2012? The youngest speller ever, 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison competed. She got dinged out on “ingluvies.” Cute kid, but can’t spell ingluvies? What are you, a kindergartner?

    I honestly have tattoos older than her.

Ugh, who am I kidding. Even though she has a name from 1973 (a good thing, as Lori is 10,000 times better than Madycynne or McKaeighlah), this kid wasn’t even born until I was a few years into college. Lori isn’t here this year, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. I sincerely hope that she’s being seven right now and constructing a blanket fort or making a village out of tissue boxes.

  • This year, the hot story is that the competitors have to take a vocab test. FINALLY. If there’s one problem with spelling bee kids, it’s that they’re dumb and lazy and don’t know enough about words. Thank God we’re finally weeding out those bozos!
  • The Bee begins with a kind of confusing Matilda The Musical tie-in. I can only guess that we’re trying to reach out to all distinct nerd groups, from word to theater to eventually science. I can only guess they’ll bring in Doctor Who eventually.
  • Really embarrassed to remember some of these kids. Favs: Vanya, whose sister won a few years back and is ADORABLE, and Arvind, who has more charm than any child since Jonathan Lipnicki told us all how much the human head weighs.
  • Dr. Jacques Bailly is seriously just the Tim Gunn of the National Spelling Bee. What a dream.
  • Do kids with misspelled names get ashamed during the bee? Or are they drawn to it to correct their parents’ mistakes? I’m looking at you, Christal Schermeister.
  • Guys, if I’m mean about Christal Schermeister, it’s just because she’s clearly going to grow up to be far more intelligent and attractive than me.
  • First ding out! Bummer. I try not to get too attached to anyone during the early rounds. I’m sure many Panem citizens used the same tactic during the Hunger Games.
  • A little more spelling bee background: the kids arrived in D.C. last weekend, and I guess they just go hog-wild in a hotel this week. I mean, as wild as kids who spend all day studying the dictionary can go. It’s like rumspringa for a very particular kind of Amish person.

  • Vanya Shivashankar knows French very well. I mean, of course she does. Best kid ever. BTW, her sister Kavya is here and she’s so grown up! Off to Colombia already.
  • Amber Born: “Is the sentence funny?” Amber wants to be a comedy writer. Amber, girl after my own heart. Please come by and write for us sometimes! As long as you promise not to judge our spelling which is, admittedly, not always awesome. The announcers say she’s a dark horse. Move over, Arvind, I have a new favorite.
  • Sriram is from kind of near me! This matters to none of you. I’ll stop. He gets singerie, which is from French. Apparently when I was taking college French I told Traci that it was the language that they speak in hell. I don’t remember saying that, but it seems like something I would do. Such weird pronunciations! Full disclosure: French was my grandma’s first language, so I’m not just being a jerk. I’m being a jerk to my own beloved family members.
  • Arvind’s drama teacher sees him in a red smoking jacket. I’m sorry, is he a precocious 8th grader or Hugh Hefner? I’m confused.
  • Here is a fantastic spelling bee video (not from today). This kid is my new comedy hero. He was totally punking her:

  • Oh man, I remember Vismaya from last year. She did pretty well and had a distinct air of being probably too cool for this business. Damn, Vismaya. You’re smooth. Delivered “sciomancy” like it was nothing even though she was obviously not sure of it.
  • Grace is pictured diving into one of those pits of foam blocks, which was a childhood dream of mine thanks to all of the gymnastics centers that opened up after the ’96 Olympics. There are also a bunch of trampolines, which reminds me that Amanda Bynes was photographed at a trampoline center at my old city, Buffalo. First of all, I never knew there was a trampoline center there. Second, I am really curious as to what string of events lead her to a Western New York trampo-gym. Buffalo’s right at the border, so maybe that.
  • Bailly and co. tried to recreate those commercials where kids are sitting around being asked questions. I love those commercials, but I can’t say that they’re all that effective, because I can’t remember what they’re for. Was it phones?
  • Grace Remmer is chronicling her various awkward stages that appeared during the bee. Listen. Like most American kids, I can remember my spelling bee downfall painfully well. I was a major bookworm with the vocabulary of a nerdy adult, but I didn’t have an exceptional spelling prowess. See, if they’d had the vocabulary test then, I might have been okay. Anyway, I made it nearly to the end of my elementary school bee, only to be struck down by “counselor.” To be fair, I don’t think we got definitions, and I spelled it councillor, which is a homophone or close to it. Whatever. Anyway, Grace reminds me that it’s not like I’d really want my 11-year-old mug visible on the internet today, anyway. I had the Frizz No Butterfly Clips Can Tame.
  • Christal’s little sister looks majorly concerned. Somebody didn’t study “doryline.” Oh shit. Countdown clock. Bye, Christal. It’s been real. With the sorry spelling genes that your parents passed down, it’s a miracle you made it this far. I mean, Christal?
  • According to the spelling bee kids via Mackelmore, the ceiling is no longer able to hold them.
  • Vanya, stop asking questions, you know this. I was about to wonder whether she got teased with Uncle Vanya references at school, but probably not, right? Because she’s a child?
  • Amber Born reminds me of Traci and I when we first became friends, except actually accomplished at something other than recording The Rosie O’Donnell Show so we didn’t miss it during our afterschool activities.
  • I know envoutement totally LOOKS like a word, but when you pronounce it with a fancy French accent, it sure doesn’t SOUND like one. I reiterate: The Language They Speak In Hell. With all due apologies to my dear, late Grandma. But I think there’s a reason she always spoke English with us, you know?
  • [The reason is my demonstrated inability to speak French properly, probably]
  • This may be the first time I correctly identified a history-based root. Sansculottic, related to the sans-culottes? Yeah, I KILLED AP European. That’s right.
  • Vismaya is from Bountiful, Utah. Was that the town with all of the plural marriages? I read a book on the FLDS but don’t really remember. She’s clearly too cool to take part in that though:There are nine spellers left. NINE. Don’t they know that kids stodgy 20-somethings are watching with strict bedtimes to attend to? Come on, Bailly. Stop playing so nice.
  • Can we talk about redshirting? When I was in eighth grade, maybe half of the kids had turned 14 by the end of the school year. I’d think with all the homeschooling happening, most of these kids would be ahead of grade level for their age. There are a few too many 14-year-olds, is all I’m saying. I’m only regular-smart**, not spelling-bee smart, and teachers even asked my parents if they wanted to skip me ahead a grade. I’m sure some of these old kids are being kept at eighth grade status just to eke out another year of eligibility.

    ** A cold truth to all of you precocious kids out there: eventually, you’ll be average. I may have had a sixth grade reading level in kindergarten, but by law school, I just had a law school reading level. There’s a silver lining, though. That means parents can chill out about trying to teach their babies to read and their 2-year-olds to multiply. Eventually, they’ll probably be exactly as dumb as everyone else.

  • FYI: When there’s an accent mark, the kid doesn’t have to say it. The more you know.
  • Trivia: Vismaya’s mom used to be an actress in India. She got the word right, which is nice, I guess, but I am seriously getting sleepy here. Please start being less excellent, children.
  • Awww. Grace Remmer just got a standing ovation after she dinged out. She’s been here 4 years in a row. Such a likable kid! She’s temporarily taken over for Amber Brown as my favorite of the moment, because SOMEONE had to get eliminated so that this thing ends.
  • ESPN tells me that Nascar will be on in two days. Why do I guess there’s not too much overlap in these 2 audiences?
  • The winner gets $2,000 worth of reference works from Encyclopedia Brittanica. I’m sorry, do people still use encyclopedias? Other than my dad, who pulls down his 1976 Encyclopedia Americana because he doesn’t remember to use Google? In case you’re wondering, my parents are also the people who still use phone books as phone books.
  • This kids difficulty with the pronunciation of kaburi reminds me of this gem:

BOWERY. BALLERY? Bowery. BALLERY? I don’t know if this girl has a hearing impediment or a speech disorder, but either way, I’m going to hell. I’d blame this debacle on a regional accent, but the girl is from Philadelphia. I lived there. I’d understand the confusion if they asked her to say water (“water.” “WOODER?”) or eagles (“eagles.” “IGGLES?”), but bowery should be fine. Just kidding, love you guys, send me some Tastykakes, go Iggles.

  • The announcers just said one kid was the most consistent speller. But, if you’re still on the stage, isn’t it because you’ve gotten everything right? So all of these kids are equally consistent? Well, it’s not a logic bee.
  • So long, Vanya. Unlike most of these red-shirted 14-year-olds, she has two years of eligibility left. I’d really like to see her win one of these years!
  • Guys, Born gets laughs just for walking on stage. Girl’s going places. The last person I remember getting laughs for a mere entrance was Cosmo Kramer.
  • Goodbye, Vismaya! Fortunately, she will seldom come across the word paryphrodrome to haunt her again. It is so obscure that my spell check can’t even tell me how terribly I just butchered it.
  • Amber Born is out. Want to know a secret, Amber? Comedy writer is a cooler title than spelling bee champion, anyway.
  • They just announced that this can’t go on all night. I think I may have heard all of the angels of heaven singing hymns of joy and praise. 25 more words. I can stay awake for this. Maybe.
  • Sriram’s out. Don’t cry, little buddy. There is no way that ptyalagogue is even a real word.
  • AHH WE’RE DOWN TO ONE SPELLER! I’M NOT USING CAPS BECAUSE I’M HAPPY FOR THE WINNER I just really want to go to bed.
  • Oh my God, Arvind could win! This kid! He gets a German word last. German is his language-nemesis. I get this. Right, French?
  • Guys, I just want to do something so amazing ONE TIME that ticker tape confetti is thrown all over me. One time. Other than attending a ticker-tape parade. Love his look of utter shell-shock.

That’s all, kids! Thanks for reading and thanks even more for ignoring all of my spelling mistakes. I’m a bit of an armchair QB as far as spelling bees go.

And Amber, if you want to write a guest post, we’ll be here waiting.

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Home Is Where the Heart Is

On a recent trip back to my hometown, my friend asked me, “Does it feel like home when you come back to Rochester?” He posed an interesting question that I guess I’ve never been asked before, and I had to find the right words to accurately depict a real answer.

Sure it felt like home, but not in the same sense that it was when I was younger. I guess the idea of ‘home’ changed somewhere around spring of 2006. I spent the semester studying abroad in the Netherlands with 79 other kids from my college, and we all lived and took classes in this medieval castle. I went in there not really knowing anyone, but ended up leaving with a group of lifelong friends, the experience of traveling around Europe, and it essentially became a turning point into adulthood.

I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but while I was there I was introduced to a song called cathedrals by Jump Little Children. One of the lyrics from the song that I still connect to to this day says,

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome, there is a feeling that you should just go home – and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.

It was true – this random castle in a sleepy Holland town became my home after 3 months, and although I absolutely loved it there , I was longing to go home to America to see my family and friends. Problem was – Boston slowly became my home and Rochester was the home I only ever knew before going away to college.

I’ll never forget one of the first nights back in the States. I was staying in my old dorm room, which was now occupied by some random granola crunchy girl. It hit me all at once – I was back in Boston – in America – the day I had been dreaming of for the past three months – yet I just broke down and cried. Like I was probably having a mental breakdown but I just sobbed out all my emotions and insisted i was okay. If I was exactly where I wanted to be, why was I so upset?

A year later, I officially moved to Boston. It was the first time I wasn’t going home to Rochester for the summer and the first time Boston felt like home too. Two years after that, I made a somewhat quick decision to move to Los Angeles and nearly four years later, a city I swore I would never move to has now become my home as well.

On the same recent trip to Rochester, I realized that I get the same questions from my parents’ friends. “Do you like it in LA?” Swear to God, the two times every year that I go to Rochester, someone asks me that without fail. I’ve always thought that was a weird question to ask someone, especially since I’ve been living in LA for so long. Of course I like it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here still. It might be their way of making conversation or perhaps because I think too much into things, it might be their way of saying, “Why do you like it in LA so much? It’s so much better here in Rochester.”

My cordial answer to them is always a vague, ‘Yes I like it a lot. ‘ I don’t want to go into the reasons why LA can be annoying at times, because honestly who can say they love every single things about where they live and have no complaints? But yes, I like it, yes it’s home for me now, but so are these other places around the world. Anyone who’s lived in more than one place can relate. I feel like Voldemort leaving pieces of his soul everywhere but without the whole evil side of it. My heart is in Rochester, it’s in Boston, it’s in Well, the Netherlands. Who knows what will come in the future?  I’ll just have to spend the rest of my life discovering just exactly where home is.

Did I Do That?! Top TV Teen Nerds

Believe it or not, I wasn’t a cool kid. Yes, I know this might be hard to get your head around, but despite my appealing attributes – short, freckled, bookish, brillo-textured red hair — I wasn’t exactly homecoming queen.

However, I wasn’t so uncool that I was a total pariah. I was just more of a non-entity. I was also not a social striver: I figured whoever liked me, liked me and I wasn’t about to try to act cool to get cooler friends. First of all, I didn’t care enough*, and second of all, I don’t know HOW to act cool. Did those girls just get a special book at the beginning of every school year telling them what to wear and how to behave? Because if there was a book, I’d have been golden. I’m good at books.

* If you think this means I was too cool to care, let me disabuse you of that idea. I am just astoundingly lazy.

All of my favorite TV nerds are the same way. These characters aren’t all so dorky that people point and laugh at them in the hall. They’re just too busy being themselves to care what anyone else thinks. However, if they did put out an annual annotated guide on how to be cool, that’s not to say these characters wouldn’t have read it:

Millie Kentner from Freaks And Geeks

Although the entire cast of Freaks and Geeks really deserves a place on this list, I’d like to take a moment and single out Millie. Millie was that girl in high school who was a total goody-goody, but only because she actually liked wholesome activities and behaving. I can relate, as my main interests in high school were being obedient and exceeding expectations. Something about Millie is so earnest, it just tugs at my heartstrings. She isn’t so nerdy and well-behaved because she’s sucking up, it’s because that’s what comes honestly to her. Again, I can relate. I can remember one girl on my tennis team  who was acted like I was judging her because she was a “bad kid” and I was, well, hyper-compliant. I wasn’t — I just wasn’t interested in anything too badass myself.

Since I brought it up, tennis is the dorkiest physical activity you can join that still counts as a sport. Seriously. Even bowling might be cooler, in an ironic, blue collar, old-man way. Tennis: The Reading Of Sports.

Also this:

Seth Cohen from The O.C.

Seth Cohen made teen nerdiness hot. And God, do I still love him for it. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since we first met young Seth, who is the first and only person I would ever describe as being “adorkable.” From his snarky message t shirts to his enthusiasm for comic books to his dorky joy about introducing people to Chrismukkah, Seth was everything good about uncool adolescents. I also appreciated how Seth was into indie/alternative music, just like most of my unpopular friends. This just goes to show that most nerdy teens aren’t lame and boring, they’re just not into whatever is in the teen mainstream. Cohen reminds us that dorky teenagers are just one semester of liberal arts college away from being hipsters. Also, just look at him.

Sue Heck from The Middle

The Middle really does not get enough play. I think it’s funny (usually) and hilarious (sometimes). Like all teen nerds, Sue is supremely enthusiastic. Rather than understanding and accepting that she’s a geek, Sue has total faith that someday, she will be one of the cool kids. Because of this, she flies whole-heartedly into the nerdiest activities (see: specialized cheerleading squad for the wrestling team). I especially love her supporting cast of dorky Wrestlerette friends:

Lisa Loopner from Saturday Night Live

By far the most hilarious teen nerd on the list, Lisa Loopner had a chronic stuffy nose, frizzy hair, and a boyfriend named Todd. She may sound like a typical dork, but this character is played with classic Gilda Radner joie de vivre, and that makes all the difference. I… listen. Just watch this.

Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons

Lisa may be too smart to fit in at Springfield Elementary, but she’s also too smart to care… usually. While she does try to fit in with the mega-90s kids on her beach vacation and the occasional third-grade mean girl, she is usually pretty content filling her time with her music, inventions, and Thanksgiving diorama of influential women in U.S. history. However, she is still just a kid, and can be seen playing hopscotch with Sherri and Terri or pining over Malibu Stacy. Lisa isn’t technically a teen nerd, but she has the reading comprehension and math skills of a girl twice her age, which has to count for something.

Landry Clarke from Friday Night Lights

On paper, Landry (or Lance, whatever) doesn’t really sound like a nerd. He’s a high school football player in a land where high school football is king. He’s the lead singer and bassist in a garage band. He loves the lovely and sometimes-badass Tyra. He even may have committed a pretty big felony (seriously, what WAS that plotline?). However, life isn’t lived on paper. Somehow, despite all of these cool factors, Landry is kind of a dork. He’s also proof that sometimes dorks can emerge victorious. Or crucifictorious, I guess.

Fun fact: As far as I know, Jesse Plemons is the only actor who appeared in both Varsity Blues and FNL. Those, along with the times my high school won states, mark the trifecta of Things That Have Made Me Actually Care About High School Football.

Kimmy Gibbler from Full House

Kimmy Gibbler sucked. I’m not denying that. The thing is, I feel so sorry for her! It didn’t occur to me as a child, but she had three grown men living next door to her who mocked her mercilessly. Danny? Joey? Jesse? You’re bullies. Also, her BFF was kind of a dud. Remember when DJ forgot Kimmy’s birthday cake and made her a dish of hashbrowns with Happy Birthday written on it in ketchup? I sometimes use that as a metaphor when I’ve made really weak gestures of friendship. Try it for yourself sometimes. Kimmy did have some positive attributes, like being a pretty decent keyboardist when Girl Talk butchered The Sign (no, not that Girl Talk).

Steve Urkel from Family Matters

I wasn’t even going to put Urkel on the list. I think he forfeited his Teen Nerd title during the later seasons, when suddenly it was All Steffon, All The Time. I’m also still a little bitter that his affinity for cheese made cheese seem nerdy. I freaking love cheese. Come at me, nerd haters and vegans!

You gotta hand it to Urkel, though. He really knew how to deliver a nerd catch phrase.

Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air

He invented “The Carlton,” and that alone earns him a spot on the list. It’s got to be hard being a nerd when you live with super-cool Hillary and Ashley and your badass cousin from West Philly. Having so much money that you live in a full-size replica of the White House probably softens the blow a little. While mostly a classic uptight nerd, Carlton also knew how to let loose and dance.

WHATAREYOUDOINGHERE: Unexpected Guest Stars of Arrested Development

If you’re an Arrested Development fan, chances are you’ve already seen the new season in its entirety. And although creator Mitch Hurwitz warned AD fans to try to calm their excitement and spread out the viewings, it’ll be difficult to not watch all 15 episodes after waiting for seven years. Not to mention, this reincarnation of the series will bring the likes of Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, John Krasinski, Conan O’Brien, Ben Schwartz, John Slattery, and more to the Bluth family. So to help you heed Mitch Hurwitz’s request, take a break from your binge watching and get a refresher on some of the stars who you may have forgotten (or never even knew) appeared on this iconic show.

Amy Poehler

Well, this is kind of a no-brainer, since Queen Amy appeared in 5 eps as Gob’s wife (ugh, RIP Will/Amy), who Gob kept forgetting he was even married to. So much so she didn’t even have a name.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Playing one of my personal favorite AD characters, Julia played Maggie Lizer, a ‘blind’ attorney who was also Michael’s on and off girlfriend. This scene where Tobias sneaks into her house trying to be stealth but the fact she is fully aware he is there is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.

Zach Braff

The Scrubs/Kickstarter star played Phillip Litt, a man who showed that Tobias was not alone in his Never Nude world.

Charlize Theron

The Oscar winner played Rita Leeds who was briefly engaged to Michael, and although she may not have been the sharpest tool in the shed, she was wealthy – as the heiress to Wee Britain.

Jane Lynch

Long before she terrorized kids at McKinley High School, Jane played Cyndi Lightballoon who was an undercover agent investigating Pop Pop. Except she eventually falls in love with him. It happens to the best of us.

Armie Hammer

In a career-defining role, the Winklevoss twin(s) played ‘student number 2’ in one episode – he calls George Michael ‘star dork’.

Jack McBrayer

Kenneth the Page was still tending to people’s needs (and encountering Devon Banks) before helping Tracy at TGS – he played a waiter at the local country club in two episodes.

Ed Begley Jr.

Ok, but Ed Begley Jr. LITERALLY is in everything. He shows up in almsot every movie or TV show I watch (Office finale, much?), and it’s even a running joke with my friend Suzanne because she sees him everywhere in LA. So naturally, his off Stan Sitwell character has to be on this list.

Ed Helms

Speaking of The Office, rit-it-it-itdoo, the Nard Dog played realtor James in “The One Where Michael Leaves” episode, whom Lindsay thought was hitting on her. And maybe a minor spoiler alert? He’ll be back in the new season too.

Phyllis Smith

Before Phyllis was a saleswoman at Dunder-Mifflin, she was a board member at the Bluth Company. Incidentally, just weeks after this episode (The Immaculate Election) aired, she made her debut on The Office.

Craig Robinson

Dink and flicka. Tobias has an audition at Tantamount Studios, and Craig Robinson is there to guard the gate. Except he probs should’ve been keeping an eye on Maeby instead.

Live Blog: My Mom watches the Dancing with the Stars finale

Dancing with the Stars is one of the biggest reality TV shows on the air, and naturally I have to watch it and keep up with it and write any news pertaining the show. But I always forget that the one person who is pretty much the ideal demographic fort this show is my mother. Like suburban, older, women usually like this show. Naturally, she was excited about the season finale. I just happened to be with my parents on the night of this past week’s season 16 finale, and I could only get her reactions to the last hour of the two-hour finale, but they’re still entertaining none the less. It’s like she was betting money on it or something, that’s how into it and stressed she was over the show. I mean, I tend to get emotional about telveision, but it’s so uncharacteristic from her that I was more amused than annoyed. Here are some quality quotes from the Dancing with the Stars shit show. BTW – this was mostly said in Filipino, so this is all a rough translation of what she said…

During Pitbull’s performance: “(Judge) Len (Goodman) better be careful or he’ll break something!”

This man may be 69 years old, but he’s a ballroom champ and legit was helping finalist Jacoby Jones in practice the day before.

When cameras panned over to the audience: “Oh it’s Kristi! Kristi’s there!” (Yamaguchi, because she’s on a first name basis with her, apparently.)

When missing the part where the top four was narrowed down to three, and NFL pro Jacoby Jones was still in the competition: “JACKoby? JACKoby will probably win now!!” – It’s pronounced Jah-CO-bee.

And finding out Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman placed fourth, below Jacoby: “Aly probably cried… Jacoby’s good but not as good as the women. How disappointing.”

After Jacoby’s instant salsa: Jacoby’s mom is too much (she was holding up her own a ’10’ sign from the audience): “They’ll probably give him a 10. That is not right… That’s why he has a lot of fans- because of this touchdown dance.”

On Zendaya’s instant jive dance: “Ohhh her music is so good (It was the classic, Rockin’ Robin).”

On 16-year-old Zendaya’s footwear choices: “See, she can’t dance in heels. She should be dancing in heels. But she’s a kid… she’s not wearing heels.” (She actually wears heels 90% of the time on the show)

Zendaya’s video package talking about her final dance on the show: “It’s definitely going to suck” – Zendaya
“HA ‘SUCKS’! SHE’S A KID!” – My old mom

On appreciating figure skate alumni in the audience: “Oh Dorothy’s there too. Dorothy and Kristi are sitting next to each other!” (the DWTS mom version of fangirling)

“They need to improve the mirrorball trophy.”

On last season’s American Idol runner-up (and 1/2 Filipino), Jessica Sanchez, who performed: “Ay it’s Jessica!!! She has too much makeup on… she has on too much makeup.”

Still not over Jacoby making it over Aly: “It will be so disappointing if Jacoby wins… See he has the lowest cheers.” (from the audience)

After Jacoby was eliminated, leaving Zendaya and American Idol alum Kellie Pickler in the top two: “There – there it won’t matter who wins between the two of them… even though I like Kellie.”

When Kellie Pickler was named the champion of DWTS: “They’re (Kellie & pro partner Derek) shocked!! It’s because of their performance from last night. Because she’s very artistic… But derek won again – how many is this that he won? She didn’t become the American Idol but she was the Dancing with the Stars champion.”

I Am Not A Morning Person

Photo May 08, 12 59 01 AM

I have never been a morning person. Even as a kid I tended to stay up late way later than I should have, and despite thinking it would be easy to get up the next morning, it never was. Nothing’s really changed over the years, as much as I’ve tried. While we’ve all overslept before, I had somewhat of a nightmare story that includes breaking and entering, crossing state lines, and pushing the speed limit. Here’s an exact guide of what NOT to do if you want to get up on time like a normal human being.

1) Don’t go to sleep late if you need to get up early

Hello Captain Obvious. I mean this goes without saying, but sometimes it’s just so hard to go to sleep, you guys. The internet. Like, the internet is a deep, dark, scary, YouTube filled hole. But if you’re planning on taking a mini road trip to a city four hours away, and you have to be on time in order to make The Office tour in Scranton, Pennsylvania, don’t go to sleep late.

2) Don’t fall asleep with your phone in your hand

So here’s the thing about me: I use an alarm clock and my phone to wake up. Like a DUAL alarm clock, and set four alarms on my cell phone. The alarm clock is more of a warning, it’s almost time for you to get up, so you can keep pressing snooze, mechanism. The cell phone alarms are to actually wake me up. So when it’s imperative that you get up at 6am to take the subway to your friend/roommate’s house so she can drive to Scranton, make sure your phone is properly place don your nightstand, and not hastily on your bed. Because if it is just lying next to you while you’re sleeping, you could accidentally throw it off your bed in a fit of rage during your REM cycle, causing it to crash on the ground with the battery detached from the rest of the phone.

3) Make sure your roommate who’s been living at home still has a key to your apartment

If someone’s that’s meeting you is wondering where you are, but has no way of contacting you because your phone is in bits on the floor, it might be cause for concern. Death? Kidnapping? Ghost scenario and you haven’t been alive after all these years at all? Possibly. If you have a spare key or have a roommate who has a key and is willing to barge into your room to yell at you to wake up because you’re an absolute idiot, that would be ideal.

4) Know how to go from dead to awake in under 5 minutes

Always have an outfit in mind for the next day, especially if you know there will be a lot of photo opportunities. In the case of a late wake up call, you can just throw it on, brush your teeth real quick, and bring your makeup in the car. Also, know how to put on makeup in the car.

5) Make sure your driver friend is willing to disobey speeding laws

Because you’ve been a stupid hoe and totes Britta’d it, your awesome friend now has to make up for lost time. 4 hour driving time to Scranton from Boston? and we have to be there in about 3? No prob. Just speed and keep an eye out for the po-pos.

Meghan, Katie, Phyllis, and me with Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration

6) Get to Scranton right on time and meet Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration

Your Unofficial Guide to your new TV Addictions

May is always an exciting/bittersweet time in television, as our favorite shows wrap up and stow away in their little TV hibernation caves and don’t come out until September. It’s also the time when network execs decide who won’t be coming out of their hibernation caves and which new shows will get a chance to play with the other shows. This is a horrible analogy, but you (hopefully) know what I mean.

Last week, the networks debuted the trailers for new pilots coming at us in the fall. Here are the most promising shows that actually have a shot of making it past one season*.

NBC

Comedy
Sean Saves the World {Thursday @ 9p}

Sean Hayes is back on TV! Not only that but he’s back on NBC on Must See TV night. aka Thursday, because NBC *peacocks* comedy. He plays a single gay dad raising a teenage girl, hilarity ensues.

The Michael J. Fox Show {Thursday @ 9:30p}

NBC is really gunning for nostalgia this season, as another TV legend, Michael J. Fox comes back to the small screen. He plays a man with Parkinson’s disease who returns to work because he’s bored and feels like he’s annoying his family. Anyone who can make fun of themselves to this degree is A OK in my book.

About a Boy {Tuesday @ 9:30p – Midseason replacement}
Based on the Hugh Grant movie of the same name, David Walton plays the dad part and Benjamin Stockham (the kid from 1600 Penn RIP) plays the son. Don’t really care if it’s good or not but I’m watching this because it’s executive produced by Friday Night Lights and Parenthood god Jason Katims.

Drama
The Blacklist {Monday @ 10p}

The world’s most wanted criminal, played by a creepy James Spader, turns himself in to the police and offers to give up info about other criminals they’ve been chasing for years. Apparently The Blacklist was the highest tested show among the past 125 pilots NBC has seen over the past decade, so it has to be good, right?

FOX

Comedy
Us and Them

Listen, if you’re going to put two people from two of my all-time favorite shows together, I’m going to watch it. And it doesn’t even matter that in an alternate world, the guy dated her mom. Of course I’m taking about the great Jason Ritter (who is Lauren Graham’s true love on Parenthood) and Alexis Bledel (who is of course Lorelai III). But somehow – somehow, it works.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine {Tuesdays @ 8:30p}

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not sure if this show’s going to make it. On paper, it sounds great. This cop show stars Andy Samberg as an aloof officer and is executive produced by Mike Schur (the genius behind Parks and Rec and ex-writer/Mose of The Office). The trailer was just okay, but I’m hoping it’ll be better than I think.

ABC

Comedy
Super Fun Night {Wednesdays @ 9:30p}

Rebel Wilson. That is all.

Trophy Wife {Tuesdays @ 9:30p}

JOSH LYMAN!! JOSH LYMAN, YOU GUYS!!! Sorry. This is the first show Bradley Whitford has been on since I finished watching The West Wing, so I’m just excited he’s back on TV. BUT JOSH LYMAN!!!

The Goldbergs {Tuesdays @ 9p}

The Goldbergs is very Wonder Years-esque, but more of a quirky, Malcolm in the Middle type Wonder Years. It’s set in 1980s, so just watching it is like stepping into a

Drama
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. {Tuesdays @ 8p}

This involves Marvel and superheroes. I may not be particularly interested in it, but this will be a hit for sure.

CBS

Comedy
Mom {Mondays @ 9:30p}

Anna Farris as a single mom, who’s dealing with her own mom – Allison Janney? Yes, okay.

Drama
Hostages {Mondays @ 10p}

Toni Collette plays a Washington, D.C. surgeon who is scheduled to operate on the President. Except the night before, some random conspirators take her and her family hostage and threaten to kill her entire family unless she intentionally kills POTUS. Scary shit, y’all.

Intelligence {Mondays @ 10p/Midseason replacement}

This show has something to do with technology of the future and Lost’s Josh Holloway. I’m not really sure, but it looks really cool.

*unless it’s NBC, in which case anything is up in the air and everything will be cancelled after one episode.

The biggest decisions you have to make while on a plane

When I fly, I feel like everything has to be planned out. The hours I spend in a confined plane without Internet have to be thought out, not just hasty decisions made on the spot. I feel like even typing this out makes me sound a little crazy, but I feel like its the only way I can deal with flying. What do I mean exactly? Here are some examples of big decisions you have to make on a plane to make your travel experience streamlined and pleasant.

flight cabin

Complimentary Bevs
Why is it that I only drink tomato juice when I’m on a plane? Better question, does anyone drink tomato juice NOT on a plane? This is usually my bev of choice, sometimes I’ll opt for an apple juice or water, but the big kicker is – do I want coffee? Aren’t planes supposed to be the best way to catch up on sleep? Like what else are you gonna do besides read/watch a movie for 6 hours? But coffee? You smell it wafting through the stale airplane air and somehow it smells even better than usual.

Snacks
One has to be extremely careful of what they pick to eat on a plane. Dnt be the douche that brings McDonald’s number one special on the plane. Because the smell of fries will overtake the smell of coffee any day. Don’t eat any type of tuna fish or banana… Stick with like granola bars or candy or something. But of course that’s never what I want to eat on a plane. I usually want to eat those fries.

Bathroom Probs
This is the biggest problem for me. It’s why I always choose aisle seats. I hate having a window seat and then needing to go to the bathroom and having to ask my row mates if they can’t pause everything they’re doing and move for me. And you have to pick a good time to get up too – because if that turbulence hits while you’re in that phone booth sized bathroom, it’s not a pretty sight. Oh and also you could open the door that otherwise indicates the bathroom is vacant, only to have an awkward run in with you male flight attendant. Because that happens.

Talking to your neighbors
On my most recent flight, I was sitting next to a lovely couple probably around my age or in their early thirties. They set up their iPad and had splitter headphones in order to watch homeland together. HOMELAND!! All I wanted to do is ask them: DO YOU THINK BRODY IS A TERRORIST OR NOT?!? DO YOU SHIP BRODY AND CARRIE AS MUCH AS I DO??? (Not yelling of course. Sorry I got excited) There was a perfect time for me to ask the girl about my Homeland questions but then I realized it would’ve been weird for me to be all up in their space and essentially be like, “so I was watching your every move and noticed you’re watching a television program I’m highly interested in.. Want to talk about it for the next 5 hours?’ No. I can’t be that girl.

Forms of entertainment
Speaking of forms of entertainment, I have to have everything I’m planning on using directly in front of me. None of this going into the overhead compartment and digging out a book, magazine, iPod, snack. Etc. you have to have your shit together. And if you make the wrong decision and don’t want to read that book anymore, tough noogies, you’re stuck with it.

Flying can be tough, y’all.

Playlist of the Month: On the Road Again

This is a special time of year for us here at Cookies + Sangria. Both of us consider the time we left our study abroad countries as an “anniversary” of sorts, and we’re both at 7 years now. It’s hard to believe, frankly. Although the whole “college girl who goes abroad and learns about the world and herself” thing is a bit of a cliche, that’s exactly what happened for us.

We’ve both spent our fair share of time on the road and in the air since then, and we still love a good travelin’ song. Hopefully you do, too. Bon voyage, nos amis!

Check out the full playlist on Spotify!

Molly’s Picks:

Travel Light by Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling

When I was an astronaut I didn’t have my boots, When I was a coal miner I didn’t have the news, When I was a record store I didn’t have the blues, I travel light and that’s the life for me.

This is one of my personal travel anthems, and it doesn’t make a half-bad life anthem, either. Originally recorded by Diane Cluck and Jeffrey Lewis, I much prefer the Flynn/Marling cover.

Shambala by Three Dog Night

Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind, On the road to Shambala

In Nicaragua, our driver had a CD with about 5 tracks on it. We listened to it about 900 times over the course of a month. This was one of those songs, and it always brings me back to that hot, dusty village. Maybe an odd pick, but for me it sums up those perfect travel experiences where everyone you meet on the road is helpful and kind.

California by Joni Mitchell

They said “How long can you hang around?”/ I said a week maybe two, Just until my skin turns brown

On more long-term trips out of the country, it’s a weird, ambivalent thing thinking about your homeland from abroad. You’re sort of enchanted with everything you see, and you’re sort of ready to pack up and head home, too. Not that home is perfect: Joni was writing during Vietnam, and I was traveling a lot during the worst of the Iraq mess. Travel can magnify your home country’s flaws and make you miss it terribly all at the same time.

Elias by Dispatch

Distance is short when your hand carries what your eye found

When I left Spain, I learned one of the secrets of traveling: if you do it right, it means that wherever you go, you will always miss someone. I missed my friends and family in the U.S. during my months abroad, but when I came home, I missed my friends and “family” in Madrid. It’s worth making personal connections with people you meet on your travels, even if you have to accept that you may go the rest of your life without seeing them again.

Clean Getaway by Maria Taylor

He felt just like love. Except no fear of losing, and it wasn’t tough.

It’s so amazing when you travel that wherever you are is just plain home to someone else. Rather than making you feel empty that you’re anonymous, it mostly just feels free. This one reminds me of moving to a city where I didn’t know a soul but my own, which is always good to do in your early 20s (before, like a used car, your shock absorbers start to go).

Honorary mentions: I love Safe Travels (Don’t Die), but it’s more relevant when somebody else is doing the traveling. Chicago is another travel song I love, but like most Sufjan Stevens tunes, it means about 3 different things to me and will probably find its way onto a different Playlist of the Month anyway.

Traci’s Picks:

3×5 by John Mayer

Today skies are painted in a cowboy cliche. Strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky are next to mountains anyway.
This is a travelin’ song if I ever heard one. Driving down the road, taking in nature, the sights, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have someone you care about sharing it with you. Not to mention the instrumentals are a perfect background for his picturesque lyrics. It just feels like you’re on the move.

Going Home by Marc Broussard

You know I was born to roam.

In the same vein as 3×5, this jam has a general driving/travel theme in the lyrics, and the music feel like you’re on an old-timey train – like Hogwarts Express – going through the US to your love.

Cathedrals by Jump Little Children

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome, there is a feeling that you should just go home – and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.

When I studied abroad, I discovered this song and it really hit me. I had this weird emotion where I wanted to be back home in America, where everything was familiar, and where my friends and family were. But at the same time I wanted to explore every single city in Europe – a place where I was slowly calling home too.

Chocolate by Snow Patrol

This could be the very minute I’m aware I’m alive. All these places feel like home.

Gosh, if there was a scene in my autobiographical movie, where I was running through the streets of a foreign country with a handsome man and exploring everything, it would be set to this song.

Heads Carolina, Tails California by Jo Dee Messina

We can pack up tomorrow. Tonight, let’s flip a coin.

Ok, this song is admittedly corny, but we played this on our road trip from the east coast to LA constantly. The idea of just packing up and not knowing where to go next was an idea that I would never dare to do, but our semi-planned drive across the country was the closest thing I’ll ever get to flipping a coin and leaving.

Best SNL Sendoffs

Remember the pomp and grandeur of high school and college graduation? Saturday Night Live sendoffs are nothing like that, thank God. It’s more like that last get-together before all your friends took off for freshman year of college, or the final walk-through of your college house the week after graduation. It’s informal, and everyone is trying to be light-hearted. In most cases, you are genuinely happy for the opportunities ahead for your friends. But underneath all of it, there’s that knowledge that you have reached the end of the life you’ve gotten used to. A few tears, some laughs, and a lot of gratitude – here are a couple of my favorite goodbyes from cast members leaving Studio 8H.

Seth Meyers and Bill Hader

I wrote this post last week hoping against hope that I would be able to add another great goodbye from this weekend. I wasn’t disappointed. This included Stefan’s club attractions brought to life, Anderson Cooper, Amy Poehler, and the wedding of Stefan and Seth, who were sent off by all of the great Weekend Update regulars of the past several years. I loved it, and keep seeing new callback club characters every time I watch it. Which has been … some times.

Kristen Wiig

I cried watching this. I cried re-watching it. Then, I cried just thinking about it as an emotional Kristen Wiig took the stage as an SNL host this month. Everything about this was perfect. Poehler and Dratch even show up, which is exactly how I plan to leave every job ever.

A note: a few articles after the fact talked about how Jason Sudekis was clearly pissed off because he wasn’t clapping and dancing. I disagree – am I the only one who sees the man fighting back tears? I recognized the need to hang back, as another person who is terrible with permanent goodbyes. Seriously. When I said a prayer over my grandmother’s coffin, I think I told her “I mean, we’ll still get coffee sometimes or something.” When I visit graves of loved ones, I pray “don’t worry, we’ll totally keep in touch.” I get it.

Jimmy Fallon

We were just teens in the early 2000s, when this blog would have probably been hosted on Livejournal and called Cookies + Juiceboxes. And man, did we spend our fair share of study halls and lunch periods discussing the merits of Jimmy Fallon. So, how much did I love it when Jimmy went out on a parody of a classic high school flick right before we graduated high school for real?

On a related note, for all of you cringing at the YouTube video clearly snagged off of someone’s tv screen, let me tell you this. When I was in high school, we would have watched this as a camcorder video made of someone’s home VHS recording of the episode. And it would have been posted on Kazaa. And that’s if we were LUCKY, because we usually had to wait for someone to get off the phone so we could use the internet. I mean, we were practically accessing the internet via a tin can and string. You kids don’t know how comparatively okay you have it.

Gilda Radner

On my well-worn childhood VHS tape of The Best of Gilda Radner, there was the classic sketch “Dancing in the Dark.” I didn’t learn that it was also used as a farewell until years later. As fate would have it, Gilda’s dancing/comedy partner Steve Martin was hosting SNL the day she died, and this is how he said goodbye. Radner passed on early on a Saturday and there was time to assemble a tribute by showtime. Of course. In fact, she even would have been ready for prime-time.

A note: I wrote this post last week, as well as another mentioning Gilda that will be posted later in the week. I didn’t realize it at the time, but today marks the 24th anniversary of her death. The subconscious is a funny thing. Not funny “ha-ha,” like this classic song I’ll throw in for good measure:

Phil Hartman and Chris Farley

[http://www.buzzfeed.com/stacylambe/the-top-5-snl-departures?sub=1578360_309810]

Sorry for all of the tragedy and heartbreak in this post. I didn’t mean to. I still remember how shocked I was by both of these deaths.

All sorrow aside, this is by far the most ’90s thing you’ll probably watch all week.

Do you spy Sarah Silverman looking exactly the same 20 years ago as she does now? I think she bathes in the blood of virgins.

The only place I could find this video online was a Buzzfeed article with the exact same thesis as mine. No surprise there — Buzzfeed is always one step ahead of me. When I order a special at a restaurant, and they “just ran out,” I am almost positive that Buzzfeed ordered the last one. It’s like that.

Amy Poehler

As always, among the best of the best.