Live Blog: Sharknado 2: The Second One

Guys – it’s here. The movie we’ve all been waiting for:

The highly-anticipated sequel to the horribly-bad SHARKNADO premiered last night, and it was everything we hoped for and more. Last time, a literal tornado of sharks took over Los Angeles and it was up to Bev Hills’ Ian Ziering and train wreck Tara Reid to save the city. Legit, the fate of one of the biggest cities in America was in the hands of these two. And with a single chainsaw, they defeated the cheeky sharks – except the Jaws are back for more.

In Sharknado 2: The Second One (no, seriously), Fin (yes, Ian’s character’s real name) and April (Tara Reid) are on their way to New York City to promote the book they wrote about the 2013 Sharknado (I can’t even make this up) and their plane passes through yet another sharknado. When they land, they’re the only ones who can save the Big Apple.

Now if you happened to miss the movie last night, not to worry, because we live blogged it for you! Didn’t see the first one? No worries – last year, we liveblogged it too – but keep in mind you don’t necessarily need to have seen the first one in order to see the sequel. This isn’t Harry Potter or The Hunger Games here. So if you want to relive last night’s magic or just want to feel like you’re with the “in” crowd without actually watching this dumb movie, read on, friends.

M: Like all disasters, I’ve decided I have to approach this movie the way Olivia Pope would. By that, I mean popcorn and red wine.

M: I logged onto Facebook during the commercial and saw someone got his girlfriend flowers for their 23-day anniversary. Of dating. He is an adult. If anyone ever cares about me that much, I would dump him. Seriously, can’t a girl just get ignored and forgotten anymore?

T: April and Fin are on this plane together (going through aforementioned storm) and when she goes to grab his hand, a huge giant sparkler is on her left ring finger – have these exes reconciled? Has the Sharknado actually done some good?

M: First celebrity cameo: Kelly Osborne, playing Effie Trinket playing a stewardess.

T: She asks April to sign her book – which looks like a pamphlet you get from the high school guidance counselor.

Fin obviously has some sort of PTSD from the Sharknado because now he’s seeing shadows of sharks in the storm clouds from the plane. Except those shadows are legit sharks. Fin freaks out and another passenger (air marshal) comes over to see what all the hullabaloo is about and it looks like the scene in the last ep of Friends where Rachel’s on the plane and Dean Pelton freaks out because the plane doesn’t even have a phalange.

Ohhh shit a shark went straight into one of the engines! The side of the plane is gone! A shark is inside the plane and just knocked off Kelly Osbourne’s head!

M:  You know, even if they didn’t know there would be sharks in it, wasn’t it still a bad idea to fly into a tornado?

Both pilots were ejected from the plane and now it’s Fin’s turn to save this plane from completely going down. I mean at this point, all these people would be dead – most of them are screaming while the plane is free falling and an occasional sharks sneaks on the plane to kill a bitch on the toilet. Tara Reid is somehow still surviving by hanging onto a rope with half her body sticking out of the plane, and the air marshal goes to save her, gives her his gun to shoot a shark, but the shark bites off her arm with the gun attached. She’s really going to go through the rest of this movie with one hand?

Fin somehow has figured out how to land this plane. I feel like Ian Ziering is still taking these roles because he never became a big movie star after Bev Hills. Must be a hard life.

M: Everyone claps when the plane lands, which is pretty offensive – not because someone just died, but because that’s obnoxious.

Mark McGrath is Fin’s brother-in-law and is chillin in the center of Times Square in front of the old TRL studios and it’s probably the only place in the world he gets recognized.

Celeb Cameo Alert: Naked Cowboy, Matt Lauer, Andy Dick, former MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown, Kelly and Michael and BILLY RAY CYRUS AS A SURGEON. HE’S REPRISING HIS ROLE AS A DOCTOR.

M: It’s just going to be marginally famous people playing themselves and sharks and explosions for the next two hours.

Ugh GAWD Tara Reid’s acting – I mean you can’t even call it acting. The thing about this movie is that Ian and Tara are both trying to make this serious. Like not campy serious just – they’re taking it seriously. It’s a little sad.

Celeb Cameo Alert: ‘Pepa'(As in Salt, Salt & Pepa’s here), Al Roker, Taxi’s Judd Hisrch as a taxi driver, and Richard Kind.

M: A tough-talking cabbie says something about how “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.” I haven’t seen such a cartoonish depiction of New York since Oliver And Company.

M: I started off live-tweeting this TV event, but you know how when you really hate something, you have to hate it silently?

Fin is heading off to a Mets game to find his nephew and Mark McGrath. Vivica A. Fox is some chick named Skye who had a fling with Fin. She straight up kisses him without even asking if he’s single or not? Come on bro.

The sharknado is coming down hard on CitiField and Fin tells his pals to “grab something”, so they all grab baseball bats. Richard Kind, a former star baseball player, literally knocks a shark out of the park and into the jumbotron. I’m starting to realize that this whole movie is just 90s celebrities trying to make an extra buck.

Fin’s sister, her daughter, Pepa, and rando friend are all on a ferry back from visiting the Statue of Liberty and while on the boat, rando friend gets attacked by a shark and it’s gnarly.

We see some Water Department workers who go down into the sewer to try to fix something and there are ALLIGATORS down there – but don’t worry, a giant shark comes to eat it.

M: At least 50% of the screaming crowd and splashing sound effects from this movie are probably lifted from Titanic.

Celeb Cameo Alert: Jared from Subway, Perez Hilton ( who gets killed by a shark waiting for the train), the black judge from Shark Tank, and pizzeria owner Biz Markie.

bye felicia

Just realized Fin’s friend is Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock. It’s hard to tell who he is when he doesn’t have his personalized hats on. Once the shark’s done with the gator, it goes after the subway train, and Fin tries to fend it off and ends up stabbing it in the eye with the baseball bat. I mean, okay.

Fin: “Find a hardware store. I gotta get a chainsaw” (ref from the first Sharknado chainsaw massacre) And the hardware store is conveniently Out of Business. Meanwhile, the head of the Statue of Liberty is rolling around the city and the tornados are taking over Manhattan. Natch.

Mark McGrath and Fin have resorted to pilfering from bodegas and stealing a sword from an armored knight that just happened to be on display nearby. If you’re wondering where April is, she and her one hand are attempting to sneak out of the hospital. As she’s leaving, she hears some girl crying in the corner who’s super scared and just wants her mom. Naturally, April decides to take care of her and says “Take my hand and we’ll be okay” LOLOLOLOL. It’s like when Billy Zane stole that crying child and pretended to be her dad just to get on a lifeboat in Titanic. April gives the girl off to Downtown Julie Brown because the water and sharks are coming down the stairs, and her acting is still bad. Even the meteorologist on TV (who’s pointing at a graphic of a sharknado) is a better actress than Tara Reid.

Mark McGrath, Fin, his nephew, and Vivica A. Fox are stranded in a taxi with Judd Hirsch and have to use a rope to swing over the flooded, shark infested New York streets to … another patch of dry land? Not sure, but when Viv and the nephew swing together, it’s like, weirdly sexual and I’m not okay with it.

Of course, Judd Hirsch doesn’t make it and he goes down into the bloody mess, along with the rope Fin needs to join the others. But because Fin is a problem-solver and doesn’t give up, he decides to play leap frog on top of the sharks. HE IS LITERALLY JUMPING THE SHARK.

They make it to the building they’re supposed to meet his sister and niece (who are making their way on CitiBikes), and MM and neph stay in the lobby while Viv and Fin go up to the roof. (Sidenote: what happened to Viv’s face?) Apparently her dad didn’t approve of their interracial relationship years ago, so he called it off? Really, we’re dealing with racial issues in Sharknado 2?

Yikes. A giant shark just plopped right on top of Pepa. RIP Pepa.

Just like in the first movie, Fin is throwing bombs into the sharknados to defuse them, but it’s not working so they double it up. And you know, Viv casually slices a shark coming at them with that sword from the knight in shining armor. Their bombs are still not working, and in fact, it’s resulting in fiery sharks landing on people on the street.

Fin and Viv decided to go back down the building, but the rest of the gang is going up the stairs because the sharks are flooding in, and they all meet in the middle. Uh oh it’s either fire or water, what will they do? Also, the CGI is horrible on this.

 April magically shows up with the fire department to save everyone. We keep cutting to Matt and Al at the Today show reporting on the storm, and it seems like there’s double sharknados going on, and chances are they’re going to converge at the Empire State Building, because this suddenly turned into the end of a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan.

I don’t understand why the area around the Empire State Building is conveniently not flooding, but all the NYPD and NYFD folks are there, and so is the Mayor, who calls on Fin to help them. Because the bombs aren’t working, he has to freeze the sharknados, and to do that, he’s going to take a lightening rod to blow the freon tanks through the Empire State Building and into the storm. Forgot this was on the SyFy network so like, actually science is involved.

The meteorologist says there’s going to be a “shark falling rate of 2 inches per hour” – how do you even come up with this statistic???

Fin just gave the most ridiculous ,epic, Bill Pullman proportioned speech before he goes to do all his freon shenans:

APRIL HAS ATTACHED A CHAINSAW TO HER NON-EXISTANT HAND, WHICH SHE JUST GOT AMPUTATED EARLIER THAT DAY, AND SLICES A SHARK JUST BY PUTTING HER CHAINSAW ARM IN THE AIR. I’d like to point out in both the chainsaw situations with April and Fin – neither of them were covered in blood, despite the fact they both just clobbered these deadly fish with their hands.

Viv is risking her life to connect the cables to create lightening or whatever, and they’re successful, except both she and Fin are thrown into the Sharknado and while he’s easily floating by all the sharks, she gets cut into two. Huh?

People on land now have to deal with the falling sharks yet again, but because they’re New Yorkers, they’re prepared, and we see jump cuts of people going into their car trunks to get shovels, a machete, a bunch of machine guns (actual items shown), and then the angry mob takes to the streets of NY …

It’s raining sharks (at 2 inches per hour or more, I’m assuming)

Fin finds himself flying through the air still – with chainsaw in hand – and literally goes through a shark and goes out the other side screaming and (finally) covered in blood. We go back to Kelly & Michael for some reason and they’re still doing their show. Producer Gelman tells everyone to stay calm but he gets eaten by a shark that comes out of nowhere (LOL TO THE MAX) and Michael legit stops one from killing Kelly with his bare hands, and she steps on one with her red high heels. I love those two.

Matt and Al manage to get their hands on a shark and kill and and Fin somehow has chains on him still, so he decides to lasso one of the nearby flying sharks, stick the chains in him to create reins and maneuvers it to be speared perfectly by the top of the Empire State Building antenna.

OH MY GOD Once Fin’s back at the ESB with April, they notice another huge shark is coming towards them and he yells, “I need a weapon!” He looks around to find a dead shark nearby and because they’re focusing in on the teeth, I assume he’s going for that – NO. HE REACHES IN, AND PULLS OUT AN ARM. NOT JUST ANY ARM – APRIL’S ARM FROM WHEN THIS SHARK BITCH BIT IT OFF ON THE PLANE. FIN TAKES THE GUN ARM AND USES IT TO SHOOT AT THE SHARK. I MIGHT ACTUALLY VOMIT.

AND THEN HE TAKES THE GUN OFF THE HAND, PULLS THE DIAMOND RING FROM APRIL’S DEAD LIMB AND PROPOSES TO HER AGAIN. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK.

It ends with actual fireworks. And just like the first movie, with the word “Fin”. That’s right French majors, it also means “end”.

M: In a world with DVR and internet TV, there was absolutely no reason to watch this live and miss So You Think You Can Dance, or Who Do You Think You Are, or Sex In The Wild, which, as a PBS special about how marsupials reproduce, is somehow simultaneously more and less interesting than the title sounds.

Well, it looks like I’m going to bow out early (10:30) so I can be asleep by 11:30  or so. What can I say, last night I stayed up late watching a documentary about who betrayed Anne Frank – only to learn that the answer was “we don’t know … some jerk who knew where she was?”

T: Like a lot of sequels, Sharknado wasn’t as good as the first. It still had the same level of ridiculousness, but I also feel they were trying to be serious, which takes away from the whole campy-ness of it. I mean if you’re going to make a movie called Sharknado 2: The Second One, you have to go balls out on the camp. And hey, at least I got to see Ian Ziering take disgusting things out of a dead shark body again. Maybe’s it a new tradition I’ll have. Or maybe I’ll just watch SYTYCD instead.

Favorite Quotes:

“Welcome to New York!” Fin tells himself as a shark lands on the windshield of the plane he just had to emergency land.

“Go go go go go go go don’t wanna get eaten by a sharknado? We’re all gonna die in a sharknado” – Actual lyrics from the actual Sharknado theme song

Judd Hirsch: Tell me one thing – what does the inside of a shark smell like?

Fin: There’s no words to describe that, pal

Judd: Idk, i always thought it would smell like chicken. Or salmon… or cod.

“Maybe a hipster fell on the tracks, they’re pretty light.” Judah Friedlander, spittin the truth

“Think of it this way – it’s a twister with teeth.” – Al Roker, real life weather reporter

“Only one of my legs is real.” Judd Hirsch before he fails jumping over the sharks

“Residents are panicked because of the sharks that came raining down from the sky” Local meteorologist

“Even the sharknados are tougher in New York.” They couldn’t reinforce the fact New Yorkers are resilient more

“We work good together.” Vivica A. Fox  (Ew no you work well together, ugh)

“This is the Big Apple, Fin. When something bites us, we bite back.” Mayor of NY

 

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Marilla Cuthbert Was A Creepy Church Hag : C+S Book Club

If you’re Canadian, imaginative, bookwormish, or red-headed, chances are at some point you read and loved Anne of Green Gables. Published in 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s story is a timeless tale of orphans and family and imagination and screwing up your hair and dreams and getting your friend drunk by accident and Canada and Canadians and will they/won’t they romance and child-buying. Especially child-buying. When Anne, a plucky carrot-topped orphan with a heart of gold, ends up in Green Gables, she brings love, light, and happiness to Matthew and Marilla, a brother and sister who are married or whatever. Not to ruin this children’s classic for you, but Marilla wasn’t a kindly old lady trying to give an orphan a new start in life. She was a creepy church hag. Here’s why:

Marilla Tried To Buy A Little Boy To Do Chores

When her brother-husband got too old to run the farm, Marilla did the only logical thing (if you’re creepy and also awful) – she bought an orphan boy to do chores. Or tried to, because she got sent an orphan girl instead. Like Target, the orphan asylum has a pretty liberal return policy, but to her credit Marilla does keep the kid.

There Are Church Ladies, And Then There Are Church-Hags

… and Marilla is the latter. She initially kept Anne on a trial basis, like a mail-order vacuum. Even after she made up her mind, she wasn’t so sure about Anne –  because as a neglected orphan/indentured servant, I guess Anne’s bosses forgot to teach her about Jesus. Keep in mind, Anne was 11 and had already raised two families of what I can only picture as 19th century Garbage Pail Kids, so I guess she didn’t have time for scripture. Sorry Church-Hag, but she didn’t. To her credit (?), Marilla tried to buy a pre-Christianized orphan: she specifically told Rachel that she didn’t want a “London street Arab.” When Anne screwed up her bedtime prayers because nobody had ever cared about her enough to tuck her into bed and teach her social norms, Marilla said “Don’t you know it’s a terrible wicked thing not to say your prayers every night? I’m afraid you are a very bad little girl.”  But later,  when Anne tells Marilla about her boring day at church, “Marilla felt helplessly that all this should be sternly reproved, but she was hampered by the undeniable fact that some of the things Anne had said […] were what she herself had really thought deep down in her heart for years, but had never given expression to. It almost seemed to her that those secret, unuttered, critical thoughts had suddenly taken visible and accusing shape and form in the person of this outspoken morsel of neglected humanity.”

Yep. Marilla doesn’t even like church, but she’s still obsessed with it and tells small children that they’re “very bad” because nobody told them how to pray. And that, my friends, is a Church-Hag.

And Remember That Shit With The Brooch?

This is like 50% Marilla being a creepy church hag and 50% Anne being an idiot, so maybe you get the family you deserve. Anne gets all worked about about going to her first picnic and eating her first ice cream, and although picnics are uniformly less fun than you think they’d be (it’s seriously just eating, but outside), ice cream is awesome and she’s right to care so much. But Anne borrows Marilla’s brooch and leaves it on her shawl, and then Marilla thinks Anne stole it because orphans and heathens or something. So Marilla says Anne can’t go to the picnic unless she confesses to taking it. Anne gives a false confession under duress, and I can’t blame her because I would have confessed to murder when I was 11 if it meant I could get some Ben & Jerry’s. Still would. Then Marilla’s all “well, now you definitely can’t go to the picnic,” and Anne doesn’t know that picnics are lame yet so she is pissed. Then they find the brooch, and Marilla learns a valuable lesson that non-church hags never really need to learn in the first place: not to badger orphan children into confessing things they never did because you can’t keep proper inventory of your own stupid brooches.

She Uses Wine “Medicinally” … But We All Know What’s Up

Anne tries to give Diana raspberry cordial, but accidentally (or “accidentally”) rips into Marilla’s secret stash of currant wine instead. Marilla makes the following excuses and admissions:

  • “Well, this story will be a nice handle for those folks who are so down on me for making currant wine” – so, it’s known in the community that Marilla has a problem.
  • ” I haven’t made any for three years ever since I found out that the minister didn’t approve”- EVEN YOUR MINISTER, Marilla. Even your minister.
  • “I just kept that bottle for sickness.” – AKA withdrawal tremors
  • “[The currant wine] couldn’t have the least effect on anybody” – well, no, not if your tolerance is off the charts.

 

Bitch, If You Have Enough Money To Buy A Human Child, You Can Afford Puffed Freaking Sleeves

Damn, Church-Hag. I don’t know the going rate for a chore-orphan in the early 1900s, like how many toonies or whatever, but if you have that kind of money you can probably buy that kid the ugly dresses she wants. So you have to buy a few extra yards of fabric for the kid’s stupid sleeves? Most teenagers at some point will tell you that they “didn’t ask to be born” but seriously, Anne didn’t ask to be born, orphaned, leased out as a work-horse to human breeding farm Mrs. Hammond, so starved for human contact in an orphanage that she creates imaginary friends in the mirror like Tom Hanks on a deserted island with a soccer ball, bought by old married siblings by accident, and then given the worst dresses. Do you know what Marilla dressed Anne in before Matthew took pity on her and bought her those ass-ugly sleeves? Wincey. I Googled it. It’s basically burlap.

Like, did you spend so much buying your orphan that you have to dress her in bag material? That’s not just cruel, that is straight-up terrible budgeting. Get an accountant, Church-Hag. Maybe you could work out a budget to save up for a heart.

You Are The Company You Keep. Marilla’s Company Is Rachel Lynde.

You know those people who manage to insult everyone, but everyone makes excuses for them? That’s Rachel Lynde, Actual Worst Person In The World. So by association, Marilla is the Actual Worst Person In The World. Marilla may be your classic Creepy Church Hag, but Rachel is an even more insidious Church Hag – the normal-seeming gossipy kind who makes fun of orphans. Rachel doesn’t even like Marilla. She compares Marilla and Matthew’s living situation to getting used to being hanged – which, also, is Rachel some kind of idiot, because I’m 100% sure you don’t get used to that over time, you just get more and more dead. Rachel is the kind of mean old bag who meets a motherless child and says things like “She’s terrible skinny and homely. […]  Lawful heart, did any one ever see such freckles? And hair as red as carrots! ” That one got me in the gut, as a fellow skinny, freckly redheaded kid and also a human with feelings. But Marilla makes Anne apologize for calling Rachel out, because Marilla is a high-school girl who is friends with the queen bee because she’s too afraid not to be friends with her. Frankly if I want this kind of petty Canadian mean-girling I would just watch season one Paige and Ashley on Degrassi.

Oh. The other “company” Marilla “keeps” is the child she bought by accident, so that doesn’t really speak too well of her either, does it?

The Legacy Lives On

Despite her creepiness, Marilla has some good points. She does decide to keep Anne, and doesn’t do a totally awful job raising her, and Anne is so dense and weird that I can’t blame Marilla for getting frustrated sometimes. When Anne and Gilbert finally get their act together, they even name a kid after her (and honestly, that’s a whole other post — Anne And Gilbert: Shit Or Get Off The Pot, or alternately, Anne And Gilbert: When You Hate Someone It’s Probably Not Because You Secretly Love Them). Marilla was a creepy church hag, there’s no doubt about it, but she was at least a sort of crusty, lovable creepy church hag. In fact, if I ever buy a child to do chores for me, I hope I can be half of the owner-parent that Marilla was to Anne.

 

 

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Dance Academy

dad

G’Day, mates! That’s me addressing you in the same slang they use on Dance Academy. Although now that I think about it, I don’t recall anyone saying that at all throughout the show. Anyways, if you didn’t catch that, this show is from Australia. If you’re in need of a program to watch this summer that isn’t too ‘involved’ like Breaking Bad or The Wire, this is the perfect show for you. As a bonus, each episode is 30 minutes, and there are only 3 seasons (which are all on Netflix Instant), so you don’t even have to worry about catching up before a new season starts!

As I mentioned in a post about my Summer To Do List a few months ago, my friend Ana was pushing me for MONTHS to watch DA, and I finally did. And following my tendency to get obsessed with TV shows, this show followed suit. If you like teen centered programs like Degrassi or loved the great 2000 film Center Stage, you will most likely get just as obsessed with DA as I am, and here’s why.

What It’s About

Dance Academy is mainly narrated by 15-year-old Tara Webster who is a newly accepted first year student at the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. The series follows her and her fellow dancer pals as they deal with teen romance, rivalries and the pressures of being at a highly competitive dance academy. You know, pretty much everyone’s usual upbringing Down Under.

Reasons to Watch

Aussie Aussie Aussie! (Oi! Oi! Oi!)

Most of the show takes place inside the Dance Academy itself, but there’s a lot of scenes that show Sydney and the surrounding areas. I’ve never been to Australia, but it’s always been one of the places on my ‘bucket list’, and watching this show just makes me want to go there more/temporarily fill my Aussie desires. Not to mention, it’s just *cooler* watching a show that’s not American, you know what I mean? I found myself wanting to watch episodes just so I could go back to ‘Sydney’ every night. It’s like when you watch Friday Night Lights and just want to go Dillon, Texas for an hour or two. I mean, I don’t make it a habit of yearning to go to Texas on a daily basis, outside of the context of FNL/Austin.

Coming of Age Storylines

Screenshot 2014-07-25 15.06.56

If you’re a product of the 90s like we are, you grew up with shows like Saved by the Bell, Full House, Boy Meets World, everything on SNICK etc. But you know how there’s a difference between Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World? Saved by the Bell was a Saturday morning show where it was about sleeping over in a mall to get U2 tickets, while Boy Meets world was the TGIF show where Mr. Feeny would teach you a life lesson at the end of every episode. Dance Academy is more of the latter. While I can’t exactly relate to it like I did with SBTB or BMW when I was a tween, I imagine DA has the same effect of kids these days.

The show touches on a lot of different subjects throughout all 65 episodes that normal teens go through. All the kids come from different backgrounds – Tara is a naive girl from the bush (aka what ‘country’ is to us Americans), Sammy’s a Jewish kid whose dad disapproves of his dancing, Abigail, the daughter of a dance teacher, is a perfectionist whose only goal is to make it into the company, Kat comes from a super famous ballet family, and Christian is a troubled kid whose mom died and dad was absent most of his life and is in the Academy basically so he doesn’t get into trouble with the ‘bad crowd’. Together, they tackle themes of friendships, romance, jealousy, revenge, death, divorce, even eating disorders (come on, this IS a show about dancers), and don’t do it in a way that is tacky, insensitive, or too in your face. The fact that DA has won the Australian equivalent of the Emmy for Best Most Outstanding Children’s Program TWICE should say it all.

The Gays

On paper, Dance Academy is a show for teens. It’s only in recent years that we’ve seen more family friendly shows incorporate gay characters, so it’s refreshing to see a show in Australia featuring a fairly prominent storyline that involves a gay (well, at least bi) character in Sammy. Without giving too much away, Sammy is faced with trying to figure out what these feelings he has for boys mean, and if he can be comfortable admitting those feelings to his friends and family. There’s also Ollie, who is not your ‘stereotypical’ gay dancer type, and he addresses his sexuality in such a nonchalant way that I almost  didn’t notice he was coming out when he first talked about it. These two provide public figures that teens and younger kids can see on TV and realize that people don’t have to be reduced down to their sexuality, but that they’re just ‘Sammy’ and ‘Ollie’. Deal with it.

The Dancing, duh

I mean the show IS called Dance Academy, so there better be good dancing, right? What I appreciate about this show is that they clearly picked young people who were dancers first and foremost, then actors. I’ll admit, the acting isn’t Oscar worthy or anything, but you have to hand it to every single one of them for their dancing ability. It was hard to narrow three seasons of dancing into a sample platter for y’all, but I tried my best! PS: I would suggest not clicking on YouTube & just watching the embedded videos in case you’ll accidentally see a major spoiler!!

*Note: the video below is from the final scene of the entire series – it doesn’t give anything away, but JIC you don’t like any type of spoiler like me!*

If you guys watch DA or have watched it before, let me know what you think!!!

Design Spy: Crazy Decorating Styles You See At Open Houses

When my parents put the family home on the market during my freshman year of high school, they knew it was going to be a tough sell. The location could best be described as “drug dealer-adjacent.” The neighborhood even had a nickname – and not a cute New York-y one like LoMoFi or The Fishmonger District. No, it was called The Fatal Crescent, because if there was one thing we loved in the inner city, it was comedic nods to Mesopotamia. They knew that everything had to look amazing during the open house. They almost got it right, until they forgot to remove the laminated Mets poster that covered the buckling section of the wall in the attic bedroom. [I think it somehow explains a lot about me that all of my childhood posters were laminated. NO I CANNOT GET A GRIP. Getting a grip isn’t an option when you’re raised to painstakingly laminate Rose and Jack’s party in third class.] Imagine our dismay to come home and find that a prospective homebuyer had taken down the poster to get a closer look. I mean, God. That shit was loadbearing.

 

Through attending weekly open houses as a homebuyer, I’ve learned that my parents weren’t alone: a lot of folks just can’t get it together. So, as I get increasingly weary of comparing square footage and furnace attributes (who in the fresh hell has OIL HEAT?), I’m taking an almost anthropological interest in home decor instead. Sure, every family is different – some of them cover their buckling walls with Yankees posters, which may not even be laminated – but I’ve noticed some common decor styles:

 

Mormon Mommy Blogger

I’ve written before about my fascination with Mormon Mommy Bloggers, mostly for their effortless ability to do what I cannot: to exist as a generally appealing person who is also a lady. The Mormon Mommy Blogger decor style can be practiced by anyone — even if you aren’t Mormon, even if you aren’t a mommy. You need a bright and cheerful color combo, bird appliques, stripes and chevron, and tons of shit from Etsy. Just go to Etsy on a day – any day at all – hit up the homepage when they feature items that go together, and buy it. Then go to Anthro and buy a bunch of their stuff too. Most items you get will have the word “whimsy” or “tribal” in the description, which makes sense because you are part of the most whimsical tribe of all (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Instructions Included

Some people aren’t able to get through their daily life without signage telling them what to do and where. They may forget to Live, Laugh, and Love if it isn’t written down somewhere. In the kitchen, there is a big sign that says “EAT.” Over the bed: “DREAM”, or, for more whimsical people (but not, like, Mormon-whimsical) “Always kiss me goodnight.” In the family room: “FAMILY.” I’m sort of surprised their bathroom wall doesn’t proclaim “POOP” in Helvetica.

I might do this in my house, but I’ll make it a little more realistic. Kitchen: “REGRET.” Bedroom: “Always spend a half-hour deciding what to fall asleep to on Netflix.” Family room: “DVR.”

Page 104 of the Spring 2011 Pottery Barn Catalog

Decorating comes naturally to some people – and to others, The Pottery Barn catalog comes quarterly. Close enough. These folks will buy a coffee table, and also buy the exact flat bowl, weird twine ball, and candlestick holder that appear with it in the catalog. These houses look nice, but I’d like to see what these people do if you give them an off-book vase or picture.

Mid-20s pastiche

No, not the 1920s, though I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more art-deco homes. I’m talking about being over the age of 25 and having never bought furniture on purpose. These people have the plaid couch from their college house, the IKEA desk from their first apartment, the weird rococo chair from their nana’s den, and the dining room table that their parents replaced. I’ll admit that my furniture comes from all kinds of sources, but I make an effort to paint or upholster things so that it all goes together. Mid-20s Pastiche is more of a stylistic melting pot.

The ‘Car Interior’ Interior

I’ve been to a few houses that are very clearly Men’s Houses By Men Who Would Like You To Know They Are Men. Walls are painted a carseat gray. Accents are in some shade of red. There might be black bedding. There’s definitely chrome, and possibly framed car photos. The homeowner definitely uses some sort of hair wax. Ladies, if a gentleman brings you back to a house like this, it’s always okay to make an excuse to leave, because otherwise you might get killed. I don’t know why, but this style sets off my creep-o-meter.

I enjoy being a girl!

This is the female analog to the car interior style – in fact, the houses in these two styles are essentially the adult version of the Barbie/Hot Wheels Happy Meals. You can expect the following: Animal print. Hot pink. Wine glasses with maribou on them. Wall art celebrating martinis. Some sort of artistic depiction of shoes.

This woman doesn’t have a tinted black and white poster print of little girls she doesn’t know with caption “girls just want to have fun!”… but she did in college. There’s a very real possibility that she was in a sorority, but make no mistake — not all sorority alums are like this. She knows exactly which Sex And The City character she and her friends are (she’s “a Charlotte,” but probably more like a Season 1 Shoshanna.)

The Feral Child’s Keeper

This goes beyond babyprooofing – these people are actually afraid of their children. Every surface below six feet is completely devoid of ornamentation. Furniture is bolted to the walls. Bills are stored in something you have to lock. Crayons and markers change locations as soon as kids figure out where they’re stored in case they do some rogue wall coloring. Furniture is covered in sheets (“the one time we took off the sheets Emma-Lynn spilled a gallon of chocolate milk on it”). Floors are covered in dropcloths (“sometimes Ayden trails paint behind him – house paint.” Ayden is a baby). Light switches have duct tape over them (“otherwise Kayler likes to play with the lights” Kayler is over the age of 7). The kitchen has a lock on it. Everything has a lock on it. These people cannot have nice things because their children will ruin nice things (their children are not Mormon). I picture parents setting up the Frozen DVD then slowly backing slowly out of the room, occasionally opening the door a crack to throw in bags of fruit snacks then slamming it so the feral children don’t nip at them.

The Collector

Hummels. Camels. Precious Moments. Lladro. Bells. Teaspoons. Ashton-Drake plates. Madame Alexander dolls. Tchotchkes representing the land of your ancestors, even though they immigrated in the 19th century. These people never met one of something that they wouldn’t rather have 30 of. On the plus: they’re probably super easy to buy Christmas and Birthday presents for.

Crockpot Method

As in: Set It And Forget it! These people decorated their house one time, in the past. These are the best houses to go to because you feel like you’ve entered a time capsule or a living history museum. The classic crockpot house has 60s or 70s decor – big yellow flowered wallpaper, shag carpeting, avocado appliances, a bathroom fit for one of the Pink Ladies. But as more baby boomers move out of the houses they raised their kids in, sometimes you see an 80s or 90s house, with Laura Ashley curtains, light pine tv cabinets, and geese or ducks wearing bonnets.

 

All The World’s A Stage

This house looks awesome. The decor is current but not so trendy that you can’t see living there. It’s natural enough that it doesn’t look like a catalog page. But look closer – is that plastic lettuce in the kitchen? Yep – the house has been staged.

Comic-Con: Not Just For Nerds Anymore

When the first Comic-Con launched in San Diego in 1970, it was only attended by about 100 fans. It was originally founded to showcase comic books and science fiction/fantasy films and TV shows. The featured guests included a science-fiction book collector and a comic book artist. Since then, Comic-Con has turned into a pop culture mecca across almost all genres, including horror, animation, video games and more. 150,000 people are expected to show-up (would be my personal hell) this year. Is it because there are more comic book fans than ever or because Comic-Con has become the ‘it’ place to be?

my friend was forced to go to comic-con by her bf a few years ago and she said it was hot, sweaty, it smelled and way too many people in a close proximity. she goes every year – to enjoy san diego while everyone else is at the convention.

There was a time when Comic-Con was thought of to be the place where geeks gather – which, let’s be honest is still true to an extent – but over the years, geek culture has become cool, and all zeitgeisty. I mean the fact that the most popular films over the past decade or so have been superhero films says it all. The kids who were once made fun of for reading comic books aren’t nerds – they’re the ones who know most about current pop culture.

And this particularly reflects at Comic-Con, where it’s become the ‘go-to’ place for celebrities over the past few years. If you want buzz for your TV show or movie, you better go to Comic-Con. All of the major studios get a couple hours to show off their upcoming movies and last year, director Zack Snyder made an unannounced appearance at the Warner Bros. panel to reveal that his Man of Steel sequel would feature Batman. Obviously, since then so much hype has been made about who they would cast as Batman, and even more of a fuss was made when they announced Ben Affleck would become Batfleck.

On the TV side, the cast of Veronica Mars went down to San Diego for a panel in Hall H, the biggest venue with over 6,000 seats. It was the first time the cast and creator Rob Thomas came together in front of the public since they smashed the Kickstarter records, and they debuted the first (mini) trailer for the film. Thanks to technology and social media, people live-blogged, live-tweeted, live-Facebooked etc. the event and the conversation about Veronica Mars reached beyond the 6,000+ people in Hall H – it went all around the world. This is the kind of publicity and buzz entertainment bosses and marketers hope for when they send their casts to Comic-Con, and it’s exactly why the convention has gone beyond traditional comic books (although those folks are definitely prominent throughout the weekend as well).

Whether you’re heading to Comic-Con among the throngs of people or following the action in the privacy of your own home, here are a few panels/events to keep an eye on as the buzz gets buzzier.

Thursday, July 24th

The Giver

Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, and Odeya Rush, director Phillip Noyce, and author Lois Lowry are scheduled to attend, but this is Meryl Streep’s perfect opportunity to show up to Comic-Con and blow everyone’s minds. Also, this will give the cast and director a good chance to defend themselves against everyone that hates the trailer.

Community

#SixSeasonsAndAMovie!!! It’s coming back y’all. Just when you thought they were out, they come back like Starburns from the dead. Speaking of which, he’ll be there, along with Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and executive producers Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna. While I’m glad it’s rightfully receiving its sixth season, it’ll be interesting to hear where they’ll take the storyline and if the show being on Yahoo will effect it at all.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Just in time for the sequel which premieres on July 30th, the cast, including Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and Judah Friedlander will be on hand to talk about ANOTHER tornado made of sharks. (P.S. we’re liveblogging it, so be prepared)

Goosebumps

Yes, that Goosebumps. Jack Black stars as R.L. Stine, whose crazy scary creatures are brought to life by his teenage neighbor, played by Scandal first kid Dylan Minnette. Chances are they’ll release some kind of clip or something but will the posters ever be as good as the covers?

Pixels

Finally, a movie of Adam Sandler’s that doesn’t sound stupid or sexist! In this movie, aliens mistake satellite feeds of classic arcade video games like Space Invaders and Centipede as a declaration of war and attack Earth using the same eight-bit characters and strategies. The U.S. President (Kevin James) hires a group of former arcade prodigies including Adam SAndler, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad to combat the aliens. Color me intrigued.

Friday, July 25th

Mike Tyson Mysteries

Mike Tyson has a cartoon. He stars in a cartoon where he solves mysteries. His co-star is Jim Rash from Community. I don’t even really like animated series but the fact that Mike Tyson is a *voice over actor* is hilarious.

Orphan Black

An hour in which the cast, executive producers Graeme Manson and John Fawcett and the fans in attendance praise Tatiana Maslany and let out their frustrations over the fact she was snubbed yet again this year at the Emmys.

Horns

Daniel Radcliffe wears horns in this movie. He was supposed to come for HP & The Deathly Hallows, but couldn’t because of scheduling, so hopefully this year will mark his long-awaited debut at the Con. It’s like the mothership is calling him home. The movie’s about DanRad’s character who grows devil horns after his town is convinced he murdered his girlfriend. You know, the usual overdone storyline.

Saturday, July 26th

Fight Club: From Page to Screen and Beyond

Author Chuck Palahniuk recently announced that he’s finally writing that sequel to the first book, a mere 18 years after it was released. That sequel is appropriately coming in the form of a 10-issue comic book series, and he will no doubt talk about it at the panel. The movie’s director, David Fincher will be on hand and I’m guessing the chance of Brat Pitt or Edward Norton showing up is slim to none.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has three major films on the docket, including Jupiter Ascending (Channing Tatum being all heroic with Mila Kunis), Mad Max: Fury Road (Charlize Theron looking like a badass) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (honestly had no idea there were still more Hobbit movies in the making). Of course there might be a surprise or two – perhaps Zack Snyder will show up like last year, but this time with the cast of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Batfleck, everyone. Just want to keep saying Batfleck.

Marvel Studios

I’m going to be honest with you guys – I haven’t seen The Avengers. Add that to my list of pop culture blind spots. Of course it’s like one of the best-selling films of all time, but I’m immune to it, apparently. The follow-up, Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t come out until next May, but there’s sure to be something teased at Comic-Con. Of course Marvel will make its last-minute push for Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens next weekend (not like they’ll need it). I’m just looking forward to more Chris Pratt interviews, and maybe more french braiding.

Sunday, July 27th

Batkid: The Film

Get your tissues out again. The San Francisco kid who stole our hearts is back at the centre of a project of an Indiegogo campaign, and the filmmakers behind the documentary will be on hand to talk about the movie (and probs ask for money).

Random notes: Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox will also give presentations, and panels from the Sin City sequel and Outlander TV series will be held. There might be unexpected previews for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and the new Jurassic Park too. Also, super geeks will rejoice in seeing Benedict Cumberbatch at his first ever Comic-Con. Keep your clothes on, ladies. And men.

#Prince George Memes #Better Than Your Faves

Exactly one year ago today, a lot of creeps from around the world were on Baby Watch, staring at a hospital in England, waiting for a couple to come out to debut their new kid. Of course, because it was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the future king, it wasn’t as creepy. Today we celebrate his first birthday, and a year of adorable public appearances from Prince George. It’s hard to believe that this tiny tot:

Is now this overall-wearing sorta ginge (?!) walking babe amongst us plebs.

That’s right. I said plebs. Plebeians. The commonfolk. Let’s be real, none of us (unless you’re a member of the royal family reading this right now, in which case – ‘what up’) are worthy enough to be in Prince George’s presence, let alone look at photos of him. This is precisely why the plebs of the internet are my heroes. Who would have ever imagined that some pedestrians would be able to turn Prince Geezy’s public appearances into memes that will forever make me laugh and swoon at the same time? In honor of his royal highness’ landmark birthday, here are some of my favorite Prince George memes the internet wizards have made since his birth last year. Enjoy. And happy birthday baby!!

Broad City: A Toast to Elaine Stritch

We lost a good one yesterday, folks. Elaine Stritch – actress, singer, and the ultimate performer – passed away at the young age of 89. Or at least that’s what she made it seem like, anyways.

Elaine was known for her brutal honesty. Her salty candor. Her tart tongue. Her brassiness (is that even a word?). Her refusal to wear pants. Her unwavering ability to tell it like it is and not apologize for it. She was the absolute definition of a broad (in the best way possible). Elaine was what a lot of women, and men too, I imagine, wished they had the courage to be. She was fearless and she was truthful, classy yet not, and admirable all at the same time. A true legend and icon that will never be matched in our lifetimes.

And then there’s her talent. Ooh did she have it. A lot of people from our generation or younger are most familiar with Elaine as the wise-cracking equally as opinionated and verbal Colleen Donaghy, mother to Alec Baldwin’s Jack. I think this clip properly summarizes her character on the show – behind the caustic exterior is a woman who is caring and loving, despite the fact she doesn’t show it. Like, ever.

But Colleen Donaghy was just a role towards the end of her impressive career. She made her Broadway debut in 1946, and went in to appear in Wonderful Town and a number Noel Coward plays. However it was Stephen Sondheim (Steve, she called him) that helped her become the iconic Broadway actress she is/was today. In 1970, she was cast as the vodka-stinger drinking Joanne in his show Company, a role she was born to play. Or rather, was born to play her.

The character of Joanne was not only written for Elaine Stritch, it was based on her, or at least on her acerbic delivery of self-assessment, as exemplified by a moment George Furth had shared with her: they had entered a bar at two in the morning and Elaine, well-oiled, had murmured to the bartender in passing, ‘Just give me a bottle of vodka and a floor plan.’”
— Stephen Sondheim in Finishing the Hat on the late, great Elaine Stritch (1925-2014)

Shortly after the show opened on Broadway, a documentary of the cast recording the soundtrack was released, and in a memorable scene, Elaine is shown recording her classic song Ladies Who Lunch to less than perfect recordings. She eventually got the hang of it, and  what resulted was an act of genius, both on Sondheim’s behalf and Elaine’s on point delivery.

Fast forward to 2002 when she opens her one woman show on Broadway, Elaine Stritch At Liberty (which you can view in its entirety here). She talks about everything throughout both her professional and personal life, like the time she had a horrible date with Marlon Brando or describing the pain she felt after her husband’s death with the only way she knew how – a song from Sondheim’s Follies. She won her first and only Tony Award for the show, and the same guy who made the Company documentary turned At Liberty to a documentary as well in 2002, earning her an Emmy for Best Performance in a Variety Special in 2004, providing one of the most entertaining acceptance speeches in Emmys history.

Elaine took on Broadway one more time in the revival of Steve’s A Little Night Music, and appeared in a number of cabaret shows, which she performed in a cabaret below her apartment. And by that I mean she lived at NYC’s Hotel Carlyle and performed in the cafe downstairs. Woman was still energetic even into her 80s (I mean, I’m obsessed with this interview from last year. Doesn’t miss a beat). In 2013, after being a New Yorker for years, Elaine decided to move back to her homestate of Michigan in a subrub outside of Detroit.

“She doesn’t miss New York? “You say that like it’s not true!” she says. “I feel good about being here. When the hospital sends for me, when the ambulance comes and I ease my way out of the world, I’d rather be in Detroit, Michigan, than Lenox Hill. Pfft.” She actually spits. – Interview with Vulture in 2013 {x}

With Elaine gone, there’s an Elaine-shaped hole in the world of Broadway, in the world, really. It’ll be hard to ever find someone like her on the stage again. But here’s a toast to what Elaine left behind. A legacy that will be cherished for years. The tears, the laughter, etc. etc. etc. She probably wouldn’t want too much hullaballoo and ass kissing during her time of mourning anyways. So, let’s just drink to that.

 “I pray that I may live expectantly. To live expectantly – what’s going to happen on Sunday, and on Sunday what’s going to happen on monday? In the meantime, stay where you fucking are and enjoy it the best way you know how.” – New York Times Interview, 2008 {x}

Throwback Thursday: Pappy Drewitt

Ah, Pappy Drewitt. If you were born in the 90s, maybe you can still hear the song: Pappy, Pappy Drewitt, he drew Pappyland. And you too can do it, if you’re in Pappyland!

But I wouldn’t know, because I was born in the 80s. Young enough to watch children’s TV in the 90s, but old enough to watch it mockingly, I remember singing something more like “Crappy, Crappy Drewitt, he blew Crappyland. And you too can do it, if urine Crappyland!”

If you wonder why millennials like things ironically, I direct you to the (relative) success of the T.L.C. show Pappyland. Except for children under the age of 5, none of us were watching it in earnest. We were watching it to exercise our budding comedic sensibilities, like a fawn first learning to walk. Pappy Drewitt is probably the cultural moment that confirmed that we are truly The Shittiest Generation.

Pappyland was a children’s art show about a kindly elderly man who lives in a fantasy world that he drew himself, possibly an allegory about how those with Alzheimer’s connect with the very young, possibly an attempt to teach children about the joys of self-expression. It was a tender gift from TLC to the children of the world – literally. The opening sequence actually says “Dedicated To Children Around The World.” And the shitty children around the world said “ha, it rhymes with Crappyland!” and tore it to shreds.

80s Babies, I’m back for round two.

Feel free to watch along and follow my commentary – but I’m inclined to think that this is burned so deeply in our collective memory that you don’t even need to watch it to remember.

Even though I hate-watched Pappy Drewitt, I still always secretly wished he would say my name when he greeted children through the screen. He never did, because those bitches were always named Jessica.

Pappy Drewitt is a soulless children’s show: like Barney without all of the children. Or Mr. Rogers without the gentile middle-class lifestyle (I think Pappy is Appalachian?). Or Sesame Street without virtually everything likeable about Sesame Street.

They’re obviously trying – there are puppets, which is sort of the minimum baseline effort you have to make in children’s t.v. – but there’s not a surly Oscar or a childlike Elmo in sight. Instead, the Pappy puppets are all indistinguishable idiots. There’s an idiot bear, a dumb-bitch girl flower, and this one stupid bird.

The bear, in particular, looks like a Furry. I think Dumb Bitch Girl Flower is the only female character on the show, and for once I say “thank you, that’s quite enough representation for one day!” Boys, you’re going to have to bear responsibility for this tv mess almost alone.

pappy4

Pappy wears a ring, so he is either married or widowed. He also wears a 99-cent bandana and a plain t-shirt that look like they came from a Michael’s Craft Store. There is a turtle named Turtle-Loo, who has a god-awful indistinguishably “ethnic” accent. He is either French, Italian, or Spanish. Pappy whitely intones “prrrrronto!”  At least  Dora The Explorer teaches the children of the world how to speak annoying non-English catch-phrases correctly.

Pappy teaches us about manners in this episode, I guess, but he’s sort of dogmatic about it and he’s basically a real dick.

pappy6

During the first run of Pappy Drewitt, I was at that magical age where no matter what he drew, in the beginning it always looked like a butt or some boobs. This episode is no exception. He draws a bunny, but he starts with the eyes, which look like nothing so much as lopsided cartoon tetas.

pappy1

Guys, he just KEEPS DRAWING. In real time. For over six minutes, we watch a piece of paper as a grown man doodles a bunny on it. Can’t they do that cooking show thing and time-lapse it? When Pappy finishes we learn the name of this piece: “Two Bunnies In A Doorway, And There’s Carrots In The Doorway.”pappy3

In college we made my friend, who was high, watch a video of these cat marionettes. He could not deal with it. We had to turn it off. I think if we had showed him Pappy Drewitt instead, his brain would have actually exploded.

Sing-A-Song-Sam (Michael Curley), a 1920s barbershop quartet-looking guy, sings a tuneless song about manners. I’d like to remind everyone that before T.L.C. was America’s Sideshow, this is the kind of thing we watched on it.

pappy5

Holy cow. He is seriously going to spell out the entire word “polite” as a mnemonic to teach the rules of politiness. Isn’t that way too complicated? Isn’t the only rule of politeness “don’t be a dick?” Maybe I shouldn’t have kids. There are not actually six rules, because some of these are clearly repeats:

P – Say Please And Thank you!

Okay. I’ll give them this.

O – Offer To Help Out Too!

Fine, yeah. But this still falls cleanly under “don’t be a dick.”

L – Listen To What Others Say

Sure.

I – Is there anything that I can do?

I’m sorry. Is this an illustration of “offer to help out too”?

T – take turns in the games you play
E – Excuse me if I’m in your way!

So basically, be more Canadian.

Hold onto your hats, kids, now Pappy’s going to color the picture! We watch a grown man color for an additional 5+ minutes. I take back my indictment of our generation: Pappyland deserved our scorn.

Pappy calls himself “Pappy,” in the third person, and it truly sounds like more of a personal weird bedroom thing.

As Pappy colors the wall yellow, he surmises “It could be made of straw! Or it could be painted this color!” Then he says like seven more things about the color, which I repeat, is just yellow.

Finally, Pappy shows us drawings sent in by viewers. There’s one with the same first and last name as a girl we went to high school with and, considering Pappy was filmed an hour away in Syracuse, I think it’s probably hers. All of the kids’ drawings look better than Pappy’s stupid Rabbits With Doorway Carrots or whatever.

Speaking of high school, the quality of Pappy Drewitt’s special effects is actually lower than the greenscreen we had for Morning Update, our daily in-house student news program.
We have to leave, because it is now “quarter to orange!” I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey to Pappyland. Michael Cariglio (Pappy) is (or was?) probably a kind-hearted, imaginative man who wanted to share his love of drawing with children around the world. Instead, he helped a generation of children hone their mockery skills and probably inspired more than a few of them to take up light drug use. This, truly, was his gift to the world’s children.

Camp Cookies + Sangria: Weird Summer Camps Parents Send Their Kids To

As part of our summer series, we’re taking you beloved readers to internet camp. Both of us were deprived of going to cool camps (like the space camp Nickelodeon sends you to when you win Double Dare), so we’re making up for it as adults. This week, we’re taking a look at the camps that are a little odd. The ones in which parents are so desperate to give their kids to strangers that they’ll pay any amount of dough to get rid of them for a week or two.

High Explosives Camp

Rolla, Missouri

Explosives Camp is held at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where high school students can get a “hands-on experience” with explosives. The students are of course educated on the proper ways to handle and detonate various explosives, but the big hurrah comes at the end of the camp when they basically get to blow alll the shit up. Campers setup and shot a fireworks display, which includes high explosives, blasting agents, rock blasting and demolition. In case you’re wondering, campers must be at least 16 years old, and a background check is done on all applicants to “ensure good moral character and ethical standing”. AKA no crazypants.

Ninja Camp

New York

According to the Ninja Camp USA website, they are an “Intensive Ninja Fantasy Camp allowing Adults & Kids to experience the life and training of the Great Shinobi (Ninja’s) of Japan.” IDEK what that means, but what I’m taking this as is adults giving kids knives to pretend they’re ninjas. Just so we’re clear.

Camp Rivendell (Fantasy Battle Camp)

Calgary, Canada

Words I am typing for informational purposes but in actuality have no idea what they mean: Camp Rivendell is named after the Elven outpost in middle-earth established and ruled by Elrond Half-elven from J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. Also, it’s a Catholic camp for boys. The purpose, according to the website, is to provide  an “incredibly fun and imaginative setting for boys to learn about virtue and authentic manhood, while also growing in their Catholic faith.” Okay. There’s planned battles, tournaments, jousting, castles, forts, real armor and even an enemy called the “Orc Army”. Basically it’s just one week of LARPing to extremes while practicing the sacraments in their downtime.

Wizards & Warriors Camps

Westford, Massachusetts


Speaking of LARPing, kids can stay in America to participate in this Wizards & Warriors Camp. They’re thrown into “battles” and get to create their own armor, play with (foam) weapons, and make up their own characters. Watching the video above kind of made me sad for the kids who feel like loners at regular school but I’m also glad they found a place where they’re accepted at the camp. But also, this place looks like a shitshow. Everyone is running around willy nilly! How is there any order??

Role-Playing Games at Independent Lake Camp

The Poconos, Pennsylvania

So role-playing games are like really popular these days, huh? Independent Lake Camp is your usual, run of the mill camp, but there are different areas kids can focus on, like theater, sports, or art, but then they also have specialized programs like magic and role-playing. The campers are put into small groups led by a game master and they play Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars, Magic: the Gathering, etc. For those super smart geniuses, there’s also a “rocketry” program where campers can make their own flying models. Not sure what that has to do with role playing, but it sounds cool.

Plantation Farm Camp

Cazadero, California

Plantation Camp is not as bad as it sounds. Located in the Sonoma County Redwoods, kids live and ‘work’ on a farm, and are completely unplugged. No iPhones, iPads, iPods, iNothing. The campers care for the animals and gardens on the farm and do a total ‘farm to table’ experience every day. Seems like a good idea in theory, but how many of these kids were forced to go to this place by their parents?

Zombie Camp

Burlington, Massachusetts


Zombie Camp is a place were children can go to learn survival skills and how to live in the outdoors. But also learn how to kill zombies with nerf blasters. Just imagine it’s like living in The Walking Dead but Jr. edition. Also, can we just take a minute to shout out the poor souls (read: broke college kids) who have to dress up as these zombies and run around in a field all day? Props.

Equestrian Teen Tour of Russia

Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia

This Equestrian camp isn’t even that weird – it’s just… so specific. Campers can mix their love of horses with their love of classic Russian culture, you know, like most kids between the ages of 7 and 17. Participants ride their horses in the morning and by afternoon, they’re hitting the city for cultural tours of local museums and historic sites.

Playlist Of The Month: Summer Jams

We’re well into the summer season when visits to the beach are mandatory, weddings are aplenty and we spend our days counting down until vacation. And of course none of these activities would be enjoyable without a good summer soundtrack. More than any other season, I feel like songs help mold the three or so months where the sun (theoretically) shines bright every day, and you’re naturally in a good mood. So here’s a list of our favorites for this year’s summer playlist that will hopefully make your summer days as bright as they do ours!

Check out the entire list on Spotify:

Traci’s Picks

Day Drinking – Little Big Town

In like 2007 or 2008 I saw Carrie Underwood in concert and Little Big Town, a then relatively unknown band (to me at least) opened up for her. My friend and I were like who da fuq are these people? And what’s with the name? Well clearly they’ve since become huge in country music and I am so obsessed with this song. Who doesn’t love day drinking on a hot summer’s day?

Boom Clap – Charlie XCX

Like most people, I became familiar with this song from The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. There are a lot of great songs on the album, but this one has the perfect feel of young love and makes me want to let down my hair and slowly sway back and forth on a rooftop patio during a cookout.

Restart – Sam Smith

Last week I was in the car for approx 20 minutes and heard two Sam Smith songs on two different radio stations. Boy is blowing up! I fell in love with him when I first heard Latch using during auditions on So You Think You Can Dance last year and immediately needed to find out what the song was. It has since become one of my most played songs on iTunes and made my 2013 Summer Jams list too. Even with his EP released earlier this year, I was dying for Sam’s full length album. As soon as I heard Restart, I knew it was going to be one of my new fave tracks and I have since done the thing where as soon as it ends I just listen to it over and over again, or restart, rather.

Brand New Pharrell featuring Justin Timberlake

Pharrell basically makes megahits with everyone he works with, but when he gets together with Mr. JT, it’s like next level, Michael Jackson shit. I can’t help but move around and dance to this song and I may or may not have found myself in a YouTube spiral of watching people’s choreography to this song.

Rather Be – Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne

Like Sam Smith, Clean Bandit is another British import. This song has been at the top of the UK charts for months now, and after seeing them dominate across the pond, I had to check them out. Rather Be has a contemporary feel – like they should be playing at the Gobi stage at Coachella – but at the chorus it switches up to a 90s dance vibe – like the opened up for a tour with Real McCoy & La Bouche. I can’t get enough of it.

Honorable Mention: Paris – Magic Man

In full disclosure, my good friend’s brother is in this band. But I legitimately like this song a lot and think they’re going places. In fact they’re literally going places when they open up for Panic! At the Disco this summer, so check them out, if you’re into that!

Molly’s Picks

Water Fountain – Tune Yards

So, here’s the deal with this year’s “songs of the summer.” Every song that seems like a contender also feels like it’s been out forever. It just doesn’t feel like a “summer jam” if I listened to it while driving through snow four months ago. So, most of my picks will be jams that for whatever reason haven’t made it to top 40 radio yet. First up: this song that is more of an earworm than half of the creatures featured on Animal Planet’s Monsters Inside Me.

ChiRaq – Nicki Minaj feat Lil Herb

Okay, if this one isn’t on the radio as much as it should be, it’s only because there is no way to take out all of the swears and have it even somewhat make sense. I’m sure that won’t keep Kidz Bop from trying, though.

Drive-In Movies – Ray LaMontagne

I always love a good country song about the joys of summer, but I just haven’t found any I love this year. However, Ray LaMontagne’s tribute to the drive-in — one of my favorite summer staples — sort of fills the same niche topically, albeit without the twang of actual country music. What can I say, I love when LaMontagne gets a bit Springsteen-y.

Chandelier – Sia

Sia: not just for making you crying during TV montages anymore.

Jealous – Chromeo

Like Haim and Yelle, Chromeo makes me feel like I’m experiencing the best parts of the late 80s-early 90s and the present day, all at the same time.