Pop Culture Blind Spot: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

My knowledge of this film: Audrey Hepburn. Jewelry. Her iconic look. The hit 1993 song of the same name by Deep Blue Sea.

It’s weird to see this so clearly as if the movie was made yesterday. Also I definitely thought it was made way before 1961, which really isn’t that long ago. I mean we’re talking season one of Mad Men.

No but, did the song Moon River get popular because of this movie??

Also I admit, this is maybe the first movie I’ve ever seen Audrey Hepburn in? JK I FORGOT ALL ABOUT MY FAIR LADY PLS FORGET THAT.

This Japanese guy… isn’t actually Japanese, right? And he has fake teeth? And a horrible accent? This is obviously not OK, but I feel like I’d be more offended if I didn’t know this movie was made when minorities still had to use separate water fountains. UPDATE: IT’S MICKEY ROONEY. IT WAS APPARENTLY A WHOLE THING. GOOD LORD.

HER BED IS SO TINY  Omg these dangling ear buds are so fabulous. And she’s drinking milk out of a champagne glass. Good lord.

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I honestly have no idea what happens in this movie, but I get why people love it based on the New York aesthetic alone.

RIGHT CLICK SAVE THIS FOR SHADY BUSINESS:

Audrey Hepburn’s like, really pretty. Has anyone else ever noticed this?

Also George Peppard. What’s his deal? (I found out his deal)

Oh and Holly just put Paul in the friend zone by nicknaming him Fred, just like her brother. Except then she casually asks to lay in bed with him. Girl. Got. Game.
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This OJ Berman guy (Martin Balsam) talks fast and smooth like Conan O’Brien’s impersonation of guys that go to speakeasies.

Holly has a party in her apartment and by the end of the night people are totally shitfaced. There’s lit’rally a woman crying into her reflection in a mirror. Holly’s friend Mag Wildwood falls flat on her face as Holly yells Timber. Are they are on acid? Is Roger Sterling here? I miss Mad Men.
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HOLLY IS LIVING A PHONY LIFE JUST LIKE OJ SAID. Her name is Lulu Mae Barnes! And she’s married to a Southern dude named Doc Golightly who was on The Beverly Hillbillies! And they married at 14! That was normal back then? Or was it still weird?!

I was under the impression Holly was going to be upset Doc was there but she seems v happy to see him? Isn’t this going to end with her and Paul together? I’m just assuming.

Promise me one thing – don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Until I’m very drunk indeed.

Holly says her goodbyes to Doc and she and Paul go to what seems to be a 1960s strip club. Which leads us to yet another iconic shades GIF:

A drunken Holly states she’s got no money so she’s marrying someone who has a lot of it. Cool. Except a few days later we find out he’s found some other chick to marry. To lighten her spirits, she and Paul decide to spend a day doing things they’ve never done before, which includes stealing animal masks from a store and scare a police officer with them on.

Oh yay they kissed. And spent the night together. Ow Owwww!

Honestly: 

“You’re a very stylish girl. Can’t we end this stylishly?” Is Paul being condescending or is this just how they talked back then?

Holly is on the lamb and when he finally finds her she says she’s marrying another guy from the party, who is Latin and rich.

Asian Mickey Rooney has Holly and Paul arrested for narcotics? Also Audrey looks so fierce in pigtails and a turtleneck sweater. If I wore that I’d look like Boo from Monsters Inc.

Apparently this all has to do with the dude she was visiting at Sing Sing – this is why you don’t do things for money without asking WHY.

And Latin lover calls off their engagement. She needs to get over her inability to feel feelings and get together with Paul already?

FINALLY

I get it, world. This was good.

 

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Cyber Monday Guide For Thirtysomethings

Happy Cyber Monday to all those tech savvy people who were smart enough not to jump into the throngs of people on Black Friday!

AKA greetings, fellow thirtysomethings. I’ve never been one for braving the stores at midnight to score a deal on a TV, which is why when Cyber Monday became a thing, I was all about it. Access to all the internet’s great deals WITH an extended deadline? Sign me and my computer up. Now I don’t know about you older millennials, but it wasn’t until recently (perhaps the past year or so) where I really felt like I was aging in that my shopping interests have slightly matured. I’m also single with no kids, so for those of you who already are married with children, this realization might have hit you a while back. That being said, I’ve found myself not searching for sales on DVDs or discounts on Forever 21, but rather items that are a sure sign I’m headed towards those golden years.

If you’re  feeling the same way, here’s a list of items that are not only helpful for thirtysomethings – but on sale on Cyber Monday too.

Deebot

{Amazon.com $199.98}

So it’s become sort of a joke with me and my friends lately because we keep having totally unplanned conversations that lead back to robot vacuums. This is who we are now. A popular one amongst the group is the Deebot. One of the awesome things about it is that you can control it from your phone with an app and schedule cleanings even when you’re not home. Just think about how satisfying removing all that dirt and hair will be.

Ancestry/DNA Test

{Various, Ranging From $99 to $200}

Listen, none of us are getting any younger. Except for Bianca Lawson. She’s the only one. But I bet she would do one of these ancestry tests anyways. A lot of us think we know our family’s heritage and ancestry, but many times, as we’ve learned from Who Do You Think You Are?, we could be tied to folks we never would’ve imagined. There are a number of ancestry tests to choose from, and it’s up to you what kind of results you want back. 23AndMe offers both a regular ancestry test and an ancestry + health test, which can tell you if you have a family history of things like Alzheimer’s or even Celiac’s. Ancestry.com and National Geographic also provide great tests with maps of your lineage and stuff!

Bedding

You know what’s exciting? New sheets. On a new, grown-up mattress. You know what’s even better? Getting new sheets and a new grown-up mattress on sale. Take Lovett or Leave It’s game sponsor Parachute, where everything on their site – yes including the famous sheets – is 20% off! Listen to literally any other podcast? You must be familiar with Casper mattresses! When you use the code GIFT on Monday, you can get $150 off any purchase of a mattress $1000 or more!

Blue Apron

{$25 Off Your First Two Deliveries}

Speaking of the Pod, are you looking for a better way to cook? Blue Apron is apparently the way to go. If you like the act of cooking and the idea of eating fresh foods, this subscription meal service is for you. You don’t need to search for recopies and you also don’t need to go to the store to buy  all the ingredients, which is a dream, because you’re a hard-working adult who barely has time to catch up on the latest season of Stranger Things.

The Home Depot

If you’re a new homeowner, chances are you’re constantly working on fixing something in your house. Places like The Home Depot are just a regular stop on your way home these days, and thanks to the magic of Cyber Monday, you can go to their website and get free shipping and even up to 50% off appliances.

Costco

From diamond earrings to reclining lounge chairs to Kirkland vodka to those hot dogs at the food stand, Costco has it all (except reasonable parking on a Sunday afternoon). And you can even have it delivered right to your door! Maybe not the hot dogs.

Buy Buy Baby

Calling are parentals! Or people who know people that are parentals! We’re at that age where people are getting pregnant on purpose. Weddings seem to be dying down a bit while baby showers are taking over. Need a gift for someone who’s expecting or a new parent? Buy Buy Baby is all about that Cyber Monday action with a ton of sales all over their site.

 

Best Buy

You’re an adult now. You can probably splurge on a TV bigger than 35″. Also available for free shipping at Best Buy: things like a Nest thermostat, an Amazon Alexa/Echo and a Ring doorbell, because everything is automated now and we’re living in Smart Houses.

Vitamins

{Amazon’s Vitamin Shop}

I’m talkin’ Tumeric. I’m talkin Ginko Biloba. I’m talkin Fish Oil. Gimme those Oregano pills babyyyy.

 

Reaction GIFs Cannot Express How Much I’ll Miss The Mindy Project

After 6 seasons, we’re saying goodbye to Mindy Lahiri tomorrow. Last week on the penultimate episode, Mindy said something that really spoke to me, and I’m assuming spoke to a lot of you internet users too:

When reaction GIFs cannot express a feeling, you know it’s really bad.

In the years we’ve been welcomed into Mindy Lahiri’s life, we’ve seen a character that’s rarely represented on TV. She’s unapologetic, candid, a hopeless romantic, self-centered, delusional, incredulous, truthful, brash, audacious and likable all at the same time. She’s the type of person whose personality is borderline offensive, but you find her so endearing that you compartmentalize and don’t actually care. That credit all goes to the writing staff including Mindy Kaling, whose own Twitter presence and memoirs resonate so much (with young women in particular) that they feel a connection with her in a different way than other celebrities. The type of connection that spurs shirts like this one, despite how concerning the message on it is. That same voice that Mindy Kaling found for herself is similar to the one she found in Mindy Lahiri – it’s satisfyingly unique and makes us feel like we get each other on a deep level.

That’s what we’ll miss most about this show. Knowing there’s someone else who says the things you sometimes wish you could say but never have the courage to. Or does things you thought you only did. No reaction GIF can express that feeling enough.

Which is why I’m honoring Mindy and The Mindy Project with a lot of GIFs. GIFs that show exactly why we do and don’t want to be like Mindy and properly represent the rarified air she’s occupied for the past six seasons. Thank you for everything. Your legacy lives on in our hearts and the interwebs. Later, baby.

 

And just because I’ll miss him too:

A Letter To My Past Self (On November 7th, 2016)

To: Past Self (November 7th, 2016)
From: Current Self (November 7th, 2017)

Tomorrow is Election Day. It’s the day the world has been anticipating for months years. Countless debates, a tough primary, campaign appearances left and right: it’s all coming to a head tomorrow. But tomorrow – prepare for the worst.

Prepare yourself for the unimaginable. Prepare yourself to see a divided America like never before. Prepare yourself to be constantly shocked but not surprised by what the next four years can bring. Prepare yourself for an election night you’ll never forget.

You’ll see the numbers start trickling in. You’ll get so nervous you’ll start watching The West Wing for comfort. You will think that all the media outlets have made an accounting error. You’ll wait for them to come back like Steve Harvey admitting he crowned the wrong woman Miss Universe. You’ll start to wonder if the electoral college should be a process we should still adhere to when the person with the popular vote loses. You’ll never get over the 3 million more votes. You’ll dread every time you scroll past your Tumblr draft of Lorelai saying, “See you when Hillary’s president” because you were saving that for when she actually was elected president. You will ugly cry. You’ll feel like throwing up (it’s not food poisoning, it’s America). You will feel like you’re in a nightmare. That feeling might never end. It’s not a night you’ll particularly want to revisit ever again.

Wednesday will not be a good day. Going to work will feel like going to a funeral. It will be eerily quiet. Thursday and Friday won’t be good either. For that matter, neither will Saturday, Sunday or the following week. You’ll go through the five stages of grief (even though acceptance might never be complete).

You will see the worst in people. You’ll see the worst in people that you hoped would never happen but does. It will happen immediately. Like within 24 hours immediately. You’ll see stories of DT voters yelling at strangers to “get out of the country, Apu”,  his name graffittied on the door of the Muslim Students Association at NYU, and two white male college students driving to Hillary’s alma mater Wellesley & parking outside a house for black students, yelling Make America Great Again. And it won’t stop.

In fact, you’ll see the KKK decide not to hide behind their white shrouds anymore and lead a march with tiki torches, resulting in the death of a protestor. You continue to ask if it’s still 2017 or 1957. The term “on many sides” will have a new meaning after this event.

So many bad things will happen that even when you try to track it all, you can’t. There will be a Muslim travel ban. A ban against transgendered people from joining the military. Denial of climate change by promising to pull out of the Paris accord. A threat of “fire and fury” on North Korea. He & the Republicans will confirm a Supreme Court Justice all thanks to the Senate deciding to change the law in their favor. He’ll encourage police brutality. He’ll bully the mayor of San Juan and continue to ignore Americans in Puerto Rico. Russia. To name a few.

It will get so bad you’ll actually get nostalgic about George Bush and reconsider if Mitt Romney’s “binders of women” was actually just an adorable joke and nothing more.

But the thing is, you’ll also see the best in people. You’ll see strangers come together in a Burbank park the day after the election to talk about their emotions and eager to take action. You’ll never call or contact your representatives in D.C. as much as you will after this day. You’ll have some of them on speed dial. The term “She Persisted” becomes a new slogan for women. You’ll learn that because of the results of this election, thousands of women will be inspired to run for public office and serve within their own communities. Organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU will receive unprecedented donations (some made in VP Mike Pence’s name). You’ll see brave people stepping up and defending strangers against bigots, with some even losing their lives to fight back.

The day after the inauguration, you’ll see millions of women, men, and children across the country come together in unity to advocate for equality. And not just in America, but all over the world, with 5 million people taking a stand against hate and standing for love. But the activism doesn’t stop there. Grab a sign and go to the airport. March for science. March for impeachment. Weekends are busy because Protest is the New Brunch.

Just like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, those who lived through Election Day 2016 will never forget it. Nor will they think they’re the same before and after those official results came in. And neither will you. You’ll wake up every morning for the next 365 days (and probably until his entire administration is out of office) and check the Twitter trends to see what fresh hell awaits you. But remember to never sit back and watch it all unfold. Do something. Encourage others to fight the too. And most importantly, don’t give up hope. Hope that our country actually will be great, but it’s up to us to achieve that.

To take a page out of the Obama Speech Archive: “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

Fight. Insist. Resist.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Hocus Pocus

I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus. I’m an older millennial who was the perfect age to be a fan of Hocus Pocus when it came out, yet I’ve managed to still succeed in life without having seen this “cultural touchstone”.  When I say I haven’t seen it to others of my generation, there’s shock, disgust, and a response of, “You have to watch it, it’s soooo good.” Listen, I get that a lot about every movie I haven’t seen. That’s the point of these Pop Culture Blind Spots. Please stop telling me popular movies are going to be good. Anyways, you want to keep reading after my rant, right? Good.

My knowledge of Hocus Pocus: Bette Midler. Sarah Jessica Parker. Kathy Najimy. Three witches get together dressed in over-the-top costumes to hang out with kids and sing some songs. They’re probably good witches? Guys, honestly, I have no idea. People love it especially at Halloween? There’s always a rumor there’s going to be a sequel.

Actual movie description: After 300 years of slumber, three sister witches are accidentally resurrect in Salem on Halloween night, and it is up to three kids and their newfound feline friend to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.

Sooooo they’re not good witches? Also there’s a cat involved? And no idea it took place in Salem, but that makes sense.

This is a Kenny Ortega jam?! He’s keeps popping up in all my favorite things! High School Musical, Dirty Dancing, some of my favorite Gilmore Girls episodes.

Is Omri Katz the kid from Indian in the Cupboard? Oh, no, the character’s name in that movie is Omri. HAHAHA This dude was in Eerie, Indiana though! What, you haven’t seen Eerie, Indiana? IT IS SO GOOD.

I forgot Thora Birch is in this!

Wait does this take place in the 1600s? Or this might be a flashback. To 300 years ago. Which explains the slight British accents and peasant shirts. I’m with you now. I’m onto the logic of this children’s film.

Oh Bette Midler’s wig is…LAID.

This book with the eye looks eerily like the Care of Magical Creatures book in HP.

Why are the sisters’ mouths all weird?

This was the year right after Sister Act. Kathy Najimy living her best life.

So the potion made them “younger”? Is this like a cautionary tale about naturally aging and not giving into plastic surgery and botox? And is Emily dead now? Or did she turn into a little girl ghost?

Is this a true story? I SAW GOODY MIDLER WITH THE DEVIL!

Max is a recent transplant from Los Angeles who said “Give me a break” after his teacher was telling them a story of witches instead of whatever she’s really supposed to be teaching them, and her response was, “We seem to have a skeptic in our midst. Mr. Dennison would you care to share your California tye-dye point of view?”

Why does Max look like a creep hitting on Allison?

The instrumentals in this film are truly enjoyable.

I MISS FALL IN NEW ENGLAND.

UGH this must’ve really been filmed in Massachusetts. It’s so New England-y! 😍

These idiots:

Calling him “Hollywood” and stealing his new sneakers is exactly what is wrong with white boys and bullying.

Ok this Dennison family house is spectacular. Max has stairs leading to somewhere inside his spacious room??

How cute is Thora Birch tho

Dad: What are you supposed to be, Max?

Max: A rap singer. 

Dad: Oh. Well your hat should be on sideways, shouldn’t it?

Ice & his leather jacket bro are back with more of their cronies and literally sitting outside a house making kids pay a toll in order to pass by. I HATE THEM SO MUCH.

Oh the huge house is where Allison lives, and apparently the theme is Marie Antoinette – and not the Kirsten Dunst version.

Danni calls out Max liking Allison’s “yabbos”, which is why I hate teenage boys.

So not only did Max’s teacher tell them about the Sanderson witches, but Danni’s teacher told them about the lore too. Is it just like, required cirriculum to tell kids about these witches in Salem? Also I find it funny they’re the “Sandersons”. It’s like, a 300 year old tale about the most haunting ladies in the area and they have the whitest names ever.

“Legend has it that the bones for 100 children are buried within these walls”… and this place used to be a museum open to the public?

If the black flame candle is lit by a virgin on Halloween night, some shit goes down, and apparently Disney is fine by mentioning virgins in this film.

“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus.” Has this always been a phrase to indicate something being outlandish? I legit thought it was always just a made up thing from this movie.

Is this a crossover with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch?

Has Hocus Pocus been made into a haunted house yet?

Max the Virgin lit the candle and conjured up the three witches, and it’s basically like the opening scene in the 1600s but with Max saving Danni. I love a good plot parallel.

Ugh instead of hauling butt out of there, he tells the sisters they messed with the “Great and Powerful Max” so now he’s “summoning the burning rain of death”. Just leave.

No wait the cat talks is it Salem’s great-grandfather or something?

 

Honestly, do these sisters think they’re in a never-ending musical?

Has Hocus Pocus been made into a musical yet? (Yes, kinda – a musical parody)

Winifred caught her BF William Butcher cheating on her with her sister Sarah so she punished him? I mean I’d be a little mad at my sister too, just saying.

The cat’s name is Thackary Binx. Solid name. You don’t hear the name Thackary anymore. Wonder if it was the Madison of its era.

LOL Thackary with the shade calling Max an “airhead virgin”.

Yo the zombie getting up from his death slumber is me when someone tries to wake me up in the morning.

Also, the zombie is William the one who played two of the sisters? And now Winifred’s asking for his help?

 – an actual bus driver picking up the sisters  🙄

Also: “We desire children” – Winifred. “It might take me a few tries, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem.” – bus driver who needs to calm down.

THACKARY 

OMG HIS STOMACH JUST INFLATED HAHAHAHA

Ahhhhhh Garry Marshall!!!

This dude pretending to be a real cop is really unnerving to me.

Ahhhhhh Penny Marshall!!!

This entertainment center with VHS tapes is my aesthetic 

Everyone ends up at the big Halloween party, where the sisters somehow end up on stage and sing I Put a Spell on You. Look, I love a musical number but this seems unnecessary. Especially if they’re trying to track down Max and co.

They tricked the sisters into the high school where they burned them alive?? Did this even work? Seems too easy.

It didn’t work.

Winifred comes out of the kiln speaking French because Max was pumping some kind of instructional tape over the stereo, and it’s the first time I’ve LOLed.

The bully idiots are back and discuss illegally watching naked women: “do you wanna look in windows and watch babes undress?” “It’s 3:00, they’re undressed already.” Honestly, what the actual fuck. This is what we taught our kids?

Kathy Najimy uses a vacuum to fly – so basically they can fly using anything, since it’s not the broom that has the power, it comes from within? I learn something new about witches every day.

“We haven’t the time!” I need to start using this phrase more. Sorry Jessie Spano, Winifred is in.

Wait William is calling Winifred a “trollop”?? I thought he’s the one who cheated on her????

Between Max’s shoes and his gym bag, Nike really got great product placement in this film.

Bitches didn’t even check to see if there was salt in the salt container?!?!

This sun is like The Lion King Musical huge 

Ok, but like a 300 year old male ghost kissing a 9 year old and whispering “I shall always be with you” is creepy right?

“I had to wait 300 years for a virgin to light a candle.”

^Legit the best part of this film.

Meanwhile, the Dennison adults are just clamoring out of the Halloween party wasted, the bullies are stuck in their birdcages, and the Harry Potter book’s eye wakes up.

Unpopular opinion: This film is mediocre? It’s obviously geared towards kids, which is why adults of our generation have a special spot in their hearts for this movie as an important part of their childhood. Was it because it’s been hyped up so much? Maybe. Was it the fact I’m not crazy about Halloween in general? Probably. At least now I can say I’ve seen it. Come at me haters.

Fall Memes Make Me Feel Fine: First of All…

This meme is so played out.

First of all, no one was asking for your opinion.

Which means I’m gonna do it anyways. Folks on Twitter are always sassy, but when this meme came about, it brought out the sassiest of us all, and I ain’t mad about it. Basically these meme is a series of dialogue where one person says something, but the other fake person in the situation says a rebuttal by starting off with the phrase, “first of all…”

It makes much more sense with examples. Here are just a few of my faves from the past few weeks. This is why the internet can still be the greatest place ever.

How to fend off unwelcomed advances:

How to fend off unwelcomed friendships:

How to fend off unwelcomed conversations:

Too real situations:

Just A+++ for use of this photo:

When celebs get into the memes:

When companies get into the memes and shut it all down:

Podcast You Should Be Listening To If You Aren’t Already: 36 Questions

Going to a theater to see a musical? That is SO old school.

With 36 Questions, it’s taking musicals to the next level – an audio only story that you can listen to anywhere at anytime. CRAZY, I KNOW. Yes, the idea of musical podcast is novel in and of itself, however 36 Questions is the perfect piece of art to be the first of its kind in this platform, because it’s… actually good.

What’s It All About

In this three-part podcast musical starring Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton, a couple attempts to bring their marriage back from the brink of divorce using 36 revealing questions designed to make strangers fall in love.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more reasons that hooked me into the pod, and I hope they do for you too!

Groffsauce

Sure, he has the singing voice of an angel, but Jonathan Groff has the type of speaking voice that will make you wonder why you’ve ever listened to anyone else’ dumb voice all these years. The way Groff talks is like a silky blanket gliding over your person in a way that makes you feel fuzzy and warm inside yet slightly aroused. Sure if you’re a Broadway nerd, you’re used to hearing him in your ears on soundtracks like Hamilton and Spring Awakening, but this seems different. It’s more personal. And you can *hear* him acting in a way I’ve never felt before with Groff or any other musical theater soundtracks before. Every breath, every sigh, every silent pause is loud and clear, and it only elevates his performance even more. Also, as a friendly reminder, it’s JONATHAN FREAKING GROFF.

Jessie Shelton

The other half of this 3 hour couple fight is played by Jessie Shelton, who is a relative unknown outside of those who attend a lot of Off-Broadway shows (Hadestown, anyone?). Although you may not know her name, you’ll never forget her voice once you listen to this. At first, you think she has this child-like innocence to her, but there’s a worn-in feeling to her tone that makes you think she’s lived a lot of lives – which is perfect for this role. There’s so much pure and unforced emotion that comes out of Jessie that makes you feel for her with every word. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jessie finally makes it onto Broadway as a breakout star one of these days.

The Score Is Fantastic

There are two masterminds behind 36 Questions: Ellen Winter – a composer and playwright, and Christopher Littler – writer, director and composer. Together, they’ve created music and lyrics that fit perfectly in the contemporary genre along with Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, Edges), Jonathan Larson (Rent, Tick Tick Boom), Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Songs For a New World), and Kerrigan-Lowdermilk (The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown). Groffsauce even has a few jazz-infused numbers that area a great complement to his character.

The Book is Fantastic

36 Questions has a The Last Five Years feel in that there are only two (human) characters throughout the entire musical – and it’s the conversation between two people who know each other so well. This history between them gives the podcast an even more intimate feel, not to mention there are heartbreaking moments, as well as scenes of pure hilarity that really just hit the sweet spot of the dramedy variety that I love so much. Not to mention, this musical was MADE to be a podcast, so it was written with audio only in mind, making each word even more important than the last.

The Play Is Happening In Your Ears

I’ve only really listened to talk show-type podcasts – your Pod Save Americas, your Gilmore Guys, your Serials. None of these have ever had foley artists working on the sound of creaking doors and furniture falling over from a room downstairs. Each individual sound is placed in the podcast for a reason, and it’s so vivid and clear that it actually makes you feel like you’re in a rural house (no spoilies). Podcasts already give a level of intimacy that other entertainment platforms like TV or movies can’t give, but when each sound you hear is intentional, it’s hard not to be drawn into this world.

A Happy Ending?

One of the great things I loved about this story is that I never actually knew how it was going to end. Obviously it’s a will they won’t they situation, but which way would the writers actually go? A three part, three hour musical that keeps you guessing is quite the feat, and one revolving romance? Well you’ll just have to find out if they get their happy ending or not.

Listen to 36 Questions  [subscribe on apple podcasts here or elsewhere]

TTYL, AIM. LYLAS.

Well, it’s the end of an era. Our childhood is dying and we are all dinosaurs.

Last week, the folks at AOL announced that its trailblazing program, Instant Messenger, would be shutting down for good in December.

Like many millennials, I haven’t used AIM in years, but it was such an integral part to our lives when the internet was just becoming a thing in the late 90s/early 2000s. Before Snapchat, Instagram, GChat, Twitter, Facebook, and kinda before texting, there was AIM. It was social networking before we knew what social networking was. We’d spend all day at school with friends, only to go home and turn on AIM to talk to friends some more. We’d perfect our AIM profiles with the right quotes and shoutout to friends using their initials – it was a precursor to perfect a Facebook profile. It’s where we first learned how to abbrev – “brb”, “a/s/l?”, “nm, u?” etc. AIM let us make our first internet identities with vague SNs (screennames duh) that gave others a hint of our interests and/or hobbies (one of my first ones had “BSB” in it). We’d sneakily put our crush’s SNs on our buddy lists and get giddy when we heard the sound of the door opening and their name flash up on our ~*u kNo wHo*~ buddy list (1/1). If we were super bored, we’d open a new window for Smarter Child and see what they were up to. We’d put up elaborate away messages with way more info than we ever should’ve given out. Or if you’re like me, you’d just keep an away message on 24/7 even though you’re sitting in front of your computer and not, in fact, away.

Because I’m a hoarder of sorts – I like memories, OK – I was one of those people who installed a secondary program which automatically logged conversations with my friends. My archive only goes back to like, 2004 right before I started college, but boy oh boy did I find some gems. Re-reading all these got me thinking – why? Just why? But also, making an away message was like a first generation Facebook status update (IE: “Traci is… really upset that her VCR decided not to tape the last 5 minutes of the American Idol finale.”) It told a story about your mood, what you were doing, where you were doing it, who you were do it with, who you were thinking about while doing the thing – it gave a lot of details away – information superhighway, amirite?? After going through my archives, I noticed a few trends that made AIM the iconic fly trapped in amber that it is. Here are some of my favorite/questionable away messages, not only of my own, but also of some of my friends. Don’t worry, your identities are protected. To reiterate, these are REAL.

Various Ways to “Hit the Cell”

Following the popularity of AIM, cell phones became more and more common, specifically for use of the texting feature, which was basically like a portable version of AIM. So when you couldn’t sit and have a conversation with your friend because you’re in class, hit them on their Motorola Razor and you’d get in touch instantly. But what we needed to put at the end of the away message was the prompt. And as for me, I know I wanted variety. I can’t say, “leave love or hit the cell” all the time. Which is why some popular variations of this included, “cells good”, “hit the digits”, “make it vibrate” “make it ring”, “cell’s avail”, just in case you were confused that my phone WASN’T available. These days I don’t want anyone to contact me at all.

Deep Song Lyrics

“Deep” is a relative term. Here I am using lyrics from underrated Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin'”, which in my defense, was like our high school group’s theme song.

Ashlee Simpson? Yeah I guess I can’t really defend that.

I was a theater nerd. I went to a college with other theater nerds. This is actually too mainstream theater for school standards.

A Convo Between Friends IRL

First off, I’d like to say I was not offended by this conversation. Second, this was what AIM was really for. Having funny convos with friends and showing it off online to your other friends.

A Convo Between Friends on AIM

And the other half is having “hilarious” convos with friends online and copy and pasting into an away message because that’s cool. This isn’t even that funny. But it was funny to us at the time. A majority of our away messages were inside jokes that 5% of your buddy list would understand. But we did it anyways.

Taking a Shower

Like, why? Why did we do this?

Legitimate Schedule of Events

To continue from the shower bit, why? It was certainly a different time in terms of people being able to easily find your information and cyberstalk you, but we got so specific with our schedules. This was my friend’s day as an acting major.

this is my friend/co-worker who specifically asked his friends to call him, because, yes, that’s right, he has a life.

Meanwhile, I also gave a breakdown of the imporatant events in my day – a nightly TV schedule. And the last line isn’t a shout out to my homestate. It’s literally the VH1 reality TV program “I Love New York” featuring Tiffany “New York” Pollard.

Some Kind of Countdown

The away message not only told people when you were away and what you were doing when you were away, but it told a story of your future. Another popular trend was a countdown to whatever event you were looking forward to. “6 Days Until Spring Break!”, “1 More Day Until DF, TW, & SP ARRIVE!”, and “T-Minus 4 days until Project Turkey”, which was a thing I used freshman years of college for a v embarrassing thing.

Elaborate Text Art

I was such a sucker for these. It took creativity and skill to make an elaborate away message, even if it was just a few words (that could’ve been shortened to BRB).

Remember wingdings?! Or was this a webding? I could never tell the difference.

Farewell AIM, we’ll miss you. Put up a good away message for us before you go, ok?

Top 10 Videos That Defined The OG TRL

Today, a new generation of kids will be introduced to Total Request Live, a fan-voted music video countdown show on a network that’s become known for not showing music videos. Of course, for millions of millennials across the country, TRL is a trigger for a time in your life where you either watched it religiously, or didn’t give a shit about the most popular TV show amongst your peers.

For me, I fell into the first category, making it a point to be sitting in front of the TV home alone at 3:30pm, relaxing after school and hoping my faves would make the countdown. I taped it when I wasn’t home, voted multiple times on the phone and online, and true story: was even the “TRL Fan of the Week” in 2002. Carson Daly said my name, my profile was featured on the website, and I use it as the one-line bio for my internet profiles.

Carson Daly not only hosted the show and introduced all the videos, but he interviewed the hottest stars in not just music, but TV, movies and more in the heart of Times Square. Today, Carson is a permanent fixture a few blocks away at The Today Show and the hosts of the new TRL are DC Young Fly, Tamara Dhia, Amy Pham, Erik Zachary and Lawrence Jackson, who are all apparently people that would entice the kids to watch TRL. Oh, but that’s not all. The revamped TRL also includes “content creators” Liza Koshy and the Dolan Twins, while Eva Gutowski, Gabbie Hanna and Gigi Gorgeous will be the show’s social media correspondents. Because it’s 2017. Again, I had to vote for music videos via telephone.

I might be slightly out of touch with the youngins these days and not recognize a lot of the artists on TRL’s new countdown, but what I can tell you is that our TRL featured iconic artists and music videos that defined a generation. Here’s (my) list of top 10 videos that made a huge impact on the show and will always be remembered in the TRL era.

10 – Ricky Martin, Livin’ La Vida Loca

Ah, the song that introduced the Latin heartthrob to anyone that wasn’t a Menudo or General Hospital fan. He was sexy, his songs were catchy, and his bon bon shook that made women (and men) fall intro a trance. Livin’ La Vida Loca is arguably Ricky’s biggest hit, but it helped also reintroduce Latin music into the mainstream again, with stars like Marc Anthony, Shakira and Enrique Igelsias becoming chart-toppers too. The video was a staple on TRL and even won Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video (because there’s a lot of dancing?) at the ’99 VMAs.

9 – Limp Bizkit, Nookie

I admit it: I was a teenybopper. I had an aversion to rock bands (white guys), but jumped on the bandwagon if said rock bands were featured on TRL (or were liked by the boys I had crushes on in middle school). Nookie of course was one of Limp Bizkit’s biggest mainstream hits, but it was also their first number one video on the TRL chart, and I still think Carson Daly had something rigged to get his pal Fred Durst on the show.

8 – Destiny’s Child, Survivor

Destiny’s Child had been around long before Survivor – in fact, the first iteration with Letoya and Latavia made the rounds early on with hits like Say My Name and Bills, Bills, Bills but they hit the jackpot when Michelle came in and because DC3 as we know them today. Survivor was all about strong independent women, and the camo lewk was one that many teen girls attempted to create.

7 – Christina Aguilera, Come on Over

You know what MTV should actually reboot? Making the Video. I specifically remember Xtina giving us a behind-the-scenes look for this music video, which made it all the more exciting to watch when it was on TRL. This era was prime time for pop princesses like Christina, which is why it’s hard to choose just one for her on this list. Genie in a Bottle? Yup. What a Girl Wants. Yessir. Dirrrty? Mhm. I really miss the late 90s.

6 – Kid Rock, Bawitdaba

Listen, I hate that I have to even put Kid Rock anywhere on the blog but here we are. This song still makes no sense to me, but it was catchy and crossed the line of rock/metal/rap that the TRL generation hadn’t really seen before. It deserves a spot on this list, and now I’m done talking about Kid Rock.

5 – Blink 182, What’s My Age Again?

TRL was the accessible way for non-pop pop stars to make it in the mainstream, and Blink 182 took advantage of this by parodying all the pop stars who topped the TRL list. It was meta and it worked and was one of the most iconic videos (I know I keep saying that, but it’s true) of the TRL era.

4 – Britney Spears, Lucky

The real pop queen deserves multiple spots on this list, so like Christina, it was difficult to choose just one. Lucky featured Brit as a Hollywood star who, while she seemed happy, wealthy and healthy on the outside, wasn’t so much on the inside. #2007. I think this best describes the fame that came with her being one of the biggest stars to come out of the TRL era.

3 – Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

There weren’t many (if any) shows in the late 90s/early 2000s that allowed Eminem to be played next to Britney Spears in a daily countdown, but that was also the magic of TRL. Eminem (another one of Carson’s cronies) blew up during this time, and over the course of the decade the show was on, Em was number one nearly 100 times with various songs, so it was clear Slim Shady was the real deal.

2 – *NSYNC, Bye Bye Bye

I have only listened to Bye Bye Bye maybe like 10 times max in my entire life. Why? I was a teenybopper/Backstreet Boys fan who refused to hear *NSync’s biggest hit. I’d turn the station or channel any time it was on and have legit sat down at a wedding because it played at the reception (that happened this past June). But real recognized real. Boy bands dominated TRL, no more so that BSB and *NSync. I couldn’t tell you anything about this video because I’ve never watched it, but I CAN tell you I’m v familiar with the gif of JT as seen in the above still. V FAMILIAR WITH JT.

1 – Backstreet Boys, I Want It That Way

Am I biased? Yes. But am I wrong? Probably not. IWITW is easily the boys’ biggest hit and it was the song that started the mania. By the time their Millennium album released, IWITW was already a huge hit, and to celebrate, BSB took over TRL – and so did their fans who took over Times Square. It was insane. But it also showed the power that fans had over this show. TRL was ours. We felt like we had power in what we wanted to see on TV. We got to see our heroes either on TV or in person with some sort of weird ownership that we hadn’t felt before. And for the next generation’s sake, I hope they feel the same way too.

What To Do If You Can’t Watch Spice World in the Cinemas This Weekend

Across the UK this weekend, thousands of people will to the cinemas to watch special screenings of iconic film Spice World, in honor of its 20th anniversary. Despite the fact it was panned by critics, it made $77 million worldwide and in the U.S. alone, it broke the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl Weekend with $10.5 million. Obviously at the height of Spicemania, it makes sense that it made so much money, but it also had no right making that much money.

It’s one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s also meta, self-aware and just a fun, grand old time. If you’re a millennial who was into the Spice Girls, this movie was an important marker in your personal pop culture history. It wasn’t a Razzie-winning film. It was a movie that defined a generation.

So if you’re in the U.S. and can’t hop over the pond to see it in the movie theater, here are some Spice-inspired ideas that will fill the void.

Listen to the Spice World Album

The second studio album from the Spice Girls wasn’t just a regular album, it was also the soundtrack to the film, since an official movie soundtrack was never released. Just listen to this on loop.

Go to Karaoke and Sing a Spice Girls Song

If the karaoke bar you’re at doesn’t have Spice Girls, you’re at the wrong karaoke bar.

Watch This Meatloaf Video

http://dai.ly/x337wb

Acclaimed actor Meat Loaf played the girls’ bus driver in the movie, but if you don’t know his music, just start with this music video that REALLY tells a story.

Dress Like Your Favorite Spice Girl

Like, obviously, right? The 90s are back in!!

Dress Up As Your Friend’s Favorite Spice Girl

The girls had a ridiculous photo shoot, and ended up dressing in each others’ clothes. Grab a friend and do a switcheroo!

Find Out What Nicola’s Been Up To

She played the girls’ random pregnant friend in a plot line designed to encourage female friendship, and I’ve never seen her in anything ever since. But if you’re British, you might be familiar with Naoko Mori, who has been in shows such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Absolutely Fabulous.

Make a Documentary With Your Friends

Hire a few rando filmmakers looking to add to their sizzle reel and have them follow you around.

Or Watch This Real Spice Girls Documentary

First of all, I’d really appreciate a copy of the fake documentary they filmed in the movie. If that’s not available, just watch this real documentary about the Spice Force Five.

Go to Bootcamp

Get fit and get down get deeper and down just like the SG. Call up Barry’s and tell him you’re on your way in your platform sneaks.

Seek Out Aliens

Probably an easy feat to achieve.

Go to a Gay Club

ICONS.

Play with Toy Buses

… And recreate one of the most epic scenes in cinematic history.

Watch Rocky Horror Picture Show

There are two Rocky Horror alums in Spice World – Richard O’Brien, the creepy tabloid guy in Spice World and the creepy Riff Raff guy in Rocky Horror. Also, Meatloaf. Get a fix by watching another movie musical! Or don’t. In fact I take it all back, don’t watch it.

Watch the movie?

Seriously, just watch it from the comfort of your own home. It’s the best thing you’ll do this weekend, maybe even your life.