Archives for posts with tag: entertainment

Rocky Horror

When I was a teenager, I spent quite a few Friday nights ringing in the weekend with a midnight viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My friend John introduced me to it. I think the first time I saw it was at  the Oritani Theater in Hackensack, NJ, and for the next several years I’d go see it at least 6 or 7 times a year.

The movie would bounce from one venue to another – I guess theater owners got tired of cleaning up the toilet paper, playing cards, wet newspapers & rice and would say sayonara to Rocky and the gang. But we’d find the theater it moved to.

I don’t know what it was that struck a cord in me when I first saw it. I loved the music, that’s for sure. I think I went through two copies of the soundtrack album I played it so often. Perhaps I liked it was because it was somewhat naughty – a dude in a corset, thigh highs and f*ck-me heels? You don’t see that in your average movie. I sat doe-eyed in my seat while the audience yelled at the screen and pelted me with toast and other flying props.

But that’s why I loved it so much. It was so much more than just watching a movie – you were a part of what made the night fun - the more the audience participated, the better the show. Each time you went, you learned a few more lines and brought a few more props. And you did the Time Warp.

What fun it was to get out of your seat, run up the aisle to the front of the theater, and do the Time Warp in a line with a bunch of total strangers! And after that, Frankenfurter would appear, stomping his heel as the elevator descended. Yeah, at this point the training wheels were off and you were in for one hell of a ride.

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I don’t like men with too many muscles.

Every one has a character in that movie they relate to. Me? I was a Janet girl. Innocent and sweet, and thrust into a world of perversion against her will. But underneath that virginal, small town girl shell is a saucy little vixen. She spends half the movie walking around in a bra and half slip, which made it really difficult to dress up as her for Halloween.

I went as Magenta instead.

Certain theaters went beyond showing the movie – it was more of an all night event. When I was in college I used to see Rocky Horror at the State Theater on Main Street in Newark, Delaware. They began by showing a Bugs Bunny cartoon, then you watched Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” video, followed by the Tim Curry videos for “I Do The Rock,” and “Paradise Garage.” By that time it was a quarter to 1 and the main event hadn’t even started.

Rocky Horror at the State Theater also included live performers who would act out the movie on the stage directly in front of the screen. This was an element that most of theaters we frequented in New Jersey lacked. These folks took their performances very seriously, and they were good. Once the lips faded from the screen and the credits began to roll you would stumble home at 2:30 am in a Rocky Horror daze.

After college the Rocky Horror craze began to diminish - less and less theaters played it and I usually had other things to do on a Friday or Saturday night. Then one summer while I was on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard we saw that they were playing it at some town building in Tisbury, and we all decided to go. I had a cousin who had never seen it, and was interested to see what all the hubbub was.

And this was where I had a Rocky Horror awakening. It was the first time I went to a showing just to see the movie. From the start I realized nobody in the small audience was going to be shooting water pistols or yelling “Nice Tits!” And nobody was going to get up and do the Time Warp. We just sat and watched the movie.

It was a shock to my system. I heard lines I’d never been able to hear before because the audience wasn’t  yelling “Asshole,” for 3 minutes straight. But I missed the chaos. And I felt bad for those who had come to see  it. They really didn’t get to experience the true Rocky Horror Picture Show – they just watched a movie about a strange guy in women’s underwear.

Once the movie came out on DVD I bought it, and yes, I showed it to my girls (mother of the year!). My youngest really loves it, and I look forward to one day taking her to a theater at midnight and letting her experience the thrill of yelling at the screen, throwing rice, shielding our heads with a newspaper, and getting up to do the time warp.

After all, it’s just a jump to the left.

ComcastAs of today I officially hate Comcast. Like really super duper seethingly passionate hatred.

Let’s be honest. I’ve always hated the cable company. It all started with Cable Vision when I lived in New Jersey. They were notorious for failing to show for scheduled appointments, and then telling you that they dame, but you weren’t at home. This is after you’d spent the last 5 hours waiting in your home that was sans cable.

Before Comcast came to my humble little home, I was dealing with a cable company that was so utterly inept, so entirely clueless, that a call to solve your issue literally took hours. So when Comcast took over, and my internet always worked, and my cable only went out when a monsoon was blowing through, I was thrilled.

But over the past year or so, the service has really begun to suffer. I’ll sit down to watch something on Demand, a service they love to advertise in order to get you to “choose Comcast,” and I’ll get an error message.

Grrr.

Now I have to call Comcast, where the automated bitch will tell me she’s sending a bullet to our TVs which should solve the problem. When that doesn’t fix it, you have to call again, and the customer service rep, who 95% of the time can barely speak English, tells you to unplug your box for 30 seconds and then plug it back in.

After the tv takes 20 minutes to reboot, the problem is usually fixed. But, I’ve now wasted 30 minutes of my time when all I wanted to do was plop down on the couch and watch last night’s episode of “The Bachelor.” (aside…wasn’t Juan Pablo a tool?)

If it were just that problem once in a blue moon I wouldn’t be complaining. Everything goes on the fritz every now and then. The problem I have with Comcast is that the problem happens over and over and over again on every cable box I own. Not just one, not just two, but ALL THREE.

Once one box is fixed, another goes klabooey 10 days later. Once that one is fixed, a week later the third decides it doesn’t feel like working. And around 9 days after that, the first cable box will once again lovingly display it’s error message.

I’ve got Comcast on speed dial. Bonnie & Clyde were hit with less bullets than have been sent to my house courtesy of my shitty cable company.

But Monday afternoon I got fed up. Monday & Tuesdays are my early days – I get out at 2 pm – and I was looking forward to a walk, and then sitting down to watch the two episodes of “Walking Dead” that I had missed. I finished my walk, shucked my shoes and socks, and  with my feet up on the table hit the On Demand button.

I was rewarded with yet another error message. I muttered a not so silent expletive, got up and unplugged the box dialing 1-800-COMCAST with my free hand. I had 20 minutes to kill – may as well chew someone’s head off while I waited for my TV to reboot. I didn’t even want a technician…I just wanted to yell at someone.

Once the TV came back on, not only did On Demand not work, but my DVR was gone as well. Mother f-er – my patience was certainly being tested today! Another call to Comcast landed me an English speaking American based service rep – things were looking up. She was super nice – scheduled an appointment for a technician to come the next day, listened to all my griping, and commiserated with my misery. I felt somewhat placated, but was still angry.

The next day, home early again, I skipped my walk because I didn’t want to miss the cable guy who was coming between 3 and 5. 3 o’clock turned to 4. 4 o’clock turned to 4:45. I picked up the phone and called Comcast. Because we had a scheduled appointment, I got a recorded voice saying, “Your appointment is scheduled for 3 pm to 5 pm. Your technician should arrive between 5:05 and 5:35.”

That in itself was a riot. I’m so glad you are admitting to me that my technician is sorta late. As long as he’s still coming.

And at 5:30 we got the call. A Comcast rep called to tell us that our technician called in sick and nobody would be coming today.

Can you say ballistic?

I went off on this gal. If the dude called in sick, why couldn’t they call us to let us know RATHER THAN HAVE ME SIT AROUND MY HOUSE FOR 3 HOURS ON A BEAUTIFUL 75 DEGREE AFTERNOON?

When she tried to reschedule for the next day, I told (screamed to) her that I have to work to make the money to pay for their shitty service. After a few minutes hubby grabbed the phone from me. I was irate and getting nowhere towards getting our cable fixed.

Hubby could be home for the technician if they came between 8 and noon. Fine. He had already nabbed us a $20 discount for the no-show technician. I guess I could live without the DVR and the On Demand for one night.

The next day the dude shows up begins to trouble shoot our lines. I had to leave for work, and left him in hubby’s hands. I came home to a “new” box in my living room, which was not actually new. A scratched, ugly, disgusting refurbished box sat where my well taken care of old one used to be. Seems Comcast doesn’t make new boxes anymore for crappy poor folk like us who can’t afford their snazzy and expensive triple play super high def cable package. Only those rich folks get them nice new shiny boxes.

Oh, and we lost every single thing we’ve ever taped.

I hate Comcast. Can I say that again, please? I seriously need to look into alternatives to traditional cable. However, after a bit of research, that is going to mean a technological leap of faith that I don’t think my family could handle.

Yet.

But I’m going to make it my goal to change their minds. I am so tired of these dickheads taking my very hard earned money and giving me sub-standard service in return. The day will come. The day will come when I can give Comcast a huge middle finger farewell salute, and tell them they don’t have Typical Tracy to push around anymore.

Postscript
I’ve just had to make two more phone calls to Comcast tonight. Our new box came, and our OnDemand still doesn’t work. Cris, my first tech who was very hard to understand, gave me the “I put in new codes don’t use your on demand for 30 minutes” speech. An hour later, it still doesn’t work.

Second call to Sean placed and he is resetting the box to factory settings – now I am 45 minutes without my tv at all. Comcast if you’re reading this, feel deep shame as you type me some bullshit tweet or message about wanting to help. You don’t know the meaning of the word.

Postscript to my Postscript
It is March 20th. My Comcast nightmare began on March 10th. I have been on the phone with them every day – sometimes more than once – for 10 days. They have missed 2 appointments, and wasted roughly 8 hours of my time, not to mention at least 3 hours of viewing time I’ve lost while I was stuck rebooting boxes.

I think it’s finally done though. I think I may not have to call them again. I don’t know if I can keep my sanity if I get another error message.

Eddie-Murphy-at-the-79th--007When I worked at Tiger Beat magazine back in the 80s, one of the perks was occasional tickets to movies or movie premiers. If the editors couldn’t go, or had little interest in the movie, they would pass them on to us, the staff. One such instance was when we went to see the premier of “The Abyss.” It was to be a rather large premier at Radio City Music hall, and I was super excited to go.

I dolled myself up in a tight dress and black pumps (I had a figure back then), and my coworkers and I headed into New York City. After a quick dinner, we arrived at Radio City and I was amazed at the magnitude of the event. I’d been to opening night at “Rambo III.” That was nothing more than a crowded theater where my friend yelled “God Bless America” after Sylvester Stallone saved half the human race. It was the one big laugh the movie got.

But this? This was the real deal. A red carpet was stretched from the street to the front doors, velvet ropes draped on both sides. I knew for a fact that Ed Harris, the star of the movie, was going to attend. Crowds were beginning to line up on either side of the ropes in the hopes of spotting a celebrity or two – photographers were beginning to gather as well. My friends were eager to get inside, but I suggested we hang back and watch for a while. Nothing major was happening yet, and if I was going to walk the red carpet, I wanted to do it in style.

We hung out on the street for a little bit, but the start of the movie was just a short while away and they became anxious, so I grabbed my coworker Tom’s arm, and we headed for the red carpet.

Have you ever walked down a red carpet? Granted this wasn’t the Oscars, but it was a pretty cool experience. The paparazzi had no clue who we were, but at an event where major stars are going to show up they’ll snap a photo or two just in case. With my stomach sucked in and my head held high, I glided down that carpet, smizing to the cameras, and drinking in the experience for all it was worth. Cameras flashed, and as I looked at all the people on the other side of the velvet rope I wondered if this was what it was like to be a star.

Once inside, we found our seats, and watched the movie. Have you ever seen “The Abyss?” It was just okay. But the whole premier experience had been well worth sitting through the movie.

After the movie we walked out the front entrance, and I was surprised to see the red carpet and velvet ropes still in place…wasn’t that just for the grand entrance? As I walked down the carpet, happy for a second chance to pretend that I was an up and coming starlet, I noticed a limo parked right at the end. As I reached the street, I heard the crowd begin to “ooh” and “aah.” Then they got a little frantic.

Suddenly I heard “Eddie! Eddie!” and the next thing I knew, the small area at the end of the red carpet was swarming with very large, very aggressive security guards. Everyone was screaming and crowding in, but I was still inside the velvet ropes, which I thought would give me a drop of protection. It was Eddie Murphy’s Limo I was standing next to!

A large, tight knot of people were making their way down the red carpet straight for me. I was standing right beside the waiting limo. I was super excited…here I was inside the velvet ropes with Eddie Murphy just a few yards away! Before I could put my most dazzling smile on my face in preparation of rubbing elbows with him, I was shoved, pushed, and bent over backwards on the hood of the limo.

One guy was yelling “Get the fuck back, get the fuck back!”

I think I said, “I’m getting the fuck back!” but it was while I was doing a back bend, that Nadia Comaneci would’ve been proud of, over a hot hood. That throng of body guards meant business…no gal in a tight blue dress was going to keep them from getting Eddie safely in his limo.

Once he was inside, the guards eased up, and I was able to stand up straight again. The door to the limo had not yet been closed, and I peered over the window, waved and said “Hey Eddie!”

He looked right at me and said, “HI!”

Then the door was closed and the limo sped off. I stood in a daze at the end of the red carpet, still safely between the velvet ropes, adjusting the hem of my dress which had ridden up considerably after my ordeal. Did that really just happen? Was I actually just man-handled???? By Eddie Murphy’s bodyguards????

Ha! Another great story. Cause that’s what life’s all about, right? Being in the right place at the right time, and coming home with a great story.

steel-magnolias-original-CASTI don’t know why, but I love the movie Steel Magnolias. It’s a combination of Dolly Parton’s bad acting, the good natured rivalry between Olympia Dukakis and Shirley McLean, and Julia Roberts’ annoyingly toothy smile that draws me in. Yes, I cry every single time I see it, just like I cry every time I see Terms of Endearment or West Side Story.

But there is a time line discrepancy in Steel Magnolias that bothers me to my very core. Let me outline it for you, and see if you agree or can offer some clarity. I tried reaching out to my Facebook friends, but got little to no satisfaction from anyone’s input.

Fact 1: Shelby has a kidney transplant on our about July 4th.

Fact 2: Annelle, who is deeply religious, is getting married on or close to Halloween.

Fact 3: Shelby collapses and slips into a coma on Halloween

Fact 4: Shelby dies and is buried. At the funeral Annelle is pregnant and asks M’Lynn if she can name her baby Shelby

Fact 5: Annelle goes into labor and gives birth on or around Easter

Just looking at these raw facts raises an eyebrow right away. If you are married on Halloween, there is no way you can have a baby on the following Easter unless you were creasing the sheets before you walked down the aisle. November – April is only 6+ months of gestation time.

Yes, the baby could’ve been premature, but they make mention of how uncomfortable Annelle is in her advanced stage of pregnancy at the Easter Egg Hunt so I doubt that was the case.

Eddie Munster

separated at birth?

There is the school of thought that Annelle gave into temptation by letting her boyfriend bed her down before entering into holy matrimony, but I hate that idea. It just doesn’t fit her character. And on a side note, who cast that dude? He looked like Eddie Munster grown up. Ick.

The only other plausible explanation is that Shelby was in a coma for a very long time. Let’s pretend she collapsed on Halloween of 1989, the year the movie came out. Annelle would have had to have become pregnant around August of 1990 to give birth around Easter of 1991. If she is already pregnant at Shelby’s funeral, that means Shelby would have to have been in a coma for at least 10 months – the last of October 1989 to August of 1990. This would also account for the fact that Jack Jr., who was like 1 1/2 when Shelby collapsed, was a lot older when we next see him at the Easter Egg Hunt where Annelle goes into labor.

But this theory doesn’t mesh for 2 reasons. For one, Jack Jr. is being pushed in a swing at Shelby’s funeral and is clearly still a toddler. And, they mention that M’Lynn didn’t leave Shelby’s side even once while she was in the coma…she couldn’t risk missing it if Shelby woke up for even a minute. I doubt even the best mother would sit by a comatose daughter for 10 months non-stop.

Nope, it’s a plot flaw, plain and simple.

Am I mentally defective for even caring about this?

Eingang des Hard Rock Cafes, New York City, New York, USABack when I was in my twenties, the big rock station in New York City was WNEW. Each October, which they dubbed “Rocktober” (I know, how original) they would have an afternoon block of programming live from the Hard Rock Cafe. Musical guest and actors would come in and be interviewed before a live audience, which consisted of whoever was having lunch in the restaurant that afternoon.

At the time of this story I was working as a graphic artist at Tiger Beat magazine. It was my first real job, and I took it very seriously. One morning while I work I got a call from my friend Paul. He asked me what I was doing that afternoon, and I said “working, what do you think?”

He said that he was going into New York and try to get into the Hard Rock for that afternoon’s Rocktober broadcast. The guests were Robin Williams and Julian Lennon. I had to admit, it sounded way more fun than pasting up another boring story about Corey Feldman.

But I didn’t like the idea of cutting out of work. I knew if I went to my boss and asked for the afternoon off, he’d tell me to forget it and get back to work. Therefore, if I had any chance of going, I’d have to lie. I weighed the pros and cons and decided to join my friends on a star studded NYC adventure.

I went home for lunch, and called 10 minutes before I was supposed to be back at my desk complaining of cramps. It was plausible; most of my girl friends at work (and even a few of my guy friends) knew I had legendary bouts of cramps from time to time. Then I freshened up my make up, put on a cute little outfit and hopped in Paul’s car.

We got into the city and walked to the Hard Rock to find a line outside with lots of security. This would have discouraged most folks, but most folks didn’t have Paul around. I can’t explain how he did it, but Paul always managed to finagle his way into places that were barred from everyone else. Security guards and bouncers were someone to befriend and bullshit with, rather than view as a threat or a deterrent.

This day was no different. I can’t remember how he got us in, but within 10 minutes we were inside waiting in line for a table. The line was upstairs, which was great because they broadcast from this glass booth in the upstairs corner of the restaurant, so we could see everything while we waited.

Robin Williams was in the booth with Scott Muni, who was the big DJ at the station. The interview ended, and Robin left the booth and began walking our way to head down the stairs and exit the Hard Rock. I saw my chance and hopped over the velvet rope, stood right in front of him and said, “Hi, Mr. Williams!”

He shook my hand, said, “Well, Hello!” and then disappeared down the stairs. Yes, this was way better than an afternoon with Corey Feldman. Way better.

The next guest was Julian Lennon. Marty Martinez, who was the joker in the crowd trying to find fans to ask questions, approached me. He told me I was hot (to which I thought “ewwww”) and did I want to ask a question. I said that I’d love to ask a question, but had no clue what to ask. While I like his music, I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of Julian Lennon’s.

So Marty says, “He has a water pistol collection, ask him about that.”

Perfect, I thought. So, the next thing I know I’m live on the radio with Julian Lennon. I say, “Marty here tells me you collect water pistols, and would you be willing to show me yours?”

Yes, it was a very saucy way to phrase the question, but I wanted to be somewhat memorable rather than the dud who asked the boring question. The crowd “oooohed” and he laughed. I can’t remember if he even answered the question or not. I went back to our table triumphant in the fact that I’d had a few seconds of fame, even if it was only on the radio.

The next day, I went to work dying to tell everyone about my adventure, but I couldn’t because after all, I was supposed to be in bed with a hot water bottle on my throbbing abdomen. Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Well the joke was on me. Turns out the radio in the art room was tuned to WNEW that afternoon, and all of my coworkers had heard me ask my saucy question. They never listened to that station – there were too many guidos in the office and we usually listened to the top 40 stations rather than anything rock related.

I got caught. I didn’t get into too much trouble, but my boss had lost a little faith in me which sucked. I didn’t call in sick for a long, long time after that. And when I did, I wondered if they turned on the radio to see if it was true.

Alda Autograph

Did anyone famous live in your hometown?

I grew up in a small, but lovely community a stone’s throw from New York City, so needless to say we had our fair share of residents who were fairly well-known. Some of the famous folks who called Leonia home before my time were Buddy Hackett, Pat Boone, and even Sammy Davis Jr. – although I never realized that until I Googled it just now.

While I was growing up we were proud to have two famous authors living in our midst; Robert Ludlum and Robin Cook. We also had James Noble, who played the Governor on Benson, and Paris Themen, who played Mike TeeVee in the original Willy Wonka movie. I remember playing in someone’s backyard and being totally bowled over when he showed up – perhaps to pick up a younger sibling. I can’t recall. I just know I gushed.

Gene Shalitt, the NBC film critic with his trademark black curly hair and bushy mustache, also lived in Leonia – I was good friends with his son Andrew. And let me not forget to mention Anthony Bourdain. He wasn’t famous while we were growing up, but he went to high school with my brother at Dwight Englewood – a private school that also had another famous graduate, Brooke Shields.

But there was one celebrity that rose above all of these during my childhood. Alan Alda.

Yep, good old Hawkeye lived just 5 blocks away from me during his 10+ year stint on M*A*S*H. He was the “it” celeb when I was growing up – it was a real coo if you ran into him at the grocery store or the pharmacy, especially once M*A*S*H became such a hit.

My husband recounts tales of playing hockey on the tennis courts in the Alda’s backyard, and getting angrily chased away each and every time. Gee, I wonder why? Hubby also says he delivered the Bergen Record to his house and claims he wasn’t a great tipper. I trick or treated at the house once, but nobody answered the door.

Alan Alda had daughters, and at least one of his daughters also went to high school with my brother at Dwight Englewood. My brother enjoyed acting, and was usually in the school play. I can’t remember what play we were seeing when my Alan Alda incident occurred – maybe “Guys & Doll” or “Oliver!” I know my brother was in both of those plays, as was one of the Alda daughters.

I’m guessing I was around 9 years old, clad in a bright yellow dress that my mom had made for me with a shiny pair of patent leather Mary Janes on my feet. Right before the show started my mother nudged me and whispered in my ear that Alan Alda had just come in and was seated on the aisle just a few rows behind me.

I turned to look, and sure enough there he was! I asked my mom if I could ask him for his autograph, but she told me to wait until the intermission because the play was about to start. All through the first act I squirmed in my seat thinking about how to approach him while in my head I crafted various clever and endearing opening lines.

When the intermission began my mother needed to bolster my nerve – I was scared to actually approach him, but she assured me that once it was over and done with, I would be happy I did it, and miserable the entire night if I didn’t. So, with a program and pen in my shanking little hands, I walked up to his seat and said,

“Excuse me, Mr. Alda. May I please have your autograph?” Remember… 9 years old, bright yellow dress, patent leather Mary Janes.

He turned to me and said, “No. I’m sorry, but I’m just trying to enjoy the show.”

Denied.

I most likely mumbled something like “Oh, that’s ok.” and skulked back to my seat. I was crushed. And embarrassed. I hung my head in shame and silently cried waiting for Act II to start. My mother was furious – not so much because he had sent me packing, but because she had urged me to do it and it had turned out badly.

I never liked him much after that. I’d watch M*A*S*H and see this happy-go-lucky character on the screen, and remember that feeling of pain and shame that was associated with my encounter. Pavlov knew what he was talking about.

About a year ago I recounted this story on a Facbook page that is associated with my hometown – the thread being about all the famous folks that lived in town. Boy oh boy, the backlash was immediate and immense. Seems Alan Alda did lots of wonderful things for many of my fellow townsfolk, and my story didn’t sit well with them.

I refused to apologize, though. I simply said that they are fortunate to have had such a positive experience with him. Mine? Not so much.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I can totally see his point. He was just trying to inconspicuously watch his daughter in the school play – trying to be like every other parent in the auditorium. And along I came to remind everyone that he’s famous.

But on the other hand, I wasn’t loud or obnoxious. I didn’t draw attention, except maybe for the fact that I was in a bright yellow dress. I was little. And polite. In patent leather Mary Janes. You’d think he could’ve thrown me a bone.

Everybody has a bad day – maybe he was having one that night. As horrifiying as it was when the incident happened, now it’s a funny little story in the timeline of my life. If he had granted me the autograph, I might only remember that Alan Alda signed my crumpled play program. Boring.

My story? It has pizzazz, and drama, and heartache. Thanks, Hawkeye – for making Tracy just a little less typical.

vintage_roller_coaster_ride_postcard-p239204406425805978trdg_400

Raise you hand if you love amusement parks.

We are lucky enough to live within an hour’s drive of a fairly decent one – King’s Dominion. In the past we might have gone once a year – mainly because of the cost, and we had 2 kids that had different mindsets when it came to the rides.

My oldest? I took her on her first looping coaster – the Anaconda – when she was tall enough to ride. That was maybe 7 years ago. Since then she has been fearless and will try everything and anything once.

Me? My last looping coaster was when I took her on the Anaconda. I too had a fearless stage when I was a kid. We used to drive down to Jackson, NJ and go to Great Adventure. Man, I have so many memories of that place.

I remember when it first opened in 1974, my sister Judy got invited to go with a friend of hers and her family. I was so jealous – but when she came home she said the park wasn’t all that great. A lot of the rides weren’t even open yet.

But by the late 70′s/early 80′s – my heyday – the park was fantastic. I’d usually go with my best friend John, and who ever else wanted to go. We’d spend our day roaming the park, feeling free and independent, and enduring the endless lines to get on our favorite rides; The Runaway Train, Rolling Thunder, and the Log Flume.

LightningLoopsLightning Loops was my first looping coaster. It was an odd configuration. You climbed up some 6 or 7 flights of steps and boarded the train from atop a platform. Then you were pushed down the hill which gave you enough speed/momentum to get through the loop. Once you reached the opposite platform you did the loop backwards and found yourself back at the starting point. There were two tracks that intertwined, but I don’t ever recall them running simultaneously, like they show in the photo.

In any case, I wasn’t a big fan. It was pretty scary for me, especially after a girl was killed on it. It wasn’t a ride malfunction, but still – it was enough to keep me off of it.

Looping_StarshipAn amusement park turning point for me was when I was on The Looping Starship. It’s your typical ride that pivots back and forth, higher each time, until you eventually do a few full loops. As I hung upside down, watching change, Chapstick and sunglasses fall from the pockets of my fellow shipmates, I realized that if for some reason my safety harness failed, I would die.

That sort of killed it for me. A seed was planted in my 20-something year old brain, and I gradually began to lose interest in anything that inverted me. I still went on some rides. I was forced onto Montu at Busch Gardens (Tampa), and kept my eyes closed the whole time. I also rode The Griffon at Busch Gardens (VA) – but that doesn’t invert. However I had to keep my eyes closed the whole ride up the hill as heights freak me out.

These days my advancing age (and widening tushy) have made me even more aware of my mortality (and how small some of those seats are). As a result, I take a pass on most of the thrill rides. But I still love a good wooden coaster.

The past few years I have tried to coax my youngest onto a variety of coasters. My mistake was letting her ride her first really big wooden coaster, Rebel Yell, with her sister. I was in the seat behind them, and once we return to the station, she was almost in tears. There are a few bumps where you get some decent air time on that coaster, and it freaked her out. That incident was 3 years ago and it was a real chore to get her to give them another chance.

Last year she rode all the wooden coasters, but no steel. Progress.

This year she reached the height limit for every ride in the park – and her attitude changed. She rode almost everything. Her first inversion coaster? The Volcano – a ride I would never even consider going on unless there was a large sum of money involved.

Volcano: The Blast Coaster

My girls’ last ride yesterday was the Anaconda. It was nice in a coming full circle kind of way. My oldest passed the coaster riding torch to her younger sister. So now going to the park is 10 times more fun. Both girls can ride everything together, and me? I people watch, or read a chapter of my book until it’s time to board a ride that does not flip me upside down, or take me too high up for more than a few seconds.

intimidator

Oh, and I’ll also spend the summer trying to get up the nerve to ride this. No inversions – but that hill? I think I’d pass out from sheer terror before we reached the top…

Dick Clark

I love watching game shows from my youth.

I’ll never pass an episode of Match Game while channel surfing, and my family still likes watching Family Feud, regardless of the host. Both of those games remind me of lazy weekday afternoons—school was out, your homework might be done, and there was most likely a half eaten bag of Doritos in the room.

Another great weekday game show was the $10,000 Pyramid, which in the 80′s became the $25,000 Pyramid. I watched about a zillion episodes of this show, and as the years passed by, Dick Clark became increasingly annoying to me.

30 years later, stuck at home as an unemployed house wife, I have time to watch the Game Show Network. Today I watched a few episodes of the Pyramid, and you know what? Dick Clark is doubly annoying. He had a few trademark moves that I find totally irritating; moves that I’m sure others found endearing. Let me share them with you and see if you agree.

The Winner’s Circle was where most of these moves occurred:

  • If you were running out of time and were close to a win, he’d yell “HURRY!” Nothing breaks your concentration like being loudly reminded that you are about to turn the winner’s circle into the losers circle.
  • If the giver said “pass,” Dick would yell “TURN IT!” or “NEXT!” It’s like he has so little faith that the guys behind the scenes are paying attention, that he has to remind them by shouting at them. Or, could it be that he has an insatiable need to control the show?
  • When the contestant lost, Dick would walk over to the railing, fingers on pursed lips, deep in thought, and would inevitably offer up “the perfect clue.” Ugh. It is sooooo annoying.

Another annoying Dickism was when there was a tie. Tie breakers were clues that began with the letter *blank* or the letter *blank*. The part that gets under my skin was when Dick would over enunciate the alphabet letter so there could be no confusion as to what letter he was referring to. And I mean OVER enunciate – If it was the letter “A,” Dick’s mouth would open wide as the Grand Canyon.

I know I may sound like a nit-pickin’ sour puss, but I can’t help it. These gestures of his aggravate the hell out of me.

It was as if he was trying to be more than just a host…he wanted to be part of the game. He wanted to be important to the game, not just some bubble head that introduced subjects and ushered folks to the winner’s circle.

I loved that quality in Richard Dawson, and in Bob Barker. But it just flat out hated it in Dick Clark. I wanted him to just shut up and let Nipsey Russell recite his poems.

3701-003910

I am doing absolutely nothing. Ok, not nothing, but close to it.

My unemployed days are spent lolling around in a dark room watching television shows that I had never watched before, but have now become addicted to.

First it was “Girls.” Luckily there had only been one season at that point, so I was able to catch up in a single day.

After that,  a “Walking Dead” marathon weekend chained me to my couch for two days straight. At least I shared that obsession with my two daughters. You could kind of file it under family time.

Then it was “Downton Abbey.” That took a few days because the shows are an hour long and I had two and a half seasons to watch. My husband was working almost non-stop at that point so I was able to spend most of time viewing it on our living room TV – where the sun shines and I feel like I am somewhat part of the living, breathing world.

Once I got caught up with both Hannah and the Grantham gang, I needed a new show. I had acquired a taste for non-stop entertainment – for discovering those progrmas that the masses were talking about, but I was oblivious to.

My regular readers will know that I then gravitated to “Homeland.” Oh, that show was wonderful. I spent the better or 3 or 4 days watching seasons 1 & 2 – 24 action-packed, suspense-filled episodes. This was beginning to become a dangerous and lonely trend, though.

With hubby home more often, the living room television is mainly controlled by him. He watches ESPN classic which plays old baseball games from 1979, or interviews with Howard Cosell and some legendary sports figure that I don’t know or care about. So if I’m in the mood to watch TV, I have to take myself to one of my daughter’s rooms; rooms with very little light and very little television sets.

That’s how I watched “Homeland;” crouched in the dark on a bed in an entertainment induced coma. Yes, I would twist open the blinds and let in some light, but before long, the light would fade as the sun went down and I realized it was time to cook dinner.

I was both dismayed and relieved when I’d watched all the episodes. Perhaps now I could join the living; get out and walk, maybe take up my crocheting again, or try some new recipes. Didn’t I have better things to do than stare at an illuminated box?

Not once I discovered “Weeds.”

Yes, yet another Showtime original (damn, they have some good writers there) has taken claim of my miserable, pathetic life. And there are 7 seasons. S-E-V-E-N. I am currently in the middle of season 6 – this translates into me sitting in sweatpants, in the dark, staring at a television for most of this past week. I will say that I have showered every day. I have also gone to the store and brought the kids to school. Outside of that I’ve pretty much been a “Weeds” watching zombie.

So now let’s talk about the show. I have a love-hate with Nancy. As the seasons are progressing, she’s becoming less cool and more wtf to where I just want to smack her. And why the hell is she always on the last few sips of a latte? It’s never full – always empty with a loud slurp.

Andy will be my boyfriend in my next life. Celia is a never-ending source of amusement for me. I adore Dean and Doug – I wish I could spend a day with them and a bong.

It has made me laugh out loud at least once an episode. The taint/runway argument was legendarily funny. Celia calling Dean  “Harley Davidstein,” was a knee-slapper, as was anything U-Turn said, and all conversations between Andy and Doug are guaranteed to bring at least one chuckle.

It’s a really filthy, funny show. And I can’t stop watching it. Not until I’ve seen the very last episode of season 7. I figure I’ll be done in time to cook Easter dinner and hide a few eggs.

After that you have a vow from me. There will not be a hunt for a new show – I will not latch onto “Dexter” or “Mad Men.” I’ll pass on “Game of Thrones” and “Breaking Bad.” I’ll stay away until I’ve done a few things…cleaned out my cabinets, raked every leaf, mulched my garden and lost 10 pounds.

Then, and only then will I hit that button on the remote. The one that gives me access to every season of every show that everyone is talking about. But for now, On Demand Be Damned!

homeland-promo-saison-1-2

I spent the past week sitting on my daughter’s bed in the dark watching episode after episode of Homeland. I would come out from time to time to check facebook, or cook a meal, or run the d-wash, but for the most part I was chained to a 13″ TV.

I went on a similar binge a month or so back with Downton Abbey. I decided to watch one episode and that was it. Hooked.

So this past week I decided I needed to find a new show to obsess over. Hell, I’m unemployed – isn’t this what I’m supposed to do with my spare time? The problem is, when I find the right show, I have no spare time. Every waking minute is spent getting my chores done so I can watch another episode with no guilty pangs, or sitting and watching. Once the kids are home it’s almost impossible to watch. There are just too many interruptions.

I began with Dexter, but I was eating lunch and it was too gorey. I switched to Veep, but had to stop it halfway through for one reason or another. When I finally sat down to watch a new show, I chose Homeland. Howard Stern always raves about it, so I figured I’d give it a go. Episode 1 Season 1 – click play. And thus, began my week-long obsession.

I watched the final episode yesterday right before my youngest got off the bus, and ran to the computer to see when the next season begins. Crap – Season 3 won’t begin until SEPTEMBER. I didn’t time this binge properly.

Here is my Homeland debriefing. I love Carrie, even if it is a bit annoying that she always figures things out in time. I love Brody – he’s not really attractive, but I’m still so attracted to him. I hate Brody’s wife. She’s annoying with her pursed lips and her flippy hair. And who calls their husband by their last name? Shouldn’t she be calling him Nicke? Just go marry Mike already. Brody’s daughter is annoying – she’s always depressed. I adore Saul – I keep waiting for him to say, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

While I sat in the living room basking in the glow of viewing 2 full seasons of this action packed show, my darling little 11 year old came off the bus in tears. She’d had a bad day – it was picture day, and it was themed where you could pose with groups of friends. Nobody wanted to pose with her. Then the bullies on the bus were in rare form and it made for one sad little girl by the time she got home.

We had long talk, and a good cry, because I know how she feels. Then we took a walk together which cleared our heads and cheered us up. This is my homeland – my real homeland. While Carrie and Saul are fighting terrorists, I’ve got to teach my girl how to deal with life’s bullies better. I’ve got to teach her that being nice to people isn’t always reciprocated, and just because there are girls who are cruel does not mean that you are a loser.

I need to get my ass off the couch and help my little girl feel better about herself.

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