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The List: October 2013 Edition

Things to Love

Good Will Hunting.  Guys, do you even remember how good this movie was?  Not only is it totally fahkin’ Bahston-y and hilarious, but it will make you cry real tears when Matt Damon and Robin Williams finally hug it out.  So real!  I recommend everyone re-watch immediately and ruminate on academia, friendship, the past, class relations, love, the meaning of life… I would be amicable to joining a book-club-esque discussion on this actually.  It’s so great.  Oh, also?  Watch Ben Affleck and Matt Damon get all jazzed up accepting their Academy Award for it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8RIS5GJqAg  Why don’t you ever see these two together anymore?!

Oh, and one final tidbit for you about GWH: When this movie originally came out I thought it was Good will.  Hunting.  Instead of Good.  Will Hunting.  I consequently did not understand the title, like, AT all.

Bastille.  Yes, the French prison.  Also, the British band.  I rarely seek out new music, and when I do it’s generally because I heard a band play a song on Conan, then forgot their name, Googled the lyrics (Shazam is too newfangled for me!) and downloaded the whole album on a whim.  This one paid off, and this music is way up my alley.  It’s a little morose, but somewhat indie-peppy at the same time?  And the lyrics tend to be about such things as the fate of Pompeii, Twin Peaks, and one song about lions that I swear might be about Game of Thrones (“Daniel in the Den” – tell me the lions aren’t actually the Lannisters!)  Best songs to check out are: “Flaws”, “Pompeii”, and “Laura Palmer”, even if that last one does play in Banana Republic, ugh.

Reign on the CW.  This show doesn’t roll off the tongue without also saying the network, and believe me, you can’t NOT realize this show is on the CW.  I’d characterize it as The Tudors meets Gossip Girl, and it’s so far been delightful.  Mary, Queen of Scots (who has an English accent) goes to live at French court pending her marriage to Prince Francis (also, English accent) and remain safe from the villainous English (who, natch, have English accents).  But Francis is playing hard to get!  And he has a dreamy bastard brother that’s always making eyes at Mary!  And Francis’s mother is plotting against Mary because of a prophecy told to her by – no shit – Nostradamus!  And the King already hooked up with one of Mary’s gal pals!  AND, possibly the best part: there is a creepy little girl who skulks about the castle and wears a burlap sack on her head!  (What’s her story?!?!?!?!)  If you need more convincing, BuzzFeed has 21 reasons you should be watching.  Spoiler Alert?  They’re all headbands.

At a recent biergarden outing, a friend of my sister’s revealed what was, to me, a genuinely new take on the ending of the Harry Potter series.  Now, dear reader, I don’t want to brag, but I’ve spent some time talking about Harry Potter.  I’ve spent some time thinking about Harry Potter.  I’ve spent more than a few nights poring over message boards reading theories, gripes, musings, and analyses on Harry Potter.  Wanna be real?  I once attended a fan convention in Toronto.  So when I say this theory was fresh to my ears, it means something.  The theory was this: Harry Potter should not have died, but he should have lost his magic.  Bear with me!  The reasoning is that such a heroic journey requires a sacrifice, and what a sacrifice it would be if Harry had to give up or lose magic, which he has learned and come to love and (sort of?) master over these seven years.  He would then be the most famous figure in the magical world, yet an outsider within it.  This would raise all sorts of rich identity issues for Harry, as well as making personal the issues about Muggleborns, Muggles, magic blood, and wizard world relations that the books seemed to feel so passionately about.  I can’t even completely wrap my mind around this yet, but I feel slightly blown away by it.  To my mind, it feels more complex and real-world messy/unfair, more in the tradition of George R. R. Martin, which resonates more as I mature than the youth-accompanying Potter books may have done in their time.

In a similar vein, but a bit less heady (haha!): fall beers.  While I suspect winter seasonals may be my favorites, they’re rarer, and fall brews run a close second.  I’ve already had a number of Oktoberfest styles and am holding out for some good pumpkin beer.  For these I like to look to Sam Adams and Leinenkugel for local availability, but my goal is to try ever more new ones.

CinemaSins on YouTube.  I kind of hate YouTube.  I like to have the TV on while I waste time on my computer, and YouTube requires too much undivided attention for such little, pithy payoff.  But this channel is gold.  The format is basically “Everything wrong with Movie X in Y minutes” and they slaughter your favorite films with a good dose of logic.  A great one to start with is Twilight because barely anyone (who’s reading this anyway) will be offended by it and it’s hilarious.  Progress to the movies you love, and relish the mingling of offense and humor.  You’re welcome.

Things to Shun

The following exchange with my boss on the day we got our new November merchandise in: I come back from lunch and say, “Okay, so what do you want me to work on now?”  He launches into a minutes long laundry list of everything he’s done so far, followed by a breakdown of every thing still left to be done, all of which I’m aware of and which I am asking him to prioritize to me.  His rambling ends with, “So what are you going to work on?”  People wonder I talk so little at work…

Anyone who works with me who has a flawless manicure.  It must be nice being that dainty, but I had to transport 60 boxes across a store today, and last Friday a cabinet collapsed on me.  I’m lucky at work if my hands are (passably) clean.

Arriving at the train station one minute late.  The train is there, I see it, and it’s even stopped.  I, however, have no ticket yet, no cash to buy it on the train, and am on the wrong side of the tracks.  The next train isn’t for a whole other hour, and my house is literally a half hour from the station, which makes going home pointless.  Life is so hard.  Double demerits for when this happens on both the outgoing and return journey.  Arrive at Penn Station at 1:08, see that all North Jersey Coast Line trains are departing on the 7s?  Come on.

People who try to skive off on paying the bill.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a group gets a joint bill, someone will do this.  As inevitable as death and taxes.  This person will rely on the good manners of others not to hunt them down for their share.  Because you have the grace not to demand it of them, they will remain otherwise occupied during all discussion of payment and collection of funds.  If confronted after, they will either claim they paid their share (applicable when the bill is passed around and money inserted) or allege they didn’t realize what was happening, which is ridiculous, because then did they assume the whole group was just leaving without paying their tab?  What a life of witless crime they must lead.  These people are the worst.  They are why decent people will spend their lives paying $5 or $10 extra on a regular basis, and there is always one of them.  I have no imperative for dealing with them, but simply want to reiterate that they are the WORST.  Shun them, I guess is the imperative, if you can.

American Horror Story: Coven.  Controversial, I know.  I love the premise and I understand it’s SUPPOSED to be a horror story (By definition!) but the premiere episode went a bit too far for me.  At what point does entertainment become gratuituous and uncalled for?  For more of my feelings on this topic, read “Careful What You Watch.”

Halloween on a weekday.  The ultimate bummer.  I have to work.  We can’t dress up.  I might not get to go out, and I almost definitely will miss handing out candy to adorable trick or treaters.  Which means that if a teeny tiny Walter White comes to my house, I AM GOING TO MISS IT.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Life is not fair.

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