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Stuff I did tonight instead of being a productive member of society.

1. Looked up the Gummi Bears theme song on Youtube. (Go do it. Seriously. It's literally the BEST THEME SONG EVER.)

2. Memorized the Gummi Bears theme song. (YOU'RE WELCOME everyone who knows me and will now be forced to listen to me proudly prove that I know it by heart.)

3. Watched Alicia Keys sing the Gummi Bears theme song on Jimmy Fallon.

4. Decide I may be getting obsessed with the Gummi Bears theme song.

5. Play Candy Crush. On my phone first, and then on my computer. In that specific order because otherwise I can't actually use the free lives people send me and seriously, what the hell? Why?

6. Google why can't I use my extra lives for Candy Crush when using the computer? Get no satisfactory answer.

7. Think about what to do about dinner.

8. Decide to eat microwave popcorn and think about dinner later.

9. Become annoyed at the humidity level but refuse to turn on the a/c because it's not actually HOT.

10. Contemplate why I hate the word "moist" so much. SO MUCH YOU GUYS.

11. Imagine that I am on "Inside the Actors Studio" and answering the Pivot questionnaire. Can't come up with a witty/fun/poignant answer to how I want G-d to greet me. Decide my favorite word is "luminous."

12. Change my mind and decide it's actually "hallelujah."

13. Feel proud of my choice, go listen to the Jeff Buckley version of "Hallelujah."

14. Remember that there was an episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" where they danced to that song. Youtube it.

15. Think about what to do about dinner.

16. Decide to eat more microwave popcorn for dinner.

17. Take a bathroom break.

18. On the way to the bathroom break, discover what is PROBABLY a dead bug on the bathroom floor.

19. Decide I don't have to pee that badly and hope that by the time I do, the dead bug will have magically removed itself.

20. Feed the boy cat. Wonder for the kazillionth time why he isn't losing any weight. Imagine scenarios that happen when I am out of the house and he becomes a ninja cat, sneaking food from the storage bin.

21. Think about setting up a webcam to catch the ninja cat.

22. Remember that video of the lion and the two men who raised it, set to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Youtube it. Cry a little because the lion WILL ALWAYS LOVE THEM.

23. Write this post.
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Black Friday Alternative

You know I hate Black Friday. I rant about it every year. But this year, I actually bought something on Black Friday. Don't clutch your pearls too tightly, I never even left the house. I never even left the sofa and I sure as hell didn't even get out of my pajamas. I bought Zeus, Inc., a book on Amazon that a friend of mine wrote. In honor of Black Friday she's discounted it to .99! Yay for bargains! Yay for books! Yay for supporting small business! Yay for shopping on the sofa! And if a whole book for .99 isn't enough return on your investment, she's also offering the chance to win a $25 gift card to Amazon. That will buy you a lot of .99 books.

If you want to get in on this, I have good news! You can! Just go here.

The Zeus, Inc. description from Amazon: 50 years ago, Zeus, Inc., and its CEO, the mysterious Joseph Brentwood, saved the world from a major energy crisis by discovering a new unlimited energy resource. Now, in 2069, Mr. Brentwood has gone missing and private eye Alex Grosjean has been hired to find him by his daughter (and Alex's best friend), Aleisha.

Black-outs begin to occur all over the world and somehow Alex believes it's tied to Mr. Brentwood's disappearance. Her search leads her through her own murky past and into the fantastical depths of Hell itself, where she discovers that Mr. Brentwood is not who or what he seems to be.

With the help of an otherworldly man named Pip, Alex must save both Mr. Brentwood and the world. But will she be able to face her own guilty past in order to do it?
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And now: A guest speaker.

With permission from the wonderful Eyelid, who wrote it, I bring you possibly the best thing ever written. It should be required reading for the entire human race.

How To Make An Apology

I was thinking to myself, people generally do not get how to do apologies. There should be a tutorial. Apologies are a major life skill.

I am good at apologies. Because, I know each and every weasel I'm thinking of slipping in there, and I weed them out. Cause if you put them in it's not a real apology. So here's my advice:

First, basic rule: don't say you're sorry if you're not. This can be hard if you are mad at something they've done wrong. In such a situation, repeat to yourself: "it is true that they did XYZ, but that doesn't excuse my behavior." (Cause it generally doesn't) Ask yourself, if I were perfect, what would I have done? ...it's probably different from what you actually did. And if not, why the hell are you apologizing?? That just makes you a liar. But this is unlikely; in my experience everyone is always doing something wrong.

Tips on the apology itself:

1) Admit that you were wrong. you'd be surprised how many people fuck this bit up. Don't slide around it. Take it on squarely. Jump right into that pool of cold water. It's not so bad as you think. And it's 90% of what the other person wants to hear.

2) Ignore what they did wrong, at least for the duration of the apology. Even if you believe you weren't entirely wrong, figure out some part of what you did that was wrong, and apologize for that.

3) do not add, "but..." I cannot stress this enough. If you add "but," it's no longer an apology. Do not even bother giving an apology that contains a "but."

4) do not say, "I'm sorry if...." e.g. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. I'm sorry if I was wrong. What you are trying to do here is pretend that there is a possibility that you didn't do anything wrong. Dude, you know you hurt person X's feelings, that's why you're apologizing. cut the weaseling. It's "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings," or just shut the fuck up.

5) there generally needs to be some explanation (i.e. "I just wasn't thinking"). But do not try to slip some blame onto the other person in the explanation. You know, in some sketchy, scheming part of your mind, when you are doing this. Try to keep explanation down to one sentence to avoid temptation. "I overreacted and said things I shouldn't have," = good. "I was angry because when you said XYZ, it pushed my buttons..." = bad.

6) Also, don't let explanation become justification. Keep firmly in mind that whatever the situation, you did something wrong. No matter how dumb the other person is, they know exactly what you're doing when you're spinning a long tale "explaining." You're telling them all the reasons why really, you're not sorry at all, or at least why you shouldn't be.

7) Don't lie. "I didn't mean to hurt you." Yes you did. "I didn't know." Of course you knew. "I thought it would be ok." No you didn't. This is ass-covering. Cut it out.

8) don't end with "I hope you can forgive me." you see what you just did? Suddenly it's all on their shoulders. you're laying a guilt-trip obligation on them. If they don't forgive they are jerks. blah. This will make most people bristle, though they might not know why. Also, it sounds like you're signing off. "sorry, hope you can forgive me, bye." You're not invested in making it up to them. You're done with it just hope they can forgive you. lame lame lame.

9) style points: you get extra points for sincere praise, indications that you understand and appreciate their position, and statements about how you will reform and try not to be a jerk anymore (so long as you mean it).

If you follow these rules, you will most likely produce a very good apology, and the world will instantly be a better place. Also, odds are they will probably apologize back for what they did wrong. That is the hidden toy at the bottom of the apology cereal box.
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50 Shades of Lame

Ok, first things first. I'm gonna talk about sex, ya'll. Specifically, the bestselling trilogy "50 Shades of Grey." I'm not going to get uber graphic or anything but if you are a parental unit or family member of mine, or just a friend who prefers we not discuss sexy books, bow out now. No harm, no foul, I'll see you at the next family dinner and we can totally talk about how cute puppies are and how rainbows are super nifty. But if you're curious about my thoughts upon reading these books, and I hope you are, read on.

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Isn't it romantic?

I've become a little bit addicted to the .99 cheesy romance novels for my Kindle. They're so dumb and yet, somehow, so satisfying.

But they're really messing up my recommendation list.
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The Morning After

So how'd I do on my Oscar predictions? I called 5 out of the big 6. Pretty decent, I think! Of course, I still stand by all my "should have won" opinions but nothing enraged me to Braveheart winning proportions. Not even Meryl Streep winning Best Actress. She shouldn't have won, but she's Meryl Streep, probably the greatest living actress around and one of the greatest ever, too. Sure, give her an Oscar. And her speech was charming.

And that's the Oscar Death Race for 2012. See you next year when I hope Michael Fassbender and his penis finally make it to the show!
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Oscar Death Race: The Conclusion

Or, as close to the conclusion as I can get, anyway. I have to say, I think I did pretty well. If you've forgotten, or never cared in the first place, the Oscar Death Race is an idea I stole from Sara Bunting over at Tomato Nation in which I attempt to see every Oscar nominated movie that's shown on the broadcast. Not just the Best Picture nominees, or the Best Actor/Actress movies. Every. Single. Nominee. I'm talking Best Makeup. Best Animated Short. Best Sound Mixing for heaven's sake. There are 24 categories. I have finished 16 and I have a good shot at 17 before Sunday night. Not too shabby.

I tried to have some guidelines to follow going into this. Mainly, I had to see the entire movie, in one sitting. I attempted to keep in mind the category the movie was being nominated for. And I attempted to give the movie my undivided attention, no fiddling on the computer or playing games on my Kindle while watching. I mostly succeeded, but I will admit to playing games on the cell phone during Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. You guys. That movie was Bru. Tal. I also may have gotten up to pee a few more times than absolutely necessary during The Tree of Life, but other than that, I followed the rules.

Here we go!

Best Picture
The Descendants
Moneyball
The Artist
Hugo
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
War Horse
The Tree of Life
Midnight in Paris
The Help

Who will win: The Artist
Who should win: Hugo
I want to go on record saying that I really hate the 10 possible nominations for best picture. That's how we get crap like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" nominated, when everyone knows it doesn't have a chance in hell at winning. What is the point? Anyway. Aside from EL&IC I don't hate any of the nominees. I liked them all, they're all very 'safe' choices, so thanks for keeping us pure and virtuous, Academy, I guess. (Sorry, I am still bitter about "Shame" being completely overlooked.) Everything I've heard has "The Artist" taking this one and I'm fine with that, even though I think "Hugo" is the slightly better, more layered and nuanced film.

Best Actor
George Clooney (The Descendants)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Demian Bechir (A Better Life)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

Who will win: Jean Dujardin
Who should win: Gary Oldman
I don't love this category this year. If we're being honest, Clooney and Bechir don't really belong on this list and Pitt...just barely does. Don't get me wrong, they all gave solid, strong performances, but...best of the best? No. Again, Oscar buzz is currently touting Dujardin as the winner and I can definitely live with that. But Gary Oldman gave a fantastic performance that was more reserved than he's probably ever been and I liked him better for it.

Best Actress
Viola Davis (The Help)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)

Who will win: Viola Davis
Who should win: Viola Davis
I'm irritated by this category. Meryl Streep gave a brilliant portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. It was a technical acting masterpiece. Too bad the movie sucked. Michelle Williams wiggled and giggled and sad-eyed her way beautifully through "My Week With Marilyn." Too bad it was such a weak vehicle for her strong performance. Rooney Mara is great as the now iconic "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Too bad the movie is clunky and too long. Really, it's not the performances that irritate me, it's the movies they're in. All three of those women deserved better movies. Too bad. Maybe next year. That leaves Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs" a movie that no one saw (but you should, it's good) and Viola Davis in "The Help" which everyone saw...gee, I wonder who will win? Well, I'd still give it to Davis but it's close. The problem is Close's character portrayal is very narrow. Deliberately so and wonderfully done, but the character has a very limited range of emotions and while I imagine that can be difficult to play in its own way, it doesn't quite stand up to Davis's full range in "The Help."

Best Supporting Actor
Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Kennth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn)

Who will win: Christopher Plummer
Who should win: Chistopher Plummer
There's no question in my mind that Albert Brooks belongs on this list. Kick Jonah Hill off. But, dealing with what we have.... Branagh gives a good performance in a less than good movie (are you seeing a pattern here?), Von Sydow is the traditional wise old man (but the gimmick is, he doesn't talk!) in a flat out crappy film, Nick Nolte is great, but that's because he's been perfecting this role for the past 30 years, it's basically just himself. And Jonah Hill....has no shot at this. Christopher Plummer is wonderful in "Beginners" as a elderly man coming out as gay and living his life as fully as possible. Give him the statue.

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)
Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Jessica Chastain (The Help)
Berenice Bejo (The Artist)

Who will win: Octavia Spencer
Who should win: Janet McTeer
This might be my favorite category! Though I quibble about the Chastain nomination (wrong movie!) I love every performance listed here. And I love how it spans from raunchy comedy to art house tragedy to mainstream blockbuster. I wouldn't be unhappy to see any of these women win. Word on the street has Spencer taking it. I'm ok with that, but given my druthers, I'd give it to McTeer who gives an outstanding performance in "Albert Nobbs." I'm not exaggerating when I say that she makes the movie.

Best Director
Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Who will win: Michael Hazanavicius
Who should win: Martin Scorsese
I'm prepared to be wrong about this, and I hope I am if it means Scorsese wins. Malick's movie was too abstract and not enough people connected to it for him to have a shot. Allen's "Midnight in Paris" is charming and enchanting but it's pretty light, if he wins something it'll be in the screenplay realm. I know a lot of people are talking up Payne but honestly, he doesn't deserve it and current buzz has "The Artist" winning. There could be some Artist backlash and that's where Payne could take it, but if there's backlash, I hope it goes Scorsese's way. He deserves it.

Those are the six big ones. I'll spare you my thoughts about who should win Best Sound Editing. Mainly because I don't have too many. I'm not sure how you judge sound editing. As long as it's not "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon," I'll be a happy girl.
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The Oscars: What Might Have Been

Before I get to the movies that were nominated and who will win and who should win, I just need to take a moment to rage in defense of the movies/people that were not nominated whose absence on the ballot is a travesty of epic proportions. Where, for the love of all that is good, is Michael Fassbender's name on the best actor category?? The man turned in the performance of the year in "Shame." In fact, "Shame" itself should be on the Best Picture list! Carey Mulligan should be in the Best Supporting Actress category for her part in that movie. It was one of the best movies I've ever seen and it was completely shut out. Not totally surprising, I suppose, given the subject matter, but shame (no pun intended) on the Academy for passing over a worthy movie because some puritanical, squeamish old white men are scared of Michael Fassbender's penis.

Where is a Supporting nomination for Albert Brooks for his performance as a gangster in "Drive"? Or a nomination for Ryan Gosling for that matter? I would have picked "Drive" for a Best Picture nomination before that clusterfuck of a movie, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

They gave Nick Nolte the nod for Supporting for basically being himself in "Warrior" but skipped right over an incredible Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton who both helped make "Warrior," a movie that in no way should have worked, an emotional tour-de-force.

Where is the love for Tilda Swinton in "We Have to Talk About Kevin"? I'm pretty disappointed in the Best Actress category this year, not because I hate the people nominated, but because there were better choices.

How about a little joy for Michael Shannon in "Take Shelter"? They blessed Jessica Chastain for her work in "The Help" but that was by far her weakest role of last year. What about her performances in "The Tree of Life" or "Take Shelter"?

Rooney Mara was good in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" but I would much rather have seen "Melancholia"'s Kirsten Dunst or "Martha Marcy May Marlene"'s Elizabeth Olson grab the Best Actress nomination instead. And speaking of "Martha Marcy May Marlene," what about a the phenomenal John Hawkes as a charismatic and deeply disturbing cult leader? I would have been super excited to see a screenplay nomination for that movie, too. Even a Best Director nod, although if you're snubbing Speilberg, I guess shunning relative newbie director Sean Durkin is no biggie.

I could go on, but I won't. What I will do is beg you to see some, if not all, of the movies mentioned above, that weren't nominated. They deserve to be seen. You can thank me later, after you've gotten a good look at Michael Fassbender's penis.
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Life, the Universe and Everything.

So. I'm officially unemployed. It is a really, really awful feeling. I feel like a failure and I am intensely embarrassed, even though there is not one thing I could have done to prevent this from happening. I filed for unemployment the other day, and even though it was relatively painless (I did it online) and easy, the process made me feel very small. I have revamped and updated my resume and already sent it to dozens of places. Not one response.

I can't listen to the news anymore, not even a little. Anytime the unemployment rate gets mentioned or someone talks about the rising price of gas or how it'll be years before the economy is "normal" again, I have a panic attack. I'm very grateful that unemployment exists, but the fact is, it is not enough. I feel sick a lot and I'm always just a few seconds away from crying these days.

My sister, who had been my roommate for the past year, moved to New York with her boyfriend. There's still a year on our lease. Aside from the insane emotional damage this caused on a personal level, the stress of having to find a roommate and knowing that I'll have to live with a stranger for the better part of a year is not making my life any easier.

In short, everything is very, "woe is me" right now.

I am disabling comments because while woe is definitely me, it need not be you and despite all evidence to the contrary, this was not a plea for advice or sympathy or a general pile on of, "but you're awesome!" comments. But thanks, I know you're thinking it.
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