Square Eyes Saturday, Mar 20 2010 

Seeing as I have just spent a lot of moolah on TV DVD boxsets over the past two weeks, I thought I’d tell you which shows have caught my fancy! I love TV shows, love watching them, but never seem to find the time to do so after work. I go out a lot, and inevitably miss so many episodes of shows that by the time I sit down to watch one, I am absolutely lost! (And not just with LOST either :P) So I find that the best thing to do is buy all of the seasons on DVD and watch them at my leisure – usually at 3AM on a Friday/Saturday night!

So far, my collection entails…

House MD

House

BTVS: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Angel (the spin-off from Buffy)

Angel

Boston Legal

Boston Legal

LOST

LOST

The Nanny

The Nanny

Baywatch

Baywatch

Heroes

Heroes

Sliders

Sliders

Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman

Roswell

Roswell

Medium

Medium

The Outer Limits

The Outer Limits (New)

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

The Hitchhiker

The Hitchhiker

True Blood

True Blood

The X-Files

The X-Files

That’s my collection so far, but I am adding to it almost every other day! ūüėÄ Will keep posting as I buy… This is an extremely fulfilling hobby, watching all of these. Some people go learn another language, or go to a cooking class. This is what I do. And I LOVE IT!

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Flight Of The Conchords Tuesday, Jan 5 2010 

You would have to have been in a coma for the past several years if you didn’t know who Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement are. Either that, or you don’t own a tv, computer, read the news or listen to the radio – and only by accident stumbled across this blog now!

These two dorky comedians make up the band/standup duo Flight Of The Conchords, who moved from NZ to the USA proclaiming themselves to be “Formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo”.¬†

Bret and Jermaine were flatmates while studying at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and started their later to be infamous “band” in 1998. Through comedic events, and stints at festivals and slots at places like Auckland’s comedy club, they gained a loyal following in their home country and also Australia. In 2007, they moved to America to film their own television series with HBO.

The show was a hit with everyone, worldwide. Despite it’s Kiwi-isms and humour, people seemed to really get it. Bret and Jermaine play fictional versions of themselves in the show – two Kiwi’s trying to make it big in America with their unique (cough cough) band. Throughout the two series, these cringeworthy characters bumble their way through dating mishaps, money problems and lame gigs that always end in hilarity. Each episode is peppered with on-the-spot songs that are so funny, so brilliant and so well done that they have now become some of my top played beats on my iPod to boot.¬†

Bret and Jermaine are hapless losers РBret always dressed in his woolly jumpers (which always seem to have animal prints on them), and also the more sensitive and oblivious of the duo. Jermaine is slightly deluded, thinking himself to be cooler than he actually is, and is the most desperate to find a woman. Together they are deadpan, outrageously pathetic and oh so clever. The show is a laugh a minute, especially with Murray the band manager (Rhys Darby) and Mel the obsessed, slightly unhinged fan (Kristen Schaal). 

But the absolute best thing about Flight of the Conchords – of course – is the comedic music. It’s clever, it’s witty, it’s catchy and fun to listen to. Buy the CD’s, or download the singles on iTunes. You will crack up!

Also, both seasons of the series are available to buy – this is definitely one you want in your collection!

Flight Of The Conchords

 

Flight Of The Conchords

 

Flight Of The Conchords

 

Flight Of The Conchords

2009… Farewell… R.I.P… Lesson Learnt Saturday, Dec 26 2009 

What did 2009 mean to you? What stories caught your attention, what songs buzzed around in your brain like a fly whacked on speed? Everyone had their own personal ups and downs, of course. For me, it was (is) recovering from a pretty bad car accident. Breaking up with a boyfriend of over five years (my choice, but none the less hard), coping with the backlash of the recession and trying to move past my friends death that happened at the end of 2008. Sorry to be a downer there, but 2009 has been ROUGH! I’m looking forward to a fresh beginning in 2010, but before the year rolled over, I thought I’d blog about the events and happenings that caught my attention in ’09.¬†

First off, the recession. It’s almost become it’s own entity, hasn’t it? People talk about it like it’s a living, breathing thing with actions and no conscience. People have lost their jobs, homes, security. Businesses have closed down, new graduates have struggled to find work. It has been a terribly hard year for everyone, but we battled through and its only up from here!

The Recession Trend

 

The Chris Brown/Rihanna debacle where Chris attacked Ri-Ri while he was driving and she was in the passenger seat. This was brutal and alarming – you don’t think such horrendous behavior happens between celebrity couples. It has highlighted how violence can permeate into anyone’s life, including those who seemingly “have it all”. I won’t go into the he said, she said stuff – google it if you want details. All I want to say is that after it happened, the world was awash with sympathy for the Umbrella singer, and Chris continues to be shunned. Abusing someone is never okay, and I’m just glad that Chris was given the dunce hat on this one as opposed to being excused. I hope a lot of people out there learned from this situation, at the very least. Rihanna will continue to make great music, and seems to have become stronger despite all of the negative media attention and hype. Chris played the “I don’t know what happened, it just wasn’t me” card, but at least owned up to what he did. He didn’t blame her. I just hope he can learn to harness his temper so that the next girl doesn’t cop it too, and I also pray that his fans don’t take direction from his actions and let themselves lash out too. Sad to say, it happens when people are impressionable. This was a big story in 2009 – and I look forward to seeing more and more celebs being pulled up on their behavior in the coming years. I don’t care about sex, drugs and alcohol. That’s personal, it’s not my business. But when it’s something like violence, I do not believe they should get away with it because of their fame. Step one.¬†

Chris Brown and Rihanna

 

President Barack Obama had a bit of a full on year. He was elected 44th president (and first African-American one to boot, whoop whoop!) ¬†in November of 08′, but was inaugurated as president¬†on January 20, 2009. Along with that, he also won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. What a year, and what a man! The news has been saturated with everything Obama has done, from his decisions regarding Iraq to his economical plans and strategies to beat the global recession. I finally have faith in the US government with him at the reins.¬†

Barack Obama

 

The release of the movie¬†The Twilight Saga: New Moon (based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling books) was a big event in my eyes! My friends and I, all avid fans of both the books and the first flick, spent most of the year discussing the up and coming release. Edward or Jacob? Could they get across the sorrow of New Moon, the book, into the movie? Could Taylor Lautner pull off Jacobs physical change? Would the movie work with Edward leaving at the beginning? Ahhh, it’s the big questions in life! You may laugh at me, but I was merely one of MILLIONS waiting for the same thing. A bit of Vampire/Werewolf action – oh yeah!¬†

New Moon Movie Poster

 

On a sad note, many celebrities died in 2009. A scarily high amount, and a lot of them far too young. This struck a chord with me, and I do believe, with the world. So R.I.P. to the following greats:

* David Carridine Р08/12/1936 to 03/06/2009. An actor, well known for many roles over the years. One of his most recent magic roles was Bill in the Kill Bill movies. He was found dead in Thailand from, err, accidental asphyxiation. Enough said. 

* Edward (Ted) Kennedy – 22/02/1932 ‚Äď 25/08/2009. A United States Senator and an integral part of the Kennedy family. In 2008 he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and died from the ensuing complications in 2009.¬†

* Farrah Fawcett ¬†– 02/02/1947 to 25/06/2009. An actress known most famously for her role in Charlie’s Angels. Died from the complications of rectal cancer.¬†

* Frank McCourt – 19/08/1930 to 19/07/2009. Teacher and famous author of the books Angela’s Ashes and Teacher Man. He died from metastatic melanoma.

* Jade Goody – 05/06/1981 to 22/03/2009. TV personality and “Queen” of reality television in the UK. Died tragically of cervical cancer.¬†

* Jett Travolta – 13/04/1992 to 02/01/2009. Jett wasn’t a celebrity, but his parents were (John Travolta and Kelly Preston.) This poor kid captured the heart of the world when he died. It made everyone think, if it could happen to a celebrities child it could happen to mine. So sad. His cause of death was an epileptic seizure

* Michael Jackson – 29/08/1958 to 25/06/2009. This was probably the most famous death of the year, and one that truly stopped people in their tracks. MJ was possibly the most talented performer ever to live (okay, I’m a bit biased, so sue me) and was known world-wide for his amazing music and bizarre lifestyle. He died in his home from an overdose of drugs… It has yet to be determined if this was the fault of his Doctor or just the result of his chosen lifestyle. Either way, we lost an amazing talent.¬†

* Natasha Richardson – 11/05/1963 to 18/03/2009. An actress in movies like The Parent Trap and Maid In Manhattan. Died far too young due to a skiiing accident which resulted in a fatal epidural hematoma.

* Patrick Swayze Р18/08/1952 to 14/09/2009. Actor and dancer Рfamous mostly for his roles in Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Point Break. Died of pancreatic cancer. 

* Stephen Gately – 17/ 03/1976 to 10/10/2009. Singer with Irish boyband Boyzone. Died from a pulmonary oedema.

* Walter Cronkite – 04/11/1916 to 17/07/2009. Famous US journalist. Died from cerebrovascular disease.

* Brittany Murphy – 10/11/1977 to 20/12/2009. An actress famous for rom-com roles in such movies as Clueless and Just Married. Her autopsy results have yet to be released at the time of me writing this, but she was found collapsed in her bathroom from suspected heart complications/failure. So young, so sad.

There were more, but these are the people that passed that truly made their mark on the world (in my eyes, at the very least.) R.I.P. to you all, you amazing, talented, wicked bunch. 

R.I.P.

 

The Swine Flu Pandemic. Now, that lasted through a huge chunk of 2009! A lot of people poo-poo’d it, but at the end of the day, it was a flu that could take down someone with a compromised immune system. The young, the old, the already sick. But it certainly caused an uproar – but with less panic than the Bird Flu (remember that?) At the very least, I hope it taught people to wash their blimmin’ hands. (Pet peeve, don’t mind me!)¬†

Swine Flu

 

The Tiger Woods debacle. The car accident, the cheating, the media circus surrounding it. I kind of feel sorry for the guy… I don’t believe in cheating, and his poor wife for having to go through it all, but imagine how it must feel to be them! With the media glare watching their every move – how humiliating. Over a dozen women have stepped forward to say Tiger cheated on his wife with them, and at this point (to be fair), there’s no proof that these allegations are all true. I’d say most of these “ladies” (scoff) are lying just to get into the headlines and on tv. But Tiger has admitted to transgressions in his statement here and most recently, his wife Elin (a model, so why Tiger, WHY?!) has walked out on their marriage with the kids in tow. Looks like this sports star has a rough path ahead of him… But at the end of the day, he is human. If everyone could forgive the rapscallion President Clinton for his “transgressions”, I’m sure we can all move past judging Tiger and leave him and his family to sort themselves out in private. This has been such a major story for 2009 – sad huh?

The Woods Family

 

This year has been a major year for book to screen adaptations. Of course this is a concept that has been around for ages, and has been gaining real momentum in the past ten years or so. But I found 2009 to be quite heavy with it. The movies that came out in ’09 that were originally books are:

* The Twilight Saga: New Moon – The sequel to the movie Twilight about two star-crossed lovers, Bella anordinary human girl, and Edward, a tortured vampire. Another dimension is added with Jacob, a werewolf who is also in love with Bella. Based on the series by Stephenie Meyer.

* The Lovely Bones – Directed by Peter Jackson and written by the amazing Alice Sebold. This is about a young girl who is raped and murdered, and how she watches over her family as they fall apart over her death. She is stuck in the “in between”, having not quite passed over and yet not on earth. Her Father strives to find her murderer, and becomes consumed by this. Heart wrenching.

* My Sisters Keeper – A wonderful movie made from the amazing book by Jodi Picoult. It’s about a beautiful teenaged girl who has spent her entire life dying of cancer, kept alive only due to her mothers absolute refusal to give up. When her daughter is diagnosed with cancer, the mother chooses to give birth to a genetically specified child so that she can harvest blood and stem cells etc from this healthy child to save her dying daughter. Heartbreaking, thought provoking and makes you appreciate your family.¬†

* Up In The Air – Originally a novel by Walter Kirn, this movie has yet to be released in NZ, but has been (just!) in the US. This is about a corporate downsizer and his travels. Where he goes, who he meets and what he learns.

* Invictus РA movie directed by the great Clint Eastwood and based on a book called Playing the Enemy, by John Carlin. A true story about newly elected Nelson Mandela, and how he joined with the captain of the South African rugby team in the wake of the apartheid to push forward his country, leading them to the 1995 world cup championships. 

* Julie & Julia – A movie about the chef Julia Child, based on the book about her experience with Julia’s cooking by Julie Powell.¬†

* Where The Wild Things Are РA childrens book by Maurice Sendak that has been adapted for the big screen, about a boy called Max who is naughty and sent to bed early, and creates his own world where there are monsters and he is king. 

* Precious – You may have heard of it, because it has Oprah Winfrey’s fingerprints all over it. The movie is based on the book that was originally titled Push (later renamed Precious) by the author Sapphire. The story follows a young african american girl called Precious, who is overweight, illiterate and living in poor-town Harlem. She becomes pregnant after being raped by her own father, and struggles with the help of her teacher to create a real life for herself and her child.¬†

* Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince – This is the sixth book/movie in the multi-million dollar franchise that J.K. Rowling wrote as a struggling, single mother. Harry Potter is a teenage wizard who attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his friends and has to face many challenges along the way. (Usually evil ones)

* The Time Travelers Wife – This novel by Audrey Niffenegger has sold so many copies worldwide that it’s not surprising that it was turned into a movie. About a man who spontaneously¬†time-travels against his own will, and the complications it brings to the absolute love of his life, his wife.

* Angels & Demons РThe sequel to The Di Vinci Code, another very smart book by Dan Brown turned into a bit of an action flick for the big screen. 

* Confessions Of A shopaholic – Based on a series of light-hearted books by author Sophie Kinsella, this was easily adapted into a Rom-Com type flick.

* The Road РA book written by Cormac McCarthy, about a father and sons relationship evolving as they are left alive while most of the world is killed. A post-apocalyptic tale about survival. 

* Coraline – A children’s book by Neil Gaiman, turned into a movie, about a little girl called Coraline who finds a way into an alternate world where all her dreams come true. It’s a tale of “be careful what you wish for”.

Honestly, that’s not even all of them, just a few of my picks! Obviously they have caught on to the idea that you just can’t beat a good book – or perhaps they are just relying on the pre-existing fan base? Hmmm…

Adaptations: Books to Movies

 

Another thing that stuck out in 2009 for me was the iPhone. I know it wasn’t released in 2009, but it has become stronger and stronger in popularity, especially in the past year. From applications, to music, to using your iPhone to update your Twitter/Facebook account, the iPhone is this years must have.¬†

The iPhone

 

2009 also brought forward the brilliant Lady Gaga. She truly became an artist of her own standing this year, and I kind of see her as the Madonna of the naughties. Weird, funky, catchy, freaky – she is an odd act, but one no one can get enough of! I have even caught my Mum singing along to her – which has to mean she is saturating the market because my Mother only listens to the oldies stations!

Lady Gaga

Michael Jackson found the uber-talented, Australian born guitarist Orianthi before he died – he even had her set up as his lead guitarist for “This Is It”. She released an album this year due to her sudden popularlity – and it’s okay, she can sing, meh – but OMG her guitar riffs are orgasmic! (I can say that, it’s my blog!) So check her out on iTunes or YouTube – WOW! Best newcomer for 2009, even if it’s for her instrument artistry.¬†

Orianthi

So, 2009 has been insane for celebs having babies and calling them Sunday-Roast or whatever. But I don’t want to do a run through of that because I don’t have another 12 hours to list them all. So I’m going to list another popular hobby this year for the rich and famous: Breaking up. Doesn’t matter how sexy you are, or how much money you have, there is always someone willing to leave you. Bless.

So here are a list of some of the most famous of golden couples that have decided to walk (according to magazines and gossip websites – I take it all with a grain of salt myself!)

* Kim Kardashian & Reggie Bush

* Joe Jonas & Camilla Belle (Awww… Poor kids)

* Kim Cattrall & Alan Wyse

* Jessica Simpson & Tony Romo

* Jon & Kate Gosselin (Thank god, for the kids sake, sheesh)

* Billy Joel & Katie Lee (Might be the age difference… ?)

* Megan Fox & Brian Austin Green

* Paris Hilton & Doug Reinhardt

* Miley Cyrus & Justin Gaston

* Mel Gibson & Robyn Moore 

* Lindsay Lohan & Samantha Ronson (Not that they ever publicly declared they were together either *shrugs*)

* John Mayer & Jennifer Aniston (Poor Jen ūüė¶ )

* Holly Madison & Criss Angel

* Hayden Panettiere & Milo Ventimiglia

* David Cook & Kimberly Caldwell

* Patricia Arquette & Thomas Jane

There are sooo many breakups it’s not funny. And yet, a lot of the big ones stayed together… Tom and Katie, Brad and Angelina, Posh and Becks… Maybe it only happens when your are only so-so famous? PFFT, yeah right. ūüôā

Heartbreak

 

One of the really sickening events in New Zealand in 2009 was the Clayton Weatherston case. He was sentenced this year for the murder of his former girlfriend, the beautiful and intelligent Sophie Elliott. He stabbed poor Sophie 216 times in her own bedroom while Sophie’s mother tried to break down the locked door. No one believed his plea of self defense (that she had tried to stab him with scissors first – but even if she had, why retaliate by stabbing her that many times? Who goes somewhere with a knife? One word: Premeditated) and he was sentenced to 18 years non-parole. This was another case that highlighted the culture of brutality between some couples, or at least the potential of it. As awful as it sounds, I hope he rots.

Clayton & Sophie

So thats the things (or as much as I can be bothered to write about) that shaped my year… Events and news that touched me, angered me, stayed with me. What was yours?

Safe As House Is Monday, Nov 30 2009 

When you have to go to hospital, don’t you just WISH for a vicodin popping, abusive genius with a limp for your doctor?! Okay, maybe not, but it certainly makes for good TV viewing!

The show House stars actor Hugh Laurie as Dr Gregory House, the abrasive, insulting, sometimes cruel genius of a medical diagnostician. At this point, we are up to series five with series six about to air – and let me tell you: I’m totally hooked! House is not just another medical show like E.R. and the like, but a brilliant show about one man and the impact he has on the people around him. Greg House is a Doctor like no other – he is completely politically incorrect, sometimes so disconnected from people that he treats them like dirt for their show of humanity, but makes up for it with acerbic wit, obsession to diagnose patients, intelligence which is so focused its awe-inspiring and a rebellious nature which just makes his character fun to follow. He is a maverick in the true sense of the word.¬†

The character House works at Princeton‚ÄĎPlainsboro Teaching Hospital as the Head of Diagnostics, and for the first three seasons had three Doctors on his team whom he abused, taught and challenged into being better doctors. They then all quit, being replaced by a new team, with Foreman (From the original team) coming back into the fray while his other former teammates continued to work at the hospital in different roles. House’s boss, the Dean of Medicine Dr Cutty, is the only person who is ever able to reign House in, but often by trickery due to the fact House follows no rules other than his own. Cutty and House have a sexual tension that dances through the plotlines, never quite turning into anything (Yet!) but adding a scintillating depth to their characters tug of war over right and wrong. House’s only friend is another Doctor at the hospital, the head of Oncology, Dr James Wilson who is almost the opposite of House. Wilson is caring, decent and thoughtful. The friendship makes no sense and yet they both need each other, play off of each other, gain strength from their friendship.¬†

With all of the players now in place, let me tell you a little bit more about the show. Basically, every episode introduces a new medical case in which no one can diagnose what is wrong with the patient. House will only take on the most interesting or bizarre cases, and doesn’t care much for the patients themselves. His main goal is ascertaining what ailment the dying patient has and treating them. Quite often he breaks ethical rules to gain this insight, pushing his team to work alongside him. House is brilliant, and picks up on things that no other Doctor would ever notice. He saves people in the most fantastic ways, and comes across illnesses and complications which just boggle the mind. It makes you really appreciate the amount of things that can go wrong with the human body, I’ll tell you that much!

It’s not easy – Even House gets things wrong. Due to his cases being so difficult, sometimes the diagnoses are wrong. Sometimes this is because of the circumstances surrounding the patient, wether they have lied to him, wont let tests be done or freakish environmental factors. Sometimes it’s because of House’s state of mind, or that of his team. Wilson and Cutty spend a lot of their time trying to keep House in check, for the sake of the patients and the hospitals reputation, but also to look out for House himself. Despite his acidic nature, they care for him, and even though he doesn’t quite accept it himself, he cares right on back. It is a startlingly dark look into the human psyche, into pain and suffering. These characters make you think, make you laugh, make you cry. They each have their own personal demons, their backstories which unfold across the seasons. In each episode you learn another little piece about every one of them, you understand their motives more and you marvel at the brilliance of each medical case and what they bring to it.

This series isn’t about heartwarming moments (Although there are a few), it’s about the darkness in life, in sickness and self hatred, but finding a place within that. Finding a reason to BE. The acting is flawless, the plots absorbing. It is never boring, always insightful and totally addictive. I highly recommend it to anyone with an attention span. You wont “Get It” if you don’t follow it closely. You wont understand its REAL brilliance unless you catch on to the undercurrents. But man, this show is so worth watching. Hugh Laurie is one of the best actors ever, and his character House is a surly, selfish genius that you cant help but love. House is safe in my top five shows EVER.

 

House

 

 

Don’t Stop Believing Tuesday, Nov 17 2009 

Every now and then a television show comes along that is just so different, so bizarre, that you wonder if it’s going to die a horrible death in the ratings within its first few episodes. When I first heard the buzz about Glee, this was my first thought.

Then I heard it was created by the brilliant (though usually dark) Ryan Murphy, who in the past has created Nip/Tuck and Popular, and that it had even attracted Joss Whedon (Of Buffy, Firefly and Dollhouse fame) to write a few Episodes. This certainly piqued my interest. I thought “There has to be more to it than just a school glee club, right?”

So I’ve read up on it and started watching it (Two episodes have aired so far on TV 3 here in New Zealand) and I’m hooked!

Is it light and funny? Yes. Is it a spoof? Kinda, yeah. Is there more to it than a superficial glee club dork-fest? Oh god YES.

The plot follows a teacher, Will, who wants to revamp the school Glee Club. He collects a group of hugely talented , err, well, freaks from the school populace and hilarity ensues. Glee is about these school outcasts finding themselves, stumbling across their potential as well as understanding they are worth something.

It’s high school, so there are bullies and bitches, romances and heartache, footballers, cheerleaders and behind the scenes wars between the teaching faculty. I won’t go on about the plot or even the characters. All I want to say is that so far, it’s made me laugh so hard I cried, the songs are amazingly catchy and there is definite darkness to this show that can only happen with high school.

Watch it. Love it. I do.

Glee Vs Cheerleading