The Disney Princess-Lauren Conrad Connection

Is it an understatement for me to call this perhaps the biggest and most important epiphany that has been epiphanied? I don’t think so.

First, consider this image, perhaps the most famous and enduring image of The Hills: Lauren shedding a tear as she realizes that her friendship with Audrina has been irreparably changed.

lauren conrad tear
Lauren Conrad and the Famous Mascara Tear

Now, observe Ariel the Little Mermaid shedding a tear as she realizes that she has missed the chance to charm Prince Eric.

little mermaid tear
The Little Mermaid

I mean, COME ON, the resemblance is UNCANNY, right?

Shut It Down: Conflict Resolution Lessons from a 5-Year-Old

A little girl, dressed in purple from head (lavender-coloured toque) to toe (bright purple sparkly Uggs-type boots), stands at the bottom of a set of subway stairs, clutching her father’s hand. She looks around at the other people waiting for the next train. It’s a busy morning commute.

Dad: Sweetie, can we talk about what happened this morning?

My interest was piqued. What did this child do?

Girl: Daddy, I want to give you a hug.

She throws her arms around his leg and buries her face in his pant leg.

Dad: Thank you, that was very nice. But I want to talk about what happened. I think you should apologize.

He kneels down to look her in the eye. She looks back at him and plants a big wet kiss on his cheek.

Dad: Thank you, sweetie. But I want you to apologize for —

The station announcement crackles. Though she probably can’t understand the gargled message that an uptown local is entering the station, this little girl seizes the moment to deflect attention.

Girl: Daddy! The train is coming!

He stands up. She tugs him backwards.

Girl: Don’t step over the yellow line!!!

Dad: Ok, sweetie.

The train arrives but, too crowded, the father and daughter wait for the next train. The father crouches down to look his daughter eye-to-eye.

Daddy: Sweetie, do you want to apologize for what happened this morning?

Girl: Daddy, I was going to tell you at school.

::drops mic::

BabyMic
This baby is about to drop that mic

Probable Epilogue: The daughter never apologized for throwing her Cheerios on the floor, and the father was too embarrassed to bring it up again.

Argument status: SHUT DOWN.

I’m Not Crying, Parenthood. YOU’RE CRYING.

I feel… empty.

Parenthood, which aired its series finale last night, was a show that always made me cry. In every single episode, without fail, there would be a scene, a line of dialogue, a moment that would destroy me. It’s a pattern that I came to know well. And yet, there would be episodes where I would notice that I hadn’t cried yet and smugly think to myself, Hey Parenthood, I win this round. Inevitably, the show would come back after the last commercial break, Parenthood would stare me straight in the eyes and say, “Oh really, Ariel? You think you’ve won this round? I haven’t even broken a sweat yet.”

Of course I would cry. Who do I think I am, Ron Swanson?

Perhaps it was because I saw my own family in the big, crazy, loud, silly Bravermans. Their trials and tribulations were much more dramatic than my family’s dynamics, but at the core, there was a familial – and familiar – je-ne-sais-quoi.

Thank you, Parenthood.

Teenage Ariel &… Tori Spelling

When I was 14 years old, I wrote something of a manifesto. It wasn’t about wanting to change the world or start a revolution. It didn’t apply any theories of economics or philosophy or academic schools of thought. And actually, it had pictures, so maybe it wasn’t a manifesto so much as a picture essay. It certainly dissected the issue though.

It was about Tori Spelling.

An avid Beverly Hills 90210 viewer for its entire run, I watched Tori Spelling transform from a big-haired, tiny-waisted, ditzy virgin to a short-haired, even tinier-waisted woman, through a bleached blonde to brown hair colour palette… and a few — ahem — body enhancements. Slightly mean-spirited though it was, I — a mouthy teenager who hadn’t yet discovered vanity or makeup –was indignant that Tori Spelling was meant to be a role model to young girls.

Tori Spelling would become a well to which I would sarcastically return for creative writing/thinking assignments throughout high school. In Grade 10 English, she was one of three people with whom I wanted to have dinner with (another was my recently passed grandmother) — and it was just so that I could tell her that I thought she was the worst. In Grade 12, I wrote an acrostic poem of her name, mocking her. I actually performed that one in front of a paying crowd.

Thinking back on it, I feel a twinge of regret. It never occurred to me that Tori Spelling probably had enough insecurities to fill the 56,000 square foot mansion where she grew up.

I totally applaud Tori Spelling for continuing to make a career for herself after the blatant nepotism that cast her as the most follically offensive virgin in history. And for turning her home-wrecking love affair on the set of a TV movie (filmed in my hometown of Ottawa!) into multiple television shows and some admittedly adorable children. The amount of mileage she has gotten out of the name Tori Spelling is nothing short of remarkable.

My Tori bashing is the closest I have ever gotten to being a ‘Mean Girl.’ I know it can’t have been easy growing up Tori. That being said, I present without comment a clip from True Tori, her Lifetime docu-series.

Popcorn and a Shluff: My Dad’s Guide to Watching Movies

FullSizeRender

It is almost impossible to put into words the experience of going to a movie with my Dad, but I wanted to try. The Vereds bleed popcorn (we have even been known to go to the movie theatre just to pick up movie theatre popcorn), and that is all because Arnie Vered loved movies.

Just like each of my siblings, I learned to love going to the movies from my Dad. My Dad would go to any movie. He would see movies multiple times because he just loved the act of going to see a movie; also, because he never stayed awake for an entire movie so there was always something new to see. When we go to Florida in December, we see a movie almost every night. The movie theatre was my Dad’s happy place.

Going to the movies with my Dad was a special experience, and there are a billion stories to share. Here are just a few.

—————————————————-

In 1996, my Dad took me to see Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. At some point in the movie, my dad fell asleep, as he invariably did in every film-going excursion. The most famous love story unfolded in all of its made-for-MTV glitz and pathos, and as the movie ended with star-crossed lovers Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes realizing too late that they probably should have discussed their plan ahead of time, my dad awoke from his nap and turned to me.

“So what happened?”

“Daddy, are you serious? Didn’t you read the play in high school?”

“Sure, but maybe they changed the ending.”

 —————————————————-

My Dad could fall asleep in any type of movie. It didn’t matter the volume or soundtrack, the mood or genre, or his level of excitement for the movie. He would eat his popcorn while the trailers played, and then, when the lights went down, he would just drift off into a snooze from which he might occasionally awake, only to fall back asleep again.

I remember the first time that I realized that having one’s parent fall asleep at a movie was not a normal thing. My father had taken me and my friend Catherine to see The Sixth Sense. Catherine and I were relatively new friends, so you can imagine my embarrassment when, partway through this eerily silent and on-first-viewing thrilling and suspenseful movie, my Dad started snoring.

“Daddy… Ssshhhh!” I hissed at him, praying that, just like when your stomach rumbles with hunger and it seems like everyone must be able to hear it but no one actually does, his snores just seemed louder to me because I was uniquely attuned to hearing them.

“Ok, ok,” he said, before promptly nodding off again.

—————————————————-

When it was time to declare my Program of Study in university, I remember sitting on my front steps with my friend Julie, looking through the courses of study and not being interested in anything I saw. But when I saw Cinema Studies as an option, I thought, “Huh. I like movies. I would love to learn more about them.” I don’t think I would have chosen Cinema Studies if it had not been for my Dad’s influence. But I can’t even imagine what I might have majored in.

In my Cinema Studies major, I had three film screenings a week. Some were scheduled first thing in the morning, others mid-afternoon, or at night. And you know what? I fell asleep in every single film screening I had throughout four years of university. Didn’t matter the movie, the time of day, the comfortableness of the seats. I fell asleep in every single screening, even ones that I was interesting in seeing. In those film screenings, I was my father’s daughter.

—————————————————-

My Dad had a laugh that was infectious. It was full-bodied and gleeful and you simply couldn’t resist laughing yourself. There was no point in trying.

There is one scene that made him laugh more than anything else in the world. Simply referring to it was enough to make him dissolve into giggles. One time, driving to Montreal, he almost drove us off the road because someone mentioned it. I can’t even count the number of times that we would try to lure him to the TV or computer so that we could watch his reaction to watching that scene.

“Hey, Daddy. Remember that scene in Bridesmaids….”

Somewhere, Daddy is laughing SO HARD.

 

Dairy Queen Manhattan: The Greatest Grand Opening in NYC

Probably the two things I miss most living in NYC is driving and Dairy Queen.

With driving, I miss being able to belt out songs at the top of my lungs. (Try hitting the high notes of Wrecking Ball while walking down a sidewalk. It is totally not appreciated.)

And then there’s Dairy Queen. So many wonderful and happy childhood memories getting sundaes, and chocolate-dipped cones… and, of course, Blizzards. There is an undeniable and distinct joie de vivre that comes with that tasty cool treat that can be turned upside down and defy gravity. Cue retro video…

Blizzards fills my heart with joy. And that is why/how, last week, I ended up at Dairy Queen at 11:30pm.

The long-awaited first Dairy Queen in Manhattan opened on Thursday May 29 to a mob scene. It was so comforting to know that I was not alone in my excitement. I was planning to hit up the DQ by myself — and I wasn’t even embarrassed about it. But my friend Amanda joined me for this very Momentous Occasion; I have to say, it was really nice to share the moment with someone. DQ stood out like a beacon of hope on 14th Street in between a Five Guys and a liquor store. I have never had any of Dairy Queens “hot eats” so I really can’t speak to the burger/fries competition. But does it really matter? THEY HAVE BLIZZARDS, PEOPLE.

DQ

I excitedly approached the register; even though the store had opened up to much fanfare earlier in the day, at 11:30 p.m. it was relatively empty so there was no wait. I ordered a mini size of my signature Blizzard (Cappuccino Skor, or Cappuccino Heath in the States). If I may opine on the mini size, it is genius, the perfect amount of ice cream. It’s a size of ice cream that you could totally eat at any hour of the day.

The Blizzards were brought to our table (this 2-story 100-seat DQ is the height of #swanky) by a lovely lady named Deyonca. She came back to inquire if we were enjoying our Blizzards. An effusive yes seemed insufficient. I loved my Blizzard and, in that moment, I loved Deyonca too.

DQ2

DQ is FINALLY here in Manhattan. Even as much as I repeat it, it doesn’t seem quite real. And since it is open until midnight/1am, there is no reason to ever be sad again. Ever.

There is a life before DQ in NYC, and there is a life after DQ in NYC. My friends, welcome to the new age.

DQ1

If you live in NYC or are planning a visit, please consider a trip to Dairy Queen with me.

Let’s Go To The Mall…Today? A Salute to How I Met Your Mother

Tonight, after nine seasons, we finally find out How Ted Met the Mother. But it kind of feels entirely besides the point.

slap

Throughout the run of How I Met Your Mother, as each of Ted’s love interests was discounted (Victoria, Stella, Zoey, Blah Blah), I found that I didn’t care who the Mother was. It wasn’t the love story that brought me back each week. It was the storytelling, the friendships, the inside jokes and the gags, which made their way into cultural lexicon and include, but are not limited to:

  • High fives high fives
  • Slap Bets
  • Drunk or Kid?
  • “Challenge accepted”
  • Legen…wait for it…dary
  • Interventions
  • The Bro Code
  • Saluting when someone says “general,” “corporal,” “colonel,” “major”

And the gag that started it all:

  • Haaaaaaave you met [insert name]?

So, thank you, How I Met Your Mother, for making me laugh So Much and for creating the Most Perfect Venn Diagram Ever:

Spoiler alert: The robot falls in love.

robot falls in love

Chicks Dig (Emotional) Scars: Veronica Mars’ Logan Echolls

LOGAN

LOGAN ECHOLLS IS NOT MY BOYFRIEND.

Wow, that was really tough to say out loud.

But it’s true. Logan is not my boyfriend. He’s everyone’s “bad boy” boyfriend. That guy who drives you wild even though you know you shouldn’t give in. On this occasion, the worldwide premiere of the Veronica Mars movie, I couldn’t help but reflect on the eternal appeal of Logan Echolls.

He was A LoVer (oops, my Veronica Mars dorkiness is showing…) and a fighter. The Obligatory Psychotic Jackass started the series much like he began it — beating the crap out of someone/something. And yet, of every single character on the show — Veronica included — Logan is the only one who gained emotional depth; the only one who truly changed.

It’s classic bad boy formula: emotionally-or-verbally-or-physically abusive father + absentee mother = damaged/bruised guy. Bonus points if said bad boy can pull off puka shells and still smolder.

Logan_Echolls

Think of all the other so-called bad boys of teen TV show history: Dylan (Beverly Hills 90210), Jess (Gilmore Girls), Pacey (Dawson’s Creek), Ben (Felicity). It’s the same pattern. These boys grow up unwanted, unloved, criticized, neglected… C’mon ladies, t’s downright irresistible.

But what about Duncan in Seasons 1 and 2? Or Piz in Season 3? To that I say, HA! If those were supposed to be examples of a love triangle, we’re talking an isosceles triangle here (can I get retroactive high school math credit for that one?). Logan was the most dangerous one to love because he could hurt you. Because he, like the bad boys who preceded him, always had nothing to lose.

A few Important Lessons Logan Echolls taught us:

1. FYI: If the cuddling is the best part, he didn’t do it right.

2. No one writes songs about the relationship that come easy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR8Fku7e4Co

3. Making out in public washrooms is HOT.

4. Gentlemen, THIS is how you do a first kiss.

It doesn’t really matter to me what happens in the movie. All I know? If he called me up, and said he needed my help, I’d say sayonara to Piz-who?-ski so fast.

LOGAN SMIRK

Gah, that smirk! ::SWOON:: Be still, my beating heart.

Bottom line:

NEW GIRL want-him-bad

I strongly encourage, nay I insist, that anyone who hasn’t watched Veronica Mars run — don’t walk — to Amazon (where it’s streaming on Instant Video) or iTunes. Maybe you won’t fall prey to the irresistible appeal of Logan. But if you don’t… then why are we friends?

Warm & Fuzzies to Everyone. Yes, Even You.

Nothing is the end of the world. Besides, of course, the End of the World.

It’s easy to forget sometimes though, when you get all wrapped up in everyday stresses and challenges and quibbles.

People always talk about getting caught up in the mundane and losing sight of what really matters. You might think, “Well, then let’s just get rid of the so-called ‘everyday;’ let’s live in the dream, the Big Picture.” But we can’t get rid of the everyday. Otherwise we probably wouldn’t appreciate the truly extraordinary moments, as big or small as they may be. We just need to remember to be mindful every day.

It’s easy to forget that everyone is dealing with their own stresses, be they money, or love, or health, or life in general. And sometimes they will share them with you over all the wine and beers, but not always.

It has been a Challenging Year. I have tried my best to maintain my good humour because, really, I’d much rather be silly than serious (Ed. Note: duh, it’s so much more fun!). But sometimes I get scared. That is hard for me to admit.

And so, I want to Sincerely, from the Bottom of My Heart (ah, if Britney’s “from the bottom of my broken heart” chorus just popped into your head with her exact intonation, my heart is hugging you, let’s run away together and sing Britney songs for the rest of time), with Every Fiber of My Being, say thank you to everyone who has listened to my sometimes tear-filled worries, amidst dealing with your own. It has meant everything to me, and I hope I have done the same for you; at the very least, I tried.

I am very lucky to have the family that I have, whose support of me could be characterized as undying, but even that seems insufficient. I’m endlessly grateful to be as supported as I am by the most wonderful people (you know who you are) and while I often assume this goes without saying, I’m going to say it here: I will do anything for the people who are on my List. You know your List, that list of people who you would do absolutely anything for, no questions asked, in a heartbeat, no matter what. Once again, you know who you are. You’ve probably made my list for any number of reasons, but certainly because you are At Least As Attractive as I am, if not *grumble, takes deep breath, suppresses mildly petulant eye-roll* More.

There are two things that I love doing a lot: hugging and laughing. So I want to give everyone a virtual Big Hug to say Thank You for making me Laugh so much.

(Bonus points for a snort)

Warm and fuzzies

Love & The Little Mermaid: A Match Made Under The Sea

Spread the love with my The Little Mermaid-themed Valentine’s Day card!

LMVAL1 LMVAL2 LMVAL3 LMVAL4LMVAL6 LMVAL7

And a sibling option:LMVAL8

*should have at least 2 sisters. 3+ sisters is ideal. Actually, it even works for 1 sister, who would hopefully say, “I’m your only sister,” to which you would reply, “Exactly.”

Verdict: Totally uncool, or not cool but not embarrassingly uncool?

Celebrity BFF Cage Match: Anna Kendrick Vs. Jennifer Lawrence

”Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. Anna Kendrick and Jennifer Lawrence are both on the bus and you can only save one of them and whomever you save will be your new celeb best friend forever! What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?”

Jennifer Lawrence basically spent all of 2013 as THE celeb everyone wanted to have as their Best Friend. (Hmm, this is probably limited to girls. I’m pretty sure all guys would rather have sex with her).

jennifer lawrence silly

It all started with her charming trip up the stairs at the 2013 Academy Awards to accept her Academy Award for Best Actress.

jennifer lawrence fall

As someone who trips over her own feet on the regular, I could totally relate. With her zany red carpet interviews  — armpit vaginas, anyone? —  and consistently funny acceptance speeches, she’s like the more charming version of you. the version of you that could pull off a Mia Farrow pixie cut and make a guffaw sound adorable (note: this version of you does not exist, only Jennifer Lawrence can be these things, stop kidding yourself, fool). Coming into 2014, she was looking pretty unstoppable as America’s anti-sweetheart.

But a dark horse has emerged. Well, maybe not a dark horse, but a Palomino? Like, what I’m trying to say is, she didn’t come out of nowhere, she’s been flying under the radar, but she’s experienced quite the surge in popularity lately. Ladies and gentlemen… Anna Kendrick.

anna kendrick silly

(Same deal: every girl wants to be friends with her, every guys wants to do her).

Anna is the star of Newcastle’s clever Superbowl commercial parody, a web video that hilariously mocks the ridiculousness of expensive Superbowl commercials as well as Superbowl standard of having celebs endorse cars and beer and other products.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g9wXBkdWEg

Besides being the best non-Superbowl Superbowl commercial ever, Anna comes off in this bit looking like the coolest, funniest, down-to-earth hot chick.

So, let’s break it down: who would you want as your celeb BFF, Jennifer or Anna?

Small Screen Commercials

You’ve already seen Anna’s non-Superbowl Newcastle commercial above. Here is Jennifer’s, a My Super Sweet 16 MTV promo, for which she got her SAG card.

Advantage: Anna. I mean, yes, Jennifer was 14 and playing a spoiled teen, and Anna is a 28-year-old confident in her “hottest girl in your improv class hot” girl. But still. Anna kills it here. You totally want to not drink Newcastle beer with her.

Big Screen YA Fiction Characters

A crucial demographic lolz. We’re talking about The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen (*cough* The Girl On Fire *cough*) versus the Human Best Friend in the Twilight books. If a guy breaks your heart, Human Best Friend will be all like “Ugh what a jerk. I guess that’s why you shouldn’t date vampires,” and offer you some ice cream. Katniss will shoot arrows at him to make him dance like the monkey vampire that he is and say, “Guess the odds weren’t in your favour, bitch.”

katniss-shoot-arrow

Advantage: Katniss. I mean Jennifer.

Social Media Savviness

Jennifer doesn’t have Twitter or Instagram. She does have a Facebook page, but those pages are useless, basically all promotional material and no glimpse into the actor’s life behind the scenes. Anna, on the other hand… Anna is a social media goddess. Buzzfeed upon Buzzfeed upon Buzzfeed has been written about the sublime perfection that is Anna’s Twitter wit, and her Instagram is the pictorial version of said wit.

anna kendrick tweet 1 anna kendrick tweet 3

anna kendrick tweet 4 anna kendrick tweet 6

anna kendrick tweet 5 anna kendrick tweet 7

Advantage: Anna. If you don’t follow her already, make it happen NOW. @annakendrick47. You’ll thank me.

Friends with Beyonce

Anna Kendrick is friends with Beyoncé because they met at the Grammy Awards (In my mind, as soon as you meet Beyoncé  you become instant friends because you’ve stood in the light of her halo). Jennifer Lawrence is not friends with Beyoncé  I Googled it.

anna beyonce

Advantage: Anna. Duh, it’s Beyoncé.

Drinking Buddies

Anna stars in a movie that is literally called Drinking Buddies. But something tells me that Jennifer Lawrence could drink us all under the table. After all, she blamed her emotionally wobbly Golden Globes acceptance speech on the fact that she wasn’t drunk enough.

Advantage: This might be a draw, but I think the edge goes to Jennifer on this one. After all, she’s a Kentucky girl and they can hold their liquor.

Photobombing Skillz

What do Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift have in common? Both have fallen victim to classic JLaw photobombs. The Taylor Swift Golden Globes photobomb even got meme-fied. Anna hasn’t gotten any sort of international or Internet press for photobombing a fellow celebrity at a major star-studded event.

photobomb

Advantage: Jennifer. Duh, she’s a meme.

WINNER: Ugh this is suuuuch a tough one. To be honest, I don’t want to jeopardize my chances of being best friends with either of them…  I want to be as funny and irreverent as Anna Kendrick and as drunk and silly as Jennifer Lawrence.

anna jennifer

Who would you choose???

O, Bieber

Everything’s coming up Bieber in the news lately, eh?

bieber mug shot

This may come as a shock to Americans: I am Canadian, but I am in no way related to Justin Bieber. (Henceforth, I will refer to him as Bieber. Justin is for Timberlake, and Timberlake only). Don’t know him, never met him, will never meet him.

That being said, allow me to present my certified Justin Bieber credentials.

1. In the December 2012, when his Christmas album was released I played it almost non-stop in my open office space to the joy/chagrin of my coworkers.

2. In my old office space, I had a wall of posters, called the Gentlemen’s Wall, which resembled a 12-year-old girl’s bedroom and predominantly featured pictures of Bieber.

bieber wall

3. I know someone who once passed by him on a California boardwalk.

4. I saw Bieber in concert at Madison Square Garden.

5. I time-share a Justin Bieber sweatshirt at said concert.

bieber sweatshirt

6. I watched the Justin Bieber movie twice and found it quite touching. I mean, honestly, how could you not find this adorable?

So let’s talk this petition to deport Bieber. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/deport-justin-bieber-and-revoke-his-green-card/ST1yqHJL

Bieber has been pulling some classic entitled teenage boy bullshit lately. There’s the peeing in a bucket while slandering Bill Clinton; bringing a monkey to Germany without proper animal permits and abandoning it there, and of course “drag-racing” a Yellow Lambo down a residential Miami street. Basically, Bieber is acting out every teenage boy’s dream, in the most recent case as if your life was Grand Theft Auto XIXIXIXIXIXIX.

Now, I have a brother who is a month older than Bieber, and he’s a pretty cool dude. Granted, he doesn’t have a bajillion dollars to throw around in order to get everything he wants and get out of every problem. But my brother also has something that Bieber doesn’t: people who love him and are going to keep him in line. How was it that no one on Bieber’s team thought, “Hey, if you bring an animal into another country, it needs a permit and vaccinations? And if we don’t take care of this, it will be a really big thing on the Internet and totally embarrassing. Maybe we should just leave the monkey at home.”

There are some people who think/believe/hope that Obama is going to deport Bieber.

really-seth-and-amy

Really, guys? This is ridiculous. Bieber is not going to get deported. I’m sure the White House response — which is required because the petition reached (and more than exceeded) the 100,000 signature threshold — will be akin to its Death Star one (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/isnt-petition-response-youre-looking). But has Bieber broken the law to a severe enough degree to warrant deportation? No. And besides people not liking his music, is he really adversely affecting American society? Not any more than some homegrown American jerks.

Unless new allegations come out (unless? Lol of course something new will come out), it’s not going to happen. Sorry, infinitesimally small percentage of America (I really really tried to calculate what percentage 190,000 people out of 300 million is, but every time I tried I got a different answer. Math is for nerds).

You can’t get deported just for being a dick.

That being said, I’m pretty confident that I don’t know 100,000 who would want me deported. Suck it, Bieber!

Just Want You To Know: One Direction are Backstreet Boys Copycats

Editor’s note: this post holds absolutely no educational value and does not actually adhere to science. Read on if you are interested in reading something that mocks One Direction and reveres the Backstreet Boys..

This realization didn’t come from listening to hours of One Direction songs (a decidedly poor use of one’s time). It didn’t even come from extensive Backstreet Boys listening. In fact, I expended exactly zero mental energy on this epiphany.

It’s just really obvious: One Direction IS Backstreet Boys.

one-direction-intro

equals-sign

backstreet-boys-the-backstreet-boys-12088907-350-385

In Grade 3, my science teacher Mrs. Brush taught us the scientific method.

sm

That’s probably the last time I really understood Science. I’m going to use the Scientific Method to prove a very important (not important at all) pop cultural point.

Prepare to be “wowed” with “Science.”

Step 1: Ask a Question — As I said, I wasn’t trying to solve a question, but for these purposes, let’s say the question is, What boy band is One Direction most like?

Step 2: Do Background Research — My thought process went like this: “One Direction seems like Backstreet Boys 2.0. Yea, totally. I know some of the One Direction names — there’s Harry, Liam, Niall, Zayn, and another guy, but I don’t know what name goes with what guy. That seems like a bit too much research though.”

In the interests of full disclosure, these are my official notes.

notepad

Step 3: Construct a Hypothesis — One Direction is the annoying younger sibling who is always copying Backstreet Boys, the older sibling. Is it too far to say One Direction guys are Backstreet Boys wannabes? The more I say it, the more it becomes true.

So the One Direction dudes burst on the scene around — what, 2012? — formed on the British version of The X Factor by Simon Cowell. Simon Cowell forming a group of contestants from an iteration of The X Factor is the new Lou Perlman forms a boy band.

I only know a few One Direction songs and my feelings are mixed. “What Makes You Beautiful” was an instant classic, and “One Thing” and “Story Of My Life” are so catchy, but “Little Things” is for me the height of boy band misogyny, on par with The Wanted’s “Glad You Came;” this song being out the tiny glimmers of latent feminism in me.

(You might be asking, why Backstreet Boys and not ‘NSYNC? To that I say, “Oh, you mean The Mis-Titled Justin Timberlake Project starring Justin Timberlake, Justin Timberlake, guest-starring Justin Timberlake, with a bit part played by JC Chasez?” Beyond JT’s dominance and JC’s desperate attempts to stay in the spotlight role, the characters of NSYNC were not interesting enough to beget archetypes.)

So, Backstreet Boys. I don’t even know what to say about them beyond the fact that their music will stand the test of time for all eternity. And maybe it’s because I grew up with them, but “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”/”As Long As You Love Me”/”All I Have to Give”/”I Want It That Way”/”Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”/Quit Playing Games”/”Shape of My Heart”/”Incomplete”/”The Call”/”Drowning”/”More Than That”/”Larger Than Life” and of course “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) when they had never even gone away!!!

….Umm I’ll be right back, I need to listen the whole Backstreet Boys discography immediately!

Step 4: Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment — I did a Google Image search of both boy bands. Some sample results:

Exhibit A:

one direction snacks backstreet boys milk ad

Exhibit B:

backstreet boys magazine one direction magazine

Step 5: Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion — I think my data speaks for itself…

This guy has tattoos and wears his hair in a fauxhawk. He’s clearly the bad boy, aka AJ.

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Just like how everyone has a favourite Ninja Turtle or Power Ranger or American Girl, everyone has their favourite Backstreet Boy. Mine was AJ, the bad boy. He always had the most expressive parts of the songs, the funnest to sing. He even had an alter ego, Johnny No-Name (lol)

AJ+McLean+inlove

This guy is, duh, Harry Styles. By virtue of him being the main lead singer, he is Brian.

one direction harry styles

Brian was an obvious favourite, he was adorably small and he had a hole in his heart >>> every girl’s dream! Especially because he was probably too weak to run from your love.

backstreet boys brian

This guy is adorable. And maybe the youngest? (too much effort to research) So he is Nick.

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Nick, the youngest and blondest, was the Baby Spice of the group — so cute, so young, so so blonde.

nick carter

This guy seems like he’s the oldest. Also he’s got a goatee that is kind of creepy. Therefore he is Kevin.

one direction louis tomlinson

Kevin was the guy who was too old to be hanging out with these young bucks. He was the older brother who bought them beer, and who wore his facial hair with pride. He was too tall.

backstreet boys kevin

I’m sure gagillions of girls find this guy cute, but he seems so meh to me. So, by virtue of that fact and also that every other Backstreet Boy is taken… he is Howie D.

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And Howie D. There’s always a Howie D whose membership in the group is puzzling but for the fact that it’s clear he THINKS he’s as physically/sexually appealing as the others, which is as cute as it is wildly off-base.  (the NSYNC equivalent is Chris Kirkpatrick, who wore white boy dreads as a badge of honour and a guaranteed turnoff)

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A side story about Howie D: I went to my first Backstreet Boys concert when I was 12 years old. But, it must be noted, I didn’t like the Backstreet Boys. I would describe it now as “going ironically,” but back then I didn’t have that self-awareness so my attendance at that concert was “Ugh, everyone here is so lame — [Insert eye roll] — but I know every one of their songs.”    

I had never been to a concert of such an hysterical fan base before. I was bewildered by all these girls who had made signs and tshirts and had painted their faces; I was sitting behind a group of five girls who had given their bodies over to Backstreet Boys worship. I was a pretty cool, calm, and nonchalant, but something happened that made my jaw drop. One of the girls reached her hand longingly over the railing and screamed lustfully, “HOWIE, I WANT TO BLOW YOU!!!!!!”

First thought: What does that mean?!

Second thought: Howie? Really?

I will never forget that girl, who clearly picked the shortest straw when her clique was choosing Backstreet Boys faves. And I will never forget knowing that, even though I didn’t know what it meant at the time, I knew that to blow someone was a sexual act and that I would never ever want to do it with Howie D.

Step 6: Communicate Your Results — Umm. Please see above?

Thank You, Peyton: Team Puck Bunny for the Fantasy Football Win!

Last night, I became a Fantasy Football Champion. It was, if I may say, a Cinderella story.

(I’m actually the only person who’s said that, but I think it still counts…)

fantasy rankings

Look, Ma, I’m on top of the world/rankings!

Some said I jinxed myself writing about my fantasy domination. But that wasn’t boasting; it was straight-up incredulousness at this very bizarre anomaly. 

I owe much of this to the man, the myth, the legend Mr. Peyton Manning who, most weeks, was an absolute monster on the gridiron.

 

peyton manningHow can you not love this ridiculous guy?

All I ever asked of Peyton, and the rest of my team, was that they show up for the game. And most weeks they did. Like any team, when one player looked like he was struggling, others picked up the slack. Obviously these dudes didn’t actually know they were playing on a team together — and some weeks were playing against each other in real life — but I like to think that a very infinitesimally small part of them knew they were all Team Puck Bunny.

When you think about it, football is such a funny game. Every single play ends with two or more men throwing themselves into each other and falling dramatically on the ground. I can be quite clumsy, but, man, how does your body sustain such constant stress and battering? No wonder these guys can only manage to play one game a week, and sometimes just barely.

Most of all, I owe this victory and championship win to my brother Michael, who endured all of my fantasy panic and shared all of my fantasy excitement. Best brother ever.

me and michael
WINNERS!!!

 

Guys, I’m just waiting for a call from Coach Taylor to join his football coaching team.

PS: Hey Peyton, still waiting on your address to send you the most extravagant bouquet and also all of my worldly belongings because you deserve it, champ!

Santa Virgin, Or That Time I Visited Santa for the First Time At Age 22

I stepped off the escalator in apprehension. I was at the entrance of Macy’s SantaLand. I was steps away from the hallowed holiday tradition of visiting the head honcho of the North Pole. I knew that if I crossed that threshold, there would a fundamental shift in the cosmos. I was a Santa virgin.

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I had come to SantaLand in search of something that I had never experienced before. My parents had never taken me to visit Santa; I never had the joy of confiding my cherished Christmas gift wishes. Given that I am Jewish, I’ll forgive my parents for this injustice. Nevertheless, I felt that I had been denied a significant cultural experience.

I approached the entrance, where an elf cheerily beckoned passersby to “Come see Santa. There’s no line.” Apparently, SantaLand was not busy on weekdays. It was a Wednesday at 1:40 p.m.

I felt cheated. I had heard horror stories of waiting forever on the absurdly long line, of children screaming and crying, of the boredom and misery that must precede the joy of meeting Santa. I wanted my first time to be perfect, the quintessential Santa experience. I guess meeting Santa for the first time in your 20s is much like waiting to have sex until marriage: the longer you wait, the more you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Imagine if the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney Land went on a road trip and took a wrong turn north; trees with anthropomorphized faces and tiny bears helplessly swaying to and fro to Christmas songs amidst an overabundance of fake snow. Such is the spectacle of SantaLand.

Waiting in line, I was puzzled by the prevalence of old people. They presumably had learned decades ago that – ***UMMM…SPOILER ALERT?*** – Santa is not real. I suppose I had assumed that, like hanging out at the mall, after a certain age, it’s just tragic. I thought visiting Santa was reserved for parents who made their young children cry by forcing them to sit on the lap of a strange fat man for the family Christmas card.

While I had never personally experienced the joy of Santa, I had viewed many a Christmas-themed movie. I wondered what temperament of Santa I would encounter. I secretly hoped for the caustic, foul-mouthed Billy Bob Thornton Santa of Bad Santa. But given that I was at Macy’s SantaLand, I suspected that I would meet a Santa stone-faced committed to his Santa-ness.

A mere 20 minutes later, I found myself at the gateway to Santa’s village. Party of one; was the greeter elf judging me? I was uncomfortable enough at the idea of sitting on an old man’s lap. This is exactly the sort of behavior that I normally try to avoid when I go out to bars.

An elf named Munchkin led me to one of many Santa houses. Armed with my reporter’s notebook, I asked if I could interview Santa. A manager, Jeff, delivered the unfortunate news that I would have to arrange in advance to interview Santa. I was disappointed, but not surprised: even Santa has PR people.

I still had yet to sit on Santa’s lap. I reentered SantaLand, where the line was still disappointingly short. It took me 10 minutes to arrive once again at the gateway to Santa’s village.

An elf named Icicle took me to a different Santa house and asked me if I had been good this year.

“Does this face look like it could do anything bad?” I asked.

I asked her how long she had been working for Santa. She replied that she’s always working in the North Pole. I felt a little sad for her commitment to the elf persona.

Santa invited me to sit on his lap. I wondered how many others had been already today. I knew I wasn’t special but Santa was determined to make me feel so.

Santa asked me what I wanted. I had prepared for this query.

“It depends. What’s more viable – world peace or peace in the Middle East?” I asked.

Santa replied, “Both are kind of good, but Santa is so happy that you didn’t ask for some material thing like a Mercedes Benz or a necklace, something that Santa can’t always promise.”

He then launched into a rehearsed monologue about how Santa would always love me and bless me with peace, love, health and happiness. It only lasted 15 seconds, but I have never felt more uncomfortable in my life. How this man could recite this saccharine speech with a straight face to innumerable masses, young and old, day in and day out, simply amazed me.

I waited in line and purchased my photo with Santa. And then, having impressed Santa with my non-materialistic, humanitarian Christmas wish, I went off to peruse the Macy’s sales.

Searching for my Tim Riggins…

Maybe there’s no crying in baseball. But there is crying in football when football is Friday Night Lights

Confession: I watched 76 episodes of Friday Night Lights in 30 days. 

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If anyone has been wondering where I’ve been, emotionally, for the past month, the answer is a Friday Night Lights-induced k-hole. I’m feeling a lot of EMOTIONS right now and need to talk about it. (No spoilers here, I promise!)

For a month, Friday Night Lights became the center of my universe. To the extent that you can eat, sleep, and breathe a television show, that is what happened with Friday Night Lights over the past month. If I was in my apartment, I was watching an episode, or three. My household chores fell by the wayside. There was even a week where I couldn’t get out of bed before I watched an episode (and was subsequently late to work every day). Basically I did what I would never do in real life, which is become that girl who spends all of her time with her new boyfriend and ignores all of her friends, but in this case, my new boyfriend was Friday Night Lights and my friends are all my primetime television shows that are currently airing.

It was reminiscent of when I read the first six books of the Harry Potter series in one month in 2005 (2,800 pages – yeesh, how did I do that?!) and I felt like I was legitimately dating Harry: I had a full-time job and was studying to take the GRE, but every free moment I had, I spent it “with him.” I suppose the corresponding analogy here is that watching Friday Night Lights was like I was dating the whole football team, but guys, I’m not that type of girl!

Friday Night Lights created a world of which you wanted to be a part. The show was about football, but at the same time football was entirely besides the point. I found myself mourning my missed opportunity of being a rally girl. I wanted to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. I wanted be the daughter of a football coach. I wanted to work at The Landing Strip strip club (just kidding!). But when you have a show with such heart, and at its heart the dynamic duo of inspiring Coach Eric Taylor and straight-talking Tami Taylor, it feels like no matter what happens, everything is going to be ok.

I loved the characters so much that I only wanted the best for them. I wanted to turn off episodes where they were making bad choices that I didn’t agree with. I spent much of the middle of November distraught over Jason Street and his future. And I was so mad at Lyla Garrity for basically everything she ever did.

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And then, casting an angelic glow over everthing, there was Tim Riggins. Dear, sweet, beautiful Tim Riggins. Sometimes I would look at him and say “He’s not that hot,” and then I would blink and realize, “He actually is that hot, I just momentarily blacked out because the way he smiled through his perpetually greasy locks gave me a mini-stroke.” He was always going to be the hero of this story.

tim riggins

riggins

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Obligatory Tim Riggins photo series.

Clear eyes? Yes, except for when my eyes were obscured with tears flowing down my cheeks.

Full hearts? So full sometimes that it was bursting with affection for these characters.

Can’t lose? Your life will be forever enriched after watching this show.

clear eyes

If you haven’t watched Friday Night Lights, you should do so immediately, though maybe not as intensely as I did. And if you have, we’re going to be friends forever.

Bonus: This is a picture that I took of myself after the series finale episode was over. SO MANY TEARS. 

me post FNLThis photo was not staged.

The Biggest Problem with Going to the Movies is…: Cellphones

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The cellular phone is the worst thing to happen to the movie theatre experience.

I have less than zero patience for people who go to a 90-minute to two-and-half-hour movie and fiddle with their cell phone the whole time. This disrespectful moviegoer always seems to sit within a one-seat radius simply to rankle me. These people should know, though, that when it comes to texting during a movie, this polite, well-mannered Canadian is like The Hulk. You don’t want to see me angry. 

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If I was a superhero vigilante, my mission would be to rid the world, or at least the continental United States, of movie ruiners, and the first guy I would hunt down is the dude who sat a seat away from me during Argo. Dude, you know who you are. 

Throwback Thursday: You know what you did!

You are the guy who checked his phone repeatedly throughout the movie. Fine. People are concerned about their post-movie meet-up, I get it. What I can’t accept – nay, won’t accept! – is when you move beyond monitoring your texts to actually composing an email – five paragraphs! – at the climax of the film.

Me, after staring at the man for two full minutes: “Excuse me. Are you going to put your phone away? It’s the climax of the movie and you’ve been on your phone for the whole <expletive> movie.”

Guy looks at me and gestures with his hands for me to simmer down. My blood boils over with rage. 

I want to talk to the ladies for a second. Just because you are looking at your cell phone in your purse doesn’t mute the bright glow of the screen. I know you’re checking your phone to see if that guy texted, but I can tell you he didn’t and honey, he’s not going to. If you aren’t able to enjoy the movie because this is eating away at you, then you should be drowning your sorrows at a bar, not illuminating them at the expense of everyone else’s theatre experience.

To the guy who got dragged to see Magic Mike by his lady: I’m sorry you’re bored. It’s a terrible movie with a ridiculous plot that and maybe you thought that the stripping would be balanced by an actual, interesting plot (call me stupid, but I did). But if you’re bored, then excuse yourself to the washroom. Don’t start scrolling through The New York Times mobile website.

Listen, there’s nothing I love more than going to the movies and being transported to another time, another time, another place, another world. Since when did movie theatres become a place where people live-tweet, text, and compose emails rather than pay attention to the wonder of the visual medium that is before them?

Screw Disney World. For me, the happiest place on Earth would be the Alamo Drafthouse theatre in Austin.

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You get me, Alamo Drafthouse, you really get me. I’ve always wanted to visit Austin to go to your theatre, and when you come to Brooklyn in 2015, I’ll be first in line.

For now, a warning to moviegoers across this land: Every time you decide to take out your cellphone during a movie, your choice is not just affecting you, but everyone around you. Watch this Alamo Drafthouse PSA and learn: Don’t be a dick.

Selfie Talk: I’m Not the Only One

Turns out I’m not the only one who has spent time thinking about the selfie phenomenon! This is comforting because I generally operate on the assumption that no one else thinks the same ridiculous things as me.

  • Check out this hilarious Olivia Munn selfies PSA from The Hollywood Reporter Youtube channel. (Thanks to Jacki for showing it to me!)
  • This tweet from Erin Mallory Long, which is basically the thesis of my argument about the meaning of the term “selfie.” We are totally on the same wavelength about this (and so much more).

olivia munn selfie