Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Emmys Shout-Out To Fall TV And “Girls”

Some of the shows I’m glad are back this season include “Community,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Revenge,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “The New Girl.” For a great new show, watch “Go On.”

The Emmy Awards are tomorrow night and the fall TV season has begun! I may be one of the rare viewers who’s glad the networks have spread out their premiere dates. I can dip my toes back into the waters slowly and figure out which new shows are worth watching.

Here’s how I realized I watch way too much television: As I wrote my viewing schedule by hand on a hotel notepad, I had to flip to the backside of the page before I got through writing Thursday’s shows. And those were just shows on the broadcast stations. The list didn’t even include my cable-to-online guilty pleasures (“Switched At Birth,” “Project Runway,” “Degrassi” and so on). Granted, I already crossed off “The X Factor” (sorry, Brit!) because I can’t watch it live or online, and a few new shows may get the boot a couple episodes in.

While in Colorado, Dad convinced me it would be perfectly all right for me to log-in to his HBO account. OK, it didn’t take that much convincing after we marathoned “Flight of the Conchords” on my last day in town. But there was one show I was eager to see: “Girls.”

Lena Dunham as Hannah in the HBO series "Girls"

Lena Dunham as Hannah in the HBO series “Girls.”

I dove into this multiple-Emmy-nominated, Lena Dunham-centric production without any expectations. All I really knew was Entertainment Weekly loves the show, Dunham is a spring chicken in the creating-producing-directing-writing world, and Brian Williams’ daughter is one of the stars. I also knew there would be loads of sex, but I didn’t give it two thoughts. You’re looking at the proud owner of this. Oh, and that’s not a click if you dare link. It a DVD set, sheesh!

On a Saturday morning, just after midnight, I fell head over heels for the pilot. Two days and 10 episodes later I finished the first season, but for days following I couldn’t stop thinking about the show.

Something about the intense relationships depicted at the forefront on “Girls” has stuck with me. I never thought about it so much before, but relationships — familial, friendly, romantic — are incredibly complicated. Think of how hard it is to begin a friendship. Now that you’re friends, try maintaining that when the two of you have opposite schedules, different tastes, a lower/higher income, clashing values and morals. Now move to a different state or country and keep that relationship going. Multiply that times the number of friends to whom you consider to be close. What about all the things that have to go right to transition from friendship to romance? How ridiculous is it to then wade that new territory and dance that dance?

As I said while dining with friends a few weeks ago, anyone who has even one friend is brave. I was told that was a good quote, so that’s why I’m repeating it here. I truly admire anyone who has strong, healthy relationships with other humans, because there may not be anything more terrifying to me than disappointing those I love.

Now while these friendships/familyships/loveships are bizarre, time-consuming, and a never-ending load of work, they are fantastic, beautiful, enriching, and completely necessary keys to living a full life. After all the heartaches, arguments, and bad days, I am thankful for family, for friends, for all the opportunities I’m given to show God’s love. I don’t always succeed in this, as I don’t always find success in my relations with others. But I’ll tell you what. I sure enjoy the time we have together, and while people may not be around forever, the imprint of the people I’ve known are on my heart. Like the subjects of Hannah’s essays weave together the pieces of her life, you, dear friends, are my thread.

Filed under: Colorado, Entertainment, Fall TV, Internet, News, Television, TV on DVD

I Quit Sugar: Week 8

Eight weeks! It has come and gone in a flash. I have to remember the things I’ve learned and not slip out of my new ways. I have come too far to relapse.

And just in time for a big trial — traveling and eating. It’s hard to eat well when eating out and not cooking for oneself. I have promised myself I will make a conscious effort to look for the best choice on a menu, and to ask questions so I know what I’m putting in my mouth. No hidden sugars for me!

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I expect I will be dining like this every night, bib and hat included. Senator Owen Brewster (left) and Ann (Mrs. Oscar) Chapman chow down on seafood at the Maine State Society lobster dinner in the Department of the Interior cafeteria in 1951.

I expect I will be dining like this every night, bib and hat included. Senator Owen Brewster (left) and Ann (Mrs. Oscar) Chapman chow down on seafood at the Maine State Society lobster dinner in the Department of the Interior cafeteria in 1951.

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Now time for the giveaway! Selected randomly from the tons of comments, the winner is … Myra Ann! Congrats! I’ll be emailing your copy of Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” very soon. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

 

Thanks for following me on this journey. The encouragement, the questions, all of you, have helped make these last eight weeks an education!

 

 

Filed under: Books, Colorado, Health, News, Products, , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Colorado

How much do I love this 39th Telluride Film Festival poster by Dave Eggers? Oh so much.

How much do I love this 39th Telluride Film Festival poster by Dave Eggers? Oh so much.

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How could I not be obsessed? I head to the beautiful mountain state in just about a week for the first time since I moved to Arkansas in October 2010. Also, it’s my first vacation longer than four days since then, so needless to say, I am ready for a temporary change of pace.

The whole trip was planned around attending the Telluride Film Festival during Labor Day weekend. I had a taste of the event a few years back but didn’t get to attend any movies. After my parents sat in front of director Michael Hazanavicius at the Telluride screening of his film, “The Artist,” I knew I couldn’t miss 2012’s fest. My mom also waved at George Clooney — who she says waved back — and she and my dad ate dinner in the same room as Tilda Swinton.

Neither the attendees nor films are announced until days before, so I’m looking forward to being surprised, rubbing elbows with industry greats (if I’m so lucky) and seeing what I expect will be fabulous cinematic gems.

Don’t even think about robbing my apartment while I’m away, folks. The roommate is still around and she’s good at beating off intruders (by sleep-talking them away). She’s fierce. Like the University of Colorado fight song, which I grew up singing at women’s basketball games (because I didn’t attend the school in the end).

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Viral video of the week: “Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra”

Wally, aka Gotye, emailed to his fans this video compilation he put together. It mixes some of the best YouTube covers of his smash hit, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” I was very happy to see Pentatonix, an absolutely amazing a capella group, get some generous screen time. There’s also a smooth sax, Ingrid Michaelson and a choir in formalwear.

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Note to my dear readers: It is time I took a little hiatus, what with vacation and my twice-a-year teaching gig fast approaching. I will not post Picks of the Week for the next four weeks. I’ll miss all y’all’s comments!

There will be one final I Quit Sugar post Sunday. Don’t forget, it’s a giveaway. Bust over to last week’s post and comment for a chance to win Sarah Wilson’s e-book. You can read it on your computer, e-reader, tablet, laptop hooked to your TV, whatever!

Filed under: Academy Awards, Colorado, Design, Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, Music, News, Oscars, Products, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Telling Of The Time

I auditioned to speak at my high school graduation but didn’t get chosen. I just found the would-have-been speech in an old email folder. Enjoy this classic from 2005:

It’s funny how quickly the last week of high school passes. I felt like I was given only a matter of minutes to say my goodbyes. “You have forty-five seconds to say good-bye… and… go.”

Goodbyes are too painful, though. I don’t want to do this! Not now. Not yet. I thought that I was ready for high school to be over. Four years; you would think that would be enough to satisfy anyone. And it was.

But high school is not the end! If we think about it, it wasn’t even the beginning. High school is somewhere in the middle- somewhere between start and finish. In four years, we endured the burning fire, the piercing ice, the snow day that was and the one that really wasn’t, and an astro-turf field.

We witnessed a united nation under an unresolved attack, a divided nation during a war. We sympathized after a natural disaster beyond any comparisons. We saw one president with two terms and two principals, one with a legacy that took a strong six years to create, another that took an equally as impressive one.

In our teenage years we took part in our own legacies, fueling the rise of the mp3 and hip-hop culture, being introduced to The OC and Desperate Housewives, and saying goodbye to Friends. Nemo was found, The Matrix was resolved, and Darth Vader was just beginning.

The greatest and only pope of our time passed on, leaving behind his accomplishments from nearly a quarter-of-a-century. Baseball fans were shocked with the Red Sox’s World Series win, celebrity watchers with Brad and Jen’s breakup, and practically everyone with Britney Spears’ two marriages and baby announcement.

Paris Hilton became an American icon overnight and suddenly everything could be referred to as “hot.” Napoleon Dynamite showed us that you should never be afraid to dance. And who knows? If Paris and Napoleon were able to influence us, we may one day vote the “Governator” as President!

It was only three years ago that N’Sync was still hitting the top fifty charts and Justin Timberlake went solo, our first American Idol made her mark with “A Moment Like This”, and Avril Lavigne made everything so “Complicated.”

No doubt about it, high school has been tiring and stressful, eventful and historical. Yet, when we look back on it, high school was more than just hanging out with friends, joining school clubs, and creating a personality so we could be accepted to colleges. We might not realize it today or tomorrow or the next, but eventually we will see that these years were about building relationships, making mistakes, and learning who we are, not in our friends, peers, and parents’ eyes, but in our own.

Me, hanging out on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado in spring 2005.

Filed under: Colorado, Entertainment, News, , , ,

‘The King’s Speech’ Reigns Victorious

Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Colin Firth

Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Colin Firth, winners of the acting awards at the Feb. 27 Oscars (Courtesy DVIDSHUB)

It was the beginning of September when I first heard of “The King’s Speech.” I was in a chocolate shop in Telluride, Colo., looking at truffles, when a man struck up a conversation with my parents and me. He was in town for the annual film festival.

“So what’s the best film you’ve seen?” we asked him.

“The King’s Speech,” he said without hesitation. He was moved by it, and of all the films at the festival, he put his confidence in the success of the Colin Firth/Geoffrey Rush/Helena Bonham Carter-driven British import. I needed to see it.

Four months later it hit the big screen in my area. I paid $4 to see an early show at a theater where the rooms have ceiling fans, the sixth row back feels like the first and the film pops from continuous play. A few other ladies had decided “The King’s Speech” was worth a viewing. I was the youngest person in the audience.

I left the theater with blurry eyes. I cried for the last 10 minutes where King George VI – played by Firth in a now Oscar-winning role – gives a radio broadcasted speech at the start of WWII. Like the man in the Colorado chocolate store, I was moved by the inspirational story of conquering a very personal issue (the king stammers) in a very public role (he is the King of the United Kingdom, after all).

At Sunday’s ultimate celebration of 2010’s greatest cinematic achievements, hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, “The King’s Speech” reigned victorious. With big wins for leading actor, directing, original screenplay and best picture, September and the first mention of this film seem a long time ago.

While the ripples from the earthquake near Conway minutes after the show’s end was likely the most shocking event of the evening, Tom Hooper did manage an upset in the directing category for “The King’s Speech.” David Fincher was expected to take home the statue for his work on “The Social Network.” Then again most of us were also calling “Network” the best movie of the year until “Speech” swept the top prizes at the guild awards.

The most entertaining award presentation of the night, and perhaps the most awkward, was that for supporting actress. Kirk Douglas brought the wholesome comedic relief a show like the Oscars needs.

A 94-year-old man calling Hathaway gorgeous and telling category winner Melissa Leo, “You’re much more beautiful than you were in ‘The Fighter,'” is both sweet and strange. And dragging out the announcement of the golden statue recipient was a genius move in the night’s most anticipated and hard-to-call category. It’s too bad it came so early in the evening.

Leo had been the front-runner until she distributed what many thought to be tasteless ads asking the Academy to consider her for the award. That’s when the adorable Hailee Steinfeld gained momentum. And while the 14-year-old’s first feature film performance in “True Grit” was excellent, I’m glad the voters looked at Leo’s more polished work and not her misstep with the media.

Hosts Franco and Hathaway took a hit from the media following their so-so turn as Oscar emcees. Both of them have twice hosted “Saturday Night Live.” They were enjoyable, funny episodes. But there’s a difference between a 90-minute sketch show where the host plays an array of characters and a 3-hour awards presentation where the host plays his or herself.

It would be terrifying to be in front of your most accomplished peers and the ever-critical world, hoping to entertain and gain acceptance by all. Franco and Hathaway have yet to hit the level of respect the acting and viewing community has for entertainers and past hosts like Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg, just to name a few.

In a year where the Academy’s producers insisted on tailoring the show to a more youthful audience, it’s ironic to see the younger generation’s “The Social Network” fall to the older audience’s “The King’s Speech.” It just goes to show the Academy’s voters choose the best – not the most popular – candidate, as they should.

Filed under: Academy Awards, Colorado, Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, Oscars, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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