Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Like Girls That Drink Beer

I'm a big fan of beer. Like, huge. In the past couple of years I have been tracking my beer tasting on untappd, a popular app where users can "check in" to beers they're drinking, earn badges, and discover new brews. So far, I've logged in 182 different kinds of beer. One hundred and eighty two! That's A LOT of beer! My goal, though, is to reach 300 different beers by the end of the year. It's actually difficult to try a lot of beers in the Northern Virginia area because most "bars" serve the standard Sam Adams, Coors Light, Guinness, etc. set up without too much variation. We don't have a lot of those types of bars with hundreds of bars from which to choose.
I added a bunch of new beers back in May when I visited my sister in Connecticut. There are quite a few breweries around and a lot of bars with many options. My beer tasting has stalled in the past few months so today I went to Total Wine and bought a sampler six pack of new beers. As a gift for my birthday back in February I had received 12 new kinds so this should definitely help my numbers.

As for favorites and not favorites, it's tough for me to choose. Of course I love anything by Sam Adams, but I also really like Banana Bread Beer and IPAs especially. Probably my worst beer drinking experience was on a birthday in NYC when I excitedly ordered a Scottish beer that I was upset to find out tasted like feet. I actually have had this beer again since then and, while I still don't really like it, it's not quite as revolting as it was that night at a random bar in NYC.

Do you drink beer? What's your favorite??



+ Title from Toby Keith

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I watch a lot of TV shows. Scratch that- I try to watch a lot of TV shows. With DVR and the increase in quality TV, I've found my list of "I Watch That" growing and growing. In the venn diagram of my TV watching, though, the shows falling under "I Watch That" and "I DVR And Watch That Later" are much more than those that fall under "I Watch That" and "I Watch That Almost Immediately." Ya follow?

So which shows do I watch almost immediately at the moment? Let's do this in list format:
  • Pretty Little Liars- Quite possibly my favorite hour of TV each and every week. A ridiculous plotline that gets more and more convoluted each week. Who is A? Who the hell knows!? I almost (almost) don't care. I love this show for its style and its dialogue. Everyone is beautiful and the four main characters wear amazing outfits. I am continually inspired by this show where style is concerned. 
  • The Killing- I actually didn't watch season 2 for whatever reason. I think it was because so many things were on Sunday night and I just fell behind and never caught up. This season, though, is incredible and with only two episodes left, I watch this as soon as I can so I don't see any spoilers on TV and so I can discuss with Lisa at work. 
  •  Covert Affairs- I was beyond obsessed with Alias when that was on TV and this show fills part of that void in my life. Annie isn't undercover as much as Sydney was, but she kicks about as much butt. 
This list would be a lot longer if it wasn't the middle of summer. Maybe we will redo this in the fall when everything is back on air again.


+Title from The Smashing Pumpkins

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Under The Dome (Pilot through Blue on Blue)

I got behind on Under the Dome when we switched cable companies, but luckily, we have On Demand now, which has been amazing for my catching up on things.

I really enjoyed the pilot episode of UtD and felt like it was a good mix of mystery, character introduction, romance set ups, and action. The second episode, "The Fire," almost lost me, though, as it felt more hastily put together than the first episode, which is weird. Usually the pilot episode feels off because its made earlier than the rest of the season and their resources are limited. I guess that's not the case when the premise of a new show is based on a Stephen King novel and has a lot of backing.

Episodes 3 through 5 pick up the pace and I'm back to being really into this show. I honestly don't know anyone's names, which will make it difficult to remark on my favorite story lines, but that is no reflection on the show. I'm just really bad with names!

So far the show has mostly been about a main set of characters and their secrets. Junior kidnaps Angie and hides her in his family's bomb shelter, Barbie killed the husband of the woman he is now staying with, Norrie and Joe are having seizures whenever they touch and whispering really batshit crazy things, and these are just to name a few. Everyone seems shady under the dome.

What interests me most about UtD so far is that hardly anyone is worried about resources yet. It has to be summer or early fall based on everyone's clothing, but the colder months have to be right around the corner. Maybe it's because I've read so many apocalyptic books, but the first thing I would worry about would be water. And then food. And then bullets. I tried to read a little of the wiki page for the book the show is based on to see if anything regarding resources comes into play, but I quickly shut the browser window because I don't want any spoilers.

Check out the video below if you're one of the few out there who isn't familiar with this show. It's not too late to catch up!


Just A Note

Listen, since this blog started, 99.99% of my blog titles have been from song titles and I've really enjoyed integrating music into each and every post, but it has to stop. It takes too long for me to find titles that will work and sometimes they don't work and lead to confusion over what the post is about. So, from this day forward, I am not going to stress about finding song titles.

I know it sounds silly to make such a declaration, but I've never been good at quitting things. I've sort of never quit a job. My college jobs were all very collegey and it was obvious when I wouldn't be back. I technically put in my two weeks at my construction company job, but they were in the process of going under, so I probably could have just not shown up and they would have been relieved. I stayed on until the end there because I hadn't gotten paid in a few weeks and needed to stay connected. (I did end up getting paid after my dad called and threatened them.) And while I had that job? I was working one or two days a week at Barnes & Noble because I could never quit there. (This turned out to be a blessing because I've now worked there for 10 years and while for several it was very part time, it means that now I get a ton of vacation time and that is awesome.)

I like to do things with longevity. Lots of "I've never"s come out of my mouth because, in a way, they show perseverance. I'm weird, I know.

So yeah, today is a day of change for ol' SVR and I hope y'all like it! Also take a look around to the sidebars as there are a few new things...


Monday, July 22, 2013

Baby One More Time

Today was the day! The royal baby is here! And it's a boy! How exciting!, there are a lot of (vocal) haters out there. I get it, I really do. There are a lot of things I dislike (manga, humidity, and phones vibrating on a table to name a few), but I think it's funny when the haters say things like, "Why do you even care? We don't even live in England!" Or "The monarchy doesn't even do anything there." What about, "Who cares about a bunch of rich people?"

Well, I guess the point is: I care. And that's all that matters for me. It doesn't make me a dumb person or shallow or any other words thrown about when talking about the royal mania. It's fun! I can do whatever I want with my own thoughts and today I chose to be excited about the royal baby.

Besides, there are many reasons why I would have an interest in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge:

-Kate is a fashion icon! And yes, I love fashion. She wears my favorite designer, Alexander McQueen quite often and I love it! She has perfect hair. I want and need her hair! It's not so odd for me to check out an article on her clothes in a magazine. It's not like anyone in my real life is running around wearing Jimmy Choo heels and McQueen coats. (Because if anyone in my daily life is wearing those, it better be me!)

-I also love the historical aspect of  William and Kate's union and their new baby, who will one day inherit the throne. It's really not that far from reading about the incredible life of Queen Elizabeth I and jumping ahead to Queen Victoria and then to the current queen and her son, grandson, and great grandson who continue the line. That's really cool! Even if the monarchy is completely different from when Henry VIII* reigned, it's still a deeply rooted tradition and that's just really, effing cool.

-BABIES! I love babies. I'm always excited to see a new baby and this is a baby on the grandest of stages. How can a baby lover resist!? (Also, this baby is way far away and I'll never have to hear him cry.)

-It's a fairytale. Sure, not for everyone, but every time I watch the Princess Diaries** I imagine what it would be like if I found out I was going to be Queen. Kate Middleton was just a regular girl and now she's given birth to a future king. That's wild!

So, that all said...NAMES! I'm guessing either Phillip or Albert. You?


+Title from Britney Spears

*Can we for a moment remember how hot Jonathan Rhys Meyers was in the Showtime show The Tudors? AHHHHH!
**What? You haven't watched it several times?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Emmy (2)

In my previous post, I covered the dramas I watched last year and now I'll do the same with comedies.

I'd love to hear which shows and actors you're cheering for in the Emmy race!

  • I really didn't like this season of Girls. Marnie is the only reason I watched. Hannah's outfits make me so angry that I almost can't watch.
Saturday Night Live:
  • I like some of the cast members, but none stand out enough to get a nomination. As for guest actors, I would totally give Justin Timberlake one. 
Hmm, apparently I don't watch very many comedies. I watched most of season one of Veep and thought it was awesome, but I just haven't had time to catch up. I watch New Girl here and there, but I would probably not nominate anyone on there. The Mindy Project was okay, but I fell behind and never caught up. Same with Two Broke Girls. Other shows I'm still behind on: Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory, and Parks and Recreation. Ben and Kate was actually pretty great, but I stopped watching once it was canceled.

So, miniseries:

Behind The Candelabra:
  • Best Actors in a Miniseries- Matt Damon and Michael Douglas were so into these roles. I'll never think of Matt Damon the same way after seeing him in his banana hammocl.
Top of the Lake:
  • Best Actress in a Miniseries-  Elisabeth Moss- She was so good in this that I kinda can't watch her as Peggy anymore. 
  • Best Miniseries- Duh. I also really want to see Johnno at the ceremony. 

Do you watch a lot of comedies? Let me know which should win! 


The Emmys aren't until the 22nd of September, but with the nominations being announced on the 18th, a lot of entertainments outlets have been making their owns guesses for who and what will be nominated. I don't watch all of the shows that are frontrunners for a nom, but I do watch many and wanted to throw my two cents out there. To change things up a little, though, I am going to list (almost) all of the shows I watch and will list who I think deserves an award, and which shows could go for Best Drama/Comedy/Miniseries/etc.

Oh, and spoiler alert for anything ahead. 

First up, Dramas!

Mad Men:
  • Best Drama- I know a lot of people didn't like this season, but I thought it was awesome. I was happy to see Don Draper cheating again, I loved the merger, and a lot of side characters really got to shine. I also happen to be a fan of seemingly slow moving shows and movies that are allowed to just marinate until the action. 
  • Best Actor in a Drama- Jon Hamm- It makes me sad that he hasn't won this yet. I really hope that if he doesn't get it this year, then he does next year after the final season. My favorite scenes with Jon Hamm this year were his with Betty and I also really loved any time his hair was messed up. Messed up hair=messed up Don. 
  • Best Drama- Sure, this season had a few questionable moments, but I still was on the edge of my seat for most of it. I also can't wait for the next season.
  • Best Actress in a Drama- Claire Danes- Duh. She is fierce in this role. 
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama- Mandy Patinkon- Just give him all of the awards always.  
The Americans:
  • Best Actress in a Drama- Keri Russell- I love how she is the less emotional one in the relationship. I also love how she totally kicks ass and her hair is always perfect! Gorgeous.  
Game of Thrones:
  • Best Drama- I am ob.sessed with this show. OBSESSED!
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama- Peter Dinklage- He has amazing lines and always delivers them like he is playing chess.
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama- Emilia Clarke- Daenerys is such a cool character and one that continually grows and matures and just becomes stronger and more badass each week. Plus, speaking Dothraki is super cool.
Downton Abbey:
  •  Best Drama: This show is like a cocktail. It's delicious, beautiful, and always hits the spot. I'd also like to point out that I watched it before it became uber popular;)
  • Best Actress in a Drama- Michelle Dockery- She uses her eyes in her acting more than almost anyone (see also: January Jones) and she is so so gorgeous. I was worried about the season finale for months, but now I look forward to her future story lines.
The Walking Dead:
  •  I'm not sure I'd nominate anyone/thing. I have my favorite characters (Daryl), but I'm not sure if they're Emmy worthy this year. Maybe Andrew Lincoln, but his character was so annoying that his great work after the death of his wife is easily looked over.
Bates Motel:
  •  Best Actress in a Drama- Vera Farmiga- She should be nominated just for her scary, warbly voice she uses.
  •  Best Actress in a Drama- Jennifer Carpenter- I think she is incredible and that people don't get that her annoying things are a part of her character. She commits more than so many actresses out there. She doesn't care if she doesn't always look pretty and no one says "fuck" like Deborah Morgan.
  •  Best Drama- Sometimes in ensemble shows you lose track of how you feel about certain characters, but never in Parenthood. I feel so invested in each and every person from Zeke down to Sydney. 
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama- Monica Potter- She made me cry multiple times this past season and I got so so so worried she wasn't going to beat her cancer. I love how she can make a viewer laugh and then cry and then laugh again. (Side note: I'd love to see Lauren Graham and her family get more screen time next season. Every single actor in that TV family is incredible. Amber and Drew make me cry almost weekly.)
  • Best Actor in a Drama- Jonny Lee Miller- A long shot, but I do love his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.
The Following:
  • I liked this show, but I probably wouldn't nominate it for anything. 
  • Best (Supporting?) Actress in a Drama: Hayden Pannetiere- Yeah, her character is annoying, but holy hell, Hayden plays her so well. I'm am impressed each and every week. AND she sings. 
Pretty Little Liars:
  • Don't hate. This show rules. It's not Emmy-worthy, though, unless they're giving an award for most influential fashion or craziest story lines.
True Blood:
  • Oh Lord, I never even finished the season. I love me some Eric and Alcide, but the vampire politics got to be SO boring. I will watch this season, though. 
  • I'd love to see Emily Van Camp get a nomination...but it's not going to be for this right now. 
The Borgias:
  • Best Actor in a Drama- Jeremy Irons- This show deserves something since it was awesome and then got CANCELED! Ugh!

So, who do you have for the Drama categories? Who did I forget? It's difficult to remember everything since so many shows are off for the summer. I didn't include shows I watch, but am not current on, like House of Lies, Breaking Bad, The Good Wife, etc.

+ Title from The Wealthy Without

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


The subject of fan fiction comes up a lot in my life as I work in a bookstore and most of my friends are voracious readers. I first became aware of it when my younger sister would look up stories that continued the Harry Potter series. I thought it was cute that her interest in that world could be continued via works written by other huge fans. Soon after, though, I learned that these 'fan fic' writers didn't always just imagine what happened between Ron and Hermione after graduation or what the children of Harry and Ginny would be like*. A lot of these writers took things in entirely different directions, often completely changing fundamental parts of the characters. Fan fic that makes Ron and Harry lovers? No. Neither Ron, nor Harry are gay. And nothing would be wrong with it if they were! But they're not, so I have a problem with writers completely changing these characters. At that point, it feels more like they're stealing characters, rather than being inspired by them.

One of the now most famous works of fan fiction is the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I haven't read the books, but I've thumbed through them enough at work to know that they have very little to do with the Twilight series, from which Fifty Shades was inspired. (Granted, I've never read the original works so maybe the publishers changed more of the details.) What I don't get about this series is why E.L. James ever even associated herself with Twilight? I get that she was inspired by them and was, I guess, writing on a Twilight website or something, but if I had written the series, I would rather have said I was inspired by Stephenie Meyer rather than call my project fan fic. To me, it sounds like she was too lazy to think up her own characters.

Recently, the subject of fan fic came up with a couple of my friends, and even though we squashed the conversation quickly (as to avoid an argument), I definitely thought about it more later, trying to get my thoughts in order. I started by comparing it to other works of art: music and movies. Both of these creative outlets have their version of fan fic: musicians cover songs all the time and how many movies nowadays are remakes of prior versions? So why does it feel so different?

I love covers! Some of my favorite songs are covers of already well-known songs. Sometimes the cover is even better than the original! (Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah"! The Smashing Pumpkins "Landslide"!) The difference with covers is that the original creator of the song is going to be credited and compensated. Sure, an amateur musician can play another person's song in a show and make money, but they could never record that song without getting permission from the original artist and paying them for its use.

Music is so protected that even some hooks are protected! It was just a few years ago when the Red Hot Chili Peppers sued someone for having a song that sounded like one of theirs. Why is that protected, yet using a writer's characters aren't?

Did anyone see The Great and Powerful Oz? Did you notice that they never showed the ruby slippers? That's because the Wizard of Oz and certain specifics are owned by Warner Bros. Disney was allowed to create a story set in the same world, but were not allowed to borrow all aspects of the original.

And in a different route, movies are made from books constantly. There's an entire category at the Oscars for adapted screenplay, which, essentially, is an award for fan fic. Production companies have to buy the rights for books and depending on the contracts made, have to stay true to the work, so why is it different when a writer creates something new from a book they've read?

Before I explain the situations where I think fan fic is appropriate, I would first like to say that "Fan Fic" is a terrible name. I hate it. I think it has evolved and become a catch all for anything written based on something else. A lot of people (including myself) roll their eyes when they hear that something is fan fic and maybe we're all just  jealous that E.L. James is a millionaire now, but let's take this time to change it. Let's just call it: Fiction. And then if the writer feels so inclined, they can mentioned what work inspired them.

Now, appropriate situations for fiction that is inspired by other works. I think that timeframe has a lot to do with it. I had no problem with that trend a couple of years ago of remaking classics and including zombies and vampires or whatever else seemed like fun. I feel like it seemed okay because the essence of the original work was still there and I think a lot of those aren't even under copyright anymore, are they? I'm also okay with writers saying that they were inspired by a specific work, but I do think if it's going to be published and sold, that it needs to be an original work. For example, I think John Green is amazing and I would love to write my own version of Looking For Alaska, but it's going to be a little suspect if my novel takes place at a boarding school and involves similar characters and then I go on a book tour and talk about how much I loved Looking For Alaska. If a writer can't think of his or her own original idea...maybe they aren't meant to be a fiction writer.

So there are my thoughts. What are yours?

*Um, spoiler alert?

+Title from The XX