Midterm Stress Relief Week: Some Like It Lazy

To cap off Midterm Stress Relief Week, I felt it appropriate to end it with a bang.

I’m kidding. I’m phoning it in. Before going to bed, I watched my favorite movie Some Like It Hot, directed by Billy wilder and starring the sweetly sexy Marilyn Monroe, tall dark and handsome Tony Curtis, and golly gee funnyman Jack Lemmon. Two musicians, Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) witness a murder by a mob during Prohibition. Desperately fleeing for their lives, they pose as two female musicians, Josephine and Geraldine Daphne, and hit the road with an all-female band, including the alcoholic, ever-so-“innocent” Sugar (Monroe). Cross-dressing, innuendos, silly chase sequences – 1950s flavor humor ensues in this comedy classic and wraps up with the quirky, lovable, famous line “Well, nobody’s perfect.” The good old days of comedy gold. The cross-dressing was a bit of a risky move at the time, but boy did it pay off.

As of February 8, 2013, the full movie is still up on YouTube, so watch it now!

How have you been getting away from midterms? What do you like to do to relax? Are you a Marilyn fan?

Midterm Stress Relief: Girly Magazines Are Girly (and Evil)

This is what it’s come down to.  Four days into my pathetic little Midterm Stress Relief Week and I have stooped down to the level of my squealy adolescent counterparts. Desperate for reading material for the long bus ride home, I swiped – permanently borrowed – an abandoned girly teen magazine from a table top on campus, making sure to ninja the brightly covered collection of glossy paper into my bag before being seen by my respectable higher ed peers. (And that’s right. I just used “ninja” as a verb. Booyah.)

But I just needed some reading mat- oh, what the hell. There’s no use making excuses. I could have left this publication abomination well alone, but I “just had to” grab it. Damn you, magazine design team and your eye for catchy colors and ridiculous, yet attractive cover catch lines. Hook, line, and sinker. You’re just too good.

To redeem my disgraced self, I shall dissect and destroy this sorry little excuse of lifestyle entertainment, starting with its gaudy cover.

Girl's Life Magazine Cover

Must. Suppress. Grammar. Nazi. (And Good Taste Nazi).

Look at that – all that faux happiness. In real life, she’s probably 36 years old. The Photoshop team has obviously bleached and tightened her skin, scrubbing out the creases and crow’s feet. That’s likely not even her real hair color. Who knows what she looked like when this picture was actually taken? She could have had a leaf of parsley stuck in between the front of her two sparkly white chompers there before the Photoshop squad took care of it digitally. Maybe she’s a man.

And read the catch lines. It’s like they have the key to the meaning of life in its pages. Magazines make such high-falutin promises with their superlatives language: “best night ever,” “worst guy mistakes,” “cutest, easiest DIY prezzies ever…” (So many things wrong with that last phrase. You’re talking to teenagers, not puppies or babies. You don’t need to shorten and make every word cutesy.) They promise secrets! Special reports! “Trust us, it’s worth it!” Well, we’ll see about that.

Since this is the December/January edition, it’s chock full of cheesy Christmas and New Year’s articles – if this drivel can be called a proper article. For example, “Do You Dare?” gives new year’s resolutions “you really can rock,” such as “showing off your smarts” and “embracing your uniqueness.” Oh, and my favorite: “Find a great guy (without even looking!).”  Again with the false hope and promises. Step outside your comfort zone and BAM- hot new boyfriend! (And beneath the title of that resolution: “You wish Santa would deliver a cutie tied up in a bow under the tree…” No, I do not wish Santa to indulge in sick serial killer fantasies).

Teen girl magazine advice is amazing. Amazingly bad. Just plain bad, actually. In this issue, there is a two-page spread of an article with the aneurysm-inducing title “Gifts for everyone on your list for like… free!” They claim to have great gift ideas that won’t make your wallet (or purse?) weep never-ending tears of emptiness. These are some of the gifts they suggest (or my interpretation of them):

To Gramps: Ask to listen to one of his “back in the day” stories that you’ve heard a million times. And pretend to care. “Hey, you might actually enjoy yourself.” Right. Next.

To Mom: Make your mom feel hip, cool, and like one of the gals by giving her the 411 on who you’re having sex dreams about. “It’s better than another scented candle set.” I’ll bet. That’ll be one fun Christmas dinner conversation.

To Big Sis: Be a dear and stop rifling through her precious makeup collection. “It’s a toughie, but a little self-control will brighten her holiday season.” Accusing your readership of being sticky-finger kleptomaniacs? How nice.

To Your Crush: Throw rationality out the window and tell that guy you’ve been drooling over that you kinda’ sorta’ might like him. “Channel the spirit of the season and open your heart.” To ridicule and rejection.

– To the BFF: Write her an ego-stroking letter thanking her for putting up with you. “Be ready with some tissues – she’ll definitely shed a few tears.” That’s a bit presumptuous, don’t you think? A letter and a box of tissues. Such a good friend.

Ha ha! Your pathetic attempts at connecting with the teen girl crowd are futile and helplessly transparent. I have demolished you, trite girly magazine. Take that, and that, and- and I just wasted 725 words and a whole hour on a teen girl magazine.

Well, damn.

They are good.

Is reading teen girl magazines a guilty pleasure of yours? (I ain’t judging). Leave your thoughts in the comments section, I beg you (not really, but yeah, I’d like to hear your thoughts).

Midterm Stress Relief Week: House of Cards

After a long day of running around campus, it’s time to slip into a granny sweater, make some scorching hot tea, and watch some good ol’ House of Cards for Day 3 of Midterm Stress Relief Week.

The show, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and directed by David Fincher, premiered on February 1. I started watching it the day after and am only four episodes into the show. So far, it’s pretty damn good. Spacey’s character Frank Underwood is passed over for the position of Secretary of State by the candidates, including President, he helped get elected. He slowly and very surely enacts a plot to dismantle the new Secretary candidate and get his overall revenge. He’s so bad, he’s good. Aside from his lovely wife Claire, we the audience are Frank’s confidante as Spacey breaks the fourth wall to reveal is true nature. Spacey and Wright make a cruelly ambitious and deliciously perfect couple.  As the House Majority Whip and head of an environmental company respectively, both of them are in fine form and I may have a womanly crush on Ms. Wright. (Oh I most definitely have).

House of Cards - Kevin Space, Robin Wright

Move over Obamas. The new power couple of Washington DC.

Equally notable is the fact that Netflix outbid HBO, Showtime, AMC, and other television networks for House of Cards. And all episodes are released on the day of the premiere. Perhaps Netflix – and the world of online streaming – really is the future of video entertainment. Remember when Netflix split their service between DVD rental from instant watch? Remember when people waved their torches and pitch forks as a result of this supposedly unfair and inconvenient separation? While I was a bit bummed that I’d have to choose among one, the other, or paying double the price, I trusted the movie rental king. It was sad seeing rental stores like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video go out of business – I have some good memories of browsing the local video store. But we live in the age of information and we want our information now.

Netflix made a very forward move in transitioning from DVD rentals to online streaming of movies and TV shows. Was buying “House of Cards,” along with promoting it (rather scantily, though) worth it? According to CNBC’s report, the premiere of “House of Cards” did not produce a “spike in views.” I’m no business aficionado and I’m not good at crunching numbers, so I’ll admit that I don’t see the financial payoff for Netflix yet. The way they get more money is by having more people subscribe. In addition to regular subscribers, how many people would have to sign up to Netflix for the company to see a profit from this? Netflix is not some small revolutionary company trying to buck a trend and stick it to the man. Netflix is the man. What I see them doing is spearheading a form of entertainment of the future. And the not-too-distant future, apparently. Maybe this really will pay off for them in the long run.

House of Cards - Kevin Spacey

Cheers to the future, Internet

Watch House of Cards if you like backstabbing political dramas and great acting (Spacey rocks my world). I’ll write a post solely about the show (sans Netflix drama) when I finish the season.

Read more about Netflix’s revolution: