Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I'm Watching: American Horror Story

I'm starting with this one for no particular reason except it's new and I haven't heard much chatter about it yet.  But that is probably because I'm never anywhere to hear chatter, except in my basement, where my husband and I wear sweatpants and talk about who has to get up and go to the garage to refill the ice bucket this time.

When we first saw the previews we were both all "Oh HELL yeah," and I was excited because it looked spooky but smart, and beautifully shot which is always a plus for TV since my sitcoms and reality shows suck in that department.

But I'll be honest.  The first couple of episodes were a little scarier than I wanted them to be.  I mean, folks, this stuff is creepy.  It has moments of sheer terror and the funhouse cinematography makes it all the more difficult to swallow.  To be honest, this is a good thing.  I mean, the show sets out to do something, and it does it.  I mean, it really freaks me out.

I love a good thriller but I'm not so much about gore.  I love suspense but I'm not really into ghouls or ghosts.  This show does both.  And as long as I can handle my fear, I love it, which comes as a bit of a surprise to me, seeing as there is a very "ghosty" and "devilinthebasement" quality to it.

We suspect it's a little "LOSTish" in that we figure the writers are putting this thing together as they go and aren't completely certain where it's headed - at least not specifically.  But that's okay.  We love that it also has that LOST quality of "maybe it's this" or "did you catch that" or "do you think maybe..." about it.  There's lots to think about and theorize about and it's all pretty freaking fun and masterful.

As for the characters, Jessica Lange's is by far my favorite.  I'm also intrigued by the maid and I think the daughter is a pretty interesting teen.  Usually teens on TV irritate/gag/bore me, but this one is just aloof enough, but not too aloof, to keep my eye on her.  She's a smart one. Or, maybe she's very, very stupid.  Jury's out.

We watched two episodes on Sunday because it was daylight and I prefer to watch it when the sun's out.  We were behind by two because I am too weenie to watch it in the dark, right before bed.  Todd begged me to watch the most recent one last night, but uh-uh.  No can do.

It aired at just the right time.  Fall, Halloween, and oh yeah, we just moved into a new house full of sounds and spiders that are new to me.  We killed a mouse the other day.  Granted, it's not the same as jars of human remains or ghosts of dead families lurking in the basement, but still, it's just enough scary that I don't need that business before bedtime.

Which is, in my never-to-be-humble-opinion, the mark of a damn fine horror program.

The question we keep asking ourselves as we watch this amazing show in awe is, "Why hasn't anyone thought of this sooner?"  I mean, duh.  The serial horror tv show?  Freaking brilliant.

Forks: 4 out of 4 (but just watch it in the daylight.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh, TV. Let's dance and then have a baby or two.

Sometimes I just need to talk about television.

Once upon a time I had some TV junkie friends with whom I could rehash every week's offerings, but alas, there are many obstacles to my tv chatter these days.  Some friends have gotten rid of cable and choose to do better things with their time.  What better things, I do not know, but these people are clearly superior to me.  Some friends never did watch tv, instead choosing to communicate with their husbands and/or read books.  Also, I used to go to a bar at least once a week wherein I would meet up with fellow tv-watching friends and rehash LOSTProjectRunwayMadMenHowIMetYourMotherTrueBloodTheOfficeTheSopranosTopChef or whatever happened to be airing in that particular season.  But now I'm lucky if I hit happy hour once a month.  I just don't see the people often enough to talk about tv.  So I'm going to start doing it here.  This is probably as boring for most people as it is when I tell about my dreams (Vincent D'Onofrio! Before he got fat! We wore paper hats!) or what I ate for lunch.

I don't care.

So right now I'm totally into the following:

Modern Family
American Horror Story
Boardwalk Empire
The Office
Project Runway
And yes, The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  And yes, I know the season is over but I have yet to watch the reunion show.

I know this seems like a lot.  It sort of is.  But if you add it up and remove the commercials, which we do, it amounts to about five and a half hours a week.  That is about right - about an hour a night during the week, after Johnny goes to bed.  Sue me.  It's my brain candy.

I might just do a post on each one and why I love it.  Feel free to stop reading this for the next week or two.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coming in second

I came to grips some time ago with the fact that my career is not what I once imagined it would be.  I also admitted to myself that I am not particularly ambitious, at least in the traditional sense.  So it came as a great surprise to me that tears sprang spontaneously from my eye region the other day when I heard I did not get a certain job I had applied for.

You see, I love working where I do.  I love this organization.  I love the benefits, the people, the mission, the proximity to my home, and the comfort of the culture.  So when I saw a job open up within the organization that seemed literally tailored to my education and skills, I was delighted.  I applied, and interviewed.  And interviewed again.  I dared to dream, for it seemed like they liked me, they really liked me.  Plus, I couldn't think of another person in house who could be nearly as qualified for this thing as I.  They simply *had* to hire me.

The money was significantly better, the hours were still good, the hiring manager is delightful, and everything seemed to fit.

Until they picked someone else.

I don't know who they picked.  I think it will help me when I do find out.  The director said it was a "toss up", but they thought this person was a better fit for them.  I don't know what that means. I can't imagine who is as qualified as I am, and would want that particular job.

I hope it's someone amazing, with obvious experience or education that clearly sets him or her apart from me.  If it isn't, I'm going struggle.  Because then it's *me*.  Then it's something *I* did wrong in the interview.

This is the third job in the last year that I've been the second choice for.  I am not accustomed to being second.  I'm Megan, and I like to go first.

Interviewing for jobs is like an exercise in self-flogging.  It beats you up from the outside in.  Eventually, it is tempting to give up.  To see yourself as number 2.  To accept that you'll just have to settle.

I'm trying not to go there quite yet.  I'm trying to tell myself that maybe this wasn't *the* job for me anyway. Maybe I need to be holding out for a permanent writing gig.  Possibly none of these jobs have fit because, after all, it truly wasn't a good fit.  Maybe these hiring managers know what they're doing.  And it's best for all of us.  Maybe.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Awesome Love Story Part II

So after 28 or so odd years and a short engagement, it was finally Dan and Karen's wedding day.  They had an afternoon wedding planned; ceremony at the Catholic church in the small town where they both grew up, reception and toasting in the old, beautiful junior high - now converted to a sunlight-filled community center.

Todd and I arrived at the reception, having missed the ceremony because of a napping baby, and when the best man stood up to speak, he wasn't wearing any shoes.  Nor was he wearing the requisite orange tie.  Something was amiss.  He apologized for not being around earlier, made some mention of a hospital, and continued with his toast.  Todd and I had no idea what was going on - seeing as we hadn't been at the ceremony, we were in the dark.  As, apparently, were most of the other people in the room.  We got the story much later that evening from the bride and groom who stopped downtown to show off their regalia before heading out to begin the honeymoon.

Flash back several hours:  the bride, petite in white, and the groom in a tailored suit and fall-inspired orange tie, were getting dressed for the ceremony, asking all the while, "Where is the best man?"  The best man who had flown in from Pennsylvania to stand up at their wedding.  The best man who had been entrusted with the rings because he was the most trustworthy among the wedding party members.  The best man who was, at the moment, MIA.

As the moments ticked on toward go-time for the ceremony, people started to fret.  Seriously, where could he be?  He didn't get too drunk last night.  He's here from out of town.  He has the rings.  He's TRUSTWORTHY.  It didn't add up.

As the time drew nigh to take some pre-ceremony pictures, panic set in.  And then came the call.  The best man had been in an accident.  Only really, accident is an understatement.

Apparently this guy is diabetic.  VERY diabetic.  And he ate breakfast that morning and took his insulin, but between jetlag and pre-wedding distraction, he gave himself the wrong dose.  As he drove down the highway that morning toward the church, he started weaving.  And then he swiped the side of a semi. Several times.  He was having a diabetic seizure.

The driver of the semi pulled of and called the police, reporting an erratic driver.  Apparently the best man (I never caught his name) realized something wasn't right, and tried to pull off the road, only to pass out at that moment.  The car - a rental no less - went over a fence and - you got it - into a pond.  And it was sinking.  Quickly.

The paramedics and police arrived as the water level was breaching the windows.  They struggled to pull him out.  They couldn't get the doors open, and he to break windows and cut him out of the seatbelt.  They did, however, manage, and as the car sank they gave him a sugar bolus.  He came too, and immediately said, "I'M SUPPOSED TO BE IN A WEDDING RIGHT NOW!"  And then he said "THE RINGS ARE IN THE CAR.  THE CAR THAT'S AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE."

As they sped him off to the hospital, a tow truck was called, and through a relay of public workers, the rings were found.  The car was pulled from the pond, and at first the responders said the rings weren't there.  But the tenacious best man sent them back.  YES.  THEY ARE IN THE CONSOLE.  Remember that Dan's mom had passed away just over a year ago?  The ring he was to wear?  His father's.  They kinda wanted *that* ring.

So they went back, dug through the soaked rental car again, and through a relay of helpers from tow drivers to firemen to paramedics to police, they got those rings to the church. ON TIME.

While the best man didn't make the ceremony, he did MAKE IT.  Five more minutes, people, and there would have been no best man.  Probably no ceremony.  Just a lot of grief and misplaced guilt on the day that was supposed to be Dan and Karen's happiest.  But! But!  That didn't happen! They saved him!  With minutes to spare, the friend was saved and the wedding went on, and he arrived, shoeless, to the reception to roast his friend Dan.

People, this wedding was meant to be.  Dan's life just a few years ago was in jeopardy, but he lived.  Karen had been single, never married, waiting for the right guy.  At age 37, she found him - at his own mother's funeral.  Not even a sinking car and a diabetic best man could stop them from finally exchanging those rings.

Here's to you, Karen and Dan.  Here's to what is meant to be, and to a beautiful future for you - with no more near misses.  You made it.

Photo by Trina Baker of Gallery32

Monday, October 17, 2011

Awesome Love Story

This is a story worth telling.

On Saturday, a person my husband and I have each known longer than we've known each other got married.  Dan and Todd worked together behind the bar at many a tavern and restaurant over the years.  Dan served me beers and told me jokes and tolerated my friends and all their misbehaviors.  Todd and I have a long history with Dan.

Dano is one of those people that everyone loves.  EVERYONE.  There is not a person on the planet who doesn't like Dano.  And if there is one, I'd like to personally kick his ass.  Which made it all the more heartbreaking when Dano fell ill a number of years ago.  Life had kicked him in the teeth and between the pain he was in from a bad breakup, and managing a friendly bar where the liquor flowed, Dano found himself in a bad spot.  Well, actually, our friend Sara found him in a bad spot, on the floor of his condo.

Dano spent several weeks in the hospital, and even more weeks recouperating at his parents' home.  We thought he wouldn't make it.  We all visited him in the hospital, and talked in hushed tones about his condition. But he's a trooper, and he recovered to become more healthy and happy than he'd ever been before.  He quit the bar business, got a job at the library, took up running, and settled into his new normal.

A confirmed bachelor, Dano oft professed his scorn for the institution of marriage.  Twice burned, he had chosen a single life, free of the complications and entanglements women brought to it.  We all got it.  No one questioned that Dan was not the marrying kind.  Which made it all the more surprising when he appeared at a function last year with a beautiful girl on his arm, and announced they were getting married.

It turns out, Dan had known this girl since middle school.  He'd always liked her, always been too afraid to ask her out, and finally lost touch with her after high school.  And then, last year, Dan's mother died.  And Karen, his now bride, read in the paper about the visitation.  Being the sort of person she is, she thought she'd go pay her respects to the mother of one of her classmates from twenty years before.  Dan, delighted to see her, felt awkward about picking up chicks at his mother's funeral.  But the family encouraged him to bring her to the house for drinks and food after the visitation, and she agreed to come along.

The rest, as they say, is history.  The symmetry of their meeting - on his mother's death, another woman steps in to love and care for him - is, of course, beautiful and a little uncanny.  But it gets better.  Stay tuned for Part II of this Awesome Love Story.