Summer TV 2019

summertv2SUMMER TV IS HEREEEE!!! Now that it’s officially June, there are so many new shows starting up. ESPECIALLY GAME SHOW REVIVALS!!! I am so excited. My friend has recommended the app TV Time to me, where you can track your favorite shows and get notifications when new episodes are being released. Here’s what I’ll be adding to my watch list for summer:

Monday, June 3rd: 
So You Think You Can Dance – FOX

Wednesday, June 5th:
Grown-ish – FreeForm

Sunday, June 9th: 
Celebrity Family Feud – ABC
$100,000 Pyramid – ABC
To Tell The Truth – ABC

Wednesday, June 12th:
Press Your Luck – ABC
Card Sharks – ABC
Match Game – ABC

Sunday, June 16th:
Euphoria – HBO

Monday, June 17th:
Whose Line Is It Anyway? – The CW

Thursday, June 20th:
Family Food Fight – ABC
Spin The Wheel – ABC

Tuesday, June 25th:
Big Brother – CBS

Thursday, July 25th:
Orange Is The New Black – Netflix

Monday, July 20th:
Bachelor In Paradise – ABCtv1

Thanks for reading!

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

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I hadn’t read A Wrinkle In Time since I was a kid, so when Disney made the movie, I wanted to make sure I reread the book before seeing the film. I couldn’t recall most of the story from memory, and the only thing I could remember was the actual concept of a “wrinkle” in time. I can vividly remember my aunt explaining this idea to me when I was young, using a string to show the visual that was drawn out in the book.

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I am somewhat amazed by the vocabulary, especially in the beginning, given that the target age group is 10-14. The story starts off slow and is very vague and confusing, but maybe a younger audience is more okay with unanswered questions and unexplained details. This could also be a result the year we live in, where we lack patience and are used to instant answers. Since the book was published in the 60’s, where fiction often followed the natural literary story arc, it takes a long time to build up the plot.

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There’s a lot of room to create the visuals using your imagination as a result of this vagueness. I’m happy for this reason that I reread the book prior to seeing the film, so that I could compare my thoughts to the images in the movie. I could actually distinctly remember from when I was younger, reading when they went to the two dimensional planet. It was almost something I could conceptualize, but a lot of the talk of a “fifth dimension” was hard to visualize in my head.

The traveling to different planets was some of my favorite parts of the book. Camazotz is one of these planets, where everyone behaves perfectly and accordingly – or else. These different worlds, places and dimensions opened up my mind and imagination when I was younger, and was fun to revisit as an adult. Certain parts of the book got a bit wrinkle1goofy, which reminded me that this was written for the 10-14 age group. Even the names of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit are goofy in and of themselves. Also, if they are in fact misses, where are the misters?

Prior to seeing the movie, I knew the cast included Reese Witherspoon and Oprah, so as I was reading I just assumed they were a part of the ‘Who, Which, Whasit’ crew. a-wrinkle-in-time-gets-four-brand-new-postersI was correct about my casting predictions – Reese played Mrs. Whatsit, to my pleasant surprise Mindy Kaling played Mrs. Who, and Oprah of course played the wise and knowledgeable Mrs. Which. The movie actually starts out with a scene that includes the dad (oh why hellooooo Chris Pine!), but in the book the dad has already gone and been missing when we start the story. Another small difference was that Charles Wallace was adopted in the movie, but that was not a plot line in the book. However, that could have been just a way to explain the casting choices. 

There are some more minor differences from the book to the movie, but nothing too major. They sort of combine “the black thing” into just Camaztoz and IT, throwing all the evil into one world and one thing rather than several dark planets and forces that are listed and visited in the book. The Happy Medium is also female in the original story,  but in the movie not only is this character male, but it also turns out he might be ‘Mr. Whatsit’, or at least an interest of the Mrs. (She doesn’t like labels.) urielI was honestly happy to see a version of the story where Meg was not so hard on her father, rather than in the book where she is continuously disappointed by his choices once he’s found. It was a minor change, but one that I appreciated. The adventure in the book ends abruptly, but we get a little more of a wrap up and conclusion in the films. The visuals were amazing and beautiful, of course, creating a sense of wonder in true Disney fashion.

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I will say that given the time period, it’s awesome to see a notable piece of literature that has a female protagonist, and has stood the test of time. Meg is not just there to look pretty and obey – she is unique and defiant and sure of herself in a way that is relatable. I think she is a wonderful character and role model for young kids, and hopefully the movie as a whole allows kids from different backgrounds to see themselves in one of the children in the movie.

MV5BMjMxNjQ5MTI3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjQ2MTAyNDM@._V1_Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time is currently available on Netflix, and can also be watched in a variety of other places as well. The book by Madeleine L’Engle is available wherever books are sold, as well as many others by the author, as this adventure goes on. This is a great story for both kids and adults, and is sure to reawaken anyone’s sense of wonder and imagination.

Thanks for reading!

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

judy blume2I read last November in Entertainment Weekly that Judy Blume has finally sold the film rights to her famous book, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Since I’m in full swing of my reading kick, I got ahead of the game prior to hearing anything about the film being in motion. To be honest, I can’t remember if I read this book when I was younger or not. I definitely read other Judy Blume books growing up, as she’s wildly popular for the age group. Disregarding the title, my knowledge of Judy Blume had me believing that this would be a story of a young girl starting to grow into a teenager. While that is definitely still a theme of the novel, religion is also the major discussion.

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Margaret doesn’t have a religion, as it has created outstanding problems for her family. Her father was Jewish and her mother was Christian, and both of their families had strong opinions on the matter. As a result, Margaret is told that she could decide for herself when she got older. And yet, she finds herself talking to God in the way that a young girl might write in her diary. As a part of an independent school project, she starts to explore different faiths by attending different places of worship with friends. We watch Margaret try to navigate this difficult subject on her own, while also being pulled in a variety of directions from her family.

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Naturally, Margaret and her friends also navigate growing up items for girls such as their first periods, stuffing their bras, and kissing boys at their class supper parties. Most of what Margaret is trying to learn here leads her back to her discussions with God. She prays for her breasts to grow; she prays to not be the last of her friends to menstruate. She communicates with God regularly, but says she cannot find him in religion. She only feels him when she is alone.

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The relationships between Margaret and her family prove to be the most interesting. She is close with her Grandma, who treats her a lot like an adult. There’s also a lot of tension created as a result of religion. This is heightened when Margaret’s other grandparents come to visit, ruining her spring break with her Grandma. These grandparents have not spoken with Margaret or her parents for over 14 years, as a result of a disagreement on religion. Naturally, during their visit, a fight breaks out on the subject.

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It’s honestly satisfying to see a child be right and adults be wrong about something so serious and profound as religion. In Margaret’s self discovery for faith, she is exploring options and seeing where she feels God. She is reaching out in times of need, questioning things happening around her, and wishing to be the best version of herself. To me, that’s exactly what faith should be about. And yet, the adults focus on arbitrary traditions and rules in a way that affects everyone’s relationship to each other. The grandparents push Christianity, the Grandma pushes Judaism, and Margaret’s parents end up pushing NO religion as a result – proving that no one actually wants to let Margaret figure it out on her own.

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I found this topic wildly fascinating, specifically through the innocent eyes of a young girl. You can find Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret anywhere fine books are sold. The cover has been updated many times over the years, and the most recent includes the modern looking text format. Just as an aside, you can also find Are You There Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea, wherever books are sold as well, if you are a Chelsea Handler fan.

Thanks for reading!

Desert Southwest (WildSam Field Guide)

img_3834This little book by WildSam was given to me as a Christmas present, after I expressed interest in relocating to Arizona. Pocket sized and adorable, just like the person who gave it to me, this Desert Southwest Field Guide was just the inspo I needed. That interest turned into a dream, and now a reality, so I’ve finally been able to read through the entire book and dive into the part of the country that I am ready to explore.

The book is a nice recap of information for individual places such as Santa Fe, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and of course – my future city – Tucson. There are details of each city and state history as well as state facts and famous residents. I was excited by the list of annual festivals and events, as well as travel recommendations and so much more.

img_3832I took some time to dive into the page on Tucson that was published under the “Cities and Towns” section. Since this is going to be my new city, I was filled with excitement reading about the blend of culture and the beautiful foothills to explore. I already can’t wait to see monsoon season, and I am definitely going to try the Mexican/Seafood restaurant recommendation, Penca.

There was also a ton of other cool and interesting information, such as some history of media and films in the desert areas, and a list of outlaws and infamous figures. I enjoyed reading about different landmarks, wildlife and more things that I can explore. The book also included 14 interviews with various local personnel, artists, and writers. Towards the end, there are three short essays that are placed in Santa Fe. One is about the transience of the city, another the journey of exploring on a dangerous hike, and the last mourns the life of a good friend.

For anyone who wants to go exploring, included are several detailed guided road trips img_3833which break down the best routes to travel to the cities that were listed in the book. This gave me some inspiration for where to take some future trips, even if I don’t follow the recommendations exactly. The whole guide is truly an adorable and thoughtful present, very helpful, and got me even more excited to move than I already was. 

“People don’t take trips – trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

Thanks for reading.

https://wildsam.com/desert-southwest

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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The Glass Castle movie was released in 2017 and quickly became one of my absolute favorites. I saw the movie originally because of the big name cast, but instantly became immensely intrigued by the ridiculousness of the family and the way they lived. Naturally, when I couldn’t get enough of the movie, I found myself reading the book by the real Jeannette Walls.

FILM-WALLS-QANDAThe book starts out with similar stories that we see in the movie, such as the fire accident while Jeanette was cooking hot dogs, and hospital escapades that followed. Then we hear more about how they move from city to city, including living in Las Vegas and a variety of other cities, which was condensed into a montage in the movie. I quickly noticed the pattern in the book that temporary solutions often became long-term, and the children are usually the ones who suffer the most. 

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The general feel of both the movie and the book are similar, and it’s easy to find times where you want to laugh along with the insane antics and funny anecdotes. However, by the end of the book, I absolutely hated both the mom and the dad. Just like the kids, I grew frustrated by the selfishness of the father’s alcoholism and the mother’s laziness and inability to care for anything other than herself. It’s easy to love Woody and Naomi in the film for their charm and familiarity, but the selfishness of the real individuals was shocking. No matter how hungry the kids were, their father would spend any money he could at the bars. No matter how much money the kids were able to save on their own, their dad would find a way to steal every single penny and drink it down. And even when the kids were able to leave their rundown place in Welch, the parents still followed them to New York City and attempted to mooch off of everything they had made for themselves there.

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Not only does the movie downplay some of the evilness if the parents, it also skips over the development of little Maureen. I feel as though both of these things were done to protect the author’s loved ones on the big screen. I certainly wish the movie had included more on young Maureen in NYC, including when she stabbed her mom before running off to California. However, it was nice to have the parallel of last scene, where they sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner and remember their father fondly, in both the movie and the book.

Jeannette WallsPart of the reason that I was so interested in reading the book comes from one of the real photos that was shown at the end of the movie, where there is a family picture that includes someone that may or may not be a drag queen, or is just wearing a whole lot of make-up. From reading the book, I was actually not able to determine who this person was. I’ve done extensive google searching, and still cannot determine the answer, so if anyone has some information on this subject please reach out to me! (I’ve also sent an inquiry in to Jeannette Wall’s email and Facebook page, so we’ll see if someone replies.) UPDATE: I got a reply from a representative of the company that works with Jeannette Walls! He was able to confirm for me that this was individual is Maureen, which furthers my point that I would have loved to learn more about her path in life after leaving the family back East. 

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You certainly go through a lot of emotions while hearing her retelling of stories, which is much how you feel while watching the film. There are, of course, many stories that make the book and not the movie. Overall, however, it stays true to the message – recounts of funny stories mixed in with some truly sad memories that will make your heart drop.

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If you haven’t yet seen The Glass Castle, it’s currently available on Amazon Prime and probably many other places as well. It stars Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts and is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings. HIGH RECOMMEND – both the movie and the book.

Thanks for reading!

Flipping the Switch by John G. Miller

FTS 1I was given this book to read as an assignment with my team at work. We were paired up with a partner, and teach pair took a different chapter. Considering the entirety of the book was only a little over 100 pages, I just decided to read the whole thing. And to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it.

While I’m sure the author has had wild success with his books, as he has persistently made clear and evident in his writing, it seemed like half of this book was just marketing material for his other books. He clearly thinks very highly of himself and all of his published works (I mean seriously, I got it the first time..and the second.. and the third.. ), I believe I would have enjoyed this dish more if it was served with a big side of humility.

I don’t much enjoy self-improvement books that convince you over and over why their principles will absolutely change your life in all areas. I’d rather get inspired by words and feel the change rather than have it forcibly drilled into the writing again and again. I also don’t care much for arbitrary stories of successful rookies who succeeded as a result of these ideas. Again, I want to obtain that feeling naturally instead of having it force fed to me. The stories and examples he used were kind of arbirary and random, and didn’t always back up the point he was trying to make.

View More: http://sunprairiefilms.pass.us/john-millerAlmost all of the example stories star what are presumably male names: Bill, David, Bob, Michael.. the male executive on the plane..  There was a  few stories that involved women, but they were still performing stereotypical female roles (like a doctor who delivers children, or women working in pharmaceuticals ). Oh, and he mentions his wife, Karen (but not her profession – only to advertise for his book on parenting). 

FTS 4Those are my biggest critiques for the book. Anyway, the actual principles are simple: cut through the bullshit to get to the true question behind the question, and take personal accountability to get the right answers.

In any case, thanks for reading.

It Takes Balls by Josh Wolf

josh wolf 1You may recognize comedian Josh Wolf from his thirteen years of stand-up, his tours with Larry the Cable Guy and Chelsea Handler, and his TV appearances on My Name Is Earl  and Raising Hope. I discovered Josh through Ross Mathews – they both worked on Chelsea Lately and continued their chemistry on their radio show, He Said, He Said with Josh and Ross. I am now a huge fan of his, an avid listener of his podcasts, and a follower of his comedy. From my first experience with Josh, I found him absolutely hilarious and down josh wolf 2to earth. He certainly knows how to take a joke super far and make you shake your head in disgust, but he also definitely isn’t offensive. He’s a stand up guy, a solid ally, and a great comedian. Josh is from Boston, and often does shows at the Laugh Factory when he is in town. I was able to go to his show last October, where I even got to meet him afterwards and take some pictures. He does an awesome live set, so if you ever get the chance to see him don’t miss out on the fun.

jw 1It Takes Balls; Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions From an Unprepared Single Dad is Josh Wolf’s collection of his own experiences and funny stories. He finds himself, as he is breaking into his comedy career, with 3 kids and questionable help. They made it work, of course, but not without some tales to tell along the way. Josh is hilarious, and I could hear his voice as he recounted the memories. Part of his comedy comes from the fact that he’s just flat out honest, and is able to admit things that other people might be ashamed of. For example, using his kids to get dates, and going so far as to have them call him “uncle”. I was highly amused.

Part of the reason that I like Josh not just as a comedian, but also just as a human, is because I think he’s a really amazing parent. I totally respect his parenting style; he is realistic, yet encouraging and also extremely proud of his kids. This definitely comes through in his book, as he tells stories of coaching his son’s little league team and connecting with his daughter over her first kiss. He may have been unprepared, but it seems like he made out pretty good overall.

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The best part of the book was the stories about taking his buddies to Las Vegas. It starts out with antics to even get the guys on the plane, including involving one of their wives to help out. Cut to everyone taking too much advantage of their solo hotel rooms instead of hitting a night out on the town – which didn’t sit well with Josh of course. He makes up for lost time though, instigating bets and dares and getting the gang into some hilarious trouble. That’s probably the best part about Josh – he’s the kind of person that goes looking for trouble, finds it, and jumps head first into it.

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I highly recommend It Takes Balls; Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions From an Unprepared Single Dad by Josh Wolf, as well as the rest of his content and comedy. You can follow Josh Wolf on social media at @joshwolfcomedy (his Insta stories of “parenting tips” are hilarious) or visit his website comedianjoshwolf.com for more information and show dates (and a link to his YouTube channel, which includes bits from his standup). You can listen to his podcast Fairly Normal wherever you listen to podcasts, which includes audio of his Facebook TV show Controlled Chaos (which you can also, obviously, watch on Facebook TV). You can also listen to his podcast with Freddie Prinze Jr, called The Prinze and The Wolf or you can go back and binge his old radio show with Ross Mathews, Josh and Ross.

Thanks for reading!