D-D-D-Do You Have It? GUTS!

I love survival stories. So when I saw the previews for 127 Hours, the movie based off of Aron Ralston’s own survival story, I was all over it.  Aron Ralston is the climber that became famous for cutting off his own arm after spending five days trapped between a boulder and a canyon wall. I knew who Aron was and the basics of his story from the five minute segments on the Today Show. But watching the movie was the first time I heard all the details of everything he went through. The thing with survival stories is I always end up putting myself in their situation. Could I cut off my own arm? My friends have tried to reassure me…

“You could totally cut off your own arm!”

“Don’t worry, you could do it!”

“Shannon, just have faith in yourself!”

But I don’t know. The only thing I can say I would do for certain is cry. And panic. Maybe not panic as much as Amanda, but I’m sure I’d panic a lot. I was stuck in an elevator once for 20 long and excoriating minutes, the first five minutes I was fine. Cool as a friggin cat. The last 15 minutes? I broke into a sweat, considered rationing out my coffee and suddenly developed claustrophobia. It was horrible. The only thing that kept me the least bit sane was still being able to access Facebook on my phone. 20 minutes stuck in an elevator without a connection to the outside world? I’d probably have had to be committed.

Another great survival story is the Uruguayan Rugby team who’s plane crashed into Andes Mountains.  They were stranded in the mountains for 72 days with little food. Once the food ran out, the survivors began to eat the deceased. When I brought this survival story up, not a single person tried to reassure me that if we were to all crash into a mountain that I could easily eat their flesh. My theory is they don’t want me to believe I’m capable of cannibalism. God forbid we’re ever trapped in an elevator together, they don’t want me envisioning their head as a donut to dip in my coffee. Fair enough I guess.

Lastly, I want to go on record and say should I ever find myself in the lead role of a great survival story, I want to be interviewed first by Matt Lauer. Not a satellite interview either… I want to touch that hot white morning news anchor booty.


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And Oscar Should Go To…

Marky Mark knows who wins this.

This is the first year I’ve seen every movie nominated for Best Picture. When the nominations were announced, I realized I had already seen quite a few of them. So I decided to try to see the rest of the movies nominated. Some people challenge themselves to complete marathons, I challenge myself to watch movies. So what?

So without further ado, I give you 2011 Oscar picks.

Best Picture: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter Bones

I liked every single Best Picture nomination, some more than others. I went back and forth between two movies: Inception and The Fighter. In the end, I think my vote would go to The Fighter. But ask me tomorrow and Inception might win.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), James Franco (127 Hours)

First off, apologizes to Javier Bardem because I haven’t seen Biutiful. I did see all the other performances and I’d give this catagory to Colin Firth in The King’s Speech.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bones), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right) and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

Christian Bale, Christian Bale, Christian Bale! I honestly forgot I was watching Christian Bale five minutes into The Fighter.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swam) and Michelle William (Blue Valentine)

It’s a toss-up between Annette Bening and Natalie Portman. Black Swan was the last movie I watched, so her performance sticks out more in my mind. But Annette is also deserving. (Disclaimer: I didn’t see Rabbit Hole or Blue Valentine.)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfield (True Grit) and Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

I have to say it’s complete crap Hailee Steinfield received a supporting role nomination when she the female lead, True Grit was her movie. But I suppose she’s lucky, I think she has a much better shot in this category than she would in Best Actress. I’d give her the win, but not without seriously considering Melissa Leo for perfecting white trash in The Fighter (More disclaimers: Didn’t see Animal Kingdom)

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist.

I haven’t seen the Illusionist. I absolutely loved Toy Story 3. How To Train Your Dragon was cute, but Toy Story 3 completely redeemed Woody and Buzz after Toy Story 2. If this wasn’t a public forum, I’d tell you I nearly cried like a baby during the closing scene of Toy Story 3. Plus Toy Story 3 was nominated for best picture, the other two movies weren’t… that’s some kind of math problem where Toy Story 3 wins.

I know there’s still awards to hand out, but I hear the music and I’m being told to wrap this up. So thank you 2010 for some good movies (we’ll forget Furry Vengeance and the Tooth Fairy, ok?)

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Parking Wars: Us vs. Vanessa Hudgens

So Amanda was up for the weekend. Actually, she was up for about 24 hours. But that’s neither here nor there.

We were meeting up with an old friend of hers for lunch at The Standard. The mall was packed, trying to find a parking spot was impossible. I don’t even mean trying to find a parking spot close to the door was impossible, just A parking spot was hard to find. I started ranting and raving about all the idiots that ignore the direction of the traffic flow in a parking lot. Those arrows and stop signs aren’t just suggestions, people! That was originally going to be what this whole post was about.. but then this happened.

Free Parking? No, more like GO TO JAIL!

After driving around for ten minutes, we spotted two cars pulling out. A van was waiting for one of the spots. They had gotten there only a few seconds before me. So being the polite and courtesy driver that I am, I let them choose which of the two spots they wanted. After they pulled into their spot, I started to move forward… then it happened. Out of now where, an SUV comes along and STEALS MY SPOT! I can’t quite explain the rage I felt at that moment. By the shade of green she was turning I could tell Amanda felt the same way.

“Beep your horn at them!”, Amanda yelled.
My car has a cute horn, it’s hardly intimidating. But I laid on that horn like my life was dependent on it. I don’t know if I thought my cute little horn would scare them into backing out of their spot, but I had to do something! Then the thief climbs out of the driver seat and doesn’t even look at me after she had the nerve to steal my parking spot. In some countries she’d have had her fingers and maybe tires removed for such an offense.

I put my window down and yelled at her, “Excuse me, but I was waiting for that spot for a good five minutes!”

“My sister’s in a wheelchair!” Billy the Kid yells back at me.

“There’s plenty of handicap spots up front, this is my spot!”

“Well, I don’t have a handicap tag.”

Amanda leans over and yelled out my window, “MOVE VANESSA HUDGENS!” (I later learned the reason Amanda climbed on to my lap to yell at these hoodlums was because she couldn’t figure out how to work my car’s automatic door or window. Vanessa Hudgens better thank god that technology tripped up Amanda.)

“You’re an asshole and this is MY SPOT!”, I throw a little more emphasis on my spot and to try to get my point across. Wheelchair or no wheelchair, that spot was mine.

She rolls her little eyes at me. At this point, I’m so angry over this parking spot I’m nearly shaking. Doesn’t she know the rules of the parking lot? Why isn’t this on the drivers test? Didn’t her mother teach her any manners? Wait, didn’t my mother teach me any manners… because here I am getting into a screaming match over a parking spot. But dammit, that parking spot was mine! I had to give up though, she had my spot and all I could do was go back to driving around in circles. I yell at her one last time, just because it feels good.. “WHATEVER MEGAN, THAT’S MY SPOT!” She looked like a Megan, okay?

For those wondering, YES her sister was in a wheelchair. But she had what appeared to be a broken ankle and was being pushed in a hand-me down wheelchair from her elderly grandmother. Hardly a legit excuse for being a thief. Next time drop Tiny Tim off at the door and find your own parking spot. Don’t make up excuses or use your sister’s cheerleading injury to take things that don’t belong to you. You aren’t the only one in this world with problems and if we all took what we thought was owed to us, we’d live in total chaos. Respect the rules of the parking lot.

And Megan? If you’re reading this, lemme see you again in a mall parking lot stealing spots… I’ll make sure Amanda’s door is unlocked. Better yet, just take the advice of Ice Cube … “You better check ‘yo self before you wreck ‘yo self.”


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Two Non-Cents Guide to Public Restrooms

If you haven’t noticed, Amanda and I are like modern day Miss Manners. Today we’ll take on public restrooms. This is written for the ladies, but I’m sure plenty of it also applies to men.

When you enter a bathroom, your first and biggest decision is what stall to choose. Your decision should be influenced on two things

1.) Cleaniness, and 2.) Other bathroom occupants. Cleanliness goes without saying. You’re never obliqued to use a dirty stall, no matter how good your balance is. But here’s what I mean by other bathroom occupants:

  • You enter a bathroom and there’s four stalls. Let’s call these stalls A, B, C, and D. Your goal is to be as far away from any occupied stalls. So if stall A is occupied, your best choice is D. If D is dirty, or has a strong foul smell, your next choice should be stall C. Your last choice in this situation should be stall B. Things get trickier when the middle stalls are occupied. You should you enter an empty bathroom thinking of future occupants and take an end stall. No one wants a neighbor in the bathroom.

Like cars and check-out lines, bathrooms are no cell phone zones. You may sit on your home toilet and text while dropping a load, but doing so in public isn’t cool. Your goal should be to do your business and get out as fast as possible. It’s not a place to sit and play Angry Birds. Talking on the phone is also not cool. I don’t want to hear your one-sided conversations while I’m using the bathroom and I’m sure the person on the other line doesn’t want to hear everyone peeing. There’s few things that are so important that you can’t wait until your bladder is empty before making a phone call.

Don’t congregrate in the bathroom and don’t talk to me while I’m in the bathroom. If we walk into a bathroom together, I expect our conversation to stop the second my bathroom stall door shuts. I’m in this stall with only one thing on my mind,. Don’t distract me or make me wonder if you can hear me over the bathroom sounds. This also slows down the flow of entering and exiting a bathroom as fast as possible.

Get it all in the toilet and flush! This includes all bodily fluids and toilet paper. When in doubt, flush it twice. This should all go without saying, but there’s still some nasty people out there. It makes you wonder, do people get kicks out of making someone else throw up?

When you gotta go, you gotta go. So if you walk into a bathroom while someone’s dropping some kids into the pool, don’t yell out “What is that smell?!” or “Oh my god, is SOMEBODY sick?” We all know damn well what that smell is, there’s no need to embarrass anyone. Suck it up. Hold your breath, do your business and leave. On the other end of the stick, if you can, please avoid funking up a bathroom. If you can wait until you get home, or go to bathroom with less traffic, do so.

Do your doody duty and make our bathrooms a better place.


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Valentine’s Day: Relax, it’s V-Day not D-Day

Happy Valentine's Day to me!

This Valentine’s Day I will be spending the day with the person I love the most… myself.

I’ve never been one of those bitter single people that hates Valentine’s Day. Ok, one year I did wear a “Love sucks” shirt… but that was more about trying to be an edgy 14 year-old than hating on St. Valentine. It’s a cute holiday that focuses heavily on chocolate, what’s to hate?

I love the boxes of little Valentine’s Day cards, remember going through the box and trying to decide who gets one? If you had New Kids on the Block Valentine’s, your best friends were guaranteed to get either Joey, Jordan or Donnie. For the annoying kid that stole your Watchimal? Bitch is getting a Danny card and better like it. There was no romantic tie to the holiday back then, at the end of the day everyone had a brown paper bag full of cards. I loved it. I’d suggest bringing this practice into the work place, but I only see it ending in a bunch of sexual harassment lawsuits and really awkward moments.

Also? Stop blaming Hallmark for why you don’t want to celebrate the holiday. Hallmark sells St. Patrick’s Day cards, decorations and stuffed leprechauns but I don’t see any of you avoiding the parades or pints of beer. I don’t buy Valentine’s Day gifts for people I love-love (damn restraining orders!) But I do like to buy things for some of the people I love and not because Hallmark has pressured me into it. It’s just fun! Stop pooping on my fun.

Just remember this Valentine’s Day that being single isn’t the worst thing in the world. I can promise, worse things in your life will happen to you… so take comfort in that! Buy yourself some chocolate covered strawberries, pour yourself a glass of wine and catch up on your DVR. You won’t have to share your strawberries, wine or remote. Enjoy yourself.

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Superboring Sunday and 10 Reasons Why Baseball is Better

Andy joins former teammate, Mike Mussina, on the list of men who have broken my heart.

The biggest thing going on in sports this weekend isn’t the Super Bowl, at least not in my world. I’m just not a fan of football. For me, the biggest news is Andy Pettitte’s retirement. It’s also the most depressing thing going down this weekend. Andy, in my words, is a left-handed Jesus. I had originally planned on doing a top 10 list of why Andy Pettitte is better than the Super Bowl. But I couldn’t come up with a full list. I’m sure there’s more than ten reasons, I’m just not that creative. So instead I give you…

10 Reasons Baseball is better than Football.

– 162 games. If you think there’s nothing on TV all summer long, you’re just watching the wrong channel. When the cast of Jersey Shore is sobering up and MTV is waiting for a new set of teens to get knocked up, you have baseball. Not to mention no one is eliminated a month into the season. Even the Mets can still have a little hope in June!

– Baseball season spans from Spring to Fall. No winter involved. Which means for most of the season, you can go to a game without needing to bring a  pack of Toastie Toes toe warmers.

– Foul balls. What’s the chance of going to go to a football game and catching a football? None! And do they toss out footballs into the crowd? I don’t really watch football, but I’m guessing not.

– The stadiums. Football fields all look the same, but in each stadium the baseball field is unique. There’s no Ivy or Green Monster if football.

– There’s no regular instant replay. Right now instant replay in baseball is very limited. It seems like every time I catch part of a football game, they’re doing instant replays of something. They probably even do instant replays of instant replays.

– There’s no clock. The outcome of the game and what happens on the field is determined  solely by the players (and sometimes the umpires.) A rally is never killed because time ran out. There’s no “bonus cantos” in football!

– No half-time. This no cheerleaders, middle-aged rockers, Black Eyed Peas or Nipplegate during the seventh inning stretch.

– Derek Jeter’s fist pump is better than any touchdown dance. Really, almost anything in baseball is better than a touchdown dance. A couple of exceptions to this rule? Manny Ramirez’s home run trot and K-Rod humping antics.

– Our post season starts in October and runs into November. Not only that, but it doesn’t just happen a few days out of the week. The heartbreak can be drawn out over multiple games, but so can the excitement. There’s few things in life more exciting than game 7 of a World Series.

– Home field. This year a team from Pittsburg and a team for Green Bay will play the biggest game of their season… in Dallas?

The good news? After today football is over with! We’ll be one day closer to spring training. That’s right spring training. Everyone should be able to appreciate that.


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There’s a 30% chance it’s already snowing

The only blizzard I want to see.

I promise to never again tell anyone that their love for winter and snow disgusts me. But only under one condition, STOP TELLING ME TO STOP COMPLAINING.

I hate the cold, I hate the snow and complaining about it is my god given right. As far back as I can remember, we’ve never had this much snow. Every week there’s another storm. According to my local paper, we currently rank sixth in our area for snowiest winters. This record goes back to the 1800’s, which means most of the people who have experienced winters like this are DEAD and perhaps from all the snow.

There’s nothing fun about shoveling, cleaning off your car or having salt stained boots. There might be something fun about snowboarding, ice skating or some other winter sport, I’ll give you that. But for me? I only participate and enjoy two winter sports – Christmas shopping and couch surfing. Christmas is over before even the middle of winter hits us and not soon after that you’ll exhaust your Netflix queue. So then what? There’s still two months left to winter. I don’t know about you, but there’s only so many times I can watch Harry and the Hendersons.

And stop telling me if I don’t like snow or cold, I need to leave New York. I like living in New York eight months out of the year, I really do. Even during the miserable months my job, family and friends are still here. I would spent my whole life moving around the world if I left a place every time I discovered something I didn’t like. “Well, Florida was nice.. then we got a hurricane. And I really liked Seattle, but it rained a lot. California was nice too, but I’m not a fan of earthquakes or botox. And well, North Korea…” See what I mean? There’s always going to be something.

So if I’m annoyed and want to complain about our weekly foot of snow? Let me! It makes me feel better to curse the f%$@! out a snow storm. I promise come summer, I won’t complain about how hot it is or how the sun is still out on my drive home from work. And if you want to complain about the heat or how short your commute to work was, I’ll let you. Promise.

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