N.F.W.: Our New Gossip Commentary!

Even Stock Photo Girl Says, "No. F-ing. Way!"

Here at Menacing Kitten Headquarters, when we’re not drinking Chocotinis, heating inedible frozenstuff, or drooling over James Marsden, we are talking gossip.  We love our blind gossip from Crazy Days and Nights, our “Ding-Dang Y’all, Brittany’s Eating Wings!” exposés of TMZ, and our snarkilicious Dirt Bag from Jezebel.  Because gossip and schadenfreude are dishes best served with said Chocotinis, we decided to start our own little gossip commentary: N.F.W. as in No.F-ing.Way.  Why? Because, OMG, everyone loves an acronym.

So what is going on in the Celeb World on this fine day? Well, there are three stories circling the water cooler at the moment:

An entertainment show recently spent an entire half an hour to tell me that Tom and Katie broke up. I know: N.F.W.  Who saw this coming? (Put your hand down Mimi Rodgers, and you too, World).  The entertainment show showed me footage of Oprah visiting Tom and Katie, and they totally looked happy and gave her moccasins. And then Oprah hugged them.  How could they fail? I know, Entertainment Show, I know.  They touched the hem of her garment, yet they were not made whole.  This is really challenging my faith.

Now, both TMZ and Rupert Murdoch are stating that the Church of Scientology is stalking Katie.  According to their credible sources who are photographing her apartment and wiretapping her phones 24-7, this is REALLY CREEPY. Apparently these sources bumped into someone else skulking in the bushes and they were like, who the hell are you? And the person was like, I’m the totally heterosexual, engram-free gardener! And then they were like SCIENTOLOGIST! **snaps photo**

Once upon a time, there was a morning news show that dominated all morning news shows.  Ruled by the jingle-riffic Katie, Matt, Al and Ann quatrofecto (is that a word? If not, it is now), it was a pleasant show that delivered news in that non-threatening, pre-Regis and Kelly (or was it Kathie Lee?) way, but still managed to get the point across.  In this fair land, reporters gave families a little space after their grief.  They’d wait a few days, possibly a few weeks to allow a family to properly mourn, and they’d have a sit-down interview all in good time.

I remembered the exact moment when this changed.

Following Columbine, Katie Couric sat down with two family members who lost a loved one to the tragedy only a day prior.  At the time, I felt uncomfortable that the Today show procured an interview with someone in mourning so fresh on the heels of tragedy.  Was this appropriate? Was this sensational? I wasn’t entirely sure.  The family’s story brought me to tears, but I couldn’t help but wonder if we should be seeing this.  Even now, I’m not sure what my answer is.

This interview was a defining moment for Couric, and it seemingly changed the landscape of reporting and interviews – everyone clamored after the mourning, looking to get that unforgettable, tears-inducing, ratings bonanza moment.

Fast forward 13 years, and morning news has gone meta – the Today Show, still a part of NBC news but looking more like the Entertainment Show mocked above, decides nothing would be more delicious than to feed the ratings beast the bland diet of everyone’s favorite Human Quinoa, Ann Curry.  Yes, Ann Curry, who has been a loyal employee to the ‘Cock for years, had the pleasure of seeing her name plastered all over the gossip rags thanks to some carefully placed leaks saying she sucked and her bosses wanted her out.  She got to read stories about how her colleague of just as long wouldn’t sign a long term contract unless they booted her.  And then she got to step on television at the height of this feeding frenzy her bosses salivated over, to say through tears that she was canned and her dreams have been shattered.  Then every employee of NBC News made a bully circle around her and pushed her back and forth amongst each other while calling her names and breaking her glasses.  Pig’s blood was dropped from the rafters, a good time was had by all.

I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t really watched the Today Show in years, and I felt Curry was an odd fit for that role.  She always came across as a low-key, down-to-earth kind of chick. That sort of personality just doesn’t fly when on one side of you there’s Matt Lauer interviewing the Kardashians promoting their new Klassy Krap Kamp for Klepto Kids, and Al Roker’s over there on the other side, puppeteering a live lobster as Guy Fieri or whoever the fuck is making Pop Star Poppers for that American Idol finale party you had no intention of throwing.  Look, I used to really enjoy Today – I don’t even mind some of the fluff. But after seeing all of this BS, how can you place it all on Ann Curry? The way they handled her exit is all you need to know about the state of the Today Show and where it’s headed. And NBC – the hell? Is it even remotely possible for you to handle a high-profile firing with even a modicum of decency or common sense?

Again - N.F.W.! A charming silver fox who I’ve had a crush on yet always knew in my heart of hearts it would never be reciprocated told everyone he is gay.  The world minus Gawker was like, we all kind of knew this and didn’t care either way, no? Because the world loves the Silver Fox, no matter who he loves.  For those who don’t love him, I don’t count you, because you probably don’t like pina coladas, white Christmases or Singin’ in the Rain either.  DEAD TO ME.  Anyway, he came out, and I long to see the day when no one cares about the gender of the person you love, and this sort of statement isn’t considered newsworthy.  On the other hand, I suppose it will remain newsworthy as long as two men or two women can’t walk around in public simply holding hands without worrying if someone is going to harass them.  Because you know what? That’s still happening.  As a nation, we are still kind of judgey Neanderthals.  Except Neanderthals probably didn’t give a shit if someone was gay.  They probably saw two gay cavemen and were like, huh, that’s a different way of going about things, shrugged their shoulders and resumed punching a bison in the face.

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Les Miserables – Hollywood, Please Don’t F this Up

Les Miz fans have been waiting for years – years! – to see the musical come to the big screen.  I am no exception – I first saw Les Miserables at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway when I was in high school.  We went on a field trip to see it, and it was so moving and engaging, even the metalheads and punk guys in my class dug it.  They all bought the soundtrack and would start reciting parts of it at random times (the Javert/Valjean confrontation was a particular favorite – and is apparently also a favorite of Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal and OK Go).  As for me, I am not a huge musical theater person, but I fell in love with Les Miz because it wasn’t your typical goofy musical.  Like Phantom of the Opera, it’s more like a modern day opera and tells a beautiful tale of redemption.  I owned both the Broadway soundtrack and the Complete Symphonic Recording, and there was a point in my life I could recite all three hours of the musical by heart.  I have no doubt I am but one of many, many fans who can do that.

Now that we are finally getting our beloved musical on the big screen, I’m naturally getting a little nervous about the execution.  Let’s face it; Hollywood is consistently good at two things – blowing shit up and destroying adaptations. Just seeing the word “adaptation” makes me break out in hives.  The worst-case scenario for me is if they killed a big chunk of the musical aspect of Les Miz.  Due to staging, I understand they have to make a few changes.  Because people love the Epic CGI Battle where a shitload of people/animals/manimals run down two hills to collide and get shot with arrows and knocked off of horses and shit in a grand orgy of violence, I am truly cringing at what the French Revolution battle scene could look like.  I’ll deal with it.  Hollywood, I know you need your Tolkein Fight Scene in every movie with a battle (Get it? Ha! …erm…sorry….).  Fine.  But if the libretto and key songs are significantly changed or removed? Your Les Miz Frankenzombie is dead to me.  Unless you actually make it a zombie adaptation, because I’m not sure I can resist that.

At any rate, I’d like to share my thoughts on some of the casting:

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean:  As the cast started to get leaked/unveiled to the world, I found myself thinking, “I love all of these actors, but for this? I don’t know…I hope it works…” I love Hugh Jackman.  Who doesn’t? My friends, I saw that damned Van Helsing movie – in the theater – just for him (to the movie’s credit, it’s still better than X-Men 3, which I also sat in a theater for).  But is he Jean Valjean? Can he sing “2-4-6-0-Ooooonnnne!!!!” at the end of “Who am I?” Or the sweet falsetto of “Bring Him Home?” Then I came across this on YouTube.    He’s totally Jean Valjean!  Now? I can’t wait.

Russell Crowe as Javert:  I have never seen a Russell Crowe movie I didn’t like (although I wasn’t a huge fan of Gladiator – as you can guess by my assessment of the Tolkein Fight Scenes above, it’s not my cup of tea), and I think he’s a fine actor.  For the acting piece of the movie, he’s going to own the shit out of Javert – I have no doubt of this.  I haven’t heard him sing this style of music, so I don’t know what to expect.  That said, Crowe has been tweeting awesomeness under a #lesmis hashtag, and it appears he is really, really digging the role.  This has me kind of excited and reassured.

Anne Hathaway as Fantine: I love Anne Hathaway, to the point where I am intrigued by her playing Catwoman in the upcoming Batman movie.  For this however? Ehhh… I don’t know.  Fantine pre-French Whore was beautiful and had an enchanting smile, so Anne certainly fits that description, but the one screenshot I’ve seen of her from the movie isn’t working for me, and it has nothing to do with her personally.  She looks more like she’d be in an alt-folk act touring in 90s-era Lilith Fair than a destitute prostitute.  Overall, the picture is confusing to me – by the time she sold her hair (for 10 francs – it pays a debt, 10 francs may save my poor Coseeetttte!) and saw Valjean again, she was already sick from TB. Here she’s looking pretty healthy and not quite grotesque. I dunno.  At the same time, it’s a musical; how many people break into song right before they die from TB?? You need to suspend a little disbelief.  She does have a lovely singing voice, so we’ll see, I guess.

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette: I will admit right now – I know who she is, but I have never seen anything she has been in, so I have no idea if she can act or has the voice for Cosette.  I personally would have liked to see Emmy Rossum in this role (who was great in Phantom), but I’m open to it.  Honestly, in the musical, Cosette is the most boring of the leads, so I’m pretty indifferent.

Samantha Barks as Eponine: I am so delighted they chose one of the best Eponines from the musical’s run to play this role.  If you haven’t heard her, Barks will bring you to tears when she sings “On My Own.”  She’s awesome.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers: Hell, hell yes to this.  I really don’t know what else to say other than this is particularly great casting and I’m eagerly awaiting to see them be simultaneously hilarious and repulsive in their respective roles.

Eddie Redmayne as Marius: I know nothing about this actor other than he has a great voice for the role (based on my YouTube research).  I just want to point out that if this was made even 7-10 years ago, My Celebrity Boo James Marsden would have made the best Marius.  He’s handsome, and his voice reminds me of Michael Ball, who received the Kanye Award for Best Marius Pontmercy of ALL TIME.  Even 10 years ago, Marsden would have been technically too old to play Marius, but he looks much younger than he actually is and I would have loved to see it.  Of course, this would have resulted in me standing up in the middle of the theater during “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” calling out to the screen, “I LOVE YOU JAMES MARSDEN!! YOU CAN SIT AT MY TABLE ANY TIME!!” Which would not only ruin one of the most dramatic moments in the movie, it would unleash the worst innuendo ever into the world.  And I’d get kicked out.

…While we’re on this topic, can we make an X-Men: The Musical happen, so I can get Hugh Jackman and James Marsden singing together onscreen? Sure, the fanboys would hate it, but still? Better than X-Men 3.

Going back to Les Miz, Redmayne’s voice is killer for the part.  If they do Les Miz right and it’s a hit, I have a feeling teenage girls will swoon for him after all of this.  I feel really old saying that…

Les Miz fans? Let me know what you’re thinking about the movie or the cast below in the comments.

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A 2012 Bucket List Update: Thank You

[Note: While looking for possible images to post with this, coming across "gondola accidents" and "ski lift fall" did not reduce my gondola-anxiety in the slightest.  Thank you Google, for making scaring the shit out of myself one easy click away...]

After my 2012 bucket list post, I had an epiphany that started with an imaginary gondola.  Chris and I booked a trip to Colorado in January because we wanted to learn how to snowboard and/or ski.  By the time we arrived, I put a lot of obstacles in my way – I didn’t book or reserve anything that week.  I didn’t look into pricing.  I didn’t do any cardio, balance or flexibility exercises leading up to the trip to prepare myself.  When we got there, I had a nice array of valid excuses to select from.  Even though all those excuses were waiting for me, I kept thinking about the damn gondola.  I pictured myself having a hard time hopping off and getting out of the way, and all the imaginary angry ski bunnies in my mind were mad and inconvenienced.  The imaginary gorgeous athletic ski instructor (who looks remarkably like James Marsden) grumbled and sighed, as he did some crazy maneuver to get me out of the way before the next gondola smacked me in the back of the head, or before I caused someone else to have an accident.  Some people have anxiety over the very real fear of breaking bones while skiing; my anxiety is about inconveniencing people.  The cast of characters in my little imaginary world consists of every asshole I have ever come across in my life, when reality shows me that there are at least 100 amazing people to each asshole.  Why is that?

Needless to say, we backed out.  Sure, lift tickets were $110 a piece, and a private lesson was a whopping $500, and sure, I still had fun and the poor husband came down with Mongolian Death Worm anyway, but it ate away at me.  I knew this was my “do something you’re afraid of” moment, and I let it pass by.  I made a promise to myself years ago that I would not let my life be dictated by fear, and yet here I was, avoiding things.

Since then, every hesitation I’ve had nagged at me.  It never occurred to me that so many little things have been avoided because of some level of fear.  I had to confront each of them to make up for my not-a-ski trip.  In the time since, I attended a great webinar despite having a mini-panic attack when it was suggested there would be audience participation, I finally got desperately-needed braces, and the biggest of all, I decided to express my opinion on something and submitted it to one of my favorite web sites for publishing.  It got published, and I was blown away by the positive response to it – in 24 hours, it was read by over 40,000 people on Jezebel, and my own web site saw visitors from 35 countries and 47 states (evidently Idaho isn’t big on Whitney Houston).  Most of the comments were positive, and almost all of the comments against it were more constructive and thoughtful than truly negative.  As a result of this particular confrontation with fear, I’ve met one of my other goals for the year and hit a lifetime bucket list goal – I definitely averaged over 100 visitors a day for a week on my site, and I got something published that had mass-reach.

I definitely need to thank all of you for helping me reach these goals – not only from the support and encouragement I received when I first brought this web site online, but by the recent number of tweets, emails, and facebook shares.  As I write this, I realize how much I have to learn as a writer, because I cannot find the right words to express my gratitude or how much I’ve appreciated the comments and kind words.  I really want to do good by you, the reader, and I’m going to bring my best to you every damn week.

As I suggested in my previous bucket list post, with each accomplishment or failure on my list, I have something to take away from the experience.  My takeaway feels a bit unexpected – I learned this week if I really want to succeed as a writer, I need to write fearlessly.  I can live with chickening out on skiing (for now – I AM going to learn to ski or snowboard), but I will not accept chickening out on my writing.  The truth is, no matter how much I people-please in my life, I will never be good at this if I people-please as a writer.

I’ll continue telling stories and being an overall goof, but there’s even more I can do here.  I’m not going to ever force it or become something akin to an internet ambulance-chaser to gain views, but if I’ve got something of value to say, I’m not going to be afraid to say it.

And I’ve got ideas.  Stay tuned…

Chocovine: Bringing New Meaning to “Chocoholic”

Earlier this year, we invited a few people over to serve a dual purpose: to celebrate Chris’ birthday, and to get rid of booze we’ve had for a long time.  Here’s the problem with a “help us get rid of our booze” party: you always wind up with more.  In our case, we wound up gaining about 10 additional bottles.  Those additions were not Bacardi or Cuervo; they were 10 amazing bottles of sweet German wines, Estate rums, and tasty liquors.  This makes our dear friends slightly evil, but being the hedonistic heathens we are, evil is a prerequisite for awesome.

Amongst the 10 bottles of liquory goodness, we received two things we never heard of before – a bottle of Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka and a bottle of Chocovine.  To get this out of the way right off the bat – Whipped Cream Vodka?  Yes.  Oh, hell yes.  It is as good as it sounds, and is known to turn the driest of people into frothing-mouth gluttons after the first sip.  It is that good, and after you have it, you will be finding excuses to put it in everything.  Our awesome/evil friends recommended making a martini combining the Whipped Cream Vodka and Chocovine.

Looking at the ingredients and description for Chocovine, it doesn’t sound like it would make for a great cocktail drink – it contains Cabernet, Cream, and “artificial flavors.”  The artificial flavors suggest to me that they don’t use real chocolate, which makes me really sad for the three seconds before I drink it all.  Surprisingly, you don’t taste the wine at all.  It basically tastes like spiked chocolate milk, but that is a good thing, isn’t it?

Per our friends’ suggestion, we made Chocotinis – 3 parts Chocovine and 1 part Whipped Cream Vodka.  This was exciting for me, if for no other reason than to use my pretty Mikasa martini glasses which haven’t seen the light of day since the unfortunate mid-2000s Appletini craze.  Now, I have had Chocolate Martinis before – usually they contained chocolate liquors and girly Hershey-kissed rims.  These concoctions are usually like chocolate-flavored lighter fluid that singe your nose and ear hairs.  Chocovine martinis on the other hand, are like drinking dew off the wings of an angel while you’re receiving a lomi-lomi massage from James Marsden as he sings to you.

Hmmm.  What was I saying?  Oh yes.  Booze.

The calorie content in Chocovine is rather high due to the cream, but Chris and I couldn’t resist having a drink every night after dinner until the last drop was sucked out of the bottle.  We were both sad and relieved when the last of the Chocovine was gone.  For a few weeks, we passed on buying more, knowing cream and rich alcohol don’t exactly fit into a regular part of our diet.

While at Cost Plus World Market, I strolled through their wine section and happened upon their large, beautiful display of Chocovine.  They had the regular kind, a Raspberry Chocolate flavor, and… oh no.  Espresso.  I stared at the bottles.  The classic angel vs. devil battle ensued in my mind:

Angel:  The diet.  Think of the diet.

Devil:  Think of the delicious smooth nectar of chocolate rushing over your palate.  And espresso.

Angel:  Think of the food pyramid; where does this fit on it?

Devil:  Whatever.  We both know your food pyramid resembles a martini glass.  Just don’t have it every night.  Have it as a sometimes snack.

Angel: True… true…

As I stared at the display, good and evil battling it out in my mind, at least two people came up to me.  “Have you tried that?  OhmiGOD is it good!”

I caved in and grabbed a bottle of the regular (for Chris) and a bottle of the Espresso for me.  After a long day at work, I made an Espresso Chocotini for myself and savored it sip by sip.  Rich and chocolaty with subtle coffee tones, it makes for the perfect drink to have after a rough day at the office.  Or after your kids have been difficult.  Or for breakfast, or even as a little pick-me-up to carry in your garter in a little flask (just kidding – seriously.  It has cream; you don’t want that evil on you after a 120 degree day in Arizona.  Plus, little hidden flasks kind of make you an alcoholic, unless they are super chic and cute, of course).  At any rate, whatever reason you give yourself for drinking Chocovine, it is a worthy reason.  Chill it, drink it, enjoy it, and thank me later.