#TopTenTuesday – Memes

Top 10 Favorite Memes:

1:    Okay, yeah,  I made this.  But it’s useful. 🙂80e71cf4f03a93d3ed2f2e377e7b7193

2.  For the Emo artistic soul in all of us.

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3.  I giggle at this every time.

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4.  It’s the expression on the face.

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5.  Because… Yes.

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6.  It’s coming…

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7.  Awesome.

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8.  I laugh at this way too hard regularly. 

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9.  Sophistication. 

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10: And…oh, well, here.  Words, Words Everywhere.

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday – Fairy Tales

Top 10 Favorite Fairy Tales:

1:   Sapsorrow.  I’ve never liked the usual versions of Cinderella.  Even as a kid, I remember thinking, “Who wants a prince who can’t recognize you without the right shoes?”  But THIS version is from an old German folk tale, a version of Allerleirauh (yeah, I had to look that up), and is much darker and has characters that believably interact with each other.  Animal friends are still there.  Wicked stepsisters are still there.  A prince is still there – BUT, he has to learn some lessons before getting the girl who leaves a slipper behind after a ball.  I immediately became a fan when Jim Henson’s The Storyteller did this story for an episode.  If you haven’t seen it, look it up. (pictured below)
2:   Llewellyn And His Dog.  Okay, not a fairy tale per se, but it’s an old story with a poem.  My aunt shared this with us when we were little, and it’s still one of the saddest things I’ve ever read.  I did find the poem here.
3:   Sleeping Beauty.  There were early signs that my interests and creativity might run on the “dark side.”  My love of Maleficent in the Disney version was one such early indication.  I don’t remember giving a crap about Aurora.  I still liked the living-in-hiding-in-the-woods-and-singing parts of her story, but mostly I wanted to get back to the magic and awesome costume of the bad guy.  So, obviously I was really happy with Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent because it gave a whole new spin to the story.
4:   The Little Mermaid.  Bless my mother.  At mostly my prompting (my brother liked it too and could do a great Sebastian), we watched the Disney version of this probably every other day for a while there.  I’ve always loved the water and swimming, and having my own underwater fort where I could store thingamabobs was pretty much my dream.  I also *might* have tried to put on a performance with myself as Ariel, Christian as Sebastian, and my Aunt Sharon as Ursula.   
5:   The Light Princess.  This is by George MacDonald.  It’s kind of a Sleeping Beauty story, but the curse on the girl is that she has no gravity.  This means she floats in the air unless tethered down, and it means that she doesn’t take anything seriously and cannot cry.  But she loves water.  The relationship with the prince is much more fleshed out in this story than a good many “prince and princess” stories, and the sacrifices made for love are really lovely.
6:   Beauty and the Beast.  She’s a book nerd – of course I like this one.  In the Disney version (let’s face it, that’s what people of my generation think of first), I love the use of color and light to add to the beauty (no pun intended) of the story.  It’s always been about not judging a book by its cover – both for seemingly good guys and seemingly bad guys – and I really like that.
7:  Aladdin.  Yep, Disney version again.  This is such a great “boy’s movie” compared to the usual princess emphasis, and Jasmine is tomboy enough to be okay.  I liked the desert and Arabia almost as much as I liked the underwater world, so I liked the culture and look of this one.  And the story’s just packed full of adventure, which is fun.  And, of course, Robin William’s Genie stole this movie.
8:  Hansel and Gretel  The Brothers Grimm version.  It’s so dark.  I mean, it’s hard to have a story about a witch eating children NOT be dark, but there are a lot of versions which soften that part.  And I’ve never thought the dad should get off the hook so easily – being whipped is no excuse for sending your children into the woods to starve.  But I love the brother-sister teamwork.  And outsmarting pretty much every adult.
9:   Pinocchio.  There isn’t a romantic love story!  I like that.  This one’s all about family love and friendship.  And honesty.  There’s just a lot of goodness in this story.
10: Thumbelina.  I really wanted to be small when I was little.  Mostly so I could “ride” my Breyer horses.

Montres-et-merveilles--Belle-Chagrin--Sapsorrow--

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday – Actresses

Top 10 Favorite Actresses:

1:   Kate Winslet.  I’m not going to lie – having my name in the title of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind set me up to like the movie.  Whatever my reasons, this is still one of my favorite Winslet roles.  No matter what character she’s playing, though, I’ve always found her relatable.  (Yes, that includes Divergent…don’t judge me.)
2:   Tatiana Maslany.  I got into Orphan Black around the middle of the second season. Holy crap.  How one actress can play such vastly different characters so convincingly – often having to fake act with herself – is beyond me.  Somehow she can play one clone who’s pretending to be another clone, and you still know which one she really is because of subtle mannerisms or facial changes or whatever that she brings to each.  Amazing.
3:   Angelina Jolie.  I’m always torn with the whole “pretty actress” thing because I think a lot of them coast on their looks.  But the emotion that Jolie can bring to life on screen really is respectable.  And I also respect the roles she chooses, often political, often stories that might not get attention if she wasn’t involved.
4:   Meryl Streep.  Cuz she’s MERYL STREEP.
5:   Emma Stone.  If she’s in a movie, at some point I’m probably going to laugh.
6:   Cate Blanchett.  Something about seeing her face on the screen immediately makes me pay attention.  She’s captivating.
7:  Katharine Hepburn.  When I first started watching old movies with any kind of commitment, I started with a lot of the other Hepburn.  Audrey is fine, I like her work, but she was always a little too proper and girly for me.  Then I found The Philadelphia Story and Katharine H., and suddenly here was a tomboy smartass I could identify with.  She had a sort of ease about her onscreen that draws me in.
8:  Maggie Smith  I can’t think of any character she’s played that I haven’t liked.  And I might enjoy her character on Downton Abbey a little too much, because blunt delivery of opinion is probably how I’m going to be if I make it to old age….if my grandmother is any indication.
9:   Marion Cotillard.  She’s just lovely.  My first exposure to her was Big Fish, but I didn’t realize that until Inception, when I looked her up and decided I was a fan.  Then Midnight in Paris… The Dark Knight Rises… And I’m looking forward to MacBeth.
10: Laura Linney.  Often when I find myself liking a character and not thinking about “oh, it’s the actress from THIS or THAT,” it’s Laura Linney.  She’s just consistently good without being overly attention-stealing or flashy.

(On any given day when my tastes are slightly different, switch up with Myrna Loy, Keira Knightley, Octavia Spencer,  Jamie Lee Curtis, Judi Dench, Jessica Chastain…)

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday – Actors

Top 10 Favorite Actors:

1:   Johnny Depp.  Honestly, not so much with his work lately where Tim Burton keeps making him over-the-top for the sake of being over-the-top.  But as far as actors who are versatile and creative and somehow GOOD no matter what they’re doing, he’s my favorite. There’s no reason Jack Sparrow should have been so loveable except that Depp made him so.  And I laughed ridiculously hard at the simplest thing – trying to put on a glove – in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, which I wouldn’t recommend for any other reason.
2:   Michael Fassbender.  I love when an actor can make me root for a bad character. Young Magneto is of course on that list.  I’m looking forward to Fassbender as MacBeth.  In Shame he was impressive for…obvious reasons, but also the depth of internal conflict Fassbender was able to convey was amazing.  And he makes a very convincing robot who’s trying to look like Lawrence of Arabia, which made him the only forgivable thing for me about Prometheus.
3:   Bill Murray.  Be it crazy comedy or a more subdued role, Murray always makes me happy.  His delivery is always spot on.  Every time I see a sailboat, I think (or yell, let’s be honest), “I”m sailing!”  Also, if you haven’t seen St. Vincent, go see it now.
4:   Will Smith.  As a teen of the 90s, I watched a lot of Fresh Prince.  Then Independence Day happened, and I became a devoted fan.  It doesn’t hurt that he chooses to do a lot of Sci-Fi (my favorite genre of…any media form), but he always brings a bit of reality to his characters that I appreciate.
5:   Daniel Day-Lewis.  Is there anything he can’t do?  I mean, anything?  I feel like he’s the more serious version of Johnny Depp as far as versatility goes.
6:   Tom Hardy.  He’s been around for way longer than I was consciously aware of, but at some point I noticed a pattern:  Whenever I was impressed by an actor and asked, “Who is that guy?”, it kept being Hardy.  If you haven’t seen Warrior – OMG, watch it!  Yeah, I didn’t think I’d like a movie about UFC fighting either, but I might have sobbed.  A lot.  In a good way.
7:  Michael Caine.  Whenever I see he’s in a movie, I enter into it with a certain level of trust – at the very least, I know HE is going to be good.  And admit it, he’s kind of like the British grandpa we Americans all wish we had.
8:  Kevin Spacey  I can’t think of another actor who can equally seem like an everyday man and then also seem completely evil at the same time.  He can play these completely warped men, and there’s something that much scarier about them because he looks so normal.  Think Se7en and House of Cards.
9:   Gary Oldman.  I grin immediately whenever I see him in a movie.  I don’t even know why I like him so much, except that he’s always convincing…which I guess is the whole job of an actor, but hey.  Again, this guy has range.  Think about it – the same guy was in The Fifth Element and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
10: Robert Downey, Jr.  Wit and sarcastic humor will win me over every time.  I can’t picture anyone else as Tony Stark.  And his narration in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang will always be one of my favorite things in film.

(On any given day when my tastes are slightly different, switch up with Tom Hanks, Ralph Fiennes, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Patrick Stewart, Paul Rudd, Bryan Cranston…)

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Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday – Jeff

Last night, many gathered to say goodbye to one of the best people I’ve ever known.  As I said to someone, “This is the first thing I’ve ever not liked about Jeff.”  If you know me at all, you know it’s really significant that I never found anything I didn’t like about him.  Jeff was a little man, but his absence will be an enormous hole we’ll all feel every time we gather.

Several people at the visitation last night told me how much they appreciated seeing all the pictures I’d taken of Jeff over the years.  In the smallest of ways, it made me feel a little better to know I’d been able to witness and document so many truly excellent Jeff moments.  Here are my favorites.

Top 10 Favorite Jeff Memories:

321:   Camping Cartwheels.  I had a fractured arm.  Jeff and Dan were considerably tipsy.  Why not choose that moment to learn how to do a cartwheel?  There’s video of this on Facebook, but I think these pictures capture the gist.  At the very least, it sums up Jeff’s willingness to try new things.  “Jeff, can you do a cartwheel?”  Jeff: “Absolutely not, but what the hell,” before handing his beer to Dan and having me literally flip him into a cartwheel.


1472:   Porch Nights.  When some of us girls lived in a house together, we regularly had Porch Nights where the group would gather, sit around, drink, play games, and talk about nonsense, TV, our lives, and philosophy.  Jeff was always right in the middle of it.  I can remember being inside and hearing his infectious laughter out on the porch, and at least a part of me always smiled.


1236958_653285365251_1840961993_n3:   Jeff and Ari.  (Yep, this is where I start crying.)  Jeff was an awesome godparent.  I was never sure who seemed happier to see who – Jeff or Ari.  But there was a special bond there, and it always made me so happy to see.


427503_602850911301_1183354188_n4:   Catfish Ninja.  I can honestly say that Jeff and Dan were the only campers to ever catch one of the needy but skittish catfish in my grandmother’s lake.  It was at the every end of a camping trip, but it happened.  (This after HOURS of Jeff sitting on the end of the dock trying to reach in and grab them by hand, hence that year’s Jeff name of Catfish Ninja.)


149509_533026095791_7026604_n5:   Drunken Headbutting.  I don’t actually know if this was a Jeff “thing” or it only happened occasionally.  I kind of think he did it to make everyone get on his level.  And since I now live with a cat who does this as a sign of affection, I think that was part of it too.


5452_519725405481_152000781_30842750_2442717_n6:   The Mermaid Pose.  My grandmother’s lake where we always went camping was a bit weedy, to put it mildly.  One year, Jeff decided to make this happen and then insisted that I do a photo shoot.


DSCN22337:  Mardi Gras Fish Face.  Don’t remember why he wanted an aquarium on his face.  Do remember that he wouldn’t sit still while trying to do it.  The fact that his mouth is done so badly proves that he wouldn’t stop talking.


1738:  …This  As Brooke said, “For every event there is a ‘Jeff Picture.’ It never fails to delight.”


5452_519725225841_152000781_30842734_6340590_n9:   Out on a Limb This tree WAS begging to be climbed.  Dan was slightly more graceful, but Jeff hanging upside down is what made me laugh until I cried.  How he did it with a beer I’ll never know.


10: Last Second Thursday Supper.  While preparing to go to the visitation, I found the receipt for the last dinner I shared with Jeff.  It was also the last time I saw him.  Only a few of us were able to go, which in a way I’m glad of because it meant I got to talk to Jeff more than I might have if the whole group had been there.  The restaurant had been his suggestion, and it was certainly not a place I ever would have thought to try on my own.  It was excellent.  And that is so Jeff to me – he had a way of finding the good stuff.  Whether food or film or music or book or idea or person – he found the good stuff.  I will miss his recommendations and that happy smirk he got when you agreed with him about it.

#TopTenTuesday

Top 10 Favorite Things About Fall:

1:   Halloween.  People who don’t like Halloween make me sad.  Who doesn’t like goofing off and getting to have the imagination of a kid again?  And as a creative, author-y type, it’s wonderful to see everyone joining in on how my mind functions most of the time anyway.  I’m not actually a huge candy person.  But I do love a good spooking.
2:   Cider.  I grew up in an area known for apple orchards.  There’s still something homey about making cider or drinking the local cider…although adult-me now usually adds rum.
3:   TV.  Because I’m too busy in the summer to watch much TV, I usually save up on any show that sounds interesting and then binge on all of it once Fall and a slower pace of daily life rolls in.  All I want to do most nights is curl up and lose myself in a good show.
4:   Bugs dying.  I also grew up in an area that grows mosquitoes by the millions.  Not having to swat at my skin when outside is a huge plus of Fall.
5:   Layering clothes.  I’m honestly more of a bare feet, jeans, and tank top kind of girl, but if I have to wear more clothes, I do like layering, usually with a flannel (I am a teen of the 90s, after all).  It’s a nice change with Fall weather to feel like you can be comfy but not TOO bundled yet.
6:   Leaves changing.  It’s absolutely gorgeous in Michigan in the Fall.  We might not have the best roads, but the trees all along those roads almost make up for it once hues of orange, red, purple, etc. start to take over.
7:  Ichabod, by New Holland Brewing.  Of all the oktoberfest beers, pumpkin beers, pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING everywhere you try to buy something — Ichabod is by far my favorite.  This is the one thing that always “starts” Fall for me.  When Ichabod is finally on the shelves, I accept that summer is over.
8:  Bonfires  Summer bonfires still risk swarms of mosquitos, and usually they just make me hot.  But Fall bonfires are a time I can indulge my love of fire and not be uncomfortable.  A little nip in the air is a nice thing, and a good bonfire is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening with a circle of friends.
9:   School resuming.  Nothing against children, but it’s nice when they’re not loud and running up and down the street every day anymore.  And college resuming means I get to watch sports and see theatre productions again.
10: Pumpkin carving.  I like scooping out and getting into the squishy, icky bits.  I’m a horror with knives and need supervision, but I love carving weird faces.  Plus, again, fire.

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Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

Top 10 Favorite TV Shows:

1:   Lost.  I know many people were super-fans and then hated the ending, but I thought the whole show was great.  It’s hard for me to stick with a show if it’s predictable, and Lost certainly never was that.  The best explanation I’ve heard to try to pacify fans who weren’t satisfied with all the unanswered questions is this:  If the island’s entire history was a TV series, it’s like Lost was a season of that series – we saw THIS part of the story.  (And if you try to argue that they were dead the whole time, I might have to stop talking to you.  Like permanently.)
2:   Arrested Development.  I quote this show probably more often than I do any other source.  The layers of cleverness are brilliant.  The cast fits perfectly.  It’s so bizarre it’s somehow believable a real family could act like this.  Not a huge fan of the Netflix season, but still. 
3:   Game of Thrones.  
If you’re into world-building as much as I am, that’s enough reason to love this show (or the books, for that matter).  It’s so complex and FULL that it feels like real history… except for, you know, dragons and magic.   The show lets us visualize everything in the books, and the “look” of the show is one of my favorite things.  And of course Tyrion.
4:   Breaking Bad.  I didn’t bother watching this for a long time because it didn’t seem like a storyline I would care about at all, and then I binge-watched the show over a single summer so that the only episode I ever watched live was the series finale (during which I *might* have made a visiting friend sit in another room because I refused to be interrupted).  I can’t think of a more perfect drama as far as character arch.
5:   The Walking Dead.  Character-driven stories are always going to be my favorite.  Since the rest of the world and most of its inhabitants are destroyed in this show, the focus is on these few people who struggle to survive.  And that’s the best part, to me – the struggle isn’t only against the walkers/zombies but also against other people, and often even themselves.  It’s wearing a bit thin, I think, but over the seasons its been thought-provoking again and again.
6:   Archer.  It doesn’t hurt that there’s some Arrested Development cast overlap.   This show should probably be my guilty pleasure because it’s characters border on being absolutely terrible people.  But they’re hilariously terrible, which somehow makes it all endearing.
7:  Will & Grace.  I quote this one a lot too.  And I definitely liked that Grace was a klutzy screw-up most of the time.  And I might have hero-worshipped Karen a little bit.  Really, the whole thing was hilariously written, but also with some very heartfelt moments.
8:  Justified  I really connected with the general concept of “you can’t go home again” in this show.  My family is from the sticks of Michigan, which in many ways is not far off from Kentucky.  I often sympathized with Raylan’s constant sarcasm and heavy sighs.  Along with that, the show was simple and complex at the same time as far as the relationships between the characters, and I’m always happy with a likable bad guy.
9:   Friends.  My brother is currently rewatching the whole series, and my fondness for this show is probably part nostalgia.  But there’s also a kind of timeless humor to a lot of the gags.
10: Star Trek: Next Generation.  I grew up on this one.  I’m absolutely positive my creative mind wouldn’t be what it is without it.  It hasn’t aged extraordinarily well, but these characters are always going to be what I think of first when I hear “Star Trek.”

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(Game of Thrones + Arrested Development Quote Mashup)

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

Top 10 Favorite Paintings:

1:   The Japanese Footbridge.  It’s hard to pick a favorite Monet, but I guess this is my favorite of my favorites.  He has a lot of “oh, look, flowers…and a bridge” paintings, but I like the vibrant greens of this one best.
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2:   The Kiss.  Gustav Klimt’s use of color and intricate shapes is great.  This painting seems simple but complex.  And I’ve always liked that, to me, it looks like she’s wincing and trying to get away.
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3:   Starry Night. 
It’s hard to limit myself and not put mostly Van Gogh paintings on this list, but this is probably my favorite.  It’s used ALL THE TIME, but no matter how often I see it, I never get sick of the swirls.
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4:   Agapanthus.  I know, another Monet so soon.  But I absolutely love the blend of colors in this.  It looks like you *might* be able to pull it off with fingers, but one little overuse of any one color would throw it off.
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5:   The Veteran in a New Field.  The title gives this all the meaning.  It’s a very simple picture of a man facing a field as he supports a scythe (my back hurts just looking at it) instead of a gun.  It SAYS a lot, maybe especially because of the simplicity of the actual painting.
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6:   I  and the Village.  This is pleasantly weird to me.  There’s an odd symmetry to it with the geometric shapes, colors, upside-down-ness… and a goat.  I’m also pretty sure I wrote a paper on this for a college art history class.
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7:  Exploding Raphaelesque Head.  What’s an art list without a Dali?  I like weird.  I really like weird that inspires my own creative juices to slop around.  This one’s particularly cool to me because it takes known art and goes one step more by breaking up the head like a liquid explosion.
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8:  Cafe Terrace at Night.  Another Van Gogh.  This one’s always made me want to be there.  It looks calm, cool, and exciting all at once.  (I also like it because of a personal bit of nostalgia for that time I covered a print of this in zombie figures for Halloween.)
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9:   The Procession to Calvary.   I love the richness of the colors.  And everywhere you look, there’s some emotion behind what the people are doing.
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10: Death and the Maiden.  I forget about this one, by Schiele.  Then I see it and it’s freshly creepy and sad and cool all over again.  Looks like a mummified painting, to me.
death-and-the-maiden-1915

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

I know it’s late in the day, but my internet was being crap and I’m tired.  So here…

Top 10 Favorite Colors:

1:   Blood Red.  I know this is probably bad.  But I love this kind of deep, dark, shiny red.
2:   Cyan.  Favoring blues as I usually do, this is my particular favorite.  If I didn’t control myself, I’d paint half my furniture this color.  Especially love accented by gold. 
3:   Kelly Green.  
If you’re a girl into fashion, you probably remember this color being big a little while ago.  It’s bright and nature-y, to me.
4:   Orange Sherbet.  Pretty sure half the reason I loved Push Ups as a kid was cuz I liked the color.
5:   Black.  As a teen of the 90s, I never really went through a goth period.  But there’s something comfortable about wearing black.  And it goes with everything, right?
6:   Fall Leaf Yellow.  You know that burnt yellow with a touch of orange some leaves get?  That.  I’ve never been a fan of straight yellow (I blame my name and everyone thinking they’re funny with “sun” birthday cards and such), but burn it a little and I love it.
7:  Detroit Tigers Blue.  I loved this color even before I was willing to give baseball a chance.
8:  My Eye Color.   Like my hair color, I’ve never known what color exactly my eyes are.  Part blue, part green, with gold rims around my pupils and a dot of brown in one.
9:   Raspberry.  Looking at anything this color makes me almost taste it, you know?  I like the richness of it.  Not quite purple, not quite red, more punky than pink.  
10: Bright Neon Green.  Gotta say, this color never struck me until I started dating this certain guy who’s obsessed with anything green.  Now I see it everywhere, and it’s growing on me…or at least it seems to be growing all over my apartment.

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Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

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