Friday, April 27, 2012

fill-in-the-blank friday: good morning, starshine.

  1. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is,    turn off my alarm and check the time to see how much longer I can sleep in.  
  2. I can hardly wait for    the weather to be warmer (but not too warm).  
  3. The quickest way to my heart is   coffee   because   coffee is the perfect thing to share in all settings! What better way to get to know someone than over a cup of coffee?  
  4. A little known fact about me is that   I have social anxiety, which makes NYC very overwhelming.  
  5. The best part about my job is   getting to make snarky comments on Twitter all day about politics.  
  6. Something I just couldn't live without is   my voice. Interpret at will.  
  7. Something useful that I wish I knew how to do is   sew. It would come in handy with minor alterations, and it would be cool to be the kind of person who could make her own clothes and not have it look like a "stitch by numbers" project.  
(via Lauren @ the little things we do.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

'for now, Dick long.'

Donna Svennevik/AP/ABC
The best part of New Year's Eve as a child was staying up til midnight and drinking Martinelli's cider from plastic champagne glasses.

I don't remember at what age Mom let us finally stay up all night, but boy, was it an occasion. Mom painted my fingernails for the first time with a sparkly, pink polish, and we got ice cream too. The television in the living room was on to ABC and we would watch in awe at the thousands of people in Times Square throwing confetti and cheering as the camera panned over them. The night looked fun, and Dick Clark was there to emcee it all: the bands, the interviews, the look back at the highlights of the year.

The next year, Na and I decided to host our own New Year's Eve special at the stairwell landing in our house. We spent weeks preparing it: choosing music from our favorite cassettes and "auditioning" Beanie Babies and Barbie dolls. Dad would take out an old camcorder that didn't work anymore and set it up for us to use before he left for work that night, and after dinner and showers, we would begin our show. I don't remember how many years we did this, but we always had impeccable timing because, right before midnight, we would rush to the living room and join Mom on the couch with our plastic flutes, pick up the cordless phone to call Dad at work, and get ready to toast to the new year.

Even as we got older and stopped our faux New Year's Eve specials, and even for the New Year's Eves I spent away from home, we always made sure we were in front of the TV before the Times Square Ball dropped, ready to listen to Dick Clark countdown with the crowd: "10...9...8..."

When Clark suffered a stroke and didn't host in 2004, we still watched, but with heavy hearts. It wasn't the same. Something felt weird about kissing each other on the cheek without also seeing him kiss his wife.

Earlier today, I had just got back to my desk from a coffee run when an update on my Twitter feed caught my eye: people were saying that TMZ was reporting Dick Clark's deaths. A few minutes later, it was confirmed, and I was listening to Martin Bashir announce, with sadness, "The legendary entertainer and producer, Dick Clark, has died."

As the obit reel rolled and I texted my mom the news, I thought back to those nights spent as a child on the carpeted stairs of my home, reading index cards as if I were Dick Clark and counting down what Na and I thought were highlights of the year, and dreaming about the day I might get to see the Times Square Ball in person.

Every morning now, as I walk to work, I peek over at Times Square and the crowd of tourists all looking upwards with their cameras and phones in hand, and I know the six-year-old me with my sparkly pink nails and plastic flute of Martinelli's would be really excited.

Dick Clark brought music, diversity, optimism into American homes for decades. Of his incredible American Bandstand, he said, "It's hard to explain how a silly little dance show with a guy playing records and kids dancing could have any significance."

Oh, but it did. That's the thing about legends, about icons and heroes: they inspire, they excite, and they leave a lasting impression on culture and the society that they will one day leave.

And, now, read/watch other things that also made me cry a lot tonight:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

nostalgic for fridays.

On the weekends, MTV2 airs Boy Meets World for hours at a time. What better way to spend the morning than reliving one of the greatest television shows ever?

I'm sure that point is arguable (but I've yet to meet a Boy Meets World hater), but sitting through these weekly marathons is more than just an amusing way to spend the day; I feel like I'm reliving my childhood as well. Na and I didn't have cable growing up (my parents still don't have cable), but who needed cable when ABC aired some of the greatest blocks of programming ever? TGIF nights were always an event. We would rush to finish our dinners and piano practice (or we'd make sure Mom set the VCR to record those shows if we weren't home) just in time for 8 p.m., when America's Funniest Home Videos would roll its credits and the "TGIF" graphics would splash across the screen. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World, You Wish, and Teen Angel was the best lineup, of course (when MTV2 played the Boy Meets World time ball episode last week, I immediately searched Twitter for other watchers who remembered the context of that episode and the TGIF arc that involved Salem trotting through two hours of shows), but there were other great shows that cycled through those time slots: Full House, Step by Step, Family Matters, Clueless.

Basically, Friday nights were the greatest for that reason. In between shows and commercial breaks, ABC would air cute "behind the scenes" packages, and we got to indulge in our favorite TV teen celebrities' real lives. This was, of course, before the age of the internet, when we would get our celebrity gossip from J-14 and Tiger Beat magazines, and the most scandalous thing we could learn was that so-and-so actually hated his/her outfit on that one episode we loved.

These were the kinds of shows I grew up on, and I think they definitely had an effect on my own values and the things I thought about or tried to emulate. I wanted to be as smart as Topanga (post early-series hippie phase) and as quirky as Sabrina. I wanted to grow up in a house full of people and feel sometimes too suffocated (though my own large family was unique too, and I know I sometimes didn't always see that while growing up, especially because as the youngest I didn't see too many of my older cousins). I wanted to have the "typical teenage experience" I saw on TV.

As I watch reruns of these shows in syndication or online, I'm struck by how different they are from the "teen shows" that are on air today. The Disney Channel offers shows geared toward a different kind of "young audience" and its stars seem different than the ones I grew up with. Perhaps it's this internet culture in which you can discover every side to Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus--the good and the bad. Or perhaps the idea of those shows existing on the Disney Channel turns off the tweens and teens who don't want that "wholesome" Disney image because they'd rather live in a world full of Twilight-esque drama or whatever's going on on ABC Family and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. In the face of all that, I can't think of many 10 year olds who would find Boy Meets World engaging today.

I think my favorite thing about these shows was that I really did learn something from them, and I think that's one of the reasons my mom encouraged Na and me to watch them too. I still remember the Step by Step episode where Al went on a date with a boy who tried to force her to have sex with him and she said no, but the next day he told everyone they'd slept together and all of the boys at school thought she was easy. It took her sister standing up for her to get everyone to see the truth. Or that Boy Meets World episode where that college professor hit on Topanga, and then Cory hit the professor when he found out and almost got expelled. There was also that story arc where Shawn's father died, and he had to deal with death in a way that I'm sure many kids don't really think about. Or there was that Sabrina episode with the Backstreet Boys--okay, that didn't have a moral lesson in it; it was just fun. (Also, remember how everyone went to Disneyland or Disney World?)

More teen pop star love!

Sometimes, it felt a little like being whacked over the head with a morality stick, but I think it was a nice way to learn about things that perhaps my parents didn't proactively address.

I'm glad for these little nuggets in my childhood and I liked growing up with these shows in front of me. I'm tempted to purchase the complete Boy Meets World series on DVD so I can force my own kids to watch them someday. Perhaps they'll hate it, or perhaps they'll love least I'll be able to watch it with them instead of loathing whatever is on TV for kids in the future ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

fill-in-the-blank friday: spring is in the air.

  1. Today is a good day because   it's Friday!   .
  2. The best thing I did all week was   a long overdue Google Hangout :)    .
  3. The current weather is     perfect for spring!       and it makes me feel     like frolicking in the park all day   .
  4. The best thing about spring is    the colors! Flowers! Clothes! Even the graffiti looks a little brighter... .
  5. A fashion trend that I'm dying to try out for spring is  colorful jeans ... and I guess more colors in general. I haven't "updated my wardrobe" in forever .
  6. A person who made me smile this week was   Diane, now that she's my work Gchat buddy too :)   .
  7. The most delicious thing I ate all week was   the Oreo milkshake I had from Cheeburger Cheeburger while visiting with Clare in Park Slope. Milkshakes always win. .
(via Lauren @ the little things we do)