Time To Wake Up

I know I haven’t posted in forever, I know I’ve been distracted and sidetracked and have, basically, ignored this blog for damn near two months now, but I haven’t entirely forgotten about it or you and to prove it, I’ve embedded the following video BECAUSE the moment I finished watching it, I wanted to share it with you.

Seriously, I fucking love this guy.  If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, make time for it, bitches, at least skip to the 9:00 minute mark and watch from there.  (Warning: the following clip contains a political conversation.)

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m ready for the revolution.  Let’s have it.

See you soon, dolls.

~Nikki

Intelligence Is The New “Little Black Dress”

Russell_Brand_MSNBCI don’t know if you feel this way but there are few things sexier than a high IQ.  Well, a high IQ coupled with the ability to speak coherently, to express oneself with a relative amount of poise and grace.  Add to that a healthy dose of humor, and that’s what I call the jackpot.

Case in point is a celebrity I’ve never found particularly attractive but who recently demonstrated his intelligence by responding gracefully to the rudeness of a few talk show hosts.  I’m speaking of Russell Brand and if you don’t already know about this incident, don’t feel bad – neither did I until earlier today.  I’ll fill you in.  About a month ago, Brand was out promoting his new stand-up tour and interviewed with the folks on “Morning Joe” over at MSNBC.  Five minutes into the segment, the three hosts began talking about him as if he weren’t sitting at the table with them, referring to him in the third person and talking about his accent and his outfit rather than, you know, interviewing him about the tour he was there to promote.  They were obnoxiously rude and Brand rightly called them out on it.  And he did it with style, with humor and wit and a little commentary on the absurd topics that can be called “news” by the media.  He spoke intelligently, revealing to anyone listening his sharp wit and clever mind and for the first time ever, I found myself attracted to the man.

He spoke so well, I think he embarrassed and maybe even somewhat intimidated host Mika Brzezinski, who became so nervous she could barely form a sentence.  If you want to get right to the rude bit, skip to minute 5:00.  Otherwise, if you have 8:34 minutes to spare, I suggest watching from the beginning.

See… he looks kind of hot now, doesn’t he?  I said it before and I’ll say it again: there are few bigger turn-on’s than intelligence.

~Nikki

10 Funniest Women of The Past Decade

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After reading IMDB’s list of the “Top 10 Funniest Actresses of the Past 10 Years,” I thought it was a joke.  The list definitely includes some women who belong on it, women like Tina Fey, Kristin Wiig, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Anna Faris.  HOWEVER, Sandra Bullock?  Sure, she was cute in Miss Congeniality and The Proposal was all right but I certainly can think of several actresses who are funnier.  And Emma Stone in the no. 3 spot?  Emma Stone, funny?  She’s adorable and charming and beautiful and a truly talented actress, but she isn’t a comedienne.  And guess who got selected as the 2ND FUNNIEST WOMAN: Meryl Streep!  Yeah, you read that right.  Look, I love Meryl Streep.  LOVE her.  She’s amazing and exceptional in countless ways but she hasn’t exactly made a career out of comedic roles.

I wouldn’t care about Bullock, Streep and Stone making this list if there weren’t several comedic actresses who really do belong on it.  But there are.  So, I made my own list of women who should have been on that list and weren’t:

Mindy Kaling, The Office, The Mindy Project

Angela Kinsey, The Office

Maya Rudolph, SNL, Bridesmaids, Friends With Kids

Jenna Fischer, The Office, Blades of Glory

Sarah Chalke, Scrubs

Wendi McLendon-Covey, Reno 911!, Bridesmaids

Betty White, countless comedic roles over the past 60 years

I rest my case.

~N.

Can’t Get You Outta My Head

I don’t have much to say today except that I am increasingly distracted by the summer time weather and the knowledge that I have a beach vacation coming up soon.  Like, within weeks.  I take a vacation with family every year to some beach or other and I must confess that roughly 5 or 6 weeks beforehand, every single year, I turn into a teenager on the cusp of Spring Break – unable to concentrate, always daydreaming, completely apathetic to the demands of my daily life.  I just want to goooooo…

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I’ve been all over the east coast, from Maine to Key West.  This year, I’ll hit two beaches.  Oh, you read that right – TWO different beaches!  First, Myrtle Beach for a few days and then on to Holden Beach (North Carolina) for a week.  I haven’t been to either before and am so exceedingly eager to see them, to feel their sand in my toes and swim in their warm, salty water, I can hardly stand it.  My regular old existence feels dreadfully boring with such a trip on the horizon.

Do I have a favorite east coast beach?  Hard to say.  If you’re looking for waves, Virginia Beach will do, plus it has a fantastic boardwalk full of shops, restaurants and bars.  If you want a slower pace, Topsail, NC is perfectly lovely.  I’d also recommend New Smyrna, FL.  Its sugary sand and warm water sure were hard to leave.  If you want something more tropical, the Keys are gorgeous.  In fact, I married my husband in Islamorada, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.  You won’t hear the waves crashing because the water is too calm, but the coral and tropical fish will dazzle you and the laid-back, relaxed lifestyle is too intoxicating to resist.

I’ve only ever seen one beach on the west coast – Steven’s beach outside of San Fransisco.  While stunning to behold, the water is too cold to swim without a wet suit. (And sadly, I didn’t have one.)  The beaches of Southern California are most certainly on my list, as is Hawaii.

As far as foreign seas, I have been to the Caribbean once.  Yes, the white sand and aqua blue water of Jamaica still calls my name.  Then, not really in the Caribbean but bordering on it, Cozumel, Mexico where snorkeling is a must.  A short boat ride from land sits a rather impressive reef home to countless tropical species.

Otherwise, the Mediterranean is high on my bucket list.  Experience tells me that pictures rarely capture the true beauty of a place and if that holds true in Greece, I cannot leave this earth without seeing it first hand.

I like to visit a new place every year, which means I’m entirely open to suggestions.  So, tell me: which is your favorite beach?

~N.

Tonight Is Just Your Night

I promise I’ll have an actual post for you tomorrow but for now, please feast your eyes on Jimmy Fallon and John Krasinski throwing it down in a lip syncing contest (you read that right) that covers both Katy Perry and RUN-D.M.C. and ends with Krasinski belting out a ballad from one of the best quartets ever to record music.

Seriously, I wish my job included acting like a goofball on national television with hilarious people while getting paid shit tons of $$$.

~Nikki

There Is Still A Light That Shines On Me

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Man has used violence as a means to get what he wants since the dawn of humankind.  Be it to exact revenge on one individual or to send a message, to reach the end of a dispute with one person or a whole nation in an all-out war, violence has been a part of the culture of mankind since our very earliest beginnings.  It seems an inevitable part of our nature.  And yet, when things like the London bombings in 2005 or the most recent explosions in Boston happen, nothing about them or their aftermath feels natural.

Undoubtedly there still are random acts of violence.  Watch almost any news segment or episode of America’s Most Wanted or The First 48 and you’ll see that very often, some poor soul is the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong deranged person.  But more often than not, violence is used either to retaliate for some wrongdoing or to send a specific message.  In the case of terrorism, it’s a bit of both.  No doubt the members of Al Quaida believe themselves to be oppressed or otherwise harmed by global powers the likes of the United States and the United Kingdom (and others).  And, of course, the acts of terrorism they commit are done to tell the world that they will not rest until their voice is heard, until their demands (whatever they are) are met.  If these violent acts actually worked, maybe I could understand the rationalizations behind them.  As it is – as far as I can tell anyway – no one benefits from these bombings.  No one wins.  And, at the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil, if they don’t work, why keep at it?

I do believe there are some folks in the world who simply want to wreak havoc.  And maybe that is the case with the incident at the Boston Marathon yesterday.  The investigation is still underway and no motive has yet been identified.  But aside from wanting only to create chaos, no other motive for violence justifies the means.  The destruction caused by these acts of mass killings and even the consequences of singular violent incidents – investigations and trials and years spent in prison, the emotional pain given to the mourners or even the offenders themselves – all of it seems such a waste of time and resources.  Enough to warrant giving up this archaic means of proving a point.

Evolutionarily speaking, a gene or mechanism or behavior will remain in play as long as it is useful.  When its benefits no longer outway its negative effects, it will be selected out.  It may take a few generations but it will fall away.  My question is this: will the day come when humans in every culture think it is not worth the destruction and rebuilding, the misery caused, the millions of dollars spent on investigations and trials and lives spent in prison to use violence as a means of making themselves heard?  Or will we forever be caught in this hamster wheel?

Personally, I don’t think violence in humanity will ever cease to exist entirely but my hope is that the day will come when it is such a rarity that every day’s news won’t be filled with tales of murder and rape, of hate crimes or sexual crimes or crimes against children.  That these things will be taboo and only a tiny percentage of people will fall victim to them.

Patton Oswalt’s response to yesterday’s events says it all:

“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, ‘Well, I’ve had it with humanity.’  But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.  But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet,” he wrote. “You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.  But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

“So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.'”

~Nikki

Putting This Place In My Rearview

It’s snowing where I am.  Yes, you read that right.  The kids in the neighborhood are on Spring Break and it’s snowing right now.  I’m watching it gently fall as I type this.  That’s what I get for living in Ohio, right?  I know, I know.  And usually around this time every year, I try to talk my 340px-Map_of_USA_showing_regionshusband into moving out of state.  The only problem is, we don’t know where to go.  Setting aside the obvious economical issues of the day (crappy housing market, limited job possibilities, etc.), there are a great many things to consider.  For example, my hubby and I actually did move to coastal Virginia after graduating college.  We found jobs, got an apartment and for the most part, settled into the area.  And there were several aspects of Virginian life that suited us, not the least of which was living within 20 minutes of the ocean.  The weather was perfect – never too much below freezing in the winter and keeping the changing seasons.  Since fall is my absolute favorite, I don’t know that I could live without it.  But I also need hot summers.  In fact, the hotter, the better.  In those ways, Norfolk, VA delivered.  What we didn’t care for was the rather extreme congestion of the area, the somewhat higher cost of living and the slight but significant cultural differences.  I won’t get into detail but I will say that I never felt like I quite fit in with the people around me.  For the first time in my life, I understood the differences between a “northerner” and a “southerner.”

So, we returned to Ohio and got new jobs and a house and six years later, here we still are.  Not committed to staying, per se, but without a clear picture of where it is we’d like to go.  We’ve traveled a bit in recent years and found things we’ve liked in several cities.  I love Boston, for example, and my husband fell for San Francisco, which also impressed me.  But the outrageous cost of living there keeps me grounded in reality.  We both enjoyed Seattle and plan to return for an extended visit as soon as time and means permit.  We had a blast in Moab and the two Portlands, Oregon and Maine.  Vermont’s lush vegetation took my breath away and Sacramento’s sunshine made it hard to leave.  I didn’t see nearly enough of Colorado  – both it and the Black Hills of South Dakota have been calling my name for too long.

All things considered, I don’t think I’m suited for the South or the cold Midwestern states (North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin) but the Pacific Northwest, California, Colorado, and the New England states seem like real possibilities.  I’ve never been to Arizona or New Mexico but I don’t know that my husband would like the extreme summer heat.  So, today I offer you a poll.  Click on the place you think is most suitable for us given all I’ve mentioned above (assuming we’d be able to find jobs, that is) and if you’d like, leave your reasons in the comments below.  Feel free to be specific; on this fine, snowy spring day, I’m open to suggestions.

~Nikki