Okay so my blogging isn’t perfect yet. I read “The Extraordinary Sisters of April, May, & June” as well as “Saving June” this week, so you could say warmer weather is definitely on my mind. No review of those two this week but I’d recommend both.
Anyway, the purpose of today’s first entry (yep, gonna do a foodie post later) is to get any of you who haven’t watched “The Lizzie Bennett Diaries” yet, totally hooked. The web series is a modern adaptation of “Pride & Prejudice” created & produced by Hank Green (brother to author John Green) and Bernie Su. The show is absolutely phenomenal. For all that P&P gets remade and adapted, the truly good versions of the story are few and far between. The LBD is one of the very good ones.
It begins with Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet creating a video web diary for a grad school project and jumps right into the P&P storyline. So far the adjustments to the story that bring it into the 21st century are very well done. Along with “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” are several videos from Lydia Bennet, and a few from Charlotte’s sister Maria that help bridge a gap in the story.
While I’ve loved all the videos, I’m most impressed by the Lydia Bennet Diaries so far. The series turned the younger Bennet sister Mary into a cousin (which fits the story and the present day much better) and Kitty into an actual cat (also fitting the story). The first half of the Lydia videos seem frivolous but if you’re paying attention, you can see how much Lydia craves the approval of her sisters and how willing she is to find it elsewhere if necessary.
The move into the Lydia and George Wickham part of the story is phenomenally done and completely heartbreaking. I so wish there was more recognition for web series because the latest Lydia videos are some of the best TV I’ve seen in any format.
Several characters are also on twitter if you want to fully immerse yourself in the LBD world. So go watch and then come talk to me about how much you love it. Also about how Fitz needs to show up more because hello, he is awesome.
This is my short and simple entry of the week, since I’m not great at describing my musical tastes. My brother Eric and sister Whitney are big fans of electronic dance music. I’ve heard some of it before but I’d mistakenly lumped it all together under a techno banner and dismissed the genre. As it turns out, I’ve been seriously missing out. EDM is awesome as dance music but I’ve actually found it’s been really helpful for my writing. I like to work with music, but jazz tends to be my go to choice for background music when writing. Most of the time jazz works fine. But not always. Various EDM stations have been on lately and my writing has been smoother and less fraught with writer’s block than it has been in weeks. I don’t have the big scoop on rising EDM so I tend to listen to stuff like Calvin Harris, Dead Mau5, Swedish House Mafia, etc. I’d highly recommend giving it a try.
As for the band I’m going to highlight, Whitney introduced me to Bronze Radio Return and I’m a big fan. They’ve been around for a while, but like I’ve said before, keeping up on new music is not my forte. Those of you who like Hart of Dixie may recognize a couple of the songs.
Wow. It’s been forever since I’ve blogged. Whoops! I’d love to have good reasons for this but there aren’t too many. Mostly it’s because I primarily used this for TV thoughts and my interest in TV this fall has significantly plummeted. I think I’m caught up on all of two shows. (Scandal and Happy Endings). My summer was full of catching up on great TV, not to mention all the regular summer cable favorites, and that same level of excitement never really returned with the fall. And so blogging fell a bit by the wayside. But no more!
Er, well, the goal is no more. I’m going to change things up a bit and bring this blog back to a more personal level (which is what it should be since there aren’t that many people who care about my opinion) and try to introduce a bit of a schedule. I’ve tried this before without much luck. but new year, new discipline! or something. Anywho, there will be a second post today, in the spirit of getting on track immediately, but for now, I’ll give you the two bits of info I consider somewhat important: where you can find me on the web (for stalkers friends) and what the blogging schedule will be. I may add extra posts from time to time but in case you want to ignore certain days or (I hope) look forward to specific posts, you’ll be able to find them.
Mondays: Book Blog! This will be a sort of summary post, what I’m reading, what I recommend, what I think you should stay away from, etc. I’m always open to suggestions for new books to read. I tend to prefer young adult fiction but I’ll branch fairly often into biography, philosophy, historical fiction, and weirdly business books. (I snagged my brother’s copy of Freakonomics and I’m loving it). If you want suggestions from me, it helps if I know the type of books you like and maybe the last couple that you read and enjoyed, as well as the last one you remember hating.
Tuesdays: Tuesday Tunes! I’m not a music guru by any means. But I do have favorites, from top 40 (I’ve learned to accept that I like dancing around to both Ke$ha and One Direction) to lesser known indie bands, to my growing love of EDM (thanks to my brother). So this won’t be exciting, but hopefully it’ll clue you into what’s playing in my head.
Wednesdays: Book Blog! A bit different from Monday’s entry. This one will take my favorite book I’ve been reading (or perhaps an old favorite) and do a full review. I’m debating a couple different styles. I can either do a more review style with some fun extra categories (think in the FYA vein) or I’ve considered a reaction style post, where I recap the book as I’m reading it. The latter would have more spoilers, but get more into my thoughts as I read. I’ll let y’all chime in down in the comments about whether you prefer reviews to be spoiler free, or like the idea of more detail. Whatever book does get put here will get a brief mention in the previous Monday’s post, so if you wanted my quick opinion before going to a review, that will still be available.
Thursdays: Rewind Recap! Keeping up on recapping current TV shows is fraught with problems for me. I don’t have DVR so I have to watch life. But contrary to popular opinion, I have a life! (I know right, who would’ve thought). Plus there are plenty of great recappers out there and the world doesn’t really need another one added to the mix. So I’m going to stick to lesser recapped shows, or older ones that are harder to find recaps for. Right now, the plan is to finish covering Dance Academy, with at least 2 episodes covered a week. As for after that, I’ve got a few choices in the poll at the end of this entry, so please vote or submit your choice.
Fridays: I Can Be Opinionated. This should not be new information for any of you. But basically, Friday’s posts will be for me to get all editorial on y’all. On whatever topic I feel like.
Saturdays: Foodie Fun! I like cooking. I like baking. I like making epic failures in the kitchen just to find something that does work. My goal is to have at least a main dish and a dessert recipe, complete with my thoughts and tips on here each week. This week’s (for those wondering) will be crockpot brisket and white cupcakes with raspberry filling & lemon buttercream frosting.
Sundays: Roundup! This will sort of be my catch all post. News, videos, thoughts on movies, fanfic recommendations, favorite tattoos, whatever have been highlights of the week that I haven’t covered, that’ll be on Sundays.
Where you can find me:
Twitter: @onlymystory I’m on twitter the most out of anything else so that’s the easiest place to talk to me, ask questions, suggest a book that I must read, give me a recipe to try, tell me why I’m an idiot, or gush about the cast of Teen Wolf & The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. (I’m obsessed).
Tumblr: onlymystories Getting just slightly less attention than twitter, tumblr is one of my favorite places. I don’t have a fandom specific blog, though it is pretty Teen Wolf heavy right now. I do tag most fandom posts however, so if you want to follow and tumblr savior a few things, I’d recommend it. For those who share my love of shirtless werewolves, I’m always open to talk about the characters, theorize over future plotlines, answer questions about any of the fanfics I’m writing, or take prompts. Seriously, I don’t bite.
Pinterest:Onlymystory I have a pinterest. I update it fairly regularly. I have a variety of boards so I guess you can decide if it’s worth following or not. But there it is.
Obviously this is my blog. I’m never NEVER on facebook. Like missed a friend’s wedding shower because that was the only way invitations got sent out and I didn’t check it for 3 months level of never on facebook.
My cafepress storeMusicBlend. The name doesn’t fit at all. Once upon a time it had music-related gear only. Now it’s mostly movies & TV show inspired stuff. Feel free to check it out and/or make requests.
Goodreads:I’m trying to be better about reviewing each book I read so if I don’t have it reviewed in detail on here, check that out for an additional perspective.
Fanfiction or AO3: If you’re curious about my fic writing preferences, there’s a half-finished TVD story (that probably won’t get finished at this point because my interest is nearly non-existent), a lot of Teen Wolf stuff, and a few Suits stories. I slash ship like crazy. FYI.
So yeah that’s me! Remember to vote below on the show I’ll recap after Dance Academy and feel free to leave any suggestions.
Turns out it was kind of smarter than a lot of us were giving the writers credit for. It just took me a while to figure out why. Y’all can thank Teen Wolf/The Avengers for it actually. Or don’t thank them. Just ignore this and go worship at the altar that is made up of Tyler Hoechlin’s abs, Chris Evans’ ass, and Jeremy Renner’s arms. It’s a beautiful place. But if you are still with me, here’s the thing.
Back when Ordinary People aired and subsequent episodes, I and most other recappers had a lot of criticisms of the Viking thing. And its still sort of been a bit of a joke I think. Like oh sure werewolf Vikings showed up down in Virginia like a thousand years ago instead of the werewolves being natives and naturally Alaric has a degree in runes. I’m still doubting the Alaric part but I’ll refrain from speaking ill of the dead. #RIP
But um, werewolf vikings? Actually spot fucking on. Like to the point that I sort of want to send baskets of mini-muffins to the TVD writers room. So werewolf legend typically originates in two places; Greek Mythology (the legend of Lycaon) and Norse Mythology (Fenrir, son of Loki–that would be the Avengers reference–and of Asgard). Yes, my nerd is showing, shush. The Originals being from Eastern Europe ties them into both Greek or Norse legends because the Vikings did quite a bit of settling in that area, just like the Greeks way back when. But since we’ve got runes in a cave in Virginia, I’d say the writers went with a Norse influence.
I mean you’ve got Vikings who are all wrapped up in their Norse mythology so if you’re going to have werewolves in what will be America, of course they’re going to be Vikings. And they’re going to use runes to write in because that’s their form of writing at the time. I’m just kind of flailing right now because it all actually does click together. You’ve got werewolves searching for a new home, a place where they would be safe and free, not only because Europe is slowly being settled (not fast, hello this is like 980 AD) but also because people back then would still believe in werewolves, so there were probably a lot more hunters. But getting a witch to tell you about another world where you could be free? Yeah if I’m a werewolf pack, I’m so jumping on that.
And with the whole Viking heritage in their Norse bones, they’ve got a better chance of making it across the Atlantic. Naturally they still want to keep a record of their history, hence the runes. This might be only making sense to me (which happens an awful lot) but my brain is basically realizing that it actually all weaves together a hell of a lot better than any other theory I had before. Like it fits. I love when mythology fits together.
So on that note, sorry I spent so long doubting you Vampire Diaries writers on this point. But seriously, where did Alaric learn to translate runes? Because I still can’t find that correspondence course from the University of Phoenix.
This post, while in my opinion full of important knowledge about proper etiquette, is inspired by utter ridiculousness. I just read three different things where treating restaurant staff badly or not tipping that great was just mentioned offhand and that makes me rant. So this is me both ranting and possibly cluing some of you in to how the food service industry works.
1) Minimum wage for servers in most states is $2.13 an hour. This loosely translates to “we are going to pay you just enough to cover your taxes so please don’t ever expect a pay check.” Some states pay up to $4.00 an hour but this is often in cases where servers don’t make as much. There are a few states who pay servers decently. California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, & Hawaii pay between $7-9. So when servers say they work for tips…THEY MEAN IT.
2) Having a bad day as a server (or any tipped employee) is very different from having a bad day at an hourly paid job. See let’s say your cat died yesterday. You’re upset about this, understandably, but unfortunately you only get so many sick days and this isn’t the kind of situation that work will be okay with you using as an excuse. So you go to work and you’re kind of grumpy and maybe not that helpful or cheerful with customers. But the thing is, even if you piss off every customer that day, you’re still getting paid the same amount per hour.
Now let’s contrast that with the server who’s cat died. She goes to work and is equally sad but rather than breaking down in tears, just chooses to not really talk much and isn’t very interested in smiling. You know what 95% of her tables will assume? That she’s a bitch. Rude, mean, etc. She’ll probably get a lot of comments along the lines of “geez, crack a smile” or “who died” and as much as she’d love to get pissy, she can’t. And then she’ll get crap tips and have to deal with putting off paying that overdue bill a couple more days. All because her income relies on making other people happy, and other people don’t like to give a server a chance to have a bad day.
3) On the other side of #2, don’t feel like you always have to give that server the benefit of the doubt. Some servers are shitty. You can always keep an eye out, do they stand around talking? Ignore your needs? Or are they just busy? I give servers a lot of leeway. But I once had one who after an hour of us waiting (and already getting our salads & soups wrong), came by the table & listened to us ask about our food and then said “Oh yeah. Totally forgot to send that to the kitchen. What’d you want again? I wasn’t really listening.” I SHIT YOU NOT. Believe me, I made loud complaints.
4) How to complain about your food is not that difficult. The type of customers who get their food spit on are not people who merely request for a fix. I could tell you horror stories about the things I’ve seen. But the people who get treated like that are the ones who cuss at servers and grope their waitresses and are total assholes. They aren’t the people who didn’t want mushrooms in their spaghetti.
If there is something wrong with your food, I suggest two ways to complain. If it is in fact the dish you wanted but something was left on that you didn’t want and you can’t pick it off, blame allergies. Just tell the server that you have an allergy to it and unfortunately will need a new dish. All the server has to do is walk back & tell the kitchen. (Do remember that it takes longer to fix a steak than it does pasta). If you were supposed to get something, say avocado on a sandwich, just ask for it to be brought out on the side unless it absolutely screws up the taste to add it yourself. I say on the side because if you take even a bite of your food and then send it back, most restaurants will (and all should) make you a brand new dish. This is due to health code but you’ll be waiting longer for your food. And if it’s the wrong dish completely? Take the blame and ask it to be fixed. Look, I’ve served for years. 9 times out of 10, the customer orders one dish and means another. So just tell the server that you clearly weren’t paying enough attention and meant to order a different dish and could they switch it. You can always blame allergies again.
The thing is, most of us servers are more than happy to fix your meal. We want a good tip and that means you shouldn’t have to feel bad about saying you don’t like what you’re eating or the order was wrong. Just don’t do it in a way that berates the server. Asking nicely really does go a long way. And again, if the food is wrong, don’t negate the tip. A lot of people are involved in the process & it is not necessarily the server’s fault.
5) Bad service is slightly different. If the server is flat out being an ass, inappropriate, or says they purposely ignored you (and yes, there are servers who do that), by all means complain and stiff their sorry ass. They have no business being that level of rude. But if it’s the kind of service where there were a few mistakes or your drinks sat empty a little longer than you’d like, that kind of thing…just tell the manager that you weren’t satisfied. Explain that you understand people have bad days or get distracted but you had expectations from your meal and they weren’t met. Most managers will comp your meal or comp a significant portion of it. In this case, you should still tip. Stick to the standard (18%) but tip on the original price of the meal.
6) If you use coupons or gift certificates, please tip on the original amount. The server did the work for it. Standard tip percentage for waitstaff is 18%. More is always nice if you have good service. A couple other things to consider are refills and how long you were there. Like say you go to a soup/salad place and are brought 4 refills. Your bill might only be $8 but you had $32 worth of soup & salad at any non-unlimited establishment. I’m not saying you have to tip on a full $32 but at least consider doing more than throwing down a dollar.
Also, servers have specific sections in a restaurant, usually with 3-5 tables. An average table turns (ie a group sits and eats and finishes their meal) in 60-90 minutes. So if you come in with friends and stay for 3 hours, eating and drinking, that’s your prerogative. But remember that you are depriving that server of additional income. So toss in a couple extra dollars.
6) If you are the type of person who likes to make lewd comments at your waitress, stay at home. If you have friends like this, don’t try and laugh it off as though he doesn’t mean anything by it or pretend to ignore it out of embarrassment. Your server has done nothing to deserve being objectified or groped and you should be calling out that person. If you don’t, well there are three types of servers out there. The ones who smile and put up with it and behind every smile is a shudder and a go fuck yourself. The ones who get upset and get another server to take care of the table. And the ones like me. As in you wouldn’t be the first guy to have his shoulder dislocated while his face gets shoved in his spaghetti.
7) Dine and ditch isn’t funny. Period. You think oh oops neither person remembered to pay or you might have skipped out because obviously the restaurant can afford to cover the cost of one meal. A mom & pop place can’t. A corporate chain? Yeah, they can handle the cost. But the thing is most of those individually owned restaurants will cover the cost of the meal and not expect the server to. The chains put the blame on the server. Every chain I’ve worked in has a three strike at most policy on people skipping out. After three dine & ditches, you get fired. Even though it’s almost never the server’s fault. Short of handing you your bill and standing there until you hand me payment, I can’t guarantee that while I’m in the back getting another table’s food together, you won’t skip out.
So what happens is most servers do what is called eating the bill. As in we pay for it out of our tips. It’s better than risking getting fired. But that means your $40 meal just meant I can’t put gas in my car. Or buy groceries. Or pay for a babysitter the next night for my kid to try and make up that lost money. Skipping out on a meal doesn’t hurt the restaurant. It hurts the server. DON’T DO IT.
Finally, please remember two things. If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat. Second, servers are people too. A little respect and common courtesy goes a long way.
Meant to write this a few weeks ago when my twitter timeline lit up with a discussion of all the things one can do with crescent rolls. Still, better late than never. These are all the crescent roll recipes I’ve actually tried, but I’d love to hear your ideas.
So the basic concept of crescent roll ups are to put your filling in the crescent roll, roll it up and bake according to the crescent roll package instructions.
Pizza rollups: pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Of course, just like with pizza, you can change things up. I usually add sausage & black olives to mine.
Southwestern: Black beans, sharp cheddar cheese, white onion, and cilantro. I like to dip this one in salsa when I’m eating them.
Chicken Alfredo: Alfredo sauce, shredded chicken, green onions, and green peppers with a little asiago cheese. This one doesn’t need a ton of sauce. I go with a spoonful on the crescent, then the filling, then one more spoon on top.
Veggie: Broccoli and cheese. For this one I recommend a blended cheese, like a 4-blend Mexican cheese or 3-blend Colby Jack. Load up on both the cheese and the broccoli for the best taste.
Wonton Style: Crab meat, green onions, and cream cheese. You can spice this one up with garlic or cayenne but it’s great on it’s own.
Chicken Parm: Chicken fingers, mozzarella, and spaghetti sauce. I haven’t actually had the chance to try this one yet but I can’t wait to test it out. I will probably add a little garlic for personal preferences.
Enchilada: Enchilada sauce, shredded meat (beef, chicken, or pork), finely chopped white onions, and cheddar cheese. This one is a big favorite of mine. I usually don’t roll this one though, instead I roll the crescent into squares and make like ravioli pockets out of them, that way I can get more sauce inside. Then I mix sour cream with a spicy salsa and heat it up on the stove for a dipping sauce.
*And when I said ravioli just now I got an idea to try doing a few others in a more ravioli style and frying the dough. I will keep y’all updated on how that turns out.*
Chocolate & Peanut Butter: Nutella, peanut butter, and a piece of a chocolate bar. Make sure to spread the first two ingredients out or you get a convoluted mess (yes, I made this mistake).
Apple Pie: Apple pie filling. Top with whip cream & caramel sauce out of the oven. You can do this one totally homemade but it’s so much easier to buy filling.
Berry: Mix equal amounts of cream cheese with powdered sugar then smear a generous portion on a roll and then dump on the berries of your choice.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin pie filling, cream cheese, and cinnamon. Another one that’s great with whip cream on top.
TV is kind of boring me right now y’all. Like other than a few shows, I can’t find anything I really want to watch. Even my go-to reruns aren’t inspiring me. I’m happy to have Vampire Diaries back and I’m excited for Happy Endings and I’ve liked Nashville & Arrow but otherwise nada. The weird thing is that it feels like I’m not the only one who’s been feeling blah towards fall TV, a stark comparison to how much we were all flailing over this summer’s offerings.
I know one of my problems is that I’m kind of stuck in a Teen Wolf rut. Which isn’t the worst rut in the world to be in, OBVIOUSLY, but it does make it frustrating that other than Vampire Diaries, I can’t seem to find much excitement about other shows. Even the prospect of shirtless Wade has done nothing to get me to watch Hart of Dixie so clearly, there are problems.
Anyone have suggestions on how to fix this? Or any shows that might knock my humdrum attitude away?
Alright kids, so at some point I’ll post my opinions about actual shows but one of my equally favorite things is getting to read recaps. I love the opportunity to engage with other fans about a show and talk about things we love. One thing I’ll suggest to anyone looking for recappers is to stay away (most of the time, there are always exceptions) from paid recaps. I find that there’s just not much opinion given in a lot of these recaps but worse you’re practically guaranteed to be surrounded by trolls in the comments. If you do want to engage in a dialogue with a recapper who gets paid to recap, try doing it on twitter. You’ll keep your sanity.
That aside, here are some of my suggestions for recaps and discussion opportunities. Also note that these are my favorites. There are other great recappers out there, these are just the ones I focus on.
Vampire Diaries: Obviously one of my favorite shows so I read more recaps.
Arrow: I’ll have a lot to say about this show down the road and may do the occasional recap-lite myself on this blog but for now, it’s a must that you read Erin (http://www.offcolortv.com)’s recaps. For starters, she’s got the opportunity to share with us some fun and unknown facts from the set but her first recap was pretty sweet as well.
Supernatural: I don’t watch Supernatural (yet) but my good friend Erin has just started recapping the show at The Televixen (http://www.thetelevixen.com) so be sure to check hers out.
As to specific recappers or recap sites, I’ve got three that I think do a solid job overall. Alan Sepinwall over at hitfix.com recaps-ish a lot of my favorite comedies and he’s got a great community of commenters that help catch pop culture references or soundtrack info.
The AV Club is interestingly enough a site where I half the time disagree with the recappers but I think they are by and large an intelligent bunch who make me think from different perspectives. Plus the comments are smart and insightful, always a plus.
My number one favorite recap site however is OffColorTV. (http://www.offcolortv.com). You’ve got a great group of recappers, all people who genuinely love their shows or love a lot about them (hey some shows suck but still gotta be recapped) and who aren’t shy about sharing an opinion. But the best thing about OffColorTV is the community. Even if you don’t like a recap style, you can usually get a good discussion going in the comments and there are rarely trolls hanging around. (If they do show up, they get shut down pretty fast too). In this day of people spouting off crap under cover of online anonymity, it’s nice to find a group of people who just love to talk about TV.
And of course if you ever want to know my opinions, feel free to talk to me on twitter (@onlymystory) or tumblr (Onlymystories.tumblr.com). I’ve never been shy about sharing and I don’t plan to start now.
Update: I knew I’d be dumb enough to miss one. You absolutely have to read Thomas Galvin’s Vampire Diaries recaps (http://www.thomas-galvin.com).
Top Five or Top Ten or really top anything lists can be difficult to write. I honestly don’t know how critics do it with their year end lists. For me however, my top five is just personal. I couldn’t even begin to do justice to a top five if I had to judge based on which is the best. So what I’ve got here, and what will be any of my future top five lists, is my favorites.
In the case of TV, this means the shows that I go back to time and again. The ones that I can rewatch any day because there’s always something about it that fits any mood. You’ll notice that some are more obvious comfort food style shows. Others are ones that can spark endless debate or reflection. I love a show where the characters are thoroughly well rounded and real and yet there’s still so much more to them that doesn’t ever make it on screen. Or, I guess it does make it on screen since I can see it, it’s just not exposited. Those are also my go to shows.
Finally, the one constant in all of my favorite shows is the idea of found families. You’re born into a family. Stuck with ‘em. Sometimes we get good ones, sometimes we get bad ones, most of the time we get a mix of good and bad. Some of us spend loads of time around our blood families. Some don’t. But the people who seem more like family to me are the friends I’ve gathered around me over the years. Found family. Give me a show with that and it’ll become an instant favorite.
(So I should clarify really quickly that in my story, everyone is currently a junior and it’s the summer before senior year. I didn’t skip ahead in the show’s timeline, just pretended this hasn’t been sophomore year.)
A week after Stiles and Derek had their impromptu make-out session, the pack was gathered again for a meeting. They’d actually had the pack meeting two nights ago, tonight was supposed to be training but Lydia and Allison said it was important that the pack discuss two important issues tonight.
Derek was trying to be more supportive of his pack as a whole and let them lead discussions. On the one hand, this made sense to him. His parents had led their family’s pack in much the same way, allowing everyone an equal say. It was always clear however that his mother, as the Alpha, had the final say.
He knew this particular pack of his was different too. It took Stiles pointing it out to him one night (before they’d moved their relationship ahead) that he was drawn to people who were broken. That too made it easier to understand why Allison and Lydia both fit within his pack even better than Scott. The boy wasn’t free from suffering but he hadn’t suffered in the way the others had. And of course Derek had never even considered biting Scott when he first returned to Beacon Hills.
He had felt an odd pull towards Stiles from day one though.