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Tag Archives: Weekly Obsession

Not-So-Weekly Obsession: The Oscars!

21 Feb

Ok – I’ve been holding on to this one, to wait for perfect timing. So here we go:

Most of you already know that amongst other things,  I’m a filmmaker. What most of you don’t know, is that I’ve wanted to be a director since about the age of twelve. And I kind of blame Billy Crystal.

Ok – I’m going a bit overboard. Plus that intro is from 1997 – but just because I couldn’t find 1992.

But notice  – the original “let’s insert the host into the movies” segment! Yes! the MTV movie awards ripped them off!

Plus – there was no cynicism back then. The ratings for the telecast were still sky-high, and jokes were wholesome.

I’m getting a bit off track here.

The point is this – I am proud to say, that ever since the age of 12, that’s 18 years in a row, I have watched every single Oscar telecast live. (This is no simple feat, as I will explain in a bit).

By the age of 19 – I took it one step further. I made sure to watch every single film nominated for best picture and most of the other major categories.

Again – an easy feat, if you’re living in the states. I mean, all I would have to do back then was just hit the theater for a couple of weekends in a row, and I’d be covered. Plus – what’s the challenge of watching something broadcast at 8pm?

But see – here is where things get interesting, my dear grasshoppers. Out of these 18 years, I have spent 11 of them in Israel. Yes – that means that the oscar telecast starts for me at 3am.

And yes – I still watch it live, every single year.

I love the unexpected wins, I love rooting for my favorites, and I love ranting uncontrollably when someone I hate wins.

About 4 or 5 years ago, I moved back to Israel after a 7 year stint in the states, and the obsession took on a whole new form.

See, Squish has a similar obsession to mine, and from our mutual love – a new tradition was born – the annual oscar party.

The party starts at midnight. Along with the other brave souls who decide to join us in the marathon, we begin with food.

Shmerson and I like to host parties. Mostly because I always cook especially yummy food that he likes to brag about, and because he does most of the cleaning afterwards, which makes me happy.

The oscar party is our superbowl. Each year, there is a different food theme (last year we had fondue – both cheese and chocolate, this year we’re going for mexican). In fact, some of our guests basically come for the food and the cynicism.

Oh, the cynicism is the best…

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We start at midnight with screenings of one or two of the nominated films, usually Squish and I choose the program, and we try to work in films that are nominated but that most of the guests haven’t seen.

Of course, yummy food is served.

At 3am we turn to the red carpet coverage, which is usually played at a low volume while squish and I comment on how “black is the new black” and “that red dress makes xxx look like a whore”. Much pointing and laughing is had.

Then we break out the first round of coffee and red bull, and the ceremony begins.

Shouting matches ensue between our guests (mostly between squish and I – some people come to see those also), about who should have won, why is it that Renee Zelwigger always looks like she’s constipated, and why Daniel Day Lewis is actually a Douche.

Oh, and then there’s more food.

And on and on we go on our caffeinated viewing spree until the ceremony ends at 7:30am, and we all go back to our respective homes to collapse. (yes, that means that on oscar day, we all take off of work. We are that committed).

This year I’ve decided that through the shouting, the eating, and the coffee, I will do something that I’ve always kind of wished I could do, but never had the platform to do it.

And here is the big announcement I was teasing about in my post earlier today:

Drumroll…..

I will be live blogging the oscars right here!

Yes folks, your eyes are not deceiving you – if you wish, you may watch the ceremony live right along with us and be witness to  the food, the sleep-deprivation, the cynical comments, and the shouting matches between me and squish all live right here!

It will be fun, it should be funny, and it will most likely be epic!

I’m still trying to figure out the technology here – so for all of you email subscribers, you may get a test post in the next couple of days just to make sure that all is in working order – my apologies for that.

But in the meantime – I ask you loyal readers for the following:

1) if anybody has a good mexican recipe – please share!

2) Somebody please help me – how the heck do I make nacho cheese sauce without velveeta (they don’t have that here – all I’ve got to work with is cheddar cheese so I need all the help I can get)?

3) and most important – spread the word! Pimp me out! I’m not one for begging to get traffic on here, even though I admit there are days when my page views are rather nice, considering how new this blog is. But help me make my fantasy come true! Let me wow you with my movie knowledge accompanied with my never ending bitterness toward the hollywood machine! And bring a friend!

I hope you guys join me in this MO first.

Sunday, February 27th (or actually monday Feb. 28th for my hemisphere), 3am Israel time (GMT +2) – That’s 1am for you Brits (GMT),  12pm for you Aussies (GMT +11), Or 8pm Eastern/5pm pacific for you Canadians and Americans. Make yourself a bowl of nachos and a couple of fajitas and join us!

I’m psyched. I know you probably aren’t, but trust me, you should be. Really. Ok? Um, or just pretend to be? Awesome. Thanks. 🙂

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Weekly Obsession 4: Weddings!

26 Jan

I was never one of those girls who stuck a pillowcase on her head and pretended to walk down the aisle. In fact, before I met shmerson, I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to get married. Then I knew I did, with him to be precise, but still – except some abstract planning I didn’t give it much thought until he proposed in October of 2009.

That’s when the obsession began. I spent hours upon hours planning everything. Months upon months.

This is the point where I need to explain something. Israeli weddings are far looser affairs than what most people are used to. There’s no bridal party, rarely there are formal speeches, and most ceremonies are relatively short.

Being a “Best Man” (yes really) at a wedding a couple of years ago in the states has made me appreciate this very much.

Here’s how your typical Israeli wedding goes:

Bride gets hair and make up done while groom gets car decorated, picks up the bouquet, and puts on his clothes (usually a simple suit – very rarely in the black tie range).

Our car - decked out in purple ribbons. Nope - no "just married sign" it's not how we roll. 🙂

Groom gets the ok to pick up bride. He comes to wherever the bride is getting ready and sees her for the first time (there is no superstition about the “before the ceremony” thing here). This is actually a really exciting moment.

Shmerson and I moments after he saw me for the first time. Happy finger dance!

Bride and Groom go off with the photographers to take pictures in some interesting looking location.

Artsy, ain't it? No, I have no idea what that structure is.

Bride and Groom arrive at wedding venue. Either they lock themselves up until after the cocktails or mingle and greet the guests as they arrive (which is what shmerson and I chose to do).

Squish and I during cocktails. I wasn't drunk. I swear!

Ceremony – Groom walks down to the huppah (sometimes with his parents), then bride walks down (sometimes with her parents). They meet under the huppah. Usually both sets of parents, the rabbi, and siblings of the couple stand behind them. While walking down the aisle no wedding march is played, but rather a song that the bride and groom have chosen. In me and shmerson’s case it was an amazing Israeli song called “Guitar and Violin” by Shmerson’s favorite singer.

It’s a beautiful song – even those who don’t understand the language may appreciate it.

Anyway – then comes the ceremony and at the end the groom stomps on a glass and breaks it to represent, well, stuff. Then the bride and groom kiss as the “glass breaking song” is played, usually something romantic and upbeat, chosen by the bride and groom, in our case, tonight tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins.

Then the bride and groom are mobbed on all sides and get hugged and kissed for seemingly hours before everybody heads away from the huppah.

No need to explain this one. 🙂

Then there’s dinner. Usually buffet style.

Then dessert, a heck of a lot of alcohol, and a heck of a lot of dancing.

Some people choose to serve dinner before the ceremony, because that way people aren’t starving during it (ceremony usually takes place somewhere between 7pm and 9pm, aka dinnertime).

Shmerson and I didn’t originally plan it this way, but due to a fluke with the rabbi being late we had to serve dinner first and it turned out great because then all the old farts went home early and we were left to let our freak flag fly and dance our asses off until about 2 in the morning.

Dancing my ass off - hour one. Nope, still not drunk.

Dancing our ass off hour three. Shmerson rocking out to some song or another. Yep, he is drunk.

Most Israeli weddings are huge. About 400 people average invited. There are no gift registries. People bring checks. Which is awesome in my opinion.

We chose to have a relatively small wedding. 220 invited, 190-ish showed up (yes, this is considered tiny).

And seriously – it was the best. Wedding. EVER!

I have no idea why I'm making that face. But let's call it my "trust me, it was" face.

Now mind you I know I’m not objective, but I have it from several other reliable sources. Some literally called it “the wedding of the decade”.

The music was amazing (rock&roll, man! The DJ was so good he managed to make my dad dance to “closer” by Nine Inch Nails. Luckily dad didn’t understand the words but it was a surreal image nonetheless).  Warning: NSFW!!!

The food was amazing. The alcohol was amazing. And it was all laid back and party like. We even put a photo booth at the entrance where people could take pictures of themselves (by the end of the night there were some raunchy results). No, I am not posting those!

Photo Booth, 2am. Drunk on life.

Here’s the thing  – I love-love-looooooved planning it. I really didn’t think I would, but during the six months between getting the rock and saying “I do” (which actually isn’t said in the jewish ceremony, but you get the picture), I became a walking wedding encyclopedia. And I loved every minute, every detail, every cost-cutting trick I found, every excel file, every tasting.

And now? Well, the obsession has not gone away. I love watching Bridezillas (yep, I just admitted that). I love going to other people’s weddings.

Even more – I love helping to plan other people’s weddings! I am the queen of unsolicited advice and hours of conversations at parties with prospective brides about the pros and cons of a banquet hall versus an open space, cost per person, varying qualities of DJ’s…. The list goes on and on.

I love it so much that there have been moments that I actually thought of saying screw it all and becoming a wedding planner. Then I realized that most Israeli weddings are a bit more gaudy than mine was and I’d have to deal with too many Israeli Snooki equivalents so I let that idea pass.

But when a friend, or a friend of a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend, or a complete stranger who is non-snooki-ish tells me that they’re planning a wedding, I light up, and volunteer myself to do anything and everything.

An amazing gay couple I know was looking into wedding costs, and I literally begged them to let me find a venue for them.

Last week at a party I gave a bride-to-be three names of photographers, 2 wedding dress designers, and of course, my phone number. 🙂

I know at least some of you out there are anti-wedding. If you are, and are thinking of getting married, please let me plan your wedding. Pretty please?

kthnxbye!

Weekly Obsession 3: Friends!

20 Jan

I think everyone has their seminal show. The one they grew up on, than they quote incessantly – that they can watch over and over without ever getting sick of it.

For me, that show is Friends.

There are episodes that I can watch over and over and over and never ever get sick of them. There are things on the show I can get passionate and ranty about.

It is, for me, the ice cream sundae of television. Simple, yummy, and everyone loves a sundae!

Obsession by the numbers:

I have watched the entire series, beginning to end 5 times.

this does not count random episodes when I feel like it. This count includes the first time I watched through the series, and the four other times I made a conscious decision to watch it beginning to end.

Quotables:

The one I use the most is actually a gesture, not a quote:

You and I have always been….

Brilliant! I actually say it on the phone to squish and she knows exactly what I mean, of course.

Another gesture that is used often whenever I find myself saying the word “seven” in, well, basically any context.

Then of course there’s the often used:

And I’m leaving out finger dancing, and of course, the gesture Ross makes whenever he plays the keyboards:

When Shmerson and I talk nonsense, we often use – “That’s not even a word!!!”

And when we have friends over for pizza, we order the Joey Special (for those who don’t know, that would be two pizzas).

When I have reasons for something, they are usually “threefold”.

The list goes on and on and on – but I guess those are the most used.

I truly and honestly feel like season 4 was one of the best seasons of any television show ever, and most of my quotes and my favorite episodes are from that season.

Now the Ranty Part:

I almost kind of wish they’d ended with chandler and monicas wedding at the end of season 7. Though the rest of the seasons had a few good episodes, they weren’t nearly close to the level of funny as the earlier stuff.

and… JOEY AND RACHEL LOVE STORY? HELL TO THE NO!

But I forgive them, because the last few seasons brought us the character Mike, AKA my secret crush (sorry shmerson!) Paul Rudd:

Obsession Breakdown:

My favorite episode is “The one with the embryos” – season 4, of course!

Though I have to give a shout out to my second favorite – “the one with chandler in a box”.

Brilliant!

Favorite recurring character (mike not included):  It’s a tough one, but I have to say gunther.

Favorite one-off (actually two-off) character: Jon Lovitz (who I usually hate) as the stoned loser guy. Just for this scene (sorry for the crappy quality):

Favorite character: Chandler. I admit there was a point in time when I would describe my perfect man as “Chandler, only with a bit more rock & roll” (I actually ended up marrying exactly that – shmerson is my insecure, slightly geeky guy with long hair and I love him for it!)

Actually there is a slight confession to be made here: Shmerson and I always joke that he’s a perfect combination of chandler and mike and I’m a perfect combo of monica and phoebe.

And it would be a shame to leave you without at least one song by phoebe – this one’s my favorite:

Weekly Obsession 2: TV Singing Competitions!

12 Jan

You’d think I’d write “American Idol” in the title right? Wrong! Then it wouldn’t count. I mean, that’s just loving one show. This is obsession.
It’s 2001. I’m in my apartment in philly, which I shared with my boyfriend at the time. A promo airs. A homely woman is singing out of tune. A snarky British judge says something really mean. I fall in love.
I watch the first season obsessively. During the next summer I go home to Israel to visit my family. At the time, Israeli television sucks. I discover the wonders of IRC (this was where people downloaded tv shows before the age of streaming and torrents). I immediately download the first and second seasons of the British original: Pop idol.
Then things start getting a bit out of hand.
I discover that there is a canadian idol.
I discover that there is an Australian Idol.
I watch them all. And then of course, the x factor premiers. And Israeli Idol. I am an Idol freak.

Fun Facts:
1) Did you know that the idea of bringing instruments into the auditions originated in the canadian version? They started it in season 2 and it was such an awesome season the american producers broke down and allowed instruments to their contestants.
2) The best quality of contestants in the idol-verse, in my opinion at least, is actually in the Australian version. No international superstar ever came out of there, but they introduced me to these amazing (and sometimes quirky) people:

And speaking of quirky – one of my favorite idol contestants ever is Jacob Hoggard, season 2 of Canadian idol. Before adam lambert discovered the meaning of guy-liner, he did this:

Ok – time for obsession by the numbers:

American Idol: Watched all seasons, of course
Pop Idol: Watched both seasons
Australian Idol: Watched seasons 1-4 (then they got kinda lame)
Canadian Idol: Watched season 1-5 (they were always lame – they’re a canadian cheese-fest. But then they got too lame)
New Zealand Idol: yes – i watched season 1
Israeli Idol (actually called “A star is born” – they are cheap people who didn’t want to buy the rights to the format): All seasons of course, and still going strong.
X-factor UK: Seasons 1-4, got frustrated with the winner, but jumped back on the wagon for season 7
X-factor Australia (yes! it exists!) Watched the first season which bombed, loved it. I noticed that a guy who made it to the semi-finals of that season actually placed 8th in Australian idol season 4 a couple of years later. I believe that’s when I realized I’d gone just a TAD too far.

Off the beaten path:
I absolutely LOVED Rock Star:INXS and Rock Star: Supernova. When I was living in LA – I actually went to see some live tapings. I still have secret crushes on Toby Rand:

JD Fortune:

and a non-sexual crush on the amazing Jordis Unga:

The Ranty Part:
America’s Got Talent is a terrible terrible rip-off of everything ever. Hate it. It’s a terrible show and it needs to die a thousand deaths.
Along with every other idol rip-off that’s been tried in the last few years in the states.

Except the X factor and Rock star! They don’t count! They’re good!

Oh one more thing: Group performances should be cancelled forever. period.

Obsession Breakdown:
I still haven’t gotten over Chris Daughtry’s elimination. it’s been four years. Still mad at them. Will forever be mad at them.

In all the seasons of American idol, the person I was rooting for has only won once.
Season One: I was a justin fan
Season Two: I was a claymate
Season Three: I was an amy adams fan. That got me nowhere so I was a’ight with ‘tasia winning, dawg.
Season Four: I thought that Carrie Underwood was a femme bot. All about Bo.
Season Five: CHRIS DAUGHTRY! MOTH**F&&ERS!!! Fifth place? Are you freaking kidding me?
Season Six: I was all about mindy-doo. But in the finals I liked blake. What can I say? I root for the quirky!
Season Seven: THE ONE SEASON MY WISH WAS FULFILLED! In the Battle of the Davids, Cook won over the little song-bot Archuletta. Me happy. Except for the fact that Carly Smithson got a raw deal.
Season Eight: Adam Lambert! Allison Iraheta! Come on people!
Season Nine: MommaSox should have won. Lee was cute and all, but really, people. You disappoint me. And Ellen as a judge? What were the producers thinking? The whole season was a suckfest. I’m glad they’re shaking things up a bit.

Obsession Summary:
I am literally counting down the days until the next season premier. Thank goodness they got rid of the limp noodle that was Kara. I’m really curious to see what J-lo and Steve Tyler bring to the table. And I guess Randy Jackson signed like a lifetime contract with them or something, because he’s still there (for me for you dawg).

Favorite Contestant: It’s a tie between like, 15 of them. But I embedded all of them here except Cook and Lambert. But they’ll forgive me, I’m sure.

Favorite Performance: No contest, hands down, have it on my ipod I love it so much:

FIFTH PLACE?!?!?! WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING?
(Confession: I was shooting my thesis film the week he was eliminated. I still have residual guilt for tivoing the episodes and not being able to vote. So sad.)

Favorite top 3: Canadian idol season two! Seriously! they were awesome! Yay quirky! (also the only group performance i’ve liked in all the history of all the idols ever)

Least favorite contestant: too many too mention. I get hostile

Least favorite performance: see above

Least favorite host: The Douche from canadian idol

Favorite host: Andrew G from Australian idol (Seacrest annoys me. I miss Dunkleman.)

Favorite guest mentor: Cyndi Lauper on Canadian Idol 80’s night. Seriously, she was awesome.

Favorite theme night: Rock night, of course

Least Favorite: Elvis. I will say it again- what were they thinking?

And now – a Gem from Israeli Idol to finish off the post – for those of you overseas who aren’t familiar with this particular corner of the idolverse. I believe you will appreciate it regardless of the language barrier, because this woman rocks! She won this last season. This is her winning performance. Her name is Diana Golbi, and she is my new non-sexual crush:

Weekly Obsession Premier: And this time – Harry Potter!

6 Jan

So in case some of you haven’t noticed – I tend to obsess about stuff (really? Nooo….).

In an attempt to lighten up this little tiny corner of the blogosphere, I have decided to start a new weekly tradition – I rant/talk/explain my obsessions! Yay! Fascinating!

So this week, since it’s the first time, I will talk about Harry Potter. Yes. I am a 30 year old woman obsessed with Harry Potter.

But not the movies! The books. Only the books. I will rant about the movies and why I hate them later.

So let’s start with the obsession breakdown:

I have read the entire series beginning to end 5 times.

I have listened to the entire series beginning to end twice on audio book (both stephen fry and jim dale – I prefer jim dale).

“What?” you say “Only five times?”

Five times beginning to end, people! Let’s do an individual book count, shall we?

Sorcerer’s Stone:  Read: 8  Audio book: 3

Chamber of secrets: Read: 6  Audio book: 2

Prisoner of Azkaban: Read: 26 . Audio book: 5

Goblet of Fire: Read: 14  Audio Book: 2

Order of the Phoenix: Read: 10 Audio Book: 4

Half-Blood Prince: Read: 9 Audio Book: 5

Deathly Hallows: Read: 10 Audio Book: 8

Now it may seem from this count that Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book. It actually isn’t. Deathly Hallows is, and OOtP and HBP tie for second. However, I had to wait around for GoF to come out, and needed something to tide me over until the release of OOtP (I’m not that crazy about GoF – relatively speaking, of course).

So I know PoA inside and out. I actually wore out my original copy and had to toss it and buy a new one. One of the things I do when I have trouble sleeping is recite the chapter names in order in my head. I kid you not.

Now writing all of this out kind of scares me, if I’m being honest. I mean, it is a bit much. Though I’m sure other people have done much worse. Like this guy, who I first introduced in the comments section of one of my previous posts:

But no, he does not make me feel better (plus – it seems that he likes the movies just as much as the books. Which makes him just plain lame).

I know I could have spent my time reading more intellectually stimulating things. I don’t care. I love harry.

A few other fun facts:

I always name my pets after HP characters. Current pet: Luna.

I did a complete 7 day media blackout (yes including internet!) before DH came out so as to avoid spoilers.

During a particularly tough week after my second M/C I found and read EVERY SINGLE POST of the blog “mark reads harry potter” (awesome blogger, BTW. I highly recommend his new sites markreads.net and markwatches.net)

I have had more than one conversation with Shmerson (all initiated by me), regarding what age to introduce our children to the books, and in what language. I have yet to make a decision about it. It has already been discussed at length for several hours. I’m thinking of using my nephew as a guinea pig once I put together a good enough system (I know my brother may be reading this – so – sorry!).

See – the debate is – do we introduce the child to the whole series at once? If so, then we definitely have to wait until the kid is at least 13, because otherwise the last few books would be waaay too heavy for him/her.

On the other hand, I have the “one for every birthday” theory – which means that starting at age 11, the kid would get one book a year.

But by the time our first kid reaches that age, I’m assuming they would know how to google “harry potter” and I don’t want them to have any spoilers. I got spoiled on the end of OotP and haven’t gotten over it since.

Oh yeah- and they definitely will NOT see the movies before reading the books. Not if I have anything to say about it, anyway.

I DESPISE THE MOVIES WITH A PASSION.

Yet I always go to see them opening weekend. I have no will power.

Ok – I’ll admit that DH part 1 wasn’t that bad. And OotP was halfway decent because the producers had the brains to use a different screenwriter (why oh why did you bring back Steve “I am only capable of writing exposition into dialogue in lame ways” Kloves for the last two?).

If you want to really piss me off all you have to do is look at me with an innocent, sincere smile, and say (in a british accent of course) “Oh! I forgot! Phoenix tears heal!”

Try watching Daniel Radcliffe say that line at the end of the two and a half hour crapfest that is CoS while holding in two large diet cokes worth of urine in your bladder and you will understand why I have such a negative pavlovian response.

Seriously Kloves – You’re a douche.

Oh – and don’t get me started on the end of HBP!!! Listen Kloves – Harry Potter would never ever ever ever EVER be that passive.

I don’t care if leaving the final critical scene intact would have been complicated to represent on screen – DEAL WITH IT! What they did was a total cop-out. It just makes me mad.

E-hem. Sorry. I get carried away sometimes. Ok. I get carried away a lot. Sue me. Or don’t. Whatever. I’m not bitter.

So I could analyze why I am so madly in love with these books and go into yet another lengthy emotional spewing of my love of escapism, jk rowling being a genius, bla bla bla.

But that will just give you more reasons to mock me. And I believe the last several hundred words should give you plenty of material as is.

Go on, have at it!

Summary:

Favorite Book: DH

Favorite Chapter (excluding the last third of DH because then it wouldn’t be a fair fight): “After the Burial” from HBP.

Favorite Character: Luna Lovegood, of course.

Least Favorite Book: CoS

Least Favorite Chapter: “The Whomping Willow” from CoS. Sorry JK – I will never buy the interior logic leading to Ron and Harry stealing that Ford Anglia.

Least Favorite Character: Gilderoy Lockhart (anybody seeing a pattern here?)

Ok – off to take a shower. I hear it helps keep away the gulping plimpies.

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