Mar 26 2014

Thoughts on the “Girls” Season

I wasn’t too thrilled with the finale. Shosh being desperate, Marni being a bizarre-giggling weirdo, and Jessa agreeing to euthanize someone she barely knows all felt disconnected and uninteresting.

I had gotten used to the rhythms of Adam and Hannah as a couple. I really enjoyed Hannah’s birthday party, Hannah’s job at GQ, the trip to pick up Jessa from rehab. In terms of adjacent characters,  Adam’s sister was fascinating every moment she was on screen (the brother/sister therapy session with Hannah as the therapist was a favorite) and anytime Elijah showed up the scene became hilarious and quotable (Hannah encouraging him not to feel bad about misunderstanding the word “inertia” was a perfect moment.)

I think I realized that it’s Adam and Hannah’s interactions with each other and with the world that keep me coming back. I would be perfectly happy to have next season set at the Iowa Writers Workshop with just Hannah and Adam.

Well, as long as Caroline and Councilman Jam (see Parks and Rec) stop in to visit often.


- Jen


Mar 18 2014

You actually can help find #370

NYMagazine ran an article this morning about how Courtney Love has joined the search for Malaysian Flight #370. When I saw the headline I rolled my eyes. Then when I saw this picture she posted, I laughed:





After reading the article I realized her heart is not only in the right place, but there’s an actual website set up where you can sign in and be assigned a search area (via satellite).

There’s something wonderful about learning a lesson in humanity from Courtney Love. It’s a good morning!

- Jen

Mar 17 2014

Veronica Mars lives!

As a huge fan of the greatest teen detective ever (Harriet and Encyclopedia were a little young to be in this category and there isn’t time to get into Nancy here…) I couldn’t wait for this Kickstarter-funded movie to open.

I rented it on Amazon over the weekend and I loved it.

It felt like a four episode arc of the show…just nine years later.  After leaving her hometown to go to law school and start a new life, Veronica gets pulled back when her high school boyfriend is accused of murder. Of course the whole gang comes together to help her solve the crime. It had all of the action, humor, love, friendship and self-doubt we’ve come to expect from writer/creator Rob Thomas (he also created and wrote my beloved Party Down).

I don’t think it really stands as a movie; I can’t imagine anyone who didn’t watch the show would be that interested. (If you find yourself in that camp, by all means, watch the show. You can get all three seasons online and I guarantee you’ll love it.) But it was exactly what the fans wanted. It didn’t try to be something different. which I really applaud.

I can’t wait to watch it again. (Also, I’m definitely ready for the Buffy/Angel movie…as long as they’re both in it)

- Jen

Mar 12 2014

An alternative to banning BOSSY

Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg, and the Girl Scouts have joined together to ban the word “bossy” because of the theory that it keeps women from becoming leaders.

I was born bossy, I’ve lived bossy and I’m hear to tell you “bossy girls get shit done.” I’m paraphrasing self-described BossyPants Tina Fey, who once said in response to Hilary Clinton being called a bitch:


I think this campaign has its heart in the right place. But banning words doesn’t generally work. I wish instead that we would simply encourage it. I’m incredibly lucky that I never felt put down or diminished because of my natural leadership skills. I liked being in charge and I was good at it.

Instead of banning bossy, why not help your little bossypants be the best she can be?

Teach her the rules to being bossy:

*Try to make things fair for everyone involved (Aaron shouldn’t have had to be the groom in every single wedding I planned under our pear tree)

*Take responsibility, not just authority; it’s your job to make sure everyone is having fun, not just you (If Naomi didn’t want to be the typhoid sufferer who gets thrown off the boat, aka the guest bed, I shouldn’t have made her)

*Look for opportunities to collaborate; let someone else be in charge now and then, you might enjoy the ride (I literally can’t think of an example from childhood where I did this and I fear I may have refused to let some other kid in my neighborhood stretch their own bossy wings…)

Anytime a kid’s natural qualities get squashed by the adults in their life, it breaks my heart. If you decide to ban bossy, that’s up to you. But most importantly, if you have a daughter with leadership inclination, I hope you celebrate it, because you’ve got yourself a future woman who gets stuff done!

- Jen

Mar 10 2014

The tale of my Twitter

I just used to find out my Twitter feed stats (@tbtljen)

After inputting all of my tweets, the website gave me this rating:

Very clever indeed, and probably smug about it too. (I guess even algorithms are judgey)

Here are the words I use most often:

Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 8.56.59 AM

Immediate thoughts:

*It looks like my husband barely beat out Mr. Bates, but Harry is the man I mention most (which is probably a combination of Prince Harry and Harry Potter)

*Also, how much was I tweeting about those Chilean miners? Clearly more than I remember!

*Obviously I need to spend the day learning new adjectives that aren’t Adorable or Awesome.

I think this is actually a pretty good tool and it feels pretty representative of who I am and how excited I get about the things I love.

- Jen

Mar 6 2014

I like a little Game of Thrones in my Parks and Rec

This deleted scene from last week’s episode (When Leslie got Ben a replica of the Iron Throne for their anniversary) is proof that Adam Scott has figured out how to perfectly capture:

1) how important the Iron Throne is to fanboys/girls

2) how frustrating it is when your partner doesn’t get it

3) how hard it is to sit on the throne (both metaphorically and physically)

Oh, Leslie…starships and the Force? REALLY?

- Jen

Mar 5 2014

Book Review: Orphan Train

An historical novel set in the early part of the 20th century, Orphan Train is based on the thousands of orphans that were taken by trains from New York City to the midwest to be placed in new families. I had no idea this happened and for that I’m so glad I read the book.

Cutting back and forth between a modern day foster teen and an Irish immigrant orphaned after arriving in America in the 1920′s, it’s terrifying and inspiring and sweet and heartbreaking. It’s a quick and easy read that sticks with you (in a good way, not in the weeping on the floor in the fetal position way!)

- Jen


Mar 3 2014

The Oscars were not good to me

I correctly picked 8 out of 24 on my ballot. I just thought there would be more surprises…but it went according to schedule and that hurt me.

So I had to find my fun in other places:

*Darlene Love grabbing her moment to sing for half a billion people while being recognized for 20 feet from Stardom was audacious (in a good way). And it reminded me that if life were fair she would have been one of our great divas.

*Jared Leto being friendly and happy and completely the opposite of “broody” was a complete delight. (His shout out to Ukraine and Venezuela was a bit clumsy, but it seemed heartfelt.)

*Lupita, Meryl and Amy dancing with Pharrell…I love people who are willing to play along and not worry if they look cool. All three of these ladies earned HUGE points with me.


*I thought Ellen started really strong, I didn’t even miss the usual opening musical number. But throughout the night with teleprompter issues and the pizza and selfie bits (which I thought went on a bit too long), she seemed to lose steam. Although I would have killed for a slice of that pizza!

*The Frozen writers delivered the speech of the night. I LOVE that they clearly rehearsed it and NAILED it.

*After initially thinking The Moon Song was boring, I was completely turned around by Karen O’s beautiful performance. (I think it was her shoes sitting next to her on the stage…it immediately evoked one of those perfect nights that even blisters can’t ruin!)

All of the winners were gracious and seemed to be having a great time (with the exception of 12 Years a Slave writer, John Ridley…he seemed a little pissed off, but he doesn’t owe me a giddy speech, so I’m not too worried about it) and overall it was a fun night that didn’t take itself too seriously.

- Jen


Feb 27 2014

Much needed levity found at the vet

There is nothing worse than sitting in the exam room waiting for test results on your dog while he paces around driving you crazy which makes you feel guilty because at the same time you are desperately hoping for good news.

I am truly grateful for this poster on the wall which gave me much-needed laughter:



The WTF? look on the cat’s face had me and Jason in hysterics trying to figure out the backstory on whatever test these two just got results on.

(Also, the blood tests on Knightly came back all good.)

- Jen

Feb 27 2014

May I offer a euphemism?

Recently I watched a lot of football (perhaps you heard).  I started noticing that whenever a player would go down to the ground and roll onto his side, the sportscasters would suggest that possibly “he got the wind knocked out of him.”

It was pretty clear in most of these cases that what he had was a penis injury. Since that’s nothing to be ashamed of, I couldn’t understand the hesitation to call it what it is. (I’ve since heard from quite a few guys that they don’t like to hear anything close to that phrase as it causes “phantom pain and/or discomfort”)

Thanks to Matthew, who alerted me to this euphemism from the film Extract:


At least “mid body injury” is in the correct vicinity…progress!

- Jen