TidBritt: ‘Age of Ultron’ Teaser Trailer or Being Excited About Things

I am sure there will be some point in my life when talk of a comic book film does not excite me. I  just don’t see that happening any time soon. When the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked online today I was ecstatic. While I took twitter to express my glee, others bashed “yet another superhero film” full of “generic robots and fight scenes.”

Sure, you are allowed to not like the Marvel films. Do I think they’re cinematic masterpieces? No. (Although I would make a strong case for The Winter Soldier.) Do I dress up and go to the midnight premiere for each one? Absolutely. Why? Because I am an unashamed fangirl. I like getting excited about things and the fact that things have the ability to excite me. Just think: we live in a world with not one, but TWO competing comic book universes BOTH with movies AND television shows (great TV shows by the way). Isn’t it amazing?

All good things end. That’s just the way it works. I am going to continue being excited for the Marvel movies while they still manage to make me squee.

P.S. I’m not going to post the trailer link because it was leaked and you can find it everywhere else online.

Favorite Films: Fight Club

*Warning: This article is about the film Fight Club. There are spoilers ahead. If it’s taken you this long to see this film then we have a bigger problem than a few spoilers anyway.*

Today is the 15th anniversary of the film we’re not supposed to talk about-and my favorite film of all time-David Fincher’s Fight Club. I am always surprised by how many people I meet who name Fight Club as their favorite film. On the one hand it makes me feel like a part of a very cool club (pun intended) and on the other it makes me feel that as a self proclaimed movie snob/buff that I should have something a little more obscure take the top place in my heart. But I can’t help it. Love knows no reason.

15 years ago in 1999 I was watching Toy Story 2 and Tarzan because I was 8 years old (sorry, these posts always tend to make everyone else feel old). I had no idea that years later a film  that would come out that year would change my life so profoundly. I wish I remember the first time I saw Fight Club. I believe it was sometime around my freshman year of college, but I can’t be certain. It’s weird because I remember when and where I saw many of my other favorite films, but not this one. All I can remember is being completely transfixed by the violence, the characters, the strangeness of it all. How it felt like this could actually happen. It was the first film to truly surprise and shock me in a way few films have since. (I can only think of a scene in V for Vendetta that comes close.) In a world before social media where headlines scream, “We Talk to David Fincher and Ed Norton about THAT Scene” I was blissfully unaware of what was to come. Somehow I survived years of my life without knowing a single thing about this film.

I think that is why it is my favorite. As soon as it was over I remember wanting to watch it again. I remember being angry at myself for not seeing the clues before, but thrilled that Fincher could trick me in such a deep way. It is something you don’t easily forget. It is one of the few movies I am glad I saw before reading the book because I know if I did and had known what was coming (like how I did with Gone Girl), it would completely change my perceptions

Besides the story itself, which I really shouldn’t give Fincher all the credit for since it does belong to Chuck Palahniuk, it is the acting that also sold me on that film. Before watching Fight Club I had pretty much zero opinion of Edward Norton. I don’t know if I had even seen him in anything before that moment. Of course I knew and loved Brad Pitt but secretly I was wondering if he was deserving of my love and admiration or if he was just another pretty face. As for Helena Bonham-Carter, I mostly just knew her as Mrs.-Tim-Burton-Who-keeps-ending-up-with-Johnny-Depp-in-movies and Bellatrix Lestrange. This film changed all of those opinions.

Ed Norton is the perfect person to play the Narrator because he is a Dangerous Everyman. He looks innocent and unassuming, but at the same time there’s an edge to him, something underneath just waiting to be exposed. The transformation from pathetic guy on the plane to “I just wanted to hurt something beautiful” to What have I done? is only believable because of Norton’s performance. This is a man who needs something to change in his life-and drastically-in order for him to be happy/change/feel anything. The Narrator may not be the most likeable character, but the way Norton plays him we sympathize with him and understand his motivations. We feel bad for him and we root for him because we are him. We like Tyler because he likes Tyler and because we see how meeting Tyler changes him. Everyone has been in the Narrator’s shoes, disillusioned with life, unhappy at work, not able to sleep at night, and this is the man who has seen the edge, gone over it, and come back from the other side. If skinny little Ed Norton can pick fights and win, who’s to say we can’t?

Brad Pitt is a VERY pretty face, but he is not JUST a pretty face. Here he is the embodiment of the male ideal; someone all men want to be, a guy who can get into and win a fight, a guy who doesn’t follow the system or play by anyone’s rules, a guy who gets to sleep with the girl and not worry about calling her after. He plays every side of Tyler from anarchist to surrogate father to the devil inside the narrator’s head with a chameleon like ease. You don’t believe Tyler can’t be real because you like him so much. And that’s what’s scary as well. Pitt makes Tyler the hero. This guy does some pretty despicable things but you like him. You want to be him. Don’t tell me that if Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden walked up to you on the street and asked you to join Project Mayhem that you would turn him down. You wouldn’t. No one could.

And then there’s Marla. She’s hardly a heroine, but she sure is one hell of an interesting character. Helena Bonham-Carter plays her with an effortless cool, middle finger in the air attitude. She is not just a girlfriend or a love interest, she’s a character in her own right, the smart one who has it all figured out long before the rest of us. She’s the one that reveals the truth to us. And while she manages to be strong and fiery there is also a vulnerable side to her that we can admire. She is able to ask for help or attention when she wants it without worrying about it making her needy or clingy. Helena plays Marla Singer as a woman who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it, but who is damaged all the same.She isn’t perfect, she’s just like us. She just wants to be loved and she just happens to find the guy as messed up as she is to do it. Because deep down, Fight Club really is a love story.

It’s also a story about fighting.

There is blood, lots and lots of blood and the thudding sounds of fist and the muffled yelling of men. The violence of Fight Club isn’t pretty, but it is still pleasing to watch in some deep animalistic way. It almost makes you want to get in a fight to see if you could take it. To find out what you’re made of.

And then there are quotes. “You met me at a very strange time in my life” is my favorite. “I want you to hit me as hard as you can”, “I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise”, “His name was Robert Paulson”, “You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake”, and all the rules of fight club which everyone knows by heart. I could keep listing them for days.

The ending of Fight Club, with the Pixies song, ‘Where’s My Mind?‘playing as Marla and the Narrator hold hands to enter their brave new world as buildings fall around them is pretty much perfect.

This movie makes you think, it makes you want to quote it endlessly, and it makes you wonder what you would do over and over again. However, let’s celebrate the 15 anniversary of this incredible film by doing the one thing Tyler would’ve wanted and stop talking about it.

TidBritt: Why I Love the Internet

Welcome to a new section of my blog: TidBritts! What an adorable name you say? Why thank you! So what are TidBritts? TBs are going to be short, little posts (the goal is no more than 200 words) about random little things I want to talk about. I’m imposing a word limit on myself because if you read my posts you know already that I tend to be long winded. This is just another way to get me blogging without feeling like I have to dedicate hours of time and lots of words.

The first TidBritt I would like to discuss is one of the many reasons why I love the internet. I have recently been reading John Krakauer’s heartbreaking novel Into Thin Air about the disaster that took place on Mount Everest in 1996. This book is about two subjects that I know nothing about: mountain climbing and Mount Everest. Krakauer, an advanced climber, describes the trip in detail: the equipment used, what the terrain looks like, the weather conditions and I still had trouble picturing it all. When I read I like to imagine the events taking place; especially with non-fiction books I like to imagine them as accurately as possible. With this book it was hard getting into all the technical information. That’s where google comes in. With a quick images search I can see not only what a crampon looks like, but also the view from the summit of Everest itself. I know its 2014 and this shouldn’t amaze me, BUT IT DOES.  Technology is amazing and we should appreciate the world we are lucky enough to live in. Reading this book has definitely made me more appreciative of the little things and if you haven’t read this book I suggest you do so immediately.

(Okay so that was 206 words. Man 200 words is nothing.)

Film Festival Recap: ‘Beside Still Waters’ Review & Being Inspired

This weekend I volunteered at and attended my first film festival, The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. It was a wonderful introductory experience to the world of film festivals where I got to volunteer at a venue, see a few films, and meet many filmmakers and film fans like myself. Sometimes working in “the industry” it is easy to forget the passion and spirit of the independent film community who struggle to make the films they want to make with little money or support. It was inspiring to see so many people making movies just because they love it and they have a story to tell; it gave me a renewed sense of purpose for what I want to do with my own career.

One film that inspired me in particular was the centerpiece film of the festival Beside Still Waters, the directorial debut of Chris Lowell of Veronica Mars fame (I know him as Dell from Private Practice). I knew I was going to love this film even before I saw it because I love friends-going-to-lake-houses-and-dealing-with-relationship-issues films (see my love for both Drinking Buddies and most recently, Your Sister’s Sister). These films always start out with a simple and innocent premise of vacationing and recalling childhood memories before turning darker and delving into the real reasons why all the characters are there and the problems between them. This time it is Daniel (a captivating Ryan Eggold) inviting his childhood friends to his lake house as a goodbye party for the house they all loved so much growing up. His friends include married couple Martin and Abby (Will Brill and Erin Darke), free spirit Charley (Jessy Hodges), reality TV star James (Brett Dalton), funny man Tom (Beck Bennett), and Daniel’s former girlfriend Olivia (Britt Lower)…who brings along her new fiance Henry (Reid Scott). Besides knowing (and loving) Brett Dalton from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the cast was full of relative unknowns for me. It was one of those rare films where I wasn’t sitting there wondering if I knew anybody from something else and I could be completely captivated by the story and the believability of the characters. The chemistry of the cast struck me from the very beginning; it is easy to believe these people are childhood friends with their rapport.

Most of this realness comes not only from the way the characters interact, but also the script written by Lowell and his friend Mohit Narang, who actually attended the Big Bear Film Festival and was incredibly nice and answered every question asked of him, even from us lowly volunteers.  The script is one of those I respect so much for representing the way people, particularly old friends, actually talk. They make dirty jokes. They’re sometimes downright mean to one another. They tell stories that the others have heard a thousand times before. Most importantly they are deeply flawed people who love each despite of and because of these flaws.

I cannot say enough about the performances of this film. Eggold is outstanding; Daniel is equal parts pathetic, loveable, and heartbreaking. Out of everyone in the film, I could relate to his character the most-the romantic who doesn’t want to let go of the nostalgia of the past. And Dalton, who is one of my many Marvel fangirl crushes surprised me in ways I never thought he could. His performance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been one of the strongest on the show, but I never knew he had all this in him. It makes me excited to see him grow as an actor even further. The rest of the cast fills in well, each rounding out a strong cast with characters full of their own struggles. No one falls into a stereotype, they are all well rounded real people you feel like you could know or have known in your own life.  I particularly liked the portrayal of Martin and Abby as a young married couple trying to figure it all out.

Beside Still Waters is being released in theaters November 14th and everyone should go out and support this amazing film. It’s laugh out loud funny, sad, and mostly raw and real. You may have never had a lake house you visited with your friends, but this film will still resonate and make you nostalgic for days gone by and friends missed.


Needs Milk(4.5)

Final Thoughts

  • This film is dedicated: “To the dreamers. And all the parents gone too soon…which is every parent.” Which makes me cry.
  • During the Q&A for the film Narang said he and Lowell both wrote their own scripts and then combined them to make the final screenplay. He said that both of their scripts had very similar scenes, down to matching dialogue…without them having ever discussed it.
  • The film also includes some super 8 footage and Lowell’s black and white photography, both of which are used with great effect. Also, they look damn pretty.
  • This film has one of the best “let’s talk about what happened last night while we were all drunk out of our minds” scenes I’ve ever seen.

Film Festival Wrap Up:

  • My favorite film I saw at the festival was Split Gas (dir. Jacques Edeline) which also won the audience award for best feature. See it somehow if you can. Also, the soundtrack is awesome and the filmmakers/actors are some of the nicest people I met at the festival.
  • Shorts Bis Gleich (dir. Benjamin Wolff) and Glinda (dir. Nicole Cosgrove) both made me cry out of happiness and sadness.
  • The documentary My Shanghai (dir. P.H. Wells) was an incredibly interesting look at a woman imprisoned by the Japanese in China during WWII, something I didn’t even know happened despite my interest in the second World War. Also, the story is narrated by the woman who went through it all, now age 92.

Books Do It Better: ‘Gone Girl’ Trailer Talk

Rarely does a trailer get a book so. right.

My usual M.O. when I finish reading a book that is going to be a film (or already is one) is to close the book, compose my thoughts, and run to my computer. I need to know as soon as possible if the images that are in my head are the same ones that are coming to the big screen. Usually I am met with frustration and anger and cries of, “Did they even read the book?” while shaking my fists to the sky.

With Gone Girl I was never worried because like Allstate I knew the film was in good hands. It’s being directed by David Fincher. Fincher, my favorite director, the man who brought us Fight Club and The Social Network and another phenomenal book-to-film adaptation The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But I didn’t realize how not worried I had to be until I finished the book Saturday at 3:30 am (in a record of 14.5 hours for me) and then watched the trailer. Everything is spot on.

Gone Girl is a psychological thriller to the highest degree. As I was reading I kept growing more and more excited, not only for the
story, but because of how I could see what Fincher was going to do with the material. Fincher works best in shades of grey (literally and figuratively). His characters are morally ambiguous, usually in retaliation to society or their environments or a combination of the two. What better man to direct a film featuring downright unlikeable characters who manipulate your emotions every chance they get and where nothing is quite as it seems? A film about what knowing someone truly means and about the crazy things love does to us? In my mind, no one.

The casting is pretty spot on with Ben ‘Batffleck’ Affleck and Rosamund Pike in the lead roles of Nick and Amy Dunne. Both look the part, but also have the acting ability to pull off the rolls. I loved Pike in The World’s End, but already in the trailer alone she appears much differently than she did in that film.Her voice over narration is eerie and vulnerable, but with an undercurrent of something more sinister. I love Ben and I think he is perfect for the role of Nick who is described in the books as the working class kid who “looks like the rich-boy villain in an 80’s teen movie.” Both Nick and Ben are likable guys who you sometimes just want to punch. But never has a trailer nailed a moment from a book so perfectly as the quick flash to Ben as Nick attempting to smile at the press conference. Throughout the book many references are to the fact that because he’s so good looking, Nick doesn’t smile often so when he tries it comes off awkward and creepy. Just how Ben plays it. That’s when I knew this movie would be perfect and actually John Bender fist pumped in my living room.

The only thing I was surprised to see was the casting of Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry as Desi and Tanner Bolt respectively. Both actors are not at all how I pictured the characters and I’m hoping NPH can shed his likable persona for this character. Otherwise I can’t wait to see everyone else. I particularly like the looks of Carrie Coon as Margo and Kim Dickens as Detective Booney.

I know that a trailer does not necessarily have to indicated how good a film is going to be, believe me I’ve been let down before (I’m looking at you Where the Wild Things Are), but I just have so much hope for and faith in this film and its director. The only thing that makes me nervous is the fact that they are changing the ending as to not spoil the book for anyone. Flynn herself is the one wrote the screenplay and made the changes, but to me it seems like a disservice to have a book end differently than you intended it and the way it was read and loved/loathed by millions. Believe me, if you haven’t read it, it’s a hell of an ending. But don’t take my word for it, read the book before the film comes out. There’s really no other way to do it.

Final Thoughts

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are doing the music. Score! (Pun intended)
  • If you like Gone Girl then read the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Each book features a character who played a small part in the previous one and all work for the fictional Dublin Murder Squad. She is one of my favorite current authors and her books have great twists and real fleshed out characters. The 5th book in the series, The Secret Place, comes out today!

P.A. Life: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Freelance

Recently I’ve been writing a lot about my life in California, but I realize a lot of my family/friends/readers don’t know what it is that I actually came out here to do. I think I’ve mentioned before that I am a production assistant, but many people don’t know what that even means. I get asked, “What do you actually do?” on a daily basis. I’ve been trying to write the answer to that question in several posts, but it never seems to fit anywhere. Here are all the answers to some frequently asked questions like,”What is a production assistant?” and “Why don’t you just get a real job?”

What is a production assistant?IMG_1767

A production assistant is the lowest person on a film/TV set. Coffee running low? Need someone to stand in as the lighting department fixes the lights? Have paperwork to fill out/copies to be made/a chair that needs moving/an overflowing garbage? Ask a PA, those are all things we do. In the most basic terms, a PA is the extra set of hands that does the jobs that are essential for the rest of the crew to get the project made, but that the higher ups are too busy to do. We do anything and everything that’s asked of us. Seriously.

Okay, so what do you do all day?

There is no typical day as a PA. It depends on what type of project you are working on and what your role is. On an “average” day I will go on runs (meaning going out and purchasing/picking up anything that’s needed on set from food to wigs to cardboard boxes), restock the kitchen (film crews can eat), move something heavy (there is always something heavy to move), and help any department that needs assistance (could be the camera, lighting, or art departments or even a producer or director who needs an extra hand). Like I said before, my job is to assist everyone else. It’s right there in my title. Sometimes I’ll get to do side projects of my own like research or writing.

Is that stuff any fun?

It can be! The fun part about being a PA is that everyday is different. There is always something new to learn and someone new to meet. Being a PA allows you interact with almost everyone else on the crew, many of whom started out their careers as a PA. You gotta start somewhere, right?

As a PA I have worked on some pretty cool shows. My first ever gig was on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade where I got to stand in Herald Square and see all of the performers and balloons come by. I’ve also worked on the Christmas Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Plaza, the season 14 finale of American Idol, a talk show called Just Keke, and a few reality shows. I’ve loved them all for different reasons. To me the best part is seeing all the hard work and the little pieces come together. That moment right before a show starts (especially a live one) is magical because anything can happen. (What you hope happens is the show goes off without a hitch.)

That all sounds great…what’s the catch?

Being a PA is fun, but it is also A LOT of work. The average day is 12.5 hours. This ain’t no 9-5 job so say goodbye to your social life. You will be exhausted pretty much every single day. Being a PA can also be very physical. There are tables and chairs to move, boxes to carry, sets that need to come up and down. When a show is over PAs have to help with load out which means taking EVERYTHING that was brought in has to come out so the next show or whatever can come in. So all of office supplies, computers, hair and makeup products, food, you name it, it must be moved. During load out you will not go home and eat. You will go home and fall into your bed and maybe wake up in time for work the next morning.

Another not so fun part? No job security.  Shows/films/commercials end. Or sometimes they get canceled. Or decide to go on strike. You could be employed one day and unemployed the next.

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Wow that sucks.

Yeah it can suck, I get major anxiety every time a show ends and I don’t have another job lined up. But you know what would suck to me more? Working 9-5 in an office  and staring at a computer all day. I love being able to move around to different projects. Earlier this week I finished a show one day and the next day I was working on the Primetime Emmys. Not too shabby.

You don’t have a set job so why can’t you just take vacation/come home whenever you want?

The nature of production is very fast paced. If things are happening they are happening tomorrow or right now. If I leave, I can’t work and I will be replaced. It’s as simple as that. Since I don’t have a “normal”  job I could be unemployed tomorrow or I could be booked for the next 2 months, but I won’t know until that phone rings.

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Also, each day of production relies on the day before so when I am working and you want to hang out with me be prepared to make plans at the very last minute.

I get out late, I work early, I’m usually tired. Sometimes I don’t even know what time or if I’m working the next day. And if there’s a problem a shoot will run late or the scenes will have to be completed the next day. This can change everyone’s schedule. That’s just the way it is. There are a lot of little parts that depend on other little parts and sometimes these things can’t be helped. Hence, no social life.

Is there anything else we should know about your life as PA?

Wow thanks for asking such good questions. Sure there is. Please stop asking me when I’m going to get a real job.

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This is my real job. My hours may be unconventional, I may spend my days sweeping glitter and counting walkie talkies and worrying if we have enough red vines, but this is what I do. I won’t always be a PA, but there’s a good chance that as long as I stay in this industry my life will always be like this. This is the business we’ve chosen. But it also means I get to go to the Emmys so that’s a trade off I’m willing to make.

This is the most basic of description of what a PA does so if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask. I am in no way an expert, but I can share my stories and experiences. It’s an important job that I feel like more people should know about (and yes that has 110% to do with the fact that it is my job and me who is doing it)!

P.S. If you happen to be reading this and need a PA, I’m available.

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A Little More Personal: Time Spent in Los Angeles

So A LOT has happened since my last post about my life in California. 3 more months have gone by making this my fourth month living in California. I cannot even begin to explain how surreal that is to type. Four month is a lifetime. It’s a high school relationship. So much can happen in that amount of time and really so much has happened in that amount of time. The one major change since my last post?  NO MORE COUCH SURFING. That’s right,I actually have a permanent California address. I live in the Valley, which means I’m actually a Valley Girl.

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(If you care, living in “The Valley” means that when you are looking at the hills, you see where the Hollywood sign should be, but not the letters themselves, the backs of them. Basically it’s like living in Long Island or maybe even Brooklyn without the hipsters, you can go to/see Manhattan, but you don’t actually live there.)

So I’m an adult now.

I pay rent. And bills. Too many bills. I cook for myself. Or I eat cereal. I still don’t have a bed because buying a mattress scares the crap out of me and its expensive, but these things take time. It was just a few weeks ago that my10525833_10204361307497289_5708163816375541443_n roommate and I were eating our meals off cardboard boxes  and having our friends sit on the floor when they came to visit us. We just got a couch and a table and even had a bonafide trip to Ikea. I can’t believe how far we’ve come. With every experience, I have proven to myself more and more that, yes I can do this. As much as I’ve cried and struggled (and still cry and struggle), I am making it. I am quite literally living my dreams and at the same time doing things I never dreamed possible. If you had asked me earlier this year if I saw myself not only moving cross country, but finding work and making friends and having a place of my own (with a pool) I would have say no way Jose.

All of this living on my own has really made me both appreciate and miss my parents. I finally understand why my dad constantly yelled at us for leaving the lights on or why my mom always wanted us to be just a little neater. Having your own place is a lot of work! It makes me realize all of the things I took for granted. Not to get all PSA-ey on everyone, but if you live at home or anywhere within driving distance of your parents, appreciate it. Don’t just call, visit them. The thing I miss the most about home is not pizza or Dunkin Donuts or free laundry, but just sitting and talking/laughing/joking with my family. Sure that sounds sappy, but living 3,000 miles away from the people you love can do that to you.

Other than missing my family and furnishing my apartment I’ve been spending a lot of time working which is alway good. I don’t like sitting still and more than anything I hate being bored. Recently I’ve spent my time working on several different shows. I worked on a talk show for a little while and recently I’ve been on a reality competition show. I’ve enjoyed the reality show because I’ve been able to see the entire season of the show from start to finish which I find fascinating. People may knock reality TV, but a lot goes into making it all come together. There are challenges to plan and contestants to watch over and eliminations to be had. It’s all be great fun.

Next up in my life? Looking for the next project and the project after that, finally making that big bed purchase, and counting down the days until Christmas when I can finally go home and see my family and friends (127).

I’ll end this post with a little list…

California Favs:

  • Malibu


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I really can’t say enough about it. Every beach I’ve been to is prettier than the next.

  • Hiking. Yeah it really is that good here.
  • Thai food. Seriously some of the best I’ve ever eaten.
  • In-N-Out. Completely lives up to the hype and then some.
  • Catered meals. If you work at all in production you will understand what a gift that is. If you don’t it basically means someone provides a hot lunch for you on set. No pb&j for this girl. (Wow a lot of these involve food)
  • Making friends with other transplants who also work in production and have no family/other friends close by and so we all live the struggle together.

California Un-favs:

  • The fact that the L.A. Kings beat my NY Rangers and now I have to listen to everyone pretend to care about hockey for another season (compounded by the fact that Kings tickets are now RIDICULOUSLY expensive and I will never again be able to see a hockey game live)
  • Traffic. Where are you all going at 9 am on on Saturday??
  • Parking. Paying for parking, actually parking, not finding parking. (Yes, I have officially become one of those people.)
  • Chinese food. Those are not egg rolls, those are spring rolls. All I want is a crispy shelled deliciousness. Is that too much to ask?
  • Bills.
  • Being this close to Comic-Con and missing it (this year at least).
  • Not having any good celebrity sightings (besides Lance Bass).

Oh and here’s the song that inspired the post title: