- Calm, Cool, and Contentious: Essays by Merrill Markoe ~ A delight from start to finish.
- Adoption for Dummies ~ This is a real book. On a topic about which until recently I was pretty dumb. But you have to start somewhere, and I’m learning.
- Guardians of the Galaxy ~ I have loved Chris Pratt since his Bright Abbott days, and I love him still. Had a great time at this movie. (GOD, I LOVED EVERWOOD. Let’s watch another Bright and Hannah scene just for fun & tears.)
- Boyhood ~ I don’t think I could ever love a Richard Linklater movie more than the Before Sunrise-Sunset-Midnight trilogy, but this was quite a feat and ultimately very moving to me, especially the scene with Patricia Arquette in the apartment at the end.
- Ghostbusters ~ How fun was it to see this on the big screen for the first time in 30 years? Fun. Very fun!
- Playing House is obviously my comedy of the year, and the drama of the year slot is now officially filled by Rectify. Holy crap, did this show make me cry. I’m still kind of working my way around this one in my head and heart. But I can’t recommend it enough. First season is on Netflix, and you can buy the second season’s episodes, which just ended their run on Sundance. Or maybe they’re on Sundance On Demand if you get that channel. I truly, really love it. I love the actor who plays Daniel the best, but they’re all so good. And it features Luke Kirby, who played the actor who played Romeo opposite Rachel McAdams’ Juliet in my beloved Slings and Arrows, and that makes me happy, too. Mostly this show is like a boot on the heart but with bursts of beauty that made me sigh and weep about a million times. I can’t believe I am done. I remain devastated.
- Happy Valley is my latest and greatest marathon experience. Thanks a lot, Allison! I’d never heard of it until she wrote about it, and now I think I am probably obsessed and I’ve only watched two episodes. It’s really upsetting and REALLY good.
- I’ve been listening to my Vince Chao’s band’s new album a lot. It’s excellent!
- This has been the summer of the podcast for me. Here are some of my faves: Extra Hot Great; You Made It Weird, the Lennon Parham, Jessica St. Clair, Sarah Silverman, and Tig Notaro episodes; and WTF, the previously mentioned wonderful interview with Jack Antonoff and also Jason Isbell and Lena Dunham and Claire Danes. Claire Danes! Who actually comes across as pretty likable. And Isbell and Dunham are obviously the most lovable people in the world. Except for maybe Lennon & Jessica.
Favorite things on Internet:
”Rectify” wants to know everything about its finely drawn characters. It wants to examine, rigorously yet gently, all the things that bring them both joy and despair. It’s deeply interested in what makes Holden and his family members tick, and each one of them is realistically messy and complicated. As the second season progressed and filled out each person’s psychological backstory, Holden and his friends, family and enemies grew into some of the most fascinating characters on television.
Gravity yanks us down, even a man as stunning in every way as Robin. We need a lot of help getting back up. And even with our battered banged up tool boxes and aching backs, we can help others get up, even when for them to do so seems impossible or at least beyond imagining. Or if it can’t be done, we can sit with them on the ground, in the abyss, in solidarity.
As many know, my performance as Olaf in Frozen is inspired by the great Robin Williams. When I first met with the film’s directors, I told them I wanted to create a character as free and as wonderfully surprising at every turn as the greatest Disney sidekick I had ever known: the Genie. Olaf will never remotely touch the tour de force that is Robin’s Genie. Because there is only one Robin Williams. But the joy and laughter that my little snowman has brought to children is because of the man who has left this world far too early. A man who taught me to be free, to be childlike, and a man who taught me to get out of my own way as a performer. His gift was to take all of our pain away and to allow us to escape. If only we could have returned the favor.
But I know how tired he must have been. I know how tired I’ve been with it. I wish this weren’t the only way he could find to rest. I hope he does rest; I hope all you other Robin Williamses out there know that someone will come. We’ll get to you somehow. Please stay.
- Still loving Price Peterson’s SYTYCD recaps with Joe Reid’s editorial comments very much.
- All of the Playing House blooper reals. I’ve probably posted this link before but I might never stop posting it. I swear, this show is just the best.
Best Food Eaten:
This ice cream cone beside Lake Harriett in Minneapolis. It tasted like summer and everything good about the United States of America.
I wish I had taken a photo of the pre-game spread concocted by my friend PG before the first LSU game because it was a meaty spectacular featuring chicken grilled in a muffin tin. But I was too busy eating my face off. I am so lucky to have the friends that I do; I will never know what I did to deserve them.
I drove to Monroe for Anna Beth’s back surgery and watched the sun rise through the car window and drove over one of my favorite old bridges. Even though this trip wasn’t for the merriest of reasons, it was nice to see my sweet friends.
And I flew for a mini-First Descents reunion with my friends Katia and Bourbon to Minneapolis, where we visited cute shops, practiced Yin, sampled delicious bourbon, ate hundreds of fried cheese curds, wore pajamas, walked around beautiful lakes, pet a sweet dog, and celebrated outliving it together.
My favorite walk was a sunny day through some gardens in Minneapolis. Just lovely summer goodness.
Flowers, Plants, and Trees:
In a garden in Minneapolis I saw what I think is the most beautiful rose I’ve ever seen.
Pets Still Alive:
Both! Though Marley is still barfing on the serious reg despite all kinds of thyroid medicine adjustments. Who even knows anymore?
Best August events:
S. and her family have returned from Japan, and we’re all just very stoked about it. And my sister had the cutest and best baby ever born in the whole wide world.
Bullets Being Bitten:
My friend Allison sent me this tiny wooden box. We’ve talked a lot over the years about her adoption experience and how it’s something I was thinking of pursuing, and every hesitation or question I’ve ever presented her to her, starting years ago but especially recently, has been met with the following: “Yeah, but if you want to do this, you just have to bite the bullet.” How do regular humans afford adoption? “Well, there are loans and cash-out refis and HELOCS and such, this is what people do all the time, you just have to bite the bullet.” Home study? “It’s a pain, but it’s not that hard, it’s just a lot of paperwork, you just have to bite the bullet.” Child care? Pediatricians? “Just ask your friends for recommendations, it’ll all work out, just bite the bullet.” But will people think this is a good idea? “Of course they will, you lunatic. You just have to start biting the bullet and telling people what you’re doing.” And she’s right — everyone is psyched and being super supportive all over the place. It’s basically short-hand at this point: “BULLET.” And I think it’s good advice and now I look at this box all the time as I basically bite bullets left and right. One wild and precious life. Whatever your bullets are, bite them. The End! Namaste.