Amanda Gates
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A Musings

While it’s not hard for everybody, high school can be a bitch. I wasn’t popular, but I also wasn’t picked on either. (I was bullied in elementary school, but that was one stupid boy, and not after fifth grade.) I think I just didn’t make enough waves with the way I acted or dressed, etc., to merit much attention from anyone who picked on people. (Basically, I was pretty boring.) But, high school wasn’t fun. My friends and I still got in fights. We still gave each other the silent treatment. I knew of sex, drugs, smoking and stealing happening, but I never felt pressured to participate – probably because I wasn’t in the groups that were doing it.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth takes a look at the “cafeteria fringe,” those kids who just don’t feel like they belong because one or two groups create a culture of conformity (or the school itself promotes conformity) and if you don’t conform, you’re weird, scary, creepy, nerdy… what have you. Alexandra Robbins, famous for her ability to relate to and write about teens (see The Overachievers and Pledged, both excellent), interviewed fringe students all over the country and focused on a few – the loner, the nerd, the new girl, the popular bitch, the gamer, the band geek, the weirdo – and followed them throughout a school year. The stories of these kids and their struggles are so engaging and interesting, plus Robbins intersperses all the stories with facts and studies that prove why the “fringe” have the qualities needed to be successful (think Spielberg, Taylor Swift) and why conformity and group dynamics can really mess things up.

I mean, the world is pretty much one big high school, isn’t it?

One theme of the book that I found really interesting is Robbins’ look into the school system in America and how it pretty much sets up “fringe” students for failure. Football is celebrated; the math team isn’t. Popular kids get away with everything; emo or goth kids get told to change their hair or their clothes. Plus, teachers have their own cliques, too, and leave out, and even bully, other teachers. At the end she gives parents, students and teachers several ideas to help change this behavior and they’re good ideas.

Again, while it may not be true for everybody, I believe once you get to college, everything is better. Everyone is back on an even playing field. When I was a freshman, the only few people I knew in my dorm were kids who were considered “nerds” at my high school. Fortunately, I related a bit to the nerds and when I needed one of them to help set up my computer, he did. But, think if I’d been a popular bitch, now all alone at college, why would he help me? All of a sudden, he could be the popular one and ::poof:: the tables are turned. If my child has any trouble in high school (or if he turns out to be a popular jerk), I’m going to remind him of this reality.

Anyway, once again, Robbins writes an engaging, fun, insightful book where I even learned a little something. (I also read that Jennifer Garner is working on producing a TV show based on the book for sometime in the future.)

Posted: Fri, 01/06/2012 - 16:39 | Comments: 2

My mother-in-law is always very generous on my birthday (all year round, actually), sweeping through my Amazon wish list. Here's what she bought me this year:

Blue Nights, by Joan Didion: While I know it won't be uplifting, I absolutely loved The Year of Magical Thinking. I'm intrigued to hear about the rest of the story. She's suffered so much loss and to just put it out there like that, well, that's inspiring.

The Zygote Chronicals, by Suzanne Finnamore: I know several people who have read and LOVED, so I'm anxious to read this short piece, and maybe try out one of her other books.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life, by Anne Lamott: Ever since college, I've known this is a must-read book for writers. So, why haven't I read it yet? I have no excuses. My friend Katie recently read this (as well as the previous) and enjoyed it. I take all her recommendations very seriously.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, by Alexandra Robbins: I read and loved Pledged and The Overachievers. Robbins has a great voice and writing style, throwing in experts and studies with real life conversations and situations. I love that this book gives a voice to high school students who find themselves on the "cafeteria fringe."

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, by John Medina: This book sounds good, but we'll see, almost two years into parenting, how much I nod my head at and how much I shake my head at. Because at 20 months, our kid seems super smart and happy already; it'll be interesting, nonetheless!

Safekeeping: Some True Stories from Life, by Abigail Thomas: I read A Three Dog Life by Thomas about her struggle after her husband gets in a horrible accident. It was quite moving, so I was intrigued by this book as well.

Is Everbody Hanging Out Without Me?, by Mindy Kaling: When I was going through a rough time in the spring, my husband bought me Bossypants. It was perfect - light and funny. Well, I had another rough experience a couple weeks ago and my best friends bought me this book. I can't wait to get started!

Archives: Birthday Books 2009, 2008, 2007

Posted: Fri, 12/23/2011 - 11:23 |

Every year I compile a post about the top 5 books I read that year. In 2010, with a new baby, I didn’t read as much as usual. And while I just missed my goal of reading 25 books this year, I’m happy with how much I was able to read. Being able to check out library books on my Kindle helped tremendously with this.

Here are the Top 5 Books I read in 2011.

The Book Thief: At first, death as the narrator was a little off-putting. But I quickly got into it and the book was just fabulous. Heart-wrenching, but full of love. I loved the father and I loved the girl. I enjoyed learning about the war from this perspective. It’s hard to imagine that this is considered a young adult book, because I thought the themes were quite mature.

Cutting for Stone: I don’t even know what made me first buy this book. I think Amazon just kept recommending it and it had such great reviews. And while it took me weeks to read, it was worth it for the in-depth family history, the beautiful prose and the complicated relationships. These children grew up in interesting times in Ethiopia, but they were fortunate to have wonderful adoptive parents. I think the family dynamic – and the love for one another – was my most favorite part.

Bossypants: I was in need of a light book and a good laugh this past spring and my husband knew just what to buy me. Sure, this isn’t Cutting for Stone-like prose, but it’s hilarious. Tina Fey is humble and self-deprecating and one funny woman. She tells her story chronologically but through vignettes instead of year by year. I loved learning about her dad, her SNL friends, her thoughts on women in comedy and her thoughts on motherhood. I borrowed this book to no less than seven other woman who also loved it.

Unbroken: I give five stars to very few books on Goodreads, but this one is most deserving of such high praise. Hillenbrand is gifted in telling true stories and making you feel like you’re right there; in this case, in a fighter jet, floating on an ocean or in a POW camp. Louie’s journey is remarkable and I feel fortunate for having the opportunity to read about him. Not very many books make you feel that way.

The Forgotten Garden: I have yet to post about this book, which is really absurd, because I adored it from page one. Maybe I just don’t think I can put into words how sweet and magical this book was for me. A story told throughout three different periods of time, all interconnecting within a mystery. Plus, not only does the author write this complicated tale, she also writes a smattering of original fairy tales within the book. It’s amazing.  Kate Morton was new to me with this book, but I’m now halfway through The Distant Hours (almost as good) and I’ve heard House at Riverton is wonderful, too.

Honorable Mention

The Hunger Games series: I loved the first book but after that the books (Catching Fire & Mockingjay) went downhill for me. I was actually a bit disappointed in the ending. However, I’m very glad I read this series. It’s more mature than Twilight, which was a very nice perk for a young adult series. The trailer for the movie is phenomenal, so I’ll be seeing that for sure.

What are your top books for 2011?

Archives of Top Books: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

Posted: Mon, 12/12/2011 - 16:48 | Comments: 6

When I first read about Amy Chua and her book in the Wall Street Journal, I jumped on the “this woman is ca-ra-zy” bandwagon. But then, the more and more I read about her, the more I wondered if she was just misunderstood? (Or was she just acting ca-ra-zy to sell more books?) Now that I’ve read the book, well, I’m still conflicted in my feelings.

When she says that accepting the best from your children is the only way a parent should behave, well, that makes sense. When she says that people don’t get good at things without practicing, that makes sense, too. She made me think that yes, maybe we Western parents do coddle our children a bit. Maybe we do make them feel entitled. Maybe they do become more disrespectful or rude. Or, by not making them practice, by not expecting the best grades through rigorous homework schedules, by instead letting them make their own choices, we’re in fact being lazy parents. Hmmm.

However, there are other times when I can’t believe the words she’s writing down. Sometimes they’re so out of this world, I laughed assuming she was joking (“Playing the drums will lead to drugs.”), but I’m not so sure she is. For example, this is what she says about her dogs, yes, her DOGS:

“My dogs can’t do anything—and what a relief. I don’t make any demands of them, and I don’t try to shape them or their future. For the most part, I trust them to make the right choices for themselves. I always look forward to seeing them and I love watching them sleep. What a great relationship.”

That’s how many Western parents feel about their children - trusting them to make choices and looking forward to seeing them.

And the fact that she spent the weekends driving her child two hours to and from New York City for a one-hour violin lesson? Um, no. What the heck was she doing for herself? But then, she doesn’t believe parents should do much for themselves, I don’t think. She’s not “getting pedicures or massages,” and seemed to judge those of us who do. But, she also seemed run a little ragged; I think she could use a good massage every now and then.

When it came to practicing piano, my own mom was a bit of a Tiger Mother. While I wouldn’t have to sit there and practice for five hours a day (and I could still go on sleepovers), there are many, many times during the first 5-6 years where I would sit at the bench for hours refusing to practice and she would yell and yell at me. She would slam doors. She would stomp around. For some reason, to her, piano was very important. However, one day she was so mad she slammed her hand against the wall. She sprained and bruised her thumb. That was the day, she told me later, when she realized it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to our relationship or my wellbeing. She rarely yelled at me after that and she let me quit having to do the recitals (my stage fright was nearly immobilizing). She switched me to a more laid-back teacher. And I kept taking piano lessons for 5 more years. And then she let me quit. And to this day, even if I can’t play very well anymore, I don’t regret quitting (or taking lessons, for that matter). And later when I started band playing the flute, she never pushed me to practice – I practiced for me. And the flute was my choice. I stayed in band for six years and enjoyed nearly every minute.

I’m glad that Chua had her younger daughter Lulu to throw her for a bit of a loop. If both her children accepted their fate like her older daughter Sophia did, Chua would be singing the praises of Chinese parenting as loud as she could. I appreciated her struggles with her younger daughter. I still think she went too far, refusing meals and sleep until practice was done, but at least she learned different children respond to different parenting methods.

In the end, it was a good book. She’s humorous, sarcastic (I think) and a good storyteller. I got great insight into another way to parent. And while I don’t agree with very many of her methods, I do think both sides can learn a bit from each other.

Posted: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 09:49 |

(Disclosure: Tiny Prints has offered me 50 holiday cards for writing about their collection of cards.)

I first came across Tiny Prints right before Father’s Day. Another site I read, Money Saving Mom, alerted its readers to a free Father’s Day card from Tiny Prints. A Father’s Day card that could be personalized with a picture of his little boy? Um, yes, my husband would love that. And you know who else would, too? My dad. I perused the Tiny Prints website and the designs were darling. Nothing cheesy, nothing kitschy, just super cute. I created my cards and they were mailed to me within days. I was so excited to give them to my husband and my dad; and they loved them!

Well, here comes Christmas, and honestly, I’m not one to send out Christmas cards. Not at all. However, I got to perusing Tiny Prints again and fell in love with the Christmas card designs. Once again, they're unique yet classic feeling. I like those with multiple photos and ones that don’t overuse (or use at all) red and green. I've included a couple of my favorites.

 

Which do you like best? And, seriously, where do they find such adorable families to be on their cards? We're pretty cute over here, if you ever need more models!

 

Do you send out holiday cards? Do you like getting holiday cards in the mail? (I love getting them and put them up on the fridge!)

 

 

 

Posted: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 15:14 | Comments: 2

WARNING: This post may contain spoilers, because, frankly, I’m like FIVE years behind the rest of the world here. If you're even more behind than me, don't read.

I finally finished Mad Men, or at least I’m all caught up. It took about three months of watching three episodes on some nights and catching one during naptime here and there. I have some feelings about the show, but the feelings I had at the beginning definitely weakened by the end.

The Sexism: This was the most jarring issue when I first started watching the show. I seriously almost turned it off for good. I could not believe the disgusting behavior of these men. When one guy, during a company party, chases a secretary around the office to then tackle her and see the color of her underwear? Are you kidding? Puke. But, I became desensitized or something because by the end of season 4, that stuff rarely bothered me anymore. But thinking that’s what women went through in the workplace back then? How frightening.

Pete Campbell: I hate that guy. That’s all.

Joan Harris: Love. Her clothes, her hair, her voice, her personality. Love.

Betty Draper: She’s a special kind of psycho, isn’t she? At first I felt bad for her, stuck in that house with those kids all day while her husband gallivants around. Of course she’s lonely! Of course she’s depressed! But, now, I just think she’s psycho. I see a Don/Betty reunion of some form in the future, too, with the way Season 4 ended.

The kids: Should we look more closely at kids who were born in the 50s and 60s to these parents? How are they even normal today? With the smoking and drinking during pregnancy. Being completely ignored most of the time. Being smacked. Left alone in the house sleeping while their parents go next door. Wow.

Colin Hanks: He played a very small role in only a few episodes, but I really enjoyed him as the priest. It’s amazing how similar he is to his dad. The head tilts and the mannerisms are uncanny.

Peggy Olson: I have mixed feelings about Peggy, too. I like her for the most part, but I think she feels entitled to more than she really is. And seriously, how can she work with and even look at Pete? She seems to have more emotion over some things (a campaign, her job) than she does about others (a baby, her relationships). I guess she fits in with “the boys” that way.

Don Draper: Now to the star of the show. I have complex feelings about Don, but then, he’s a complex fellow, with his split life. Don is not a good husband. I’m still trying to figure out why he’s so unfaithful. Is it because of his past life? Because, when he first met Betty, as we saw through flashbacks with Anna, he was a different man then. I don’t think that Don would’ve been unfaithful. However, he constantly lives a lie, so maybe continuing to lie goes with the territory?

Also, I think the flashback of how Roger and Don met explains a bit, too. It shows Don had some of his same willfulness that he does now, but it also makes me think that by spending time with Roger in his toxic environment, it made Don who he is today: a drunk, unfaithful, heartless (at times), self-involved, engaged to his secretary. They’re taking a similar path, just 20 years apart.

My friend asked me if I wondered how Don even got all those women. Because, really, what’s so freakin’ special about him? I never even gave that thought until she said something, but now I agree. He broods and barely speaks. He’s charming for all of two minutes and they fall into bed with him. Anyone he wants. And I can’t figure out why.

Jon Hamm: However, Don Draper is making think Jon Hamm is awesome. Being late to Mad Men, I was introduced to Hamm via 30 Rock and SNL and he was hilarious. So, I’m impressed he can play well two completely different roles. You see some of that in early Dick Whitman/Don Draper days – or any scene where he doesn’t slick back his hair.

I think the show is a touch slow in places, but I enjoy it and will continue to watch when the new season returns.

Posted: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 15:03 |

Three years ago this November I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I wrote about 1,000 words a weeknight and 3,000 words a weekend day (November 2008 had five weekends – bonus!) and completed a 50,000-word+ young adult novel (you can read a little about it here.). If you finished, they offered up a free, bound copy of your masterpiece, so I even have something in book-form to show for it.

My husband says I should do it again. “Write the sequel,” he says. “But we have a baby,” I say, as I lay exhausted on the couch each night. With November coming up, I was thinking about my NaNoWriMo experience, and also the experience of giving birth, and thought, "You know, they’re kind of similar."

At first, you’re like, “No, I can’t do this. That’s crazy.” Write a novel in month? Get pregnant and have a baby? Too hard. Not for me. But then you think about it and think about it and, well, you like a challenge (and maybe someone else is there too like, ahem, a husband, who is very persuasive). So, you say, “OK, I’ll go for it!”

You start off all excited. You write a chapter (you get pregnant). Woo! But after a short time – say, one week of NaNoWriMo or 5 weeks of pregnancy – you start to feel tired and sick to your stomach and all of a sudden you wonder, “What am I doing?!” But you can’t stop now! (Obviously, you can stop NaNoWriMo, but I wasn’t going to quit, so just play along…)

By mid-week the second week (i.e. second trimester), you’re renewed with energy. Maybe you’ve got some cheerleaders in your corner pumping you up, maybe you’ve found your groove (you’ve nested) and you think once again that this whole big, hard thing is something you can do. “I’m kicking butt!” you say.

However, by the end of week three (i.e. month nine), you’ve had it. “I just want this to be over!” you say. But there’s still work to be done. You’re losing sleep. This project is All You Can Think About.

And then comes the end, where you have to write like 5,000 words in two days to finish (or, you have to head to the hospital and push out a baby). You work at it and work at it, your husband says, “You can do it!” and finally, just when you think you can’t write one more word (or give one more push), this thing you created, your baby, is here.

And you feel relief. And exhaustion. And so much pride. Everyone is proud of you. They look at what you’ve done and tell you, “It’s the best thing ever!”

So, yeah, you’re proud. And happy. And so glad you did it!

But, my God, you never want to do that again!

Until you do.

Because that’s the thing with the memory. You remember it was hard, but the rewarding feeling and the feeling of pride you get every time you look at what you made, well, those feelings override all that hard stuff.

(So, yeah, I kind of want to do NaNoWriMo again. Now, if only I could pop the baby up on a shelf like I can a novel.)

 

Posted: Fri, 10/14/2011 - 15:36 | Comments: 1

I decided to blog about these two books together because throughout most of each of them, I felt pretty much the same way: Creative concept, hateful characters.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

First, here’s what I wrote on Goodreads after I finished it a few months back:

“So, I give this a big 'eh.' The execution is clever, with chapters about different characters at different time periods all connecting in weird ways. A chapter completely in PowerPoint - kind of brilliant and I actually loved that. A chapter written like a profile about a celebrity you could find in Esquire – also clever. However, the characters? JERKS. Every last one of them. And as I started each chapter and each new person was another psycho, weirdo, inconsiderate d-bag, I just didn't care one bit. I kept reading, hoping to care about SOMEONE, but alas I was just thankful it was over.”

I hold to my initial review. I imagine this book, written in this format, about characters I would actually like and care about, and wow, it would’ve been amazing then. However, I did read an article about the author, and while I still hate everyone in the book (OK, except Stephanie. I could maybe like Stephanie.), discovering that each character’s story is like an A Side and a B Side to their life… well, again, clever, very, very clever.

Of course, Egan will win the Pulitzer and I’ll look like the jerk, but there are plenty of things people love that I just don’t get (i.e. The Simpsons & Mumford & Sons).

One Day

This was one of the first Kindle books I bought last year, but then everyone hated on it and told me not to read it, so I didn’t. But, there comes a day when you’re desperate for something to read on the bus, so I started it. Like Goon Squad, the execution is very interesting: telling the story of two people by only focusing on one day (July 15) of every year (for like 20 years). That part of it I really, really enjoyed. It’s refreshing to read a book about someone’s life that isn’t just perfectly chronological. One day every year, and as a reader I didn’t really think I was missing anything in between.

However, again, the characters. While I did enjoy Emma and her self-deprecating humor and her wanting to be a writer and loving the same man for many years (many of us are/were an Emma), Dexter was not likeable at all. I would want to take him and shake him for being so drunk and slutty and insulting and hateful all the time. And why was Emma even his friend? I found myself skimming his parts, particularly in the middle of the book, just disgusted with his behavior.

I didn’t give up, and in the end, I’m glad I didn’t. I actually thought the ending helped redeem the book. Dexter became a better person (and Emma remained true to herself) and some of the emotions he felt at the end of the book truly resonated with me. Maybe this was a book about Dexter’s journey and we were meant to hate him lots of the time. I don’t know. Obviously, because I hated him and skimmed much of the middle of the book, that still makes it just OK for me.

Posted: Thu, 10/06/2011 - 07:55 |

My thoughts on the last half of the week.

The Middle: I wasn’t quite sure about this show when it first started two seasons ago, but it has Neil Flynn (Scrubs Janitor) and he’s hilarious, so. But now, this show has really grown on me and I actually find it refreshing. Here’s a family who’s pretty much like the rest of us – living paycheck to paycheck, making parenting mistakes, living in middle American in a tiny, rundown home, and just trying to get by. (All the Modern Family families live in huge houses and only one spouse works.) The kids are annoying but hilarious and I really feel for the parents. The season premiere was a classic episode – very entertaining.

Modern Family: So, while I can’t relate to the money these families enjoy, that doesn’t mean they’re any less fun to watch. I was so happy to see Julie Bowen and Ty Burell win the Emmy because they are a hilarious couple – my favorite couple on the show. Both new episodes were filled with the typical shenanigans and fights, with everyone making up in the end – but never in a cheesy way. I particularly enjoy watching Jay act like a father again to Manny; it’s very touching.

Community: This show is just so lovably weird. The musical opening was hilarious and John Goodman is definitely a great villain (but is he really a villain when the Dean is just so annoying?). I hope the group has the whole “who’s in and who’s out of the study group” thing figured out now and can just get back to entire-group shenanigans.

Parks & Rec: OK, I know Leslie should reach for her dreams over picking some man, but, ugh, I just love those two together! But, the show needed a little something else and a city council run should be quite entertaining. And I just love Ron Swanson. (Plus, new hair for Chris, Ann and April!)

The Office: This was a big worry for me. How would it feel without Michael? Well, it felt like an episode where Michael is on vacation. It will probably take awhile to sink in that he’s not really there; it wasn’t as funny for me, but I’ve always loved Michael Scott. Andy in the big office felt just OK. I was never sold on anyone else in the office getting the gig, so I’m kind of disappointed they didn’t find an outsider to fill it. Andy stood up for his crew in the end (though he was quite spineless otherwise), which felt Michaelesque. My husband and I both like Robert California. And why is Gabe still there? I’m on the fence, but rarely do I give up on a show that’s been my favorite for so many years. (I thought this review from Salon was quite good. Bringing back the fear couldn’t hurt.)

The Big Bang Theory: I’m pleased with the way the Penney and Raj situation turned out. Sheldon is his same old self. There was really nothing broken with this show, so the fact that it’s maintaining itself is fine with me. This show always makes me laugh and it has done a really great job of adding supporting characters who are very likeable, or at least likeable to watch (Bernadette, Amy, the mothers, etc.).

Whitney: With all the negative reviews, I couldn’t bring myself to watch. We just DVR’d both Big Bangs and got all five shows in before 9 pm.

Prime Suspect: I watched the first 15 minutes. Again, love Maria Bello, so I could see myself tuning in now and again, especially if it’s procedural and I won’t be missing anything by not watching every week.

Quickly, on second viewing:

Parenthood: The second episode was even better than the first. I’m happy with nearly everything that happened (yay for Sarah!) and I cried at the things in life that suck (mainstreaming Max).

Up All Night: The second episode hit home for us again. We saw ourselves in them as they spied on the neighbors and were upset with the loud music. Again, the home part of this show is great. The work part, Eh. I don’t enjoy Maya Rudolph’s Ava. She can do other characters/personalities so much better than this.

Free Agents: We watched another episode. While it was funnier than the pilot, I don’t see a reason to watch it anymore.

So, what are your hits and misses of season primeres?

Posted: Mon, 09/26/2011 - 09:33 | Comments: 1

We’re halfway through the first week of the new season of shows, and here’s what I’m watching;

Parenthood: The Bravermans return (how I love them) and it’s like they never left. The possibility of Crosby and Adam going into business together is too good to pass up. While I love Alex and Haddie, I knew having an older, sober boyfriend would put a damper on her fun. However, I hoped she would be a touch more mature than she proved to be in this episode. (And what’s with the hair?) My favorite moment, and it's moments like these that make this show so great, was when Camille reminded Sarah of Camille’s own 40th birthday party and Sarah's absence. Ah, parents… And then you become your parents… and the cycle continues. Love. (And where the heck was this show at the Emmys?! Lauren Graham deserves some Emmy love... Long overdue.)

Up All Night: I have mixed feelings. I enjoy the chemistry between Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. I like that they actually talk to each other and seem to want to do this parenthood thing as a team. The funniest moments were between the two of them. (“Are we dead?”) I can’t yet get onboard with Maya Rudolph’s character and the whole work environment. It just wasn’t funny. But, I’m still holding out hope for tonight's episode.

Free Agents: I didn’t have much interest in this show, but my husband wanted to DVR it. I half-watched it and wasn’t that entertained. The office environment just seems weird, Hank Azaria was annoying and I didn’t care about the characters.

HIMYM: Oh, I love this show. It so perfectly can flashback and forward and back further and forward just a bit, and you’re never confused. It’s so endearing. The season premiere was awesome in just this way. All characters are true to form: Marshall and Lily completely in love (and is that a little gray at Marshall’s temples?), Robin tough on the outside and soft on the inside, Ted is back to wanting to find true love, and Barney is the perfect mix of a womanizer with a sweet-soft spot in the center. And the possible return of Ashley Williams? A great, great surprise.

Two and a Half Men: We used to watch this show, but then it just got too raunchy and annoying for me. Only out of complete curiosity, I watched the first 15 minutes of the season premiere. The funeral, with all the jilted lovers was clever, as were the special guest stars (Dharma and Greg don’t look so happy anymore!) looking at the house that is now for sale – I just wish they’d thrown in maybe two more because that segment wasn’t long enough. Ashton Kutcher, though? Seriously, it’s like he’s a glimpse at what Jake will be like in the future: Stupid and whiny. Though, Jake would never have tons of money or be good with the ladies. It wasn’t even worth coming back to after the commercial break.

Glee: Like I said in an earlier post, Glee was losing it a little bit last year. The characters were becoming caricatures of themselves, and not nice ones either. The third season premier gave me a little hope. People seemed back to normal and things weren’t so serious. The songs were just OK for me in last night’s episode, but Sue was definitely back to her old self, which is great. I worry that with Blaine now being part of New Directions we won’t get as many Blaine solos (and I’m not quite onboard with the bow ties), but more Blaine can’t be bad, not at all.

New Girl: Oh, Zooey. She’s just so freakin’ adorable (as everyone thinks according to the New York Magazine feature), which makes this show very easy to like. While not very original in premise (a group of pretty young people sharing lives in a beautiful apartment), I really don’t think I can get tired of watching her solve her problems every week. (I wish Max Greenfield’s character wasn’t so d-bag-like because it’s bringing down my loving memories of his Veronica Mars character.)

Raising Hope: Best new show of 2010 and last night’s episode was a perfect welcome back. It’s just the right amount of quirky and ridiculous mixed with great emotion from a family who is always there for one another. I love it.

I’m already overwhelmed with the number of shows to watch. There were too many already, and throw in some new ones - plus Mad Men, Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad on Netflix! - and I just don’t have the time. I’ve already made the decision that I'll have to skip Prime Suspect (boo).

Looking forward to: The Middle, Modern Family, Big Bang, Community, Parks & Rec, The Office & Ghost Adventures.

Posted: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 08:43 |