This Is Us is my addiction

This Is Us is my addiction

I don’t usually consider myself a big TV watcher. Maybe it’s because, when I first moved to Sweden, I had to wait so long to see all of the new shows that my friends in the US had been watching for ages.

Nowadays, I don’t have to wait so long–either the shows I want to see I can stream via HBO Nordic or Netflix, or the licensing for Sweden has made it easier for them to begin airing most shows pretty much the same week as in the US.

Lately, I find myself addicted to one particular show: This Is Us. I stumbled upon a trailer for it and loved the premise of viewing a family’s life through different time periods. My husband can never keep up. He doesn’t always follow that we’re looking at Kate, Kevin and Randall when they’re kids, then as teenagers and then fast-forwarding to adulthood.

Now, if you’ve never seen This Is Us, it starts with Jack and Rebecca, who are expecting triplets. During the delivery, one of their babies dies. Rebecca is devastated. Jack finds out about an abandoned baby boy who was brought in by the fire department. Jack convinces Rebecca that they should adopt the baby and raise him with their surviving babies, Kevin and Kate. We follow the couple and the lives of their children, sometimes skipping forward in time, sometimes jumping backwards.

From left to right: Sterling K. Brown, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley.

For me, watching This Is Us gives me the same sort of emotional rollercoaster feeling of reading the best kind of novel–the kind that makes you feel like you aren’t simply a spectator, you’re present in the story, experiencing those emotional moments with the same intensity as the characters on the screen. I am also hooked to how they’re handling the race issues that are touched upon due to Randall, their adopted son, being black. His story arc is especially interesting because of his longing to find his birth parents, a desire that follows him into adulthood.

I know a lot of people hate This Is Us. They say it’s too over-the-top, that they’re taking too long to tell us what happened to Jack or how Rebecca ended up together with Miguel or will Kevin ever get his shit together. But I love the storytelling on this show. I don’t want nice, tidy endings to every episode. I want them to tease me with more so I keep coming back.

I love the cast: Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson, Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate and Justin Hartley as Kevin.

What about you? Are you as addicted to This Is Us?

 

 

My Tiny Obsession

My Tiny Obsession

 

Guys, I’m addicted to the tiny house shows on HGTV and the DIY network. I love everything about the tiny house movement.

What is this movement? Simply put, it is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Whether on wheels or a permanent foundation, there are tons of options. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space. While 100 sq ft is too small for me, 400-ish would be fine.

People are joining this movement for many reasons, but the most popular reasons include environmental and financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom. I don’t have an attachment to a lot of things. Minimalism is my cup of tea. But speaking of cups, I will need room for my coffee cup collection. Priorities, people. ūüôā

Tiny House Hunters takes the person/couple/family to see three options. (Note: I would not suggest living in one of these small space with a family. Growing up in a 1200 sq ft row home with eight people was pretty tight.) It’s interesting to see which house they’ll pick and their reasoning for doing so. I vote along at home. It’s fun.

Tiny Luxury follows the story of a single home being built. It’s fascinating, and shows that creativity and imagination go a long way in utilizing every inch of space to its best use.

One of the biggest problems seems to be finding land for a house you’ve had custom built. Where you can live in a tiny house is determined by local city, county and state zoning regulations and building codes. For example, in Philly, I could put one in a friend’s yard as the property secondary dwelling, but not on its own plot of land. So, clearly, I need to find friends with bigger yards. ūüôā

After watching these shows for a long time, I think I have what it takes to go tiny. As they say, try it before you buy it. And I’m going to do just that. I’ll be renting one for a few days, and will share the pics and my experience in a future post. After spending some time in the house, I’ll know for sure.

But I think it’s for me. Do you? Could you? Would you?

I’m Just A Nerdy Girl, Living In A Nerdy World

I’m Just A Nerdy Girl, Living In A Nerdy World

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m a total geek about all things Sci-Fi. Star Trek, Star Wars, doesn’t really matter (except for an enduring adoration for Chris Pine and Karl Urban in the new incarnation of Star Trek). If the action takes place in space, the final frontier, I’m watching it. And Guardians Of The Galaxy? Oh yeah. I’m on it. One of my all time favorites is FireFly.

There is something so intriguing about this series. I love the characters, the interaction, the fact that it seems to take place right here on Earth, yet we know if doesn’t. I didn’t know about the series until after I’d watched the spin-off movie, Serenity. I fell in love with the entire premise, and was hooked. If an episode of FireFly is on, I’m sitting down with popcorn to watch it.
True story – recently, we converted out Customer Management Software where I work. I didn’t have log-on credentials, so my supervisor told me to use his. He recited it, and it included the word serenity. He explained it was his favorite word and his mantra. I told him I figured it was a play on FireFly. His jaw dropped and when he recovered from the shock, he told me his regard for me just skyrocketed. We bonded over a sci-fi reference.

Are you nerdy like me? Do you park it on the couch to watch a favorite futuristic show? Please, don’t let me be the only nerdy girl living in a nerdy world.

Have you tried the Santa Clarita Diet yet?

Have you tried the Santa Clarita Diet yet?

I’ve been binge watching something lately, and feel like I shouldn’t confess this weird addiction. I can’t even really pinpoint the reasons I’ve been watching NetFlix’s Santa Clarita Diet. Other than it’s a little funny. Oh, and Timothy Olyphant. But for clarities sake, let’s just call this show The Walking Dead Light.

The premise is straightforward. Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore) and her husband, Joel (Timothy O (oh, what a tall drink of water)), play Realtors¬©. Sheila¬†suddenly becomes a member of the undead set. Now, she’s on the most restrictive low carb, high protein diet ever. The couple must learn to deal with her new diet and to hide it from the nosy neighbors. Oh, the plans they hatch to provide her with sustenance. To satisfy all her cravings, they¬†opt to only kill people who are truly awful. It only gets tougher when they find many¬†of the drug dealers/murderers/and arms dealers they target turn out to be not as despicable¬†as they’ve been lead to believe.

I first started watching on the recommendation of a friend. And I’m glad it did. In most episodes, their teenage daughter, Abby, is more mature than they are. This character is played brilliantly by Liv Hewson. Add in the bumbling cop, the affair-indulging neighbor, and a smarty-pants potential love interest for Abby, and I consider this a true winner. Oh, and did I mention the show stars Timothy Olyphant? Here’s a little treat, I mean clip of him talking about the show (and yeah, Drew is in there as well).

I hope you’ll give it a try. It’s very entertaining.

 

 

Expedition Unknown

Expedition Unknown

One of my favorite shows is the Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown. Starring host Josh Gates (aka really funny, clever, archaeologist), as he embarks on adventures to discover the world’s greatest mysteries. We’ve joined him on uncovering the legend of King Arthur, the hunt for the Yeti, the mystery of DB Cooper, the Temple of Doom, what happened to Amelia Earheart, and searching out evidence of lost civilizations.

I’m a bit of a history buff, so I love the stories behind the legends, and I also love the glimpses into the peoples and cultures that Josh encounters on each expedition. He always soaks up the local culture and jumps into whatever is going on around him.

I first became a fan of his when I saw his old show, Destination Truth. A funny guy who throw pop culture references into his commentary and investigates the strange, elusive creatures that every culture seems to share a version of — yes, please. He’s passionate about what he does and that translates through every frame.

But, you guys, one of the best parts is seeing places around the word that I’ll likely never visit, and that call to my inner-explorer. Like, traveling through permafrost in Siberia searching for the woolly mammoth, jungles, rain forests, Tibetan temples, under sea wreckage, cities of gold, just to name a few.

 

It’s also pretty cool to see the technology available now to researchers and archaeologists: advanced scanners, radar, and more, allowing detailed study and giving us so much information.

If you’re a fan of exploring myth and legend, Josh is your guy and Expedition Unknown is not to be missed.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming,

 

Popcorn has a day!

Popcorn has a day!

Today in my inbox I received a proclamation from the lovely folks at National Day Calendar. It’s National Popcorn Day. Popcorn has its very own day. And rightly so.

Hand to heart, popcorn is the one food I simply could not give up. I can resist (who am I kidding?). I even defriended it for a while, but I will always come crawling back to it. My favorite is movie theater popcorn, followed by the microwave stuff. Pop a bag of that salty, fluffy goodness¬†and I’m eating the entire thing. Those 100 calorie snack bags are for underachievers.

I’m not a purist, although I do prefer my popcorn with just salt (definitely not a fan of anything sweet). In college, I had an air popper and my roommates and I would add brewers yeast or parmesan cheese to the snack. But recently, I’ve discovered several new flavors – Cilantro Lime, Garlic and Herb to name two.

Today I want to share a recipe I discovered from Shutterbean on Pinterest for Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn.

Photo courtesy of Shutterbean.com

SOUR CREAM & ONION POPCORN

makes enough for 2-4

recipe slightly adapted from Seriously Delish

  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons powdered buttermilk*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 ¬†teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place a 3 quart saucepan (or Whirley Pop) over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil and popcorn kernels to the pan. Close the lid and  move pot back and forth (or whirl around!) on the stove and pop the popcorn until you start to hear the popping slow down. Remove from the stove. Put popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. (I cheat and use lite microwave popcorn.)

Drizzle the popcorn with olive oil and toss it well to coat. In small bowl, whisk together dill, cheese, buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour it over the popcorn and toss the popcorn evenly to coat it in the mixture. Taste the popcorn and season it additionally if needed.

* If you cannot find powdered buttermilk for this recipe, powdered milk can be used in a pinch. You might need to adjust to the salt level as the powdered milk is slightly sweeter and less tangy than the buttermilk.

Enjoy!

Just What Will Eclectic Tastes Get You?

Just What Will Eclectic Tastes Get You?

To say my viewing choices are eclectic might be an understatement. My tastes are all over the place. On any given day, I might tune into a PBS Masterpiece show, like Poldark (currently one of my favorites). Of course, that comes on Sunday nights, which is the same night as my other favorite, The Walking Dead.

Vastly different, right? Except both shows deal with survival in one form or the other.

poldark-poster-poldark-38270495-680-1000

 

In Poldark, the characters are fighting for their lifestyle, to become successful in the copper mines that are their legacies.

In The Walking Dead, they are simply fighting for their lives. But both shows pit the characters against more powerful enemies.

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Anyway you look at it, survival is the key.

And the same holds true for my other favorite obsession; any and all of the franchises of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives. However, on those programs, survival isn’t always a given!

Gemma Sig-1

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

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Photo Courtesy of Netflix.com

By Carrie Elks

Between the writing, the reading, taking care of the house and trying to drag up (yep, drag up) my two kids, TV shows have taken a real back seat in my life recently. That’s one of the reasons I love Netflix – I can binge watch when I do have a bit of time, without worrying that I’m going to miss an episode or two. It’s also one of the few times that all the family sit down together to watch something, even if we have to pause for the occasional run outside to catch another Pokemon or grab some Pokeballs (nah, I don’t get it either).

One of the best things I’ve watched recently has been a 8 Episode Drama called Stranger Things.

I guess you could classify this as Horror or Sci Fi, but really it’s so much more than this. It’s like ET, mixed with the Goonies plus a dash of Stand by Me, and it brings out all the feels in me the same way all those movies did back in the ’80s. Of course, I was a mere child back then!

The series begins with an ‘incident’ (of the Stephen King type) at a local research facility, and the disappearance of 12 year old Will Byers. What follows is the disintegration of a town, the determination of a group of children to find their friends, and a desperation from the establishment to cover things up. And boy, does it make for great entertainment.

I don’t want to say too much more, because one of the best things about this series is the surprises it serves up. I’ve experienced more than one ‘jumpy moment’ and sat on the edge of the sofa for most of the time. It really shows the effect a missing child can have on a community, and how their desperation to believe he’s going to be okay can outweigh all the logical evidence served up before them.

I’m six episodes in so far, with only two episodes left until the finale, and I’m already sad it’s going to be over soon. But as it’s been a big hit among nearly everybody I know, let’s hope this leads to a second series being commissioned!

Want to take a look at what it’s all about? Here’s the trailer. Happy viewing,

Carrie Pink

Can *anything* replace Hannibal for me…?

Can *anything* replace Hannibal for me…?

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 06.01.03

I’m not really sure how I became a fannibal. Back in the old days, if you’d asked me about Silence of the Lambs, I would have told you I thought it was a great film and that I loved the pairing of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Is it a film I watch whenever it’s on TV? No, well..I won’t watch the entire movie because it doesn’t captivate me the way it used to. When it was first released, I saw it on the big screen and I remember thinking Anthony Hopkins was awesome as Hannibal Lecter. I thought no one else could do that role justice.

I was wrong.

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Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen

Enter Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Now, I’ve been living in Scandinavia for twenty years, so I was used to seeing him on TV and in films. Usually he outshone¬†the actors he shared the screen with, but I wasn’t a rabid Mads Mikkelsen fan. I thought he was a good actor. I thought he picked smart roles to play. I never pictured him as Hannibal Lecter. When he took his first Hollywood role (which I think¬†was as Tristan in the dreadful Clive Owen vehicle, King Arthur), I worried he’d be typecast. He’s not conventional looking. He doesn’t look like your typical leading man. So even if he goes over well as the romantic lead in Scandinavian films, his intensity and his quirky looks aren’t going to win over the housewife in Tupelo or the college girls in Cleveland who want someone like young Brad Pitt to scream over. Mads Mikkelsen broods….he exudes that Scandinavian stillness that most Americans find incredibly uncomfortable–and he’s amazing at playing characters who are not always likeable but who have charisma, which is probably why he’s been typecast as the villain in US films such as Casino Royale and Clash of the Titans).

I think it’s that Scandinavian stillness and his ease at playing morally questionable characters (let’s face it, he’s played a long string of very flawed characters) that made him the ideal actor to play Hannibal Lecter. I will admit, I was skeptical initially. I couldn’t envision him in the role. Before the show even aired, I remember telling a friend that Mikkelsen could never step into Anthony’s Hopkins shoes.

Yes, I know…I was wrong.

From the first episode, I was hooked. I love how creeped out I get while watching it–yet I can no longer sit through most horror films. The episodes are beautifully shot–even the most gruesome images are like these works of art–his suits are¬†impeccable, the entire cast is amazing and the scripts are so intelligent, so clever. Perhaps that’s why NBC couldn’t handle Hannibal? It’s just too clever and intelligent… I mean, other shows that have as huge of a fan base as Hannibal stick around, even with lousy ratings. And Hannibal‘s ratings weren’t dismal. The critics loved Hannibal–it was the thinking man (or woman’s) type of show.

I guess that is the crux of the problem.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 06.33.02My former homeland celebrates ignorance and mediocrity these days. Shows like Hannibal don’t connect with people who would drool over Real Housewives of Atlanta or whatever other reality hell is now currently America’s favourite show.

So now I sit here wondering…what can possibly fill the void left by Hannibal once Season Three ends? I already watch Gotham. I never miss an episode of Game of Thrones. Maybe I will start binge-watching the reboot of Battlestar Galactica again. It’s filled many a dull evening.

But I don’t think anything will sustain me quite like Hannibal…it truly did feed my fear. I hope Bryan Fuller succeeds in finding a new home for the show. Until then, I have seasons 1 and 2 on DVD (yes, I still watch DVDs on my Blu-Ray player) so I can at least binge-watch those if the summer rains return to Stockholm.

But Hannibal will be like the one who got away. Or the bad boy who stalked off into the sunset…though in a perfectly cut suit and probably looking for something (or someone) to pair with fava beans and Chianti or Sangiovese.