Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

PawlHarris. Head of Canine relations at Iams.  Seemed like a good guy.

PawlHarris. Head of Canine relations at Iams. Seemed like a good guy.

It was quite a party.  Really it was.  I paid for it the next day, of course.  I mean, I live  a pretty simple life.  And a party like that – all that indulging.  Well, it takes something out of you.

But from the moment I got into that black radio-car to be driven to the W Hotel Downtown, I knew I’d arrived. And then the party itself.  Treats everywhere.  Fancy bowls.  They even gave me a foulard to wear around my neck.  That’s class.

“This,” I thought “Is where I belong: at an Iams So Good blogger event in a swank downtown hotel.”  It’s about time someone recognized how important I am to the blogging process:  would this post on depression exist without me?  Would this post have been possible without me allowing my small humiliation to be exploited for laughs?  I think not.  I think not. (more…)

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Visiting Day 2013So this  past weekend was The Running of the Jews, otherwise known as The Only Day Teenagers are Happy…actually HAPPY…to spend an entire day with their parents, otherwise known as Camp Visiting Day.

I’ve heard the stories and seen the videos – people running to snag the best activities, the snap up the prime picnic spot.  Parents spending thousands on personalized gifts for bunkmates. I’m sure they’re true…somewhere.  But at our camp, we show up, we plunk down a blanket and we hang.  That’s it.  You can play the camper/parent softball game if you want.  But we didn’t want to. You can tour the camp — but as this is my kids’ fourth summer – we didn’t want to.  What we wanted, was to relax, and talk and catch up.

No personalization of trinkets needed. (more…)

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Yes, it’s true. I am a Windows Phone geek.  the HTC Windows Phone 8X is my all -time favorite.  I love that operating system.

I love an operating system. How weird and geeky and sad.

But geekdom has it’s benefits:  HTC recently sent me its new Droid DNA to review, and while it doesn’t turn me away from my Windows Phone obsession, it does tempt me.  And that’s saying a lot. (more…)

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Comes in tons of cool colors, too.

Comes in tons of cool colors, too.

I love my HTC Windows Phone 8X.  Only it’s not mine.  It’s a loaner, given (lent) to me by HTC so I could review it.

Only I don’t want to give it back. Really, I don’t.

It’s no surprise that I love Windows Phone.  I love it so much that even though the only model Sprint carried with the operating system was the super heavy, super clunky HTC Arrive, I still paid my own actual money to get one.

I never liked that phone.  The camera was eh, the thing weighed at least 150 pounds, but the OS?  That Windows 7 sleek, intuitive, easy to use interface?  The real Word Docs, the Excel spreadsheets, the syncing between my Sky Drive and my phone.  That part I loved.

And then it broke. I mean really , really, broke. And guess what?  Sprint no longer carries Windows Phones. (or HTC phones for that matter….really?) So I was faced with a dilemma.  Do I switch to a non-windows phone, or switch to another carrier?  Since my contract with Sprint isn’t up until forever, switching will cost me $350. And since I’ve been with Sprint for forever, we have a pretty good deal.  So I was stuck.

And yet I still couldn’t bring myself to get an Android or (ugh) iOS devise.

Enter HTC, with an offer for a one-month loaner of their Windows Phone 8x.  Surely in a month, I’d figure out how to deal with my Sprint/No Windows Phones/No way out of my contract dilemma in a month.

Evidently not.

Instead, what’s happened is, I’ve fallen madly in love with my super sleek, super slim, super light, fabulously camera-ed, beats audio-ed Windows phone.  And I don’t want to give it back.


Why do I love it? (more…)

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Anne Hathaway is fantastic in Les Miserables, the movie that seems poised to be the mega-hit of the holiday season.  Sacha Baron Cohen is a charming rake and looks like he’s having a ball. Director Tom Hooper’s decision to have the songs sung live was a terrific risk that turned out terrifically.  And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to spend two-plus hours looking at Hugh Jackman on a giant movie screen?  The nominations and accolades are already pouring in. You’d have to be crazy not to love this gorgeous, impressive spectacle of a movie.

So I guess I’m crazy. (more…)

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So many people who live in NY say they do it to be near all of the culture and the arts.  But so many of those same people never venture further than their TV set for entertainment or – ahem – culture.

Not me.

We have subscriptions to several different theatres:  The Vineyard Theatre, The Signature Theatre, The Transport Group, and The New Victory. Plus we’re members of The Metropolitan Museum, The Museum of Natural History, The Whitney, and the Museum of Modern Art. Is it expensive? You bet. But as a subscriber you’re supporting the theatre you subscribe to, and you get  MUCH cheaper tickets usually before they go on sale to the general public. We also get a TON of “buy discounted tickets” post cards in the mail, and I sometimes do. And as for the museums?  I want to support the arts in NYC. Think about how much your cable bill is every month, and all that supports is the business of television.  Not that there isn’t good TV out there.  But live theater, seeing art in the flesh (in the paint) – nothing beats it.

See?  We really do use the cultural resources this city has to offer. (more…)

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A few weeks ago I went to a Holiday event sponsored by Nintendo.  Aside from being held in the single most spectacular party space I’ve ever been in, (632 on Hudson)  the event was terrific because it really did feel like a big party. There was food and drink, decorations, and people spread throughout the townhouse/party space, each room featuring a different Nintendo Wii or DS game.

In the living room, party guru and TV host David Tutera (from My Fair Wedding) was giving party tips while Wii Party played on the screen behind him.  And all I could think was – really?  David Tutera, tastemaker, is advocating playing video games at a grown up party?  Yeah, right.  So I asked him – “Do you really think it’s possible to have a party still feel social when there are video games around?”

Of course I asked the question fully aware that the TV star wasn’t there just for the fun of it — or even just to meet fabulous bloggers like me.  He was being paid.  But still – his answer surprised me. (more…)

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I just went to see Sean Hayes and Kristen Chenoweth in Promises Promises on Broadway. Sean Hayes was charming, appealing, and thoroughly believable as a straight leading man. Kristen Chenoweth is always a star.   The sets, by Scott Pask, were smart and snappy, the lighting was beautiful.

And the show was terribly, painfully, BAD.

Not the entire show: Tony Goldwyn, in a supporting role, set the standard for acting in a Broadway musical, proving that even in a musical as hokey as this one, a real actor can embody a part to an amazingly effective degree.  Molly Shannon was clearly having the time of her life  – and giving the audience a great time too – playing a drunken floozy.

And yet, the show, was patently awful. How is that possible? Let me count the ways.

1. Bad Music. Ever heard of the song “Grapes of Roth?”  how about “Wanting Things?” or that big show stopper (and catchily named) “She likes Basketball?” I didn’t think so. Other than the so-cheesed-up-by-it’s-association-with-Muzak song “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,”  and the so out of place it seems to have been dropped in from another show “I say a Little Prayer for You,” you’ve never heard of any of these songs.  Know why? They are BAD. Unhummable.  And not in a complex Stephen Sondheim kind of way.  Just boring, and talky, and sometimes oddly tuneless. Bad.

2. Worse Lyrics: “People who I meet seem to think I am strong. They don’t see inside of me so they don’t know I’m weak and often wrong.”  Those aren’t lyrics.  Those are lines from a Soap Opera character about to kiss his brother’s, wife’s sister even though he know she loves another.

Or how about “I seem to see you differently. Changing as I’m being treated kindly or meanly.”  Try singing that ten times fast.

3. Weird Directorial Choices:  Now, I don’t know for sure that these were directorial choices, or were written into the script or the (mostly) bad music.  But why on earth, in a solo number, is there suddenly a vocal chorus of invisible women doing back-up?  Weird

And while Tony Goldwyn was truly terrific as a 1950′s sexist cad, he seemed to be in a different show.  He wasn’t “performing,” as most of the other people on stage were – he was acting. The real deal. It was a great performance, but kind of out of place with the “hey, we’re in a show”  mugging that most of the other supporting characters were doing. (Which, in a period musical isn’t an insult) Weird again.

I felt bad for Sean Hayes, Kristen Chenoweth, and Tony Goldwyn.  They were doing a great job.  They were entertaining.  But  – hello – there’s a reason the show hasn’t been revived in decades. And good as you are, you aren’t good enough to make this bad show a good one. Even the great Neil Simon couldn’t write a book good enough to save the show from it’s true awfulness.

So go see Promises, Promises  if you’re a huge Sean Hayes fan.  Because he won’t disappoint.  Go if you love Kristen Chenoweth no matter what.  But know you’re gonna need that “no matter what” mentality.

I promise you that.

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Imagine if there was a battle between Batman, (the caped crusader) and Nancy Drew, (the girl detective) Who would win?

Depends on what the fight was.

If they were vying on a brawn-only basis, Batman. Brains? Nancy Drew.

But if you asked my ten year old twins who would win – then you’d have a real battle.  Because when it comes to electronic games, boys see things one way, and girls, another.

See, my son LOVES the new Batman game  for Wii Batman: The Brave and the Bold the Videogame (full disclosure – I received a free review copy, he played it.)  I was impressed with how it looks less like a game and more like the actual cartoon…uh, excuse me, animated series. (seriously – when did it become a bad thing for kids to like cartoons?) My son likes the story, he loves the graphics, he thinks it’s easier to learn than some of the other, more complicated games I’ve gotten for review.

My daughter.  Not so much.  It’s not that she doesn’t like it, it’s just that she’d rather play her new PC-based game, recently released for Nancy Drew’s 80th (!) anniversary (and yet she still looks so young! how does she do it?!) Nancy Drew, Secrets Can Kill. (also a free review copy) My daughter doesn’t care much for battle games.  She never says the six most dreaded words a mother trying to get her son to go to bed ever hears: “Let me just beat this level.”  She likes that the Nancy Drew game allows her to solve puzzles – not just fight her way out of things.  She likes that there’s a main character who’s a girl. And I like that the girl characters in this electronic game (unlike so many others) aren’t built like porn stars. (more…)

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I have always hated housework.

I know what you’re thinking….doesn’t everyone?  But no, not everyone does.  Some people feel a sense of accomplishment.  Some people get into the Zen of it.

Me?  I just plain hate it.

Which is why I am SO bummed out, that because of Blogher, I’m feeling OBLIGATED to vacuum and clean (more…)

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