Coming to a TV Near You

Running out of things to DVR this summer? Well don't worry because we here at Livin' the Dream have the answer to your boob tube blahs.

Season Two of Jersey Shore premieres Thursday and I personally cannot believe what I've seen in the trailer for this season... which obviously means I have already set my DVR to series record. But I do have to admit that the antics of Snooki, The Situation and the rest of these characters (except of course for Vinny... I mean look at this face!) are starting to get a little old. And a third season is already set to go. How much more drunken fist-pumping can we handle? So what if we changed things up juuuust a bit? Same general premise, same ratio of guys to girls. But this time? They're Asian.

Meet "K-Town".

Produced by Tyrese (yes the model), the show stars four guys and four girls living and partying together in Koreatown in LA. It has its own version of Snooki and its own version of The Situation and I'm pretty sure there isn't going to be too much about it that's drastically different from Jersey Shore. Except that instead of self-proclaimed Italian guidos and guidettes where only a couple are actually of Italian descent, this cast is bona fide Korean, even down to their beverage of choice.

I'm sorry but I can't see this being more successful than Jersey Shore and I really, really hope that this doesn't become a new trend for MTV. Jersey Shore's success comes from it being completely original and completely out of nowhere. It can't be duplicated so MTV execs shouldn't try. The lack of creativity and new ideas on TV these days bothers me a lot sometimes and this case is no exception. You figure out one recipe for success and next thing you know, next year there are four other shows exactly like that except more extreme with crazier characters all trying to do more, be more and mess up more.

But don't worry. If MTV isn't family-friendly enough for you then our next two choices are sure to make it somewhere into your DVR list.

It might just be Kate Plus Eight now, but that's not holding the most famous mom in the world back. No hubby? No problem. Just call in some friends of the family to help out every once in a while. Friends like... Sarah Palin?

On an upcoming episode of Kate Plus Eight, Kate and her kids will team up with Sarah Palin to go on a camping trip in Alaska where they'll apparently battle giant mosquitos and learn natural history from Sarah Palin's father (a retired science teacher) and brother (a not retired teacher).

My question is where's the connection? Who actually sat down and thought that this pairing makes sense to anybody? They might as well have paired Kate with Angelina Jolie because oh look she has a lot of kids too. Because that's the only link I see. Sarah Palin also comes from a big family. But does Sarah Palin have a lot of kids now and a deadbeat Ed Hardy-lovin' dbag husband? No. Does Kate Gosselin absolutely love the outdoors and gross things like huge mosquitoes? No.

I don't get it.

You know what else I don't get?

How is David Hasselhoff STILL on television? (sidenote, that link has a video in the article that will automatically start playing)

Basically one of The Hoff's daughters is pissed because she thinks her family is getting thrown under a bus. So what better way is there to prove to America that David Hasselhoff really is a good dad than by going on TV and showing the world? Look, if we didn't buy it while he was judging on America's Got Talent, we're not buying it now. Specifically because the show has nothing to do with them being a family.

The article first tells us that the two daughters are working on their aspiring music careers, which David will oversee. Well okay so there I can see some kind of family dynamic at work. The daughters want to follow in dear ole dad's footsteps and he wants to offer his paternal wisdom and guidance to them. Cuuuuute.

Oh but wait... then what about this:

Hayley, 17, and her sister Taylor Ann, 20, will be developing an album for their band, Bella Vida, while David will be belting his own tunes, touring in Austria.

How is The Hoff supposed to play the role of doting dad when he's traipsing all over Europe plugging his own agenda? This is basically an entire TV series where we watch two unknown budding singers attempt to make a CD and a washed up former TV star trying to keep his dreams alive any way he can. Sounds like a winner.

Okay now time for a legit plug. Seriously.

Starz! is turning the greatest book I have ever read (and you all know how I feel about reading) into a mini-series. The Pillars of the Earth began airing on July 23. First, I don't know anyone who has Starz! and second this post kind of serves no purpose because the premiere already happened. But they have the episodes online and I highly encourage everyone to check out the book as well as the series if you have time. The book is super long - like 900 pages long - but it is amazing. The story focuses on the 12th century town of Kingsbridge and the massive project/battle to build a giant cathedral. But interwoven through that is the fight between the church and the government, corruption, love, war, death, redemption, and so much more. The characters are brilliant. Seriously do yourselves a favor.

So in conclusion, vote in the new poll and tell everyone which of these new ideas will be the worst.


New Funny Link

Shoutout to Ashley for this new link:

Catalog Living

Pretty humorous look at the ridiculous things you see staged in catalog pictures of rooms in a house. Definitely good for a laugh or two throughout the day. Check it out!


Whatever Happened To...

The beat is unmistakable. The lyrics are unforgettable. All it takes is those first three words and you have an instant party on your hands.

So whatever happened to Sir Mix-a-Lot, who singlehandedly created the ultimate party song with "Baby Got Back" in 1992?

First a little history. Mix (as we at LTD like to call him) was born Anthony Ray in Seattle and created his own record label called Nastymix in 1986, releasing his first hit "Posse on Broadway" that same year. His debut album Swass was released in 1988 and went platinum. He then came out with his second album, Seminar, in 1990 and saw it go gold.

And then... magic.

Sir Mix-a-Lot moves to the Def American label and releases his first album with the label, Mack Daddy, which includes "Baby Got Back". The song reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for five weeks in the summer of '92, went double platinum and won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. Did you know that song won a Grammy? I sure didn't. And yes it is that amazing.

Another awesome fact about the song? MTV would only air the video at night because of its "sexual nature". And now, not even ten years later, we get to watch Snookie in the middle of the day.

After that? Nothing. Talk about a one-hit wonder. He released three more albums from 1994-2003, none of which did anything, and tried a TV career with a show called "Watcher" that lasted exactly five months on UPN.

So where is he now?

According to www.sirmixalot.com (which loads incredibly slowly but is oh so worth the wait), Sir Mix-a-Lot is a producer with Rhyme Cartel Records and has two music acts on his label. Not bad. He also has a Twitter account. Awesome. Follow him at "therealmix" (I don't know how you write that out in Twitter-speak).

But the one thing you know he's definitely still doing? Absolutely getting paid when every movie, TV show, department store chain, you name it wants to use some version of "Baby Got Back". Apparently it was in the movie Shrek and Target did a parody of it to sell backpacks with the phrase "I like backpacks and I cannot lie." I'm pretty sure he is getting some kind of cash money back for this.

Oh and not to mention this SNL skit for Sir Mix-a-Lot's Photo Shop

So while Sir Mix-a-Lot's fame and fortune might have been shortlived, his legend will live on in his music. He's changed the way people look at large butts forever. What a true pioneer.


Video of the Day 7/20/10 - Muppets Edition

Found this decently cute video on Perez Hilton's site... even though I can't stand him I guess he's good for something sometimes.

It put a smile on my face so hopefully it does the same for you!

Livin La Vida Lohan

I'm sure 100 other celeb gossip outlets have used that exact pun but too bad I'm using it now too.

So Lindsay Lohan surrendered to police this morning to be taken to Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, Calif. to begin serving her 90-day sentence. The sentence comes from a parole violation stemming from a 2007 drunken driving and cocaine possession case. She'll be in solitary confinement in a 12-by-8 cell and has to complete three months of rehab immediately after finishing serving her sentence.

Now it came out pretty quickly (and I'm sure it's no surprise) that Lindsay wouldn't be serving the entire sentence due to overcrowding in the jail.

But did anyone expect an announcement to come out so quickly that La Lohan will only serve a mere 14 days?

How is Lindsay supposed to learn ANYthing if she's back into the bubble of Hollywood in only two weeks?

Look, she's got some issues. She's got some stuff she needs to work out. Her parents clearly aren't stepping in to teach her anything considering her mom is lashing out at the system and saying she doesn't deserve the punishment she got. Um cocaine possession and drunk driving? At 21? I'm pretty sure that yes, yes that does deserve some sort of punishment. She should have been put on lockdown three years ago when it really happened but when your parents are, well, Michael and Dina Lohan it's not surprising that she continued to live the life she was leading. Her dad's speaking out to every Perez Hilton wannabe about how Lindsay needs to be locked away (which is a surprisingly sane idea) while her mom is too busy fighting with Carvel ice cream over free cake.

I've said it about Heidi and Spencer needing it and I stand by this 100 percent. Lindsay needs a hug. Well she needs more than that. But it'd be a nice start and she needs it from her parents. They need to put their own issues aside and focus on the fact that they're 24-year-old daughter has some legitimate problems right now. Stop bickering back and forth and do something to help your kid.

What is speaking out about the system going to teach your child? What is calling the judge names and essentially throwing a tantrum about things going to show your kid? I don't know. Maybe because I'm not a mom yet I can't really say. Maybe I would do the same exact thing. Sure Dina Lohan should be angry about it. But somebody once and for all needs to teach LiLo some sense of responsibility. I'm sorry Dina's lost her shopping buddy but it'd be nice to hear her parents say something constructive and beneficial to helping her.

I'm glad they were with her in court today. That sounds like a good first step to showing that they stand behind her. She seems like she needs that.

I guess ultimately the point of all of this is to say that I hope she turns things around but I think it starts with her support system. So hopefully her parents can get it together and make it about her and not them. I won't hold my breath though.

Book Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Diaz
Number of Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction
Where I Got It: Library

In this Pulitzer Prize winner, author Junot Diaz focuses on Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd who dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku-the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love.

It's really hard to do this book justice with just a mere description of the summary. The center of the story is about Oscar and how he struggles with growing up and being so very very different from his peers. It's a coming-of-age story. But beneath that are so many other layers. There is the classic rebellious daughter vs. typical Latin American mother conflict and the fights that ensue between them. There is the coming-of-age story of Oscar's mother and her struggle to fit in despite being Oscar's exact opposite. There is also the story of the Dominican Republic as a country trying to survive under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.

I think what hit me the most about it is the language of the book. Diaz chooses to write some of the book in first person, using English and Spanish slang and some Spanglish, then some other parts in third person but the diction and tone is what really develops each of the characters. It's not so much the words, but more the way the words flow together that really puts you inside the book and inside the lives of these characters. I was completely drawn in and felt pain when the characters were hurt and happiness when they triumphed.

At first glance, the book seems like it will just be a story about a nerdy kid trying to make it through the awkward adolescent stage of life but this couldn't be farther from the truth. These characters won't be forgotten anytime soon and despite sounding a bit depressing, there is an untraditionally optimistic ending that left a smile on my face.

I would definitely recommend this book, but it is fairly tough to get through. The point of view changes around pretty dramatically and at times I had to ask myself "Who are we talking about?" before realizing that the chapter was now the mother's story or the sister's boyfriend's story or whatever. The book forces you to slow down a little as the language is a little bit complex to follow. But it's so worth it in the end.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Coming Up Next: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo -- a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture. Set against one of the most dramatic political events of the twentieth century -- the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium and its devastating consequences -- here is New York Times-bestselling author Barbara Kingslover's beautiful, heartbreaking, and unforgettable epic that chronicles the disintegration of family and a nation. (from Google Books)

I read The Poisonwood Bible in high school but don't really remember it. A friend of mine randomly told me it's one of her alltime faves and because she's had such great recommendations in the past I decided to give it another shot.

And now time for some audio books...

My Life in France by Julia Child: Terrible audio book. I didn't even make it through to the end. The narrator's voice was good but I felt really lost the whole time, especially when she randomly started speaking in French. Two thumbs down.

The Soloist by Steve Lopez: Incredible story and a great audio book. The narrator's voice was excellent and the story itself was amazing. It's the true story of LA Times columnist Steve Lopez who discovers a homeless man playing violin in the streets of downtown LA. After researching further, he discovers this man was an extremely accomplished musician who spent time at Juilliard before dropping out. Lopez works with the man to get him back on his feet and it's a really great story. It's also a movie with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. that I have on my Netflix. Two thumbs up.

Super Quick Movie Reviews

Things have been a little crazy so I haven't done much writing but I'm okay with that. But let's try to get back into the swing of things with a couple of movie reviews.

First of all, yes I still have "Up" and the first season of "Gossip Girl" checked out from Netflix. They were sent to me June 5. Oops, I should probably get on that... What happens if you just don't ever return a movie to Netflix? I guess if I don't mail these two back soon I'll find out for myself.

Let's go!

The Book of Eli - Saw this with my dad and brother on On Demand when I was home a few weeks ago. Awesome. Seriously this movie is so good. First, it has Denzel and who doesn't love Denzel (well, my cousin apparently but she's literally the only person I know who isn't a fan of his work)? Rachel Bilson aka Summer from The OC is in it too and she is fantastic. There's a lot of shooting/killing/action in this one and usually I'm not a fan of that but the way the movie was filmed, it was easy for me to sit through. Interesting storyline with an incredible twist at the end. Do yourself a favor. Double thumbs up.

Invictus - Another On Demand-er with my family. Kinda long but a good inspiring based on a true story type movie. Love me some Matt Damon so maybe I'm biased. I wasn't so blown away by it, but overall it held my interest and I'd recommend it. One thumb up, one thumb sideways

Julie and Julia - Not gonna lie, it was kinda boring. Meryl Streep was really really good as Julia Child and I was really engrossed in the parts with her as she portrayed Julia Child. But then it would go back to the Amy Adams parts and I'd be bored. She's such a good actress, but there wasn't much substance to her storyline of wanting to cook everything in Julia Child's cookbook. One thumb down, one thumb sideways

Yes Man - Jim Carrey is a super negative guy who decides to turn over a new leaf and say yes to everything. Literally everything. It had some pretty funny moments but it was soooo long. Like unnecessarily long. And there is a love story but his love interest is played by Zooey Deschanel who I'm pretty sure is my age. And Jim Carrey is, well, not my age. So that was awkward. But overall it was pretty fun. Two thumbs sideways

Duplicity - Terrible. Don't waste your time. I was confused the entire time and there was way too much secrecy/behind the back stuff going on plus there were way too many characters. Hated it. Two thumbs down

The Heartbreak Kid - I got this from Netflix then realized that I had already seen it. Typical Ben Stiller comedy. He gets married then meets another woman while on his honeymoon and falls in love with her. Usually I like Ben Stiller but this one was just too silly for me. One thumb down, one thumb sideways

Inception - Awesome. Saw this with my dad over the weekend while I was home and it was really really good. Combination of The Matrix with some elements of James Bond/Mission Impossible thrown in. Great characters, great special effects and I thought the storyline was decently easy to follow considering it could very easily have been really confusing. I highly recommend going to see it. Two thumbs up


Why Ladies? Why?

I will be the first to say that girls do some pretty unexplainable things. I cry at Glee. I can't explain why I do but it just happens and I can't control it so I just give in. I don't drink beer out of a can. Well... come on now who are we kidding? It is beer after all. So I guess I should say I prefer not to drink beer out of a can. Bottles and pint glasses are classier.

Anyway there is one thing that even I don't understand about my fellow ladies.

Why do girls insist on talking on their cell phones in a public bathroom?

I will never understand this. Guys, do other dudes do this? What on earth could be so important that you can't tell the person "Hey listen, let me call you back in 45 seconds." Because honestly, I would bet that that's about the average length of time it takes someone to go to the bathroom. The answer is nothing. Because the few conversations I have had the unfortunate privilege of hearing have definitely been about absolutely nothing.

Which brings me to my next point. I don't really want to hear about what you're talking about. Not there. It's just a little...close is all I'm saying. Plus, it's annoying. Most public restrooms have a terrible echo in them so you spend 90% of the conversation that was so important you couldn't possibly put it on pause yelling "What?" into your phone. And maybe it's just me but the sound of a flushing toilet in a public bathroom isn't exactly quiet. Doesn't that embarrass the person on the phone?

I"m just saying that this is weird. Of course the girls' room is made for girlfriends to all go together to gossip and talk. I did this twice a week for 20 minutes with one of the student assistants and it was awesome. But the phone has no place there. Keep it in the supermarket aisles and illegally on the freeways where it belongs.

Friends, just say no to talking on the phone in public restrooms.

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

So I hear that it's been gloomy and possibly raining in the San Diego area... Well it was in the mid-90s here for what seems like the 40th straight day and it even hit 100 over the weekend. Plus it is also 86 right now in Davis at 6:26 at night.

So we have a new poll question. Would you rather it be mid-60s and overcast (aka annoying yet bearable) or topping 100 every day (aka unbearable)?

Vote away friends.

By the way, of the five votes in the last poll three people thought the USA-Algeria game was the best while two people thought Germany's rout of England was the best. Go America.


Video of the Day 7/12/10 - New Life's Calling Edition

Shoutout to Ashley for this video which is actually pretty interesting when you watch the whole thing through. Watch out cheese puller woman. I'm taking your job.


Video of the Day 7/1/10 - So You Think You Can Dance Edition

Here's a little background on this video.

This season on So You Think You Can Dance, the 11 contestants pair up with former "All-Star" contestants each week to perform their dance routines. Each contestant draws the name of an All-Star out of a hat so as to keep it a random pick. The past two weeks everything has been pretty standard: guy draws girl name, then girl draws guy name, etc. Last night, however, a wrench was thrown into everybody's plans when Alex (a guy) drew the name of Twitch (another guy).

Alex (the Asian dancer in the video) is a classically trained ballet dancer and was a principal soloist with the Miami City Ballet until being selected to compete on So You Think You Can Dance this season. So you can imagine his, and everybody's, surprise when he drew Twitch's name as Twitch is a super, super legit hip hop dancer. Last week we watched as Billy, another classically trained ballet dancer, suffered through a krump routine. So this was also bound to be a disaster right?

Oh so, so, SO wrong...