Life/Work Run Interference

I should know better – all day meetings with business dinner after are not conducive to getting a post written. So it’s almost 9 p.m. when I get home, and I’ve worn vintage Diorissimo parfum all day, which was lovely, but felt like a weird choice for fall, but I don’t care, and have no perfume things to write about.

But pop culture has snagged me on a couple of things – the Hunger Games books and the Vampire Diaries on teevee.  both geared for young adults, but sometimes the most interesting, suck-you-in stuff is in that age range.

I don’t need to watch any more vampire stuff. I have the semi-porn True Blood, and that’s enough.  But I was bored and feeling a little puny one weekend and downloaded two episodes of Vampire Diaries from Amazon on Demand, then got the rest of the first season and all of the second that’s been released and watched it in a couple of days.   You might question whether I’m a little compulsive, and that’s a fair question.  It’s really quite good. the guy that plays the bad vampire brother makes the show interesting and witty and fun. Without him, it would be Twilight Lite.  Really fun, campy, ignore the love story.

Hunger Games, I think everyone in America under the age of 20 have read these books and most of the adults with kids that age.  With my kids in their 20s now, I just missed them.  Compelling read, no smut, dark themes, but an author who has the gift of the hook. By the end of the third chapter of the first of three books, I’ve been engrossed.

So what bit or bits of pop culture have sucked you in, or are you impervious to modern music, television, books?

  • sharyl says:

    My kids are now 25 and 22, but we are all really loving the talented kids on Glee and look forward to the new musical performances each week. I fell in love with the Angel series after it was over and so watched the seasons on DVD. David Boreanz moody, brooding character – love him, and love Spike too. Because of my 22 year old daughter, I have read and seen all of the Twilight books & movies. I think Stephanie Mayer has added some interesting concepts to the vampire genre, but her writing is awful. She should have had someone else put her ideas down. And the dialogue of the movies has followed suit, with not great script. But overall, I think Twilight is fun. I have also been paying attention a little bit to the “Taylor Swift rage” and I think I sort of understand it. She does not have a great voice, but she writes all of her own songs, which seem to honestly and insightfully express emotions that we have probably all experienced at some point and she is very young and cute and comes across as genuine and sweet.

  • nozknoz says:

    I am rather behind on pop culture due to years overseas and no TV now, but I definitely get hooked on it from time to time, especially sci fi: I’ve watched every episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, Babylon 5, Rome and Battlestar Galactica (the recent series). At various points I was hooked on the X Files, CSI (Las Vegas), and Lost. Enjoyed Buffy and Six Feet Under for a while. I’d check out the various vampire series if I had time. But really between work, exercise and perfume I have no time. I preordered the Caprica season one DVD and haven’t had time to watch it yet – maybe over Thanksgiving?

    Overseas I had the BBC food channel on cable. It’s a thousand times better than the US food channel. All sorts of eccentric programs. I miss it.

  • hongkongmom says:

    hey that came out at the bottom instead of the top reply…par for the course in a day in the life of ur truly

  • hongkongmom says:

    am going to go and find this book today!!! i get the nuit de tuberose, it is probably the closest thing to a sig scent for me too…something about it just fitting and easy, yet complex. Shalimar is definitely not a sig scent…just a test to see if I can do it….one frag for seven days.
    car fight to death sounds like a must too, but alas that didn’t get here either. Perhaps DVD
    meanwhile, i will have to do with the likes of Sweeny Todd and Perfume! poor kids had me running around the house pretending that my knife was my best friend!:)

  • jen says:

    My only juvenile film/book pleasure is the Twilight series. I its the romance cause I could care less about vampires and blood. Guilty pleasure-Robert Pattinson.

  • bella says:

    I love all things vampires. I am a huge True Blood and Vampire Diaries fan!!
    And I also love Fringe and Drop Dead Diva! Drop Dead Diva is a such a cute show with a message about how we should love and accept ourself just as we are. Corny, but true!

  • Winifreida says:

    I could live without a television, but have a bit of a weakness for crime and cops, do enjoy gruesome pathologist things like Silent Witness.

    My big thing of youth I simply cannot give up gracefully is pop and rock music; I adore Lady GaGa for instance and have a real weakness for techno mix dance music, you know, the Ministry of Sound and such. I go into the music shop with my daughter and pretend its for her! Its wonderful having her, she loves all sorts of music and the house is full of her wonderful downloads!

    Perfume challenge – hmmm, so so. Have stuck in the mornings but have given in to temptation a bit in other ways….

  • Jared says:

    I love Vampire Diaries. You get no judgement from me. I have been absent from pop culture since I’ve been immersed in critical theory. I have no idea what’s going on in the outside world. Or what’s new in the perfume world for that matter. A sniff-a-thon in Chicago next weekend will fix that though! Have all you Chicago people seen the Chandler Burr lecture that’s happening next Sunday?

  • Meliscents says:

    I love all things vampire!! I’m reading Breaking Dawn again from the Twilight series. Have ALL the “Sookie” books even the short stories she just released in April (I think). And I watch Vampire Diaries even though I feel a little bit cougar lusting after the vampire boys. Goodness, what beautiful young men they are. But who wants to look at an ugly vampire? I wonder if Bram Stoker would be shocked at how his version of the legend has morphed. I’ll have to check out Hunger Games. I’ve been in the need of “new blood”!! It’s funny how most of the people I know who read these books & watch the shows targeted toward the tweens, are middle age. Maybe for me, I’m trying to capture the angst of youth. Well, that’s just kind of pathetic! Getting old sucks!!!!

  • Dionne says:

    I am a proud unreformed geek who is now raising a houseful of geeks, so I’m definitely up on nerd pop culture.

    Joss Whedon fangirl? Check. A follower of all things Star Wars/Star Trek/Battlestar Galactica/Babylon5/etc.etc.etc? Check. Someone who thinks you’re not a true LOTR fan unless you’ve also read The Silmarillion? Check. Re-reading the Discworld series, you say? Right there with ya, baby. As a former English lit who reads just about anything, I can speak knowledgeably with you about Shakespeare AND graphic novels.

    Plus, because of my teenagers I am now savvy about most internet memes, the latest Youtube phenom, and various websites like Homestar Runner, Television Without Pity, TV Tropes, AskANinja et al. “White and Nerdy” by Weird Al Yankovic (yup, he’s still around and funnier than ever) is pretty much our family theme song.

    In terms of The Hunger Games, I first read it after hearing a lot of hype about how original it was. The only thing is, it’s not an original idea if you read a lot of Science Fiction – kind of like The Matrix not being a fresh concept if you’re well-versed in Cyberpunk. However, upon second reading I could appreciate it for what it is: A well-written book with a nice twist on an established trope. Be warned though: A lot of people (including myself) didn’t care as much for Mockingjay, the third in the series. It was a bit of a let-down.

    My number one recommendation this last year for YA lit? When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. It won the Newbery, and rocked my world. If you loved “A Wrinkle in Time” as a kid, do yourself a favor and check this one out.

    • Isa says:

      A Discworld fan?
      So here I have fresh news: Disney is making “Mort” by Terry Pratchett in 2D traditional cartoons :D
      It will be directed by John Musker and Ron Clements (directors of Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, The Princess and The Frog) and it will probably premiere in 2014.

    • Shelley says:

      Hey, I’m glad the word “Discworld” caught my eye in the comments…then I find a recommendation for “A Wrinkle in Time” fans…I was quite immersed in YA lit for a few years, but my sabbatical year has limited my contact. (Increased “my” reading, mind you, but still…) Anyway, now looking out for When You Reach Me.

      Another Shakespeare + graphic novels + etc. waving in your general direction. :)

  • Fragrant Witch says:

    It’s not strictly pop culture but as a lover of the supernatural and metaphysical I really enjoy the novels of John Connolly. They are very well written, incredibly evocative and they linger with you in a bit of an unsettling fashion. They are violent, true but not gratuitously so as the battle between good and evil is a messy one!

    On the

    • Fragrant Witch says:

      Televisin side if things I love Bones and Lie to Me and, as I commented above, really liked Moonlight. The UK Is a bit behind on episodes though so when I talk to friends and family back in the US we can’t discuss gave shows because I don’t want to spoil the surprise of what’s coming.

      Oh and Alexander Saarsgard… Yum

  • Claudia says:

    I didn’t watch BUFFY until it was almost over. Then I saw the episode with shirtless Spike draped on the cross (“Can we rest now?”) and man, I raced to the store for the DVDs and devoured every season. Then I moved on to ANGEL. Now I’m hooked on The Closer, even though there are no vampires in it! Loved Lost too and cried my eyes out at the last scene. TV – so much more interesting than work.

  • Erin T says:

    I would be impervious, and indeed, almost totally ignorant of modern pop culture if ’twere not for el Queso Grande. We don’t have cable or satellite or anything, so he uses DVDs or now illegal file-sharing software to watch everything: True Blood, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Treme, 30 Rock, House etc. He was a huge, huge fan of The Wire and a fairly dedicated Sopranos watcher, in years past. I wander in for the occasional episode of something, but because I never, ever follow every episode of anything – oh, okay once I followed a season of So You Think You Can Dance… ONCE! – I can never really tell what’s going on. People keep disappearing or reappearing from the dead or revealing that they faked their identity or something and I don’t know enough of the backstory to really care.

    Again because of B, the radio is only used for sports radio. The last album I bought in any format was Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, which I see was 2006. So we’re not keeping the recording industry going over here. (But I can tell you all about every thought you could possibly have about LeBron James going to the Heat….)

    Books: I am pretty much totally impervious. I read CONSTANTLY, fiction and non, but I never read the best-sellers and I don’t even read the prize winners anymore. Don’t get the vampire thing, don’t get the Dragon Tattoo thing, definitely don’t get the Harry Potter thing and enjoyed the Hobbit but never read LoTR and thought only the first movie was enjoyable. So yes, I am a stodgy grump.

    • hongkongmom says:

      try to get passed the beginning of the swedish names, locations etc in the beginning of the tattoo thing…
      they r really good!!

  • odonata9 says:

    Don’t watch too much TV, but loved Buffy/Angel and X-files back in the day. Also watched LOST and just 1 reality show – So You Think You Can Dance. Don’t laugh – it is really really good! Read and loved all the Harry Potters.

    • odonata9 says:

      Also loved the Dragon Tattoo books and have never even heard of Hunger Games. Will have to look those up.

  • Tom says:

    The A-List on Logo. A gay version of Real Housewives. On one level it makes me cringe, since all of them are such stereotypes (whiny, brittle, looks-and-youth-obsessed queens) but I can’t say that there aren’t people out there like that and hey, isn’t the very definition of equality that we gays are allowed to make ourselves look as bad as the Real Housewives on TV?

  • tammy says:

    I was marked by my grandma for all things vampire at an early age…she never missed an episode of a show called Dark Shadows. Do any of y’all recall that? No one I talk to out here in Cali remembers it, so maybe it was only in the South?

    I don’t recall the story lines at all, as I was very young, but I think the main guy was called Barnabas.

    I got a kick out of the Twilight books, but haven’t even heard of any of the shows mentioned here. Am off to check out all the books, thanks.

    • Disteza says:

      I remember Dark Shadows, course by the time I saw it was on the Sci-Fi channel!

    • Tom says:

      It was on everywhere I think. I barely remember it when I was a little kid- it scared the pants off me.

    • Ann N. says:

      Oh, man, great blast from the past with “Dark Shadows” and Barnabas Collins! I loved that when I was a kid and got in trouble because watching it at a friend’s house often made me late for dinner. This series was one of (if not the first), the breakthrough role for Kate Jackson (“Charlie’s Angels”). Thanks for the memories!

      • Musette says:

        It was on right after school! I ran home to watch that. Because it was video it was somehow scarier than film. I had such a crush on Barnabas Collins which, when you consider I was about 9 years old, made NO sense.

        xo >-)

    • Gretchen says:

      You bet Dark Shadows was popular here in California! I knew lots of kids (boys as well as girls) who rushed home from school to catch it. (No home recorders then!) Many of our mothers watched it as well.

  • maidenbliss says:

    I’m impervious. I did start watching Nurse Jackie which I’ll blame on this blog. Have watched Grey’s Anatomy on/off for years. Not a big tv watcher. Love movies & books. Just finished Little Bee which was librarian recommended-absolutely riveting. Vampires scare me:)

  • jirish says:

    We’re more zombie fans than vampire fans at our house, so enjoying the first episode of The Walking Dead, and looking forward to the movie version of World War Z. But have made an exception for The Passage, which was like a scary cross between vampires and zombies. These are not vampires anyone would be interested in having sex with! In fact, they are completely incapable of sex, and are incredibly scary. I’m looking forward to the two follow-up books in the trilogy. In general, I think families with teenage girls get into the whole vampire genre, and families with teenage boys follow the zombies. Make of that what you will.

    • Musette says:

      they’re doing a movie version of WWZ? I LOVE that book! I am making El O read it. He claims to be ‘meh’ but I’ve noticed he’s having difficulty putting it down…..;)

      xoxoxo >-)

  • Teri says:

    Still standing strong on the scent challenge and this is my day 5. I have definitely developed some insights on my scent that I very likely wouldn’t have had I not immersed myself in it to this degree. Can’t wait to hear everyone’s take on Monday.

    Pop culture – yup, count me in. I slavishly devour anything with ‘chef’ in the title – Top Chef, Iron Chef, etc. I love to cook and have done a lot of crazy culinary experiments, so I can identify with the contestants. Plus, I have to admit it, I love a good train wreck as well as the next gal. I’m also addicted to Project Runway. The larger than life personalities of the designers, the catty infighting, and occasionally, a truly breathtaking design.

    Just found out there is a new Camel Club book in the works so I’m psyched about that. Camel Club is a David Baldacchi series, for the uninitiated. I recently discovered Greg Iles and am systematically devouring his books now. I also lurk about the local B&N whenever I think a new Sue Grafton alphabet mystery is about to be launched.

  • fleurdelys says:

    I’m totally hooked on Mad Men. It’s the only series I watch on TV; other than that I like to catch old movies on TCM.

  • maggiecat says:

    Loved Buffy, devoured all the Harry Potter books, eventually got hooked on True Blood (tv series – have yet to read the books) after watching it with DH for a while. Eric…fine acting there. Really, really fine….acting. Have already blown challenge mostly due to outside circumstances. May try again on my own when this hectic week is over.

  • Musette says:

    I am largely out of pop culture, mostly because I watch little TV because ALL I DO IS WORK NOW :-w but I sort of stay on the periphery of it due to the pervasive marketing.

    But back in the Day – I was a Buffy devotee. Until the last season, I think, where it got a little bizarre. Until then, though, Every Wednesday Night. Great writing, with that lovely combo of sly humor and weird-scary. Loved it.

    LoTR – does that count? Like most folks my age, I read the trilogy + eons ago. Wonderful adaptations by M. Jackson, imo.

    xo >-)

  • Disteza says:

    Eh, I had a teenage fling with vapmires, and I’m mostly over that. I am still a die-hard horror fan, and I can’t tell you how many bad movies I’ve endured in that genre hoping to find a gem. 09’s House of the Devil was pretty good, but the Paranormal Activity series blows.

    Not that it’s strictly pop culture, but I’ve been reading Mr. Norell and Jonathan Strange, which is Harry Potter for adults, if it were written by Jane Austen. Terribly droll, and very engaging.

  • tania says:

    I’m also into The Vampire Diaries – especially Damon! Ian Somerhalder gives a delicious performance. He has such fun with it, I can’t take my eyes off him. Because of the performance. Yes, that’s it. Nothing to do with his looks…. ;-)

    But my main pop culture suck-in was Buffy. Then Angel. Then Firefly. Then Dr Horrible. Basically, anything Joss Whedon does. (Yes, even Dollhouse! Season 2, anyway).

    Oh, and Dexter. And Glee. And Supernatural. And…. oh let’s face it, I’m a TV pop culture-lovin’ fool! Though I draw the line at soaps and reality shows. And Harry Potter & LoTR do nothing for me.

    As for the one-scent challenge, I fell at the first hurdle! I meant to do it, but forgot & put on Joy body lotion after my shower that night. And Joy was not my One Scent. So I figured, this is like dieting, once you’ve broken it with one, you may as well eat ALL those chocolate biscuits… :)

    • Disteza says:

      I’m also a Whedon devotee, but he lost me on Dollhouse. That one seemed to miss out on Whedon’s big talent, which is to get you to really love his characters. If you lead is constantly changing characters, it’s hard to care much about what happens to her because she’s just not engaging you. And since they didn’t give enough screen time to the supporting characters, I didn’t care about them either.

      • Tania says:

        Well yes, true, it did suffer from that. I don’t know what he was thinking there. Also, Dushku, Lord love her, is not much of an actress (playing anybody apart from Faith, anyway).
        But I clenched my teeth and got through, hoping for better. I found season 2 much better-written, and I thought Whedon faves Alan Tudyk, Amy Acker and Summer Glau were great.

    • odonata9 says:

      Yay for Joss Whedon! Although I must admit, I never watched a single episode of Dollhouse. I probably should, just to make up my own mind, but the reviews were pretty poor at first.

  • pam says:

    I can’t get into the vampire stuff. Am trying to analyze why society is so into them at this point. However, even with no kids at home anymore, I have loved Harry Potter. Rappleyea, Lord of the Rings is great lit. (Seriously). Love sci-fi. Star Trek, Star Wars, the X Files. Will have to look up the Hunger Games books.

    Think about it: Vampires and also Zombies seem to be popular. Dr. Jung??

    • Rappleyea says:

      “…for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.” – Gandalf, Fellowship of the Rings

      There are plenty of others too. It might be time to re-read.

  • Connie says:

    I have that same compulsive trait, Patty. Last summer, my son got me into watching Dexter. I was hesitant at first since it is about a serial killer and I normally don’t go for blood and guts but it is fabulous. So much so, that I did a Dexter marathon … all 4 years in less than a week. The writing was that good.

    Now I need to check into the Vampire Diaries, thanks!

    • jirish says:

      My son got us watching Dexter too! And we ended up watching all available on DVD in a marathon. He’s not making his way through the Dexter books, which are significantly different, but which he also enjoys.

  • Olfacta says:

    Impervious, mostly. I think “True Blood” jumped the shark last season, by the way. I keep wondering: why all the vampire stuff at this particular point in pop-culture history? Are we now a nation of suck-ers and suck-ees? Yeah — that might be it.

  • Rappleyea says:

    Oh – impervious sounds SO much better than old! Is Lord of the Rings “pop culture”? I wasn’t sure as the books were written so long ago. But I love both the movies and the books, which actually contain some very beautiful, literary writing.

    On the vampire front – I did get sucked into Moonlight by a good friend. I highly recommend it although it was only one season. It won the Peoples’ Choice Award for Best Drama, but Warner Bros., who produced it, then demanded more money from CBS and CBS cancelled it. Excellent acting and surprisingly sophisticated dialogue and writing.

    • Connie says:

      The same thing happened to me with Moonlight. And you’re right, the writing is surprisingly sophisticated … and Alex O’Loughlin isn’t hard on the eyes, either. ;-)

    • Ann N. says:

      Hi Rappleyea and Connie, I’m with you guys on “Moonlight.” Great show. And to see more of Mr. O’Loughlin, catch him in “Hawaii Five-O” on Monday nights, if you haven’t already. Nice …

    • Fragrant Witch says:

      Moonlight!! I was so bummed when that wasn’t renewed – especially as the screenwriters’ strike meant we lost out on 4 episodes. Who wouldn’t fall for Mick??

  • Ann C says:

    I also gobbled up all of the Hunger Games books. No young people left at home, and I don’t remember how I heard about these books, but they’re excellent. I tried and failed to like the Twilight books, but love the Sookie Stackhouse books that inspire the True Blood series. I should watch the TV series–I’d love to see who they cast as Eric.

    • March says:

      Alexander Skarsgard, and he is hotness, although they don’t do his character justice (too broody). But he’s hilarious visually because he TOWERS over Sookie, as he should (and almost everyone else.) Book Eric had much more of a sense of humor. Also I enjoyed the frankly sexual aspect of the books.

    • March says:

      I’ll leave this here… not sure that it qualifies as pop culture, but when my nephew was deployed to Afghanistan I watched Generation Kill, which was amazing. ASkarsgard is amazing in that.

  • Isa says:

    I’m addicted to pop culture. I love Star Wars, Lord of the rings, Pixar-Disney, Lost, Battlestar Galactica (the new series), Glee… However, I don’t like vampires. I have never seen a single episode of True Blood and I don’t like Twilight saga.

    For books, I read almost anything, but I highly recommend George R.R. Martin saga “A song of Ice and Fire”. A masterpiece of fantasy genre, in my opinion ^:)^

    • Isa says:

      Ups, that thing at the end was supposed to be the smiley who is bowing.

    • nozknoz says:

      Isa, I love Battlestar Galactica, too, so I’m taking note of the Marin saga!

      • Isa says:

        “A Song of Ice and Fire” is a great saga! So well written, with wonderful, unforgettable characters. Just like Battlestar Galactica.
        HBO series will premiere next year :)

        • nozknoz says:

          Wow! I loved the HBO Rome series – very much looking forward to seeing what they do with a great fantasy saga! Thanks for this good news, Isa!

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Being British, having no children and being outside the demo, I have’t seen or read ANY of these things Patty, so remain blissfully ignorant!

    Finished the Week Long Commitment yesterday, so it’s vintage Bal today. Hurray – skank returns.

    • Tara says:

      I am so impressed you lasted a week! I am on day 4 and it is killing me! Not that I don’t like my selection, but each morning when I spray on Peastum Rose again, I glimpse at my other beauties and they are almost calling me. It’s dark, rainy and cold today and Black Cashmere and my new love Chene are taunting me!

  • hongkongmom says:

    Oh my, please excuse all the HORRIBLE typos above. I will try to do better before I hit the Submit Comment in the future.

  • hongkongmom says:

    I don”t catch all the names…but i have loads of my 13yr olds mixes downloaded onto my itunes…Hunger games sounds like a must..just as soon as i finish the 3rd of the millenium trilogy. NCIS, Criminal minds, and law and order are big definates…and my 17yr old daughter drags me in to watch the latest downloads of greys anatomy…Scuse the simpleness, but are those considered “modern” Don’t forget, we are talking HK standards!! Re perfume: Well into day 3, or wait!, is that day $ of Shaimar..It is evening and all of a sudden the drydown smells like teint de neige…yum and my doughts of whether or not I can do this, are leaning towards….MARCH (sorry Patty. It could change tmrw tho:)

    • Patty says:

      Hunger Games is really great for both young adults and grownups. It has themes that have been done in other books, but pulls a few together in one book, sorta The Lottery meets Running Man meets Death – what’s that car fight to the death movie that came out in the last year or two?

      I forget you guys are just getting some stuff. I still watch Grey’s, I almost abandoned it, but this season is much better than the previous three or so put together.

      Oh, fine, the experiment is working out. I’m going to go put on Nuit de Tubereuse, which is the closest I may ever come to a sig scent.