The Entertainer

Last night I went to see Billy Joel at Fenway. This is my second time seeing him and he does not fail to impress. Both of my parents are big fans and I started listening to his music on a family trip to Ireland. There is not one song that I don’t like. It’s funny because he could have played a complete different playlist last night that still would have been full of hits.

  
After every song, I kept shouting, “that one’s my favorite!” I don’t think there’s anything quite like hearing a packed stadium of 30,000+ people singing along to Piano Man or an a Capella version of The Longest Time. Even the two songs I didn’t know, I enjoyed. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert too. Not too cold or warm, a few stars speckled the sky, and a great time with my parents and cousin Maura!

  
  
We started the night by hitting up a restaurant and getting a few drinks. I had a watermelon beer (the piece of watermelon on top was my favorite) and then had a glass of raspberry sangria. For my meal, I selected the chicken and shrimp sesame stir fry that was chock full of peppers, snap peas, and mushrooms on top a bed of jasmine rice. The portion size was just right so that I easily polished it off and washed it down with a soft serve cone in the stadium.

  
My workout for the day was a body strength circuit that had my sweating and sticky before I jumped into the pool to swim a mile. I was feeling strong yesterday and was in the zone and could have swam another mile (at least it yet like it) but I was on no time crunch and had to get ready for the concert! To add to my exercise for the day, we did quite a bit of walking to the concert and a ton of dancing! Once Billy came on stage, I didn’t sit for another two hours.

I was feeling sleepy this morning and took my time getting out of bed. Somehow it seemed easier at 5. I eventually got up and grilled up some French toast. In my batter, I tossed an egg, an egg white, a splash of milk, cinnamon, and vanilla together, soaked the bread, and fried it up. I thought I would get a little fancy with my topping and mixed a fourth of a cup of plain Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of dark chocolate peanut butter together. Combined with blueberries and banana, it was quite tasty. I ended up having too much for the toast, so I just ate the rest of it as a parfait.

  
As I enjoyed my breakfast, I watched a clip of Amy Schumer on Jimmy Fallon’s show talking about how she engaged in a bread eating war with Mindy Kaling and sexted from Katie Couric’s phone when she got up to use the bathroom. Comedy right now is huge, especially as people realize that women are actually funny. I am actually going to see Amy’s movie that comes out tonight, which she stars in and wrote. I think it’s so important to have celebrities, especially female, get so much positive exposure for being smart, funny, confident, and strong. And she was just nominated for an Emmy for her show Inside Amy Schumer, which is great!

Now onto a day of studying, writing, and exercising! Happy Friday!

I Don’t Normally Do Orange, But….

I realize that it’s Rave Review Tuesday, but I find myself in quite a predicament because I haven’t exactly read anything new this week. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading quite a bit, but as I am in the thick of my annual re-read of Harry Potter, I don’t have any new information in which to report.

And I know you will all groan and roll your eyes if I repeatedly talk about my love for Harry Potter. In fact, I am going to an all Potterverse trivia game on Saturday and I plan to dominate. I almost feel bad for the competition…

Knowing this, I tried to think back on any films I have seen recently, but the truth is I haven’t seen a movie in awhile. The horror! I know, but since it’s summer, I try to spend as much time possible outside. I’ve also been traveling a bit and haven’t had time.

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the one thing I was obsessively watching for two weeks and can’t believe I forgot! Orange is the New Black. Which by the way deserves all of the Emmy nominations they received.

To be honest, I sometimes prefer television over film because it gives off a more relaxing vibe when watching. There isn’t as much time you have to dedicate to viewing it, even though somehow, miraculously, you end up watching an entire season in two days and didn’t even realize. Happens way too often. I still love movies, especially going to the theater, but there’s something that has always driven me to TV.

It’s strange because over the past year, I haven’t had as much time to watch TV, and therefore haven’t gotten into Breaking Bad or House of Cards even though everyone keeps telling me I have to. Eventually, I think I will watch those shows, but Orange is the New Black was most recommended, so I chose wisely.

The biggest observation about OITNB for me was that the writing on the show is phenomenal. I’m always intrigued by dialogue because it really is the largest factor that drives the show. Obviously the acting is phenomenal and will make or break a show, but as a writer, I am more apt to analyze how the show is written.

I can tell you one thing about that show, I would never survive in prison.

Not knowing much about actual prison, I couldn’t tell you how much of it is accurate, but it certainly is like its own little world and I have enjoyed getting to know the characters. In any media forum, I always love how writers and actors can transform the characters, all of the good and bad about them, and make you care. This show is a prime example of that because from a general standpoint, all of these women are criminals, having done something to some degree that was corrupt, and yet, they are human, sometimes frustrating, sometimes loveable. Just like all of us.

Without giving too much, okay anything, away I will say I enjoy the setup of having recurring characters pop up throughout the hour, while focusing on a new individual each episode, learning their background. You start to realize the factors that led to them ending up where they are and there is something so fascinating about it. You think you have a general idea of how they function, but then the backstory throws you a curveball and you end up screaming at the screen. Especially- okay I won’t say it- but OH MY GOD.

Ack. I have to control myself as I do not have a reputation for remaining inconspicuous when it comes to spoilers.

I know that the person the show is based on wrote a book and eventually I do want to read it because it would be interesting to know how much of this is real.

Being on Netflix, I think it allows a lot more freedom to depict the messiness of life, including cursing and sex. There have been a few instances where my brother is watching a show on network TV and the characters are enraged and all they can yell is “What the hell!?” I’m sorry, but that is not the grittiest statement you can scream when you are so frustrated. It’s not realistic.

Regardless of the realism of the scenarios, I think what gets me most about OITNB and the characters are that they just seem real. I’ve mentioned before how I gravitate to more character-driven media. Maybe it’s because I feel as though I can relate to them. Maybe it’s the writer in me wondering how to create those people while relying mainly on dialogue. Or maybe I should have been a psychologist.

No matter what circumstances you throw them in, no matter what ridiculous, otherworldly, mystical things that surround them, if you have a strong core of characters who live, breathe, and bleed as quintessential humans, I will follow along with the story with bated breath.

Orange is the New Black is an absolute must-see. It’s sometimes silly and sometimes anxiety-ridden. I’ve laughed, cried, and wanted to throw the screen across the room while screaming and covering my eyes. That is the mark of quality television.

And it has a killer theme song that, albeit, runs a little too long.

When is season 3?!