Recommending …

October 13th, 2009

I just watched Season 2 of “This American Life.” I’m so happy there are visual episodes of this great series now. I loved Season 1, and Season 2, while a bit on the sad side more often, is just the best short feature storytelling out there. Available on iTunes. The episode titled “John Smith” is especially interesting … “Underdogs” I found especially tough to watch. “Two Wars” I found enlightening. Do yourself this favor, and get it and watch. You won’t be sorry.

Season 1 of Fringe

October 10th, 2009

Finally finished watching Season 1 of Fringe. If you haven’t watched it yet, I have a little drinking game you can play: Chug every time …
- someone’s brain melts or explodes
- someone is put into a drug-induced coma
- Cortexiphan is mentioned
- Peter asks Olivia, “Are you OK?”
- The Pattern is mentioned
- The characters spell out to each other what ZFT means
- Olivia says, “Tell Walter to prepare the tank,” and removes her clothing
- the characters have a conversation meant to explain why Peter is on the show
You will be sufficiently drunk (or, if chugging a non-alcoholic beverage, caffeinated) in no time. I did love the season, it really hooked me. It was like the X-Files was in its great first seasons, before it just turned nightmare-inducing with little payoff. Not that Fringe doesn’t have its nightmare-inducing qualities—those sensitive to this can do what I did and mute everything that comes before the opening theme song and credits.


February 17th, 2009

The book “Still Life with Rice” by Helie Lee. One of those great, personal, true stories that fill in history about something I never could put a human face on before (Korean history). Two bucks on

“My New Favorite Crime Show,” or “Wherein I Indulge Endlessly in Chatter about TV”

January 31st, 2009

It’s pretty well known I’m a bit of a crime show fan. I don’t know why this is, exactly. I never had any desire to work in forensics, law enforcement, or law. And I’ve never once fantasized about being some kind of criminal. But I do know this fandom is something essential to my being, and the WAY I know is that it has always been there. As a little kid, I loved Cagney & Lacey and Magnum P.I., and I snuck out of bed to watch Hill Street Blues “with” my parents, peeking out from the stairwell that led to the family room. Moonlighting, Remington Steele, CHiPs … I can still remember entire plot-lines.

As a pre-teen, home alone and scaring the shit out of myself watching Unsolved Mysteries in the dark basement of our house, my “thing” for this kind of show evolved. Robert Stack fed my irrational fear of alien abduction, and I was sure every manhunt-ee on America’s Most Wanted was hiding out in the woods behind our house. And do not even speak to me of The X-Files.

I have loved CSI since its first days, and while I don’t watch it regularly anymore, I still appreciate it for its camp depiction of crime solving and its fetishy plots. (I do need to catch up with the new cast.) I have watched an episode or two of CSI:NY, but I can’t get past that Kanakaredes robot.

Well, and then there’s my FAVORITE of the trio, Miami. You can’t criticize this show for being “over the top,” “a comedy,” or “cheesy,” because it’s completely self-aware. Its characters are two-dimensional stereotypes of themselves. I don’t think we’re meant to care about them, really, or see them as endearing, so much as to find them glamorous. Fifty percent of the plots center around the characters themselves; if not for the dramatically sunglassed Horatio Caine and his complicated personal life full of damsels in distress, it seems there would be little need for a detective force in Miami at all. And anyway it’s a proven fact that nothing helps a forensic scientist get the job done like a pair of boobs popping out of a blazer three sizes too small and long, gorgeous hair flowing all over the evidence.

Even non-crime-show fans love a good episode of Law & Order, and the new season is fantastic. (That would be Season 19—amazing.) L&O is tops at dangling just enough personal storyline about its cast of characters to make you interested in them, without the show’s being ABOUT them. I love that I can plug into any episode of this show, anytime, and leave it at the end not feeling like I need to watch the next one in order to know how something turns out. Just satisfied with the wholeness of the episode itself. The oh-so-obvious setups of rhetorical sides of debated issues are interesting to me, too, and I make no apologies for it.

SVU is still great, too, although I find it’s become a bit too much about the regular characters for me. And yeah, I do like Criminal Intent. I know it’s controversial to like, but it entertains me.

All I have to say about The Closer is: Don’t talk to me while this show is on. Because I will punch you in order to silence you so I can continue to devote my full attention to its gloriousness. It is as good as Homicide: Life on the Street, some of the best television ever made.

I have a real appreciation for the reenactment shows on A&E. Cold Case Files is like the grandaddy of crime shows in my book. American Justice is great. In fictional dramas, sexy medical examiners help out with, say, interviewing suspects, DNA comes back in an hour, newspapers write daily stories about heroic detectives. In the real world, not so much. A&E often puts together specials about serial killers and such, too, and these mesmerize me. Even the low-budget Oxygen shows—Snapped and Captured—as awful as they are, I could watch marathons of them.

So, to finally get to the title of this post. Just what IS my new favorite crime show? Is it The Beast? Um, no. So far, this show is pretty awful. A cool idea poorly executed—another In Plain Sight. The show I have fallen immediately in love with is Lie to Me. It’s got that House-esque main character, a complicated, flawed guy, who isn’t always likable and lives an ironic career (House is a brilliant doctor who can’t cure his own pain; Cal Lightman is a studied genius in the science of body language and expression who is a bit tortured by his knowledge of how much lying goes on). It’s got that CSI brand of “educating,” wherein protege Torres—a “natural” but without an education—is forever having the science explained to her, for OUR benefit. And it’s got Kelli Williams, beloved darling from The Practice and Medical Investigation. Will it be plotted like House? Who cares! Who doesn’t love House, despite the formulaic and ridiculously far-fetched plots? Will it be as inaccurate a representation of crime solving as CSI? Probably. I think we can count on these overworked crime-solving specialists to take a personal interest in every case, and to go beyond the call of reality to make things “right.” Anyway, I’ll be eager for every new episode. Love it.

Let’s see, others …. maybe you can help me complete my list.
Saving Grace—never seen it, but I hear it’s good.
Bones—only watched one episode, and it didn’t reel me in.
Crossing Jordan—I’ve watched way too much of this crappy, crappy show.
NCIS–ditto. Back to back to back episodes? Sure.
The First 48—not as into this as the other A&E shows, but I watch from time to time.
Veronica Mars—I know, I know, I need to watch this! I have no excuse; I even have the first season on DVD!
Monk—cute enough, I can take it or leave it.

A Novel. How Novel.

July 1st, 2007

I just finished reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. I can’t remember the last time before this that I’ve read a book. It hasn’t appealed to me as a pastime in a while. But this was a good one, an easy read. Poetic and brief.

Science Un-Fair

May 1st, 2007

Over the last week, these chemistries have conspired to make me insane:

[1] my usual cocktail of moodiness
[2] migraines
[3] the moon

I hide it well in the company of others, other than Stevel. (It seems only fair that if I’m going to have to have his tender skin in my face all the time—taunting me, taunting my collection of Lotion bottles—he should have to tolerate something equally difficult to endure.)

I have eaten the traditional medicinal chocolate. I am eating it right now.

I have been listening to PB&J:

“And the question is, was I more alive
then than I am now?
I happily have to disagree;
I laugh more often now, I cry more often now,
I am more me.”

You should too:

Objects of My Affection
Young Folks
Amsterdam Lyrics

The whistling is cool, no? My grandma taught me to whistle (same grandma with the bargains and the organizey drawers). We are outie whistlers. Innie whistlers seem to do better, overall, but my grandma can whistle like a champ. I did not inherit the family’s musical talents. Or the curves. But I have the best vision.

Can you whistle? Are you any good?

Beyonce. [Sigh.]

March 8th, 2007

Over the last few years, I have developed a secret crush on Beyonce Knowles. I think ever since “Jumpin Jumpin.” It’s the kind of crush that makes me want to BE her. Now it is public. Beyonce is just so graceful and talented. And “Irreplaceable” is terrific. If ya feel me, throw yo hands up at me.

The Wildest Dreams of Sneaky and Shrieky

November 23rd, 2006

I returned Monday from a trip to Georgia, where my nieces were visiting their Grandmother and Grandad. Four-year-old Dani, aka “Shrieky,” was her usual high-energy self. She demanded I sing “This Land is Your Land,” or, as she calls it, “the California song,” at least eleven hundred times.

“Krissy, can you sing the California song?”
“Krissy, can you sing it again?”
“Krissy, can I sing with you this time?”

Sunday I watched her consume nothing but cookies and juice for six hours during a family get-together. That night instead of going to sleep, she spent a half hour running up and down my parents’ long hallway, shouting, “Look, I’m racing myself! I’m racing myself again!”

My favorite Dani moment, though, was when we were driving back to Marietta from the aforementioned get-together in Lawrenceville. I drove. My sister rode shotgun. My dad had no problem being relegated to the backseat with his beloved granddaughters. Only catch was, it was a small car (my dad’s PT Cruiser), so Grandad had to squish against Dani in her booster seat, which was strapped into the middle. As he wedged himself in and crowded Dani, Dani shrieked, “AH! You’re a BIG BOY!” This is funniest if you know my dad, who is truly a VERY BIG boy.

Erica, age 7, coveted my Nintendo DS. She tried a number of rhetorical strategies to convince me to give her mine or to buy her one. But even though Christmas is coming, she’s not getting one, because the child has shown extreme game-addictive tendencies. She plays nonstop and becomes combative when asked to detach herself from the gaming device in order to do things like eat or sleep. So I told her no DS this year, because she would just play all the time and flunk out of school. “That would never happen,” she said, “Mommy would NEVER let me bring it to school.”

At one point, I asked Erica what she wants to be when she grows up, and she said, “A zoo keeper or veterinarian. Or my wildet dream is to be a lion tamer in a circus.” Her wildest dream! Then she said, “What do you want to be when YOU grow up?”

“I’m grown up already,” I said.

This seemed to confuse her. “How old are you?”

“Thirty-one. I’m older than your mommy,” I explained.

“So?” she said, “What do you want to be?”

Little did she realize what a relevant question this was, being that I am ONE MONTH from graduation and still unsure of what to do next. Indeed, I thought, What DO I want to be?

“Well, I’m a teacher, but I guess I want to be just a poet.”

She said, “You mean you want to write poems and send them to editors and stuff?”

Did I mention she is only SEVEN?


The family get-together was wonderful. It’s satisfying to see my cousins striking out on their own. Matthew is a renaissance high schooler who wows his teachers and has a real shot at a baseball career (his current ambition). Sarah-Nicole, a recent college grad, has four job offers to teach math at area high schools. And Chelsea. Chelsea, the little tot in diapers, is in her freshman year of college. They are such NICE adults. They seem self-assured and content. They are the types of people who contribute to society and make the Edgar clan proud! My Nana enjoyed herself with so many family members around, too. The baby of the day was Austin, my second-cousin Beth’s blue-eyed charmer. A chub-ful of sweet.

The best parts of these trips for me are always the no-big-deal little moments that feel like the types of things we would do together if we all lived close. Pauline and I snuck out for a little girl-time and shopping. And Cheri and I decided spontaneously to see a movie on Saturday night.

Speaking of the movie, GO SEE IT. “Stranger than Fiction” is terrific. I don’t want to give anything away, because it is surprising and interesting and heart-warming. It’s not a chick flick, just a great movie. I recommend it to all.

So we are here at home hanging out today. Stevel has baked me brownies and is enjoying his Wii. Tomorrow we head up to the San Fran area. We have a date with his family at a Chinese restaurant on Friday. When your cat is like a big greasy turkey every day of the year, it’s not a sacrifice to forgo the bird on Thanksgiving.

And here are photos. Happy Thanksgiving!


November 7th, 2005

I haven’t seen a movie this haunting since “The Pianist.” Go. See. It.

Wallace & Gromit

October 23rd, 2005

I forgot to mention that we saw this movie last weekend. It’s very cute and entertaining, appropriate and fun for everyone. I highly recommend it.

A Little Light Reading

September 26th, 2005

I’m halfway through “Runaway” this morning, and all I can say is, OK, Alice Munro, how about you stop breaking my heart at some point? Damn you, and damn your sad, sad stories, so beautifully, beautifully written with the cruel intention of ripping my chest open and squeezing the blood from my weeping valves.

Your reader,
Kristan LaVietes

Transporter 2

September 23rd, 2005

Awesome. The cheesiest lines and corniest fight sequences EVER— a laugh a minute. Plus, some really fantastic action-driving scenes. PLUS, Jason Statham is crazy hot. This movie is fun.

Broken Flowers

September 5th, 2005

I enjoyed this movie a lot. (David and Steve did, too.) Bill Murray is amazing. It must be so easy to make a movie with him. You just put Bill Murray in a scene with someone—anyone, really—and there doesn’t even have to be dialog, the man just has chemistry with people. Anyway, this movie is cool. Do see.

Last Days

August 7th, 2005

Very cool looking movie, I just wished I was watching it at home with a fast-forward button is all.

Madagascar, Fantastic Four, Willie Wonka

July 27th, 2005

Madagascar sucked the first time I saw it, but was surprisingly entertaining to me the second time (auntie torture). I especially enjoy when the lemur king says, “You are right, Maurice! All is lost! My plan has failed, and we will all be eaten by the dreaded foosa!” Steve likes it, too; although he hasn’t seen the movie, I think he secretly enjoys when I begin shouting this when we are in public. Secretly. Anyway, I can’t say if I recommend this or not. If you’ve seen all the other cartoon-movies, then see this one. If not, there are so many better ones.

Fantastic Four has some of the corniest dialogue ever. Still, I liked it. It’s family fun, but do not pay to see it in the theater.

And now for the movie everyone must go see TONIGHT: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is so brilliant I laughed throughout it and plan to see it a second time in the theaters, which is an extreme rarity for me (unless my auntly duties call). If you do not see this movie, I just can’t call you my friend anymore.

Lemony Snicket, The Terminal

July 13th, 2005

We also rented The Terminal, which is a little contrived, but clearly for the sake of being labeled a good family movie (which it is for sure) and thereby making it onto cross-country flights. I think even kids of grade-school age would like it.

The Lemony Snicket movie was awesome. Terrific. Although not for the kiddies. Too scary. I recommend it for my friends, however. Fun rental.


July 11th, 2005

We rented this movie and watched it last night, and wow, it’s great. I’m still in the movie place this morning. You know the place.

Everyone should rent this.