Monthly Archives: December 2013

By William Hoffman | | @Wilbur_Hoffman

It’s that time of year once again where we try and assign numerical value to an artistic art form as if all genres of music from jazz to gangster rap are capable of being compared in this way. OK, that’s a cynical view, but really these lists are just good fun. So here are my picks for favorite albums of 2013. I tried to balance personal preference with an objective view of skill, but if you disagree the great thing about music is that you

10. Kacey Musgraves: Same Trailer Different Park — This cute and innocent country chick came seemingly out of nowhere this year, taking the CMA’s by storm with her fun and quirky lyrics that have far more depth than your average pick-up-truck country song.  Songs like “Merry Go ’Round” and “Silver Lining” show a sophistication in song writing we haven’t seen from the genre in a while and she has a long career to continue and improve from here. Not to mention she had a great performance at Ohio University this year.can go off and listen to your own preferences.

9. Head And The Heart: Let’s Be Still — Combining a wide range of instrumentation and versatile songwriting, this band was able to wade through an oversaturated genre that could have well buried them this year. Let’s Be Still is one of the more energetic Americana albums in 2013 and has a lot to say about a society that never seems to slow down and look around. And the best part is that they are able to convey that message by appealing to a modern sensibility and without coming off as pretentious.

8. Daft Punk: Random Access Memories — Disco never died, and no group proves that concept more than Daft Punk. “Get Lucky” is the dance tune of the summer but the whole album is filled with dance gems such as “Give Life Back To Music” and “Lose Yourself To Dance.” And the group’s nine minute epic tribute to European disco tech Giorgio Moroder is masterfully crafted down to every beat and instrumental solo.

7. Kings Of Leon: Mechanical Bull — I never thought Kings of Leon could make a comeback but this album did it for me. It’s a straight no nonsense rock record that tickles my fancy for both killer guitar and bass licks as well as full epic songs that sound more like an orchestra than a four-piece rock group. Songs such as “Don’t Matter” and “Rock City” provide that classic rock feel to the album while “Wait For Me” and “Tonight” give it the 2000’s grandiose epic feel. It’s just a good easy listen from beginning to end with some seriously tasty riffs.

6. Elvis Costello and The Roots: Wise Up Ghost — I really don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like Wise Up Ghost. It’s definitely hip-hop influenced with ?uestlove behind the kit but Costello’s vocals and general oddball nature just brings a beautifully strange twist to this album. Each song is a new adventure and experimentation with samples hip-hop beats and vocal rhythms from beginning to end. This collaboration proved that music can be interesting and experimental without following the industrial, noisy and depressing trend that has permeated the greater part of critically acclaimed albums this year.

5. Arctic Monkeys: AM — I wasn’t a big fan of the group before this year’s release as a lot of their work tinged on the punk side for me. But this album is nothing but fantastic gritty blues rock. They seem to have really found an American audience with this album in part due to what I perceive as a Black Keys influence. “Arabella” is the finest track off the album bringing me back to the days I would rock out to riffy Led Zeppelin blues in my room. Even as I write this now I can’t help but air drum to the powerful and technical fills or head bang to the infectious energy they are able to bring forward on this record.

4. Iron & Wine: Ghost On Ghost — For people who may know Samuel Beam as the slow and melodic singer songwriter this album may come as a bit of a twist. The best way to describe it is Jazz Folk and it combines beautiful voices and song writing with some far more complicated rhythms, keys and sonic elements than the genre is used to. The bass and drums are locked in for an incredibly infectious and melodic rhythm section and Beam’s voice is just a majestic as ever. This may be one of the most overlooked albums of the year that could really attract a different audience to the group for one of Beam’s finest works to date.

3. Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 — In a year of record all-star rap releases Eminem comes on top. Eminem proves that no one can touch his technical ability or his lyrical rhyming skill on this massive 21 song, 1 hour and 42 minute LP. Nearly every song from start to finish is new and original from the last with massive verses that consistently show of Eminem’s ability. Not to mention some damn catchy beats and choruses. This one also floats to the top because of Eminem’s brutal honesty with his fans both in interviews and lyrically.

2. Queens of the Stone Age: …Like Clockwork — This album takes you deep into Josh Homme’s depression and near death experience back in 2010 with its grinding bass, driving drums and sonic ethos. The whole record is a stoner rock fan’s dream. Jon Theodore, former drummer for Mars Volta, really makes the album pop with complicated and bright drum fills and Homme is at the top of his game here. The group needed to push through some big struggles and to continue playing together and they’ve done just that for one of if not their best album ever.

1. Dawes: Stories Don’t End— This may be a radical choice for No. 1 but I think it’s well deserved. Dawes has been blowing me away for years with their ability to craft a story through metaphor and simile and this album is the best yet. The band has really found their stride and have a winning formula for crafting musical lines to support the always stellar lyrics. Songwriter and frontman Simon Dawes might be one of the finest lyricists of this generation — a statement backed by the fact that the group opened for Bob Dylan on a number of dates earlier this year. Stories Don’t End also appeals to a modern post adolescence phase. His words resonate to a generation of 20-somethings searching for love, purpose and meaning in this world. And it sounds like Dawes may still be searching for the same as well.


By Will Ashton || @thewillofash
Lone Survivor
| Directed by Peter Berg | Rated R

lone-survivor-posterIn case you didn’t get the memo, Navy SEALs are badasses. And Hollywood knows it.

Since the famous takedown of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, every movie from Zero Dark Thirty, to Act to Valor, to even Battleship have made the effort to show and applaud the work done by these soldiers. But, despite the final moments of Zero Dark Thirty, few movies have truly shown the struggles of these people alongside its pride.

At the very least, this is where the new film Lone Survivor succeeds.

Based on the true story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his team, Lone Survivor follows Marcus (Mark Wahlberg) as he and his team (Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) are forced to fight for their lives as their mission to capture and kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd fails.

If I were to predict my rating for the film based on the first ten minutes alone, I doubt that it would have been very high. Not only does the opening moments of this film foreshadow, to a fault, the events that would happen throughout the film, but the film also forces Marky Mark to give one of the most contrived and heavy-handed monologues I have heard in some time. Things were looking were pretty dour for Lone Survivor in the beginning, and it didn’t get too much better in the next couple scenes to come.

Following this, we are introduced to our main characters. But Berg’s dialogue, much like his monologues, doesn’t quite have its realism nailed down, and its humor in these sequences comes across as both awkward and forced. Not to mention still filled with heavy-handed patriotism for its fighting protagonists. Just as I feared that I was watching another Act of Valor, however, things quickly, and thankfully, got better once the plot eventually moved forward.

Finally rid of its forced characterization and its heavy-handedness (for the most part—at least for now), the film is finally able to become the realistic and haunting story it wants to be. Thanks to the presence of real Navy SEALs on set, its grounded, rugged cinematography from Tobias A. Schliessler and its incredible stunts, Peter Berg’s film is able to become the fully realized look at this incident without its pretensions and phoniness.

As a result, much like Captain Phillips earlier this year, the movie is able to become an intense and intimate look at real life events, even with its star-studded cast. Speaking of which, all the performances from the main cast—as expected—are quite good. Particularly from Foster, who is always sadly overlooked, and Wahlberg, who also produces. They are able to move away from the glamour and “movie star”-ness that other actors like, say, Tom Cruise would bring to this film and give grittiness and bare-knuckled performances that are needed to make this movie impacting.

Also, make-up from Peter Montagna, Corey Welk and their group look realistic and appropriately gruesome, and help evaluate the characters’ ongoing struggles to appear more haunting and impacting as the story moves along.

While this feeling of realism continues throughout the film, particularly towards the film’s final moments, Berg does continue to slow down the movie by forcing its characters to continue giving contrived and heavy-handed dialogue about their duties as soldiers and how they must never stand down and yada, yada, yada. The saddest part of these scenes is that, despite the solid acting continuing from the main actors, this continues to bring the film down to its meandering, repetitive level.

Thankfully, Berg and his editor, Colby Parker, Jr. keep the movie brisk and moving. Beyond its opening, the movie never feels slow, even during its cliché moments. I can confidently say that I was fully entertained with the film once it finally got itself moving, and I was sucked in until the movie’s final moments.

For a director who has had a history of films that start out strong, but quickly fizzle out (Very Bad Things, The Kingdom and Hancock all come to mind), Lone Survivor is the rare film on his filmography to do the exact opposite. Despite its weak opening, the film picks itself up and provides a solid second and third acts, even with its repetitiveness, meandering and heavy-handiness in mind. I had a fun time with it overall, and I have a hard time believing that most audience members will feel otherwise.

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on Fox
The Crazy Ones airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBS


This fall TV season was quite interesting. We had blockbuster-esque shows that impressed, comedies actually be fantastic right out of the gate and then, of course, shows that shouldn’t have even been greenlit in the first place.

With the year coming to a close, it’s time to discuss which shows you should add to your list because some of the new fall shows were quite good. Here are my top three fall favorites:

1. The Crazy Ones on CBS
This is definitely my favorite new show. Robin Williams’s usual style of humor mixed with an excellent ensemble cast has created a sharp and hilarious new comedy. Williams is advertising “crazy genius” Simon Roberts who works with his daughter Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and his eccentric team to land accounts and deal with other zany issues along the way. I realize that as I try to describe the show, it doesn’t sound too appealing but trust me when I say that there has not been one episode in which I’m not laughing the entire way. From enticing Kelly Clarkson in the pilot to being a drugged-up softball hero, the storylines are always fantastic. The best part is that the entire main cast is incredibly strong. James Wolk is charming as ever as rising perfect guy Zach who is hilarious as a younger bro to Williams. Hamish Linklater is spectacular as the overlooked Andrew whose quick one-liners are fantastic. Surprisingly, I am also in love with Amanda Setton as assistant Lauren. At first, she seemed like the typical dumb secretary type but she has proven she can hold her own next to comic vets. Gellar is also wonderful as neurotic Sydney as she brings so much more to the character than just the controlling aspect that’s typical when paired with eccentric characters like Simon. Everything is just wonderful and you should watch this show because describing the comedy isn’t as great as experiencing it.

2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Fox
Brooklyn Nine-Nine was a close second as my favorite new show of the season. It’s a workplace cop comedy that could have been bogged down by Andy Samberg’s comedy – which, like most SNL comedy, can go either way — however it has persisted each week with hilarious storylines and even better performances. Well-known comedians, like Samberg, can get cocky and their attempts to be eccentric and outlandish can come off as idiotic, but Samberg’s Jake Peralta is Samberg-esque but incredibly hilarious without fail. Chelsea Peretti steals every scene as worst office assistant Gina. My other favorite is Andre Braugher as Captain Holt. Never before have I seen someone deliver dry comedy with such perfection. He’s definitely the show’s secret weapon. As I mentioned when I first posted about the show, I really appreciate how the comedy doesn’t revolve around the fact that everyone is terrible at his or her job. Sure they’re crazy sometimes and may screw up, but they ultimately solve cases and aren’t half bad comedic fictional cops. Incompetence may be funny in some aspects but not as a focus for an entire series. This was definitely the surprise hit of the fall in my book.

3. Sleepy Hollow on Fox
This was the only drama I was really looking forward to this season, and it has exceeded expectations. The show follows the resurgence of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) just in time for the reawakening of the Headless Horsemen. Yes, it’s another show focusing on reimagining an old tale, however this show does it in such a fresh new way that you wouldn’t even imagine putting it on the same page as Once Upon a Time. There is the tale of the Headless Horsemen in Sleepy Hollow but the show adds a layer of deep mythology about the Founding Fathers, witches and demons that, while it may seem a bit much at times, is incredibly fascinating, edge-of-your-seat worthy and addicting. I cannot wait for the mysteries to continue to unravel because it has been one insane ride so far. Not to mention Mison’s chemistry with Nicole Beharie is splendid and often calls for some great comedy for the out-of-his-times Crane. Get hooked.

Honorable mentions:

Mom on CBS
. Anna Faris and Allison Janney are so extremely spectacular in their roles and are incredibly hilarious. The other supporting characters have a lot to do to catch up to their genius but I will definitely keep watching to see more of Janney and Faris.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. It was one of the most anticipated pilots of the season, and I think it delivered. I have not kept up with this show as much as I’d like but what I saw has made me want to return for more. Following the return — and secrecy — of Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg), we see S.H.I.E.L.D. in full action and not just as a backstory behind the superheroes. They were able to take the big screen blockbuster storylines and minimalize them to the small screen and they did it well.

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Rating: 4/5

Bass Player Wanted

“Bass Player Wanted” was the last How I Met Your Mother episode of the 2013-year. With the year ending, it reminds me that we only have a short time left with HIMYM. CBS announced Thursday the one-hour series finale would air March 31, a questionably early date. Start stocking up on tissues now.

The episode’s title, “Bass Player Wanted,” should give away a few ideas of what happened in the episode. From our tally of information we’ve collected through the years, we know The Mother (Cristin Milioti) plays bass in a band, so I was incredibly excited to know we’d have another episode featuring the beloved Milioti.

savedThis time, we have the story of how the Mother met Marshall (Jason Segel). I’m not quite sure how long this installment of “Marshall versus the Machines” lasted because the Mother offered a ride in her van fairly soon after he tried to walk that five miles to the hotel.

Of course, I really want more Milioti in this season. We’ve waited nine years to meet the mother and we haven’t actually seen that much of her. However, stepping back as an uber-fan, I’ve realized that there really isn’t a way to incorporate her any more than she already is being used. It is absolutely thrilling and amazing to see how the Mother meets everyone before she meets Ted (Josh Radnor). It’s a bit of a silly concept that this scenario would happen but the interactions are always so rewarding and splendidly written. When the Mother met Lily (Alyson Hannigan), I could easily see how those two would be instant friends and how Lily would definitely allow the Mother in the “front porch scenario.” The Mother whipped Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) into shape and now we have an adorable interaction between her and Marshall. She and Marshall are similar in personalities with their need to be good, avoid confrontation and overall charm, and I love their car ride.

The Mother offers to drop Marshall off at the hotel but is going back to the city after that. The band she started with her business school classmates, adorably named Super Freakonomics, is playing at the wedding but she won’t be performing anymore. Darren (Andrew Rannells) has taken over the band and kicked her out and even advertised, “bass player wanted” for the band. So she’s getting some “Aldrin justice” and stole his van.

I love that the Mother has been hanging out with Lily after their train ride. They’re definitely going to be best friends and I love it.

At the hotel, Ted and Barney argue over “the dream.” Is it really all about going to jail for your best friend? To Barney, yes, that’s the dream; however, Ted isn’t quite convinced.

A wedding guest approaches Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Lily. At first, they think it’s a stranger who is interested in a three-way with them — peaking Lily’s interest of course (I always love this gag) — but then it seems as if he’s an old friend whom Robin simply cannot remember.

But in all actuality, that unknown wedding guest is Darren and he’s being his devilish self by ruining people’s lives and friendships. First, he makes you feel “hilarious and adorable,” then he finds some sort of a flimsy connection with the person he’s talking to. He then tells some sob story about his tragic life, which resembles the plot of a Disney film, and then attacks once your guard is down. Cue the flames in his eyes.

Darren caused a major riff between Robin and Lily by revealing that Robin sided with Marshall and his decision to take the judgeship while also causing conflict between Ted and Barney when he tells Barney that Ted is moving to Chicago.

Because they are the best of friends, everything is settled soon. Robin confesses that it wasn’t that she sided with Marshall but that she didn’t want her best friend to leave her and offers to hold Marshpillow so that Lily can take out her frustration on it. Ted steals a bottle of Glen McKenna scotch from the Inn’s storage room for Barney — “the dream” comes alive — and the two embrace as they tear up and say they’ll miss one another.

Excuse me as I continue to cry from this scene days after I’ve seen it.

Marshall and Marvin finally make it to the hotel and he and Lily decide to “pause” their argument so the clan can reunite. I may have cried during this scene as well, but more tears came when I realized that a January episode is titled “Unpause” and that so many feelings will be felt.

mother drinkThe Mother talks with Linus at the bar about how karma sometimes just doesn’t work and that Darren may never get what he deserves. At the same time, the gang gathers to drink the Glen McKenna but Darren bumps into Ted, making him drop yet another bottle of the drink. Almost in response to the Mother’s monologue, Ted punches Darren — explaining his bandaged hand at the train station. The Mother hears that Darren has been punched by the best man and tells Linus to give the best man a glass of his finest scotch, making it the first drink the Mother ever buys Ted. Darren has also decided to leave the band, so the Mother is back in.

As I sat through this episode, I finally thought we’d stumbled upon one of the not-so-good episodes of the season, but after further contemplation, I’ve realized that though the episode is far-fetched, the overall idea makes sense. I absolutely adore Rannells so I may have enjoyed his segments more than the average viewer, but this was a really interesting way to get these conflicts to come to a head while also tying in the Mother. How much longer can Ted keep the Chicago-move a secret? Robin would never willingly admit that she felt betrayed that Lily was leaving; her feelings would have to be revealed. How else is the Mother supposed to be tied into the storylines this season? It’s a stretch that  she happens to meet everyone else before she meets Ted but then we get a glimpse at how they will interact for years to come after the show is off the air. Milioti as the Mother fits so perfectly into the gang that there is no confusion as to why Ted — and the viewers — have waited this long to meet her. I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleased with a casting choice than with the decision to have Milioti as the Mother.

There are a ton of things going on this wedding weekend: the Marshall-Lily conflict, Ted’s ever-feelings for Robin, Barney and Robin’s wedding, the ever impending meeting of Ted and the Mother, and all the other familial and zany conflicts that will ensue. It’s hard to remember that all of these conflicts have to be resolved before the season ends and that the writers only have 56-hours to do it. So far, I haven’t had any issues with the small time frame of the season, but I can see now how it can cause problems. While weeks are progressing in real time, only hours have passed in the HIMYM world. It can seem as if no progress has been made when in reality so much has happened. We have seen so many absolutely fantastic moments between the Mother and Ted — the proposal!!!! — we’ve fallen in love with Milioti as the Mother and we’ve seen Barney and Robin’s relationship grow so much stronger. Each week, I’m laughing at the sharp comedy, loving the characters more and finding out stories that are important to getting us to the finale. Despite what some may say, I think this final season of HIMYM is one of its best.

On a side note, I have to say that I heavily expected Rannells to sing a little something in the episode since he was introduced as the lead singer of the band and is a Broadway vet. In fact, he, NPH and Milioti should have done something. Those three voices in one song? Nothing could be better.

And of course, tonight’s episode was made even better with it ending on the introduction of the fourth slap. Yes, the time has come for the slow motion slap that we’ve heard about. I cannot wait for that episode. If the writers can make an entire season take place within 56 hours, then they can make an episode fall within five seconds.

slap 1   slap 2


By Anna Gibbs | | @annachristine38

With the Bobcats playing a bowl game Monday, many frazzled holiday shoppers are looking for quick and easy ways to cheer them on.

Sarah Lukemire, a blogger for Miss Candiquick, is sharing some of her do-it-yourself treat ideas for the upcoming game. Lukemire has been blogging about treats for almost four years

“I first made the chocolate-dipped football strawberries about two years ago and expanded from there,” Lukemire said in an email

Lukemire’s Ohio University football style treats include chocolate covered strawberries decorated to look like a football, football cake pops, cake balls with green and white frosting, football-style small snacks to add into Chex mix, and many other sporty snacks.

All of these OU and football themed treats are on Lukemire’s blog at


By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl


Anyone who knows me knows it’s no surprise when I say that I love musicals. If my large abundance of musical theater t-shirts doesn’t show it, then you know because I never stop talking about the soundtracks buzzing in my head or of my favorite Broadway peeps who I may or may not be obsessed with.

This season is my favorite of all and it’s not just because it’s the holiday time but also because it’s the holidays and the holiday musicals are in season. Sure, we all know the classic Christmas songs, such as “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Frosty the Snowman,” but what about “Christmas Bells” from Rent or “We Need a Little Christmas” from Mame? “We Need a Little Christmas” has actually made its way onto the long list of Christmas classics but even “Christmas Bells” puts me in the holiday mood. Who doesn’t love a many-part harmony between one of the best original Broadway casts ever? Plus they make Rudolph the reindeer antlers with their middle fingers. It’s just great.

Even better than the one song within a musical, there are a few musicals and even more musical movies that are great to listen to and watch this holiday season. So in no particular order, here are the Christmas musicals you should look for on Broadway and in stores in DVD form.

1. Elf the Musical
Elf is quite possibly the best modern holiday film. Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf is hilarious, heart warming and spectacular. We were introduced to the best diet of all time and now know what Santa is not supposed to smell like — beef and cheese! So combine my love of this film with musicals and you have a surefire hit. The musical adaptation ran on Broadway in the 2010-11 and 2012-13 Christmas seasons. Can there really be anything better than a musical adaptation of a comedy hit?

2. A Christmas Story: The Musical
Another musical adaptation of a Christmas classic. You won’t be able to stop tapping your toe to “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” and laughing as Ralphie speeds his way through “Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun.” This adaptation stems from the minds of composing team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, a duo who I claim to be the best composing minds of the 21st century.

3. Radio City Christmas Spectacular
You can’t talk about Christmas and Broadway and not talk about the Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular. It is celebrating its 80th birthday this year since the spectacular Spectacular began way back in 1933. Featuring dozens of incredibly talented dancers and extremely lavish sets, the Christmas Spectacular is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Watching the Rockettes for only a few minutes, you’re instantly captivated by their stunning precision and talent, so I can only assume that a 90-minute revue has to be unbelievable. If you’re in New York this holiday season, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be at Radio City Music Hall. I’d be there every year if I could.

4. Meet Me In St. Louis
Technically, this isn’t a holiday film, however it does consist of one of the best Christmas songs this world will ever know. And I’m not just saying that because Judy Garland sang it. OK, maybe I am. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is hands down one of my favorite Christmas ballads and knowing that Garland originated it makes me love it a million times more. Plus, this film is just fantastic in and of itself so meet me at the fair and pick up a copy today!

nx_011JackLights5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
What can be better than a film that is perfect for two holidays? Nothing. Especially when it’s the all time classic that is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The songs are magical, the animation is awe striking and the storyline is the epitome of creative genius. “This is Halloween” is perfect to get you in the mood for the frightful holiday. “What’s This?” is a perfect song to make you feel as if you’re experiencing Christmas for the very first time each time you listen to it. You should already be in love with this film so you all know what I’m talking about.

6. White Christmas
Though Holiday Inn had Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas” first, you can’t beat the classic White Christmas. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, can you even dream up a better singing and dancing team? “White Christmas” will forever go down as one of the best Christmas songs in the world — and this is popular opinion, not just because I love Crosby — plus we have great comedy from Kaye all around and the “Sisters” act which is pure gold. It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a marathon of White Christmas.

Welcome back Whos! Hope you haven’t exhausted yourselves trimming trees and turkeys and other trim-able things. I’m excited to announce that I have gotten zero preparation for the holiday ready, and here’s why: I can’t stand shopping during the holidays.

Sitting in a queue waiting to get out of the Target parking lot today, I reflected on this. The holidays tend to inspire a Hunger Games-esque feeling in shoppers this time of year. Everybody is only looking out for themselves, hunting down their purchases with reckless abandon, which can lead to terrifying conditions in stores.

My mother told me a tale of two people getting in a physical altercation over a parking space today. Fa la la la la, la la la laaaa.

But really, this is the problem. Going out shopping when the malls are decorated with pretty lights and finding the perfect gift for someone in your life should be a fun experience. But unfortunately, Christmas spirit in regards to shopping is road rage in parking-lot traffic and waiting for an hour to make your purchases, all while surrounded by the exhausted and the not-so-merry.

So for now, visiting my favorite stores to find gifts elicits this reaction:










Looks like online shopping for me (but I’ll have to shell out for express shipping. Bah humbug.)