Everything But Books
Fun and more fun, but none of it relating to books (because I have another page for that)

December 17, 2012

Fairytale in New York

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferkathleen @ 4:30 pm

He’s timeless, of course. Yep, that guy in the red suit with jolly cheeks. God knows I saw many movies with Santa in them, and I loved them all. Yet the Santa I loved gave hope to two characters I adored on Guiding Light, showing them in New York City Santa does exist.

In 1983, I was rushing home every day to watch Guiding Light. My favorite character Beth (Judi Evans) just left her abusive home after being raped by her stepfather Bradley. She wasn’t talking to her boyfriend Phillip (Grant Aleksander) and hadn’t told him about the rape. I remember pleading with the TV: “You got to tell him. He won’t be mad at you. You have to tell.” It would be years until I realized how devastating Beth’s rape was to her. At eleven I knew it was bad but I didn’t know how emotionally devastating it could be.

But back to our story: last day of school before break, Miss Simms (Harley Jane Kozak) was reading Thomas Wolfe to her class. Bradley and Beth’s mom Lillian (Tina Sloan) were outside with a police officer to force Beth back home. Bradley bursts in, making an ass of himself (this wasn’t hard; James Rehborn did an incredibly good job in the role) The last straw was when he tells the officer to put handcuffs on Beth. That did it! In true eighties fashion, Phillip threw a desk through a window, grabbed Beth, and ran away. Millions of girls across the country–including me–yelled “Go go go!”

So off they went! To where? New York! Good thing, the show was taped there! The two of them walked around the city, leaving the used car they just traded in unlocked. Not smart.

So Beth is sitting in a diner, sketching (she was an artist) Someone from behind says “Hello Beth” At first the viewer is scared, then we see him: it’s Santa! But this isn’t some fake Santa; this is a real looking Santa, a Santa Miracle on 34th Street’s Natalie Wood would approve of to work at Macy’s. Alas, Phillip goes back to the diner, no Beth.He runs around New York, scared out of his mind.

After much prodding, Santa (named Nick, yeah get it?) convinces the two of them to come with him. He takes them under the Belvedere castle in Central Park, where other homeless people are. Think of this as OccupyBelvedere. Seeing it now is jarring; the show was one of the first to address the growing homeless problem in America.

After a while, a skeptical Phillip mellows out, then he and Beth tell the others “The Gift of The Magi” by O. Henry. Yes, on television in one week Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry were mentioned! Be still my English major heart !

So Nick stayed on the show to help Phillip and Beth. He helped get them a room in a motel, and food to eat. But most importantly, he knew what happened to Beth. It was never explained how he knew, he just did. But he was kind to her, and told her she had nothing to be ashamed of. Now I realize what an important message this was to send to girls. That a man can say to a rape victim you did nothing to deserve this especially Santa, could oddly be healing.And he was the one who convinced her (after she turned down Phillip’s marriage proposal) that she had to tell Phillip in order to heal.

After Phillip and Beth returned to Springfield(where–thanks to the suggestion of Tina Sloan–Beth took Bradley to trial and he was put away) every other year Nick would come to Springfield to help a character who was having a crisis of faith. Be it Josh (Robert Newman) finding out his wife Reva had a baby with his brother years before; Rick (Michael O’Leary) torn between two girls; he was there to provide solace, and to show them-cliched I know-the true meaning of Christmas.

Looking back now I think it was just brilliant of Pamela Long (GL’s head writer at the time) to create Nick as this angel figure on the show. Even in real life Christmas can be an overwhelming time. This morning I cried out of nowhere. It was a combination of many things; Christmas, knowing my cat Felix isn’t coming home, and the events in Connecticut. Yet all you can do is keep on going on. What choice do we have?

December 12, 2012

Music of my Heart: Christmas Edition

Just like my previous top five film post, I have decided to name my top five Christmas songs. Now, these aren’t your regular Christmas songs, but I promise they are still pretty awesome. I hope you will find them equally awesome! ENJOY!

p.s. That is Brandon Flowers (below) of The Killers with a very cool Santa Claus (you’ll find them on this list).


5. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”

This song just makes me so happy!! It’s very corny, but it’s also adorable and innocent. It makes me want a hippopotamus!


4. The Killers- “Don’t Shoot Me, Santa”

Definitely a far cry from the previous song BUT hilariously awesome. I mean, why would Santa shoot anyone? He’s Santa! He only shoots people with love and gifts! But, I love this song anyway. Plus, The Killers are awesome so…


3.*NSYNC- “Merry Christmas, and Happy Holiday”

You know I wouldn’t do this list without mentioning *NSYNC! Many people forget about their Christmas album, but boy did they have one. And a GOOD one at that!!! This was probably their most popular Christmas song. Excuse me while I go and sing it 15 times…

2. She & Him- “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Last year, Zooey Deschanel’s wonderful band, She & Him, made a cute little Christmas record and I bought it, on vinyl. Why vinyl, you ask? Because I feel very old-fashioned around the holidays. So, grab some hot cocoa and snuggle up next to a nice fire, because this is one of those songs that is going to make you want to do that.

1. Coldplay- “Christmas Lights”

Okay! Okay! This song! This song is probably not only one of my FAVORITE Christmas songs, it is definitely up there in my favorite songs of all time. It actually bothers me that they don’t play it on the radio around Christmas. Every time I hear this song, I cry. Not a sad cry, but a nostalgic cry. The combination of Chris Martin’s voice and the beautiful holiday that is Christmas makes me want to grab a tissue box and call the people I love just to say hi.



December 4, 2012

Spy gadget stocking stuffers that would make James Bond proud

Usually, we would have played Spies on a Mission, our favorite game ever since Johnny Clay had thought it up last summer. I was Constance Kurridge– detective, spy, pilot, and sometime movie star. And Johnny Clay was Red Terror– fierce code breaker and member of the Russian secret police. He’d made up Red Terror all by himself and had given him super strength; the ability to speak ten languages; and, best of all, a limp.

Velva Jean Learns to Drive

If you’ve read Becoming Clementine, you know that Velva Jean would never have settled for being a Bond Girl. She would have wanted to be 007 herself.

Shops like Women on Guard and Safety Girl specialize in female-friendly spy gear. For those of you who’ve ever had the urge (and who hasn’t?) to play private detective or Spies on a Mission, here are some covert and clever, and often life-saving little gadgets to slip into the Christmas stockings.

This Aqua Net Hair Spray Diversion Safe features a hidden compartment for money, passport, or jewelry. (And how much do I love that it’s Aqua Net?)

The handy Lipstick Pepper Spray (“in Fashion Colors!”) contains twenty half-second sprays with a range of ten feet.

The Dictionary Book Safe can hold any secret documents that your Aqua Net safe can’t accommodate.

This wrist watch is really a spy camera. It not only takes pictures, it can shoot video too. And its waterproof!

The Cat Defender Key Chain looks cute and harmless, but when you place your fingers through its eyes and set the mouth on the palm of your hand, it packs a mighty punch against an attacker.

The Original Safety Girl Kit isn’t so much a spy gadget as a collection of emergency roadside essentials, including band-aids, water, a nail file, a sewing kit, tampons, directions on how to change a flat tire and jumpstart a dead battery, a blanket, deodorant, and, of course, chocolate.

November 29, 2012

All I want for Christmas is Film

Now that Thanksgiving is done and everyone is in a food coma, I think it is time to think about Christmas. Okay, it may not be December yet, but who cares? I’m ready for another holiday…aren’t you?

In the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to choose my top 5 Christmas movies. Now, some classics may or may not be in here but I promise you all these movies are well worth the watch. The list will go from 5-1, 1 being my favorite. ENJOY!


Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Macaulay Culkin. Am I the only person who wished her parents left her home alone so she could make cool traps like that? Sure hope not.



Like every sane person in 1he 90s, I was a huge Tim Allen fan. Although, if you think about it, the storyline is pretty morbid. I mean, he (SPOILER) kills Santa, then replaces him. Not sure that’s how things in the real world go… Great movie though.



Now, I know this should be number one…I mean it’s in my top 5 favorite movies of all time, BUT in my defense numbers 3 and 2 are kind of equal when it comes to how many times I have watched them (which is about 10 times each). This movie makes me seriously appreciate life and realize that the smallest things can have a huge effect on people’s futures.



My god do I love this movie and honestly, I never thought I would love a movie with Jack Black– but behold, I do. Jude Law isn’t bad to look at either. There are some really tender moments in this movie and some really hilarious moments. Definitely a feel good movie– especially toward the end.



Probably the most romantic/heartbreaking/lovable movie ever. My heart hurts a little every time I watch this for various reasons. And for the best reasons. A perfect article to read right after this movie is found below:


Dont try to read it before you have seen the movie, because it won’t make sense. It is probably the only all-star cast film that actually works perfectly. Again, I love this movie so much it hurts!

 Anyway, hope you enjoy this list and it helps you through the holidays. Now I’m going to go and watch Love Actually. So freaking good.


November 21, 2012

A Thanksgiving memory

This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories.

In 1992, I adopted two fluffy white cats from the Humane Society in La Jolla, California. The volunteers there warned me of the possible health problems I could expect with two male all-white part-Persians: bad teeth, bad gums, susceptibility to skin cancer, possible kidney disease, possible heart disease.

I barely listened. It didn’t matter. I was in love. Besides, George and Percy were young, wild, and healthy. It was hard to imagine anything bad ever happening to them. I soon discovered that George was accident prone and, in particular, that he loved to eat things he shouldn’t. He used up five of his nine lives by the time he was three. By the time he was fourteen, he was– as his doctors said– “onto the lives of other cats.”

For a while now, I’ve been collecting stories for a George book about his many, many lives. In honor of Thanksgiving, here is one of them.

Life Number Two — The Thanksgiving Turkey

When George was six months old, my mother traveled from the east coast to be with me for Thanksgiving. George and Percy loved the idea of a day in which we did nothing but eat, and they particularly enjoyed the turkey. In the four days my mother was there, they learned the word “turkey,” and would come running to the kitchen if I announced that it was being offered. Before Mom left for home, she—knowing my slothful and shocking kitchen habits—made me swear that I would walk the fifteen feet from my apartment to the trash chute across the hall to throw away the turkey carcass once I was finished with the leftovers.

“Throw it away after three or four days,” she said, “and whatever you do, do not eat it after that because it will have gone bad.” I didn’t need to ask her what “gone bad” meant– she had been telling me about the horrors of botulism for years.

So, of course, Mom left and I forgot to throw the turkey away. One night in mid-December, I returned home from work and found the entire apartment dark except for an eerie, glowing light coming from the kitchen. It was suspiciously quiet. With thoughts of burglars, I tiptoed toward the kitchen. The refrigerator door was swung open wide and there, on the floor, sat the old Thanksgiving turkey carcass, which– after all these weeks– had turned a kind of alarming gray color.

When I had left the apartment that morning, the door to the fridge had been closed. And the turkey had meat on it. Now, the door had been pried open and the carcass was picked entirely clean.

Realizing that the burglars were small and fuzzy and living right under my nose, I raced through the apartment calling the kitties. I found them on the living room floor, eyes closed, fat, furry bellies turned up toward the ceiling, lying completely, utterly still.

I had killed them. I couldn’t believe it. I had killed my cats. And now I was going to have to call my mother and tell her that, due to my negligence, George and Percy were dead of botulism.

Then George began to snore.

I burst into tears, which roused them from their naps. George chirped at me to be quiet. I picked them up and squeezed them– They’re still with me. There’s still time. Then I stuffed them into one large cat carrier and rushed them to the emergency vet.

He checked their vitals, he took blood. Finally, he said there was nothing more he could do, but all seemed fine. He told me to go home and wait.

So I did.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I stayed up all night watching the cats, playing with them, waking them up if they fell asleep, as if they’d suffered concussions and needed to be kept alert. I talked to them and sang to them and said loud, urgent prayers to the universe to pleasepleaseplease let them live.

Twenty-four hours later, I was bleary-eyed, and George and Percy were irritable and hiding from me, wanting their sleep. But miraculously they were alive.

That night, the three of us slept and slept, and when I woke up, they were already in the kitchen, wanting breakfast. As I stood watching them eat, my heart still pounding from the excitement of the night before, the phone rang.

My mom and I chatted for a minute and then she said, “I’m sure you’ve already done this by now, but you did throw away the Thanksgiving turkey, didn’t you?”

“Of course,” I said. After all, this was true.

Two days later, George and Percy were still alive and my heart was back to its normal rhythm. Then George discovered something else he liked to eat: thumbtacks. I discovered him in my office pulling them out of my bulletin boards and spitting every third or fourth one out onto the floor. I scolded him halfheartedly. Then, once again, I bundled him up and took him to the vet, but even the doctor seemed unconcerned. For some reason, this wasn’t as worrisome as the turkey. After all, as far I knew no one had ever gotten botulism from a thumbtack.

(For more on George’s love of office supplies, stay tuned to Everything Books.)

November 19, 2012

Weekly video crush — Simon’s Cat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — jennifer @ 5:29 pm

For those of you who don’t know him, Simon Tofield is a brilliant British animator who loves, among other things, cats. He has four cats himself, and they provide constant inspiration for his hilarious (and all-too-accurate) videos (and the books that resulted from them).

As he blogged in the Huffington Post, “I’ve enjoyed drawing since I was a little boy. Back then I used to amuse my school friends with drawings of characters I would create from my imagination. A lot of those early characters were based on animals. And once I got my first cat at the age of 8, then cats became one of my favorite subjects.”

Here is one of his funniest films:

November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Today as I was going down Contra Costa Blvd (the main street in my old hometown of Pleasant Hill), American flags were out. Veteran’s Day again.  Near my house is a tribute to all the soldiers who died in Iraq.  So much divsion has happened the past ten years. However, one must remember the sacrifices the people in our Armed Forces have made, even if we disagreed about what they were fighting for.


Here are some thoughts/videos for this Veteran’s Day, 2012:


Flanders Fields

Honoring Those Who Serve

World War Two

Tender Commrade: This is one of my all time favorite movies staring Ginger Rogers as  Jo Jones, who’s waiting to hear about her husband while he’s fighting in Germany.  Jo lives with several other women whose husbands are also serving overseas. While the film leans toward American propaganda, there’s not a dry eye in the house when Rogers talks to her infant son towards the ending.

Ryan’s Daughter: I’ve written about this movie before , and while the seaside Irish village is miles away from a battlefield, World War I shadows the story of Rosy Ryan (Sarah Miles), a girl trying to figure out her place in the world. There is love, betrayal, and much heartache when Rosy has an affair with an English soldier, who is considered an enemy. One striking image is Rosy primping to impress her crush (Robert Mitchum) admist wreckage from a bombed ship.

Coming Home: Jane Fonda received much criticism when, in 1972, she posed for pictures in a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. (Fonda explains it in a blog post here)  One of the ways she tried to make amends is making the film Coming Home. Fonda plays Sally Hyde, whose husband,  Bob (Bruce Dern), is shipped to Vietnam. She volunteers at a local VA hospital and becomes reacquainted with Luke Martin (Jon Voight) who lost the use of his legs while doing a tour of duty in the war.  Luke and Sally fall in love, but things become complicated when Sally’s husband comes home a different man. This scene when Bob confronts Sally and Luke is a master class in acting:

And we cannot forget The Andrews Sisters, saluting that Boogie Woogie Bugle Bugle Boy of Company B:



November 10, 2012

Music of my Heart: Agnes Obel

Do you have a rainy day song? The kind of song that you can only listen to when its cold, wet and cloudy out? If you do, then you will love Agnes Obel. If you don’t-well you’ll love her anyway because she has a classic haunting voice that is timeless.



Agnes Obel is a Danish singer/songwriter that is most known for her song “Riverside” featured on Grey’s Anatomy. She has an enchanting voice that is paired with her amazing piano skills. I urge you to play her in the background while reading, painting or writing because she is not only calming but inspirational. Bellow are some links to her song. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Here are some of her more popular songs below.









October 30, 2012

Dear Big Foot, Let’s Be Friends (Please)

Filed under: Uncategorized — lara @ 9:11 am

Dear Big Foot (I’d call you Sasquatch but that seems difficult),


I have always been very interested in you, but not for the same reason other people have. See, most people want to find you for the fame, the possible fortune or just to prove everybody that they are right about your existence. My reasoning is that you and I would be great friends. Now, I know that sounds crazy but it is true! To prove it, I have come up with different reasons as to why you and I would be great friends.


-You have weirdly big feet and I have weirdly small hands. We would balance each other out.  I can grab things in small to reach places for you and you could kick things that I need to be kicked.


-You have been spotted all across the country, which makes me think you like traveling. SO DO I! We could totally travel together and take the carpool lane.


-You like being alone. Honestly, so do I. I like my space and I think us being alone together would pay off because one could be a look out while the other is “being alone”.


-You’re tall and I’m short. This is basically like the big feet/small hands thing. You can reach into trees and get me things while I can crawl into small caves and get whatever you need.


-You walk a lot and I’m sure that gets annoying. I would totally let you barrow my car if you needed it. That’s what BFFs are for.


-According to a lot of research, you have bellow average hearing. UM HELLO! I have AMAZING hearing. You see how that would help?


-Apparently you’re between 600-800 pounds. Now, I’m not judging or anything but you can shed a few Lbs. and I’m sure your diet of rodents and deer wont help you with that. I can teach you yoga and we can go on morning jogs.


-We can go for manicure/pedicures together because I honestly don’t even want to see your feet at this point. Must be a mess.


Anyway Big Foot, can I call you Big? I feel like we should be on first name basis by now. I hope you consider all these because honestly I think we have something good here. If you want we can call the Loch Ness Monster but I’ve heard she’s kind of a show off. Have an amazing day and be careful, it’s flu season.



Your future BFF, Lara Yacoubian


PS- The shoe shopping we would do!

October 29, 2012

Costume Inspiration: Some of TV’s Best Characters

I’ve never been much of a Halloween person growing up, which I blame my mother for due to the fact that I reused costumes for years in a row and wasn’t ever allowed to consume my weight’s worth of candy. However, I’ve always been a TV person, and there are a few characters that I’d love to dress up as in the future as I learn to get into the Halloween spirit.

1. Dr. Huxtable

If I was going to dress up as any man, it would be Cliff Huxtable. His style is comfortable and easy, yet iconic enough to make an impact at any party. Its also important to note that this costume is also perfect for cool October weather, casual Halloween parties, and hoarding candy corn on the couch while ignoring the trick-or-treaters knocking at your door.

2. Felicity Porter

Specifically, I’d be Felicity Porter after the tragic season 2 haircut and I’d wear a sign around my neck that says, “I hate my haircut as much as you do”.

(Felicity is much too polite to express what she really feels about her haircut in this picture, but behind her smile she hates JJ Abrams as much as the rest of America for chopping off her lovely locks.)

3. The Morgendorffer Family

I don’t have enough friends who love Daria as much as I do to pull this off yet, but eventually, myself and 3 of my friends will be the Morgendorffer Family for Halloween. I definitely will be Helen, because other than Daria, she’s my favorite Morgendorffer. Not to mention, the 90s made the skirt suit a vision of womanly power, and I’d like to bring that back… even if its just for Halloween.

4. Angelica Pickles


I don’t really think that being a baby for Halloween is very acceptable over the age of 5, however, I’d make an exception for TV’s meanest (but most adorable) cartoon toddler.

5. Angela Chase (and Jordan Catalano) 

Angela Chase is the embodiment of real 90s teenage angst that avoided over dramatization by network TV (cough, Dawson’s Creek). Her amazing fire-engine red hair defined so much of her character, and she makes the 90s grunge look beautiful and less… grungy looking. If I dressed up as Angela, I’d need a Jordan, of course, a date who is impossibly adorable and sensitive, but eternally unobtainable.


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