It’s My Happy Place; Many Thanks To Corner Gas


CornerGasNearly every night for the last 4 ½ years, I’ve fallen asleep with an episode of Corner Gas playing on the television. There’s 107 episodes in all and I can crash out to the same one for a week before moving on. Still, I’ve seen them all so many times I could rewrite entire scenes with little help.

Jeremy could help.

He knows them by heart as well.

And Ashlie could fill in some of the best bits if she was still here.

We found Corner Gas in 2008 – stumbled into an episode titled “Worlds Biggest Thing” and kinda fell in love all at once with the wit, wordplay and brilliant comedic cast. When Ashlie died in early 2009, few things were comforting but somehow this show was.

Nothing horrible happens in Dog River. People don’t change or leave or die and somehow the jokes get funnier over time. Werewolves fighting robots still gets me, I’m prone to guffaw over a healthy fear of pink eye, and angering the internet(s) is awesome every time.

Perhaps it seems odd, linking a sitcom to my grief process and being unable to untangle those two things nearly five years down the road. But I’m not one to change what works – what keeps me from spiraling into the darkness every night. Maybe some day I won’t need Emma, Oscar, Wanda and Brent, Hank, Lacey, Davis and Karen to lull me to sleep. And maybe I always will. I’m ok with that. It’s my happy place.

Thanks guys.

You’re the best. 


on Making it Work


Tim Gunn, best known as the co-host of Project Runway, is a man of civility, style and grace. He is a consummate gentleman and always somehow, the best dressed man in the room. His book “Gunn’s Golden Rules; Life’s Little Lessons For Making It Work” is a peek into his particular kind of genius. It is part etiquette guide and part industry dish, but it is also filled with surprisingly solid advice for a well-lived life.

I originally picked up this book for my sister Bullish or at least I thought I did. After all, she is the family fashionista, while I am the queen of oversized t-shirts and sweatpants. It may seem strange then, that I am also the one who has watched every episode of every season of Project Runway. Initially, it was an ongoing interest in the creative process , which drew me to the show as well as the possibility of “figuring out” fashion once and for all. I’ll admit right quick, that I still don’t understand fashion, am perhaps more confused by it than ever, but I enjoy the show and the process nonetheless.

These last two years, I have coerced Bullish into watching the show with me. Her favorite bit is near the end of each season, where Tim Gunn visits each of the finalists and critiques their collections a couple of weeks before the finale. His ability to give an honest critique and encouragement to the frenzied designers has earned him big mushy props from us both. The “Make it work!” which has become his catchphrase simply encapsulates the idea of finding a solution to a dilemma with creative thinking and determination.Among the books “little lessons” are the following (each one elaborated upon with charm, wit and wisdom): Read more

Beyond Television


They say that ninety percent of TV is junk. But, ninety percent of everything is junk. ~Gene Roddenberry

Every cable and satellite company has pre-set packages, ranging from the Basic to the OMG-Do-You-Have-NO-OTHER-LIFE-Beyond-Television?!? Package. In a perfect world, we could pay only for the channels or shows we watched and nothing more. Not only would we save money, but we’d be more selective with what we watched. Lord knows, I’d spend way less time gawking at Toddlers in Tiaras if I had to pay for it. Except that I AM paying for it. Every month.

I am also paying for all those sports channels that I don’t watch, and the shopping channels and the Old Game Shows network … I could go on. And on. I honestly only watch ten or fifteen channels consistently, and of course, the bulk of them aren’t included in any provider’s Basic package. That’s how they get you. Or get me, anyway. Except now, the ways in which people watch television have been changing and the technology has been adapting and we’re getting closer to the day that I fire my satellite provider once and for all.

Consumer Advocate and all around Penny-Pinching Guru Clark Howard has long railed against the cable/satellite monopolies and now recommends the Netflix/Hulu combo as the best bang for your television buck.

Currently, the Shoestring household has five televisions, three DVRs and five computers (four of which are capable of streaming video). We have a Netflix subscription, which costs less than $11.00 a month and provides unlimited streaming and 1 DVD at a time. (We used to have the plan that included three DVDs at a time, but they started piling up.) We stream movies and television programs to the main television through the PS3 and can also stream content to the four computers throughout the house. We currently use Hulu’s free limited streaming, but if we added Hulu Plus (another $10.00 a month) and upgraded some gadgetry, there’s honestly very little we’d miss by canceling our DirecTV subscription.

The very idea is both thrilling and terrifying. From $135.00 to under $25? With the money we saved, I could rent a toddler and buy my own damn tiara! And that, my dears would truly be shoestringing with style.

the tivo

  • Reality/Competition: The Amazing Race, Project Runway and Top Chef
  • Staples in Sitcom: The Office, Modern Family, Bored to Death
  • Divine Dramas: Boardwalk Empire, Parenthood, The Big C
  • Fav Fluff: The Daily Show, Castle, The Soup
  • Newsy Stuffs: Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher
  • Best Kept Secrets: Luther (BBC America), Terriers (FX), The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC), In Treatment
  • In The Bedroom (aka Stuff to Fall Asleep To): The Ricky Gervais Show, Home Movies, Corner Gas, Star Trek – Original Series and The Next Generation, Monk, a smattering of Zombie flicks