Category Archives: Interviews

Hockey Questions with Shawn Hutcheon

Bergy & tuukkaI can’t remember exactly which of Shawn Hutcheon’s brilliant articles made me decide to follow him on twitter but I do know that we became friends when he was live tweeting Rocky one night while I was watching Rocky IV. Anyone who loves the Rocky movies as much as I do is A+ in my book. He also writes incredibly insightful articles about hockey for The Fourth Period and is willing to chat Bruins with me all hours of the night. If you are not following him on twitter right now, you should fix that. And read his wonderful answers to my questions.

Is there anything you are really missing about not being in Sochi?

I wish I could cover the hockey games at Sochi. I would love to be around the best the world has to offer not to mention the atmosphere. My dad took me to the Summer Games in Montreal in 1976. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Is there one NHL player that will benefit the most from an Olympic win?

It’s hard to say which player will benefit the most from a gold medal until we know which team wins it. If a Bruin does win a gold, he’ll bring a lot of confidence home with him, as well as the medal.

I have mixed feelings about Bruins winning and losing in Sochi. Are there any you hope will win?

I’m not rooting for any one specific Bruin. They’re all great guys. I wish all of them could bring back a medal.

Any you think will benefit from a loss?

The most important thing about losing is that you learn from it. Whoever does not win a medal will know what not to do when trying to win in any situation.

What is your favorite part of writing about sports?

I like everything about sports writing from meeting great colleagues who have become friends to meeting and talking with the employees of all the NHL teams and of course, talking with the players. I will say, every time I walk into an NHL team’s dressing room, it’s a pinch me moment.

Who is the best interview you’ve ever had?

The best interview I’ve conducted didn’t involve an athlete. It was with Roseann Sdroia, who lost her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. Her resolve and spirit was incredibly inspirational. She’s a very special person and is winning her fight to get her life back…Because I’ve never had a negative experience with any NHL player, I don’t think I can say I had a “best” interview with any one of them. A couple that stand out was Shawn Thornton before they played against Vancouver for the first time after winning the Stanley Cup. The other was with Ben Lovejoy of the Anaheim Ducks when they were in Boston this year. I coached him when he was 12 and 13 years old and it’s awesome to see him playing in the NHL. I also coached Brian Boyle of the New York Rangers. He and Lovejoy played together on the teams I coached..I think the most fun interview was with Brad Marchand earlier this year. What you see, is what you get and he’s one of the funniest persons you could ever meet.

What is the craziest experience you have had as a sports writer?

The craziest experience I’ve had as a sports writer came immediately after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup at TD Garden last year. I was on the ice about to interview Patrick Kane when actor Jim Belushi came out of nowhere (I didn’t even know he was in the building) to grab Kane and give him a huge hug. I was thinking where did he come from then it hit me to take a pic with my cell phone, which I did and it came out pretty good.

What is the piece you’ve written that has meant the most to you?

The piece that has meant the most to me was one that I wrote last year. The Middlesex Islanders Junior Hockey Club’s coach is a friend of the parents of the late Avalanna Routh, the 6-year-old girl who became known around the world as Mrs. Bieber because she became friends with Justin Bieber, two days after she passed away from brain cancer, the coach told me about how his players spent many hours visiting her while she was in the hospital. She even had her own team jersey she would wear while they played and would wait for his phone call to tell her the games results. After he told me the whole story, I wrote about it and a few days later, he called me to tell me that everyone who read it was so touched by it that they cried. I didn’t write it for that. I wrote it because everyone has a story and although, everyone knew her’s, I felt there was more to it and that’s what I wrote. This is the piece… http://hockeyjournal.com/news/juniors/Islanders_Hockey_Club_touched_by_an_angel

Which hockey team is your pick to win the Olympics?

My pick to win Olympic gold has been, and continues to be, Sweden. Their skill level and goaltending is off the charts.

In a dream world, is there one player that the Bruins lost in the off season that you would want back, for the purpose of winning the Cup?

In a dream world, the player I would like to see return to Boston is Jaromir Jagr. He’s a future Hall of Famer and had a huge influence in the dressing room. The players really liked and respected him. He was always fun to speak with. On the ice, he could do pretty much whatever he wanted with the puck. His hockey IQ is one of the best I’ve ever seen. There aren’t many better at setting up teammates for scoring chances than Jagr.

Who is the biggest dark horse in this year’s Bruins team that may help us make it through the playoffs?

The biggest “dark horse” on the Bruins, good question. I think it could be Kevan Miller. He’s paid his dues with four years in the minors and is ready to assume an important role on the the team’s blue line. Not to mention, management and the coaching staff have a lot of confidence in him.

Who is your Bruins MVP for the season so far? And do you think that may change before the season is over?

Up to this point, my Bruins MVP is David Krejci. He is so good and so smooth that there are times when you don’t notice he’s on the ice then all of a sudden the puck is on his stick and in the net. He’s one of the best pure skaters in the league and is so smart with the puck. He’s a great defensive player, who is rarely out of position. Put it all together and you have a player who leads the team in scoring and is recognized around the NHL as one of top 5 centers in the league. I don’t expect that to change but any team that has Patrice Bergeron on it has another MVP year in and year out.

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Hockey Questions with Michael Hurley

12-27-13The Boston Bruins are on their Olympic break,  And, while our favorite players are in Sochi or the Dominican Republic, I am seizing the opportunity to ask a few of my favorite Bruins writers to answer some questions for me.
My first interview is with Michael Hurley from CBS Boston Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub & WBZ-TV. I first fell for his hilarity last year while reading his “Leftover Bruins Thoughts’ during the playoffs. Something I looked forward to after every game.  Not only is he a huge Anton Khudobin fan, but he is always insightful, always funny. Definitely follow him on twitter: @michaelFhurley. There is a good chance he will make your day. OR, if you leave him a ridiculous comment, there is a good chance we will laugh about you all day long.
~
What photo makes you most excited to not be in Sochi?
Oh my God, definitely the double toilet picture. I mean, we are human beings here, and there are lines and boundaries we must respect in order for society to function peacefully. That’s just … nasty.

A close runner-up would be the yellow water from the reporter who said her hotel’s front desk advised her not to put any of the water on her face “because it contains something very dangerous.” That’s slightly concerning.

Of all the recent Boston Championships, during which one did you let GO the most?

I don’t know if it counts as recent anymore, but the only one that would qualify would be the ’04 Red Sox. I was still young, and that was a week-long stretch that was a whole lot of fun.

What is your favorite part of writing about sports?

The part I always appreciate and never take for granted is that I have the unique opportunity to have a platform and a microphone to express any opinion and make any case I want. That doesn’t mean I always think I’m right, but I appreciate that I can say something that can start a discussion or debate. So long as that debate doesn’t involve someone relentlessly hurling curse words at me, it’s usually a solid experience.

Who is the best interview you’ve ever had?

Well, I’m a little biased on this one, just because I liked the guy so much, but I’m going to have to go with Anton Khudobin. The guy was hilarious, and I think he knew it. He was like a less-crazy but just-as-entertaining version of Iilya Bryzgalov, except he could actually stop pucks, too. Every time I got to the Garden and saw Khudobin lead the team out of the tunnel, I got excited, because I knew it meant there would be a chat with Anton on tap for after the game.

I remember talking to him after he made 45 saves in a win against Ottawa on a night when Robin Lehner made 47 saves in a losing effort for the Senators. I informed Khudobin that it was a career high for him, and he wasn’t aware. He said he was just hoping that both goalies could get 50 saves, because that would have been entertaining to him. That’s what he was thinking about during a game in which he was asked to make 45 saves.

I miss Anton.

What is the craziest experience you have had as a sports writer?

I’m not sure “crazy” could ever be the right word to describe anything that takes place during my job, but I have been able to witness more amazing sports moments than I ever could have imagined. I was at Gillette this year when Tom Brady led the Patriots to a last-second win over the Saints, and I listened to the radio on the way home as David Ortiz cranked the game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS. The next weekend, I was at Fenway when the Red Sox finished off the Tigers, and a week and a half after that, I was there to see the Red Sox win the World Series.

I have to say, I never really anticipated ever being at Fenway to witness the Sox winning it all, and being there for that postseason run was certainly one of the craziest experiences I’ve had.

What is the piece you’ve written that has meant the most to you?

That’s a good question. I think it might be the recap I wrote after the Bruins’ comeback victory in Game 7 against Toronto last year — http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/05/14/bruins-miraculous-game-7-comeback-will-forever-go-down-in-boston-sports-lore/ . It was just such an incredible moment, and I know that I’ll never witness anything like that again.

I remember that for whatever reason, I started writing that one on my phone. I think I was in the hallway waiting for the locker room to open to the media, and I was trying to figure out a way to put that experience into words, so I just started tapping away.

To be honest, it’s pretty rare for me to write a story and think afterwards, “Hey, I feel good about that one.” So that Game 7 story stands out in my mind as one I feel good about.

Which hockey team do you pick to win the Olympics?

I think the most obvious answer is Canada, but I would have some concerns about goaltending if I were from the Great White North. Carey Price falling on his face wouldn’t totally stun me, and I think the 2010 team won despite Roberto Luongo. So I think that might get in the way of another gold for Canada.

I think Sweden might be the next best team in the tournament, in large part due to Henrik Lundqvist. A handful of the players were on that gold-winning team in ’06, and the Swedes are my pick this time around.

At the same time, I’m not ruling out the Russians getting some favorable calls. I’d never put anything past Putin.

Who is your pick to win the Stanley Cup?

I really feel like Pittsburgh is overdue, but I just can’t pick them to win four playoff series with Marc-Andre Fleury in net. I know it’s happened once before, but I just don’t see it happening again.

The Bruins should be right there again, but based on how difficult it is to go on long playoff runs in consecutive seasons, I’ll go with Anaheim. Not exactly the boldest pick, I know, but they’re just such a solid team.

Is there one NHL player that will benefit the most from an Olympic win?

I think it’s unlikely that Ryan Miller gets the opportunity to play for USA again, but let’s say he does, and let’s say he magically pulls off another run like he had in 2010. If he can put the team on his back and lead them all the way to gold, he’ll make himself the biggest name at the trade deadline and he’ll stand to make a whole lot more money in free agency this summer.

It’s unlikely, but hey, you never know.

One NHL player that will benefit the most from an Olympic loss?

Maybe an early exit for Slovakia wouldn’t be the worst thing for Zdeno Chara. The man needs rest.

Which Boston team will be the next to give us a reason to get drunk?

If you drink enough at a Celtics game, it might actually start to look like a good game.

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10 Random Questions with Tiffany Brown

Tiffany Brown is not only one of the most fun people I know but also a great writer and a wealth of pop culture knowledge. You can find her wonderful thoughts and articles on her blog, AngelizedFirst.com and on TVAfterDarkOnline.com. Be sure to follow her on twitter and read her answers to my random questions below!!

Tumblr. Yes or no?

Yes, I have a Tumblr, but I haven’t been posting to it much lately. It’s angelized1st.tumblr.com. When I do post it’s usually pics of my favorite shows. Sometimes I also post quotes and videos, or music. If I’m watching a favorite film, I’ll spam Tumblr with gifs of the movie I’m watching. I also have an Ian Somerhalder Tumblr from years ago at itaintpianolessonshoney.tumblr.com.

The movie you can recite the most lines from?

I’m not sure what movie I can recite the MOST lines from, but anyone who follows my Twitter knows I’m always reciting Buffy, Clueless, Anchorman, and Coming to America.

Favorite musical instrument?

My favorite musical instrument is the violin, because I played violin for 5 years. I still occasionally play, but not consistently to be as good as I was.

Last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?

The last movie I saw was Iron Man 3. I loved it so much that I went twice over the weekend. Even though I thought the central could have been better, the action sequences and character development made up for it. If you go, I’d recommend seeing it in 3D. Awesome!

Waffles, Pancakes or French Toast?

I’d have to go with French toast. There’s something comforting about French toast.

Ferris wheel, Roller Coaster or Arcade?

Hmm…. My favorite ride is the roller coaster, but going to the arcade is one of my favorite things to do. Not the kiddie arcade, though. I like the nice ones with a full bar, and all of the games. Maybe even a speedway. But if I have to choose, I’ll go with roller coaster. There’s no greater thrill than flying through the air at break neck speed.

Favorite Color?

Red. I’m a summer baby, so I really like bright colors, but red makes me feel alive. It lifts my mood, and can be sexy and dangerous. It’s also a classic color that never goes out of style. As much as I love it, though, I rarely wear it all over. I usually use it as an accent piece.

Best book you’ve ever read?

This changes depending on what I’m currently reading. Pride and Prejudice, The Lovely Bones, The Kite Runner, Hunger GamesGame of Thrones made me throw the book across the room. As did A Storm of Swords…. I’m currently reading The Dune Chronicles, and that’s pretty good. Very deep, and thought provoking. Probably one of the most complicated books I’ve read since 1984. LOL, this is hard…

Do you read fanfic?

I’ve tried, but I find it difficult to read off my computer for long periods of time. I tend to get dry eye, because I forget to blink. Besides, I hate waiting for the authors to finish a story. Besides, some of it is just too bloody awful.

Person you’d most like to have dinner with tonight?

LOL, well if anyone follows my Twitter they know it’d most likely be Matt Davis. I just find him interesting. I think it would be fun to pick his brains on various topics. I also would love to have dinner with the President, so I could talk to him about the state of the education system in our country. Hmm… Also the cast and crew of Scandal. They seem like a fun bunch. Maybe I could get some season 3 scoop from Shonda.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Finale Roundtable

We are officially into the awful time span known as The Vampire Diaries Hiatus. In order to keep from going to0 crazy, I enlisted some of my brilliant friends and  TVD aficionados to discuss the finale and what might be next for us in the Fall. Huge thanks to writer Melissa Leaman (her blog here), author Thomas Galvin (read his  TVD recaps here), Clarissa from TVOvermind.com, and Melissa Miller of Small Screen Scoop.com.

What was your favorite part of the Season 4 Finale? Least favorite part?

[Melissa L.]: Favorite part was easily everything involving Klaus/Caroline or Matt/Rebekah or Damon/Alaric. OTPS for life. I love Stefan/Lexi too but those others get more love.  A lot of the Bonnie stuff felt blah. But probably least favorite was the Silas/Stefan reveal. I don’t actually understand what’s going on there or how that works or what Silas’ goals are now that the cure is gone so I don’t have any interest or anticipation over what comes next. Without much to go on, it felt like a note that fell very flat. Alaric disappearing was also a very low point. I cried.

[Thomas]: I don’t have any one favorite moment, but I loved a lot of the little character stuff they did. I laughed out loud when we learned that Alaric wanted to spend his one day on earth eating greasy food in a cemetery with two high school students, I gasped when they revealed that he still has his Original vampire smashing powers, and I clapped when Stefan dealt with vaughn by ripping his heart out, no questions asked.

My least favorite moment was when the veil went back up and Alaric and Lexi disappeared. I love those two so much. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderfully written and acted moment, I just wish they got to stick around. And honestly, I don’t think we’re quite done with the veil yet, so there’s still a chance …

[Clarissa]: My favorite seems to be the same as what’s been stated above: the return of terrific characters like Alaric and Lexi. While I’m bummed that Cult turned out to be a dunce, I had hoped it might mean the return of Alaric in particular to the show, especially since TVD is losing two to four of its stars (depending on how you classify Elijah and Hayley with their limited number of appearances lately). I don’t ship anyone on the show, but I did like Rebekah and Matt’s growing “friendship” (or however you want to classify it). My least favorite part was the fact that the finale seemed to be very relationship-based. I got bored during a lot of it because I kept waiting for most of the action to begin and while I enjoyed the appearances of the ghosts, all of the romance stuff seemed to slow down the pacing and made it seem more like a normal episode than a finale. Beyond that, I didn’t really like the Silas revelation. I thought that what happened was cool with Stefan getting locked in the box, but I was unbelievably confused by the doppleganger reveal. I’m glad I’m not the only one, because I felt kind of stupid, as if I should understand what was happening, but it just seemed confusing. Because of that, I think the impact of that moment was lost. Going back to favorite parts for a moment, I loved seeing Katherine get the cure shoved down her throat, mostly for what it represents in terms of what could come next. That’s when the action really started (and, somewhat, ended) in the finale for me.

[Melissa Miller]: My favorite part was, hands down, the Klaus/Caroline scene. The one without a decapitation, as much as I love a good decapitation. I’m actually glad I’m answering this some time after watching the episode because it makes it clear that is my favorite scene. It is the one I can still picture clear as day and still think about. I’m excited for the Originals, but that scene made me a little sad for it because I so want more of these two. Runners up in favorite scenes: Lexi/Alaric in a room together! Alaric/Damon, the bromance continues. Matt gets to take a vacation! And have sex!

Least favorite scene: The headache inducing Silas/Stefan reveal. I just… I don’t think I even cared anymore by the time they were done explaining that to be honest. Besides, I was too mad that Lexi and Alaric were gone to want to hear it.

[Wine Stained Life]: The moments between Caroline and Klaus and between Matt & Rebekah were the most rewound on my Tivo. They are just so sweet and new and lovely. And I am saying this after previously wanting to send Klaus and Rebekah to the deepest depths of hell. We’re all allowed to change our minds. The Lexi & Stefan moments were also REALLY sweet and much needed, especially after all that Stefan has been through.  And, of course, the Blood and Beer moments. Let’s be honest, we should still be having those and I HATE that we aren’t. I am not always the biggest fan of Damon but he really does need his BFF.

Rebekah & Klaus are expected in New Orleans in the Fall. How do you think they should leave their Mystic Falls loves? (Matt and Caroline for the watching impaired).

[Melissa L.]: If I got my perfect wishes, Caroline & Klaus would realize the timing keeps sucking for them, there’d be a few crossovers, and then Candice Accola would join The Originals cast once TVD ends. (There’s long been a 6 seasons number floating around, so she wouldn’t be gone long). I honestly just want Matt and Rebekah to stay on the road forever and be happy together. Barring that beautiful fantasy (that I’m currently writing as fanfic because ugh, precious bbs) then I’d be so 110% down with Matt going to school in NOLA and being on The Originals and still dating Rebekah.

[Thomas]: I don’t think there’s room for Caroline in New Orleans just now. Klaus is a baby daddy, and I don’t want to see The Originals turn into the Muary Povich show. Let’s deal with the werepup hellspawn first, and then we can worry about where Klaus is burying his dagger. Also, I’m pretty sure Klaus is going to hook up with that bartender with a black belt sooner rather than later. Klaus may intend to be Caroline’s last love, but he’s not exactly putting himself on the shelf until that happens. I agree with Melissa: Caroline will have plenty of time to hang out in the swamps after TVD ends. I literally have no idea why Rebekah is even going to New Orleans, and since Carina Mackenzie just joined the Originals staff, I kind of expect Bex to show up with a side of mashed potatoes.

[Clarissa]: To be honest, I don’t really see Rebekah and Matt as a true pairing, because I think that while he’s happy to be friends with her, it’s more of a platonic thing (like Caroline and Stefan) than it is a true romance. He just doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to get heavily involved with a vampire after everything he’s seen. That’s just my opinion, but it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of their less-than-defined relationship in any way. I think that Rebekah will feel compelled to go to New Orleans because of her family and I think Matt will be completely understanding. I thought that Klaus’ reappearance in Mystic Falls made perfect sense. He came to see Caroline and help out and it was completely understood that he would disappear when it was done, so I don’t see that separation being a stretch.

[Melissa Miller]: Like everyone else, I kind of feel like with a few crossovers here and there (because these shows are just like Grey’s and Private Practice) we can get our fill of Caroline/Klaus. But, hopefully, TVD ends long before The Originals and Candice can be one of the few to make the transition over. I think there is still a lot to be explored between the two – that’s basically been the basis of their entire shaky courtship. As for Matt/Rebekah… I’m actually totally good with this ending as a summer fling. Though, hopefully Matt can find someone eventually. That’s not April.

[Wine Stained Life]: I am honestly expecting some kind of horrible travel story when we return to Mystic Falls. The kind that breaks up an otherwise happy couple. Too many lost tickets, lost bags and bloodless bodies. It was all rainbows and unicorns until Matt spent too much time needing to eat real food and get real sleep. I still believe that Klaus and Caroline will have their time. It’s just that their time is not right now. She needs at least a few moments to break up with Tyler and all of that jazz.

What do you think about the Silas/Stefan situation? Is it a total ripoff of the Angel season 3 finale? Is he really the doppelganger of some long-lost immortal monster?

[Melissa L.]: I can’t even talk about all the things that are ripping off Angel right now. But I will say that there is some serious gold in the #Stilas tag on tumblr. You gotta wade through the text posts of fans being typically obnoxious, but the gifs shipping the two of them together (because apparently the “only person good enough for Stefan is Stefan”) are hysterical. I can’t stop laughing.

[Thomas]: We are very, very close to reaching Critical Joss, the moment where you can point to literally any media property and say “Joss Whedon Did it Better.” The guy’s doing freaking Shakespeare now.

The whole “New Doppelganger” this is a jumble in my brain right now. I tried to suss out what it all means on my blog, but I don’t know how successful I was. It seems unnecessary to have Silas be Stefan’s twin but also able to make himself look like Stefan. On the other hand, if Steafan is the Doppelganger created by the spell that made Silas immortal, I’m pretty sure the rules say that Stefan’s blood can be used in a spell to make Silas mortal again.

#Stilas is full of pure win.

[Clarissa]: I’m still not 100% sure of what’s happening, so I’m less “this is an Angel rip-off!” than I am “what the heck is going on here?” The Angel connection didn’t actually occur to me until a day or two later and then it was so obvious that I wondered at how I missed it. It’s very, very difficult for anyone to touch the genius that is Joss Whedon. Even when Joss is at his worst, it’s still a lot better than many other things. I was rather disappointed in a lot of season 4 overall, so while I enjoyed the momentary action that the Silas reveal brought, I’m not convinced that it was a great way to end the season.

[Melissa Miller]: It’s just shaky ground to tread anywhere near the genius that is Joss. He is so big now I think my grandparents are aware of his existence. Like Thomas said – He is doing Shakespeare!! So when you start to head into a story that so much resembles a story line he did on his Broody Male Vampire show, well, it gets a little hard to watch. You wonder how/if they didn’t see it. I mean – our vampire sinking to the bottom of water while trapped? Helloooo.

That said, I don’t think it’s the “This is an Angel rip-off” that was really getting to me. I just didn’t care. There is good mythology, and then there is OMGthismythologyisgivingmeaheadache. That was what bothered me in that scene more than anything.

[Wine Stained Life]: I am so glad that I am not the only one who is a little bit (lot) confused by this story line. What happened to Angel in that season 3 finale was horrible and tragic and JAW DROPPING. What happened to Stefan is horrible but also REALLY confusing. AND, I was really hoping that we could finally be rid of Silas forever as he is kind of terrible as a big bad. He seems to have no rules or real motivation. I hate that. I need more structure.

Any bets on how long it will take his friends to figure out that it’s not the Real Stefan?

[Melissa L.]: There’s no way I’d take that bet. I want to think Caroline would figure it out first, probably by the 2nd episode, but I’m not sure.

[Thomas]: I have learned that trying to guess where the TVD writers are going is a waste of time. It seems like Stilas could be a season-long arc, but these guys burn through season-long arcs by the time they hit the second commercial break.

I hope, though, that he sticks around. Paul Wesley is a great actor and he loves playing the bad guy. He was at his absolute best as The Ripper, and I hope this turn gives him a chance to flex those same muscles.

[Clarissa]: Chances are he will stick around for a while, if only to give Wesley a chance to flex his bad boy skills, so I think it will be many episodes (maybe even mid-season) before anyone figures it out. But I agree with Melissa L, I think Caroline might figure it out. Damon and Elena might be too kissy-kissy to worry about it, especially if Stefan isn’t around as much because they might just chalk it up to him wanting to avoid them.

[Melissa Miller]: My hope – Caroline spends 5 minutes with him and realizes it is isn’t him. My actual guess – this will play out for awhile. They’ve hit home pretty hard that Silas has psychic abilities, so I’m sure he can hide as Stefan for awhile. Plus, he lost his One True Love to his boyfriend and just re-lost his BFF in a matter of about 90 minutes. If he’s extra nasty, is anyone going to question it?

[Wine Stained Life]: The dream, of course, would be that Elena speaks to him once and then knows right away. But who are we kidding? Even when Stefan & Elena were together, she never really knew him or really cared what was going on with him. Caroline would, of course, as the only real friend to Stefan, be the person to figure it out. I just have a feeling that she will be wrapped up in Tyler’s return and Klaus’ departure. It may take her a few episodes to  figure it out and then a few more for her to convince everyone else. Caroline is the best but isn’t always treated as such on the show.

What should be the first thing Katherine does as a human? And how do you feel about her getting taken down by Elena in that way?  Was that the best use for the Cure?

[Melissa L.]: Buy tampons. Girl’s about to sympathize with the female gender for the first time in 500 years. Or go make out with Elijah because he loved her since she was human and somebody needs to slowly strip him out of that suit on national television. What? I have needs.

I thought it was awesome of Elena to take Katherine down like that. The editing of the scene was dumb, we could have seen Elena get the cure back earlier in the episode & I doubt most of us would have remembered until she was shoving it down Katherine’s throat.

Ergh. I’ve never been a fan of the cure plot, even the white oak stake was more interesting–and less agency robbing–but I wasn’t mad about Katherine getting it. So I’ll say that’s good enough.

[Thomas]: I love Katherine, and I hated to see my girl go down like that. But it was kind of a no-win situation. I hated the entire idea of a cure, and I was never going to be happy, no matter who they gave it to.  As to what Katherine should do? Beg, borrow, and steal as much vampire blood as she can, chug it, and throw herself into traffic. Katherine is supposed to have fangs.  I would suggest that she do everything in her power to keep the knowledge of her humanity from Klaus, since he could use her as a Hybrid-making blood bag, but the reality of having Nina Dobrev on two shows means I don’t see this being a thing, anyway.

[Clarissa]: Katherine is going to flip her shit when she wakes up as a human. I would love for the first thing she does is go after Elena – vamp powers or not – for retribution. You know she’s going to be incredibly pissed off. I predict the second thing she does is actually try to become a vampire again, any way that is possible. I thought she might travel to New Orleans to see if Elijah can do it, but Thomas is right, going anywhere near Klaus as a human will be bad for her. I’m kind of disappointed in the cure on the one hand, because Katherine is the ultimate bad girl and is the vampire I had kind of hoped Elena would be but never turned into. So in that respect I think giving her the cure kind of sucks. At the same time, I feel like being bad is also part of Katherine’s personality now that might transcend her vampness, so I think we’ll still see glimpses of the old Katherine underneath.

[Melissa Miller]: This has been my problem with “the cure” plot the entire time – what is to stop a vampire that was given it without wanting it from getting some vamp blood in their system and then killing themselves? Especially given Katherine’s situation where being a human puts a big huge Doppelganger size target on her back when it comes to Klaus. That’s clearly the first thing Kat should do as a vamp. I can’t think of anything else she’d WANT to do, to be honest. After centuries of being a badass vamp, what fun would being a human be? I’m interested in how they are going to handle this without it seeming completely contrived.

[Wine Stained Life]: Honestly, she’s the very last character on this show that I thought would end up with the cure. I would really love to see her, for at least one episode, struggle with human needs. Food, water, getting from point A to point B using actual transportation. After that one episode, I am with all of the rest. She needs to re-vamp immediately. Katherine without her teeth is no fun at all.

Damon “Got the girl.” Assuming they stay together for a while, what do you think will be the next hurdle they’ll have to jump?

[Melissa L.]: I really hope that assumption’s right. You know I’m a bigger fan of Stefan/Elena but I’ve thought for a long time that Damon/Elena needs a fair shot and all this sire bond bs didn’t give them that this season. In the grand scheme of things, I’m sick to death of the triangle, but I do think it’d be more realistic to see Damon & Elena having to get over a hurdle of her choosing college and a continuation of a normal life, when he thinks she should see all life has to offer, and what will she actually choose. Oh who am I kidding, Elena will never be given the agency to make her own decisions.

[Thomas]: Elena is going to fall for Stilas. She loves a bad boy. Girl can’t help it. Also, it would enrage the True Stelena fans, and Julie Plec stays young by bathing in their misery, so … yeah, that’s happening.

[Clarissa]: Romance in shows typically bore me, but the love triangle in THIS show is getting to be a bit much. If Damon got the girl, then he should keep her so that we can stop with the back-and-forth/will-they-won’t-they for at least an entire season. To be honest, I think the next hurdle will come from Damon, because for as long as he’s wanted both Katherine and Elena, he’s never really had them in any true sense for an extended period of time and so I think he simply won’t be used to having what he wants and might make some missteps. Other than that, I like Thomas’ comment about Elena being attracted to bad boy Stefan/Silas.

[Melissa Miller]: My feeling on any show with a love triangle – both scenarios need to be given a fair shot, both for the viewers and for the characters. So I hope that indeed they will be able to be together for awhile. And if Damon and Elena do get that shot, I think their hurdle would simply be just being together without all the “oh the drama!” of it all. No sire bond. No Stefan. No humanity switch. Just, be together. Their relationship has been so shadows and darkness and secrets. If they are really together, what is that for them? There is plenty of drama to be found there. But, I kind of feel like Thomas may be onto something – the triangle will be back on in full force when Elena meets Stefan/Silas.

[Wine Stained Life]: Part of me doesn’t care at all what Damon and Elena do. Part of me hopes that Thomas is RIGHT ON. And part of me hopes that Damon will become as fed up with Elena as I have and will go back to his sorority drinking ways. Balls intact. However, if they do make a real go for it, I hope that Katherine does her damnedest to drive a wedge. That could be a lot of fun. Especially if she plays the vulnerability card. Fangs or not, Katherine has a lot of weapons in her arsenal.

If you could have any of the Finale’s Ghosts back as real people FOREVER, which two would you choose? Keep in mind that Bonnie is now among them.

[Melissa L.]: Alaric & Lexi. Done and done and done. I don’t even know how anyone could bother wanting anyone else back.

[Thomas]: This is the correct answer.

[Clarissa]: 100% agree with Melissa, although I think the appeal of Lexi is also the fact that she’s NOT a regular. So I guess we can keep her as a guest star and Bonnie can come back. While Bonnie’s story has been a bit boring lately (mostly for lack of the writers giving her anything worthy to do), I still think they need a witch in their corner.

[Melissa Miller]: Obviously, what Melissa said. Alaric and Lexi, absolutely. Not Bonnie. I giggled, no, I full on laughed out loud, when Bonnie realized she died at the end of the penultimate episode. I was never a Bonnie fan, even less so as of late. But I miss Alaric with a passion. And Lexi. If I had to choose one, Alaric.

[Wine Stained Life]: I love that we are all in agreement. Alaric and Lexi need to be full time. Getting rid of them was a HUGE mistake, if you ask me. Both of them bring so much to the show. Strength and fun and insight into both of the Salvatore Brothers. I really believe that those brothers need each other. But I think they need their BFFs even more.

Speaking of Bonnie… How do you feel about her death? Are you glad that there are no more witches in Mystic Falls? What will this mean for all of the magic that seems to be needed on a daily basis?

[Melissa L]: Meh. Her death accomplished jack shit. And as a viewer, I never even bothered to shed a tear (not that I would) because it was established before the finale aired that Kat would be back for S5. I just don’t see the point of why Bonnie died in the first place. Especially if it has no impact on anyone but Jeremy. I figure she’ll either come back from the other side by fall sweeps or Lucy or some other witch will come to town.

[Thomas]: I’m pissed because I wanted to make one of my characters a ghost in the next novel I write, and now it’ll seem derivative. Other than that, it’s established that Witches on the Other Side have the same powers as their mortal counterparts, and Bonnie seems to be able to interact with everyone, so … nothing’s changed?  Though if Bonnie being “trapped” on the Other Side means there’s an all-out effort to rend the veil, allowing Alaric and Lexi to come back, I will gladly accept this development.

[Clarissa]: Considering no one else knows about her death, it felt kind of empty. I think Bonnie has been tragically under-utilized for a long time now and so her death didn’t really register that much. I enjoyed her scenes with Jeremy, but beyond that I felt like they cheated the audience out of a larger emotional impact because they kept it a secret from all of the other characters. I do hope she returns, but I also hope that they give her more to do.

[Melissa Miller]: I kind of answered that already, huh? I was totally fine she died. Her magic only worked some of the time, so it will be nice if maybe we weren’t as heavily reliant on it. That said, only Bonnie is dead, not all witches. I’m sure there will still be magic. Probably from Bonnie since we’ve clearly established all those ghosts beyond the veil are just hanging around Mystic Falls stalking their friends and judging their life choices. While Bonnie will, obviously, be in full judgemental mode on Elena and Damon, she’ll probably find time to resurrect herself. (And Alaric and Lexi, please, witch girl!)

[Wine Stained Life]: I was pretty emotional about Bonnie’s death at only one point: when she was trying to get all of her friends together for graduation. For some reason, that really moved me. Otherwise, I am not sure I could care less whether she returns as a human, a ghost or a t-rex. I just really do not care. Unless Grams is involved. More Grams, please.

Time for The Originals! What are you most excited to see in the actual Pilot of the series? What are you most hoping for from the series overall?

[Melissa L.]: If you’d asked me this before it aired, I would have had so many different answers. As it is, the baby plot has thrown me for a loop and knocked away a lot of my interest. So I’m hoping maybe that gets dropped in the fall version of the pilot. Maybe enough feedback will come in to realize that just doesn’t work with viewers.  I would like to see crossovers within the series. Not so much from a bring the Originals into Mystic Falls pov, but more to see some of the MF characters growing up and fitting in an adult supernatural world. I’d also love something edgier, darker, with more emphasis on power in this world.

[Thomas]: Marcel is fantastic, and his relationship with Klaus is complicated enough that it actually makes sense that the pilot script didn’t just read:

INT. MARCEL’S BAR – NIGHT

KLAUS MIKAELSON, immortal, murders everyone while listening to Jingle Bells. He’s the new King of New Orleans.

THE END

I was loving the episode right up until the Baby Plot of Irrelevant Doom got dropped on us, and just wasn’t able to get back into it after that. I’m kind of big on continuity, though, so I don’t want to see them just drop that plot altogether. Maybe they could do something where Haley is trying to abort it, but Klaus wants his heir? No, nevermind, that’s disgusting. Fuck. God damn it, Plec!

[Clarissa]: I loved 90% of the Originals episode. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Marcel. I thought he was a fantastic addition to the cast and that he’s a character/actor with a great deal of charisma. It feel like he could stand toe-to-toe with Klaus and Elijah, which is hard to do because Gillies and Morgan both play their respective characters well and it’s difficult to bring in a third leading man who can match them. But the baby thing….ugh. Seriously? The moment it happened it almost washed away every good thing about the episode. So I wasn’t thinking “how great would it be to have Elijah back full-time” because I had switched to “Twilight rip-off…are they kidding?!”

[Melissa Miller]: We’ve fully established that the baby plot is ridiculous. I wasn’t as angry as everyone else. I was just… indifferent. I rolled my eyes. I love Phoebe Tonkin, so I’m great with having her around, but a better way would have been nice. I’m very curious which characters will fade into the night after feedback from this backdoor pilot is received and notes are taken. Regardless of miracle babies, I’m excited for some Klaus/Elijah, Klaus/Marcel and a reason to want to make beignets on the regular. There is a lot of potential here. Including finding a way to try to make Klaus the hero of a show, so that when TVD ends, Caroline will want to come find him.

[Wine Stained Life]: See my thoughts on this here. Mostly, I want more of Klaus being the killer we all know he can be, a lot more of Marcel and very little about the ridiculous, unnecessary plot device, baby. I feel like its entire conception was unwisely contrived for the sole purpose of Haley having a reason to be in New Orleans. And since I don’t give a crap about Haley…

What are your feelings on the were-baby? Big mistake or great plot driver? How do we feel about Klaus as a dad? Who is your favorite NEW character from The Originals backdoor pilot? Who would you ditch?

[Melissa L.]: Feelings on the were-baby are a big fat NO NO NO. Here’s my thing, yes, there are shows who have done the supernatural miracle/loophole baby and it hasn’t ruined the show. (Battlestar Galactica is the one that comes to mind). But there are a lot where it has royally screwed up shows *cough*Angel*cough* and I can’t think of a single show where a baby has made things better. Even people I know to be diehard Originals fans are second guessing their interest, so if feels like a big mistake to me. I’d rather have seen some sort of way for the witches in NOLA to bring Kol & Finn back to reunite the family over a baby. And what a waste of Phoebe Tonkin to relegate her to a pregnancy storyline.

Klaus as a dad makes me want to rant and throw things and scream about total out of character writing.

Favorite new character was Marcel. Hands down, thumbs up, whatever. Marcel won me over even faster than Elijah did and I was sold on Elijah pretty fast. I just hope he can be a worthy foe for Klaus. I don’t know that I’d ditch anyone so far–hard to really get to know them–but I’d change some of the characterization of Camille. Having a blonde with a “C” name who psychoanalyzes Klaus through art? We have one of those girls and Klaus is very much in love with her. If Camille is supposed to be a romantic rival, or even a friend, she deserves to be her own person not the NOLA version of Caroline Forbes.

[Thomas]: I was all set for The Originals to be my favorite show of next season, right up until the Tragic Mistake of Horrible Plot Decisions and Diapers happened. There is nothing I like about the baby plot line, at all.  Klaus is not a dad. He’s not dad material. He has more daddy issues than a bus filled with strippers, he’s whiney, self-centered, irrational, and short tempered. And he doesn’t need an heir, because he’s never going to die. He doesn’t need to teach someone to take over New Orleans when he’s gone. That’s what he did with Marcel, and now Klaus’ to-do list reads:

1. Fuck with Marcel in every way possible

2. Probably bang that blond chick

3. Fuck with Marcel some more

Phoebe Tonkin is not a MILF, and I hate having her cast as one. She should be having sex and battling witches and fighting with vampires and eating tourists, not buying baby wipes in bulk from Costco. Marcel won me over from his very first scene. How ya like me now? Very well indeed, sir.

[Clarissa]: I didn’t watch Battlestar Galactica, so I can’t comment on an instance where a magical, supernatural baby didn’t ruin a show. As far as I’m concerned, it’s always ruined shows. Or, like Melissa L said, I can’t think of an instance where it’s been done in a way that it added anything. It feels so unbelievably unnecessary. I think Klaus would have remained in New Orleans solely to amass his power and didn’t need a baby to convince him to stick around. I think Hayley could have stuck around because of her connection to werewolves there. How are they going to make this baby story work? Will they bring out the youngin’ every other episode to remind us that he/she is alive? Will they magically age-up the baby like in Twilight or Angel, which is just completely laughable? I can’t think of a single scenario where the baby storyline doesn’t anger me to the point where everything else good about the show just seems silly by association. As for favorite new character: Marcel.  Hail to the king, baby!

[Melissa Miller]: There really isn’t much more to say as far as the baby is concerned. I think as avid TV viewers, we are all a little weary of a baby storyline that isn’t part of a family sitcom. It rarely leads to anything good. Especially when that baby is a “miracle baby,” even more when that miracle baby is created under supernatural circumstances. No one wants to see Klaus changing diapers and complaining about midnight feedings. That’s just… not fun.

Favorite new character is Marcel, obviously. Anyone who is first scene singing like a badass is going to be a favorite character. Plus, I’m just glad he’s not on Grey’s trying to ruin Karev’s shot at happiness anymore.

Final question: If TVD and The Originals were on at the same time (which is NOT happening) and you had to pick only one to watch live, which would it be?

[Melissa L]: The Originals would definitely win. As the actual schedule stands though, I’ll be watching SHIELD live over The Originals. Coulson > Elijah.

[Thomas]: Before the Unplanned Abomination of 2013, I would have said The Originals, hands down. Now it’s very much wait and see.

[Clarissa]: I probably would have stuck with watching Vampire Diaries live, which is what I do now. Love triangle nonsense is still not as bad as supernatural baby nonsense.

[Melissa Miller]: I’m… unsure, to be honest. I think Originals has a lot of potential, but I’m still invested in TVD. Either way – I’m going to be watching SHIELD live on Tuesdays, like Melissa. Coulson is a bigger badass than the rest of these guys.

[Wine Stained Life]: I am with The Melissas. VERY excited for SHIELD and will be watching that one live for sure. Thank goodness for Tivo. The Originals will be recording while I watch Coulson and hope for mentions of my favorite Tony Stark.

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10 Random Questions with Jayne Balke

Jayne Balke is not only one of the biggest fans of The Vampire Diaries that I know, she’s also one of my personal favorite TV fans in general. And not just because she has a sexy Australian accent. It does help that she loves Joseph Morgan just as much as I do. Read her answers to my silly questions below and be sure to check out her blog and definitely follow her on twitter: @Jayneymoo.

Last episode of television that made you cry

Scandal 2×20 “A Woman Scorned” [Olitzzzzz]

The name of your secret spy identity

Jayney McJaynerson

Last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?

Les Mis, and yes, it was incredible.

If you were forced to be on a reality show, which would it be?

Farmer Wants A Wife (Aussie dating show lol)

The movie you can recite the most lines from

A Walk To Remember

Ferris wheel, Roller Coaster or Arcade?

Roller Coaster!

You’re a groupie. Who’s the band?

Maroon 5 (cheesy yes, but Adam Levine = yum)

Best book you’ve ever read

Blink by Ted Dekker

Favorite smell

horse feed 🙂

Waffles, Pancakes or French Toast?

Um, is there any competition? Pancakes!

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10 Random Questions with Carrie Raisler

Carrie Raisler  is a high class TV addict (One Tree HillSupernaturalJustified and hundreds of others) and she writes one of my favorite recaps of The Vampire Diaries. Be sure to follow her on Twitter (@TVandDinners) and check out her stuff at The A.V. Club. But first, read her answers to my random questions:

Do you read fanfic?

Back in my Dawson’s Creek fandom days, I used to read DC fanfic all of the time. I think it was the only way us Pacey/Joey fans could get through seasons five and six, honestly. Since then I haven’t read much fanfic at all, save a few Veronica Mars fics during the first season. I think I just had a hard time finding writers I liked and shows I was invested enough in to seek out fic after Dawson’s Creek.

Person you’d most like to have dinner with tonight

My mom. She lives in Florida and I miss her!

Last episode of television that made you cry

I just need to preface this by saying this answer is extremely embarrassing. It was the most recent episode of Smash, “The Phenomenon.” It is perhaps the most horrible episode of television that’s aired in 2013 so far, but there is one tiny, genuine moment of emotion at the end when Jimmy (who I hate!) is singing a song and it got to me. I’m not proud.

The drink you order when someone else is buying

Beer. I’m simple.

Song you will never get enough of

“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure. It makes me indescribably happy.

Tumblr. Yes or no?

I don’t tumbl at all. I don’t really understand tumblr. I had grand plans to start a One Tree Hill tumblr a few years ago highlighting all the insane things that happen on the show, but I only got so far as registering the site name (wtfonetreehill.tumblr.com) before throwing up my hands in defeat. Moral of the story: I am not good at learning new things.

Last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?

Iron Man 3. It was fun! Whoever decided to cast Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark all those years ago should get All The Money, honestly.

Favorite musical instrument

Piano. I wish I could play better because it’s such a lovely, versatile instrument.

If you were forced to be on a reality show, which would it be?

The Amazing Race. I used to work in reality television and so I know what goes on behind the scenes at most reality shows. TAR is the only one I would ever even consider because at least you get to see the world and go on adventures.

The movie you can recite the most lines from

The Princess Bride

Holiday you’d most like to abolish

Halloween, but only for adults. This is a kid holiday, people! What are you doing?

You’re a groupie. Who’s the band?

Ryan Adams. That’s not really a band, but he’ll always be my favorite musician.

Best book you’ve ever read

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Many years ago when I still lived and worked in L.A., I randomly picked up a coworker’s copy (we were on set and I was bored) and could not put it down. I went to a bookstore immediately and bought my own copy and devoured it. I’ve since bought several more copies because I keep giving mine away to people because I’m desperate for them to read it. It’s phenomenally compelling.

Your favorite thing to do alone

Watch TV. That way no one talks and interrupts the action. (Yes, I’m that person.)

First concert

New Kids on the Block. I’m old!

Cake or Bacon?

Cake. Cake is my favorite food, which explains a lot about why my pants don’t fit.

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10 Random Questions with Melissa Leaman

If you don’t know my friend Melissa Leaman, you should. Melissa is a great author with passionate opinions, impeccable taste in television  and so much more. Mel is always happy to discuss The Vampire DiariesOne Tree Hill, Teen Wolf, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with me and I always love to hear her thoughts.  We also share detest for shipper wars, political atrocities and chips with calories. Be sure to follow Melissa on Twitter, on her personal blog and on her tumblr. Right after you read her brilliant, (more than) 10 random answers.

Favorite Color:

Blue. Yankee blue to be exact.

Do you read fanfic?:

Obsessively. And I kind of wish more people did. There’s a lot of really awful fanfic out there and that’s usually what gets referenced in media as a joke. Plus for every one good story there’s ten “what the hell is this and why can’t you spell anything and holy wow that is not how shotgunning works” terrible stories. But the good ones are impressive. A lot of aspiring writers seem to be working out their style through fanfic these days and if you’re willing to ask people for recommendations, you can find 50,000 word epics that are better than a lot of books & don’t require an indepth understanding of a show.

And of course, if you just want some good porn, that’s there too. Just not 50 Shades.

Person you’d most like to have dinner with tonight

Joss Whedon.

Last episode of television that made you cry

It feels like it’s been way too long since I’ve cried at a newly aired episode of TV. But probably something from Grey’s Anatomy.

The drink you order when someone else is buying

Assuming it’s not a cheap happy hour…some variation on a martini. Huckleberry ones preferably but that tends to be a Northwest thing.

Song you will never get enough of

“Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who. “Livin’ in the Future” by Bruce Springsteen. “Cocaine Blues” by Johnny Cash. “Train in Vain” by The Clash.

The name of your secret spy identity

If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

Tumblr. Yes or no?

YES. A thousand times yes. The more I’ve gotten into tumblr, the more my own blog falls by the wayside. It’s just so accessible and easy to use and definitely easier to engage followers than standard blogs. I’m just sorry for any non-Teen Wolf fans lately. I’m a wee bit obsessed.

Last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?

Technically Argo–which was a thoroughly amazing movie, but it was a repeat viewing. The last new to me movie was Amour. I enjoyed it even more than I expected.

Favorite musical instrument

Drums. Specifically guys who play the drums. That still counts right?

If you were forced to be on a reality show, which would it be?

I’d create a new one. “Survival of the Fittest”. Family and friends nominate the most moronic people they know who then fight to the death Hunger Games style. Then I’d cheat my way on and machete my way to victory.

The movie you can recite the most lines from

Oh gosh. Probably Mean Girls, Newsies, and Empire Strikes Back.

Ferris wheel, Roller Coaster or Arcade?

Roller coaster. Always. Just not the ones with giant hills. I’ll take pitch-dark, spins, & twists any day.

Holiday you’d most like to abolish

Columbus Day. It’s such a bullshit holiday and celebrates genocide and prejudice. Nice one USA.

You’re a groupie. Who’s the band?

McFly

Your favorite food to make for yourself

Mashed potatoes. Ultimate comfort food and I make damn good mashed potatoes.

Best book you’ve ever read

This is a stupid unfair question. But I probably reread “Dealing with Dragons” by Patricia Wrede, “The Emily Trilogy” by LM Montgomery, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and “Rainbow Six” by Tom Clancy the most.

Favorite smell

The Pacific Northwest coastline. A stormy night on an Oregon beach is full of good, bad, and haunting smells. Also old books.

Waffles, Pancakes or French Toast?

In the morning, I’m making waffles.

Best GIF you’ve ever seen

Travel and/or flight ritual?

Unless making sure I have books to read is a ritual, not really any. But I do try to bring coloring books, crayons, and a couple toys with me. I color anyway because it’s fun but it’s been a life saver if small kids are on a plane when I travel. Parents get treated like shit by other passengers and being able to help them out a little makes everyone happier. And it’s gotten me free booze from the flight attendants later.

Your favorite thing to do alone

Well there is one thing…

hahaha! Appropriate answer would be read or sing and dance around the house to cheesy pop songs.

First concert

Newsboys. The first one I paid for was I think OzzFest in 2001. That and the co-headlining Green Day/Blink 182 are the ones that stand out.

Cake or Bacon?

Maple bacon cake.

Pajamas in public. Yes or no?

That’s why drive-thrus were invented.

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