Let’s Talk Puzzles

Let’s not mince words. We’re swiftly moving into winter, the days are short, and the quarantine is long. I’m comforting myself with the emotional weighted-blanket that it several seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. (I started watching for the first time in August! Wow, what a ride! It’s a soap opera! I didn’t realize! Now I’m addicted! But that isn’t the point of this post!)

Anyway, the point is that 2020 is weird. And sometimes when you’re binge watching, you also need a task to help with the crippling anxiety. We are utilitarian people and we need to feel handy!

As a small child, people tried to encourage me to do puzzles to help with my motor skills or cognitive reasoning or whatever and yet, for DECADES, I have felt that puzzles are unequivocally boring. However, many fellow humans have told me that they’ve found puzzles satisfying during COVID times. So idk, maybe I’ll give them another shot. (But probably not.)

In the event that I decide to give puzzles another go, I did some research on potentially cool ones. I’ve decided to share that research with you in case you do not have the same lifelong hatred of puzzles that I seem to have buried deep, deep within my soul.

Also I wrote a post several years ago about novelty television board games. So if you’re anti-puzzle like me but you love board games (also like me), then might I recommend checking that out for inspiration?

500 PIECE PUZZLES

The Golden Girls “Stay Golden” available for $19.99 at Urban General Store

The Office available for $14.95 at Books a Million

Blockbuster Clueless Poster VHS puzzle available for $10.43 at Hot Topic

 1000 PIECE PUZZLES

The Golden Girls “I Heart Miami” available for $14.99 at Target

Friends Milkshake Puzzle available for $19.95 at the WB Shop

Die Hard Nakatomi Plaza available for $29.99 from Target

“The Color of Fun” Crayola puzzle available for $19.95 at The Paper Store

I know the last one doesn’t fit the theme. But doesn’t a box of crayons just make you feel safe?

You know what though, the more I think about it…the more I’m like…that Golden Girls “Stay Golden” puzzle is super cute, so maybe I will order that one. I finally came around to cooking in quarantine, so truly anything is possible.

Hey, Remember My Golden Girls Board Game?

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It’s no secret that I love both television and board games. I even had a little fun with a Golden Girls Cheesecake game back when I was bored at work on a Friday afternoon after 99% of the office went home and I had to stay just in case someone called or something. I called it “Catch that Cheesecake” and it was basically a rip-off of Clue.

Here’s the idea I sketched out with pencils I found in my desk drawer. (Thanks former desk occupant. Those pencils were dope and I took them with me when I left.)

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Alas, someone with corporate backing and actual licensing rights to Clue, seems to have made a much better version of this. You can purchase it here.

The game pieces are freaking adorable by the way. Check out the “weapons”:

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And I would literally fight anyone who dared not let me play as Stan with the fake-monkey-Dorothy-surrogate.

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And the board game is literally just the house, which definitely seems more logical and Clue-esque than my idea of like having the kitchen and the lanai and then other random locations. But those “?” mark spaces…anyone know what those are?? Are they like my idea of having “gold” spaces with action cards? The list of items on the official page say that they include “distraction” cards, which sounds kind of like my idea for the “golden ticket” cards that would sabotage game play. So…listen, if I’ve got my finger on the pulse of pop culture board games, please reach out to me and hire me at your board game store (that’s what they’re called, right?) thanks!!

The Golden Girls: The Monkey Show

Today’s contribution goes to Meals on Wheels because one day, if we’re lucky, we’ll all be as old as the Golden Girls, but we may not all be so lucky as to have amazing roommates. Meals on Wheels provides companionship and nourishment to our most vulnerable elders.

Dorothy and Stan are seeing a therapist together, which has created a situation in which Stan has transferred his feelings for Dorothy to a surrogate–a fake monkey, to be exact. (More on this later.)

Meanwhile, Rose has gotten 8 hours of television airtime for a telethon to save a lighthouse. She asks the girls to help her get everything organized.

Furthermore, Dorothy’s sister, Gloria, pops by for a visit and major sibling rivalry ensues.

This is a two-parter and we already have an A, B, and C-plot. Are you keeping up? I want to make sure we’re all on the same page, so please take a moment to review.

Okay, you good?

Gloria tells Dorothy that she’s not a real teacher because she’s just a substitute. Rude. I don’t understand why family members come into your home and just think they can get away with insulting you. Like you MAY be my flesh and blood, but you’re still in my home and you need to GTFO if you’re going to be rude.

Then Stan shows up with the (fake) monkey. Gloria is there to see all of this of course, and Dorothy doesn’t miss the opportunity to let Stan know that Gloria has run out of money, which Stan mistakes for “monkey,” and he somehow manages to become more possessive of the fake monkey than he was before. He doesn’t hang around for long though because he has an important business dinner, where he plans to seat the monkey with “the other wives.”

The monkey is some fake fur and a little plush face wrap around an orange traffic cone, just so you have an accurate mental picture. Oh wait, here’s a real picture:

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Dorothy is delighted that Stan is into a traffic cone these days and therefore leaving her alone. Sophia pressures her to use this extra non-Stan time to bond with her sister. But instead Dorothy decides to pour salt into her wounds.

Okay, sometimes I forget that Dorothy was horrible and mean because she was the funniest one on that show. But when she offers to give Gloria some romantic advice, everyone laughs at her…because her ex-husband is in love with a fake monkey. So yeah. Maybe she doesn’t have the best taste.

And then Stan transfers his love for Dorothy from the monkey to Gloria. Here’s the SFW version of what happened between them:

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Oh and by the way, there’s a hurricane on the way. So we’ve got: sibling rivalry and romantic transgressions, fake monkey love, a save the lighthouse telethon, and a hurricane. Sophia is very excited about (potentially dying in) the hurricane*:
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Finally, it’s time for the telethon. And none of the acts can make it. DUE TO THE HURRICANE. So Blanche and Rose set out to do everything themselves. Rose sings a lovely song from Minnesota, called “I Never Thought I’d Grow A Hair there.”

But the only pledges this earns are a $20 and a $50 from Sophia who will only make the donations if Rose stops playing.

After a very sad performance from their only act to show up (a man who impersonates crickets) Rose receives word that they’ve been taken off the air and that the studio is going to be used as a hurricane shelter.

Meanwhile, Dorothy finds Gloria and Stan in bed together again. Oh and I might add that they are in Dorothy’s bed. Ewwwwww.

Oh my gosh, I’m sorry. Let me back up. Dorothy discovered right after she found them together the first time that Sophia had actually tried to set Gloria up with Stan. I say “tried” but maybe I should say “Sophia had successfully set up one of her daughters with her other daughter’s ex-husband.” Sophia then runs off and did I mention that there is a hurricane???

So now Dorothy is frantic, but she really shouldn’t be. Sophia is chilling with her brother Angelo. Angelo tells her she was out of line with the whole Stan thing (duh) and they decide to head to the shelter. Alas, a tree has fallen and trapped them in the house!

Back at the shelter, Stan confesses that he was only with Gloria and the monkey (uh, okay) to make Dorothy jealous. Ugh, poor Gloria. Her mom sets her up with her sister’s ex and he’s just using her to make her sister jealous. But then again, now that I’ve written the previous sentence, I’m not sure why Gloria felt like hooking up with Stan was ever a good idea in the first place.

Oh and remember how Sophia was trapped in that house with Angelo? She’s fine. She literally just walked into the shelter. She makes the girls hug by threatening them with running away into the storm again. (Remember that morbid shirt from earlier??)

Also, remember that targeted advertising I discussed several posts ago? Well, I’ll have you know that I saw a pregnancy test commercial at every single break in this two-part episode. So…not quite sure what to make of that.

*SEE it ain’t easy being an older adult, scroll on up to that Meals on Wheels donation link.

Grab That Dough!

fltsHello hello, Very Special Readers! So much has happened since we last spoke. For example, your internet service provider can now sell your search history without your permission! I’d like to apologize in advance for all of the weird ads you will probably encounter by virtue of having visited this blog. But as far as I’m concerned, the joke’s on them.

Most of my browsing history consists of food related searches. And no, I don’t mean “hot new restaurant for 20-somethings in Greenpoint,” I mean “what is a serving of fiber?” Before you laugh at me, I’d like to point out just how far my cooking skills have come in the past few years. I probably didn’t even know fiber was a word when I wrote this post.

I’m also a hypochondriac (not to be confused with a germophobe. That is something different. Show my irrational fears some respect!) who watches a lot of television from 30 years ago. Ergo, I fully expect internet advertisers to show me Metamucil ads meant for a 79-year old woman with a fungal infection. I’m happy to announce that I meet absolutely none of the aforementioned criteria, so this makes me giggle. I’m giggling only because it’s terrifying and creepy and GEORGE ORWELL WAS RIGHT and I want to throw this computer-monster-machine across the room before it eats me!

But here’s the thing, most of my in-real-life friends don’t really want to discuss very special episodes ad nauseam. And while I can usually get them to follow me down the Baby-Sitters Club rabbit hole, some of them haven’t even seen The Golden Girls. (I know, I know what are my priorities? Why am I even writing this? I need to get busy and become a Golden Girls Evangelist.) So I have to keep the internet connection because how will I update The Very Special Blog if I go off the grid?? I’d have to get a glue stick and mail you all zines like it was really 1990.

Alas, this was originally supposed to be a fun post about how I exercised the great-restraint of a money-conscious person now in my LATE twenties. (It’s okay. I can tell you. The advertisers already know I’m not really 79.) However, the plan for this post took a sharp left turn after I got an alert on my phone and started reading a lot of articles about internet privacy. And what could I do but post on the internet about it???

51xkhswcn9l-_sx312_bo1204203200_Back to The Golden Girls, I did not purchase this really, super awesome book of Mad Libs. I didn’t even open it in the store because I didn’t want to give myself the option of becoming emotionally attached. I couldn’t even buy it for someone else as a gift because the only gift I need to buy right now is a law school graduation gift (ahem, please leave suggestions in the comments.)

(See what I really need is advertisements on good law school graduation gifts, but all I’m going to get is Metamucil or maybe the complete series DVD box set of Kate & Allie).

Anyway, I do have one last essay from my writing class last year to post. (Only, I didn’t actually read this one in class, which means it’s choppy and needs work. And I may or may not devote the time to cleaning it up, which means you may or may not ever see it.) But after that I have a very exciting new series planned! I will give you a hint (aside from the one that is already in the title): “entertainment showcase.” Stay tuned!

The Golden Girls: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

the-golden-girls-0Stan shows up with at the girls’ house and tries to get them to invest in a new business plan for manufacturing fake vomit. They slam the door in his face, of course.

Meanwhile, it’s really hot in Florida on December 23rd. None of the girls feel like shopping, so Dorothy decides that they should try “Secret Santa” this year so that they only have to pick out one gift. The only problem is that no one wants to be the recipient of a gift from Rose. She gives really weird gifts, like Yodeling Lessons. And Blanche is going to be stuck with a Rose gift this year.

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But she actually gets her an awesome gift. It’s a really shiny gold blouse, which is definitely something Blanche (or any of the GGs would love to wear). We don’t get to see what they other girls buy for each other. I guess Rose was the only shopper they could make kind of interesting.

219286Anyway, all of the girls decide to help out a Rose’s church, feeding the homeless. They’re really just looking to unload some fruitcake, but I guess it’s good to get volunteers any way you can. But when they get there they find out that Stan is homeless. He put every last penny into a novelty item of Santa wearing sunglasses and driving a fire engine. But the supplier only delivered the Santas on Christmas Eve. Oh and also Stan’s wife has thrown him out of the house.

Wow. I actually feel bad for Stan.

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Rose’s priest tells the girls all about homelessness and how most people are only two or three paychecks away from being homeless. And it turns out that nothing has changed in 30 years: stagnant wages, rising rent, you know the drill.

ggsoupkitchenBut Dorothy gives Stan a pep talk on how he once saved Christmas for their kids when they had no money. He convinced them that Christmas was actually December 26th and stole a tree from someone’s trash. He decorated it and they all had a nice holiday. I guess you can kind of see why Dorothy once loved this guy.

So Stan gives all of the little homeless kids the novelty fire trucks and I’m actually tearing up. Ahhh damn you, Golden Girls.

 

Very Special Lesson: Even jerks can be okay sometimes and if they’re okay around the holidays then that’s even better.

Saved by the Bell vs. The Golden Girls

There’s really no way to prepare yourselves for the awesomeness of this, Very Special Readers. Saved by the Bell and The Golden Girls both have EPIC Murder Mystery Weekend episodes and we will now place them in direct competition with each other.

But first thing’s first. The Very Special Winner of last week’s Friday Face-Off is: Salute Your Shorts. By a landslide. Congratulations, Camp Anawanna!

First up, for this week’s matchup is Saved By The Bell: Mystery Weekend. As you know, all the kids from the cool clique in high school liked to spend their free time at bed & breakfasts solving mysteries with middle-aged retirees. So things start off with the teens chilling with a lot of creepy adults in a “haunted mansion.”

So basically someone is “poisoned” and it’s a game of musical chairs to figure out who the drink was originally meant for and who delivered it. Everyone thinks it’s the butler, but when the butler dies too then a cop shows up and also dies. And somehow this helps us figure out the mystery.

When the elderly lady guest’s necklace goes missing (off script) and the party host is almost killed by a falling ax, things get spooky. The host decides to end the game since now it’s a massive liability to have anyone there. He offers Zack some vouchers for another stay in the future, but he vanishes while Zack is in his office. Now Zack is the prime suspect! It turns out that the voucher envelope really contains the prize money, so everyone accuses Zack of being a murderer.

Meanwhile, Lisa, who was packing while Zack retrieved the vouchers, has disappeared from a locked room. This leads Zack, Screech, and Slater to discover a secret passage leading from the bedroom to the host’s office (sketch). This causes Zack to somehow figure out that Lisa was in on the whole thing, the game never stopped, and the host is actually dressed as a woman and the murderer/thief/it doesn’t entirely make sense to me.

The Golden Girls: The Case of the Libertine Bell
Immediately upon arriving at the Mystery Weekend opening dinner, Dorothy instructs the girls to start determining which guests are actors and which are actually guests. She already has a much better game plan than the SBTB kids.

Todd Susman plays the private detective who was supposed to protect an 88 year-old man from being shot. He failed and the 88 year old guy’s twenty-something wife is also “dead.” Todd Susman finds an exotic dagger near the woman’s body and a gun in the old man’s spinster daughter’s purse (you follow?). He then tells the group of guests that they should be able to solve the murders just from this information.

Dorothy solves it all lickety-split with a brief summation of the psychological and physical evidence. Then they can all just hang out hand have a great weekend, right? Wrong! Blanche’s man friend is murdered (for real!) in a locked room (with Blanche!). The police are about to cart Blanche off to jail when Dorothy rushes to her aide.

Basically, there’s a rival with Blanche named “Posey McGlenn” They’re both trying to sleep with their boss and get a promotion. Dorothy determines that Ms. McGlenn must have killed Blanche’s male friend because she was jealous (and new exactly where Blanche had left her dress whilst showering pre-romantic rendezvous). Then Posey almost shoots Dorothy, but the cops intervene in time. And surprise, surprise, the dead guy walks down the stairs because it was all part of the game.

Everyone but Blanche and the girls knew…well Rose knew too. She was pissed at Blanche for stealing her earrings, so helping Blanche’s coworkers think she was accused of murder felt like an even trade.

Out on the Lanai

Hi Very Special Readers! Every now and then I like to do a little PSA. I don’t know how many of you listen to podcasts. I’m a dabbler myself, but I heard about this one today and I feel like it’s worth reporting to all of you pop-culture nostalgists.

“Out on the Lanai” is a podcast dedicated to reviewing all episodes of The Golden Girls. I wish the sound quality was a little better, but this podcast feels like sitting on the couch and having your BFFs describe a rerun you missed…which to me is like the ideal Saturday…

If you want to check it out, you can actually bypass iTunes and listen to it on their Tumblr: http://outonthelanai.com/post/116396768418/golden-girls-s2e2-chris-farah

The Golden Girls: High Anxiety

If you’ve watched The Golden Girls then you have probably heard a lot of crazy St. Olaf stories. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Rose hurt her back thirty years ago pulling a plow to till the soil during plantingoldengirlsg season. Ever since, she’s been taking narcotics. That’s why she’s so un-phased and stupid all the time. Rose is always on drugs. When Sophia accidentally knocks the pill bottle into the sink all of the pills go down the drain, and Rose cannot get a new prescription for two days. Things come to a head when she lashes out at a pizzeria owner who has come to the house to film a commercial starring Sophia.

“Excuse me I’m going to have to ask you to leave. I’m very upset”

                        –Rose Nyland during opiate withdrawal

The girls stage a mini-intervention and Rose agrees to quit cold turkey. She deals with this harrowing endeavor by having her friends stay up all night and playing a rousing game of Monopoly—St. Olaf style. Rose starts to waver as the night goes on and Blanche tells her that she understands how Rose feels because she tried to give up sex cold turkey after her husband died. Then she slept with her sister’s husband. Whoops. Anyway, just as Blanche finishes her story, Rose realizes that the sun is rising. She has made it threw the night without pills, and is thus free forever form addiction! Except she takes one pill later that day…so then she calls a rehab center.

Flash forward 28 days and…okay, now she is really cured!

Wait…if the only problem was that she didn’t get to take her pills for a day and got cranky…hm…that sounds like me without coffee.

Very Special Lesson: Even if you can totally afford your habit, you don’t do anything harmful to yourself or others, if you get a little cranky without your little helper then it’s time to go to the Betty Ford clinic.