Friday, April 03, 2020

My Weekend Crush

Thank goodness for Ina Garten. The domestic doyenne (like, you’re either an Ina person or a Martha person and that’s that) made me genuinely smile this week. And, as we all know, precious little makes anyone smile these days. But you really can’t beat Ina making herself a generous batch of cosmopolitans to share with absolutely no one at 9:30 a.m. this past Wednesday. I really, really implore you to watch all the way to the end. It is so worth it, kittens. Have a safe and healthy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Bless Your Soul

We may be in a global pandemic that is tanking the national economy and could lead to another depression, let alone recession and will kill untold numbers needlessly largely because of governmental incompetence and continued corporate greed, but at least we still have TikTok. Actually, TikTokkers have been pretty creative – not to mention spot on – when analyzing our current worldwide predicament. Like, say, with this video. Where, as I think the kids used to say but am not sure if they say anymore, is the lie?

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Mid-Week Story Break

In this twilight downtime for so many (and frantic work pace of others) many celebrities have taken it upon themselves to help entertain us no-longer-hopefully huddled masses. One of my favorites is the ultra-meta reading Jennfier Ehle (who truth be told I far too often confuse with Miranda Otto – but then lament that neither has landed more consistently strong roles in Hollywood) does of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice.” This compilation is the first part, and then chapters 10 to 21 are on her Instagram right now. In case, you know, you needed the actress who played Elizabeth Bennet in the acclaimed 1995 BBC miniseries of “Pride and Prejudice” to read you the whole darn book to you. Again, only if you’re into that sort of thing. Happy April, kittens, may it have no cruel jokes for us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Immediate Portrait

Why not make it two-for-two this week on good things? If you had not heard already, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” started streaming suddenly on Hulu Friday. The news was one of the few pleasant surprises we’ve been given lately. And despite my COVID-19-inspired social distancing anxieties about certain scenes, the movie is truly a perfect watch for these times. Quiet, thoughtful, romantic, isolated. The isolation – in a world truly only of women – is glorious. Plus, you really can't go wrong with chanting along the fireside. This movie will make you yearn for wind-swept glances and kisses on cliff tops. Also, the whole team behind the movie is basically awesome, particularly Adèle Haenel. Right, so, seems like time for another rewatch. Maybe then we can end this infernal March on a good note.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Killing Time

In these terrible and trying times, I think it’s best to start each week out with something positive. If you can even remember what day of the week it is anymore. Monday, right? And what is more positive than the quasi-love story between a homicidal psychopath with impeccable taste in clothes and the object of her affection and mutual obsession who keeps making inappropriate life and work choices while veering dangerously toward a nervous breakdown? And now with clowns? Yes, “Killing Eve” is coming back for its third season – and early at that. The show’s premiere was moved up two weeks because what the world needs now is Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, obviously. What’s gonna happen? I have no idea! And that’s the elegantly deranged beauty of this show – I have absolutely no idea what is gonna happen next and I love it. Have a healthy and safe week, kittens.

Friday, March 27, 2020

My Weekend Crush

Well now, here is some genuinely wonderful news amid all the darkness. Dominique Provost-Chalkley, a.k.a. Waverly Earp a.k.a. Half of WayHaught a.k.a. The One from That Cheerleading Dance, has come out as queer. In a post commemorating her 30th birthday on her website,, the actress discussed her “journey to happiness.” Hint: It involves boys and girls and really all humans. And now she is out and proud about it.

She ended her post like this:

This also means that the real-life Nicole Haught (a.k.a Kat Barrell) and real-life Waveryly Earp (a.k.a. Dominique Provost-Chalkley) both like girls (and boys and whatever) in real life. Now, if that’s not something bring a little joy in dark times, I don’t know what is. Happy stay home and stay healthy weekend, kittens.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Giving Me Vida

It seems strange to be looking forward to things right now. Like, when so much more suffering and stress is coming for so many people, it doesn’t feel right to be excited about a TV show. But I do feel happy to see “Vida” coming back for it’s third – and as recently revealed – final season. It’s a comfort to know we’ll be able to bid a full goodbye to the Hernandez sisters – Emma and Lyn – and the people who make up the heart of Vida, their late mother and the bar she left behind. This rich, inclusive Latinx drama strikes at the heart of what makes families so strong and yet so fragile, while never sidestepping thorny cultural and social justice issues. Plus, this season looks to have a lot of glitter and sparkles. And, well, the world could use some glitter and sparkles right now. Now we just need to all make it a month to April 26. Stay in, kittens.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Portrait of a Lady Social Distancing

It’s funny how a GLOBAL PANDEMIC can change your view of basically everything. Like, a couple weekends ago when I was rewatching “Portait of a Lady on Fire,” my brain hadn’t yet been conditioned to view the entire world through a Social Distance lens. But now, seeing this gif sequence is more like a cautionary tale. It’s soothing to see them at first standing apart in masks (which, to be honest, everyone should have but, to be even more honest, is a fucking criminal travesty that medical professionals can’t get right now). But then, well, things deteriorate from there.

My Coronavirus Brain now watches this scene like this:

Not exactly 6-feet but at least some distance – though I am certain those are not N95 masks.

Wait, no, move the opposite direction. The opposite!

Ahhhh, we have a breach! BREACH!

*Indistinguishing Gurgling Noises Followed by a Hasty Retreat Indoors With All the Windows and Doors Shut Tight*

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stay In, Right Now

Know anyone who is still running around going to public places like a lunatic? Please send them this incredibly catchy ditty from – of all people – JoJo. The former teen singer has reworked her 16-year-old hit “Leave (Get Out)” to fit these frightening coronavirus times and become “Stay In.” I very much prefer the new version, as seeing crowds of people together these days gives me a damn panic attack. Please, listen to JoJo.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Daily Life

Well, things are decidedly not normal in the world. I am headed into my second full week of self-isolation at home, with my whole state under a stay at home order by the governor. Both my my wife and I are still working as are jobs have been deemed "essential." Luckily I get to work from home, but she is still going into her workplace. That orange turd in the White House continues to lie his way through daily briefings where he only makes things worse and more dangerous for the most vulnerable among us. Oh, and I successfully taught both my 60-something in-laws and the 78-year-old mother how to do a video call on Zoom meeting. So, as I am sure it has been for all of you this past week, it has been a lot. I will continue to try to update daily, even if somethings small. It is nice to be able to find a little joy amid the chaos of these coronavirus times. May you be healthy and well through these terrible times. Stay home, stay healthy. Be well, kittens.

Friday, March 20, 2020

My Weekend Crush

Terrible times require us to rise, as a people, to the occasion. May we learn from the lessons from Italy to heart, and may we share their generous spirit. So from the bottom of our hearts, thanks the medical professionals on the front lines of this crisis. And – not to be forgotten especially here in America – may we thank the low-paid store workers who are on the front line of our panic, but somehow still keep filling the shelves and ringing up your purchases all while probably not having a single day of paid sick leave themselves. We have to do better for everyone. And we have to care for everyone. Happy weekend and stay well, all.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

When A Global Pandemic’s Got You Down

So, you’re working from home and self isolating and already bored out of your mind while simultaneously stressed beyond belief about the deteriorating state of, well, everything? Yeah, me too. I can’t stop reading the news. But the news makes me more anxious. And then I read more news. And then more anxious.

So to help break that cycle (I mean, please, do stay informed but maybe don’t go on 3-hour coronavirus news and worst-case-scenario rabbitholes) here are a few suggestions of what to watch instead of the world burning. These movies and shows are some of my go-to anxiety relievers.

Five Things To Watch When A Global Pandemic’s Got You Down List:

1) Great British Baking Show: Dear, sweet merciful Zeus, do we need the relative calm of soggy bottoms and burnt bakes right now. The mix of pastoral majesty and ingrained niceness is exactly what the world ordered now that people are battling each other for the last roll of toilet paper. You call it a baking competition show, I call it televised Xanax.

2) Moana: The story of a young girl who takes a perilous journey to save her home from a spreading black death that threatened everything in sight… Look, the point is she wins and it’s inspiring and I’m an adult who sometimes sings “How Far I’ll Go” in the shower.

3) Imagine Me & You: In a world where meet-cutes are cancelled for a while (or at least face-to-face ones), why not enjoy the simple pleasure of a girl-meets-florist at her wedding and then they fall in love and live happily ever after instead story. I mean, don’t be a wanker.

4) Parks & Recreations: Sometimes you just need to believe that the government actually cares. And if the unbridled optimism of Leslie Knope doesn’t make you believe a career in public service can still be a noble/hilarious thing, well, then no one will. And a good public servant from Indiana, no less. She is truly the Anti-Mike Pence.

5) The Good Place: This show is good, not just as in quality but in its heart. And it ponders the big questions in life while allowing us to laugh at our own ridiculous humanity. I turn on the final episode sometimes, to calm myself and remember that no matter what we will all dissolve into the universe at some point. Back to stardust, one and all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Anatomy of an Infection

This 14-year-old scene from an episode of “Scrubs” is making the rounds for obvious reasons. Not to belabor a point – though I guess a global pandemic is the absolute best time to belabor a point – please stay home if you can. Hunker down at home and get your social distance on instead. Avoid contact with older people (and those with underlying health problems, who basically look like everyone else ergo stay away from everyone). And, as always, wash your damn hands.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Stay Home, Kittens. Stay Home

Well, nothing like a GLOBAL PANDEMIC to put shit into perspective. Monday’s post – pre-written when I still thought we’d have friends from out of town driving in to stay with us for an extended weekend of wine tasting…you know, five days ago (don’t worry we canceled everything) – will probably be the last non-coronavirus tinged posted on Surrenders for a while.

I’ve started working from home this week to self-isolate. I hope you are also staying home, too, if you can. We’ve been given a time machine with Italy, but it only works if we take action. You don’t need to go to the bars. You don’t need to go to the gym. You don’t need hang with your buddies because – whatever – you all feel fine. That’s the whole damn point, you can feel perfectly fine while infecting potentially every single person you pass for 2-to-14 days before showing any symptoms yourself whatsoever. I’d say, don’t be that asshole. But it’s more like, don’t be that killer asshole.

Now I could also rail (and rail, and rail, and rail) on the stupidity and absolutely criminal incompetence of That Orange Turd in the White House and his administration. But the man who says, “I don’t take responsibility at all” about the abject failure of the United State federal government’s coronavirus testing program speaks for himself.

But what I want to say instead is that these coming weeks, months, fuck knows how long will require radical empathy. It will require caring about more than just ourselves, but everyone. With a virus like this, we are all only as healthy as the least protected people among us. This is exposing the perfect storm of so-called American exceptionalism laid bare for its brutal inadequacy. Our health care system? Not ready. Our nationalized paid sick leave? Non-existent. Our national paid family leave? Also not a thing. Our universal health care? Nope, because apparently it’s “socialism.” Our support for hourly workers about to lose all their income for an undetermined period of time? Good luck, hope you live in a progressive blue state with adequate unemployment benefits. Our support for our senior citizens? Jesus, please don’t visit your grandparents in the nursing home for the time being and hope you have a good one that follows all the hygiene guidelines despite all of the caregivers being woefully underpaid.

I don’t know what the world will look like on the other side of this. So much misery is comings, it makes my chest hurt when I think of the potential numbers. I only hope we can emerge a little kinder and a lot smarter. Be safe, stay well. Take care of each other. And stay the fuck home*.

*Again, if you can. Some people cannot and by being out unnecessarily you put their lives and their loved ones lives in even more danger.