Pop Culture Office

For all intents and purposes, I am an adult. I have a job that while not at the top of the food chain comes with real responsibilities – I’ve managed million dollar projects, worked with the media and our legal counsel and am a supervisor to numerous people. I’d like to think that I do good work and get things done. My office, however, definitely reflects my out-of-the-workplace personality and is littered with all sorts of pop culture items. I figure if I’m going to spend as much time in my office as I currently do, it might as well be a place that I moderately enjoy being in. I have no control over the paint or a lot of the furniture, but I can at least add some things that make me smile when I’m stuck editing a 350 page report. Plus some of these items – particularly the Bobblehead Army – have been real conversation starters with co-workers and others visiting the office (especially kids). So all my pop culture tchotchkes actually do serve some purpose. Here’s a quick tour of the current collection:

New York Sock Monkey:

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I have a weird affinity for sock monkeys; I can’t explain it and I don’t know where it originated from. But I just think that they are super cute. I liked his little New York hoodie, given how much I love my trips to the city.

 

The Minions:

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These are all from McDonald’s Happy Meals, which means that as a person in my thirties I made the decision to order one of these simply for the toy. I am completely comfortable with this. All three of them are capable of making noise, but sadly none of them are the Minion that sounds like he is swearing. That one would have come in handy.

Breaking Bad/football:

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Honestly, no desk is complete without its own Los Pollos Hermanos fry batter tub (complete with “blue meth” candy that I refuse to eat since I ordered this online). Both the Bills helmet and the Cowboys mini-shot glass were gifts that were retrieved from those little vending machines in grocery stores. While I am a Bills fan, I also have a certain fondness for the current Cowboys QB, so both get displayed on my desk.

Littlefinger:

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It’s no secret that my favorite character on Game of Thrones is Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger. I respect his ability to manipulate people to his advantage and use his cunning mind to make up for his lack of strength or well-bred background. Some days the office feels like an episode of GoT, so his presence on my desk feels very appropriate.

LEGO mini-figs:

2015-10-30 10.14.02You can’t really go wrong with the trio of Ron Burgundy (Anchorman), Omar (The Wire) and Walter White (Breaking Bad). My only issue with them is that they are easy to knock over, so I spend a fair amount of time setting them back in their proper position.

 

Groot:

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As soon as I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, I immediately ordered this Funko Pop figure of dancing baby Groot. I was right to do so, as these babies sold out almost immediately and were impossible to find. I could have resold mine for a nice chunk of change on eBay, but I decided I liked it so much that it was worth keeping it.

Animal and Peeps Yankee:

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The Animal figure is pretty self-explanatory – I love the Muppets and Animal is my favorite of the major characters. I spent a lot of time looking for this guy – I wanted an Animal figure that wasn’t super expensive, which was a surprisingly hard combination to come by. I wound up finding him in the Disney Store in Times Square; he came in a set with Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo, so I have options if I’d like to rotate Muppet characters. The Peeps Yankee was a giveaway at Yankee Stadium. It’s a weird combination – a plastic replica of a marshmallow peep inexplicably in a Yankee uniform – but I found it oddly hysterical. I didn’t even go to the game where this was a giveaway, but rather bought it online. This is probably exhibit A of why I shouldn’t be allowed on eBay.

Cosmo Kramer:

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This is the newest addition to the collections; I received it this year from my brother for my birthday. When I suggested it, I had no idea that this thing would be quite as big as it turned out to be, so it kind of towers over the rest of the items. Funko unveiled a Seinfeld collection earlier this year, but Kramer was the only member of the main cast that was made into a figure. I did consider asking for George Costanza (including a Festivus pole) or Puddy, but ultimately decided Kramer was the way to go.

The Bobblehead Army:

The bobblehead army has relocated.

A post shared by Heather Trela (@htrela) on

 

I’ve slowed down in my collection of bobbleheads, mostly because I’ve run out of room to display them. I’ve told my boss that we either need to move me to a bigger office or buy me a display cabinet specifically for my collection, but so far all he does is laugh at me (he seems to do that a lot). Still, this is what catches most people’s attention when they visit my office, though I’m always annoyed when people (usually men) ask if that is my collection. Ummm…..it’s my office. Who else would it belong to?

So there you have it……a little bit of pop culture fun to liven up the monotony of office life. I don’t have a ton of space left to expand, though I do have my eye on a couple of other LEGO minifigs that wouldn’t add too much more clutter. Do you have any fun pop culture items in your office/cubicle? Share with us in the comments below.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – In the Home Stretch Edition

It looks like I only have two more weeks left on these stupid crutches, which means that I am almost done with this  failed experiment. I went back to the doctor yesterday since I took a tumble coming down the stairs while on my crutches and while I didn’t fall on my ankle and it felt fine, I wanted to make sure that I hadn’t done any incidental damage in my constant battle with gravity. Thankfully, all was well which was a very good thing; had they told me that I had to extend my tour of duty on crutches, it is quite possible that there may have been an incident that would have been reported on the local news. I’m pretty much at my breaking point physically and psychologically and really the main thing that is getting me through this ordeal is knowing that it is almost over – this phase of it at least. I think everyone else is over me being on crutches too, since I’ve gotten some not so helpful comments from some people lately (so you can add hurt feelings to my list of injuries lately). But 14 more days seems like something I can do – not that I really have a choice – and life can go back to normal. What this means for you, dear readers, is you may finally get some movie reviews again, as I haven’t been to the theater since July – JULY, people! I’m honestly surprised that the people at the cinema haven’t sent a search party out for me yet.

But until I’m able to go back to living my life of pop culture luxury, we have the pop culture roundup to help us all get back. My weekly mission continues to find you the latest and greatest news from the world of pop culture. As always, the interwebs didn’t disappoint and I was able to uncover all sorts of pop culture goodness this week. So while I create a crutches advent calendar and wrap myself in bubblewrap for the foreseeable future , get yourself caught up on all the pop culture that you might have missed.

  • Jimmy Fallon and I are in a competition to see who can be the most injured (I am currently winning in number, he’s winning in severity)
  • Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival will be four 90-minute episodes, each focusing on a different season of the same year.
  • Chance the Rapper unveiled a new song on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (it’s free to download in iTunes):

 

  • Adele dropped a new music video:

 

Time for some trailers….

  • Jennifer Lawrence in Joy:

 

  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones:

 

  • Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series, Master of None:

 

  • The Ridiculous 6 – Adam Sandler’s latest:

 

  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride:

 

  • Sam Rockwell and Danny McBride in Don Verdean:

 

  • Natalie Portman in Jane Got A Gun:

 

  • Will Ferrrell and Mark Wahlberg in Daddy’s Home:

 

  • Another trailer for The X-Files:

 

  • A full-season trailer for Supergirl:

 

  • BBC’s London Spy:

 

  • John Travolta in Criminal Activities:

 

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:

 

  • Showtime’s Shameless:

 

  • A sketch from Netflix’s W/Bob & David:

 

  • Someone made Floyd Mayweather fight Ronda Rousey in Street Fighter IV:

 

As always we end with the mashups and supercuts…..

  • A supercut of Kermit and Miss Piggy:

 

  • Gwar covers Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop”:

 

  • A time traveling supercut:

 

  • A supercut of horror movie houses:

 

  • A Motown-style cover of “Halo” by Beyoncé:

 

  • Ghostbusters reimagined as a sitcom:

 

  • Daniel Tosh did a shot for shot remake of Selena Gomez’s new music video:

 

  • And finally….we all knew that an Adele/Lionel Richie mashup was coming:

 

 

Some Thoughts on Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle

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This weekend, something truly amazing happened – I managed to completely clean out my DVR. Though I usually like to keep my DVR as empty as possible, there is inevitably always some programs that I just don’t get to in a week since – as you may have surmised – I watch a lot of TV. But since most of my plans are on hold for a while due to my broken ankle, I spend a lot less time out and about and a lot more time laying on the couch. So it was probably only a matter of time until I finally got myself caught up; Notre Dame football having a bye week this weekend and The Tonight Show being off last week certainly helped. This meant that I had some extra free time to check out the first few episodes of Amazon’s new series The Man in the High Castle.

Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, The Man in High Castle imagines an alternative history in which the United States lost World War II. Instead of the nation that we know today, the U.S. was broken into three sections after the war – the Nazis rule over the East Coast, South and most of the Midwest, the Japanese Emperor has taken control of the West Coast, and a neutral zone (around the Rocky Mountains) divides the two. The series takes place in 1962 in an America that looks vaguely like the one that we are used to, but is under totalitarian control and has the influences of the regimes that govern. It’s a little disconcerting to see Times Square with Nazi propaganda. There is an underground resistance movement that looks to change things, especially with Adolph Hitler’s health worsening and concerns that whoever is his predecessor will simply drop a bomb on the United States and be done with it. There are also tensions between the Japanese and Nazis, who have peacefully coexisted for the most part, but the uncertainty about the future threatens this détente. Further adding to the unrest are a series of film reels that are allegedly created by “the man in the high castle,” which have news footage that shows a U.S. actually winning World War II. Hitler wants all these films destroyed, while citizens who see the film are inspired by this vision of what life could have been. Members of the resistance are smuggling these reels and anyone caught with them is surely to be executed.

I watched the first two episodes of The Man in the High Castle and while it is something of a slow burn it absolutely drew me in and made me want to see more episodes. The pilot episode does a really great job of world building and introducing the main characters. There are a lot of twists and turns – people may not always be who they say they are – but that only adds to the intrigue. All of the performances are great and most of these actors were new to me (the exception is DJ Qualls, who you might know from Road Trip or the series Legit (R.I.P.)). This film is absolutely beautifully shot and a lot of thought went into the creation of the sets and the set design; they did an excellent job of creating a bizzaro U.S., where there are hints of the world as we know it as well as the imprint of the new leaders. Also impressive is the mood of paranoia that the series effortlessly creates; because things unfold slowly – though there are spurts of action – there is time to let things simmer and build the tension and unease. I found myself liking some of the characters, but trusting absolutely none of them, which is the sign of a good espionage film or series. There is a surprise at the end of the first episode that I didn’t see coming, but wasn’t necessarily unexpected given the suspicion that is built into the show.

I’m definitely looking forward to watching the rest of the series to see how this all shakes out. It’s a fascinating alternative reality that they have created in The Man in the High Castle and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the series since I’ve watched it. The downside is that you need to be an Amazon Prime member to see it, which isn’t necessarily inexpensive. I tend to fall off the wagon with online series; I’ll start watching something online and then kind of forget about it. I’m still kind of old school in that way – if it’s not automatically showing up on my DVR, I may not get around to it (especially if all the episode aren’t dropped at once so I can binge watch). However, I was into The Man in the High Castle enough that I think I’ll make more of an effort to see this through. I’ve never actually read any of Philip K. Dick’s work, but I do tend to enjoy the adaptations (Minority Report, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly). The Man in the High Castle offers an interesting dystopian future that is grounded enough in reality that I think it’s pretty accessible. I look forward to seeing where this story takes me.

 

Episodes of The Man in the High Castle will be available through Amazon Prime on November 20th.