Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Zagarino Holiday Tradition

In the Zagarino house, Halloween and Christmas are tied together. Halloween night means sitting down and writing your Christmas list so that it can be put in the pumpkin. See, at our home, the pumpkin sprouts wings once the lists are in and flies to the North Pole.

It was only in college that I found out this tradition was unique to our family, a story that my father created because my sister and I feared what would happen to our beloved pumpkin following Halloween. The thought of putting it in the trash was far too painful.

Since gift lists are in the process of being written in normal homes right now, and since I'll be sharing a children's media lover's wish list tomorrow on the blog, I thought I'd post the story written in poem form, which I gave to my Dad for Christmas two years ago.

What Happens to Your Pumpkin on Halloween Night?

What happens to your pumpkin on Halloween night?
His seeds have been gutted and his face a great fright.

He musters up wings and flies away
With hopes that Santa will collect him on his sleigh.

Your pumpkin cannot be empty like your candy bowl,
Otherwise on Christmas you’ll just end up with coal.

Each child of the house must write their own list
So Santa and his elves will get the gist.

Place the list in the pumpkin for safe keeping.
He will fly away fast, while you are sleeping.

To the North Pole overnight delivered it will be,
So Christmas morning you’ll find presents underneath your tree.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Lamest Muppet Review Ever Written or How I Started Crushing on Scooter

I debated writing a review of the new Muppet movie. Why? Because everyone else did, though I didn’t read a single one. I wanted to see the movie fresh and was nervous to read anything by an “I love the Muppets so much, and this movie sucked” individual. You know who you are.

A friend’s response to a Facebook post stating disdain for the movie was spot on: “You don’t like the movie? Then you must not like smiling.” Seriously two hours of glorious, uninhibited, childlike joy. Thank you, Jason Segel!

I’ll sum up my response to the film in three points:
1. Mickey Rooney made a cameo. SOLD.
2. Is it just me, or did Scooter get hot? Sacrificing his Google job and TED talk to stage manage his friends’ variety show…and he’s managed to use an iPad with Muppet hands.
3. Man or Muppet? An age old question set to an unforgettable melody. I’m singing it now.

via Muppet Wiki

The criticism:
1. Why isn’t Disney selling ‘80s Robot yet? It’s on my Christmas list! I beg you, Disney, please buy the rights to this brilliant piece of technology from Radio Shack. You will not regret it.
2. Muppet feet freak me out. I think the only Muppets allowed to show their feet for that long are animated Muppet Babies.

So there you have it. Also…keeping my eyes out for Scooter’s awesome Member’s Only jacket. Get on that, American Apparel.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Charlie Brown!

It's Thanksgiving Eve, which in my group of friends means gathering around with a few adult beverages and sharing stories about what's happened since we last saw each other. This New Jersey tradition inspired a sketch for my comedy writing class at ImprovBoston last year that I'd like to share in the spirit of the season...

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Charlie Brown!
By Christina Zagarino

SETTING: A bar on the night before Thanksgiving

Charlie Brown is sitting by himself at the bar.

One more round!

Wow…rough night, Charlie Brown?

Another Thanksgiving Eve, and I’m all alone.

Where’s the dog?

Dead, Lucy! He’s been dead for ten years. You’ve always known how to cheer me up.

(handing him a beer)
Well this one’s on me! I still accept cash tips, though.

Swell. Just swell.

(Linus enters)

Hi, Charlie Brown!

(angrily) Hello.

Turkey genocide gotcha down?

What have you got to smile about? Didn’t you see my sister kissing that trash heap back there?

(a blonde girl and guy with scraggly hair turn to reveal Sally and Pig Pen making out. A spray of fog squirts out from under Pig Pen symbolizing his odor cloud)

Sally and Pig Pen? Nah, I’m happy for them. The poor guy, I’m glad he’s found love!

Does this mean you have found true love as well, Linus? True love as true as the love I share with my talented little gravy train?

(A very adult Shroeder begins playing a baby piano on a side of the bar)

(screaming and blowing kisses)
That’s right, baby! I’m talking about YOU!

Oh, brother.

It just so happens, dear sister and sad friend, that I have found true love! Marcie is officially a free agent!

(laughing uncontrollably)


Peppermint Patty enters the bar furious

You! Homewrecker!

See ya! (Linus runs off)

Keep running! (Peppermint Patty sits down at the bar in place of Linus)

What can I get ya?

A stiff one.

Really?! (laughs uncontrollably) Okay. (Lucy goes to make Peppermint Patty’s drink)

How ya doin’, Chuck?

Not so good.

I know how you feel. My lady’s run off with a hetero! I’m devastated, distraught. I just want punch something.

Charlie Brown moves over a seat at the bar.

Not you, Chuck.

I’ve heard that before. I gotta pee. I’ll be back.

Lucy returns with Peppermint Patty’s drink

Wow, in all my years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so down.

(sarcastically) Ever? Really?

Yeah! The poor guy! We have to do something to cheer him up.

I’ve got it! (Lucy stands up on the bar) Hey, everyone! My friend Charlie Brown has Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the holidays are really bringing him down. I think I know just the thing to make him feel better. Bring it in!

The group forms a huddle and begins whispering. They all run out of the bar.

Charlie Brown returns to an empty bar. For a few moments he just stands there looking around.

Leave it to me to fall asleep at the urinal and wake up after last call.

Charlie Brown sits down and begins to finish his beer. As he drinks, his friends quietly tiptoe around him hanging a banner and bringing in awkwardly large cornecopias filled with leaves and fruit. Shroeder places an awkwardly small and sad tree on top of his baby piano. Linus rolls in an extra large pumpkin. Charlie Brown is oblivious to all the action.

(in a loud whisper)
1, 2, 3

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Charlie Brown!

(nearly seizing at the surprise and shock) Holy shit!

You don’t like it?

I mean, I like it…I’m just…chest pain…

We love you, Charlie Brown! (hands him a beer) This one’s on the house, for real.

To the true meaning of Thanksgiving Eve: beer and friends! (Charlie Brown raises a glass)

(raising their glasses) To beer and friends!

Shroeder begins to play his piano. People begin dancing. A puff of fog comes off of Pig Pen as he moves to dance. Charlie Brown and Lucy toast each other and drink


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blogger Blitz @ City Winery

Have you checked out my friend Tara's blog? She's a constant crafter and thinker of pretty things. A few weeks ago she sent me the details for Blogger Blitz in the city. I had a great time meeting so many fantastic lady bloggers in the New York area, and got some great tips on how to spiff up iGeneration.

Read all about the great night and the talented ladies who attended here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

If you give a kid a scooter...

You might have heard about the protests happening in downtown New York. Some people are afraid of civil disobedience, and they should be. Just a few blocks north of Occupy Wall Street, a gang of middle to upper class children zip through the streets and take no prisoners.

I thought Razor scooters had gone to the wayside with Saved by the Bell: the New Class, but a new generation has reclaimed the movement in a big way. TriBeCa padestrians: BEWARE.

Scooters are the new thing. Despite my worry for safety each evening on my way home from work, I can't say I'm not impressed. We judge this generation for being lazy and overweight, and yet here's something active that they love and can be done in an urban environment. It promotes balance, focus and safety.

When we talk about investing in the future, perhaps scooters and the necessary safety equipment are some items we should consider. If you give a kid a scooter...it just might change the world.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Muppets Take Fashion

November is Muppet Month this year, I'm convinced. Thanks to the brilliant mind of Jason Segal, the emotional support of the Henson Company, and the financial support of Disney, we get our Muppets back. The best part of Disney's ownership? The merch! In addition to the Green Album, the Muppet Movie soundtrack, and the new Walter plush, the Muppets are getting serious attention in the fashion world.

This craze seemed to kick off at Fashion's Night Out, where Opening Ceremony hosted a Muppet carnival gaming booth and sold pricey Muppet Oxford shirts.

I was so excited to see my favorite swine gracing the pages of InStyle's November issue sporting couture creations by some of the fashion industry's finest.

I'm currently in the process of hunting down these new OPI Muppet-inspired nail polish colors. Rainbow Connection, you will be mine!

via alllaquedup

Lastly, I just learned about Miss Piggy for MAC. I thought it was pretty smart of them to develop three pieces to create the perfect Miss Piggy eyes. I wish MAC had used better branding for the products. I think they'd be much more likely to sell.

via Makeup and Beauty Blog

Let's not forget the Threadless tee and the Mighty Fine contest winners!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How do you get juice in a juice box?

My former students continue to be points of inspiration for me and my work. Kids are naturally brilliant and imaginative individuals. The teachers at the Massachusetts school I worked at let the students drive the curriculum, allowing for the work done in the classroom to be both meaningful and playful.

While on a visit to see my former colleagues, both big and small, I came across a recent research study conducted by the Kindergarten. They wanted to know how juice got into juice boxes.

Together with their teachers, they developed a list of questions that they had about this miracle of culinary science and brainstormed group hypothesis. Individually, the students drew and dictated a hypothesis for a 4-step process of how the juice got in the boxes.

Together, during choice time,they played with colored water and empty juice boxes trying to physically figure out how to get the juice in. They created their own juice boxes at the art table. Finally, they watched this great video clip together.

The teachers told me they plan to visit a factory so the children can see the creation of packaged food products first-hand.

5% concentrate. 95% awesome.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Myrtle the Turtle

Over the summer, I was obsessed with sea turtles. My inner child screamed for a chance to realize her marine biology dreams, so I took her on a trip to the New England Aquarium. Inspired by Myrtle, their aged sea turtle, I began telling stories to my students about an old sea turtle who spoke to children to try to escape aquarium life. They ate it up, and Myrtle became a regular part of our day.

I began to think that Myrtle had something special. I started dreaming up a mini web series about the character and even had my good friend Richie Rosencrans LINK create some turtle music.I edited it together with some video footage of my aquarium trip, and created a trailer To get you excited and get me motivated.

Please click through to check out the piece on Vimeo.