Category Archives: College

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I think you can tell a lot about a person by what television shows they enjoy.

After reading the following post, I’m banking on you knowing even more about me. And my viewing habits. And my obsession with all things Joss Whedon.

I’ve been feeling very list-y lately, so today, I’m going to tell you all about my Top Five Favorite TV Shows (That Are No Longer On The Air Because I Have Another List For Those Shows). One day, I will share my Top Five Favorite TV Shows (That Are Currently Still on the Air.)

Ok. Let’s start with

#5) F*R*I*E*N*D*S

I own all ten seasons on DVD. I’ve watched the entire series through 7 or 8 times. I cry every time Ross and Rachel break up, or when Monica proposes to Chandler, or when Phoebe gives birth to the triplets.  I laugh hysterically every time Joey does squats in Chandler’s clothes, or Phoebe changes her name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock, or when Ross tells Chandler that Rachel’s dessert “tastes like feet.” It’s the show I most often quote and reference. In fact, with those nearest and dearest to me, I don’t even have to set up the reference first. I’ll just say, “Could I BE any more annoyed right now?” and they automatically get the Chandler impression.  Even my husband takes part in the fun. If I’m reading an emotional scene in a book, he helpfully offers to put it in the freezer for me.

If you were at my house right now, I would pull out the Friends DVD collection and show you all my favorite episodes. But since you’re not at my house, I’ll share my favorite gag reel, from Season 6, instead. Enjoy.

#4) Farscape

It’s the show that officially turned me into a nerd. I’d never really been into sci-fi before, but my husband was addicted to this show and got me and our roommate, Jenna, summarily addicted shortly after he moved in. On Sundays, we would pull out the hideaway, put reruns of Farscape in the VCR, and pass around pints of Ben and Jerry’s from dawn till dusk. We laughed at Crichton, we sneered at Nigel, and we mourned for Zhaan.  The night of the last episode was like a funeral at our house. And while the final credits rolled, we shouted obscenities and shook our fists, cursing the executives at SyFy for cancelling our favorite show.

This show had everything you could want in a one hour drama: compelling story lines, lovable characters, a heart-wrenching love story, cartoons, Bugs Bunny references, and the hottest leading man in history (short of Angel). If you’ve never seen it, Netflix it immediately.  I’ll always carry a torch for John Crichton. Always.

Oh, to be Aeryn Sun…

#3) Ally McBeal

I’ve already referenced Ally McBeal on Abby Gabs at least once. I firmly believe that John Cage is the funniest character in television history. I can’t even count the number of times I laughed out loud while watching him stutter his way through five seasons of terrific television. In fact, as lovable as Calista Flockhart was as Ally, I always wondered why they didn’t just call it “John Cage.”

I will admit that this show made me feel somewhat bipolar. I’d be laughing hysterically one minute, and sobbing my eyes out the next. But I think that’s the culmination of excellent writing and a great ensemble cast. I never understood the “great fall of Robert Downey Jr.” until I watched him as the adorable Larry Paul. It makes me even gladder that he’s back in the biz.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a slightly fuzzy video of the famous “Barry White” dance.

#2) Battlestar Galactica

This is a recent addition to my list. I avoided it for years, mainly because I was still mad at SyFy for cancelling Farscape. So, in true Abby fashion, I boycotted. I’m not sure what possessed us to watch it. We were really bored one day, flipping through the Netflix queue, and my husband said, “Why don’t we try Battlestar Galactica? I’ve heard it’s pretty good.”

So we did.

And we watched the entire series in a matter of a month.

Any free time that we had was spent either watching the show, discussing the show, obsessing over the show, or dreaming about the show.

We had entire conversations picking apart the cast, speculating on who was Cylon, and who was not. We found ourselves interjecting “frack” and “oh my gods” into our daily vernacular. I decided, in short order, that I desperately want to be as cool as Starbuck when I grow up.

We sat on the edge of our seats through every episode. We picked up our jaws from the floor countless number of times. And when it was all said and done, we began forcing BSG on our unsuspecting family and friends.

Here’s how the conversations go:

A or B: “Did you watch Battlestar Galactica?”
Unsuspecting friend/family member: “No.”

So, reader, I ask….have you ever seen Battlestar Galactica?


Well then, here’s a quick taste of what you’re missing. I had to look all over for this, but it’s a trailer that gives you all the info without revealing any of the storyline. Man. It makes me want to watch it all over again!!! (Yes, I’m giddy like a child over sharing this with you. So much so that if you can’t see the video embedded below, go HERE.)

Battlestar Galactica – Epic Series Trailer from Tom Howard on Vimeo.

#1) Only the best TV show in the creation of TV, ever….Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Ok, if you thought I was excited about BGS, prepare yourself. Because as crazy as I am for those mother-frakkin’ toasters, I will always and forever be an honorary Scooby.

What can I say about BtVS? It came on the scenes when I was still a wee young thing. I watched with my high school girlfriends, and we all fell in love with David Boreanaz.

(My husband does a great “Abby Watching David Boreanaz on Screen” impression. It goes something like ” Angel….” But he was too much of a poo-head to do it on camera for me today, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.)

Let me put it this way. If Joss Whedon–genius creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and the amazing web series “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog“, and director of the greatest episode of Glee, ever…

Ok, wait, that was a really long sentence.

Let me start over.

If Joss Whedon were a magazine, I would have a subscription. If Joss Whedon had a fan club, I would be Vice President (because I’m pretty sure Jenna would be President.) If Joss Whedon started a cult, I would join. If Joss Whedon told me to drink the Kool Aid, I would DRINK THE KOOL AID.

Are you with me so far?

There is nothing that I don’t love about Buffy. I love the characters. I love the zombies. I love the fast-paced, witty dialogue. I love Xander, I love Willow, I love Giles, I love Anya. I adore Angel.

But my real love affair is with Spike.



I’ve decided that I’m going to have to do an entire BtVS blog later. Because I’m probably losing you at this point. I can force feed you my favorite lines later. For now, I’ll leave you with the best musical number from my favorite episode, “Once More With Feeling.” (Ok, so the whole episode is the best musical number, ever, but this one is very, very, very short.)

What you should take from today’s blog is this: No, I’m not a spaz. Unless we’re talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Or Battlestar Galactica. Or Spike.



(EDITED 6/11/13: All of the videos that were posted in this blog have since been removed. Which is sad. But I refuse to take down the post because these are my all-time favorite shows, ever! Just hit YouTube, folks. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me.)

The Evolution of My Chef-Like Self

The year: 2001. The place: my first apartment. The occasion: my first “dinner party.”

The telephone conversation went something like this:
Dad: “Hello?”
Abby: “Hi Daddy! Whatcha doin?”
Dad: “Oh, just sitting here watching the game. State’s down by 8. What’s my little girl doing today?”
Abby: “Well, I’m having some people over to see the apartment, and I’m going to fix them dinner.”
Dad: Silence.
Abby: “What? I can totally do it.”
Dad: Silence.
Abby: “Dad, c’mon. I’m a smart kid. I can do it. I just need your help.”
Dad: “I don’t think I can be there before your guests arrive.”
Abby: “I don’t want to you to come cook! I want you to answer some basic cooking questions for me.”
Dad: “Ok, shoot.”
Abby: “Ok. So, I’m making spaghetti. My first question is, how do I cook the noodles?”
I’m hoping that this conversation will illustrate to you, dear reader, just how inadequate I was in the kitchen. I could slap together a PBJ with the best of them. And I made a mean Pop-Tart. But other than that—no knowledge at ALL.
That first pot of spaghetti was probably horrible. I honestly don’t remember. I was so proud of my accomplishment, of having my first dinner party, that it could’ve tasted horrible and I just wouldn’t remember.
Fast forward a few months, when I started dating my husband. Now here was a man who was self-sufficient. Earlier in our friendship, when we were all still living in the dormitories at Appalachian State University, B had made an entire lasagna dinner for his friends. Lasagna–from scratch. Big tossed salad with fresh veggies. Garlic bread that was to-die-for. Shortly after we began courting, B started teaching me a thing or two in the kitchen. Methods of cooking, a few fail proof recipes, how to grill a steak. It was like a light switch went off in my head.
By the time we moved into together, my curiosity about cooking increased. We now had the Food Network, and I would watch Emeril, Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, and Bobby Flay for HOURS. I started buying cook books, and experimenting in the kitchen.
By the time we moved to Charleston, I had most of the basics down. I could follow a recipe easily enough, and most of the time, they would turn out how I expected. Certainly, there were mishaps (please don’t ever ask about the peach pie incident, unless you want to make me cry), but I felt that I was making progress.
I got my first real chef’s knife as a wedding gift in 2004. After that, the sky was the limit.
I can saute, grill, pan-sear and roast with the best of them. I can see a recipe that sounds sort of interesting and make it my own. I can wow the taste buds of my husband, my family, and my friends. I can bake cupcakes, birthday cakes, and the best damn Christmas cookies you ever put in your face.
Abby–Official Foodie and Apron-Wearer
And I honestly, truly love it.
I spend every Sunday with my Mom and Dad. And it’s my favorite day of the week. Dad and I start planning dinner while we’re still eating breakfast. We shop together, carefully choosing the perfect ingredients, squeezing tomatoes and smelling basil and buying only the choicest fish. We chop together, season together, inhale the wonderful aromas together, taste sauces together. And revel in our success when the dish makes my Mom say, “Yum.”
And I owe it all to my hubby, and my teachers at the Food Network. Because truly, I learned everything from knife skills to cooking techniques from that channel. It was like culinary school, from the comfort of my own home.
Thanks to the best teachers, ever.
My next step in taking over the world of food—growing my own garden. And making gazpacho from my own veggies. Move over, Barefoot Contessa, Abby’s moving in.

Here’s the Thing About Valentine’s Day

I was born a hopeless romantic.

Ok, well, I don’t know if THAT’S possible, but when you read fairy tales where the princess is always saved by the prince, who also happens to be wealthy, comes with a 401K, decent health insurance, and looks like Chris Pine, it becomes embedded into your tiny 7-year-old brain that love equals romance to the tenth power. (Flowers, fat babies masquerading as archers, and quotes from Shakespeare included.)

I remember having a conversation with my high school English teacher (and best adult friend) one afternoon, after my high school sweetheart had ended our 3 year love affair. I sat in her classroom, spring sunshine piercing through the window, watching the dust motes float in the air as I sobbed hysterically over my heart ache.

“This,” I wailed, “is NOT what love is supposed to feel like. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. He’s supposed to love me FOREVER. That’s what we promised.”

She sighed and said, “Abby, my friend, you are truly a hopeless romantic.”

It’s the first time I’d ever heard the phrase.

By the time I reached college, I was determined not to let my heart be bruised again. I thought of myself as the President and Founder of the She Who Hates Men Club, and vowed that I would graduate at the top of my class. No man would distract me from that goal. I would walk across that stage, gowned and capped, raise my fist to the air and bellow “I AM WOMAN!”

And all my friends knew how I felt. And secretly pitied me.

On Valentine’s Day my freshman year, a girlfriend of mine gave me a box of chocolates. It was shaped like a heart, and Elvis looked up at me adoringly from the lid. When I opened the box, “Love Me Tender,” played quietly. I laughed, thanked her, and she eventually went on her way.

I sat on the floor of my dorm room, powering through chocolates, allowing the song to play over and over again until Elvis began to sound like the teacher from The Peanuts. And I cried my eyes out.

See, the truth was, I desperately wanted to be loved. But I wasn’t willing to allow myself to take the chance, walk the plank, jump off the cliff.

Fast forward a year and a half later, and I was faced with that cliff.

I’d started dating, and this man was everything I wanted. Smart, witty, sarcastic, adorable, handsome, a just a little weird. And he treated me like something priceless and breakable. But he came with baggage. And he had already planned his future, which included moving to the west coast to live with his father.

The choice was before me: allow this man to walk out of my life, let him go fulfill his destiny in the great state of Nevada. Or, fling myself from the cliff, tell him I love him and ask him to stay.

I flung.

He stayed.

We were married on September 25, 2004, in a starlit ceremony on the Isle of Palms. And we’ve never looked back since.

So here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day–sure, it’s a nice day to buy a card, and send some flowers, and maybe have a special dinner out. But for me, the romance in a day like today is lost a little, because we spend every day taking care to tell each other how we feel.

It’s a modern-day fairy tale, and I get to live it every single day of my life.