Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm totally a runner now

OK, I just lied. : ) Technically, no, I cannot call myself a runner, as in one who runs for lengths of time. I could maybe call myself a runnette, as in one who runs for shorts of time.

A couple of posts ago I said I was going to try my hand at running, even though I swore up and down I never ever would. Because it's hard. And because my memories of sixth-grade gym class are all bad. And that's literally the last time I ran for any solid length of time.

But then a pal, Shane Frederick, forwarded me a link to the Runners World version of a couch to 5K program, and it looked manageable. It starts with walking for two minutes, running for 1, and then repeating that combo ten times. And that's the entire first week. And to make it easier, every other day the first week is just walking. It seemed like everyone could do that. Everyone!

So I was all, "I've got this." Because, if you know me even remotely well, you know I'm the absolute worst kind of human being: the kind who, in their own mind, is the expert on everything and can do absolutely everything. My only redeeming quality is that, when I make the attempt at whatever it is and then fail miserably, I become humble awfully quick. I don't try to save face in an annoyingly arrogant way. I just bow my head and apologize to my audience.

Today, this very scene played out as I tackled day one of my couch to 5K. My first running lap and a half around the track at the Y, I was all, "What's so hard about this? Excuse me, walkers, I'm on your left," with ponytail swinging in a triumphant wave as I passed with gusto.

By minute 20 of the program: (I approach a couple walking side by side, about to break into a wobbly, unsteady jog) "I'm so sorry. Can I get by? My first day of a stupid couch to 5K. (huff, puff) I'm really bad at this! I haven't run since the sixth grade! (huff, puff)" The couple half-smiles, thinking, "Can't she move this trainwreck outside?"

To make matters worse, an old high school classmate entered the track to walk. She probably flashed back to middle school, too, and thought, "She hasn't changed much."

All in all, a humbling experience. I am conditioned to do an easy 60 minutes on the elliptical or in a Step aerobics class. But running is another level. The good news, though, is that I'm usually up for a challenge.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

West girl explodes on web after 'American Idol' performance

Before Wednesday night, a google search of Shelby Tweten didn't turn up much. A couple of pictures, a private Facebook site, her Twitter account and a mention of her on "American Idol" fan sites and blog entries.

Google her right now. Go ahead. I'll wait.

She has EXPLODED. has a graph on her in their "Idol" roundup.'s "Idol" blog writer Jamshid Mousavinezhad even said Tweten was her favorite of the season under this headline: Bipolar Shelby Tweten is 'fearless' and fantastic on 'American Idol.'

From PopCrush: 'American Idol' Aspen Auditions Recap: Shelby Tweten, Jenni Schick Win Our Hearts

Hollywood Life: 'American Idol' Recap: Bipolar Teen Wants To Be Known For More Than Disorder

It's clear that Shelby made an impression on America on Wednesday's show, and she certainly made an impression on the judges. Read all about her performance here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tweten could be on 'American Idol' tonight!

Tonight could very well be the night we see Mankato West High School student Shelby Tweten on "American Idol."

Tweten was said to have auditioned for the show in Colorado, and tonight's episode features Colorado auditions. Now, not all singers who get through to Hollywood get much air time. Some are just glimpses, and heck, with so many good singers, it's possible some don't get much airtime at all.

However, if you see a post below, you'll see that various fan sites and blogs have leaked the Top 42 contestants list, and Shelby is on it. Some are even saying that the judges are really, really liking Shelby. So perhaps that hints at us getting to hear her sing tonight.

I wonder what crazy things Steven Tyler will say about her? Exciting! Tune it at 7 p.m. on Fox. Or see tomorrow's Free Press for what happened.

Friday, January 20, 2012

'A.I.' blogs: West student in top 42 on 'American Idol'

So hard to keep secrets now that the Internet spreads rumors so very quickly these days ...

"American Idol" blogs and fan sites have leaked the top 42 contestants list, and guess what? Mankato's Shelby Tweten is on it. One site even said the judges are totally geeking out over her.

Where do they get this info? Who knows. Maybe a contestant that got voted off. Maybe someone who works on the show. Who knows? But if it's true, we could have a star in the making right here at West High School.

An anonymous source even said "American Idol" had made an inquiry about shooting footage in Mankato. How exciting!

Tweten is involved in Orchesis at West and she sings the national anthem at area events, including MoonDogs games. She's quite a talented young lady.

"American Idol" kicked off its new season Wednesday with Georgia auditions. Tweten audition in Colorado. No word on when those auditions will be aired, but be sure and tune in to cheer her on!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mea culpa to my runner friends

I should start this post with an apology to my runner pals who, throughout 2011, offered to train with me for a race. Any race. Even just a 5K or something. And I wrote a blog entry that was all, "I don't want to run, so back off."

Part of it was laziness. It's hard to run. I've never enjoyed it. And part of it was that people who run tend to get fairly obsessed with it. Every status update on Facebook is "Ran seven miles today (insert pat on the back here)." And I'm thinking, "Is there nothing else you have to update us on? I swear, I will hide you in my news feed!" (And wouldn't that just be tragic for them.)

But then I got to thinking, these people are obsessed for a reason. Clearly, there's something more enjoyable about this form of exercise than many other forms. Because I tell ya, nothing makes me want to update my status with the number of strides I did on the elliptical that morning. Mostly I just want to forget it ever happened and move on with my day.

So, with an apology to those who I brutally rebuffed in the past, I think I'm going to give it a whirl. I'd like to push it the next couple of months to take off the last chunk of poundage I need to lose so that by spring/early summer I'll be ready to do some sort of couch to 5K program.

No marathons, folks. No half marathons. I'm not in this to go crazy and push my body to its physical limits. There's absolutely nothing in that that sounds even mildly appealing. I just want to see what being a runner is all about and see if it would make working out every day more fun.

I'm not starting now. As much as I love the Y, and I certainly do, I can't imagine running laps around the track. It's way too reminiscent of sixth grade gym class, except without the cute boy butts to watch as I'm circling the track for the umpteenth time. (Relax. I was in sixth grade at the time, so it was OK back then to enjoy looking at sixth-grade booties.)

Anyway, it's something to work toward. We'll see how it goes. If I start updating my status every day with how many miles ... ok, yards ... I ran that day, though, feel free to hide me. That's just the worst.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Globes put fun back into Awards Season

I had the girls over to watch the Golden Globes last night, which, when you add in wine and cupcakes and boy troubles, means I couldn't focus as much as I would have liked on the actual awards. But what I did see gave me hope that maybe the Critics Choice Awards was an isolated dud and there's hope yet.

Ricky Gervais was pretty darn funny as host. The trouble was that we were all expecting to be shocked, so then, of course, you aren't. He gave a few good barbs, and there was a funny moment in there when he accused Johnny Depp of being on recreational drugs and then in the next breath told him "The Tourist" sucked ... again. But all in all, he was a bit toned down compared to last year.

As for the awards themselves, some front runners are starting to emerge. Clooney took best actor in a drama again. Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer seem to be gearing up for a sweep with their best supporting wins.

A new winner was best drama went to "The Descendants." So it'll likely be that and "The Artist" battling it out for the Oscar. Meryl bested Viola Davis for best actress. So the two of them will likely vie for the Oscar in this category. Although Michelle Williams took best actress in a comedy, so with the Oscars not having that distinction between comedy and drama, it might be a close race between the three of them.

Best Director seems to be a real crap shoot. Scorsese took it last night for "Hugo," but that seemed like a really odd choice. "The Artist" director took the Critics Choice Award. But history has shown that whichever movie takes Best Picture tends to also get best director. So who knows, really. No combination seems particularly strong yet.

It's kind of a strange year. We'll see how it all pans out. But now onto the most important aspect of the Globes ... best and worst dressed. : )

My top 3: Kate Winslet, Sophia Vergara, Angelina Jolie
Worst 3: Lia Michele, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Julianna Margulies

To see a slideshow of dresses, click here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A blog in limbo, and an awards season, too

As many of you know, I am no longer the entertainment gal at The Free Press or Mankato Mag. I'm immersed in news once again. It's been a detoxifying experience having a much simpler job description. It's my job to write stories. That's what I do. Before, my job duties were lists long every day, coordinating the myriad details and schedules of a number of people who looked to me for answers. Bottom line: I ran out of steam being in charge, and I missed being creative. So I'm enjoying my new lot.

However, I've received a number of inquires on what will happen to Katotainment. "Tainment" is no longer part of my job description, so what business do I have writing an entertainment blog? I'm just not sure on that, so I find myself in limbo. Blogs are personality based, and in my free time, entertainment in varying forms is a big part of my life. So if a blog is meant to represent a person's own interests, then Katotainment is appropriate. If it's supposed to represent my job here at the Freep, well, I guess I'd better conjure up some sort of educational blog instead. I'm just really not sure.

In the meantime, though, Katotainment will stay up, and while we're on the subject of entertainment, I really just have to talk with you for a moment about the kickoff to movie Awards Season -- Thursday night's Critics Choice Awards ...

I generally really enjoy the CCA. Whereas the Oscars are buttoned-up and formal, the CCAs are super casual. Generally, you get to see stars laugh and mingle and it's all very casual and fun. Thursday night, I started to fear for this year's awards season. The whole thing was just ... a mess.

Hosts Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer (don't know them well or like them much? Join the club) were off. Their jokes didn't land, and they didn't command the room the way a host needs to. The band that played for LENGTHS of time throughout the evening seemed like a strange choice. Hipsters singing oldies and not very well. And the awards themselves were kind of a grab bag. No movies jumped out as clear frontrunners this year, although it's clear Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer of "The Help" will quickly become the darlings of awards season.

I was glad to see Clooney get a nod as best actor for "The Descendants." His speeches are always good, and lordly-lord, he's still got that twinkle in his eyes, ladies.

Also, "The Artist" won for best director and best picture. But I'm just not that confident it will continue to sweep.

All in all, instead of igniting my Awards Season furnace last night, I was left cold. I'm hoping the Golden Globes Sunday night will turn things around. If anybody can do it, Ricky Gervais can. Here's hopin'!

Here's a complete list of this year's Critics Choice winners:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants
Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Help
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Best Young Actor/Actress: Thomas Horn, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Best Acting Ensemble: The Help
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moneyball, Aaron Sorkin, Steve Zaillian and Stan Chervin (based on the book by Michael Lewis)
Best Cinematography: (tie) The Tree of Life and War Horse
Best Art Direction: Hugo
Best Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Best Costume Design: The Artist
Best Makeup: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Best Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Sound: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Best Action Movie: Drive
Best Comedy: Bridesmaids
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary Feature: George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Best Song: "Life's a Happy Song," Brett McKenzie, The Muppets
Best Score: The Artist
Joel Siegel Award: Sean Penn
Music + Film Award: Martin Scorsese