Saturday, February 23, 2008
Secondly, Celia tagged me on a meme.
I'm not going to lie, "memes" are in the corner of the Internet that my old man self does not venture, so I'm just following the directions and leaving it there. I am not hip enough to have a lot of blogger friends, so just consider yourself tagged if you feel so inclined.
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.
1. I lived in England for a year when I was 7 with my family. We did a houseswap with a completely batshit crazy family who randomly came back to England mid-year and demanded their keys/house/car back. Despite the crazies, it was an awesome year, I luckily remember a good amount of it, and have been able to both stay in touch with some of our friends over there and go visit several times.
2. My family is Quaker. My mom and I are pretty much the only ones who practice with any kind of regularity, but we all grew up in the Worcester Meeting, where I still attend. I do not "dress like that," I'm not a weird hippie (well, not in the way people think Quakers are), I'm not Amish, and I'm not a Jehovah's Witness. I literally get these questions every week, and some I understand, some I don't. Your random Quaker Trivia for the day: Nixon and Hoover were both Quakers. Nixon didn't attend ANY Meeting, even for gladhanding, while he was President, and let me tell you, there are still some DC Quakers who are no-fooling-pissed about this.
3. My cat, Cady, is named after Elizabeth Cady Stanton, because I am that awesome.
4. I have taken tons of classes in calligraphy (amongst other things) at the Worcester Art Museum, and plan to address my own wedding invitations. I also designed the font I used on my tattoo (more on that later), and the coolest thing I've lettered was my grandmother's wedding certificate for her re-marriage at the age of 71 (go Mormor!).
5. I have a tattoo on my lower back that says "Deus Ex Machina" in a circle, closed with a Celtic trinity knot. I got the tattoo in my little brother's room when a work friend's twin sister came by to do it for me. I chose the phrase because I like to believe that everything will be okay...that even when you're totally In The Shit and everything looks horrendous, at any moment something or someone could show up and make it all better.
6. When I was in second grade, my Mom actually met with my teacher in a tearful conference about my handwriting. Apparently it was so horrendous that my Mom thought I was going to be weirdly crippled and unable to communicate with the outside world. For those who have not seen my handwriting currently, I offer the current anecdote: a while back, I wrote a brief note to our neighbors, explaining that I hate the Aquafresh-green chainlink fence that divides our property and hope to replace it or grow something on it so it's less ugly, and thus wanted to talk to them about it since it would affect both of us. The husband nearly threw out the card because he thought it was a preprinted envelope from some gardening company. Turns out that just like Mrs. Leedale the Second Grade Teacher told Mom in the 1990s, my handwriting turned out just fine.
7. When I was a junior in high school, I went to Egypt with my Dad, who worked with the USAID project over there. It was one of the coolest trips I have ever been on, and I actually liked it so much that I considered attending the American University in Cairo. Luckily, I eventually thought better of it, and instead wound up going to the American University in DC.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Roommate The Fighting Irish tips me off to Television Without Pity > TWoP is headed by Sarah Bunting, who writes fabulous blog Tomato Nation > TN linked at some point to Quizlaw > Quizlaw ran an ad for and referenced movie review site Pajiba > Pajiba linked and referenced the blog of fantastic writer and hilarious dude, Chez Pazienza, called Deus Ex Malcontent.
Obviously, this progression includes zillions of offshoots and wormholes, but that's the direct line to what I'd like to talk about today.
I complain a lot about a variety of topics. I occasionally worry that this blog, though it's read by a sparse smattering of people, almost all of whom I know personally, is too negative. I do a lot of bitching. However, usually when people talk about it, they say that part of that unabashed ragetasticness is what they like. So that's nice. Most of the stuff I unleash the beast on in here is flash in the pan stuff that I just need to uncork a little bit of pissiness on to get over it, and then I'm just that - over it. But there are a couple themes that deeply worry me and that I continue thinking, talking, and complaining about even after the post has gone up and the moment has ticked by.
Two of those constant themes are the decay of quality writing and the state of mass media today. Recently, the two converged in an unexpected way.
Chez Pazienza is a fantastic writer. His comedic timing is impeccable, and his expression is masterful. I would shank at least half my family for half his talent. While I realize that I am crouching alligator style on my way to becoming prehistoric and bitching about how no one can put together a coherent sentence any more, I still believe that clear expression is one of the most essential traits a person could hope to have. The ability to express yourself can take you everywhere that your birth, breeding and circumstance never can. I would and do consider those with superior writing and editing skills to be amongst the best employees and coworkers, and those with piss-poor grammar and communication to be the worst.
Recently, Chez was fired from his job as a producer at CNN for blogging. While CNN has been no-commenting all over the place, Chez has posted an explanation of his version of events on the same blog that got him canned...a personal blog he started during recovery from some pretty major surgery. I'll let him tell the story.
Say What You Will (Requiem for a TV News Career)
Now, there's a lot of interesting stuff in there, and obviously, it's one side of the story. I hope he gets snapped up immediately by someone who appreciates his talents, and I feel pretty confident that that will happen. I ALSO hope that he continues to write his excellent blog, because it's one that really shows the benefit of the openness and accessibility of blogging. There are GENIUS writers, out there, brilliant people who will never get published and never get a journalism career, just because the antiquated system is intent on screwing them and they don't have the in-roads you need to even get your shit read. To the benefit of all of us, they can get their words out there into the ether, and while we all shudder at the ranks of illiterate, all-caps-ed dipshits on the loose, the truly sublime writers who can now have people reading their stuff more than make up for it.
That again being said, I found Chez's comments on the traditional media's (and particularly "internet-friendly" CNN's) view of and relationship with the blogosphere to be utterly fascinating, and very true. Anyone paying even an ounce of attention to modern news media can see that they still think of the Internet as being kind of from the future. It's...here, guys. I love me some punditry as much as the next nerd, but you're working some serious delusion if you think Wolf Blitzer is the only person who has anything to say about election stats. The media need to learn how to deal with the access the Internet brings and the power it grants to individuals. Chez says all of this roughly eight billion times better than I have, so just read his article and imagine me nodding my head frantically.
The story has fizzled out for the most part, but I was hoping to see a serious Mass Media vs. Blogger cage match to air some of this out. I mentioned this to Racer X at work, who - probably correctly - said something to the effect of "oh please, it's all going to get brushed aside." As I say, he's probably right, but it's nice to think that anyone or anything could bring the fight to the fore and get this stuff resolved so we can get some REAL news back out there.
WINNER: Chris (!!!!!)
LOSER: RICKY WOOO
It seems so odd that CHRISTIAN would get this challenge as well as he did, because I have to think that wrestling is totally off his radar, but MAN, did he knock it out of the park. I think the key was that he picked a Diva who really worked with his design aesthetic. The fit is AMAZING, and while I am not in LOVE with the ankle-region ruffliness, the concept and execution were both flawless. The little jacket was fab, like, to the point that I kind of wanted it, and the shirt was awesome. Great, great job from Christian. Well, I think that time and time again, Christian proves that he can do just about anything. I agree that picking someone who jives with who he is as a designer made this kind of easy for him. She rocked the hell out of this outfit too. I really like this one, especially the one sleeve deal.
Chris was totally in his element here. Loved it. I have some serious concerns about how those spanky pants are going to stay put but you know what, I'm sure they have some kind of tape or glue or epoxy or whatever the hell, so rock on, I say. I LOVE this variety of sparkly that he used, and the whole thing fits perfectly. The boots are a perfect choice, as well. This had serious attention to detail, and really fit her personality...I mean, I even loved the hoodie, and I HATE hoodies! (NB - as fashion. As fabulous comfort clothes that live INSIDE THE HOUSE I am pro-hoodie.) I was also PSYCHED to see Chris get a win! I adore him. I thought it was hilarious when he exclaimed that he won the tackiest challenge, because I thought he ruled all over the place in this one. I absolutely LOVED this. It fits her perfectly, it's fun, it's sexy but I don't find it trashy, because any kind of animal print can quickly become a trash-a-thon. The details are definitely what made this outfit what it is. I love that he lined the hoodie so much! I also dig the garter too. I think he did an awesome job, and I am pulling for him to be in the finale because I know he'd put on an amazing show.
Jillian is fast becoming my favorite. The fit on this was spectacular, and I think really got the persona of this Diva. I wasn't 100% in love with the socks but honestly I thought the rest of it was so cool that I got over it. One of the things I particularly appreciated was that those boobs? Are going nowhere. This was not only super awesome, but carried the day in terms of athletic consideration. I like all the things that are all strappy and boobtastic. Does this mean I want to be a stripper? This look is also awesome. I adore the color. She did a great job capturing mixing athletic and sexy. I do kind of dig the socks, probably because I played soccer and it kind of reminds me of that sort of idea of the shorts with knee socks, except much more hookerish. What's funny is that I don't think this look is stripper...I think it's artistically amazing.
Sweet P's revamp of the top on this was DEFINITELY needed. I think she would have gotten the auf if she hadn't revisited it. That being said...yeesh. I didn't notice the unfinished inside of the cape until now, but damn, that is janky. It just didn't have the drama it needed, especially if the jacket is usually your big dramatic entrance piece. It was just fine. Nothing special. I think the Diva even said she could have found it at the stripper store, which is kind of the Diva version of us always bitching that someone's made something we could buy at a non-stripper store. I absolutely hated this one, but I think that the Diva didn't help Sweet P much at all. This girl wanted a super trashy and tacky look and I kind of appreciated that Sweet P was trying to edit her, even though she failed in the execution. The drama was definitely lacking in this piece and I don't know if white was such a great color choice either.
WOOT WOOT RICKY'S GONE! So...okay, besides the fact that this was fairly lame and looks like a wearable bathing suit, he just totally missed the point. And now he's gone. WOOOOOOOO! Ugh...I have no idea what he was thinking. This is terrible, although she rocked it when she came down the runway, which I enjoyed. That thing he had her put over it was totally fucking stupid too. I found it hilarious that he didn't cry when he got kicked off either...he's a strange duck. Whatever...stripper go-go boy is gone!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I watch a lot of What Not To Wear, and try and shop in accordance with the tips they give their various makeover people. Before entering this phase of fashion awareness, I didn't really think of fashion in the same ready-to-wear-bone's-connected-to-the-couture-bone way I do now. I paid attention to the fashion shows and what was going on trendwise, but then I would take my teenage self to the Greendale Mall (WOOTOWN SHOUTOUT) and head straight for Rave, Deb, Rainbow, and whatever other deranged, cheap-fabric-tastic, miniature prostitute supply stores they had in there, and declare a great victory when I found a camo teeshirt with inexplicable sequins on it for four dollars. How I made it out of my high school fashion alive, I still do not know. Just from DESCRIBING that shit I know it was flammable.
Did I mention that this was all interspersed with hockey jerseys, colored jeans, and a weird predilection for tucking in shirts? Because it totally was.
The funny thing is that at heart, I have a pretty classic style. I like basic pieces with fun details (from whence the shoe/handbag/jewelry obsession stems), and easily avoid the raccoonlike attraction many women have to the Trend of the Moment. Of all people, I thank my DAD for the latter half of that equation, because when I was in my early teen years, he gave me these odd, three hole punched like...girl cards? I can only assume they were a project that Worcester Magazine (where he worked at the time) or one of his buddies was working on developing, but their topics ranged from makeup to clothing to Girl Stuff (in that sanitized way that we teach female health in America - SEX ED THAT DOESN'T EXPLAIN HOW IT WORKS = MORE BABIES, YOU IDIOTS!) to boy snaring tips to...I think recipes for some reason? I don't know, but in any case one of the fashion ones dealt specifically with building a wardrobe of basics and only choosing trends that WORKED for you, and went on to say that trends that work for you then basically turn in to staples for you. So anyway, thanks Dad.
That all being said, I make occasional lunges in the direction of madness, and also form emotional attachments to certain ill advised articles of clothing, and thus I have some weird shit in my closet. I'm not saying I SHOULDN'T have immediately burned the teeshirt with a glitter penguin and the word "CHILLIN" on it after Creepy Ryan from My Hall poked my penguin and said "I like penguins" with his phasers set to Creeptastic, I'm saying the fact remains that I REALLY like penguins and I really loved how the shirt fit. Let's just take a moment out for the Closet of Shame.
- Blue leopard print pants
- ZEBRA print pants (there are no words to describe how bad a plan those were)
- A bright yellow miniskirt made of sweatshirt? That says "Corona" on it?
- A jacket I bought in my Victoria's Secret phase that comes down fully to my knees, on purpose.
- At a guess, eleventy billion sarongs. Why?
- Pants in a greenish brownish plaid that has NEVER been worn by anyone who is not a golf playing senior citizen
- Six inch platform heels made of what seems to be recycled tires and gold lame
- Grey stretch super-bell pants
- Far too many stretch velvet tops for good mental health
- Assorted shrunken sweaters from my pre-knowing-how-to-use-the-washing-machine-without-incident-period
- Nine billion hideous, poorly made, synthetic fabric pairs of underwear
So, I'm cleaning out my closet. It's actually pretty cathartic and makes room for new shoes. I'm just saying, it's not without its own measure of shame.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
LOSER: Victorya WOO
Victorya - This episode was the most angry I have been with her. That coat last week was somehow just inarguably, 100% Jillian's sensibility, even though it's not like she's been designing all punky fabulousness, all the time, it just spoke so clearly of her. So NEEDLESS TO SAY, Victorya, who has not a single independent thought in her head, decided that she would grab the literal coattails and do another coat. Well you know what, Victorya? Your coat looked like ASS. ASS! I didn't even know what the hell was going on with the inside-out jeans...with the exposed stitching! Dude! They put the inside seams on the inside because they are UGLY AND GLARING! Whatever I'm glad she lost. Oh, Vicwhoria, I am SO GLAD you are GONE. This look sucks, just like the designer who made it. Unoriginal, boring, stupid and shitty. Now guess whether or not I'm talking about the outfit or Vicwhoria.
Sweet P - This is still a little hippie for me, but it's a HUGE improvement over the long version and it's very cute. I would certainly picked this over Ricky's. I don't generally like when waists are a disruption in pattern like you see here, i.e. there is a line that has different pattern above and below it, rather than each panel running smoothly from top to bottom, but this is okay with me and over all I think it's pretty cute. The shape of the...scales? Panels? Leaves? is really nice and interesting...not just boring perfect circles/arc, etc. If she stuck with the long version, she may have gone home. I don't think it's hippish, simply because it's too structured. I think that if she had more dark fabric and used lighter fabric as the accent pieces, it would have been really pretty. It's made very well too. I think it's cute.
Rami & Sweet P...I was a little worried about Rami's not-getting-it-ness in regards to why the judges had an issue with this. I also hated the pants under it and thought they seriously took away from the overall effect. Since when do airy earth tones work with stark, heavy black? I actually like the dress fine, but for some boring color and whickety-whack issues (mostly the ribbons on the back), but it's a Rami Dress, and not taken to a crazy, higher level. His dress wasn't bad, per se, it just missed the point of the challenge. Sweet P's little dress though is totally cute! She has really been surprising me lately...first that crazy glamorous prom dress and now this cute little shortie dress. This is the only dress I can ever remember liking the one-shoulder effect on, and the color is really great, and pretty unusual for the style. I do think that Rami's failure to get the challenge hurt this pair, otherwise they would have done much better.
Ricky & Kit...I still don't get how "avant garde" turned into "Gone With the Wind" in Kit's cute little brain, but yikes. I don't even know what's going on here. It looks like an apron collection turned into a big blowzy gown, and not by a skilled seamstress...look at how out of hand the puckering is on the bands of satin! WTF!? Despite my complaining about it looking like an apron collection, I actually like the top - it's unusual and kind of funky, but jesus, you hit the waist and it's scary in there. The second look is cute but juvenile and the shoe is out of nowhere. What a disaster, but I am PISSED that somehow Kit got the axe...I mean, Nina has actually said ON THE SHOW that they consider past work, etc., but I see no evidence of it...I'm sorry but when the choice is Ricky or anyone else in the WORLD the answer is always RICKY!!
Christian & Chris...42 yards of fabric. Damn. What an amazing combo of Christian's eye for detail and Chris's crazy theatrical spirit. This was just fantastic...the movement was spectacular, too. I kind of wish it had been in a different color, just because we all know I operate almost exclusively on color, but on the other hand, the low key color allows the amazing details to come out, and the paleness of it creates some cool shadow action that highlights the ruffling. The second look is probably the best translation possible...I like it, and I think incorporating all that ruffling any more than you see in the shirt would be totally out of hand. Bra-VO, Chris and Chris!
Victorya & Jillian...after much agonizing, I think this is my favorite item out of all of them. I love the Christian and Chris confection, but this coat is just spectacular, and I want to wear it and stomp around and own the WORLD. Perhaps not so much with the jodhpurs, but frankly those are hardly the point. I cannot say enough about this coat...the FIT, the rippling ruffles, the fantastic collar, the details on the bodice...my mind, she is blown. Love it. The other dress is fine but not nearly as orgasmic as the coat. This was completely fabulous and I covet it.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
To celebrate this grand occasion (and when I get to vote - WOO I LOVE VOTING!), I present, as my gift to you, a montage of my favorite batshit crazy Democratic genius, James "Motherfucking" Carville, complete with fun story!
When I was in DC at American, Carville came to speak on campus. The man just exudes badass, and walked in with his sunglasses on (NB - 7pm, indoors), and proceeded to unleash a fairly genius commentary on the current political state. It was shortly after 9/11, and he said one of the most sensible things I had heard to date about the President and the attacks. He said that he was an American first and all the other stuff second, and that while he might not like the President's approach (this was slightly after the point where Bush should have but failed to tone down and adapt the "we gon' getcha" rhetoric), but he would support the President because the situation called for it. I'm sure this view changed over time as the policy got more obviously retarded, but at the time it was fitting and true. So anyway, the floor opened to questions, and this kid who was President/Pharaoh of the College Republicans stood up, in this completely insane, country-westerntastic shirt that was half stars, half stripes, and uncorked what he clearly thought was an epic smackdown on Carville (if memory serves, it basically concerned liberal policy and objectives running directly counter to the President's response to 9/11). Carville thought about it for a nanosecond and then managed to complete annihilate this kid on every single possible point. It was BEAUTIFUL. Honestly, if all stupid policy could be shouted down like that I would be roughly eight bazillion times happier with Congress at any given moment. It was gorgeous, and it was well reasoned, and it was completely devoid of that whiny pedantic shit that the Democratic party has been engaging in for the past eight years or so which raises my blood pressure. NANCY.
So that's the story, I have my vodka near at hand and CNN on the tube, and without further adieu, I give to you...Mr. James Carville.
Awww, he's so spiffy! Couldn't you just hug him? Well, restrain yourself, I'm pretty sure he would bite you if startled. DO NOT BE FOOLED.
Here we have Fabulous Book Carville. This is basically a couple hundred pages of powerful, well reasoned, and intelligent liberal thought devoid of all aforementioned pussy behavior. If you're a liberal with plans for changing the world for the better, you need this. It can't be more than $20, ust pick up a used copy on Half.com.
This is one of my favorite Faces of Carville. He gives this to that brand of neo-con that everyone (I contend that even fellow neo-cons hate this variety) hates...the over the top, shock-value-based dipshits who swathe themselves in fake conservatism in order to be bigoted assholes.
I don't even know what this is but a.) I love it and b.) there are at least a million pictures online comparing this shot to Gollum. I really don't have anything to add.
CARVILLE LOVES THE COMMON MAN! Look at him bonding, with his jeans, and relaxed posture!
All I'm saying is that this is Carville and some chick in tie dye. Once again, I have paralysis of the commentary.
Sometimes, Carville must find creative ways to express disdain/anger/hot flashes. At these moments, a trashcan is often the best method. Remember folks: this is the man who WON THE ELECTION FOR CLINTON.
And sometimes Carville just needs some heavy artillery.
JUST KIDDING! That's totally my Dad, Carville's doppelganger.
Two grand later, Cady came home after having emergency surgery. GOOD. TIMES.
So okay, we're now clear on the whole cats-as-kid-substitute concept, great. I COMPLETELY ACKNOWLEDGE that we're kind of above and beyond your standard pet owner, and I am okay with this. What I really want to share with you, however, is proof that no matter how nuts I may be, there are crazier people out there.
A coworker brought up a cat catalog today which is of a genre I receive a few of, that being "Catalogs for People Who Get Their Cats Stuffed and Put Them on Their Mantle When They Die." This is a side effect of online shopping...there is no way to stem the tide of catalogs. The one I have in front of me is called Doctors Foster and Smith and it achieves a certain level of amazing + horrifying + incomprehensible. Here are a few of its offerings, which I hope will shed some light on the dark side of cat ownership.
OMITTED: the seven pages of Kitty Condo type products (ranging from $100 to $400), and roughly 25 pages of cat beds, including cat hammocks and heated cat beds.
This isn't so weird in concept - it's a fuzzy pad with catnip in it - but what in the blue hell is this cat doing?? Why is it SWIMMING? What the? Oh, and PS, you can own this for FOURTEEN FREAKING NINETY NINE.
This is one of many products designed to let your cat frolic outside without being eaten by coyotes or running away from your clutching, needy embrace. This one folds up and pops out for easy transport! Let me ask you this...when was the last time you personally had fun in an enclosed outdoor space big enough for you to spin around with your arms out and not much else?
I'm sorry but this is insane. It has AWNINGS. AWNINGS!
I guess sometimes it's not enough to have fun in one place outside, and you just have to take the show on the road. Sometimes I think I want one of these so I can get some exercise en route to the vet, but then I remember I live in Holden and would perish under the tires of a Volvo. Plus, the cats go to the vet what, once or twice a year, depending on yarn consumption?
Yeah, I tried putting a collar on the cats once. Flyboy started having what looked like some kind of epilleptic fit, and Cady hit the deck and stayed flattened to the ground until we took the collar off. I don't even begin to want to know what would happen if I tried to put a HARNESS on either one of them. This is for people who walk their cats. I used to work with one of these people. I still don't get it.
Okay, I clip the cats nails, with something much like these little orange jobbies, but is it really necessary to have a set that looks like it could take you to space? I guess I shouldn't knock anything that makes the clipping experience easier...I have to lull the cats into a false sense of security and then ambush them with a towel to wrap them up. There must be some other way...
MARY MOTHER OF GOD! Okay, seriously? If you can't use either the towel method or the slinging the cat under your leg method, how in the hell are you going to get your cat in a SACK? A SACK! I mean, the main problem with owning cats is that they are not stupid. Our cats know the carrier and know what it means, so we need to leave it out in the living room or something for a couple days so they calm down and think we're not taking them to the vet. Same deal with the towel scenario...it's an innocuous household object that they occasionally sleep on. Why would this be menacing? However, if you have this distinctive item, that looks like nothing else and serves exactly one function, your cat is going to REMEMBER it and run like hell into that one corner that goes down a wormhole in your house and you can't get into for the life of you.Oh, and if you don't like sleep, the Benevolent Doctors Foster and Smith have some possessed kitten sculpture to keep you up at night.