Sep 29, 2008 Randomosity
I usually publish a collection of my random thoughts on Mondays, but I haven’t had time to collect them – my family has been out of town for the past five days and I’ve done almost nothing other than clean, organize, and put together giant pieces of IKEA furniture all by myself. Oh, and I broke my toe. It’s a very pretty purple and it hurts like hell.
I’ll be back on my normal schedule in a few days. If there’s one thing that family is good for, it’s keeping up the routine. Without other people’s schedules to regulate mine, I’m up until four in the morning, not going outside unless absolutely necessary, and eating like complete crap. But at least I’m getting a lot done!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Sep 24, 2008 What's Going On
I came across a site recently that shows just how easy it is to make a perfectly attractive girl look like what we’ve come to expect from a cover girl: perfect skin, big boobs, and great hair. You go here and click on the magazine cover, and can see bit by bit how photoshopping transforms people from what they are to what we think they should be.
I don’t want to see ugly people on fashion and celebrity magazine covers. I have no desire to live in Harrison Bergeron‘s world. But I do want to know that what I’m looking at on a cover is more or less real. Make-up can do great things, and I think that’s fair. And if the cover model has a giant zit on the day of the shoot, I can understand zapping that out. But actually digitally enhancing someone’s breasts, or changing their eye color, or making them thinner, is just fraud, plain and simple. If they can’t recreate the look walking down the street, then it shouldn’t be on the cover.
I really have to hand it to some actresses and models out there who are fighting back against this trend. Jamie Lee Curtis did the unthinkable some years back and put it all out there in More magazine, showing the world what she looks like without a team of people to glam up her hair and squeeze her muffin top into a tight dress. “It’s such a fraud. And I’m the one perpetuating it.”
Keira Knightley revealed in an interview a couple years ago how her breasts were enhanced on magazine covers and movie posters. She was told that her flat chest was a turn off. She said that she OKd having her boobs blown up for the “King Arthur” posters, claiming she didn’t “give a shit.” But perhaps she has gained more perspective in the past couple years because she recently refused to have her breasts enhanced for “The Duchess” posters.
I’ll love Tyra Banks forever for fighting back against the people who called her “America’s Next Top Waddle” and “Tyra Porkchop” after unflattering pictures were splashed all over the place of her in a bathing suit. My weight has gone up and down and all around almost 60lbs in the past 7 years. And sometimes it seems like other people care about it more than I do. I like weighing less, and would like to lose about 40 pounds more. I feel better when I weigh less, and it’s more fun shopping for clothes, and I know The Ass likes me better thinner. But it’s not as big a deal as the rest of the world makes it out to be. And the weight didn’t start coming off until I finally started feeling comfortable in my own skin.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Sep 24, 2008 Time Sucker
This game, called Home Run, is deceptively simple: You help a drunk walk home by countering his movements. If he leans right, you move your mouse left. If he stumbles left, you move right. But do it too fast, or don’t do it enough, and he falls down.
Apparently, the record is something like 500 meters, but I can’t seem to get past about 40. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been drunk.
Go here and then scroll down to “Play Home Run 2004″. Even on a fast connection it takes about 15 seconds to load, but that’s probably just to force you to watch the pop-up commercial.
Click on “start” and our drunk guy starts walking. Move your mouse and see how far you get.
There may be more to it than that, but since I don’t speak German I have no idea what the instructions say. Thank goodness “Start” was in English.
Every time he falls down I say I’m not going to play again, but then I start thinking that it’s really not that hard and I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it this time! Arrrrggggggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Tags: Home Run Game
Sep 23, 2008 Contest/Giveaway
Thanks to everyone who entered, and please stop back on Thursday at 9am for the next contest.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Sep 22, 2008 What's Going On
I did, and for once I actually watched them the night they aired. In past years I haven’t gotten around to watching them until I already knew who won everything, so it’s nice to be surprised this year! Here are some highlights and lowlights.
The opening was, well, painful. The show was hosted this year by the five nominees in the first ever Reality Show Host category: Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars), Ryan Seacrest (America Idol), Heidi Klum (Project Runway), Howie Mandel (Deal or No Deal), and Jeff Probst (Survivor). I really can’t understand why the Emmys would be giving so much attention to reality TV in a year when writers proved that without them, Hollywood shuts down.
Reality TV gets more than its fair share of attention. I like some of it. Amazing Race is one of my favorite shows. I watched Survivor for the first few seasons, until I realized that they were going to be churning one out every month or so, and I just couldn’t keep up. But now my son and I watch Total Drama Island together, a hilarious cartoon sendup of Survivor (and not even knowing what Survivor is, most of it must be going over his head!). I started watching Dancing with the Stars just last season (yes, I know, very late) and have watched So You Think You Can Dance from the very first show. I’m losing interest in American Idol, but it had a great run for a while. Basically, I’ll check out any reality show that isn’t trying to couple people up romantically. That’s just creepy.
But I digress. Tom Bergeron seemed up to the hosting job, but he was really the only one. Howie is one of those people whose career and popularity confound me. Heidi is beautiful but has zero timing. Ryan really wasn’t given much to do. And Jeff, well, he’s in his element on Survivor, but does not look at all comfortable or natural on a stage, indoors and dressed in formal clothes. If the Emmy people really wanted to pay tribute to reality shows, they should have made a clip montage. That could have been hilarious. But don’t put the poor hosts out there on the stage without “normal people” surrounding them, making them look polished and accomplished in comparison. Jeremy Piven said it best in his acceptance speech for best supporting actor: “What if I just kept talking for twelve minutes? What would happen? That was the opening.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus came on after one of my favorite Seinfeld clips was shown, from “The Contest”. For those of you who haven’t seen “The Contest”, well, shame on you. But it was about who could go the longest without masterbating and it was the episode that put the show on the map. Anyway, Julia had one of the funniest lines of the broadcast: “You know, I can’t tell you how proud I am to be part of a television program that celebrates the gratuitous indulgence of self-gratification. But enough about the Emmys…”
It was almost worth sitting through all of the other crap to see Ricky Gervais do his thing. He was hilarious! Watch it now before YouTube removes it:
They should really consider him for the hosting job next year.
Josh Groban singing a long medley of TV show themes was a big risk, but I think he pulled it off. It’s worth watching just for his South Park theme. I have a new respect for him.
There was a Laugh In scene with some original cast members that fell completely flat. The show just hasn’t aged well, and the stars have lost their timing (or perhaps they were waiting for laughs and applause that never came?). I’m sure that in its day it was groundbreaking and hilarious and all that, but now, for someone who wasn’t watching it from the perspective of nostalgia but just at face value, it totally dragged without a chuckle.
Presenter Katherine Joosten (the late Dolores Landingham of The West Wing) got up there and said “Because we’re running late they cut my bit” and then went into the nominations for the category she was announcing. Now, there were a few other stars who just got up there and did the award thing without any stilted banter, probably for the same reason. So why would she want to draw attention to herself and the fact that her bit was completely expendable?
But while she was the first, Ms. Joosten wasn’t the only one. It got really repetitive hearing presenter after presenter mention that they had something funny they were supposed to say, but it had been cut because the show was running long. It could have been a funny running gag, but instead most of the presenters just seemed bitter (except Kristin Chenoweth and Neil Patrick Harris, who actually said they were bitter – that was funny). The whole thing could have been solved by cutting Don Rickles and Kathy Griffin. I suppose Don Rickles deserves some kind of respect and lifetime achievement award, but he did not deserve two actual Emmys and a ton of stage time. His comedy, while I’m sure it paved the way for many of the people on the stage last night, is now pretty much irrelevant. He couldn’t even stay quiet while the winners he announced (Amazing Race, fantastic show!) were making their speech – he had to upstage them.
And his co-presenter Kathy Griffin? She should have gotten two special awards. One for the most plastic surgery with the least benefit, and another for laughing the most at her own unfunny bit. Cut her out and all of the other presenters could have done their semi-funny bits. Kathy, you’re not funny! You’re like one of those poor kids on the early round of American Idol who just can’t sing, who is just awful, but is surrounded by people saying “Oh baby, don’t you listen to what those judges say, you just keep singing, you’re great!” But all of us out in the real world are going WTF? Why are you encouraging this poor person to humiliate herself on national TV like that? Well, Kathy, it’s my duty as a fellow human being to say to you: You’re not funny! Sit the fuck down! The people around you are not going to tell you this because they are (inexplicably) making money off of you. But it’s true.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were great together, as always, getting their digs in at McCain without mentioning his name or his party. And they weren’t the only ones. But it made latent conservative Tom Selleck seem very classy later in the show when he came on and did his thing with no political mentions at all. I give him credit just for walking into the room.
Best Actress nominee Julia Louis-Dreyfus was pretty funny while Tina Fey was giving her best-actress-in-a-comedy acceptance speech. Tina was relating how when she doesn’t know how to play a scene, her husband tells her to act like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, so thanks Julia, that’s working out pretty well for me. They cut to Julia in the audience giving Tina a very sarcastic thumbs up and eye roll.
Tina also gave the best piece of parenting advice I’ve seen come out of Hollywood since everyone went on TV to remind us that babies should NOT be dangled over balconies by their man-child fathers: “I want to thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done, that is what all parents should do.”
The awarding of the best reality host award was actually very funny. Jimmy Kimmel brought all of the nominees (Howie, Tom, Heidi, Jeff, and Ryan) onstage and they had to stand there while Jimmy made fun of them. Then he made them wait until after the commercial break to announce the winner. Which turned out to be Jeff Probst of Survivor.
All in all, one of the more boring awards shows I’ve seen. The sad fact is, nobody but the people being mentioned care about the people being mentioned during the speeches. And the people who don’t make their livings in front of the camera should all be given their awards at a luncheon the day before. I’m talking about the producers, directors, writers, everybody. Then give each actor and actress five minutes to give a speech. Special arrangements can be made for people like Tom Hanks, actors who win as producers and make good speeches.
And for God’s sake, there is absolutely no excuse for bad writing for the hosts. And if the writing isn’t the problem, you have nobody to blame but yourself: you picked the hosts!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Tags: Don Rickles, Emmys, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst, Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart, Josh Grobin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Katherine Joosten, Kathy Griffin, Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Gervais, Ryan Seacrest, Seinfeld, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Tom Bergeron, Tom Hanks, Tom Selleck
Sep 22, 2008 Randomosity
This is what’s been floating around in my head for the past week. I need to clear it out to make room for more.
Last week’s best Fark headline regarding the country’s economic freak-out, after the government’s massive bailout plans were announced:
Stocks climb on news that rich people are fine with socialism when the money is going to them
The other night, coming home on the subway, I saw a guy solving a Rubik’s Cube. Repeatedly. He would mess it up totally, then solve it again in about five minutes. His fingers were flying, and he kept turning it rapidly to check out what was going on. Once he didn’t even solve it for solid colors, he solved it with a pattern, same on all sides. I have a hard time comprehending how minds like that work.
The next night, same time, same subway, I sat across from a guy who was practicing card tricks: one-handed shuffling, making the top card pop up off the deck, fanning, etc. It was fascinating. I was staring. He was doing it without even realizing that he was doing it, I think, but I guess that’s how you get good, by doing it all the time.
So I’m wondering what’s next: will I see a juggler? A sword swallower? Will someone be setting up a trapeze in the station?
I don’t want to go into too many details, because I don’t mean any ill will toward anyone, but have you ever found yourself in a position where you accepted an opportunity, and then a much better one came along but you were already stuck with the first one? That happened to me last week. And if I had only accepted the first opportunity but not really gotten involved with it yet, I might have tried to back out. And even if I had gotten involved already but it was with people that I would never see again, I might have tried to back out (sad but true). But it’s with people I will see all the time for as long as I live in Brooklyn, so there’s no way I could get out of it without looking like a complete asshole. So, lesson learned about following my instincts.
I found this on Fark.com (yes, I spend way too much time on Fark): Earlier this month a man tried to pay for groceries at a North Carolina grocery store with a $200 bill, complete with a picture of George Bush on the front and a White House lawn full of lawn signs on the back (including one that says “We Like Ice Cream”). The best part of the story is, the cashier accepted it, and gave him $50 change! Go here to read the rest of the story.
This quote was on brownstoner.com last week, in a discussion about a house for sale:
In Wasilla, a comparable home would be more horizontally oriented, clad in aluminum, and perched on wheels and/or cinder blocks. But with the de rigeur meth lab, it would be a more profitable investment than this place.
— by SnarkSlope in House of the Day: 47 Sidney Place
The above comment thread on brownstoner led me to this site, the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. You put in your name, and it tells you what your name would be if Sarah Palin had your naming rights. I’m “Chase Rooster Palin.” Sounds about right. I’ll fit right in with Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper.
OK Comedy Central, I’m looking for some kind of pattern across your shows regarding what’s OK to say and what’s not. Last week Jon Stewart, in anticipation of interviewing Tony Blair, made a joke about spotted dick (a very strange sounding British pudding). When Stewart said “dick” in reference to the recipe, it went unbleeped. But at the end of the bit, when he said “dick” in reference to his body part, it was bleeped out. What gives? And remember, this is from the network that aired a South Park episode where the characters say “shit” 168 times. How do I know it was 168 times? Because there was a little counter in the corner of the screen that kept track. So how is it OK to say “shit” but only sometimes say “dick” on the same network?
Americans get hung up on all the wrong things, allowing bigger things to slide by unnoticed. I went to a panel years ago about media and censorship, and one of the panelists was Aaron Sorkin, creator of West Wing. He was talking about an episode where the president learns that nine soldiers have just been killed in an ambush. Sorkin wrote him yelling “God Damn It!” but the network wouldn’t let him do it. A network exec told him that he’d hear “fuck” on NBC before he would hear “God Damn.” God damn it, that’s fucked up.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Sep 21, 2008 Product Review
I love potatoes, in just about every form. I’m a vegetarian who loves accompanying my carnivorous husband to steak houses because I know I can get a giant, salt-encrusted baked potato, usually with a whole little buffet of things to put on it (cheese, sour cream, butter, scallions…). The best wedding reception I ever went to had, I kid you not, a mashed potato bar. So when a rep from McCain foods emailed me asking if I wanted to review McCain Smiles, I said “Absolutely!” She said she’d send me some Smiles, and I assumed she meant some coupons to go buy some. About a week later, when a big package arrived, I was shocked to find it packed with dry ice and a huge bag of frozen Smiles!
I’ve had Smiles before, and loved them. It’s basically mashed potato with a crispy outside, in the shape of a smiley face. What’s not to like? And with only about 30% of the calories going towards fat, they fit nicely into the ratio that I try to stick to (10% protein, 30% fat, 60% carbs, more or less). So I set up a taste test for my kids, pitting their current potato favorite, Mini Tater Tots, against Smiles.
I didn’t tell them it was a competition, I just told them I had something new for them to try. Munchkin (4 years) is usually way more open to trying new foods, and Pasta Boy (7) is usually pretty reticent about trying new foods. So in a complete reversal of what I expected, I had to coax Munchkin into trying them (she would only have a tiny taste) while Pasta Boy gobbled them up.
The real test was a few nights later when we were deciding on the dinner menu (they each get to pick it two nights a week). It was Pasta Boy’s turn, and when I suggested either Tater Tots or Smiles for our carb (in other words, his main course), he chose Smiles.
As a bonus, I discovered that if you press one into ketchup, you get a red-eyed, red-lipped smile!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Sep 20, 2008 What's Going On
The other day I went to The Martha Stewart Show. She was doing an entire show dedicated to blogging, and the audience was filled completely with bloggers, including yours truly. And the guests were all bloggers. I Twittered what was going on up until the point they made me turn my phone off:
Getting ready to go to an all-blogger-audience taping of Martha Stewart’s show.
wish i had brought my laptop, didn’t know it was allowed!
ok, i’m going to live twitter this until they make me turn my phone off.
sitting waiting to get into the studio. letting people in by stripe codes on tickets – mine’s purple
they announced that paris hilton would be the guest and i rolled my eyes, but it’s perez hilton!
my stripe still hasn’t been called, i’m starting to wonder if i’m going to get in
ok, purple stripe is in.
ok, snagged a great seat, first row of the regular section (there are other seats on the floor)
is this a good time to confess that i’ve never seen the martha stewart show?
they are playing some crazy bass-heavy music that’s shaking the studio!
ok, the warm-up guy is outthe show is over, i totally had to turn my phone off.
highlights: martha referring to palin as cheryl, and getting a free hp printer
also got two books and a calendar, will blog later.
I was really aggravated to learn when I got there that not only were laptops allowed, but an email had gone out encouraging people to bring their laptops and blog from the show. I totally didn’t get that email! I had packed up my laptop that morning and made it all the way to the sidewalk before deciding to bring it back inside. Just feeling the weight of it made me think twice. I figured that they’d probably make me turn it off and then I’d be stuck with my laptop all day for no reason. So when I got into the studio I discovered that everyone with a laptop had seats in the center section and were getting all the attention.
Martha Stewart was not at all like the image I had in my mind. I’ve never really been a fan. I’ve never seen her show, never read her magazine, and just briefly flipped through one of her wedding books when I was planning my own. It only took a few pages to discover that I just wasn’t the right type of person for a Martha Stewart Wedding. She seemed from afar to be very stuck up, very formal and proper, very condescending, and pretty much the opposite of down-to-earth. But I really liked one thing about her: she handled the whole stock debacle with class and grace. She was treated so unfairly during that whole ordeal. I’m sorry, but I think that once a court determines that you haven’t done anything illegal, you shouldn’t go to jail for lying about it. You have to figure that if the government hadn’t screwed up by prosecuting her for something that wasn’t illegal, then she wouldn’t have had an opportunity to lie about it. But instead of dragging things out and fighting and appealing, she simply wanted to get her sentence behind her and get on with her life. I really admire how she handled herself.
She didn’t chat with the audience at all during the commercial breaks, except for a few people she already knew. She was all business, but I would think she’d have to be, since the show is live in most markets. No second takes. She got through the show just fine. Well, except for when she referred to “Cheryl Palin.” She corrected herself a few minutes later, after someone on the staff made her aware of her gaffe. She surprised me (in a good way) when she talked about how she wouldn’t be comfortable having a president who didn’t know how to use the most common method of communication (John McCain doesn’t know how to use email).
The warm-up guy (shows like this always have a comedian come out and warm up the audience beforehand), Joey Kola, had made the mistake of talking about how well we were going to be taken care of, meaning that we were going to get a lot of free stuff. So when Ms. Stewart started talking about the Canon G9 camera that she uses, I thought to myself “Wow, I really need a new camera. Maybe we’re going to get one.” Then she brought out four of them to give to four of the special guest bloggers who are regulars on her show. At that point I was pretty sure I was getting a Canon G9. It’s a great camera, and I was salivating over the thought of getting one for free. I was just waiting for her to say “And you’re all getting one!” But it didn’t happen.
It was an interesting mix of guests. Perez Hilton, who makes a shitload of money blogging, had a much quieter personality than I though he would. He seems to work very hard at his blog, getting up at 3:57am (to blog on NY time from CA) and blogging for twelve hours a day. The other guests were a blur. There was someone from Cute Overload, and we got a calendar which, frankly, is just too cutesy for me. Unfortunately I know people who would love it. And we got a neat book, chronicling in pictures two women’s mornings on opposite ends of the country. They would each post one picture each morning to a common blog, and gained quite a following. Not only are the pictures beautiful, but there are often eerie parallels between the two – both posting what they ate for breakfast, for example, or one posting feet and the other posting shoes.
It wasn’t until the very end, almost as an afterthought, that an HP printer was brought out, and we were told that we were each getting one. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great printer, and I love HP (I have an HP printer already, although not as nice as the one from Martha). And I know I shouldn’t complain about getting a $200 printer just for showing up. But hosts like Rosie and Oprah have kind of ruined the whole free-talk-show gift thing for me. Rosie used to give away TiVos as if they were tissues. And Oprah brought audience gifts to a new level with her Favorite Things shows, the time she took the entire audience to Disney World, and the time she gave everyone in the audience a car. So now, someone like me is told that they’re going to get something great, and my expectations are so high that I find myself being disappointed that I ONLY got a really nice $200 printer! What’s wrong with me? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me: I want that Canon camera! The pictures on Filming In Brooklyn look like crap with my old camera, especially when I have to blow them up.
After the show was over, we all had to stay so that Martha could tape a PSA about the armed services, and then judge the preliminary round of a hot dog contest. Now, I’m a vegetarian. I’ve never had a hot dog in my life. But by the time they brought out two huge tables of hot dogs, I was so hungry that they were smelling sooooo good! And some of them were covered in other things that I like, like macaroni and cheese, and cole slaw! Luckily I was able to sneak in a few bites of the granola bar I had in my purse.
Tasting each one of those took a lot of time, but she surprised me by how into it she was. She had invited one of her editorial directors, Kevin Sharky, to taste with her, and towards the end Joey Kola jumped in as well. Good thing, because while Martha was still going strong, Kevin Sharky looked like he needed a bucket. I would not have expected Martha Stewart to like hot dogs, but they’re her favorite food! Doily-loving, wrapping-paper-making, grow-your-own-everything Martha Stewart loves hot dogs. Who knew? And she asked for a beer before the tasting started. One never materialized, but by that point I was seriously embarrassed that I had let myself build up an image of her based on not much of anything that was true. She was especially endearing when Kevin Sharky started making lewd comments about the bigger hot dogs. They were pretty hilarious together.
Anyway, it was a fun morning, despite having to get up at 5 and not bringing my laptop and not getting a free camera. I went out for lunch (actually, just a Diet Coke and most of the bread on the table because I had to run) with some of the other ladies who write for the SVMoms group (I also write for the NYC Moms Blog), among them the bloggers of chefdruck, Jersey Bites, and this full house (who has the best tagline: don’t make me have to use UPPERCASE!). If you’re ever in NY and you get the chance to go to a talk-show taping, you should, they’re fun! And you just might get a cool free gift.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom