Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Poor, Scary Mark.

I've been thinking about Mark Strong, lately.
For those of you who don't think you know who he is (but you probably actually do), here he is:

Remember him now? Basically if you've been to a movie with a bad guy in the past few year, it may well have been him. If you went to a movie in the past few years and found yourself thinking of the bad guy "damn, when did Andy Garcia get so scary?" then it was almost definitely him. Mark Strong is, as near as I can tell, always a bad guy. You know why? Because he has mean-face.

And he's not the only one. You know those actors that you know are the killer the second they appear on screen? They've got it, too. And suddenly (despite the fact that he probably makes more per movie then I make per decade) I feel weirdly bad about it.  I mean, the guy is great, and he certainly gets work, but there will never, ever, ever be a pitch meeting in which someone says "It's a story of a loving father who loses his wife, but slowly learns to love again with the help of his daughter's second grade teacher. We're thinking Elle Fanning for the daughter, Kate Hudson for the art teacher if you want it light - Winslet for dramatic - and Mark Strong will be the kindly, gentle, open-hearted, completely non-sociopathic father." Unless, half way through the movie it turns out that the hole thing was just a set-up arranged Kate's corrupt government official/crime boss ex-husband - from whom she's been running for years - to get in close enough to her to discreetly poison her in small doses over several weeks. And then she would realize what was going on and then everything gets all harrowing and the music cues get way more intense, and she'd have to rescue Elle Fanning who is actually someone else's daughter, or is Mark Strong's daughter but is scared of him, or was just a hallucination the entire time, or is actually Kate Winsson's (Hudslet's?) own daughter with a dye job or colored contacts or something.

Actually, I would totally watch that movie.

Never mind, Mark Strong - you keep on doing what you do.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Farewell, Premiere Week

At some point in the middle of the summer, my husband stated his intent to watch Shit My Dad Says.

"Why?" I asked.

"Shatner." he responded.

Then they started airing promos. Then they switched leads. Then they aired more promos. I told him "this show is going to be awful."

"Shatner." he responded.

"Will Sasso." I argued.

But no matter how awful the promo, he insisted that Shatner alone was enough for him to watch the first few episodes, at least.

Last night, Shit My Dad Says premiered. And my husband, who insisted for months that we should at least watch it for the first couple of weeks, made it all of three minutes before putting a pillow over his head and begging me to make the show go away forever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The best night in television

Some times in life, there is a sentence that simply must begin with a "y'all".

Example: Y'all, it's makeover night on America's Next Top Model. I love makeover night. I love it in a way that I would express with capital letters and extra o's, but I've already y'alled today, and I try to only publicize one of my shameful speech tendencies per post.

Makeover night has the power to be one of the best episodes the Top Model season, because it's the one where the girls cry and you don't have to feel even sort of bad about it. I'm sure having to change your hair and having no choice in the matter sucks, but at this point, it's Cycle 83.7 or something; if your hair is "just such a huge part of who (you) are", then DON'T AUDITION. Because Tyra, it seems, created this entire show as an excuse to shave girl's heads, dip them in bleach, or boldly explore new territory in the world of weaves. In fact, as the cycles have gone on, it's basically divided into three makeover choices: Super-short/shaved head; world's longest weave, or as blonde as they can get your before your scalp bleeds enough that EMTs are called. Oh, and eyebrow bleaching. And yet, even when they get one of these obvious categories, these girls freak out because somehow, they thought they'd be the exception, and Tyra would deem their hair perfect just the way it is. It's not going to happen, darlings.

Except for last season (or was it the one before that?) where the girl LOST IT when she thought they were cutting her hair, and then the Jays said "J/K, we think you're the Queen of Magic Modelland!", which pissed me off, because seriously? Any other girl threw a fit like that and she would of been on the first bus home.

Anyway, the three rotating makeover options have gotten crazy dull, but there are always exceptions, and that's gives makeover night it's potential. It's the hope that somewhere in between finding different reference points for "it'll be a crap load of (potentially busted-looking) weave" Tyra will pop out with "I'm going to give you hair like a glittering horse's mane."

And, in case that happens, don't you want to be there?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Under-appreciated Genius

My husband is incapable of trimming his facial evenly. Mostly because he doesn't care. And a little because I'm pretty sure he's hoping that there will come a day when I stop saying "please trim your mustache, before it gets so long that you swallow it in your sleep" and he can grow a Sam Elliott. But as it stands, there's always one hair somewhere on his cheek that's at least twice as long as the ones around it. This doesn't bother my husband at all, but it drives me completely crazy. To the the point that it can distract me mid-sentence. So, enterprising young upstart that I am, this week I came up with a solution: a miniature face-Flowbee. And it could be made at home with just a funnel, the blades from a portable hand fan, some razors and a rubber band. Then we could just tape the whole thing to the end of the hose or our vacuum and we'd be all set.

Despite being offered this ENTIRELY AWESOME solution to a problem that has long plagued him/us/mostly me, my husband rejected my idea out of hand, just because of the high likelihood that it would fail and slice off pieces of his face.

It wasn't very supportive of him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It would also make a gross gum flavor

This week we bought lemons, and at some point those lemons became...corrupted. Which is an exceedingly melodramatic way of saying that (possibly due to ill-advised fruit bowl combination) every single one of them tastes of bananas. At first when, halfway through a pitcher of iced tea, I tasted banana I assumed I was imagining it. Or, more truthfully, I thought what I always think when something tastes or smells weird - that maybe I had had a teeny-tiny stroke, and should maybe get checked out just in case. Then I completely forgot about that, which bodes super-well for my future health, until other people noticed it. And it's everywhere. And you know what? Lemon/Banana isn't really a flavor combination that works all that well for me.
Here are the things I've spent the last week being vaguely grossed out by:
  • Water, with a twist of banana
  • Lemon-Banana Tea
  • Shrimp and Avocado with banana and lemon
  • Banana-Lemon Sandwich cookies
 I feel worse for my mom. See, the cookies were my brother's birthday gift, but both of us tasted one. The difference between she and I is that she has a hatred for bananas that burns hot and constant, like the sun.

I can only attribute her not immediately spitting the accidentally-banana cookie directly into the trash can to her love for me as her daughter.

Recommended Internettings

Project Runway comes on tonight. And tomorrow? Tomorrow you find a reason to love Facebook again/even more (depending on your current feelings on Mafia Wars and whether Facebook Places has caused your house to get robbed yet).

Tim Gunn has a Facebook page, and he is all up in Lifetime's face. It's amazing. It ranks among the best things I've seen online lately (only slightly below that baby that does the Samba, because that's freaking amazing). It's transcendent. He's so polished and put together and well-mannered, except he's telling everything. And he's taken to calling Heidi, Michael and Nina "the crack-smoking judges". Did you know Tim Gunn was even aware that crack existed? I didn't even think he used that word. Even if a dish broke, I assumed he'd say "Oh dear! There seems to be something of a fissure in my dinnerware" (the word plate is also beneath the Tim who lives in my mind). And he repeatedly acknowledges that Lifetime has asked him not to call them that, but he does it anyway.

More than that, he spells out all of the behind-the-scenes clusterfucks that viewers have no idea ever even occurred. Somewhere in New York, I'm sure there's a Project Runway PR person who pours themselves a  whiskey for every page view it gets but, when it isn't your job to make the show look like sunny good times, these videos are amazing.

I think at this point we're about ten episodes in to the season, so it's possible that everyone but me has long since been aware of his recaps, but I just found out about them a few days ago, so I felt compelled to share.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have a problem with the gimmick for this season of The Apprentice. For those of you who haven't spent the last couple of days watching fall TV previews, the gimmick is that all of the new contestants have been laid off from their jobs and have been searching for work for quite awhile. I think the tag line for the season is something like "Everyone deserves a second chance".

On the surface: great idea - you get all of the on-camera interviews where they talk about feeling like they couldn't support their families, and the emotional struggles that spending a long time out of work can bring up. It makes it easy for the audience to connect with the contestants. Plus, I'm fairly sure that they get some money just for being on the show, which is obviously a plus.

The problem? You spend all this time saying "these people have been hurt by the job losses that have affected so many of us, but fear not! For The Donald can save them." You let them tell you how being unable to find work for months has really damaged their sense of self-worth. About the things they and their families have had to give up. And then, one by one, you fire them.

I will admit, I haven't ever seen the show, so I can't really speak to what sort of benefits and opportunities are made available to the contestants over the course of the season's run - maybe there's enough  to make just going on the show worthwhile, even if you don't win. Barring that, you're just taking a bunch of stressed out people, dangling a job in front of them, and then snatching it away on national television. Which doesn't sound nearly as heartwarming as the promos make it out to be.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Compulsive is ...actually probably a fair description

This requires a bit of set-up (most of my stories do).

On Blogger, you can add blogs to your reader just by typing in the URL. Every time one of these blogs has an update, it shows up on your blogger main page. Then you just click through.

At some point, probably a few weeks ago, Blogger added all of the blogs I've been following (of which there are several) to my Google Reader. So when I discovered Google Reader today it said that I had 340 updated entries that I'd yet to read.

At this point I need to clarify a few things.

1. I've already read all of those blog posts through my reader on the Blogger home page.
2. I'll probably never use Google Reader again because it puts the entire entry right in front of you, whereas on the Blogger page you just get the opening paragraph, and then you click through to the person's website. I like clicking through. It makes me feel like I'm contributing to...I don't know what. Something, though.
3. And, on a less crazy note, you get to see the actual set-up of the person's blog. On the reader, it's just a plain white background.

I say all this so that you'll understand that when I spent half an hour (the internet here is slow. Like, your dial-up modem from tenth grade, slow) trying to scroll through Every Single One of the entries it claimed I hadn't read, the only reason was that the thought that big, bold number of "new" entries would have haunted me all day.

And then, when I'd gotten through 280 of the 340 entries I noticed the "mark all as read" button.
So now that will haunt me instead.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just when I think I'm out....

Last season, I quit watching America's Next Top Model. Or maybe it was the cycle before that. I have no idea. But it doesn't matter because the show airs so continuously that it's all starting to bleed together. And because it didn't last. By the end of the cycle, I was back in front of the TV, shouting that the girl with the shitty runway walk should have been cut weeks ago, and accepting "smize" as a word.

This cycle, though, was going to be different. We'd moved, so we had a new DVR which meant ANTM we no longer set to record. So I could just not record it, and that would be that. And that's exactly what I did.

Until 7:30 last night, when I decided I had to check it out. After all, this season's prizes include a spread in Vogue Italia, plus the cover of the beauty supplement (is that prestigious? I never pay much attention to supplemental sections - to me it sounds like the equivalent of saying "the cover of the fall catalog for Italian JC Penney"). Plus I think that Cover Girl isn't on the prize list anymore. Which could mean the end of the super-awkward Cover Girl product placement. So I watched it. And, to be honest, I was kind of dissapointed.

It wasn't the models - there was one girl who seems really talented, and one who really seems to know the industry. Plus they cut the two girls who brought major drama (the "counter-culture" girl that everyone called fake and the girl said she was glad not to have a black roommate. Seriously. She said this. She said it was just poor word choice but...damn, girl). Everyone knows that big stupid drama will come into to play pretty early anyway - when they put in girls who already have enemies by the end of day one, it feels too forced. Anyway, other than that they filled all of their other categories: the manipulator, the sweetheart, the struggling single mom, the girl who's socially awkward. Plus, almost everyone seemed to have long hair, so there's sure to be some tears come makeover time, when Tyra shaves all of them bald and dips their heads in bleach (as she is wont to do).

The problem was, whither the crazy? Suddenly, the show is trying to skew high-fashion, and the casting episode - usually the height of Tyra's Tyra-centric craziness - was largely gimmick free. No Tyra-bot from the future. No Tyra's School For Girls. No random Greek Goddess theme. No Tyra's ridiculously bad French accent for her Mean Model character. Nothing. There was a moment of lip service to it, when Tyra dressed in a private school uniform to introduce a montage about modeling.By which I mean, a montage about Tyra. Photos of Tyra as a kid. Photos of Tyra modeling. Video of Tyra - a full-grown woman - dressed like an eleven-year-old, and acting out her own childhood experiences.

This was a good start, right? Maybe the theme would be "Tyra through the years", and the girls would be forced to turn Tyra's baby pictures into fierce model poses. But no. Just "this year we've grouped you. Into groups. Of people that agents might group you with." Look, I get it. You can't be a crazy CW carnival and a respectable high-fashion gauntlet at the same time. But couldn't you try? Because it's not like one week of (relative) austerity is enough to make everyone forget the year Ms. Jay added a new giant ruffle to his collar for every girl eliminated. Just own your crazy, people.

But it was only one week, so I'm still holding out hope.. Maybe by the time we get to makeover week, Tyra will explain everything in a high voice while wearing a tiara and a big ball gown.

Oh wait, I think she already did that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Full Day of Crazy

What did you do over Labor Day weekend? Grill? Visit family?

Me? I watched Snapped. For like, a day. With some Daria (I love you, Logo - you give us Daria, Buffy, and RuPaul) and a little really inept yoga thrown it. But yeah, mostly Snapped.

Have you ever seen Snapped? It's amazing. Every single episode is about some woman who snaps (I love an informative title, don't you?) and kills her husband, or boyfriend or...actually it's usually one of those. Oxygen airs it in basically day-long marathons every Sunday, and it's completely genius because once you start they have you for the entire day. You're barely done hearing about the verdict that left a community reeling when a 15-year-old killed her parents and they've already moved on to telling you that this quaint home in small-town Texas might seem like a dream...but for the Hall family, it was about to turn into a suburban nightmare. It's like Dateline without the gravitas. I don't know that I've ever come across Snapped without watching at least three episodes. Sunday I watched four. And DVRed 3. I watched part of one while getting ready for work this morning.

I kind of have a problem.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

For your Consideration

Something to contemplate over the long weekend:
+ = ?

Am I totally imagining this, or do you see it?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My current obsession

I don't play ukulele, but I would totally learn, if it'd be on one of these:
Both of these completely awesome ukulele's are from Etsy seller Celentano Woodworks.
I want them sooo badly. But, as I barely (read: never) play my $30 bongos, a ukulele that costs the same as 2 months of grocery money is probably out of the question for now.

But man, if it weren't, this would be the coolest thing that I ever bought with good intentions and then gradually grew distracted from. And that's a pretty competitive category in my life. 

Just as a note: this is not a sponsored post. I have no affiliation with  Celentano Woodworks, and I'm not being given anything to plug their shop.