Saturday, July 31, 2004 · posted at 11:38 AM
You brought it upon yourself' It's come to my attention that I will probably be writing about Big Brother 5 a lot this summer. The only standing appointments in my makeshift Palm Pilot are Tuesdays at 9, Thursdays at 8, and Saturdays at 9. Everything else revolves around those 3 hours.

Nothing elevates my blood pressure more than bully Jase making Adria bawl, or bully Jase making Will bawl, or bully Jase making Drew bawl. Do you sense the trend here? Jase is the guy you walk tiptoes around because you fear pissing him off. Jase is the guy that you have no loyalty to, but would end up sacrificing your friend’s wellbeing for because standing up to him seems too daunting a task and the short term wrath you'd encounter is a powerful enough punishment to avoid that behavior (negative reinforcement). Jase is the reason you ask, "Who's going?" before giving a commitment to any social event.

Gawd, I hate that guy and everything he represents.

Scott, despite his compulsive lying ("I have a black Escalade," "I make $750,000 a year as a professional football player. "I have a trading card." "It's my birthday"), is probably decent by himself, but feeds off an evil incarnate like Jase.

The line, "you will spend your lives trying to figure out how to put others down because it makes you feel more important," never applied more than now.

Part of me wavers at being so hateful. Yes there was the whole "I hate Jen" thing back in high school (although she later ended up being my favorite character on Dawson’s Creek) and the "We hate Lauren" club when she became pregnant with Ben's baby. But it seemed more benign because they were all characters on shows - not real people.

But are the people on reality shows really real? With a little creative editing and casting, you can have a blow job in the woods, a bachelor looking for true love, and a high school reunion for people from different classes.

Maybe Jase is only an ass 1% of the time' but that 1% is the only "Jase" we know. Do I feel badly about talking so much crap about a guy I don’t even know? I don't, because anyone who applies up for a reality show knows 1)You will be taped 24/7 and 2)You have no control over editing and hell yeah the producers are going to edit themselves some good ratings.

Basically, if you go on a reality show and come out of it looking like a total Schmoe, don't look here for sympathy. You lost mine the minute you signed your name on the dotted line.

Thursday, July 29, 2004 · posted at 4:56 AM
Not your Orwellian drama. The lemonade is squeezed, the sunblock has been slathered, and the pools are chlorinated. All signs are go that it is, indeed, summer. So what does that mean? Playing hooky from work? Indulging in those oh so guilty pleasures? Lots of fun in the sun? Yes and no, because my summer guilty pleasure involves sitting myself on the couch every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to watch the latest installment of Big Brother 5.

Every summer (save the first one) I get lured into the "reality" drama in which 13 houseguests are confined to the Big Brother house (read: an elaborate set on CBS’ backlot) and evict, by majority vote, one houseguest each week until there is one $500,000 winner.

Chuck Klosterman be damned, this is an addictive show even without a soundtrack and with inane competitions that require a cowboy getting dressed up as a lime and sliding into a huge margarita.

Who can forget Marcellas' gnome Boo? Or the twist in last season's X-factor (the exes of 5 of the houseguests move in)? And of course, the Evil Doctor's final speech blasting his houseguests:
When we came in this house that first night, it was all smiles. Everyone held up a glass, we put some champagne in it and we had a toast for the establishment of friendship on firmer and more lasting basis. Did you all do that? Look around the room. You all need to learn to love each other and we all need to learn to get along better.
And he still won. As deceptive and manipulative as he was, Will was the most honest and upfront about his character, or lack thereof, upon entrance to the house - and we loved him for it, him and his infamous board shorts.

This year's "lure"? The recent college graduate from Ohio, Drew. Drew can make a Hanes sweatshirt look good. Hell, he can even get away with mandals - and if that's not an amazing feat, I don't know what is! Fellow houseguest Diane said if confronted between picking between $500 thousand and Drew, she chose the latter. $500 thousand! Drew - you're worth more than Kevin Federline!

And as with all shows, every cute, endearing corn-fed Midwestern has an obnoxious (usually Californian) foil. Big Brother 5 has three of these: Tweedledee (Jase), Tweedledumber (Scott), and Tweedleblonde (Holly).

After Drew's nomination ceremony, Scott called Drew stupid. Excuse me? Scott - you spelled CHEESE wrong (C-H-E-E-S-S-E)! You tried to win "steak" in the food competition after "beef" had already been picked. And you hit on your best bud's cuddle buddy in the presence of one of your alliance members AND within earshot of your best bud. You didn't know the meaning of the word "confide" AND you wear a tube top headband! You sir, are hardly in the position to call anyone stupid.

And Holly? With a voice like Brittany, speech punctuated by "like" and "I don't know," and the bimbo trademark of hair twirling, Holly simply CANNOT be for real. I keep expecting her to go into the diary room and speak at a reasonable decibel and laugh because she sure pulled the wool over everyone's eyes. It must take a remarkable amount of effort to remain that clueless. "I'm not, like, some kind of mastermind," Holly pleads to Drew. Indeed, you may know more than we realized!

Jase, Scott and Holly sit around and talk about how being good-looking is a curse. Each whines about how no one takes them seriously, no one listens, all the while, not listening to each other. Sample dialogue:
Jase: No one listens to me...
Holly: It's like, just because I'm good-looking, what I say isn't important...
Jase: And I can't stand that no one listens to me just because I'm hot...
Holly: But really, I'm a person with feelings, and thoughts, so you should respect me too...
Scott: My body is a temple so I don't eat any pork products. I only eat bacon, ham, rump roast and ribs.

So no, in their cases, being good looking (and even this is debatable) doesn't make them cursed, just incredibly self-centered.

But really, the biggest question isn't "Is Drew's twin identical and equally hot?" or "How much peanut butter and jelly can one person stand?" It's "Why the hell do I watch?" There are enough people in my real life who I can't avoid and irritate me to no ends... why do I willingly bring these annoying characters into my sanctuary, my house, my couch, via the terebi?

Perhaps the BB5 Three Dumb Clucks aren't the only D-U-M ones.


Monday, July 26, 2004 · posted at 12:59 PM
Action up!

Making a movie is really just a lot of sweaty people stuck in a small space together, complaining to each other.
      - Renata, script supervisor

If that's the case, I'm a perfect fit. Well the complaining part, not so much the sweaty sardines part.

Sunday was the latest episode in my off-Hollywood career (see casting, extra) thanks to Karen and her actor/producer/director/writer friend Justin. My job duty? Craft services. Sounds fun, no? Martha Stewart-esque? Actually it means rolling up cuts of deli meat and fanning crackers and cheese across a platter. Kraft TM services is what they really mean.

Not that I'm complaining. Sitting in craft services allowed us many luxuries:
  1. proximity to food
  2. distance from sweaty sardines
  3. and most importantly of all, perfect viewing distance of scene 32, in which "boy meets boy."
Newcomer (oh who am I kidding, they are all "newcomers" unless you count titles like "Kisses and Carom" as breakout roles) Nick as the mysterious, "trouble with a capital T" Jordan is a perfect match.

Forget the sweaty sardines, call the health department this guy is definitely a fire hazard. This is a guy who can fluster a girl by making eye contact and appreciating the artistic arrangement of Kirkland foods ("Wow this is a nice spread"). When he turned to me and asked, "Is there water in there?" I had only one thought - and it went to the tune of "boom-chicka-wow-wow."

Oh and the giddiness "Charlie" shows when Nick asks if he wants some company? Yeah, sorry Jos�, but I don't think that was acting.

The saga continues Sunday. I wonder what's next? Clapboard holding? Gaffing? Gripping? Perhaps playing a didgeridoo? A banshee can only dream.

Sunday, July 25, 2004 · posted at 12:33 PM
Surely you jest. It's odd for me to think of parents as people. I found an old photo album once that had pictures of my parents as twentysomethings. I think they were with friends hanging out at the beach or some other nature-y setting. There may have even been a beer bottle in the picture. I can't fathom the idea of my parents being carefree young adults... you mean they didn't just start their lives as stressed-out, responsible thirtysomethings?

I've never been one to really relate to my parents. My suitemate in college was constantly attached to the phone chatting with her mother. Like EVERY day, sometimes more than once a day depending on whether she had had a midterm that day, talked to the cute boy down the hall, or just wanted to share that she ate chicken nuggets for dinner. Needless to say, I was shocked. What the hell was going on? Is this that urban legend I'd always heard about? People... actually able to communicate with their parents. What a novel idea.

Don't get me wrong, I love my parents and all that jazz. I just never thought your parents were supposed to be your friends. It's always been difficult to talk with my parents. Oh yes, I have been talked TO plenty of times, but I'm talking about an interaction where both parties are able to speak and be heard.

One problem talking with my dad is that he's hard of hearing and every conversation is a funneling of the ear and then nodding, regardless of the question. For example, if I asked, "What do you think of the Terminator as governor?" he'll say "Ohhh" and then nod. Hrmm? Maybe this hard of hearing thing is genetic (or generic as my parents might say) because I often find myself not hearing a question/statement/blatant insult and smiling and nodding. What? Whhaat? Okay! Ye-ah!

And my mom.. it's just hard to connect with my mom - I mean, the woman doesn't even think Brad Pitt is hot! Clearly this is not a reasonable woman.

Aside from that, it's just hard to talk to her. Her dialogue is more along the lines of "these potatoes are so creamy. Mary mashed them" than anything serious. Usually I'm just the warm body in the room sitting through her detailed theories on topics such as why the neighbor's dog is barking, why the People magazine didn't come in the mail, and why I never developed a full rack.

Something incredible happened when I went home a few weekends ago. I spent 4 hours alone with my dad (and his hearing aid) - and neither of us experienced homicidal or suicidal ("just shoot me now") thoughts. More over, it was enjoyable yet enlightening:

Signs your parents don't know you:
I asked my dad if he wanted grandkids and he was like "Oh I don't care. Is no difference to me," which is a refreshing change from my mom's mantra that "Two is better than one and everybody has to get married." Then he asked, "Why, do you have one?"

Now it's not like I see my parents once in a blue moon. I go home at least once a month, so it's not like I could have popped one out in between visits. I wondered if maybe he had gotten his words mixed up and meant to ask, "Why, are you having one?" but even that is not much better because if I was, I certainly would not tell him while sitting a traffic light on the way to Marukai.

Signs you don't know your parents:
I mentioned that I was going to a baby shower and my dad asked if the mom-to-be was married (she's not) and my dad responded with, "That's okay." Huh? What? My dad is okay with the idea of wedlock and premarital sex? This is as shocking as when he told me that how much money you make is not as important as finding a job/lifestyle that makes you happy. I'd heard that a side effect of my dad's thyroid medications is elevated mood, but wow!

Signs you have more in common with your parents than previously thought:
My dad has discovered the internet. I knew that he loves Sina.com and even has an e-mail account, but he's even discovered the wonderful world of registries - which he thinks is the best thing since sliced bread. "They just make a list of what they want and you pick one. So easy!"

My dad turned to me and asked, "Do you want to go to Tuesday Morning? Do you know what it is?" DO I? Tuesday Morning, where all the pots, pans, and assorted cookery in the kitchen came from? Tuesday Morning, whose mailer I would get so excited over? Tuesday Morning, where my roommate and I would drag ourselves at 7 in the morning for their sale events?

Dad - you are your daughter's father.

Happy Parents' Day.

Friday, July 23, 2004 · posted at 1:08 PM
The one with the boobies. Galvez has a theory that fun girls have big nipples. I love debates like this. Not because it's easy to poke holes in blanket statements and generalizations, but because it's fun to see a bunch of people running around holding dirty subway change up against their pecular regions.

Now the original claim had several problems, mostly with terminology. "Big" was operationalized to quarter-sized or larger and "nipple" was extended to nippular areas (the actual nipple and areola) although it will be referred to as nipple only. "Fun" is never defined. When I think of fun, I think of good times, which is also ambiguous because there's "life-of-the-party-good-time" and then there's "she was a good time (wink wink, nudge nudge)."

But the biggest problem with this claim is... it's just wrong.

Quarter-size is not that big. I feel like it's probably average or normal sized (of course the sample I am using consists of myself, photographs from McCall's articles like "Do I have breast cancer? When to worry" and any actress who has filmed a topless scene - not exactly representative of the population as a whole). I think that most girls probably meet the big nipple criteria and the bar's gotta be raised higher - half-dollar size perhaps?

In all likelihood, your ends are probably proportional to your overall breast size. Imagine a Snapple cap sitting atop a 34A breast versus atop a 40DD. The former is not how nature intended.

Also, nipples have the oh so fun ability to change over time. Aside from child-bearing and the whole milk-production that ensues, there is also that pesky "friend of the month" that causes soreness and sensitivity along with swelling of areas.. or areolas. And let me ask you, are females really more "fun" around this time of the month? Doubtful.

That conversation just left me with a bad taste in my mouth - I desired to have big nipples so I could be "fun." I don't want big nipples! I mean not what I consider "big" anyway. See, there's quarter-size and then there's quarter of. Huge difference. Aesthetically, you just want everything to be proportionate (and since I'm screwed on this count in the size department, I feel owed in other departments). My personal preference is just not to have anything larger than my current non-menstruating state.

I can't believe I researched this... and then wrote about it. Time to go lock myself in a padded room - with a dime, quarter and half-dollar.
____________________

Author's note: The intention of this entry is not to offend anyone who is nippularly endowed. It's all about preference! And I've stated this earlier. This may not need to be explicitly stated, but Princess Diaries didn't issue any kind of disclaimer and a curly-haired organization issued a boycott.

Thursday, July 22, 2004 · posted at 11:46 PM
Author's note: Some programs are required to have educational messages within each show (e.g. Captain Planet's environmentally friendly tip and assertion that "The power is yours!"). In the same way, I feel obligated to occasionally offer up some intellectual fodder. This is it. Wrinkle brain, wrinkle!

Malapropianistic

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures


The English language just begs for errors and the misuse of words. Some such as saying "I feel nauseous" instead of "I feel nauseated" are less heinous than, for example, using "should of" when you should HAVE said "should have" or basically anything Bush has to say.

One of the blunders that seems to have penetrated to pop culture media is the misuse of the word "irony."

In Alanis Morrisette's chart-topper, "Ironic," she laments on just really bad luck (e.g. black fly in your Chardonnay, rain on your wedding day) and slaps on the "ironic" label. Fallacy, I cry.

In Reality Bites, Troy calls irony, "when the actual meaning is the complete opposite of the literal meaning." Director Ben Stiller and screenwriter Helen Childress are quick to comment that this is, in fact, sarcasm.

The actual dictionary definition of irony is:
the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony c : an ironic expression or utterance

incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result

Mo Rocca had this to say during VH1's "I Love the 90's" series:
Irony is the disparity between what you expect will happen, and what does happen. So raining on your wedding day isn't ironic, it's just crappy. It would have been ironic if she had lived in a place like Seattle, and traveled to the desert of Mexico for a wedding and it ended up raining there, but not in Seattle.

Alanis always gets the last laugh though. We all sit here, saying her song isn't ironic, but in fact, that's pretty ironic that she wrote a song called Ironic that wasn't really ironic. Those Canadians are pretty crafty.

The more you know, the more you grow. And yes this will be on the test.
____________________

Author's note: Technology has made the world much smaller and can be extremely humbling. Via the internet, you discover there are many, many funny and witty writers and creative people living out your pipe dreams. It's the whole big fish/little fish thing. For example, I thought I was being novel and profound in thinking of the misuses of irony, but really, the likelihood for every situation is that there exists someone else who did it first and did it better than you.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004 · posted at 11:23 PM
Blind leading the blind. What do you do when instructions defy logic? Example (and totally hypothetical of course): You're leaving a store. The label on the door says "PULL." To enter the store, you pulled, and there are those huge security sensors blocking the inward swing of the doors, so reasonably, the correct behavior to exhibit would be to PUSH.

*CLANG*

I pulled.

I'd like to say it was a natural reaction or subconscious action, but really, I saw the PULL, thought "Huh that doesn't make sense," and then pulled anyway. Why?

In the movie Anchorman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) will read anything on a Teleprompter, including, "Go f*** yourself San Diego." A similar thing happens in Reality Bites when Grant Gubler (John Mahoney) delares himself a young girl-loving prick on his morning talk show. And we all get a chuckle from it, not realizing we may do the same exact thing.

There's book smart and then there's street smart - neither of which I have. But there is a tendency for me to lean towards the bookish end. There's a certain laziness component to this way of living - if I run on autopilot it eliminates the need to think for myself.

See the thing is, I run around confused like, all the f***ing time. My first instinct is always to think that other people (such as the people who install doors) in the world know better than I do. This clearly is not the case as I watched several other people "clang" as well.

There'something sweetly satisfying about the sound of the hard clang of other people's confusion.

Monday, July 19, 2004 · posted at 4:01 AM
Dress your family in corduroy and denim. Guys often wonder why it takes girls so long to get dressed. Personally, my fashion style of no makeup and “t-shirt and jeans” isn’t especially time-consuming, but I can see the conundrums other females may face when picking out what to wear, so let me break it down for you.

Getting dressed is much more complicated than most men realize. It’s not just putting on clothes; it’s a multi-step process where each choice leads you to a different set of choices. Think “Choose Your Own Adventure” where the setting is your wardrobe.

Sure we could just throw on whatever… but this is why male fashion disasters like tight shirts, Dickies slacks and bright white tennis shoes occur. While each piece is acceptable (well maybe not the tight shirt) as a separate entity – the whole is so much more important than the sum of the parts.

Prep work.

Dressing really starts in the shower (which for some people, can be the night before said dressing). In the shower you encounter the first dilemma – to shave or not to shave. And if to shave, how much to shave. As Karen so eloquently asked, “How about I just shave my ankles and wear those cropped pants from AE?” The hairlessness of your parts is an integral decision factor in what you wear.

Underwear.

To floss or not to floss? From a style standpoint, the thong will almost always win. Whether paired with a pair of tight pants or looser fit bottoms, the thong will work, whereas the low-cut bikini from Victoria’s Secret will only be able to work with the jeans or other non-constricting items. However from a comfort standpoint, you don’t want to wear the thong unless you absolutely must. The thong is your last resort in the underwear world and damned if I’ll wear it when I don’t need to. Also if you’re wearing a breezy skirt, you don’t want to wear a thong if there’s any chance the weather will also get breezy (unless you are into Marilyn Monroe exhibition).

Also, there is the whole issue of A, B, or C underwear depending on your situation. And if your friend of the month is coming, you most definitely will not be flossing and relegated to the world of C panties (read: Costco granny panties, can pull them up to your waist).

Brassiere.

Nude or other. Strapless, halter, cleavage inducing. These are all things you need to consider.

The nude bra is the thong of bras in its versatility and benefits. Colorwise, it’s a “most win” situation whether you’re wearing a tight, white shirt or an opaque black shirt. However, one is supposed to “rest” their bra for 24 hours after use to let the elastic recover. Thus, if you had only one nude bra, you would need to plan strategically. Also, some women feel the need to be lingerie model like and wear matching underwear. My take is that no one’s going to be seeing it anyway (barring an emergency room trip due to a heel stuck in the ground and a runaway dumpster), but I’m just throwing out the possibilities.

The cut of the bra can be of equal importance as the color. Strapless bras are useless from a comfort standpoint and for a small-figured girl, not enhancing or flattering. However, if you, for whatever reason (tanning, picking up guys at club, mocking a friend’s girl, etc.), are wearing a tube top or other similar garment, the strapless is a must. If you are adorning yourself in a halter top or racerback shirt, you could wear the strapless, but the better choice would be to wear the matching halter or racerback bra. Lastly, if you are wearing a v-neck or low-cut shirt and are lacking in the bosom department, a push-up Wonderbra-esque undergarment is essential. While it may seem that a bustmaker bra is always the appropriate decision, this can cause an unnatural and unflattering look (think Topanga) beneath normal shirts.

Colors and textiles.

Of course you must always consider the season when dressing. Certain colors can only be worn during particular times of the year. Beyond the “no white after Labor Day” rule, warm colors and neutrals like brown belong to the fall season whereas pastels and brights rule spring and summer.

In the same manner, textiles are limited to seasons as well. Knit zip-ups need to be replaced with terry or cotton in the warmer seasons, wool is a winter only commodity, linen for summer, etc.

Even in a uni-seasonal climate such as California, these rules apply.

Shorts, skirts, and pants.

Shorts. I’m not even going to go into shorts because I think there is an insignificant percent of the population who should be wearing shorts as street clothes.

Skirts. Length has a close relationship with choice of top and amount of hairlessness. Tightness has a dependent relationship on underwear and amount of time spent at the gym. Gustiness and expected activity also affects choice (e.g. pool hall + short skirt = bad idea).

Pants. Pants are closely associated with the next category – shoes. Most girls own pants of multiple lengths. Beyond the capris and cropped pants, there are jeans and pants that bear perfect inseams and jeans and pants that need additional height help. Sure, one could get all their pants altered, but there is the risk of flooding, desire to look longer, and necessity of longer inseams when wearing tall shoes.

Shoes.

Comfort wise, sneakers will always win. Alas, sneakers don’t look professional with your BR slacks and may not give enough lift when wearing too-long pants. You want to conserve your shoes of neck-breaking height for 1) activities where there is little risk of breaking your neck and 2) situations where you will not be spending an extended amount of time actually on your feet when they’re crammed at a 45 degree angle. Ugly shoes, often synonymous with comfortable shoes, must be worn with pants long enough to hide the ugliness. And when hitting the town, one must always wear the “F*** me” boots.

Purses.

Although it’s no longer the case that one’s belt, shoes, and purse must always match, a purse has the ability to make or break an outfit. Things to consider when choosing a purse: function (location and activity), ease of transference (moving wallet, gum, lip gloss, and other necessities), size (how much do you need to hold), audience (who are you trying to impress), and mobility (how often are you going to be digging around in your purse, aka strap length).

Accessories.

Your accessories (jewelry, hats, scarves, etc.) need to complement your outfit, not clash with it. Jewelry is especially dependent upon the neckline of the top and needs to be changed accordingly.

Hair, makeup.

These are additional factors that are often considered. I, however, have little knowledge in either, thus cannot delve into this category.

Conclusion.

Getting dressed is not a linear relationship, but falls more to the behavioral ecological model where there are different interlocked contingencies. When one aspect changes, other factors are affected as well.

And at any point, of course you can go back and change your decision, but that just means you need to revisit all the other categories based on your new choice.
There is so much decision making in each step of the process. If you wear the nude bra today, you can wear the white shirt, but that means you’ll be unable to wear the nude bra with your sheer-ish shirt tomorrow when you’re meeting the guy you have a crush on. A big difference in the approach to dress between guys and girls is that the XXs consciously think about the different ramifications of different decisions, whereas the XYs just forge ahead and deal with each situation as it comes.

Some might say that the XXs need to chill and not control everything. To them I say, but which gender is the more attractive and better looking?

Always late, but worth the wait.

Friday, July 16, 2004 · posted at 7:37 AM
Excuse me, but my Rorschach blot has wrinkles.

Have you ever noticed that some years have themes predominantly running through them? Not so much a general Chinese zodiac “Year of the Monkey” thing, but more personalized such as 2003 was the “Year of Bad Hair” or 2001 was the “Year of Bad Dates” followed by 2002’s “Year of the Dry Spell.”

2004 is shaping up to be “Year of Feeling Old.”

At first, I thought I was safe. Tv and pop culture are anti-aging serums and I consume both on a regular basis. I watch Gilmore Girls and fast forward through scenes with the mother because I don’t relate. I have a job and though I’ve given in to the financial practicalities of bringing my lunch rather than buying, I choose to brownbag or plastic bag it rather than endorse the insulated coolers that are recommended by 4 out of 5 Soccer Moms.

I had my 23rd birthday this year, which is not a scary landmark birthday at all. Except that Jessica Simpson said, “23 is old. It’s like almost 25, which is like, almost mid twenties” – and you know Jessica is never wrong with her pearls of wisdom.

Slowly but surely the signs started popping up.

One of the kids I work with asked me if I had any kids who collect Digimon cards. I still get carded at rated-R movies... do I really look old enough to have kids, much less ones with the cognitive ability to strategize and calculate attack points?!

Marc Sommers, host of Double Dare and king of sliming, now hosts “Food Unwrapped.” MacGyver is on TVLand, the 24/7 Nick at Nite channel (Family Ties is also on Nick at Nite, but the transition was much more subtle). Times they are a changing.

I opened up Us Weekly and they had a spread on celebrity birthdays. Guess who’s turning thirty this year?
  • Tiffany Amber Thiessen. Of “Saved by the Bell” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” Who didn’t want to be Kelly Kapowski growing up?
  • Mark Paul Gosselaar. Also of “Saved by the Bell” fame. Huge part of my formative years, casting expectations for crazy adventures, hangouts like The Max, and lockers so big you could fit a Screech in there.
  • A.J. Langer. First seen on the bus in the museum episode of “The Wonder Years” and then again in “My So-Called Life,” another religiously watched and loved show.
  • Devon Odessa. See above.
  • Leonard diCaprio. I first knew and loved him as orphan Luke on “Growing Pains”
  • David Faustino. Son of the disgruntled women’s shoe salesman on “Married...with Children.”
  • Jerry O’Connell. Teenage superhero with a secret identity.
  • Donald Faison. Beverly Hills “Clueless” sidekick.
  • Elisa Donovan. See above.

All these actors who played characters I grew up with as a child, prepubescent and teenager are starting their 4th decade of life. This means I’m not too far behind. And these are only the ones who are turning thirty – there must be scores of influential actors who are beyond 30, 35 now.
Because of Vh1’s “I Love the 90’s” series, memories that seemed “just yesterday” are proven to be 10, 15 years ago.

I’ve uttered phrases such as “kids these days” and “those crazy kids.” I look at some of the fashions in the stores and beeline right to the t-shirt and polo section. I invest in my company’s 403(b). My body creaks. I’ve gone to sleep at 10 o’clock. I’ve discussed ad nauseam how to determine whether one is still “with it” which is clearly an indication that one is no longer with it (see Simpsons episode Homerpalooza).

And I’ve clearly grown out of denial.

Moment of silence for my youth, please.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004 · posted at 9:00 PM
Child's play. I’m not sure I quite understand the logic behind piñatas. Piñatas (for anyone who has never been to a child's birthday party) are papier mache sculptures that come in all sizes, shapes and forms. They're filled with candies, toys, and other fun things - contrary to my mom's initial belief. The object of the game is to have blindfolded kids hit the piñata until it breaks and the contents spill out.

There are multiple problems I have with this, starting with safety hazards:
  1. You have a kid running around with a baseball bat or stick
  2. The kid with the makeshift weapon can’t see where he’s swinging that thing!
  3. A piñata is made of paper and wire, but all I see is a mass of lacerations and tetanus shots.
Additional issues include:
  1. Level of difficulty. It’s hard to break a piñata! An adult usually needs to deliver the final blow, or “soften” it up before the kids have at it.
  2. Personal grudge. I never could hit the damned thing.
But the main problem I have is that piñatas are usually for birthday parties. Birthday parties are usually themed to whatever hypertrend kids are into – Pokemon, Power Rangers, Blue’s Clues, Lion King, etc. This means you have a piñata in the form of whatever character the kid absolutely loves. Aside from the trauma of seeing someone “stuffing,” say, a Nemo piñata via strategically placed holes, now the child is expected to bash Nemo’s head open? And out of this violent act the children are rewarded with candy and fun things?

Shouldn’t these things be designed either neutral or something the child doesn’t like, like the evil villain or Brussels sprouts or something?

Something’s not right with this picture.
____________________

On the same note, I don’t understand why some hackey sacks are designed with happy faces or popular characters or inspirational messages.

Jesus loves you. WHACK!

Sunday, July 11, 2004 · posted at 2:37 PM
The bag of chips.

VH1's "I Love the 90's" premieres on Monday. I think it's too soon and all too fresh, but hey I'm not the network CEO. The thing that made "I Love the 80's" and "I Love the 80's Strikes Back" so good was that, with the exception of the Chucks, all the trends and fads they talked about existed only in the recesses of my mind. When was the last time you used a shirt-tie, or wore acid-washed jeans? Jelly shoes? Watched the Goonies? These are true memories to reminisce over.

In comparison, some of the "I Love the 90's" trends are still commonplace nowaday - flared jeans, Eminem, Beverly Hills 90210 (weekends at 9am on FX).

As for the fads that aren't glaring in my face each day, if I ever need a time warp back to the 90's I can go back to my parents' house where a pair of Furbys (Do-do-doo, Do-do-doo) sit on a shelf and speak Furbish to their Ty Beanie Baby friends Goldie, Chop, and Quacks and the stereo is littered with Boyz II Men, Counting Crows, All-4-One, Mariah Carey, Cathy Dennis ("Too Many Walls"), Bryan Adams, Ace of Base, and Number 1 Hit compilations including Right Said Fred ("I'm Too Sexy"), Sir Mix-A-Lot ("Baby Got Back"), and The Heights ("How Do You Talk To An Angel"). There are Power Ranger toys stored away in boxes, rows of VHS movies like The Cutting Edge, Jurassic Park, Look Who's Talking, and Pretty Woman.

And my mom still insists on wearing old tees with fluorescents, flowers, and Save the River Dolphins emblazoned on them. Also crushed velvet shirts that are "still good, still good." And vocabulary? My parents are on an 8-year slang delay and have just recently started using terms such as "hang out" and "cool."

How can I miss something if it hasn’t even gone away?

So, do I really need "I Love the 90's" already? Not really - sometimes "I LIVE the 90's." But hey do I ever turn down an opportunity to talk pop culture and unfathomable trends we once subscribed to? You know where to find me come 9pm PT.
____________________

Author's Note: To prepare myself for this entry, I wore an *N Sync concert tee, flipped through old yearbooks to look at the poofy Roberta prom dresses, and listened to Wilson Phillips while using an Oregon Trail-enabled computer.


Saturday, July 10, 2004 · posted at 10:24 PM
Can’t I hold the boom mic? Karen's old roommmate made her tv debut on MTV's Your Face or Mine (yes, the same show that unsuccessfully recruited Mr. Lollipop). Afterward, there was much discussion about what the camera, likely equipped with a wide angle lens, does to a person aside from the notorious 10 pound gain.

Now Karen’s old roommate is a good-looking girl - a model/actress and ex-Abercrombie & Fitch employee.

But the audience was not kind (the premise of the show is for the "hot" contestants to guess who the audience thinks is hotter - with matchups such as John Stamos vs. Ethan Hawke. Uncle Jesse won by a landslide)- and neither was the camera.

Observations included:
1. She did this weird pursing of her mouth.
2. There was inadequate glossing of the lips (see above).
3. The shirt was not the most flattering in the midriff section.

Conclusion? "Man, if she looks like that on camera, normal people like us must look like trolls."

Flash Forward a few days.

Karen's writer/director/producer friend Justin (of "Justin and the gorgeous curly hair that's like touching a little piece of heaven") is shooting the party scene of the movie in the LBC. Enter extras: family, friends, friends of friends who were just hoping to watch (that's me!), and locals in the search for free booze.

Dress code? "O.C. frat party." Paul Frank tees a la Adam Brody? Uggs and a ruffled mini? Please, like I'm really going to deviate from the t-shirt and jeans attire.

We arrived 2 hours late after waiting for my indecisive ass to drive from SD, Kat's change of clothes from her planets and rockets "cast member" uniform, and MapQuest's erroneous "slight right" directions.

Sigh of relief when surveying the location and equipment. While there were heavy, expensive lights and cameras, there was not a green screen in sight. I didn’t want to go down the way Karen’s cousin did - literally.

Also, we got there just in time to miss most of the outdoor drunken party footage (score!). So while everyone but us "three girls" were filming outside, we got to chat with the director's mom, eat tacos, and listen to the blacklisted "actors" who were kicked off the set for 1.) being drunk instead of acting drunk, and 2.) being loud instead of pretending to be loud and doing a Britney Spears. I can see how Hollywood is a very mixed-up business indeed.

I watched a guy and a girl on the outskirts of the crowd. They talked for a minute, did the arm-brush "that's too funny" laugh, walked toward the door, paused on the patio and the girl started rubbing her eye, the guy looks at her eye, and then they enter the house. I was amazed. Wow, this couple even had their own little quirks for their characters. They knew what their motivation was. Then the girl made a beeline for the bathroom, away from the cameras. Oh wait, that's not acting. No wonder it looked so real.

These are the instructions for being an extra: Do what you would do at a party. Umm, I dunno, stare at a punch bowl? It's so weird when you know there's a camera and it could potentially catch you, like, adjusting your bra or chewing on your lip or doing something equally unattractive that will be Memorexed forever.

Us Three Girls got to be in one "establishing shot" outside. What's an establishing shot? When the Director of Photography pairs you up with a gay guy you just met and you have to be engrossed in whatever he's lipsyncing. Or that's how I understood it anyway. Karen got paired with this guy who was Chauncey height. Get that girl an apple box!

Some of these movements were so calculated. Kat's "guy" grabbed her arm and made a complete circuit around the yard. I kept expecting a caller to shout out "do-si-do," "promenade your partner." Apparently it's neither of those - it's a "swipe."

I'm just glad we missed the tequila shot scene, which was executed sans shot glasses, substituting a lemon for lime wedge, and using a massive salt mill.

Instead, Justin wanted to use us in the hallway scene. What’s our motivation? “You’re in line for the bathroom, the guy in there is taking forever and you’re really, really annoyed. Can you look annoyed?”

Honey, annoyed and complaining is who we are.

Also the whole needing to go to the bathroom? Partially true. After hearing how one of the dogs (there were three very poignant dogs in the house who were always underfoot and barking at inopportune times) followed Karen into the bathroom and expected her to do her business as the dog looked on, I made the conscious decision to hold it for the duration of the night.

Time for the big spotlight scene and the camera is seriously a foot away from our faces. All I could think about was how I was in desperate need of oil blotting paper and how my chin looked like the “Before” picture of a Proactiv commercial, because when I looked into the camera’s viewfinder, I could see an incredible close-up of Kat’s forehead.

Looking around it was fairly easy to determine the actors from the fillers. The actors got really into it. Example, when instructed to ad lib, this girl started spouting off “Did anyone see him go in there? Oh my god, did he go in there with someone?” with a perfectly executed wide-eyed wonder.

The fillers on the other hand, were those who frequently had to be instructed to “sigh louder,” “grumble more,” and “stop looking at the floor.”

When we originally read the script, I’ll admit I had some doubts. On paper some of the lines seemed cheesy, and when we read the dialogue aloud it made it even worse. But maybe we didn’t do it justice because we’re not professionals.

Justin, however, is brilliant. He totally looked preoccupied and upset. I wanted to just reach out, hug him (and fondle his hair) and tell him it’d be all right.

I’m so excited to see the rest of it play out now although I have no desire to see myself on the camera... the pan across my "trying to look annoyed but probably coming off as constipated" face as Justin brushes past my too wide hips. Ugh.

I think I might hit 3 out of 3 of the “Your Face or Mine” observations and definitely prove the “troll hypothesis,” but hey at least I’ll show the world that not only pretty people can be in movies – ugly people can play 5 second extras in labor of love self-financed films.

So I’m officially an extra (will work for chicken tacos) and can add a film credit to my resume. Hollywood here I come? Umm not likely, but just in case, I’ve prepared my autograph already:

XOXO, Girl in Bathroom Line #3
____________________

For additional "Conrad Boys" coverage, visit: www.kyellow.blogspot.com. Look for more news at the end of July 2004.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004 · posted at 8:16 PM
Gobstopper

Going to the movies always brings certain questions to mind. What is the markup for a box of Sour Patch Kids? How come people can’t chew with their mouths closed? Why don’t they put more space between rows? Is anyone able to successfully use the reclining function of the seats? Who is the bastard who decided to show commercials prior to the trailers? Why does this movie suck so bad? And perhaps the most frequent of them all...

Why do people bring babies to the movies?

I firmly believe there are some places that babies just shouldn’t be allowed:
1. Balconies, specifically dangling over the railing of one
2. On the floor of my office, diaper-less
3. In any movie theater playing a film rated PG or beyond
I can understand that you might not trust a babysitter with your baby, you can’t find a babysitter willing to take your baby for the night (this is a red warning flag that this baby does not belong in a movie theater), or it’s been months since you’ve had any semblance of a normal Friday night, but really… stop thinking of yourself! You’re a parent damnit… and there is no “I” in parent

You know the audience is going to give you dirty looks no matter how cute your kid is. You know your kid is going to start crying during the good scenes. You know you’re going to miss the good scenes because you’ll have to bring your crying baby out of the theater because stray popcorn starts flying your way.

And that Marine whose head your baby is playing patty cake on? He might turn around and go postal on you or your young’un. You’re really playing a variation of Russian roulette.

Some might argue that movies can be visually and auditorily stimulating experiences for a young child. However, there is such a thing as overstimulation. There’s a reason that Dragon Tales, Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer aren’t presented in super Dolby Surround, THX “The audience is now listening” sound or with extreme cuts and edits. “Fruit Salad” isn’t slow-paced for Greg, Murray, Jeff or Anthony’s benefit.

And do you really want to stimulate your baby by subjecting them to a PG13-rated movie, especially one which features a scene involving projectile shards of glass? That kind of stuff sticks with a kid.

When Snow White was released on DVD a few years ago, my mom bought it as a memento. “I took you to see Snow White when you were just a baby.” She really didn’t need to tell me that - I had nightmares about the Evil Queen for the majority of my formative years. To this day I still can’t watch Snow White without a Pavlovian fear response.

Parents – don’t do it.

Save yourself the time of bundling up your baby and packing the 15-pound diaper bag containing disposables, wipes, toys, foods, changes of clothes, extra shoes and "your angry eyes just in case". Save yourself the frustration caused by the 10 minute stroller folding and babyseat strap-in. Save yourself the Andrew Jackson for a movie you’d only see 40% of anyway.

Save the audience the aggravation of not hearing what’s going on because of a piercing scream. Save the audience the distraction of infantile babbling, no matter how endearing. Save the audience the snack foods that would otherwise end up assaulting you.

But most importantly, save your baby’s precious innocence so she doesn’t end up a scarred, 23 year-old terrified of movie villains from days of yore.

Cost? Priceless.

The children! Won’t somebody please think of the children?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004 · posted at 11:02 PM
Jedi Mind Tricks

Spider-Man 2 broke opening day records by grossing $40.5 million at the box office on Wednesday. Moviegoers spent more than $115 million in ticket sales at the theaters this weekend. E! Online gave it an A-, TV Guide lends 4 out of 5 stars, even Entertainment Weekly gave it a rave review and an A! Quotes like “2002's Spider-Man was good bubble gum, but this movie is a Willie Wonka Everlasting Gobstopper” and “You can’t help but like the movie. The blending of action, humor, drama, angst and romance is as balanced as a high-wire performance” litter Rotten Tomatoes’ website which serves a very un-tomato score of 94%.

How could the masses be so wrong?

All my friends (all 2 of them) told me this was a good movie, “better than the first” and the summer “must see.” Damn you… I’m bitter.

Spider-Man 2 has seen more than its share of lawsuits, calamities and barriers including Marvel vs. Sony, Stan Lee vs. Marvel, and a benched Spidey (Coincidently, in the film, Spider-Man soars from the rooftop screaming, “I’m back, I’m back” then falls from the rooftop bemoaning, “My back, my back” for an easy chuckle from the audience).

I can’t even reiterate all the things that bothered me about the movie because my brain has a 10-gripe/subject memory limit and high blood pressure is never a good thing.

The dialogue is incredibly cheesy (what works in comics doesn't translate well to the silver screen), all the characters are unsympathetic, there’s a troubadour singing in a bad Asian accent, and don't even get me started on the laws of physics in the subway sequence.

Spider-Man is one of my favorite superheroes, and I really liked Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in the first movie. I liked the themes of self-identity, obligations and responsibility. However, what I don’t like is getting beat over the head with it in the sequel. Spider-Man 2 and all that heroism talk could potentially be a more dangerous drinking game than the Dynasty slap.

I watched in disbelief as the audience around me laughed, cried, oohh- and ahhed on command during the film. Had it been so long since I’d seen a good theater movie that I couldn’t even recognize one? Had the popcorn and soda machines been spiked with opiates? Had I suddenly stepped into a 19th century Hans Christian Anderson fairytale?

Not even the dashing James Franco wearing those incredible suits could redeem the movie.

So back to the question, How could the masses be so wrong?

I see three possible explanations:

1. They’re right and I’m wrong.
Evidence for:
    Numbers don’t lie. Spider-Man 2 played in 4,152 sites and accounted for 54% of ticket sales.
Evidence against:
    It was a really bad movie.

2. I’m a movie snob.
Evidence for:
    Armageddon, Con Air and Serendipity will never make my Top 5 list.
Evidence against:
    I am far from the film student/indie watcher who longs to sit through Tarkofsky’s Solaris

3. Cognitive dissonance
Evidence for:
    Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation.

Basically this means that people need their attitudes (thoughts) and behaviors (actions) to match and when they conflict with each other, people will usually change one in order to create harmony within themselves.

Behavior: Buying an expensive movie ticket (plus refreshments if you such desire) and spending 2+ hours waiting in line, sitting through commercials, and then watching the movie.
Attitude: This movie sucked.

This will create cognitive dissonance.

How does one reduce cognitive dissonance? In this case, the action (wasting the time and money) has already occurred and can’t be reversed. Thus, most people will change what they think.
Attitude: Everyone and their Aunt May liked it. I liked it.
Attitude: Well maybe the movie was lacking in some areas, but wow the special effects alone were worth it!
Attitude: It wasn’t as good as I hoped, but oh well, watching good movies isn’t important to me and it was only $10.
Behavior (expensive ticket) + Attitude (that movie was great!) = happy face

Evidence against:
    None?

So what of people who are angry, mad, or miserable? Clearly cognitive dissonance is not working on them. I may be biased, but I like to think of these people as capable of higher thinking and aware of the tricks of human nature, not so easily swayed by the characteristics of human beings that have been honed by survival of the fittest over so many years.

Go get ‘em Tiger.

Saturday, July 03, 2004 · posted at 12:31 PM
The problem with lies is that you build them up and elaborate them to such a point where you start believing them after awhile.

Friday, July 02, 2004 · posted at 4:18 PM
Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Kurt Cobain

I just finished watching the Reality Bites 10th Anniversary Edition DVD, complete with commentary from director Ben Stiller and screenwriter Helen Childress and several cutting room floor scenes.

Some greatness should just be left alone.

Reality Bites is the movie that single-handedly structured my post-baccalaureate expectations for life. "Hone your craft" and "don't sell out" the movie screamed to me. Don't abandon your art.

In the second to last scene of the movie, Winona Ryder is trying to catch a cab to the airport to be reunited with Ethan Hawke. She's wearing a sleeveless denim button-down shirt and khaki skirt and looking gorgeous, per usual. I remember I spent the first half of my junior high existence searching for a sleeveless denim button-down shirt and the second half proudly wearing such a coveted shirt.

The commentary and deleted scenes reveal that Lelaina was wearing the denim/khaki combination because she was working at the GAP... in the mall.

Lelaina, the impassioned documentarian and budding filmmaker. Lelaina, who refused retail when she lost her job and had a $406 phone bill from the Psychic Discovery Network. Lelaina, who'd like to somehow make a difference in people's lives. Lelaina, who was really going to be something by the age of 23.

What does it all mean?

The answer is simple. The answer is... I don't know.

· posted at 12:47 AM
Dear CHRISTINA,

Thank you for participating in the Metallica: Some Kind of Monster Advance Movie Screening Giveaway.

Congratulations! You are the lucky recipient of a free screening pass (good for you and one guest) to Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. Theater information and screening times will be included on your pass, which will be mailed to you shortly. Entertainment Weekly is happy to bring you this special screening.

Enjoy the movie!

Holley Cavanna
Consumer Marketing Director
Entertainment Weekly


Free prize inside.

Apparently, I am the proud owner of a free screening pass to "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster." YAY!

What the hell is "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster"?

I have a faint recollection of mindlessly clicking on the "Submit entry" button in the weekly EW giveaway e-mails, but really, who actually reads the rules and regulations, fine print, or even product information?

Actually I take it back. Some people must actually read these things and submit only to the giveaways they are genuinely interested in because those are usually the giveaways I'm interested in and I am never one of the "first 50." The only other EW contest I won was a "Nip/Tuck" screening giveaway, which is what, a ticket to your living room couch?

It always surprises me that I so willingly jump into these free giveaways because I'm very anti-gambling. I always wonder if a person is allotted a finite amount of luck to be used over the course of a lifetime. If this is the case, I would rather reserve my luck to be used against, say, a runaway ice cream truck than for a red 7 on the roulette table. My logic here confounds me because this is the kind of blind faith ("you shall be rewarded at the end of the journey," "work hard and ye shall reap") mentality I staunchly oppose. Perhaps everything changes because the addition of monetary means - afterall, I am my father's daughter.

"Free" and "sale" are four letter words that will empty my wallet far more than any FCC fine.

Basically I, and a large majority of this society, want something for nothing, even if I don't necessary want that something. You take the free cd you have no intention of listening to (sorry Gene), you eat the free samples of orange chicken at the mall even though you hate Panda Express, you grab the free radio station keychains that will ultimately garner dust on a bookshelf...

That being said, I'm off to contemplate tomorrow's agenda. Fashion Valley perhaps? Aren't there great 4th of July deals going on?

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