Tuesday, March 29, 2005 · posted at 9:04 PM The past is a foreign country. So as much as I love the red and white bulls eye symbol of Target, I was not always a Target girl. Before there was Target, after there was Gemco, there was FEDCO... and it was great.
Fedco was your neighborhood superstore. And by super, what I really mean is SUPER. Not only did it have your movies, clothes, toilet paper, toothpaste and over the counter medications, it also had a grocery store, optometry section, electronic booth, and knives counter (though I never actually saw anyone purchase anything from there, which was reassuring as an 11 year-old).
So for those of you lucky enough to grow up with Fedco (this may be just So Cal people), you may be fighting back tears right now. Fedco was a big thing. My best friend from elementary school even designated Thursday as "Fedco Night" - forsaking episodes of Friends and My So-Called Life to go errand-running each week. Often you'd run into friends and people you knew at Fedco - it was such the social scene.
My family went crazy at Fedco. I'm talking like walking out of there with 3-4 carts each time (if you do your math, that's one cart/family member, yours truly included. Imagine being 9 years old and steering a shopping cart you can't see over. Suffice it to say, my siblings and my mom have scar tissue covering the backs of their ankles from me always running into them).
Who needed Legos and spatial puzzles when you could practice your problem-solving skills trying to figure out how to fit the laundry detergent into/onto the cart without (1) disrupting the mountain of books, hair products, and paper towels or (2) contaminating the chicken, carrots and lettuce by placing within a 6-inch radius of the groceries?
Fedco also had an "every minor must be accompanied by an adult" rule that largely went ignored by its patrons and its employees. Still, I revelled in running around the store chaperone-less - afraid of getting caught, but feeling like I was doing something very rebellious. Couple that with slipping the "no you can't have that" items onto the conveyor belt behind Kleenex boxes and under towels at the check-out stand and you had one bad-ass 7th grader.
Additionally, Fedco was the wise sage - teaching us many lessons, both good and bad. I remember growing up thinking that two or three hundred dollars was nothing. It was just a Fedco trip. I also remember my sister would peruse the receipt sometimes to find the single item that cost the most. Once, to both our horrors, it was prophylactics.
But the best part of Fedco? No trip to Fedco was complete without a trip to the food court for pizza and cherry ICEEs (or the tongue staining blue raspberry flavor depending on your post-Fedco social plans). Later, Fedco would add a Panda Express. And later still, Fedco would close its doors for the final time to make way for Target Greatland.
And while now I can get my toothpaste and facewash and Velveeta cheese and shells (plus fun Michael Graves wares) from one friendly neighborhood stop shop, I still get misty when I find an old Fedco pricetag. I also get disgusted because that means the toothpaste, facewash or Velveeta cheese and shells is 6+ years old...
Sigh. Getting nachos and cheese (or just nachos, since the Greatland is always out of the processed cheese in a bag), just isn't the same, and Pizza Hut just doesn't cut it.
R.I.P. Fedco... R.I.P.
Friday, March 25, 2005 · posted at 7:08 PM Me (researcher): I'm trying to get an idea of how your program works so that we can pull data from your sessions and run statistical analyses on them. I see that the first thing on the agenda for every session is labeled "Checking In" - what do you mean by that?
Her (clinician): "Hey, how are ya?"
Yet another example of the gap between Access-happy data managers and... well, everyone else.
Thursday, March 24, 2005 · posted at 2:11 AM You know it's bad when you hear, "Man, I don't envy you," "I wouldn't want your job," or some other variant of "Hey, sucks to be you" at least three times a day.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005 · posted at 8:19 PM If you woke up tomorrow and your world was perfect, your life was perfect, and you were the happiest you could possibly be... what would be different?
Monday, March 21, 2005 · posted at 11:49 PM Raise your hand if you're sure. I got another acceptance in the mail today. Well actually it was not for me but my male obverse. That's right, the letter was addressed to one Mr. Christina. I'm tempted to send back the "do you accept" card with a big "NO! Because you think I have external reproductive parts!" But (1) I'd never do anything that rude and (2) I'm probably responsible for the error via checking the wrong box. But still... the mail addressee makes all the difference (see "The One with the Embryos": Miss Chanadelor Bong).
So even though I have no intention of going there, I still would have felt slighted if I hadn't been accepted. And somehow this second acceptance validates the first one. Like going from "Is my first choice school only after my money?" to "Hey, they're both after my money!"
Why can't we just know our own worth and be content with that?
As self-aware as we'd all like to think we are, I think it's important to to be evaluated by external sources every once in a while. Employees for example, get an annual review that lets them know what they're doing right, what they could be doing better, and how piddly a raise they deserve - oh wait that's just me. Others ask for report cards from friends in the form of Excel spreadsheets. You can be the most analytical, introspective person in the world, but you still need to calibrate every once in a while by asking for an outside opinion.
I wonder about people who never doubt themselves, whether it's their decisions, views, or even preferences (e.g. was *nsync really the best boy band or was it NKOTB?). Is being 100% sure a sign of incredible cognizance, or incredible obliviousness?
Ok, Ross, could you just open your mind like this much, ok? Wasn't there a time when the brightest minds in the world believed that the world was flat? And, up until like what, 50 years ago, you all thought the atom was the smallest thing, until you split it open, and this like, whole mess of crap came out. Now, are you telling me that you are so unbelievably arrogant that you can't admit that there's a teeny tiny possibility that you could be wrong about this?Wise Batty from Fern Gully said, "Only fools are positive." Am I sure?
I'm damn positive.
Saturday, March 19, 2005 · posted at 4:28 AM The age of invention. Sliced bread. Lipgloss that doesn't stick. Convertible mittens. Sports cap bottle tops. These are good inventions.
And the antithesis of a good invention? loses points for being two letters away from mitch albom Mitch Altman's TV-B-GONE.
As if the FCC crackdown following Nipplegate wasn't bad enough, now this guy effectively lets every man (or person obnoxious enough to buy Tv-B-Gone) play tv nazi in public places.
Tv-B-Gone is a small key-chain sized remote that functions solely as a power on/off button for most tvs. The idea behind Tv-B-Gone was to improve conversation - when there's a tv present, people tend to pay attention to that rather than each other.
In my experience, tv is actually an important tenet to socialization. Having a tv on promotes conversation (e.g. "Nick Lachey is so mean to Jessica." "I know, he's my hero!") not to mention eases over awkward lulls in conversation (talk is necessary only during commercial breaks - and those last 3-5 minutes, getting in under the "silence every seven minutes in a conversation where inevitably someone brings up the fact that there's a pause every seven minutes" rule with time to spare).
Tv in general is a useful tool to stimulate thoughts and ideas. What are 90% of water cooler talks about? I'll give you a hint... it's not the company's awesome benefits. Tv can also be a useful learning tool. In a Wired article, Altman brags that turning off a tv running Sex and the City for a lone bar patron "just saved him several minutes of his life." Maybe that's the case, but you also just decreased his chances of getting some because he didn't get to hear Carrie's spiel about, well, everything.
Turned on tv sets can also serve a functional purpose. Altman goes to Best Buy and successfully uses his device on tv sets there, but those tv sets are on for a reason - to sell the product.
And let's not forget when the tv is the focal point of gatherings such as the Super Bowl or Playoff games? I dare you to use your Tv-B-Gone in a crowded sports bar during the finals...
Tv-B-Gone tries to draw a parallel with cigarette smoke: Some people may like breathing in someone else's smoke, but that's not for everyone. Similarly, not everyone wants to be disturbed with someone else's media.
But then goes on to say: If someone were smoking a cigar in a public place and you were disturbed by it, you would probably either leave, or you would ask them if they would mind putting it out. Similarly, if someone is filling your space with disturbing sights and sounds of a tv, you have the same choices. Except that the Tv-B-Gone is more guerilla in its use - it's analogous to a non-smoker ripping the lit cigarette out of the smoker's mouth.
I can understand the concern. America has seen a spike in sedentary activity and an accompanying rise in obesity. Tv is no doubt part of that problem. However, the problem I have is that Tv-B-Goners are imposing their preferences on tv-watchers in the same way that they accuse tv-watchers do. "It's my way... or my way."
Altman said he prefers to ask people to turn off TVs. The problem is places where there's a captive audience and no one is available to respond to requests, like the Laundromat or the airport.
If there's a captive audience, what makes the Tv-B-Goner think that his rights override the rights of the watchers? and that it is appropriate or acceptable for him to force his values on another? or many others?
There's also the danger of malicious intent. "It fills you with naughty laughter to know you did this and other people have no idea what happened," David Burke said.
In public places, everyone's rights should be regarded as equal. When in doubt, refer to the rules of utilitarianism (although there's still the subjective perception of doing good by "saving" others from tv pollution). Btw, there is a difference between tv as background noise and tv as one's primary focus (e.g. captive audience). Using Tv-B-Gone on the latter may result in physical harm. I wonder if there's a disclaimer.
"I was always trying to get people to do something good. Some people do something for the disabled or something. But that's not really my thing, so I did this."
Does he have anyone's vote for the Nobel Peace Prize? Anyone? Anyone?
Wednesday, March 16, 2005 · posted at 7:51 PM Star Search. There is a huge difference between growing up in LA and growing up in LA County. However since a lot of people have never heard of the rinky dink city I grew up in, I would usually just say "LA" when asked where I'm from. My suitemate in college would distinguish between her Compton-esque LA upbringing and my suburbian LA by saying she was from "LA-LA" whereas I'd say "border of LA-OC" (though now I can't say OC either because that brings a whole other set of stereotypes to deal with...).
So where am I going with all this? I'm not best friends with Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. Brad Pitt isn't a regular at any of my hometown hangouts. I've never gone to the GAP and seen Scott Speedman buying socks. In short, being from "LA" is a world apart from living and hobnobbing with stars in Tinseltown.
Apart from a few random celeb spottings (e.g. Ed Begley Jr. at the mall, the guy from Black-Eyed Peas at the towne center), I don't have a huge celebrity scrapbook to brag about (especially considering most of the pages are filled with boy band encounters). But it definitely got fatter this past weekend when my roommate's bachelorette getaway in LA resulted in a celebrity/day spotting that left the out-of-towners with something to brag about.
Who:Omarion from B2K and the Oscar-worthy "You Got Served"
What:getting a pedicure
Where: nail salon in a strip mall
With: his boys and bouncers.
Rating: *1/2 B2K frequents the Los Cerritos mall (though are any of them old enough to drive??) and pre-B2K, one of the members would always knock on Karen's door to borrow her pool key.
Who: Crew (possible producer?) of Spartacus the tv mini-series
What: eating breakfast
Where: Le Pain Quotidien at the table next to us
With: his too cute family
Rating: ** No clue who he was, but he was super nice and his kids were adorable. What two year old knows how to say "I want brioche"?!
Who: Eric Szmanda, aka Greg Sanders, the cute dorky lab guy from CSI
What: sporting a 6 inch tall spiky hairdo while eating dinner
Where: Buddha's Belly
With: not a girlfriend!
Rating: *** I'm not a CSI fan... but I will be now!
Who: Jake Gyllenhaal. No he's not the guy from "Top Gun" (though sporting a crew cut), he was in "The Day After Tomorrow," "Donnie Darko," and "The Good Girl." What you haven't heard of those? Fine, he was in "Bubble Boy"!!
What: eating breakfast and buying teas
Where: Urth Caffe, a frequent fav when he was with Kirsten Dunst
With: not Kirsten Dunst! Although the pooch they share(d?) was waiting outside on the sidewalk
Rating: **** Great skin. Looks much taller in person. Was super nice and allowed a Floridian to take a picture with him.
Who: Jay. Don't know who he is or what he does, but he was way too hot to not be a star!
What: looking like a blond Adonis while eating brunch/lunch
Where: at the cafe where my roommate was throwing up ;)
With: a Botoxed Cindy Margolis lookalike and two cute dogs
Rating: ***** Again, don't know who he is or if he's even a star, but so delicious looking.
How does one become a reporter/photographe for Us Weekly? I may have just found my calling...
Monday, March 14, 2005 · posted at 1:37 AM I get so weak in the knees... I was sitting in the car talking to someone about my impending geographic relocation. She was talking about how exciting it was that I would be making such a huge change and moving time zones and for the first time, I felt nervous and clammy and slightly nauseated.
All these questions of self-doubt went through my mind... S***, did I really want to do this? Move across the country? Start all over? Leave my family, friends and any semblance of a security net? Am I getting cold feet? Second thoughts? Am I making a huge, huge mistake?
Then I realized that the queasy feeling was a result of all the alcohol from the night before.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005 · posted at 3:13 AM gambling makes fun
Round 3 question: What is a surefire way to liven up a dull party?
Jessica Shaw: My mother buzzed in first and...speak up, Mom!...say something...I'm begging you...ANYTHING! But she blanked.
Dan Snierson: My mom swooped in and said alcohol. Wait a second — is my mom cool? And we were on a roll. . .until Jennifer uttered the word strip. I was so bummed — or was it embarrassed? — but somehow, it was up there on the board! ''I'm going to your parties,'' cracked [Richard] Karn. In a million years, I never thought I'd witness the Tool Time sidekick hitting on my little sister.
JS: We went into huddle mode and Danny came up with another winner: Tell jokes! We knew we'd steal... Here's where my memories go slo-mo and the Platoon soundtrack kicks in. Our team had agreed on jokes for the steal, but at the last second, [my boyfriend who was pretending to be my fiance] Steve whispered drugs. Maybe it was my guilt for dragging him into this mess. Maybe it was because I looked at the board and saw exotic dancer and alcohol. But I chose love over logic and proudly exclaimed, drugs!The audience went silent. Karn's face went white. The answer was tell jokes. Our fake engagement was off.
~ EW writers Jessica Shaw and Dan Snierson on their experience on the gameshow Family Feud
Of all the award shows, the Golden Globes are definitely my favorite. It honors both movie and television and doubles the movie awards by separating drama from comedy/musical. It's always unpredictable - from the clothes, the winners, the whereabouts of the winners (Christine Lahti's 2001 bathroom break), and the "I'd like to thank..."s (see Natalie Portman's, among others, giggly drunk acceptance speech). And of course, how can I not love a ceremony that honors oft overlooked talents such as Felicity's Keri Russell?
But this year, I was absolutely glued to the 77th Academy Awards. Not because every minute was riveting (although there were less of them this year due to the hyperspeed pacing that brought statuettes down the aisle to the winner), or the acceptance speeches were more amusing - Charlie Kaufman's "I don't want to take my time. I want to get off the stage"), or to look for the subtleties (e.g. Tim Robbins flipping the bird to Chris Rock), or to wait for the next goof (e.g. stagehands running around, mic feedback).
What made the Oscars so exciting this year? A wager.
James and Jon started up an Oscar pool. Five bucks buys you in and the pot goes to the person with the most correct award wins, meaning it'd be advantageous to guess a winner for all 24 categories - even the ones you aren't even sure what they mean (e.g. sound mixing). I don't know much about this life, but if there's one thing my years of pop culture study has taught me, it's how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences votes.
There's something a little bit wrong about cheering during the Oscars, especially if your "wahoo"-ing and "aww yeah!"-ing is uttered during a speech like Robert Richardson's dedication to his ailing mother. The kind of raucous yelling that was going on seems more aptly suited for watching a championship game in a peanut shell-littered sports bar... not for a black tie affair at the Kodak theater...
Still, I'd never been as engaged and emotionally invested (financially too I suppose) in categories such as "Best Documentary Short Subject" and "Best Makeup" before. Events are so much more interesting when you have something to root for - whether it's the underdog baseball team, the hometown basketball team, or the cute but talentless reality show contestant.
Though Elton John pronounced, "This was the most predictable Oscars ever!" at his post-bash fundraiser and most of the frontrunner nonimees ended up taking statuettes home, I still take pride in the fact that I came out with the most wins. Though some of the other Oscar Parlay participants (e.g. the ones who didn't win), complained about my gambling strategy (i.e. read EW's predictions and go with those I didn't have a moral objection to, such as Spider-Man 2), I say:
(1) It was never stated in the rules that you couldn't rely on outside resources. Even if there was a rule to not follow professional advice, there's no way anyone could have been completely blind to predictions. That would require having not heard about Jamie Foxx's teary Golden Globe acceptance, aka having lived in a bubble for the past year.
(2) Anytime you put money into anything, you should do some research. Whether it's in a stock portfolio, a movie ticket, a pair of shoes, or even a $5 wager, you should know what you're putting your nickels and dimes into. You can't rely on just "a feeling" or a "cool-sounding name" to win - I learned this at the racetrack last summer (though I did win $15 or so voting on my ani's name - thanks Brad!)...
anything + money = fun. Gamble on.
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