Aug 31, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 8: High Flying Fashion, AKA Redemption
The morning after Robert’s dismissal, Kayne talks about how it sucks that he’s gone because they had such great banter going on, etc. but quickly switches back to “I’m here to win” mode. Keep it real, Kayne. Jeffery’s relieved that he made it through the Mom Challenge, and just can’t let it go already. Everyone gets ready to head over to Parsons, and I notice that Laura appears to be putting on false eyelashes (the individual kind) in the bathroom. Girl, you know how hard those are to put on? I’m just saying.

The woman continues to impress me, every single episode.

Two of the models have to go. Vincent gets first pick, etc. etc. Do we really care which model makes it? I didn’t think so. Plus, they all pick the same models anyway. Moving on!

But can I just say how hilarious it was when Kayne’s model ran backstage all excited and bubbly because she made it to the next round? All the other models couldn’t even be bothered to get their starving asses off the couch to congratulate her. As a friend of mine says: MOLDED!

Heidi tells the designers that their next challenge is to design a garment for a “hip, international jet setter.” But, for whom?

Jeffery thinks it’s him. Kayne thinks it’s Tara Reid.

No, seriously.

Tim tells them they’re designing for themselves. I love how the models have slowly been marginalized this season. Ha ha, damn heffers!

Just kidding.

Off to Mood!

Kayne picks a bright Versace burnout print that he’s going to cut out and sew on the back of his shirt and on the front. Jeffery says it’s tacky. Personally, seeing the fabric unrolled from the bolt, I thought it was gorgeous. Imagine that fabric transformed into an Uli dress. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold!

Angela contemplates her fabric choices. Tim Gunn comes by and reminds her that the challenge was for a hip, international jet setter. Angela immediately grasps the hidden meaning/insult behind his statement, and I start to think that maybe Angela’s got a little bit of a mean streak in her too. I mean, takes one to know one, right? Ahem. Moving on.

Michael says that his garment will be “Hamptons meets The Hood.”

“I’m gonna rock the hell out of it during the runway,” he says. Play on, playa!

Uli gives us some insight as to how she became the Queen of Prints:

“When I’m flying to exotic locations, I always bring my party dresses, they look good, even when you’re wasted.”

Thanks for the tip!

Vincent strips down to his boxers to figure out how to construct a man’s pant. At least he wears boxers. I don’t know how I’d react if he wore a banana hammock, knowutimsayin?

Jeffery and Angela go at it in the workroom. Angela’s pissed because he’s still disrespecting her mom. Jeffery’s mad because he thinks Angela and her mom were conspiring against him. Enough of these tired fools already!

Tim Gunn goes around the room, giving his usual feedback.

Just when you think they’re gone, two fleurchons, one for each butt cheek, pop up on Angela’s pant/capri/bermuda short. Ugh.

That night, back at the Atlas, Michael teaches Kayne how to walk down the runway. So cute, on so many levels. I’ll leave it to Quelchechose at Previously On ... to break down The Magic that is Michael. All I have to say is, give me a piece of some of that funky stuff! Michael even makes the “two thumbs up” hand gesture look cool.

On to the runway!

This week’s judges: Michael Kors, NINAGARCIA, and Francisco Costa, creative director at Calvin Klein’s women’s collection.

Jeffery’s outfit was very Jeffery. Very rock star, with a provocative checkerboard racer stripe going from his navel to his crotch. Hey Jeffery, Mick Jagger called; he wants his pants back. Rowr! No, but seriously, the look worked for him. Jeffery thinks his outfit is going to freak people out on the plane. He talks about how he’s designed for and worked with rock stars, so he understands his audience.

Laura’s dress looked elegant and comfy. The better to clothe your emerging baby belly with, my dear. NINAGARCIA thinks the dress looks smart. I want one. Now. You hear me, Laura? Now. In black. Thanks.

Vincent’s outfit was a charcoal grey v-necked pullover with a trouser. Yawn. Heidi thinks it’s safe. The Calvin Klein guy thinks it’s great. Kors thinks they look like pajamas you get on a first class seat [They give you pajamas in first class?].

Vincent's response: “I’m the twist.”

Or maybe you’re twisted? Just saying, Vincent.

Angela’s shorts, a silk linen, were blasted because of the impracticality of the fabric.

“You’re a mess just standing,” Kors said. “So traveling, you’re gonna be like a homeless person.”

Hello, after the ribbing Robert got for busting out with a linen jacket for the fashion icon challenge, you’d think all the designers would steer clear from anything that even rhymed with “linen.”

But not Angela, she continues to forge on in the non-ironing, fleurchon-loving, spazzed-out-living, sketch-hating land of Jubilee Jumbles.

Michael created a white seersucker Michael Jackson-esque motorcycle top, paired with an updated cargo pant with straps that wrapped around his legs. Superfluous? Maybe. But it works. Somebody get Puff Daddy on the phone!

The judges think Uli’s dress works everywhere that’s tropical, and that’s it. And while that may be Uli’s reality (since she lives in Miami), the judges pretty much beg to see something else from her. Uh oh. One-note alert!

NINAGARCIA thinks Kayne’s outfit channels his inner Elvis. Kors thinks it’s a fashion “don’t.” I think if you slap that outfit on a male figure skater, we'd have a winner.

Bravo decides to torture us a bit longer, because Heidi tells them they have an hour to pack and get to the airport, because they have tickets waiting for them. You know. See how the outfits travel. Get it? Because they’re jet setters!

Off to the airport!

The designers find out they’re going to Paris. Jeffery thinks it’s meant to be, because he’s wearing an Eiffel Tower pendant. Kismet, I tell you.

Oh yeah, and they’re flying first class, bitches. With Tim Gunn!

“I don’t know how I’d get through life after this without Tim Gunn popping up in my life every once in a while,” Jeffery says.

Moi aussi, Jeffery.

In a van driving through the streets of Paris, there’s much gushing and seat bouncing and bug eyes and exclamations of “I can’t believe I’m in Paris” and how “dreams are coming true” at that very moment. And that was just from Angela.

You know Uli’s all, whatevs, Paris is like, been there, done that. It must be that European air about her.

Did you know Parsons had a school in Paris? Neither did Michael. Okay, me neither.

A workroom is set up for the designers. But there’s only seven tables.

Tim Gunn introduces Catherine Malandrino, a designer that Angela “completely admires.” Jeffery finds her inspirational. Everyone loves them some Catherine, who announces to the designers that she’s the fourth judge, and that her task is to see if the garments travelled well.

Tim Gunn then tells the designers that they’re going to give one of them the boot. Sure, Bravo. Bring them to Paris, only to kick one of them out. Get your mindfuck on!

It’s a mafakin’ walk off!

The designers walk down the aisle for Tim and Catherine, and it quickly becomes evident that Season 2's designers definitely knew how to work that runway better than Season 3. Except Michael. He's got his style down - the man doesn't even have to TURN, alright?

Catherine runs through the designers and then tells Jeffery that he won this week’s challenge. Good. Maybe this will pull that stick out of his ass. Or jam it up further? You decide.

“Kayne, I’m sorry,” Catherine says. “You look ridiculous. You look like a fake rock star.” Ouch!

“Angela, you’re just looking like you’re from another world,” Catherine says. “You’re not a jet setter.”

And with that, Catherine Malandrino, aka the Heidi Klum proxy, gives Angela the adieu. FINALEMENT! Because she had to fly all the way to Paris, pack up her workstation in front of everybody else, and endure being called basically an extraterrestrial by a fashion designer she basically admired and respected, this was an especially messed-up way to go.

But who’s complaining?

Aug 29, 2006

I love whiskey tastings. And goofy pictures.

My favorites from that night:
  • Woodford Reserve - Butterscotch Lifesaver aroma. Bright and lively.
  • Elijah Craig - Smooth, velvety mouthfeel with a sweet, toffee-like finish.
  • Pappy Van Winkle - Funky, dried fruit; overripe banana aromas with a sweet, tobacco finish. Plus, how could you not love something called "Pappy Van Winkle"?
  • A.H. Hirsch Reserve - Mmm. Buttery. The empty class smelled like chocolate mint. Good luck getting your hands on some of this, as the distillery closed in 1988.
We tried many others that night, including SF's own Old Potrero, whose aroma reminded us of Fig Newtons, but in a good way. Yum. Distilled by the folks at Anchor Steam. I'd go into more detail, but I'm having a hard time reading my tasting notes.

(Photo credit: Chloemonster.)

Aug 28, 2006

Mirror, mirror, on the blog ...

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (my alma mater - ugh, don't even get me started) seeks to honor excellence in media industry reporting with the "Mirror Awards."

And despite the fact that work published on blogs can be included for consideration, Dean Rubin doesn't even read them. How do you think blogs have affected journalism at-large, and the Syracuse program specifically?

Rubin: The question isn't 'What are we teaching students about blogging?' It's 'What are students teaching us?' We discuss blogging in the very first freshman class, the first day. Many of our students come in with blogging experience, if they're not bloggers themselves. We discuss particularly how you have a chance to be noticed because you blog — it doesn't mean you will be noticed. But if you have style, or write well, or have something unique to say, you have a chance. What types of media do you consume daily?

Rubin: The New York Times, in print, The Wall Street Journal, in print and online, Syracuse Post Standard, NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. If I get home in time I'll watch the CBS evening news — I'm warming up for Katie. Then later I watch MSNBC's Keith Olbermann — he's the best writer in broadcasting, very, very entertaining. What about blogs?

Rubin: No. People will send me things and point me to them, but I just don't have enough time.

Whatevs, man.

A top-ranked j-school would be remiss to ignore blogging and the effect it's had on traditional media, so I'm glad that at least Newhouse is including them for consideration. But c'mon, Rubin. Get with the program, yo.

Anyhoo. My friend E over at Soft Pretzel Love has an intersting take that's worth a read.

Aug 26, 2006

We Will Survive

It's okay, Pluto. I know what it feels like to get the boot.

I'll bring the Donna Summer, Mariah Carey, and Alanis Morisette records. You bring the ice cream.*

We'll get through this together, boo. Chin up.

*Not Ben N' Jerry's though. Gotta continue to honor the boycott. Just saying.

Aug 24, 2006

How funny, I was just talking about her yesterday ...

Actress Kathy Najimy is boycotting Project Runway for comments made by Heidi Klum (the show's host) two episodes ago:
Kathy took particular issue with Gunn calling one of the runway models "zaftig" (pleasantly plump) and Heidi's comment that an outfit made a model look plus-size, which Najimy believes implied that plus-size was "the ultimate of horrors."

In the e-mail Najimy points out how these comments, along with societal pressure to be thin, are particularly harmful to the body images of young girls.

Najimy adds "And I especially hope that Heidi Klum's beautiful daughter never has to grow up in the self-hatred and self-mutilation that occurs when girls and women are suffocated by irresponsible, dangerous comments like the ones Heidi made..."
Could this be the first official Project Runway boycott? I'll admit, this season is pissing me off, but I'm like and addict, and Project Runway is my crack.

No, not the noodle

The city of Burlingame - the gateway to overrated snobbery on the Peninsula - recently held a logo contest for an upcoming design conference. The winner? SoBA.

"SoBA" translates to "South of Burlingame Avenue."

Oh, please. We have Councilman Russ Cohen to thank for that gem.

Project Runway After Party

Episode 7: Everyday Woman, AKA Further Proof That Jeffery is an Arrogant Prick, AKA During Which Roberts Gains an Inferiority Complex
The morning after Alison’s departure from the show, Jeffery’s sad, puffy-eyed face betrays the fact that he may possibly have been shedding a few tears after losing what seemed to be his lone ally on the show. But not Michael.

Michael, fresh off his back-to-back win, was rocking the permagrin, so much so that he “grinned [himself] a headache.”

Today’s challenge: To design an outfit for the “everyday woman.” Catch #1: This woman is each of the designers’ moms or sisters. Of course, Angela busts into spazz mode. Catch #2: The designers don’t get to design for their family member.

The moms/sisters walk in, and everyone’s crying. Most of the moms look how I’d imagine a moms to look, with the exception of Laura’s mom. Like mother like daughter!
  • Michael picks Robert’s sister
  • Laura picks Jeff’s mom
  • Vincent picks Uli’s mom
  • Angela picks Laura’s mom
  • Kayne picks Michael’s mom
  • Uli picks Kayne’s mom
  • Robert picks Vincent’s sister
  • Jeffery picks Angela’s mom, and Angela starts tearing up. Oy, enough already from her!
And from here, the drama ensues!

The moms/sisters come into the workroom, there’s much hugging and the speaking of German, and crying. Michaels plays Show and Tell with his mom over his winning dresses.

The designers and the moms/sisters join Michael Kors and his mom for some champagne at Tavern on the Green. Momma and Baby Kors have matching blazers on!

Over flutes of champagne, the moms reminisce over their designer kids’ childhoods. Kayne’s mom busts out with incriminating adolescent photos, during which we discover that Kayne was a little chunk! Jeffery’s mom shares with us that her son is a recovering alcoholic and that she’s so proud of how far along he’s come. We even find out that Kors is an only child, and that Michael takes cute school pictures and is a Mama's Boy.

Laura drops the bomb that she’s carrying child #6 [Good Lord, woman!], and that she found out she was prego while filming the show. The woman is 42 years old! What kind of fertility drugs is she taking?!?

Back to the workroom!

Robert jokes that he’s going to bust out with some non-boring, head-to-toe zebra print. And yet …

Laura’s mom says she wants something Audrey Hepburn-ish, and Angela’s like, that was SO two challenges ago.

Kayne said Michael’s mom had the brightest outfit and rhinestones on her shoes – “I knew we were going to get along, ” Kayne says.

“Uli’s mom has this European air about her,” Vincent says. Maybe … because she’s from Germany? Just a thought. He then suggests that he go with a black and tan dress, and I begin to suspect he’s had one too many black and tans himself.

“I don’t speak German, but she knows well enough what I’m trying to get across.” If by "get across," you mean, "I have a boner for early 80's fashion and bad investment choices," then yes. Mission accomplished!

Jeff’s mom just got back from a cruise from Fiji, so Laura goes out on a limb and decides to do a cruise ship-themed outfit.

Angela’s mom says that Jeffery and she present a challenge within themselves because they have such different styles. Moms always know best! Jeffery admits he hasn’t designed a dress for a woman that size, but pretty much ignores every idea Angela's mom throws at him. After the allotted 30 minutes for client consultation, Jeffery still doesn’t have a design, and Angela’s mom wants to cry because she feels like she’s hindering him. You know, because she’s tried to make it pretty clear about what she likes and doesn’t like. SO not helpful.

After a trip to Mood, the designers go back to the workroom. Laura’s scoffing at the other designers, remarking on how she can tell that the other designers are stuck in a “basic muu-muu dress with a colorful jacket on top” rut.

Kayne and Robert are trippin out over proportions, because they’re used to creating garments for models who obviously need to eat a stick of butter, or five.

Vincent, in a moment of lucidity, said that the designers had to be able to delivah on clothes that fit normal women, because quite frankly, they’re the women who actually wear your clothes. Amen, brotha.

Sidebar: I joke about Vincent and his mental state, but he really impressed me in this episode . His compassion for the differences in women's bodies, and also how he tried to help mediate in the stupid, unnecessary drama unfolding before our eyes between Angela's mom and Mr. Arrogant Tatt earned Vincent a spot in my cold, rotting heart.

With 10 hours to go, Tim sends in the moms/sisters.

Vincent says of Uli’s mom: “She’s very comfortable with me. In spirit.” But in person, she’s what, exactly? But more importantly, Vincent, does she turn you on?

Angela’s mom is concerned that her dress will look matronly. She’s never worn powder blue in her life. [Really? How can one person never ever wear blue in their lifetime?] She tries to assert herself and tell Jeffery what she knows works for her. In typical Jeffery fashion, he blows off her opinion and says basically, I’m going to make the dress I’m going to make for you, and if you don’t like it, tough titties. So, let me get this straight, Jeffery: If our client is, say, a beauty pageant contestant who tells us what she likes and doesn’t like, we design around that. But if an older, more fleshy woman --- who happens to be Angela’s mom --- tells you want she likes and doesn’t like, you get defensive and begin to argue with her. You know, your client.

Right. I can clearly see how he’s such a successful designer.

Back in the sewing room, Jeffery tells Uli:

“That crazy bitch is in there telling Tim she doesn’t like the colors. It’s very apropos. I don’t get along with her daughter, why should I get along with her?”

How does he get along with anybody, quite frankly?

Angela and her mom have a little pow-wow in the break room, and her mom starts crying because Jeffery was basically a dick to her. At this point, I want to bust a Sadako and go through my TV to give her a hug. And then go after Jeffery and do that thing Sadako does.

I’m so over Jeffery. How are you gonna go make a mom cry?

“She’s not being nice, why should I try to be nice?”

Waaah, poor Jeffery, always misunderstood.

In this episode, we’ve been hearing a lot about Jeffery’s troubled past, about how he lived on the streets and had a drinking problem. Am I supposed to feel sorry for him now? Sorry, but Making Mom Cry trumps The Trials and Tribulations of a Former Alkie any day.

So now Jeffery’s mom goes into the break room for some damage control and basically explain the ins and outs of her tattoo-necked offspring in an attempt to comfort Angela’s mom, who by now is surrounded by the other moms/sisters. Then Jeffery’s mom leaves, comes into the workroom, crying [I’m hoping those are tears of humiliation, honey]. She gives Jeffery a kiss, and then leaves.

Hold up: Did I just witness a slick form of Motherly Guilt? If so, that’s probably the best non-verbal guilt trip from a mother I’ve ever seen.

Honestly, I don’t know how Jeffery is able to sustain a client base if this is how he works with them. Angela’s mom knows the kinds of clothes that work best with her body type – most women do. But for Jeffery to disregard that and tell his client that what she likes is based on her own insecurities, that’s just not professional.

In the sewing room, Angela confronts Jeffery. He says that her mom was going out of her way to make him look bad. Paranoid much?

Ugh. Enough of the ugliness.

Robert looks like he’s making a red cape. And Vincent’s sister says that she loves her some red cape. Insanity runs in the family, apparently. WHAT? I said enough of the ugly!

Let’s go to my happy place: The runway!

Angela’s mom tries on Jeffery’s finished outfit, and Angela reminds her that she has the right to be honest when the judges question her. The outfit looks horrible on her. Too. Much. Fabric. The seams don’t look right, and it doesn’t drape her body in a flattering way. Instead, it looks basically like a navy blue, floor-length, and shapeless v-neck column dress. And Angela’s mom is short, so a long dress? Not cute.

Jeffery also realizes his dress sucks, and tries to do a proactive save face by saying that if he gets kicked off from the show because of this challenge, that he’d be OK with it. I swear, if he busts on fat chicks in his exit interview, I’m going to bring out my Jeffery voodoo doll.

Kayne’s mom says that it’s every girl’s dream to go down the runway, and she is intent on embarrassing him on the runway. “If you’re gonna do it, you better do it right,” she says.

Sidebar: I want Heidi’s dress. Where can I get it? Seriously. Hook me up, Heidi.

Our judges for this episode are Michael Kor’s mom, Kors the Son, and NINAGARCIA.

I didn’t get the “cruise ship” vibe from Laura's dress, but I thought it looked like something one would wear to work. That scarf was superfluous. The judges marvel over how well the tailoring was on this outfit. Laura’s mom says she’d wear it out to dinner. Kors thinks the look ages her.

Uli’s outfit for Kayne’s mom consisted of a subtle paisley, see-through chiffon top that evoked, for me, a “kimono-meets-daishiki” feel. Kayne’s mom loved it. So did Kors the son. The judges all agreed that the most important thing to remember was that this essentially plus-sized outfit still had the Uli stamp on it.

Vincent’s flyaway-collar dress looked just OK from the front, but from the back, the dress to me looked very simplistic, very home sewn. It would have been more elegant had the collar gone all the way around the neck or something. I don’t know how you’d effectively construct that, but a better designer could have tied the front and back looks together. Vincent would have done better to add another dimension to that dress by paying some attention to the backside. Heidi asks Uli’s mom something in German, but we don’t get any subtitles. Whatevs! One of the Kors thought the dress was age appropriate and flattering. The other Kors thought it was chic and sleek for an adult. NINAGARCIA thinks he did a “great job.”

Kayne’s outfit for Michael’s mom, with the cropped pants and flowing shirt, looked alright. Kayne was concerned that she wasn’t smiling as she was walking down the runway. NINAGARCIA and Michael weren’t fond of the coral/salmon colored top, and Michael reminds us that there are other ways to trick the eye, using the draping of the fabric and showing some skin. I think that the judges have to say “matchy-matchy” at least once every season. It’s written into their contracts, or something.

Angela put two layers of fringe on Laura’s mom’s outfit. Fringe? Fringe embodies the spirit of “casual elegance?” NINAGARCIA thought it wasn’t age appropriate, and not at all like Audrey Hepburn. Way off the mark again, sistafren. Kors the Son agrees:

“This is more Stevie Nicks in black.”

Robert’s outfit was a nightmare in red and black, one of those super-plus-size outfits you see in the Chadwick’s catalog or something. And as Robert describes the outfit, NINAGARCIA gets her trademark sour face. Vincent's sister sticks up for Robert, saying the dress reminds her of a dress from her childhood. Michael Kors actually snored. SNORED!

Michael’s reversible shirtdress for Teresa was nice, but for some reason, the front of it looked weird. I don’t think the way he tied the belt around her waist was flattering at all, but I think Michael was more concerned with working that “reversible dress” angle. Kors thinks Michael’s idea is great, but the belt is matronly. Agreed.

Props to Angela’s mom for working that outfit down the runway as well as she did. Heidi asks Angela how she thinks her mom looks, and Angela said it was "embarassing." It would have been more interesting to hear Heidi ask that of the other designers, don't you think?

Angela’s mom says a lot was lost in the translation, and that she felt she looked matronly. In defense of his design, Jeffery says that his goal was to make his customer happy, which is the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve heard on this show since Santino tried to defend that unfinished jumpsuit he made for Kara last season.

Kors the Son, ever the insightful one, boils down the tension between Jeffery and Angela’s mom into one simple equation:
Pleasing Jeffery + Pleasing His Client = Confusion
But wait, there’s more:

“It looks like Comme des Garçons goes to Amish country.”

Old Comme des Garçons maybe, but I'm with you. Did I mention I’m glad Michael Kors is back?

Vincent wins this week’s challenge. SERIOUSLY?

Robert gets the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Sidebar: Did you catch Tim Gunn’s lip quiver when he was saying goodbye to Robert??? I almost died!

Aug 23, 2006

Sunday school teacher fired because she has a vagina

Baptist preacher Tim LeBouf fired 81-year-old Mary Lambert, who has taught Sunday School for more than 50 years. Why? Did she show up to work late? Did she exhibit improper conduct in the classroom?

Oh, no. She was fired because she was a woman, and apparently some obscure reference in the Bible says that women shouldn't teach men or some stupid shit like that:
"My belief is that the qualifications for both men and women teaching spiritual matters in a church setting end at the church door, period," LaBouf said in a statement on the church Web site (

LaBouf and the church board fired Mary Lambert, 81, earlier this month in a letter that cited the scriptural qualifications for Sunday School teachers, Lambert said.

"They quote First Timothy Two, 11-14: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent," Lambert said, reading from the letter.
Please. Seriously. I simply cannot understand how people can base their lives and their actions on a literal interpretation of the Bible - a book written by men, and not (if you believe) in God himself. How can you expect any text to remain intact over centuries, when even the messages going out in contemporary media are completely out of control?

And honestly, the subjugation of women in relation to men is a notion that has absolutely no place in modern society, and I don't care what faith you are (or aren't).

My good friend Jonsey is blogging again, and his post on this subject caught my eye. Go to his post and read his take on this issue --- he is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful writers in the blogosphere I've read in a while, and he approaches politics and social issues from another, very interesting angle.

(Cross-posted on BIO.)

Aug 22, 2006

Help this girl get laid, so we can go on with our lives

Jane Magazine is on a mission to get Sarah laid. This 29-year-old blonde Manhattanite hopes to lose her virginity by the time she turns 30.

Why does this bother me? Where to begin?

Sure, statistically speaking Sarah may be an outlier when it comes to losing her virginity, but the fact that Jane Magazine is hyping up this campaign just sends the wrong message --- that staying a virgin in your late 20's is weird. Or that something's wrong with you if you haven't had sex yet, like you're some cringing violet or something:
When Sarah first e-mailed me, I thought she'd be the type of girl whose voice is so hesitant, you have to read her lips to figure out what she's saying. What I didn't expect was a tall blond with a nice rack who performs stand-up comedy at open-mic nights. Still, some people have a hard time believing there could be a Jane reader who hasn't found someone to do it with.
And while the magazine's target audience is young women with an average age of 28, to be honest, I thought this was a competitor to Teen Vogue. And if I had that impression, I'm sure there are others who thought the same. And you just know that they'll splash headlines like "Oddities: The 29-Year-Old Virgin!" on the cover to boost spur-of-the-moment sales at the checkstand. So, while shopping with mom, Barely Legal-Teens Ashley and Buffy might glance up from their Sidekicks just long enough to see this headline - and if they're virgins too, well, then, the damage is done.

I realize that this Sarah person is an adult, and she may feel like she's ready to take the plunge, so to speak. So then why have a contest that basically leaves your potential First One in the hands of some random magazine readers?

That's just dumb.

At first, I questioned the motives of this young, attractive woman, putting herself out like this, like some crazy skank, but now I'm wondering if this could be a stunt to help promote her blog, The Virgin Chronicles, which is pretty much a blog on Jane Magazine's website, which also leads me to believe that this is a stunt created by Jane Magazine to increase readership. After all, isn't that where it's at in the magazine biz?

And if Sarah - a stand-up comic - approached Jane, is this a stunt concocted to a) self promote and/or b) get material for her stage act?

Either way, forget this chick. Yours Truly is the one who needs to be hooked up, alright?

Aug 21, 2006

But what can it do for blogs on the G-list?

I'm looking for a way to increase my humble blog's readership, so I decided to give the Washington Post's sponsored blogroll a try.
According to [the Post's head of interactive sales Jeff] Burkett’s blog, “The idea came to me while reading 'Blogs to Riches' in New York Magazine back in February of this year. The article discussed the fact that it is very hard for bloggers to get noticed. Basically, all of the B-list and C-list bloggers (who may well be very talented) link to the A-list blogs in hope of getting noticed. All this accomplishes is making the A-listers more powerful, while the B’s and C’s stay where they are. It is very hard to break through the clutter.”

The Blogroll process goes like this: A blogger signs their blog up as a candidate for the program. Once a blog has been accepted, a link to it is featured in the’s Sponsored Blogroll index, and a box featuring regularly updated Sponsored Blogroll links appears on the front page. Washington Post sales reps will also contact the blogger and try to connect them with the right advertisers. Both the blogger and the Post split any ad revenue.
They say that they're primarily interested in technology, business, automotive and travel blogs (yawn!), but here's hoping there's someone at the WP who is partial to the occasional political rant, celebrity fluff pieces, intermittent emotional vulnerabilities, and Project Runway recaps.


Aug 19, 2006

Antics of a former child actor

Child actor Haley Joel Osment faces DUI charges after being caught driving under the influence, with a blood alcohol count of .16 (which is double the legal limit), and possession of marijuana.

He also broke his rib when he crashed his 1995 Saturn into mailbox.

"The Sixth Sense" grossed about $673 MILLION (thanks, Laurie) worldwide, and he's driving a Saturn?

Looking for something to do in Berkeley tonight?

From my inbox:

Just want to let you know of a special event happening this Saturday August 19th (from 9pm-??) at Downtown Restaurant in Berkeley with St. George Spirits. Our own in-house evil genius distiller Lance Winters will be serving up exotic and surprising spirits never before seen or tasted.

This is a rare opportunity to taste experimental spirits not yet on the shelves and the one-of-a-kind cocktails made from them.

There is a $25 cover charge that includes the spirits, cocktail tastes, funky blues music, and food from the new bar menu.

Downtown Restaurant, 2102 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley (at Addison St). (510)649-3810

I’d be interested to see them make a cocktail with Qi, their lapsang souchong-infused brandy. I am really not a fan of lapsang souchong, but the brandy is very good - surprisingly the smoky overtones work very well with the brandy’s vanilla and citrus notes.

(Cross-posted on the Beast Blog.)

Aug 17, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 6: Waste Not, Want Not or, The Great Travesty #2, or The Night of The Witty Quips
So Michael doesn’t get immunity for this challenge. Boo.

Models, blah, blah. Michael stays with Nazri (I want them to hook up.) Bradley’s model, Katie Holmes, is out.

Heidi tells the designers that the next few challenges are going to be tough, because she tells them that every challenge so far is a cakewalk compared to last season. And everyone’s rolling their eyes. Alison even was like, bitch, don’t even, I have an ulcer because of this show.

The next morning, Tim tells the designers to not wear open-toed shoes. They must be going to some warehouse. Now they're on a bus, heading out to some mystery location: The Jerz.

“New Jersey looks as awful as it ever did," Laura says.

Why the hate, Laura? Why so much anger toward The Jerz? Don't think I don't notice that this is the second time you're wearing that equestrian outfit!

So, as suspected, the designers are dropped off at this warehouse in Newark, at a garage of some sorts. That’s their new challenge. The garage door rolls up, and the designers are presented with mountains of recyclable materials. Mostly paper.

Robert, He Of The Special Pillowcase, is not happy. Let’s see if he succeeds in making garbage more boring than it actually is.

The point of this challenge is to innovate. Didn’t they already do this one? Or am I mixing up my seasons?

So everyone starts going through the piles of rubbish. Alison is not inspired, but then she is. Kayne tells he he feels at home in the trash. Robert isn’t even trying to dig through all this mess.

Uli busts a golden nugget with: “I guess fashion people don’t recycle.”

Michael treats us to freestyle beatbox. Angela treats us to white woman’s overbite. Stop that, Angela, I’ve seen enough of your bony elbows!

Back at Parsons, they’re told that they only had until midnight that night to finish the challenge. Yikes.

This looks like it’s going to be an interesting challenge – aside from the fact that we will probably be fleurchon-free this episode – I am starting to find a deeper appreciation for “deconstructed” fashion. It takes a certain level of creativity, another dimension of thinking, to take something apart and put it back together again to make it look like something totally different than what it originally was.

But back to those crazy workroom antics!

Laura thinks Vincent is “weird” and “unstable.” No argument here.

Then, Kayne and Robert talk shit about Laura over dinner.
Kayne: “She kissed me today.”
Robert: “I know, I was going to tell you to wash your face before you get a rash.”
(Does it make me a bad person because I laughed?)

Alison’s stressing out because she thought her de-constructed stripe thingy isn’t working out the way she planned. But now she’s planning on doing a voluminous skirt with crumpled paper.

Uh oh.

The last time someone did a crumply fluffy skirt, they got reamed by the judges. (Remember that first challenge from Season 1?) Hmm.

Kayne hates his dress: “It ended up looking like a toad exploded all over it.”

Jeffery is excited about this challenge, because all of his clothing is pretty much this style. “I think I got this in the bag,” he says.

So Tim comes to the workroom and offers his feedback. He says that Kayne’s green toad vomit dress looks like a “high school crafts project.” Kayne ends up taking the skirt off and throwing it away, and is going to make a new skirt out of mylar or something.

Tim tells Michael that he needs more sizzle on the skirt to go with the gold bustier he constructed. So Michael continues to add on the magic.

Alison’s outfit is starting to come together – it sort of reminded me of those buildings you see in Russia. But she’s still stressing out.

Kayne realizes that the judges would need to be smoking crack if they thought his dress was hot. Agreed.

: Don’t think I didn’t just love Michael more for making that “Clapper” joke.

They get two hours for fitting, hair, and makeup.

The next day, the models come for their fitting and everyone is having a hard time getting the stuff to fit. Back in the green room, Kayne and Laura have a tiff. It’s like watching a teenage boy fight with his mother.

Vincent is still convinced that his dress was a walking canvas of art. “Like …a drawering,” he says. Drawer-ing? Okay there, Simon.

God, I lovehate Vincent. Right now I love him, if only for this line:
“Why don’t you go stuff Harry Winstons up your nose.”
Bravo did a real great job in casting a bunch of quick-witted smart asses this season, didn’t they?

On to the runway!

: I’m loving Heidi’s top tonight.

Uli’s dress is so feminine. It looked very Chloe Leaf Dress. But … different.

Angela’s dress? Um … aluminum foil + gift wrap = Why isn’t she kicked off already?

Michael’s dress: Gold and white elegance. Lovely!

Vincent’s “canvas”: He says it was "like seeing art in motion.” Seriously, there really is some truth to the “art vs. insanity” argument Heidi brings up later.

Robert’s foil dress exuded the elegant, flirty, and feminine style I had started to expect from him. Don’t call it a comeback!

Jeffery’s dress was pretty cool – the newspaper bodice looked great, it worked, and it realy was his challenge.

Laura’s dress, with the plunging neckline, looked like something Laura – again – would wear. It was pretty cool. I guess this is what we can come to expect from her. I just hope she doesn’t turn out to be a one-note.

Alison’s dress was so cute, I loved the corset, but I don’t know about the puffy skirt. But then, the puffy skirt got Angela through a few rounds, didn’t it?

Kayne’s modified dress … he hates it. I do too.

Angela slithers on by to the next round. Darn.

Kors critiques Vincent’s execution, but Vincent vehemently defends his design, saying it “turns him on.” (TMI, Vincent. Really.) Heidi applauds his fearlessness. What is Heidi smoking? She then tells Vincent that “there’s a fine line between innovation and insanity.”

Indeed. Welcome back to Earth, Heidi.

The judges loved Lauren’s “elegant joke.”

NINAGARCIA says Kayne’s outfit look costumey. Kors tells him that he “stepped past the boundary of taste.”

I found Jeffery’s dress to be totally creative. I was impressed. Kors says it’s the only dress that moved down the runway. “Ugly/Beautiful, which I think is your aesthetic.” I’d take that as a compliment, I guess.

Heidi thinks Alison’s dress makes her model look huge, and that she looks like Minnie Mouse with that hair bow. Heidi says, “she looks like a plus model and it’s just not flattering at all.”

I’m sure a model on Project Runway actually looked like a heffa. Right.

In perhaps in a subconscious nod to all plus-sized models and customers out there, Kors keeps it real:
“She’s like a paper brioche.”
God, I SOOOOOOOOOOOO missed this man!

The judges are absolutely gushing over Michael, even down to his presentation.

The judges then proceed to trash Alison’s dress for the next five hours, that the shape sucked, that it was too avant garde, that it just wasn’t working. But Heidi keeps it real:
“Would I rather look like a fat Minnie Mouse, or would I want to look slim and long?”
Whatevs, Heidi. Why don’t you just go and get pregnant again … oh, wait.

Michael wins again!!!!! Dude. I can’t contain myself right now. Give me a moment.

I do have to say, I initially felt bad for Jeffery for not winning this one, until he had to be the token dick and player hate on Michael’s winning dress by saying it was “food for a diabetic neighbor.”

Oh no he didn’t.

Leave it to the judges to hold Alison to a different standard because she has a vagina:
“We can’t believe a female designer could be so careless with the female form.”
And with that, Alison is OUT. What the ----- ?

You've GOT to be kidding me.

Aug 16, 2006

The Reverse Midas Touch

So, opium cultivation in Afghanistan is up by record levels, according to this AP article.
Opium cultivation has surged since the ouster of the Taliban in late 2001. The former regime enforced an effective ban on poppy growing by threatening to jail farmers -- virtually eradicating the crop in 2000.

But Afghan and Western counternarcotics officials say Taliban-led militants are now implicated in the drug trade, encouraging poppy cultivation and using the proceeds to help fund their insurgency.
Great. What a mess we've made.

Relax, they just called him a "shithead."

Three Virginia republicans are coming to Sen. Allen's aid in trying to explain away the whole "Macaca" thing. By deconstructing the word into syllables, they're saying that "Macaca" is a hybrid - nay, an amalgamation - of the words "mohawk" and "caca."
Opponents of Allen have said that Sidarth's hair was clearly styled as a mullet rather than as a Mohawk.
You've got to be a real moron to mistake a mohawk for a mullet. Seriously. Nice try, guys.

(Props to AMERICblog for the link.)

Aug 15, 2006

George Allen: I'm backpedaling as fast as I can

Ugh. Insensitivity abounds.
Sen. George Allen apologized Tuesday for remarks that offended a man of Indian descent who was tracking the Republican's re-election campaign for Democratic challenger Jim Webb.

S.R. Sidarth said he felt Allen was singling him out because of his race when the senator called him "Macaca" during a GOP rally Friday at Breaks, Va., near the Kentucky border.

"In no way was it meant to demean him, and I'm sorry if he was offended," Allen said in a telephone interview.

Allen, who is positioning himself for a possible run for president in 2008, said the name was "just made up" and that he had no idea that macaca is a genus of monkeys including macaques. The name also could be spelled Makaka, which is a city in South Africa.


On Monday, Allen spokesman Dick Wadhams said the name "Macaca" was a variation of "Mohawk," the nickname Allen campaign staffers gave Sidarth for his partially cropped haircut. Allen, however, said Tuesday that he made up the name himself.

Allen has been accused of racial insensitivity before. He wore a Confederate flag pin in his high school yearbook photo, used to keep a Confederate flag in his living room, a noose in his law office and a picture of Confederate troops in his governor's office, but has said he has grown since then.
A name you "just made up," although you saw fit to use that term twice:
"This fellow over here with the yellow shirt — Macaca or whatever his name is — he's with my opponent," Allen said. "He's following us around everywhere."

After mentioning that Webb was in California on a fundraising trip, Allen exhorted the crowd: "Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."
"Just made it up." Yeah, riiiight. And macacas are flying out of my butt.

(Photo credit: Photo of Sulawesi-Crested Macaque lifted from here.)

Aug 14, 2006

Parenting, schmarenting

Pam at Pandagon reminds us (in case you forgot) why straight people are so much better at raising children, and how the notion that gay marriage is more likely to be unhealthy and fuck up your kids --- straight people do a much more better job of it.

Fucking up (or in this case, with) your kids, I mean.

What took her so long?

Madonna is shelving her acting aspirations and turning her back ("begrudgingly," as this article states) on what's left of her movie career:
[Madonna] says, "I hate to admit it, but I've decided to give that up.

"How can any film survive if everyone says it's going to be a flop from the very day the project is even conceived?
Interesting that someone like Madonna --- one who has made a successful career by following her own intuition, pushing the envelope, and continuously reinventing herself --- is now playing the victim and blaming the Hollywood Machine for her films' lack of success.

C'mon, Madonna. If most of your movies are do not come highly regarded by critics or by box office stats, maybe it's not ... you know ... the movie itself, but ...

... your acting. Sorry, boo.

I love Madonna's musical career, but to be honest, she should stick to what she does best. Singing and dancing and wearing cone bras.

Aug 11, 2006

Are ratings THAT bad?

Tucker Carlson is slated to appear on the next season of "Dancing with the Stars."

Tucker. Carlson. Seriously.

Aug 10, 2006

How I am Weird

Catherine at Poverty Barn tagged me with this meme, and I am happy to oblige.

I think you're only supposed to list five things, but hell, let's see how many I can come up with tonight:
  1. I don't like to watch people cooking my food, especially in restaurants or take-out joints. It seriously grosses me out. Especially if they futz around with my food a lot while it's cooking. Leave that shit alone and let it cook, for the love of Jah.
  2. I can’t sleep unless my bedroom and closet doors are closed. Otherwise, I get nightmares.
  3. Beets freak me out. I refuse to eat them.
  4. I do regular belly-button checks, which involve checking for any sort of deposits (if there are, they will be cleaned out with a q-tip and alcohol), and what said deposits smell like. I’m olfactory-focused, what can I say.
  5. I have this superhuman ability to freak men out. Or repulse them. I haven't figured out which yet.
  6. When I buy anything off a shelf (e.g. packaged food/goods, earrings, CDs, clothing), I pick the item from the back, and the packaging needs to be flawless, or I won’t buy it. One reason is very rational (FIFO, so if you grab it from the back, it's fresher). The other is not (I hate bringing home something that everyone and their mother has touched).
  7. I obsess over fonts, my AP style guide, and how many spaces go after a period. Oh yeah, and serial commas.
  8. It's easy for me to crack myself up. Also, I laugh at almost everything. Even corny shit. I'm Laughy McLaugherstein.
  9. I have this Imelda Marcos-esque collection of shoes, but end up only wearing about 2-3 pairs on a daily basis.
  10. I adore the movie The Silence of the Lambs, and can have entire conversations with my best friend using lines from that movie.
So now's the part in the show where I tag five people, so here we go:

An article about a quote about what could have been

Reuters posted an article today about U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's comparison to today's foiled terrorist plan to blow up planes. Sit back and watch the political spin machine at work [emphasis mine]:
"If these plotters had succeeded in taking down multiple jets carrying hundreds of people, we would have seen a disaster on a scale comparable to 9/11 with hundreds and maybe thousands of people being killed," Chertoff said in an interview on PBS's "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer."

He said al Qaeda might have been involved, that the United States was in a race against "terrorist ingenuity" and that the sophisticated plot was "in the top level of the kind of terrorist activities we've seen over the past 10 years."
Look. I'm glad the plot was foiled. I don't think anybody is saying anything to the contrary. But, instead of the messages conveyed echoing the effectiveness of intelligence gathering and acting on it, the key message being conveyed is more along the lines of What Could Have Been. The better to keep you afraid, my pretties.

Pretty transparent.

Sidebar: Bernie Kerik was on Donnie Deutch's show today, serving as another pawn for the Bush White House, blaming the media for reporting these stories, because the terrorists get their information from the American media, and thus, get inspiration for more terrorist acts. Nothing we've heard before. I don't even have to tell you what I think of that logic.

I absolutely do not question Kerik's heroism and leadership of the NYPD after the 9/11 attacks, but the fact that he is now on Donnie Deutsch's show saying things like this, and given that he is now the CEO of his own firm specializing in homeland security, I have to take what he says with a grain of salt.

There's no question this world is getting crazier and crazier by the minute. But I cannot stand watching people throw the events of 9/11, and terrorism in general, around to benefit their own agendas. Totally disgusting.

Sidebar: Wasn't British intelligence responsible for thwarting the planned terrorist attack, and not the U.S.? Mark Benjamin at Salon asks the same question.

Project Runway After Party

Episode 5: Iconic Statement or, “How many times can we tell Robert that he’s boring?”

Heidi comes in, brings out the models, and Heidi switches it up again. Now the models pick who they want to work with. Hmm. So … there’s one extra model, which means two models have to go this episode. So then the last model picked out of the bag automatically loses? That sucks, but I guess the randomness is fair: Alexandra picks Alison, Clarissa picks Angela, Amanda picks Kayne, Nazri picks Michael (you know she wants him!), Lindsey goes with Uli, Danielle picks Robert, Marilinda picks Jeffery, Camilla picks Laura, Gia picks Vincent, and Katie Holmes picks Bradley.

This week’s challenge was to modernize the look of a fashion icon, and not only do the models pick the designers, but they also pick which celebrity icon the designers will have. The designers feel so out of control right now, especially Angela, who can’t help but flail about as Heidi tells the models to go get changed. What is up with her spazziness?

Some of the fashion icons: Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O. The models get to take one of the fashion icon's photos and then take it back to their designer’s tables. It’s a mad dash, like a clearance sale at Filene's or something. Those models were ruthless!

Angela spazzes out again when she finds out her model picked Audrey Hepburn. Michael gets Pam Muthafuckin’ Grier, yo. Everyone else gets, well, everyone else.

They get two days and $150.

Get to sketchin’!

Laura loves her challenge and thinks that Camilla nailed it with the Katherine Hepburn choice. Alison is not feeling Farrah Fawcett until her model describes who Farrah Fawcett actually is. Gia picked Twiggy because she knew that Vincent would do a good job of it. Bradley is freaking out because he doesn’t know anything about Cher. Katie Holmes tells him that she’s gone pop, and Bradley’s all, like Prince? Yeah, Bradley. Like Prince. But different.

Michael is getting more face time in this episode. We happy!

Robert is having a complex, thinking now that he’s boring. Thanks, Heidi. Way to break a man. I bet he has nightmares about it to this day.

Kayne wants to make a “Marilyn Monroe meets Gwen Stefani” look. Vincent wants to make a bell sleeve. Two words: Uh oh.

Back in the sewing room, tensions mount as the designers play musical sewing machines. And why are they doing this, you ask? Because Angela pretty much broke Bradley’s machine. So Bradley starts working on Alison’s machine, which sets the whole downward spiral going. Jeffery comes in and is all, I heard bitching up in here, can I play? So then he proceeds to put in his two cents and blames everything on Angela and the rest of the “inexperienced assholes” on this show. Jeffery gets all in Angela’s face, saying, “I’m entitled not to like you, right?”

Hold me. Jeffery. Is. So. Punk. Rawk. This is the same guy who was all hurt that he didn't win the freakin’ Macy’s challenge. Whatevs!

My new favorite, Laura, checks Jeffery and his insolence and tells him, if you’re so experienced, what are you doing here, assmunch?

Jeffery retorts by quacking at her (like a duck, seriously) and wishing a stroke on Laura. Oh no he DIDN’T. You can’t be wishing strokes on people! Besides, Vincent Gallo already has the market cornered on wishing bad diseases and afflictions on people. Bo-ring! Find your own damn gimmick!

Michael is now saying that it’s not cool that everyone is ganging up on Angela, while Jeffery tries to rationalize by saying that her actions have a direct effect on him … indirectly.

“I’m not trying to play Captain Save A Ho, but it really wasn’t his place to say anything,” Michael says.

Michael gets instant cool points for referencing east bay rapper E-40!

So Jeffery tries further rationalization, but Michael is not trying to feel it, so he dismisses Jeffery and his tattoo by saying “coo.” Yeah. Now get to steppin'.

I officially love this episode because Michael is getting SO MUCH face time right now. So after his confrontation with Jeffery, he goes and calls his mom to get some perspective. And then when he’s saying goodbye to her, he calls his mom “my dear.” I'm swooning now.

Fortified with Mama’s love, Michael feels ready to continue on.

The next morning, Vincent is shitting Twiggy bricks. Robert is again freaking out that his outfit is boring, so he borrows some extra linen from Vincent. Because we all know how exciting and fun linen is. Don't we?

Back at the Atlas, everyone talks about whose designs they’d love to see, and Kayne’s all “I want to see the Cher outfit, hel-lo.”

Jeffery says wants to see Laura’s, because he wants to see what kind of a dress a “frigid bitch” would design. A wise voice off camera suggests that Jeffery use his pitchfork on her then. Get it? Because Jeffery is the Devil. And the Devil wears neck tatts!

The next day, the designers come in and Angela wearing a shirt that says “B is for BIATCH.” Talk about using a t-shirt to make a statement.

How original.


The word of today’s episode is “supercalifragilisticexpialicrazy.” But not because it’s funny, but because it was a lame attempt by Jeffery at humor. Nothing can beat “Captain Save A Ho,” aiight? Check yourself!

The next day, the models come in for their fittings.

Michael is not feeling the dress, so he tries to revamp it.

Kayne is annoyed because his model is a chatterbox. Blathering on about her iPod and stuff.

Bradley designed pants that showed off Katie Holme’s massive camel toe. I wonder if he’s going to fix it.

So some guy, Nathaniel from TreSemme, comes to talk to the designers to talk about hair. And to announce that the winning “look” will be featured in an upcoming ad in Elle.

Sidebar: I wonder if Nazri is sick of her hair being massively fro’d out every episode. It doesn't look bad, but I'm just saying. Mix it up.

Tim Gunn comes for his usual feedback session, and proceeds to further validate Robert’s insecurities by saying that his garment is plain. Actually, it was so plain that Tim was speechless, so Robert filled in the blank for him. Poor Robert. He's totally buying into the fact that they all think he's boring. Psychological warfare in full effect!

Michael tells Tim that he’s going to do hot pants instead of a skirt. Tim HATES hot pants, but Michael makes them anyway. Tim is worried about Bradley’s design, as we all should be.

And so ends Day Two.

The next morning, we see shots of the designers waking up and getting out of bed, and apparently the cameraman is in love with Alison (and why shouldn’t he be?) because the camera follows her climbing out of bed in her slinky animal print chemise, walking to the kitchen, and then getting a coffee mug out of the cupboard. Riveting footage.

The models come for their fittings, Kayne tells his model to shut up already, and that she should just stand there and look pretty without saying a word. I agree.

On to the runway!

Sidebar: What fashion icon was Heidi trying to emulate with that lace kimono-sleeve dress and white boots?

Michael Kors (Finally!), NINAGARCIA, and Project Runway veteran judge, Diane Von Furstenburg are here to judge.

Alison’s Farrah Fawcett look was nice. Just nice. I don't really remember it.

Bradley’s Cher outfit: He was concerned with being too spacey. Justified.

Angela’s Audrey Hepburn look was … meh. Are those rosettes I see? Good Lord. They’re subdued, but enough already, seriously.

Kayne’s Marilyn Monroe dress was very sexy, very art deco, very glam. There was something weird going on around the hip though.

Laura’s Katherine Hepburn look was pretty slick and tailored, as usual. The high-waisted pant was great too.

Vincent’s dress for Twiggy was very elementary-school uniform. He thinks he nailed it. Me, not so much.

Michael’s outfit for Pam Grier was cute. It looks like something Pam woud wear to the club on Friday night.

Robert’s Jackie O outfit was cute, although what’s up with the rope belts, Robert?

Uli’s dress for Diana Ross was great. I could see Diana wearing that on stage.

Jeffery’s outfit for Madonna, a tattered deconstructed corset, looks like something Madonna already wore. Like during that tour where she had the black geisha hair. I don’t really see it as being all that innovative or “updated,” and I’m not just saying that because he wished a stroke on Laura.

During the final critique, Kors says that Kayne’s dress looks like “goth Marilyn.” Heidi thinks it’s “genius.” NINAGARCIA says he “understands presentation” and says she’s never bored with his designs. I have to agree with her.

Vincent’s next, and describes Twiggy in the past tense. Diane checks Vincent by saying, “First of all, lame ass, Twiggy is still alive.” Oopsie. NINAGARCIA doesn’t like the outfit, but tells him this with a slight laugh. I think they’re being too easy on Vincent. The dress’s construction looked like something your grandma made you back in 1970, when you were in 7th grade. And this is the problem I am noticing with Vincent: I guess Vincent used to have a label back in the 80’s or something, but several decades later, his designs continue to look dated. He shouldn’t have cashed out the 401k, that’s all I’m saying. Nice man, I’m sure. But I haven’t seen anything fashion-forward from him yet. And we’re already five episodes in.

On to Michael, my other new favorite. Heidi thinks Michael’s outfit "works." Diane said that Michael’s whole thing was “perfection.” The judges are loving his outfit, as they should.

Bradley’s updated outfit for Cher is next, and the judges are not loving it. It’s the white camel toe pant with some kind of metallic kimono-sleeve top. Kors says the camel toe pants are “insane.” Heidi says it looks like something you’d pick up at the mall, and it looked so cheap.

I hate to say it, but Angela’s outfit is quite nice. Good thing she paired with Michael and Laura in last week's episode, because although she used those damn granny circles again, they were tastefully done around the hem of the dress. It also looked like she did some pleating, or ruching. Her partnership with My Favorites taught her a thing or two about taste level. She’s surprising the judges, and me. I still think she's a spaz though. And annoying.

NINAGARCIA doesn’t “get” Robert’s design. Diane thinks linen was the worst mistake he could have made. Kors says this outfit looks nothing like what Jackie O would wear. Robert looks like he’s going to explode, and I think from this point on, Robert will strike the word “boring” from his vocabulary and not allow people to use that word in his presence.

Michael wins the challenge, and he does a cute little jig. No immunity, though. Whatever! Backstage, Nazri and Angela congratulate Michael on his win. But Michael is more interested in hugging Nazri, though. Ha ha.

Hold up. Vincent is in? WTF?

Bradley the Beard is out.

Aug 8, 2006

Anthony Hamilton Sings the Truth

I know he has a newer album out, but I am still obsessed with Anthony Hamilton’s “I’m a Mess,” from 2003’s Comin’ From Where I’m From. And here’s why:

There’s just something about Anthony Hamilton’s voice. Its rough, gravelly quality smoothed out with a bit of molasses betrays a long history of pain, of rough times, of love lost and found. His voice is instantly recognizable: gruff and gritty, yet tender; strong and earthy, with a thin undercurrent of emotional fragility just below the surface. And while the very timbre of his voice is a play on opposites, one thing is for certain: Anthony Hamilton sings the truth, chile.

The song begins with Hamilton’s belting out a loud and soulful “Oh.” But it’s not just any “oh.” Oh no. Immediately, this “oh” hints at the despair, the frustration, and a bit of hopefulness that he’s feeling. And this “oh” leaves you smoldering. Guts wrenched out. Get ready for what’s coming up. Anthony’s got a story to tell you.

He’s split up with his lover, his best friend, his soul mate. Any breakup is painful to some degree, but this particular kind, the kind I like to call the “no call, no show” tactic, has got to be one of the worst:
You could have called, you could have wrote, you could have tried
I’d rather you slit me ‘cross the throat so I can die
Instead of leaving, no explanation as to why
You don't want me no more
Anyone who’s been dumped in this way immediately understands the bewilderment; the betrayal; the endless questioning of self; the indescribable pain. Oh Jah, the crippling pain:
I'm a mess right now, I can't eat, can't sleep
Bills are piling high, ain't worked in three weeks
Ain't bathed, can't shave, ‘cause my heart is so tender like living in a blender
I'm shaken and I'm stirred
Hamilton’s sorrowful pace is relentless. The listeners get no reprieve from the emotional journey he takes you on. In fact, after the second verse and chorus, the backup singers sing the following:
Call me, write me, love me
Come home
You think it’s going to end at two repetitions, but no. It becomes the song’s coda and becomes a seemingly endless pleading for the loved one’s return. It’s an emotional request from the spurned lover whose level of loneliness increases with each increasing octave. Call me. Write me. Love me. Come home.

If you’re a sensitive bitch like me, I dare you to not be able to identify – or to not cry, even – singing along to this part. As the pitch increases, your throat and vocal cords tie themselves into knots – but does your throat hurt because you’re not that great a singer and are having trouble reaching the notes, or is it painful because each repetition brings that all-too-familiar ball in your throat, as if you were holding back the tears? And at the same time the pitch increases, the coda takes you to a deeper level of pain and desperation: This visceral reaction is almost as if it was you, in fact, who was left behind by a lover who disappeared without a trace.

And maybe you really are that person who was left behind, in which case this song becomes an emotional post-breakup catharsis. And maybe through the sorrow in Hamilton's voice, you eventually realize that he will never call. He will never write. He will never love you. And he will never come home.

But you will get through it. Eventually.

LiLo Loves Her Some Troops

Lindsay Lohan wants to go to Iraq with Senator Hilary Clinton and entertain the troops. If by "entertain" you mean going on all-night alcohol benders, giving seminars on how to starve yourself so as to lose The Hotness, and engaging in feuds with other vapid teen stars, then well, have at it, I guess.

"I've been trying to go to Iraq with Hillary Clinton for so long. Hillary was trying to work it out, but it seemed too dangerous," the 20-year-old actress says in an interview in the September issue of Elle magazine, on newsstands Wednesday.

Lohan, whose screen credits include "Freaky Friday," "Mean Girls" and the upcoming "Georgia Rule," says she hoped to emulate Marilyn Monroe, who performed shows for about 100,000 troops stationed in Korea in 1954.

"It's so amazing seeing that one woman just going somewhere, this beautiful sex kitten, who's basically a pinup, which is what I've always aspired to be," Lohan tells the magazine, adding that she would prepare for her trip to Iraq by taking shooting lessons with her security guard.
She's always aspired to be a sex kitten? Aim high, sistafren. Aim high.

(Photo credit: Lifted from my favorite guilty pleasure. And props to Scott for the link.)

Aug 7, 2006

It's a boy!

Not so fast there, Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui. Don't throw away that panda porn just yet. Keep hope alive, my furry friends:
Six-year-old Zhang Ka delivered the baby, the second born in captivity in the world this year, on Monday at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in the mountainous southwest, Xinhua said in a report late on Monday.

The cub weighed just 218 grams (half a pound), but still became the heaviest panda ever born in captivity, where most cubs are born weighing between 83 and 190 grams, Xinhua said.

"It is very rare for them to be even near 200 grams," it said.
Oh and ladies, by the way, the birthing took 34 hours. I'm just saying.

(Photo credit: REUTERS/China Daily)

Aug 6, 2006

Why does FOX hate the children?

Get ready, y'all. Set your DVRs on "record" for Aug. 20, because the other Man We Love to Hate On, K-Fed, will be shaking his popozao at the Teen Choice awards.
Kevin Federline says viewers will be "shocked" and naysayers "surprised" at his first live performance in front of a national audience.

Fox announced Wednesday that Federline will close the Teen Choice 2006 awards show Aug. 20 by performing his hip-hop/rock single, Lose Control.

The plan is for wife Spears, who is expecting their second child in September, to be his date to the show. "This is my first big event, and I need her support and I want her support. If she's feeling under the weather because of the baby, obviously she won't be able to be there. But she'll want to be there for me."

Newt: A vote for Lamont means the terrorists win

The Connecticut senate primary is this Tuesday. (Go Ned!) So in a final attempt (well, it's only Sunday, I shouldn't say "final") at motivating the CT voters into voting for Lieberman, the GOP is spreading the fear again, via the mouthpiece that is Newt Gingrich (emphasis mine):
Third, you have what I think is a legitimate insurgency in Connecticut, which needs to be met head on and debated head on, which is people who say this is so hard, it is so frightening, it’s so painful, can’t we come home and hide? And I think if Lamont wins next Tuesday, it will be the beginning of extraordinarily important period in American politics, and in American history. For all of us to have this debate. How dangerous are the terrorists? How dangerous are the dictatorships? And what does America have to do in that kind of a dangerous world?
Seriously? Vigorous and robust political debate is what this country is all about. Is Newt saying that "oh, finally, if Ned wins, we'll finally have the ability to do so," or is he likening folks who are vehemently against the war in Iraq to the insurgents in Iraq? I'm sure it's the latter. The better to frighten you back into submission, my pretties.

So is Newt saying Ned Lamont = the Connecticut version of Moqtada Al-Sadr? Give me a freakin' break. This is a new low. And just when you think they couldn't go any lower ...


At least the evacuations have already begun:
The Philippine authorities have ordered the evacuation of about 20,000 people living near a volcano, saying an eruption could take place soon.

The alert was raised to four - the second highest level - following increased activity at Mount Mayon, in the centre of the country.

It began abnormal activity in February, and started emitting lava in mid-July.

Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines, having erupted about 50 times in the past 400 years.

People living in the region watched with alarm early on Monday, as five successive volcanic blasts happened within 40 minutes.

By mid-morning, Mayon's peak was covered in a dark cloud of volcanic material rising high above the crater.

"We deem it necessary to raise the alert level to four," Philippine volcanology and seismology director Renato Solidum told Reuters news agency.

This means that an eruption could happen within days. Level five represents an ongoing eruption.
Of course, there are some folks who cannot leave the area, for whatever reason. I just hope not too many people are affected by this, because the poverty in the area will ensure that they never will recover.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

I usually am SO OVER Chinese food, but I went out to a Chinese restaurant with my parents this evening and well, if I get fortunes as good as this from now on, I may have to rethink my cuisine choices.
Remember three months from this date. Good things are in store for you.
Because---and let's keep it real here---I could use the help. Let the countdown begin!

Aug 4, 2006

As if you needed further proof

This is just embarassing:
Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith is claiming President George W. Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam just two months before the President ordered troops to invade Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End, Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

A year after his “Axis of Evil” speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq’s first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, “I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!”
It almost sounds like a punchline to a joke, except the joke isn't funny; the joke is the guy who runs this country.

That better be one charming mafakin' pig

Great. Just great:
The more processed meat a person eats, the more likely they may be to develop stomach cancer, according to a new research review.

But the review, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, doesn’t call processed meats a cause of stomach cancer. There’s not enough evidence for that, write the researchers.
Larsson and colleagues reviewed 15 studies on stomach cancer and processed meats, which included bacon, sausage, hot dogs, salami, ham, and smoked or cured meat.
They found that higher intake of processed meats was associated with a greater risk of stomach cancer. “Findings were most consistent for bacon consumption,” the researchers write.
I don't normally eat a lot of bacon, but I can't say 'no' to thinly sliced coppa and prosciutto. Damn.

Aug 3, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 4: Reap What You Sew
It’s here. The infamous episode in which Tim Gunn asks someone to leave the show. Will this episode live up to the hype? Let’s see …

But first, a twist – the designers have another opportunity to pick a model. Follow me now: Uli mixes it up and takes Keith’s model. Kayne and Michael change their models. Bonnie sticks with hers. Keith takes Camilla, Angela takes Bradley’s model, Laura stays with Katie Holmes, Vincent stays with Jia, Jeffery sticks with his model, Bradley takes Lindsey, Alison switches it up and works with Alessandra, and Robert sticks with Danielle. That means Toni, Alison’s previous model, is out, and Alison looks sad. And she's so cute, you just want to hug her.

Back in the workroom, Tim introduces them to Mehmet Tangoren, VP of contemporary sportswear at Macy’s. He explains that Macy’s I.N.C. customer is a woman who is ageless, fashion forward, reads all the fashion magazines, and wants all the hot looks. He explains that this brand is the biggest business for ready-to-wear at Macy’s. (I think I have one I.N.C. sweater, actually.)

This week’s challenge: Working in teams of three, the designers have to design a three-piece look for I.N.C.

Angela sees this as a way to redeem herself.

On to sketchin’!

Robert, Keith, and Bonnie feel pretty comfortable with this challenge. Bonnie says that she’s used to designing “for the masses.”

Angela’s forced to sketch this time.

Field trip!

On to Macy’s, where the designers pitch their ideas one by one to Mr. Tangoren:
  • Vincent's sketches are messy, and he says that gray will be the new brown
  • Angela tells Tangoren that her inspiration comes from Empire State Building – someone’s been watching previous Project Runway episodes!
  • Yadda yadda
I.N.C. guy picks:
  • Robert “outstanding”
  • Bonnie “understood the customer”
  • Keith “colors and presentation well done”
  • Angela “loved the inspiration”
Anyway, everyone else was like, how the hell did Angela's design get picked? Michael’s all, aww hell naw. Kayne’s like, what the hell has Angela made that’s like, stylish? Jeffery was afraid Angela would pick him, because he doesn’t want to make something for someone he didn’t like. Jeffery's designer code of ethics, if you will.

So now it’s time to pick teams:

Angela picks Michael and Laura. And Michael has again won a piece of my heart, because his reaction to getting picked by Angela was:

“Awww, DAAYAM.”

Robert picks Kayne and Vincent, who already goes into this saying how he hates Robert’s design but that he’ll defer to him, because he’s the team leader.

Keith picks Alison, the Queen of Cute and Jeffery, who’s just glad that Angela didn’t pick him first.

Bonnie picks Uli (who has immunity this episode) and Bradley the Beard.

Tim tells the designers that the winning garment will be put into production and sold nationwide at select Macy’s stores nationwide.

So it’s on to our favorite fabric store. Oh, by the way, each team only gets $100 for this challenge. Awww, DAAYAM!

Angela tells us that the inspiration for her design comes from “sunrise over the Empire State Building. What is up with Angela’s themes? As the three designers sit around and go over Angela’s design, the looks on Laura and Michael’s faces just scream, get me away from this woman, DAAAYAM!

Laura even goes so far as to say that Angela’s designs are, and I’m paraphrasing here, a “full-tilt boogie extravaganza of puff.” Laura rules.

Keith tells us that he likes to break the rules from time to time because he thinks he's right all the time. Hmm …

Back at Parsons, Bradley’s chillin’, and Bonnie gets in touch with her inner micromanager. Bradley pulls the beard card, jokingly, of course.

Keith is the king of delegation. In fact, he’s delegated so well that he’s lying down on the workroom tables while Jeffery and Alison tackle the hardest pieces of the outfit he designed.

That evening, Kayne confides in Vincent that he saw patternmaking and how-to books in Keith’s room – a violation of Project Runway’s rules, which state that you can’t have any these kinds of books with you. At all. So Kayne, Robert, Michael discuss this among themselves.

I guess Angela, contrary to my hopes and dreams, isn’t getting booted off this episode.

I’m tempted to turn the TV off at this revelation, but realizing that we still have a runway show to design for, and that this episode they still may kick someone off, well … that was enough for me to keep hope alive. So I sat through the commercial break and waited.

We’re back from commercial, and Tim comes to the Atlas to confront Keith. Apparently Keith also left the production area for a few hours the other day to use the Internet, which is another violation of the rules.

“These books make me sick,” Tim says.

It’s a serious issue. Tim asks Keith to leave that night.

Before he packs up and leaves, Keith apologizes to Bradley, Robert, Michael and Kayne, and tells them he understands their concern, that his image as a designer is now tarnished, and that he’s going to be a laughing stock to his friends.

Keith says that he never used those books to give himself an unfair advantage, and thinks he still would have made it to the end, or at least pretty far along in the competition. That he had a lot of tricks up his sleeve still.

So, why bring the books then, when it's explicitly stated in the rules? Oy.

The next day, Tim debriefs with the rest of the designers. Laura’s point of view on this is basically, good riddens. She says,

“What an asshole.”

And all of a sudden, Laura’s stock rises several points with me.

Now, lacking a team leader, Jeffery and Alison need to make it work without Keith. Alison is stressed out. Crying even. I feel bad for her, and she looks so cute and Bjorkish and stuff, but all I can think is, how the hell can I get my bangs to look as good as hers?

Michael warns Laura that Angela is making those damn puffs again, and they proceed to clown on her in the sewing machine room. Angela playfully (we hope) threatens Michael, saying,

“I’m going to put rosettes all over these pants!”

Upon hearing this, Michael proceeds to go into convulsions on Angela’s workspace table. Laura suggests the rosettes become the buttons on the jacket. Thank you, Laura. Thank you for taming The Rosette Beast.

Without Keith, Jeffery and Alison are pretty far along, which impresses Tim Gunn. Things are looking up for the two of them.

On to the runway!

Heidi tells them that one of them still must go, even if Keith got the boot.

This episode’s judges are:
  • Vera “I just loves me some Angela” Wang
  • Mehmet Tangoren, VP of contemporary sportswear at Macy’s
Angela’s outfit, I have to say, was surprisingly non-offensive. A super-slim pant paired with a bolero jacket, with Angela’s “trademark” rosettes artfully posing as buttons and as a decorative element on the back collar made for a tasteful outfit, thanks to Laura’s intervention.

I wasn’t impressed with Robert’s jacket. The skirt was sexy, indeed – it would have been really cool if the slit was in the front. Or, if kept as is, part of a separate outfit. As a whole, it just didn’t work. I was pretty disappointed this time, because Robert’s designs are usually pretty consistent and well executed. But this time, it just didn’t work. The jacket didn’t match with the rest of the outfit. It was as if the model randomly grabbed her winter parka from her coat closet as she was rushing out of the house that morning. The judges thought that Robert and team “missed the mark,” and that the look was “boring.”

Coming down the runway, the outfit Bonnie’s team constructed looked like something I’d wear to work in the fall or winter. But the judges didn’t like it. And upon closer inspection, I have to agree with them. The pants looked like polyester uniform pants that you’d get from Cintas or something. In fact, NINAGARCIA hated it, that it made the wearer look frumpy and old. The guy from Macy’s said it was SO last year.

Keith’s design fit well, and Jeffery and Alison’s execution was flawless. And it still managed to reflect Jeffery and Alison’s individual styles. The upside-down wife beater shirt was an interesting touch, and I loved the jacket. I so want one. The guy from Macy’s and Vera both loved the pants. Vera said the outfit was “hip, youthful, and active.”

Robert and Bonnie’s teams got the lowest scores, while Keith’s and Angela’s team got the highest.

Angela is having trouble containing herself on the runway --- and oh, how annoying that is, by the way --- when Heidi tells them that they have to go to Macy’s in Herald Square to find out who won the challenge. Girlfriend is a spaz.

It’s down to Robert (“Your design was a bore”) and Bonnie (“Your design was stale and not fashion forward”).

Bonnie gets The Auf. Robert is still in.


Sidebar: Who thought it would be a good idea to make Heidi wear bloomers?

The next morning, Angela busts a gut when she sees her design in the Macy’s window.

Angela thinks she’s vindicated, but honey, not so fast. If it weren’t for Laura and Michael’s input, you would have vomited rosettes all over that outfit and you most certainly would have gotten The Auf. Consider yourself lucky.

Until next week, darlings.

P.S. Doesn’t Jackie from “Workout” look like a really butch Scarlett Johansson?