Jul 31, 2006

Why running sucks

A runner died during the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday in what appeared to be the first fatality in the event's 29-year history.

William Goggins, 43, of San Francisco, collapsed from apparent heart failure after he passed the 24-mile mark of the 26.2 mile race, authorities said.
Fine. I'll start riding my bike again.

Stop looking at me like that.

My heartfelt condolences to the Goggins family.

Jul 27, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 3: A Designer’s Best Friend
First off, why did they have to boot off the token Asian model? Damn, a sista can’t even catch a break around here!

Heidi tells the designers that they have to design a garment based on a designer’s “favorite accessory.” That night, the designers speculate over what this “accessory” could be over a couple of beers.

The next morning, the designers get a map to Central Park, and Laura guesses that they’ll have something to do with horses. So she busts out with an equestrian outfit. This woman cracks. Me. Up. Who the hell packs an equestrian outfit with them?

Tim Gunn comes over the grassy knoll with a gaggle of itty bitty foofy dogs. Get it? Designers? Foofy dogs? I’m overwhelmed by cuteness right now. I need a moment.

Ha! Laura’s not a dog person! So she gets the last dog left and puts it in her purse so she “doesn’t have to touch it.” The look on her face when she sees the dogs is priceless.

Jeffery observes that everyone picked a dog that pretty much resembled themselves – except Alison and Bradley trade, since Stewart the terrier looks more like Bradley than it does Alison. Cuteness and giggles abound.

I love Uli and her German accent. Her dog’s name is Einstein, and she says it all totally German-like – “EIN-schtein.” Just how my high school physics teacher used to say it. Aaah, good times, good times.

Tim tells the designers that not only do they have to design a dress for the dog’s owner, but they also have to make a matching outfit for the dog.

In other words, they have to design a dress for just the kind of dog owner I can’t freakin’ stand.

I have to admit though, I’m still overwhelmed by cuteness.

Angela concocts some cockamaimie story about a British headmistress of an art camp in Paris at a farm called Jubilee Jumbles, at which this headmistress throws a party for her dog, Patty Cake. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Patty Cake was “born in the spring”? Ugh! I swear, Angela should get the Auf based on the sheer lameness of that story alone. But this is Angela, all “balls out” and stuff. Yikes.

On to sketchin’!

Laura is pissed because her dog keeps walking all over her sketch pad. I’m surprised she doesn’t throw the dog back in the purse and fling it across the room. All that scampering about must have had an effect on her creative process, because the suit she’s making looks like it has a fur collar. Déjà vu!

Michael’s dog is chillin’ alongside the sketchpad. Pimpin’ ain’t easy, yo.

The designers only had 30 minutes at our favorite fabric store, and according to Kanye, Laura picks vanilla fabrics, while he’s all about the rocky road, baby.

Bradley’s stressing out because he’s not particularly inspired. Hmm …

Vincent cracks up for two minutes over something really corny. To be honest, I don’t even know what he was laughing about. He annoys me so much, I sort of tune out when he’s on the screen. But it had to do with him holding up a picture (ostensibly of the dog) and some white puffy thing that looks like a miniature captain’s hat. Look, I am a fan of the Cuteness as much as the next girl, but Vincent totally ruined it for me.

This particular challenge happens to fall on Bradley’s birthday, to which Jeffery says something about how much it would suck if he went home on his birthday. Foreshadowing, you say? I mean, Bradley is having quite the case of designer’s block, but don’t be silly, Bravo can’t be THAT predictable, can they?

(That was a rhetorical question. Moving on.)

At sewing time, Keith is getting on everyone’s last nerve. Laura says he’s become quite a “shithead,” and Keith retorts by calling her “bad mommy.” And as Miranda once said in Sex in the City, nobody wants to fuck bad mommy.***

Tim comes by to offer feedback. He’s taken with Uli’s design.

Keith tells Tim that he totally has this image in his head abut the woman who owns this dog, but says that his woman doesn’t dress her dog up. Hi, Keith. That’s the challenge. Make it work, hello.

Angela designs basically the same damn pouffy skirt that she wore during the critique in the last episode. What’s up with her and her pouffy garments? Maybe that’s her schtick, kind of like Kara Janx’s kimono dress. But … so totally not as cute.

Bradley’s outfit is just not working out (Translation: Outfit? What outfit?), and Tim tells him that it needs to be redone. And oh, by the way, Bradley only has one hour left. Make it work time!

Vincent, Master of the Wacky Analogy, likens Bradley to someone who “likes to jump off bridges and pick up things as he’s falling,” or something like that. So is he saying Bradley’s a suicidal kleptomaniac? He kills me. And not in a good way.

It’s the end of Day 1, and Bradley is up a creek. (Maybe Vincent’s bridge analogy was prescient after all!) His top is still not done – not to mention the dog’s outfit. He leaves thinking he just won’t show anything, and since it’s his birthday, he’d rather go out like a chump and show nothing down the runway rather than showing something sub par, or something that he doesn’t like.

A cop out, or artistic integrity? You decide.

The next morning, the designers lament over their morning OJ and toothpaste that it would suck to have Bradley get kicked off the show on his birthday. Talk is cheap – you just KNOW each of them is breathing a sigh of relief – at last, someone in a definitively worse spot than they are!

Back at Parsons, Bradley gets his hustle on – he has to finish the top and his doggy outfit. And when his model comes to see what she has to wear today, he tells her that she may not be wearing anything at all. But model chick ain’t havin’ it, because she basically checks him and in not so many words tells him that he can cry and cut, but he better cry and cut. This has apparently provided him with enough inspiration to finish the outfits.

The dogs come back for their clothes too, and Uli’s dog stops for a moment to nuzzle in her cleavage.

I have to say, the outfits are pretty cute. On to the runway!

Michael Kors is still out, so the nondescript Vera Wang is still the stand-in judge, along with NINAGARCIA, and Ivanka Trump, the anti-Paris Hilton.

Kanye’s outfit reminds me of Nick’s dress from the “My Scene Barbie” challenge.

Uli’s dress. I want it.

Robert’s design was very Chanel-esque, and go figure: That was the dog’s name, too. Did you catch the construction on that blouse? Gorgeous. Robert continues to impress me, episode after episode.

Alison’s outfit was cute too, but I think she should have made it a different color because you could hardly see the dog’s vest – white vest on a white dog? It just seems like such a waste, to go through all that detail in construction, only to have it blend into the dog’s fur.

Bradley’s outfit actually looked OK – reminiscent of Daniel V’s orchid top from last season.

Keith’s model came down in a cute halter dress with an Elizabethan-esque collar. But I don’t think the dog had anything on.

Bonnie’s was uncharacteristically chic. Mama likes.

Katherine’s outfit was … very … plain. If Michael Kors was in the house, he’d be telling us he was feeling a bit underwhelmed. The judges loved the dog’s hoodie more than the dress.

The show’s editors slept on Michael’s outfit. AGAIN. His tube dress, with the criss-cross weaved top … gorgeous. When is Michael going to get more face time in front of the camera?

Laura’s outfit, again, was very polished, but I’m wondering if the judges will accuse her of being a one-note. The outfit really does a good job of conveying Laura’s personality, but if I see another fur-lined collar, I’m going to cough up a hairball.

Angela’s outfit looks more bad 80’s fashion and less “Jubilee Junction.” Whatever the hell that’s supposed to look like. Unless she’s going for a clownish look, in which case, carry on!

Sidebar: The models did an excellent job down the runway. I wish I could say the same for the dogs. Either the models were walking too fast for these little dog’s legs, or their doggie treats were laced with something.

This is the first episode in which, during the critique, the story is everything. And it’s hilarious to hear the things these designers have come up with. Okay, I’m specifically talking about Angela’s.

Uli’s story about the socialite partying all night and heading out the next day with her fabulous friends for brunch and shopping for more fabulous clothes “works” for Ivanka. Hmm, speaking from experience there, dear?

Heidi says that Katherine’s dress is “blah,” and Nina says that there was a flaw in the execution, at which her dog starts to whimper. More foreshadowing?

Angela’s outfit – and story – sucked in its outrageousness. Heidi says the model’s outfit looked “raunchy.” Ivanka said that the model looked like a “streetwalker,” which goes to show that pouffy outfits not only can look like something a clown would wear, but also an outfit that apparently skanks favor as well.

On to Bradley: Vera Wang is ALL OVER IT. Nina tells him that she can see shooting this outfit for Elle. Bradley exhales. “Most original.” “Beautiful.” Suckers!

Keith tells Nina that he made “many, many outfits” for the dog. But the dog is naked, save for some bracelet that he put around its neck, which he didn’t make. Ivanka wants to roll tape to see if he really did make four dog outfits, while Nina defends the execution of his garments, which really, is nothing to shake a stick at.

Uli wins, and gets immunity for next week. Good for her. I loved her outfit.

Katherine gets the Auf.

Again, Angela and her puffy outfits are in. Apparently Ivanka’s “streetwalker” comment had no bearing on the final decision. I swear, what is UP with these judges right now?

I’m totally blaming everything on Vera Wang. Seriously. Bring Kors back. STAT!

** Actually, the line is "nobody wants to fuck mean mommy." Work with me here.

Jul 26, 2006

Ten Best Cities for Singletons

If you're single and ready to mingle, you might want to consider moving:
    1. Denver-Boulder
    2. Boston
    3. Phoenix
    4. San Francisco-Oakland
    5. New York
    6. Raleigh-Durham
    7. Seattle
    8. Austin
    9. Washington D.C. - Baltimore
    10. Miami
It's good to know that I don't necessarily have to move, but The Ways of Dating have me completely baffled to the point of heartache sometimes.

Jul 25, 2006

So this guy walks into a talent agent's office ...

(I know this is an old movie, but I just got NetFlix, so cut me some slack.)

If you don't know what "The Aristocrats" is about, basically it's a movie about a joke. A really, really, really filthy joke that has been improvised over the years, but the punchline is always the same. It's the setup of the joke that makes the joke itself, and the more far-fetched the setup, the funnier, the crazier, the more outrageous the joke becomes.

Anyway, I just saw it tonight, and it had me rolling. My favorites are all here: Lewis Black, John Stewart, Sarah Silverman, Carrie Snow (she's skinny now!), Dana Gould (love him!), and Taylor Negron.

Kevin Pollack's impersonation of Christopher Walken is hilarious. Hysterical. And remember Bob Saget? I had no idea he was so twisted: It's almost creepy to remember that he was the dad on "Full House" and the cheesy host of "America's Funniest Home Videos." This movie actually makes me have a little more respect for him.

If you haven't seen it yet, go rent it, add it to your queue, whatever. Just watch it.

Then come back and tell me what you think.

I see stupid people.

I hate to call people stupid, but I have to say: Residents of Black Hawk, Colo. are STOO-PID.

Basically, former Councilman David Spellman pleaded guilty for pistol-whipping his wife in 2005, but in a plea bargain, got off with probation for felony charges of menacing and third-degree assault.

So then, they made him mayor.
The town of Black Hawk's vote for the new mayor was unanimous. They said there was no history of assault, and they were willing to give him a second chance.

"If there's a message in this, it's that if you engage in domestic violence in Black Hawk, you will be prosecuted no matter who you are," said Black Hawk spokesman, Chuck Ford. "The courts will sentence you and we will see that you live up to the sentence."
They think this will have no effect on his ability to serve as mayor, since there was no history of assault. And on that note, apparently his wife's pistol-whipping has affected her cognition, because the couple has since reconciled.

Good thing he wasn't being prosecuted for getting a blow job from an intern, because we all know how that goes!

(Thanks to Roger Ailes - the good one - for the link.)

Baaaaaaa. Baaaaaa.

Who are these people?
Despite being widely reported in the media that the U.S. and other countries have not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, surprisingly; more U.S. adults (50%) think that Iraq had such weapons when the U.S. invaded Iraq. This is an increase from 36 percent in February 2005.
And yet, these people hold a negative view toward the Iraq war, and less half the people surveyed don't think that the threat of terrorism has been reduced.

Way to buy into the strategery, people.


(Link from Think Progress.)

Jul 24, 2006


Tonight was the last night of a flamenco dance workshop I'd been taking. It's a bittersweet ending, because while I'm sad that the workshop is over, I've also been lucky enough to be able to yet again tap into my flamenco obsession. And better yet: I now have one dance under my belt. During the course of this workshop, we've learned just a few compás' worth of the bulerías. I absolutely cannot wait until the next workshop.

I don't even remember when my appreciation---and when I say "appreciation," I mean "insatiable appetite"---for flamenco began. But all I know is that I have been obsessed with this musical and dance style for decades. And I don't know what inspired me, but I decided to finally get off my butt and do something about it. As a kid, I'd danced tap and jazz, so the discipline needed to follow along in a dance class came naturally to me.

Anyway. The workshop is over, and I totally didn't suck. I think I'll be dancing flamenco for a while. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be good enough to perform. We'll see.

(Photo credit: "Flamenco Dancers," Jo Slater-Thomas)

Because I just had to.

(Curses and props to Rich for the video.)

Jul 20, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 2: Fit for a Queen, AKA the Vincent and Angela Episode, AKA The Great Travesty
Malan starts the show out pretty cheerful and optimistic, doesn’t he? He's so cute.

As you remember from last week, Keith won the last challenge, so he’s got immunity for this episode.

And in today’s episode, the designers get to pick their models, and as last week's winner, Keith gets to go first. He picks the model he had for the first challenge. Most go with the models they worked with on the first challenge, but some designers decide to go out on a limb and choose differently. So this means one model is out. I forgot her name. Anyway, auf wiedersehens are said, hugs are given, tears ensue. Yadda yadda.

So the designers get to design a dress for Miss USA, Tara Conner. You know Kayne (I keep wanting to type “Kanye,” by the way) is piddling his panties. He even sheds a tear.

Sidebar: Do people still watch these pageants? I thought the squeals and “oh my gods” from the designers were a little over the top.

Back at Parsons, Tim Gunn tells them that they’re going to work in teams of two. Yippee! Get to sketchin'!

Angela starts lobbying Kanye to be on his team, getting all up in his grill, making her case as to why they'll make a good team (maybe because Kayne owns a pageant-dressmaking business?) while Kayne looks very interested in his sketch pad.

After 30 minutes of sketching, each designer pitched their concepts to Conner, and Keith used this opportunity to cop a feel and tell her he wants to see her legs. I think Conner got a little moist.

There’s something very soothing about Malan’s voice. I don’t care what any of y’all say. I love me some Malan. And at that moment, Tara was mesmerized too, I know she was.

It's Angela's turn, and she brings zero sketches, and instead interrogates her about certain styles Tara prefers. Umpire waist? Sorry dear, it’s empire. Gloves? Girl, please. Tara looks off camera, seemingly to ask (with her heavily lined eyes), “WTF?” Way to impress a client, there.

So which designers had the winning pitch?
  1. Kayne (pageant freaks, unite!)
  2. Malan (I’m telling you, it’s the voice. I don’t care if the accent is affected or not.)
  3. Keith (groping will get you everywhere, apparently)
  4. Laura (I guess she has a thing for architects)
  5. Jeffery
  6. Vincent
  7. Uli
Now the designers get to pick their teammate, and Kayne doesn’t pick Angela. Ouch. She’s the last one picked, and she’s paired with Vincent, who says, “I’d be happy to work with Alison.”

“Um, it’s Angela.”


With a $300 budget, the designers head over to Mood, our favorite fabric store, and Angela starts busting his balls about time. Way to make your partner not feel stressed out.

Back at Parsons, Vincent starts draping and pretty much leaves Angela out of “the process.” So she starts to feel left out and leaves the room to get a snack or something.

Malan schools Katherine on the benefits of good organization. Fade out, fade in – and now we get a glimpse into Malan’s psyche, as he recounts a story from his childhood in which he shows his mom his sketches. Mom pretty much shot him down and told him those sketches would never amount to anything. I'm sure this is what causes Malan to wear nothing but suits, slick his hair back, and affect a British accent in his adult life.

Angela says, “Vincent, I’m really concerned because I made this dress in college.”

Vincent’s like, I’m not even trying to hear you because I have to drape this fabric, and pretty much busts out a verbal restraining order on her, telling her to step back three feet.

I don’t really think this partnership is working well.

Day 2, and Tim’s in the house to offer his insight.

Tim Gunn tells Vincent that he’s “disappointed” about how his dress is coming along. Vincent: “Oh, that’s okay!” Honestly, I want to smack him. Doesn’t he live in New York? Why does he seem so … naive?

He also tells Malan and Katherine that their dress basically looks like a big log. Tim Gunn, in his blog, calls it a "hulking stump of light-absorbing brown fabric." Sexay!

In a brief conversation over snacks at the Parsons commissary, Keith asks how Angela and Vincent are coming along. It appears that Keith mildly defends Vincent, to which Angela replies, “Your opinion is of no value to me, so …”

Angela is in touch with her inner Wendy Pepper, clearly.

Kayne and Robert are the. Gayest. Team. Ever. I love it!

That night, back at the Atlas, the boys and girls talk shit about Angela and Vincent. The following words get thrown around: “transparent as shit,” "stab you in the back any chance she'll get," “feminazi.” I wonder who they’re talking about? Don't get me started on the "feminazi" comment. But I digress.

Day 3, the day of the runway show, and Vincent and Angela bicker about what time they have to be finished by. Vincent asks Angela to find out for sure, and she tells him it’s 12:15. It turns out the real time is 12:30, so Vincent berates her, saying that she hasn’t helped at all, and when he asks her to do something, she can’t even find the correct time. Vincent wants a secretary, not a co-designer, it’s very apparent.

Sidebar: These text-message voting things are annoying. Bravo, please. Stop it trying to be like American Idol.

On to the runway!

Vera Wang stands in for Kors, who's undoubtedly busy designing some more jet-setting American fashion.

Jeffery’s dress was great in that deconstructed, avant-garde dress kind of way.

Keith’s and Bradley’s dress was very pretty, and flowy, and feminine, but as a pageant dress? I doubt it would work. It looks better suited for the red carpet rather than a beauty pageant. But I guess that's what Tara wanted.

I actually loved the color of Vincent and Angela's dress, but there was something wrong in the fit around the bust. And the shoulders. During the critique, Tara says that while the dress made the model look like a space cadet, it was still nice, because it was "different." Epaulets on an evening gown: Who knew? Angela sells Vincent out every chance she gets, but it looks like the judges aren’t trying to hear that. Angela is in “complete and total shock,” and Vincent says that the experience was the “nightmare of my life.”

Kayne and Robert’s dress was pretty spectacular in that flamenco dress kind of way (and y’all know how I love me some flamenco!). It looks like they used an iridescent organza that changed hue depending on the angle. The beading around the neck – working the built-in jewelry angle again – was very dramatic and very well executed.

Malan’ and Katherine’s dress was OK, although the ruching at the bodice reminded me of tree bark and fungus. And the hem is a little short. And unfinished. Katherine tells the judges that she doesn’t want to go home, and Malan says that it would “have to be” him if they decide not to pick him.

Uli and Bonnie‘s dress was nice too, although very similar to Keith and Bradley’s dress, but with a very, verrrry low back. Since when did Miss USA dresses become so sexy? Tara is loving this dress.

Laura and Michael’s dress had very clean and elegant lines, and it really did look like a pageant dress, which might help them, since most of the dresses were very elaborate and dramatic. There were rhinestones that had to be glued on one-by-one. To me, the gown was very reminiscent of an ice-skater's outfit, but in a good way.

Kayne wins this challenge, and Tara vows to “work that gown” at the pageant. Kayne gets immunity for the next episode.

Sidebar: What’s up with offering immunity with each challenge? Are we mixing up our reality shows, here? I liked the fact that each designer's fate was up for grabs on each episode! But nobody asked me ...

It’s down to Malan and Angela. Heidi tells Malan that he failed at the execution. Then she tells Angela that she failed at teamwork, with a little extra emphasis on the word “failed.”

Holy shit. Malan gets The Auf.

“I felt so ashamed,” he says, and how all of his life he’s had to say goodbye to people. “The show must go on.”


We’re only two episodes in and I’m already pissed at this show. That is all.

Jul 19, 2006

Sometimes really filthy, stinking-rich people surprise me.

In light of my most recent HIV/AIDS fundraising efforts, I have to say, I'm quite impressed:
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $287m (£155m) in a bid to speed up the development of a vaccine for the HIV/Aids virus.

The money is being split into 16 grants for science teams across the world - with the aim that they work more collaboratively on new approaches.

All the recipients have had to agree to share their findings - even if they had been working on competing projects.
The funding of scientific programs is crucial for us on many levels --- the discovery of ways to manage or eradicate debilitating diseases, replace or repair damaged tissues caused by injury, the creation of vaccines to abate the spread of epidemics --- not to mention the fact that doing so will do a lot to re-establish the U.S. as a world leader in science and technology. And if our government won't do it, major props to those who give so generously out of their own pockets to help the advancement of mankind.

Now if only we can do something about that pesky obstacle to funding of stem cell research ...

Jul 18, 2006

Sweet Jesus, I can't stand Tony Snow

The press secretary's main job is to disseminate information to the media regarding the White House's point of view, not to be argumentative with reporters. Will somebody please fill Tony Snow in?

From today's press conference (emphasis mine):

QUESTION: We have gone for collective punishment against all of Lebanon and Palestine. And what’s happening — and that’s the perception of the United States.

SNOW: Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view, but I would encourage you…

QUESTION: Nobody’s accepting your explanation. What is it say, to call for…

SNOW: I’ll tell you, what’s interesting is people have. The G-8 was completely united on this. And as you know when it comes to issues of…

QUESTION: Stop the cease-fire? Why?

SNOW: We didn’t stop a cease-fire. Let me continue — I’ll tell you what. We didn’t even veto — please get your facts right. What happened was that the G-8 countries made a pretty clear determination that the guilty party here was Hezbollah. You cannot have a cease- fire when you’ve got the leader of Hezbollah going on his television saying that he perceives total war, he’s declaring total war, when they are firing rockets indiscriminately…(CROSSTALK)

SNOW: Please let me finish. I know this is great entertainment, but I want to finish the answer. The point here is, they’re firing rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas. The Israelis are responding, as they see fit. You will note, the countries that disagree with the government of Israel in terms of its general approach on Palestine — many of our European allies agree that Israel has the right to defend itself, that the government of Lebanon has the right to control all its territory, that Hezbollah is responsible, and that those who support it also bear responsibility.

There is no daylight between the United States and all the allies on this. They all agree on it. This was not difficult…

QUESTION: That’s not the point. Why did we veto a cease-fire?

SNOW: We didn’t veto a cease-fire.

QUESTION: Yes, we did.

SNOW: No, we didn’t. There was no cease-fire.

QUESTION: But wasn’t there a resolution?


QUESTION: At the U.N.?

SNOW: No. You know what you’ve done — I see — what happened was that there was conversation about, quote, a cease-fire that was picked up on some of the microphone when some colorful language made its way into the airwaves yesterday.(LAUGHTER)

And the president was continuing a conversation he had had earlier with Prime Minister Tony Blair about staging. Would we like a cease-fire? You bet. Absolutely. We would love to see a cease-fire. But the way you stage it is that you make sure that the people who started this fight, Hezbollah, take their responsibility.

QUESTION: There was no veto at the U.N.?

SNOW: No. There hasn’t been a resolution at the V.N. — the U.N., whatever it is. There haven’t been any…(LAUGHTER)

There hasn’t been.(LAUGHTER) I’ve been at (inaudible) in Germany too long. There has been no resolution at the U.N.
For all his petulance, I think I prefer Scotty "I hate my job" McClellan over this clown. Think Progress has it all - video, transcript, whatevah. Check it out. Shame on Snow, perpin' a fraud that there was no veto at the U.N. regarding a cease fire, when Think Progress has a link to an AP article reporting just that.

UPDATE: A Think Progress commenter points out the veto had to do with Gaza operations, not Lebanon. Still, that doesn't take away from the fact that I don't enjoy Tony Snow all that much.

NOW can we impeach him?

Isn't this obstruction of justice or something?
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that President Bush personally blocked Justice Department lawyers from pursuing an internal probe of the warrantless eavesdropping program that monitors Americans' international calls and e-mails when terrorism is suspected.
Get that foul-mouthed, chester molester moron outta the White House, jeez. What ELSE does he have to screw up before he gets the boot? Or do we have to call Syria to get this shit over with already?

P.S. "Call Syria" is my new catchprase, and I intend to use it whenever possible.

Jul 17, 2006

Caption this photo

"One of these days, Georgie. Pow! Right in the kisser!"

(Photo credit: Dmitri Astakhov/AFP — Getty Images)

Jul 16, 2006

SF AIDS Walk 2006 Redux

My feet hurt, but my spirits are soaring, for I've completed yet another 10k AIDS Walk and raised a nice amount of change to help take us a step forward toward ending this epidemic. Throngs of Bay Areans gathered at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park early this morning in a show of solidarity, love, and hope. I'm always amazed at how many people are affected by this disease, and it's so wonderful to see people come together in this way. (I didn't see any of those Rev. Phelps hatemongers this year, thank Jah.) One guy carried a huge sign that said, "I miss my brother." His brother's name was Mike Jones. I didn't get to see how old Mike was when he died, but there had to have been at least 10 of those stickers you get when you finish the walk stuck on the back of the sign. So for ten plus years, his brother carried this sign, in remembrance of his brother Mike. It was really touching.

Touching, and cute. Because tons of people also brought their dogs. Dogs of every size, shape, and temperament. I even saw a St. Bernard, and really, how often do you see one of those live in the flesh? Never! There was also a preponderance of itty bitty foofy dogs being carried around. I'm sorry, but if you have to carry your dog, or if you have to put it in a purse, don't bring it. What's the point? And I have nothing but love for the yellow lab that tried to tackle me for the last bit of my morning bagel.

I also love doing the AIDS Walk every year, because it's great exercise. And I'm not just talking cardio here. My cousin and I noticed something about ourselves today: We're total freebie whores. Kashi TLC Bars? Wonderful! Dreyer's Whole Fruit popsicles? Why, yes! SBUX tangerine frappuccino sample? Don't mind if I do. Excuse me sir, where did you get that bag of chips?

By the end of the walk, our backpacks were so full with AIDS Walk booty that it made the trek back to the car a major hiking expedition.

There's nothing like taking a long walk in the park, on a gorgeous day, surrounded by like-minded people and volunteers cheering you on along the way. And there's something cathartic about doing this walk --- our collective steps marching toward the end goal symbolize the steps of advancement in science and technology that exist today --- and continue to be developed --- to help manage this virus, or eradicate it altogether.

That's a crossing of the finish line we should all be hoping for, and work together to achieve.

Many thanks to those of you who sponsored me for today's walk. You have no idea how much your support means to me. I hope one day, I can return the favor.

Jul 14, 2006

Fear of a Black Planet

I guess we're not the only country with immigration issues. French President Jacques Chirac spoke publicly today about the need to develop Africa economically. (Wow, really? You think?) He should have just stopped there, and it all would have been cool. But then he goes on to say:
"If we do not develop... Africa... if we do not make available the necessary resources to bring about this development, these people will flood the world," he said.
I think I understand where he was trying to go with this, but still. Don't use the whole "If we don't to this, then this will happen" argument when it applies to human beings trying to escape an environment of poverty and oppression. It's like he's trying to tap into some level of fear in the French, saying that some catastrophe --- a flood of black people --- will befall humanity if we don't "help Africa."

Africa does need help, this is true. But he could have approached it from a more humanitarian angle rather than characterizing an entire group of people as if they were some natural disaster, and that we should be afraid of them.

Freaky Friday

Say hi to Gemini, the two-faced cat. No, really.

(Photo credit: Laurie Kell/courtesy photo)

Jul 13, 2006

Taking a cue from K-Fed

I've been feeling a bit lonely these days, but now I think I've finally found a way to give my social life a boost and fatten up my wallet:
Britney Spears’ hubby has been earning extra cash by charging to show up at soirees; his fee for a cameo, according to In Touch Weekly, is a whopping $20,000.

And Spears is reportedly thrilled that, with Rent-A-Kevin and other gigs, her former back-up dancer actually has an income. In fact, Federline has supposedly earned $700,000 in the last four months.


With Federline raking in all this cash he reportedly did something that once would have been unthinkable: When he and Spears recently went to a restaurant, ITW claims Federline actually picked up the tab.
In lieu of cash money, cold beers and delightful conversation will be accepted graciously on my part.

Let the games begin

Outed CIA agent Valerie Plame will be filing a civil lawsuit against Scooter, Doughboy, and Mr. Go Fuck Yourself.

Barring any outright manipulations of the law by any of the above three clowns, this oughta be good.

Go on with your bad self, Val.

Project Runway After Party

Casting Special
45 semifinalists narrowed down to a cast of 15.

Santino’s been designing for celebrities and stuff and busting out with Tibetan monastery chants. Wendy Pepper’s “doing quite well” at keeping that smug look on her face. Chloe still has her store in Texas and watches her Project Runway show 24/7. Kara Saun has her own line, her own investor, and a gig designing Heidi’s maternity outfits. Austin is designing wedding gowns for Amsale.

But enough about last season - these designers I found somewhat intriguing:

Robert Best, a designer for Barbie, was a shoo-in, since he was a former Parsons student. Even Michael Kors knew who he was. He (Robert) designs clothes for Barbie dolls.

Uli Herzner busted out some cool prints, and also some German from Heidi. I smell a Deutchland Battle Supreme coming on!

Stacy Estrella, the Stanfurd undergrad (go Bears!), Harvard MBA-turned-designer, killed me with her “I want to build a brand” bullshit. Whatever. Don’t even get me started. Not that I’m biased or anything. But she gets props for loving flamenco. Fine. She can stay.

Bonnie Dominguez used to design for Serena Williams. Yikes. But she currently is the head of women’s design for my favorite flip-flop brand, Reef.

And I hope Vincent Libretti does well. Homeboy cashed out his 401k to be on this show.

Anyway. I’m not going through them all, but you know who I’m interested in finding more about? Malan. You know he’ll be a little bitch. And it will be delicious to watch.

Episode 1: Wall-to-Wall Fashion (Now featuring a non-pregnant Heidi!)
The designers arrive in Manhattan. Check out Laura sporting the multiple Louis Vuitton pieces!

Looks like Bravo’s started to take some casting cues from MTV’s Real World casting, because they’ve put together a pretty interesting group together this season. Lots of varied experiences, backgrounds, and attitudes. Surely, drama will ensue!

The designers meet non-pregnant Heidi and Tim Gunn on the rooftop of the Atlas for the traditional “welcome to the show” glass of champagne.

Holy shit, I recognize Robert Best! He worked for Isaac Mizrahi, and he’s the guy who says “I scrim, you scrim, we all scrim for the scrim” in Mizrahi’s “Unzipped.” Remember that? Man, I love when I recognize people.

Heidi busts out with the first challenge: Use materials found in your apartment to create a garment that says something about who you are as a designer. Why do they always make these designers rip up their own possessions? But still, I’m so relieved they didn’t force them to make dresses out of stuff you can buy at Duane Reade this time around. I'm so over dresses made out of shower curtains.

Oh, wait.

“I was a bit disappointed that we’d be working with bedsheets and interior fabrics. I myself prefer better quality fabrics,” says Malan in his best Hannibal Lechter voice.

Brat alert! Mr. Mizrahi started to pout when Bradley took his pillowcase. Get over it!

“I don’t want to live here after this,” he jokes. But you just know he’s serious.

On to the workspace at Parsons, where Tim tells them that the winner of this challenge gets immunity, and that it’s time for them to make it work. Oh great. I can just see them working this catchphrase to death.

Jeffery quickly emerges as the arrogant one of the bunch, calling everyone else’s garments as “intermediate” and “remedial.” Oh please. Just because you designed a dress for J-Lo once. Get over yourself. It's irrelevant on this show. Seriously.

After a whole day of working, the designers come back to a disheveled, busted up apartment. That’s just messed up, Bravo.

Laura has created an awesome jacket with faux fur trim on the collar and cuffs. It’s only the first episode, and we’re just meeting everyone now, but at this moment, I really understood what it means to see a designer’s personality shine through his or her work. This coat had Laura written all over it.

Hold up. The Macy’s accessory wall? What happened to Banana Republic? And a mentorship with I.N.C.?

Vincent, Mr. 401k, you gotta love his enthusiasm and hopefulness. But the writing’s on the wall – he’s gonna get The Auf, I can feel it. And his model can feel it too – you can tell by the look on her face. Girlfriend is so not feeling the basket hat.

On to the runway!

Melan’s boucle’-ish blouse was pretty classy, although I think the judges are going to say that the top is shapeless, which it was.

Michael really surprised me. Dude made a dress out of coffee filters! How can you hate on that?! Maybe he really is going to be a mothaf*ckin' fashion star after all!

Oh man, Vincent. You were “groovin’ on your thing”? He’s groovin’ a little too overeagerly or something. I mean, he almost ran into the person in front of him walking off the runway, he was so eager. You can tell he really wants this, but his garment just didn’t move me. At all. He's like that uncle in his 50's that still tries hard to seem cool, but really, he's Jerry Lewis in "The Nutty Professor."

Jeffery’s dress – for all his shit talking – really wasn’t all that spectacular. Did I miss something? And yes, the RuPaul-esque feather spray in the beginning was dramatic, but really, that’s about it.

Poor Vincent. He just got 66% of those Project Runway viewers stupid enough to participate in their text-message poll to say that he’s going to get “Auf’d.”

I refuse to use the new Project Runway Season 3 vocab they’re trying to push on me!

Keith wins the challenge – and immunity – the one instance where the result flies in the face of Tim Gunn’s recommendation. Interesting.

Wow. Vincent’s in. No discussion. Verrrrrry interesting.

Stacey Stanfurd gets The Auf. Go Bears!

UPDATE: Blogging Project Runway will be linking to my recaps again this season, and it's worth checking out the good folks there, as you'll find cool information on All Things Runway. Seriously, they're hooked up.

Jul 11, 2006

Pirates of the Carribbean, Part 2: Again I ask, 'WTF'?

Today is Dad's birthday. I thought it'd be a nice little present to take him and Mom out to dinner, catch up on things, fill them in with stories about my life, listen to their stories about how they're doing, and what not. I hadn't seen them in a few weeks, and I was starting to miss them. Anyway:

So on the way to the restaurant we decided on (which was freakin' CLOSED, btw, damn you owners for going on vacation on my dad's birthday --- I digress), we passed a McDonald's. Don't judge, they live in the suburbs. And it was here that I saw ... IT.

I can feel the disgust building up in me as I type this. Anyhoo. Hanging from the roof of this McDonald's was a banner that had the Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man Walking (or whatever the hell it's called) "logo" on it, and the words:

Pirates be here

Okay. Those of you who REALLY know me know that --- because of my line of work and because I'm just nerdy like that --- I considered this to be quite an insult - nay, an egregious affront --- to my sensibilities. Pirates BE where? Who? Jigga what? Where they at? Ugh.

This was one of those times where I wished I had one of those freakin' camera phone things, because I so would have captured that image and posted it here for you wonderful people. But instead, here's a link to the "Pirates at Mickey D's" website. Knock yourself out, landlubbers.

What can I say. I'm a giver, not a fighter. Except when it comes to stuff like this.

Now look, I'm savvy enough to know there's plenty of money to be made with this whole cross-marketing "synergy" thing, but seriously, do we need to encourage bad grammar? If the banner said something like, "Ahoy, mateys, avast ye pirates here at Mickey D's" or whatever, fine. At least they tried to sound piratey.


Jul 10, 2006

It's on, bitches.

Season 3 of Project Runway starts on Wednesday, and, as during last season, I plan to provide episode recaps for you beautiful people every Thursday.

Be here or be square, pumpkins.

Tanti Auguri

(Photo credit: AFP/DDP)

Jul 8, 2006

Johnny Depp Fans Rubbing Selves with Glee

"Pirates of the Caribbean" made just over $55M in ticket sales its opening night, setting box-office records all over the place.

Am I missing something about this movie? I don't get it. Seriously. The first one was OK, but it's not like I was clamoring for a sequel or anything.

Who knew pirates were SO HOT right now?

Jul 6, 2006

Oak Park is cool, except if you're like, fat and stuff.

Oak Park, some Chicago suburb billed as one of the "sexiest," told Lane Bryant, the women's plus-size clothing retailer, that it wasn't a good "fit" for this new retail complex it was building, saying that they wanted a retailer that was more "broad based," rather than one that fills a niche market. Niche market? Oy.

First of all, what makes a suburb sexy?

Second of all, you think there aren't any fat people in Chicago? Don't even.
[Village President David] Pope said it's "ridiculous" to suggest the denial has anything to do with plus-sized shoppers -- but developer Rich Curto said he's been given no explanation for why Lane Bryant isn't welcome, opening the door for speculation.

Curto wants the store to open in a building at 1116 Lake St., being touted as "the first newly built retail business" Oak Park has seen in the last 10 years.

Because the village previously owned the property, it took the rare step of reserving the right to have final say over any retail tenants in the private property.

In a letter to RSC, Oak Park deputy village manager M. Ray Wiggins says that while village officials are "greatly encouraged by the appearance and obvious quality" of the new building, Lane Bryant is not "the kind and quality" of store they want there and they hope RSC can find a store more "befitting of ... the village."
Yes. I'm sure the village known for being the birthplace of Bob Newhart needs to uphold this image of snobbery and exclusivity or something. You know, especially for a community whose median household income is somewhere around the $70,000/year mark.

Get over yourselves already.

Another coalition of the willing?

Bush contacted the leaders of China and Russia today, making 10-minute calls to each president asking for support in his wish to build a "united stand" with regards to North Korea. It appears South Korea and Japan are somewhat on board, although South Korea seems a bit tentative. And who can blame them? Look who's doing the negotiating.

Did I mention that Tony "it's just a number" Snow cracks me up? Look:
"This is not like a sitcom, it doesn't wrap up in 30 minutes and come to a neat, happy conclusion," Snow said.
Indeed, Mr. Fox News. Indeed.

(Photo credit: AP)

Jul 5, 2006

Does your dentist rock? Mine does.

I love my dentist.

Over the weekend, I lost a filling. Paranoid that I’d be experiencing sharp pain for a few days, I immediately called my dentist’s office and also sent him an “urgent” page.

My dentist called me back within the hour, reassured me that I'd be alright for the next few days, in that soothing voice I’d always remembered since I was a child, a voice I never noticed had a slight Irish-accented tinge to it until years later.

I love my dentist because his aim is to make me feel as comfortable as possible, even if that involves giving me as much nitrous as I need to feel giddy and not stress out over the fact that he’s about to insert metal picks and other power tools into my mouth. He gives me the gas even for routine cleanings. I always ask the assistant to crank it up just a bit when he’s not looking. And she always does.

Who knew that a visit to the dentist’s office would be as relaxing as it was today? A bit of backstory here: Work is really stressing me out right now. I’m a little wound up, to put it mildly. But there was something comforting in the familiarity of this place – my dentist’s office is truly the comfy place Where Everybody Knows Your Name – the muzak playing over the in-house sound system that hasn’t changed since the 80’s (and it's always that same damn song!); the dental hygenist who always compliments me on my shoes; my dentist telling me to “bite together,” and to “open just a bit” in That Voice; the other dental hygenist who remembered where I worked even though I hadn’t been to the dentist since November ’04 (don’t judge me, I’ve been busy!). I know this sounds silly, but the 30 minutes I spent in that chair was probably just as relaxing as the spa treatment I cancelled on last week.

It must have been the cranked-up nitrous getting to me, but after my dentist told me to bite together, I wanted to laugh and say,

“Oh, Dr. M, you always say that!”

But then I realized that I always want to say that, every single time I come in. It’s almost as if we’re in a three-person play, and we keep re-enacting this one scene. Over and over. But it’s not tedious; it cracks me up!

And then I started to think, what would I do if Dr. M died? Who would be my dentist? I mean, he is getting older. He's probably a grandfather now, even. I’ve been seeing him since I was a little kid. He sends me cards on my birthday, for Jah's sake. Where will I find another nitrous pusher as great as Dr. M?

They always say that it’s good to step out of your Comfort Zone – doing so will force you to grow and change and learn; but sometimes it’s just as good to retreat back into it every once in a while when things get a bit hectic. To regroup. To collect your thoughts. To relax for a fucking minute. Hell, the blog post I intended to write about my dentist visit was way more eloquent in my head (under the influence of nitrous and novocaine, no less) than what I’ve just written here.

I’m not exactly sure the point of this post, other than to remind all of you to brush and floss your teeth regularly.

And to stop and smell the roses, I guess.

Or get your hands on some really good nitrous and chill the fuck out.

As you were.

Happy Dick?

I'm not buying it. A few well-planned PR appearances does not an image makeover make.

(Thanks to Tom Harper for the heads up.)

Rush's Viagra Bust

Rush Limbaugh, as you all know, got busted last week for carrying a prescription for (snort) Viagra (snort) that wasn't in his name. What it looks like to me is Mack-Daddy Rush trying to get his groove back while he was kickin' it in the Caribbean. However --- and not surprisingly --- it just so happens that all is kosher here:
The state attorney's office said the medication was prescribed by Limbaugh's cardiologist, Dr. Steven Schnur, to Limbaugh's psychologist and addiction counselor, Steve Strumwasser. Strumwasser then provided the Viagra to Limbaugh, said state attorney spokesman Mike Edmondson.

Strumwasser told authorities he "agreed to have his name on the label in an effort to avoid potentially embarrassing publicity for the suspect," according to the state attorney's office filing. "Thus, the medication contained in the subject pill bottle was legitimately prescribed to the suspect by his physician."

It is generally not illegal under Florida law for a physician to prescribe medication in a third party's name if all parties are aware and the doctor documents it correctly, Edmondson said.
Just like, see Ossifer, that isn't my marijuana in my purse, I was just holding it for a friend. It's like that scene from the first Austin Powers in which Austin disavows the penis pump. Yeah, riiiight, I believe you.

I can't stand liars. C'mon, Rush, admit it --- poppin' pills IS your bag, baby. The sooner you own it, the sooner we can stop reading about your dumb-ass antics.

The punch line is, Strumwasser agreed to putting his name on the bottle to spare Rush the embarassment from the fact that he needs Viagra. But I think what they did was even worse!

Imbeciles, all of them.

Ken Lay Dead at 64

Not that I want to bring any bad karma upon myself, but Lay got lucky. Maybe the stress of perpin a fraud and screwing over tons of investors --- and his own employees --- finally got to him.

Jul 4, 2006

North Korea launches missile

I don't mean to sound alarmist, but North Korea launched two missiles today that struck the Sea of Japan.

Are things hopeless at this point? From Slate's Fred Kaplan last week:
At the end of 2002, the North Koreans resumed production of plutonium (which they'd halted since signing an accord with Clinton in 1994). But they also announced that they were unilaterally extending the moratorium on missile testing.

In March 2005, they called off the moratorium. The Bush administration responded in its customary manner: It did nothing. Now, 15 months later, the North Koreans seem to be preparing a missile test, and President Bush is shocked, shocked.

"North Koreans have made agreements with us in the past, and we expect them to keep their agreements—for example agreements on test launches," Bush said last week in Vienna.

Well, no. The agreement on test launches that the North Koreans made "with us" expired when Bush canceled the missile talks during his first week in office. What the North Koreans are doing now is simply backing out of a unilateral moratorium—and one that they proclaimed they were backing out of more than a year ago. Bush had plenty of time to do something about it, but he didn't want to.

That aside, the prospect of a North Korean ICBM test is genuinely worrisome. Here is an unstable, secretive, monstrously dictatorial regime that has processed enough plutonium to build a half-dozen nuclear weapons. The world would become a scarier place if this regime possessed missiles that could fire these weapons at targets across the world, including the West Coast of the United States.
The Bush administration needs to take his blinders off and start dealing with North Korea --- stat --- before things get even more fucked up.

Jul 3, 2006

Bernie Baran Update

Bernie Baran is now out on bail, and his 1985 conviction has been overturned. He will be getting a new trial, thanks to a ruling by Superior Court Judge Francis R. Fecteau. From the press release (sorry, I don't have a link):
Judge Francis Fecteau’s 79-page opinion is a devastating summary of everything wrong with these prosecutions – the coaching of the children, putting words in their mouths, refusal to hear their denials that any abuse took place, the careful editing of videotapes to keep the jury from seeing such denials, the misinterpretation of ordinary childhood problems as signs of sexual abuse, the blaming of family problems on day care workers, the suppression of exculpatory evidence by prosecutors. “Judge Fecteau, whether he meant to or not, has aimed a dagger at the heart of all of these phony prosecutions,” says Harvey Silverglate, Baran’s co-counsel (for the full text of Fecteau’s opinion, go here).
This is great news:
Baran's supporters view the judge's ruling as a strong step toward acquittal. Several convictions for mass child abuse from the 1980s have been overturned, including those involving workers at the Little Rascals day care center in Edenton, N.C. In another case involving the McMartin Preschool near Los Angeles, charges were dropped by prosecutors after juries deadlocked on criminal charges.

A year after Baran's case, three members of the Amirault family, who ran the Fells Acres daycare in Malden, were convicted of abusing children. Gerald "Tooky" Amirault was paroled in 2004 after serving 18 years in prison. His sister and mother were convicted during a separate trial and were released from prison in 1995. All three denied they ever abused children.

"I'm convinced that all of the high-profile day care cases of the '80s were absolute hogwash," Bob Chatelle, a Baran supporter who has helped attract attention to Baran's case, has said. Chatelle helped raise about $280,000 for Baran's new defense with a Web site, http://www.freebaran.org.

"The Baran case was railroaded through in a couple of months and was then forgotten about," Chatelle said. "No one was lifting a finger to do anything."
Here's hoping Baran finds some vindication.

Let's have a priority shift, please

The potential for nuclear war is all too real now, since North Korea now says it will not hesitate to retaliate a pre-emptive attack by the U.S.

So what's the Bush administration doing about it? This reponse from Tony Snow doesn't do anything to alleviate any feelings of apprehension and fear that I'm experiencing right now:
White House spokesman Tony Snow refused to respond to what he called "a hypothetical situation."

"It is a statement about what may happen if something that hasn't happened happened, if you follow my drift," he said.
But isn't that the way to formulate a strategy? Anticipate your opponent's next move and then deal with it, rather than take a "wait and see" position? Is the Bush administration underestimating North Korea? If so, we are fucked (emphasis mine):
Washington and Japan have said in recent weeks that spy satellite images show North Korea has taken steps to prepare a long-range Taepodong-2 missile for a test-launch.

Estimates for the range of the missile vary widely, but at least one U.S. study said it could be able to reach parts of the United States with a light payload.
I know there's no oil there, but for fuck's sake --- what are we going to do about North Korea?