Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Latest News on WGA Negotiations

It's getting scary out there!

For all things WGA related, I usually turn to Craig Mazin and Ted Elliot's Artful Writer. It's a great screenwriting blog to begin with--but Craig and Ted really go the extra mile to disseminate facts and their insights and opinions on Guild-related topics and issues. In addition, some WGA Contract Captains have started their own blog called United Hollywood. Let's hope that name reflects the Union philosophy as well.

The L.A. Times is another source for industry info as is L.A. Weekly's Deadline Hollywood by Nikki Finke. One L.A. Times story was about writers flashing back to the 1988 WGA strike. Speaking of "flashing back," writer Ken Levine reminisces on his own personal pros and cons of the 1985 strike--pro: a Cheers scripts that was filmed EXACTLY as written (how many writers get that opportunity?) and con: the fact it was the FIRST draft of said script!

It seems all of Hollywood is worried about the threat of an impending strike--from viewers whose favorite shows would be interrupted to the on-set caterers. According to one estimate, a strike could cost as much as $1 billion. Nick Counter, AMPTP president says that they're ready and furthermore that:

"The problem with the strike, as I said to them this morning, is it impacts far more people than just Writers Guild members. We have hundreds of thousands of people who rely on this industry, and all those people are at risk. For the Writers Guild, their demands are so over-the-top and unreasonable. It's really embarrassing to anybody who understands this that intelligent people like the Writers Guild people would stand on these proposals they made back in July and not make one iota of movement."

Still, we've got SAG behind us and the Teamsters--and most importantly Alec Baldwin.

Take that, AMPTP--you thoughtless little pigs!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Shocking DWTS

OK, I obviously know NOTHING when it comes to predicting the Dancing with the Stars results. Inexplicably Mark Cuban (avec shirt) survived far longer than I thought he would, and now my pick for the contest winner--the BEST DANCER!--has been voted off the show. She was the first to earn a perfect score--weeks ahead of prior seasons! I would have bet both Mel B. and Jane Seymour would end up in the bottom two as both have been there before, which is an indication of a lacking fan base. Amazingly, both were the first to be pronounced "safe" on tonight's show. Although Jane wasn't actually on the show since she was dealing with a case of food poisoning. Botulism, hyperventilation--I think maybe host Tom Bergeron should introduce the show doctor at the outset instead of the band leader...

My next best guess would have been that Jennie and Marie would end up in the bottom two--but even they made it through to next week along with Helio. Soap star hottie Cameron Mathison joined Sabrina in the red glare tonight and for a moment it looked like Helio might literally be the last man standing. But Cameron squeaked through while the most talented dancer of the lot danced her last dance. You've gotta hand it to the judges--they gave her the same score as Cameron for a performance that far outshone everyone else--so they share some of the blame for her exit. Do they score on a bell curve or what? Had they given her at least a 27, she might have made it to the next round. Boo Bruno and Len!

On another note: I found out what is exactly the deal is with Jane Seymour's necklace. It is not an abstract swan as I surmised, but something she herself designed. According to her the inscrutable "symbol" is actually two "open hearts" holding hands and dancing with each other. Anyway, Jane will be back to dance next. Sadly, Sabrina will not.

Michael Moore's Sicko - DVD Release Nov. 6th!

As a card carrying member of the Blue State ilk, I love Michael Moore. But even if your views swing more to the right, it's hard to dismiss the issues he raises in his latest documentary, Sicko. When I saw this movie in July, I was left with one thought -- "Damn, I should move to Canada!" Or England or France--or any other the world's nations who consider access to health care a right and not a privilege.

It would be easy to explore the problems faced by those living without health insurance in the U.S. Moore does in fact profile several, including a man who accidentally sliced off two of his fingers and was faced with costs of $60k to attach his middle finger and $12k to attach his ring finger. Having no health insurance and limited funds, he got the ring finger re-attached for the bargain price of $12k but is left without his most important digit. Well, it's important for saluting drivers in L.A., anyway. But I digress...

The DVD includes interviews and extras that didn't make it into the film. Extended excerpts from his interview with Tony Benn, British former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister, presenting an incredibly lucid and logical argument for socialized health care. As Benn points out, we have socialized police and fire service and public education--why not a public health care system? Says Benn, "If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people." Other excerpts include the story of an uninsured woman stricken with a cancerous tumor on her spine whose fundraiser to pay the cost of her treatment disqualified her from receiving a promised discount on care which would total tens of thousands of dollars, the Hollywood premiere and the video to the song Alone Without You by Nightwatchman, which was featured in the film.

Also included on the DVD, a look at the almost utopian country of Norway--currently ranked number one in the UN Human Development Index. In addition to Norway's incredibly progressive social and health policies, Moore features a look at their very humane prison system. A possible topic for his next project? Although their approach to crime and punishment may seem far too liberal, Norway's murder rate is 75% less than the U.S.--for males 15-24 it is 1/10th of the U.S. They have 80% fewer rapes, 1/10th the number of armed robberies.

Moore makes the point that the U.S. could learn a thing or two from other countries. I love America and being American and I truly believe this is the best country on the planet. But, it could be better--we can do better. One of the reasons we are so strong and innovative is the diversity of cultures and peoples who have come together to form the uniquely heterogeneous fabric of our society. Surely we could import more of that multi-cultural "best practice" mentality into manifesting our credo of entitlement of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Which brings me to the most important extra on the DVD: the report on H.R. 676, a bill that would expand and improve the existing Medicare system to provide National Health Insurance for all individuals living in the U.S. Imagine not having to worry about going bankrupt while trying to fight breast cancer? Or worrying about losing your home while recovering from a serious auto accident? The legislation would basically eliminate private health insurance--except for medically unnecessary procedures such as cosmetic surgery. But since health insurers primary goal is to prevent you from getting health care in order to maximize profits, it's no great loss. Check and see whether or not your representative supports the legislation--and contact them to ask them to support H.R. 676 or thank them if they already have.

And check out Sicko on DVD! It's an eye-opener!

The Great Clothes Migration

I spent most of the afternoon moving the sundresses and capris from the main closet into the auxiliary closet--and the sweaters and woolly things from aux. to main. In the process I discovered several things:

1. Despite my professed love of the colors black and red, a disturbing amount of my clothing is brown, beige, tan, etc.

2. I own way too many sweaters. And shoes.

3. I need a bigger closet...

4. ...and that's with two bags of clothing going to Goodwill!

5. Anyone need two used but in good condition yoga mats? I have three. I only need one.

DWTS/Heroes Update

Last night's Dancing with the Stars featured a "group dance" in the ongoing effort to pad out the show to one and a half hours now that there are only seven couples. With tonight's elimination bringing the total to six, next week each couple will have TWO dances so that ABC can have enough programming to justify dragging the show out to one and a half hours (each dance is 1 minute and 20 seconds times six couples--you do the math!) and maximize advertising revenue.

Up first last night was my favorite in the competition, Cheetah Girl Sabrina who danced an awesome Foxtrot in my opinion. Unfortunately, only Carrie Ann agreed with me. She scored only a 25. She was followed by Jennie Garth, whose Mambo was mediocre I thought. Again, the judges didn't agree and awarded her a 27. Why is it that they pointed out where Sabrina had messed up her steps in one small part of the the dance, but Jennie who made mistakes throughout her performance was given a free pass?

Jane Seymour did a Jive that judge Len Goodman termed "ballerina" and for once I agree. It was not her best performance and she got the lowest score of the evening--a 22. That coupled with her stay under the glare of the red light last week almost ensures she will be in the bottom two tonight. Cameron Mathison's Samba was called "primal and passionate" by Carrie Ann although Bruno and Len didn't like it too much. Still, he earned a 25 tying Sabrina for fourth place.

I didn't like Mel B's Rhumba all that much, but again the judges thought it was fab and gave it a perfect score. In my opinion, both Sabrina and Helio gave better performances last night. It doesn't matter, however, because I don't think Ms. Scary Spice has the fan base to keep her around much longer. I wouldn't be surprised to see her joining her fellow Brit Jane in the bottom two tonight.

Poor Marie. They replayed her fainting AGAIN! You knew they would, ratings hungry vampires...Her Paso Doble seemed too safe and cautious for the judges and she only scored a 23. Still, I think she has the fan base to get her through to next week. Helio rebounded from last week's low score with a funky Cha-Cha that earned him a 28, putting him in second place for the night. I think both Helio and Cameron will be sticking around for a while as they are the only men left in the competition now. Helio is talented enough to make it to the finals, and Cameron wisecracked that if HE makes it, he'll go beyond taking his shirt off and dance in a thong. That I'd like to see..

Heroes sluggishly plodded along again last night. The episode opened with Peter and Caitlin who decide to go to Montreal to find the blonde (Kristin Bell) who killed Caitlin's brother while searching for Peter. Then we didn't see them again for the entire episode. Air travel is a bitch these days, huh?

Claire tried out for the cheerleading squad. She needs to get on it so that she'll have an excuse to hang out with West without the overprotective Mr. Bennet getting wise to her dating. Unfortunately, the head cheerleader has it in for her and won't allow her on the squad. So West and Claire cook up a scheme to get even--a masked West flies in and grabs Claire and drops her to the ground while the head cheerleader looks on in horror. Then he flies for her as she runs screaming. The police are called but they just chalk up her story to too much alcohol. Especially when Claire shows up unscathed acting all innocent. The head cheerleader gets booted off the squad for alcohol consumption and Claire now has an alibi for when she hangs out with West.

Meanwhile, Claire's Daddy Dearest is in the Ukraine with the Haitian to get information from his former manager Ivan. Ivan resists, but the two blackmail him by threatening to take away his cherished family memories. Ivan relents and tells them the location of Isaac Mendez's paintings. Then Mr. Bennet shoots him. When they get to the warehouse with the paintings, Mr. Bennet sees for himself the one of him dead with Claire kissing a boy in the background.

Ando continues to have Hiro's scrolls translated. Apparently Hiro rescued the swordsmith's daughter from danger with his teleportation ability, she realizes it was his heroism all along and that it's HIM that she loves. She kisses him and Kensei witnesses it--and this causes a fracture in the time/space continuum. Is this starting to feel like a bad Star Trek episode or what?

Even more tedious is the Maya and Alejandro thread. They have finally crossed the border--although Maya was forced to unleash her plague power on the border patrol. The only saving grace in that story is Sylar, who tells the Alejandro--who doesn't like or trust him, but doesn't speak or understand English--that he's going to kill Alejandro and Maya and take their powers. Why is it that Maya can speak English, but her brother cannot? This is one case where I'm actually rooting for Sylar. Although I wonder if Hiro's sword took his powers, or The Company injected him with the vaccine?

Speaking of which, Bob tells Mohinder he has to inject Monica with the vaccine to see if it will eliminate her abilities. Mohinder eventually refused--and smashes a glass cabinet destroying the rest of the vaccine. Bob apologizes to him, saying that he shouldn't have asked him to do that and that Mohinder is important to The Company not just for his scientific knowledge, but to keep them honest. He also tell Mohinder that there's a bigger threat than Sylar. Adam Monroe--whose name Mohinder saw on a file. Bob sets Mohinder up with a new partner--Nikki. But Mohinder didn't seem like he trusted or believed her. Is it really Nikki--or another shapeshifter?

The episode ends with Peter and Caitlin arriving at the address in Montreal that Peter painted in a prophetic frenzy last episode. When they enter, they see a note for Peter--it's from "Adam." Adam Monroe? Who is this person? Is this who is offing individuals from The Company? How did Peter meet him? Was it during the four month time period between when he exploded midair last season and when he lost his memory and was locked in a crate this season? Anyway, Peter freaks out at the note which says, "The World is in danger." The new "Save the cheerleader, save the world" mantra no doubt...As Peter embraces Caitlin, he wishes he knew what was going to happen and unconsciously unleashes his teleportation power--transporting the two of them into an apocalyptic 2008.

No Nathan or Matt or Matt's evil dad or Micah last night at all--and very little Nikki or Peter. And Molly's still in her coma. It looks like next week's episode will be a glimpse into that possible future--which is far more interesting than the present day stories currently unfolding. Last night's episode was dedicated in memory of Tim Susco, who was a location manager for the show and who died at age 25 on August 15, 2007. Sad.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Desperate Housewives - Everything's coming to a Fountainhead

Yeah, things are starting to heat up on Desperate Housewives. Bree managed to avoid disaster after her ex mother-in-law Phyllis "kidnapped" pregnant daughter Danielle from the convent by following Andrew's sage advice and "outbidding grandma." Which she and Orson do by dangling the promise of going to college in Florida and a new convertible in front of the spoiled Danielle, while all Phyllis has to offer is saggy, wrinkly retirees doing water aerobics. Bree offers Phyllis the consolation prize of being able to babysit her great-grandchild once a week.

Carlos heads out for a "golf weekend" and Edie gifts him with a set of golf balls--monogrammed with her initials. "I want everyone to know who your balls belong to," she tells Carlos. Unfortunately, Carlos' tryst with ex-wife Gabby is spoiled by the appearance of Gabby's former "trystee" John Rowland--now unhappily married and wanting to rekindle his affair. When Carlos glowers after spending time hiding in the closet, Gabby reminds him that he's doing to Victor the very same thing John did to him. This causes Carlos to rethink his affair with Gabby. He wants them to take a six month break while they both disentangle from Edie and Victor and then start things up clean. But their "last kiss" is caught on film by the private eye that Edie, not Victor, hired to tail them.

But the main story of the night was the sculpture new neighbors Bob and Lee (these two are a great addition in my opinion!). In order to get what they term an "eyesore" removed from the neighbor, they reconvene the Homeowners Association. But they need someone to run things and who better than uber-bitch Katherine? Bob and Lee make an appeal to Lynette to run against Katherine, warning her that her kids treehouse could be next. Ominously intoning, Lee says, "They came for the fountains and I had no fountain, then they came for the gnomes..." Lynette sees that the Katherine/Nazi comparison is apt and decides to campaign for HOA President herself to save her kids refuge from her illness from "guidelines and policies."

Poor Lynette. First she gets cancer, then her abrasive mother moves in to help out, then Gabby tells her she doesn't want to be around sick people, her whiny husband pulls the "What about Meeeeee?" card on her, and now her kids don't want to be bothered with her and she gets no support from her so-called friend Susan when she runs against Katherine in the election. Of course Susan has problems of her own since the "sculpture" is also a noisy fountain that Bob and Lee turn on at 6 am every morning. It seems to me that in the interest of being neighborly and considerate, they could wait until 8 or 9 am, but since my own neighbors can't be bothered to close a door without slamming it, I guess neighborliness and consideration aren't big these days...

But neighborliness is an issue for Katherine's husband, Adam, who tells Katherine that she doesn't seem happy and that she's turned into a control freak (you mean she wasn't BEFORE?!!!). Katherine acidly makes a remark about "losing control in Chicago" to which Adam replies that if anything that experience should have taught her the importance of having friends when the chips are down. So even though Katherine wins the presidency by one vote--Susan's--she relents on Lynette's treehouse. But as she tells Bob and Lee that the fountain must go, they tell her it's staying. Because apparently Lee has a friend on the board of the hospital where Adam formerly work--and they know what happened in Chicago.

So what did happen in Chicago? When Edie flirted and Gabby tried to make Carlos jealous with Adam, it raised Katherine's hackles. So it seems another woman was involved. Since it appears that Adam was bounced from the hospital staff--perhaps a patient or another staffer, or maybe another doctor's wife? So Katherine has two secrets--and Bob and Lee know one. Interesting...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More Keywords

It's endlessly fascinating to me how people come to stumble upon my blog. Sometimes, they're searching for a review of a movie or a recap of a TV show--in which case they often find what they're looking for. Other times, a random combination of keywords leads them here, and they leave without finding what they were looking for. For some reason, I feel bad about that. So in an attempt to rectify that situation, I will try to fill in the gaps of some of my posts.

I've had a bunch of hits from people interested in the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Many were interested in the deviations from historical facts in the film. Of course liberties were taken in the telling of this tale of the Virgin Queen's life. For a more accurate recounting, I highly recommend The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir. It's fascinating reading--if you're in to the whole Elizabethan thing. For the searcher wanting to know where the Scottish castle scene was shot, try IMDB. Under "Other Info," they list filming locations and from perusing that I found that scene was most likely filmed at Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Highlands, Scotland.

Someone searching for what percentage of red M&M's are in each package landed at a Best of Craigslist post I found about M&M "wars." Hopefully, they got a good chuckle--but unfortunately not the information they were seeking. The official M&M's site has some interesting trivia--including the fact that there were NO red M&M's from 1976 until 1987 after the FDA banned red dye #2, even thought it was red dye #3 and #40 that was used in M&M's. It was reinstated after consumer protests. According to Food Reference.com, the proportions were 30% brown, 20% red, 20% yellow and 10% each of orange, green and tan for plain M&M's. But this was before Mars introduced the color blue in 1995. Personally, I think the blue M&M's taste icky.

Several searcher ended up at my post I'm NOT a Barbie Girl but didn't find what they were looking for. For the person who queried "Why do girls want to have the same figure as the Barbie doll?" the answer is that girls DON'T want to have the same figure as Barbie. For all her unrealistic proportions, Barbie actually has some curves. Unfortunately, girls aspire to being curveless stick figures--ala Nicole Richie or Mary-Kate Olsen. It's not Barbie that girls wish to emulate figure-wise, it's the bobble-headed Bratz dolls. And for the person wanting to find out about all the different kinds of Barbies, mine are all figments of my twisted imagination. Check out Barbie.com for the real deal.

Someone searched on "best day to post on Craigslist." Hmmm, I don't know. I read Craigslist EVERY day--so it doesn't matter for me. But I've noticed that posts tend to drop off on weekends. Either that's a good time to post because you won't have as much competition, or a bad time to post because not as many people are online and reading. For the person wanting to figure out "how to get to the end of the best of Craigslist," well actually the posts are ordered from most recent to oldest so you're actually at the end to begin with. But if what you want is to get quickly to the BEGINNING (i.e.; oldest posts), here's a trick: Click on the link for the Best of Craigslist, scroll down to bottom of the page and click on "next 100." At the top of your browser, where the URL is listed, you'll see "http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/all/index100.html" Where it says "index100.html" change it to "index2000.html." That should get you back to the oldest posts.

Someone searching on "how to deal with a gay boss" landed on my post of a video featuring my friend Ann Vanino talking about how to deal with a difficult boss. In my opinion, you'd deal with a gay boss the same way as you'd deal with a straight boss. Just like you'd give the same respect and consideration for a female boss as you would a male boss. I'm not sure what someone's sex or sexual orientation has to do with it...

Another searcher for "beneficial bacteria for stopping chocolate cravings" landed on my post about bacteria in the digestive track that CAUSES chocolate cravings. No, there's not an anti-chocolate bacteria floating around. Who'd want it if there was, anyway? Someone else trying to find out whether or not "Jiffy Pop causes cancer" landed on the entry about popcorn fumes causing lung disease. Well, I guess in that case, they did find the information they were looking for--although they probably wish they hadn't...

A Desperate Housewives fan was interested in "Teri Hatcher's crystal cross necklace." I couldn't find out anything about that, but a good resource for TV fashion information is the website Seen On. Another wondered about "how to do Gabby's hair" and well, the best person to ask about that would be the hair stylist for DH, Gabor Heiligenberg.

Dancing with the Stars posts always receive quite a number of hits. Someone wondered if the professional dancers on the show get more money the longer they stay on. Hmmm, I'm don't know about that--although I remember last season, when Heather Mills got voted off the show, she said something about feeling bad for her dance partner because he would no longer get paid. Perhaps the dancers, like many TV cast members, get paid on a per show basis. Another searcher was looking for "DWTS reruns." Uh, newsflash--reality TV has a limited shelf life. They don't do re-runs for the most part. I've seen repeat airing of America's Next Top Model but no Dancing with the Stars. And for the person who wondered what the symbol that was on the necklace Jane Seymour was wearing meant, it looked like a stylized/abstract swan to me.

Lately I've gotten a number of hits seeking "Mark Cuban shirtless." I'm not kidding. I have posted about Mark Cuban. And I did make mention of being shirtless--but it was in reference to Soap hottie Cameron Mathison, not the billionaire Mavericks owner. Seriously people, there are no naked or shirtless pictures on this site! And trust me, you would NOT want to see Mark Cuban shirtless. I'm willing to bet given a choice between Cameron Mathison or Mark Cuban, even his wife would pick Cameron. Mark Cuban shirtless? Scary.

The Darjeeling Limited

I finally got to see this today and as expected it was the usual Wes Anderson fusion of quirky characters, whimsical imagery and musical magic. I've loved Anderson's style since I first saw it in Rushmore. I love his flawed characters, the way he creates magic in just a brief moment and of course, how uber-geeky cool his musical choices are. Personally, I'm always amazed at how much he can convey without dialogue, in a brief scene, in a single moment. Plot-wise, Darjeeling is basically a road trip movie--three brothers who haven't spoken to each other in a year (since their father's funeral), make a trek across India to track down the mother who abandoned them. Along the way, sibling dysfunctionality ensues.

Prior to the main event, a 13 minute short titled Hotel Chevalier was shown as a sort of prologue to The Darjeeling Limited. Featuring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman as ex-lovers who have an awkward get together in a funky Paris hotel, the short illuminates a bit of Jack's (Schwartzman) backstory without sacrificing anything in the full-length feature. As for the feature, it is visual feast--filled with colorful settings and scenery--but even more so with colorful characters. Francis (Owen Wilson) is the eldest and an overbearing control-freak, Peter (Adrian Brody) is the middle child who sublimates his fear of impending fatherhood with a penchant for pilfering and Jack (Jason Schwartzman who co-wrote the script with Anderson and Roman Coppola) is the youngest and an angst-ridden writer in the midst of a bad break-up.

On their spiritual quest to re-establish their brotherly ties and reunite with their mother (Anjelica Huston), the three bicker and battle but eventually come to terms with the death of their father, absence of their mother and their imperfect yet unbreakable bond with each other. In one scene, the brothers wake to find the train stopped in the middle of nowhere. When they ask, they are told the train is "lost." "How can a train be lost?" queries Jack. "It's on rails!" When they ask how long it will be until they get moving again, they are told "They haven't located us yet," which Francis interprets as a metaphor for the brothers own search and journey to locate the "us" that they once were. Some may quibble that the three actors don't look enough like each other to play siblings, but they managed to make me believe that they could be brothers. The film is about family, about being damaged, acceptance and trust and leaving your baggage behind. If you like the offbeat sensibilities of Wes Anderson, you will definitely enjoy this movie.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This is My Life

Yesterday was my quarterly visit with the endocrinologist. First off, it's a pain-in-the-ass to drive to her new office as it's twice as far as the old one and then when I get there I have to deal with the bitch behind the front desk. Last visit there was a bit of a kerfluffle about whether or not I could pay my co-pay via credit card. My doctor, who I love, told me it wasn't a problem and that the reception-bitch would call it in (actually my doctor didn't refer to her as "reception-bitch," that's just me). So when she asks for my co-pay, I hand her my Visa and she tells me they don't accept credit cards. "Um, the doctor told me you would call it in." "That's not our policy." "I talked to her last visit, she said it was OK." "You can discuss it with her in the room." "It's already BEEN discussed, she said it was OK."

Later, as I'm waiting for the doctor, reception-bitch comes into "the room" and asks for my credit card and ID so she can call in the charge. HA!!! It was a decent visit otherwise--weight was down (yay!) and so was my hbA1c (5.5, baby!), so my doctor was happy. She gave me samples of Lantus' new SoloStar injection pen which is very cool.

Well, it's cool if you have to inject yourself with insulin 3-4 times a day. For the rest of you it ranges from "Ew!" to "Whatever..." Unlike the old Opticlik pen which was refillable but (according to many reports) unreliable in dosing, the SoloStar is prefilled like the Novolog FlexPen. And Aida Turturro is its celebrity spokeperson--whoohoo! (Actually, I never did get into The Sopranos so I really couldn't care less...)

While I waiting waiting for her to write out my prescriptions, I noticed kits promoting a new lancing device. The actual device was taped to a brochure inside of a bag which--with its cobweb imprinting--doubled as a Halloween favor. Complete with half dozen pieces of candy inside. Yup, you heard me right--candy for diabetes patients. I hope it was sugarless...

Today my friend Dave came over so we could (FINALLY!) watch the last three episodes of Entourage. Entourage and Veggie Pesto Pizza from Tony Maroni's--does it get any better than this? I was sorry to see that Anna Faris' storyline ended so abruptly. I think E taking on new clients to manage is a good character arc. Also, as much as I enjoyed watching the character of Billy Walsh, I hope I never ever have to work with a director that's anything like him. Although I still want an agent just like Ari Gold...

Best of Craigslist - Dueling Pawprints

This comes courtesy of Orlando, FL. It seems the original poster was the owner of a newly purchased $33k sports car who posted an irate rant about the neighborhood cat who kept tracking muddy pawprints over his just washed and waxed baby. Apparently the original post spurred a lot of responses--many of which questioned the judgment of owning an expensive vehicle without having the proper place to store it. But the best of Craigslist post was a response from the feckless feline himself:

"Excuse my typing, my paws are muddy.

It’s a $33,000 sports car. It’s the only brand new one I ever owned, and I work hard to pay for it.

Blah, Blah, Blah. Yeah, that’s you. Work, work, work. I’ll let you in on my career. I do nothing, and I get fed for free. In actuality, I’m so bored, I track up sports cars for something to do.

I’m kind of proud of it, and in being so, I take very good care of it. This means I don’t want to offer it up for your personal dance floor, so YOU can do your very own rendition of Tony Manero under the spinning disco globe on a nightly basis.

Who gives a shit if you waste 4,000 gallons of water on a weekly basis? Oh, and by the way, cat in the asshat, it rains every day in Florida – it’s my source of mud. So, you’re wasting your time. And, if you actually paid attention, the pattern was after the moves in the Michael Jackson “Thriller” video with a little mix of the winning play in the Auburn Tigers/Florida Gators game.

Moron.

You see me wash it without fail, every couple of days, right? Why, oh why, must you insist on finding the only muddy spot in the neighborhood, to repeatedly dip your sponge pad paws there, so you can walk all over the entire car, and leave 110 brown prints on my Dupont Imron Paint? Why?

See above.

And explain the stamp pad factor of those feet of yours. Do you have to jump down for a refill and then back up, or does each foot hold a liter or two of dirt and it’s all in one trip? I have this vision of you stomping up and down like some sugared up 3rd grader in a mud puddle, doing your feline rendition of “muhahahahaha” and then traipsing all over said car for some form of gratification.

It takes me 3 trips. Each paw holds 10 prints worth of mud. 40 rounds per trip, and I only dipped 3 feet on the third round, just to confuse you.

Don’t you have better things to do? Some mice to hunt and kill? Occasional mating with the feral cats? Howling? Catfights? Well?

I’ve killed off all the rodents long ago. The squirrels and I signed a truce. I’ve fucked everything that walks around here (something you’ll never understand). My singing voice is shot, but, I still hold the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Cat) title in the ‘hood. What have you accomplished lately?

Now I originally come from a colder climate, and I know that you rough and tough outdoorsy types like to warm your balls on a freshly run V8’s hood, and I can understand. I like warm balls too, they feel, hang, and swing to and fro much nicer, and I’m in a better mood overall. But this is Florida, douchebag, and it’s not even winter yet. So there is no necessity in residing on my hood. The footprints on the rest of the car prove that you’re just out to fuck with me.

I just love to rub my balls on anything. Next time, do 120 all the way home and get your car really warmed up, so I can get a good nut-sack dangle going. I need to teabag the new calico that just moved in.

I saw your little skid marks on the windshield too. RainX, motherfucker…. Hahahaha.

Did you catch the shit streak next to the E-Pass? That was fun.

And if you EVEN think of extending just one claw, I will declare war faster than Franklin D. Roosevelt did in 1941.

That’s funny. You humans will freak the fuck out over one little scratch in your car, but then wear the ones on your back like a badge.

I will build a torture chamber consisting of 15 assorted steam radiators, with differing pressure relief check valves, and use orange juice as a base fluid in the boiler. Then I will lock you in there, to endure the “pssssst” sounds and the citrus stench, as I use a super-soaker full of mud water to blast your ears. I will, Tabby the Tap Dancer, don’t doubt it. I know how to fuck with cat’s heads.

Bring it on, Mr. “Bud Light Salutes YOU - High and Mighty Garageless Sports Car Washer”

I was born in the back of an orange truck in Frostproof. I lived at the Florida’s Best production center in Haines City my whole childhood, under the air compressor trailer. I have earplugs, and I know how to use them.

Now I think I know who your owner is, and yeah, she’s hot. Maybe you took it as an invitation when you heard me whisper under my breath, “I wouldn’t mind getting some of that pussy.” but let me reiterate, it wasn’t about YOU. Okay?

Well, I could have hooked you up by just rubbin’ on your ankles when you talk to her. She digs that, and gets all mushy when I approve of male humans. But you had to come on here,bash me, and stir up a hornet’s nest, and get everybody flagging shit and debating garages, packrats and whatever. I can be bought though.

So in closing, I will extend the courtesy of giving you another chance to find a different car to play “King of the Mountain” on. There are plenty of unwashed, un-waxed cars in the ‘hood.

Star Kist Select albacore, and leave the water in the can. Every Tuesday without fail, on the first landing of your stairs. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll leave the precious car alone. And....if you want to hook up with my owner, I need catnip, about ¼ ounce a week – and it has to be crippie. Got it?

Luv,
Tabby"

God, I love Craigslist...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday Night in front of the TV

(I've got this whole VCR thing down now. Although I still yearn for TiVo--and a better picture than my rabbit ears provide...)

Last night's episode of Earl got him back in "list mode" but completely missed the mark in my opinion. Catalina snapping a picture of Joy crapping her pants? Joy baking Ex-Lax into cookies? Lame transsexual jokes (seriously--"You have a weiner, right?) and naked pictures of Alyssa Milano? Was this episode written by fourth graders?

My Name is Earl generally has a sweet--yet not saccharine--childlike quality to it. Last night "childlike" was replaced by "juvenile." The running joke about psychologically @#$% up women who fall in love with prison inmates by having Earl and Frank sign up for "ConvictMatch" online to score girlfriends on the outside was humorous--but the rest of the show fell far below its usual standards.

The Office, on the other hand, was in rare form last night--back to its half hour format and "chuffa-free" as Kelly Kapoor's alter ego Mindy Kaling would say. The show revolved around Michael's attempts to film a commercial for Dunder-Mifflin featuring the people of the Scranton branch. As he introduces his staff to the ad agency guys, he refers to Stanley as being "urban"--to which Stanley takes umbrage having been born and raised in a small town--and Phyllis as the office's "Mrs. Butterworth--the less urban Aunt Jemima."

In addition to the making of the commercial, the Dwight-Angela-Andy triangle story was featured. Andy, clueless as usual, keeps asking Dwight for advice on how to score with the uptight Angela--who had one of the best lines of the night when she said she didn't like the mystery genre because, "I hate being titillated!" This only adds insult to injury for Dwight, who's already in excruciating pain from the breakup and he retreats into a fantasy world online spending hours playing Second Life, where his avatar is named Dwight and is a paper salesman--but can fly. Jim tells him he can't believe how much time he spends playing the game. Dwight retorts that it's not a game--there are no winners or losers. Jim replies, "Oh there are losers..."

That pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole Second Life thing. Reminds me of the post I wrote about the social networking phenomenon. I mean what kind of nutjob spends their time obsessing over fictional characters and logging hours and hours in front of a computer screen? Uh--well, wait a minute...hmmm...let's get back to The Office...

So anyway, things get so bad with Dwight that his Second Life avatar has a Second Life avatar, but just when you think the salt couldn't get rubbed in his wounds anymore, Andy corners him in the snack room to tell him about his breakthrough with Angela. Seems they got to actually kissing the other night (as opposed to just necking which for Angela means "just necking" as in rubbing each others necks against each other...), and Angela closed her eyes and kept whispering, "Oh, D." Andy, in his lovably idiotic fashion, thinks "D." is short for "AnDy," but Dwight realizes that Angela is fantasizing about HIM when she's kissing his co-worker. What a great scene that was!



In the end, Dunder-Mifflin headquarters decides to go with the bland, generic ad produced by the ad agency. Anyone else think that Michael's version--while cheesy and lacking in production values--was far superior? Very clever and creative.

On Ugly Betty, a still grieving Hilda starts hanging out with other widows and ignoring Justin's metamorphosis into a Rebel without a Cause version of his late father. When Justin is brought home by the police for stealing her car and smashing it into a tree, she finally snaps out of her quilting and kvetching with the old biddies.

Daniel and Alexis deal with the loss of advertisers with Wilhelmina plotting to destroy Mode by forcing them to cut costs with inferior quality. Alexis decides they should ask Bradford for money, but when Daniel takes the blame for the magazine's failure and she sees her father lash out at her brother, her memory returns with a vengeance. She remembers that the accident was her fault because she took Bradford's car on which she had a thug cut the brake lines.

Claire sees an invitation to Wilhelmina and Bradford's impending wedding and snaps--stealing a rifle and poised to shoot. She is stopped by the sight of her two children and their father all together. She tells her escaped prison mate Yoga that Wilhelmina did what she couldn't do--made them a family. She decides that the two of them will take off to Italy. It looks like the writers are finally giving the character of Christina more to do than stand around measuring underwear models as it appears she has an abandoned husband that no-one knows about.

The main story of the night was Betty and Henry of course. Betty decides that she and Henry must avoid each other until Henry returns to Tucson in five months. To help get over her feelings for Henry, she decides to do the internet dating thing. But when she shows up for a date at a bowling alley, her match--who is no great prize himself--is disappointed and eventually ditches her by ducking out. Henry, who has been clued in about the date by Kenny (a hysterical David Cho!), shows up at the bowling alley and the two decide to stop avoiding each other and just be "friends." Their platonic attempts are foiled by "couples night" at the bowling alley and "date night" later at a restaurant--complete with romantic violins.

Eventually, Henry agrees to quit Mode, but Betty lets her heart overrule her head and decides to spend whatever time they have together. Very sweet and a semi-happy ending to the show, but now the whole Henry/Betty thing is just getting old for me. The burgeoning relationship that had me tickled on last night's episode was the one between snooty Marc St. James and the Cliff, the photographer at the underwear model's shoot. At first, Marc disses Cliff for the ripped but ditzy model Gus, but ends up ditching Gus to watch Psycho at Cliff's apartment. In my opinion they make an even cuter couple than Betty and Henry. And watch out--it looks like Gio is back for next week's episode!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Lost Curse Continues...

According to People magazine, yet another Lost cast member has been themselves arrested on suspicion of DUI. Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Jin-Soo Kwon is the latest Lostie to be found weaving drunkenly down a Hawaiian highway. Prior to Kim's arrest, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros were both picked up separately but on the same day for DUI. Coincidentally (or maybe not?), both actresses were killed off subsequently during a sweeps-induced massacre plotline. Some have speculated that the writers were punishing the bad behavior--that there's a casting cause and effect going on here. I think it's the other way around--that perhaps Cynthia and Michelle were out drowning their sorrows after their characters were blown away by the duplicitous Michael in a desperate act to save his son, Walt.

In addition to Watros and Rodriguez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who played Eko got slammed by the smoke monster immediately following an arrest for driving without a license. Weird, huh? Although in this case, he asked the producers to write him out so he could go back to London. So does this mean Daniel's character was offed by one of the others or eaten by the polar bear or subsumed by the smoke monster? I hope not. But I guess we'll have to wait until February (or even later if there's a writers strike!) to find out...

derma e - The "e" stands for Exceptional

In addition to my obsession with TV, movies, the internet and shopping, I am addicted to skincare. My latest quest is finding products with ingredients that are organic, natural and good for my skin--like the derma e Natural Bodycare line.

I had heard of derma e before--it's been around for almost 25 years, but I'd never checked out their products. The company is the two-time winner of Whole Food Magazine's Best Skin Care Products award. Each of their products is paraben-free, pH balanced, cruelty-free and vegetarian and packaged in 100% recyclable materials.

I tested out a cleanser from their Organic Expressions product line which features soothing ingredients and is loaded with antioxidants like papaya, witch hazel, cucumber, aloe vera, chamomile, pomegranate, pycnogenol and green tea. If you like lots of foam and skin that feels as tight as a drum, this cleanser isn't for you. I found it did a great job of cleansing my skin (even removing mascara!) with irritating or stripping it dry. The Organic Expressions line also includes a toner, hydrating day creme, intensive night creme and eye creme--all of which use certified organic ingredients.

I also checked out the award winning formula of their Anti-aging Moisturizing Complex SPF 15. This is probably unlike any sunscreen you've tried. For one, it's this peach-colored (although it goes on completely sheer), light fluffy soufflé-like cream. It's not sticky or chalky or goopy like a lot of sunscreen products. It combines antioxidant ingredients like Astaxanthin, Green Tea, and Olive Oil with broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreens.

If you have finicky skin like me, derma e has a fragrance free line which utilizes pycnogenol to protect, calm and reduce inflammation. I've been using the Pycnogenol Redness Reducing Serum for a while now and I'm finding that it really does help soothe my skin. The Pycnogenol line includes a cleanser, toner, gel, lotion and creme.

But my favorite product for taming sensitive skin flare-ups is from their Psorzema line which claims to renew, repair and fight damage. Formulated to help with the dry, itchy, scaly skin of conditions like psoriasis and eczema, this line is free of steroids and coal or pine tars usually found in skin treatments. Instead it uses Neem, Burdock, Bearberry, Vitamins A and E to relieve skin. Now I don't have eczema or psoriasis--but I do have this weird flaky, irritated patch of skin that one dermatologist says is dermatitis (how's that for a non-diagnosis?) and another claims is rosacea (wrong again!) and that nothing, but NOTHING has helped. Until I tried derma e's Psorzema creme. This stuff is awesome! It really has calmed and helped heal my skin.

Speaking of product lines, derma e is loaded with them--collections which target different skin types and needs, products that exfoliate, firm, build collagen, treat problems, etc. You name it, they've got a product for it! And their products contain state of the art skin care ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin E, vitamin C, tea tree oil and DMAE to name a few. So if you're still on the hunt for the perfect moisturizer, the ultimate eye cream--whatever, you might want to check out derma e...Chance are they've got a product or two that will help you make your skin look better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kids Gone Wild!

According to a post on Emil Steiner's OFF/beat blog, a 2nd grader was suspended for this drawing. Personally, I think it shows a lot of talent for that age...Don't all little boys draw pictures of guns and cars and helicopters?

Or how about the recent the Washington Post article about the in-school suspension of a FOUR YEAR OLD for SEXUAL HARRASSMENT! The child had hugged a teacher's aide while getting on the bus and she later complained to administrators at La Vega Primary School that he had put his face in her chest. Um, sweetie--four year olds are not sexually aroused by hugging. They are not looking for sexual gratification, just a little affection. Now if he'd been FOURTEEN, that would be another story...

Seriously, I think some people need to take a chill pill here!

It's Too Damn Hot!

We're burning up here in Southern California and it's not just a belated Indian Summer or the infamous Santa Anas. The combination of extreme wind, warm weather and drought conditions have made this wildfire season one for the books. The numbers are staggering: 18 fires burning over 2,327 structures destroyed or damaged with 28,535 in harm's way, almost half a million acres burned, almost one million people evacuated, at least six deaths and at least one BILLION dollars worth of damage.

Let me make this perfectly clear--personally, I am in no danger. Surrounded by asphalt and concrete, nothing's gonna be burning out of control in West L.A. The closest fire to me is in Malibu--where my boss lives. Fortunately that fire is now 100% contained. The only way the wildfires affect me is in the unceasing local news coverage (I swear the anchorbots are loving this. Car chases, wildfires and mudslides--any reason to stay on air for hours on end...), the sooty haze in the air--which stings my eyes, aggravates my nasal passages and irritates my throat--and the heat. Yeah, the Santa Anas have given up way warmer than normal temps--but I swear the heat from Calfornia burning is upping the thermometer reading more than a couple of degrees. It feels like you're standing next to a bonfire when you walk outside. Thankfully it's supposed to cool off over the next couple of days.

There's a bit of deja vu with these fires. Four years ago we had some nasty wildfires that hung a haze in the air--like someone had adjusted the brightness on the TV and made it too dark. We also were suffering through an interminable grocery store strike--and today, an impending WGA strike looms on the horizon. Four years ago I was also dealing with rude, inconsiderate neighbors and wouldn't you know it, today I still am as well. I'm currently fantasizing about the painful death of the asshole who woke me up at 1 am when he/she slammed the laundry room door. But that's the extent of my misery. I haven't--like my friend Dave's parents in the San Diego area--been forced to leave my home.

Sadly, some of the fires appeared to have been set by arsonists. There's currently an FBI investigation of the Santiago fire and police are questioning a suspect in San Bernardino. It's sad to think that some scumbag would willfully and purposely cause such horror--but even the fires that are accidentally no doubt there was a careless human (probably a smoker) involved. And speaking of scum, when tragedy strikes the parasites crawl out of the woodwork. News agencies are warning of people scamming money by pretending to be firefighters to solicit donations. And those who have been evacuated not only have to worry about possibly losing their homes, but the threat of looters taking advantage of their absence.

If L.A. landlords aren't exploitative enough these days, now you see ads on Craigslist offering housing (for exorbitant rates) for displaced victims of the fire. I did see, however, several people posting offering free or low rental rates so there are some people out there not looking to make a profit from others tragedy. God bless them. And God bless the firefighters. And prayers to all those affected. Hopefully it will get back to normal soon...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Buh-bye Billionaire Boy!

After escaping even being in the bottom two for the last couple of weeks, Mark Cuban's Midas touch was no longer working and he and partner Kim have departed the dance floor. So now that the worst dancer is gone, it means a fairly level playing field where anything goes for the next couple of months. Shocker of the night--fan favorite Jane Seymour doused in red light along with Mark Cuban. I didn't see that coming!

With the exit of Mr. Cuban, I'm predicting both of the British babes may be treading shaky ground in the next couple weeks. Mel B's stay in the bottom two last week and Jane's brush with it tonight means that they don't have the necessary fan base in America--despite doing well with the judges. As expected Marie Osmond, who had to suffer through repeated airings of last night's blackout, garnered enough fan support to remain in the competition. I know it's a reality show and that reality shows thrive on "drama," but seriously ABC, did you really need to keep showing the instant replay? I think poor Marie has been humiliated enough.

Event Alert - An Evening with Screenwriter David Benioff

Short notice I know--but I just got the e-mail now. Here's the 411:

Date: Wednesday, October 24th

Time: 7:30 pm - Conversation with David Benioff (The Kite Runner)
          8:30 pm - Champagne/Dessert reception

Place: MGM Century Tower Screening Room
           1st Floor Lobby
           10250 Constellation Blvd.
           Century City, CA 90067

RSVP by calling (323) 956-1122 and mention Jeff Gund's InfoList to attend this event FREE of charge!

James Lipton--Secret Pimp?

Will Ferrell has played an anchorman, race car driver and figure skater. Maybe his next movie should be Paris Nights: The Pimping of Jimmy Lipton. According to the World Entertainment New Network, it turns out that the obnoxiously obsequious host of Inside the Actor's Studio once earned a living procuring clients for French hookers.

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Heroes - It Runs in the Family

Ah, family! First we get the My Two Dads glimpse of Suresh, Parkman and Walker. The writers really should have titled that "Mohinder, Matt and Molly," but I guess even that would have been too cute for them...Then you have Matt and his bad daddy, who apparently can not only read people's minds (like father like son...), but bring to life their nightmares.

He slips away as Nathan and Matt wrestle with their demons in the coolest scene on the show. The intercutting was exquisite and the payoff that Matt and Nathan were not wrestling with demons but kicking the shit out of each other was the best moment of the episode. Heck, it was the best moment of the season! When Matt sets out to track down his father in Philly, Nathan wants to go along. At first Matt is dubious, but then concedes. Referring to Nathan's flying abilities, he says something about "getting there faster." To which Nathan replies, "I'm not a cargo jet!" So funny...

Continuing the family theme, Micah discovers that his cousin Monica is special like him when she unconsciously plays a duet with him on the piano. He tells her she's a muscle mimic or copycat and they go off to test the extent of her abilities. But The Company has found out Monica (from Niki perhaps?) and sent a taser-packing Mohinder to retrieve her. Before he arrived in New Orleans, however, a worried Mohinder brought the still comatose Molly to The Company for help, despite Bennet's admonishment not to. While there, he tries to free a restrained Niki, but she tells him she wants to be there--she's "sick."

Hiro's 17th century story dragged along, via voiceover as Ando translated the scrolls he sent from the past. Snore. No Alejandro and Maya--or Sylar--this epsiode. But according to the promos for next week, they'll be back. And Sylar says he's gonna kill them! Yay! Peter is still making time with Irish lass, Caitlin. A mysterious blonde (played by Kristen Bell formerly of Veronica Mars) with powers of her own shows up in Ireland looking for him. Caitlin's brother gets wind of it and tells Peter to lay low at Caitlin's flat. But when the blonde shows up at the pub doesn't get the answers she's looking for, she zaps Caitlin's brother with a thousand volts of electricity, killing him.

Meanwhile, another of Peter's powers resurfaces at Caitlin's flat as he paints a prophetic picture of him and Caitlin in Montreal. They learn of Caitlin's brothers death and both are distraught. The blonde killer talks on the phone to whomever sent her on the mission to track down Peter. She is ordered to return home. She's pissed, but gives in saying, "OK, Daddy..." And we have yet another family tie. Daddy? Who could that be? Is it Bob, who Matt's dad plans to off next? Or someone from The Company we haven't met yet?

A Dizzying Dancing with the Stars

Well, Floyd Mayweather may have been knocked out of the competition last week, but Marie Osmond one-upped him by passing out on last night's show. It was a shocking moment as the extremely giddy Marie, waiting for the judges remarks on her samba, collapsed to the floor to the horror of all watching. The show quickly cut to an extended commercial break and when it returned, announced that Marie had fainted but was all right.

Apparently this happens when she hyperventilates as she did last night. Why the producers didn't edit out the shot of her sprawled on the floor for the west coast airing, I'll never know...
The judges scores didn't show much compassion and her cute but somewhat clunky rendering of the samba earned her only a 21. I'm sure her passionate fan base will drum up enough votes to keep her in the competition--even if her routine was lighter in the head than it was in the feet...

Jane Seymour followed that act with a rhumba that in my opinion was more posing than dancing. She looked fab though and the judges rewarded her with a 26. Mark Cuban, playing down his billionaire image by tapping into his inner geek, performed a samba to the I Dream of Jeannie theme song with partner Kim decked out ala Barbara Eden in a midriff baring ensemble. He keep turning his toes in, but when that was pointed out by the judges he blamed it on his hip surgery. Tom Bergeron then pointed to a former Dancing contestant --the one-legged Heather Mills--in a "quit yer bellyachin'" gesture to Cuban. He scored 21, tying with Marie Osmond for lowest score of the night.

Cheetah girl Sabrina turned in another great performance with a very sexy rhumba. She netted a 28 but missed the top of the leader board by one point when Mel B. nabbed a 29 for her samba. Despite being perched atop the leader board, Mel's stint in last week's bottom two is an indication that she might not have the fan base to continue in the competition--even if Mark Cuban is the worst dancer.

Jennie Garth danced a samba and earned 25 points while the usually competent Helio only scored 23 for his overly dramatic rhumba. Soap actor Cameron Mathison continued his trend from last week dancing a spicy rhumba that scored a 26 with the judges but no doubt earned him many more votes from his fans. Recently departed A&F model Albert Reed promised to dance shirtless on the show if he stayed. I think that task now falls on Cameron--who often gets to show off his awesome physique on All My Children.

It's tough to guess what the fans will do. I'm going to predict that Sabrina, Marie, Jane and Cameron will be safe. I think it might be iffy for Mel, Mark (I mean how much longer can the fans keep him around?), and perhaps even Jennie and Helio. We shall find out tonight...

Monday, October 22, 2007

James Lipton vs. James Lipton

Courtesy of my baby bro, Will Ferrell's take on the unctuous and oh so mock-worthy James Lipton via YouTube. I laughed so hard I cried...

Desperate Housewives - Of Crabs and Kidnappings

Last night's episode of Desperate Housewives had our fearless foursome dealing with STDs, slutty cheerleaders, dognappings and relatives from hell spilling carefully kept secrets. Let's start with the slutty cheerleader, shall we?

Lynette gets a brief respite from chemo and her libido returns in full force. Unfortunately, when she takes her wig off during a lovemaking session with husband Tom, his libido drops off the charts. At the wig store getting her wig repaired, Gabby convinces her to try a bit of variety to get Tom's motor racing again. So she becomes a "redhead" and slutty cheerleader Brandy gets Tom's juices flowing again. Problem is, when Lynette gets her regular wig back, Tom isn't interested in Lynette but wants to have sex with "Brandy" again. This leads to a discussion of how Lynette's illness affects Tom and Lynette moans that she's become a self-absorbed "cancer bitch." Um, what? Could any person be more self-absorbed than during someone else's life-threatening illness play the "what about me?" card. Seriously--did that card get played when Tom's back went out last season and he was a whiny spoiled brat? Unbelievable.

Next, dognappings--as in Raphael, the dog of new neighbors Bob and Lee, the gay couple that's moved in next door to Susan. Lee is played by Kevin Rahm who I loved in Judging Amy--but even better his partner Bob is played by Tuc Watkins from my favorite soap, One Life to Live. ON OLTL, Tuc played David Vickers, a snarky but lovable con man. He had the best lines on the show, but it looks like Kevin Rahm is going to get the snarky lines on DH telling a gushing Susan that, "I hope we can live up to your stereotypes." His character is bitchier than Bree and Katherine combined.

Anyway, the inept Susan gets off on the wrong foot with the neighbors and in an attempt to get them to like her, she ends up kidnapping their dog and hiding him in her garage. She pretends to search the neighborhood with Lee--planning to "find" the dog and become a hero in Lee's eye. Her plan is foiled when Mike comes home and accidentally springs Raphael from the garage--where he's knocked over a can of paint. He jumps up on Bob's Dolce suit with yellow paws--and that's the end of Susan's misguided "heroics." Now Lee and Bob AND Mike are thoroughly irritated with Susan. With storylines like these, Susan is fast going from a lovable neurotic to an annoying psycho. Maybe Mike will dump her and she and whiner Tom can hook up and live miserably ever after...

The girls want to throw Bree a baby shower which she has so far deflected. But Andrew aids and abets the ladies into surprising Bree with the unwanted party--even to the point of inviting her former mother-in-law, Phyllis. When Bree and Phyllis get into an argument, Phyllis storms out--but not before she goes to retrieve the sable coat she gave Bree years ago. Rescuing her coat from Bree's closet, she finds the fake bellies and Bree's secret. She is about to out Bree at the shower, but decides not to. Instead, she plans a little kidnapping of her own--of Danielle from the convent.

Katherine's pain-in-the-ass relative problems come in the form of dying Aunt Lilly--who apparently had a hand in whatever secret they are keeping from daughter Dylan. She almost spills it to Dylan, but Katherine intercepts her. But before she dies, she writes a note--which slips out of her hands and under the bed. Will Katherine find it and sweep it under the carpet before Dylan does?

And finally the crabs--which Edie picked up from the tanning bed and spread to Carlos, who of course gave it to Gabby who passed it on to Victor. Carlos is afraid Victor will discover he's been infected and that Gabby has been cheating on him. After the ominous threat Victor made after learning about her dalliance with the gardener, Carlos fears for his life. In a hysterical scene, Gabby dresses up like a slutty nurse (slutty nurses, cheerleaders--who says this is a chick show?) and administers the crab treatment to an unwitting Victor. But in a cleverly written scene at Bree's shower, Edie smells the familiar scent of "licorice" on Victor. Then a waiter offers her a crab cake. She watches as the same waiter offers crab cakes to Carlos, and then Gabby and finally Victor and her mind makes the connection of just what that medicinal odor emanating from Victor actually was. Kudos to the writers! That was brilliant!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gone Baby Gone

The problem with having a long list of movies to see is that when you go to the theater to see each of them, they play trailers for NEW movies which you then have to add to your list of movies to see. Music Within starring Ron Livingston and the new Coen Brothers flick No Country for Old Men look like they're going to be great. Sigh--adding them to the list...

But back to the subject at hand--today's movie was Ben Affleck's directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, starring his kid brother, Casey. Just so you know, I am not a Ben Affleck hater. I like him as an actor (although I skipped Pearl Harbor, Jersey Girl and Gigli) and I don't hold the whole "Bennifer" episode against him. Show of hands people--who here HASN'T been in a disastrous relationship? Yeah, that's what I thought...

Gone Baby Gone is an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane book--as was Mystic River. It is the story of a missing child and the local private detective the family hires to "augment the investigation." Casey Affleck plays the young and idealistic Patrick Kenzie whose job is to "find the people who started in the cracks and fell through." Set in a lower class Boston neighborhood, the environment is one that is familiar to both Affleck boys and they use their knowledge and experience of growing up in "Bah-sten" to create an authentic depiction.

But Affleck's strength is just in creating a setting that looks and feels genuine, his genius (yes, I used that word to describe Ben Affleck!) is capturing the hearts and souls of the PEOPLE. I think that's what actors who direct do best--create and capture characters. Eastwood, Penn, Clooney and now Affleck direct ACTORS vs. ACTION. Character studies--the exploration of a personal journey--those are the types of movies that I find most affecting.

It's great to see Casey Affleck step into a leading role and knock it out of the ballpark. The whole cast is top-notch, but in addition to Casey Affleck, Ed Harris gives his usual superior performance as a tough Boston detective all too familiar with the moral gray areas of the job. And that's the crux of the movie--the gray areas one must deal with in life. Similar to George Clooney's Michael Clayton, Patrick Kenzie deals with complexities and ambiguities. The difference, however, is that Patrick is a young man trying to walk a path of honor and integrity while Michael Clayton was haunted by the demons of self-rationalization.

Kenzie hasn't reached that point yet, but he understands that compromising principles is a sure way to end up haunted by those demons. Or as he tells another character, "Shame is God’s way of telling you what you did is wrong.” It's a tough choosing between the best thing and the right thing. As the movie twists and turns, unraveling layers of perception vs. deception, the audience experiences the same moral gray areas as Patrick. Can you do the right thing for the wrong reasons? Or the wrong thing for the right reasons?

All in all, it's a superb first effort for Ben Affleck--who not only directed the film but co-adapted the screenplay. The movie is getting great reviews for the script, the direction and Casey Affleck's performance. Good for you, Ben! I, for one, am happy to see you succeed.

Confessions of a Swag Whore

My friend Stevie is the Queen of Swag. She writes about all sorts of great stuff on her blog--fashion, skincare, makeup, music--you name it. But whether it's cool stuff scored from the gift bags of the many events she attends or product samples sent to her, her closets runneth over. And when they do, the Queen of Swag becomes my own personal fairy godmother.

I was over her house the other day, helping her figure out a video editing program. It was loads of fun--we imported clips from video she'd taken of the band The Kin, added title cards, transitions between the performance and interview and credits at the end. No-one will mistake us for Spielberg, but we were quite proud of what we accomplished! My reward for being Stevie's hands-on tech guru? A huge bag of second-hand swag!

I am talking HUGE! It was like Christmas going through all the goodies. Here's a run-down of just a few of the neat things I scored:

I got a bunch of cute items from a U.K. cosmetics company called Jelly Pong Pong which features a plethora of innovative products whimisical, feminine packaging. I got the Supermodel Stain--a highly pigmented lip and cheek pomade--in Slenderella , a Single and Lovin' It eye shadow in a shade called Cookie Crumbs, Chic Shine--which is described as "[a]n ingenious pairing of soft gele and matte satin for the cheeks and lips"--in Ballerina. And last but not least, the Lip Sorbet in Wild Rose Champagne.

According to their website, Jelly Pong Pong,

"was born from the notion of wanting to invoke the eccentricity that is innate in all of us. The fascination & awe that we arouse simply by being different and perfectly unique."
The products are made in Italy, using bespoke ingredients under the care of an experienced formulator. Their manufacturing plants are environmentally conscious and cruelty-free and they don't do animal testing.

I also got a big tub of Baobab Body Butter (try saying THAT three times fast!) from NuSkin's Epoch collection. This rich creamy concoction contains Baobab Fruit Pulp Extract, Shea Butter and Macadamia Nut Oil and it smells soooo delicious! I can't wait to test it out once the weather gets cooler--and my skin gets drier...

I scored a couple of goodies from mark makeup. I'd always thought of this division of Avon as being just young girls--but this sleek and slick FlipforIt Milan palette proved me wrong. In a 3"x3" container, you get blush, two eyeshadows and two lipcolors and two lipglosses and a mini mirror. Very cool. I also got a mini palette with interchangeable eye shadow duos.


Included in my booty was this Px by Prescriptives Anti-AGE Advanced Protection Eye Cream with SPF 25. Wow--that's a mouthful...Well, it's eye cream anyway and should come in handy. I'm always looking for a miracle product for that area. The website says it:
"Protect[s] the delicate eye area with the first comprehensive eye cream formulated to help guard skin against the four causes of visible aging: sun, pollution, stress and excess sugar."
Excess sugar? Seriously? Now that's news to me. Like I need yet another side effect to having diabetes...It won the Cosmo Beauty Award in 2007 for Best Eye Cream. If it makes my eyes look younger I'll give it the Stella Beauty Award!

I got a promotional sample of this Victoria's Secret scent called "Sexy Little Things--Ooh La La Eau de Parfum." Yet another mouthful for a product name. Maybe it's just me, but I think the people at VS could try to come up with some more original names. They've got Very Sexy bras, Sexy Little Things panties, Sexy Lingerie, Very Sexy Makeup and at least four perfumes with "sex" in the name. We get it Victoria's Secret--you're sexy! But as far as I'm concerned, if you have to constantly tell people that you're sexy (or smart or funny or whatever...), you're not really. The fragrance is a fruity floral that reminds me of Escada scents like Sexy Graffiti. Ooops--there's that word again!

Finally--although it's not the last thing I got, it's the last thing I'll bore you about--a Fresh Victoire palette containing a powder, blush and six eyeshadows in a mirrored compact with brush. It's really beautiful!

So that's my haul--or part of it anyway. There was a ton of fun stuff that I didn't even mention. I'm going to have a great time playing with it all. Thanks, Stevie!