Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's up Netflix- a week in review

This was a good week for movies at my house- all 4 and 5 star entries! I've been on a bit of a horror movie kick (as you can see), and also watched "Cabin Fever" again. I understand Eli Roth's reason's for only releasing the director's cut on Blueray, but that doesn't help me at all! So, if I know you and you have Blueray, how about a movie night??

Dead Snow- 5 stars-- Oh wow! What can I say about "Dead Snow" (Død Snø)? Let me start by saying I love Scandinavian horror (queue up "Let the Right One In' and "Cold Prey" now!). I heard about this film a while ago on a movie blog- Nazi zombies terrorize and kill a group of Norwegian skiers? Heck yea! I was not disappointed. When a group of med students decide to spend Easter break at a remote ski lodge, they didn't intend to be hunted down by Nazi zombie's who had been cursed by the townspeople. The film follows the basic formula of any horror movie: intro to group (at least one is slutty, one nerdy, one attractive, and one who seems like he shouldn't be friends w/these people); show them having fun; at least one couple has sex; mayhem ensues. What separated this movie from the rest was the mixture of sub-genre elements. It paid homage to classic and neo-classic films (Halloween, Scream), it was disgusting (Dead Alive, Cabin Fever), it was funny (Evil Dead, Shaun of the Dead), and it was, for the most part, smart (28 Days Later, Zombieland). The pacing is great. Once the blood started flowing I couldn't tell whether to cover my eyes or laugh out loud (which I did several times). The effects look great, the camera angles are sharp and clear, the whole movie is a delight from start to finish. I just hope Norway can keep up with my demand for more expertly made horror films. Think they could cast Lasse Valdal in a few more?? Please?

Whiteout- 4 stars—Don't be fooled by other reviews; "Whiteout" is a fun night at home in front of the TV. Based on a graphic novel (so that should lend some consideration), it breaks no new ground in movie making or suspense but is enjoyable none the less. Personally, I thought it was going to be more like Carpenter's "The Thing", but was surprised to see it was more a procedural thriller. Beckinsale has perfected her American accent and is only mildly annoying opposite Tom Skerritt and Gabriel Macht (where has he been? Let's just all forget about "The Spirit" and give the guy another chance. He's adorable!). Anyone who is a fan of suspense/thrillers both in book or movie form, will see the twists coming and not buy into what the director wants you to think; however it's limiting to say that ruins the movie experience. Personally, I like being more clever than the film; it makes me feel smart and important… Kinda like a US Marshal??? It's fun to solve the case moments before the character. You get to relive that "ah-ha" moment and say "I knew it"! Whiteout won't win any awards and I understand why it didn't do better at the theatres, but it is definitely worth a look on DVD, especially if you are a fan of any of the actors or survivalist thrillers.
Vampire Killers (aka Lesbian Vampire Killers)- 4 stars—Another movie I've been waiting for since what seems like forever. In the tradition of "Shaun of the Dead" and "American Werewolf in London", "Killers" focuses on two hapless losers who decide to go on holiday after their lives fall apart. Needless to say, hilarity and gore ensue. It turns out the sleepy hamlet they chose as their destination is under a centuries old vampire curse, turning all the women of the village into lesbian vampires on their 18th birthday. Fun! The movie isn't quite sure what it wants to be when it opens- each chapter is proceeded (literally) by comic book pages, the sound effects seem over the top considering the lack of action, but the writing is top notch. Once the movie gets going, it all falls into place as our hero's must work to save a van load of Swedish girls from the clutches of the lesbian vamps. There's gore (and a creative new approach to the dying vampire scene) and nudity (but not really pornographic). It's a load of fun and I only wish I had gotten to see it in a crowded theatre- the hooting and hollering would have been amazing!

The September Issue- 4 stars— Whether you care about Vogue or not, this is an interesting look into the publishing world. Set around the release of the now classic September issue (that's the really thick one), the docu-crew get up close and somewhat personal with the reclusive Anna Wintour (she's the basis for "The Devil Wears Prada"). Wintour comes off well and I enjoyed seeing a personality behind her trademark dark sunglasses. The star is certainly long time creative director Grace who fights and pouts over photo shoot's. Unlike "Valentino: The Last Emperor", I felt like I got a more behind the scenes look at what goes on at the top fashion magazine in America. The extras are equally funny, especially one in which Editor-at-Large Andre Leon-Talley talks about the importance of custom shirts and shorts.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's Getting A Bit 3-D in Here!

The new "Clash of the Titans" movie is coming out soon (April 2nd) and I've been glued to the computer ever since the first teaser trailer came out in November. It looks great, has a who's-who of international film cast (Sam Worthington needs this to overcome his "Terminator" curse and no, "Avatar" doesn't count; he needs to do more), and I love the story. That last bit may be why I'm a bit conflicted.

On the one hand, I love the '81 original in all it's cheesy glory. Ray Harryhausen is a God (and I rarely capitalize that word, so you know I'm serious). He's the godfather of cinema FX, the man behind everyone working in FX today: "Jason & The Argonaut's", "7th Voyage of Sinbad", "One Millions Years B.C". Think about it. No Tim Burton, no John Landis, nothing like we know it today. Check him out. It's okay, I'll wait.

Sure it was cheesy, it was the 80's! The writing is still pretty solid and holds up well today. Plus, just look at the cast! I can forgive Harry Hamlin's haircut and orange tan because there's Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, Ursula Andress!! Did I mention the flying metal owl Bubo? Heck yea! this movie has everything and was already successful with many loyal fans.
Which brings me to the flip side. This is exactly what I asked Hollywood to do: Find an older movie with good bones that people remember and like, and that could actually benefit from the technology of today. Quit remaking things just to remake them (I'm looking at you "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Friday the 13th"), because you can, because it's cheaper. Pony up a bit of cash and let's try to get original. That being said, as much as I love stop-motion and matte paintings; CG has the ability to transcend the film experience from fiction to reality. I, that is, done properly. I'm leaning more and more towards "Titans" v2.0 being amazing. That was, until I heard this: "Clash of the Titans" will be in 3-D"

Awesome, right? We all (currently) love 3-D now that "Avatar" told us it was okay. Unfortunately, this film was not shot in 3-D. They will have to do a transfer and I don't care what they (the company doing it) tells you, it does not look the same. Did you see "The Nightmare Before Christmas" in 3-D? I did and it ended up meaning nothing to me. 3-D characters come flying at me only to be cut off mid approach by the border of the screen- big disappointment. I'm so glad they spent millions transferring it. [side note: sarcastic text would really come in handy. Get on it geeks!] You know who saw it in 3-D? Fans. The same fans that go to to midnight screenings and when it was re-released previously. We don't care, we're going. You could have saved some money and skipped the transfer!

So, new note to Hollywood: Stop transferring 2-D to 3-D. We can see right through you. If you want it in 3-D, shoot it that way in the first place. You're jumping on a bandwagon we don't even know will last. Haven't we tried this before? Didn't it fail? The one thing "Titans" has over "Avatar" is we'll still be able to watch it at home. Oh, I can't wait to see "Avatar"'s DVD returns!

Friday, February 26, 2010

This Was Not What I Planned, But That Seems To Be Going Around

There must be something in the water around here. No one seems able to run their original blog idea. I too had something very different planned for today, but of course forgot it at my house. I do this all the time, you should know. It's a miracle if I can leave the house only going back twice for something I forgot. Forget about leaving and getting it right the first time- never happened! What makes it worse for me, is that I specifically reminded myself on the way home for lunch, "Don't forget your blog". Oh yea, did I mention I wrote the whole thing out last night? I mean, I was on fire! Now, if only I can remember to put it in my purse when I get home, you will be able to read it tomorrow. I'll give you a clue: it's about the movies. Big surprise. It's making me nervous thinking about it sitting there, all alone, hopefully not covered in cat vomit (oh yea, my cat threw up 3 times while I was there for lunch), underneath the coffee table. I hope it's okay.

The other annoying thing about today is my right eye is twitching again. I haven't had any caffeine outside of some Girl Scout Tagalong's in at least a week. I'm full of Potassium supplement. I've got fairly new contacts in. While my life is a great big stress ball and last week was one of the worst ever; this week seems to be flying by. It could be better sure, but I don't think any more stressful than usual. Why does this keep happening. Is there a doctor at this blog? What can I do?

Oh, I love Google. I just found this site called Eye Twitching . Turns out everything about my life is causing my eye to twitch. It's finally caught up to me- lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, computer screens, vitamin deficiency, you name it. Problem is, there is no reasonable cure. I can't take off from work because of eye twitching. I'd love a massage- never had one!- but can't afford it. Same is true with the chiropractor. I think my insurance covers it, but I still have to find one that's not a quack (which is hard since I think they're all quacks). "Relaxing tub soak" actually doesn't sound like my idea of a good time. Hell, I'm the one who wants the scientists working on The Jetson's technology stat!

Hopefully, tonight I can unwind, get a bit schnockered (how to you spell that?), and my eye will leave me alone for the rest of the weekend. It's too cold outside for people to think I'm coming on to them and winking. The always enjoyable company of shine, gofhne, and natalie, will help. I sure hope so.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"The Crazies" A Review

So last night my friend Jennie (of word of the day fame) and I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of "The Crazies" brought to us by Texas Frightmare Weekend . We were super stoked, as you can imagine with us being HUGE horror fans. I got there plenty early to secure good seats and boy, did we have them. Right off the bat, something was off. I've been to my fair share of screeners and never have the producers of the event failed to welcome us, promote whatever they're selling. Sometimes, there are even give aways. None of that happened. One minute we're sitting and chit chatting, the next the lights dim and on with the show. Oh well.

Within 90 seconds of the film starting, it abruptly stopped. This should have been my first indication ( I believe in signs, and this was a big one). So, we sat around the theatre waiting for someone to tell us what was going on. They never did. Eventually the movie started back up and away we went.

This is another remake of a movie many of us were too young to remember and wasn't that great in first place. Starring Timothy Olyphant (LOVE! as the fearless leader/county sheriff), Rahda Mitchell (as his pregnant (?) wife and doctor), we learn pretty quickly that things are starting to go wrong in the town of Odgen Marsh, Iowa. Within 24 hours everyone has gone crazy (hence the title) and the government must intercede in the most obtuse way (as they must in every horror movie). It's hard to put aside the stupidity that follows.

My biggest problem with horror films is writing. If you're going to include soldiers and cops in your movie, maybe it would help to talk to one first. Maybe they could read the script and give you notes. You know, so the characters can act in a reasonably truthful way. Just because this is horror, doesn't mean you can make up anything you want to. Why would you give a decoy the Glock and keep the revolver? Personally, I want as many bullets as possible, especially if I don't think my friend is coming back. If you don't have a great and clever writer, perhaps you should cut some of the dialog. Case in point: At a baseball game. "That kid throws fast". "Just like he drives". Really? At another point in the movie, our hero's are trying to escape when a helicopter roars over head. "Do you think they saw us?" Uh, yea! They're in a helicopter, we can assume they're not blind. You're in a car on a deserted road. Do the math!

Second biggest problem with the movie- camera angles. They were rudimentary and juvenile at best. What was worse is you could tell the DP had some skill, or maybe he just lucked into some great shots (what's up turbine!). The whole movie is told in medium twofer's that only serve to alienate the audience, not bring them into the thick of the action. For an example of good camera work in medium to close-up see "The Hurt Locker". Also, many frames where out of focus and I can only assume it was poor focus on the part of the DP and assistants. This is not counting the blurry gore. I would rather you not show the gore than to blur the image. I can't see that! More importantly, it's hurting my eyes. It's all or nothing people!

Other things that made me laugh in a bad way- the prerequisites: hillbilly with a Mohawk (PS- he's in his 50's), the crazies all sing old folk tunes (of course), and the lead characters can't just go crazy like everyone else; no they always stay more "sane". This thing has a 24 hour incubation period and you're still cognizant after a couple days? NO!!

I will say there was one thing that I enjoyed, and that was Joe Anderson as the Deputy Sheriff (of "Across the Universe" and "The Ruins" fame). I just love him! He also gets the best lines and acts the most believably. The other actor's seemed forced or sad they had to be there (I'm looking at you Olyphant).

In closing, "The Crazies" is not worth you $10 theatre ticket price. I suggest waiting for Netflix and enjoying it with a group of friends. I certainly enjoyed the talkative group of theatre goers and critics I was sitting next to!

This Was Supposed to Be A Movie Review, Instead I feel Pretty and Squisy Inside

So, the lovely and talented Natalie just sent me my 2nd award! I'm all a flutter. If you don't read her blog, check it out- she's adorable.

The rules for this one are to list 7 things you may not know about me, then pass the award to 5 other bloggers. So:

1. I am afraid of what I call "open air heights". What this means is that heights themselves don't bother me, but put me some where windy and high up and we may have a problem. I don't like the Texas Tornado (that's the swing ride to non-Texans) at Six Flags. I don't ride the airplane ride either. I'm fine at the top of skyscrapers, but not so good if I don't have solid footing below me.

2. Everyone, well okay maybe not everyone but a lot of people; think my favorite movie is "Pulp Fiction". They would be wrong. (It feels wrong even typing that). I HEART "Pulp Fiction" but haven't watched it in years. The problem is, I know it completely by heart (come on, test me) and cannot sit through it anymore. It's no fun to quote the whole movie to yourself and I've found others don't appreciate it either. Pulp was the 1st movie where everything clicked for me, I understood what film making was. It's a strong Top 5 contender, probably #2 if I really think about it. No, my favorite movie is "Vivre sa Vie" by Goddard. It just came out on Criterion DVD so check it out. It is everything I love about New Wave cinema, the French, being female, getting excited and saddened by the movie experience.

3. I collect gnomes. I collect a lot of things, but gnomes have been going on for a while. I have about 4 or 5 so far, so not a big collection...yet.

4. I don't know my natural hair colour. I can make assumptions, but you know what they say when you assume. I was born towheaded and lived that way most of my life. There was the brief foray into pink and purple hair (separately of course). I had black hair for a couple years, but I never feel as comfortable as I do with platinum locks. Of course, I'm scheming to go red soon. Wish me luck!

5. If you ask me to name your pet, I will pick a name from "The Neverending Story"- one of my favorite movies and books. There was the Chow named Bastian, my sister's Chihuahua cross named Falkor. You just can't have Artex, that one's mine!

6. Wow, this is hard! I fully admit to owning a Mili Vinili album back in the day. Girl, you know it's true!

7. When I grow up, I want to be a writer or a filmmaker. Now, if only I could get over myself and get going!

As for the 5 Beautiful Bloggers:

Shine Out Loud


Carissa Jaded

Genius Pending

Homesick Texan

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's up Netflix!!

I can only blame the Olympics and my mad schedule this week for so few reviews. Oh well.

Hunger-- 5 stars-- Last night I opened a bottle of wine and sat down to watch "Hunger"- Wow! Steve McQueen makes not only one of the best feature debut's I've ever seen, but one of the most arresting and beautiful movies of the decade. His experience as a visual and performance artist really shows through- the framing of each scene could easily be a still photo/piece of art. The raw and truthful performances he elicits from his cast are a step above. The focus has been on Michael Fassbender (and deservedly so), however we must not overlook the other actors also laid bare before the camera. At times, Hunger made me angry, sad, hopeful, shocked, and proud. McQueen uses all the tools in his belt (never in an over handed way) to draw us in- extended periods of silence, static camera movements, lighting, and sound. It seems all 5 senses are at work while watching this film. Fassbender delivers a career making performance (I can't wait to see what he does next!!). With a glance of the eye, a deep inhale of smoke, the shuttering of his body; Fassbender makes us a witness in the room to the action, not a couch potato. His 22 min uncut scene with Liam Cunningham is magnificent. It is a real testament to this film, to McQueen, to the actors; that a static 2 shot is so compelling. I loved this movie and recommend it to anyone with an interest in "The Troubles" or more simply anyone with an interest in people and the human condition.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 1 & 2—4 stars— My guy friends have been ranting and raving about "It’s Always Sunny…" for what seems like forever. Finally, tired of their harassment, I put it in my queue. Damn- they were right. It is hilarious! I'm actually surprised it's on American TV- it is gross, politically incorrect, and darkly humorous. Not since "Can't Hardly Wait" have I assigned fictional identities to real people. I know these people! Since I began watching, it seems I notice the idiosyncrasies and off-beat humor that my friends and I use more often. I think I actually said, "Uh… That's racist" at least 3 times last week. If you were like me and thought this show might suck, I hope this will help change your mind:

Surrogates—1 star—Ugh… I fell asleep watching this movie. When I tried to finish it the next day, I almost fell asleep again. BORING! I should have just put in "Blade Runner" and called it a day. Nothing about this movie is original or interesting. The acting is alright, but that's not saying much. Avoid like the plague or a wayward android.

Friday, February 19, 2010

You Talking To Me?

If we've never spoken (voice to voice), there's something you should know about me. I was raised by Northerners. I was raised the Northern way. I speak my mind and give my opinion when asked (I try to wait until I'm asked. I don't pussy foot around. You'd love me if I had good news and loathe me if it was bad. I can appreciate the delicate dance others do in conversation; I simply find it hard to follow the steps. The romantic hypochondriac in me wonders if it's possible to have mild Aspergers. Mild sociopathy maybe?

I don't like looking strangers in the eye (apparently makes me rude). I don't always look my friends in the eye! I like to touch things all the time- I'm a very tactile person (unless I don't know you- stranger danger!). If we're talking and I'm playing with my sleeve or folding a napkin or scrolling the mouse on my computer or reaching over to tap an object, I'm not trying to be rude. I have to! I squint when I'm thinking, when I'm listening, when I can't believe what you're saying, when I can't see you. I wear contacts, people! Sometimes I loose focus. I'm not really squinting at you.

It isn't that I don't care... Okay, it is sometimes; it's that I don't know any better. I'm unaware of what I'm doing or how I'm speaking. I'm a proud (first generation) Texan, but the South doesn't always know what to do with me. I'm a Yankee at heart. I am not trying to hurt your feelings. I always say, "You'll know when I'm being mean to you", but maybe you wouldn't. Maybe you see me as rude. Maybe you don't like me. Maybe you wish I would "lighten up", "chill out", or "calm down". I assure you now; I am all those things already. This is just how I talk.

If I want to hurt you or be rude I don't do it with tone, I do it with words. I say, "Gosh, you're rude" or "Quit being an asshole, Asshole"! I've been called a bitch before, but it's usually because I said I didn't like you or maybe I told you a hard truth. My friends enjoy and have come to depend on my reliability to speak my mind and call out bullshit. They try to egg me on just to see what I'll do. For the record, that rarely works.

I don't know how to fix this about myself. Truth be told I'm not sure I would want to. It's an important part of me. However, recently it has been causing problems. My name tag at work used to include a conversation starter- your hometown. Being as I'm from Dallas and work in Dallas I thought that would be boring. So instead, I put "Milford, PA" (where I go every summer). I never had a problem with my speech pattern when those I was talking to thought I was from the Northeast. It certainly helps that I don't sound particularly Southern (unless I'm talking to those that do). I'm a linguistic chameleon. I say "soda" and "Oo ja?" (oh yea?) and "advert-is-mint". I don't pose statements as questions.

So, just give me a break. You'll know when I'm being mean to you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random Random Olympics Random Random Saturday

* Once again, I forgot Monday was Monday and had to do Meatless Monday on Tuesday. Ugh. I don't know if I'll ever get the hang of this. Monday is just too close to the weekend and I forget about it. Also, I do most of my grocery shopping on weekdays so on Monday I have nothing to eat save a frozen steak- the veg and fruit is all gone. I'm sure it doesn't matter that I'm always a day off. What, is the veggie police going to give me a citation?

Anywho, I had Fruit Loops for breakfast (ick, but it's all I had), La Madeleine for lunch (salad, soup, potato galette), and... I cannot even remember what dinner was. I think there were eggs involved. Crud.

* According to The Restaurant Refugee , Friday was International Crush Day (mind you, he made it up, but holidays have to start somewhere!). In honor, I am posting my crushes. I think the point is to tell someone you actually know but whatever. I prefer to stick with what works and share my love for strangers. Not real strangers mind you (I have a serious case of Stranger Danger), just celebrities. Today's crushes are:

(Boreanez only in "Bones"- I never got him before then. And, I basically just want to be Chelsea Handler for a day)

* I made a mix tape for my friend with my favorite songs/artists on it. After I had collected all the tracks on iTunes, I realized I had enough for 2 or 3 discs. A little ambitious to say the least! I tried to make it as eclectic as I was without completely alienating him (yep, him; so nothing too girly or lovey dovey which thankfully I don't have a lot of). Featured on my mix was: Lily Allen "Fuck You" (his request), Neko Case "Knock Loud", April March "Chick Magnet", Nina Simone "Ne me quitte pas", Belly "#1 Hot Burrito", Atmosphere "Woman with the Tattooed Hands", Bouncing Souls "Wish Me Well", Swingin' Utters "As You Start Leaving", Gogol Bordello "Alcohol", and a bunch more I can't remember. The final product ended up with 23 songs on it! I love mix tapes, the art of them, choosing just the right songs for the right person. Editing together what you finally chose into something that makes sense. I challenge everyone to pick a buddy and exchange CD's. It's a lot of fun and you should learn some new bands; not to mention a lot about your friend. His CD for me was uncommonly mellow (though he did warn me as such). For the most part I liked it- he had me at Connie Francis!; but I could have done with less Aria and chanting. I almost fell asleep at the wheel driving to work that morning (which I'm sure was the point of the song, but inappropriate for sleepy morning driving)! Hopefully we will get to exchange more music in the future!!

* Jennie's Word of the Day: streusel

* I am officially addicted to curling. However, why's it have to be so expensive? I understand it's a winter sport (i.e. rich, white, American), but I don't have $185 for shoes I would wear everyday let alone a couple times a month. I need someone in the DFW area to get on this immediately! We should have curling allies like there are bowling allies. We would rent shoes and equipment, sell beer, make millions! Well, maybe we'd only make thousands but still. I need the scientists to get on that immediately.

[side note: there is nothing funnier than a group of 20-30 somethings sitting at the bar captivated by curling]

Monday, February 15, 2010

When Is It Too Much?

The big controversy this week is over whether or not the news media should have aired the footage of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. Seems many people say no. Their primary reason being that it's "sick", "disrespectful", and "obscene". Personally, I'm surprised they showed it as little as they did. American news outfits are always looking for more sensational news and approaches to mundane topics. We seem to pride ourselves of following the "story" to its grisly end. Why else do we break into regular programming to follow a 3 hour car chase? Couldn't this story have been equally served as a 3-5 minute segment on the nightly news? We cover bombings and shootings and war like it's a made for TV movie, and in some ways it is. Gone are the days when news came twice a day- the paper and the evening news. Whatever you missed that day, you picked up the next. Sure, there were still special bulletins, but their infrequency helped them live up to their namesake. I can't think of anything I need to see right now.

A radio DJ this morning likened the showing of the luge footage to 9-11 (really?); more specifically the footage of people jumping from the towers. I remember that footage. I also remember that it didn't dominate the news coverage. When I think back to that morning, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing. I also know, that I don't think of those desperate people jumping as the visual for the event. I remember the people on the street, the firefighters carrying survivors, the rally of people willing to help. Somehow, I think these Olympic Games will not be remembered as the "Death Games", or for that video. Though it will certainly be mentioned in articles about the games, there are other more positive things that we, as Americans, will remember (and will be forced to remember due to American media).

How is showing the video once any worse than the exploitation that is happening now? "Luger terrified of track", "Georgian luger feared dangerous track before death". Is this supposed to make anyone feel better? Does this help the pain and suffering of his family? Does this tarnish the winter games? Knowing he was scarred is firstly, not surprising; I think you have to have a little fear to do what they do. The key to sport is to harness your fear and anxiety and use it to push yourself to succeed; and secondly, just as sick as the video.

I think the news needs to be reported. There was video and they felt a duty to show it. They voiced a disclaimer before showing the footage, and anyone upset after having watched it was fully warned, and therefore at their own fault. If other countries were showing the footage, why shouldn't we? I disagree that we are romanticizing violence and death, however; these are natural parts of life. I know that we, as a country, are slipping further and further into a pit of censorship when it seems like we should be ahead of where we were 10, 20, 60 years ago. We are too politically correct. We handle everything with kid gloves. We are afraid of reporting the truth.

The video was hard to watch. I felt as I often do watching shows in which I know people get hurt. I don't like "America's Funniest Videos" (they're not). I don't watch "Shark Week" or any of the number of reality clip shows where a guy falls off a mountain, is attacked by a bear, is run over by a car. I don't like it. It's not entertaining. I watched the clip of Kumaritashvili's fatal crash with my eyes wide open, my hands at my mouth ready to cover my face if necessary. I was thankful for a poor camera angle. I was not disturbed by watching rescue workers attend to him. I watched "er" for goodness sake. Any episode of "Grey's Anatomy" is worse. But, because this is real, we're supposed to be disgusted. What I saw were a group of people doing their job and trying their best. No one picture dominated the screen for too long; just enough to give us the idea of what happened and what it may have been like to be there. Kudos and applause to the men and woman who were on the rescue crew! I can say, video or no video; the accident left a heavy dark cloud over the sport of luge- a sport I love to watch! It was a little different watching those men race down the hill this year.

Now, I'm reading fluff liked "Man sets hugging record". Am I supposed to care?

What do you think? Should it have been shown? Why or why not? Did this tarnish your overall view/experience of the Winter Games?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Randomly Olympic

* Who watched the Opening Ceremonies last night?? I thought they were lovely. The inclusion of the aboriginal people, the quotes read by Donald Sutherland, the horrifying outfits worn by the German delegation. Very lovely. I was kind of bummed though that Cirque du Soleil didn't perform. They are certainly what I think of when I think about Quebec. Speaking of which, I don't remember seeing anything specifically French-Canadian. All they got was a fiddler in a canoe? Kinda unfair. Oh well... Now to go back about not caring about the Olympics.

* Speaking of what I'll be doing instead of watching the Olympics; I am very saddened by the BBC and Netflix. As you know, I have become totally geeky for "Hex"- Oh it's so good! The other night I finished the 1st season and was already anxious for more. When I went online to move season 2 up my queue I discovered it- Season 2 is not available. At all. For who knows how long. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe I could just buy it. NO!! It's not even out on DVD in the US. What the frak? This think came out in 2005. Get on the ball! Why would you release season 1 (in '07 mind you) and then not release the 2nd (and final!) season. Are you trying to make me cry? Well, it worked.

* Why are all warm climate countries with only 1 delegate in the winter Olympics all alpine skiers?

* Jimmy Fallon has been a bit hit or miss since taking over the Late Show. His interview style has evened out and he seems less nervous. Case in point: Robert is Bothered ; where Fallon as Robert Pattinson tells us what bothers him. No need to start at the beginning (I jumped in after catching the Valentine's skit on TV), just click on what ever looks best. I'll wait * I think I have an estrogen problem. I totally teared up last night while watching the ceremonies (the path that poor little torch too!). My friend Lauren pointed out this is happening to everyone. Either we're just getting older (= crying emotion) or it's because we're ladies. Now, I have only been accused of that last bit once and I don't think they were being complimentary. However, isn't there a pill or something I could take to turn this all off? I don't want to be a blubbering idiot or have to poke myself in the eye for a valid excuse as to why I'm getting misty. I only want to be a lady if I can walk around in "Mad Men" attire and smoke and drink indoors during the day.

* Jen's word of the day is: Falafel (nope, I have no idea why; that's why she picks them- no method to the madness)

* The only thing good about working on the weekends is NSFW viewing. No one sitting behind me to judge or be offended. Things like this , and this , and... oh I gotta find another one... this one !

* Did you watch "Robert is Bothered"? I know! Hilarious! "Get on the fuck train, and take off!"
* "It's like getting stabbed in the mouth... Mark it!"- Today was all about crab rangoon. I've been thinking about it for days. Unfortunately, it was basically fried cream cheese (where's the crab?!). The above statement came about after I dipped my bland egg roll into what turned out to be the most evil/awesome mustard I've ever eaten. My eyes welled up and all I could do was grimace and waft my hands in front of my face.

* My favorite comic of the week:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Greetings from Murderville

It was quite eventful in Murderville last night. For the 1st time ever (knock wood) I didn't lose power! It seems I'm always in the group that loses power when there's a big storm, but last night I was spared. Praise Allah! Unfortunately, others were not so lucky. My partner in crime and word of the day president Jen, lost power from 9-1230; missing many important TV shows. Another friend watched as a transformer blew in front of her house, catching the surrounding trees on fire. (!) Thankfully, the firemen came and power was only lost for an hour. Another friend lost power yesterday from 12-5 and again from 10-still out. He did build a 9 ft tall snowman, so at least the day was not wasted.

It occurred to me (and I may be a late bloomer here) that I/we are lucky to live in or near a posh neighborhood. Sure, Murderville is low rent, but down the same street are million dollar McMansions. When the power does go out, it's usually back on within the hour. Where Jen lives, she's surrounded by large homes and adorable craftsman's. Lauren lives in the land of fancy condos. The case is driven home by pointing out my friend who is still without power lives in an older, middle to lower-middle class neighborhood. Moral of the story- Beverly Hills may have some slums, but it's still Beverly Hills.
I also suffered flashback's last night. Again, strange noises were heard in my courtyard. I carefully peered out the blinds and saw nothing. First thing first, I checked the gate (really, I have got to tell the gate story at some point, it really is spectacularly crazy); then went back to watching TV. The noise happened again, and this time I could see were it was coming from. There was a lady running around the courtyard wearing a motorcycle helmet. Out of view, I could see flashes from a camera. Hilarious! I also realized I'm getting old.
"Oh, how fun! I'm super jealous. I wish I knew them so I could go outside and run around."
"God, it's been like 5 minutes. Why won't they shut up? It can't still be fun!"
"I hope they get frost bite!"
[side note: At some point my satanic upstairs joined in the fun which was a relief from the constant noise I usually hear. Until that is, they came back inside stomping around and chasing their evil dog. Didn't you get enough of that outside?? Come on!]

It is incredibly boring and sad to be at work today. It is a lovely 36 outside, the snow is starting to melt, I can drive anywhere I want (except Whole Foods because they don't have power), and everyone else I know is home drinking champagne and watching Netflix.

You would think this boredom would lead to something creative, but alas, no. I've spent my day at work photocopying recipes, reading, watching "Law & Order" on the L&O channel, and eating pizza.
[side note: Big shout out to Domino's for being open for delivery!!! I officially heart you more than Papa John's who couldn't drive the block and a half to the office w/my Tuscan cheese pizza. And, you were cheaper. Kudos!]

I was very excited to learn that Direct TV works in snow as long as you sweep the dish every 2-3 hours. 12.5 inches of snow? No problem! Why can't it work like that in heavy rain? Losers. I did miss the end of "Grey's Anatomy" (and no, I will not apologize for watching! Those who stuck with it last season have been rewarded w/a plum of a season this year). Next stop, watching it online; perhaps today.

Oh!! One of our resident's just brought us cupcakes! Ohhhh, red velvet w/butter creme icing. Delish. Gotta remember to send a thank you card...

(Okay, that was random and it's not even Saturday)

While trying to leave my house and get to work today (please send me your sympathy), I saw this:

Uh... Excuse me, Douche? Why/How did you think it was acceptable to park your car in the middle of the road? Forget about turning left when you enter my driveway. Re-purposed cop car is in the middle of the "T". You couldn't get closer to the dumpster? If I didn't like my car, I would have run into you on purpose, then leave a note explaining how you deserved it. Problem is, you probably can't read. I hope you want to be famous, because I'm posting this with the word "douche" stamped on it in the laundry room. Oh, and on Facebook and Twitter. I already had to move a tree (!) just to get to my car, I don't need to put up with you as well, Asshole.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Finally Looking A Lot Like February!

Yes ladies and gents, it is snowing in Dallas. I know this is new and foreign for many of you, but rest assured- you are fine. Please, however, drive carefully (you know how you do when it's raining out or too sunny? Very cautiously? That's what I'm talking about). Thankfully, it is not that icy which is the kind of winter weather we normally receive here in Northern Texas. Already I would say I have at least 5-6 inches of snow on my car. Yipee!

As a life long resident of Dallas, I can remember actual snow days growing up. In elementary, we must have gotten at least 4 or 5. Sure, it was mostly due to the aforementioned ice, but still. I got to make snow angels, snow balls, and tiny (mostly brown or green due to the high mud and grass content) snowmen. Looking outside, I no longer miss my usual trip up north this time of year. Seems it has come to me. Thanks weather!

Now if only I had remembered to re-treat my snow boots like I had planned weeks ago!

Last night was the premiere meeting of the DFW bloggers and it was a lot of fun. I can't wait to do another one when I can drink and don't have to dash out early. A couple gems for you:

* "The only time 12" isn't enough!"- This was in reference to a story about trying to break down a locked bathroom door using a ruler at one point. Equally funny story.

* Something called I wear your shirt . Seems like a genius plan and I'm bummed I never thought of it.

* "Maybe her mouth's not very big"
-"You've got to learn to unhinge your jaw like a snake" - And no, this is not about what you think it is

* "I would stuff myself full of stuffing and sew my mouth shut" -On the prospect of working at Build-A-Bear

All in all, a very good outing. I had to leave early though, so probably missed several more incredible bon mots. My friend was hosting trivia at the local bar and I had to go after accosting him for the heavily male skewed questions last week. Really, this is a complaint about all bar trivia games. They are usually run and put together by guys who pick questions and categories they find interesting. Understandable. Yet, when you have a diverse crowd playing, you need to play to both gender's perceived strengths. He made up for it in spades though and our team won! Yea!! To be far, they were still general knowledge questions and our team was equally split- 2 ladies 2-guys. Everyone had the opportunity to save the team and get the answer to a tough question. I am definitely more excited about going if he continues to incorporate equal gender questions into the game.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Meat Free Tuesday- Success! And, Why TV and Movies Are Pissing Me Off.

So, Monday I failed at my first ever Meatless Monday, but I redeemed myself with a Meatfree Tuesday. A big shout out to genius pending for the best comment I think I've ever received on a post. Not only did it include profanity, but I felt it was a big high five to Texas. Or, at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Tuesday I planned the whole thing out, kinda, and more importantly remembered what I was supposed to do that day. Breakfast was whole grain toast with honey. Lunch was a salad with my "world-famous" shallot dressing. Dinner was a lot more fun to come up with as I didn't know I was going to do this when I went to the grocery last week, so my choices were a bit slim. I knew I as going to saute the last of my fresh green beans in a little olive oil and garlic, but other than that- no clue.

My favorite dish when I go out for tapas, Spanish tapas that is, is potatoes in a piquant sauce. Basically, potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce, often served with crème fraiche, sour cream, or an herb aioli on top. Delish! So, I decided to make my version of this dish. It was Delicious and spicy and satisfying. So good!!

This just came on my radar and I wanted to share it with you. I promise to never become too crunchy (I am not a hippie), but if you are like minded I thought you should know. The USDA is deliberating over whether or not to allow GMO (a genetically modified organism) in certified organic produce (the current case is specific to alfalfa). Their stance is that consumers don't care if produce is genetically altered, even those certified organic. I'm pretty sure altered organic produce is an oxymoron as organic products is supposed to be free from pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically altered. If it has any of these traits, it's not organic. Period. To allow them to alter one foodstuff would open the door to genetic tampering in all organic produce. If you like to eat organic, to ensure that what you are eating is the closest to growing it in your own backyard, then join me in sending a letter to the USDA saying we DO have a voice and it should be heard. You can find more information, as well as a virtual letter to send, at True Food Now . The Center for Food Safety works to "protect human health and the environment by curbing the proliferation of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture". Basically, they want you to have a choice in what you buy and give ways to support local and organic production, end factory farming, and support the environment in the US.

Okay, I'm going to get off my soap box. And now for something completely different:

An Open Letter to Writer's of TV and Film: Hey guys, just want to let you know I appreciate all you do. However, I've got a bone to pick with you- research. I know you have researchers looking into the history, reality of locations, time periods, etc; yet you seem to throw caution to the wind on a regular basis. Example Case #1: Have you ever been to New York in winter? I have, several times. Never have I seen someone walking down the street in a lightweight jacket, open, with no scarf. It's quite the opposite- heavy parkas, scarves, hats, gloves, boots. The craziest thing I saw was a woman without a hat in 20 degree weather. I'm sure there are "crazies" out there who dress likes it's perpetually 75 (I know we have them in Texas), but they are few and far between. Would it really ruin your shot if your actor zipped up their coat? Wore a kicky hat? Gloves? I highly doubt it.

I'd also like to address your feelings about recorded history and artifacts. What the French? Would "Public Enemies" be any less effective if you showed that Dillinger was outlived by the majority of his gang instead of them all dying before him? No, and on a positive note the movie probably would have been shorter and viewers would learn something (which I thought was the point of a biopic). Furthermore, you were a stickler to detail and historical accuracy in the actual death of John Dillenger, so now I'm even more confused.

Last night I was watching disc 2 of "Hex", a BBC drama about a young witch who's best friend's a ghost and is impregnated by a fallen angel (aka Awesome). I understand you're already stretching belief with the fantasy theme, but did you need to misrepresent Egyptian hieroglyphics as well? They're read top to bottom, left to right. Not side to side. Clearly someone must have done some research to find the symbols used (don't get me started there); did they not also discover how they were written? And, in what universe is an Egyptian named Hera? Probably not this one. You made me sad BBC. So very sad.

In closing, reality is more interesting than fantasy. If you're going to change the past, have the courtesy of doing it in a big bold way a la "Inglourious Basterds". Don't do it half-assed.

We wonder why the youth of today are ignorant of history and truth- Just look to TV and movies, the main source of their education. I know that John Stewart is a comedian with hilarious views purposefully skewed to the right for laughs. I also know "The Daily Show" is not a source for real news anymore than "The Onion" or "Weekend Update" on "SNL" is. They're entertainment shows. Hopefully, they cause the viewer to research it's topics more. I don't even care if you're using wikipedia as long as you're trying to better yourself and your education. Come on writers- why so lazy?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meat Monday...Oops!

So, my first attempt at Meatless Monday as a bust. I didn't remember it was Monday until I had already started defrosting the ground Bison (so delicious and somewhat ironic). However, I am determined to make up for it today! Breakfast was whole grain toast with honey. Lunch is... in limbo. I put in my whitening trays before hopping on the computer (the only time I knew I could stop smoking and/or eating long enough for them to work), unfortunately I forgot to eat something first so now it's 1:42 and I'm starving. So, perhaps a late light salad when I get home.

Dinner is going to be sauteed green beans and shallots, glazed carrots, and.... No idea. I need some sort of protein replacement but I'm at a loss. I don't like beans; I have no dark leafy greens. It looks like carrots have some as well as potatoes, so maybe... Ah hell!

Our 1st DFW blogger meeting/drink-a-thon is tomorrow at Sherlock's on 75 and Park at 7:30 PM. The guest list includes so far: Shine, Gofahne, Natalie, Mary, Carissa, possibly Blue-eyed Brunette, Antje, and Me (and you?). I am looking forward to meeting many of these bloggers for the 1st time and learning the ways of the jedi.
This may be the shortest post I've ever done, but I can't take it anymore! I'm hungry. Damn you teeth whitening! Can't I just get the surgery? I'm off to finish watching disc 1 of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". It was strongly recommended to me by several friends and now I know why: They are these guys! See you on the flip side.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What's up Netflix?

The House of the Devil- 4 stars- I really wanted to give this movie 5 stars, I did, but then I saw it. It's too bad I can't give half stars or this would be a sold 3 ½. It takes anticipation to a whole other level. Unfortunately this movie takes too long to get going. The early 80's look is complete from the opening credits to the lighting to the film stock, but this movie misses the mark in scare factor. The movies it's paying homage to gave the audience more to react to earlier in the film. Can you imagine Nightmare on Elm Street where Freddy doesn't even show up until an hour in? No, you would leave or fall asleep long before the action happens. I do recommend sticking it out and waiting for the craziness to start- once it does... oh brother! I seriously have no idea what was happening at one point (probably because I kept fast forwarding through about 10 minutes of silence). All in all, it's a good experiment and a must for horror fans. If you're on the fence though, I'd just skip it.

New York, I Love You- 3 stars- The follow up to "Paris, Je t'aime" is a competent yet lacking amalgam of shards of New York. The city never really comes into focus, which you imagine it would in an open letter to the city that never sleeps; unfortunately I almost did. The set up is simple: get twelve or so directors to make twelve or so short films set in and about NY. In the French film, each director is given an arrondissement to set their play. The films run the gammet of fact and fiction- lovers, family, vampires- all get their day in the city of lights. In "New York", the segments are edited and blended together at points, the director and his intentions lost to the whims of another director. The vignettes kept intact play very well: Natalie Portman as a Hasidic bride to be and diamond buyer; the mirrored look of her face as she looks at the Indian diamond trader and at her husband. She also directs a short piece that is beautifully shot and touching. Julie Christie and Shia Le Beouf (with a walk through by John Hurt) star as an aging singer contemplating life and death in a lavish hotel. One of my favorite French directors, Yan Attal, directs two vignettes- one with Ethan Hawke and Maggie Q (so-so) and the other with Chris Cooper and Robin Wright Penn (wonderful). Certainly something to check out, but the pacing can get a bit slow. Try "Paris" first, then rent this one if you liked it.

50 Dead Men Walking- 3 stars- Set in Northern Ireland in 1981, this follows the true story of a man playing both sides- loyal to his family and friends (who happen to be involved in the IRA) and his wish for the fighting to end and the Irish to be treated equally within the country. He is recruited by Sir Ben Kingsley to play turn coat. Of course, things go wrong. I had mixed feelings about this movie…. It is very long and slow. Also, it illuminated a side of the story I didn't really know. I'm not as familiar with the modern Northern Irish conflict as I am with the Easter Rebellion and the birth of the IRA (See: "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"). The actors do a fine job, though I had problems with sound and understanding certain accents. I was also excited to see Natalie Press from "My Summer of Love" (see below) in another great role. If this movie had been 2 hours or less, it would have been much better. Unfortunately, they make what is a passionate, violent and compelling story boring and dull.

My Summer of Love- 4 stars- I saw this movie a couple years ago when it came out, but decided to refresh my memory in the wake of the Golden Globes. This was Emily Blunt's first film and it went on to win Best British Film at the BAFTA's. It takes place over one summer in the country as two girls grow up and together. I really liked it: the awkwardness budding sexuality, poverty verses wealth, truth verses fiction, love verse infatuation, god verses the devil. A beautiful movie. Great performances by all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Moooo-ve Over Monday!

So I've started writing this post much earlier than usual in an attempt to actually get it out (especially since I promised it to you yesterday). The original plan was to write something rough last night and polish it out today, but let's just say I got distracted (and by distracted I mean I drank a bottle of wine at my friend's house while watching Project Runway and helping her write her performance review- super fun but unproductive).

Work has been really slow lately, so I've been cruising the interwebs (not in a dirty way!) and wasting as much time as possible; another reason there is no excuse to not post something and on time! I was reading my mail and got excited to see I had a message from GOOP. I'm relatively certain I've expounded on the evil joy that is Gwenyth Paltrow's weekly lifestyle newsletter but couldn't find the tag for it (don't worry, there will still be plenty of links in this post). Long story short/in summary: She publishes GOOP weekly and topics range from travel to wellness to food to whatever. The food ones are my favorite (big surprise), though she's had great gift ideas for any (ANY) budget and fun tidbits about foreign locals I have yet to visit.

This weeks newsletter was all about vegetarian dishes.
[side note: While Paltrow has previously dabbled in vegetarian and macrobiotic eating, she now eats meat. Check out her amazing and simple roast chicken recipe here .]

Immediately I forwarded a copy to my favorite Veggie, then went back to read what I had actually sent. Ms. Paltrow has joined the McCarthy's (that would be Stella and father/Beatle Paul) in their vegetarian mission: Meat Free Monday. From their mission statement:

"Meat Free Monday is an environmental campaign to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption. Many people are unaware that livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the entire transport sector..."
Basically, by standing up and pledging to "go meatless" at least once a week, they hope to reduce the need for more grazing land, reduce greenhouse emissions, and promote healthy living. As many of you know, eating organic and as locally as possible (depending on my level of laziness) is very important to me. It seems as if this topic comes up every time I talk to my sister. As a future veterinarian (and current pescatarian), she has an insight into the production and health of meat in this country that I find invaluable and educational. The illogical system behind the slaughter of animals (don't even get me started) coupled with the "waste" of much of the worlds grain to feed animals but not people got me excited about participating in this mission.

Without planning it, or even really noticing, I tend to have at least one vegetarian meal a week. It couldn't be simpler to expand that thought to the whole day. Of course, I couldn't give up eating meat all together- I'm a firm believer in the food chain and the delicious power of BBQ; not to mention my hatred of many of the world's vegetables- but I do want to eat better and smarter. The resources available to us with delicious and nutritious vegetarian dishes is better than ever before. I hope you will check out the websites to learn more and pledge to do your part.

I made this amazing macaroni and cheese dish the other day that I was going to share with you, but I forgot to download the pictures (and I'm pretty sure they didn't come out well either). So, that will have to wait. Instead, I'm giving you a recipe I saw recently that made my mouth water and begin the countdown to payday when I can make them. A big thanks to Giada De Laurentiis for bringing easy yet elegant food to my table. I can't wait to make these savory Goat Cheese w/Sun-dried Tomato Profiteroles . (Plus, I just like saying "profiterole"- pre-fit-e-rol)

Saturday's are for Random Links, nicht wahr?

* Did you hear about the controversy over the Sports Illustrated cover featuring Lindsey Vonn ? Uh... Really people? She's a skier, skiing down a mountain in her uniform. Should she be in a parka? Perhaps some sort of burlap number? Come on! It's really amazing that given who could have been on the cover, they chose a woman. This should be a cheer for woman's rights, not a moment to get your panties in a twist. Calm down and get over yourselves.

* Our word of the day is brought to us by guest commentator Mere: Blunderbuss. (I thought she'd been watching a "Pawn Star's" marathon- seriously check it out- but she actually heard it in an animal dental lecture. I've got to know how that came up)

* An Open Letter to the Contributors of : Your recipes for guacamole were brought to my attention from the lovely Jen, who could not stop laughing. How do you pick what gets put on the site? How can most of your guac recipes not contain cilantro? When is taco sauce an appropriate ingredient to guac? What, no tomatoes? or chili's? or lime? I have lost all respect for you Allrecipes, not that there was much left. In the immortal words of shine : "We're breaking up!"

* Another hilarious tidbit I learnt from yahoo this week, 80's cheese band Men at Work were sued for plagiarism and lost. Apparently, their hit "Down Under" bares a striking resemblance to the "Kookaburra " song we're all familiar with. I don't hear it, or at least not in a "stolen" kind of way, but what do I know. It's simply hilarious that it took 30 years for someone to put this together and now Men at Work are screwed. hee hee.

* If I hear one more movie trailer say something like, "they're greatest strength will be each other" or "they had nothing until they had each other", or "their only ally was each other"; I think I'm going to puke. I'm looking at you "Percy Jackson & The Olympians"!
* Have you been watching "The Vampire Diaries"? What's that you say? It looks retarded and designed for 13-year-old girls? Well, some of that may be true, however you would be mistaken as a whole. TVD (as I will now refer to it) is the perfect blend between bland "Twilight" and erotic "True Blood". There's a story- Boy and girl fall in love, girl finds out boy is Vampire, girl meets boyfriend's evil vamp brother, girl discovers she's a dead ringer for the twisted vamp that sired them. Oh yea! It is also super funny and smart. For example, here's my favorite line from this weeks episode: "If I see something I haven't seen before, I'll throw a dollar at it." Snap!!

* On the "this may be offensive" front- My sis and I were talking earlier this week and the topic of Haiti came up. No, I'm not going where you think I am. Hang tight. So, she asked if I'd heard about the kidnapped Haitian children. Apparently, a bunch of Flander's-style Christians tried to smuggle a group of Haitian orphans out of the country. Sounds nice, right? Unfortunately, many of the kids weren't orphans at all, their parents were simply in hospital. Oh my. Well, I found this hilarious! My sister just kept saying, "I have parent's! I have a mommy!" in a high pitched voice. Somehow this lead to the creation of the greatest band name in history: Smuggling Haitian Orphans (kinda like, Hey That's My Bike from "Reality Bites"). Oh we thought we were so funny! Until Thursday when she sent me the name of their opening act: Aborted Sudden Death. Oh no... We're going to hell. Save me a seat if you get there before me!

* For whatever reason I've been doing this:

Or this:
All day. At least 3 times already!! So, if there were a movement of the day, it would be the comedic thrust.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Share the Love- Blogger Style!

I had the perfect idea for today's blog but somehow ran out of time while "not" working. How does this keep happening?! Anyway, an original and amusing post will appear here tomorrow... PS- It has to do with food.

In unrelated news, the Dallas bloggers have decided to take a page from the DC book. So we’re planning a night of drinks, debauchery, and lewdness next Wednesday! Half of what I've seen says 7:30, and half 8:00 so I'd say show up anytime there abouts if you're in town and want to talk about blogging for, I'm guessing about 10 minutes before the topic changes to weirder things.

When: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 @ 7:30 pmWhere: Sherlock’s @ Park and 75
Who’s Coming: Shine, Gofahne, Graygrrrl, Natalie, Mary, and Carissa (and you?)
Let us know if you want to attend!
Leave a comment if you want more info or to RSVP

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

For Better or Worse, or What Can I Get For $300?

Dear male readers: I apologize in advance for this post. Please enjoy the rest of your day and come back later when I will resume gender neutral topics!

This week, my lovely friend shine wrote about her experience at Sephora- going in for one thing and walking out with $300 worth of crap (it's not uncommon)! We are programmed to believe that expensive is better and the sales person is right. Fortunately, that is simply not the case! I spent several years as a make up artist for many of the top cosmetic companies. This combined with my eagerness to make everyone feel beautiful and my love of playing "dress-up" with make-up has led me to mock slumber parties and make over events at friend's houses. I love teaching new technique's and imparting any wisdom I may have. Here's a little insider insight:

* Expensive=better: Sometimes this is true, but more often than not the difference between department store and drug store products is slim to none. So, what are you paying for? Well, long story short, the name. Chanel is far more prestigious than Neutrogena. Dior sounds nicer than Maybelline. These are status symbols and we are all guilty of buying into it- Just ask me about my limited edition Chanel nail polish (PS- it chips faster than the speed of light!) but I love it and wear it often. In some cases, you are paying for ingredients unavailable to other companies, patent's held by the company, as well as the research that goes into these products.

FACT: L'oreal owns Lancôme, Kiehl's, Biotherm, Garnier, Maybelline, The Body Shop; EstéeLauder owns Clinique, Prescriptives, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Origins; to name a few. These companies develop new colours, fragrances, and technology and deliver it to their high-end name brand counters. In a year or two, it trickles down to their convenience brands. In the end, much of what you're getting at the drug store was first in the department store- Same product.

* I need a designer cleanser/eye cream/moisturizer, eye liner, etc: Uh huh, and I need a million dollars. Here's a quick break down- Cleansers are cleansers are cleansers. There is no reason to pay more than a few bucks to wash your face unless you have a skin issue. Sure, I love Laura Mercier's Purifying Oil Light ($40), but does it clean better than my Neutrogena Redness Soothing Cleanser (about $5)? No. When it comes to washing your face, simply look for a product that is "soap-free" (look for lauryl/lauryth sulfate and avoid). I also love Basis cleansers; about $2 at Ulta and Target. Cleansers should last 4-5 months (1 pump or about the size of a nickle) Moisturizers are usually where I spend more money. Anything that sits on my face should be awesome. I also have somewhat sensitive skin so I have to be careful about what goes on it. I have loved Clinique's whole line of moisturizers even before I worked for them. They are one of the leaders in skin technology and are a great price in the designer marker (many are under $45). My favorite, as a woman approaching 30, is Superdefense SPF 25 ($42.50). If you're in your 30's, try Youth Surge SPF 15 ($48.50). More mature? Try Repairwear SPF 15 ($48.50). However, sometimes I just can't spend that much on the day I run out. Great drug store brands include Neutrogena and Olay (their Regenerist is awesome). A 1.7 oz moisturizer should last you 3-4 months (use an amount about the size of a lima bean or 1 pump worth). Where I am not a big fan of spending crazy amounts of money is in make-up. Think about it- mascara needs to be replaced every 3-6 weeks. Eyes are a breeding ground for bacteria and I am not kidding around when I say you need to replace it so quickly. Imagine rubbing your eyes with bacteria and goop. Not pretty! So, if I have to buy an average of 10 mascara's a year why would I spend $18-35 a go? I wouldn't. Sure, it's nice to splurge when you have a big or important event coming up (Diorshow-$24- is the top department store mascara; though I prefer Chanel Inimitable- $30- for bold lashes). No, I use Cover Girl Lash Blast (often on sale!) and get the same great results. I also save at least $100 a year and can afford to replace my mascara as often as I need to. Go me and go my eyes!!
* "But the girl at the counter/store told me I needed it!" This goes hand in hand with, "She made me feel bad". Ladies, why do we allow ourselves to feel badly at the expense of a sales persons paycheck? They want to sell you more so they make more, that's business. A good sales person will not even make you aware they're up selling to you. A bad sales person insults you or makes you feel bad about yourself. Why are you paying them for the privilege to insult you? QUIT IT! If you feel uncomfortable or that they are making you feel poorly about yourself, walk away. Find another sales person. Don't reward their ill behavior. The best way to find a sales person is to pause and look around the store (in a department store this is regardless of the counter you want to shop at. Many stores encourage their artists to stay with the same customer through out your shopping experience, so find one you like. Who looks nice? Who has nice skin, great make-up?
[side note: Don't necessarily look for someone with the style of make up you like. Look for who appears best put together or best overall. You may not like a bold look, but perhaps that's how they were feeling that day. Warning sign- If they describe their dramatic look as "natural". Thank them for their time and run away; they're not the one for you.]

* The salesperson knows what they're talking about: Oh god, how I wish that were true but it isn't always the case. Every company is different in their training procedures. I have been lucky to work for companies that provide training several times a year in product and technology; though even that doesn't help the worst student. So, ask questions! A good make-up artist should know the key ingredients in their skincare products and explain how they work/why it's good for you. They should sound confident when explaining techniques and products. If they don't, don't buy anything. Do some more research. When you find someone who makes you feel great and look great, keep going to see them. Ask for their card, when they normally work. You will make their day (and I can tell you from experience, you will usually get better/more samples and gifts). We love to treat our best clients! In a department store, ask for the business/counter manager or if there is a regional artist there that day (counters like Laura Mercier, Chanel, Trish McEvoy, Bobbi Brown often have artists and trainers in store that work for the company not the store). In Sephora, ask for a Specialist or if a make-up artist from that brand is in (these artists go to additional training to become certified Sephora Make-Up Specialists). Really, just use your best judgement. If you are unhappy, say so (politely) and ask for them to fix it. We want you to leave happy so you'll come back to us and tell all your friends. We don't want you to go out to the parking lot and cry. If you've set your budget but they're pushing other products, ask them to write them down for you or put them on your client card. If it's a gift line (most lines do this now, but the big ones are Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome), save these larger purchases or splurges for when you get something additional in return.

So in closing this first foray into cosmetic misadventures, the key is to be prepared! Do some research. Have a clear goal in mind (whether it be price or major concern). Don't get talked into something you don't need- stick to the list (unless it's inexpensive, then it's okay to splurge a little!)! Don't be afraid to say "no, thank you". I hope this helps a little... Any questions, just ask!!