Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nothing of interest. But, she did get married.

That's right. I have committed. I have forsaken all others (hobbies, spare time, meals, sleep) and pledged my abiding devotion to...Arclight Films. I have a job. An office job. That I am now married to.

A whirlwind courtship (three months!) of casual (part time) seeing each other before I got the proposal. Of course I was sick during the honeymoon and as with any new life changing addition, there have been moments of compromise and sacrifice. But now we're as in sync as possible. Mostly, because we spend every waking moment (literally) together.

Eleven hours onsite and another four or five offsite leaves not a spare second in the day. (Save for the time I took to write this and also, read the latest Friday Night Lights recap at TWoP. Some day, when I have a life again, I'll write about how awesome Friday Night Lights is. Seriously y'all, it's the best show ever!) At work, we are currently in preparations for our BIGGEST week of the year. Which means the hours are going to get increasingly longer and my new significant other and I will have plenty of opportunity to settle in and really set up house. Hopefully, we won't kill each other.

If this sounds like complaining, it's not. I have a job. A real grown up job. I wore stockings and heels to the office today because we had investors visiting. (Luckily most days I can get away with jeans.) This is everything I've worked for. It's the reason I went to college. It's not exactly what I pictured when I decided as a starry-eyed tween that I wanted to work in "movies," but it's pretty damn close. I still get a little rush of giddy energy when I actually get to say 'I work in the entertainment industry' aloud. Even in the moments I want to tear my hair out.

So that's it. I've found what I love and committed wholeheartedly. But like any (life-altering) relationship, it's work.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The New Fall Line-Up (and loves it!)- Pt. 1

So I'm procrastinating on an actual, paying writing assignment and squeeing about the new TV season instead.

Fall TV Round Up
Monday: I DVRed the better of Josh Schwartz's two new shows, Chuck (on NBC) and really enjoyed it. Likable cast including the always awesome Adam Baldwin and the usually heinous Sarah Lancaster. And Chuck himself is not too Seth Cohen-y (my biggest fear for the show.) Funny and action packed and the conclusion hit just the right emotional note which is what Schwartz does best. I'm in. Bonus: my former girl crush, Rachel Bilson, is set to guest star in a multi-episode arc beginning soonish. Sweet.

In real time, I watched the third season premiere of CBS's How I Met Your Mother guest starring the adorable and sadly underused, Mandy Moore. I have no real use for Robin anymore, and Ted has only recently grown on me, but Barney, Lily, and Marshall are arguably the best "friends" on TV right now. Everybody is watching this show for NPH. I'm watching for Jason Segel. Maybe this'll be the year that HIMYM finally gets its due.

Highlight: The Heroes season premiered at 9 PM and not surprisingly, was utterly fantastic. We caught up with Matt, Molly, and Mohinder (now livin' it up My Two Dads style in NYC) and met some new heroes, Maya and Alejandro (pretty, Latino Wonder Twins with inappropriate sibling chemistry.) And they totally killed off George Takei. But as was hinted at in S1, the S2 premiere solidified that- ensemble, shmensemble- Hiro, Peter, and Claire are truly the stars of the show.

I'm not a huge Hiro Nakamura fan but pairing him with sexy Sark doing Monty Python schtick was genius. All of their scenes were light and funny.
Funny in a totally different way were the Bennet (now Butler) moments. Hayden P. and Jack Coleman do some of the very best work on this show and seeing them onscreen again was the highlight of the premiere. Their (literally) painfully ordinary days in the new So Cal locale culminated in the standout hilariously deadpan family dinner sequence that frankly, looked like it belonged on another show but hopefully indicates a tonal shift for Heroes in its new season. Another standout- Claire's heartbreaking phone call to now, boozy, delusional, recluse Nathan. Claire wants to talk about how much she misses Peter. Nathan hangs up on her. Worst dad ever.
Peter is presumed dead but in reality, not so much. He (finally) appears in the last two minutes, shirtless, chained, powerful as ever, and suffering a serious bout of amnesia. I won't tsk, tsk the show yet because I have faith they can do something interesting and original with it but, amnesia? Really?

All in all, a fairly awesome premiere. Here's hoping J.J. Philbin doesn't find some way to fuck it up (as is her wont.)

Tuesday- I only watched one show and only marginally enjoyed it so Tuesday might be my day off. As I mentioned in my inaugural post, Bret Harrison and I are occasionally thisclose so I felt somewhat obligated to check out his new show on The CW, Reaper. The premise does not appeal to me, the other cast members do not appeal to me, Kevin Smith EP-ing only slightly appeals to me but, Bret Harrison. It was okay. It gains points for being darker than expected and loses points for not being as funny as it promised to be. And the production quality is horrible. Seriously, S6 Buffy levels of bad. But, Bret Harrison. I set the DVR for next week's episode, but no series setting. Yet.

I've decided to make Wednesday its own entry because damn, there's a lot of programming Wednesday night.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Inside of a Police Station

Things the people who broke into my car did NOT take:

- silver flats
- purple yoga mat
- script for a biopic
- travel coffee cup
- receipt from my brother's birthday present
- green hoodie
- piece of paper with Michael Keaton's home address
- parking pass for work
- pillow

Things the people who broke into my car DID take:

- radio/CD player
- iPod adapter/charger
- 37 cents in loose change (seriously?)

They also completely shattered the two rear windows and in an unsuccessful attempt to hotwire it, broke off part of the steering wheel column and fucked with the ignition so the car's not driveable.

Thanks, asshole criminals!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Spoilers Everywhere and Tries Valiantly to Resist

So, about ten days ago cult TV fandom was alternately squeeing and OMG-ing over the news that Kristen Bell (eponymous star of the dearly departed, Veronica Mars) had joined the cast of Heroes. I did both. Bell's 13! episode run will commence in the fifth episode of the series's second season which premieres September 24th on NBC.

This news is by far the most exciting announcement I've heard regarding the Fall Schedule. Since losing three of my favorite series ever last spring, the only real TV return I'm anticipating is Heroes and as far as I'm concerned, Bell and Heroes are two great tastes that'll taste great together. As mainstream media sought to capture and contribute to the internet hype surrounding this casting choice by explaining a bit how Bell will fit into the series, many viewers were inadvertently spoiled- myself included.

Typically, I'm very pro spoilers. Heroes, however, works against this MO because the NBC drama's initial success lies in its capacity for jaw-dropping, "Holy Shit" moments; the series achieved many last season. Wouldn't want to spoil that. I didn't care enough to seek out spoilers last season and believed I'd go the unspoiled route for the second season as well. Truthfully though, I have not remained unspoiled for any TV show since about 1998. I'm such a spoiler fiend that I'm even spoiled for shows I don't watch. And the more I get into a show, the more I actively seek out spoilers. So I'm not super optimistic about this endeavor.

I've already learned of some changes in cast through sheer internet access, but the spoiler discussion thread at TWoP (complete with sides, new character descriptions, and episode synopses) sits at the top of the board, heavily trafficked, mocking me. I really believe I'll enjoy the show more if I don't spoil myself (and have regretted being so heavily spoiled in the past,) but I was also the kid who peeked under the bed at her presents two weeks before Haunnakah.

I predict I'll valiantly remain unspoiled for the next two weeks and then, on the eve of the season premiere, go on a spoiler binge the likes of which have not been seen since the Lionfeed of 2002 (when Canada aired Buffy eariler in the week and entire episode descriptions would appear online two days before the episode was seen in the U.S.) And as with any other binge, I'll vascillate between feeling sated and guilty. So begins a new TV season.

Watch the new season of Heroes beginning September 24th on NBC. Heroes Season 1 is now available on DVD. The special features are fairly disappointing but since NBC/Universal's fallout with iTunes, the DVDs are now the only way to see the first season. And it was gooood. Here's hoping the second season is great.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

SYTYCD Come To a Close

So sadly for the first Wednesday in many months, there is no new episode of So You Think You Can Dance tonight. The series concluded its third season with last Thursday's two hour finale and rightfully crowned Sabra (Johnson) "America's Favorite Dancer." As I mentioned in an earlier post with the exception of Project Runway and the past season of Idol, I tend to avoid reality competion programming. I prefer my TV fictional, thanks. That said, I effing loved this summer's SYTYCD. A large part of that I'm sure relates to my past life as a dancer but I think there's something to be said for dance as an artform (in addition to a competition) being exhibited on primetime. On Idol, regardless of the singers' talent, there will never be performances I'd care about in any other context ie; I will never buy an Idol's music no matter how much I may have been a "fan" at the time.

Not so with So You Think You Can Dance. All of the dancers and nearly all of the choreo in this season reeeeally impressed me. So much so that I totally geeked out and got tickets to see the tour here in L.A. So while I lament my now SYTYCD-free existence, I'll also look back and relish some of my favorite dances and dancers of Season 3.

Top 5 Dancers:

5) Neil- Initially, I was quite meh on Neil when he was kept over my fellow former Paso Roblan, Jesus (Chuy.) Chuy had performed phenomenally in the previous weeks while Neil had only been okay and the conspiracy theorist in me was convinced that Neil was saved solely to appease the tweens for the tour. Neil must've felt the collective disgust radiating from all TWoP viewers because the next week, he really stepped up his game. He continued to improve in performance, technique, and 'reality show persona' appeal and by the time he was left standing in the Top Four, he'd fully won me over. Neil's consistent weakness was a lack of chemistry with his partners but Sara and Sabra loosened him up a bit and his last four solos were nothing short of outstanding.

4) Lauren- Ironic that a contestant with inside connections to the show would become an underdog of sorts but for me, Lauren was just that. I (wisely as it turns out) had avoided the boards for reality show competions so perhaps the Lauren hate was par for the course, but never had I seen so much vitriol and anger directed at a talented nineteen year old on a reality show. People at TWoP HATE Lauren (all caps.) They wished her gruesome, violent ends, flat out accused her of being a slut, and talked at length about how physically hideous and talentless she is. Um... she's not. Any of those things. At first, my Lauren support was a direct reaction to some of the scarier, meaner posters. But as it turns out, Lauren's a really good dancer. Some of her solos were lame, but some were excellent. She had a great chemistry with Danny and the night she left, she absolutely KILLED Wade Robson's opening group piece.

3) Sabra- Yay! Sabra won! I didn't always feel Sabra was the most dynamic dancer, but she was consistently excellent beginning with her solo on the first elimination show. There are two ways to look at Sabra- either she got very lucky throughout OR the show tried to throw her under the bus and she always rose above it. The Dom and Sabra partnership was arguably the most entertaining and sweet on the series, but Sabra's best partner in the competition was contemporary choreography. She excelled at the pieces by Mandy Moore and Wade Robson and always made those dances look effortless and beautiful. She earned the win.

2) Danny (fucking) Tidwell- Danny was best dancer ever on the show. Most everyone is in agreement on this point. Danny's challenge was being an interesting performer and for me, that didn't happen until the Top 8 performances. (Though in retrospect, all of his Top 10 performances are fantastic.) Danny didn't win me over until he gamely sold cheesy hip hop choreo with a goofy smile on his face and for the first time ever, looked like he was having fun. After that, he had me for good. He's a brilliant technician and can be a mesmerizing performer. His 60 second solo in the Top 4 performances is dancing on a level above every one of his competitors. He'll be okay without the win, but he's the only contestant I actually voted for twice and as a viewer, I feel lucky to be given the opportunity to see Danny Tidwell dance.

1) Sara (Von Gillern)- Unfortunately, I didn't really realize Sara was my favorite dancer until about halfway through the competition. Sara adapted to every style effortlessly. She was in more of my favorite dances of the season than any other competitor. More than that though, Sara had an earthy, fun sensibility that came across as very real. She made it through the reality show machine without becoming perceived as a caricature, a villain, a slut, fake, dumb, backstabbing, simpering, needy, or any of the other cartoonish reality archetypes that exist. She was total class the entire competition. To her credit (and my delight,) Sara was featured more than any other dancer in the Thursday finale performing a total of six dances. This bodes very well for her stage time on the tour.

Top 10 Dances:
(Go to YouTube for as many of these as you can. For whatever reason, I can't hyperlink on my Mac. Grrr. Argh.)

10) Danny/Lacey Samba (Top 10)- Admittedly, this piece begins with fantastic music and choreo, but Danny and Lacey dance the hell out of it.

9) Neil/Sara Disco (Top 10)- New partnership and kinda lame choreo but really, really entertaining and fun.

8) You Can't Stop the Beat Group Dance (Top 14)- Choreo by guest judge and Hairspray director/choreographer, Adam Shankman. Infectious music and dancing; near flawless execution.

7) Neil/Lauren Pop Jazz (Top 14)- After a few lackluster weeks, Lauren and Neil finally get it right and own this funky, character driven piece. Roisin Murphy music and Wade choreo help them immensely.

6) Pasha/Sara West Coast Swing (Top 14)- Chuy who? Seriously, Pasha and Sara have some of the best chemistry on the show which becomes hugely apparent in their first performance together, a high energy WCS routine choreographed by last year's SYTYCD winner, Benji Schwimmer. Almost instantly, it becomes a classic performance.

5) Dom/Sabra Contemporary (Top 18)- Beautiful. First appearance of choreographer Mandy Moore who easily made the season for me. Her partner work is so intricate and innovative and Dom and Sabra really, really sold this dance.

4) Neil/Sabra Jazz (Top 6)- Another Mandy Moore piece. Incorporated both dancers's strengths to tell a clever story with a combo of funky and classic choreography. One of the few great dances of the year that succeeds more through the choreo than the performances.

3) The Moment I Said It Group Dance (Top 10)- Mia Michaels's choreo at its best. After a banner year in Season 2, Mia faltered quite a bit but this group number showcases all of her strengths. Great partner work, excellent use of the stage, bonus points for focusing on Danny, this dance warrants multiple viewings. (Tiny detractor: masks make it hard to identify which dancer is which.)

2) 2:19 Group Dance (Top 6)- Tom fucking Waits song and bizarre Wade choreo, but this totally works. Most people hated it but I think it's amazing. Initially, heavy makeup and costumes threatened to overshadow the actual dancing but two things really make this piece work in execution, Neil and Lauren. Lauren particularly, is absolutely captivating to watch in this performance.

1) Pasha/Sara Jazz (Top 12)- I've watched this close to twenty times. Everything succeeds here- Mandy Moore's trademark choreo, the use of Queen's Body Language, the would be cheesy costumes that actually function toward the concept of the piece, Pasha's and Sara's talent, Pasha's and Sara's chemistry. It's weird and unsettling and the complete antithesis of the hip pop-lite Shane Sparks choreo that makes its way down the pike to appease the masses; it's brilliant. Seriously, search pasha sara on YouTube and watch this dance!

I'm not sure any of these will be featured on the tour but through the beauty of the internet, I can watch them over and over again. And I have.

She Has a Reader Comment and Gets Excited (turns out it's an assignment)

So my sister (RookieMom Whitney) tagged me with this Meme.

First, the Rules:

1) Post these rules before you give your facts

2) List 8 random facts about yourself

3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) people and list their names, linking to them

4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged [GeekyGirl's note: Rules 3 and 4 aren't likely. My online friends don't keep blogs. We're more message board people.]

And now… my facts:

1) Despite the fact that my (half) sister is nearly a decade older than me and has never lived with my parents, younger brother, and me, I still forever feel like the middle child in our family with all the neuroses that entails.

2) In eleventh grade, my high school dance company traveled to NYC to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with 500 other dancers from around the country. Highs included seeing *NSync on a float right in front of us, being on The Today Show, and seeing The Lion King on Broadway. Lows included fourteen hour rehearsals in the basement of the hotel with southern dance captains who closely resembled S.S. officers, starving for a week, and walking the entire parade route in relentless November rain and spandex.

3) Though I come from a loooong line of educators (both parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts, etc.) I've never for a minute seriously considered a teaching career.

4) I've seen the movie Clueless over a hundred times and probably still have it memorized (though I haven't tested that in a while.)

5) It's important to me to marry a man who's Jewish.

6) In eighth grade my friends and I made a documentary about me called Emily's Hollywood Connections. Essentially, I did six degrees of...any two movies they could think of (before the practice was marketed as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.) I still have a copy of the script.

7) When I was 18, I appeared in a "man on the street" fashion feature for Time Out NY. (Backstory: my sister's friend Danielle was the photog and she took pics of my sis and me sporting various trends on the sidewalk outside of her apartment.)

8) In high school, as a dancer at 5'2'', 110 lbs. I felt "fat." Sometimes that insecurity still creeps up and results in my not eating for two or three days.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sleeping Scarlett

There are few things more soothing than holding a sleeping Scarlett.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Scrubs, Some Family, and Seventies Cinema

Oy, that alliteration is clunky. 'Scarlett' was the obvious choice but I had actual guilt about excluding the rest of the M-C tribe.

Thing 1- Jenna Fischer was nominated. Boo. But so was Neil Patrick Harris! Like Drew, I'm ecstatic about that nod as well as the one for the cast of Heroes. Everything else was exactly as predicted. I'm kind of obsessed with Scrubs right now (in syndication) so I'm bummed Zach Braff et al weren't recognized. Those actors are some of the most underrated comedians on television.

Thing 2- Yesterday, I got back from a fantastic Berkeley visit. In between catching up and playing with the babies, my sister and I worked on feminizing some of Julian's hand-me-downs for lovely Scarlett. (Pictures to follow. Maybe.) Julian is as cuddly sweet and articulate and hilarious as ever. In Liptonian (Pivotian) speak, the sound or noise that I love is his tiny, adorable voice saying, "I want you to play with me, Auntie Em." And all of my misgivings about Scarlett have completely vanished. Man, do I love that baby girl.

Thing 3- I'm currently reading Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls regarding the New Hollywood movement in the seventies. I remain dubious about the veracity of much of Biskind's reporting as the book's anecdotal content seems largely apocryphal. Still, it's a fascinating chronological synthesis of sex, drugs, and the filmic revolution. The book has inspired me to finally sit down and watch all of those '70s classics I've never seen.

To date:
8. Young Frankenstein (1974)

7. Shampoo (1975)- Not Robert Towne's finest script, but the film epitomizes the absence of happy endings in this decade. One of the few generically romantic comedies that doesn't end with a kiss, marriage, and/or birth.

6. The Godfather II (1974)- A brilliant film, but it needs the context of the first one and as such can't transcend its predecessor's significance.

5. MASH (1972)- Black comedy at its best. A superb film.

4. The Godfather (1972)- Brilliant.

3. Five Easy Pieces (1970)- I was surprised by how much I loved this. A really sparse character study that never relies on cliches or contrivances. Really strong, literate storytelling anchored by resonant, thoughtful performances. If you like quiet, indie character pieces, I highly recommend it.

2. Chinatown (1974)- From beginning to end, a phenomenal film. Robert Towne's finest script. Everything works in this film- the story, the setting, the characters (and actors,) the mystery, the eleventh hour reveal, and the deeply nihilistic conclusion. A fantastic period piece, a smart whodunit; this is really elegant filmmaking.

1. Network (1976)- Network might be the best film ever made. It might also be my new favorite film. I'll have to watch it a few more times to truly decide, but fortunately, it absolutely warrants repeated viewings. In fact, thirty years later when everything the film predicted has come to pass, it almost requires repeated viewings. There's much to be said about the breadth and depth of Paddy Chayefsky's prescient satire, but what stuck with me most is that Network is a film by adults for adults. Of all the lunacies and betrayals Cassandra-ed by Peter Finch's character, youth obsessed culture is at most, implicit and arguably, ignored altogether. But the youth obsession, the MySpace-ing that permeates all media now, precludes films like Network from getting made and being seen. To its extreme credit, Network never feels like a lecture (which is more than I can say for Spike Lee's homage, Bamboozled.) It is smart and accessible, well-paced and clever, darkly funny with genuine moments of tragedy. It is quite possibly the most incredible film in a decade of incredible films and everyone should see it and see it again.

This entry feels a bit like blog consomme. I'm going to try to avoid this approach from now on.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Emmy Noms Eve

Considering how TV obsessed I am, I really don't have a lot of investment in the Emmys as an institution. Hollywood politics aside, the creator of the greatest television show in my lifetime thus far and possibly ever, has yet to win one. (Yep, it's Joss.) Any awards show that purports to be about excellence in television and yet never recognized the brilliance of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer isn't really worth its salt. But...

Considering how TV obsessed I am, I'd be remiss to not acknowledge that nominations (however unwarranted they may be) are once again upon us. In about 12 hours, all nominees will officially be announced (and I'm sure I'll have much more to say,) but in the interim, a few Emmy-related random observations and opinions.

1. Jenna Fischer. This is a hugely unpopular opinion throughout the world wide web and the world over but, I do not care for Jenna Fischer. I don't want to read her blog, I don't want to be her BFF and I don't think she's a very good actress. I'm sure she's a lovely person (though I recently saw an interview that would suggest otherwise,) but she's just not that interesting to me on screen and she's kinda made me hate Pam. I didn't enjoy The Speech and I thought the moment really highlighted Fischer's limitations as an actress. Of course, The Speech is probably the exact moment that will garner her a nod.

2. Heroes. I don't think Heroes has a chance of earning any substantive nominations (make up is probably its best bet,) but no other show kept me engaged or on the edge of my seat as much as Heroes did in its inaugural season. I don't have a lot to say about the dialogue, but to its credit, the acting on Heroes far surpasses what's typically seen in such genre-driven programs. You want to hate her because she's seventeen and looks like Malibu Beach Skipper, but Hayden Panettiere is really fucking good. As is Jack Coleman.

3. Lauren Graham. Lauren Graham will inevitably be passed over, but it doesn't change the fact that she delivered yet again one of the strongest consistently excellent performances on tv in Gilmore's seventh and final season. Lauren Graham is awesome. She offered more talent and nuance and depth and humor (and whatever other flowery noun is appropriate) in her two seconds of screentime on Studio 60 than most actresses in their entire 06-07 runs to say nothing of the work she did as Lorelai Gilmore.

4. Other random people who deserve nominations but won't get them include Greg Berlanti (Brothers and Sisters,) Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars,) Josh Schwartz (The O.C.- say what you will about the show but this past season was some of the best work Schwartz has ever done,) Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother,) Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother,) Steven Weber (Studio 60,) Matthew Perry (Studio 60,) Kelly Bishop (Gilmore Girls,) Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters,) and others I'm sure I'm forgetting at the moment but will no doubt be reminded of tomorrow when collective fandoms explode the internet over what does and does not get nominated.

Stay Tuned.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Scarlett For the First Time

Shehecheyanu For Scarlett
The Shehecheyanu is a Jewish prayer invoked to celebrate new blessings or joyous rare occurrences. The birth of a baby is just one occasion during which it is custom to voice this happy recitation. Though I'm not attending Shabbat Services tonight, I'll definitely say a shehecheyanu for my new niece, Scarlett (and Whitney, Ryan, and Julian.) All four of you that occasionally read this, if you're comfortable, I invite you to do the same.

Transliteration: Baruch ata adonai elohenu melech ha olam, shehecheyanu, v'kiyimanu, v'higiyanu laz'man hazeh.
Translation: Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

She is beautiful and healthy and tiny and perfect. I can't wait to see her again.

JMC Over the Holiday

At some point I'll take the chance to recap the awesomely bad series finale of Hidden Palms and rail against the injustice of Chuy getting cut from SYTYCD at least ten weeks too early, but right now I'm going to obnoxiously gush about my nephew, Julian. Because I can. And frequently do.

One of the coolest, most memorable experiences of my life was being at the hospital when Julian was born in October 2004. I held him when he was a little over two hours old and fell in love with him on the spot. I'd (geekily) made a message tee earlier that month that read 'Auntie Em' and wore it for the main event. I was living in Santa Cruz at the time so the hour and a half trek to Berkeley was nothing and I made it as many times as I could. My sister would thank me for the free childcare and I'd think, are you crazy? Thank you for letting me play with your baby for the night, weekend, etc. I'd voraciously print out pictures of him from her website and tape them up on my wall, I'd rock and sing him to sleep, and I quickly realized that being an aunt actually surpassed all of my extremely high expectations w/r/t the experience. As is maybe apparent, I'm a kid person. I've been watching them forever and I practically salivate at the sight of babies. One of the coolest, new things about being an aunt is that if your first impulse is wanting to hold a perfect stranger's baby, being around one that you always have permission to pick up is a little like crack.
As such I should've been thrilled when my sister announced she was pregnant again last Thanksgiving. But I wasn't. Instead, I was kinda apprehensive. My first thought wasn't 'oh great, a new baby!' but instead, 'what about Julian?' I was a little worried that I wasn't as ecstatic as I thought I would be (or should be) at the prospect of having a new little person around. Of course the more I got used to the idea, the more excited I became especially once we learned that 'Baby' was actually 'Baby Girl.'

Cut to Six Months Later:
Scarlett Lake, nee Baby Girl was born this past Wednesday during the midmorning of the holiday. She weighed in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. and possesses a full head of jet black hair. She's tiny and pink and gorgeous and you forget that a person can actually be that small. Holding her on the day of her birth, stroking her perfect fingers and toes, and staring into her big grey-blue eyes was such an awesome memorable experience. She and my sister are both doing very well which is everything we could've hoped for.

The very best part of the last few days though was, without a doubt, the time I got to spend with Julian. Making his breakfast, putting him to bed each night, playing at the park, reading stories and singing songs, hearing him say "Auntie Em" in his tiny, little toddler voice- there might be nothing in this world that I adore as much as I adore him.
Some highlights from the week include...
On baking a cake for Scarlett's arrival (as pictured above)-
Auntie Em: J, what are we doing?
J: Making a cake!
Auntie Em: Who's the cake for?
J: the baby?
Auntie Em: What's the baby's name?
J: I want some more delicious cake please!

J: What's Grandpa Rick doing?
Auntie Em: He's sleeping. And he's snoring.
J: *looks at Grandpa Rick and back at me* I want to read The Napping House now.

On noticing my red shoes-
J: Auntie Em has red shoes and Julian has red shoes too!

After a huge sip of agua fresca at Picante in Berkeley-
J: *rubs his tummy* then (exaggeratedly) Yum, yuuuuuum. *prolonged giggling*

On wearing me out-
J: I want Auntie Em to sit up and do another puzzle with me and do stickers too, please.

Which I immediately did. Who could possibly resist?

Monday, June 4, 2007

2007 MTV Movie Awards (Ctd.)

And we're back! The second hour begins with a true WTF? moment.

9: 00- (Orbitz) Dirtiest Mouth Moment? The sum total of nothing. Clerks 2. Why not. Though, I do like Kevin Smith. Every time I’m ready to write Kevin Smith off as a hack, I catch him in an interview and I immediately respect him again. The latest was his talking head in This Film Is Not Yet Rated.

9: 05- Cast of License to Wed. Krasinski and Moore! Krasinski looks like a baby. And an emo boy. I can’t wait for him to do something that’s not squeaky clean. Best Comedic performance. Emily Blunt. A million times Emily. It’s probably Ferrell. Nope, it’s Borat. He’s mocking the skanky starlets. Well somebody had to. Oh, Krasinksi. I want to climb you like a tree.

Commercials. Nothing of note.

9: 14- Ooh, a parody of the celeb PSA for One. Boratitis, the involuntary act of imitating Borat. Unfortunately, this loses all satire credibility with the inclusion of Trump. Love Aaron Eckhart, though. Rhianna’s not wearing a shirt, y’all. She’s not even pretending to wear a shirt.

9: 15- And Cameron’s not wearing pants. Oh right, she was in Shrek. This is the Mike Myers presentation. Cameron can’t read. Does she need glasses? She really can’t read. Or deliver this speech. Maybe she’s high, too. Mike Myers has been in four movies. And three of them were a franchise. Generation Award. That’s what he’s getting. For generating a large body of work? Because see above: re: franchise. For representing a generation? Because Ben Stiller called and he wants his fucking award. Is it intentionally unclear because they don’t know why the hell Mike Myers is getting an award? Circle gets the square. And hey, he just cribbed a joke from Reality Bites. That about sums it up.

Commercials. I will forever love and adore Lauren Graham for Gilmore Girls, but she has got to get some better movies. She’s entering Jessica Biel territory.

9: 27- Sam Jackson hates everyone in this room. Amateur Spoof Award. Seriously, these were the best of the best? He has such contempt for this award. As well he should. The winner is United 300. The director just mispronounced ‘tyranny’. His parents and wife are embarrassed. He should’ve written something. Beyond that last line. Which was ok.

9: 30- Welcome back, Bruce Willis. And he’s actually dressed to present this time. Amy Winehouse sings Rehab. I didn’t know this was a real song until I heard it in its entirety on the radio. She looks like a drag queen dressed as a baby prostitute. This is not that great. I don’t know if she’s normally good, but, like, compared to Christina or whoever, Amy’s comatose. Stacey Ferguson’s bemused. I think Amy’s anorexic. Eh.

Commercials. I will forever love and adore John Cusack for Grosse Pointe Blank, but he has got to get some better movies. He’s entering Lauren Graham territory.

9: 38- Aw, Seth Rogen. No Katie Heigl? Everyone needs to see Knocked Up! And then Netflix Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared and realize Judd Apatow is an underrated genius! Best Movie You Haven’t Seen Yet. WTF? This is really just an excuse to further fellate Transformers, isn’t it? Yes, it is. Shia LaBeouf has aged twenty years since the show began. Michael Bay sucks. They’re all high.

Commercials. Is Trishelle famous now? Do we have to acknowledge Trishelle as an actual celebrity?

9: 46- Andy Samberg’s onstage for a second. He’s not even allowed to plug Hot Rod.

9: 47- Transformers guys. They’re here again? Best Performance. Johnny Depp wins. Wow, he’s there. Glad he could leave 1991 to join us. He seriously has a flannel tied around his waist. That’s awesome. FYI, not a single woman won an award this year. Not one. MTV hates women.

Commercials. More Transformers exclusives. Oh, and now a trailer. And a commercial. And another trailer. In 2007, Michael Bay made Transformers. Everything that was not Transformers ceased to exist.

9: 55- Cast of Hairspray. Amanda Bynes has turned into Lindsay Lohan. It’s sad. Best movie. Transformers! Well, it might as well be. PotC. Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp accept. I’m pretty sure Bruckheimer just told Depp to thank Disney. Or he's going to get the hose again.

9: 58- And it’s over. And it sucked. Even more than I thought it would. Tune in next year when Transformers sweeps every category and the MTV Movie Awards slips further and further into total cultural irrelevance.

2007 MTV Movie Awards

So, I am attempting this whole liveblogging thing for tonight mostly because if I don’t type while the Awards are airing, I’ll never get the motivation to synthesize my thoughts and actually post. (I actually had to Google 'liveblogging' to make sure I had the definition right. So far as I can tell, it’s blogging with time stamps so I’m going to go with that.)
Disclaimer: I haven't watched this show in a few years, but I have very fond memories of W.B. kids, ironic awards, timely satire, and a fantastic opening sequence that featured Kirsten Dunst and Jimmy Fallon recreating the music video for Don't Tell Me. I'm not really expecting that level of Awesome, but I am curious what MTV's been up to these last few years.

Judging from the Red Carpet Preshow, there’s a strange paradox occurring wherein the Movie Awards are nearly ten years past their prime and I’m a good five years too old for them, and yet, the preshow appears to be amateur night in Dixie. Has MTV ever produced anything ever? Awkward transitions, sloppy cuts, lost sound, and interview interruptus. Why are their VJs behaving as though they’ve never been on camera? Suchin Pak is collecting social security at this point; she should know better. The guy (Jim? Tim? Tom?) I don’t recognize so maybe he’s new. He’s desperately trying to not offend Shia LaBeouf. Shia LaBeouf is high. And in his thirties. Seriously, he’s ten years older than me. Oh, a Transformers Exclusive (*spoiler alert* there are a lot of these tonight) Heh. Michael Bay is articulating the “plot” of Transformers. Let’s not pretend there’s an actual plot. He just said the word “real” eight times in two sentences. Regarding Transformers. Ironic, no? No Name Ingenue just said it’s the biggest movie she’s ever been a part of. It’s bigger than nothing? Really? Why has Spielberg yoked himself to this insult to storytelling? I wonder if LaBeouf is Spielberg’s bastard child. Oh, NNI was a Maxim cover girl. Transformers is bigger than the cover of Maxim. Alert the media. It turns out unknown VJ (Tim!) is new. Well, there ya’ go.

Truthfully, some other stuff happened during this preshow besides Transformers pimping. But you’ll soon come to realize that none of it matters. Paris Hilton completely got the kid glove treatment, Lauren Conrad and her Hills hos went shopping, and I think Jay-Z popped up for a second. Crappiest preshow ever! There were about two seconds of awesome courtesy of Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, and Jessica Alba. That’s how low this show has sunk. Jessica Alba stands out as awesome.

Aaaaaaand...Awards Show!

8: 00- Sarah Silverman! She’s talking to a dog. Well, it was the Year of the Dog. Think how much cooler this show would already be were they parodying Year of the Dog right now instead of, wait for it...Transformers. How droll. Man, Silverman’s already reaching. A decades old Kanye joke! Before they were canceled over a YEAR ago, Arrested Development made this joke. That's how old it is. Johnny Knoxville looks to' up. Is he fifty now? And is he the best they could come up with? Damn. Remember when Lisa Kudrow hosted and they spoofed Austin Powers and it was a good ten to fifteen minutes of hilarious, cameo-driven parody before they even got to the show? This is not that.

8: 02- 2 minutes of parody. Two. Adam Sandler is sitting next to Jack Nicholson. Sandler’s popping gum like a twelve year old girl. Or Two A-holes. I know we’re supposed to be repulsed by Will Ferrell’s Grizzly Adams look, but I actually think it makes him sexier. I have beard issues.

The Badass Motherfucker hates Sarah Silverman.

8:04- Woah. A Cisco Adler joke. Mischa’s not as irrelevant as we thought.
Damn. Vagina jokes. Wouldn’t be Sarah Silverman without them.
Inevitable mention of La Lohan. And mocking Alec Baldwin- that’s tired. Even Silverman seems to think so.

8: 05- Paris sex joke. But she’s there. So it’s edgy. Is Silverman a hack? That would make me sad, but I mean, Paris sex joke? My grandfather could make that joke.

8: 08- Wow. This intro is not good. The song? Dirty words are funny, y’all. The first time I watched this I thought the altercocker choir was without pants. I’m relieved to see that’s not the case as that might make this whole performance classless.

8: 10- Cast of Fantastic Four. Fametracker's 2 Stars 1 Slot (Dirty!): Chris Evans/Bret Harrison. Because they could very well be the same person and we don’t know it. Best Villain. What kind of world do we live in where Nicholson and Streep are up against Tobin Bell from Saw 3? Do these tweens even know who Nicholson is? Beyond his role in The Departed? Ok, Nicholson is definitely high. Not that I blame him, but this acceptance speech is all over the place. The troops? Really, we’re going to the troops?

8: 14- Well, Silverman’s in on the joke (that is the MTV Movie Awards 2007.) So that might make this better. My notes say, I’ve only seen two of the nominees for Best Film but the only one I can remember right now is Little Miss Sunshine. At any rate, I didn’t see Pirates of the Caribbean: Davy Jones’s Locker which *spoiler alert* wins or Borat. So I don’t really get this joke. Unless the joke is just a scantily clad fat man. Then, I get it. But it’s not funny.

Oh hey, apparently the announcer is live blogging during the show as well. How weird was that naked guy, indeed. The MTV Movie Awards are brought to you by the letter O.

Commercials. Best Week Ever goes meta. Isn’t Best Week Ever definitively meta? Isn’t the whole point that they’re meta? Is this, like, super meta meta?

8: 21- I enjoy Jessica Biel. I don’t actually watch her movies (Next? Are you kidding me?) but there’s something about her I really like. She and Silverman are talking about blogging. I dread the day meta becomes played out. Are we already there? If we were still doing message tees, I’d make one that reads I Heart Meta. I might do it anyway. I’m a Lit geek, what the hell right?

8: 22- Best Fight. So Bruce Willis was at home watering his lawn or hosting a barbecue or something when he got a call telling him he was twenty minutes late for the show. That’s the only explanation for the Jimmy Buffet attire he’s sporting (and the wardrobe change later on.) He also is quite possibly, high. As is Justin Long. Justin Long looks like he wandered in off the Miami Vice set. They’re plugging Live Free or Die Hard or Live Hard or Die Trying or Living to Die Hard or whatever. And the Best Fight Award goes to a real person battling CGI effects. Ok, then. Gerard Butler from 300. He’s totally denigrating the award. Justin Long wants us to know that he is so much more badass than the Mac commercials would suggest.

8: 26- I generally don’t get too offended by the recent hyper injection of fratboy culture into commercial cinema, but Good Luck Chuck is everything that is wrong with both fratboy culture and commercial cinema. Dane Cook is introducing Amateur Spoofs. The first one, Little Miss Squirt Gun, claims to be a cross between Little Miss Sunshine and Pulp Fiction, but it takes a weird Brangelina/Vaughniston turn about halfway through. Is that Alanna Ubach? How did this guy get Alanna Ubach? This is not funny. And dated. Watch, Jolie’s going to adopt Little Miss. Yep, saw that coming.

Sam Jackson thought it blew. And he was actually in Pulp Fiction.

Commercials. I love John Krasinski and I love Mandy Moore and I’ll totally see this over Transformers, but License To Wed is going to suck. It’s undeniable.

Orbitz chick is at the Awards.

8: 33- Victoria Beckham looks horrifying. Jay-Z and Rhianna. Didn’t Jay-Z retire? Heh. He just rhymed something with Dow Jones. Sing what you know I guess. Oh, there’s a theme. A movie theme. Or an S&M theme. Rhianna cannot sing. See, this is why it doesn’t matter that Jordin won Idol and not Melinda. The relative success of Rhianna is proof that it really makes no difference. Was she an ANTM winner? A Pussy Cat Doll? Does it even matter? She looks good in pleather and can’t sing a lick and she’s headlining the MTV Movie Awards. Melinda will be just fine. Jordin will too, for that matter.

8: 38- Best Kiss. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Jessica Biel. See, it’s like Jessica Biel wants me to not like her. This Chuck and Larry movie? Is she only about the paycheck? ?

8: 39- Best Kiss (ctd.) And Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron-Cohen are nominated for Talladega Nights so you know they’ve already won. Because any time two men kiss, it’s funny. I’m surprised the MTV folk even bothered to pad the category. Full disclosure: I thought Talladega Nights was hilarious, but the audience is behaving as if this is brand new territory when in reality, same sex kisses have ruled this Award since the late nineties. Of course this audience were all fetuses then. Now, I’m sad. And old. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me, but Ferrell is sexy. And I like him as the straight man. (No pun intended.) See, now the crowd is going Crazy as Cohen and Ferrell reenact their *shocking* kiss. Because they’ve never seen this show before.

8: 44- We’re back with Dane Cook and another Amateur Spoof. Texas Chainsaw Rehab. Also not funny. Less funny than Little Miss Squirt Gun, actually. Who are these not funny future filmmakers? Are we all really so creatively bereft?

Commercials. Amputees are HI-larious. Especially in light of the War.

8: 50- Silverman. Potty humor. Oh, see this is the parody that was supposed to open the show. Silverman is inserted into scenes from all the big films of the year. Brad Pitt on the phone in Babel. More potty humor. Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls. Pursuit of Happyness. Ok, The Departed bit was kinda funny. They completely telegraphed the Prada joke. Last but not least, Transformers! Exclusive! Eh.

8: 55- So they couldn’t even get enough celebs for all the categories. Random MTV fan intro. indeed. Breakthrough Performance. Ooh, ooh Emily Blunt. Emily Blunt should win. Just because she’s Emily Blunt. And her name is kick ass. Wow, the Baby Smith Clam (Jaden) is nominated for Pursuit of Happyness. Precocious offspring of Hollywood royalty? In the bag. But he didn’t show. BSC’s whole acceptance “video” is really Will Smith’s larger than life plea to us. Don’t you forget about me. He’s seriously begging. Big Willie Style.

8: 59- Dane Cook hates his life. Paris Hilton is still there. United 300. Amateur Spoof. A cross between 300 and the most gut-wrenching movie I saw last year, United 93. Everyone should see United 93. I avoided it for a long time for fear that it was exploitative and jingoistic. It’s neither. It’s breathtaking. See it. This spoof is not funny. I mean, the others weren’t funny either. But this is not funny and offensive.

Commercials. See ya' in the next hour!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

That It's A Small World After All

So, I actively attempt to keep my real life independent of my online life. With the exception of one crossover moment, I'm a firm believer in the idea that the two serve different functions and as such, never the twain shall meet. Typically, I conceive of other message board posters as nameless, faceless entities who don't exist beyond their opinions of pop culture ephemera. That's worked pretty well for me and while the world doesn't end when I do stumble upon someone's picture or real name, anonymity seems to me to still be one of the most significant aspects of internet culture. (Even as I see it rabidly dwindling every second.)

To switch gears, I faithfully followed American Idol this past season for the first time ever. As The O.C. concluded and my love of The Office waned, it became appointment television for me. I didn't so much enjoy the contestants's performances as I did the culture that builds up around each season of Idol- magazine covers, celebrity appearances, fan wars, and the like. In The Year of Blake/Jordin, Idol went above and beyond in providing fodder for meta commentary through its production of Idol Gives Back, the single greatest mindfuck I've seen on television in years. When Jordin was crowned the S6 Idol a few weeks ago, I wondered how I would fulfill my 19E competitive reality show void. Luckily, FOX anticipated this ennui and immediately provided me, So You Think You Can Dance. Same creators, same producers, same format, different talent. For me, SYTYCD is actually more entertaining since once upon a time, I was a dancer.

The show seems to know this about me as the L.A. Auditions actually featured a contestant with whom I danced several years ago! That's right, Jesus "Chuy" Solorio from Paso Robles (my hometown) was actually in my high school dance company! This is not meant to make me sound like a better dancer than I was; I never possessed 1/100th of the talent that Chuy possesses. But I mean, it's not every day that I see someone from Paso on TV and in a dance contest, no less. The dance community is small. Paso Robles is even smaller. During my tenure in both, it's undeniable that all twenty of us knew each other at some point. So after I picked my jaw up off the floor, the inevitable move was to go to the SYTYCD board at TWoP and brag about knowing a contestant. (No, I didn't really do that; that's obnoxious behavior. I did express some Paso pride, though.)

Reading through the Auditions thread, I came upon a post that began, "As a resident of Paso Robles..." As a resident of Paso Robles. There are less than 30,000 residents of Paso Robles. What are the odds that I know this person? So I read through a few more of her posts wherein she mentions a relatively famous choreographer who taught in residence at the local dance studio for a couple years. This means she at least, has knowledge of the teeny tiny Paso dance community. Then, she went on to say that her husband works with a girl who danced with Chuy "since they were little kids." !

Seriously, I know this person. I may know her husband and I definitely know his coworker. I am so, so tempted to send her a private message inquiring as to who she is. But I have such mixed feelings about it. The curiousity is killing me (and I wonder if I'll be able to figure it out from the content of her posts,) but where would we go from there? I have no desire to online friend a soccer mom from my hometown, and I'm not sure I want to reveal anything substantive about myself (like my permanent residence or background) for such a tenuous connection. Still, the curiousity. It's making me twitchy.

And chalk it up to various online oddities, but it's so interesting to me that when TWoP was the little tv site that could, we were all anonymous television junkies joined only by a persistent need to overanalyze. However as the site mutates into a corporate behemoth (and seemingly loses any quaint, communal feel,) it's revealed that other posters are (literally) in my own backyard.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

More TV News

My very least favorite writer on my old favorite show was just hired by my new favorite show.
I'm planning my freak out accordingly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Big TV Haps This Week

VM Canceled

According to insider blogs, Veronica Mars is canceled. Canceled, you say? But that’s old news. Well, sort of. It was canceled last month and revived (in a new spinoff-y incarnation) only to get the ax for good this week. Unofficially, anyway. No network, to my mind, gives the runaround quite like The CW. Perhaps they’re bitter that the merger was essentially a failure in its inaugural year. (Could it be karmic retribution for canceling Everwood in favor of that show that proves there is no God, 7th Heaven?) Perhaps that bitterness was compounded by the loss of the one scripted WB staple they could be proud to call their own, Gilmore Girls. Or maybe, president Dawn Ostroff is scared witless that her name and network are quickly gaining infamy as examples of what not to do in show business. These are the only possible reasons behind the standoff that is currently happening between The CW and the fans regarding Veronica Mars.

Everybody and their brother knows VM is not coming back next fall and as such, everybody and their brother has started reporting it. Or they were yesterday prior to any official statement from the network. TV's Upfronts are this week and fall lineups are consistently being leaked all over the web. According to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, VM is nowhere to be found- not even the completely overhauled version creator Rob Thomas slapped together in a last ditch attempt to save his show. Almost immediately following these reports, The CW came back to reaffirm that as of yet, nothing (re: cancelation) has been made “official.” This exact situation occurred not a month ago when Kristen Veitch reported VM’s end and hours later, retracted the news. I personally am ambivalent about VM coming to a close since I would no longer consider myself a “fan.” The “fans” however are having a collective, virtual stroke enduring this back and forth.

The fact is, for all intents and purposes, VM should be canceled by the network. It was a small miracle that it was even renewed last year and permitted to transition to the burgeoning CW. However, it has been hemorrhaging viewers since its third season premiere and the May 8th episode was the lowest rated airing ever with less than two million viewers. Even on a fledgling, lesser network less than two million is intolerable. And lately the critical acclaim and rabid fan devotion that salvaged VM in its first two seasons has begun to drop off as well. For every viewer that is actively trying to save the show, there are two more who’d like to see it fail. The anger is palpable. Some of it is directed at the network for undermining the program’s success by imposing structural changes to its content (season long mystery arcs were first abbreviated to mini mysteries lasting the course of a few episodes before being abandoned altogether.) IMO, this is a valid criticism- the show that had Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon wondering who killed Lily Kane, dropped the ongoing mystery angle completely. Other (anti) fan hate focuses on Thomas who agreed to said modifications and in so doing, shifted the show’s M.O. to teen relationship melodrama. And in a bizarre (if not uncommon) example of fangirl misogyny, virtual accusations have been lobbed at eponymous star Kristen Bell for any number of alleged sins including sabotaging the program by not publicizing it enough and campaigning to get certain male costars less screentime.

Curiously, the fans who are doing everything in their (limited) power to assure VM’s renewal have many of the same complaints which begs the question, why bother with renewal at all? If even the diehard cheerleaders see more bad than good in the latest episodes, why not let it go? I harbor none of this resentment (which is not to say I’m above it; put simply, VM is not my drug of choice.) Once upon a time, Veronica Mars was both a smart, confident, television noir and a diminutive heroine with the weight of the world on her shoulders. With abundant snark (overused but appropriate here,) tightly plotted mysteries, and just enough moral ambiguity to keep it interesting, the first two seasons of VM are some of the best television you'll ever see. Sadly, these qualities have been scrapped to focus instead on the romantic relationships of Veronica and her cohorts which would not be such a bad thing were they imbued with any thematic significance. (See: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer) Really relationship melodrama is not always a recipe for disaster. In fact, it's the bread and butter of most scripted CW progamming. But VM was crafted to be more than that, to be smarter and riskier than that and this inauthentic move on the part of the network, Thomas, and much of the cast? Looks a lot like phoning it in. At this point, it probably is best to let her go.

In honor of its demise, the Veronica Mars Playlist- Five Songs You Must Hear: I Hear the Bells (Mike Doughty,) I Know I Know I Know (Tegan and Sara,) Adelaide (Old 97's,) Lily Dreams On (Cotton Mather,) Run (Air)

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Glossy Fashion Mag (and feels a desire to Bitch)

The name Kara Jesella first appeared on my radar when I read an article that she wrote for Bitch (#32, Style and Substance) so, for me, the name connotes a “feminist response to popular culture.” Therefore, I was a bit taken aback when I got to the end of a deeply problematic and non-feminist analysis of girls and college admissions in a recent issue of Teen Vogue (September 2006) and saw that it was penned by none other than, Kara Jesella.

I don’t think the space of a teen fashion magazine necessarily demands that you check your Bitch subscription at the door so I’m left perplexed by Jesella’s incongruous points-of-view. The article, salaciously entitled “Sex Ed,” purports to explain why male applicants are being accepted to prestigious American universities at greater numbers than female applicants. Jesella includes quotes from current high school girls as evidence of the reaction of those disadvantaged by this phenomenon. However, all of Jesella’s sources are students at private, elite (boarding) schools on the east coast including The Chapin School, Miss Porter’s School, and Choate. Apparently, suitable reaction to this inegalitarian practice can only be gleaned from the perspective of privileged, rich girls. Jesella implies, through this editorial move, that these girls are the only students who would have been accepted to the Ivies even prior to the newly sanctioned gender bias. Rich, white girls are the only girls effected because rich, white girls are the only girls who would have gotten in. Jesella acknowledges working class black and Latina girls parenthetically when she mentions that they are doing poorly on standardized tests in comparison with other students, as are black and Latino boys.

Jesella’s proposed solution to this dilemma is equally problematic and makes girls complicit in the gender bias. She suggests that girls should ultimately stop trying so hard. (The co-executive director of the National Coalition of Girls’s Schools maintains that young women should primarily be satisfied with what they’ve achieved in high school.) The tips “to help you find acceptance” (to college? in yourself? it seems intentionally unclear) that tag the end of Jesella’s piece include (paraphrased); forget Yale, Princeton, and Columbia as Northeast “name” schools as they’re too competitive, explicitly, forgo Harvard as well for the same reason, and limit your extracurricular activities because despite everything you’ve ever been told thus far, colleges aren’t all that impressed by them. If you must be extremely participatory, don’t strive for a leadership role in the club, but be content with member status.

Despite the rest of the article’s content, the “tips” section is where I actually began to see red. Girls of 2006/2007, you’re never going to achieve as much as the boys around you so your best bet is to stop trying so hard. I’m sorry, but the hell? Is this really what we’re going to start telling our seventeen year olds? Be satisfied with high school? Your dream of attending Yale will always remain just that? Don’t run for student body president (or assume any other leadership role?) Furthermore, is this Jesella the same woman who convincingly articulated the how and why of the stigma attached to writing for fashion magazines? It’s a bit disheartening to see that following a brief respite from her promotion of dominant ideology, here, Jesella’s contributed the most damning evidence as to why said stigma exists.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wanking Everywhere and Responds in Kind

Turns out, I'm completely over it.

Edited: February '08

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Paris (Sort of.) Also, a brief note.

A brief note on the title of this blog: "Geeky Girl," as a self-designated moniker seems just self deprecating enough. Seth Cohen and Willow Rosenberg have given "geek" a certain pop culture cool that "bookworm" still lacks (despite Rory Gilmore's contribution to the cause.) As is glaringly apparent from the plethora of t.v. references in the last fifty words, I watch a lot of television so "Sees" seems the most apropos verb long term. (Geeky Girl Reads appears a bit redundant. Interprets, blathers, wanks, and watches were also disregarded. "Watches" for the creepy voyeur connotation.) And though the first few entries suggest otherwise, I expect this to be primarily a t.v. blog. The only time I forsee "Sees" posing an issue is during book talk so anticipate the following heading, Geeky Girl Sees...text on a page and generates meaning accordingly. Pins and needles, I know.

There will be no scenes from a Houston layover. However, of all the things Bush does on a daily basis that make me want to scream, displaying his smirking mug while requesting $10.95 for Wi-Fi access during my three hour layover at his airport is particularly infuriating.

At Television Without Pity, there's a poster notorious for viewing every show through the prism of her own life. I view my life through the prism of t.v. Or, at least I do for the sake of this blog. So of course, the best way to prologue Paris is w/ mention of TWoP. One of my greatest guilty pleasures is the general Unpopular Opinions thread at TWoP. Sample posts include "I can't stand [insert beloved character here,]" "I hope [random series] is canceled," and occasionally, "I hate television." I tend to agree w/ many of the included opinions and sometimes, I'm even inspired to post my own. Committing to an UNpopular opinion feels a bit like a confession, it’s cathartic. You’re perversely permitted to copping to something deviant, something to which you’d otherwise never admit. Traveling has begot what I perceive to be, an unpopular opinion.

My time in Paris was spent alternately one of the two following ways, getting lost and sitting and drinking coffee.
U.O: Getting lost is not romantic. Taking the road less traveled, finding yourself off the beaten path, etc. has been idealized in film and print to the point of cliche. Wanderlust is predicated on the romanticization of an unexpected destination or even, no particular destination. Fiction has taught us that wonderful sights and strangers are the end result of abandoning your itenerary, losing your map, or leaving your tour.

My dream self, who perma-hums “More Adventurous,” subscribes to this phenomenon and was initially excited by its possibilities.
My actual self suspects this is not the best neighborhood in which to be wandering aimlessly and wishes desperately she could read a map better to find either her hotel or the Louvre. Where are the Parisians who speak english? Where are the other Americans? (Both completely ethnocentric questions I know, but I’m panicking.) Where are the signs that read, this way to the most famous tourist attractions the worldwide? An interminable metro ride yields nothing productive nor does inquiring of strangers, "Parlez-vous anglais?" ad nauseum. And now, it’s pouring. Huh. Maybe losing your way is Romantic.

After that trauma, I take refuge in a cafe to drink coffee, read, and decompress for the afternoon. Oddly surreal detail: the television on the wall plays cheesy American music videos. Bryan Adam’s “Everything I Do” followed by Patrick Swayze’s “She’s Like the Wind.” Two of our most significant exports, to be sure. (For what it's worth, I know Adams is Canadian but the song was included in an American film.)

Initially, I was fairly disappointed (in myself) with this turn of events. I spent 48 hours in Paris and didn’t see one main attraction. "If you travel to Paris and don't see the Eiffel Tower, were you really in Paris" kinds of questions creep up. But, reading Sarah Vowell while immersed in French and cigarette smoke in the 11th Arrondisement is an equally Parisian experience. And, as I learned later in my travels, avoiding pushy, oblivious tourists is always a plus. They tend not to populate small streetside cafes. Or at least, they’re quieter at said cafes than they are at say, St. Peter’s Basilica.

Perhaps this is a ridiculous rationalization on my part and hopefully, as I work out some sort of cohesive narrative for my month spent in Europe, I'll be able to make sense of it. However, reading, drinking coffee, and people watching are a few of my favorite things and as such, not a bad way to spend a vacation.

Ok, my continued search for a travel narrative means there won't be an entry on my seeing the Colosseum or climbing the Campanile in Firenze. Not anytime soon, anyway.