Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two Holidays

Happy Halloween to everyone. But the more important holiday is Happy Daylight Savings Time! We all know how I feel about that holiday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Project Runway Retrospective: The Models

*Sorry about the weird formatting below. For some reason, I can't get rid of the staggering.*

I’m suffering from Project Runway withdrawal. It’s over. *Sniff.* I can still hum the candyland-techno background music to Uli’s beach-y Miami runway show, which I loved, and am still wondering what the hell happened with Michael and why he didn’t realize that his collection was hoochie in a major way. Ah, what am I gonna do without my Project Runway?

This season was the best ever, with more drama, more plot twists and more crazy characters than ever before. This season also had models who actually talked, and while the model competition, if you can call it that, has always been much less dramatic than the show producers make it out to be, the models really turned out to be characters themselves. Since you can’t find much information on the models, I decided that I would sit down today and sum it all up so we can all share in this under-served part of the whole theater of the absurd that is Project Runway.

Best Walk

Like many people have said, I hope Jeffrey gave that Saturn roadster to Marilinda. This girl went from nowhere to working every garment she wore like she was the Calypso Queen at Carnivale. She really saved his ass. Check her out in that picnic tablecloth couture dress gown. She was fierce and a half.

Worst Posture

Clarissa was like the comeback model of the season. She was first in danger when stoner Bradley almost didn’t send anything out for the dog challenge. But Clarissa lit the fire under Bradley’s ass and Bradley ended up creating something that made Nina hail the fashion gods ("we would shoot that in Elle", which doesn't mean much because everybody reads Vogue). Then she survived Angela's weird Count Dracula cocktail dress. And finally, Michael ended up picking her after Uli got the Zuli in her and stole Nazri from him. But it’s too bad Clarissa has the worst posture of any of the models I’ve seen on the show. She looks like her mom made her wear any outfit she’s wearing.

Most Deserving of a Spin-off

The gaping hole of shock formed by Amanda’s mouth when Michael picked Clarissa over her was priceless. But in the end, it turned out good because I think Amanda would have been totally embarrassed to wear one of Michael’s Russian call girl dresses, and ended up rocking it in a nice breezy outfit by Uli. Still, I was pretty disappointed when she got auf’ed because that meant that I would never hear the end of the story that she started in the work room during the Marilyn Monroe challenge. I mean, did her boyfriend get her the ipod or not? I am still DYING to know the end of the iPod story that she was telling Kayne while she was talking in that way where she keeps on talking tilsherunsoutofbreath and then takes a huge gulp of air and continues. Project Runway sure gave us a cliffhanger.

Best Rack

Now this girl wasn’t one of the regular models during the season, just actually in Uli’s show. All I have to say is how high are those things?

Favorite Guardian Angel

In the black and white challenge, Laura was down in the dumps because of a “scathing” review from the last couture challenge, which in all honesty, I thought Laura was really over-reacting about. I never really thought she was in any danger of being auf’ed. Vincent clearly was gonna go. Anyway, here was Laura, down in the dumps, sobbing, depressed, pregnant, hormonal, trying to make the best damn black and white cocktail dress that anyone has ever made. It was like a movie. Laura was at rock bottom and then rises to the occasion and wins the whole thing, but she got some help along the way from her fairy godmodel, Camilla (who is from Uganda, by the way, which I think is really cool). Camilla, who was subtitled, which I guess Bravo did for those of us who don’t speak “model”, gave Laura some advice and then Laura wins the whole challenge!

Props also to Camilla for helping Angela sew some of those cabbage size rosettes to the hooker day care center outfit for the dog challenge. Wow, this model can sew too? She’s got skills.

Best Gratuitous Display of Skin

When homegirl ripped off her skirt to show us this bikini during Uli's show, that was seriously hot. I think every guy or girl, gay or straight, stood up and noticed her.

Worst Walk

What was up with this model? She must have known she was wearing the worst dress in Jeffrey’s collection and decided she didn’t need to bother working it. But seriously, thunder-thighs here was walking down the runway like a duck on crack.

Most Likely To Kick Your Ass

Overall, I thought all the models this season were pretty good, and it’s really too bad that Project Runway did some arbitrary bullshit like picking the next two auf’ed models by drawing their names out of a bag?!? But there was one model who just looked kind of drag queenish to me. Check out those Angela Bassett-worthy muscles on Javi. This girl looked like she could kick my ass. When I see her, I think of Aunty Entity from Mad Max.

Second place I’d have to give to Uli when she marched down the runway in the dress she made for herself during the Jet-setter challenge. All of a sudden, images of high kicking German soldiers dressed in amazing technicolor dreamcoats and marching up St. Tropez went through my head.

Best Auf'ing

When Lindsay got jettisoned for Nazri by Uli, Lindsay gave her own fantastic Auf Wiedersehn to Uli. You can FEEL the death glare as Lindsay gives Uli a kiss goodbye, which is about as friendly as a kiss goodbye in The Godfather. Poor Lindsay. She was the master of the “sleepy-eye” look whenever she walked. I missed her.

Most Typecast

I have no idea where Nazri is from, but I kept wondering if Nazri was sick of her hair being massively fro’d out for every episode like Foxy Brown. Not that it looked bad. I’m just saying, mix it up a little.

Best Amateur

It’s clear that good genes run through Robert’s family.

Worst Amateur

Even though Uli did a great job with Kayne’s mom, doesn’t anyone else think that Kayne’s mom looks like Sam Kinison? You need to smile!

Most Shafted

Poor Alexandra. I hope being called zaftig and the deadly “plus-size” on national television didn’t drive her to an eating disorder. Everyone will agree that her low point arrived when she came walking down the runway with her Minnie Mouse bow in the hair. And as much as I liked Alison and completely disagreed with her auf’ing, I thought Alison placed a little too much blame on Alexandra in her exit interview for losing that challenge. Hey, Fattie Minnie Mouse picked you to work with during the icon challenge. You should be flattered.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Trader Joe's: New York's Happy Grocery

I'm a huge grocery store fan. Getting groceries is one of my favorite things to do and I love checking out weird and interesting new ingredients and filling up all the little plastic baggies with exotic produce and picking out Grade A cuts of meat and fresh seafood still glistening from the sea. I'm a veteran of most of the grocery stores in the city and all the major gourmet grocery stores in New York have good and bad things to say about them.

But I had yet to go to the latest West Coast invasion after Whole Foods and Jamba Juice, Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s opened on St. Patrick’s Day, but it may as well have been Trader Joe’s Day because the entire city pounced on Trader Joe’s as soon as they opened their doors. Seven months later, this place is still more crowded than Macy’s on the day after Thanksgiving. There are still lines to actually get in the store, and once inside, you see a mob clamoring over spinach & artichoke dip like another Katrina was coming.

That’s the mentality you need to shop there. TJ’s keeps you on your toes. You have to adopt a Soviet mentality to shop there, meaning that when you see something you like, you have to HOARD. Products appear suddenly and then disappear before you can ask one of the excessively good TJ shelvers where’d it go. And while the Hawaiian-style chips are still around in TJ’s repertoire, you gotta be aggressive and grab every bag in sight while they’re still there. Shelves go bare at Trader Joe’s, like natural-disaster-area-emergency-evacuation bare. I thought about getting some frozen artichoke hearts, not because I needed or even really like them all that much. I made a tour of the store, and when I got back to the frozen foods section, all the bags were gone!

But all is not lost in the Trader Joe’s experience because the staff really tries to make you feel like you’re part of some pluralistic utopian community that farms together and milks cows together. Shopping there is like being with Amnesty International. You get the impression that everything was made or baked by some sort of activist—like the corn chips were made by Native Americans protesting for their rights and the garlic hummus was made by sympathetic Muslims committed to equal rights for women and the Irish soda bread was made by U2 GAP red-shirt groupies who took a break from marching for Protestant-Catholic peace to bake bread or the chipotle salsa was made by Mexican-Americans standing up for the rights of migrant workers.

What’s most admirable in the cacophony of people ramming carts into each other, the line stretching the entire perimeter of the store, and the fact that it takes 20 minutes to get down an aisle is that you get the impression that everyone is happy to be there despite the inconveniences. The TJ elves could lead the entire store in a rousing round of Kum-Ba-Yah while they merrily stock the shelves with more of those exotic nut mixes. Kum-Ba-Yah, Trader Joe’s.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

School Identity Problems

Last week, I went to another event for my snooty faux-religious prep high school. We have a new headmaster who decided to make a pilgrimage to New York to meet all of us New York alums and make his show us all the new bells and whistles at our school and make his sales pitch to get more money out of us.

He was going through his powerpoint presentation of the physical improvements to the school when he arrived at the slide of our brand new football field, which I have to say must have cost a fortune. It looks like something a football field at one of the Friday Night Lights high schools because we certainly were not a football powerhouse in Virginia. Well, maybe we are now. I have no idea. Anyhow, we were looking at our new idyllic playground of artificial grass when one of my fellow alums commented on the gigantic "S" in the middle of the field. Now, my school was one of those classically elite private schools, so of course we had to be named after some random saint. So we all kind of gave a strange look, when she asked "Whose decision was it to use 'S'?" Someone chimed in "As opposed to what?" And she said "well, how about 'A'"? Everyone in the room, even the people visiting from Virginia, gave her a strange look, and we asked her "What school did you go to, Albemarle?" Which horror of horrors is a public school.

Sidebar: Later that evening I realized she meant "A" as in "Anne" since our school is St. Anne's. Looks like the joke was on us.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Creature Comforts Video

For those of you who can't see the below video from my "I Need Eh-Space" post, you can check it out here. So hilarious.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Now People Can Stop Asking Me...

So the new UN Secretary-General is going to be Ban ki-moon, one of my fellow South Koreans. His name makes me think of crazy Sun Myung Moon and his stadiums full of simultaneous marriage ceremonies, which doesn't really relate to anything to what I have to say about the new Sec-Gen. Anyway, this is a pretty big deal for any country, but this is probably the first time a Sec-Gen was selected from a country as politically charged as South Korea. Mainly because as many people have noted, this comes at a time when there's a literal mushroom cloud going on over the Korean peninsula with North Korea's nuclear test the other day.

I remember during the last North Korean nuclear crisis when Kim Jong-Il in his best Korean Sopranos lame spin-off voice was all "Ooooh.....Noooo, we don't have any nuclear weapons." People were all like, "yeah right, and your hair doesn't look like it belongs on a troll doll." But the worst was how some lame people would ask ME of all people, "so, where are they?" As if it were my uncle. "So, uncle, can you tell me where the nuclear weapons are?"

At least now people have someone else to ask who might have a better idea than me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I once saw an episode of Creature Comforts late at night when I was in California visiting my friend from college. I had forgotten about it till now as I was perusing programs to add to my new best friend, DVR. OMG, I was in stitches watching this. I love the Brazilian mountain lion who "needs E-SPACE!" and who is NOT a veg-e-taaaarian". Yea, me too! I heard that the guy who did the lion's voice was actually the director's friend from Brazil who HATES England.

I wonder what kind of animal I would be. It would have to be an animal who dresses well, who looks and is intelligent, but is also a total ditz. Thinking cap on...ah. I think I would be a zebra. They have the classic black and white combination which is good in fall or spring and urban and suburban environments. They seem athletic too so they'd probably understand my running, yoga and spinning. So there you go. Next time you see a zebra, think of me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Education at MOMA

A few weekends ago back in August (ok, I guess more like a few months), I did something cultural to deulde myself that I am in fact a cultured and worldly person who attends museum events all in hopes of getting invited to those outlandish benefit galas in 20 years. I chose the Museum of modern Art for my first visit to an art museum in New York in five years because I wanted to see al the cool design objects and i do like modern art, so of course I'll go to the place that has "modern art" in the name. I prepped myself the day before by becoming a MEMBER of the Museum. Yes, that deserves caps because it's just that impressive.

I went with two friends who work at the firm I used to be at. Well, actually, one of them now works at another firm in a job position more similar to my current job, and with just about the same ho-hum attitude towards it that I have towards my job. I won't rant about my job again, but how did I ever get pigeon-holed in this industry?

Before the museum, I made a nice lunch for my two friends. It was a pretty simple lunch of soup and salad, but with some pretty chi-chi ingredients like filet mignon (for the sandwiches) and a cheese plate with some nice wedges of Taleggio, Roncal and Cabrales cheese. Mmmmm. I learned long ago that the best way to cook for other people is to just cook one course and dump plates and silverware in the middle of the table and let everyone serve themselves. Or better yet, tell everyone to get their own plates and silverware. First of all, I am not a waiter, nor do I run a restaurant and so i don't want to feel like I'm running some home-grown version of Hell's Kitchen. Keep it casual, so I don't have to unnecessarily stress myself out and try to be the perfect host or leave the table and say something lame like "Don't have fun without me" like the Barefoot Contessa would say in her best control-freak voice.

So we had our luch. I had also made a dessert the night before. But I was kind of afraid to serve it. I made a Pavlova, but kind of accidently put almost double the amount of sugar in relation to the number of egg whites. My teeth still chatter thinking about the sugar rush. You might as well have injected yourself with Type 2 Diabetes if you were going to eat this. of course, I'm a weathered pro when it comes to sweet things, since I'm the one who puts sugars in a cup of coffee. Given that I didn't want to be responsible for any cavities or any cardiac arrests, I warned my friends that my "Pav" (that's the official nickname) had a TON of sugar. i also had to explain to them what exactly a Pavlova was. I told the whole story of how this chef in Australia (some say New Zealand) was so dazzled by the ballerina Anna Pavlova, that he created this ethereal, sugary dessert. Probably my friends weren't interested in the life history behind this dessert, but I fed them the story anyhow because that's how I sometimes get. I like to think of myself as a "worldly" (proud grin") individual brimming with lots of stories to tell everyone I know.

After lunch, we started hoofing it to the museum. Lunch took longer than I expected, and I wanted to at least have time to see at least one painting before the place closed. Plus I was expecting a welcome ceremony since I did just become a MEMBER. Unexpectedly, we ran smack dab in the middle of the Dominican Republic Pride Parade or National Dominican Republic Day Parade or whatever they called it.

Now, at the risk of starting some kind of trouble, let me say that the Dominican Day Parade is no Gay Pride Parade. whereas some New York City Parades tend to feature all kinds of talent- dancers, singers - and people of all ages, the Dominican Day Parade seemed to consist entirely of Dominicans who were 18 years old, in posses or couples, dressed in Dominican shirts and waving Dominican flags, on floats or on foot. Spectators became paraders, while other paraders lost interest, dropped out, and started yakking with the other 18 years olds on the sidelines.

We finally crossed the parade and arrived at the museum. Since I am a MEMBER, I got in for free. But the welcome ceremony for me was suspiciously absent. I suppose they didn't have enough time to prepare for my arrival. Next time, I'm sure they'll go all out. My friends' tickets were only $5, and so that was nice for them too--one of the perks of being associated with a MEMBER.

We then went upstairs to the galleries. I hadn't been in an art museum in three or four years. And I know this is a semi-obvious thing to say, but MOMA really has a lot of famous paintings. All of sudden, I had flashbacks to art history class that I took to fulfill my art requirement in high school. It was so cool to see all these paintings just inches away from me, that I had seen in so many books. My friends and I were first in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionish wings. We began looking around. Unfortunately, one of the members of our group was a lingerer. You know those types--the ones who just stand there FOREVER reading every single little placard next to all of the paintings and just standing around looking at every painting at a snail's pace.

While we dragged the lingerer through the museum, I began telling my friends some of the things that I knew about the art in front of us. It began casually when we saw a painting by Marc Chagall, and I said, "Oh Chagall. There was a famous Chagall painting in Notting Hill that was Julia Roberts's and Hugh Grant's favorite." Then we came across some Gustav Klimt, and I went "Oh....Helena Bonham Carter and that guy she was having an affair with and the sick wife went to a Klimt exhibition in Wings of the Dove." Then I pointed to another painting and said "Oh the couple in Six Degrees of Separation had a Kandinski in their apartment that Will Smith knew ALL about." I continued, "Oh I think that was the Picasso that Kate Winslet brought on Titanic." My friends at that point, were looking at me kind of strangely, "Wow Terence," they said. "You sure do know a lot about art. I'm getting so much out of this field trip.

I grinned proudly like Wallace. Yes, I know the IMPORTANT stuff about art.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Recap of Past Few Days

I've gotten into another phase of sporadicity (is that a word?) in my blog posting. Just getting busier at work and crawling out my hermit shell to actually be social and go out once in a while. So here are some of the things that have occupied my time over the past few days.

Kathy Griffin

Last Thursday night I went to Stamford to see Kathy Griffin perform. She was HYSTERICAL. She was true to form. The best thing about Kathy is that we're all Kathy's BFF. That night she let us all in, in rapid fire, on all of her little secrets. Sometimes she digressed because she just had so much to tell us. There were times that she seemed breathless because she was so excited to let you in on all the juicy gossip. She started the night by declaring that Oprah "thinks she's Jesus," and then told us a hilarious story about Gayle's trip to visit Oprah's dad and incurring Oprah's wrath. She quickly transitioned to Sharon Stone, Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Whitney Houston, Clay Aiken, the Olsen twins, Larry King, Katie Couric, the Scientologists and Ann Coulter.

But the funniest segment involved Kathy's Irish Catholic 89 year old father and 85 year old mother. If you watch "My Life On The D-List", you already know how Kathy's parents are elderly box of wine booze hounds who just do not care about the cameras. Kathy went on to say that no group takes the Lord's name in vain more than Catholics. To illustrate her point, Kathy tells how she tried to persuade her parents to accompany her on a lesbian cruise to Alaska with Rosie O'Donnell. Here's my paraphrasing:

Kathy's mom: What? A cruise. Oh my god. What in Jesus's name are you talking about? Your father is 89 years old. We can't go on any god-damn cruise.....What? Lesbians??? Jesus Christ, Kathleen! What the hell are you talking about? Christ, Kathleen, lesbians can't have childeren. There's gotta be a god-damn man in their somewhere......WHAT???? Alaska!?!? I am not going to any god-damn Alaska. Joesph, Peter, Mary...Kathleen. John [Kathy's dad], listen to this. Kathleen wants to take us on some god-damn cruise to Alaska where lesbians go to have kids...I know....I don't know what in Christ's name she is talking about. Kathleen, I'm going to have a drink...(click).
This escalated and escalated until Kathy's mom was swearing like a sailor. The audience was roaring.

Trip To DC

I went to DC last weekend to visit some friends and because I'm also such a hotel fanatic, visit the newly remodeled Park Hyatt in DC. Nothing much to say except that I went out to eat in Chinatown on Saturday night. And I discovered that DC's Chinatown has totally changed from a desolate street corner and sorry excuse for a Chinatown to DC's new hot spot with not a single Chinese person anywhere as far as the eye can see. Overall the visit was good. I did lose my glasses at the airport somehow. I was pretty sure they fell out of my pocket at the LaGuardia airport security, and so I went back to ask one of the TSA guys if anyone found my glasses. She didn't even look at me. Next thing I knew, she screamed "HAS ANYONE FOUND A PAIR OF GLASSES?" Still not looking at me, she asked me "Prescription or Sunglasses?" I said "Prescription." She shouts again "PRESCRIPTION GLASSES? ANYONE FIND THEM????" The entire staff and long line of people waiting to go through security turned to look at me. I felt like a spotlight had just shined on me and suddenly EVERYONE knew that I wore glasses, which for some bizarre reason made me feel sooooo self-conscious.

New Fall TV Season

There are so many good new shows on TV now. So far, ABC is the winner and will rule my evenings until next Monday when I get DVR! I finally broke down and got it. For years, I kept resisting it because I didn't want to admit to myself how little life I have. Previously, I had this very elaborate calendar with all my shows mapped out and careful pop-up reminders on my computer. But I decided that was so Amish and way too much work. Anyhow, I'll write more about my new favorite shows later, but I am loving Ugly Betty, Heroes, Six Degrees and The Nine. And Wednesday night is turning into a Salinger Party of Five reunion with Matthew Fox in Lost (the beginning of last night's episode was amazing) and uber-cutie Scott Wolf (can you believe he's 38?) in The Nine. Then there are my current shows like Project Runway and Lost which are in fine form. I'm overwhelmed.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Don't Have $5 For A Cup Of Coffee? Not To Worry At....Starbucks

I found this interesting article about how to go cheap at Starbucks. I support this fully and have respect for all those ingenious customers trying to fight against overpriced coffee from a company trying to make $2 over $0.05 worth of milk. Although, I have to admit from my very limited knowledge that I actually think Starbucks seems to be a great company to work for and they seem to give back to the community wherever they are. I also got a new found respect for them when I heard that EVERY employee of Starbucks has to work as a barista for at least a week before joining the company. So someone I know who became a lawyer at their Seattle corporate headquarters went to her local Starbucks and joined their team for a week. How cool is that? I should go work for them to fulfill my morbid curiousity of working in the Services industry, which somehow in my mind seems glamorous, but that's probably because I'm surrounded by spoiled lawyers who must have lived in caves before going out into the real world for their lack of social or even just courtesy skills.

But Starbucks has been slipping lately. That whole coupon snafu was really lame on Starbucks's part. Kudos to Caribou for honoring the coupons. And raising the price of coffee by a nickel? That's like gouging crack addicts.

For me, I just drink during the day (outside of work, I make my own coffee) that awful sludge that comes out of every office's favorite single-pod automated drink machine maker, Flavia. But I just drink that because I like the idea of a robot serving me coffee.