Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What a Day!

Wow! AOL certainly gave me lots to talk about today. Headlines for the following news tidbits caught my eye, and it was too hard to pick just one. So, Brad and Angie had their baby, apparently named for my family cemetery in Arkansas and the Catholic high school in Saginaw. Yup, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt is on the scene. I'm glad that Brad and Angelina are celebrities, and therefore have plenty of money to afford nannies and such, because I have to worry for Angelina. Three kids under five, and two in diapers? Oy. So, between Shiloh, Suri, Violet and Grier, which celeb baby girl is gonna kick the most ass?

And speaking of little Violet, poor daddy Ben had to go to the hospital this weekend with a migraine. Ouch. Hope he's feeling better! You gotta feel bad for anybody with a migraine. Those suckers are nasty. When I was in junior high, I used to get really vicious headaches, and all that would help me was a dark room, an icy cold Coke, and a nap - and I'm not even sure those were full-fledged migraines. I bet Jen is a good nurse. Look at the spread on that table: beer, water, and lots of napkins. She knows her stuff.

The Prius is being recalled. Bad news for those greenies who have been fighting valiantly to do make some good moves toward the earth. It doesn't make me feel any better that Toyota has said "Over half of the one million cars being recalled are in Japan." Well, where are the other 500,000? Right here in Ann Arbor. Gas prices are way too high, and burning fossil fuels is something we should all do a little less of, but seriously, I like to steer my car. If you see a Prius coming at you, get out of the way!

And finally, Paris Hilton has released some details on her upcoming album. That's right. Her album. As if her acting wasn't bad enough, now she's going to try her hand at singing? I weep. Paris has said "I always knew I could sing, it's deep inside me but I was too shy to let it out." Or something like that. Paris, honey, shy you ain't.The album is reported to have a reggae pop feel, with the first single coming out soon and the album dropping later in the year. I, for one, can't wait. Even if it's not horrifically bad, the critics will pan it, Paris will have a mini-meltdown, cite "exhaustion" and check into a facility somewhere, and be successfully deprogrammed and will never say "That's hot" again. Oh. That's just my fantasy. At any rate, it won't be long before it's in the bargain bin... and then I can buy it.

the day in news - B+

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Epsom Salts

I have spent probably less than five minutes of my whole life thinking about Epsom Salts. Last night, they took over my brain.

Nate is a big believer in Epsom Salts for soaking. He gets beat up in his kung fu classes a lot, so he likes to take a bath with Epsom Salts to help relieve his aches and pains, as well as reduce swelling and and bruising. I think this is fabulous. Anything that reduces pain via the bath is a winner in my book. But last night, I took a look at the box of Epsom Salts on the counter... and that's when I noticed that the package said "soaking aid and saline laxative."

WHAT!? How can something you use to soak away bruises also help you poo!? This is shocking! I don't know what to think! This changes the way I look at Epsom Salts! I can't stop thinking about them! I can't stop using exclamation points! For some reason, I am weirded out by something you can use as a healing agent both internally and externally. You don't see me drinking calamine lotion, or rubbing cough syrup on my bug bites. This double usage rocks my world.

In my search for a picture of Epsom Salts, I discovered the webpage for the Epsom Salt Council. They LOVE Epsom Salts. I also discovered many other fun uses for Epsom Salts - did you know that in can be used as a skin exfoliant, houseplant food, and even as a hair volumizer ?

This stuff must be magic.

Epsom Salts - B- (still weirded out)

Monday, May 29, 2006


My friend Graham says sushi is good on a hot day - light and refreshing, you know - and boy, is it hot in Ann Arbor this weekend, so we ordered our at-work dinner from last night. Sushi.come is the actual name. Nate's theory is that they couldn't get away with, so they went with Sushi.come - everyone says "com" anyway. I had the California roll and the spicy tuna roll. Both were quite good, but since Graham and I both ordered, they put our order together in the same box, which meant that the wasabi, ginger, and tiny orange eggs had to go on the sushi rather than next to it. I don't like any of that stuff, so I was disappointed when I ate a spicy tuna that was way too wasabi hot, and I threw out a California altogether because I couldn't get enough of the orange eggs off. The pricing is good and the taste is right, but I think Sushi.come should invest in some little to-go ramekins for the condiments.

Sushi-come: taste - B+; price - A-; condiment presentation - C+; name - B-

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Why does Mike Wallace look so creepy? I think he and George Hamilton use the same bronzing products.

Mike Wallace - D

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It Smells Like Memorial Day

I hung out in the suburbs last night, having a little scrapbook sleepover with my friend Theresa, and when I left this afternoon, it smelled like the whole neighborhood has been doused with barbecue sauce and charcoal and set on fire. Everyone on Balsam Court was grilling. It's the unofficial start of summer!

grilling - A-

Friday, May 26, 2006

O Magazine

I like O Magazine. It's a step up from Cosmo or Glamour, because not ALL of the articles are about achieving the perfect orgasm or becoming beach body ready in two weeks. By the way, both of those things are myths. But O magazine talks about things like saving money, or embracing spirituality, and how to make good quesadillas... and there's some fashion, too, like looking thinner because you have a good-fitting dress.

But O can go too far with the spirituality, and Oprah's little mission statements on how to live a better life can make me throw up in my mouth a little. Still, she seems like a nice lady, and I like her magazine. Maybe I'm growing up a little, but I think I'm more likely to buy O than Cosmo. I'm still a few years away from Good Housekeeping.

O magazine - B

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Steve Nash

I don't know why I am so intrigued by Steve Nash. I don't know anything about him. I don't like pro basketball. I don't like long hair on guys. I wasn't even sure who he played for until I saw this picture. The first time I saw him was in a TNT ad for the NBA playoffs, and I thought, My, that man looks like his name should be Drago Milosovic or something equally Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian. And then I discovered that not only was his name the totally caucasian Steve Nash, but he's Canadian! He loves soccer! Gandhi is his hero! So, Steve Nash. I am compelled to know more about him, even though I have no reason to.

Steve Nash - B+

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sign Your Name Across My Baby's Face

And I'm back from my mini-vacay. Best thing: seeing all my pals. Worst thing: allergies to pals' cat. Most unexpected thing: seeing Sara Goodell in Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo.

So, checks. I don't like festive checks. I think checks (checques?) should look like they're from a financial institution: solid, plain, minimal fuss and frills. I have the plainest checks my bank offers, and they still are an assortment of colors - pink, lavendar and yellow. This annoys me, but I really don't like anything with pandas, or the Statue of Liberty, or classic cars, or CARTOON CHARACTERS, or Anne Geddes babies. I think money is a serious matter. It doesn't need to be lightened up by Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.

Plus, I know I'm the only person under 60 who still writes checks. So why are there so many check variations?

But I digress. Some printed checks are better than others: do they feature line drawings of redwood trees? OK. Do they have a mountain, or a field of wheat? Not great, but OK. But once you cross that line into faux fur, or yoga positions, or the X-Men, you've gone too far.

And yet - I must have the dogs playing poker checks. I love them.

printed checks - D

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mini Vacay!

I'm heading off for my "summer vacation" - a weekend getaway to sunny Kalamazoo, followed by a day in tropical Interlochen. Yee-haw!

See you soon!

mini vacay - A+

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Throat Coat

I have a really bad sore throat. I also have a really awesome boyfriend. When I got home from work last night, there was a veritable plethora of "feel better" items on the kitchen table - echinacea pills, Cepacol throat lozenges, and Lemon Echinacea Throat Coat. Yay for Nate.

I'm down with Throat Coat. About five years ago, I had the good fortune of playing the role of Nancy in Oliver!, a musical a lot of people hate but I love. It had long been a dream of mine to play Nancy, and when the time came, I spanked it... for about two performances. Then I got sick. Really sick. Go to the hospital because I thought I broke a rib coughing sick. My delicious roommates plied me with Throat Coat, and I got through my performances just fine. But it's been that long since I had Throat Coat, and I had turned it into this incredibly vile substance in my mind. Turns out it's not that bad - especially not the Lemon Echinacea kind. Yes, it has a sort of meaty smell to it that I can't identify, and it is incredibly hot when you first make it and you should let it cool off a bit, lest you burn your tongue off, but its healing properties cannot be matched. It has mucilaginous properties such as marshmallow root - and I LOVE the word "mucilaginous." The heat is soothing, it doesn't have caffeine, and the light lemon kick makes it go down easier. Good times, Throat Coat.

Throat Coat - A- (if someone could tell me why it smells meaty, and what purpose that serves, I could be persuaded to bump up the grade to a full-fledged A)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

American Idol

I used to be a die-hard American Idol fan, but I haven't watched it in over two years. Last night, while I was being sick and pitiful on the couch, I thought "Hey, it's Tuesday, I have nothing better to do, and I'm already in front of the TV... I'll watch Idol." And I'm pretty sure I won't be watching it any more this season. The final three did not impress me. Elliott and Taylor are both really awkward, although they both have good voices. Katharine is very pretty, and she sings well, but there is definitely something about her that rubs me the wrong way. I didn't vote, and I don't really care who wins. Maybe the winner will achieve some fame, but it will peter out by the time the next season starts... Carrie who?

The best part of the show for me was the Cingular commercial featuring Alex Boyd, former Interlochen bad boy and star of 2003 reality show Fame. He's the one in the maroon jacket and black shirt in the commercial, if you recall. Good for him.

American Idol - B-

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Guest Stars

Another reason why I love Grey's Anatomy: the guest stars!

Don't you make me hurt your dog! That's right - Brooke Smith, who played Dr. Hahn on Sunday and Monday night's shows, got her big break playing Buffalo Bill captive Catherine Martin in The Silence of the Lambs. I think my friend Ashlee has it right - GA will bring her on to "replace" Burke until his hand gets better. After that, it's back to the old 1-2 at Johns Hopkins rivalry, and I bet Dr. Hahn is out. Good thing her mom's a senator and she has a little fluffy dog to comfort her.

Hallee Hirsh, who played... one of the chief's niece's friends, is best known for her turn as Mark Greene's daughter Rachel on ER. IMDb says that she's 19, so hopefully she'll be able to get out of teenager roles soon and do something with herself.

Loretta Devine was also on the show last night as Dr. Webber's wife. My picture of her won't load - poop on IMDb. But she's fabulous. She told Dr. Webber what it's all about last night, didn't she!? I think maybe I liked her better in Waiting to Exhale, but I like her in anything.

And Chris O'Donnell's really WASPy and cute.

guest stars - A

Grey's Anatomy... Again

SPOILERS! If you haven't seen it and want to, under no circumstances should you read this!

Well, Burke made it through. Kind of. His hand is a little wonky, and I imagine he'll never be able to be a surgeon again. Which is sad, because he was very good and he loved it. I think it's important that, a couple episodes ago, he said "I'm a person first." He'll get through this, and it looks like with Cristina by his side, but I think it will be a tough road. I can't wait for the scene where he tells Derek that his hand is effed up. Derek will probably feel really bad and drink a lot and then go bone Meredith.

Unfortunately, Denny Duquette did not fare as well as Burke. It's nice that he had one day of feeling great, proposing to Izzy and all, but that wasn't enough. And let's be honest - Denny was an expendable character. Hot, but expendable. A woman getting over the loss of her fiance is a lot more interesting TV than a woman planning her wedding. I'm just sayin'. I think the writers on Grey's Anatomy brought back the niece with cancer just to have the prom part of the episode and get those doctors out of their scrubs, but more specifically, to get Katherine Heigl into that dress. Didn't she look beautiful laid out on that bed, and in Alex's arms, in that rose pink dress? And wasn't Alex amazing? I tell you what, there's far more to him than meets the eye. Oh yeah, and Izzy quit the program. I imagine that that won't stick, and that she'll be around next season as more than just the freeloading roommate who bakes a lot. Mark my words.

I think Callie is becoming my favorite character. I want her and George to work out, I really do. It's not that he will never love her, he's just a slow mover. Plus, he only last night worked things out with Meredith, so he just needs a little time. To all you Callie haters out there, you have to admit that she proved her worth when she tied up the back of Meredith's dress and then gave Derek that look. Yes, I know her hair and makeup are a little sleazy, but I like that. George needs a little sleaze in his life after the lily-white Meredith.

I'm a little disappointed that the season cliffhanger is Who did Meredith go home with? Nate made a pretty astute observation last night: it's called Grey's Anatomy, yet Meredith isn't really anyone's favorite character. She's whiny and squinty, and yes, scary and damaged. I like her just fine, but other characters are so much better. But with all that said, she needs to be with Derek. Finn who? He's nice, but he's no McDreamy. Of course, like with Izzy and Denny, sad and wrong makes for much better TV than happy and perfect, so GA needs to keep Meredith and Derek apart a while longer. And bring back McSteamy for Addison. She needs a good man.

Other good things from last night's episode: Bailey speaking "teenage girl," and the beginning voiceovers featuring all the cast, instead of just Meredith. I loved that. Overall, Monday night's two-hour finale was not as good as Sunday night's episode, but still a worthwhile piece of television. I'm super excited for the DVD to come out.

Grey's Anatomy - A-

Monday, May 15, 2006


I have lots of exciting things to write about - new books, new websites, random thoughts on various subjects - but after watching last night's Grey's Anatomy, everything else got shoved to the backburner. It was Out. Of. CONTROL. So many things - where to begin? Please note: if you don't watch it, you can skip naivehelga for the next day or two.
OK, let's start with Izzy and Denny. WTF, Izzy? YOU ARE GOING TO GET KICKED OUT OF THE PROGRAM. Love can make you do crazy things, I know, but do not stop a man's heart. That's insane. And what was she thinking, bringing George into it? If he gets kicked out of the program, I am going to be pissed.
And how about George and Callie? I LOVE Callie (I already established that), and I love her and George together. He wants her to be part of the family! She told him she loves him! I think he wanted to tell her, but then Crazy Izzy had to come in and pull George into her crazy world. I think tonight's episode will be critical for George and Callie, but I have high hopes that it's going to go well.
Oh, didn't I mention that the second and third hours of the season finale are airing tonight, Monday, instead of next Sunday? I don't think I could handle it if I had to wait a week. I believe that this is ABC's way of testing GA on Monday, but I don't think they'll get accurate results with this test. If you watch it on Sundays, and the one Monday night they "test" is the two-hour season finale, you bet your sweet ass that people will watch.
So then there's Meredith and Derek and Addison. And Finn. And McSteamy. This is so complicated, it reminds me of Tech Band. HA! Addison wants to make it work with Derek, but deep down, she knows it's never going to work. He's in love with Meredith. And Meredith's in love with him! So karma would say that they should be together, but that wouldn't be good TV, so we'll just have to suffer through them longing for each other and being with the wrong people for a little while longer.
Finally, if Dr. Burke doesn't make it... well, I'll keep watching, but I might cry every episode. Cristina will be a wreck, Derek will be a wreck, Izzy will be a wreck (because if Burke hadn't been coming back to fix her crazy I'm-going-to-stop-my-love's-heart mess, he wouldn't have been outside when the gunman started shooting), Bailey will be a wreck, the chief, George, you name it. And I love Burke. He's so good. Just a good, good guy. He doesn't deserve to die. I'll be pulling for you, Burke - until 9 PM, when I get to see what happens. I might poop my pants between now and then, just thinking of what could happen.

By the way, just what the hell is Sandra Oh wearing around her neck in this picture?

Grey's Anatomy - A+

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Everything Bad Is Good For You

I found this book at work yesterday, and it looked intriguing (many thanks to the person who left it laying on the staff room couch). Johnson writes the counterargument to the common claim that pop culture is dumbing down American society. Not so, Johnson says! He argues that the complex threads of modern TV shows and video games are actually making people smarter. Take Dragnet, for example. A typical Dragnet episode from years ago consisted of only one story arc. Then look at Hill Street Blues - multiple story arcs, lasting into multiple episodes - a revolutionary idea at the time. But then look at The Sopranos, ER, The West Wing, or Lost. These shows have ten or twelve story lines going at the same time, perhaps without payout at the end of the episode. There's specific language that relates to the setting that the viewer may not understand (think POTUS or peder permadicis), but either learns just by watching the show or the show reveals the answer late in the episode. As for video games, they're controlled by the player, there might not be an obvious reward other than a new level, and there are numerous ways for a situation to play out. It's not the spoonfeeding of a book.
Johnson makes some really excellent claims, but the book is too wordy and scientific. I know it's not supposed to be a pop culture book, but rather a scientific view of pop culture, but I got very bogged down. I can't read it all. It's good to skim, and I think that some people will really, really like it, but it was too much for me. I could focus on the points he was making when he used pop culture examples, but not on the jargon of The Sleeper Curve, the Flynn Effect, and g ... which might relate to all the TV I watch.

Everything Bad Is Good For You - B

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bruegger's Bagels

I had to work ridiculously early this morning - we were having a donor breakfast and I wore a tuxedo and opened doors for people who might give money to keep our non-profit running - but the payoff was breakast from Bruegger's Bagels. Their bagels are alright, nothing fancy or special, but I really dig their cream cheese. I developed an affinity for vegetable cream cheese somewhere in my life, but it's not the kind of thing I would ever buy for myself, so I have to wait until I'm required to be at work super early and just collect on the garden veggie spread then. Bruegger's does a fine job with their garden veggie cream cheese - it has nice chunks of carrots and other bits of indeterminable vegetable matter, and it's just delicious on a plain bagel. Nice job, Bruegger's.

garden veggie cream cheese - A

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

TV Continuity

I think all TV shows should employ a continuity specialist, someone whose job it is to know past episodes and make sure that new episodes don't overlook or completely ignore something that's already been established.
Take ER, for example. I've been watching old episodes on TNT for the past week, and even though they're well into season 9, Carter made a Malucci reference just the other day - and Malucci was on during season 6! ER makes a lot of references to departed characters and story lines - I think they still mention Abby's crazy mother, and the show's in its 12th season.

Night Court, on the other hand, did a BAD job maintaining continuity. I haven't seen it in years, but I remember very distinctly that there was an episode where Roz the bailiff developed and was diagnosed with diabetes. I remember it so well because she wasn't going to be allowed to eat cake anymore, and even as a little girl, I had a deep and abiding love for cake. But after that episode - no more! I think I even saw Roz eating a doughnut once or twice after that. Bad move, Night Court.

I think bringing up old characters and story lines is a way to reward faithful viewers. It's a little treat when ER references something I already know about - it makes me feel special.

TV continuity - B (it's a good thing, but it always needs to be better)

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's An Honor

I was chosen Employee of the Era at work! It's very exciting. I must sweep really well.

There are two funny things about this: 1, I missed the meeting where they announced that I had won; and 2, I don't get my "award" (probably a Borders gift card) because my boss' credit card is maxed out and I have to wait until a payment is made.

And because I know you're wondering, it's Employee of the Era because we don't meet every month.

Employee of the Era - A- (now I have to live up to it)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Stop Already!

I hate when people crowd the intersection. To me, this is the epitome of rudeness. I'm pretty sure that basic traffic laws state that a driver should not continue through a green light if there is no room to make it through the intersection. Notice I said through a green light. If the whole lane of traffic on the other side of the intersection is full, a person should stop where he would stop for a red light.
I feel it's my duty to never crowd an intersection. I don't care if people honk at me - but I get really pissed off if the person behind me crowds through if there's just enough room for me, so then that guy is stuck in the middle of the intersection. Sometimes I hope that there's a fender bender, just so one or two people will get the lesson not to crowd. I might be a bad person for that.

As a side note, every time I type "intersection," my fingers automatically type "interlochen," and then I have to go back and erase. Some scars are invisible.

crowding the intersection - F

Friday, May 05, 2006

Just Call Me Suzy Homemaker

Today, I deep-cleaned my carpets with a Bissell PowerLifter. It was pretty sweet. I definitely dumped out several canisters of hot, dirty water, courtesy of my plush beige carpeting.
I don't think I'd want to own of these babies. It's cumbersome, and time-consuming, and I don't think that my apartment is big enough to merit a whole steam cleaner. With that said, my carpet looks and smells great, and I definitely won't object to borrowing my neighbor's parents' steam cleaner six months from now.

Bissell PowerLifter - B+

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wedding Post #4 - The Family

I told Natalie I could write for a week about the wedding, but I'm going end after this one, lest I bore my readers. I haven't even talked about the food, the flowers, or the venue, but trust me, they were awesome. That's all I have to say about that. I'm really very thrilled about Pat and Natalie being married. Obviously, from the picture, you can tell that Natalie's pretty thrilled, too! She's a lovely human being. I dig having a sister.
You can tell from the picture that Pat's pretty thrilled, too. I think in the South they call that a "shit-eating grin". Look at him! You can tell he's pleased with himself - and why shouldn't he be? He married a tall, gorgeous, talented, wonderful lady! Plus, he knows he looks good in a tux.

So the Strongs should be back from their honeymoon any minute now, and so begins a long and happy life together. Way to go!

Pat and Nat - A+

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wedding Post #3 - The Bridesmaids

There are a few things I don't like about weddings - the monetary expense, the weird cake, the feelings of inadequacy I used to experience. But if there's one thing that really, really bothers me, it's the bridesmaids dynamic. See, I'm one of those people that makes instant girlfriends. Throw me in a room with some girls and we'll be hugging inside an hour. And bridesmaids are the worst. You share this experience, you have at least one common friend, you're not sizing each other up because not only are you all wearing the same dress but you all look gorgeous - being a bridesmaid is the perfect opportunity to make instafriends. You talk about boobs and then you hug. It's awesome.
And then, you never see them again! Or at least, you never see them all together at the same time again. I hate that. Why is it that you meet these cool ladies, bond in an extremely fashionable way, maybe exchange an email or two after the wedding, sharing pictures, and then no more? My fellow bridesmaids were so awesome, and I bet I won't even get a Christmas card from any of them.

the bridesmaid phenomenon - C
the bridesmaids of P & N's wedding - A+

ps. look at how good we look with my blog - it's like those pashminas were made to order by naivehelga!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Wedding Post #2 - The Tunes

Before I tell you about the music at this wedding, let me give you my list of all time worst wedding songs.

Papa Don't Preach - I'm keeping my baby!
Beast of Burden - not so much wanting to be referred to as a beast on my wedding day
I Will Survive - don't kick things off by saying you'll be OK without him
I Will Love You by Fisher - it's a beautiful song, but I'm bothered by the lyrics "And I need to know, will you stay for all time?" - shouldn't you have that figured out before the wedding?
theme from Star Wars - no theme weddings, ever

So, the tunes at P & N's wedding were a labor of love. They spent so much time working out the perfect music - we processed to a gorgeous arrangement of All I Want Is You by U2, and recessed to Don't Worry Baby by The Beach Boys. How great is that? And the reception tunage should have been just as awesome, and probably was, but I blame the DJ for not playing anything loud enough to be heard over the guests' chatter. Perhaps the CD I got as a wedding favor will fill me in on how good the music should have been.

wedding tunes - A- (bad DJ! bad!)