Monday, July 31, 2006

Many thanks to Charlie for letting me know about this website. No one has ever given me a satisfactory answer when I ask which celebrity I look like (I once got Tracey Ullman. I was not amused), so I was super excited to try Apparently, I look like Molly Ringwald and Ricki Lake... do you see it?

What I don't like about is that they give you a lot of "resemblances" based on which way your face is pointing. For example, since the picture I used is of my right profile, I got matched with a lot of celebrity right profiles... which is silly. Do I really look like that person, or is just that our heads are tilted the same way? - C+

Friday, July 28, 2006

Wedding # 42?

Hi, friends. I'm off to a wedding, so I won't be around for a couple days. I'll give you a full report when I get back.

I hope the wedding cake looks like this - the bride loves daisies!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Project Runway

Every week, Project Runway just gets better and better. If it doesn't win the Emmy for Best Reality Series, there is some sort of problem with the way the TV academy votes! It is way better - and much, much fresher - than The Amazing Race, which always wins. Whoever is out there thinking up design challenges for Project Runway: you deserve a raise. I thought it couldn't get any better than the "garden party" dress of season two, when everything had to be made out plants and flowers. But last night came the doggie-as-inspiration challenge. When Tim Gunn walked over that hill with 13 dogs, I about lost my mind. Totally brilliant. Who would have thought that little doggies could serve as muse for some of the best fashion we've seen on the runway in PR's history? So, here is Michael's (my favorite) dress. I think it's fabulous. I actually gasped a little when this dress hit the runway. The high neck crossover thing is innovative and beautiful (even though it seems to not be fitting very well in this photo, it looked really great on the runway). And look at his little dog. I love Yorkies. I think that Michael totally nailed this challenge - the dog clearly influenced the design, and I love it.

Uli won this challenge, with good reason. The prints were totally gorgeous together, and while I don't think the dog influenced the design, Uli totally used the dog, in his little coat, as a fashionable woman's accessory. The look was amazing. I expect Uli to be around for a while.

Looks I didn't like: Laura's coat was fabulous but too much like her first design; Angela's bubble skirts are so 1984; Vincent's was so nothing that I don't even remember it, and the januty cap he put on his dog made it go totally crazy. I felt really bad for his model for having to contend with that wacky man and insane dog.

It must be said that Erika, my PR watching buddy, is kind of afraid of pets in clothes. She thinks it's unnatural - they're already wearing fur coats, so why do they need sweaters or jackets? I think this episode was kind of hard for her to watch, but as time went on, she got over it. She didn't have to take deep cleansing breaths or anything. Sometimes you have to face your fears in order to overcome them.

Project Runway - A

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tell Me Something I Don't Know


Find out what it means to me.

Last night, I went to one of Interlochen's finer eating establishments, the Karlin Inn, to hang out with some of my coworkers. Two guys in particular guys spend most nights there playing Sopranos pinball, one of four games at the back of the bar (five if you count the skill crane). Chris and Jason spend lots of money on Sopranos pinball, and have been playing it since the first week of camp (apparently, the Karlin changes the pinball machine every year, and C & J have mastered each pinball game). Chris and Jason are very serious, very dedicated pinball players. They own that game.

Now, I happen to love a little pinball myself. My most favorite pinball game is The Addams Family game, which I mastered during my many years working at the Picwood movie theatre in Russ Vegas, Arkansas. But I'll play any pinball game, and I'll play it well. I don't get nervous or excited. Pinball is like a lover - if you have a new one, it might a take a while to get used to all the bells and whistles, but once you do, you'll know all the right combinations and buttons to push to get the bonus score. Hotch-ha!

Chris and Jason deigned to let me play Sopranos pinball - and I was at the top of my game. Soon, they started saying things "You know, Strong's not half bad" and "Where've you been all summer?" and, my favorite, "She's the best girl pinball player I've seen in a long time" (they have a theory about girl pinball players). I proved myself in their eyes. I earned their respect.

As we left the bar, Jason said, "Strong, the highest compliment I can give you is that I can't wait to play with you again." Well played, young pinball wizard. Well played.

pinball - A+
the respect of my peers - A+
earning that respect through pinball - C- (seriously, shouldn't it have come from my acting skills?)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What Do You Get When You Combine:

Hot stage lights, tons of excitement and adrenaline, and a metal dress? That's right - you get the winner of Miss Universe! Poor thing. She straight up fainted a few minutes after she won. Well, of course she fainted - she was wearing a metal dress! I sort of feel bad for this Miss Universe. Not only is she going to be known as "that queen who fainted," but she's only 18. This is going to be the biggest thing that ever happens to her. Where can you go but down after you win the world's biggest pageant at 18?

I'm having some serious problems finding pictures, but Tara Conner looked fabulous in her irridescent purple Project Runway dress. I guess she just couldn't compete with metal... but who could, really?

Miss Universe - C+

Why I Hate Kids

I walked into the theatre this morning and began taking roll, and this young man in my class said "Amanda! There's a kid in my cabin whose brother is on Project Runway... and he's in the top three!" I started yelling "I don't want to know! I don't want to know!", but some little bastard said his/her name anyway. I won't tell you. I like you too much. But it kind of ruined my day.

kids who can't keep their mouths shut - F

Saturday, July 22, 2006

BD's Mongolian Barbecue

Oh, I love to eat at Mongolian Barbecue. It's one of my favorite places to eat in Traverse City (Ann Arbor has a much better restaurant selection, and I haven't eaten at the one there since I moved there). Here's what I always get to eat for my first bowl: sausage, shrimp, green peppers, onions, and chili garlic sauce and all the spices that start with C (cayenne, chili powder, and Cajun - but not curry). Oooh, it's so good - kind of a really simple spicy gumbo. Here's what I get for my second bowl: vegetables, lots of 'em, and the same sauce and spices. I like my stir fry hot. Whenever I feel like I haven't been eating enough vegetables, I always think about going to Mongolian Barbecue, because I can eat all the tasty vegetables I want.
The atmosphere at Mongolian Barbecue, however, is less than great. It walks a fine line between an actual restaurant and "eatertainment" - the grillers make such a production of preparing the food, but I just want them to cook it and leave me alone. I don't need anyone to juggle my egg, you know? And the one in Traverse City is always so loud. When I worked at Bennigan's, I learned the secret to the radio volume at chain restaurants: the radio is set on some sort of sensor, so when the restaurant gets loud, the music gets louder, and when it's quiet inside because there's only one table eating, the music is softer. When people ask "Can you turn the radio down?" the answer is a legitimate "No." People just need to talk quieter. Anyway, MB is always loud when I'm in there because the cooks are yelling at each other, and then the customers talk loudly, and then the music gets louder... it's a vicious circle. If the food weren't so tasty, the atmosphere would keep me away forever.

Do you think that the Mongol horde really cooked their food that way?

Mongolian Barbecue - B-

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bloggiverary Post #2

The Ds (all of them, pluses and minuses too) and Fs:

Too much fragrance
Entertainment Weekly and the Post Office
Clay Aiken thong (F)
Anonymous website solicitation
Tim Horton’s
Not sleeping well
Silicone bracelets
Lysol Sanitizing Wipes ad
Nutritious Living Hi-Lo cereal
Getting up early and staying up late
Canceling your wedding singer less than a week before the wedding (F)
Extra Polar Ice gum
Hilary Duff’s new teeth
David Banner “Play” video
Car accidents (F)
The Ugg shuffle
The wedding Singer: The Musical
City of Lost Children
Christmas music before Thanksgiving
Enormous nose zit (F)
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (actual shipwreck)
Bad VCR (F)
My blog when it was pink
Historically dressed mannequins
Britney on Broadway (F)
Blogging about the weather
The Christmas Shoes
Dear Mr. Jesus (F)
My paper giving me the finger (when my computer crashed) (F)
Traffic lights
Orbitz “gay friendly” commercial
Snowstorm road trip
Britney’s child endangerment
Beyonce’s (my car) ailments
Asparagus pee
Bad aim (F, when you’re Dick Cheney)
The lamest conversation I ever heard
Old Country Buffet
Plantar fasciitis (F)
My time management skills
Tortoise and Hare
The Lord of the Rings: The Musical
Loud breathers
Fighting with Nate about a printer
Hash Bash
Flowering Bradford pear trees (aka stank trees)
Sally Beauty Supply hair accessories
My back rash (F)
Crowding the intersection
Printed checks
Mike Wallace
Big painted footballs
My inner monologue, trying desperately to be heard
The Lake House
The Blue Angels

Only 10 Fs in one year...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's a Bouncing Baby Blog!

Exactly one year ago today, I wrote my very first post on naivehelga. That's right - it's my bloggiversary! Thanks for reading.

In honor of my bloggiversary, I re-read all my old posts (all 405 of them, and really, I just scanned) and made a list of all the As and A+s I gave throughout the year. I originally planned on doing the A-s, too, but that made the list way too long. So, here's the list:

Oryana Natural Foods Market
Into the Woods
Human couples named Mike and Lisa
Post Secret
Project Runway*
My new bathroom
Gap Curvy Fit jeans
Clay Aiken
Dell Inspiron 6000
Newcomers Welcome Service
Orlando Bloom READ campaign
Friday Night Lights
Sarah M.
Nutty Bars
Erika Stephanie
Health clinic pamphlets
Desperate Housewives premiere
“friends week”
Shannon and Mark
Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper ad
Nuns at EMU
Creative panhandling
Petit red lentil soup (made by Natalie)
The Bottom of the World
Desperate Housewive DVD
Charlie’s professional attire
Dad’s birthday
Finishing my homework
The song “the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”
The pale sessions vol. 1 - everything matters
Mom and Dad’s 40th wedding anniversary
The Squid and the Whale
Gina McKee being able to walk
The Virginia Strong epiphyllum (and Mom’s birthday)
Big Ten Market
Real preemies (as opposed to animatronic ones)
Emma’s brush with Internet stardom
Getting my paper back
Trained animals
Undressed Year in reivew
Me finally learning how to put links in the body of my blog
New Year’s Eve in OKC
Brokeback Mountain
Hilary Swank’s lovely breasts
Girbaud jeans
Possibly adding a fabulous new blog
Pat’s birthday
George Bush’s cultural awareness
My facetiousness
Nathan’s Pickles
Caviar shampoo
Me, loving you
Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
Robin Szolkowy’s beautiful ass
Wombat in his sweater
Filliam H. Muffman
Zara’s Blockbuster adventure
Tim and Andrae at Red Lobster
Santino and Daniel having amazing collections
Overall Project Runway score
Peter playing for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
My mind in the gutter at eight years old
Jen and Running Fit
Tiny Slice of Life
Special boxes
41 weddings in 10 years
My sweet ass brother
Getting a raise
Quite possible the most unfortunate and most bizarre series of events to ever transpire
Thank You For Smoking
Anyone who thought I was going to be talking about Lindsay Lohan when I was really discussing my showering habits
Augusten Burroughs
The One with the Proposal
Sangria in the daytime
Babies in general
Brooke Shields having another baby even though it might make her crazy
The Battle of the Babies
Sara Ramirez
My bubba’s wedding
The bridemaids of pat and Natalie’s wedding
Pat and Natalie
Garden veggie cream cheese
Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy guest stars
Book Covers from the New York Times Book Review
Detroit Popcorn
Mark Harmon
Donating money to a really good cause
The Glass Castle
Kingsley nudists
Movie trailers
Manolo on Michael
Frozen pea treatment
Black and white wedding photography

* There were eight As and A+s for Project Runway, not including special references like Tim and Andrae at Red Lobster

One of these days, I'll make a list of all the Ds and Fs - that might be more fun.

Do you think I should give out fewer As this year?

Project Runway

This episode was fabulous. C'mon - pageant dresses? I just about lost my mind.

I'm short on time, so let me say this: Kayne and Robert were great. I knew from the mment he picked that fabric that that dress would win. And the jeweled necklace halter? Please. That dress screamed "pageant." You better believe that I'l be watching Miss Universe. Angela and Kevin are crazy. I hope to see them implode in the near future. And Malan's departure is best summed up in the words of my PR watching buddy Erika: "I was kind of looking forward to watching him be creepy some more." Malan, we hardly knew ya.

Michael, you are still wonderful. Keep on truckin'. Erika's afraid that they're not showing him enough, which translates into "leaving soon." Not true, I say. Stay under the radar and I bet you'll be in the top five. And wear more vests and ties. You're adorable and I want to have your babies.

PR - A

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

American Gods, and Roadside Attractions

I've started reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It's quite good, but not as good as Gaiman's other books that I've read. I haven't finished it, though, so I can't fully judge. One of the concepts in Gaiman's book is gods need to be in spiritual, powerful, mystical places, and the churches and synagogues all across the country aren't good enough. Gods need places that people are inexplicably drawn to, places that people are compelled to visit for no other than reason than that they are there. Gods need... roadside attractions.
Stop and think about roadside attractions - enormous plaster Indians or dinosaurs, world-record pie pans, the Mystery Spot, or a gas station with a petrified snake. People see the sign and think, Hmmm, good for a laugh, I'll stop. And with nothing more to show for it than a couple pictures and the story about the time they stopped to see the the Stonehenge made out of refrigerators, people keep stopping.
I am a big fan of roadside attractions. If I could, I would stop at all of the ones I pass any time I'm on a road trip. As it is, the only places I've been that might qualify are the enormous bronze cross at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, and the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri. Both were strange and creepy and awesome. It's been a dream of mine to go to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin and the Corn Palace in North Dakota. There might be some magic there.

American Gods - right now, B, but it could go up
roadside attractions - B+

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I'm not an experienced canoe-er. I went once or twice with my church youth group a long time ago, and I went twice as part of a "team building experience" a tmy last job. But it's a theatre department tradition to go canoeing every summer, a tradition that I didn't take part in last summer or the summer before, so I sucked it up - and yesterday, I went canoeing.

While there are no rapids on the Platt River, I had several moments where I felt like I was these guys in this picture. My canoe was out of control. I was the more experienced canoe-er in my canoe, so I was steering, but I swear to you, I was steering as hard as I could and we still managed to run headlong into a tree... on more than one occasion. I lost my sunglasses in the river within the first five minutes, because it was lose the sunglasses or lose an eye. We ran aground. We lost our paddles. We almost tipped. And it took a really, really long time.
When we finished canoeing, we were supposed to have a cookout at this delightful little park where Platt River runs into Lake Michigan - but a super wicked thunderstorm came up and the whole department hurried back to campus, where we hung out in the dark scene shop (oh, 'cause the power went out) and had a "cookout" inside and there weren't enough drinks and most everyone was miserable.

And that's why I don't go canoeing.

canoeing - D

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I don't usually take requests for blog subjects. Sometimes I should, because my life can be fairly mundane at times, but most of the time I have something I can write about.
However, when my friend Ashlee pointed me in the direction of, and said "Sweetie, you have to blog about this," I was more than happy to oblige. See, just profiled Ashlee's boyfriend, Teppei, who is starring in Singapore's first production of The Marriage of Figaro. He's playing Figaro, which means that right now, he's sort of Asian hot shit. Apparently, the man can sing, and he's been doing all sorts of press for the production, including an interview with
The tagline for Empowering Gay Asia. Yes, the gays love Teppei. He is called "a piece of eye candy." And somehow, the article draws a connection between opera and fellatio. Ambitious.
Anyway, check it out. The article is oddly funny, and besides, don't we need a little eye candy on this Sunday morning?

Mmmm, candy.

Read the article. - B+

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Now that's a good lookin' family!

black and white wedding phtography - A

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ice Shmice

Everyone knows that, if you sustain an injury and need to put ice on it, you should just use frozen peas instead. Ice doesn't mold to the affected are as well as peas do.
I had to buy the frozen peas yesterday. I hurt my knee. That's what I get for trying to work out - I'd take chubby and able to walk without limping over skinny and gimpy any day of the week.

frozen pea treatment - A

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Manolo Says:

Here's what Manolo at says about Project Runway contestant Michael Knight:

"Michael: One of the Manolo’s early favorites, if only because the Manolo thought his dress was quite good, and the use of the coffee filters was clever. He is another outsider with the strong, eccentric personal vision. And if only the Michael Knight could use his secret weapon, the K.I.T.T., he would be the sure winner."

And we have our first official Knight Rider reference!

Read the rest. I might be adding Manolo as a link soon - he's quite funny.

Manolo on Michael - A

Project Runway Premiere

Another season of Project Runway is off to a fabulous start. I am so impressed with the casting special that aired from 9 to 10. You know, American Idol spends weeks on casting specials. It's like they want people to love the bad singers. But Project Runway is too classy to go for the cheap laughs. We got to see a few of the nutty designers (did anyone notice a drag queen model?), but the focus of the show was the good designs and good designers, and the "behind the scenes" look at how Tim, Michael, Nina and Heidi selected the final 15.
My favorite design of the night was Bonnie's. There was something very Tommy Hilfiger/Ralph Lauren about it - all that red with the splash of white and blue. I'll agree that the model looked like she might pop out of the top, but I think the dress itself is beautiful.
I also really liked Robert's design. Let's face it, he knows how to design for women - even if those women are only 11 inches tall. This dress is simple but fun, and definitely looks like something a "real" person would wear. It's not costumey. I expect big things from Robert. He might be the Nick of this season. I'm also a really big fan of Robert's model. I think she's totally beautiful. As a side note, I wonder how they're going to do the models this year - if they brought back immunity for the person who wins the challenge, maybe they'll bring back each designer choosing a new model each week.
I am very into Michael Knight. He certainly has attitude, and I like that. His design was fantastic, and I was surprised that he wasn't one of the top three (Robert, Keith, and Michael, with Laura in fourth; Bonnie got brought down by that ill-fitting top).

I am anti-Malan. He's super creepy.

Project Runway - A- (I need one more week to really care about the designers before I can give it that A)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Don't Forget!

Project Runway season 3 premieres tonight! If you're going to be in the NaiveHelga know for the next few weeks, I suggest you watch!

Project Runway - always, A

Movie Trailers

I saw some good trailers and some not-so-good trailers when I saw The Devil Wears Prada. Well, I guess that's not true. All the trailers were good. It's just that the some of the movies look good, and some of the movies look much, much less than good.
Let's start with a good one - Running With Scissors. Now, by now you all know that I'm a big Augusten Burroughs fan, and I'm definitely looking forward to this movie. The cast looks incredible: Brian Cox, Alec Baldwin, Gwynnie Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood, Jill Clayburgh, and Annette Benning are going to be pretty much perfect. However, I'm not so sure about the kid playing Augusten... isn't he a little old?
I also saw a trailer for World Trade Center, the Oliver Stone version of the events of 9/11. I say the Oliver Stone version not because I think he'll turn it into something crazy, but rather because there are multiple tellings of this story coming out soon. Anyway, as far as movie trailers go, this one was pretty much perfect. I don't think I'll actually see this movie, but the trailer made me want to see it. Also, the soaring orchestral soundtrack gave me some goosebumps and I got a little teary. Just from the trailer. If there's a version of the 9/11 movie to be seen, it's this one. I don't think Oliver Stone would screw it up.
I also saw a trailer for Hollywoodland, about the unsolved murder mystery surrounding the death of George Reeves, TV's Superman. This looks awesome. Can't wait. Would have liked a picture to show you, but there are no production stills or posters yet.
Now for the bad ones - My Super Ex-Girlfriend, anyone? Whose idea was this? It will not be good. Mark my words. There is no way that the rromantic comedy and the super hero action flick will combine well. Not with Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson. I will not be seeing this movie.
And finally, winning the award for worst movie trailer ever is The Guardian. This movie looks truly awful. Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher together in a movie has to be one of the worst idea ever. Whose idea was this? Seriously. Neither of them are tremendous actors. Then there's the setting - a Coast Guard rescue movie? With towering waves of water threatening to overwhelm a helicopter mid-rescue, with two little men dangling, clinging for dear life? Not really acceptable. And the script! "If he's so good, why is he teaching us, not out rescuing?" "How do you decide who lives?" "I swim as fast as I can, as long as I can, and I leave the rest behind." WHAT!? If I have extra money when this comes out, maybe I'll see it for a laugh, but otherwise this goes straight to the top of the do-not-see list.

movie trailers - A

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

That's What Friends are For

This is my friend, Scott. Isn't he a dream boat? What amazes most people is that not only does he give Brad Pitt a run for his money in the looks department, he's also an amazing singer, actor, and has one of the funniest blogs to date( check it out).

What I love most about Skittles is that he takes time out of his busy schedule to find pictures for my blog when I'm not able. My post about The Devil Wears Prada, for instance, required Scott to spend his lunch hour looking for a picture for me to publish with my post. I forgot to thank him in that post, so I'm taking this opportunity to dedicate a post just to him. Thanks Skitts.

Scott: A+

The Devil Wears Prada

One tiny spoiler ahead. Only spoils one line.

Here's the thing about The Devil Wears Prada: it was great, but I wanted more. I just finished reading it about two weeks ago, so it was very fresh in my memory. Now, I'm not saying "Oh, the book was better, the book was better, blah blah blah" - the book is almost always better, so it doesn't need to be said. Also, there are some things that don't translate well from page to screen. So I'm giving TDWP some outs based on book adaptation alone. But with all that said, I wanted more. Meryl Streep was beyond fabulous. I loved everything about her. But after reading the book, I expected Miranda Priestly to be larger than life and a raving bitch. In this, as my friend Charlie over at Chargenda said, she was understated. But still fabulous. Can I say again how fabulous she was? I fully expect her to get a Golden Globe nod (as you recall, they split up comedy/musical from drama, so this is a shoe-in for comedy awards). Also, she was completely brilliant in the "sad" scene, but is it just me or was it unnecessary? I mean, we're not supposed to have any sympathy for Miranda! As for Anne Hathaway, she looked gorgeous, and this movie really made me want to go shopping, but she was vacuous. Any number of girls could have played this role exactly the same. No harm, no foul.
Anyone remember the character Lily? Yeah. She's a huge character with a huge story line in the book. What happened there?
Best part of the movie: when Nigel says to Andi "Listen, Six, you..." I love that he calls her by her dress size.

Read Charlie's review. I love it when we don't give the same grade.

The Devil Wears Prada - B

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Really? In Kingsley?

As most of you know, I'm staying with my boyfriend's family for the summer while I work 4 hours from home for six weeks. Fred and Beth live in Kingsley, a little tiny town (pop. 1000-1500, I think) about twenty minutes from where I work. Kingsley's a one-light town - and a flashing light at that. There's a post office, a library, a Subway, one gas station, a grocery store, a hardware store or two, a movie rental place...

And a nudist camp.

Beth was out for a drive, looking a the gardens for next year's garden walk, and she and her friend just came across this nudist camp. In Kingsley! Maybe the appeal is that it's off the beaten path a little. No one is going to bother nudists when the closest "city" is half an hour away, and that city only has 30,000 people. Good for them. I hope they're happy. I also hope they have lots of bug spray and sunscreen.

Beth was going to write about the nudist camp on her blog, but she got a little scared - she's a recently retired teacher, and she probably doesn't need pictures of naked asses on her blog. I, however, have no shame, and love a naked ass.

Kingsley nudists - A+!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The State of My Nails

I need a manicure. Actually, I just need a polish change. No, now that I look at them a little more closely, I need a little work on my cuticles and nail beds, too.
When I had few expenses, and no real bills like rent or electricity, I would get a manicure every week. I had lovely nails. Also, all I was doing was desk work, nothing that would wreck my nails. Now, since I make popcorn to pay my rent, my nails aren't as nice, and I can't afford to get them done every week. I would if I could. I used to have really nasty nails, all ragged and bitten, and now that I've gotten my act together and I don't have crazy pianist nails, I can't keep them nice for long. Sad.
I've always wanted to get a crazy manicure, like one of the ones pictured here. Airbrushing or jewels would be super cool. Someday...

manicures - B+

Thursday, July 06, 2006

New Template

I think I like the brown version of my green blog. I've been looking at green for a long, long time. What do you think?

I did use that purple and orange one, but only for about five minutes. Did you see it?

new template - I

The Glass Castle

If you've read Running with Scissors, you might think, Oh, The Glass Castle. Memoir of a girl with nomadic, alcoholic parents, who had to forage for food and lived without running water or electricity and stole food from the trash can at school. I can dig it.
Except The Glass Castle isn't funny. Not at all. The opening scene is Jeannette Walls, the author, being burned by the fire from a gas stove when she was cooking hot dogs for herself. When she was 3 years old. No one else would make her lunch, so she just became self-sufficient and made it herself, and got horribly burned on her torso. And that's just the start of the book. It's beautifully written, but really, truly horrifying as well. Augusten Burroughs' books and essays have an undercurrent of happiness about them: Look, my mom gave me away to her psychiatrist and my life was insane, but really funny all at the same time. The Glass Castle has none of that. It's not an easy read, but it's compelling. I couldn't put it down.

Available in paperback - get it now.

The Glass Castle - A

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Project Runway Season 3

Exactly one week from today, Project Runway season 3 will premiere! I'm super excited. I don't love that PR is going the ANTM route, with "cycles" instead of "seasons" - I think of PR as a relief from wintertime, rather than a summer treat - but I am of course very excited to see the new season. I have soft plans with one of my townie friends to go to her house and watch every week. I may need to firm up those plans. I can't miss it!

My favorites right now, just based on looks, are Vincent, top left, because he reminds me a little of Kevin from season 1, and Michael, bottom right, because he looks like he could be a thug and not a fashion designer. I already don't like the guy in the sunglasses on the top row (I didn't even bother to learn his name). He's wearing those sunglasses in all the pictures I could find of him. That seems a little pompous and pretentious to me - who does he think he is?

Project Runway - A, of course

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fundraising for Friends

Wow, this picture is bigger than I thought it would be.

So, as most of you know, I'm walking in the Breast Cancer 3-Day in about sx weeks. So far, I've raised over four thousand dollars, which will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Breast Cancer Trust. I'm golden. I don't need to raise any more money.
But, some of my teammates do. See, the thing about the 3-Day is that every walker is required to raise a minimum of $2200 - and if you don't raise that much, you have to pay the difference. That seems a little shady to me - you'd think that someone who did the best they could with fundraising but could only get up to $1700 shouldn't have to fork over five hundred bucks of their own.
I know I'm preaching to the choir, since almost all of my faithful readers have donated money to me and this amazing cause (thanks again!), but if you haven't, please consider donating to another member of my team, the Bodacious Tatas. There are a few ladies who haven't even cracked the $1000 mark, and this walk is coming up fast. If you have breasts, love breasts, or like to poke breasts because they're so silly, then donate!

Click here for my 3-Day page, then click on "My Team Page" to find my teammates

donating money to a really good cause - A+

Chasing Liberty

Oh, this movie is so not good. It's better than The Lake House, for sure, but it's so not good. Spoilers ahead - does it matter? Are any of you going to actually see this movie?
Okay, so Mandy Moore plays Anna, the President's daughter, off to Prague with her parents for some summit or conference or something, but she's tired of being followed by the Secret Service, so she and a friend scurry away to a dance. The Pres breaks his promise of a lightened security detail, Anna gets pissed and runs out of the dance, where she asks this super cute guy with a moped if he can drive her away. He does. You know the rest - he's actually part of the security detail, but Anna doesn't know that! He lies to her! She wants to live free, but he's bound to protect her! And then they fall in love! And do it in a sleeping bag! But he ruins everything!
And I think Mandy says fuck. Which is shocking.
So, there's no need to see this movie. It all works out in the end. And it works out with opera music.
I'd like to focus on the other story in this movie, the one about the Secret Service agents Weiss and Morales, played by Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra. They are DELIGHTFUL. They made the whole movie for me. Yes, the story line is a little stale (think Miss Congeniality), but they were both so sweet and I was actually rooting for them to get together, unlike the main romantic couple, who I didn't care so much about.
Can we analyze the poster for a second? Where are they sitting? Does a pool like that even exist at the White House? And look at her. She is all up in his business in her little capris.

Chasing Liberty - C

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Julie & Julia

Julie Powell, working as a secretary for a governemental organization in New York, in the throes of some sort of hormone imbalance and worried she'd never have a baby, wondering what she was doing with her life, decided to embark upon a crazy challenge: cook all the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cuisine in one year. AND, blog about it. She did it. She made everything in that damn cookbook - brains, kidneys, lobsters, crepes, everything - and wrote about it, and along the way she learned a little something about herself. And cooking.

Oh, yeah. She got a book deal out of it, too.

Julie & Julia is sort of what every blogger wishes would happen - the fan base gets so big that eventually someone of some importance gets wind of it, and the next thing you know, you're the final segment on the CBS Evening News and you get to quit your job and write in your pajamas all day (Julie mentions the pajamas thing once or twice; it's the only reason I hate her). The book is kind of a "behind the scenes" look at the cooking and the blogging. Julie writes about her "bleaders" and how at times they're what kept her going when she flet like hanging up her wire whisk. And that they sent money when she couldn't afford nice cuts of lamb anymore.

I bet I would have liked the actual Julie/Julia Project blog, because I liked the book a whole lot. Cheers to you, Julie Powell, and cheers to my readers, too - thanks for hanging in there when I write about lame stuff.

Julie & Julia - A-

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Blue Angels

The Blue Angels are in town! Woo-hoo! I can't wait to go to the Cherry Festival and see these planes in action!

Actually, I'm kidding. I am so not into the Blue Angels - at least, not from up close. My mom always told me that air shows were dangerous because sometimes the planes crash. Mom was sort of a harbinger of doom. She was well known for washing off the tops of Coke cans ("We don't know what crawled over those in the factory!") and advising people not to run over bags of trash or piles of leaves that blew into the road ("There could be a baby in there!") But I digress. Air shows really can be dangerous, and even though these pilots have lots of experience at flying really, really close together, I still don't want to be anywhere around when somebody sneezes when they're flying in that tight formation and suddenly three jets come crashing to the ground.

Also, the Blue Angels are incredibly loud. I was in Borders yesterday, and as I walked out of the store, the Angels were doing a practice run, and the noise from them - flying nowhere near me - was deafening. I felt like my head was going to explode. I literally couldn't hear anything but the noise of the planes. These planes also burn a lot of fuel. They can't be good for the
environment. I think there might be better uses for all that power than just some pretty planes flying really close together.

I can appreciate the training that goes into being a pilot for one of these planes, and when I see them practicing for their big Cherry Festival gig, I often think, Wow, they're flying really close together, really fast, and that's sort of cool. But that's as much praise as you'll get from me. Fly away, Blue Angels, fly away.

the Blue Angels - D+