tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thank you, America

All right! U.S.A. came through for me last night and kept John and Charlotte in contention on Dancing with the Stars (despite their apparently dialing-challenged fans). This pair served up a fantastic Foxtrot and an equally charming Paso Doble. Joey and Ashly were given the boot, and let’s face it, it was a long time coming. Still, I was surprised that none of the judges made a comment about their choice of music. They danced the Paso Doble, which is basically supposed to be a sexy Spanish bullfighting dance, to “Eye of the Tiger.” Oh, how we laughed.

Up close and personal

I’m days late with this, but here are some pics from Live Blog 05, courtesy of the delightful DC Cookie. A good time was had by all.

Hot town, summer in the city

I walk to and from work every day. During the summer in DC, I am just a glutton for punishment. My other choice is to take the bus (taking Metro would still involve a fair amount of walking and only saves 5 to 10 minutes). I really hate taking the bus. Usually, I have to stand, and I am pressed up against lots of other sweaty people, and often, the air-conditioning isn’t exactly up to the task at hand. On the way home, I can usually get a seat, but then it’s almost impossible to get out of the bus when it stops. Pushing my way through 20 people is not my idea of fun. It’s pretty similar to riding the Metro this time of year, with one blessed exception: tourists don’t ride the bus. So, in the end I just walk. Yeah, the weather sucks, but at least I can go at my own pace, and I’m never stuck in traffic. Unfortunately though, my walking to work time seems to coincide with garbage pickup times on many days. There’s nothing like a wave of rotting garbage to start your day off right. Today, the thermometer should be hovering near 90, but supposedly some relief is in store over the weekend.

Netflix update

Tuesday night, I spent hours on the couch just trying to cool off. Full blast AC and very chilled white wine were barely cutting it. I put my couch time to use watching House of Flying Daggers. It’s really amazing. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first. I’m a fan of director Zhang Yimou, and I loved his last film Hero. This one is quite different—it’s more personal and less epic. It’s hard to judge whether someone is a good actor when you don’t speak the language, but I am not terribly impressed with Zhang Ziyi. She’s better in this than she was in Hero, but I still think she overacts a bit. Maybe this is a cultural thing I am just not getting.

Last week, we watched Closer, which completely blew me away. It’s pretty emotionally devastating—a really compelling film. That Clive Owen sure can act. And that Jude Law sure is pretty (and can act too). I like what Mike Nichols did with this adaption—he kept the structure of the film very much like a play.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Weekend Update

The weekend started off well at Live Blog 05, where I met up with fellow DC bloggers Kathryn On, DC Cookie, Rob of DCist, and Rock Creek Rambler. It was very cool to meet the people behind the blogs. Eyebar was not at all what I expected (I was thinking it would be more Eurotrash and way more crowded) and a pretty decent place for a happy hour. Later that evening, bryc3 and Karen came over and we had some drinks on the roof. mmm, cold Bud in a can. We had an interesting discussion about The Outsiders. Stay gold, Ponyboy.

On Saturday, Brian and I headed out to the suburbs for visits to Target and the CD Cellar. Why is it that I never leave Target without spending at least 50 bucks? I go in there for one $10, and next thing I know, I have a whole cart full of stuff. If the Columbia Heights Target ever opens, things are going to get ugly. While in the burbs, we saw Batman Begins, which was pretty good. It started off pretty slowly, and I kept wondering when they were ever going to get to the Batsuit, but in the end, all that exposition worked well for the story. I saw the preview for the Dukes of Hazzard movie for the second weekend in a row. It looks unbelievably bad. I know the TV show wasn’t exactly Shakespeare, but was it this dumb?

Saturday evening, Nathan stopped by for a drink on his way to a show at the Cat. (I like this whole getting people to come over for drinks so we don’t have to go out thing.) Later, we watched Shattered Glass. This movie is really amazing. It’s the true story of a reporter at the New Republic who was discovered to have fabricated most of his stories. I know a little about the New Republic from a friend who worked there a few years ago. The episode portrayed in the film happened several years before my friend got there, but knowing a bit about the magazine gave some extra context. Hayden Christensen seems like such a whiny little bitch in the Star Wars movies, but he’s actually very good here, playing a lying, manipulative, needy, but also charming character. Peter Sarsgaard basically steals the movie, playing the editor who finally begins to notice there is a problem. (I should say for the record that this problem is perhaps more interesting to those in the journalistic profession than it would be to everyone else.)

Sunday was a pretty low-key day. We spent some time doing family stuff (no, we still haven’t set a date, and no, pregnancy jokes are not funny, people). In the evening, we watched Pretty in Pink, which to my amazement, Brian had never seen. I won’t say anything here, because I think Pretty in Pink deserves its own post.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Big Plans That Go Nowhere

I had big plans for posting yesterday, but they fell by the wayside after my walk to work in the morning. The blocks around my office are made up of large concrete blocks, about 2.5 feet by 1.5 feet. These blocks get loose and trap water underneath them. There are a bunch that are in poor repair, and I have learned to avoid them, but yesterday morning, I stepped right onto one and got a huge splash of Wednesday’s rainwater. Euuuuwwww. That put me in such a grumpy mood that I figure I should hold off on writing until I was a touch more cheerful.

Dancing with the Stars update

My faith in the U.S. voting public was shaken yet again, when they voted off Rachel Hunter and her partner. This makes no sense—Rachel and partner were one of the two best pairs. The judges loved them and gave them great scores. And now they are gone. Seriously, wouldn’t you think that can’t dance so much but I’ll just smile a lot former New Kids on the Block guy or annoying general hospital/serious wardrobe “malfunction” chick would have been voted off? No, apparently not. My mother is up in arms about the voting. She has called me twice in the last two days to complain about it. She claims she will stop watching if the J. Peterman guy is voted off. The upside to these long conversations: She has decided to give Brian and me ballroom dancing lessons as an engagement present. I’m pretty darn excited. Just wait ‘til you see me rhumba!

The End of an Era?

Wednesday night, bryc3, Karen, and I went see the Get Up Kids on their farewell tour. The show was great (except for when the band talks incessantly between songs—less talk, more rock, boys), and they played lots of old favorites, including my four favorites songs of their’s: “Action & Action,” “I’m a Loner, Dottie, a Rebel,” “Don’t Hate,” and “No Love.” This is emo at its whiney best. I haven’t bought any recent stuff by them, but I really wanted to see the show because I loved them so much a couple of years ago. They really represent 2000 for me. That was a year when I had many big changes in my life, and these songs bring up a lot of people and places, some good, some bad, but all interesting.

Someone please make him stop

Tom Cruise continues his public meltdown, refusing to get off his anti-psychiatry high horse. In one interview, he insisted to a German journalist that Narconon is the “only successful drug treatment program.” Whatever you midget freak. Here he attacks Matt Lauer for daring the suggest that psychiatric drugs might help people. Show me your medical degree and then we can talk, Tom. (I am not even going to touch on his “engagement” to Ms. Holmes because it is just way too disturbing—shudder.)

Secrets and lies

Ok, actually just secrets. Check out this really interesting blog. Please send their deepest darkest secrets on a postcard, and the best ones are posted. Some are funny, many are disturbing, all are interesting on some level.


Nike, what are you thinking, pissing off Ian MacKaye? This is pretty awful.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


What I had for lunch

A post over at Kathryn on about weird diets had a strange effect on me. After reading it and commenting, I suddenly had a huge craving for mcdonalds. I have a love/hate relationship with McDonalds. Love the food, hate everything else about it. I eat it maybe 3 times a year, usually when I have a wicked hangover. Today, however, I am not hungover (one glass of wine with dinner and in bed by 10:15 last night, almost unheard for me); there’s just something about discussing flaxseed diets that makes me want to do the exact opposite. For the record, there is a McDonald’s less than about 100 feet from my office, so I think I’m pretty restrained in keeping my consumption to a minimum. I was very polite to the cashier, bryc3, but she didn’t offer me any extra straws.

One problem with eating McDonalds at work is that I don’t want anyone to see me eating McDonalds. I managed to sneak out without seeing anyone, but I ran into a co-worker on the elevator on my way back to work. Slightly embarrassing. He’s probably a fifth-level vegan or something.

On the agenda for this evening

Tonight, I’m going to see the Get Up Kids. It’s somewhat unexpected. The story is: A few weeks back, bryc3 informed that the Get Up Kids were doing a farewell tour and would be at the 9:30 on June 22. Since I live reasonably close to the 9:30, I said I would get tickets. Unfortunately, I dawdled and procrastinated and just plain forgot about it, and they sold out. Some tickets became available and were snatched up (not by me), and now we are going, which is good since I was feeling very guilty about robbing bryc3 of his last chance to see them. bryc3 and I (and a couple of others) saw them maybe 4 years ago at the 9:30, and it was an amazing show. I’m hoping tonight will live up to that.

Toto lovin'

A while back, there was some discussion of Toto at Kathryn on. It inspired me to order Toto’s Super Hits from Amazon, and let me tell, that was $7 well spent. It’s got “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna,” and “Africa” (and a bunch of other songs I’d never heard and don’t care about at all). It’s like it’s 1982 all over again. Did you know that Toto won six Grammys in 1983? I didn’t either, until I bought this fine collection.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Odds and Ends for a Friday afternoon

The ladies of Go Fug Yourself strike again, this time at inexplicable fashion icon Sienna Miller (link, scroll down). Discuss amongst yourselves.

Dancing with the Stars was fabulous again this week. My faith in the American TV-viewing public was restored when Evander Holyfield was given the boot. I know he’s a heavyweight champion, but he is just not a dancer. Apparently, being light on your feet in the ring does not transfer to the dance floor. Annoying General Hospital chick held on for another week, actually showing some improvement. One issue I have with this competition is that on each night, the couples are dancing one of two dances. This week it was the tango or the jive. Last week it was the quick step or the rhumba. I think this makes it really difficult to judge the couples against each other; these are very different dances. For example, the jive is really fast and involves lots of kicks. The tango is more slow and sexy. But whatever, this is some good TV.

Brian’s birthday is next week and I’m throwing him a party tonight. It should be very fun, but I have this tendency to stress a lot before hosting anything. This will be the third thing I’ve hosted in about five weeks (going away party for a friend in May, my wine group last week, and now this), so I’m a little over it. Luckily, the apartment is in pretty good shape from last week’s guests, so there isn’t too much to do. I’m ashamed to admit that I usually throw a lot of stuff in the bedroom and shut the door. Why do we have so MUCH stuff?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wheat beer + DC weather = bad idea

I swore that last night I was just going to flop on the couch and watch the final episode of Chaotic, as I was in need of some serious celebrity schadenfreude and had missed the first five or however many episodes. This seemed like a good plan since it was about 120 degrees. Of course, it doesn’t take much to twist my arm and next thing I know, I’m at half-price Belgian beer night at Bohemian Caverns. It took me approx. 40 minutes to get my first beer, which maybe wasn’t such a bad thing, since it limited my total intake (1 big beer and one tiny beer). I learned a valuable lesson: Belgian wheat beer and DC weather don’t mix. One and a half of those babies and I was way too full. Also, in those big glasses, the beer gets really warm by the time you're barely halfway through. For the record, I had originally ordered a wifebeater (that’s Stella to you), but they had just run out (grrrr). Still, I did not regret my choice (friends and beer should always win out over celebrity misery). One good thing about the heat—it helped persuade me that I didn’t need that end of the evening trip to Ben’s.

On the topic of celebrity misery, I still can’t get enough of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes meltdown. I’ve always found Tom Cruise really annoying (I’m apparently one of the few who finds his “appeal” mystifying), but this whole episode has provided whole new levels of schadenfreude. I was firmly convinved that the whole thing was just a really dumb publicity stunt, but with the news that Katie is converting to Scientology, I am beginning to wonder, only because I can’t imagine anyone converting to Scientology unless they had to (i.e., they really wanted to marry Tom). The Scientologists have even provided her with her own minder (sorry, special friend). Her new buddy is apparently some kind of 11th level gray mage or something.

Dancing with the Stars in on tonight, so I think we all know what I’ll be doing. Can that guy who played J. Peterman on Seinfeld maintain his lead and hold off a challenge from Joey from New Kids on the Block? Will the viewers finally get a clue and vote off the annoying General Hospital chick, or will that fringe bikini she wore in lieu of a dress last week keep her in the running? I’ll provide an update tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dress Code

I am a firm believer in personal expression, and I truly think people should wear whatever they want in their personal life (that said, I am still totally free to be snarky about your choices). However, the workplace is a different story. Yes, I know it’s hot at hell out there, people (heat advisory in DC today), but that is no excuse. On my walk to work every morning, I see a lot of women clearly on their way to work who are just walking nightmares. Lots of skin is never appropriate at work.

Here are a couple of rules of thumb for dressing for work:

1. If you can’t lean over in your skirt for fear of showing your underpants, it is just too damn short. Save it for the evening.

2. If you can’t lean over without exposing cleavage, your top is just low cut.

3. If you can see your thong through your pants (or skirt), it is wayyyyyy too tight. The whole point of wearing a thong is to avoid showing panty lines. If you can see the thong, things are just wrong.

4. Sleeveless is ok; strapless (or spaghetti straps) is not. (I once spied a co-worker sporting a dress that a friend had worn to an evening wedding the previous weekend. A cocktail dress is not appropriate for the office.) Shoulders are not appropriate for the office. An exception will be made if you wear a sweater or jacket over the dress while at the office.

Here are a couple of favorites looks I’ve seen recently:

A woman wearing a skin-tight micromini, a see-through blouse (over a camisole, but still), and six-inch heels. I know you are probably thinking, come on, now this woman is clearly a hooker, but I ask you, do hookers carry briefcases?

A really short jean mini (just covering the butt), a tank top, and a flashdance style droopy sweater worn off the shoulder. It rendered me speechless.

A woman sporting black spike-heel ankle strap shoes. These are clearly an evening shoe and not appropriate for the office unless your office is a bar.

(For a related blogging, please check out bryc3's latest entry).

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lazy lazy

I’ve been super-lazy about posting recently, a combination of being very busy with work and being totally worn out from the excessive heat. Here are a few thoughts.

Dancing with the Stars

I am not into reality tv at all, but somehow I have been completely hooked by this show. I love ballroom dancing (if you’ve never seem the movie Strictly Ballroom, I urge you to rent it right now), and this also has C-list celebrities, so it’s a winning combination. The ballroom dancing judges are hilarious, particularly the proper old-school British guy and the effusive and bitchy Italian guy. The only thing that bugs me is the viewer voting. It makes no sense. The General Hospital chick and her partner are terrible. Their score from the first week was way lower than everyone else’s. Their first dance was really bad. Come on, sweetie, you’re an actress—at least try to pretend you like your partner. The judges told her she was too stiff and looked uncomfortable, so the second week she wore a bikini with some fringe, perhaps hoping to distract everyone from her lack of dancing skill. Still, when the audience votes came in, she wasn’t even near the bottow. The bottom two pairs were “supermodel” (and Rod Stewart ex-wife) Rachel Hunter and her partner, who were actually pretty good, particularly the second week, and Bachelorette Trista, trying to add a few seconds to her 15 minutes of fame, and her partner. Trista didn’t make the cut. Perhaps American has finally had enough of her? But really, she was an ok dancer, certainly better than General Hospital and Evander Holyfield (who second performance was severely cringe-inducing). Given the weird audience judging, I felt that I needed to make a call to support my favorite pair John O’Hurley (J. Peterman from Seinfeld) and his partner Charlotte. They were clearly the best pair in the second episode, so they’ll probably be voted off by an audience who clearly doesn’t get the subtleties of ballroom dancing.

Live Aid

On Saturday, a bunch of us gathered to watch the DVD of Live Aid. It’s 10 hours of footage, and we watched about 8 of them. I know I watched at least part of it the first time around, but I don’t remember it very well. I think I didn’t make it up early enough to watch the Wembley part, and I got bored with the Philadelphia part. It was interesting—the Wembley acts included a lot of pretty hip current bands from that time, and the Philadelphia acts were heavily weighted toward dinosaur bands/classic rock. Some of the highlights: Bryan Ferry singing “Slave to Love” (Wembley), Style Council singing “Walls Come Tumbling Down” (Wembley), U2 singing a kick ass 12-minute version of “Bad” (Wembley), Queen doing a really amazing long set (R.I.P. Freddie) (Wembley), Simple Minds singing “Don’t You Forget About Me” (Philadelphia), the Pretenders singing “Stop Your Sobbing’ (Philadelphia), and a very skinny Better Midler totally ripping on Madonna while introducing her. Madonna’s set was not one of the highlights, but her outfit did showcase some really bad 80s fashion. It’s kind of cool to be watching the DVD now, since Bob Geldof (Sir Bob) is organizing a new concert, Live 8.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Deep Throat

I have to dork out briefly. The revelation that Mark Felt is Deep Throat is both exciting and anticlimatic. Back when I was a budding college journalist, I read All the President’s Men, and I’ve been fascinated by the Watergate saga ever since. The identity of Deep Throat has received much attention over the years and been the source of much cocktail party chatter (ok, not the cocktail parties I attend, but I’m sure someone has talked about it at a cocktail party somewhere). So, now we know. It’s interesting to finally have that last piece of the puzzle, but it’s a little sad at the same time. Bob Woodward made a deal with Deep Throat all those years ago not to reveal his identity, and now he gets scooped by Vanity Fair? There are some concerns about Felt’s mental acuity in his current state (he’s 91, in poor health, and suffered a stroke a few years back). There is also a question of financial motivation on the part of Felt’s family. It’s mentioned in the Vanity Fair piece that his daughter wants her father to be recognized for his courageous act and that she is also interested in the profits that might come from the revelation. A book deal is apparently in the works. The Post may have been left hanging, but today’s coverage is decent and quite thorough. Tomorrow, there will be a long piece by Woodward. I’m looking forward to reading it. Will he reveal the location of the famous parking garage where they he held his clandestine meetings with Felt? These are the kind of dorky details I love.

It's all about perception

This post is not even remotely timely, but I’ve been meaning to write it for a while. It’s really just an observation on how different cultures view similar things. As we all know, in November 2004, Bush won re-election with approx. 51% of the vote, and his opponent got approx. 49%. By most standards, this would called a pretty close race, based just on the popular vote. However, the Bush Administration claimed a mandate and all that. The people have spoken and blah blah blah. While we were in London, they had a general election. Tony Blair retained his seat and gained a third term as Prime Minister, because his party (Labour) won a 66% majority in the election. But since this was the smallest majority of his three elections, it was seen very negatively. The headlines were all along the lines of “Blair Stomped!”, which would make you think that he had lost. I think that 66% is a pretty big majority. The other 34% was split between two other parties. The Tories made some gains, but didn’t come anywhere near retaking a majority. Yet, Blair’s victory is somehow seen as a failure. Blair even indicated that there are problems to be addressed and that his party needs to do better. I found this different in perception to be very interesting, especially when I read that the 66% majority was higher than former Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had ever won. Are the British a glass-is-half-empty people, and are we a glass-is-half-full people?