Sunday, February 24, 2008


I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m sick, I become such a crybaby. I’ve never been the kind of person who fights through the flu, dumping gallons of over-the-counter medicine down my throat and trooping onward like everything’s fine. No, I prefer to embrace the disease. Maybe, in a weird way, the repeated hacking up of my life-force reminds me I’m alive. Maybe, in an even weirder way, I actually enjoy being sick. I love the idea of getting time off work, and I even more love the extra time for self-indulgence. Maybe I’m lucky that I’m not at a place in my life in which people are counting on me to feed them or clothe them or otherwise nurture them… or whatever, because when I’m sick, it’s all about me. So while I’m whining and moaning about how crappy I feel, I’m secretly reveling in the Me-Time.

Everyone has their own Emergency Death’s-Door Cold-and-Flu-Season Survival Kit. Mine is stocked with Kleenex (the softest available), Chicken Noodle Soup (straight from the can), Chocolate Milk (no medicinal value but, hey, it makes me feel good), and my Disney movies. There’s something about dancing appliances and singing squirrels that kicks my immune system into high gear.

If my temperature is over 100.0, a Disney Movie marathon will commence… almost without fail.

I consider myself so lucky to have grown up in Disney’s Golden Age, i.e. 1989-1994. Not only did I get to see The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King in theatres, but I was also in the target audience. They made those movies for me and only me… or at least that’s how it felt. I have concrete memories of experiencing these movies for the first time, memorizing the songs, and collecting the toys from McDonald’s. I can’t remember who my best friend was in second grade, but I sure do remember wishing she were Ariel.

So, in the spirit of unbridled Disney Devotion, I would like to sing the praises of each of these monumental achievements in entertainment in turn. I’m currently splicing and dicing The Little Mermaid so I can effectively piece together what it is about this movie (and all the rest) that makes me feel like I can rise from my sick-bed and face the world.
Stay Tuned!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sick as a Dog...

Ya’ll – I have been soooo sick the past couple of days. I can’t remember the last time I was so miserable. I’m so congested and phlegmy that when I talk I sound like I’m underwater and very far away. And since my voice is rather raspy and sandpapery to begin with, I probably sound like Ursula the Sea Witch. I’m such a poor, unfortunate soul.

Friday at work was torture, a mental seesaw with saving-sick-leave on one side and getting-the-hell-out-there-and-straight-into-bed on the other. Frankly, I’m probably lucky I made it home in the afternoon. When I get the flu, one of my classic symptoms is forgetting to breathe, resulting in fainting episodes a la Marie Osmond. If only I had a hot ball-room stud like Jonathan Roberts standing behind me to catch me. I had a bad experience back in college involving a bad flu, my car, and the interstate which I am in no hurry to duplicate.

Anyway, all of this is an excuse for my lack of posting. I just haven’t felt up to it. Hopefully, in the next days, I’ll be able to think of other things besides my next dosage.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Help me, Dr. Drew...

I’m overwhelmed.

Reality T.V. overload is slowly taking its toll on me. I was already feeling bloated, what with American Idol, Project Runway, Make Me a Supermodel, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and American Gladiators. I suppose part of the blame must go to the Wendy’s Chili I had tonight for dinner. So good… so not good two hours later. When you add Big Brother 9, Survivor: Micronesia, and America’s Next Top Model (coming next week), AND new episodes of Lost and Supernatural to attend to… it is safe to say, “Ladies and Gentleman (but mostly Gentleman), my dance card is full.”

All good Catholics know that gluttony is a deadly sin, but I might need to consult a priest to find out if it also applies to T.V… if I believed in that sort of thing. Or ever talked to priests.

It’s probably a good thing I don’t have a Tivo, because if I did, I might find my addiction spiraling out of control. As it is, I’m forced to watch strategically by using all the technology at my disposal, including VHS tapes (how archaic!), the shows available online, and if I’m truly desperate, YouTube. I admit that sometimes I feel like a junkie, considering the lengths I will go to in order to catch my shows. If Dr. Drew were my therapist, and I wasn’t too busy fainting or trying to dry-hump him, I’m sure he would tell me that this “thing” I have going with my T.V. is very unhealthy, and very detrimental to my social life. And he would be totally right. But that, my friends, is why it’s called an addiction.

The problem with addiction is that it hurts the things you love. The true victims of my T.V. obsession are Netflix, the public library, and this massive mound of yarn that is collecting dust in the corner of my bedroom. Netflix might not be complaining, since they get their monthly fees no matter what, but I do feel sorry for those poor souls waiting for their copies of Ricky Martin Live: The Black and White Tour and The Beyonce Experience, both of which have been molding next to my T.V. for almost a month and a half, begging and pleading to be watched and returned to the Netflix mothership. The library, however, is probably out for blood. I’ve had this one Agatha Christie mystery for almost 6 months (don’t yell at me!), and none of their gestapo-esque intimidation tactics will move me, because I know the second I return it, all hopes of finishing it are doomed, and I actually sort of wouldn’t mind finishing it. Anyway, the fine is capped at $10, so… whatever. I do, however, feel bad about the yarn. Sometimes, I stare at all of it during commercials, running the list of projects I mean to start and the projects I should probably finish through my head. Meanwhile, the half-finished afghans, scarves, hats, and vests are strewn about like corpses, the knitting needles thrusting out of them like murder weapons.

It is so hilarious to me that I’m going through this crisis now, because everyone else has been lamenting the loss of their favorite scripted shows due to this writers’ strike. Some people have even gone so far as to pick up a new hobby, or play with their children, or (gasp!) go outside. I shudder at the thought. Meanwhile, I’m so overwhelmed that I actually had to make a chart just to keep everything straight!

Rumor has it the writers’ strike is finally reaching an end, barring some lapse in union protocol. I’m thrilled to hear it, but for entirely different reasons. While everyone else is tuning back in to watch sitcoms and procedurals, I’ll be writing new Netflix Shenanigans posts, knitting a fabulously fashion-forward cashmere sweater, and smoking a peace pipe with the public library.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Big Brother 9 Preview!

Julie Chen… twice in one year? I’m not worthy.

That’s right, ya’ll. A new season of Big Brother starts on Tuesday, February 12. I think we all expected a certain… overflow (like out of a toilet) of Reality TV thanks to the writers’ strike, but I didn’t think it would ever go this far. I mean, two seasons of Big Brother in the same calendar year? Is that safe? Can I safely absorb a second helping of this trash without suffering serious side-effects? Am I taxing my already taxed threshold of filth beyond capacity?

The truth is I love this show for the same reasons most people hate it. It’s crass, exploitative, and severely lacking in human dignity, and most of all, it begs the question: what kind of life am I living that I have the time and motivation to watch these 16 famewhores spin in their hamster wheels for the dubious honor of being crowned the most successful backstabber, flirt, liar, cheater, manipulator, or whatever is required, and the prize of half a million dollars, which is a lot of money, but sort of lousy compared to most other reality show boons nowadays?

The answer to that question, which you might not remember because of the run-on sentence that followed, so it bears repeating… what kind of life am I living that I’d watch this show? …The answer is: none of your damn business. I love the show so leave me alone.

Just yesterday, Julie was on the Morning Show to reveal the new contestants, or… fresh meat. One of my favorite pre-season rituals is quickly glancing at the new players’ photos and bios and making far-fetched, totally unfair, utterly mean-spirited assumptions about them before they even get a chance to make a first impression. I’m a judgmental bitch in real life, so why should T.V. be any different? And seriously, it isn’t mean if I’m usually right. Last year, I think I came pretty close to nailing all of them, give or take some minor personality disorders. I’m not perfect though… I cringe every time I read what I wrote about Evel. I got him soooooo wrong.

Moving on to this year’s victims:

But First: I have to say that I’m a little surprised at the online reaction to this season’s crop. The consensus seems to be that the cast is a melting pot of Fug – the guys aren’t cute and the girls are generic. Are we looking at the same pictures? I mean, none of these guys are Nick Stevpehqwpevps’vkasnvopie from last season, but then, hardly anyone is. Nick was such a rare specimen: hard body, cute face, and ambiguous sexuality, all of which he seemed eager to show off, but one can’t possibly expect a guy like him to show up for every season. So, if people would lower their expectations just a tad, they’d find this season’s roster to be more than adequate in the eye-candy department. Furthermore, we haven’t even seen them with their shirts off yet, so how can we possibly have an informed opinion? (FYI: I’ve added some eye-candy of Nick Ddjpqigsbvsmv;euovitch at the end of this post just for funsies – enjoy!)

Right now, as I stare at my computer screen, fingers poised over the keys, I’m trying to decide if I’m even going to bother writing about the girls. *ponders* Alright fine, I will.

BUT FIRST (part the second): this season’s twist. Grodner & Co. have devised a special treat for us this time around, or so they would like us to believe. All sixteen houseguests are single, but they were asked to provide a detailed description of their ideal lover on the application. Hmmmm, I wonder if any of them suspect what the twist is. Anyway, based on their requirements for love and happiness, Show has cast someone to be their partner. When the houseguests enter the house, they will be introduced to their “soulmate,” as if such a thing even exists in life much less Reality TV, and together, they will eat, sleep, compete, hold Head of Household, and maybe even get evicted. I applaud the producers of this show… I can just imagine them sitting around their conference table, congratulating each other on such a well-devised Big Brother concept. I imagine they thought that if the couples actually liked each other, they would be able to deliver on that promise of Uncensored Action of a Mature Nature on Big Brother Afterdark on Showtime, and if they happen to hate each other, at least we can watch them fight. So simple… so straightforward… so obvious. Well played.

Ok, really, on to the fresh meat… and free feel to follow along at the website.

Meet Amanda, a paralegal from Minnesota who likes to cook and go shopping. She explains that she’s been very close to her mother ever since her father died, and how super glad she is that she can be counted on for her strength in times of strife. In fact, she shares her positive attitude by sending her friends motivational text messages everyday. Friends of mine, take note: if you ever send me motivational text messages, we may not be friends anymore. That’s just a heads up.

This is Adam, a PR manager from Florida. The first thing I noticed, and therefore, must point out, is that he has a Masters in fashion design/marketing and has his own clothing label. Geez, does everyone have their own clothing label nowadays? I mean, it must be really easy if everyone is doing it… I’m wondering why those guys on Project Runway make such a big deal about it if it’s so easy. Adam wants us to know that he’s sort of a Casanova, that he likes aggressive women (whatever that means), and finally, he wants to make it perfectly clear that he is not easily intimidated. I always wonder about people who describe themselves as “not easily intimidated.” I feel like they’re the same people who get in lots of stupid fights in bars. Maybe “not easily intimidated” is the same thing as “sort of an asshole that likes to pick fights with strangers.” Either way, this guy seems to be compensating for something, if you know what I mean. At least he’s sort of cute, in an unconventional way. I’m liking the dimples. I’m not liking the huge chicklet teeth, however.

Allison resides in Florida, where she works in pharmaceutical sales. She’s an avid pottery-maker (first, I typed potter, but that didn’t sound right… ceramic artist?) and painter. She loves to travel, especially when it involves logging many, many hours of service in the orphanages of third-world countries. She brags that people seem to gravitate towards her, especially men, not that she means to brag, though; it’s only because of her awesome personality and commanding presence. Also, she has a gambling problem.

Alex owns an entertainment company in Staten Island, NY, which throws special events and parties. He’s a DJ and a catering manager for the company when he isn’t studying for his degree in business/marketing/advertising. He’s so busy he hasn’t noticed that marketing and advertising are the exact same things. He lost his father in 9/11 and that is officially the saddest thing I’ve heard all day. He likes house music, owns five turtles, and loves to dance. You guys, I think I might love him a little bit. One question: are they sure he’s straight? I’m on the fence.

Chelsia strikes me as a typical college girl. One minute she’s talking about herself like she’s Miss America (“I’m sincere, competitive, and determined.”), the next she’s pole-dancing at the neighborhood pint night, showing off her navel rings and ass tattoos… not that I have a problem with any of that. She claims that she has “everything” pierced, which… ouch, and is a self-professed “wild party girl.” My favorite thing, though, would be her list of favorite activities. Dancing, drinking, and going out are listed separately, although I’m not sure why, and rounding out the list is watching movies, which I’m sure only happens when she’s sick (read: hung over). For someone who claims to be having so much fun all the time, she sounds remarkably dull to me.

At first, Jacob seems like the kind of guy I wouldn’t like. He’s a jock, an ex-marine, and a Christian, so Christian that he felt the need to get crosses tattooed on his body. Talk about nothing in common. But judging by his disclosure of a bad break-up and his yet-to-recover broken heart, plus the fact that he’s obviously well-traveled, he doesn’t strike me as the typical chauvinistic man’s man. I’m crossing my fingers that he’s one of those guys that would never be my friend, but also wouldn’t beat me up.

Jen is another party girl – why do they insist on calling themselves that? – who teaches Special Education K-12. She likes shopping and tanning – again, why is that interesting? – and is a football/cheerleading enthusiast (that means she likes to go to the games and be loud and drunk, but has absolutely no idea what’s going on). We get a paragraph describing her piercings and tattoos, and I’m starting to wonder if she just couldn’t think of anything else to say about herself.

This is James, and methinks he tries too hard. I’m wary of people who describe themselves as insane and crazy, because it’s usually an excuse they make right out of the gate to explain why they’re so incredibly unlikable. Clearly, you can’t really be crazy if you passed the medical and psychological tests to be on a reality show, so basically, you’re just annoying. He goes on to say that he was the freak in high school, mostly due to his bad family situation which made him feel like he needed to act out to get attention. Ok, seriously, if he’s self-aware enough to know all of that, why doesn’t he just act normal? I just don’t get people like this! We’re not done, though. His big claim-to-fame is his dream of riding his bicycle around the world. I’m not even going to bother with that one. James is the kind of eccentric weirdo that can go both ways – he’ll either be a Puck-from-Real-World-San-Francisco, kind of funny and entertaining when he isn’t being abusive to other people, or a Santino-from-Project-Runway, consistently oblivious of other people’s feelings, but otherwise well-intentioned.

Natalie is a bikini barista that loves Jesus. I… what… I just don’t know anymore.

Matt is difficult to read. Let’s start with a positive. He’s from Massachusetts, so he has a darling Boston accent, which I love! He loves the generic guy stuff: football, movies about druglords, and himself. He’s very proud of his body so he takes every opportunity to show it off, which… cheers. Based on his relationship history, I can’t say he has any respect for women, and there’s definitely the foul reek of deluded arrogance around him, but I’m willing to give him a chance, as long as he doesn’t hate on the gays in the house.

This is Sharon. She likes talking (really?), tanning (not again!), and drama. She actually describes herself as loud, dramatic and over-the-top, so she’s either incredibly fun or a giant bitch. I’m on board for both. This house needs a diva. She insists she likes sports, especially the Carolina Panthers, and I’m just not buying it on this girl. I know there are women out there who sincerely enjoy the sport, but this girl? I don’t think so. The important thing to note in the relationship category is she just got out of a 12-year relationship. Ya’ll – she’s only 23. Granted, she says the relationship was on and off, but I still think it’s a little sad… and not a little provincial.

Parker is a real winner, my friends. He was discharged from the Air Force because he couldn’t conform to military standards. He mentions that he’s very vocal about his emotions, so much so that he could be described as inappropriate and unpredictable. However, he also fancies himself to be authentic, you know, he’ll tell you like it is. While all that is well and good, people who talk about themselves this way are usually just authentic assholes. The weird thing is that despite his confession of not fitting into the military and his dislike of real work, he had the discipline to lose 50 pounds. There must be potential there, I suppose. At this point, though, I’m not convinced. Also, he has diabolical hair.

Sheila is the exact opposite of Kail from last season. She’s a 45-year-old single mother who also just happens to be a former Penthouse Pet of the Year. That’s… quite an accomplishment. She’s so proud of it that she freely admits that she’s writing a book about her life, and I can’t think of a book I’m less eager to read. Having just broken up with her boyfriend, she is on the prowl for a new man, and she isn’t opposed to starting something funky up in the Big Brother House.

My namesake, Ryan, is a student from Columbus, OH. He considers himself popular and well-liked, despite his tendency to be stubborn and opinionated. He enjoys being the center of attention, and thanks to his network of obviously enabling friends, he’s gotten quite used to that lifestyle. His ideal mate must be intelligent, motivated, and aware of herself. Good luck finding that in this house, my friend.

Joshuah, or Gay #1, is an Advertising Media Buyer (is it bad that I don’t quite know what that is?) from Texas. He’s been out since he was 18, but he played it very straight growing up. He played football and dated women… that is until he fooled around with his sister’s cheerleading coach, got caught, caused a scandal, ruined his sister’s cheerleading career, and shamed his family. Apparently, they haven’t forgiven him just yet. That is a really sad story… so sad, in fact, that I think he might be making it up. Anyway, he says he’s an exhibitionist (YAY!!) and a bisexual (not so YAY), and judging by all of this, I’d say he’s probably my least favorite type of gay.

Neil, or Gay #2, is a lesson in failure. He didn’t make it through college despite studying almost everything being offered, and he’s currently working in real estate. That’s a whole lot of going nowhere, that is. He tried modeling and acting, but decided he didn’t want to be around so many fake people. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo about how actors and models are fake because it’s their job to be so. He’s very close with his mother, who is currently going through a rather difficult divorce. He loves that his relationship with her is healthy so he can help her through this trying time, except for this month-long stint of reality T.V. From what I’ve gathered from his profile, his true passions are playing outdoors and watching T.V. and stuff.

So who do think the “soulmates” are? The gay pair is spelled out for us, although I can’t tell from the profiles why they would be compatible. I hope this isn’t a case of reality T.V. producers thinking they can just put two gays guys together and they’ll hook up, and I REALLY hope these guys wait at least a week before they do, because they will, because some stereotypes are true.

The rest are just too hard. I can’t do this. Except for the bikini barista and the formerly nude single mom, all the girls are exactly the same! I really hope these people are more interesting than these profiles indicate, because if not, I’m in for a real snoozefest. On the plus-side, at three nights a week, at least I’ll be getting some extra sleep. Speaking of which, I’m tired.

I didn’t forget. Nick Ifsdfohweohfg&nglgnjj!gffg? eye candy:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Li'l Sis isn't so li'l anymore...

So Li'l Sis is 21. (As of Feb. 3)

I sort of can't take it. I remember the day she was born for God's sake. And what a happy day that was. Big Bro and I were overjoyed... at least until she came home and boggarted all the parental attention. I KID!!

I'm so lucky to have a Li'l Sis that I also consider a best friend. Not only is she not embarassed to be seen with me in public, she also confides in me and seems to give a crap about what I think. Not that she needs much guidance... she's pretty awesome on her own.

GAWD, I can't believe she's TWENTY-ONE!! Time is moving way too fast for yours truly. I'm happy, though, because, like a fine wine, she's gotten better with age. I am constantly and consistently impressed with her maturity, tenacity, and grace. Let's face it, ya'll... Li'l Sis is fierce. Wait, Tyra does it better than I.

Oh, you will totally love what I made for her...

As some may recall, a monogrammed scarf was commissioned for her trip to Spain in January. Many believed I wouldn't be able to produce it in time, and well, they were right. I totally blew it. So sorry. It's a good thing she had a birthday coming up, because I was able to parlay the scarf into a birthday present.

Here it is, in all its finished glory.

The picture doesn't accurately capture how HEEEEUGE this garment is... It's five feet long and about 8 inches across, knitted in the round. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best way to approach it (I think if it appeared on Project Runway, Nina would scoff at the construction... Well, SORRY, Nina. Maybe it doesn't look finished, but I assure you, I'm finished with it), but the upside is that it is very thick and warm, and crosses very attractively at Li'l Sis's waist.

While it was supposed to be a scarf, Li'l Sis is calling it her new scarf/shawl/wearable blanket, when really, it's probably more like a stole. Who knew I could make a stole? I did. And there's the proof.

Anyhoodle, Happy Birthday, Li'l Sis. I love you!!