A journey through music video memory lane…

My roommate and I were having a high-brow conversation about Britney Spear’s latest music video the other night. She looks great, but we couldn’t figure out what it was–body is super fit, dance moves seemed remarkably on point, but no no, that wasn’t exactly it. Finally, Daniel hit it on the head:

“Well you know what, she just looks really awake.”

Dear God, please don’t ever let me get to a point where the crowning compliment someone pays me is that I look “remarkably awake” (though to be clear, I’d like to get close to that point). But you know what, he’s absolutely right. She seems to be hot blooded and ready to go.

More importantly, though, Spears’ video reeks of everything we loved about haute-couture 90s music videos. Desert dance scene? Yep. Inappropriately parked sports cars? Duh.
Solo in front of a dressing mirror?
Come on, what do you think this is–amateur hour??–got it. She even has her signature black bell bottom dance pants (which, as a historical note, were not in style at any point).
Screenshot 2013-10-11 at 5.43.42 AM

It’s a relief that, with YouTube, we’re now in a music video renaissance. So of course, Daniel and I took this as an opportunity to indulge in some of cinema’s greatest, in an effort to prepare ourselves for a future that now looks visually promising yet again.

Lucky

You know what I miss? Completely literal representations of a song. I’m tired of fighting through all of the allegorical themes in a Lady Gaga video, thank god Britney never made us work (comma bitch) that hard for a meaning. I mean she named the main character in that video Lucky, goddamnit.

It’s also worth taking a moment of silence for “Making the Video”–we all vividly remember each of those episodes, and how Britney would never miss an opportunity to help us navigate through some of her trickier plot lines, just in case it wasn’t clear that Lucky was a movie star who looked to have everything, but deep down she was actually very sad and unhappy. Ohhh okay, got it now–thanks Brit!

Come on Over (or ven conmigo, as I like to say)

So, here’s what I’m thinking: let’s get a bunch of future-race people together, put them in gym clothes and sparkly tube tops and have them dance in front of a gigantic, shimmering piece of chiffon fabric. Metallic balls! Make *sure* they’re holding metallic silver bouncey balls. Kthanksbye.

I like to think of Christina as the original Hombre, putting that hairstyle on the map a good decade ago. In fact, I gently encouraged (at gunpoint) all of my girl friends that red lowlights would be a “smart decision,” and I’d just like to say thank you and you’re welcome. I also remember being very bullish on body crystals at the time, which I argued were always appropriate and made a great day-to-night transition accessory. I’m still waiting for that trend to come to fruition.

Heartbreaker

This is arguably the easiest dance in the world, and my only recommendation in terms of an efficient way to learn the moves would be to take a Xanax beforehand, as I think it really helps capture Mariah’s tempo and energy.

Observation: good God, why do Mariah’s boobs always look like they’re separated by Lake Superior. And they’re always *just-barely* contained in her top (top being a very loose descriptor for several pieces of fabric, fastened together by dental floss who have been waving their white flags for sometime now). Given the geography of her chest, I always feel the need to salute that top, for all of the hard work it’s put in.

One last thing: thanks Mariah for putting ripped jeans on the map. It’s too bad that you inaccurately anticipated the correct side of the jeans to rip, but we appreciate the effort nonetheless–you helped tens of teenagers across the country ruin a perfectly good pair of jeans by encouraging them to destroy what is quite possibly the most important part of the pant.

Because of you

Oh haaaey, San Francisco! Wow, it’s very easy to understand why the rest of the country thinks we’re so gay, with videos like that. But oh em gee, they were really on top of the Golden Gate Bridge a long time. And I don’t even see harnii, so that’s quite the feat!!

Buttttt….Jeff Timmons. Man, what a treat, right? Though, he used to be huge, from a muscle point of view; looking at this video, I now categorize him as “just alright” in the body department, which goes to show you the intense pressure kids are under these days and how our body image has changed. Speaking of kids, he had one at the time. I remember that didn’t bother me then (it was almost charming), though with all that’s emerged in the news about children and the problems they lead to, you can better believe that’s a deal breaker at present. Today, Jeff is now a dancer at Chippendale’s in Vegas, so his life is clearly on the up-and-up; also, he’s a father of four (which sounds awful–and of course, I mean the kids, not the dancer part; most of you know that it’s a long term goal of mine to be objectified because of my body).

It’s gonna be me

And then there was the great debate of 2000 (which nearly brought down the entire economy and probably foreshadowed the terrorist attack the following year): Justin or JC. It seems so obvious now (Justin, duh!!), but I remember at the time screaming at the television when music video director Wayne Isham didn’t give what I thought to be adequate screen time to JC. Turns out, Wayne, you really were the visionary they all said you were, and I’d like to offer you my sincerest apologies, even if it’s about 13 years too late. (As I’m sure you know, JC would go on to let his hair grow out and get blonde highlights just a few months later, to tragic consequences; meanwhile, Justin went on to put out “SexyBack”–’nuff said)

In college, my freshman dorm would become the “Video Room” on Friday and Saturday nights (which looking back, sounds borderline psycho-sexual, and it probably was a little bit)–I had a playlist of classic music videos to set the mood as we pregamed before going out. So let me just say how excited I am to reopen that video room again with a new generation of music videos (and this time, let there be no doubt in its psycho-sexual intentions).

The America’s Cup, for dummies

The America’s Cup: like most San Franciscans, obviously I have been excited about it. Though, also like most San Franciscans: “umm, wait what? Did it happen or like what’s going on?”

You can imagine my titilation when it was announced that the premier sailing event of the…world(?) would take place in the San Francisco Bay. As a connoisseur of elitist sports (or more accurately, a connoisseur of the *gear for* elitist sports), setting this race in our backyard on a beautiful race course stretching from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge and passing by Alcatraz just made a lot of sense.

AC72 Sail 4 / Foiling / ORACLE TEAM USA / San Francisco (USA) / 01-10-12

But…what. a. cocktease. They’ve been actively racing since last summer, and we still don’t have a winner (though they were “practicing” last summer). And what’s worse: there are only three challengers (more on that below). As someone who competitively races against people on the sidewalk daily, let me tell you this: you’re not doing it correctly if it takes you over a year (and as many as 40+ races) to find a winner.

Still, I’m determined to be interested in this sport, lest I be cast aside by other sailing aficionados, relegated to the masses and their love for more pedestrian sports like Nascar and cock fighting.

So, after some thorough research (and this particularly fascinating channel on YouTube), I’ve put together some items that finally have piqued my interest for the sport:

#1 — They’re flying: While sailboats, of course, have always pitched out of the water (and quite dramatically in races), this year’s boats–the AC72–include foils that can actually bring both sides of the catamaran out of the water, so they’re almost flying. The foils help propel them to speeds that are actually faster than the wind itself (1.6 times faster). It’s crazy to see a boat over 7 tons going 40 knots on an incredibly small surface…see:

#2 — They’re huge: I didn’t fully appreciate this until I was sitting at the office watching one go under the Bay Bridge when its mast nearly touched the deck of the bridge. In fact, at 185’ high, the boats in the last America’s Cup actually couldn’t fit under the Golden Gate (though this year’s masts are a more modest 135’–see photo at top of post)

#3 — There are only three challengers: So here’s where it get’s tricky. The champion of the previous America’s Cup (in this case, the Golden Gate Yacht Club with Oracle Team USA at the helm) defends their title against a challenger, determined by the Louis Vuitton Cup (which took place in July and August). While 12 clubs applied, 9 failed to meet the requirements, making it a three horse race to challenge the defender.

#4 — The BRANDS!! I threw my pinky in the air the moment I set foot inside the Moet & Chandon “Champagne Garden” on Marina Green. It’s a pussy fantasia of “puh-you-re lux-uh-ree” (as Jill Zarin would say): the Lexus charging station, a 100’ sail with only “PRADA” splashed across it, the Louis Vuitton cup, and of course, there’s the trophy itself, the oldest active trophy in international sport (and by far, the douchiest). Really, what more could a girl ask for. SWAG? Yes please.

2013-Americas-Cup-in-San-Francisco1

So there you have it. Is this enough to actually get you through watching a race? No, absolutely not. Nowhere did I mention the rules (they change every year), the science behind tacking (it requires a PhD in physics or meteorology or both) or the fact that–most annoying of all–there isn’t actually one definitive race, but rather an endless parade of practices, qualifiers and sets, to determine the winner. This video does an adequate job explaining it (or rather, is a reminder that often times, 3-minute vignettes are more compelling than being there live):

But, I’ll see you at the Moet & Chandon Champagne Garden this weekend, yeah?

IMG_20130810_155408

Airport Etiquette: Vol. I

Ich bin ein Berliner

[I invited my friend Allie to help me write this post, because more so than anyone I know, she values the sort of ruthless efficiency her German ancestors are known for. And because, as a fellow elitist traveler, she enjoys discussing the trials and tribulations that jetsetters like us must endure on a bimonthly-basis. She's blogging in blue; I'm in blogging in green.]

I’m sitting in the airport in Las Vegas at 9PM on a Sunday. I’ve made this mistake before—for some reason, I always think I can squeeze out a couple more hours of fun/sluttyness/sin. That’s never the case—it always turn into one long—very, very long—walk of shame home.

There’s a portly, homely-looking lady in her late-unmarried thirties sitting next to me (you know the type: high-wasted jeans, light pink crocs paired with a “slimming” black Haines beefy tee). She’s talking loudly on her cell phone; not because of bad reception—no…it’s clear that she wants us all to hear her conversation so that we think she’s cool (we’ve all used that voice before, let’s be honest). But here’s the deal: she’s asking if the person on the other line has any Plan B. Now I see why she was talking loudly—she wanted us to know she was sexually active. You would think fat-sex would be something you’d try to block out of your mind, and you’d be right. But still, it’s like a train crash—you gotta watch. Or listen.

After listening closer, I discover that the person on the other line is her Mother. “But Mom, I’ve borrowed some from you before. …. You don’t have any? OK, well I think I have some at my house, but it might be expired.” Evidently, this lady is clearly not making the sort of life choices that merit a trajectory away from the double-wide where she rests her head at night.

But, to be honest, her impending pregnancy is not the worst of her problems right now; her fly is down. I kind of want to tell her, but I’m afraid to draw even more attention to her FUPA than it deserves.

Which brings me to my point: Airport Etiquette. Now I’m not going to glamorize the good old days, when we used to get dressed up for flights and flight attendants would Rockettes-style welcome you onto the plane. But a little bit of ruthless efficiency wouldn’t hurt anybody…

#1 Travelators – Slower Traffic: Keep Right.

Pretty clear, right? This mostly applies to couples, groups and

Sidenote: travelator is one of my favorite words. I first developed a love for them in Hong Kong, where 1.5km of travelators carry British expats down from their apartments on a hillside and into the financial districts in the morning, and then switch directions in the afternoon to carry them back home.

especially groups of couples who are EFL—please don’t monopolize the entire walkway. And if you do, when I gently clear my throat 12 inches behind your neck, it’s not because there’s something caught in it—that’s a polite indication that you should step aside, biotch. There’s nothing worse than an abrupt roadblock whilst travelating at a cool 3 km/hour—it kills your flow.

I can be as lazy as the best of them, but I’ve never stepped on a travelator and just stopped walking. That takes some intense laziness, especially as more able-bodied walkers pass by on the other side.

#2 Security Check Points.

What's the world coming to when you can't bring butane, brass knuckles or a loaded pistol onto a plane?

I’m always surprised by the things people forget to take out of their pockets. Really?? You didn’t think your cell phone would set the alarm off? Or that block of lead you had in your fanny pack—you thought that was kosher? I can vaguely understand not being aware of the 3-1-1 rule (no I can’t), but some of the things people get stopped for just baffle my mind.

I was at one airport that had separate “experienced” and “casual” flier lines. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as self-selecting as I would have liked it to be. Ma’am, your walker with tennis ball guards automatically qualifies you as a casual flyer.

As a rule of thumb, I used to pick the line that had the fewest amount of elderly people / families / EFLers. Now, to the inexperienced traveler, this seems like it would be the smart move, right? Wrong. EFLers are usually so scared of American authoritarianism that they’re virtually naked by the time they get to the machines. Parents are so embarrassed of their bratty kids that they’ve got the whips out and ready to use (which, mind you, aren’t metal and can easily pass through the screener). And elderly people are accompanied by TSA employees who can stream them right through the machines. No, it’s the other line—the one with the baby boomers and the middle Americans who seem to blend right in—that’s the worst. And businessmen…don’t even get me started—that laptop never comes out of their briefcase until the last minute, and they’ve got like 25 things they have to unholster from their belts before they can go through the line.

Don’t worry, if you take a long time, I’ll just roll my eyes at the other people in line in an effort to make sure we’re all on the same page: when we collectively get to the other side, and Jeff Probst is standing there waiting with his lit tiki torch, we’re voting YOU off the island.

Great, so now that Chris has covered the perils of checking in, getting through security, and making your way to the gate, we should discuss the terror that awaits at the gate. That almost rhymes. But that’s where the fun ends.

#3 – Gate Lurkers.

We can't all be elite. Seriously, we can't.

You know who they are. When the sassy flight attendant tells people that flight 1512, non-stop service to Houston is about to begin boarding, a line forms faster than you can say “First Class and Gold medallion members Only.” Obviously, none of these people are gold plated (hell, even Fools gold ) Medallion members, but there they are, completely blocking the gate for those whose turn it is to board. What’s that? Oh no, I’m never flying first, nor am I elite (yet…), but I like to think that when I am, the path will be clear and I don’t have to aggressively ask people to move out of my way. Even when the flight attendant gets on the speaker to say that people need to move and make a clear path, they don’t. Let’s get something clear people. Seats are assigned. Getting on first will not make you get to your destination sooner. Further, you are zone 7. You will be boarding in 15 minutes. Sit. Down. I realize there is limited overhead space, but you wouldn’t be so concerned if you hadn’t packed your oversized, overstuffed suitcase that you snuck through security for your 48 hour trip to Vegas. Who wears clothes there anyway?

#4 – Extra Jetway Time

By now you know I hate the boarding process. The fact that some airlines board by zones and others back to front just screams to the inefficiency that is inherent to the process, since obviously the high paid consultants that did studies for the different airlines came up with different results. When the boarding process starts, people naturally get excited (see above), but first, the elite folks get to board. Then, a terrible thing happens. Priority boarding for fatties. Sure, they don’t call it this, but that’s what it is. “People who need extra time getting down the jetway may now board.” The occasional handi-capable person uses this alloted time to board, and rightfully so. But, more often than not, you see Bess and Carl, 700 aggregate pounds of fun, using this chance to waddle their way up to the gate attendant. Oh, I’M SORRY, I didn’t realize eating yourself into an early grave offers the chance to cut in line while you are still on earth. By all means, go ahead, but god help you if you are sitting next to me. Because I will demand that you pay for an extra seat for your girth. Really.

The Stories You Might Have Missed This Summer

Lindsay Lohan went to jail. And got out like 25 seconds later. BP splooged all over the Gulf of Mexico. Obama continued to weave his master plan of infecting this country with socialism/communism/fascism/dictator-ism. And the World Cup happened.

Yes, yes, we get it. But there were other stories that happened this summer that I think were just as interesting, if not more. They didn’t really make the headlines, but armed with the tens of readers that follow me on this blog, I know I’ll be able to change that. So, Nation, here they are:

British Man Hoards Chocolate. Drives Prices Up to a 33-Year High

What?!?! I know, right? Anthony Ward, a commodities trader in the UK, has quietly been purchasing futures contracts of Cocoa since last October. Cocoa beans make chocolate—not to be confused with coca (no 2nd “O”) leaves, which make cocaine. Though that would be kind of fun.

When a futures contract expires, most traders choose a cash settlement. However, Mr. Ward made the unusual move to take delivery of the Cocoa, moving the 240,000+ tones to a warehouse in the UK.

This move drove the price of Cocoa to a 33-year-high. Mr. Ward argues that it’s not speculation that’s driving the prices up but a poor crop-yield in the Ivory Coast, one of the main producers of the beans.

But like, ok, what?? I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but still. I’m rulll scured…

But I’m also really intrigued. I eagerly await the AMC Original Movie story of the life and times of this real-life Willy Wonka character.

Sink Holes are the New Rogue Waves…

I love cruising. Call me a Middle American or an elderly Jewish woman from Florida, but I don’t care. All you can eat meals, jackpot-crackpot bingo and nightly entertainment—where do I sign? But one thing I was always scared of was the illusive rogue wave. I’ve watched one too many Discovery Channel documentaries on them to know that A) they exist and B) they’re out to kill happy cruisers like me. In fact, they estimate that at any given moment, there’s one rogue wave lurking out there. Terrifying….

So you can understand my fear when I saw this pop-up on the front page of National Geographic:

Petrified. I didn’t leave the house for three days. And then came this (it’s harder to make out, but it’s a sink hole 100 feet deep, 300 yards wide and almost a third of a mile long):

What in the name of unexplained science is happening here?? Apparently these sink holes just unexpectedly happen, and can be triggered by something as small as a fly. And no one knows why they happen. I’d like to make a resolution for scientists: no more travelling to other planets until we figure out what the fuck is happening on this one. As my Mom once said, you can have your desert once you’ve finished your veggies. So stop pigging out on tiramisu and start focusing on the broccoli that’s turning my life turn into one anxiety-filled infomercial.

Anyway, if you can take one thing away from this today, it’s this: sink holes—they’re real, and they’re coming to an area of land near you.

The Tour de France – It Happened

The famous bike race, which takes place during the month of July and winds through France and it’s neighboring countries, happened. And no one seemed to care. Probably because the beginning of the Tour started just at the height of the World Cup. And, as difficult as it is to believe that anything can be even MORE boring than watching a soccer game, watching a 20-day bike race actually takes the cake.

In case you were wondering, Lance Armstrong didn’t win. He came in 23rd place. It kind of sucks that we force athletes to leave at the top of their game; I enjoyed the fact that Lance was basically just like “eff it. I like biking so I’m going to do this.” Yeah yeah yeah, he did it for cancer and yada yada. Mainly, I’m just happy that we got to see a lot of Lance advertising. God, he’s just such a winner. Even if he did use performance enhancing drugs.

Here are some good/cute ones; Lance–you have such wise observations:

[Disclaimer: I feel the same way about performance enhancing drugs as I do about artists lip syncing at a concert: if it’s going to help you create a more interesting spectacle for me to watch, than go right ahead.]

The Sea Lions @ Pier 39: They Came Back

In the 1970s, a large group of sea lions plopped themselves down on some docks at Pier 39. No one knew why they randomly showed up and what made them choose that spot. And, in the spirit of American capitalism, we turned this into a tourist attraction.

But around Thanksgiving time last year, they mysteriously vanished. A couple weeks later, it was reported that they had showed up on the coast of Oregon. Why had they left? And were they coming back? No one knew.

A few began to trickle back in late February, and by May most had returned. Anyway, case closed. Collective sigh of relief…

All in all, a pretty successful summer thus far. I would say the only thing that fell short of expectations, aside from BP, was Miley Cyrus’ summer single. Umm, excuse me Miley, I was depending on you for a light-hearted pick-me-up, a perfectly executed follow-up to Party in the USA and See You Again. Wtf is this Can’t Be Tamed crap!–Bullshit if you ask me.

Bad Case of the Mondays? Here’s What I do.

Monday mornings. They can go one of three ways:

  1. You hang around the water cooler for an extended period of time so that you can brag to your co-workers on what “a phenomenal time I had this weekend. Honestly, I could not have asked for better weather and I just packed it with so many fun activities” until you eventually get the point across: my weekend kicked your weekend’s ass.
  2. You had a pretty good weekend, but now it’s Monday, you’re still in a sleep coma, and your Facebook feed isn’t providing enough fodder for the requisite hour of procrastination you had blocked out on your calendar for this morning (come on people; upload your photos on Sunday night).
  3. Just flat out depression. You accomplished absolutely nothing this past weekend (well, unless you count a marathon of House re-runs as something, and I actually do), and now you’re back at work and all your hopes and dreams are pushed out another 5 days until the next weekend. And on top of that, your plans for that weekend are already falling through.

I’m not going to miss this opportunity to tell you that lately, I’ve been having some really good weekends, so my Monday’s have resembled the 1st scenario.

BUT, today, I’m in Scenario #3. Yes, I had high hopes for this weekend—I had an extensive to-do list, and I was “really going to accomplish things” this weekend. But, incapacitated by crippling hangovers and armed with ample amounts of couch space (and Discovery Channel’s Shark Week reruns from last year), I really couldn’t argue with the merits of a nice 4-hour touch-and-go nap. Both days.

So here’s what I do to beat the bad case of the Mondays:

Craigslist Missed Connections:

“Missed Connections? What’s that?” Only the best section of Craigslist ever. It’s where you find/write romantic stories with people you shared brief–but unforgettably meaningful–moments in time with in the hopes that it will bring the two of you together. Examples include “we both reached for the same supple, white peach in the produce section of Whole Foods this afternoon; I casually giggled and suggested we share it. I want you to be the peach in my life” or, if you’re browsing certain locales in San Francisco “Though I never saw your face, your mouth on the other end of the glory hole this morning was phenomenal; let’s meet again: same time, same hole.”

On Monday mornings, I’ll briefly scan the weekend’s missed connections section, paying close attention to the places I’ve visited this weekend, in the hopes that someone reached out to me. Though most of the time there isn’t anything (there was one, once), you can still find those gems out there, where someone pours out their soul. All over the internet’s classified section. Then, you politely distribute it with 25 of your closest friends and publicly mock this loser in an e-mail string which will surely occupy at least 45 minutes of your time. Mission accomplished.

Gawker’s Recap of the Sunday NYT Weddings page

Every Sunday, Gawker goes over the Weddings Announcements section of the New York Times. Today’s is truly a treat, mostly because Chelsea Clinton got married this weekend (I’ve said it before: my first daughter will be named Hillary; my second will be named Chelsea. I won’t name my son Bill, but I will absolutely consider Clinton, at least as a middle name). Phyllis Neffler echoes my calls for a national conversation about / celebration of Hillary Clinton’s changing hair styles:

“I know we’ve seen the magazine montages, but has anyone written like a serious highbrow coffee table book that explores the rise and fall of the turn-of-the-century late-empire America as expressed via Hillary’s hair? I’m talking high-res images, glossy stock, maybe a little chip that plays Fleetwood Mac every time you open the cover … this could work. I really think this could work.”

Phyllis: count me as the second advanced purchaser of said coffee table book.

While some of her references are a bit obscure, like any good elitist, I politely chuckle at all of them (because A) I don’t want to pretend like I’m not in on the joke and B) I know that had I understood the reference, I would surely find it funny).

The best part of the Sunday’s recap is their patented Vows Scoring System (pasted below). I’ve been using a similar system for ranking potential suitors, but I’m glad someone has finally codified it into (what I hope will become) an internationally recognized rubric. Here it is:

Investment banker: +2
Both Investment bankers: +5
Management Consultant: +1
Both management consultants: +3
Trader: +2
Both traders: +5
High-powered lawyer: +2
Both high-powered lawyers: +5
Teacher at a New York City or Connecticut private school: +2
Parents from New York City or wealthy suburb in Connecticut: +1
New York Times employee: +1
Works in media: +1
Ivy league graduate: +2 *
Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne: +3*
Both Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne: +7*
For each subsequent degree after a B.A.: +1
If bride or groom attended/teach at any school with “Country Day” in
the name: +2
Graduated Cum Laude: +1
Graduated Magna Cum Laude: +2
Graduated Summa Cum Laude: +3
Woman is at ideal age for getting married (25): +1
Man is at ideal age for getting married (27): +1
For each member of couple over 35: -1
Couple met during or before their freshman year in college: +2
Bride or groom goes by middle name = +1
Mother a kindergarten teacher or reading specialist/father a wealthy
industrialist = +3
If the groom is Jewish and the bride Asian: +2
If the groom is Asian and the bride is Jewish: -1
The bride/bridegroom’s first marriage ended in divorce: -2
Descendant/related to somebody famous: +3
Descendant of a founding father: +4
Parent is a trustee or board member of a company or organization: +1
per company/org
Bride or Groom is a board member of a company or organization: +1 per
company/org
Bride “is keeping her name”, “will continue to use her name professionally”: -1
If there is a Jr., II, III or IV in a name: +2
If someone famous comes to the wedding and is mentioned: +2
*Apply to graduate school degrees in addition to B.A.s

The End of an Era: The Hills Series Finale.

It’s the end of an era tonight: the Hills series finale. Normally, series finales don’t move me very much. But this one’s different. They were the same year as me, and consequently, we shared many of the same life experiences together: Prom night, challenging internships with difficult bosses, having our sex tapes splashed over the internet. Who will help me process these life experiences now that they’re leaving? Kim Kardashian? I think not.

If you don’t watch The Hills religiously, don’t worry: neither do I…neither do most people. That’s why it’s in its series finale. In fact, if you’ve watched one episode, essentially you’ve watched all 6 seasons of it. There are usually three plot lines per episode; here they are:

Plot Line #1: LC/Kristin endlessly speculate with their friend, Lo/Whitney, about the likelihood of them dating serial polygamist Brody Jenner, all the while remaining steadfast that really they “see him more like a brother than a lovah.” Here’s the thing, though, about brothers: when they call you on the phone, you don’t drop everything you’re doing to go hang out with them. You don’t write their name over and over again in your notebook and scribble hearts around it. And you don’t get wasted at Les Deux and then go home and make out with them. Kristin/LC: you probably should look into your relationship with your brothers.

Plot Line #2: Idiot Spencer Pratt does something douchey to his wife, idiot Heidi Montag. Heidi seeks out the advice of a member of her family, who gives her the exact same advice that all of us at home are screaming into the television (dump Spencer!!) and then, after 25 seconds of careful deliberation, she gets back together with her husband.

Plot Line #3: Audrina/Justin Bobby “Drama.” I use air quotes here because Audrina uses the term “drama” extremely lightly; she clings on to any form of communication with Justin Bobby and then spends the next 2-6 weeks dissecting it. “He looked at me, what do you think that means?” Umm, that he has sensitive corneas? You see, the problem is that Justin Bobby doesn’t like Audrina enough to date her, but, as Audrina so astutely points out, he has eyeballs. And like any self-respecting male, he cannot pass on that nice piece of ass. On numerous occasions, I’ve contemplated purchasing He’s Just Not that Into You for Audrina, but I’m waiting for the icon-based version of that text to come out as I believe that will be easier for her to grasp.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned (or rather, relearned) from watching The Hills it’s that:

  1. “Boys can be jerks. Huge jerks. Boys sucks, girls rule” and that
  2. Girls are pretty bad at picking up on consistent trends in their love lives; they excel at repeating the exact same mistakes and expecting dramatically different results.

So, cast of The Hills, I’d like to individually bid you one last farewell, even though I’m fairly convinced your lives will continue to play out on the cover of US Weekly for at least another 15 or so seconds.

Stacie the Bartender Roommate.

Stacie, I think I’ll miss you most of all! I thought you were just a fleeting character when you played Spencer Pratt’s mistress in Season 5. But then, miraculously, you reappeared with the subtitle “Kristin’s Friend” in Season 5. Although MTV gave no indication that you were in fact the same Stacie, us prolific Googlers were able to quickly ascertain that you were in fact the Stacie of Bartending fame. We also discovered topless photos of you. I can only imagine that you tested well in the 18-24 demographic. To that, young lady, I say bravo! Look at you translating a minimum wage job where you get harassed by C-list reality-TV stars into a maximum wage job where you get harassed by C-list reality-TV stars. A promotion’s a promotion, and for that, we salute you.

The Pratts

Thank you for making my family look less dysfunctional, that’s quite an accomplishment. Stephanie Pratt—while you are probably the biggest idiot in a family that uses retardation as currency, I’m fairly certain that you will find some other member of the reality television world to cling to. You’ve demonstrated a keen ability to do so thus far, even if it requires throwing members of your family under a bus. Though, to be fair, many of your family members deserved a hearty bus trampling, so no judgments coming from this corner.

Heidi and Spencer—I feel like the further you two slip into obscurity, the louder and more desperate your shenanigans become. And I eagerly await the next one. As a matter of accounting, I believe you’re at your legal limit for divorces/annulments, but I’m fairly confident you’ll manufacture some new vehicle for getting yourself on the cover of tabloids. Maybe Heidi will push the boundaries of plastic surgery even further and install a third boob between the beach balls she already has on her chest. Or Spencer might self-draft himself to be Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential candidate. Do I have ESP? No, I’m not saying that. But are these plausible plot lines for the Montag-Pratts? Based on the course of their lives thus far, absolutely.

Kristin Cavalliri

I must say that was quite the shock when you entered Speidi’s wedding in that blue dress. And boy had I missed you. Thanks for coming back.

You know how dogs can hear really high-pitched noises? Or how ants communicate with each other through smell. Well, I think girls are like dogs/ants. Before you jump up in arms, just bare with me through this analogy.

There are some girls that just rub every other girl they come in contact with the wrong way. Kristin is one of those girls. As guys, we can’t understand why. Cute chick, likes sports and enjoys hanging out with the guys. What’s not to like? Well, guys—I have the answer: Kristin emits a really high-pitched noise/off-putting pheromone that’s undetectable to our testosterone-infused bodies. But rest assured, it’s there. And that’s why she can never get along with other girls. I think I’ll call it Cavalliri syndrome.

I leave you with one last prediction for tonight’s episode: LC returns. And then the show ends. Probably with a pink suitcase in the back of a black convertible.

Where’s the Largest Battle Ever Waged?

Where’s the largest war being waged in the world right now? The answer might surprise you.

On NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday (the best interview show out there), Dave Davies spoke with entomologist Mark Moffett, who has been studying ants for the past 30 years. He just came out with a new book, Adventures with Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions.

The interview is definitely worth listening to! But since you probably won’t, I transcribed the most fascinating part of it for you to read, where he details a battle being waged in your backyard of epic proportions:

Only ants and humans have full-scale impersonal warfare where masses of individuals go after each other and that’s because ants and humans have larger societies than anything else, up to millions of individuals….

The Argentine ants, having the largest societies, have the most amazing warfare of all. Unfortunately they’re an invasive species and they’ve escaped Argentina. They’re now in California and have been for a century, expanding their realm.

But what’s been recently discovered is that there are in fact different colonies there. It was thought that they didn’t fight until someone accidentally took some of them and mixed them up with what turned out to be a different society and they started killing each other.

These societies turn out to be enormous, there are four of them throughout California. The largest of the four is called the Very Large Colony and it extends from San Francisco down to the Mexican border and contains maybe hundreds of billions to maybe a trillion individuals.

This is a single nationality with a single scent so you can carry an individual with you from San Francisco down to Mexico if you’re so inclined and drop it off and it will merge seamlessly with the society there and you can carry that same ant a quarter inch across the border to the next society in Escondido and it will be dead within a minute. And these huge colonies have borders that are miles long and millions of ants are dying each month in people’s backyards out of view at the base of the grasses; basically it’s the largest battle ever waged…

The same colonies are taking over places like Northern New Zealand. There’s a single colony that occupies a thousand kilometers of coastline in Europe. South Africa has a huge colony and so on.

Absolutely fascinating. Who knew ants could be so fiercely nationalistic. The whole interview is worth listening to; other points that piqued my interest:

  1. These are societies built of females; mostly all the ants you see are female, the males are small with wings and die very quickly
  2. They communicate entirely through scent and these scents can be carried throughout societies at an extremely fast pace, more efficient than the way we communicate with each other
  3. Ants have specialized roles, everything from worker to soldier to carrier ant, which is a larger ant that brings her

    Just carrying some friends to war.

    carries dozens of her smaller comrades to the front lines of a battle

  4. Towards the end of their lives, when ants are weak or sick, they march out to the battle lines and guard the borders, serving as martyrs for the greater good of the society
  5. Some ants are capable of killing animals as large as cattle by overwhelming them with sheer force. This is why farmers in Africa never tie up their cattle, lest they be attacked by ants
  6. Ants are farmers; when you see them carrying leaves back to their nests, it’s so they can use them to grow a certain type of fungus they eat.

Wow. Do yourself a favor, and listen to it.

Beau Biden’s Safe. And, exhale…

Last week, Beau Biden (son of Vice President Joe Biden, but more importantly: step-son of Jill Biden) was taken the hospital. No one seemed to care. But I did. You see, I pick somewhat obscure people (I like to set my sights a bit lower and pick people I have a realistic chance of friending in real-life) and become obsessed with them: develop imaginary friendships with them in my mind and think about what I’ll bring to their house if they ever hosted a potluck (tri-tip, FYI)—you know, the usual. Beau Biden is one of those people. Meredith Vierra is another. So are you, Rachel Maddow. Gavin Newsom? Yep, you’re on that list, too.

Luckily, Beau was released yesterday with a healthy prognosis from his doctor. And, all together now: exhale…

In celebration of his safe recovery, it seems only fitting that we revisit probably the best example of campaign propaganda I’ve ever seen (and Beau: I mean that in the best way possible; I’m a sucker for a beautifully choreographed video montage followed by a gut-wrenching speech). Here’s why I love Beau:

[Thanks DemConvention for not letting me embed this, assholes...]

I laughed, I cried. And lucky for you, I documented those emotions and everything in-between; won’t you follow this emotional roller-coaster with me?

Time Stamp What’s on-screen My reaction My inner-dialogue
0:26 Barack: “Joe is the salt of the earth” Playful smirk Oh, Obama
0:35 Joe: “People in my neighborhood don’t like the term working class” Eye roll (and when I roll my eyes, I roll my eyes) Joe, we get it. You were poor. I think there’s only so many times you can say that before I stop believing you, though. Plus, every time you mention your home town of Scranton, we’re all thinking of Michael Scott, which probably isn’t the image you’d like to evoke.
0:46 Beau: “My Dad…” Baited eyes who’s this?? Oh hi, Beau! Nice of you to join me in my living room on this fine August night.
0:55 Beau: “…to a young man that gets elected to the Senate at the age of 29 years old” Alerted inquisitiveness Note to self: fact-check this later. If true, figure out how to replicate success. Consider moving to fake-states like Delaware.
1:13 Enter Jill Biden Slight stomach pains, intense smile Is this what love feels like?
3:05 Dramatic Celine Dion music in the background; Jill in the foreground Eyes wandering up and to the right (i.e. the general direction of the future) Mmm, this Hope/Change kool-aide tastes really good.
3:10 Picture of Joe and Barack, close to locking lips Eye-brow tilt Are Barack and Joe about to make out? This picture intrigues me. Will dig up later and possibly photo shop to make even more incriminating.
3:52 Another near-makeout photo of the presidential duo Continued eye-brow tilt This is getting suspicious. Although, they are both decently attractive, so I guess on some level it makes sense.
5:10 Beau: “the truth is, he almost wasn’t a senator at all” Confused; scared What?!?! Go on, Beau, tell me more…
5:55 Beau: “He said then, ‘Delaware can get another Senator, but my boys cannot get another father” One solitary tear begins to well up in my eye Here they come…
6:38 Beau: “Five years later, WE—my brother, Dad and I—decided to marry my mother, Jill” Tears. Lots and lots of tears. Gushing down my face. They…are…so…perfect.
8:55 Beau: “So I have something to ask of you: be there for my Dad, like he’s been there for me.” Exuberance Where do I sign, Beau Biden?

I Present To You: Stefani Germanotta

I present to you Stefani Germanotta, an Italian broad from Manhattan. You may know her as Lady Gaga.

Coincidentally, she was in an episode of MTV’s Boiling Point a few years ago, the show which tested unsuspecting people to see how much shit they would put up with until they cracked. Spoiler altert: Gaga doesn’t make it the whole time.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. What? She’s normal? It’s weird seeing Gaga without an orbiting ring around her head or a cluster of Kermit The Frogs pinned to her blouse. Or without blood gushing out of her body. Or not showing her cooch.
  2. She’s a brunette. It looks good. It looks healthy (the current Gaga looks anything but).
  3. She’s vulnerable. She has insecurities. She doesn’t like sitting at a table, alone (who does, I guess?). At 0:23, she does that awkward hair toss which proves it. You know the one I’m talking about, you’ve probably done it before: your nose is slightly cocked up as you glance around the room as if to tell everyone “Yes, I am alone right now, but I’m usually surrounded by tens of people.” Here’s some advice for the next time, Gaga: do what the rest of us do—bring a book and pretend you’re reading it.
  4. Her full name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Italian Guidette McStereotype says what? Move over J-Wow, because I smell the newest addition to the Jersey Shore crew.

    After some extensive research as to how Gaga got her name (Wikipedia…is there any other form of extensive research??), turns out it’s a funny story (not haha-funny, more like good cocktail conversation-funny):

    Oh man, I was going to wear that.

    “Every day, when Stef came to the studio, instead of saying hello, I would start singing ‘Radio Ga Ga.’ That was her entrance song. [Lady Gaga] was actually a glitch; I typed ‘Radio Ga Ga’ in a text and it did an autocorrect so somehow ‘Radio’ got changed to ‘Lady’. She texted me back, “That’s it.” After that day, she was Lady Gaga. She’s like, “Don’t ever call me Stefani again.”

    T-9: even when you’re wrong, you’re right.

On the whole, I don’t like seeing Stefanie Germanotta this way. In general, I don’t like hearing her speak, even in interview. It makes her seem more human, more real. And I don’t like it…I don’t like it one bit.

In other Gaga-news, an audio clip was released last week of Britney Spears demoing Telephone, synthesized and everything, just the way a good Britney single should be. Apparently, Gaga wrote the song for Britney, but when Britney passed, Gaga recorded it with Beyonce. It’s kind of an interesting look into how the music production industry works – check it out (and yes, I’m linking to Perez Hilton; don’t be fooled, I don’t read that site. It’s the only place with the full demo, though).

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