Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Gaffe Heard Round the World

Is Paula Abdul crazier than a bedbug? Don't answer that question, because the answer is yes. Last night, during AI, she criticized Jason Castro before he had sung his second song. She claimed that she was just reading her notes for another performer, but she clearly thought that Jason had sung two songs because she said so. Despite the fact that Ryan only asked for the judges thoughts on the FIRST song.

She claimed on Ryan Seacrest's radio talk show that she got confused because they were only supposed to give feedback at the end of show, not in the middle, so her notes about another performer got screwed up with her Jason Castro notes. Yeah right Paula. And that's just Coke in your cup (alledgedly!).

I really felt for poor Jason Castro when she told him that she didn't think he was doing enough to get into the final four right before he had to sing his second song. Clearly she wasn't talking about David Archuleta or David Cook, or the two other girls in the competition. She had to have meant Jason Castro. My feeling is that she was reading off her notes from watching the rehearsal earlier in the day on his card. Because she was actually right in that Jason Castro looks like he's sleepwalking through the rest of the competition. Like he can't believe he's gotten this far on what seems to have been a lark, and now he might actually be with in spitting distance of winning it. Holy Bong Water Batman!

Is it just me or is it pretty obvious that the judges and the producers are hoping for an all David finale? The emo rocker vs. the cute kid. Maybe I've reached reality TV saturation but I'm not really invested this year the way I have been in the past. I think that David Cook will make a great album which I would buy and listen to but little David? Not so much. I haven' t bought Jordin Sparks CD either.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ugh, I drank too much coffee!

Oh my god, I think I have a coffee hangover! How is that possible? That's the last time I drink about 5 cups of coffee before I go to bed. I couldn't sleep at all last night, and now my tummy feels a little funky. Why did I drink so much coffee? Well, I was helping out a friend doing a blind coffee tasting. I hate coffee on a good day, the only good cup of coffee I've ever had in my life was in Venice. So this morning, I had to drink tea, because I just couldn't face a cup of joe.

I turn on the computer this morning and people are still debating the Miley Cyrus photos in Vanity Fair. All I have to say is that her parents and her handlers were with her on the shoot, they all looked at the photos as they were being shot. The only reason they are backtracking now is because there was a hue and cry about them looking like child pornography. If anyone had been praising the photos, Disney and Miley would be crowing about how brilliant Annie Leibowitz is (and she is brilliant). Don't blame Vanity Fair or Annie Leibowitz. Let's face it, its a coup that they wanted Miley on the cover and its not even the July or January issues which are usually the ones where they put untried celebrities. They didn't take advantage of poor, little Miley. That girl is as tough as old boots. This isn't the first time she's had to explain herself for racy photos. The other times, the photos were taken by her and her friends.

She's clearly a teenage girl, testing her boundaries, only this time on the cover of a major publication. The photos are no more racy then anything Britney did for her first album. Remember the picture of her on the cover of Rolling Stone, in her little skimpy bra and panties? When teenagers starlets/singers have to start posing so provacatively? I don't remember this happening with Connie Francis and Sandra Dee, not to mention Marie Osmond. Even Hilary Duff was smarter and savvier but then was Vanity Fair and Annie Leibowitz calling?

On to more fun stuff, next week, my friend Leanna Renee Heiber will be visiting the blog to celebrate her new release Dark Nest from Crescent Moon Press. So stay tuned for her interview on Monday.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, April 28, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

I'm sorry, is not that the cutest picture ever? And I know I've used this title before, but its one of my favorite Carpenters songs.

Its pouring down rain here today, which required me to break out my adorable navy blue rainboots with the white polkadots and the pink trim in order to keep my feet from getting soaking wet.

My weekend was totally boring for the most part, except for Saturday night when I went out with one of my bestest friends to a lovely Indian restaurant called Surya in the West Village, where I had two delicious mango drinks after a very long day. It started at 6:00 when I had to get up to get downtown to the Tribeca Cinema for my volunteer assignment at the Film Festival. Basically it was putting out breakfast food for the teenage Film Festival Fellows. There were about 20 of them, who get to hang out at the festival, watch movies and then pitch a movie idea at the end of their week.

I was done by 10 am but after that I went over to the Philoctetes Center for a talk on Literature and Pyschoanalysis. I'll spare you what the talk was about because basically I spent the entire time making a list of Scandalous Women I want to write about. Productive but not really what the event was about. I did perk up whenever they started talking about Shakespeare and Freud vs. Jung which is one of my favorite topics.

After an unhappily brief conversation with cutie pie author, I had to run home because I had taken the wrong copy of the Helen Mirren autobiography for my friend. I had taken my copy not hers with the inscription from Helen Mirren. Luck was with me, because I managed to get home and back downtown in basically an hour.

Oh, and I received my Golden Heart scores which were interesting to say the least. It ran the gamut from a high of 9 to the low of 4.5 (which is exactly half of the highest score), the rest were 2 high 8's and a 7. Since there is no feedback, I'll never know why judge 3 hated the book so much and my judge 1 liked it a great deal. My average was 37.8 which was just shy of getting me into the top tier of judging.

I'm glad I entered the Golden Heart because it got me over my contest fears. I think everyone should enter a contest at least once in their writing life, whether its a contest for unpubbed or pubbed like the RITA's. I may even enter MUCH ADO ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL, in the Stiletto contest or even another RWA contest. Who knows!

In the meantime, for those who live in the tri-state area, stay dry!

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Last night I went to a roundtable called 'The Psycho-Neurology of the Photographic Arts' at the Philoctetes Center. I've blogged about roundtables that I've been to before, and I still feel like I have the smallest IQ in the room when I go there, but considering how much reality TV I watch and how many brain cells must have died after each episode, is it any wonder? Still I had to look at my blog Scandalous Women just to remind myself that I am indeed intelligent and can put two sentences together.

While some of things that were discussed went way over my head, there were some pertinent subjects that I found particularly interesting. And the panelists were incredibly lively and engaged, which is what you want. I would rather see disagreements and heated discussion than everyone kind of being polite to each other. There was a lot of talk about optical nerves and whether how we look at and interpret an image is cultural or biological. I'll spare you the answer to that since I was totally confused at this point. And the panelists couldn't agree either!

I was particularly struck by Robert Polidori who is a photographer who seems to specialize in photographing rooms instead of people. I found that incredibly interesting. There was much ribbing and questioning when he said that in the act of photographing a subject or a room, he has no emotion at that moment, before and afterwards yes, but not at the time that he clicks the shutter. That right then he has to be objective.

There was also a discussion of black and white photography versus color, which was better or worse. I personally prefer black and white photography unless its fashion photography, although I've seen some stunning images from the 1950's. Robert Polidori made a funny comment about his use of color is related to the acid trips that he took in the 60's. I totally get that even though I have never indulged myself (I'm a child of the 80's although apparently acid made a brief comeback in the 90's at least according to this artist I used to know who dropped it frequently). There's something about color photography that's particularly modern, whereas I feel that black and white photography is timeless, a black and white image from the 19th century can look just as modern as one from the 1960's in many ways.

Images in color can also be more shocking. I went to see this exhibit at the American Museum of Folk Art called Dargerism, which is about artwork influenced by a man named Henry Darger. Wikipedia can explain who Henry Darger is better than I can here. I can tell you that his artwork features little girls with angelic faces who also for some reason have penises. A photographer who was inspired by his artwork had created pictures where young women had been photoshopped onto the bodies of prebubescent girls. The colors in the pictures were incredibly bright and I found the images much more shocking in color than the photos that Lewis Carroll took in the 19th Century. Maybe its because Carroll wasn't trying to shock whereas this photographer clearly did.

It also struck me how in the Darger paintings the girls had an innocence about them which wasn't present in the photographs. Even though in several of them the girls were naked (and had penises). While Darger may have had sinister intentions for the girls, its under the surface, whereas in the photographs it was clearly blatant. I found afterwhile I couldn't look at the photos, I had to move on.

One of the panelists, who I was calling in my head, rather pompous posh dude (his real name is David Freedberg and he teaches Art History at Columbia. He has one of those hybrid accents, in his case South Africa via Yale and Oxford. What my Impossibly Handsome British friend calls a passion killing accent) made a comment about emotion in art and how good art should have been made without emotion or something like that. Which kind of ticked me off. Because how can you say that an artist isn't trying to invoke an emotion with his artwork? Or that he wasn't emotional when he chose the subject or when he was in the act of creation. Van Gogh's artwork is all about passionate emotion.

I'm one of those people who totally responds to a piece of art emotionally. I don't know anything about brushstrokes or chiascuro or anything like that. I can admire a painting but unless it evokes an emotional response in me, I'm not going to love it. Which is why I love the pre-Raphaelites and the Impressionist painters and most modern art leaves me cold. I believe that most artists create out of some sort of emotion or they're trying to invoke something emotional response in the viewer. If you've ever seen any of William Blake's paintings, they are very passionate and totally correspond with his world view and his poetry.

The Sleeping Princess (Frances MacDonald)

Which do you prefer painting or photography? Black & white or color? Do you believe that most artists create out of emotion or is it more calculated than that?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh Snap!

So a judge just sentenced Wesley Snipes to three years in prison for failing to file his income tax returns. Seriously? Martha Stewart got less time for insider trading. Nicole Richie got less time and she had drugs in her car and was clearly high when she was arrested. First time drug dealers get less time than Wesley Snipes is getting. Hell, drunk drivers don't even get this much time. Most of them get off with a warning the first time, and maybe a fine, depending on whether or not they injured someone when they were driving.

Isn't having to pay back $41 million punishment enough? Considering that while he's in prison, he can't make any movies to pay back the money he owes. And shouldn't there be a cap on penalty and fines? I mean even the public library after awhile stops charging you if the book is over due like a year.

I'm not even a huge Wesley Snipes fan and I think its wrong. I sometimes wonder about judges. Like do they think they have to be harsher on a celebrity than they would be for an average joe? Or did the judge think that Blade III sucked as much as I did despite Ryan Reynolds?

I know that Wesley Snipes probably will get his sentence reduced on appeal and not even have to serve most of that time. I just still think its ridiculous that he was given a sentence like that at all. It just goes to show you that just because you are celebrity, and you hire someone to do your taxes, you need to make sure that they are done. None of this, "Well I thought they were filed." You can't just leave it and hope that they are doing there job (that was Snipes's excuse). Seriously if you are making big bucks you have to be extra diligent. Even if you are not making big bucks you should still ask your tax accountant to explain what they did before you sign your returns.

We all hate paying our taxes but its a necessary evil and don't rich people get more tax breaks than the middle class do anyway? Or single people? And he has like 4 or 5 kids, so that's several tax breaks right there.

Moral of the story? File your taxes on time.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Terrible Thursday

What is wrong with the world? I come home from having drinks with my friends to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday (yes, we are weird like that), to find out that Carly Smithson has been booted off American Idol after one of her better performances. Not only that, but Syesha Mercardo, who also rocked the house was in the bottom two. And not, Brooke 'let me start my song again' White or Jason 'I didn't know a cat sang Memory' Castro.

Seriously Jason, you didn't know a cat sang it. Did the fact that the musical is called 'CATS' confuse you? Maybe you should put that bong down and focus a little (not that I know for sure that he partakes of the wacky-tabacky). And Brooke, this is the second time that you've restarted a song during competition. Not good. I have never in 7 seasons of American Idol seen any contestant do that, and repeatedly get away with it!

I fastforwarded through Top Model and Top Chef, watching both in like an hour. Its amazing how much more interesting TM is when you fast forward through Tyra yacking, and cut to the chase during the judge's panel. And Top Chef? I'm getting a little tired of the cheftestants looking down on the challenges. Antonia and Lisa choosing not to use polish sausage when the card they pulled clearly asked for it was ridiculous. They don't like Polish sausage? Tough! Dale and Richard managed to make something tasty out of tofu so what was their problem? Although I wouldn't serve that dish to a vegetarian.

Bad week people. First Starbucks starts labeling the calorie content of their food and now this. Seriously, now that I know the calorie content, I can't order anything anymore, apart from my usual chai latte. Its taken all the fun out of eating the sweets. I didn't need to know that Cinnamon low-fat coffee cake actually has 310 calories, which isn't really that much less than the full-fat stuff.

Oh, and is anyone surprised that Star Jones is getting a divorce? She can join Terry McMillan in the 'I married a gay guy' club (not that I really know that Al Reynolds is gay, but seriously?).

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Would You Eat In This Restaurant?

Thanks to my friend Maria for sending me the link to this little adventure. It's called Dinner in the Sky. And for $11, 444 for eight hours, this adventure can be yours!

Dinner in the Sky: A chef prepares meals while diners enjoy panoramic views harnessed in seats that swivel 180 degrees, suspended via a crane.

Dubbed Dinner in the Sky, the attraction is making its U.S. debut in Orlando at the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions convention. About 25,000 attendees are expected at the one-stop-shopping event, where the amusement industry rolls out new thrill rides and related products.

The high-flying dining venue was introduced in Europe last year and consists of a platform suspended from a crane. Guests are harnessed into 22 seats, with space in the center for a chef and two helpers. With local officials' blessings, the platform can be transported to just about anywhere the crane can maneuver. One recent spot: in front of the Amiens Cathedral in France, with dinner prepared by a three-star Michelin chef.

'It was like eating with the 12 apostles and Jesus Christ,' quips David Ghysels, co-founder of the Belgium-based company. Ghysels sees all sorts of U.S. possibilities for the dangling restaurant, including air space over the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and golf courses. 'I think human beings always like to see what's happening from the air,' he says. 'And there are so many wonderful natural spots in the U.S. Dinner in the Sky could go anywhere.'

Are they crazy? Who would spend that kind of money to eat hanging off a crane except for crazy, rich people? Seriously, it was all I could do to drink champagne while on the London Eye last year. In fact, thank god I had the champagne, and the London Eye is basically a giant ferris wheel.

Considering how many people have died recently in New York in construction accidents I can't see it coming here. Oh, what am I saying I'm sure it will come here, probably downtown in Battery Park and Trump will be one of the first people to have dinner.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oh No She Didn't!

MY Kristi did it! She scored a 30 last night for her jive with Mark Ballas, who has to be the best choreographer of the group of professional dancers this season. He knows how to play to Kristi's strengths, and he knows how to teach as well. Pretty awesome for someone who is only like 23 years old. Of course, he has been dancing since he was in utero since his parents are ballroom dancing champs.

Mario and Katrina did a nasty, raunchy rumba to Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get it On,' which DANCMSTR Len hated, but what did he expect with that song. Its kind of hard to do any dance without it getting raunchy, that's the point of the song. Thank god, they didn't dance to 'Sexual Healing.' Len would have had a coronary. As it was, Bruno called him 'crusty and stiffy.'

Poor Marlee, unless they go back to either a Quickstep or a Foxtrot, she's going to be lost. Right now, it looks like Fabien is jerking her around the dance floor to the rhythm. However, I gave her all 21 of my votes because I would rather she stay than Marissa Jaret, who is working my last nerve. She needs to lay off the sugar or take a valium. She's exhausting.

Christian de la Fuente was all over my TV this weekend, what with Viva Hollywood and DWTS last night. He was very funny on Sunday, trying to convince Vinci to do a gay love scene and Vinci freaking out. And then when he criticized Roseny, who got attitude, like 'Who the heck are you?' Someone with a career, honey, which is what you are trying to get out of this experience. So shut up and listen! Anyway, he did a very nice foxtrot on DWTS.

On The Bachelor, for some reason, Matt let Noelle go home, even though he said in a voice-over, that he could see spending the rest of his life with her. WTF? Chelsea doesn't want to hold hands, and Shayne only wants to be a huge star, Noelle was genuine. Seriously, he's going to be sorry he kept either one of those other than Noelle. I think he's blinded by Shayne's sex kitten attitude. But seriously, if he picks her, is he going to move to LA? Because there is no way than she's going to have a career in the UK, except as a TV presenter. Her next move after this show is DWTS. And Lorenzo still looks good, although you could tell that he pretty much abandoned her during childhood for his other wives/kids. And her mother (along with Priscilla Presley) is the poster child for reasons not to have plastic surgery. Although I couldn't tell if maybe she might have had an accident or something.

Wow, Amanda, huge risk using your hometown date to play a prank on Matt. Good thing he found it funny, eventually. Amanda had hired actors to play her parents, including drunk Mom hitting on him, and conservative Dad. My question is this, why would you waste your homedate to play a joke? I have a feeling that he is going to choose her in the end.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Movie Madness

Even though the weather was gorgeous this weekend, I spent most of it in the library, doing research for my WIP, and also editing said WIP (I need to cut 4 pages out of the chapter from hell since it now is 15 pages and I still haven't finished it yet). But I still found time to watch 3 movies that I took out of the library.

Movie #1 was Miss Potter, about Beatrix Potter and her relationship with Henry Warne. I really wanted to enjoy this movie, but I couldn't get over Renee Zwellweger and her Bridget Jones accent. I know its mean of me, but I just couldn't imagine her sitting down and creating Peter Rabbit and the cutesy moments when the drawings came to life just didn't do it for me.

Movie #2 was Pirates of the Carribbean, something about the World's End, which came out last summer. This thing was almost 3 hours long and it bored me silly. I had no idea what was going on half the time and I didn't really care. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow wore thin about the middle of the second movie. In this sequel there were way too many of him, and I didn't get the ending, although it appeared that they were setting it up for Pirates of the Carribbean 4, God forbid. Seriously, none of the actors can need the money that much that they would agree to a 4th movie.

Movie #3 was Shoot'Em Up, which is worth it only if you are a serious Clive Owen fan or you like excessive violence. I hated this movie with a passion and I love Clive Owen. I would fight Megan for Clive Owen, if he came to New York and said he had divorced his wife. This movie, meh. Although it was amusing to see Paul Giametti as a hitman, who has a crew of men who couldn't hit the side of a barn, let alone Clive Owen since at no time did any of them seriously hit him, despite the hail of bullets that they let fly. Interesting love scene though. And why was Monica Belluci in this film? Seriously, stay in Europe, honey where they know what to do with you.

So, 3 movies, 3 not very good experiences. The best part of my weekend was discovering my new guilty pleasure, Viva Hollywood on Vh-1, which is hysterical. 12 Latino actors in a house competing to see who will be the next telenovela star for Telemundo. I love this show from the contestants to the bad scripts to the weird astrologer guy Walter Mercado who looks kinda like a man/woman (see Bobby Trendy) to the 7 Deadly Sins of Telenovelas. Plus it stars Maria Conchita Alonso and Charo shows up in an episode.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, April 18, 2008

The Most Pretentious Couple in New York?

The Real Housewives of New York City is one of my guilty pleasures. For one thing, none of these women are housewives, apart from the Countess deLesseps, and she has a housekeeper who seems to do everything while she gives orders. But the couple that really makes this show is Alex McCord and her husband Simon Van de Kampen.

Seriously they have to be one of the most pretentious couples on the planet, but you can't hate them for it. You just have to laugh as you watch Simon insist that his son Francois (for the record Simon is Australian and Alex is American, so why there kid has a French name is anyone's guess) ask for a lemonade in French. In a restaurant in Brooklyn no less. Although if they had been eating at Florent or Pastis, that might actually have flown.

Alex doesn't believe in having a 'girl's night' out. In fact, when she was invited to one, she brought her husband along, which freaked out Ramona, who is a nutbar all on her own. She and Simon do everything together, including shopping. If you have ever wanted your husband to go shopping with you and be interested, trust me, you won't after seeing the episode where the two of them dropped thousands shopping in St. Bart's. They even wear matching thongs on the beach.

The couple have a French au pair to try and get Francois to learn to speak French, but this kid is resisting it with every fiber of his being. The best episodes were watching them get ready to go to the Met opening night and the episode where they took their child to a charter school for an interview. However, I was surprised that they actually enrolled him a public school instead of the Lycee Francais or some other school in New York where they teach languages from an early age (although seriously since they live in New York, they might be better having Francois learn Spanish as well).

The glee with which they looked to see if Alex had made the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times was hilarious (by the way she wore Roberto Cavalli). And the way they talk about climbing the social ladder in New York. Is this really something that people concern themselves with? I say this from the bottom rung of the social ladder and because I can think of other things I would want to spend $10,000, and none of them are tickets to the opera.

On the one hand, I think its sweet that they love each so much and they love spending time together, but they seriously need some other friends. I mean does Simon even have any male friends? At least Alex now has the cast of TRHONYC. I do give them props for eschewing the Hamptons for St. Bart's, but points are taking away for Simon wearing a thong on the beach.

I can't wait to see what is in store for them next season.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Crowd Control

Yeah, today, blogger let me put the picture up. Isn't it cute?
Okay, blogger has decided to give me fits today, after being nice all morning. What's up with that? Why is always when I decide I want to post a picture that blogger gets all bitchy?

Well, today's theme is crowd control and I had a really great picture to post but it will have to wait until blogger behaves better. When I mean crowd control, I'm talking about those scenes in a novel when you have lots of people around doing stuff. Generally those scenes occur, in historicals, at fancy balls or on the battlefield etc. I try to avoid these scenes as much as possible, because I'm always worried, I'm going to forget someone right in the middle and leave them stranded, until I remember they need to be in the scene.

So far in my WIP, I've managed to keep the crowd scenes down to a minimum, but it gets rather hard at times, since my main character is attending a women's college in 1895. At some point, I have to have scenes with more than 3 people in them. I've had to go back and rewrite scenes set in the dining hall just to give a sense that there were more people in the room then the 4 characters talking.

Now I have my characters at my fictional equivalent of Lake Mohonk, and the Mohonk Mountain House. They are having an outing involving the freshmen and junior classes, including the chaperons, I have about 8 characters who need to speak to move the plot along, which means a lot of juggling. Not only do I have 8 characters who need to speak, but I have to make sure that they are all clearly defined so that they all don't sound alike. Oh, and I have to move the plot along as well.

Fortunately, this is the only huge scene that I have until Thanksgiving in the book. But its taking me ages to write this one chapter, and that's even without going back and editing it. I feel right now like I'm going to be stuck on chapter 9 forever.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire's Blackmailed Martyr-Complex Secretary Mistress Bride

Oh mighty god! You have got to read this. If you love Harlequin Presents, or if you have laughed your ass of at the titles every month in the bookstore, this is for you. It all started on

Isn't it Romance here. Chapters Two and Three can be found here, and here on Kate Rothwell's blog.

You will laugh, and you will cry!

Food and Political Parties

According to an article in the dining section of New York Times today, what you eat, can indicate which political candidate you might be learning towards. How weird is that? For example, if you like white wine and Fig Newtons, you might be vote for Hillary but if you prefer olive oil and something called Bear Naked granola, you're an Obama Girl.

Also, some foods are supposedly Republican and some Democratic. Did you know Dr. Pepper is a Republican soda? Seriously, how can that be true? Didn't anyone see those commercials from the 70's with David Naughton dancing around, drinking Dr. Pepper, singing 'Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" Does that sound Republican to you? Unless it was some kind of brainwashing.

Now drinking brown liquors like boubon and scotch, being the Republican drinks of choice I can believe. We all know about our President's former love of Jim Beam. And didn't JR Ewing drink bourbon and branch on Dallas? You know that he was a Republican. Since I don't like red wine, I'll glad leave that to my Republican brethren, and hope that Ann Coulter spills her next glass, although that might be why she wears all those little black dresses on her skanky right-wing ass.

Anyway, read the article and tell me what you think. Do you agree or disagree with this theory? Ever seen a Republican in Popeye's?

P.S. - Apparently Cindy McClain's family receipes on the McCain web-site came from the Food Network! Quelle Scandal! Of course they blamed the intern. Why is always the intern?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Everything I know about Romance I learned From Dancing with the Stars

Last night was Latin Night on Dancing with the Stars. Was everyone as excited as I was? No? Since I take Latin Ballroom Dancing classes at Dancesport, I was excited to see the celebrities performing two dances that I actually know something about, the rumba and the samba.

I have to say how impressed I am with how well the dancers performing the samba did considering they only had a week to learn a choreographed routine. I've been taking samba lessons for a year now and I'm probably at the same level as Marissa Jaret Winokur. Samba is hard, and ballroom samba is even harder. There's the bounce factor, where your body is supposed to be going in two different directions. And samba moves! Ideally not just across the floor but around the room. I can't tell you how tired I am after taking an hour samba class.

The rumba is my favorite dance, I even wrote a post during the last season of DTWS about my love for the rumba. As Len and Mark said, the rumba expresses vertically what goes on horizontally. Its all about the push me/pull me aspect of romance. You want him but you don't want to want him. Kind of like in romance novels, when you bring the hero and heroine together and then you pull them apart only to bring them back together again. Only there is no black moment in rumba!

So I was very happy that MY Kristi and Mark got the highest scores for a beautiful dance. I even forgive Mark for wearing lavendar shoes (seriously what is up with that?). Even though Kristi felt the need to decide they had to play characters (Kristiana and Markutio), they were very romantic and sensual.

In second place was hottie Jason Taylor dancing with Edyta who in every dance has to remind you of how long her legs are and how flexible she is. We get it, now can you showcase your partner instead of yourself? Mario and Katrina did a great samba but I couldn't get over how orange she looked. Seriously, all that spraytanning cannot be good for you. And Louis von Amstel and Priscilla Presley? Sigh! I really wanted them to do a good rumba, but she just looked uncomfortable although kudos to being able to do a split to the floor when you're 62. Too bad she had such a hard time getting back up. Talk about awkward.

I still want my Kristi to win although I did vote for Marlee Matlin and Priscilla Presley (how nice of ABC to allow you to vote from 3 different emails) as well.

On to The Bachelor. Matt really went up a notch this week in my estimation by booting off Robin. Little Miss "I've lived in London and my parents have a tea maker" deserved to go. She was rude to the other contestants and seriously condescending. Marshana was right for calling her out on that. Although Omarosa jr. needed to dial it down a notch. Just because you tried rugby and skiing and showed you were a good sport (not really) doesn't mean that Matt should pick you. And her hissy fit over Chelsea and Robin was ludicrous. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. They may have been attacking your character, but you were not classy about the way you defended yourself.

Note to contestants, if you have to suggest to Matt how much you would like to bring him home to meet your family, and instead of it coming from him, you're pretty much going home. I knew that Marshana was going home, because she had more screen time then ever in this episode, and Matt made no effort to kiss her at all, at any time, during the episode, and he kissed everyone else. Robin with her 'Bon Soir' good-bye was hilarious. I sort of knew when she said that she was 95% sure of getting a rose, that she was going home, plus Matt's lame excuse that he hadn't given her a one-on-one date because she'd been so good at stealing time from the others during the episodes.

I'm not sure why he kept Chelsea though, since she doesn't really like to be affectionate and he does. Come on, that's not really going to change in the course of this show. And Shayne Lamas, why is she on this show? She's a hot, little blonde, who I'm sure has not been without a date since even before she hit puberty. This is not the first reality TV show she's taken part in. She was dating a guy who has a show on MTV that she appeared on. Methinks that Miss Shayne is hoping to get a career boost out of this. I can't imagine Matt picking her in the end. She's whiny, needy and brings her make-up on the ski slope for touch-ups. WTF?

I think it's going to come down to the interchangeable brunettes, Amanda and Noelle. He clearly likes brunettes, and they both seem down to earth and relatively down to earth. We all know though that whowever he chooses, unless she's willing to move to the UK, she's toast.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, April 14, 2008

When Life Gives You Lemons....

Hey, I'm back from NEC in one piece but boy am I tired! Pretending to be an extrovert even for 3 days is tiring. I came home last night, unpacked and settled down to watch one of the movies I had waiting on Netflix, Suburban Girl with Sarah Michelle Gellar, but I had to stop it in the middle to take a short nap. Of course the fact that the movie was less than engrossing was part of the problem. The movie was based on a few of the stories in Melissa Bank's collection, The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing which came out years ago. SMG plays an associate editor at a publishing house who walks down the street correcting manuscripts, which immediately seemed fake to me.

Anyway, back to the conference. I wish I could tell you everything that happened, but you know what they say, what happened in Natick, stays in Natick. I can tell you that I had the trip from hell on Friday. First of all, my bus which was supposed to stop in Framingham didn't. This was after it ended up leaving New York at 10:40 a.m. when the bus was supposed to leave at 10:00, so already I'm behind. I end up in Boston at the bus station which also happens to be where Amtrack, the T, and also the commuter rail collide. So I'm thinking great, I'll just take the commuter rail to West Natick like I did last year. However, I missed the 2:45 (which I would have made if the bus had arrived in Boston at 2:00 like it was supposed to instead of 3) and I had to wait for the 4 p.m.

I bought a copy of The New Yorker, and drank some bubble tea while I waited. Finally the board stated that my train was arriving on track 8 and I get on the train and decide to call for the shuttle to pick me up at the train station to take me to the hotel. Disaster strikes again and my phone dies on me, despite the fact that it had been recharging all night long! Instead of dwelling on that, I just decide, hey, I'll take a taxi from the train station to the hotel, not biggie. I'm sure you can guess what happened next. Yup, it turned out I was on the wrong train, heading to Stoughton, instead of Worcester, which was the train that I needed to take.

By this time, I'm in tears. The conductor, who was completely unsympathetic, suggested that I just go back to Boston and then take another train to West Natick but by this time I had been traveling for 6 hours straight. There was no way that I was going to travel for another 2 hours (depending on what time the train from Stoughton was going to leave for Boston and then the travel time from Boston to West Natick), so I ended up taking a cab from Stoughton to West Natick. Guess how much it cost! $75.00 that's how much. And to think that I took the bus to save money because Amtrak was so expensive.

When I got to the hotel, I decided that I had a choice: I could let my experience color my whole weekend, or I could get over it. I took door no. 2 and got over it. Of course, the glass of white wine in the hotel lobby bar helped immensely. As did the bath I took later that night after the dessert buffet and the compliments I got on my little black dress that I wore. Not even the fact that dinner for me consisted mainly of potatoes and salad got me down. Sometimes when life gives you lemons, you just have to make lemonade. In this case, Mike's Hard Lemonade, but you get my drift.

Saturday was workshops. I went to Mollie O'Keefe's workshop on conflict which was great, and then the talk with Suze Brockmann, who I later stalked at the book fair to find out if she was going to be able to attend our GAA awards to accept her Lifetime Achievement Award. The two Eileens, Cook and Rendahl gave a great talk on writing funny. Lunch was wonderful, normally they have sandwiches, but this year they had yummy pasta. Oh, and Susan Wiggs gave a great Keynote speech at breakfast that was unfortunately ruined for me by the fact that there were people at my table who talked all through her speech. Why do people do that? You ruin it for everyone at your table who might actually want to hear the speaker. Seriously do not talk during Keynote speeches or leave the room.

After lunch, I went to Elaine Spencer and Deidre Knight's talk on the Agent/Client relationship which was great, and then the editor/agent panel session where I learned that Harlequin is starting a seperate YA imprint from Kimani Tru. Bookfair I was incredibly good and only bought 3 books, Marissa Doyle's new YA, and books by the two Eileens. Dinner was at this groovy Japanese buffet, but why is it than when you got to a buffet you feel the need to stuff yourself? Like you have to eat your money's worth, or you won't be satisfied. Well, I definitely ate $28 worth of food that was for sure. The seared tuna sushi with a mustard sauce was excellent, I only wish I had eaten more it.

Sunday, Kwana, Megan and I took the bus back and I'm happy to report that the return trip went smoothly. We actually got into New York a half an hour early.

So NEC was very productive. I came back itching to go back to work on my YA manuscript. I need to finish chapter 9 this week, and then its time to go back and read it all and edit before I start outlining the next 5 chapters.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A to Zed Tag

A. Attached or Single - Single and I don't want to be. Know any single men?

B. Best Friend – Too many to name, but a shout out to Natalie, Susi, and Lucy!

C. Cake or Pie –Cake always, and it had better be chocolate.

D. Day of Choice – Friday, because the weekend is about to start

E. Essential Item – Nars Talitha Lipgloss

F. Favorite Color -Red, my power color, I look fantastic in it!

G. Gummy Bears or Worms – Neither, Sour Patch Kids
H. Hometown -I'm a New York City girl

I. Indulgence – Champagne

J. January or July – Neither. November is the only month

K. Kids – 0

L. Life isn't complete without - Lobster

M. Marriage date- See A

N. Number of brothers and sisters -1 Sister, 2 Deceased Brothers

O. Oranges or Apples - Golden Delicious

P. Phobias - Fears – Fear of snakes which is actually also a phobia

Q. Quote - "Fasten you seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night"

R. Reason to smile –None at the moment

S Season of Choice - Fall. My birthday is in the Fall

T. Tag None

U.Unknown fact about me – There only 34 Seniors in my graduating class in High School

V. Vegetable – Spinach

W. Worst Habit - Being a people pleaser

X. X-ray or Ultrasound - I've never had either

Y. Your Fave Food - lobster.

Z. Zodiac – Scorpio/Dragon

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Weekend in New England

I'm off to Massachusetts tomorrow for the NEC conference and of course I've left things to the last minute to do, like color my hair, buy sneakers, and toiletries to take along with me.

They are having a little black dress party and since I'm trying to save money for National (San Francisco c'est tres expensive), I'm wearing this BCBG dress that I bought when I was supposed to spend New Year's Eve with Fun Guy. I've only worn it once so far, to Dancesport's Xmas party, so it's due for another airing. Its a little fancy perhaps, but when have I ever been afraid of overdressing?

Last night for my friend's birthday we went to see Shine A Light, the new Rolling Stones concert film. We met beforehand for drinks at the bar at the London Hotel which is next door. The restaurant and bar are Gordon Ramsay's creation, so this was my first time getting to experience a little of the Ramsay mythos. Let me just say that for the prices they were charging for cocktails, Gordon Ramsay should have been personally serving them! Seriously, there were items on the bar menu that were cheaper than the drinks. You can check it out for yourself here. However, the bathrooms were amazing, about the size of a New York studio apartment. They could rent them out and make some extra money.

As for the movie, well, I'm probably not the right person to ask. I'm not a huge Rolling Stones fan. I like them fine but I've never bought any of their albums, I've just downloaded a few songs from iTunes. Mick Jagger just reminds me a little too much of Cryptkeeper from Tales from the Crypt. My friend had a blast, dancing in her seat, singing along, it was a joy watching her have a good time. I have to say that I'm impressed that Mick Jagger can jump around like that for someone who is eligible for Social Security. He was wiggling his bum, pulling up his shirt, dancing around, wearing tight pants. Gave me hope that life doesn't end when you hit your sixties.

It's a fairly conventional concert film. Some interesting bits of Scorcese and the Stones getting ready for the filming and the interaction between the Clintons and the Stones, particularly when Hilary brought her like ninety year old mother to meet the band. There were some special guests during the concert, but they were like totally random, Jack White from the White Stripes, Christina Aguilera. What I really loved were the vintage interview clips with various members of the band over the years.

Afterwards, I ran home to watch Top Chef in real time for a change. I hate when the cheftestants complain about how they came up with a better idea in the team challenges, but no one listened to them. Dude, if you want to be a Top Chef, make your opinion known, and stick to it. Don't claim that you came up with something better when you didn't follow through. Spike should have insisted on making soup instead of the beef carpaccio. It would have been light and palate cleansing. Spike and Antonia arguing about whether they should have made butternut squash soup, with Antonia saying that she agreed to do it, and Spike claiming she didn't. Very passive-aggressive behavior, but I loved Antonia's comeback that the truth was on film for posterity. After last week when Spike made poor Manuel cook Vietnamese food and got him eliminated, Spikie and his hats must have decided to keep a low profile this time.

And then Dale's tantrum later and complaining that Lisa won for making bacon. Umm, Dale all you did was cut up some chilis for a garnish. How is that better than Lisa making bacon with a spicy miso sauce that Ming Tsai just loved. As Ted Allen said last season, everything goes better with bacon (perhaps Lisa watched that episode). I did agree with Dale about not wanting to do Asian, although it ended up working for them. Just because Ming Tsai is Asian and owns an Asian restaurant, doesn't mean that you have to make Asian food for him. You have to be damned sure that your food is going to be good. Seriously, do you think that when Ming Tsai goes out for dinner, he heads for the nearest Asian restaurant? Maybe he might have wanted a little Italian or Cuban food. I found it a little insulting, and so what if Lisa likes to cook Asian food. Its like Brian last season making fish all the time.

I don't know if I'm going to be blogging while I'm at NEC. If I can find a computer on Saturday, I might write up a brief post. If not, see you on Monday.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Things I don't Understand

How American Idol could be such a snoozefest last night? When Jason Castro, who looks like most of the guys I see busking on the subway in New York, can give one of the better performances with a ukelele, you know there is something wrong with the world. I came home last night after my two salsa classes (this time I wasn't sick from all the spiral turns we did) itching to watch AI on my DVR. And then I turned it on. Seriously the two performers I hate most, Kristi Lee 'I sold my horse to audition for Idol' Cook and Jason Castro sang the best. What the hell happened? I blame the whole inspirational song theme frankly.

And then I turn on GH to find Michael Corinthos Jr. has been shot in the head one month after he accidentally shot his father's girlfriend in the heart and left her for dead. I'm getting a little sick of General Sopranos that Bob Guza has been writing for the past 12 years. From Claudia Zacchara lusting after her half-brother, to an evil psychopath being transformed into the brother of one of the core characters, this show sucks. On a daily basis. Guza claims that he wants to show the fall-out from a life in the mob. How about this, why don't you have Sonny and Jason go to jail for once? Each of them have been shot like 50 times and lived, their wives and girlfriends have been shot and threatened, kidnapped because of the mob. I think we all get it, being the mob sucks.

What happened to Love in the Afternoon? There's no love on GH, just people sneaking around and lying to each other, hiding pregnancies, refusing to have brain tumors removed so that they can see their dead fiancees, casual sex and creepy evil doctors who seem to have a different speciality every day. And they wonder why people read romance!

I don't expect my soaps to reflect reality but I do expect them to at least make some sense and have continuity from one day to the next.

And is wrong that I think less of Andy Baldwin from The Bachelor that he's dating Marla Maples?

When did being a rock star mean that washing your hair was now optional?

How does one actually become an 'accidental' mistress? Does it involve tripping and falling on it? Or not knowing that the guy was married before you slept with him? Or had a girlfriend or was engaged?

Thank god I'm seeing the new Stones film tonight!


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Holy Granola Batman!

Wow, Marchana, the only woman of color, on The Bachelor has made it to top six contestants on this show, and already the hating has begun (sorry I couldn't find a better picture on the ABC web-site, this is from last week when she got a fat lip playing rugby). The comments have run the gamut to 'he had to pick her or be called racist' to how unattractive some people find her. Here is a quick recap of what happened. Matt, Marchana and Holly had a dinner date at Matt's 'bachelor' pad. There was a rose on the line, one girl was going to have to go home immediately after the date. Can I just say how sucky this whole idea is? I've hated it ever since they started it back during Travis Dork's days.

Anywhoo, Holly is telling Matt exactly what she thinks he wants to hear. Stuff like 'Oh I was just thinking about moving to London before I met you,' and 'I could be happy on a deserted island as long as I was with you.' Seriously, do women really think that a man wants to hear crap like that? No wonder I'm still single. Meanwhile Marchana impressed Matt by actually being mature and telling him that she was there to take a risk on love. The upshot is that Matt kept Marchana and the rest of the girls freaked out because it meant that no one was guaranteed a rose, no matter how well their date or one on one time went.

Of course, next week's previews indicate that Marchana turns into Omarosa and gives her impression of the 'angry black woman,' which means that her days might be numbered. Which would be a shame, because I think that Matt actually likes her and is intrigued by her. While she likes him and wants to get to know him better, she doesn't seem to be giving him any kind of party line. And she hasn't either sung for him, showed off her breasts, done handsprings, or bitten open a tin can. All of which makes her tops in my book.

And I missed my Kristi on Dancing with the Stars because my stupid Time Warner Cable DVR crapped out and I had to reboot which cancelled the taping. So I'm going to have to watch her and Jason Taylor's performances on that little tiny screen on line.


Monday, April 07, 2008

My close encounter with Charlton Heston (sorta)

So Moses died on Saturday which was also the birthday of Bette Davis (thanks to TMC for that information). I wasn't a huge fan of Charlton Heston. I liked certain performances of his, particularly Moses in The Ten Commandments (who can forget the scene where he's parting the Red Sea, and you can see his Rolex?), Planet of the Apes, and a few others. Most of the time, I thought he was a good looking man who wasn't a very good actor compared to other actors in the 1950's like Burt Lancaster and Paul Newman. I did however like his performances in Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments when he wore no shirt.

Remember The Colbys? The dreadful spin-off of Dynasty where he was supposed to be madly in love with Katherine Ross who was about as wooden as a spoon? I remember Barbara Stanwyck acting rings around him. I also had huge problems with his support of the NRA later on.

Anyway this post is about almost close encounter with Charlton Heston. After college, I went to study acting at the British American Drama Academy in London. That fall Mr. Heston was appearing in A Man for All Seasons playing Sir Thomas More in the West End. We all went as a group to see the production, sitting way up in the gods. I remember being so excited about seeing an icon like Charlton Heston on stage only to be sorely disappointed by his performance. His wig did more acting than he did. It was probably the only time that I actually rooted for Henry VIII to kill More.

However, what he did next, is something that I'll always be grateful for. He came to give a talk at Regents College for the students at BADA and a select number of other students who were from Northwestern University, his alma mater. It was fascinating to be in the same room with him, and hear him talk about acting and his career and how important Northwestern was to him. Almost made me wish that I had applied there after all.

I wasn't lucky enough to get a picture taken with him because I wasn't a Northwestern student, but I thought it was so nice of him to take the time out of his day to come and talk to a group of students, particularly when he had been performing the night before and had two performances that day. I thought he was very gracious to let us ask him questions, particularly since you could tell that most of the students (apart from the drama students) didn't really know his work as an actor.

So here's to Charlton Heston for giving so many people pleasure in the movies.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Kwana Made Me Do It

So Kwana has tagged me and since its Friday and I have nothing to write about, here goes:

You're feeling: Damp from the rain

To your left: Books, way too many papers on my desk at work.

On your mind: Oh, just everything. My friends mostly, my WIP, my bills, too much.

Last meal included: Pizza!

You sometimes find it hard to: Chill out.

The weather: raining and still too cold!

Something you have a collection of: Books, Magazines, CD's, teapots

A smell that cheers you up: lilacs, fresh baked cookies

A smell that can ruin your mood: Cigarette smoke

How long since you last shaved: Too long, I'm a bit over due.

The current state of your hair: Pinned up and away from the rain.

The largest item on your desk/workspace (not computer): Pile of papers
Your skill with chopsticks: so-so

Which section you head for first in a bookstore: center tables then Young Adult

Something you’re craving: always Sushi

Your general thoughts on the presidential race: Obama Girl

How many times have you been hospitalized this year: Never in my life

Favorite place to go for a quiet moment: Museums

You’ve always secretly thought you’d be a good: Dancer

Something that freaks you out a little: Peas.

Something you’ve eaten too much of lately: Sushi

You have never: Jumped out of a plane

You never want to: Sing in public

People I'm tagging: Megan, Marianne, Maureen, Georgie Lee, and Keira!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mad about Byron

I admit it, I have a little crush on George Gordon, Lord Byron, which is a little weird being that he's dead and all. But if you've seen portraits of him, the guy is definitely crush-worthy and he wrote poetry. In fact, one could say that Byron was the Rock and Roll poet of The Regency, all brooding, and sensitive, apart from the whole bisexuality thing. Oh, and the incest thing, but that just adds to his charm and his legend. He's the quintessential bad boy that you can't stay away from, although your friends keep warning you about him.

So imagine how excited I was to learn that the BBC had done a 3 hour miniseries starring Jonny Lee Miller of Trainspotting and Angelina Jolie fame (he was husband no. 1, she had his name written in blood on her shirt when they got married. Don't ask). I ordered it from Netflix and sat down last night with some sushi to watch.

Sigh! Umm, his hair was nice.

Seriously folks that's the best I can say about this miniseries. Johnny Lee Miller may be cute but he's no Lord Byron. He's too much of a lightweight for the role, both acting wise and vocally, but he sure is pretty. That's about it. I do give the writers kudos for going with the Bryon and his sister were lovers theory, although I could probably have done without the extended sex scenes. I mean, dude, he's doing his sister, we don't really need to see it.

And I did feel sorry for Annabella Milbanke who makes that classic mistake most women make of thinking that they can change a man or that they can heal him through their love. Boy did she ever learn. I loved Vanessa Redgrave who played Lady Melbourne, one of Byron's patrons and the mother-in-law to Lady Caroline Lamb, one of Byron's mistresses (see my other blog Scandalous Women if you want the poop on that relationship), but I didn't like the actress who played Caroline Lamb. She was crazy but I don't think she was quite that outwardly crazy.

So one great big disappointment on the Byron front. I'm trying to think of another actor who could have played the part better. Gabriel Bryne was pretty good in Gothic, although the movie was a complete and utter disaster. Perhaps Toby Stephens would have been better, he was a good Rochester in the most recent BBC version of Jane Eyre.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy April

Starting this month, I'm going to endeavor to blog only about happy positive things. No more Ms. Negativity and Snarkiness. Just flowers, and patchouli, and endless playing of Madonna's single 'Ray of Light.'

Speaking of Madge, wasn't it nice of her to allow her new single with Justin Timberlake to be used for the new Sunsilk hair commercial. That Madge! I'm sure she's donating the licensing fee to some worthy charity in Malawi.

And how sweet of Holly, one of the contestants on The Bachelor, to let Lorenzo Lamas's daughter Shayne use her tanning machine that she brought with her to get ready for her date with Matt. What a gal! Most girls would have tried to sabotage the machine but not Holly, she even helped Shayne with the machine in the bathtub. And how sweet of Matt to keep the lone black contestant, Marshana on the show for another week. She's lasted longer than most women of color on this show.

And boo to the mean judges on Dancing with the Stars for not showing Marissa Jaret Winokur some love. She's trying so hard and she has no uterus! Having survived cervical cancer, she's just wanting to have some fun. If the Gute can get some love just for showing up, than show some for Marissa. I think part of the problem is that apart from Christian de la Fuente, she's the least known celebrity on the show. How many people know that apart from being in Hairspray on Broadway, she's survived not only cervical cancer but being on a sitcom with Pamela Anderson?

And thanks to the ladies over at Risky Regencies! I won an autographed copy of Amanda McCabe's new release A Sinful Alliance which hopefully will arrive before I leave for NEC next week.

Hope everyone is enjoying a great first day of April!