Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Pix

Hey look a shot of The Wingdale Community Singers

The Four Muskateers at the Dram Shop

Doing my Betty Grable impersonation
Me blowing kisses

Lucy and I at the Dram Shop this weekend

Weekend Update

God it was hot this weekend! After days of cool weather, the heat came back with a vengeance Saturday and Sunday. And the humidity was not doing my hair any favors. We also had scattered thundershowers, which managed not to cool off anything.

Saturday, after some much needed maintenance (roots, pedicure, legs shaved), I headed out to Brooklyn to this really tiny bar called Barbes, to see the Wingdale Community Singers play along with Liz Maverick, Megan Frampton, Stacey Agdern and my friend Lucy. As always, our conversation turned to men. I wondered why they hadn't come up with the technology where by women could have some sort of device that would automatically point out all the single men in a bar. Not only that, but would then run a background check, as well as a credit report, so you know whether or not to bother.

Seriously, if someone could come up with this, it would make a fortune. Or maybe I've just been watching too many episodes of MI-5. We all agreed however, that we've completely given up on the notion of Internet dating. I know that some people think of it as the equivalent of shopping on line, but JCrew and Victoria's Secret don't have quite as many choices as the average Internet Dating site, and I seriously don't have the time to spend trolling through all the profiles trying to find someone.

We also discussed the news that in London, tailors are now allowed to call suits bespoke that are actually ready to wear, totally removing the cachet of having a bespoke suit. Bespoke basically means that the suit was tailored specifically for the client. Its like the male version of couture. Can you imagine the havoc in Paris, if the fashion houses were able to call the pret a porter couture? No one would spend the $10,000 to $100,000 for a dress, if you could buy one for $3,000 and have it called couture. All those little old seamstresses would be going blind for nothing.

We found this other really groovy bar called Dram Shop literally like a block away that had a great whiskey and beer list, and yummy french fries. Liz took some great photos which eventually I hope to post. It was actually an early night for a change, I managed to get back to the city by midnight.

Sunday, I went to see Get Smart with ex-sweetie pie. I have to say that I really enjoyed this movie probably because I had such low expectations. The previews didn't look all that funny which is unusual. Generally, the previews give away all the good jokes. Steve Carell was excellent as Maxwell Smart. They allowed him to preserve what was great about Don Adams interpretation but they made him a little smarter, and a little more effective as an agent. They even gave him a bit of a back story which I don't remember in the series. Of course, like in the series, Anne Hathaway as 99 was smarter and more together. And she could seriously kick some butt in this movie. The ex also really liked the movie although we disagreed on whether or not there should be a sequel.

Afterwards, we had dinner at Ruby Tuesday, which is one of the many chain restaurants littering Times Square (seriously they couldn't have opened a PF Chang's?), but its one of the better ones. I had the salad bar and a crab cake, while the ex indulged his taste for red meat. We shared the chocolate cake and then returned to the fray in Times Square. Spain beat Germany in the Eurocup or whatever it was, and it was also the Gay Pride parade yesterday so it was packed. I dragged the ex into Ann Taylor Loft because apparently I labor under the delusion that I don't have enough shoes or clothes. I ended up buying a pair of gold braided thongs that looked really groovy. Of course, now I have to buy outfits that go with the shoes.

The ex and I trolled through Virgin Mega-store before finally saying good-bye at the subway station. I'm very glad that we've managed to stay friends since our break-up. I've known him for 15 years now, and I can't imagine not having him in my life as a friend.

Stay cool,


Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Great Graham Debate

There's been a heated debate in the blogosphere on whether or not DeAnna Pappas made a mistake sending Graham Bunn packing on The Bachelorette.

Well, I think after reading this interview, people will change their minds about whether or not she threw away her chance at love. Read the last sentence carefully.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Real Estate Porn

This is the Dakota in New York, unfortunately more famous for John Lennon's murder (he and Yoko Ono lived at the Dakota, he was hot outside) and Rosemary's Baby, then for its history. It was named the Dakota because at the time it was built, there were not other houses around, so it was like living in the Dakotas.

According to the Brown, Harris, Stevens website: "this magnificent home is one of the largest in the building, and is rich in history and architectural grandeur. The 10-room residence has been beautifully renovated and restored, while the original 19th-Century details and appointments remain perfectly preserved. A stunning array of grand-scale public rooms begins in the generous 16' entrance gallery with its original fireplace mantel. There is a vast 29' corner living room with exquisite original moldings and stunning floor-to-ceiling windows framing open views to the North and West.

Accessed through a set of pocket-doors, the adjacent library offers an elegant fireplace and wonderful double exposure to the South and West. On the other side of the gallery, the 24' formal dining features original wainscoting, and a fireplace. Overlooking the building's charming central courtyard, the voluminous Chef's kitchen and family room have ample space for dining and a large butler's pantry with temperature-controlled wine storage. Outfitted with beautiful custom cabinetry and appliances from Sub-Zero and Wolf, the sundrenched kitchen features multiple Franke sinks with Water Works fixtures, marble countertops, a large island and a separate laundry room with washer/dryer. There are four large bedrooms, including the oversized master suite with a luxuriously-appointed marble bath with double-sinks and a separate steam shower and tub.

Designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, The Dakota was built in 1884 and its ornate finials and Gothic gables make it one of the most striking structures on the Upper West Side. When it was built it was full service, with room service, the elevator was so big that you could drive your carriage into it so that you could be dropped off at your front door.

This apartment is selling for $24,000,000. That's right, you read it correctly. That's like $2MM per room. And the maintenance on this place is almost $8,000 a month. Seriously, you could buy like 5 townhouses in Brooklyn for that kind of money. Or even in Manhattan. Okay, maybe not 5 townhouses, but you could buy like 2 or 3, particularly in my neighborhood.

You know there is someone out there with that kind of cash who will buy this if only for the status alone. Lauren Bacall and Roberta Flack live in the Dakota, and its a national landmark almost. Plus Central Park is across the street. Still that's a crazy price for an apartment

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sex and the City - Meh!

Last night I finally got to see the movie of Sex and the City with of my really good girlfriends, and I have to say that I am kind of disappointed. The movie was over 2 hours but nothing really happened and certainly nothing that you couldn't have predicted before you see the movie. It almost seemed like a paint by numbers version.

The movie picks up 3 years after the series ended and Big and Carrie are still living in seperate apartments, which I found totally weird. Then Carrie gets all weirded out after they go to an auction at Christie's because the woman who's life is being auctioned got dumped by her long term boyfriend and had no where to go because he owned their apartment. So of course, Carrie decides that she has to help Big who is a gazillionaire purchase their snazzy new Fifth Avenue penthouse and he proposes.

Was anyone who saw this movie surprised that Big got cold feet? I have to admit that it did play into their history since he dumped her like 4 times during the series. It just seemed so expected and I had a hard time with the fact that they never sat down and talked about why they were having a big wedding. I mean Big had been married twice and Carrie never. If Carrie had just said, this is going to be my only wedding and I love you and I want to celebrate it, I could get behind it, but they seemed to have communication problems.

And Miranda and Steve? First of all, I think having Steve cheat on Miranda was ridiculous. I would have understood it more if he just get fed up with the way that she treated him as well as Magda. She always seemed to belittle him in the series. I found Miranda extremely dislikable in the movie.

Charlotte, of course, her life is perfect. She has the perfect understanding husband, the perfect adorable daughter who is a miniature Charlotte, and the perfect new baby (I'm hoping that little Rose takes after Harry). Oh and perfect dogs. The only not perfect is when she gets Montezuma's revenge in Mexico. That was hilarious and totally unexpected. It's pretty much the only unexpected thing in the whole movie.

I know the movie is about wish fulfillment really. I mean who would want to see Carrie, after her break-up with Big, having to find a brand new apartment and iscovering that with the real estate market the way it is, she can now only afford a studio with no closet space? Although it would have been hilarious to see Carrie have to deal with some real life issues. Instead, she gets to buy her apartment back, and apparently she now has enough money to afford an assistant played by Jennifer Hudson, who was totally wasted in this movie.

Her character of Louise, is sappy and saintly but who has great taste in bags. How I wished at this point that Wanda Sykes had been hired to play Carrie's assistant, someone with some sass and verve. It was just too cute that St. Louise from St. Louis gave her Meet Me in St. Louis for a Christmas present.

I finally realized towards the end that the point of the movie is not the plot, the point is the 4 women and their friendship. How despite distance and time, they are all still good friends, and they all seem to have endless amounts of time to hang out with each other, despite kids and work and all the other muck that comes along in life. They are there for each other through good times and bad. Who wouldn't want to have 3 friends who will drop everything to go with you on your Mexican honeymoon after you've been dumped? That's really what the movie is celebrating, women loving and taking care of each other.

Which is why the series was such a success and why so many women have flocked to see the movie with their friends. Yes, the movie and the TV series was a fantasy about living in New York and being single, but the thread was always the fabulous friendships. I know I used to watch the show and wish that I could get together with my female friends as often as they do, instead of spending endless amounts of time scheduling and rescheduling because we are all so busy.
So I would have to give the movie an A for friendship but a B- for everything else.

P.S. Was anyone else amazed at how Big turned that tiny closet into that huge walk-in?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Awesome Dress Has Arrived

I love anything to do with cherries. I don't know what it is, perhaps it comes from my love of the fruit itself (hmm, rainier cherries awesome) but I've always wanted a dress with a cherry pattern. Particularly after I had my business cards done at and I dressed my doppelganger in a white cherry dress.

So imagine how ecstatic I was to find on Ebay a woman who made them from scratch. And not just any cherry dress but 1950's rockabilly swing dresses, perfect for someone like me who has hips and loves vintage. I've been coveting the dresses for awhile now and I finally bit the bullet and ordered one.

Well, I just got it on Monday and it looks fab. I ended up not ordering it in white (what if someone spilled red wine on it, like me for instance!) but in black. Even though she didn't fit the dress on me, and it ended up looking amazing on me. Although it took me awhile to realize that the flaps on the front were supposed to tie up in the front (I thought for a moment it was a bib!). I need to find a petticoat so that it stands out like in the picture and then it will be perfect.

I'm planning on wearing it on Saturday when I got out with some friends to Brooklyn to see the Wingdale Community Singers play at Barbes. I plan on wearing my strappy black high-heeled ankle strap sandals (I haven't been able to find red ones that I like), my ankle bracelet and a flowered comb.

In other news, what is up with Amy Winehouse still smoking after she received the diagnosis that she has scarring on her lungs, and possibly be in the early stages of emphysema? Is she nuts? I think she's a wonderful talent, but right now I find listening to Back in Black to be painful to listen to right now, particularly 'Rehab.'

Stay cool!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And they are back for more!

New York magazine has an excellent article here about Alex McCord and her husband Simon van Kampen. The couple that we love to hate are going to be back for another season of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York City (what a misnomer that is). You know what this means, more scenes of Alex and Simon shopping and cavorting on the beach in St. Bart's in matching thongs. The article is worth reading for the bitchy things that Simon in particular has to say about Bethenny and Jill. You can also take a gander at the hotel Simon manages, the Hotel Chandler here.

Who cried last night at The Bachelorette? I know I did, pretty much all the way through the episode (I know I'm a sap). The tears pretty much started when Jesse's mother Wilma talked about how they tried for 12 years to have a baby before they finally gave up and she got pregnant with Jesse, whose name means gift from god. I worry though because DeAnna has that magical time table and Jesse looks like the type of guy who would want to date for awhile (say a couple of years) before having a wedding on a beach or a ski slope. I just don't see her fitting into his life for the long haul but I do see why she digs him. Loved his comment about how kissing is special. If only more men felt that way.

Jeremy bugs me for some reason. He's just too perfect (drink a shot every time DeAnna talks about how perfect he is. Drunk yet?). Perfect house, perfect job, perfect body, perfect dog. There's something a little off there. And what's with leaving your bar exam notes up on the wall? I can understand the bond they have over losing a parent (ex cutie-pie and I had the same thing) but I don't see any other bond between the two of them. Its one thing to show off pictures of your parents, its another to then read from your personal diary about your mother's death. There was something slightly creepy about the whole thing. I'm just saying. DeAnna mentions that she wants to fall in love with him, which means that she hasn't even come close.

Okay, I have made it perfectly clear that I am a Jason fan. I think he's wonderful, fun, understanding, and has the most adorable little boy who he loves to bits. How can you not fall in love with a guy who loves his son as much as Jason does? And his family is great as well. I felt they were the most welcoming of all the families. I really enjoyed the conversation that Jason had with his Mom about opening up his heart even though his ex-wife sliced it open and left him bleeding.

And finally there is Graham. It broke my heart to see DeAnna let him go instead of say Jesse but I understand her reluctance to keep him in the hope that maybe he just might open up. She just had too many doubts about him, and it didn't help that his mother admitted that a) he's a loner who doesn't let people too close and b) he hasn't had a relationship that lasted longer than 4 weeks. And seriously DeAnna Bunn? You just know that she was thinking, if she married him, she'd have to keep her last name. I really felt for her when at first Graham seemed so open and affectionate, and then he just shut down after they left his parents house. It was such a sharp contrast to the other guys. And the fact that he couldn't tell her what was bothering him, whether it was worrying about the other guys, or just not wanting to let her go, he couldn't give her anything. I think that if Graham had given her the note that he had written at that point instead of after she booted him, he would still be on the show. He just waited too long.

Of course she had to bring up Brad's name (take a shot everytime DeAnna mentions that Brad broke her heart or led her on. Drunk yet?). How sad was it that she told him that he was the one man that she was falling in love with, and he said nothing?

Can't wait for next week's reunion show & overnight exotic dates!


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Great Puce Debate

French, literally, flea, from Old French pulce, from Latin pulic-, pulex — more at psylla
: a dark red

From Wikipedia: Puce is a color that is defined as ranging from reddish-brown to purplish-brown, with the latter being the more widely-accepted definition found in reputable sources. It can be used as either a noun (the name of the color) or as an adjective (something having that color).

Went out Saturday with a group of friend's to celebrate the lovely Leanna's 21st birthday (or something like that) at Jekyll & Hyde (yes, really) where fruity Belgium beers were consumed, and much fun was made of the actor who was playing the Butler (fyi butlers don't walk around conspicuously chewing gum). Afterwards, we walked all the way to the extreme East Village to go dancing at the Pyramid Club (and I use the word 'club' loosely). They were playing really groovy 80's music (Love White Wedding!), but my feet were screaming and I had to pack it in after about an hour and a half.

Liz Maverick and I refused to let our friend, the adorable Megan Frampton, walk 10 blocks to the F train by herself, despite her protests (how could we live with ourselves if she got kidnapped by white slavers? And left her son motherless with issues?), so we made her walk with us to take the N/R train. On the way, we had a disagreement about the definition of the color puce (yes, this was actually a discussion). Liz and I insisted that puce was a greenish gray color, while Megan insisted that it was actually a purplish color.

Well, guess what? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, we were all wrong (Actually Megan was a little right in that it can be a purple brown).
So I think Liz and I might owe her a drink the next time we go out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Naomi Campbell Jail Bird?

I can't believe that I'm writing about Naomi Campbell twice in one week! According to news reports, she pled guilty to the equivalent of roadrage for her behavior at Heathrow Airport, when they had to kick her off the flight.

According to PEOPLE's website, she was sentenced to 200 hours community service and fined $4,500 today after her guilty plea in court, where she admitted to assaulting two police officers in London's Heathrow airport in April. The supermodel, 38, admitted guilt to 4 of the 6 charges she was facing, which included two counts of assaulting a police officer; one of using threatening, abusive words or behavior to cabin crew; and one of using insulting, abusive, threatening behavior or disorderly conduct likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to pursue the other two charges. "Ms. Campbell was aggressive, hostile and violent to people who were simply trying to do their jobs," C.P.S. director Nazir Afzal said in a statement. "Her behavior fell far short of what is acceptable."

The magistrate told Campbell that her behavior aboard the British Airways plane was "reckless." Last year, Naomi was ordered to attend anger management classes and completed five days of community service after she pled guilty to assault for throwing a cell phone at her housekeeper. Does anyone remember the pictures of her showing up for community service wearing 5 inch platform shoes and some designer outfit?

Okay, clearly her anger management classes didn't help her the last time. What is it going to take for her to work out that she can't throw things or assault people just to get her way? I really wonder if she takes this stuff seriously. She assaulted two police officers, that would automatically get her jail time in the States.

I'm telling you, if they made her spend a week in a New York jail cell or at Riker's Island, she would never assault anyone ever again!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One Giant Step for Mankind

Interesting article in the Style section of today's New York Times. Italian Vogue has decided to feature only black models in the pictorials as well as articles and features on prominent blacks. The reasons behind the issue are featured in the article but it begs a huge question. Why Italian Vogue? It's not like there is a huge black population in Italy (or is there?). I think its aimed more towards the Italian fashion industry and the other insiders who read every international edition of the magazine.

Heck, even I'm thinking of buying the magazine and I don't read or speak Italian. What's even more interesting is that apparently American Vogue has an article in their July issue about how there is a dearth of black models being used in the fashion industry. Hmm, wouldn't it have been better if instead they had decided to use them in the fashion editorials instead? I'm really excited though about the fact that Steven Meisel who is the photographer for the editorial decided to use Toccara Jones from America's Next Top Model as one of the models. It's probably the biggest coup that a non-winner let alone a winner has had to date. And he had to fight to use her because she's full-figured!

I would love to see Mode on Ugly Betty tackle something like this since Wilhemina (who is African-American) is now the editor in chief of the magazine, which has to be a coup. I hope they don't slack on how revolutionary it is to have her at the helm. The New York Times ran an article in the fall about the dearth of black models on the runways during fashion week. I think its an interesting topic.

Keep warm (the temperature has dropped here),


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday is Hump Day

It's Wednesday, and frankly I got nothing! I'm tired since it is that time of the moon which means no caffeine for me. The Bachelorette was nothing to write home about seriously. We all knew that Twilley was going home, but who knew that DeAnna would get turned on by watching Jesse ride a dirt bike? However Sean blew it by not going in for the kiss while he had the chance, although who can blame him since Jason and the other guys were looking right at them.

Kind of sorry to see Sean go because I think it would have been hysterical to see the look on DeAnna's face when she realizes that he has more skin and haircare products than she does. And that he only carries Louis Vuitton luggage. He was quite the metrosexual redneck. My best friend dated one of those but he was also an ex heroin addict from a family addicts. He also had the confederate flag as well as the American flag tattoed on his chest.

Writing is going bleh frankly. I need to get on the horn if I'm going to finish this book by National because I can tell you that it will not be done by June 30th. I'm only 220 pages into it which means 165 pages have yet to be written. Yikes! Plus all the darn research that has to be done. The good news is that my cherry dress that I had made should be arriving in a few days and will make its Brooklyn debut on the 28th!

Stay cool!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dreams of Harlan Ellison

Last night I went back to The Philoctetes Center to see a new documentary about Harlan Ellison called Dreams with Sharp Teeth. Ellison is a writer whose works are genre bending but one could say that he writes science fiction/fantasy, mainly short fiction. The only thing that I knew about Harlan Ellison was that he had written the only Star Trek episode that I've ever seen City on the Edge of Forever. So I had no expectations about this film or what I might learn which I think might have been a good thing.

I came away fascinated with him as a person and wanting to immediately go out and read some of his work. He's 74 years old now, and he has an energy and a spirit that are palpable. Maybe I found myself liking him because in the clips of himself as a younger man, he looked like an extremely crankly Michael J. Fox. Or maybe I related to his stories about being picked on as a kid and being beaten up repeatedly. Anyone who has experienced abuse at the hands of their peers can understand why he may have grown up to be a slightly bitter old man.

Even though I haven't read any of his work, seeing this film and hearing him talking about writing, it made me realize more than ever how important it is to read outside of the genre that you write in because you can learn from all kinds of writers. After the film, Carol Cooper who is a critic for the Village Voice among other publications, talked about what it was like to work for him for a week at the Clarion Writer's Workshop. His method of teaching is the tear the writer apart and then build them back up approach which I personally don't agree with because I think it is abusive. Which is interesting because in a sense he's treating people the way that he was treated. That's kind of f*&$#d up in a sense. He also apparently tells students to forget writing as a profession which is also what happened to him in college. I guess because he then went out to prove that professor wrong, he wants students to do the same to him, if they are really determined to be a writer.

He can also be belligerant with fans, occasionally. I'm sure there are quite a few romance writers who if they saw this film would cringe at the way that he treats them, with a mixture of contempt and exasperation at times. He seems to see them as a necessary evil because at least they had the good sense to buy his work, but I don't think he particularly likes them as people or most people in general for that matter, and when I say people I mean as a whole.

The best part of the film was when he talked about watching the game The Weakest Link. A young woman was asked the question "Which S who was in Lawrence of Arabia wrote a long running newspaper column about bridge?" The woman's answer? Naomi Campbell! That is so wrong on so many levels, a) She wasn't in Lawrence of Arabia, b) I don't think she knows what bridge is unless it's crossing a river, and c) Her last name doesn't start with S. The only thing I can think of is that because Campbell is considered a supermodel, well that starts with S. Ellison said that he and his wife now use it as a catchphrase whenever anyone asks a question, they answer 'Naomi Campbell.'

I did agree with him that writing is incredibly hard work. Some days it goes extremely well and some days or weeks it sucks totally. I was trying to articulate to cutie pie author why I responded so enthusiastically to this film and the one on Louise Bourgeois than the other two that I had seen on Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. I think because in many ways Glass and Wilson were still as enigmatic to me after the film as they were before the film and I certainly had no desire to run out and buy a CD of Glass's music or to see the next project that Robert Wilson directed. Even at times it seemed that Ellison was doing his cranky man shtick you still sensed that he meant every word that he said. And the scenes of him reading excerpts from his work was particularly good. From the little I've heard, it appears that his writing is very similar to Hemingway's in its spareness.

Anyway I enjoyed this film and it was more fun than sitting at home watching The Bachelorette (more on that show tomorrow.)

Stay warm (the temp has gone down here),

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Update

So yesterday was Father's Day and since my dad passed away 8 years ago, instead of being sad, I decided to cheer myself up by going to see Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Granted it was an unusual choice of movie for Father's Day, and not necessarily my father's type of humor but it was mindless, politically incorrect and funny and that's what I was looking for.

I'd already had my intellectual fix for the weekend by going to see a roundtable on pyschology and architecture at The Philoctetes Center. I won't bore you with too many details, just that there was a lot of talk about how architecture can shape one pyschologically in terms of where even the architecture of a room in terms of how the furniture is placed. Sort of like the principles of feng shui, where everything in the room has a place to create balance.

I've also learned that I have a great deal to learn about relationships, and that I have to learn to stop taking things so personally, which is really hard for me to do for many reasons. I've always been thin-skinned, and while it's not as bad as it once was, I still let things bother me that shouldn't. But still, if someone walks away from you while you are talking to them, isn't that rude? Or is it just me?

The weather turned on us this weekend a little with scattered thunderstorms, and now its a lot cooler here in New York. Watched the Tony Awards last night and I have just one question, what is Adam Durwitz of the Counting Crows deal? Is he black is he Jewish? I am confused. Loved Whoopi though.

Stay cool!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

House of Dereon - House of DeUgly

Dear Beyonce,

I just want to say how much I like your music, and I admire that you and Jay-Z went to all that trouble to keep your wedding a secret, instead of selling pictures to People or OK Magazine. When you are such a high profile couple, it must be hard to have some things be private.

But I hate to say it, but your clothing line leaves something to be desire. Last night I went into Macy's after my dance class and I just happend to pass by the display for The House of Dereon. Seriously, to put it delicately, the clothes are fugly. I've seen better quality and more attractive clothes at H&M and Old Navy.

I know you love your mother, but do yourself a favor and hire a real designer to work on the line. Maybe take some tips from Jay-Z or even Diddy.

Peace out!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Celebrity Real Estate Porn

So I'm perusing the Real Estate section of the New York Times to look at overprice apartments that I can never afford when I stumbled across this little tidbit. Mariska Hargitay, from my favorite TV show, Law & Order: SVU is selling her apartment in the O'Neill Building in Chelsea. The O'Neill building is one of those beautiful cast iron buildings on the 19th Century Ladies Mile, that were preserved in the 1970's before developers could tear them down and put up soulless buildings, the way they have in other sections of New York. The couple paid $7MM for the apartment, after selling their apartment down in TriBeCa that had a private garage.

The apartment is for sale through Corcoran for $8.25MM. Amazing, it a year the apartment appreciate by over $1MM! What gets me though are the monthly charges, over $2,000 for maintance and then a further $7,000 a month for taxes. That's like $9,000 on top of the $8.25MM! The apartment is gorgeous, don't get me wrong, I love the idea of having not one but 3 terraces. And there is certainly enough space with 2 bedrooms on the lower level, plus a den, and a laundry room. The Upper Level has the master bedroom, bathroom, a dressing room which like a walk-in closet but bigger and a terrace. What I love though, is the gold dome that you can see from the terrace. That's pretty cool.

The reason for the movie is that Mariska and her husband Peter Hermann's 2 year old son just got into pre-school on the Upper East Side, and all his little friends live up there too. Thankfully, her real estate agent, Robby Browne at Corcoran has a lovely property that she and hubby can buy and move into if they so desire. Check this out:

According to Corcoran's web-site: Historic 1866 clapboard house with front and rear garden. This rarely available 25' wide singly family home is in excellent condition and ideal for both easy living and elegant entertaining. Currently configured as 4 bedrooms with 5 bathrooms, the house also features a windowed eat-in kitchen, wood paneled library, living room, formal dining room, butler's pantry, elevator, gym, and finished basement with laundry. The 50' south garden is splendid with mature plantings and a clapboard tree house. Nineteenth century details include wide plank wood floors, multiple working wood burning fireplaces, crown moldings and high ceilings. The house is centrally air conditioned and flooded with sunlight both front and rear.

All for the rock bottom price of $12.5MM! Don't worry for how Mariska and hubby are going to pay for it. According to the Times, she makes $7MM a year in salary and residuals from Law & Order: SVU which is shown like 24 hours a day it seems like between MY 9 and the USA Network.

Stay cool!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Congratulations Stephanie!

Congratulations Stephanie Izard! You just won Top Chef. It was a little touch and go there for awhile. The way the judges were talking, I thought for sure they were going to surprise us all and announce Lisa as the winner.
Why? Well, Tom Colicchio has been quoted as saying that they don't judge the chefs cumulatively over the season, so they were just judging on what they ate last night. And it seemed like the judges liked Lisa's food more than they did Stephanie and Richard. However, looking back, they all seemed to love Stephanie's lamb chops with braised pistachios, mushrooms and blackberries. Tom C. said that the food surprised him, and my gay husband Ted Allen mentioned that he thought more chefs should use pistachios in food.
Poor Richard, he pulled a Casey from last season and choked. And he was a big enough man that he admitted that he choked at the judges table. Many of his dishes were criticized for being underseasoned, his pork belly was not crispy enough, the one dish that the judges seemed to like unreservedly was his banana scallop and bacon ice cream (more successful than Marcel's avocado ice cream of season 2). However, Padma mentioned that Richard had won a Quickfire challenge with the banana scallop earlier in the competition.
Still, I had a feeling that Stephanie was going to win it. She and Richard had been head to head in winning both Elimination Challenges, although Richard had also won a good number of the Quickfire Challenges. From the beginning, I sensed that those two would be in the finale, although I could have sworn that Dale would be joining them along with Antonia (oh well 3 out of 4 ain't bad).
I loved the idea that they repeated from last season of having well known chefs acting as sous-chefs to the cheftestants in the finale. Eric Ripert from Le Bernardin (I have never eaten here but an old boss of mine at Cartier was very good friends with the owner. You would think he might have taken me to lunch there to say thank you for all the times I ran out to get him cigarettes but what can you expect from the French?), April Bloomfield from The Spotted Pig (I have eaten here, and the night I was there David Schwimmer was also at the restaurant. I'm telling you I'm a celebrity magnet) and Dan Barber from Blue Hill (I've walked past it but they serve mainly meat and offal).
It was interesting to see Stephanie hovering over Eric Ripert as he scaled the red snapper. And his comment about watching Richard and his molecular gastronomy, that if a chef ever thinks he's learned everything, he's sunk. Gordon Ramsay could learn from some of these chefs that guest on Top Chef. Even Bourdain knows when to be humble.
It used to be that the winner of the show was given money to start a restaurant, but let's face it, $100,000 doesn't go far no matter where you live in terms of opening a fine dining establishment. If you wanted to buy a Subway franchise maybe. So now they just get $100,000 to do whatever they want with the money, plus a great trip to the Swiss Alps.
So good luck Stephanie, and I hope to come and eat in your restaurant the next time I'm in Chicago.
Keep cool!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Legend Continues

The Daily Mail in London reports that a tiny portrait of Tom LeFroy, a young Jane Austen knew, and who is thought to have inspired Mr. Darcy in her most popular novel Pride And Prejudice is to be exhibited at an antiques fair. The 3 inch watercolour of Thomas Lefroy was painted by the leading English miniaturist George Engleheart of the day in 1798. The movie Becoming Jane starring Anne Hathaway and the dreamy James McAvoy which came out last year was a highly fictional version of their story.

The basic facts about Jane and Tom's relationship are they met briefly, there might have been an attraction, but it went no further than that. Lefroy's family were not wealthy and they expected him to marry well, which meant a woman with a huge dowry. Lefroy met Austen while visiting his uncle and aunt in Hampshire. They were apparently very taken with one another, talking, dancing and apparently flirting. She referred to him in one of her few letters that survive as 'a gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man' and found only one fault with him - 'his morning coat is a great deal too light'.

Jane was the sixth of seven children born to a Hampshire rector. The family had very little money and she years away from her first literary success, Sense And Sensibility. With no dowry, Jane's marriage prospects were slim. Of course, even though Jane briefly accepted a marriage proposal later on, the truth is that she probably would never have become a novelist if she had married.

The portrait on ivory - on the back of which are several locks of hair - was painted two years after Lefroy's dalliance with Austen. It will be exhibited in London's Grosvenor House Hotel at the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair for a week from Thursday. It is signed with Engleheart's distinctive 'E' monogram, it is one of only two portraits of Lefroy known to exist and has an asking price of around £50,000.

The dealers Judy and Brian Harden, who are selling the miniature, said they had bought it at auction some time ago without realizing its significance.

Wow, £50,000 ($100,000) for a miniature of the man that Jane once danced with. It is a really nice legend, but that is all that the story is. Still, it would be nice to own something that was associated with Jane Austen.

Stay cool!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blogging the Bachelorette

Forgive me if this blog post isn't too coherent. I came home late last night after watching a documentary on a contemporary sculptor Louise Bourgeois, who is pretty cool, and then I acted like an idiot with cutie pie author, so I wasn't really in the mood when I got home last night to watch 2 hours of this thing. Plus it was hot yesterday. It has been 95 degrees for the past four days. But I'm nothing if not dedicated, so I cranked up the AC and watched The Bachelorette on my DVR.
>With A Song In My Heart - Normally this is the point in the show when the guys have to write heartfelt letters to The Bachelorette in order to get some face time. Mike Weiss and the producers went one better and decided that not only did the guys have to write lyrics but they also had to sing to DeAnna which made most of the guys shake in their boots. Except for Robert who is supremely overconfident. Graham said that he would rather 'eat glass.' I pretty much fast forwarded through this bit until it came to Jesse who won DeAnna's heart by reading his poem while holding her hand and staring into her eyes. DeAnna awarded him the one-on-one date. A suit was delivered to the mansion, so that Jesse wouldn't wear one of his crazy outfits on their date. He looked good, but I wish that he had pulled his hair back into a ponytail instead of leaving it messy and loose. It's too bad that Ron couldn't have cut Jesse's hair before he got booted last week. At the Wiltern, DeAnna forces Jesse to repeat his song and then they have dinner. They talk and Jesse opens up about being there for DeAnna. I still don't see any physical chemistry between the two of them. Natasha Bedingfield comes out and sings to them and they dance. Jesse gets the rose.

I Feel A Need For Speed
- The rest of the guys, apart from Fred and Robert, go on a date to a race track with DeAnna. To say that they are happy is an understatement. I think I went temporarily deaf from the amount of whooping and shouting going on. Once at the track, they do a kind of The Right Stuff slo-mo move wearing their tracksuits, and then DeAnna comes out and everyone thinks she's hot. Oy vey! The guys then proceed to take a turn around the track to see who gets the first alone time with DeAnna. Brian can't get his car started, Jason does well, even Twilley surprises everyone by getting a good time even though he has motion sickness (Twilley I feel your pain), Jeremy gets upset that he stunk, and Sean beats everyone. He gets the one on one time, and shares that he and DeAnna have a connection because she once lived in Kentucky and their both a little redneck. Why would that be considered romantic? Seriously, if a guy called you a redneck, wouldn't you want to punch him? Unless of course you are Gretchen Wilson. Graham pouts that he's not so special after all, because DeAnna has feelings for the other guys and has kissed them. She asks for a kiss and he rejects her. Bad move, dude!

DeAnna Flips Out - The next afternoon, the guys in the Outhouse invite DeAnna, Robert and Fred to come hang out at their place until the two on one date. Right from the start it gets weird. The guys taunt Robert into cooking for them by throwing a chef's hat at him. He gets pissed off and tosses a chair. Fred steps up to the plate and starts cooking huge steaks (I really like Fred). Graham pouts some more. Brian is too into hanging with the other guys instead of trying to get alone time with DeAnna. Finally, she takes Robert aside and asks what's wrong. He tells that he is nervous about their date, and that someone has told him that she has already made up her mind who will be the final 3, Jeremy, Graham and Jason (hmm, I wonder who that could have been?). DeAnna does not like this and calls the guys on the carpet about their behavior. She storms off back to the mansion.

The Most Awkward Two on One date in History - The guys take a car to go to another house to have dinner with DeAnna. I wasn't sure if they were supposed to cook with her, because we didn't really see it, and I have no idea what the point was of going off to another house when they already have one. It seemed ridiculous and wasteful but what do I know. Robert regained his confidence, and was smarmy in the extreme. DeAnna called him on his running away from her, after he told her that communication in a relationship is key. She and Fred had some lovely alone time but then DeAnna shocked everyone by sending them both home. She just felt that neither one was husband material for her, particularly Robert, and Fred she didn't want to lead on and keep him, when she didn't feel a romantic connection.

I have to give her props for this. She could have kept Fred another week, but if she wasn't feeling it, it probably would have been cruel, since his feelings would have gotten deeper. Robert blew it completely in my opinion with his actions that day, and she clearly doesn't have the physical connection with him that she has with the other guys. So as painful as it must have been, I have to give DeAnna props for doing it now.

Back at the house, the guys are freaked out that both Robert and Fred are sent home. They realize just how serious DeAnna is about finding true love, and they all realize (well really Brian and Twilley) that they are going to have to step it up. Jason takes advantage of the fact that he is alone with DeAnna in the house to comfort her (Smart guy) which makes the other guys jealous.

Cocktail Party/Rose Ceremony - Jason, ever the gentleman, escorts DeAnna from her room to the cocktail party which none of the other guys who lived in the house had ever done (Hmm, he's scoring several firsts this season). DeAnna gets alone time with Brian and Twilley, Jeremy and Graham, and then everyone puts on their swimsuits and frolics in the pool. Another first for a rose ceremony. Chris Harrison earns his paycheck by breaking up the party and telling everyone to get dressed for the rose ceremony. Seriously, I think it would have been funnier if they had done the rose ceremony at the pool and DeAnna had to keep her bikini on.
All the guys who are left (including Twilley, seriously?) receive a rose except for Brian. Fortunately he realized that he goofed by bonding with the guys instead of taking the time to bond with DeAnna.

Next week, sweet jesus, we have to sit through DeAnna Tells All, about the remaining 6 guys. Clearly ABC realized that they had to fill air time since DeAnna booted two guys this week.

Stay cool!


Monday, June 09, 2008

Weekend Roundup

The weekend went by so fast and I don't feel like I accomplished a damn thing but I know I did stuff. Maybe the heat just fried my brain so badly, it short circuited!

It was hotter than Hades this weekend in New York, going from like 50 degrees early in the morning on Friday to over 90 on Saturday and Sunday. And I noticed a lot of people wearing black. Just an FYI, black absorbs heat, it doesn't reflect it, so wearing black is the equivalent of wearing tin foil when its hot. So next time you wonder why you are sweating like a pig, you might want to think about investing in wearing some lighter colors.

On Saturday, we had our monthly RWA NYC meeting, where we voted that our July Outing would take place in Coney Island, which is exciting but totally unexpected. I was sure that everyone was going to vote for The Cloisters or going to another museum, but nope, Coney Island it is. I can't wait to go on the Cyclone. I haven't been out that far in Brooklyn since I went to the Mermaid parade a few years ago. And since Coney Island is going to be changing what the new condo developments going up, this will be the last chance to see it in all its seedy glory.

I also went to a roundtable on Susan Sontag this weekend at The Philoctetes Center. I knew very little about Susan Sontag other than she wrote The Volcano Lover, she was the companion of photographer Annie Leibowitz, and she's mentioned in one of the most quoted speeches in Movie History. You know, in Bull Durham when Kevin Costner as Crash Davis says after telling Susan Sarandon the he believes in "Long slow wet kisses that last for three days." (Okay, who didn't melt when they heard that? A guy who really likes kissing? It's a miracle!). He then goes on to say that he believes that the novels of Susan Sontag are overrated. So that was my first introduction to her.

After hearing about her personal story, she may just end up on my list of Scandalous Women but way down on the list. Right now I have about 50 women ahead of her. Roger Copeland, who is A Professor of Theater and Dance at Oberlin was one of the panelists, and once again he made me wish that I had applied to Oberlin instead of Syracuse. I find him such an interesting man.

I also wrote 3 pages on my YA while I was listening to everyone talk and planned out the rest of chapter 15, so I was multi-tasking in a big way. I also went shopping for shoes. And I bought these on sale at Bandolino. I've never owned a pair of green sandals before but I felt that I haven't been taking any fashion risks, that I was buying the same things, so I thought what the heck. Since I buy my shoes first and then work my wardrobe around them, how awesome was it that I found at least 4 outfits at Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft that go with my new shoes!

Now I just need to find a pair of red pumps, and also a pair of ankle-strap red sandals and my wardrobe will be complete. I have my eye on a pair of yellow pumps as well.

Yesterday, after I returned a skirt to Banana Republic, I headed on down to the Ziegfeld Theater to watch Indiana Jones. I figured if I was going to see this movie, I was going to see it right, and the Ziegfeld is one of the few movie theaters left in Manhattan that is only one screen. They turned the Astor Plaza, where I originally saw both Star Wars and Crouching Tiger into a concert venue the Nokia.

I really liked Indiana Jones, I loved the period details and I particularly loved the fact that after seeing this History Channel special on whether or not Indiana approximated what a real archealogist did, I recognized some of the information on Crystal Skulls that was in the program, in the movie. Yes, some of it was predictable, particularly the ending but that was part of the charm of the movie. Although watching the nuclear explosion and some of the other stuff that went on, I can know why we have global warming, it is not only because we used too much hairspray!

I finished Tasha Alexander's A Poisoned Season which I really enjoyed. It was very clever and it took me awhile to figure out who was the murderer. I look forward to reading the third book in the series. I also started reading Anna Godbersen's new book Rumors, which is part of the Luxe series set in 1899 in New York. I'm enjoying it but I've had to put it down for now while I am working on my manuscript. It did give me a good idea for something that I need to do in the most recent chapter that I'm writing. The rest of the weekend was spent reading research books.

Keep cool!


Sunday, June 08, 2008

How to be Famous and Broke

So Evander Holyfield needs to keep boxing at the relatively advanced age of 45 because he's basically broke. Yep, somehow he's managed to spend over $200MM large ones over the course of his career. His $10MM is about to go into foreclosure and one of his baby mama's is suing him for back child support payments. How could things have gone so wrong?

Well for one thing, what the hell did he need with a 110 room mansion? Can you imagine what the upkeep was on that thing? It boggles the mind just how many windows needed to washed, not to mention the groundskeeper, security and housekeeper and maids. 110 rooms don't just clean themselves.

And the man has 9 children. I don't know how many baby mama's there are but let's just say, it is 5 women. That's $40,000 a month in child support, not to mention alimony if he was married to any of these women. Lawyer's fees must be over $100,000 a year. Not to mention what he's paying if he has an entourage and a security detail. He probably flies alot on private planes. You know that's going to cost.

This is what happens when you come from nothing and you start living large. There is a reason why Warren Buffet still lives in Nebraska and buys his suits from Sears. Also why he still has all his money and Evander Holyfield has unpaid bills and debts.

Also a word of caution to all you would be rappers, sports figures and singers out there. If you meet a woman in a club, and take her back to your hotel room, wear a damn condom. Not just because there are nasty STD's out there but because if you believe a woman when she says she's on the pill,


This is how some of these guys get screwed in the money department. I'm not saying that is totally how Evander Holyfield blew all his money, but I'm sure that it had something to do with it. There should be some kind of class that you can take if you become famous and start making real money like HOW TO BE FAMOUS AND NOT GO BROKE. It could be a learning annex course.

Still, there has to be some way for Holyfield to make money without going back in the ring. Reality TV? Celebrity Mole, Appentice, Surreal Life, whatever.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Senda Berenson - Pioneer of Women's Basketball

As I've mentioned before, I'm writing a historical YA set in a women's college in Upstate New York. One of the interesting bits of research that I've learned is how important sports and physical education was at the colleges. We tend to think of things like gym as being strictly a product of the 20th century, but au contraire mon amie, the women who attended female seminaries or boarding schools as well as the nasceant women's colleges were very involved in physical activities.

Most schools required the girls to take calisthenics of some sort, as well as organized sports. I was intrigued to learn that even though basketball (or basket ball as they spelled it then) was invented until December of 1891 by Dr. James Naismith (who was Canadian) at a YMCA training school in Springfield, MA, by 1892 it was being played at Smith College.

Senda Berenson (1868-1954), who had immigrated from Lithuania with her family, was teaching at Smith when she modified the rules of the game to suit women. By 1896, it was well established at several other women's colleges, including Vassar. Berenson was taking a risk simply by teaching the game to women, which is why she modifiedl the rules. This included dividing the court into 3 sections and 9 players per team. Two players were assigned to each area and couldn't cross the line into another area. The ball, like now, was passed from section to section by passing or dribbling. You couldn't dribble the ball more than 3 times or hold it for 3 seconds. No snatching or batting the ball away from another player was allowed. The baskets were actual peach baskets. After every basket, someone had to physically remove the ball from the basket (no had yet thought of making a hole in the basket).

In 1893, the freshmen played the sophomores at Smith College. Also in 1893, Mount Holyoke and Sophie Newcomb College (which is now part of Tulane) were playing basketball. By 1896, the first intercollegiate games were being played, Stanford women vs. Berkeley. A woman named Clara Gregory Baer published the first book of rules for the game in 1895 but she called the game Basquette which is kind of French and weird.

Senda Berenson (whose brother was the noted art historian Bernard Berenson, making her the great-great aunt of photographer Berry Berenson and socialite Marisa Berenson), also authored the first Basketball Guide for Women in 1901-1907. I found a copy of this book online and it is very interesting. Lots of articles about how beneficial basketball is for women. She later married a professor of English at Smith named Herbert Vaughan Abbott, soon after she resigned from the college.

Senda Berenson Abbott is now known today as the Mother of Women's Basketball and was the first woman ever enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Celebrity Feuds

I just read on that the Real Housewives of New York mixed it up a little at the A-List awards with the Real Housewives of Orange County. Seems that the RHOC didn't like the banter that was scripted for them when they came out to announce award together with the RHNYC. The banter dealt with the differences between New York City apartments and California real estate. Bethanny Frankel (on the left) was supposed to make a joke about having a tiny apartment while Jeanna Thomasina didn't like what she had to say.

"They [The O.C. Housewives] said in our material that my apartment is a two-by-four, and it’s actually a one-by-two, and so I can take it, I don’t care,” Frankel told PEOPLE. “But they’re offended that I’m saying something about them living 65 miles from the beach. Jeana said, ‘I don’t think that’s funny.’”

From there it becomes a she said/she said. My fave Jill Zarin said that Bethanny dressed down the RHOC women, while Thomasina said that Frankel got physical. My favorite line in the article was where Bethanny remarked that she was going to get a can of hairspray and a lighter and take care of things later in the dressing room! Who go girl!

Meanwhile can someone please shut both Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards up? I'm so tired of the two of them fighting. We get it, they hate each other, the marriage was a big mistake. Get over it already. And Denise also shut up about her and Richie Sambora and Heather Locklear? Notice, Heather has never said anything negative about Denise once. She's kept her mouth shut about whatever went between her and Denise. Maybe Denise should do the same.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thursday Real Estate Porn

After hunting for property in France, Brangelina have bought a £35 million ($70MM) chateau on the Riviera after spotting their dream home from the air, the 35-bedroom Chateau Miraval in the tiny village of Brignol.

Not far from Aix-en-Provence, property features a lake, a successful vineyard, a swimming pool, and a forest and moat, will become home to the Pitt-Jolie clan in around three months' time. Angelina is due to give birth to twins arrive on August 19, wants to give birth in France in tribute to her French grandmother and late mother who was actually French Canadian. The 1,000-acre estate and its 35 bedrooms seems perfect for their large brood of children which includes (at the moment) Maddox who is six, Zahara who is three, Pax, who they adopted last year, and 2 year old Shiloh. The chateau is located at the end of a three mile-long drive, offering loads of privacy. Their neighbors include Bono, The Edge and Johnny Depp and his partner Vanessa Paradis (can you imagine borrowing a cup of sugar from Johnny Depp? Sweet!).

Okay, what do you think the mortgage is on a place like this? Do they have a fixed rate or is flexible? Seriously how do you spend $70 MM on a home? Particularly when you already own a gorgeous house in New Orleans, and a house in Los Angeles. I know that Brad and Angie get paid a lot of money to make movies, but how do you come up with that much cash?

Are they going to continue to sell Chateau Miraval wine? Are they going to name vintages after their children? The mind boggles.

Excuse me, while I have a glass of Zahara Chardonnay 2009.

Obama 2008!

So it's official. Barack Obama has enough delegates to clinch the nomination at the Democratic convention in Denver this July. Congratulations to Senator and Mrs. Obama! As Halle Berry once said when she became the first black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress, this moment is bigger than all of us.

I only wish that my parents could have lived to see the day that a black man would be within reach of becoming President of the United States. My parents were both democrats, my mother in particular was a die-hard Roosevelt/Kennedy democrat. She told me that she cried for days after both Kennedy's were assassinated, and woe be anyone who said anything bad about Franklin D. Roosevelt in our house. She would have adored Bill Clinton. Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, the only Republicans in history worth admiring were Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The rest are just a blight on what the Republican party used to stand for.

I confess that I have had mixed emotions about this election year. As a woman, I was excited at the idea of a woman being nominated to run for President. And I have long admired Hillary Clinton. I don't know that I like her, but I do admire her, have some understanding of what makes her tick, and I think that she would have made an effective President. It has to be hard for her to see a dream die when just a year ago, it looked like it was pretty much a done deal.

But as a woman of color, I had to support Barack Obama. Really, it was like an embarrassment of riches this year in the Democratic Party. Either way, we can't lose. I know that he's only been a Senator for a short time, but John F. Kennedy went from congressman to Senator to President in record time, so you can't fault Barack for that really. And at least he wrote the two books that he published.

I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that come November, I'll be able to say President Obama.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bloggin the Bachelorette

A whole lot happened in the world of The Bachelorette. I don't think I've ever seen the show where it was two hours long every freaking week. Either ABC doesn't have a whole lot of programming for the summer or they really want to give DeAnna her due in her quest to find true love.

Mullet Man No More - Martial artist Sean from Kentucky or Tennessee or wherever he's from finally got with the program and got a haircut this week, which DeAnna seemed to like. Now ABC needs to send him to a stylist to get him into a dark, tailored suit instead of the hideous suits like the white striped one he wore last night and he might actually be someone she could take home without cringing. Perhaps Billy Ray Cyrus could get the name of Sean's barber. And who exactly cut his hair? I don't remember them getting time out to go get haircuts. Do we think that the hairstylist on Ellen DeGenere's show helped him out?

Urban Cowboy- DeAnna took the guys on a Western themed date, where they learned (or tried to learn) how to do the two-step. Everyone took a turn on the mechanical bull, which snowboarder Jesse excelled at, which was kind of surprising since don't Graham and Jeremy come from Texas? DeAnna decided to test the guys and fake an injury to see which guy was the most concerned about her. All the guys came rushing over to help except Ron, who stood there with his beer like the jerk that he is.

He proved later in the episode what a jerk he was by not only complaining once again about Jeremy but telling DeAnna during the cocktail party that he woke up not feeling her. He countered by saying that he got a case of the "DeAnna's" later on but it was too late for Barber Boy.

Special guest star - The guys got the third degree from special guest star Ellen DeGeneres, DeAnna's new best friend, who got to hand out a rose to Fred (who is adorable with his Chicago accent) and gave DeAnna some advice, particularly about Graham, whose longest relationship was 5 months. Call me madcap but if a guy is 28 and his longest relationship is 5 months, that could be a problem. Does he have the staying power? He told DeAnna later it was because he moved around a lot because of his impressive basketball career.

Magic carriage ride... to the airport - My favorite Richard tried to impress DeAnna on his solo date with her, but she couldn't tell whether or not they were friends or something more. They went on a magical carriage ride like the one from Disneyland, in fact I think it was Cinderella's coach from Disneyland, and DeAnna made the driver pull over on the street so she can dump him. She told him that while he had all the qualities she looked for in a husband, but she wasn't feeling him. She didn't want to keep him around if she didn't see it going anywhere. This was when we had our first Brad reference of the evening, as DeAnna said in a voiceover that she didn't want to pull a Brad. Richard got into the conveniently waiting cab to go home.

Truthfully, I think in the real world, DeAnna might have fallen for Richard over time, but unfortunately my Richard isn't the time of guy to be all aggressive with a woman. He lacked confidence and I think it showed, particularly when she told Chris how she liked the fact that Jeremy was a little cocky. Perhaps if Richard had gone in and grabbed the kiss, things might have turned out differently.

Jason's big secret - DeAnna took Jason on a romantic date to the observatory which would have been the perfect date for Richard, the science teacher, since they had had a conversation about stars on their date. Seriously who plans these things? Jason finally told DeAnna that he's got a three year old son named Tyler. She opened up about the death of her mother which she told him that no one had ever asked her before. What kind of guys has she dated? They bonded and Jason went in for the kiss after asking politely for one. Later, DeAnna had a star named after Jason's son, which was really sweet of her. I wonder if she paid for it herself or the network did?

The Rose Ceremony - During the cocktail portion of the evening, DeAnna gave Ron one last chance to dig a hole for himself as they sit outside. She told him that she was cold, but Ron didn't take the hint and offer her his jacket like every other guy did that night. Can you say jerk?

Jesse showed up in a suit and tie which didn't look half bad on him, although he too needs a haircut, stat. How did he escape getting one when Sean got rid of his mullet?

The Rose Ceremony - Ron and Paul go bye-bye but seriously how is Twilley still there?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pyschogeography (Yes, I'm going deep)

So on Saturday, I went to a roundtable at The Philoctetes Center on Pyschogeography which I thought might be dry and over my head but actually turned out to be quite interesting and made me do a lot of thinking afterwards. The definition on the flyer was this 'Psychogeography—the impact of landscape on the senses and on memory—will be considered from literary, child developmental, and neurological perspectives. The discussion will make specific reference to the changes of scene brought on by immigration and urbanization, in addition to addressing nostalgia for simpler modes of existence.'

Sounds incredibly lofty doesn't it? It was moderated by Matthew von Unwerth who started off the discussion by talking about how some of his earliest most pleasant memories had to do with nature. Which was funny for me because one of my earliest memories having to do with nature was traumatic! Its actually one of my earliest memories. I was about 3 or 4 years old, and we were upstate at our house. We had just gotten out of the car, and I went skipping off along the flagstones carrying a bag of Brach candy when a snake came slithering out from under the flagstones and scared the crap out of me. The bag of candy went flying, and I ran right past my mother, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and climbed up my father's leg, crying. My mother later told me that it was nothing more than a garden snake but when you are 3, a snake is a snake.

Of course I do have pleasant memories later of nature. I remember walks in the woods at day camp, passing the skunk cabbage, a smell that will never leave my brain. I remember rowing on the pond, and the skanky smell of the water. I remember going swimming in the pond near our house upstate, the brackish water, the vegetation that used to grab at our legs. My niece and I used to race each other to see who could get to the raft floating in the middle of the pond first.

Andre Aciman and brought up a point about Manhattan that I thought was interesting. Vito Acconci, another panelist, was born in the Bronx bought went to school in Manhattan. For most people who care coming to New York or who live in the outer boroughs, Manhattan is like this beacon, the green light at the end of the dock in The Great Gatsby. No one who comes to NYC comes to live in the Bronx, or State Island or Queens, they want to live in Manhattan. Such a small island to contain so many people's hopes and dreams. A member of our chapter, always had a dream of living in Manhattan which she fulfilled for one year, before she moved back to Queens!

Growing up in Manhattan, I wasn't really conscious of how other people felt about it until I went to college or traveled outside the city and met people from Europe or other states. Then I began to see the city through their eyes, and it gave me a different perspective on my home. New Yorkers, particularly those of us who are natives, love to complain about how the city has changed and how much better it used to be. The biggest example is to talk about how much better 42nd Street was when it was seedy, disgusting and full of porn theaters and prostitutes as opposed to now when it has become Disneyfied. And my parents could talk about what it was like before it became seedy and disgusting!

My father always had a love hate relationship with New York. He couldn't wait to retire so that he could move to our house upstate full-time. My mother on the other hand would have died if she had to live upstate full time. I feel the same way. Even though I may not go to the museums all the time, I need to know that they are there, that Lincoln Center is there, that I have the options.

I was watching this movie called The Clock yesterday. Robert Walker plays a young soldier from Minnesota who comes to New York on leave. He's exiting the old Penn Station (another lament of New Yorkers!) and as he steps outside and sees all the tall buildings and the horde of pedestrians, he quickly scurries back inside the train station to safety. He's just not ready to venture forth until he meets Judy Garland and they go forth and have adventures in New York.

I remember when I spent my semester abroad in London. I was there for four months and when I came back to New York, I felt so discombobulated. I didn't recognize anything anymore! My whole world had been London, I never once thought about New York or going back. I almost felt like an immigrant!

The roundtable made me think of how I need to incorporate more how the landscape affects my characters in my new novel. Particularly since my heroine has never really been out of her city or state before. Not just the landscape but also the weather as well. I'm really good at dialogue and character description but not so good at the other stuff. I need to describe whether or not the walls are cracked in the hallways and other good things like that.

So yesterday, to help me work on pyschogeography, I made my way out to Brooklyn to the Botanical Gardens. June is Rose Month out there. I've been out to Brooklyn to go to the museum but never to the Botanical Gardens although they are right next door. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was out, the sky was blue and the roses were beautiful. I made time to stop and sniff, remember the fragrance in my nostrils. I've never seen so many different kinds of roses in my life. There was one variety that was purple that didn't even look like what we would consider a rose. There were roses named after Princess Michael of Kent, Julie Andrews, Charles Aznavour, a McCartney rose (which was absolutely lovely, probably named for Linda), a Barbra Streisand rose that wasn't open yet so I couldn't see what the color would have been.

The trip reminded me of the rose bushes that my grandmother used to have in her backgarden in her house here in the city. They were beautiful bushes, and my mother used to clip them and take them home so that we had fresh roses, instead of the hot house ones that they sell at most florists. I think that's why I'm not that fond of receiving roses, because I've had the real thing. I was seriously tempted to snip one or two but I was sure that I was going to get caught. When I was little, I loved flowers, and I had no qualms about wandering off at the Hojos in Kingston and trying to pick the flowers until my mother grabbed me.

I wish I still had the picture of me at Kew Gardens in England, sitting in the middle of a bunch of rose bushes. I also had pictures of me hanging off of the Unicorn of Scotland as well.

So I guess the lesson I learned is that I need to remember that there is more than GIC, and dialogue to make a book work. All the senses need to be engaged. Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Things I Would Never Have Believed

Remember that show from the early 80's called That's Incredible? Starring John Davidson, Fran Tarkenton, and Cathy Lee Crosby, who I always get confused with Cathy Rigby and Kathy Lee Gifford? The one where they had all those people who could do interesting and incredible things?

Well I was thinking about that show when I heard that Clay Aiken is going to be a daddy! Yup, that's what I said. Apparently the mother is Jaymes Foster, the sister of record producer David Foster. The blessed event has been produced via the wonders of artificial insemination. Ah modern medicine.

Here's my question though, was David Crosby not available?

Seriously, it was a very generous thing for Clay Aiken to do. The article in Newsday stated that he and Ms. Foster have been friends since his season of American Idol. Like her brother, she is also a record producer, having worked on Clay's third and fourth albums. I guess her biological clock was ticking but it might have been a good idea not to wait until the age of 50 to try and have a baby.

Okay, I'm impressed that she actually managed to get pregnant at the age of 50. It gives me hope that although I'm 43, I can still have a baby. However, I will not be asking Clay Aiken to be the father. What do you want to bet, that some of his Claymate fans are going to be wanting to get some of that? Maybe he can bottle it and sell it on Ebay? Just kidding!

Still it was pretty shocking news. I almost fell over because I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of him having sex with someone. I was relieved when I found out that it was artificial insemination. Frankly I don't care if he's gay or straight, but the idea of him having sex with anyone is kind of weird. He just seems asexual. In fact he's gone on record as saying that he has no interest in having sex. Really.

Which is kind of amazing for a man to say. It might actually be something that could go into the Guinness Book of World Records.