March 31, 2006

Last day

Of the week. Of the month. Of the job.

Today is a moving day. I'm going to help my old company move to a new office for my last day of work - which means, I'll be out of touch all day.

No blogs. No email. No phones.


March 29, 2006

DMV Express

I headed out early this morning to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Herald Square to update my state ID. It opens at 8:30 so I figured if I got there early, I wouldn't have to wait too long. Imagine my surprise when at 8:10 the line for the DMV was already wrapping around the corner to the middle of 34th street. Disheartened I headed to my office. Of all the things I wanted to get done today, updating my ID was the most important, so had to come up with another idea...

...which is why I headed over to the DMV Express at 34th St. 8th Ave. later in the morning. With my passport, my marriage certificate and forms I downloaded from the internet I walked in and received my ticket numbered B148. I sat down and waited. There were three numbers on the screen of people being helped. B146 was one of them so I thought for sure that I was going to be going very, very soon. I was wrong. A series of numbers beginning with G, F and E came up before mine. 20 minutes went by before I was helped, which is actually not bad in the world of the Department of Motor Vehicles, so I was pretty glad about that.

When I went over to counter 5 and explained to the nice man that I changed my name which is why I needed new state ID, he asked me if I had had my photo taken. This upset me a little bit because in that 20 minutes while I was waiting, I could have gotten my picture taken. I thanked him and started over toward the photo line but as I was walking away, he stopped me and gave me an express pass which allowed me to skip to the head of the 7 person line.

That done I went back to counter 5 where the nice man who was helping me told me that I needed to have my ID approved. Again. Something else I could have done in those 20 minutes I was waiting. He could see I was annoyed, told me to wait and very kindly got all the approvals I needed.

Nice guy. He is a burn victim. His scars looked old and I wondered when I was talking to him if he was one of those kids you hear about every now and then whose parents tried to burn them alive. That's how badly scarred he was. But gosh he was nice. We talked about allergies because we were both sniffling and I learned that not only was he allergic to rag weed and flowering trees but a whole list of foods as well. It turned out to be a pleasant experience.

American Idol - Mediocre at Best

Last night's performances were mediocre at best. The American Idol contestants were told to pick songs from 2000 to the present. Instead of picking songs that best showed off their singing ability they generally chose the songs they liked best.

Paris Bennett, Mandisa, Bucky Covington and Taylor Hicks were the only ones who sang in key but Paris seems to have made the best song choice for her voice. Mandisa, Bucky and Taylor chose their favorite songs and sang them well but didn't connect with the judges which caused some negative feedback.

Everyone else was eh.

Kellie Pickler chose a really cute country song but sang it out of tune. The song she sang was exactly the kind of song she'll end up recording but still she caught some flack from from the judges for choosing something gimmicky (Suds in the Bucket) and was backed into an apology corner, repeating she was sorry over and over again for disappointing the judges. If they were paying attention, they would see that she was taking the criticisms very personally and eased up on her a little bit. She was apologizing so much I started feeling bad for her and almost called in to lend my support during the voting. Almost.

Lisa Tucker sang out of tune. I'm not even sure what she was singing because I always seem to be doing housework when she performs. If I'm not already puttering once she's started, I've been finding something else to do. Her parents must be proud of her because she is a brave little performer but I think she's too young for the show and has been turning in mostly robotic mouse-kateer like performances.

Chris Daughtry sang a rock sang like he always does but didn't connect with the judges this time around - probably because not all rock songs are that great. His performance was so mediocre Simon criticized him for being a one-trick pony which completely contradicted his critique from last week when Simon admired him for being a one-trick pony. He told him he should "change it up a bit" in that affected, disconnected, not-so-charming British way he has of bringing contestants back down to earth after they've started getting a little full of themselves. It's a shame he couldn't bring hairy, barefooted Bo Bice back down to earth. Bo Bice is in the center of his own little Bo-niverse which he's created in lieu of actual good music.

Katherine McPhee sang something but again I was busy doing something when she sang. I heard her singing and I heard her singing well but for some reason I just wasn't that interested in her last night. Her prettiness and actual knowledge and application of singing technique and musical theory will get her through most of American Idol but sadly she won't be the winner.

Elliott Yamin had the same effect on me. I'm a fan of his but I wasn't that interested in him last night either.

I think that's everybody.

Oh. I almost forgot the weird, creepy, preternaturally good looking one who stares into the camera like a zombie. Ace Young. So pretty yet so creepy and unable to sing in tune but he won't be in the bottom three. Nope. Not him. He's too Teen Beat Magazine to get voted off this soon.

My predictions for the bottom three tonight are Kevin Covais, Bobby Bennett and Lisa Tucker.

March 28, 2006

Flavor of Love - Reunion Show Postponed

The Flavor of Love Reunion show has been postponed until April 2nd. The last two Sundays I've been disappointed to see Hulk Hogan's show running in its place. The show's been postponed because problems due to editing.

And where did I learn this information? At the website of the infamous Tiffany "New York" Patterson. She's been busy working on her site, keeping her fans updated about all of her comings and goings. In one post she talks about her struggles of being a public figure - with people interrupting her during her workouts for pictures and autographs. As if.

She has a fan site (which I think she probably writes and maintains herself).

But what I find hardest to believe is that Tiffany Patterson is only 23 years old. And I base that on the fact that her bosom sags like someone in her late 20's to early 30's. Those are not 23 year old breasts. On her MY SPACE site - which she copied started several weeks after Pumkin - she listed other interesting facts about herself like she's a Virgo and in a relationship. I guess she knows if you're visiting her site you're not really interested in what she has to say about the war in Iraq because all she writes about is herself and her interest in Flavor Flav.

Go Fug Yourself

The fabulous bitches at Go Fug Yourself are on fire today. Check out their thorough thrashing of the failing fashions of Pink, Diana Ross, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Anniston and others.

Reliable Delivery

Did I ever tell you that my image is being used to sell reliable delivery of United Envelopes envelope products?

Check it out here.

A Tale of Two Subway Lines

So. Last night Jon picked me up from work. We left before 5:30 which means that I left work early so I could spend a nice evening with Jon. We got home at 7.

At Carnegie Hall, the station agent announced that the N, R and W line was not running at all due to a signal problem somewhere in Queens. When we ascended from the 57th and 7th street station, our plan was to walk through Manhattan, over the 59th Street bridge and then home. That would have taken at least two hours. But instead, Jon had a brilliant idea. We took the F train at 57th and 6th to Long Island City and walked home from the 21st station instead.

The weather was nice so it turned out to be a lovely walk and we did have a lovely evening afterall. But the first hour of trying to get home was pretty stressful.

March 27, 2006

The Countdown Continues

My last week here has begun and with a bang no less. When I walked into the office this morning, I noticed that a lot of what was once on the walls was now packed in boxes scattered throughout. Someone did work while I wasn't here and that make me soooooo happy. What a nice way to start the week. With my boss having done the lion's share of packing this week won't be as physically demanding as once believed.

The weekend was good. Jon and I spent a good part of it in Long Island visiting my parents. But last night was dedicated to The Sopranos. A chill ran through me when the theme music started playing. Every character on the show behaved exactly as they would.

I'm not going to give anything away because last night's episode provides resolution to the previous week's cliffhangers and I'm sure not everyone has seen it. But just believe me when I tell you, the writer of that show understands his characters so well that it's almost as if they've evolved without his assistance and he's just transcribing conversations and situations as they happen.

March 24, 2006

Dear Random Guy in the Subway

Last night, when I found a seat on the train I felt so fortunate until you sat down next to me. That's when your male version of a woman's pocket book started rubbing up against me for potentially the remainder of my ride. Maybe I should describe your bag so you know who you are. The strap of your bag was slung across your shoulder while the pouch sat on your right hip. Why do you have a bag like that anyway?

And why couldn't you pick up on the fact that I wanted you to move it? I wiggled around in my seat so much that everyone else in the train was looking at me funny. Didn't you know that I wanted you to move your bag? Couldn't you read my passive aggressive behavior or did you willingly choose to ignore it? I think you willingly chose to ignore it because that's the kind guy of you are.

I hope you weren't offended when I moved to another seat as soon as one became available. You sure did notice. As a matter of fact, I saw you shift in your seat as soon as I left. That would indicate to me that you understood that the crooked way you were sitting was indeed uncomfortable and if that's the case, WHY DIDN'T YOU MOVE WHEN A SEAT BECAME AVAILABLE?

You caused in me the most hateful feeling. And the sad part is that if I had said anything about your bag sitting inconveniently on my hip as well as yours, I would have appeared to be the individual with a problem. Not you. You would have sat back and resumed your role of the victim never understanding why the people around you are always so upset and uncomfortable.

End of the Week

This is the end of a long and boring week. Being a lameduck employee has its disadvantages along with its plusses. On the plus side, I am counting down the time until I start my other gig. On the down side, my work load is small leading to hours of boring, boring, boring. The last day of the month is moving day for my current job. So my last day of work is going to be the busiest and most stressful of all the days I've worked here to date. I'm waiting for our boxes so I can start packing.

I tried to get us out of our Verizon contract so we could switch to a new vendor but we're locked into a contract because I chosed Centrix lines to save the company money. So I've coordinated Verizon and the company that handles our phone system to install and move the phones simultaneous to the uber move.

Here are the stresses of that day. The building we're in now operates the freight elevator between 9 and 12 and then 1 and 5:30. The building we're moving to operates their freight elevator between 9 and 4. So. . .do you see the problem? No room for error. Other stresses include mostly glass furniture which has to be disassembled and reassembled; computers which have to be packed with all of their own specific wires and attachments; and a general disconnected feeling between me and doing a good job.

That day is also a pay day. So I'm thinking of asking for my check the night before just to be sure it doesn't get forgotten about the day of the move but I hate asking for my check which is usually how I've had to get it here - by reminding my boss that it's payday. It really sucks to ask for your check. It's like begging or something.

March 22, 2006

American Idol - Was Hopping

Did anyone else noticed that Paula Abdul seemed medicated last night? She was acting a little loopy. Her doctors should really keep an eye on her dosage.
Last night was the obligatory 50's theme night of American Idol. Barry Manilow (who coincidentally just released an album of 50's songs) was the celebrity guest/coach - helping the contestants to arrange their songs and improve their performances. Interestingly enough, all of the arrangements included a key change toward the end of the song true to Mr. Manilow's style of adding key changes at the ends of songs to make them more interesting.

Some of the music of the 50's affords singers an opportunity to really show off their skills and vocal range because a lot of it is really, really hard to sing. Standouts were Mandisa, Parris, Catherine, Elliot and Taylor who Manilow referred to as a "Whisky Tenor" - a perfect description of Taylor's voice, meaning it's raspy and he sings higher than a bass.

Kelly was the bridge between the above brilliant performances and the remaining bad ones. She did a sexy rendition of Walking After Midnight, a Patsy Kline song, but her lack of training was again very apparent. She is a good performer. I'll give her that. The performers who just weren't up to snuff last night were Lisa, Ace and Kevin. Actually those three gave it there all but they were outclassed by everyone else with the exception of Bucky Covington who again sang his whole song out key.

March 21, 2006

A Funny Thing Did Not Happen on the Way to My Office this Morning

I wasn't even supposed to come to the office this morning. I had a doctor's appointment at 9:15 on the Upper West Side.

I was on the station platform at 8:15 and ended up at work at 10 am.

How could something like this happen? Why do you think?

If you guessed the subway you are correct. When I arrived at the station platform the crowd was four people deep. An N train arrived shortly after I got there but it was so crowded I waited for the next one. The next one didn't come for 15 minutes and I couldn't get on that one either but while I was waiting a completely empty W train passed us on the express track. Two more trains stopped at that station in 15 minute intervals while 3 more empty trains passed by on the express track.

I cancelled my appointment. At 9 I got clever. I went to the opposite track and took an empty train going in the wrong direction to the last stop. At Ditmars (the last stop) passengers were told that the train was going back to the train yard and to get on the other train sitting in the station. I took my seat. At 9:20, I was finally on my way into the city.

Turns out there is something happened with a W train somewhere in or near Brooklyn - something bad enough to cause a complete and total disruption of train service.

Because the MTA never tells you what's happening while you're stuck in the middle of something time consuming and disruptive, I got my information from Jon who was watching the news for the transit report.

Almost two hours after I left my house, I made it to the office. I have to wait another two weeks before I can see my doctor.

March 20, 2006

Just Another Manic Monday

So. How is your Monday going? Mine is going well - because this is the second to last Monday that I will be working this particular full-time job. This makes me happy.

Saturday I took the long train ride up to Poughkeepsie to meet with our photographer about picking photos for our wedding album. It took 4 hours for Zupcu and I to choose the final 50 images. When you factor the fours of commuting, Saturday was pretty full. In spite of my fatigue, I was able to pull together a nice meal for Jon to enjoy when he got home from work but I was so zonked that I went to sleep at 11 - very exciting for a Saturday night.

Sunday was a little more easy going. Slept in late, sat around, goofed off, went food shopping, took a nap, watched TV, went online . . . you get the idea. The most effort went into uploading a game onto Jon's computer and then playing it for an hour and a half. StarTopia was put out by MuckyFoot productions four or five years ago. It's one of those god-of-your-own-universe games that is endlessly fun and entertaining - you build and develop your own space station. You hire and fire the people that come and go off your station; you build functional and recreational facilities as you see fit; you develop your own penal system to help keep your alien society in check; you raise crops on the biodeck that you can harvest and convert into tradeable goods; etc.

Oh. Okay. That's right. Now I remember why I removed it from my own computer. I may have gotten addicted to it at the expense of eating, sleeping and moving around but I think I can keep my gameplay time under control now, if I just limit myself to one hour intervals.

Now it's Monday and I'm on the threshhold of my final two weeks here. The first thing I did this morning was place on classified ad for this job on Craig's List. Very satisfying.

March 17, 2006

And the News Is

I quit my job today. My last day is in two weeks and then in April I'll be starting a part-time job that makes the same amount of money.


St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day. A word of advice to people living in and near New York City, avoid Fifth Avenue. If you don't have to go there today don't. Maybe you're reading this and wondering why a New Yorker wouldn't want to attend the St. Patrick's Day parade. If you are, you are probably not from around here. The parade seems to attract a lot of badly behaved drunken people. It's crowded, loud, messy (because of vomit and the endless spilling of beer) and costs the city as much money as it earns.

There's something in the works that I want to share with you later in the area of good news but I'm not quite ready to tell you yet. And it's not that I'm pregnant so get that idea out of your heads S and C.

March 16, 2006

March 15, 2006

Here's NY Pollution in your Eye

This evening as I was walking home a gust of wind blew a large piece of pollutant in my eye. It was so painful it stopped me cold. I pulled into the fruit and vegetable stand outside of our local Tradefair to gather myself. When the pain was half way gone, I continued home. It took an hour for my eye to clear up to its normal level of bloodshot.

I was walking home from the NY Sports Club - that place where I used to work out. I liked it while I went and I've had some good workouts there but the last few times I've been there, I've noticed that the high price of membership does not do the job one would hope of keeping out the psychos. There a few nutjobs from the neighborhood working out there on a regular basis now. Going there isn't as much fun as it was when I first joined because it became so popular. It's the cleanest club in the area meaning TOO MANY PEOPLE for this misanthrope. And it's expensive. Hella expensive.

If I'm going to pay that much I want a little more room to stretch and breath and lift and sweat.
The sad truth is that as expensive as that club is at $70 a month, it's not even close to being as pricey as some of the higher end clubs in NYC.

So, tonight I cancelled my membership. My membership ran out in January but I was still a member - being billed - because I didn't go down to the club and give my 30 days notice that I didn't want to continue my membership. When I joined, I was warned by my then private trainer that NYSC does that - rolls you over to a monthly membership until you sign something that says you don't want to renew. So - my membership is good until April 14th and I will still get billed April 1st but at a pro-rated rate.

But I'm considering joining a cheaper gym or just hitting the new local yoga studio if that isn't already so crowded I can't even lay down a mat.

American Idol - Prediction

My prediction (or rather my wish) is that either Kevin Covais or Bucky Covington will be eliminated tonight.

Last night was the first "REAL BIG" night of American Idol. It's interesting how a show that has been on the air since January could actually only just be starting in the middle of March but that is the genius of the producers of American Idol. Every week there is a new angle. This week's new angle was that last night's competition represented the first time the 12 final contestants are competing for the title of American Idol. Before they were just fighting to get into the final 12 spots.

It seems American Idol really pumped up the production value - better band, back up singers, bigger stage and more lights.

The show started with a bang as Stevie Wonder coached each contestant on singing one of his songs for last night's competition. Stevie Wonder is great but he doesn't fit with everyone's style. The people that didn't perform so "Wonder"fully were Kellie Pickler (boring), Ace Young (off key),Kevin Covais (too lispy and cutesy poo) and Bucky "needs a shave and haircut" Covington (not surprisingly since he isn't a very good singer anyway).

The standouts of the evening were Catherine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, Paris Bennett and Chris Daughtry who rocked it like he's been touring with the Rolling Stones for 50 years. The other people did alright. Mandisa sang too low. Lisa Tucker was too cute. The three others - well, they were okay too.

During Kellie Pickler's critique by the judges, Simon Cowell told her that she looked like she'd been to Dolly Parton University because of how she looked - puffy blond hair, red high heels and a cute little dress. I didn't see it. But when he said you could tell she was crushed while simultaneously not fully understanding what he meant. It was like watching Big Foot clubbing a baby seal. But she is bubbly enough to overcome little slights like this and was joking with Ryan Seacrest only moments later.

Another highlight of the show was when Ryan removed Mandisa's painful shoes before her performance which she sang barefooted. Yuck. But those shoes did look painful.

March 14, 2006

Mondays - My Favorite Day?

Mondays are quickly becoming my favorite day of the week.

You're probably wondering how that could be. It's Tuesday and you still haven't shaken off that magic weekend dust that keeps you feeling a little groggy.

But my husband doesn't have to work on Mondays and since he works nights this is becoming a special event.

Last night, Jon picked me at my office and we hung out in the city. First we walked down to the Barnes and Noble on Union Square North. This is my favorite of all the NYC B&N locations because at Union Square B&N took over an old building. Because there are four floors it never seems really, really crowded. We bought a book for the house - Hey. It's That Guy published by the good people (or person) at FameTracker. We also picked up the deluxe edition of Midnight Cowboy. We had the option of staying for a reading by Macaulay Caulkin but we decided against it.

Instead, we walked over to one of my favorite NY eateries, Mayrose Comfort Food. In New York City you can't help but run into celebrities. If there isn't one giving a reading to promote his new crappy book, there will probably be one sitting two tables down at Mayrose. While we were waiting for our food, Joe Franklin walked in with a posse of two. More of a local NY celebrity he used to host The Joe Franklin Show, originally aired on WWOR - now UPN. By the end of each show all the guests would usually be talking to each other - guests would range from a guy who collected potato chips that looked celebrities to major movie stars. I later learned from Jon that he is also famous for having one of the messiest offices in television.

He was great talkshow host - one of the originals and I always enjoyed listening to him because of his great voice. Last night, he looked good but he has still aged quite a bit. I think he's in his 80's now. I couldn't believe how little he is - probably why he went into broadcasting.

The night ended when Jon and I watched the pilot episode of Big Love, HBO's new serial drama about a polygamist. There are some pretty heavy hitting character actors in this one - Jeanne Triplehorne, Harry Dean Stanton, Bill Paxton, Bruce Dern - to name some. It was okay. The show certainly gives you enough information upon which to build a season of possibly interesting stories? I don't know. There was something a little stilted about the show - the writing may not be as good as some of HBO's other knockout serials but we'll see.

It's always nice to spend the evening with my husband.

March 13, 2006

Flavor of Love - Finale

Flavor Flav made his final decision last night (if your computer can do it, you can watch the episode at the V-Spot by clicking on Flav's name up top.) He chose one woman to be his baby and to wear a set of custom-made gold grillz over her beautiful teeth.

He chose Nicole "Hoopz" Alexander.

Before he made his decision he took the two final contestants, New York and Hoopz, to Puerto Vallarta - famous destination of the fictional Love Boat - where the women had to share a room. I'm sure the show could have afforded to put them up in separate rooms but there wouldn't have been the same amount of drama had they done that. These two HATE each other. There is no love lost between them and you could see them seething at each other the whole show.

The first night, Flav planned a romantic dinner for the three of them. While they were waiting for their food, Flav asked them what they thought of each other and a big fight ensued. This upset Flav and he had to leave the table. He just couldn't understand why those two were fighting - as if he wasn't the prize for this bizarre competition. Hoopz called New York a fake and New York, in an effort to appear lady like, kept reminding Flav that she was a lady and wouldn't stoop to Hoopz's level. She never really said anything bad about Hoopz at dinner.

After that Flav had separate dates with each woman.

He took New York to a private beach - very nice. She wore a skimpy but not the skimpiest bikini I've ever seen. They frolicked in the sun and sand. He tried to go canoing with New York, but she's got no athletic ability at all and somehow she kept capsizing the canoe before they could even get out onto the water. The date ended with dinner at a romantic restaurant and dessert back up in Flav's room where she spent the night. While smoking a cigarette at the end of her meal, through a face full of tears she explained to Flav how much she loves him and how much she wants to be with him - AGAIN.

Every moment she had alone with him she was talking about her feelings. And you know, I think he was only thinking of her for sex because he couldn't stop talking about her body. So in the end he got what he wanted from her - sex and she got nothing. That wasn't very fair of him. He should have been nicer and not sleep with her if he thought there wasn't a chance that he would pick her. I mean - she is crazy.

The next day he took Hoopz to a jungle excursion where they rode ziplines through the canopy all day. Hoopz is very athletic and really enjoyed the activity while New York would have been freaking out the whole time. Flav and Hoopz took a romantic walk on the beach near the hotel afterwards. Their romantic dinner also found them back at Flav's room afterwards. At dinner, Hoopz talked about New York and basically asked Flav what we all wanted to know. What does he see in her? Flav saw a good person in her. Maybe there was a good person in there, but you needed X-ray vision to see the good person underneath her layers of bullshit.

Anyway, Flav gave both women a present - a necklace with their nicknames. When New York got hers she said thank you. When Hoopz got hers she said thank you and gave Flav a gift in return. It was an "ASS TRAY" - because he was always looking for an ashtray at his house and because he likes ass. Get it? He loved it. And he loved the personal note she wrote for him.

The trip to Mexico occupied the first hour of the show. The last half hour of the show was dedicated to showing the girls get ready for their dates.

Hoopz went to the salon while New York went to Nicole Miller to get a dress and then the other way around. New York LOVED every dress she saw and ended up picking a pretty, low-cut red number. Hoopz meanwhile was having a bad time at the salon because they screwed up her extensions. By the time she got to Nicole Miller she was tired, annoyed and downhearted. A different sales person helped her as she tried one dress after another and didn't like any of them. She chose the dress that she thought looked the best but still didn't like it. Wouldn't you know it was the same exact dress as New York?

Thanks to Confessions of a Shoe Whore for the photo.

They walked into the elimination ceremony in the same dress - which looked better on Hoopz. New York started talking trash to Hoopz in the classy way that she does at every elimation ceremony and got in Hoopz's face. She bragged about her alone time with Flav - about how they "made sweet music" together to which Hoopz replied, "someone get me a bucket." Hoopz never really bragged about her own date with Flav - she just kept reinforcing her belief that New York was a fake and a slut in the down to earth way she keeps things real (whatever that means).

Flav dragged out the finale a little longer by asking the girls if they would still love him, even if he chose the other one. Then he repeated their names over and over again until he finally chose Hoopz.

In her final interview, Hoopz said New York was probably in the limo crying her eyes out (cut to limo and NY crying her eyes out). She also said the New York was probably going to get drunk all night (cut to NY saying she's going to drink that whole bottle of whatever she was pointing too).

In the end Flav gave Hoopz this ridiculous set of gold teeth to wear over her own teeth. They made her look pretty stupid.

Flav felt a fire burnign inside of him everytime he looked at or spoke to Hoopz which is why she won in the end.

March 10, 2006

American Idol - Final 12

I can't believe the American public chose Bucky Covington over Gedeon. Gedeon was a nice young man - granted he was a little odd but he could really, really sing. Bucky Covington, who has been singing since he's 18 years old, can't sing in key. He doesn't take any pride at all in his appearance. So, if you were to pay $100 a ticket to see Bucky in concert, he would basically look like crap. Gedeon dressed up and dressed well. And Gedeon has clearly been singing since he could talk while Bucky sounds like he's had absolutely no formal training at all.

I'm sorry. You don't deserve to win if you haven't been working on your singing since a young age. It's just not fair.

Look at that picture. Hair - awful. Skin - awful. Face - covered with awful hair. Please Bucky. If you're reading this, please clean up your appearance so I can at least stand watching as you sing out of key.

My biggest hope for this year's competition is that Bucky is not voted the American Idol.

March 09, 2006

Taylor Hicks and the Rest

American Idol featured 8 male contestants last night who were all fighting for the final 6 spots. The only performance I remember specifically was Taylor Hicks who sang Michael McDonald's Taking It To The Streets. He sang really well. He danced not so well.

Out of the 8 men who performed last night, I think only three did badly enough to be going home tonight. Will Makar sang How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You and it was boring. James Taylor music can only be sung by James Taylor or it sucks and so did Will.

The other two guys I think have a chance of going home tonight are Kevin Covais and Bucky Covington. Kevin sang Starry Starry night and in spite of the cute lisp, which he should really work on, it was a boring performance. And Bucky Covington - well, I've never really been a big fan of his. He has a sloppy appearance and a so/so voice.

March 08, 2006

Furry Blonde Lobster

You know how every now and then while channel surfing your remote lands on the Discovery Channel while they're showing a program about some deep sea expedition where they're studying hydrothermal tubes that eject a constant stream of brilliantly hot air from the earth's core? Well, if you haven't they do. Scientists and marine biologists have been studying the kind of life that develops in these weird and extreme environments that are as dark as they are hot.

Until recently, I thought the most disgusting life form discovered during these explorations had been the tubeworm. But I was wrong. In the news today, I read the story about the furry crustacean called Kiwa hirsuta, from the genus Kiwaida, named for Kiwa, goddess of crustaceans in Polynesian mythology. The Kiwa hirsuta was found about 7500 feet deep in the ocean, 900 miles south of Easter Island.

Now I know some of you are going to think it's cute but every time I look at a picture of this thing, I feel a little bit nauseous.

Wednesday Wakeup

It's the middle of the week. Sigh. Jon and I visited the Russian/Turkish baths on Monday night. We had a nice schvitz and received 30 minute sports massages. My masseuse worked so hard he left me feeling sore two days later. I can't speak for Jon about his massage but when he walked out of that little room he had that relaxed look on his face that you get when you have a massage.

I'm glad we did that because when we were in Iceland, I didn't get the treatments I planned on at the Blue Lagoon. The weather that day was just awful.

Jon and his Icelandic horseThat's also the day we went horseback riding. It was the coldest day of that trip . The sky was overcast, it was snowing, 30 something degrees and with the windchill the temperature was in the teens. The wind was blowing so hard the snow was falling horizontally. Here's Jon with his horse Wind. It was so cold they made us wear these ridiculous looking jumpers. Matched with the numbered horse helmets we looked like a strange group.

Below to the right is me on my horse in the middle of a lava field. You can see the wind blowing across the picture, through my hair, through my horses mane and through my very soul. That was a very, very cold wind.

Val on Her HorseIt was kind of hard to enjoy the ride. There was the cold to contend with and then there was my stubborn as a mule horse. Apparently, all Icelandic horses are gentle, sweet and compliant, except for the one I had. Mine kept clip clopping along at a slower pace than the other horses and wouldn't go faster until our group leader gave me a wist which I flicked on my horses haunch. That worked but then the horse kept going too fast and I kept feeling like I was going to fall. This is how it went. I didn't like my horse and I was happy to dismount after two hours in the bitter cold. It was cool to be riding a horse through a lava flow. I could have been on the moon for all the starkness.

After we were done with the horseback riding we headed out to the Blue Lagoon - an outdoor spa with geothermically heated waters with special properties. It sounds odd that people would do this in the winter time but when the weather is milder it's very reasonable - like if the temperature is a little above or below freezing, it's not that bad.

Brave were the souls who went into the waters that day. Here's is what we saw when we arrived at the Blue Lagoon. Even with the overcast skies the irridescent blue waters were still visible.Blue Lagoon
I changed into my suit and showered per the instructions I saw hanging near the showers -a series of drawings that illustrated where people should wash before entering the lagoon with the placement of big red X's over a cartoon lady's armpits, tushie, crotch, face, hands and feet. And then soaking wet, I headed toward the Lagoon. There is a small corridor which you can walk through before you get outside, so you do have a chance to acclimate to the cooler temperatures.

Standing at the door I spotted Jon and then quickly ran into the water to meet him. The water was warm, very warm but the wind and snow created icicles in my hair. Jon and I swam around a little bit and found a nice warm spot next to a big wall that offered some protection from the elements. I looked around and spotted the life guards. They were dressed, head to toe, in special gear to keep them warm - they looked like they were about to run the Iditerod.

I lasted about 15 mintues before I had to go inside. As warm as the waters were, they couldn't compete with the wind and snow.

March 07, 2006

American Idol - 8 Women Left

I'll just give you the highlights from tonight's installment of American Idol 5.

Mandisa gave the best performance of the night. She's a power singer and she powered out I'm Every Woman. The second best performance was given by Katherine McPhee.

Kinnik Sky, sang her song almost completely sharp and she knew it. In her little film interview, played before her performance she confessed to the viewing audience something we might not know about her. She likes to eat chitterlings (chitlins) and you could say what you want but she gets to eat them once a year and she really loves them. When Simon told her that her performance probably "booked her ticket home" he added that "at least she gets to eat her chicklets". I didn't think there was anything spontaneous about that remark. It sounded like he's made that joke before as a way to look down his nose at Americans and the various influences that make up our culture. I really find it hard to believe that before tonight, he'd never heard the expression chitterlings.

melissaMelissa McGhee sang a Heart song and she sang her little heart out. She took a risk and didn't do such a great job but I voted for her anyway. I really like her. She's one of those contestants that isn't necessarily as talented as others people on the show but really works hard and has earned her skill with lots and lots of practice. But I'm not so sure we'll see her next week. I predict that Kinnik and Melissa will receive the least amount of votes.

In other news, Kellie Pickler tried salmon this week.

March 06, 2006

Oscars Party 2006 - Pictures

Sarah and Sydney
Oscar Crowd

Jon Stewart

Zoey was sporting a sexy bow in honor of the Oscars celebration.

With Zoey's pretty bow she finally had the confidence to talk to some of the men at the party.

After a couple of drinks, Zoey started telling the funniest jokes. You could see these two were completely under Zoey's spell.

Here Zoey is holding court with several interested suitors, including my husband. Hey. Wait a minute!!!!

The Oscars - 2006

Last night I attended a wonderful Oscars party at Sarah's house. We watched the Academy Awards on her new HDTV and that was pretty spectacular. The food was great. The view was great. The people were great. Normally, I don't go for other people but I got to see people I haven't seen in a long time. And there were people there I'd never seen before that I also liked.

Now to the Oscars.

Jon Stewart did okay. I like that he just hosted and didn't try to be funny every possible moment. He made jokes where jokes were suitable and that was fine by me. My favorite joke was when he suggested that the audience topples the giant Oscar statue to bring about democracy. Some of his jokes were subtle - barely perceptible. I would love it if he hosted again.

Generally, I found the dresses ATROCIOUS. If you've ever seen the website Go Fug Yourself, you know that they are going to be talking about last night's Academy Awards for weeks to come. I'm sure they'll be giving their own awards in many categories of bad dressing. There were an alarming number of brown, beige, taupe, ivory and flesh colored dresses worn by every caliber of actress. Then there were the stand outs. The ugliest dress was donned by Charlize Theron. The dress was ill-fitting and the bow on her left shoulder overshadowed her very pretty face. She looked like she was being eaten by the dress.

My favorite dresses were worn by the beautiful, but boring Jennifer Lopez, and the equally beautiful, but twice as boring, Selma Hayak. They wore green and blue respectively and both looked fantastic. They were two life rafts of color floating in a see of neutral blahs.

Production numbers and montages
For some reason, an endless number of meaningless montages were shown during the awards ceremony. Although they were themed, I didn't understand what most of them had to do with the movies of 2005 - except for the spoonfed humor of the gay cowboy montage which was clear to everyone.

The production numbers were disturbing. Dolly Parton performed great but looked sickly. She was sooooooo thin - that really scary Karen Carpenter kind of thin. The CRASH production number was patently ridiculous - with all those dancers moving in slow motion in front of a burning car. Eh. And while the rap number was bearable, I was upset that the singers weren't dressed better. They performed for the Academy Awards - the most prestigious awards event in entertainment and they wore t-shirts and baggy jeans. I thought that was a little disrespectful. As to who deserved to win, I really didn't like any of the songs so I don't have an opinion.

The only montage that I liked was the death tribute montage. It was as good as it always is and it made me cry.

March 03, 2006


American Idol - Results Show
Aired - March 2, 2006

The following contestants were sent home after receiving the least amount of votes: Brenna, Gethers, Heather Cox, Sway and David Radford. I muted the television when they sang their farewell performances.

Brenna Gethers used her dismissal from the show as a promotional opportunity, asking people sign her and make some money - while Ryan Seacrest was telling her that she lost. That's chutzpah.
Morning Commute
This morning's delays could certainly have been experienced as spirit-crushing, had it not been for my second installment of The Strand Magazine - 12 issues of SHERLOCK HOLMES adventures brought to the viewing public by Stanford University. I read about a free offer by Stanford University for interested readers at back in November and signed up for it immediately. It's wonderful. And I'm so excited because I get to read his stories the same way a Victorian audience would have - in periodic installments. I read my first one yesterday and enjoyed it thoroughly.

I recommend you sign up for this experience - which you can do here.

March 02, 2006

C.A.D. - City Affectation Disorder

It's March 2, 2006. When I was younger I thought how cool it would be to live in the 21 st century. And it is pretty cool.

But I'm still riding a subway every day to get around the city. I was hoping by now someone would have invented a machine that would enable me to teleport myself from place to place. Yesterday morning, I allowed enough to time to get to work early to take care of an errand or two and delays on the train sucked up my extra time so I couldn't run my errands.

I think the problem is that the city is just too darn crowded. Trains have been added to allow for the additional populations and since all those trains have to travel through the same tunnels, delays are inevitable.

Sometimes the crowding really gets to me. I find myself longing for open spaces which is why I enjoy travelling out of the city - even it's only to Long Island.

When we were in Iceland there were a lot of open spaces. Icelanders are very conscious of not overdeveloping their beautiful landscapes.
It's as if the whole island of Iceland is one big national park.

The city of Reykjavik is one big open space. Because of earthquakes, strick building codes don't allow buildlings taller than 8 stories.

So there is a lot of open sky and a lot of sunshine.

There's a lake in the middle of Reykjavik - not in the middle of a park in the middle of Reykjavik.

Iceland was a happy place. I know it's easy to say that when you're on vacation but it really was a great place to visit. No garbage on the streets was priceless. In New York City, there is garbage everywhere. Every morning, I have to walk over sidewalks full of garbage to get to work.

It can be depressing. Why don't people use the garbage receptacles put out by the city to help keep it clean? I've seen people literally teaching their children how to dispose of garbage discreetly on to the sidewalk.

If we could somehow figure out a way to make the city feel less crowded, clean up the sidewalks and eliminate subway delays, everyone would feel happier about living in New York City.

March 01, 2006

American Idol - 9 Men and an Almost Man

Okay. Let 's get started.

Taylor Hicks - He opened the show with a luke warm performance of Easy Like a Sunday Morning. He didn't like sound like he knew what he's doing. And this guy's pretty polished so I was really disappointed. Everytime I do a search for this guy on the net, I find a professional photo of him seemingly in concert. Tonight, I learned that he released a CD called "Under the Radar" and listened to a track here. He's wonderful. The track also has parts of an interview he did with WBHM in Alabama. I hope he does better next week because if he phones it in again next week like he did tonight he's not making it through.

Elliot Yamin - He sang that song that they used to play on WBLS 107.5 on Sunday mornings when they signed off after their Sunday Morning Classics show. It was great. I've never heard anybody perform that song and I thought he did a great job. It was very stylized. I voted for him.

Ace Young - Gosh he's pretty but he's so boring. He eased up on that creepy staring thing but he was still pretty boring. What did he sing?

Gedeon McKenney - He finally stopped that insane grinning and did a great job performing A Change is Gonna' Come by Sam Cooke, much better than last week. He did so great, I voted for him. I'd like to hear him try to sing some Al Greene.

Kevin Covais- Yes. He's cute. Yes. He's likable. But guess what! He's a mediocre singer. Kevin and Gedeon are about the same age, yet somehow Gedeon sounds 20 years older when he sings. Kevin's inexperience really showed tonight.

Sway - blech. He is going home tomorrow night.

Will Makar - sang Lady by Kevin Rogers. I don't know who sang it for. He's not even old enough to understand what that song is about. Possibly, his song choice will send him home. He sang it well enough it was just a ridiculous choice. Totally incongruous. Peter Brady look-a-likes shouldn't be singing Kenny Rogers love ballads.

Bucky Covington - I appreciate his effort but I'd be surprised if he makes it to the final 12. He should consider cutting his hair and shaving off his beard. That look doesn't work for him. He can't pull it off. And that country rock thing just doesn't work for me.

David Radford - one word. DIMPLES. That's all I remember - well there's a vague memory of a Frank Sinatra song. I'm the cheese that stands alone whenever I say this, but I just don't understand why everyone gets so excited about Sinatra. People who do tributes to him bore me. He could be going home.

Chris Daughtry - AWESOME. He's really good. He has that ability to scream and sing at the same time and still sound good, an ability I wish I possessed. And he's pretty darn good looking. You could definitely picture him as the charasmatic leader of a some rock group.