December 29, 2007

Spring Awakening - Bitch of Living

I've seen Spring Awakening enough times now, that I don't LOVE it anymore, although it has one or two numbers that still interest me, particularly this one. The number explains teen sexual angst very nicely. (Two celebrity spottings last night - Tara Lipinsky and Tom Hulce. )

December 28, 2007

Almost a New Year

The year is almost over and any resolutions that I was going to make coming 2008, I already made in the fall when I turned 40; not that I make resolutions anyway. I believe that if you're planning on making some kind of change in your life, you should do it as soon as possible. If that coincides with the new year then so be it. My changes coincided with my 40th birthday.

I guess what I am saying is that people shouldn't wait until a new year is looming to examine their lives. That should be an ongoing process. You should be asking yourself what you can be doing to be the best-possible-you on some kind of regular basis. And if you're happy with who you are then more power to you.

I realized I needed to lose weight after seeing myself looking hefty in some photos. Of course, I am always aware of my weight and how I look but for some reason, those particular photos told me that I needed to make a change. Forget the new year.

I also decided that this is my 40th year is when I get my driver's license back. Several years ago, I let it lapse. I have a new learner's permit and all that remains is my attendance at one of those five hour courses and of course, the driver's test. That's another promise I made to myself several months back.

For me, these small changes are about regaining control of those parts of my life that I've let slide over the years. I know for a lot of people the new year is a time for reflection. If that's what you need, then so be it. Think about those little changes you can make that will contribute to your general sense of well being.

Okay. Now I can't help it. Now I'm thinking about making new year's resolutions in spite of what I expressed at the top of this post.

What do you think? What are your resolutions going to be? I'd like to know.

December 26, 2007

Happy Boxing Day!

Is Boxing Day non-denominational?

The week following Jon's signing was interesting. I worked a new show call The Homecoming over at the Cort Theater - a play by Harold Pinter first produced in 1967, the year I was born. It's a 40 year old play. And it's a creepy play, a truly creepy play. It probably is a good play. Ben Brantley of New York Times fame thinks it's held up well over the decades and specifially because it's designed to make audiences feel uneasy. It makes me feel a little too uneasy. Besides, I find some of the performances outright boring. Perhaps with other actors the play would move more quickly - oh no that's right. Pinter is famous for his long uncomfortable pauses. In the wrong hands, they just make actors look crazy.

The last night I was there I saw the actor who played the hunchback in The Name of The Rose (pictured below). He also played Hellboy in the film of the same title, and a small part on one of my favorite shows of the past, Charmed. In fact, when you look at his IMDB page, you'll see he's been working almost constantly since the 80's. But I'll always remember him best as Salvatore, the Hunchback.
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Jon's parents came down for the holiday weekend. We had quite a few nice meals. Saturday night we had dinner at Muglhai on Columbus Ave and 75th Street. We went to Opa! here in Astoria for a late lunch on Sunday. And on Monday night we supped at Dae Dong on 32nd Street. I think their lunch service tastes better than their dinner service but the food was good enough I guess. If you haven't had Korean food, definitely get thee to 32nd Street between 6th and 5th Avenues for a treat. Looking back, I should have suggested a different restaurant.

It was a good visit and a good week overall.

I started a new work cycle last night over at the Eugene O'Neil theater for a week of Spring Awakening. John Gallagher Jr., who won the Best Featured Actor Tony for playing Moritz, has been replaced by Blake Bashoff, seen most recently on Lost as Karl. He's doing a decent job, but no one can really replace Gallagher.

December 18, 2007

Book Signing at Borders in Bridgewater

Jon's book signing
Jon had his first booksigning last night at the Borders in Bridgewater, NJ. It went very well. It was kind of surreal. As Jon read excerpts from his book the crowd grew from 8 people to 12 people and several bought books to get them signed by Jon. The Borders in Bridgewater, NJ sold out of Jon's book as a result. It was pretty cool.

Jon's book signing

I was very proud of Jon. He read two excerpts from his book - the Hall-Mills murder and the story about the Radium girls. The Radium girls were crippled or died from exposure to radiation at the factory where they were employed to paint watch dials. It's a culturally significant case because their law suit helped to establish many labor laws we have now to protect workers from the hazards of their jobs. The Hall-Mills murder is a spectacular murder mystery about the death of a priest and a young girl from his choir. But it is also an early example of police losing control of a crime scene with negative long term results.

I would tell you more but then you wouldn't have a reason to buy Jon's book which you should do of course.

December 17, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model - Final Recap - Part I

The finale of America's Most Smartest Model aired December 16, 2007 at 9pm est. The final contestants, Andre Birleanu and VJ Logan were asked to make a multimedia presentation about why either one deserved to win the title of AMSM. But before I get into that, I wanted to give a brief summary of the episode that preceeded the finale.
Episode 10
Andre, VJ and Angela moved to a beautiful house for the competition that would determine which of the three would advance to the final. The night they arrived, Mary Alice threw them a party whose guestlist included severalprofessional models. Andre, VJ and Angela were told to meet with the models and choose who they wanted to pose with the next day at the final photo shoot. Andre bonded well with two pretty girls, Angela found a couple of guys that she could boss around and VJ - well he was partying and making observations.

The rock and roll shoot the next day, went well for Andre and VJ but not so well for Angela. Andre went first and proved once and for all that he knows how to model. VJ started his shoot copying Andre's moves. I should also note that when Mary Alice asked VJ who he decided to model with, he told her that he wanted the two girls that Andre had chosen. So, he stole Andre's moves and his models. Toward the end of the shoot, VJ managed to pull a few original poses and basically saved himself. Nothing could help Angela though. She tried her best but unfortunately she couldn't vary her poses enough to convince Mary Alice that she ahd the right stuff to be America's Most Smartest Model. As Mary Alice likes to say, she just wasn't model enough.

Angela's failure sent her home packing, leaving VJ and Andre as the final two. Back at the VH1 house, Andre and VJ were told that their final task would be dueling presentations about why either one should be America's Most Smartest Model. To help them with their presentations, they were each given a team of professional presentation providers. In addition, Ben Stein gave each model a cell phone that they were encouraged to use for the purposes of product placement and presumably to help them succeed.

I have to say, I was disappointed that the show didn't end at the episode 10 because I truly didn't believe that the producers had enough material to make a one hour program out of the remaining footage. And for the most I was right. To fill time, the final episode seemed to go out of its way to remind viewers what had been seen previously after every commercial break. Of course, they could have been doing that because they assume their viewers are stupid and need to be spoon fed every piece of information two fold. I prefer the former explanation.

The Puppy Movie

The short home movie about my in-laws puppy makes my blog hard to load. I had to take remove it from the site. My apologies to my in-laws and to anyone who has been watching the really cute puppy get her toy out of a jar.

If you haven't seen it, link to it here. Jon's parents got a cute puppy that is part poodle and part havanese. She's smart and very funny.

December 13, 2007


food1I visited with my nutritionist today and the news was good. In the month since our last appointment, I've lost 5 more pounds.

If anyone is keeping track, I've shed 12 pounds since starting my diet two months ago.

There are several reasons why I'm working with a nutritionist. The obvious reason is that she knows a lot about healthy ways to lose weight. Before seeing her, I never would have been happy with a result like the above because it just doesn't seem like that much, but now I know a weight loss of 1 - 2 pounds per week is healthy.

I am very happy with this result.

The nutritionist I chose is an eating disorder specialist. One of my main concerns is NOT developing an eating disorder and I discuss that with her all the time.

I strongly recommend seeking professional advice if you are planning to lose weight. The support the doctor gives me is soooooo beneficial, beyond what a loved one could give me. It's one thing have someone tell you you look thinner which of course is wonderful. It's another to be able to speak with someone ad nauseum regarding weight loss.

Losing weight is turning out to be more of an em0tional issue than I imagined and she understands that.

December 11, 2007

A Nice Bike Ride

I took my bike out yesterday. After not riding for a week, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I certainly wasn't expecting exercise to feel that good especially after not feeling well on Sunday.

It felt as good to my body as smoking a cigarette did, three months after quitting. Smokers can related to what I'm saying. It's not just your head that enjoys the cigarette. Every inch of your body soaks that nicatine goodness.

Well, yesterday, that's what the exercise felt like. Every part of me felt good while I was biking. It's been so long since I've had that feeling from exercising, probably since high school.

December 07, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model - Episode 9 Recap

There was a double elimination in this episode. Both Rachael and Brett were sent home.Andre, Angela and VJ are the remaining contestants. This upcoming episode - episode 10 - should be the finale and then I'll be free from having to write about this show.

At the Edge Challenge, 5 contestants had to pair up and build a go cart. That's right. 5 people can't be broken up into pairs, so Brett paired up with Pickel in absentia. Andre and Rachael, Vj and Angela made up the other two teams. VJ and Angela were the first to finish their go-carts. Andre and Rachael won the go-cart race. Brett didn't race because he did not complete his project.

Andre and Rachael won advance information about a Jaguar car that they had to show off the next day for the Call Back Challenge.

The Call Back Challenge involved modeling a brand new Jaguar and listing the car's bullet points.

Brett, Rachael and Andre failed miserably while Angela and VJ both went on to win the competition.

You know the rest.


Chorus Line MarquisExplorer Pass Travel Blog picked up one of my photos for a story they did about the end of the Broadway strike and they gave me a photo credit. It's a picture of the Chorus Line marquis.

Coincidentally, I am working there tonight.

December 04, 2007

The Farnsworth Invention - Opening Night

I was very lucky to be assigned work at the opening night of The Farnsworth Invention. I love working opening nights, for obvious reasons. Openings are great for spotting and speaking with celebrities. Last night, I saw Oliver Platt, Bob Sagett, and Richard Kind. Caroline McCormick, who plays Dr. Olivet on Law & Order, is absolutely stunning in person. There were a lot of celebrities there but the above are the only ones I saw.

Of course, I saw Aaron Sorkin and of course it ended up being awkward and weird for me. He is very, very nice but I ended up in a misunderstanding with him regarding his marital status and an I.D. for his father's headset. He's not married to the assistant that I mistook for his wife. And even though, he was willing to give me his personal license for his father's headset, his assistant who is not his wife provided one instead.

This all happened two minutes before curtain went up. I'm still kicking myself for calling out to Mister Sorkin to get an I.D. from him at all. I'm embarrassed to have bugged him that close to curtain time. But mostly I'm just glad he's a nice guy. With another big shot it could have gone the way that didn't end in smiles.

One patron that I was particularly happy to help was Peter Shaffer, playwright of Amadeus and Equus. I was so excited when he I saw his I.D., I giggled like a little kid. He's unbelievably nice. And I had a nice conversation with him when he returned his headset after the show. We both liked the play and we both appreciated the sound design of the show, which is very good in case you were wondering.

The other reason opening nights are exciting is the general atmostphere. It's always charged with optimism and fear. Everyone involved with the show was looking forward to the opening night party and from the porter to the house manager people were dressed in black tie, ready to impress.

The play was GREAT last night. Everybody's timing was spot on. Jimmi Simpson's portrayal of Farnsworth was so touching last night, that he moved me to tears. He was already good when I first saw the show in previews a month ago, but he's gotten SO MUCH better. Hank Azaria is on fire as Sarnoff. And the supporting cast does a great job playing over 150 different characters.

The staging is great. When the actors are doing anything on downstage in the background, they move in slow motion until it's time to become a part of the action upstage. The sets are great. The costumes are beautiful. There are two costumes in particular that I wish I could make part of my every day wardrobe.

Go see the show. Don't listen to the Times reviewer or anyone else who criticizes Sorkin for historical inaccuracies. The same thing could be said for Amadeus. Salieri and Mozart did not really have the relationship portrayed in that play but who cares? They're good shows. They're plays, not documentaries. If anything, these plays are excellent introductions to some pretty weighty but interesting subjects.

In terms of the show being bogged down with information which is a critique I've also seen of the show, that's wrong. The show does deliver a lot of information but it's delivered in bite size pieces that are easy to absorb. The director did a great job streamlining everything so viewers would not get confused.

The story about who invented television as told by Aaron Sorkin in The Farnsworth Invention is compelling. It's good drama that is well crafted and exciting to watch.

November 30, 2007

Dreaming of Food?

I had my first ever (that I can recall) food dream early this morning. I was sitting in front of a plate of waffles covered with syrup trying to decide whether or not I should add powdered sugar or not.

I remembered learning something from reading either or both Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs and/or James Frey's partially true account of drug addiction and recovery, A Million Little Pieces. When people are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, they sometimes have gluttonous dreams about their drug of choice. But in those dreams, they are consuming the alcohol or drug that they kicked in recovery.

Did I have an addiction dream? I never thought of myself as a food addict and I certainly don't have a sweet tooth. If anything, I should have been dreaming about cornichons and Thai cuisine.

It was strange and oddly realistic but at least I woke up before consuming the fictional food. I couldn't decide whether to eat the food or not. And in life, when I can't choose between two things, I'll usually choose neither which is probably why I woke up.

It's a good thing too. I'm so sensitive to weight gain that even dreaming about eating food could put pounds on me. Most likely, it wasn't really an addiction dream. but more a reflection of my fear of becoming obsessed with weight loss.

The Farnsworth Invention

farnsworth07newsI worked at The Farnsworth Invention tonight. The crowd was unusually light for the Thursday night after Thanksgiving. And Times Square wasn't as crammed with the usual pre-Christmas tourists. Of course, I like when Times Square is sparse with sidewalk blocking, slow moving, fun loving visitors from out of town. There are actually people who like the city at Christmas time with all the hussle and bustle. I'm just not one of them.

The Farnsworth Invention is a great show. It's written by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote A Few Good Men. He wrote and produced Sports Night and West Wing so you know going there is great potential for a good show. The play stars Hank Azaria as NBC founder David Sarnoff. Boy is he good. He's really, really good. And he's so likeable, even when he's playing unlikeable character. Jimmi Simpson plays Philo Farnsworth the inventor of television. The sharp and clean script delivers a lot of information without overwhelming the audience.

Definitely go see it if you can.

November 28, 2007

Broadway Strike Finished

logoThe strike on Broadway is finished. On CBS news, I watched Charlotte St. Martin announce that The League of American Theaters and Producers and IATSE Local One have reached a tentative agreement and that shows will start running again tomorrow night.

Neither side has yet released the newly agreed upon terms and quite frankly, I don't care. I'm just glad that Broadway is back in business. But I'm still considering another part-time job. The union has 10 days to either approve or disapprove of the new deal.

Who knows what will happen?

Broadway Strike Over? Nope. Not Yet.

There's a chance that the strike will end with this morning's meeting between the Union and the League. But unfortunately the information I gleaned from watching NY1 might be completely inaccurate.

I had heard that salary increases for stagehands was the only issue left unresolved. I guess Michael Reidel , theater critic for the NY Post, heard the same thing because he wrote a lengthy article about it.

But on the Local 1 IATSE website they issued a letter to their members indicating that the article is . . ."completely false, inaccurate and incorrect."

That's too bad. Because I think that everyone believed the NY1 story. My boss was so optimistic he thought we all might be going back to work tonight.

November 27, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model Episode - 8 recap

It's hard to believe I've made it through 8 episodes of America's Most Smartest Model. But I can't stop watching . AMSM is compelling and I'm more than a little bit invested in the outcome. My wish is that either Brett or Rachael win. But more likely it will be the "now villain" of the show, V.J. Logan.
The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend
It's another sleepy morning at the Surreal Life/Rock of Love/America's Most Smartest Model house and we see sleepy models rising at an unspecified time because the contestants live in a bubble beyond the time space continuum. It could be 6 in the morning; it could be 10 in the morning. The home audience never sees a clock. We only know that models wake up just like the rest of us.

VJ stretches to life mumbling something like "there must something more to life than being really, really, really, really ridiculously good looking" (No VJ. I'm afraid there isn't more to your life than that). Angela is alone expressing regret at Daniel's departure. While telling us about her desire to stay until the end, we see her opening and closing panels that look like circuit boards. What new torture device is this? I don't know and I'll never know because there is no explanation given for what she's doing.

After VJ and Angela are shown in the house alone, we see Andre, Pickel, Brett and Rachael sunning themselves by the pool side. Andre lets out a big celebratory yell and Pickel replies "All you have to do is get rid of his enemies and now he becomes a nice guy." They have developed a new alliance and they are determined to kick out Angela and VJ. Much cockiness ensued as the new alliance of four, with much false confidence, discussed their plans to pick off VJ and Angela. Pickel was particularly cocky. Leaving that clip in is the REALITY SHOW version of foreshadowing.
Note Du Jour
Angela beckons the other models into the house She's found a table stacked with sneakers and workout clothes and the note du jour. Pickel deduces that "something physical is coming up." Angela reads the note du jour aloud. "Good morning models. Today, you will be put through a grueling test of both your bodies and your minds. Divide yourself (shouldn't that be yourselves? Mary Alice must truly have written this note) into teams of two. Put on this workout gear and meet me in the living room in one hour."

VJ looks to Andre to become his partner. Andre calmly tells everyone to take moment, breath and then choose. VJ camera speaks that this is his opportunity to get to know Andre better. But Andre camera speaks that he doesn't want to join up with him because he's a disgusting and he's a sneaky bastard. In the calm moment that followed, Angela asked VJ to be her partner. Andre joined up with Rachel, Pickel joined up with Brett. And things seem to be going according to the grand plan of the new super alliance.
The Edge Challenge - Survival of the Fittest
One hour later, the models walk into the next room where podiums and treadmills await. I was pleasantly surprised to see Ben Stein awaiting the contestants, because that means there is going to be quizzing and an opportunity for viewers at home to feel mentally superior to the silly, skinny people on the boob tube.

Ben Stein explains that one person from each team of two will answer as many questions as he or she can in one minute and the other will participate in an endurance challenge. The winner of the quiz wins a low setting on the treadmill for their team mate; second place earns a higher setting; third place even higher. Pickel is the first contestant.

Ben Stein signals to Mary Alice to start her stop watch because that is about all she is qualified to do when it comes to challenging somebody's smarts. Ben reads the first question. Pickel answers 10 out of 15 questions correctly. Angela and Rachael each answered 13 correctly meaning that VJ and Andre set their treadmills to 6 and Brett had to run with his treadmill at level 9. And the running begins. And goes on and on. After about 15 or 20 minutes, Pickel tells Brett to stop because he wants him to save his energy for the next day, leaving Andre and VJ to battle it out.

The challenge goes on for so long that both Ben Stein and Mary Alice lose interest. After an hour, they push the settings up to 7. And then to 8. Ben remarks that he never knew this competition would get so intense. That's probably the dumbest thing I've ever heard him say. Eventually, Andre just got tired and stopped running leaving VJ as the winner. Angela and VJ won an important Edge for the upcoming Callback Challenge. Not only did they earn the right to change their clothes nearby for an inhouse fashion show (which will make sense later), they got to choose one other person to go with them. They chose Rachael.
You Take the High Road and I'll Take the Low Road
The Call Back challenge was difficult, for both groups of three. The contestants had to put on a runway show for Mary Alice Stephenson and some random guy who I guess is important in booking modeling jobs but not being into modeling myself, his name didn't register with me. For Angela, VJ and Rachael, the challenge was pretty straightforward. They used a dressing room next to the catwalk to change into three different outfits for their catwalk test.

However, Brett, Pickel and Andre had to change outside and get through an obstacle course before walking down the runway. But they had to act like they hadn't just been through a grueling physical challenge. And on top of that, they had to do it all in a finite amount of time; seamlessly transitioning between outfits.

The only one who wouldn't know would be the visiting guest judge but how he didn't know something hinky was going on indicates that people in the modeling industry just aren't very smart or observant.

VJ, Angela and Rachael all did pretty well. Mary Alice drooled while she told VJ how well he did. I wouldn't be surprised to hear about some scandal involving both of them after a winner is announced in a few weeks.Angela won the challenge.

Pickel, Brett and Andre all had problems. Of course, they did a great job considering they had to run through tires, race through monkey bars and spin five times while balancing on a bat. But they didn't even credit for trying. In fact, Mary Alice seemed to go out of her way to make sure that the visiting guest judge model agent talent booking guy noticed every single thing the three of them were doing wrong.

Mary Alice had huge problems with the fact that Brett looked pissed and went out of her way to point it out to he visiting model booking talent agent guy. There were other things Mary Alice didn't like. For example, she chastised Pickel for opening his tuxedo to reveal a vest underneath because it was to Chippendales. It wasn't that bad and besides models are supposed to show off their outfits. She didn't like that Andre winked and blew kisses at the end of the catwalk.

She didn't like that Brett looked pissed off and she really hated when he tried to defend himself by reminding Mary Alice how much she loved his runway performance before. He told her that in previous challenges he had received good feedback from her for doing exactly what he had done in that challenge. And she got upset because she's inconsistent and she's not very nice.

But mostly, Mary Alice didn't like the fact that Pickel, Brett and Andre are NOT VeeJay. She has a thing for him. And I think it's as obvious as when she's drunk. By the way, I'm happy to point out that Mary Alice did not appear drunk in Episode 8.
Andre, Pickel and Brett were called out as the three worst. And in spite of Mary Alice's badgering of Brett throughout the elimination, she decided to send home Pickel because he only answered 10 questions correctly in the EDGE challenge.

What is Ben Stein doing on this show? I mean I understand why Mary Alice is on the show. She's obviously looking for some kind of validation for the years she's had to put up with people thinking she's dumb because she's beautiful. But Ben Stein is pretty established. My respect for him is dwindling even more than after I found it he's become a spokesman for Intelligent Design.

Couldn't he just bring back Win Ben Stein's Money? Now, that was a good show.

My Eating Plan

food1 In case you were wondering, my diet is going very well. Although I am not weighing myself, my face is getting thinner. I've fallen into a comfortable pattern of preparing meals and tracking my foods and I'm starting to enjoy bike riding as much as I did when I was a teenager.

Overall, I am feeling much better. I haven't quite gone down a whole dress size yet, but I suspect that goal will be met by the end of the year.

November 26, 2007

Broadway Strike Still Not Over

The League of American Theater Owners and Producers and The Theater Stage Employees Local One IATSE are taking a 12 hour break after negotiating throughout the night. They stopped at 6:30 this morning.

And while they are taking their break, we have to wait and wait and wait.

If you're already making 6 figure salaries like eveyone involved in the talks, you should not be allowed to deprive the people who earn much smaller salaries the opportunity to make 1/8th of the money you earn for working half as much. It's not fair.

I'm sure everyone was positive the strike would be over by now.

Hopefully, Broadway will be back in business tomorrow.

November 25, 2007

More Talks Scheduled

More talks are scheduled today between the two warring parties on Broadway. The meeting will take place at an indisclosed time and location. My boss is optimistic, so much so, that he scheduled for 8 shifts of work next week. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Oh. And in case you hadn't heard, by court order The Grinch is now playing at the St. James Theater.

November 20, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model
Episode 7 Recap

lipsIn episode 7, the models are given a brief reprieve from the competition or so they think. What started as a night out to celebrate Daniel's 24th birthday, turned out to be the most challenging of Edge challenges yet.
The Morning After
After the challenge the models were stunned that blond Rachel was sent home before the actual elimination ceremony. Daniel walked into the living room and found a cake with Happy Birthday Daniel inscribed in frosting. Daniel was so excited because the note du jour told the models that they were getting a night (even thought it's day time) at Republic to celebrate. I'm amazed that with the all the experience we have as a nation who watches reality TV, that anyone would be surprised that a night out wouldn't be just a night out. Yet, the poor unsuspecting models walked blindly into an evening of traps set up by Mary Alice Stephenson.
The Edge Challenge
The models had a lovely dinner in a private room at Republic. They ate, they drank, they were merry. And some of them held liquor better than others. Daniel and Rachael seemed to get drunk the fastest, while VJ, Andre, Pickel, Angela and Brett seemed to hold their own.

After their meal, the models were invited to a party in the next room where they found other people dancing and drinking. Again, there were so many clues that the models were being set up that they really should have caught on. For example, this party was taking place during daylight hours. That should have been their first clue. While the models were shown entering the party, Mary Alice revealed to the audience at home that the party crowd was sprinkled with industry professionals.

The fact there were so many industry pros in the room should have been the second clue.The Edge Challenge was meant to test the networking skills of our contestants. After the models made the rounds, only VJ was able to figure out that they were competing and he networked his little butt off. Brett was his usual level headed self, realized that he should network but didn't know he was in a challenge. He also came out okay at the other end the challenge. The others didn't so well.

Andre thought that Robert Flutie of Flutie Entertainment was hitting on him and blew him off so he could continue speaking Romanian with the hot girl they planted in the crowd to distract him. Poor Rachael was too drunk to make a good impression. Angela also thought she was getting hit on by Robert Flutie and blew him off as well. Pickel behaved in a sexually aggressive manner with some designer (who I'm sure is really important but please forgive me for not knowing who she is). And poor Daniel was just a happy drunk behaving like a guy celebrating his 24th birthday. Imagine how surprised the models were when they were brought into a room to be judged.

Here are two of the more memorable moments from judging.
(1) Andre was called out for not truly being Russian. One of the people sitting on the Andre's panel of judges spoke Russian and tried engaging him in a Russian conversation. He had to admit that he is indeed Romanian and not Russian and while he understands Russian he doesn't really speak it.
(2) Daniel walked into that judgement room like a sheep into a room full of wolves. He was completely pie eyed and acted drunker than drunk. He even warmly embraced the wolfiest one of all, Mary Alice, and smothered her with affection and compliments like Mary Alice probably hadn't heard since her 24th birthday.

VJ won the challenge because he remembered everyone of importance that he met and he collected the most business cards. Rats.
After the Challenge
The models were upset that they had been sabotaged but no one was more upset than Daniel who threw one the biggest adult tantrums I've ever seen on television. He behaved like the spoiled brat that he is. He has to be spoiled. I mean who else gets their PhD by age 24 unless someone rich is bankrolling them. No one. He's a very lucky boy. He's smart. He's good looking and he's rich. He won the life lottery. Does he have to model too?
The Callback Challenge
VJ won a huge edge. As the winner of the previous challenge, he was able to decide how much time the other models had for their Callback Challenge photo shoot in declining increments of time. VJ as the winner had 30 minutes. He assigned Rachael 10 minutes, Angela 8 minutes, Pickel 6 minutes, Brett 4 minutes, Andre 2 minutes and 1 minute to Daniel.

Not only did the models have a time limit for their photo shoot, they learned the shoot had to be done with a farm animal. VJ chose the horse. Angela chose the pygmy goat. Rachael chose the donkey. Brett chose the pig. Pickel chose the chicken. Andre took the llama which left poor Daniel with the ostrich.

The photo shoot was for Antik Jeans which means that the models focus should have been on featuring the jeans.

VJ posed with his horse but for all his smarts and all his minutes; all his lying, cheating, stealing and kissing ass, he was unable to pull off a good photo because his photo ended up being about him instead of the jeans. Angela's picture was unsatisfying which made me wonder why this pretty, smart, well educated woman has to be a model as well. Isn't what she already has enough? Rachael's picture came out looking very posed although she was showing off the jeans. Brett did the best he could with his wild pig which he ended up chasing all over the farm. Pickel ended up with a picture that was more about the love between a man and a chicken that it was about jeans.

Andre made the most of his two minutes, by posing in profile with his llama. With everything that was going around him, he succeeded in making sure the jeans were the first things you saw when you looked at the picture. He justifiably won the challenge. Daniel's picture came out really bad. He had one minute to pose with an angry ostrich and in his photo he looked terrified and ugly.
Ben Stein's one and only appearance in Episode 7 was at the elimination ceremony. And the only really cool thing he said was, "This is very painful. but like involuntary servitude after the enactment of the 13th amendment, you have been abolished." With that, Daniel was sent home. He wasn't street smart enough and his modeling wasn't there. Angela was warned that being a know-it-all will hurt her if she continues behaving like a know-it-all. And pretty, sweet, full of personality Rachael was warned that she's feeble and has to build up her self-confidence.

If that advice were coming from anybody except Mary Alice I might believe it was valid. But Mary Alice seems drunk in every episode and to me that means that she lacks the self-confidence that she's advising Rachael to build. I think she may be projecting a little of her own insecurities onto the two remaining female contestants.

If Mary Alice has a medical condition that makes her appear drunk, I apologize to her. Because then my assessment is unfair and cruel. But if she really is drunk, maybe she's the one who should be working on her issues and not the remaining contestants.

November 19, 2007

Broadway Stagehands Still on Strike

The latest report I read about the strike said that the IATSE Local 1 broke off negotiations with the League of American Theaters and Producers because the producers are still holding out on that one issue.

What's the issue? Producers don't want to pay for what they consider "extra" stagehands for load-ins. Load-ins are the time when stagehands move everything into a theater for a show. For years, the way it's worked, is that Local 1 requires a minimum number of people for every load-in, even if some of those people aren't working.

Extra people mean that if someone gets injured moving the insanely heavy and expensive equipment require to make that "Broadway magic", there are people ready to fill-in and keep everything on schedule. But before you start feeling sorry for either side, stop. This money issue isn't keeping the producers from buying second and third vacation homes. And of course the union has a huge slush fund from which they can pay their members for the duration of the strike.

That's how I intepret the situation. I don't REALLY know what's going on in everybody's heads. But I do know that Local 1 and the League are ruining it for everyone else who isn't a theater owner, producer or stagehand. The little people are the ones who are getting hurt.

I am now looking for another part-time job that I can hopefully start in the coming week, because the strike is going to continue until the 25th of November.

November 17, 2007

Broadway Negotiations

Duh Monkey
I wonder what happened at today's negotiations between IATSE Local 1 and the League of American Theaters and Producers. All I've been able to learn from watching hours on end of NY1 is that beloved stagehand died last night while picketing in front of the Minskoff Theater. He had a heart attack. That's sad.

November 16, 2007

Notorious New Jersey

Jon's been working on his website and it's really starting to look good. Check out the new revised site at Notorious NJ.

November 15, 2007

The Nutritionist

food1I saw the nutritionist today for my second follow up visit. Last time I saw her, I'd lost 5 pounds in two weeks. Today's visit was a little bit disappointing. In spite of all my efforts, including increased biking and super dilligence watching my food intake, I only lost 2 pounds. The nutritionist said that any number lower than my previous weight is a good number. And I know this. But knowing and accepting are two different things.

The nutritionist tried to encourage me but I'm still disappointed. I actually lost the amount of weight my diet plan is designed for, 1 pound per week. But compared to that first five pounds, it's natural that I'm disappointed.

I have to force myself to accept that today's result is a good and appropriate result. I'm doing well and I have to stick to this.

November 13, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model
Episode No. [does it matter?] - Recap

(For a more detailed recap visit AMSM Episode 6: You can't fix stupid at DSO Media.)

The Edge
In this week's episode Mary Alice tested the model's knowlege of geometry - well, shapes anyway. The models didn't have to do anything more than measure and draw a series of assigned shapes to win this week's Edge challenge. (So was it really geometry?) What was the edge they gained? A designing session with Project Runway's season two loser Santino. Do you remember him? Exactly. Me neither. I haven't thought much about him since I saw the episode of Project Runway where he lost because his clothes were ill-fitting. (I didn't recap Project Runway otherwise I'd link to that episode).

It was in a random room at Cal State that Pickel and Brett won the Edge Challenge because they were able to successfully cut out six shapes. Not only that, Pickel and Brett got to choose what shapes the other paired up models would have to use to fashion outfits. By the way, there is no real life modeling situation where models would have to design and make clothes using only rhombuses and circles but apparently this was what the models had to do for their Call Back Challenge. I don't really understand how designing dresses out of random shapes tells anyone how successful the contestants will be at modeling. But that's what they had to do.

Call Back Challenge
I feel lazy today so I'll make this short and sweet.

* Brett and Pickel won the Call back challenge because Brett looked hot in his scanty outfit. Mary Alice and her female guest judge were drooling at their macho display.

* Aussie Rachel and VJ lost the challenge because Brett and Pickel assigned a circle for their design and their outfit looked really bad.

* Even though Daniel and blond Rachel designed the only outfit that looked like actual clothing you might find in in K-mart, she sent Rachel home in tears because she's not that smart. And she didn't let her forget it. Watching Mary Alice berate blond Rachel was like watching someone club a baby seal. It was unnecessarily cruel. And while I agree that she was not very smart or a very good model, she was still a nice person. Mary Alice was mean, is mean and will continue to be mean until she sobers up

Ms. Stephenson is not a nice person. And I'm starting to get turned off to her as a host of the show. I hope that Ben Stein becomes a stronger presence because I'm really getting tired of Mary Alice.

November 12, 2007

The Strike on Broadway

Yes. I am being affected by the strike. I didn't work on Saturday and I'm not working tonight. At first I was thrilled because I didn't want to work the Saturday Matinee of Rock-n-Roll by Tom Stoppard starring Brian Cox and Rufus Sewell. But I did want to work the Saturday night performance of the Duran Duran concert. And I wanted to work my full week of The Farnsworth Invention including the opening night performance on Wednesday night.

Hopefully, the strike will be resolved by then because I love working openings. Especially when someone like Hank Azaria is starring in the show. I'll have to bring pen and paper to keep track of all the celebrity patrons.

Aside from missing the great opening night affair, I'm also missing out on making money. That kind of sucks. And I probably won't be able to apply for Unemployment because I'm sure the strike will be resolved before the week is out.

November 09, 2007


hourglassI worked that extremely long show last night. And it was extremely long. I handed out almost 60 headsets which wasn't so bad. It was manageable. But I didn't leave the theater until 11:10 and I didn't get home until after midnight.

When I got to the station at 11:15 I had just missed an N train. And another one didn't come for 25 minutes. Considering I got to the theater around 6 pm, it's a good thing the company is paying extra to work this show.

The show was good. Naturally, I identified the places that could be completely chopped out without hurting the play, but I'm sure the playwright wouldn't agree. Quite a few of my patrons complained it was too long. It takes real balls to demand that your audience sit and watch your show for 3 hours and 10 minutes (add 2 10-minute intermissions for the 3.5 hour show time).

I was finished so late, that the porter locked me in. The only way I could exit was through the stage door. I had to walk across the stage. I hate walking across the stage for fear of knocking something down on the set. I felt so embarrassed. I also had get past a couple of the actors who gave me the usual "who are you?" look and when I exited through the stage door the waiting fans gave me the same "who are you?" look followed by disappointment. The fans apparently did not recognize me from my role as the headset girl in the back of the orchestra house right.

November 08, 2007

Weight and Work Issues

I'm still on my new eating plan and it seems to be going well. Slowly but surely my jaw line is reemerging as I lose the weight. And I'm finally able to enjoy biking again now that the cooler air is also cleaner air. Breathing has been easier and I've been able to go longer distances. Today we went around Roosevelt Island twice.

ButterfliesBut what was first an energetic effort to prepare food is now becoming a daily chore. I was hoping more for a habit but I guess I'm just lazy by nature. When everything is going well it's easy to follow my plan. But when I start worrying about things over which I have no control, I want to stop eating. It's like the worry just takes over the area in my brain that I'm using for the eating plan.

For example, at the beginning of the week, I thought I was working five easy shifts at the theater plus one demanding shift Saturday matinee. But the powers that be pulled a bait and switch. Tonight and tomorrow night, instead of working the concert show originally assigned, I have to work at the 3 .5 hour long play at the theater I'm not going to mention. Apparently the rep working that show broke a rib, and I'm the only other person with enough experience to work the demanding play. Apparently it's a heavy headset show. The play is so long, it starts a half an hour earlier than everything else on Broadway. And it's so demanding I have to get their half an hour earlier than normal just to set up the headsets.

I know it shouldn't but these things make me anxious. At a busy show, I'm always worried that I'm going to run out of equipment or mix up people's ID's. I do have the experience. I have done it before. I guess I just don't want to.

I don't know what to expect. It may not be bad at all. Just long and boring. Anyway, I have to force myself to eat because when I'm nervous I don't remember to eat. And if I don't eat, my whole eating plan will get messed up.

November 05, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model - Episode 5

Note Du Jour
In the recap, we are reminded that last week VJ sabotaged Jesse by dominating their bathing suit shoot photo. This is the perfect set up because in Episode 5 of America's Most Smartest Model, there's a shift from Andre as the bad guy to VJ as the bad guy.

This obvious plot point is placed early in the episode. After a couple of beefcake scenes of male models lifting weights as part of their early morning workouts; after Blond Rachel explains how wonderful it was to cuddle with VJ all night, Angela reads the note du jour. The note du jour tells the contestants that their Edge Challenge will test their knowledge of anatomy. Angela reads the note with absolute glee because she has some kind of degree in animal sciences which she thinks will give her an advantage. Anyway, within the note du jour portfolio was a book on anatomy.

Remember, the thread of this episode is that VJ is an evil prick. And in true prick fashion VJ grabbed the anatomy book much to the chagrin of the other models. Those poor unsuspecting models. How were they to know that VJ would steal the book? Oh. That's right. Because he steals things. Pickel camera speaks that VJ is a slippery eel or something to that effect and laments that VJ grabbed the only anatomy book. But you have to wonder how much the models expect they are going to learn in the time between the reading of the "note du jour" and the actual challenge. You either know things or you don't. I understand the concept of staying up all night and cramming before a big test but cramming for an hour? I don't know.

Anyway, the models do the best they can, studying from the encyclopedias that are lying around the house which seem completely adequate. But they're not happy because as Pickel puts it - or was it Brett, the boys are starting to look alike to me - the information is so vague and doesn't tell them anything.

VJ may have annoyed everybody by stealing the anatomy book, but Angela seems to annoy the models even more because she's a know-it-all gloating under the guise of helping the other models with their studies. She explains the secum (what?) to Andre and jokes with Aussie Rachel that the human body has a colon and a semi-colon to which Rachel responded with a polite laugh.

Lisa knows that she has to "step up the smarts and the modeling" or she's in danger of going home. She knows there's a target on her back. And so does Blond Rachel who avows that she is going to do whatever it takes to prove that she is "a smart girl".

The best part of the study segment comes to us from a very special room in the house with anatomical models and a big skeleton. Andre is alone with a bisected model of a pregnant woman. Inside there's a plastic fetus which gets Andre to thinking about relationships between men and women. “There’s this male fetus, he’s not even born yet, and this woman’s suffocating him! Like, it remind me of my ex-relationship! Like, poor baby! They do this before we’re born! Give the guy some space! Och!” He may have some mother issues. SOVIET!!!
The Edge Challenge
The next segment takes place in a science classroom at Birmingham High School. The models line up in front of science teacher Mr. Morrison. On the table in front of him is a tarp covered pile. And what was under that tarp? A pile of fetal pigs, of course. The models have to cut open the fetal pigs and identify 9 different organs. This generates various reactions from the models.

Angela is an expert so she's pretty confident. Daniel was a biological anthropology and anatomy major so he's fairly confident that he's going to do well. Blond Rachel seems upset. She had a potbellied pig named Chelsea and all those little fetal pigs reminded her of Chelsea the potbellied pig as a baby.

To get the models through the moral quagmire of having to cut up something dead, the science teacher explains to the models that these fetal pigs have never lived because their mother was ill and they were removed by C-section before they ever breathed air. Whatever. The only one who had a real problem with it beyond being grossed out was Blond Rachel.

The models did well on this task. Several of them got A's including Angela, Daniel, Brett and Blond Rachel. VJ's butcher block experience earned him an A as well. (I thought VJ and Blond Rachel were the actual stupid models on the show. I found this confusing because they both did well) Daniel had the cleanest board and the best carved organs (nudge nudge wink wink)which earned him an A+. He won the Edge Challenge which was an advance copy of the script that the models would be using in the Call Back Challenge the next day. And he would be able to shoot his commercial with warm water. All the other models would have to use cold water for their shower spots.
Back at the House
After the challenge, we spend a little time with the models while they get ready for the next day. Daniel practices his lines and Andre practices taking cold showers. The next morning, the robe clad models emerge from the house into the bright morning sun. And in their robes they climb the AMSM bus and head over to a studio for their commercial shoot.
The Call Back Challenge
When the models get to the studio, Mary Alice is standing there with Zosimo Maximo, a commercial director and Matt Heinze, the client. I say standing but I mean wavering. Mary Alice doesn't like she's feeling all that well. But before disappearing until the end of the segment, she explains. The models will have 10 minutes to shoot as many takes as they need and afterwords another model of their choosing will choose their best take. The models pair up quickly leaving Andre out in the cold or he may just have withdrawn because as he explains to Mary Alice, this is a competition and he doesn't trust anyone. But he gets talked into picking Pickel who he thinks is fair (even though he's American [my words, his thoughts]).

VJ Mocking ModelsThe models have 20 minutes to learn their lines. Daniel and Aussie Rachel start. Daniel is practicing his lines like he's just learning them. He had all night to learn 30 seconds of copy and his nerves seem to be getting the better of him. While he's rehearsing VJ is posing for the camera within earshot of Rachel and Daniel learning what he can. This leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth (not just Rachel). The models were seething. Bret even said something to him but to his credit he told Bret to shut up in a very impolite way. In his camera speak he makes a point of making fun of all the other models by using a mocking baby talk tone and distorted face.
It was fun to watch the models struggle through their cold shower spots. In the end, Lisa and Blond Rachel did the worst. Mary Alice actually gave Blond Rachel an F because she lives to make Rachel cry. And much to the dismay of all the other models VJ won. VJ shot the best commercial. Andre addressed Mary Alice on behalf of the group, reporting that they thought VJ cheated but you know what? Mary Alice didn't give a shit. She informed the models that what VJ did was perfectly alright with her. And the client informed the models that he really didn't care as long as he had a good commercial. Zosimo Maximo didn't seem to care.
Rachel - Smart Off reactionAfter the models cat walked their way into elimination, Mary Alice called down the two models who thought they were in the bottom two. And in perfect in sync, Blond Rachel and Lisa walked out of the pack. Mary Alice wasn't sure who should be sent home so she called for a "SMART OFF". Lisa looked blankly forward while Blond Rachel made a face like a guppy to register her surprise. If you look closely you can see her gills moving.

Here are the questions Ben Stein asks during the Smart Off and how the girls the answered. (a big thank you to DSO Records for doing the work of breaking out the quotes)

Ben: “In what country is Darfur located?”
Rachel: “Oh, I’ve heard about Darfur. I knew there was a problem there. Arabia?”
Lisa: “Yeah, all I could picture for that is a men’s cologne.”

Ben: “Who wrote the famous American Novel, Tom Sawyer?”
Rachel: “… Tom Sawyer?”

This is what I expected from these two. But then all of a sudden, Blond Rachel starting answering questions correctly.

Ben: “If you are betting on a 3-1 bet, and you win, how much do you win?”
Lisa: “If you’re betting five dollars? Five dollars.”
Rachel: “15 dollars?”
Ben: “Yes, of course.

Tell me, in what century was the American Civil War?”
Rachel: “The nine…teenth century?”
Ben: “Yes! She got that! She got that!”

Mary Alice gave such a look - a genuine double take. She could NOT believe that Rachel got one right and quite frankly neither could I.

Lisa wasn't delivering. So Ben decided to give her one more chance to prove that there was something in that pretty little head of hers so he threw her a real easy question.

Ben: “I think frankly, Rachel is way ahead in the Smart-Off, but I’d like to give you a chance to go a few more rounds in the Smart-Off and see if Lisa can pull herself together… Who did George Bush run against for President in 2004?
Lisa: “Oh my gosh… in 2004? Um, … Dole. Is that right?”
Rachel: “John… Kerry?”

Poor Lisa. She camera speaks that knowing trivial things like who's running for President aren't really important in the grand scheme of things. She insisted to Mary Alice and Ben that she had street smarts so Ben asked her one last question.

Ben: "What is Mary Alice's last name?"
Lisa: "Alice?"

Lisa was sent home. Lisa is weepy as she tells the camera that we haven't seen everything she can do. But the real last note comes from Brett who is determined more than ever to get rid of the sneaky VJ. And just like that we have a new bad guy.

November 04, 2007

A Noteworthy Scrabble Game

Jon and I played an exceptional game of Scrabble tonight. Together we made six bingos. I made the words "brainier" "cascade" "guising" and "zygotes". Jon made "tastier" and "overeat".

Here are our final scores.

And here is the final board.
Scrabble board

November 03, 2007

Autumnal Arrival

Welcome Fall

I think it's safe to say that we've left all that nasty hot and humid summer weather behind and that Fall has officially arrived!!!

Yes. I used a capital F for fall. I know seasons aren't supposed to be capitalized, I'm just happy it's here - finally!!!


Yesterday morning I went in for my baseline mammogram. All I have to say about the experience is OUCH!!!!

November 01, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model
Episode 4 Recap

Jesse was finally sent home. I'm sure he's glad to be out from under the cruel, cruel glare of Mary Alice's spotlight. For a complete and thorough recap that is also totally hilarious please visit my friend at DSO Records. I don't have it in me to do a recap this week.
America's Most Smartest Model
Episode 4 Recap

The Nutritionist

food1I had a two-week followup visit with my nutritionist. I couldn't believe it when she told me I'd lost 5 pounds. And I lost 1% of my body fat. I was truly, genuinely surprised.

The reason I was surprised is because I don't weigh myself and I haven't been weighing myself. There's all this baggage attached to my scale and I find it's easier not to face it directly for now. And I don't have to. I am using the nutritionist as a crutch, which is why I went to her in the first place.

I was also surprised at how off some of my food counts were. For example, I thought that 1 tablespoon of oil was equal to one fat exchange. Wrong. Turns out that each tablespoon of oil contains 15 grams of fat which make it's equivalent to 3 fat exchanges. But that's okay. Remember how I thought I wasn't eating enough in certain areas of my diet. It was in those areas that I'd made mistakes counting and turns out I was eating enough without going over by too much.

I thought I would have only lost two pounds because my doctor said that my new food plan was designed to help people lose about 1 pound a week. I never expected that I would have lost 2.5 pounds a week which is what I did. That means that if I keep losing at this rate, I will have lost 10 pounds by the middle of November.

I'm proud of myself.

Mystic Seaport

Jon and I went to Mystic Seaport for a two day visit. It was lovely. Here is a picture of Jon and me in a land locked row boat.

And here's the link to my Mystic Flickr page in case you want to see more.

October 27, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model - Episode 3 Recap

So much happened in this week's episode I've decided to follow the stories of two of the models who as far as I'm concerned are the stars of the show - Andre and Mandy Lynn

The episode begins where the last episode ended. The remaining models are celebrating with drink. Angela is doing body shots off of Blond Rachel. The boys are pretending like they're not more into each other than they are the women. And Andre is in the kitchen all by himself studying the encyclopedia hidden by VJ and Blond Rachel. He's studying it quite hard so it really must be the encyclopedia with all the information in it. (see last week's recap).

Those silly models. In an attempt to be friendly, they invited Andre over to party with him. He refused and took their kind invitation as a direct assault on his Sovietness. Daniel was offended by Andre being offended and he started blowing air onto the fire that is Andre's temper. What started out as a benign invitation to drink turned out to be a full out battle consisting of Andre's hyperbolic criticism of the United States government and Daniel's (look who's come out of the closet) hissy fit. I guess everybody went to bed angry and by everybody I mean Andre.

The next morning, Daniel was explaining to two of the women in the house exactly why Andre is such a jerk. Apparently, according to Daniel, there have been a lot of changes in the Soviet Union that Andre doesn't seem to know about. Also, according to Daniel, Andre is abusive to not only Daniel but to other women as well. This conversation was all in ear shot of a slowly waking Andre. The house may look big on the outside, but it's very small on the inside. Daniel's comments meant another well developed tantrum from Andre and more hissing and whining from Daniel.

The Edge Challenge
All these good feelings followed the models into the Edge Challenge. I'll describe this as best as I can. There were plates of food in front of each model consisting of something healthy and something junky. For every question the models answered correctly they got to eat something healthy. If they answered a bonus question correctly they could give their junky food to another model. There was palpable fear in the models eyes as they were confronted with the possibility of eating chocolate cake, Twinkies and pancakes.

After camera speaking about his muscle-inducing diet of . . ."eggs and rice and beans and stuff" Andre answered his first questions correctly and promptly gave his enormous piece of chocolate cake to Daniel. When Daniel answered his questions correctly he didn't give his cake to Andre but to poor Jesse, who is eternally struggling with his weight. (To play up his weight problem even more, the editors left in a nice three shot of Jesse shirtless and flabby with Andre and Daniel in the foreground). Why Daniel did this I'll never know. He said it was because this is a competition. But I think he did because secretly he has a crush on Andre and doesn't want to continue alienating a possible love interest.

But that didn't stop the other models from piling the cake on Andre's plate.

Mandy Lynn
It was during this challenge that the focus of the episode shifted from Andre to Mandy Lynn.

Mandy Lynn answered her question wrong. Ben Stein asked her which weighed more - a ton of feathers or a ton of rocks. Guess what she said. Yes. She said a ton of rocks. Her punishment was to eat a piece of chocolate cake. The Edge Challenge came to a crashing halt because Mandy Lynn would not eat her cake. She claimed it was because she has a small tummy, that she had eaten enough, that she couldn't eat another bite. The truth is she didn't eat any of it and like any good girl from Long Island with an eating disorder (I went to school with lots of them) she quit the contest instead of having to ingest something that might actually put meat on her bones.

Dropping out of the Edge Challenge meant she wouldn't be able to participate in the Callback Challenge. Awwwwwwwww.

When it came time to participate in the Callback Challenge Mandy Lynn found a note from Mary Alice with two boxes of hair coloring. It was time for Mandy Lynn to dye her hair one solid color. Mandy Lynn was surprised that she had to do it herself. She was expecting a stylist. But instead of dying her hair which I suspect she found too challenging because of all the directions and stuff, she was going to be a good sport and participate in the Callback Challenge anyway.

Callback Challenge
What was the Callback Challenge? The contestants had to work out with Gilad - the king of TV workout shows. Whoever won this challenge would win a spot in one of Gilad's workout videos from Hawaii in addition to an automatic pass to next week's show. As the models took their place on the workout mat, poor Mandy Lynn had to stand on the lawn. As thin as she is, there was still no room for her. Andre and Blond Rachel were grousing how hard it was to work out on a full stomach. (It probably wouldn't surprise you to know that most of the models were exercising on full tummies because of how badly they did in the Edge Challenge).

They all managed to get through the workout - all except Mandy Lynn who got tired rather quickly (probably because, I suspect, she never eats) and decided to retire back to the house and dye her hair. You could see the disappointment on Mary Alice's face as she looked up from her champagne glass. Did I mention that Mary Alice was sitting on a chaise with a glass of bubbly while the models humiliated themselves for the sake of this challenge?

I don't like this Mary Alice.

Anyway, in the end Brett beat Aussie Rachel in a one on one endurance competition for the Hawaiian video spot. A lot of bitter not-so-macho whining ensued. Those boys can be such bitches.

In the end Mandy Lynn was sent home with her new brown hair. But not before upsetting Ben Stein's balance. He was literally struck dumb by her boobs at one point of the elimination segment. It was so bad that Mary Alice had to take over from Ben, redirecting her cruel spotlight onto the slightly overweight Jesse. Before sending Mandy Lynn home, she managed to completely break down both Blond Rachel , for being too skinny and too weak, and Jesse who was in tears because he just can't please Mary Alice.

Mandy Lynn was this week's loser. I thought that was mean of Mary Alice to make her change her hair color if she knew she was sending Mandy Lynn home. I mean we all knew it was coming when she wouldn't eat that fakakta chocolate cake. Mandy Lynn was happy with who she is. She liked her terrible two tone hair. Why did Mary Alice make her dye it? That was just mean.

Tiffany Taylor
Something about Mandy Lynn's two tone hair made me nostalgic for a doll I had as a kid. Do you remember the Tiffany Taylor doll? She had blonde hair but if you twisted her scalp, she had brown hair. She was almost 20" tall and she came with a flowing, gold, sparkly evening gown. If I looked in my parent's attic I bet I could find it.

October 24, 2007

Days 4 and 5 - Diet

Day Four was a good day for me. I rode 9 miles on my bike. I ate most of the food I was supposed to eat. I made something delicious for dinner. I cooked chicken with spinach in my wok. It was very good. Quinoa was the side dish. I was disappointed to learn after I started preparing the Quinoa that it is equal to brown rice in terms of carbohydrates. 1/3 of a cup of Quinoa cooked equals 1 of my 7 allotted starches. Fortunately, I had enough starches leftby dinner time, that I could gobble up a decent portion. But I guess healthy alternatives are just as fattening as other healthy alternatives.

Day Five is going okay as well. Although I'm having trouble figuring out where I'm going to eat being that I have to eat outside my own kitchen. I'm actually behind schedule on eating. I honestly believe I may not have been eating enough before I went on this plan. Or maybe I was eating too much fats but not a lot of food? or too many carbs? I don't know. But I do know I'm starving right now. I've not had much to eat.

I spoke with the nutritionist about the days when I don't consume all of my calories and she strongly advised against it. I'm eating 1409 calories a day right now. Apparently, as I lose weight, I'm going need to consume less than that. This was my first time hearing about this - on my cell phone, standing outside the August Wilson Theater. If I don't eat all my daily calories early in the game, my body is going to get used to that small amount making later weight loss more difficult.

I just want to meet my first goal. If I can meet my first goal, I'll be a happy camper. The first goal is to lose 7 - 10% of my current weight.

That's going to take me months. Ugh. What have I signed up for?

October 21, 2007

Day 3 of Diet - Finished

I know this isn't very exciting but writing this down is helping me keep track of everything. Blogging about it helps me organize my thoughts about the diet.

On my diet I can eat 7 starches, 5 veggies, 2 Fruits, 2 Milks, 8 Meat, 5 fat.

1 bowl cream of wheat = 1.5 starches
1 hard boiled egg = 1 meat
1 small banana = 1 fruit
That left 5.5 starches, 5 veggies, 1 fruit, 2 milks, 7 meats and 5 fats for the day

Mid Morning snack
1 piece of bread with 3 slices of sausolito turkey = 1 starch plus 1 meat
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds = 1 fat
1 green tea energy drink which sucked up 2 starch requirements thank you very much
That left 3.5 starches, 5 veggies, 1 fruit, 2 milks, 6 meats and 4 fats for the day

1 grilled panini sandwich with cheese and salami 2 starch plus 3 meats counting both cheese and meat - I gave 3 fats to this meal, because of the salami which was greasy
That left .5 starches, 5 veggies, 1 fruit, 2 milks, 2 meats and 1 fat for the day

2 very small steaks which I counted as 2 meats because they were an ounce or less each
a lot of lettuce, asparagus and broccoli.
I may have gone over on the veggie requirement for the day, but the nutritionist said that it's okay to go over on veggies because 1/2 cup of cooked veggies is only 25 calories. I probably had about 4 cups of veggies. I love vegetables.
1 glass of milk
1 apple

which leaves .5 starches, 0 veggies, 0 fruit, 1 milk, 0 meats and 1 fat for the day

I'm short 1 or 2 fats depending on how much fat was in that salami and 1 milk. I burned through my starches too quickly today. While I liked the hot cereal for breakfast, I may save the starches for later in the day.

October 20, 2007

Day 2 of Diet - Finished

(12:28 am - since I wrote this post post I've eaten quite a bit more - 2 T of pumpkin seeds for two of my fats; popcorn for the starches; an apple for one of my fruits and 1 glass of skim milk)

I'm done with my second day of my modified food plan. I definitely did not eat enough.

It's 11:30 pm and I still have to eat
4 starches
2 veggies
1.5 fruits
1 milk
1 meat
4 fats

I've pretty much eaten my normal amount of Saturday food too. It's funny to think that maybe I haven't been eating enough in general.

Of course I won't eat all the above tonight. I'll probably just have some popcorn and call it a day. I'll just have to eat more tomorrow.

Day 1 of Diet - Finished

I successfully made it through the first day of my diet. Although, I don't think I ate enough food to tell you the truth. The counting thing is more confusing than you think.

Today I'm trying a different counting system see if it goes more easily.

I am going to do this. I am going to follow this diet. I am going to lose weight.

October 19, 2007

Attitude Problem

This mannaquin has an attitude problem.

Nutritionally Speaking

food1I met with a nutritionist yesterday who told me some good and some bad things. One of the bad things she told me about was my percentage of body fat which is a high number which I will not share with you until after it's gone down because it's just too embarrassing. The good thing she told me was that I have achievable weight loss goals and that if I follow the plan she gave me I will accomplish those goals.

The very good news came from my blood test results. My glucose level is 100 down from last year's number of 103. I always worry that I'll contract diabetes in my later life, so even though the number is still a little high, it's improving. My triglicerides were 111 which is much better than I thought it would be considering my weight. My cholesterol was 168; 41 good, 105 bad I pay close attention to this number too as we all do I'm sure. Being very old is no picnic especially if you have problems like high cholesterol.

And I am definitely immune to chicken pox. I had that checked because another doctor told me earlier this year, that I wasn't immune to chicken pox. I was right to question that. I had a very severe case as a baby and I've been exposed to chicken pox through out my life without a problem. So obviously I'm immune to it. It does make me wonder if the doctor who told I wasn't immune to chicken pox was looking at the correct results. DON'T BE AFRAID TO QUESTION YOUR DOCTORS.

The plan is confusing. It involves food exchanges meaning I have a finite amound of food I can eat in different categories - like meats and vegetables and fats and starches - and the exchanges correspond to those numbers. For example, the granola bar I ate this morning counts as 2 starches and one fat.

The nutritionist said I seemed determined and she felt confident that I will accomplish my goal. I want to lose 50 pounds and I gave myself a year. The diet is designed to help me lose 1 pound a week, so in 52 weeks, I should be able to lose the weight I want to lose.

I may or may not be blogging about this experience. I don't know.

You all already know I'm 40 years old. You already know I'm married. Of course, there are plenty of things you don't know about me.

I'll see how it goes.

Seriously Noisy

Since we've come back from our vacation, the building across the street has been undergoing renovation work.

The work is very noisy.

Subway Val

A Very Good Recap of America's Most Smartest Model

One day, I hope to be able to write as well as my friend over at DSO who has written yet another fantabulous recap of America's Most Smartest Model.

Check it out!

October 17, 2007

Get Well Soon

My friend's dog is sick. I hope she gets better soon. She's a sweet dog.

Trivia Trivia Trivia

I planned my schedule this week to have Wednesday night free so I could attend a pub quiz at Dempsey's. That's not what ended up happening. Last week, I requested 8 shifts of work.
Tuesday night, Wednesday matinee, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday matinee and evening, and Sunday matinee and evening. I got seven shifts.

Monday night had been in the works for a couple of weeks. Jon and I went with our friends Jonathan and Tony to Last Exit for their bimonthly game. That game has higher stakes. It's $5 to play and most of the money collected goes to the first and second place winners. We came in third having lost the tie breaker for second place. There was almost $400 in the kitty so that would have been a great first or second prize. But alas we came in third and won drink tickets which are pretty worthless to me because I usually just drink water or seltzer.

Last night was unexpected. I hardly ever have off on Tuesday nights anymore. So I went to Tuesday Night Trivia at the Baggot Inn. My friend and her husband were hosting. It was fun. There were four of us and we won first place with a score of 47 out of 50 points. The prize was a $25 bar tab. The cup of coffee I drank on the way to the bar for the game cost me in sleep. I could not sleep worth a damn last night.

So after my shift this afternoon I was pretty tired - from lack of sleep. And I decided NOT to go to the Wednesday night game at Dempsey's which is too bad because I've been planning to go since last week. It's a shame. The whole point was to get scouted for Cash Cab. Several of my friends have been on it and they've been scouted at pub quizzes.

I don't when I'll have another opportunity to go three nights in a row.

October 16, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model - Episode 2

It's morning time and the groggy models are waking up. Cut to Mandy Lynn. "I want a title. I want a title. I wanna be America's Most Smartest Model - hiccup giggle." Cut to VJ telling the camera that "they" changed the combinations for the locks on the bathroom and refrigerator doors. The number MDCLXVI shows up on the screen while VJ sits down with pen and paper to try to figure what these letters could possibly mean. Andre jumps in and tries to explain to Pickel that M is 1,000. Cut to Andre. "Come on folks. Locks on the fridge and bathroom. Didn't I just leave Russia?" I got the impression that even ANDRE THE GIANT EGO had some trouble figuring out the code. Scene I ends when VJ successfully unlocks the bathroom door for his morning piss.

Jesse heads downstairs to the gym. Apparently he's feeling the pressure of having only a 2-pack instead of a 12 pack like the other guys in the house. He's determined to firm up and win the $100,000. But he didn't say he wanted to firm up to be a model. You have to trust me when I tell you that this is going come up again and again and again as the other models try to get Jesse eliminated. They'll claim that he DOESN'T REALLY want to be a model; that he is there for the WRONG REASONS. This is the glue that binds Cris Abrego shows. There's always one person who's not there for the right reason.

Jesse's workout scene is the perfect segue for what comes next. We see the bathingsuit clad models sitting poolside when Daniel comes out with Mary Alice Stephenson's note du jour which, she informs the camera, she gives to the models every day so they know what their upcoming challenge is going to be. (I'm glad that Mary Alice explained that the note du jour happens every day because I wasn't sure based on the name. I'm telling you, she could be a contestant). The note condescendingly starts with the quote - from noted philosopher Francis Bacon - "for knowledge itself is power".

The models were divided up into co-ed teams of two:
Pickel and Aussie Rachel (cut to Pickel who couldn't be more thrilled because he likes her)
Andre and Lisa (to which Andre replied "Who's Lisa?" Cut to Lisa saying how much it sucks to be his partner because he's crazy)
Brett and Angela
Jesse and Erika
V.J. and Blond Rachel (she's excited because he has a nice body AND he's so sexy)
Daniel and Mandy Lynn (cut to M.L. standing topless next to chubby Jesse who is not topless. Mandy Lynn is happy to be paired with Daniel because he is "one of the most smartest people in the house)

The models have an hour to study before they have to meet with Mary Alice in the living room and all hell breaks loose. VJ and Blond Rachel monopolize and then hide the one encyclopedia with ALL the information. Is it likely that one encyclopedia has ALL the information? No. But they don't know that. Poor things. They really are quite dumb. A large argument breaks out. And everyone is really mad at them. Much pouting ensues and Rachel and VJ have established themselves as sneaky and underhanded. Well. Until they all make up and become friends again tomorrow.

Puzzle Me Pretty
The contestants walk into the living room and find a board with different subjects kind of like a Jeopardy board but with prizes instead of dollar amounts. The prizes are clothing, makeup packages, props, hair stylist etc. - things that they'll need for the Call Back challenge the following day. They have to answer questions correctly to win prizes otherwise they will be naked at the next day's challenge. The better the prize, the harder the question. Jesse is understandably concerned.

Pickel starts strong by identifying Gold from the chemical symbol AU and wins doctors and nurses outfits. Mandy Lynn chooses a question from the WHAT IT STANDS for category and identifies GOP as Governors and Presidents. She took too long apparently, prompting derision from Blond Rachel who accuses her of taking too much time. This was funny because later in the challenge Blond Rachel told Ben Stein that Napoleon's last name was Pierre and it was Mandy Lynn who supplied the right answer, stealing Rachel's prize.

There's too much that happened during the game for me to cover. This is a blog post, not a novel. I'll sum up. Jesse and Erika won a bed and finger paints. They have to be naked for their shoot. Andre was angry at Lisa for winning lipstick instead of clothing because they already had a make up kit. Everyone else did okay. It wasn't as humiliating an experience as I was hoping for but I was glad the models were able to answer basic trivia-like questions, with a couple of exceptions of course.

That night the models started planning for the next day. VJ and Rachel practiced poses, clearly demonstrating that they are attracted to each other (for now). Andre and Lisa went outside to practice and Andre couldn't have been nastier. Lisa wanted to warm up by the outdoor fire which led Andre to accuse Americans of being weak losers that he obviously hates. They fought and we were left wondering if these two crazy kids will ever be able to work together as a team.

The Photo Shoot
The next morning Mary Alice Stephenson wakes the models up and then makes them jump into a pool. I'm not sure why. When they get out of the pool they put on robes and then get into buses they can go to the shoot with absolutely nothing. But jumping into the pool was completely unnecessary. They really could have just put on robes in their rooms and then gotten onto the buses.

and Aussie Rachel ended up practically naked for their photo shoot using only a stethoscope and a nurses hat from their prize of doctor/nurse clothing. But they had a huge advantage in that they were able to get their makeup done. The shoot went well for the most part. Andre and Lisa were able to work their tension into their photo. VJ and Rachel used their sexual tension to create a pretty picture. Erika and Jesse had problems. Jesse's big belly (again, their words not mine) made posing awkward and the two of them produced the weakest photo.

In the end, Pickel and Aussie Rachel won an automatic call back to next week's show. The two worst photos were produced by Daniel/Mandy Lynn and Jesse/Erika. Guess who went home. I bet you're thinking Mandy Lynn. Well. So did all the models. But you would be wrong. So now you're thinking, it was probably Jesse because of his terrible TWO-PACK stomach. you would be wrong again. It was decided that Erika just didn't have what it takes to be a model. In her exit interview, she said that she's going to prove that short Latinas can make it in the modeling industry.

I wish her luck. She was probably one of the sweeter contestants on the show. But it is a contest and a sweet personality isn't going to keep you on a reality show where bitchy personalities loom large.