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.