Wednesday, September 22, 2004

There's an ad at the bottom of my blog ...

that says Aliens Want Your Brains. I opted in to the whole ad thing for the promise of great riches due to idle passersby dropping virtual coins into my online bank account. Which happens, right? But maybe I've sold my soul. Hmmmm, let me ponder that a moment. And my conclusion is ... Oh well. A blogger's gotta eat.

True Life: I'm obsessed with a six-year-old MTV show

Anna Nicole Smith "lookalike" at a trade show in LA. Posted by Hello

OK, MTV's True Life has been on the air since 1998, but I'm just now becoming obsessed. That's how not teen pop culture I am. This morning, while actually trying to find Charmed on TNT with absolutely no luck, I again wandered upon True Life (harken back several posts ago for the first reference). In today's episode, three people are living double lives and priding themselves on the fact that "nobody knows."

Note to people who say they are living a double life yet are simultaneously shooting a documentary for MTV: This is a surefire way to blow your cover.

Of course, by the end of the show, all three people had actually blown their cover, and maybe that was the point. The three in question were Chris, a gay guy who acted straight half the time and thought he had his best friends fooled; Mitch, an amateur adult-industry entrepreneur who had two girlfriends unbeknownst to either of them; and Jeannine, above, who looks enough like Anna Nicole Smith to fool the stupid tourists in Hollywood.

What's so excellent about documentaries like these is that they are like very subtle reality shows in that the joke is completely on the subjects, but the stories are so factually laid out that no one can complain later that they looked like an ass on TV. I think it's called "hanging yourself with your own rope."

Chris was so blatantly gay that any tuned-in girl worth her salt could have picked him up miles away. Drunk, insecure girls seemed ignorant to his vibe, but I guess when you are 2o and out and wanting nothing more than a guy to hit on you so you can convince yourself that you really are pretty, you aren't all that picky. Chris dropped the gay bomb on best friend Holly by the end of the show. He ended up the surprised one -- she was just wondering when he was finally going to 'fess up.

Mitch was the most interesting one, in my opinion, but that wasn't because he had two girlfriends. It was because A) he was running this amateur porn business out of his house and these cute girls would just show up and get naked. How did he get them to do that? Are cute girls dying to get naked and in front of some hickboy's camera for no real reason? B) He was shocked, shocked that if he had been cheating on his girlfriend, then perhaps she could be cheating on him. It never fails to amuse me how people get caught in their own double standards and then are so upset about it. C) Later, Mitch went up to a gorgeous girl in a bar and told her he needed to pour liquor on her stomach and drink off of it because his girlfriend might be cheating on him. And she just laid down on the nearest table and poured booze all over her belly for him to lick off. Easy as pie. I don't know why Mitch even cared that his girlfriend was cheating on him if it's that simple.

Jeannine had to give up her whole Anna Nicole thing, which most amusingly included her gay assistant, (also named) Chris. Why Chris would be the personal assistant to a big fat sort-of Anna Nicole lookalike is beyond me, but Jeannine got kind of screwed when Anna Nicole lost all sorts of weight taking Trimspa/speed. She decided to return to Long Island and be herself, which was probably the best idea in the first place.

You may be wondering why I have dedicated all this space to this stupid show on MTV. And the answer is: I really have no idea. But admit it, you're hooked now too, right?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Aron Ralston returns to the canyon where an 800-pound boulder pinned his arm for five days, until he finally escaped by amputating it with a dull penknife. Posted by Hello

He's on book tour so he's been all over the media, but on Monday night we went to see Aron Ralston at the Boulder Book Store. He was promoting his new book about the experience, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, which is both a horrible cliche and a perfect name. We had watched the Dateline special so I wasn't sure I was up for his graphic description of self-amputation (turns out, I wasn't really up for it, but I listened all the same), but seeing Aron in person added greatly to the experience.

Not so much because the core story was different, because it wasn't really, but because Aron talks a lot more about the real reason he wrote his book. He feels it's his mission to share his story with as many people as possible, in the hopes of inspiring others. I've heard other people say similar things after going through terrible tragedies -- that the experience was worth it because of the sense of purpose they now have. Aron went so far as to say that if he had to go through the whole thing again, he would. I'm not sure he would really make that choice in the unlikely event a divine being lands in front of him and offers it to him, but it's still something to say that after spending five days and five horrible, freezing, sleepless nights alone in the desert, stuck under a rock, waiting to die, he would do it all again.

"It was the greatest divine interaction that anyone could ask for," Aron said. "To inspire people, to be a messenger of faith and courage. I am proud to be contributing a very positive message to the world." As opposed to other books currently on the New York Times bestseller list, where his book entered this week at number eight--he's sandwiched between Confessions of an Heiress by Paris Hilton and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star by Jenna Jamison.

During the Q&A, I asked him something simple: "Do you miss your real arm? Are you already used to your new arm?" Somehow in the course of answering, he shared that since his story has come out, he has gotten five letters from people who were seriously contemplating suicide but decided against it once they learned of his ordeal.

"If I had only gotten one of those letters, this would all be worth it," he said. And then he thanked me for asking that question, although it really had nothing to do with what he ultimately said. He doesn't miss his arm, by the way.

Last month, Aron ran a 100-mile race. By comparison, I'm having problems getting through a one-hour Tai Bo tape. (Billy Blanks swears to me that if I can do the whole workout, I will get everything I want. So I'm waiting.)

In any case, when your life sucks, and you are late for work, and your boss is yelling at you and you just spilled coffee all over your new white pants (why you ever wear white anyway is anybody's guess), take a moment to say a little prayer thanking God for what you do have. Chances are, it's a lot.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Sarah Jessica, my idol ... Posted by Hello

My thoughts about Emmy, and I was batting like .785. Arrested Development foiled me a little, but that's because I'm so blindly devoted to Sex and the City.

Things I was happy about:

Sarah Jessica (not so happy about her speech however)
Cynthia Nixon
Meryl's speech (the win was a given)
JAMES SPADER (how awesome to hear James, think Gandolfini, and then hear Spader. To love him is to watch Secretary)
Mary Louise Parker, who would be my secret lesbian crush if I went that way
Michael Imperioli
Drea de Matteo + speech
The Sopranos finally winning the award they should have won years ago

Things I was not so happy about:

Allison Janney, but I think she wasn't that happy about it either. Poor Marskita Hargay or whatever that woman from L&O SVU's name is.
Where the hey was Nip/Tuck, one of the very best shows on television. Ditto Deadwood.
Elaine Stritch, who I find incredibly irritating, but then she's also sort of hilarious, so it's a toss-up. Still she beat Ellen, and I may have to hold a grudge about that.

Excellent quotes:

"It's not the way I would have gone, but okay," David Hyde Pierce on his Best Supporting Actor nod for the last season of Frasier.
"Often even I think I'm overrated ... but not tonight," the always awesome, graceful and grateful Meryl Streep on winning a category no one else should have even bothered entering.

I wondered if I would miss covering the Emmys and going to the parties afterwards. Verdict: A little. I was doing lots of cooking and watching it on TV, and I have to say, that wasn't a bad way to spend an evening either.

My aunt is Martha Stewart, without the unpleasant demeanor or jail time

OK, I didn't take this picture, but Mom and I spent the weekend in Winter Park with my Aunt Sissy and Uncle Fred and this is what it looks like. See the appeal? It's amazing country -- a golden valley surrounded by enormous mountains. In fact, it's up so high that the trees just give up at a certain point, because there isn't enough oxygen. (This is called "timberline" actually, as any mountaineers among you may know.) Posted by Hello

One commenter--and I'm so happy to have comments!--said he wanted more pictures of actual people. Those who know me know I personally don't love being in pictures, but I also lack a digital camera so once I get one, my blog pictures will be more personal. I promise.

We had a delightful weekend in the high country, actually one of the big reasons I was compelled to move back to Colorado. There's something tremendously healing and peaceful about tromping along through the woods. We ran into several mountain bikers while hiking and I started thinking about getting a mountain bike. You can't live in Colorado without catching the outdoor bug, it's like living in LA and not caring about TV and movies or living in DC and not caring about politics or living in Seattle and not caring about coffee. And if you are going to get addicted to something, better hiking and biking than road rage.

Anyway, to the topic of this post -- my aunt as Martha Stewart. Seriously, and my aunt and uncle are my role models in life so I mean this in the best possible way, but I'm so glad Shelley is not my older sister because I would have the biggest inferiority complex. While we were in Winter Park, Shel made us three unbelievable meals. The first one was a crab salad in which all the ingredients were pre-prepared and then were beautifully laid out on plates for us. After hiking, dinner was chicken and snow peas in apricot sauce, wild rice with dried mixed fruit and mixed greens with raspberries and pecans in raspberry walnut dressing. Fred enhanced the meal by offering expertly mixed gin and tonics. Honestly, life doesn't really get much better than wonderful company and delicious food.

If Shel were just an amazing cook, that would be one thing, but she also gave us all our Christmas presents, and keep in mind that it's September. Usually she gives them to us in July, but she didn't have the opportunity this year. Shelley also is the kind of person who makes a delicious casserole for anyone in the congregration who had a baby or a sickness or a death; who is always there for her daughter, son-in-law and grand-kids; who buys gifts for, I think, literally hundreds of people. It's overwhelming to contemplate. I have difficult returning phone calls.

On Sunday we went to the Church of the Eternal Hills, a Presbyterian church up there. Considering that only 662 people live full-time in Winter Park, they had the most gorgeous building. The windows in the sanctuary framed the stunning view of the mountains. That distracted a bit from the service, but I think we all got something out of spending our Sunday morning there. Fred just retired after serving as pastor at the United Church of Christ in Columbia, Mo., and it's a big change for both of them. Bigger than I think they've yet realized, but I've found change is best handled by digesting small bites, rather than whole banquets. Columbia UCC was a wonderful community of close-knit people, who were the realest of real in my limited experience. It even feels hard for me to have them retire, and I know I can't really imagine how it must feel for them, but they are among the strongest people I know and if anyone can manage it they can.

We ate lunch at The Hungry Bear, a building that's stood in Winter Park since 1847 or something like that. Fred and Shelley's condo complex was also being frequented by a hungry bear, or four to be exact. Every night, a mama and her three cubs were ransacking the garbage bins, even they were really rigged up to keep bears out. The little guys were crawling under the locked wooden doors to retrieve garbage and give it to their mother.

The bears showed up at 2 am so we didn't see them, but the racket woke up a neighbor who Fred questioned first thing the next morning. Fred was very interested in meeting said bears; he was trying to lure them with the remains of apples from Shelley's 19-apple cobbler, but she put the kibosh on that considering that wild bears aren't really the company you want to keep.

After the church service, Fred confessed that he was considering sleeping in the car to see those bears. (We agreed later that the mind wanders a bit when you aren't the one leading the service.) I'm not sure getting close to bears is the safest idea, but I have to admit I wanted to see those bear cubs myself. We'll see if Fred does it by the time they leave at the end of the month. My money's on Fred.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

All hail the return of Survivor

I wasn't looking forward to Survivor this time as much as I looked forward to Survivor: All-Stars (I wanted Boston Rob to win from about episode four and today I still think he should have won. I stalked Rob and Amber at the CBS upfront party in New York last May, by the way, and did actually have a conversation with Rob. I was a total moron). Anyway, after watching tonight, I'm hooked. I think it's the games. I always imagine myself playing those games, and of course, I always win.

If I had been on the island tonight, I would have voted Chris off. Sorry dude, but I agree that the weak link should go first. It's an easy call -- why make the decision harder than it has to be? Alas, that was not the way and Brook the unknown had the dubious honor of being first to go. I thought it was going to be Scout but Chris lost the challenge for the men, saving Scout for this week, and maybe making things tougher for the lazy sorority girls. Who knows? Maybe redneck Twila could win it all -- she's tough, she works hard, and she already seems to be emerging as a leader.

Anyone else (anyone who cares about Survivor that is, which might only be Katherine) want to venture a guess on who takes it all? Put it in the comments.

Mr. Barry Returns to Washington

It's difficult to believe, but he's back. Former DC Mayor Marion Barry just got elected to Washington D.C.'s City Council. It's not a new observation, but apparently being a crackhead is a political advantage in our nation's capital.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Syndie's fall season

So far so bad.

I'm watching Tony Danza right now and although Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, looks fantastic, the show is a train wreck. I was grateful when it was interrupted by an emergency alert.

Jane Pauley seems equally uncomfortable in the talk show setting. Anchors operating without teleprompters and with live audiences are usually bad combinations. And so far the show seems largely a cross-promotion for NBC. Yesterday's episode was about the hiker that had to cut his arm off when he got trapped under a boulder in Moab. It's an unbelievable story -- and I do mean unbelievable -- but the Pauley segment was basically a complete repeat of Dateline's Friday night story. Not to mention that he also appeared on the Today Show that morning. I understand cross-promotion and I understand book tours, but I think the whole thing gets a little out of hand.

In fact, the syndie field was weak enough this year that Denver's NBC affiliate opted instead to do its own local show, Colorado & Co. I have to applaud doing anything local, since stations rarely do anything local these days besides news, but the two hosts are too perky for 10 am. Or for any time of day really.

OK, at the moment I'm watching Maury because it's on in Denver after Danza. Today's segment is on "I'm 13, and I'll do anything to have a baby," so it's about 13-year-olds who are supposedly having sex many times a day to get pregnant. The girls so far are both very overweight and their mothers are on the show crying. This can't be real. How is this even on TV? I cover daytime TV and even I am shocked.

And at the end of it all, Oprah, the queen of talk, still prevails. Hey, you give away 277 cars, you win. I think that's the rule, anyway.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

There's no days like spa days

Alyssa got her first facial ever on Saturday as a birthday gift from my mom so I tagged along. I have to say that facials are one of the most luxurious things on earth, except for the "extraction" part of the process, which neither Alyssa nor I found particularly pleasant. After all that extracting, we were both a little red and blotchy, not to mention greasy from the scalp massage. You would think people would glow after a facial, but mostly they look like they've just been through an ugly break-up that involved eating a lot of fast food and pints of Ben & Jerry's.

Still, all those lovely products on your face plus steam and lavendar-scented hot towels makes up for the painful parts. And while I don't love massages (strange people rubbing me always has seemed a little too intimate, although I did have a great massage therapist in LA, one of the people I definitely miss) or pedicures (like the dentist for your feet, in my opinion), facials are my weakness.

Something at Boulder's Finishing Touch that always has sounded good to me is the Cocoa Body Fondue and the Chocolate Raspberry Fantasy. Or maybe those things just sound like yummy desserts, but in any case, time spent at the spa beats time spent almost anywhere else. Word has it the owner went to high school with Brad Pitt, but alas, that does not guarantee an appearance.

By the way, dinner came out great! Too much wine was drank by all, but we ate like kings and had fun playing Taboo afterwards. Even mellow weekends are all too short --now it's Monday again and back to work.

The days they do speed by ...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Real reality TV and home-cooked dinner parties

Posted by Hello You would think that having covered TV for so many years, I would know everything that's on the tube. But with so many channels these days, it's impossible to keep up, even for one-time professional TV watchers like me. Anyway, today Mom and I came upon a show that was both surprising and compelling, MTV's True Life. The show features documentaries about young people, and the stories are much realer than anything on "reality" TV. The episode we watched today was about extremely obese young people and how they are dealing with their similar conditions in very different ways. It definitely gave me one of those perspective-altering moments.

Way off that subject, Happiest of Birthdays today to Karen W. and Yael O. Alyssa celebrates her 27th (remember that age?) tomorrow. I'm throwing a family dinner party tonight with wild mushroom and goat cheese lasagna and mascarpone (I've been spelling that wrong for years, I just learned) cheesecake. Alyssa's favorite dessert is cheesecake, and I don't hate it myself. So last night was a fairly work-intense evening spent shopping and cooking, but I've been so looking forward to cooking for family that there was nothing I would have rather been doing. Now I just hope all the food comes out OK!

Interesting to include that foodie-food post right after one about obese people. Hmmm, irony?

Just one more thing. Remember 9/11 today . It's been three years already.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Lady Miss D, the flower girl

A photo of my good friend, Dominique, daughter of Leah and Antony. She just appeared in a starring role in her friend's wedding, and I felt she should be duly recognized for it. Posted by Hello

Princess Misha, the Audrey Hepburn of cats

Here's Misha the diva cat, now looking better than ever with the help of flax seed oil for kitties. Everyone needs their Omega-3s! Picture taken with my Sprint PCS phone. I'm so high-tech, I'm like a teenager. Oh, maybe that's actually because I am in fact living at home like a teenager.

9/11 -- Update: Princesca isn't as enthusiastic about this health-food stuff as I am. She's pretty much snubbing the whole flax seed thing. But as you can see, she can afford to lose a few.

Posted by Hello

thought for the day from Melanie Clarke

When you feel that nobody loves you, nobody cares for you, everyone is ignoring you, and people are jealous of you, you should really ask yourself...Am I TOO sexy? It's really quite a reasonable question.

How you know when you've crossed over into crazy cat lady

It's when you find yourself paying $10.00 for "flax oil for animals" (enhanced with essence of rosemary, by the way) at your local Vitamin Cottage because you think it will make her coat shiny, help her with hairballs and generally be good for her overall health. Next thing you know, I'll be taking Misha to Weight Watchers for Pets. Awesome. This is what it has finally come to.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

upcoming East Coast jaunt

I'm planning to cruise the Eastern Seaboard from Oct. 15-Nov. 1 and I'm hoping to see many friends along the way. I'm starting in DC from Oct. 15-Oct. 20 (or so), then training up to NYC until Oct. 22. I'm then going up to Newport, R.I., for my friend Karen D.'s wedding, then on to Providence to spend quality time with Tina, Ben and Noah (and their dog Maddie). Finally, I will close out this hefty jaunt with a visit to Karen W.'s home in Martha's Vineyard.

So, I'm not laying this out to rub my self-selected unemployment in your face (well, not really), but to encourage people to get on the schedule. Drop me an e-mail and let me know if you'll be around!

The Flatirons -- nothing compares Posted by Hello

Only in Boulder ...

I think there's about 1,000 articles that start "only in Boulder," so I decided to be as cliche as possible and start mine in the same way. Today's Only in Boulder thought came to me today as I was using the public restrooms on the mall. Or I should say The Mall, which is almost the same as it was when I went away to college in 1987 (1987?!?!) and a lot different than the other famous mall I used to live by in Washington, D. C. Anyhoo, the Boulder bathrooms have got to be the only public restrooms in America where classical music is piped in. Boulder just wants its citizens to have a pleasant bathroom experience after returning from a hike and having a frappucino, I suppose.

It's funny having been gone from Boulder for so long. Whenever I told people out in the world (with pride) that I was from Boulder, they would say "oh, is that the place where Jon Benet Ramsey is from?" It would offend me so much because I thought everyone should clearly understand the magic of Boulder, even though it is sort of stuck in the 70s. This question used to be about Mork and Mindy, but at least we've gone from a sitcom setting to the site of an unsolved murder. At least Kobe did his thing in Eagle, so that spares us a little.

Maybe it's a good thing that most of America has no clue about Boulder because hiking on Labor Day was still massively crowded. After hiking up a very steep hill, which needed an extra lane to accomodate all the dogs and people with babies on their backs, my mom and I went down to Denver for the Taste of Colorado festival, and that was very crowded as well. Just goes to show you that LA doesn't have a monopoly on crowds. Crowds or no, both events were fun, and nothing compares to the kind of hiking you can do around here.