28 September 2008

Project Sunday


As if I don't watch enough TV, I'm back to being hooked on Project Runway. While living in New York, watching PR at my sister and brother-in-law's apartment with a box of Sugar Sweet Sunshine cupcakes sort of became a tradition. I miss that. But I'm in Houston now, and they're in Brussels.

Earlier today something possessed me to search for PR online, and I easily found full episodes on YouTube. I'm almost through episode 4, "Rings of Glory," where the designers are asked to create an outfit for the US female athlete to wear in the Summer Olympics opening ceremony. In other words, it's been PR marathon up in here. So far I haven't been wowed by anyone's designs. The most exciting thing thus far has been Natalie Portman's surprise appearance. And can we throw out the biker chick already? If I have to look at her skull face and listen to her bitch about anything-that-isn't-leather one more time… shh, don't tell me! Episode 12, "Nature Calls," airs Wednesday.

Turns out there was no Mad Men last Sunday. An advisory would have been nice.

24 September 2008

Obama Says Debate Should Go Ahead

To me, this photo from Vanity Fair says, "Bring it on, McCain."

"It's going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once," says Obama. Watch as Obama turns down McCain's invitation to join him in Washington to help with the financial bailout rather than participate in the first of the presidential debates currently still slated for Friday. I don't know much, but I don't understand why Washington would need the help of McCain. Isn't Bush still in charge? Hehe.

Whether McCain is buying time or not (and whereabouts is Palin these days?), the bailout doesn't seem reason enough to put off a presidential debate, that's for sure.

Season Pass My Ass

Photo: Starpulse

I was about to write a review of Mad Men on iTunes, or rather an "Amen" to a fellow iTunes user nicknamed Dallas, Texas Chiming In, who is "very unhappy with the season pass," but decided against doing so when I realized the title of my review would be considered profane. Here are a couple tips from iTunes for writing a great review:




Take the time to copy edit your work so that you avoid embarrassing typos or grammatical errors.


Do not use profanity or overtly sexual language.

Dallas, Texas Chiming In continues, "It is Monday night and I still haven't received Sunday's show, which we are supposed to receive from iTunes within hours after it airs. DON'T BUY THE SEASON PASS!"

Now, it's Wednesday. So WTF, iTunes? Take me back to New York 1962, for goodness' sake. Inquiring minds want to know what kind of shit's hitting the fan in the Draper household!

-Houston, Texas Chiming In

Prada Model Down


Photo: Houston Chronicle

A nondescript model eats it on the Prada runway printed with a dance step diagram-like school of fish.

21 September 2008

Mad about Mad Men


Photo: TV Guide.

The above still is from the Lutèce* scene, where comedian Jimmy Barrett apologizes to Mrs. Schilling for making fat jokes at her, after which he turns and bites down on his fist when she says, "I know that’s what you do, I guess I just don’t have the stomach for it." Great scene.

But what's with the table lamps? The table lamps bothered me ten years ago in restaurant scenes on Felicity, and they bother me now, in restaurant scenes on Mad Men. I'd like to think the show is too good for crap props.

With Felicity, the dumb table lamps appeared in the nice-restaurant-scenes (Mr. and Mrs. Porter are in town, Noel takes Felicity on a real date, etc.). I have not gone as far as counting the restaurants/bars on Mad Men in which there are lamps perched awkwardly, stupidly on the tables. But there are several, and it makes me wonder if the restaurant table lamp is a status symbol of which I'm unaware? My memories from New York restaurants do not include table lamps whatsoever. And thus, I have always found the nice-restaurant-scene-little-table-lamps really annoying, in the same way that I find phone numbers that start with 555 annoying.

I think Requiem for a Dream is the only movie or TV show I have ever seen use a non-555 number—the number the guy at the end gives to Marion. Yeah, that guy.

Somebody please explain the lamps.

*"Though it has been more than a decade since Lutèce was in its glory days, the restaurant played a crucial role in the culinary development of the United States almost from the moment it opened its doors in 1961." Read more about Lutèce.

30%


Courtesy of TV Guide. Click on photo for more.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Although I still prefer Steve Carell, Alec Baldwin's acceptance did not annoy me. But the five-person opener did. WTF was that?

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Who is Bryan Cranston?

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Tina Fey, 30 Rock. That's right.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
FX? Really?

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Not Amy Poehler, too bad. She's kind of hot in a weird pregnant way, right?

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Still not interested.

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Desperate Housewives won; don't care.

Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program
Does anyone care about David Letterman anymore?

Outstanding Comedy Series
30 Rock, because The Office just isn't as good as it used to be. You were right, Ann. You were totally right.

Outstanding Drama Series
Mad Men. Ann, you must be clairvoyant. Like Don Draper's new secretary… Apparently, MM made history as the first basic-cable show to win a top series award at the Emmys. Glad I have an iTunes Season Pass, Suckers.

In Honor of the Emmys


I love television. Currently I keep up with eight shows: 30 Rock (NBC), America's Next Top Model (CW), Big Love (HBO), Dexter (Showtime), Gossip Girl (CW), Mad Men (AMC), The Office (NBC), and Weeds (Showtime). And when you watch this much TV, there's bound to be some actor crossover.

Hopefully you recognize Maulik Pancholy, or protective Jonathan, from 30 Rock as Sangay, I mean Sanjay, in Weeds. Or vice versa, whichever you watched first. And then there's Audrey Wasilewski who plays Peggy Olson's sister Anita in Mad Men and tepid neighbor Pam Martin in Big Love.

Michael C. Hall went from tight-lipped funeral director David Fisher in HBO's Six Feet Under to forensics expert by day, serial killer by night in Dexter. David Fisher is gay; Dexter is asexual (and avoids getting any action, except for when it falls in his lap in the form of his fragile girlfriend dressed as Tomb Raider). David drains blood in the basement of Fisher & Sons, and Dexter analyzes it for work and collects a drop from each victim—from the cheek—on glass slides for leisure. I am curious what's next for Hall as far as fictional characters go. Will the character be straight? Will there be blood?

Tonight, on the annual show showcasing shows, Hall is up against Mad Men's Jon Hamm, among others, for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series in the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, something in which I never had much interest. But this year I want to see what the cast of Mad Men looks like in "real life."

Dexter and Mad Men are also in the running for Outstanding Drama Series, along with Boston Legal, Damages, House, and Lost, all of which I don't watch. I imagine there are a lot of Lost fans out there… My experience with Lost is: I watched the first episode, thought What is this, Jurassic Park? and never cared to follow up.

So who am I rooting for tonight, in some of the "key categories?"

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Because Alec Baldwin annoys me, Steve Carell as Michael Scott.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, because I'm more addicted to Mad Men than I am to Dexter. Maybe it's because Don Draper is constantly surrounded by all those boys—Ken Cosgrove, for one.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Sorry Mary Louise Parker, love your big brown eyes and the way you drink out of those straws, but Weeds just isn't as funny as 30 Rock. Not even close, actually. So, Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, take it home.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
John Slattery
as Roger Sterling. John Slattery is one of those actors who looks totally familiar, but for some reason you just keep forgetting to look him up on IMDb.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Amy Poehler as Performer. It's hard to compete with Tina Fey portraying Sarah Palin (of course her name has a h), but she still manages to make me laugh.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Not interested. But if I watched Brothers and Sisters, I'd probably root for Rachel Griffiths, since she comes from the Six Feet Under family.

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Edie Falco as Celeste “C.C.” Cunningham. Adorable.

Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program
David Letterman, Host. Because I love David Letterman. Always have. Always had a crush. Always hated Jay Leno. Sorry, Tina Fey.

Outstanding Comedy Series
30 Rock, because The Office just isn't as good as it used to be.

Outstanding Drama Series
Mad Men, again.

I guess the CW isn't eligible to win awards?

20 September 2008

For those of you who were bored out of your gourd watching the last video, here's something probably more up your alley. Credit goes to H for showing me this one.

This video was taken from one of my east-facing windows after the brunt of the storm.

video

Why I'm for Tina Fey

17 September 2008

Pow-urgh.

As of 8 PM CST tonight, there were still 2.26 million CenterPoint Energy customers without power. The energy company is providing outage and restoration updates on their web site. According to the latest schedule of outages by zip code, 93 percent of my zip code (77019) remains without power. That's luck. That also means I have two vacancies, in the form of one couch and one sleeping bag lined with a striped pattern à la Bert and Ernie, for anyone who doesn't have power and doesn't mind me typing the night away, or listening to Bon Iver on repeat. I have air conditioning, hot water, a slow-draining tub, and plenty of week-old sugar cookies and fresh Dunkin' Donuts coffee (I miss you, New York). You have two hours—midnight curfew, y'all!

This is an uprooted tree.


This is nothin', really. But I was stopped at one of the few working traffic lights and had my cell phone camera handy. For those of you who are familiar with Houston, this is at the intersection of Waugh and Washington.

These uprooted trees are spectacular to look at and certainly a distraction for drivers like myself. The bigger, the more magical. Like something out of Pan's Labyrinth or Big Fish or…you get the idea. Wish you were here to see it in person.

After Ike

Well, I lost power around 3 AM Saturday morning. Lucky me, I woke up to the rumble and chill of my A/C late Sunday morning. Many friends who live nearby are still without power, which resulted in a couple nights of girl slumber partying to the heart-wrenching music of Bon Iver, who is playing now, unless your volume is off.

I emerged from the hurricane with one leaky ceiling and an addiction to AMC's Mad Men, a show about the "ad men" (ad as in advertising) of Madison Avenue in 1960s New York. Part of the appeal, for me, is that three of the characters remind me of boys I know. It ranks nowhere near my all-time favorite Six Feet Under, but at the least I want to know what happens next. Mad Men is on Sundays at 10/9c, and it's available on iTunes, where I bought my copy.

I'm writing from the office where there is power again, as well as working Internet, which has become a hot commodity these days. Some video footage of swaying trees forthcoming. I have never seen so many trees uprooted.

11 September 2008

Live hurricane reports from Houston!

A has decided to "hunker down" and weather hurricane Ike. Read what happens.

Saturday, September 13, 2008
2:48 AM. Power just went out for a bit but came back on. It was perfectly black. I can hear things moving around outside. You're just waiting for it to hit a window.

2:42 AM. Light just flickered.

2:20 AM. Just turned on the television. Apparently 1.3 million customers without power. But for those of us with power, we have yet to deal with the edge of the eye and the back of the storm. As Liz Lemon would say, BLURG. I confess the news reporters are lovely company. They're informative, etc., etc. Watched some Mad Men. I'm not in love, but I'll watch it.

On the news: footage of reporter Wayne Dolcefino being blown around. A tree snapped at the base in The Heights. I do not want to see that happen here. The sportscaster is reporting from Baytown. It's like when your high school football coach also teaches English.

2:13 AM. It sounds like there is an ocean outside. Will most likely be sleeping with one eye open.

Friday, September 12, 2008
10:38 PM. I moved my mattress away from my bedroom windows to a more central spot in my apartment. It feels like I'm at the fifth grade lock-in again, except it's just me. Earlier, a news reporter described how a broken window can send shards of glass across a room. Which would suck. I filled my bathtub with water for what, I'm not entirely sure. For flushing the toilet? Not for drinking, I hope. Anyway, I plan to camp out like this until Ike blows over. Ha, ha. I recently downloaded the first season of Mad Men, so I guess you know what I'll be doing until the power goes out, or until my MacBook battery dies, rather. I have a such a headache. 415,000 CenterPoint Energy customers are without power right now. Another 32,500 from another power company.

9:53 PM. 315,000 CenterPoint Energy customers are without power. I still have power here in 77019.

9:12 PM. I've exhausted my Netflix disc of The Office (Season 4: Disc 1). Earlier, I moved my furniture away from the windows. I also filled up several water bottles. Now, when I'm on my couch, I face Park St, as if I'm waiting for a show to begin. After inhaling macaroni and cheese and some leftover steak, I'm tired again but not about to fall asleep, only to wake up face to face with Ike. The wind in the trees is so loud, I feel like it's a matter of time before a window breaks. Also, when do the news anchors and reporters throw down their pencils?

7:44 PM. It's darker out now. I've got box macaroni and cheese on the stove, and I'm listening to the drone of the news reporter and the trees moving outside. It's not raining yet, but I imagine it will get a bit scary when it does. Earlier, from my living room window, I saw a few neighbors in and out of their houses, with a cigarette in hand, or a drink, or a dog. My mind is intermittently flooded by images of my car getting picked up by the wind or a tree crashing through the windows. Galveston Island is without power.

6:03 PM. Need a laugh? Hurricane Bound For Texas Slowed By Large Land Mass To The South.

5:30 PM. Passed out after watching an episode of The Office. Just woke up and wondering why I'm so tired. Turned the TV back on; I like the company. WHOA, just saw a live image of Houston's downtown. A blanket of gray clouds over those iconic buildings. 1900 marines are coming our way!! If this were a pregnancy, I think we are in the hospital. Oh my…

11:41 AM. I'm stayin'.

10:48 AM. Just woke up to a voicemail from H, who broke and took off, to Austin. H says I should be with people. Do I go to my parents, who live thirty minutes away? Do I drive to a friend's nearby? Or do I stay here, at my apartment? I don't know what to do I don't know what to do I don't know what to do. In Houston, the trees are moving a bit. Predicted 25-35 winds by noon. In Galveston, they're enforcing an 8 PM curfew. "The wind field is extremely broad," they say.

1:25 AM. Had a homestyle dinner with H and M at Buffalo Grille, then beers at Rud's. Just heated up some old pepperoni pizza to eat while I watch The Office until I pass out. Also plan to go to the grocery store first thing tomorrow. The news channels love this web site. Can currently anticipate 69 mph winds!

Thursday, September 11, 2008
6:59 PM. I just woke up from a couch nap and am wondering if I have enough food and water for the weekend. Why do I need food and water? Because of flooding and crazy winds, I could be stranded at my house for a couple days. My friend MDM makes a good point: "Wine and cheese does not count."

02 September 2008

Not Yer

I need to credit a fellow Blogger blog, Carolina Eclectic, for my previous post of the Pantone stairs. Carolina herself, a Houston-based designer/blogger, stopped by the office recently to gather material for a triple feature post (Not Your Average Contemporary Homes.) on , the bungalow that is my office, Brett Zamore's two kit homes next door, and Hometta's publisher/editor couple's aptly eclectic home.