Friday, October 31, 2008

Come on Up

I woke up with "Just Walk Away, Renee" on my mind. Wouldn't that have been an awesome Friday Jukebox? But there are so many covers of that song and so many cobbled together fanvids of those covers that there was just no way.

Then I thought about something from the Sex Pistols because The Spouse and I are going to a Halloween party tonight as Sid and Nancy. But I wasn't really in the mood for the Sex Pistols.

Then I started thinking about how the days are winding down to Tuesday and how I hadn't yet ordered deep dish pizza from that place in Chicago that we get food from for Iwanskifest and whether The Spouse would be down with making deep dish on a weeknight because we decided to eat Chicago food on Election Night. (It's a thing we do. It's not for good luck or anything....just how we show our preference).

I'm allowing myself a flicker of hope. A flicker that is strong enough to remind me that if we had champagne in the house on Tuesday it might very well not go to waste. And then I just starting thinking about other things related to hopes and dreams and casting off chains and risin' up and things like that.

Bruce Springsteen "The Rising"


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Breaking News

Barack Obama just admitted that as a kindergartner he shared his toys and that he also once gave a friend his peanut butter sandwich.

See? Socialist.

Seriously, that line up there was one of the funniest things I've ever heard a politician say.

Here's the thing about the latest (and really weak) attack on Obama: it's really hard to call someone a socialist and make it stick when the government now owns most of the financial institutions and when you yourself were supportive of the government bailout. My political theory classes are hazy but I do seem to recall something about socialism having to do with government controlling the means of goods and services.

But the other reason it is just plain silly (silly in a "Really? Less than a week out and that's honestly the best you've got?" sort of way) is because the only people who are afraid of socialism are as old as John McCain and remember the time when the commies were determined to rule the world and make us all get bad haircuts. Our grandparents are smuggling in prescription drugs from Canada. All of a sudden "socialized medicine" doesn't seem like such a bad thing. But more to the point, when you've got rising unemployment rates, people being tossed out of their homes on a daily basis and the middle class shrinking; when a college education is slipping out of the grasp of many families who once considered themselves pretty well off, "sharing the wealth" all of a sudden doesn't sound like such a bad thing.

Really, Mr. I Have So Many Houses I Lose Count? Really? You have folks on this side struggling on diminished wages and over here are the rich guys on Wall Street who screwed over all our pensions and 401ks and still manage to go on $4 million dollar junkets after a government bailout. And you're going to tell the first group that a little more money in their pockets and a little less in the rich guy's wallet is a bad thing? You know what? In this economy a "redistribution of wealth" sounds like a mighty fine idea to most folks.

McCain likes to accuse Obama of being all rhetoric. But his campaign is nothing but rhetoric at this point. And worse, it's 50 year old rhetoric. Good luck with that, John.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Project Runway: At the Office

Welcome back design fans! I'm so excited to premiere PR 5.5, better known as Project Puget Sound.

Sure, there's no Heidi, no Kors and Tim Gunn is a talking bobblehead. ("Fab. U. Lous!") but ding dong, have we got fun.

Since this not your usual Project Runway, the twists begin immediately upon meeting our designers. By day they are federal employees with serious federal employee jobs. But they have dreams, big dreams, dreams of unleashing their inner designer and some day showing at Bryant Park. Because this is season 5.5, there are only 3 designers so I already know them all by name: they are MAB, a sassy diva from Michigan; The Neighbor, a classy dame with the heart of a hippie chick and Lorraine, a blogger turned fed with more imagination than talent.

The designers choose their models and are given their first challenge: create a look that expresses their POV. A Bluefly accessory wall is made available and no one is allowed to spend more than $20 at whatever equivalent of Mood she might find.

Lorraine begins working on her ensemble the first night after collecting random bits from the house storeroom. The Neighbor "is thinking" about what she wants to do. That's the line MAB uses as well, as her model languishes on MAB's desktop for a whole frakking week. Who are these people? Have they no drive? No passion? Lorraine begins to feel smug about her chances but when The Spouse does his own little Walk Around on Day 3 he cautions her "not to do too much...less is more". (Lorraine does have a tendency to embellish).

The day of the runway finally arrives and our designers arrive at work with the models hidden in paper bags. Forget that whole "the real designers share a workroom and see each other's designs" thing...these women are tough. Tough, and without an ounce of trust for the others.

Judges are chosen. Except the when the time comes, the only one who's around is The Top Dog's Secretary. So some other judges are chosen right there in the hall. Press Guru has never watched Project Runway a day in her life but she's intrigued by the models, who are now out of their bags, and agrees to join the panel. Ken walks out of his office and the designers say, "Hey, Ken. Do you want to..." to which he replies "NO!" and keeps walking. Shane doesn't get off so easy. Cute Admin, who has watched PR, is roped in and the panel is rounded off by Jan, or as she will henceforth be known, Faux Nina. Faux Nina is quite familiar with the show and possesses an uncanny ability to channel the spirit of Nina Garcia.

First to walk is Kaitlin, Lorraine's model. The dress is flirty and feminine, with a nod in the direction of another (undefined) era. Her use of corrugated cardboard for the bodice was, I thought, a stroke of genius.

Jessica, MAB's model, then sashayed down the catwalk, doffing her beribboned hat to all things Halloween. "She's a diva witch," declared MAB. (She also sported some very kicky suede boots).

Finally, The Neighbor's model, Ashley, took her turn in what The Neighbor declared to be classic elegance but read to me as "Crap, it's Sunday night and I haven't done anything to my frakking doll yet".

Each designer is asked to talk about her design. Lorraine says that her look represents her POV, which is feminine, a little retro and employs found objects and sustainable fabrics. MAB describes her look as sassy, sexy and a little diva, adding that she loves Halloween so wanted to represent that as well. The Neighbor notes that her model is wearing the same scarf that she wears on her ID badge and that her design represents classic elegance. She has accessorized by skewing her model with sewing pins creating some ethnic looking earrings and sandals. There is also a nod toward Rome in the St. Francis medal employed as a bracelet.

Then Faux Nina starts in. "MAB, is your point of view that all women are witches and should dress like sluts?" (Ouch!) Taken aback, MAB defends her look, saying that it is fun day-to-evening look that demonstrates her love of Halloween. "Can we see it without the hat and broom?" asks Press Guru. MAB removes the accessories and PG says, "That's cute. I could see that for an evening out".

There's a lot of subtle oohing and aahing over Lorraine's design so MAB and The Neighbor, clearly fearing a landslide, suggest that Faux Nina should weigh in. "Well," she says (in that imperious way Nina has perfected), "It looks very unfinished to me. What is going on with the hem?" Lorraine explains that there is a tulle underskirt peeking out. PG, however, exclaims that she loves the look, loves the tulle and adores the bodice.

Looking at The Neighbor's outfit Faux Nina says, "I'm troubled by the length. It should have been either longer or shorter but that length is just disturbing".

The judges ask the designers to leave the runway. Which they do, proceeding to laugh their butts off at how perfect Faux Jan is for the task. Then Shane calls them back. The designers hold hands as they approach the runway, but MAB tosses both The Neighbor and Lorraine aside as soon as they reach the runway. (Cold).

Cute Admin asks each designer in turn why they deserve to be in the competition. The Neighbor says something about being elegant and visionary and I don't know what all because, frankly, who's going to take seriously a woman who sticks pins in a model and calls it accessorizing? MAB begins her defense by reminding the judges that she has 30 years of experience and should be taken more seriously than those (with a withering look at Lorraine) who are new to the force. Lorraine, who is obviously way more emotional than the other designers, begins to cry, saying that "I've wanted this all my life" and "if I have no future at the VA then my only other career path is designing for cardboard dolls".

In a dramatic move, the judges ask for more time to deliberate. And then comes a surprise decision: Top Dog's Secretary announces that they are all winners and so there will be another challenge. Because we work for the VA and Veterans Day is coming up, the designers must create a look that represents our mission and the honor we have for vets. They'll see us on the runway in a week.

As the designers and models leave Lorraine pushes Tim Gunn's button one more time. "Make it work", he appropriately declares.

Group photo courtesy of Shane. Model portraits by MAB.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

No, I'm not talking about all the dirty tricks that could yet ensue before the election. (Although, yeah, the conspiracy theorist in me has her moments). No, be afraid of the fact that, in the interim between Project Runway 5 and Project Runway 6, a rogue band of designer wannabes have taken matters into their own hands.

Look for a recap of Project Puget Sound tomorrow.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

The Spouse is in LA this week. The Child and I are commemorating the event by eating things for dinner that he doesn't enjoy...things like macaroni and cheese and avgolemano soup.

Last night I was all excited to have the bed to myself. I snuggled up smack dab in the middle, with a good book, thinking how great it was going to be to be able to stretch out anywhere I wanted.

I woke up on my side of the bed.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Why a Cubicle Doesn't Have to Be a Bad Thing

I am totally into this band. This song is a little less Psychedelic Furs meets Wallflowers than some of their other stuff but it's pretty cool. Especially for a Friday.

Have a good one. Friday, that is.

The Dandy Warhols "The Simple Life"


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

As Long As I'm Showing Off Pictures That Make You Go "Awwwww"....

Here are the first head shots of Master Joshua:

My sister, Martha Stewart, entirely too young to be a Nana:
Dame Judi, entirely too young to be a great-Nana:
Sean, also too young to be a great grandpa, but obviously proud nonetheless:

Guess that's what happens when you start your family as a young thing.

Too bad the poor kid isn't going to get any love or attention from this crew.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Introducing The (New) Cat

I took about a dozen shots of her face...she would NOT hold still. That's why this one is blurry.

But isn't she a pretty thing?

And this is a more comprehensive shot. She very much enjoys watching "Hannah Montana" with her Girl.

Rosie said it best in her comment ...a house really isn't a home without a kitty (if you're into felines). We needed some time after Phoebe's passing but it feels really, really right to have a kitty again.


Well, That Was a Productive Weekend

As if the arrival of Joshua Dale wasn't enough, there were some other pretty awesome things that happened this weekend.

First, I found my cell phone. I was getting ready for church, pulled on a skirt, stuck my hands in the pockets and voila!. Funny thing is, just about every day for the last couple of weeks I've thought to wear that skirt to work and then decided not to. It was like St. Anthony was nudging me toward the answer to my "lost things" prayer.

Anyway, the replacement phone hasn't yet arrived and hopefully it won't be that big a deal to send it back (you know how I am about mailing things).

Then yesterday afternoon The Child and I went to the U district to pick up still more textbooks for her (I swear by all things academic it is always something) and then to the Apple store to see if they could explain why her iPod has died. Except the Apple store is being remodeled. So we went to Johnny Rocket's and ate hamburgers. Then I wanted to go to Barnes and Noble to spend my birthday gift card and what should be parked outside the store but a Humane Society bus? And what should be in one of the windows of that bus but a kitten who looked just like Phoebe? So we went into the bus. In the cubby next to the kitten was another young cat, who immediately put her paw out to The Child. When she bent close to talk to the cat it immediately began to lick her face. Well, sure; she probably still smelled of hamburger but it was the cutest thing ever.

The Child looked at me. The Cat looked at me. The Cat poked her paw out at me and rolled her little head when I stroked her. We tried to call The Spouse (silly us, that man never has his phone on) and the upshot is yeah, we have a new cat. Her name is Kiera. She is about 18 months old. She has topaz eyes and a caramel and vanilla coat. She is beautiful. She hates the dog (and I have the 3 inch scratch on my hand to prove it...that'll teach me to try and break up a fight) and he is a little bewildered but I expect they will eventually make a separate peace.

I'd show you her picture but I can't find the cord for downloading from my camera. I am apparently only allowed one working small electronic device at a time.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Am A Great Aunt!

My neice, Tweetums, has given birth to the first of the next generation.

Joshua Dale came into the world early Saturday evening. He has the correct number of all the requisite bits, all in the right places. His great-grandma, Dame Judi, reports that he has a shock of black hair (don't know where that came from) and a lusty cry. She also noted that he was "beautiful".

It is still hard to imagine Tweetums as a mother. It seems like just a couple of days ago I was holding her in my arms and trying to imagine my sister, Martha Stewart, as a mom. It's crazy I tell ya. Crazy good.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Project Runway: The Women

The bad news is that The Neighbor was in Reno, with someone who doesn't have cable. The good news, MAB came to my house and we got to watch the finale on the big screen. The other good news is that we had chili dogs for dinner. We also watched the debate. Good thing I didn't get the "Joe the Plumber" drinking game memo. I'd have not had a clear head for the big moment, our PR5 finale.

We firmly believe that the designers in the finale are the most deserving. We reminisce about how much we had liked Kenley at the start. It makes us sad that now she annoys us so much.

Each designer will be showing 10 looks so they begin with model casting. Lots of skinny girls walk. Notes are scribbled. Mean things are said about Kenley but it's really quite boring.

Tim comes into the workroom to "get a sense of your collections". He is still very concerned about Kenley's creepy use of rope. Creepy is my word. What Tim says is that he's afraid "the rope strangles the organic nature" of her designs. She disagrees completely. (What a shock. Not). She says the rope stays, end of discussion because "my word is final". She also goes on at length about how the judges keep accusing her of creating knock offs of established designers. "Four times!" she bitches. "I'm sick of it!"

Tim walks away. He is making exactly the same face my priest makes when a cell phone goes off during mass.

Tim doesn't seem super enthused by Korto's line, bothered by her tendency to "overwork" pieces. He tells he that she needs to "stand by her collection". (Now I have Tammy Wynette in my head).

LeAnne asks Tim if she should lose the pants she's designed to go with a cute, wavy vest. She's concerned about all the last minute work involved but Tim is pleased that someone is showing pants and urges her to keep them. I dislike the word "pants".

With a "work hard, I know you will" and a Sarah Palin air kiss, Tim leaves and everyone gets back to work. Korto, in a moment of certifiable insanity, decides to chuck her wedding dress and 2 other looks. This means she has to create 2 entirely new pieces by the next day. MAB doesn't understand why she didn't just rework the icky bridesmaid's dress. I guess Korto thrives under self-induced drama pressure.

It's the finale and there really isn't that much to do so we have to endure 2 infomercials. First with Collier Strong the makeup guy, with the designers predictably cooing their love for everything he suggests and a similarly boring hair episode. Whatever. Don't care. Poo.

There's a little bitching: Kenley thinks LeLe's collection doesn't have enough color, LeLe describes Kenley's look as "Holly Hobbie". There's a flurry of activity making little fixes, attaching buttons, sewing bits onto models and avoiding the puppy poo dropped by the little dog of one of the models. Eeeew.

At the last Gather 'Round, Tim announces the sequence for the show: Kenley, Korto, LeAnne. He tells the women that he is "so incredibly proud", there are hugs and kisses and then we have the obligatory designers-walking-into-empty-tent-and-being-daunted-by-length-of-runway-and-realization-that-they-really-truly-made-it-to-Bryant-Park moment.

Each designer is given a passel of interny types to help with all the back stage craziness. Korto is thrilled, Kenley is dismissive. She'll do it herself, thank you. That's how tugboat children do it.

LeLe had a dress which overnight became too big for the model and so frantically switches it with another girl. Damn models and their purging right before the show.

Just watching the clothes backstage both MAB and I have a moment where we confess that we want to like LeLe best but think it might be Kenley after all.

The Runway

Jlo was supposed to be the guest judge but she fell off her heels or something so Heidi gets to announce her replacement. It's...wait for it....THE GUNN! Whoo hoo! How fitting and apt and appropriate, no? Seriously, the man mentors these people all along and then ends up in the cheap seats at Bryant Park? Damn skippy he should be right there next to Kors and Nina. Plus, he pledges to put whatever personal feelings he has toward the designers on "a metaphorical shelf" so as to ensure his objectivity. Please. Like anyone could question his integrity. Tim Gunn is perfect.

Kenley does have a gulpy moment with this revelation, however. "Are you kidding? Maybe I should have improved my attitude". Geez, Kenley, ya think?

Kenley introduces her show to the throng, which includes the parents whom she never sees. It is pure Kenley, that's for sure. Some of the pieces were very fine...her hand painted fabrics are lovely but MAB summed it up best with an "It didn't blow me away".

MAB also thought that the colors in Korto's collection were very pretty and some of the shapes made us say, "Oh, that's nice" but again, we neither "oohed" nor" ahhhhed". Not even once. Perhaps the most charming moment in the show was when Korto brought her little girl up on the runway for the final walk.
LeLe had a very pretty collection. Her wave inspiration was all over the show, lending it cohesion, and she also had the smarts to show lots of options: short and long dresses, skirts, pants, short shorts. And in this case there were a few exclamations of "I love that".

Therefore, we decide that LeLe must be the winner. We like LeLe. We like her overall aesthetic, the charming pieces she's shown all season. We like her collection very much. But, we also note, there was nothing in it that made us gasp with amazement, no "OMIG!" as the next breathtaking thing came down the runway. This show didn't leave us feel stunned the way Christian's line did. We even realize that former "losers", like Laura Bennett, had been more impressive. And that's when we admit what we've hinted at all season: this one just wasn't that spectacular. Even those designers we disliked paled in comparison to the villains of previous seasons (Santino anyone?). Whatever enthusiasm we have for LeAnne is really born only of the fact that she is what is left and we like her best of that short list. But do we love her? Will we rave about her for years to come? Will we say "oh goody" when she makes an appearance some other season the way we did with Laura and Austin? We don't think so.

The Judging
There is praise during the judging. All the designers have clear POVs, you knew even without introduction whose line belonged to whom. Kenley gets snaps from Kors for her hand painted fabric, her "charm and spirit" (I think he meant the clothes). The Gunn loved her "impeccable construction" and overall concept but Nina made yet another knock off reference.

Kors applauds Korto's ability to allow her heritage and background to inform her designs without becoming costume. Nina loves the effortless cohesion of her line and the beautiful colors. Heidi, however, suggests that she had too many ideas in one garment and Nina agrees that it wouldn't kill her to "hold back" a little.

Kors found LeLe's workmanship "divine", The Gunn loved her vest and pants ensemble and Nina appreciated the fact that she showed so many diverse pieces. The biggest concern was with all the "petals" as Heidi called them. (They were wave patterns) and Nina agreed it all seemed a little "one note". (MAB and I hope that they are going to balance that against the rest of her work: sure, she had a decided theme for the Bryant Park show but it's not like she'd done "wave patterns" all season).

Each designer is given an opportunity to pitch themselves. No one said anything particularly unexpected. There was passion. Tears.

Summary Judgement

Kenley has a cohesive look and a fit that is like couture. LeAnne makes complicated clothes look easy and is also praised for using sustainable fabrics without making clothes that look like "granola". Korto is celebrated for being able to dress many different sizes of women.

And then, with very little fanfare, Kenley is out. She's told "we believe you have a bright future in this industry" (although they think she needs to take a fashion history course first). She cries in the arms of her tugboat daddy and mom.

We get the obligatory tension building musical "dum dum" as the camera pans the tense faces of LeLe and Korto and then Heidi announces, "LeAnne, you're in".

Whoo hoo! Ok, not as big a "whoo hoo" as last season for Christian but whoo hoo nonetheless. LeAnne is a sweet thing with a terrific eye and I will look forward to finding her things on Bluefly, or wherever. And while MAB and I may not feel the same overarching passion for LeLe we have felt for other designers in the past, we are charmed by her once again when her final words to the camera are, "One hundred thousand dollahs, the drinks are on this brothuh".

Never forget that LeLe is just a little bit street.

Though this season may have been a little lackluster, I'm already looking forward to the next go and am very happy to have my Tim Gunn bobblehead to amuse me in the interim.

Make it work, people.

My thanks again to Bravo for not calling the FBI whenever I borrowed their pictures; a shout out to the new friends who came to read my recaps and a big wet kiss to the terrific folks Blogging Project Runway, especially Tbone, king of the Recapalooza. Muuuah!


Monday, October 13, 2008

The Circle of Life

Day by day, without our always noticing, kids grow up.

"Is this the little girl I carried?
Sunrise, sunset".

I know they grow up....little ones becoming big ones, everyone changing places at the tea table - "clean cups, clean cups". Our family has been watching it happen. Sometime this week my niece, Tweetums, is going to turn her parents into grandparents, DJ and Sean into great-grands. And this is the same child who turned them into grandparents in the first place. (Symmetry...we are all about symmetry in my clan).

"Turn around and she's two, turn around and she's four..."

Considered objectively it is a fascinating and even charming process, and yet it is mystifying, too. How is it that even as we watch them grow, we are sometimes caught up short and found shaking our heads in wonder at the little person who is no longer little? We knew it would happen, we watched it happen and yet....

We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.

Most of the time I am fine with this. Sometimes, sure, I miss the little chubber chubber cheeked baby who loved nothing more than to snuggle her mama; the one who drifted off to sleep while her papa crooned "Stairway to Heaven". But each phase in a child's life brings new joys and delights. Snuggly babies are awesome but there's no satisfaction like it when your kid starts to "get" irony or uses the bathroom in the night without waking you up or sits at a dinner party and makes fairly intelligent conversation with the guests. They are supposed to grow up and it's all good.

But sometimes, even so, I just get gobsmacked by some development. The latest one happened, I swear to you, overnight. One day she didn't, the next day (last Thursday to be precise) she did. And it is exactly like everyone says, exactly as it's portrayed in the movies:

"Really? They did? Why?"

"He kissed who at band camp?"

"He's such a player...I'm glad they brok...what? Really????" (laughity laugh)

"Did you hear about Hugo and Kim?" (No, seriously. Those aren't the names of the parties involved but it is exactly how the sentence was constructed).

Used to be she would get a call from a friend and it would go like this:

"Hi. Uh huh. Uh huh. 'K. Bye".

There was only one friend with whom she ever had substantive conversations by phone and that was Best Friend, who didn't live here. And I think they had 3 such conversations over the course of 6 years. The Child never, ever called anyone just to talk. Never ever.

Now? Yesterday, for example, I picked her up at the bus stop so we could go downtown and look for a dress for Homecoming. (Found one...adorable). She was on the phone when I rolled up. She stayed on the phone until we were almost to Nordstrom (aforementioned conversation about the player boyfriend of a friend who is now an ex-boyfriend because he's kissing other girls at band camp). As soon as we were done shopping and back in the car she was on the cell until we got home, this time talking about her dress, what shoes she'll wear with it and the protocol of corsages. I am not making any of this up.

I finally had to tell her to get off the phone so she could do her homework. Which she did. (So far she is way polite and mature and all "okay, mom" when this request is made). And 15 minutes later the phone rang again with a sweet voiced little, "Hi, is The Child there"?

"What's the story, morning glory? What's the word, humming bird".

Lord, lord, lord. I have to check our calling plan.

Labels: ,

God Love the Italians

I haven't celebrated Columbus Day since I was in the 4th grade and we had to color pictures of the Ninã, the Pintã, and the Santa Maria. It's pretty much universally acknowledged that he was a hired thug for the Spanish and had a poor sense of direction. But you know what? It's still on the books as a holiday and that means the banks are closed, the mail isn't being delivered and, oh yeah, I have a paid holiday. Gotta love being a fed!

Today is going to be superfantastic. All the stuff that I haven't done since I started working is going to be tackled with a vengeance. I'm also going to read blogs AND comment on them, drink good, strong coffee (MAB and I have differing opinions on what constitutes "strong") and I may even watch my stories. Or as The Child said last night, "You should eat an egg salad sandwich, drink juice and watch your stories".

"Why egg salad?"

"That's what you always used to do".

Really? Well, then so be it.

Man, I can't tell you how fun it was this weekend to know that I still had a whole extra day. And I have to tell you, much as I adore my job, I still haven't gotten the hang of managing the house stuff plus work. I know it can be done; I've figured out how to hold the tall sticks, I just haven't figured out how to get the plates to spin on top of them. Well, once I got one going but as soon as I tried to put another one up there the first one fell and broke. And I still haven't swept it up. But I'll get to that today.

Also, here's some happenings from the weekend, categorized under the heading of "Things You Wouldn't Expect":

The Child spent more time reading than watching television.

John McCain took on a hate monger (too little too late, but snaps for the effort, John).

The Child cleaned her room and threw out a bunch of stuff and filled a donation bag with things that were too small. More to the point, she did this on her own.

In other news, I still haven't found my cell phone. Calling Credo is on my list of things to do. But The Child found her wallet, which has been missing for 3 weeks. Which we totally didn't get because one minute it was in her hands and we both saw it and the next minute it disappeared. There is a black hole in our house. I blame the Swiss.

Have a dandy day.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Dedication

What a week, huh? One can barely bring oneself to listen to the news. We don't really have anything in the stock market that won't be ok over the long haul and what money we have in the bank is safe. I guess. But geez Louise.

Music, they say, has charms to soothe the savage breast. We could all use a little salve right about now.

I'd like to send out today's Jukebox to...well, everyone everywhere.

Beatles "Money"


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Here Comes the Project Runway

Editor's Note: There are no pictures this week because too many of the shots on the Bravo site (from which I normally steal with abandon) were not of the whole dress and just don't do justice to either the awfulness or fabulousness of the garments in question. Thank you.

Our remaining designers now have $8,000 and 2 months to create 10 looks for the runway at Bryant Park. But lest we forget that we have 4 designers and only 3 can show, Heidi informs them that in addition to the 10 looks they must create...wait for it...a wedding dress that is a reflection of the overall line. Could Korto look more pissed off?

As they depart for their homes, Kenley bitches about being sabotaged by the other designers at the last runway. (Really? Sabotage? And why are the Beastie Boys suddenly playing in my head?). Likewise, the Cadre of Three are bitching, like a bunch of junior high queen bees, about Kenley. Enough already. We get that she annoys you. Move on.

Tim's Home Visits
The Gunn starts out in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he goes to meet up with Korto. She's been working in rented space because her family, which she loves, don't always get the creative process. (Translation: "Mommy? Are you done yet?" "Honey, what's for dinner"?) Her inspiration is nature, drawn from the lovely setting in which she's working, and her African culture. She notes, however, that she wants the pieces to be ethnic without being too obviously "ethnic". Tim finds her palette "stunning". (It is). He does, however, worry about one particular dress which he said "looks much too sexual". The word, Tim, is va-jay-jay. He also doesn't think her wedding dress looks at all wedding-y. He appreciates that she didn't intend it to, but suggests she at least add a veil or something.

Then she took him home to meet the fam and some friends and played the drums for him.

Next up is LeAnne, in Portland, Oregon (shout out to Rainey's birthplace!). The Neighbor noted that the boyfriend, Nathan, looked just like LeAnne.

LeLe tells Tim that after NY she needed to chill and spent a lot of time decompressing at the beach. This led to her inspiration of wave patterns. Stun. Ning. Oh, she had some of the most luscious things we'd ever seen. Her wedding dress, which is also wavy, is very nice but Tim is concerned that it lacks the "ease and flow" of the rest of her collection.

She takes Tim off on a bicycle built for two (how cute did he look in his helmet, crying out "yikes!"?) and they pedal to Laurelhurst Park (been there) to chat about how much she loves fashion.

'K. Now it's time to go to LA and see Jerrell. His inspiration is evening wear and mixing textures. Oy. No, seriously. The second he said that we were all rolling our eyes and sighing. It's not that we have any objection to texture for texture's sake but dude does NOT know when to stop. This spells trouble. And sure enough, Tim's key bit of counsel is that Jerrell "think about editing".

Jerrell tells the story of how hard his father worked to get the family out of the ghetto and how proud his (very sweet) family is for him coming this far. There is weeping.

Finally, snake bite kit firmly tucked into his breast pocket, Tim knocks on the Brooklyn door of Kenley. In a cutaway she tells us she was genuinely glad to see Tim, adding that while it didn't always seem like it, she valued his opinion.

She shows him a crazy great picture of her grandma, who was the wind beneath her wings and her fashion guru. She tells him that her inspiration was "painting the roses", ala Alice in Wonderland. Tim gets it. He's literate like that. He's a little freaked out by some dresses that have rope around the neck. "Did you not think of people hanging themselves?" She says "no". 'Course not. The triumph, however, is her wedding dress, which he says should be the grand finale of her show. In a moment reminiscent of Sally Field's Oscar acceptance speech, she was all "do you really like it?" and then started crying because she was so happy.

Please note: she neither took him to meet anyone, played drums for him nor took him on a bike ride. Hmmmm.

Back to New York
The cadre all arrive around the same time and are all lovey and kissy. Kenley walks in last and beyond a very bland "hi" there's not much else. On her way to her room (which she's sharing with Jerrell because LeAnne and Korto already called dibs on sharing) she apologizes for having been a bitch, which got another lukewarm response. Seriously? Do we not give points for effort? A cart full of champagne is brought in and Kenley, rather sweetly, serves everyone, followed by some restrained toasting.

Next morning, Tim has one more surprise up his impeccable sleeve. Because, you know what? These people haven't been tortured enough. So with one day left before the judging, they are asked to design a bridesmaid's dress to go with their wedding gown. If looks could kill. NONE of them were happy about that, or about the paltry $150 they each got to spend at Mood.

Jerrell was the least inspired because he said, "Bridesmaids dresses are always ugly". He didn't come to my wedding.

Tim's Walk Around
The Gunn looked at Kenley's dress and suggested that she seemed "ambivalent" but urged her on with an "I like the spirit of this wedding - I want to go".

He flatly told Jerrell that his dress (which was ridiculous) looked "sloppy". We are not surprised; this is always Jerrell's problem.

LeAnne, on the other hand, was told that she was "making music". Tim's only critique was that she give some "thought to the length".

He liked what Korto did well enough (we didn't) but suggested that she'd effectively made "two wedding dresses and they are in competition".

In his final rally speech to the group he got all choked up, telling them how much he loves them all and how much he wants to see them all succeed. Tim Gunn is the nicest man on the planet.

The Runway
We have no guest judges (I guess Vera Wang was busy this week). It's just Heidi, Kors and Nina.

Jerrell: nothing here but horrible. Flowers coming out of heads and boobs and a wedding dress that cries "annulment".

Kenley: cute dress that nicely complements the wedding gown. And her wedding gown is a stunner which succeeds on a number of levels, not the least of which being that despite a risky use of feathers it doesn't look like something Bjork would wear.

Korto: bridesmaid's dress is just a boring dress. And we still don't like her "wedding" gown.

LeAnne: simply put...she hit it out of the park.

The Judging

Kors felt LeAnne's work was "so chic, beautifully crafted" and Nina thought the fabric was "interesting" and that the over all look was "dreamy but you". Heidi sufficed with a simple "fantastic job".

Kors found Jerrell's work "garish", Heidi thought it looked "messy" and the bridesmaid's dress looked more "mother of the bride" (ouch). Nina felt his color choice looked "dirty".

Alternatively, Kors deemed Kenley's wedding dress "done beautifully...and looks like Kenley" and oozed that the bridesmaid's dress was "the cutest damn dress". Heidi called it all "crazy good".

In a big, stinging 'ouch' Heidi told Korto that she "wouldn't want to be the bride" in her dress, that it was "too much". Kors said the wedding dress was "overworked" while the bridesmaid's dress was "underworked". Nina scored the bridesmaid's dress as having "no relevance" to the wedding gown. (Korto cried).

At the break we all immediately vote Jerrell out, adding that if there is going to be a single winner for the challenge it will be LeAnne. Then we talked and talked about how much we hated what Korto did. Which led me to call for a revote. In the end, we stuck with Jerrell for the auf only because we figure that, at this point, the entire body of work has to be considered and Korto is the better designer.

Kenley and LeAnne are both in and you know, much as we'd been hating on Kenley the last few weeks, we were all happy about that.

And Jerrell was, rightly, sent back to the Lost Boys. He gets snaps for coming backstage to hug the winners and tell them to "tear it up, girls".

Now, you know I've never had a whole lotta love for the Jerrell but I'll give him props for this: the last thing he said was "I'm opulent; if you want a plain white tee, buy it from Michael Kors".

Boyfriend may have "opulent" confused with "big ol' whicky whack mess o' crap" but he sure is a funny bitch.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rainey's Pissed

I was never going to vote for John McCain. I knew that, you knew that. The platform of the Republican party just simply does not represent the majority of my beliefs or values. Period. So it was a fait accompli that I'd be voting for the Democrat.

But when the GOP candidate (against the desires of the party leadership) selected John McCain, I breathed a little easier. I liked John McCain. I liked his integrity. I liked his record of bi-partisanship - something that would be essential if he were elected given that he'll certainly have to work with a Democratically controlled Congress. And I was furious in 2000 when Rove-inspired swift boating, from the "religious" right, no less, resulted in his being skewered in Florida.

I don't relate to John McCain but found him far less scary than all the other Republican alternatives.

I'm over that.

It started with Sarah Palin but the last nail went into the coffin this week. It's not just that two desperate candidates are lying and slinging mud for all they are worth. It's all they've got left. Sadly, it's what you'd expect. But they are doing more than slinging mud. They are inciting violence.

Trust me on this, if I were in a rally and the candidate denigrated W and I yelled out "Kill him!" my ass would be in prison faster than you can say "Git Mo". If John McCain had any integrity at all, when that a-hole yelled out "Kill him!", instead of grimacing and going on he would have swung around, demanded the removal of that jerk by law enforcement and then he would have said something like, "Hey, I want to be President in the worst possible way but if you're going to talk like that I don't want your frakking vote". And then, maybe just maybe, if he had any integrity, he'd ratchet down the rhetoric and tell Sarah to do the same thing. When you start whipping up the crowd into a murderous frenzy, you have gone too frakking far.

John McCain should be ashamed of himself. And if, God forbid, anything happens to Barack between now and election day, I personally would endorse both McCain and Palin being held as accessories to the crime.

Don't tell me that John McCain and Sarah Palin aren't responsible for those shouts. They sure as hell are. There is only one response to that sort of language: pure, unadulterated condemnation. The fact that they are letting it slide is outrageous. It's evil. I don't know how they sleep at night.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday Morning Homily

The other day I was telling ChouChou about my job and how much I love it and said something to her along the lines of "almost feeling guilty" because it was so perfect. (Note: it is not "perfect" as in never challenging or difficult or whatever but "perfect" in that it "perfectly" suits my knowledge, skills and abilities). Later I even actually thought to myself that it couldn't possibly last because it was such a great gig.

That last thought caught me up short. When did I get the idea that good things aren't supposed to last? Do I really believe that blessings are somehow conditional?

When I met The Spouse I was long past believing I could find someone with whom to share my life long-term. Then he came around. And he wanted to marry me. He still wants to be married to me, even though the "you're-super-cute-and-you-have-a-coffee-maker-in-your-room" phase is long behind us. Our married life hasn't always been "perfect" but it is "perfect" for us. I don't question that. I don't necessarily think I deserve a husband like I've got but I've never thought he'd go away because "it was too good to last".

Likewise, The Child. I mean, I realize that she can drive me to Crazytown faster than anyone but when I said I wanted a child she is exactly what I meant.

The truth is, my friends, I haven't had the world's most difficult life. I have had my trials and tribulations but compared to the stories of some it reads with a decided lack of drama. Which is to say that mine is not a history fraught with loss and disappointment and cosmic snatching away of happiness. So where did that "conditional blessing" notion come from?

It's entirely too early to figure it out but you know what I did do? I told God I was sorry. Because I've been given a gift (lots of gifts, really) and the only proper response is "thank you". And I'll just keep saying "thank you", morning, noon and night. And if, some time in the future, I don't have this job anymore, well, I hope I'll be able to say "thank you" then, too.

As aforementioned ChouChou would say, "It's all good".


Monday, October 06, 2008

Just a Regular Ol' Weekend

In a few hours Buck will be winging his way back to Chicago. (It's a sad place, what with Lou and the Cubs having been eliminated from the post season. Please tip toe softly when you're over at Iwanski's). Baseball aside, we had a lovely time.

Friday night The Child went to a dance at school, so the grownups ate delicious fajitas and watched "Iron Man". (Terrific movie). Saturday was spent doing lots of shopping all over town for the Autumnal Feast. Here's a picture of Buck at the Market, looking very Seattle-y.
We spent all afternoon cooking. The Spouse called Buck my "kitchen bitch". And a good one he was, too, doing all the sous chef stuff while I concentrated on flavors. Dinner was awesome...I'll tell you all about it as soon as I get the pictures which are sitting on Buck's camera.

Yesterday we went to church and then to breakfast at Saffron. Then we all took naps...the best thing to do of a Sunday afternoon. Then there was a little Speed Scrabble, a little Guitar Hero and then a lovely seafood dinner. The Neighbor joined us for oysters (raw and fried) and some plate cooked salmon.

This is what I do with my people. Eat.

Now, as the whirl of the work week begins, I have one question: has anyone seen my cell phone?

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Project Runway: The Bailout

We were joined tonight by my blog buddy, Anne, who came all the way from D.C. on your tax dollar to watch PR with us. Yep. That's what government employees do in their off Project Runway.

Korto has a husband and child. She also brushes her teeth in the kitchen sink, which grosses out MAB. LeAnne and Kenley are warring. LeAnne just plain doesn't like Kenley and Kenley is blaming LeAnne for the judges' response to her craptastic "hip hop" look last week. This proves that Kenley isn't just argumentative, she's also delusional.

As the only dude left in the competition, Jerrell is alone in his apartment, with no one to talk to but his Tim Gunn bobble head and some toys he's fashioned from fruit.

When we get to the model aufing we all think Heidi has a baby bump. We later decide it was just a trick of the giraffe print mini dress she was wearing. (Has Seal been touring?)

Tim takes the designers on a field trip to the New York Botanical Gardens, which is very huge and full of botanicals. There they encounter Collier Strong, the Loreal guy, and I fear an infomercial but he's pretty restrained and just announces the challenge, which is to design an evening gown inspired by nature. They all get a camera and an hour to shoot.

Jerrell waxes poetic about how inspiring he finds nature. As we have seen his wardrobe of leafwear, this is not surprising. LeAnne is hopping away from bees. Korto is finding plants that remind her of her mother's garden in Africa and Kenley thinks this challenge is perfect for her because she loves crazy colors.

After the photo shoot, the designers have an hour to sort through their millions of pictures to find one inspiration and sketch it, then off to Mood with $250 to blow. This part is easy compared to returning to the work room, where all the designers muddle around for a bit. They have trouble getting started; mostly, I think, because they are all intimidated by the reality that this is the last runway before Bryant Park and it's do or die time.

The big drama in the workroom is that Kenley has misplaced her tulle. She's frantic. Jerrell has tulle that he's not going to use. So does Korto. They have no intention of giving it to Kenley. None. And not only are they withholding, they are mean about it. And go on at length about how they aren't going to cough it up. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. Anne logically wonders why Kenley doesn't just schlepp back to Mood to see if she left her bag of tulle there. Finally, Tim comes around and tells her that if it's on her receipt she can go look for it (Anne is so smart) and sure enough, the counter guy at Mood is all, "We've been waiting for you".

Kenley informs us that she's always been on the outside, probably because her dad was a tugboat captain (I'm serious) and she spent a lot of time on the boat and away from people. But, she tells us, it's only made her strong and she doesn't care if nobody loves her.

Because this isn't Psychological Profile Day, we'll not mine the layers of meaning behind all this. Moving on.

Tim's Walk Around
The lace on Korto's dress bothers The Gunn. A lot. "It's 2008 in the front and Catherine the Great in the back". He urges her to employ some "critical thinking".

He approaches Kenley with all the restraint of a man who has swum with sharks and been bitten. He greets her with a cool "How are you?" and then carefully remarks that the "petals" she's creating "look like fish scales". Kenley is thrilled to hear this, as that was her intent, so rather than telling her that her gown looks like crap he chooses not to argue and merely tells her that if she's happy with the direction all she needs to do is own it.

He "responds positively" to the layers in Jerrell's dress but insists that the look is not finished.

LeAnne's dress elicits a collective "eeewww" when we first see it and Tim sums it up as looking very "Hello Dolly". There is entirely too much ruffled detail all over the thing. Tim urges her to do some editing.

Tim leaves the group with a pep talk about how proud he is of all of them and a final, stirring "work, work, work!"

LeAnne is crying because she has so much work to do and has wanted to show at Bryant Park since she was 12. ("How old is she now?" asks Anne. "14," said MAB).

Jerrell is crying because he wants to win so bad. Korto is reading her Bible and crying because she wants to win so bad. We don't see Kenley crying but she probably was except she'd never let us see it because she was raised on a tugboat and has "fought" all her life and so she's tough like that.

The Runway
Georgina Chapman of Markesa is the guest judge. She has a British accent.

Korto: this is much better than the original design. The lace issue has been resolved but, as The Neighbor had noted earlier, orange is a difficult color that rarely looks luxe. I think this looks like something my Barbie doll would have worn.

LeAnne: once again she pulled it off. She made all the right edits on her ruffles and the color is absolutely lovely.

Jerrell: what the hell? The bodice on this is practically non-existent (so are the boobs of the model but that's so not the point) and for a dress full of layers it has remarkably little flow.

blah blah blah

Kenley: Oy vey, as MAB's people would say. This is a prom dress for the Little Mermaid. Also, gotta say, after all the tulle fussing, uh, where's the tulle?

The Judging
Georgina loved the balance of structure and softness in LeAnne's gown. Nina was disturbed by the bustle effect in the back and Kors added that it looked like the model had a bolt of fabric stuck on her butt. But Heidi felt that it was "all in all, a pretty dress".

Kors thought Korto's dress was "beautifully made" but not sophisticated. Heidi agreed and felt that it looked like something for a beauty pageant. She also objected to the color. Korto started crying and talking about how hard she'd worked on it and while no one disputed that it was crafted with care, Nina said that it looked like she was doing too much to impress the judges.

Heidi loved the bodice on Jerrell's dress, even though it made her pantomime pulling it up. Nina found it "youthful but messy" and Kors said it was elegant but also agreed with the messy, unfinished looking critique. (I don't actually think you can be both elegant and messy but Michael Kors also has orange skin and dresses all in black so...). Jerrell started crying and talked about how fabulous everything would turn out if he had more time to do it but the judges didn't really buy that because everything he's done has been kinda messy.

The judges are less restrained with Kenley. They all hate the scale dress. Nina finds it "creepy" and says it "looks old". Heidi said it was cliche and didn't look very elegant, to which Kenley snarks, "I wasn't going for elegant, High-dee". Oh. I think it was all Mrs. Seal could do to not fly out of her chair and bitch slap Kenley. Lord knows I wanted to bitch slap her. At this point that all the judges piled on about Kenley's attitude: her unwillingness to listen or accept critique, her cockiness, her argumentativeness... (have I left out anything?). Oh, yeah...Heidi suggests that her attitude reflects that she doesn't give a damn. Ouch.

So you know what Kenley did? That's right. She kept arguing. She's like a bee that can still sting you after they are dead...never stopping, even when the battle is lost.

Then, because it's the last runway before Bryant Park, all the designers are asked to defend their work AND say who they think deserves to go with them to the finale. Jerrell says it's his "dream" and that he's been consistent in displaying his POV. He says LeAnne and Korto should go with him.

LeAnne promises that her final show "won't be boring" and that Jerrell and Korto on her same level.

Korto says that she "has a dream" and oh, big surprise, LeAnne and Jerrell should accompany her to the park.

Kenley claims to take "the most risks with the most sophistication" and then starts crying (because we're all about the crying this week) and even apologizes for her "toughness", then says Jerrell and LeAnne should final.

There was another ugly moment, in the back room, where the 3 (and you know who I mean) are all together on the couch and Kenley's not and Korto starts ripping into Kenley. Now, Kenley pretty much deserves whatever the judges are gonna hand out but seriously, Korto's whole salt-in-the-wound thing was way, way unnecessary.

The judges patter. I've got the notes, I could elaborate. But basically, there are reasons to love and to hate and there's nothing definitive. 'Cept for the whole Kenley not taking criticism well and how does that bode for dealing with clients and buyers and all that.

We vote and MAB picks Jerrell to be auf. Anne thinks Kenley deserves the auf but all four will go forward. The Neighb picks Kenley to go and I'm with MAB on Jerrell.

Heidi announces that this is the closest runway they've ever had. (I'd like to see those numbers). And then she announces that while Jerrell is the winner of the runway ("Seriously?" I ask. "But it was very close," says Heidi) everyone is going to get another shot. All 4 get to design for Bryant Park, with a final final runway next week.

Which we all think is Lame. O. Hello? Don't tell us all night that only 3 will be showing and then not make up your frakking minds. No. This is the final runway. So if you can't decide based on the looks shown, this is the time to think about the strengths and weaknesses of the designers collective looks through the season and frakking make a frakking decision.

Really? I hate when they do that. And I hate when they make it sound like they've never done it before because, hello?, yes, they have.


There's a group hug with Tim that isn't a group hug because Kenley is over on the other side of the room and while The Gunn in his infinite awesomeness, can ask all to "let bygones be bygones" I myself kinda wanting to smack somebody.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust. So to Speak.

Look at these two cutie patooties sitting in the dim light of the Palace Kitchen. I had a great time meeting Anne last making those blog buddies real. She's just as charming as her blog suggested she'd be...a brainy, logical woman, the sort who gets the task of figuring out the bill at the end of the evening because she's good with numbers. But the brains are balanced nicely by a sweet, funny personality.

We talked about jobs and kids (I was late for our meeting because I'd gotten into a screaming fight with The Child...which she totally understood) and husbands and life. And having now successfully met so many blog buddies, I didn't actually go through the whole "will she like me/will we have anything to say to each other" pre-event jitters. There she was, in the hotel lobby, and after a big hug of greeting it was like we'd always known each other. 'Cause we kinda have.

Today she's coming over for dinner here (and I didn't get the house picked up beforehand so I guess there won't be any pretense about my meticulously managed household) and then we're going to watch PR with The Neighbor and MAB. What could be better than that?