Friday, June 30, 2006

Pet Peeve of the Week: Dressing Room Lighting

This one's for the ladies.

Enter here to look like hell.What is UP with the horribly unflattering lighting that seems to exist in every store's dressing rooms?

I dread trying on clothes in the first place, because nothing ever fits properly. But it doesn't help when the lighting in the teeny dressing rooms makes you look like you are a soldier in an army of the undead.

Wrinkles and dark undereye circles are magnified, skin tone and color are distorted, and any imperfection you may have screams out at you: "Good God, woman! Turn AWAY from the mirror! TURN AWAY FROM THE MIRROR!!!!!!!!!!"

Now, I don't claim to be on par with a Victoria's Secret model, but I also don't think anyone would describe me as "hideous." And I typically have a decent level of self-esteem. But when I walk out of a dressing room, I'm a shriveled, beaten-down shadow of my former self. Then I wonder to myself - "Which one is the real me? The scary demon in the dressing room? Or the normal-looking person in pictures? Or the slightly pale woman I see in my bathroom mirror at home? Or the kind of distorted-looking one in the fun-house-ish mirror in the bathroom at work?"

I just can't help but wonder - has NO ONE realized that there is an incredible sales opportunity here? I smell a business plan for "dressing room designers" - just conduct research that would easily prove that people would buy more clothes at stores where they try things on and don't feel like they look like a freakish troll. Then all stores would be clamoring for their services. Or, an already-existing store could just replace the bright fluorescent lighting in their dressing rooms and watch their sales rise meteorically. Seriously, why has no one thought of this!!!! Is this some sort of conspiracy?

And if any of you reading have found a place where the lighting is good then it is your duty to report it here right now in the Comments.

- e

Must...get... to Vegas... NOW

Last year, my parents and I took my then-82-year-old grandmother to Las Vegas. It was the first time she had been in an airplane since she was 15 years old. And while the flight over shook her up a little bit, once she saw all the slot machines, she perked right up. We had an absolutely wonderful time. And then we went back again this past spring!

I have more balancing skills in my pinky than you'll ever have!In planning for the first trip, I had asked her what else she wanted to do besides play the slot machines. Basically, she didn't want to do anything else. "I don't like plays, I don't like jokes, I don't like dancing, I don't like singing..." on and on went the list of things she was not interested in. However, in my gut I felt like she WOULD enjoy a Cirque du Soleil show, even though she did not seem too excited about it when I tried to explain what a performance of theirs was like. I got tickets anyway, and my instinct was right. Everyone loved the show ("KA" at the MGM Grand, which had just opened that year) - it's just not something you can do justice to describing in words - you just have to experience it. This year we went to "O."

When we were there, I saw signs announcing another new Cirque show, "Love" - which was going to be set to Beatles songs. I about flipped out, because I have been a huge Beatles fan literally since I can remember. In fact, this past trip to Vegas I went to a Beatles tribute band's show and it was awesome. I don't think there are too many bands that can successfully span so many generations of fans and get everyone so excited to hear their music. "Love" has now opened to rave reviews, and I am sitting here contemplating how I can "get back" (yes, I'm cheesy) to Vegas sooner than planned (currently next spring for Trip #3 with Grandma) to see it!

- e

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I feel bad for this kid and he/she's not even born.

I have no shame. Today on the El I was reading my "Red Eye" (free newspaper) and I came across this picture of Britney Spears on the cover of Bazaar. At first I thought it was Katie Holmes, and I was thinking, "Whoa, I can't believe Tom allowed THAT!"

But it isn't Katie, it's Britney with dark hair, a scary-looking necklace and not much else. Recently, Britney had an interview with Matt Lauer, during which she admitted she was an "emotional wreck," defended her infamous husband ("K-Fed") and blasted the paparazzi for stalking her every move and making her seem like a bad mother.

I will say this: you are one of the most famous people in the world. With that comes an invasion of your privacy. If you are dumb enough to drive with a baby on your lap, then shortly after, drive with a baby slumped over in a car seat in the back seat, and then after that, nearly drop your baby because you are balancing him on your hip with a full drink in your other hand with platform shoes on while wearing too-long jeans, then yes, you just may be a bad mother. Or at the very least, you are asking for criticism because you should KNOW people are watching you!

Back to this cover shot... I can imagine some time in the future at the Spears household (K-Fed will definitely have been kicked out by this point) when the child is 10 or so, and Britney is going through a photo album with said kid. "Look, there's your 2nd birthday party!" "Look, that's when you launched your own clothing line at 18 months!" "Look, that's your birth photo." "Oh, and look... there you are in my stomach when I was naked on the cover of a magazine!!!! Awwwww."

And fear not, I will have a post dedicated to K-Fed some time very soon. So much to comment on with him... so, so much.

- e

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Don't let the door hit ya...

... on your way out!

Although I have never actually watched 'The View,' I was very happy to hear that Star Jones Reynolds is leaving the show. I have unfortunately seen her coverage of various awards shows and have seen her interviewed on a number of occasions, and she is just horrible. No one could escape the articles or clips on her wedding - talk about "conspicuous consumption" - she should be ashamed.

Aren't I the BEST?This makes her my #2 most-hated-celebrity behind Tom Cruise. Why? Because I don't understand why she is a celebrity in the first place! She was apparently some sort of lawyer before joining 'The View,' yet she would have you believe that she is truly a diva superstar or the next savior of the planet. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone more self-obsessed and self-important. And enough about her weight loss! She had surgery, it's obvious. Why is that anything to celebrate?

Star was supposed to announce her departure from the show on Thursday, but instead surprised the rest of her co-hosts by making the statement on Tuesday's episode. Barbara Walters has said she was "shocked" by the unforeseen change in plan.

While Star will undoubtedly be making the talk show rounds in the near future to dish on what she claims was the equivalent of being fired ("her contract was not renewed"), I can only hope that after that, she fades away into obscurity.
You know you miss me.
Actually, I take that back. I would love to see her on The Surreal Life. Let her fight it out with some other D-list "celebrities" - that will bring her down a few notches! When someone like Gerardo (of 'Rico Suave' fame) throws a drink in her face, she will know she's hit rock bottom.

- e

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Get over yourself!

Naomi Campbell must be stopped! This woman is a menace to society, and specifically to her maids. You know it's bad when the CNN article title is "Naomi Campbell sued by another maid."

Here is an excerpt from an article in Australia's Herald Sun:
"The maid, Gaby Gibson, told the New York Post in April that Campbell whacked her in the back of the head when she was unable to find a pair of black designer jeans. "She said it was to teach me a lesson," Gibson told the tabloid."

I just don't get it - what would make a person think that they have a right to inflict physical harm on someone else because that person couldn't locate a pair of overpriced pants? It seems like there would be so many other model-material people in the world that the agencies would stop hiring people like Naomi. I can't imagine she carries any sort of positive association anymore, so why enable her behavior? Pick some no-name pretty girl off the street who appreciates making millions of dollars for having absolutely no skills, and give the likes of Naomi a dose of the real world.

- e

Monday, June 26, 2006

A reminder of why I like this guy...

Yep, I'm loaded.Warren Buffett rocks. He is down-to-earth, tells it like it is and is the second-richest person on the planet (estimated net worth - $42 billion) - not a bad combination. Now he has announced that instead of all of his money being divvied up to charities after he has passed away, he is going to start the process now (he is currently 76 years old). I have had the fortune of being able to listen to a lot of great speakers so far in my life, and have seen Mr. Buffett speak twice - he is definitely one of the best. In fact, when I was in I was in this audience, can you see me?one of his audiences a few years ago, he was already talking about his plan for what to do with all of his money after he dies. He has even started penning his final letter to his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, to be released the day after his death (as an extreme Type A obsessive planner, I have the utmost respect for someone thinking THAT far ahead!). It begins, "Dear Shareholders, Yesterday I died. This is bad news for me but not for you." How brilliant is that?

You know Warren, in the mere minutes we've been sitting here, we've raked in millions of dollars!  Isn't life grand?I think it makes sense that he starts doling out his fortune while he is still around to see any possible effects the money may have. The majority of it will go to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as he and ol' Bill are good friends, even after Bill surpassed Warren to be the #1 person on Forbes' Wealthiest People in the World list. When I heard him speak, Warren did mention that he plays online poker against Bill Gates, often in public online game rooms, and no one knows who they really are. Although he did say that his screen name is T-Bone (he apparently has eaten a T-Bone steak at least once a week, every week, for years).

Hopefully he will still give some of his money to his three kids, though (it wasn't mentioned in the article). I mean, how much would that suck if your dad was the 2nd richest guy on Earth and you got NOTHING when he passed on? I would be like, "C'mon dad, aren't I worth a few measly billion???"

- e

Sunday, June 25, 2006

He is so NOT to die for...

I'm prettier... No, I'M prettier! So the much-anticipated marriage of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban happened this weekend in Sydney, Australia.

I do not like either of these people.
Nicole has done something/keeps doing something to her face and has been morphing into a generic-looking plastic doll over the past few years. While I can stand some of her movies (Moulin Rouge being the best and only because Obi Wan was in it), her continually worsening appearance unnerves me.

So sad when the Before is better than the After.That is quite a transformation she has undergone. It is sad, because she was much prettier before. But then again, if *I* was with Tom Cruise for ten years, who knows what lengths I would've gone to to become someone else after the relationship was over.

I will never tell you my hair-higlighting and straightening secrets, so STOP ASKING!And this guy Keith? What is UP with him, and WHAT is the attraction there? I am not a country music fan (at least not a current-country music fan), so I can't judge his musical talents. All I know is that I think he looks very feminine and also kind of like a stringy-haired rat. Certainly he does not belong in this decade. He has a history of hard-core drug use on top of all that, so I'm not sure what Nicole was thinking - though I agree he is STILL better than freaktastic Tom.

We'll see how long THIS one lasts...

- e

ETA: I had originally written Anakin instead of Obi Wan until Jill called me out! The shame!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

ENOUGH with the "bump" talk!

Yesterday I was reading this artice on, which talks about Reese Witherspoon suing Star magazine for publishing articles stating that she was pregnant with her Suck it in, girl, SUCK IT IN!third child, but trying to hide the news so as to not lose potential and already-contracted movie roles. That's all fine and good, but what made me pause was this statement from the file records, "The true facts are that plaintiff is not pregnant, does not have a baby bump and has not otherwise gained weight such that she has had to resort to wearing empire-waist dresses." I was absolutely shocked that the term "baby bump" was actually used in this official document.

Typically only seen in US Weekly, In Touch, Star, OK!, Life & Style and Celebrity Living (all of which I admit to reading religiously), the use of this term has grown exponentially over the past few years, and it is annoying the crap out of me. I don't know why, I just can't stand it. I also must admit that I did believe all the articles saying Reese was pregnant. Then again, I think any of us pop culture fans who keep up with celebrity gossip have now been programmed to think that any time someone famous gains 2 pounds or is photographed at an odd angle that makes their stomach protude a tad, they MUST BE PREGNANT.

And remember how a few days ago I noted that I sounded like a grumpy senior because I was complaining that Madonna didn't play enough "old songs?" Well, I can now officially be compared to a crotchety old lady because apparently this elderly woman feels the same way that I do about the "baby bump" phrase. My problem with it comes down to that I think it's too "cutesy." Just say someone is pregnant, say their stomach is growing, say whatever you want, but don't say they have a "bump." Perhaps it just reminds me of speed bumps, bumper cars, or the R. Kelly song "Bump 'n Grind." I don't know, I just know that I don't like it! So now I fear that because of its prominent place in Reese's lawesuit, it has now become a legitimate term and is going to be seen and heard even MORE. Someone think up a better term, quick!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Pet Peeve of The Week: Hidden Tracks

Since so many things annoy me, I decided I'm going to do a "Pet Peeve of the Week" post every Friday.

Today's topic is an oldie but a goodie - hidden audio tracks on CDs. At one point in time when CDs were a newer concept and just catching on, including hidden tracks might have been considered a ground-breaking concept or a way to pleasantly surprise fans with an unlisted song. In fact, the first instance of a hidden track actually is thought to be on a vinyl record - 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by the Beatles - but the practice is all too common now. When you load all of your CDs onto your iPod and you wonder why it doesn't hold nearly the number of songs it claims to in the commercials, you realize that file sizes are a huge issue, and songs with one or more hidden tracks embedded in them clocking in at 16 minutes are the bane of your existence. Yeah, I'm sure there's some sort of audio editing software that would allow you to break up or cut down songs, but the average person isn't going to spend time fooling around with that. A lot of rap albums also had "interludes" between songs that were actually embedded in a track. Since these tapes were meant to be played "in order" - a little story unfolds over the course of the album. Now when you want to include one of these songs in a mix for a playlist, you have to either forward through the end of certain songs or put up with the break in the flow of music. D'AH!!!!

More recent, particularly bad offenders include Dido - with "Closer" (a good song that I would've liked to have been its own track) combined with "See the Sun" - making the combined entry last 10 minutes and 23 seconds. The most maddening is "Eskimo" by Damien Rice - one of my favorite songs - but when not one but TWO additional tracks (neither of which I really like) are added in - it lasts 16 minutes and 6 seconds. COME ON.

I was amazed to find this fairly good compilation of albums with hidden tracks - all it did was serve to make me even more mad, though. Hopefully this practice will stop now that the iPod generation has arrived.

- e

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Don't stand so... don't stand so... don't stand so close to me.

Today I would like to comment on an annoying phenomenon that I have noticed increasingly lately. Let me first state that overall, I have no issue with people touching me or bumping/brushing against me accidentally or anything like that. In fact, I would place myself closer to the "Touchy-Feely" end of the Tolerance for Physical Contact spectrum than to the "Stay Six Feet Away From Me All All Times" end. However, when people continually run into me while standing in line - the same person over and over and over- then I CANNOT take it. It is less about that fact that someone has touched me and more about that person's inability to realize that they KEEP hitting me and/or their inexplicable impatience.

A few examples:
- Recently I was at Disney World, and was in the line for Space Mountain. In front of me was a mother and her son. When we neared the end of the line (the part where the actual ride itself comes into view), the mom realized that it was a fairly hard-core rollercoaster, and she wanted to back out. So she and her son stood there bickering for what was no more than 20 seconds. Meanwhile, the line ahead of them had advanced slightly. I waited patiently behind them, letting them battle it out. I then felt a tap on my shoulder, and turned around to find a small posse of high school senior girls. The leader of this group said, "Um, excuse me, but the line is moving." I paused to turn and look at the barely moving line. I then replied, "One, I'm not with them (pointing to the two holding up the line). Two, they've only been standing still for a matter of seconds. Three, we're all gonna get on the ride and we're all going to the same place, so just chill." The response was a flurry of "Ohmygawd, what did she say??"'s and belligerent behavior. Shortly thereafter, the mom DID back out of the line, the son stayed ahead of me, and we all advanced a whopping FIVE FEET. And then continued to wait.
- Also while at Disney World, I was in a long line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and this teenage girl behind me continued to run into me again and again - be it slamming into my back or stepping on my heel. Granted, she was with a guy whose t-shirt read, "I put ketchup on my ketchup," but still. Finally I turned half-way around and shot her "e's look of death" and she mumbled, "Sorry." But it happened AGAIN. This line was moving at a snail's pace. It's like people who gun the engine in the car and still end up at the red light like everybody else.



- Inevitably while going through security at an airport, some moron BEHIND me has to be a bully and rush to get his or her stuff on the tables that precede the scanner belt and then act like they're going to miss their plane because I take approximately 5.2 seconds to take off my shoes and take my laptop out of its bag. Here's the thing - I travel A LOT - and I have got that security process down to a science. So if someone is going to miss their plane, it's going to be because they're an idiot and didn't get to the airport early enough. Getting their bags on the moving belt ahead of me isn't going to make or break their ability to run 4 miles through O'Hare to reach their gate. The next person that does this to me might get their laptop accidentally pushed off the belt. Oops! So sorry!

The moral of this story is - you should be conscious of if you are hitting other people while waiting in any sort of line, and you should also feel free to pummel them if they are doing so to you. Usually I say "violence is not the answer," but a girl can only take so much!

- e

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Anderson and Angelina - could it get any better than this?

Last night I was able to watch part of Anderson Cooper's interview of Angelina Jolie. Other news items were interspersed throughout the broadcast, so the "two-hour interview" promos were a tad misleading. Nonetheless, from the parts I did see, it was great. I have been a fan of Anderson and his cocky ways from his days hosting "The Mole" (totally underrated reality tv show!), and have been fascinated by Angelina for years. So to watch the two of them chatting together was pure heaven for me.

But you're not here to read a serious recap of the interview about her work with refugees - you can read the entire transcript here. You're here to get my take on the spectacle that is Brangelina.

I was on "Team Jolie" from the get-go. I like Jennifer Aniston and all, but her character on Friends always annoyed me, and she seems to be a lot like Rachel in real life. Just kind of whiny or something. So compare her to the life force that is Angelina, and it should be no surprise that Brad chose the latter. And by the way, I don't like Brad Pitt - never been a fan, never thought he was good-looking, never saw what all the fuss was about there. Therefore, when it comes right down to it, I think Jennifer actually got the better end of the deal in this whole mess, especially if she ends up with Vince Vaughn, who I DO love.

So while I've never understood Angelina's choice of mates (BILLY BOB? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! GROSS!), overall I think she is an incredible human being and probably one of the most interesting people alive. If I was forced to pick one person to trade lives with, I would pick her. I can understand why Anderson was basically falling all over himself to compliment and praise her the entire show. Although, if I was him, I would've been totally distracted by: 1) the bulging C-shaped vein popping out of her forehead and 2) the glossed-up humongous lips. The lips are always intimidating, but not AS much when they don't have shiny gloss on them. All photos of her have the vein airbrushed out, so I can't include one here, but trust me, it's there.

But anyway, back to Brangelina - my thoughts on their coupling go like this: He was a challenge for her - I mean, before she just dated no-names or gross older guys. So to bag the "Sexiest Man Alive?" That was something she had to plan out, to create a strategy for - almost like a game. He seems fairly vacant and shallow compared to her, so I admit I was surprised that they got together. However, if her end goal is to bring more attention to the plight of refugees, which I truly do think she cares about, then to hook up with Brad Pitt and have him follow her around like a puppy and parrot her speeches and mirror her efforts is a BRILLIANT plan to reach her end goal. Plus, he can throw in HIS money behind everything too... she already donates 1/3rd of her income to charity - if she got him to do the same, she would probably be quite satisfied with herself.

So that's my take on it - I can't predict if they'll last. Part of me thinks she will get bored with him - maybe like 10 years down the road. I don't think she will leave him before the kids are substantially older - I think they are a higher priority for her than he is, he's like a second thought to her. I guess time will tell...

- e

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Feed Your Head

So last night I went to the Radiohead concert... like Madonna, they played mostly new material that I didn't know, but I still enjoyed it. Also like Madonna, they didn't play the one song I wanted to hear - "High and Dry"... but my expectations had been set before the concert that they basically never play that song live. However, they did play "Idioteque," my second favorite Radiohead song.

Good things about the concert:
- The crowd
If I had to make a wager, I would bet that no less than 80% of the audience was wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt (as was I). So, I definitely felt more "at home" with this crowd than at Madonna, where people got a little more glammed up, and I was still wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt. The remaining 20% broke down like this:

  • 10% - guys in jeans (including band members)
  • 5% - girls wearing summer-y skirt outfits because they were on dates
  • 3% - guys wearing slightly nicer pants than cargos or jeans
  • 2% - people totally inappropriately overly-dressed like they were going to a semi-formal dinner

- Thom Yorke's crazy dancing
Let us consider this verse:
Work like you don't need the money;
dance like no one is watching;
sing like no one is listening;
love like you've never been hurt;
and live life every day as if it were your last.

I love that little saying, but now let us focus in on the second line: Dance like no one is watching. That would about sum up how Thom, the lead singer, moves. He is a dancin' fool. While he DOES have rhythm sometimes, at other times he just breaks out into what would appear to a non-fan to be an epileptic fit. However, he is a rock star, so he can pull it off. But it makes for quite a challenge when you are trying to watch him with binoculars because he is just wiggling and jerking across the stage with no apparent plan. I also noticed that he kind of looks like a character from Lost. You be the judge:

Those pictures don't do the similarity justice. But trust me, they look alike!

Bad things about the concert:
- The volume
I had on earplugs and it was STILL loud.

- Not enough "old" songs
I completely realize that I'm beginning to sound like a grumpy senior, but seriously, why can't these artists play what they know people want to hear? There was only ONE song played from "The Bends" album - ONE! That is one of my top 5 favorite albums of all time. So, that was disappointing.

All in all, though, if a band can keep my attention when playing songs that I mostly do not know, then that says something - and both Radiohead and Madonna did this.

No more concerts for a month now - so tomorrow's topic will be something new.

And for those who are as obsessed with these two people as I am - Anderson Cooper interviews Angelina Jolie tonight on CNN on Anderson 360... looks like it will rock.

- e

Monday, June 19, 2006

Making Adams High School Proud

Last night I went to the Madonna concert at the United Center, and while I didn't know the majority of songs off of her "Confessions on a Dance Floor" album (which was the focus of the tour), I still thought it was incredible. It was not a concert - it was an event, on par with shows in Vegas.

The good things included:
- No air conditioning.
You may be wondering, "Why is that a good thing?", especially since most people hated being all hot and sweaty on the over 90-degree Chicago day, but I am one of those people who is ALWAYS COLD, so I was in heaven. Her explanation during the show was that she "didn't want to contribute to global warming," but I think it really had to do with preserving her voice, as there also appeared to be some monster-size humidifiers pumping steam into the air the entire time.
- The roller-derby "Music" number.
First off, roller-skates are just plain cool. Give me those over rollerblades any day. Second, I like the song "Music." Third, to have about 6 guys on roller-skates zooming all over the huge stage as well as the catwalk out into the middle of the stadium was pretty cool - on top of the suspense of constantly wondering what would happen if one of them just overshot straight into the audience.
- The set itself.
As I alluded to above, the set was out of control - not only were there tons of video screens, but two of them were HUGE, and more importantly, they were crystal clear. To the point where some things looked kind of 3D. Those screens, combined with the elaborate props and several "trap doors" really kept your attention - you just never knew where to look or what to expect.

The negatives included:
- The song "New York."
While I liked the spirit of the song, it was just a bad song - bad melody, words, tune, etc. Plus, Madonna with a guitar just doesn't really look right.
- They ran out of hot pretzels.
I went to literally eight different food stations and at 4 out of the 8, the last pretzel was sold out from under me. The other 4 were already sold out. Who knew that there was a correlation between Madonna fans and a love of hot pretzels?
- Not enough "old songs."
I *just* wanted to hear 'Get Into the Groove,' which seemed like it would've fit the disco theme quite nicely. Would it have been SO HARD for her to have played a few more tunes from the 80s?
- My low self-esteem after the show.
Madonna is, I believe, at least 15 years my senior. There is NO WAY I could do some of the moves she pulled off, and there is no way my body will ever be that toned. Hence, an onset of depression after the concert.

So there is my quick take. Tonight I am going to see Radiohead, which I'm sure will be drastically different, but equally as good.

- e

Welcome to 'according to e'!

Since I now can take a break from my labor of love, Long Live Locke, until the fall TV season begins, I wanted to find another way to keep myself writing. Additionally, since the Lost blog takes about 12 hours over the course of a week to pull together, I also wanted to push myself to get comfortable writing "on the fly." So my hope is to write a few quick paragraphs daily, covering a wide range of topics.

I hope you like it!

- e