Monday, December 31, 2007

Lush Bath Bombs

Or, A Good Bath Spoiled

For Christmas a friend of mine gave me a selection of Lush Bath Bombs; she felt bad that her last birthday gift to me bombed and was hoping to make amends, knowing that I loves me some bath.  Well, I used to at my old apartment, which had a huge bathtub that easily swallowed my 6' 2" frame.  The apartment that I have lived in for the last 14 years or so was built in the 50's and has one of those teacup-sized bathtubs that make me look like Rock Hudson in a Doris Day movie.  One of these days, if Lotto winnings ever come across or I write that 8 figure screenplay, I plan on getting a lap pool with endless hot water and hot and cold running Corso Como.  But I still do love my bath, and for New Years I looked forward to a nice hot bath and a glass of champagne.  My inner Joan Crawford would be released.

What I didn't know is that these bath bombs come with stuff in them.  Lots of stuff.  The blue one I chose had bits of dried leaves, small plastic cutouts and glitter.

Yes, glitter.

Since I don't have a personal maid and a 24 hour on-call plumber to snake the bits of Lush detritus from my pipes, I tried to strain out most of the stuff.  I personally don't find attacking ones ablutions with a tea strainer adds to the restful, contemplative portion of our evenings program.  I can't even tell you whether the stuff was decent bath goo- by the time I had managed to skim most of it off my hands and forearms were covered by so much glitter that it took a fair amount of Kiehls grapefruit scrub and a brush to get rid of it.  Needless to say, By that time I didn't want to actually immerse the rest of me in it.  Down the drain went the whole lurid cobalt mess, and I spent another half hour scouring the dregs out of my tub.  Apparently according to the website if one doesn't want the "surprise" of the various bits of fluff, one should enrobe the whole mess in a nylon before you bathe.  Like most gay men and contrary to popular belief, I don't have a pair of panty hose available to rein in the Pamela Anderson portions of the whole affair, and the hose will not contain the hugely over-concentrated coloring, which if you are like me (and Joan) you will be bleaching out of your tub the instant you step out. 

They do smell kind of nice, which led me to a use for them.  I threw one into the toilet.  I get the benefit of the nice scent without having to worry that I'm going to have to pick lavender lint or glitter out of my netherlands for the next day or so.

I sent my friend a thank-you note; I know she meant well and honestly wanted to please (and thanks be, never reads blogs; don't tell her, k?).  Maybe there are other things in their line that work better; with me, the whole trendy Westside stripper-pole Yogalatese esthetic of these bombs bombed.

Photo from

Happy New Year!

As I wrote earlier, I am not big on going out to New Years celebrations. Since I have a cold this year I can blame that. That, and the fact that it's going to be about 12 degrees here. Okay, it will be in the 50's but that's still fairly whinge-worthy when you have a cold. So I will be feting out 2007 with John Waters movies and a nice hot bath. Pansy goes geriatric for 2008!

I hope all of my devoted readers (both of you :-) ) one of you have a happy and prosperous 2008!

Photo from Denver's Channel 7 of Sydney harbour's 2008 fireworks. Ain't the internets grand?

Friday, December 21, 2007

H a p p y ....H o l i d a y s !

A friend of mine sent this picture to me and I couldn't resist making it my holiday e-card. Believe it or not it's a real house in the very tony, old-money and WASPy area of Los Angeles called Hancock Park. Only the snow and the Santas are seasonal decorations, the rest is permanent. The ultra-classy manse is owned by a record producer and is one of the major attractions of the neighborhood.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Whining in a Winter Wonderland...

The holidays are coming up like a runaway train. Are you feeling a bit like you're stuck on the tracks?

It's a wet Tuesday here in the City of the Angels, chilly and grey with that patented LA light drizzle of rain that guarantees that SUV's will go merrily sailing sideways through intersections, their terrified drivers clutching the wheel, finally paying attention to the now 360 degree view of the road rather than the cell phone, latte or the crackberry.

I guess I am having a Scrooge moment.

There was a Nor'Easter hitting the East this week, dumping tons of the white stuff and looking disgustingly picturesque. Mind you, after 20 years in the sunny Hills of Beverly, I still have vivid memories of actually having to live with all that snow- not only having to shovel it or walking (and you have to learn how to walk in it) around wearing half your closet to keep, well, alive from your house to the grocery store, which will invariably be about the same temperature inside as your average bread oven, meaning that you will work up a sweat just in time to get back out in that arctic chill. No, I mean the later part of it, the part that they never take pictures of where the snowbanks turn to greyish black slush and you think that spring might just never come.

Our Winters might look like a rather drab version of Autumn in other areas, but I can at least look at the snowcapped peaks of the distant mountains from the comfort and warmth of the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Palm Drive while wearing a light sweater. Although I perhaps can't really work up the appropriate level of Christmas Spirit without the possibility of going sledding, I wouldn't change that cashmere-clad fact for the world...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The future of TV

I know, everyone always says that they know it, blah, blah, blah. But I have seen the future, and it's hulu! hulu is this new service (now in beta, you can sign up and they will invite you when they're ready for more subscribers) that show television shows online, with decent quality that you can watch on your computer whenever you want it. Right now the selection is limited, but there's the first season of "Buffy" and the first seasons of "Night Gallery" (minus the Pilot with Spielberg directing Joan Crawford, more's the pity) and "Lou Grant" among others. You can watch full screen, and while there are commercials, there are only one every 10-15 minutes, with a handy timer to let you know how long they will run.

I'm sure that there will be more content soon, and it's great to savor the first season of "Buffy" as well as rediscovering "Lou Grant", an hour long spin-off of the Mary Tyler Moore show that should not have worked, but was consistently the best hour of dramatic television in the late 70's and early 80's, with about a bazillion Emmys to prove it.

Looking at it with 20-year older eyes, a 40 lb lighter Ed Asner was kind of cute...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This is my computer, an iBook in the iSearing shade of Key Lime. I bought it the first year that I started my present job and I thought it was the absolute bomb. I still think it was one of the better designs out of Apple for a few reasons: the green parts are slightly rubberised, which means that the computer doesn't slip around on the desk, or more accurately on the book that I balance it on when I am using it on my sofa as I watch TV. The screen is fairly well encased (it was designed with kids in mind) and the white keys are easy to see in the low light conditions that are a hallmark of my sofa and the rounded front of the case make a prefect wrist rest. Despite having only about 400 megs of RAM (Max) and a 433 MhZ processor, it has handles everything from web surfing and DVD playing to basic PhotoShop that I've thrown at it. Of course, iTunes long ago went out to an external hard drive (I bought it with a then unheard of 20 gig one, which my co-workers were convinced I would never fill) where I have been backing up my crap. Luckily I have been backing up my crap, since my little citrus companion developed a problem and wouldn't boot up. One of my co- workers is looking at it and might have to wipe the drive at worst and has urged me to get a new computer: he says that I am basically asking the computer equivalent of Helen Hayes to do a marathon every day and it's pretty much time to retire the old girl. I suppose I'll have to, it's been nearly eight years. But I have to write, having lived with a computer with a handle and citrus colored rubber bumpers, I don't know how I'll be able to go to bland, cool whiteness.


Well, after a lot of hazzerie I have a new MacBook.  So far I am thrilled.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Los Angeles Auto Show

This week was the start of the Los Angeles Auto Show, otherwise known as that thing that I go to every year to look at cars I cannot afford. It's the event where I answer the question, can I still enter and exit a sports car with some measure of grace?

Luckily the answer is still "yes"

Apparently the big news is hybrids- General Motors showed hybrid Escalades, Tahoes and Suburbans. As much as I loathe gigantic SUV's I have to tip the hat to a system that will allow them to get the same mileage as a mid-sized car.

Here's my impressions:

My lotto winnings would go towards a Cadillac XLR-V

Or perhaps I'd spend half that on a Mercedes SLK and spend the rest on plastic surgery.

The Honda S2000 is lovely, but the sport version they had on the floor had a rear wing on it that would have been more at home on a bi-plane and was in a color that could only be called "erectile dysfunction yellow"

Both the Saturn Sky and the Pontiac Solstice are wonderful little cars, but I don't know about the fiddly tops: having to get out of the car to put the top up would be a pain. But they are cheaper than any of the above by about $10k, so...

The Mazda MX-5 (I think they don't want us to refer to it as a Miata anymore) is still the best: it's small enough but still has decent room inside and enough trunk room with the optional hard-top stowed to have some bags in the trunk. So that putative weekend getaway with the BF could happen. If I had the money for the car. Or the money for a weekend away. Or, fo that matter a boyfriend.

Of the sedans I looked at I was impressed by the new Malibu, which is really nice and the new CTS which is gorgeous..

Hands down the cutest thing at the show? The Smart Cabrio. I don't know how many they'll sell of these at $16,000, but they are hella cute and I could easily see myself tootling around in one.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Perfume People

Most all of you (out of the millions that read this blog) know that for the last year and a half, I have been writing once a week about perfumes at Perfume Smelin' Things (linked to the right- I'm too lazy to look up the code). After all this time I have learned that there is some power in this; I've seriously pi$$ed off at least one person and apparently amused a few more. I've forged cyber-friendships that I really want to make face-to-face ones, and in one case happily have, having met Marina who opened up her blog to me and allows my natterings a far wider audience than I perhaps deserve.

The thing that has struck me about these people is that to a (wo)man, they all have the same quality: unstinting generosity. I've been the lucky recipient of scents that I would have never stumbled across, shipped by people I have only had pleasant cyber-chats with. I'm not kidding myself that they await with bated breath a review of these scents, and in one case they have generously sent bottles of things I've mentioned I liked simply out of kindness. Which is, I believe the most noble of instincts. Of course, I try to give back, especially since I live in LA and can bop into our local parfumerie and get samples at whim.

In short, I find it heartening that in this world increasingly painted as a place full of meanness of spirit, coldness of heart and cruelty towards others that there are generous people out there sending out sweet-smelling packages for the sole purpose of cause the recipients delight. You all know who you are so I won't name names; even if you haven't sent me anything and are reading this and have sent to another a scent that you love or even just thought that the recipient might find momentarily interesting, I salute you. Perfume people are the best...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

An Open Letter to a Helicopter Pilot

A Hallowe'en Lament

I don't know who you are, or for whom you work, but I do know at this point I pretty much hate you. From the time I got home at about 5 to the time I typed this at about 8, you have been hovering without moving an inch about 100 feet above the intersection of Doheny and Santa Monica. I know you don't work for BHPD, since they don't have helicopters. If you work for the Sherrif's department or the LAPD, I don't know what you are there for since the only crime that I could see were some of the Halloween costumes, and it's difficult to direct traffic from 10 storeys up. If you are from a news channel, I know you have to justify the expense of SkyCamWhatever but I seem to have missed your 30 second shot of stalled traffic. Which, just as an FYI is not news- certainly not news that needs hours of hovering closely over a residential neighborhood.

I hope you read this and at least let us know if this new Halloween trick is going to be an yearly "treat". If you are going to make the naighborhood kids feel like extras in "Apocalypse Now", we'll at least want know to dress for it and to put some Wagner on our iPods, which you will be drowning out.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Real Housewives of Orange County

or, White People Can't Jump, But They Can Bore

Anybody caught any of this? It's one of those shows Bravo has foisted off on us in between seasons of "Project Runway". It's premise, I suppose was originally an answer to "The O.C.", showing that in addition to being vapid, self-serving idiots (as the denizens of Newport Beach are portrayed on the now cancelled Fox series) they are also clueless, unnatractive dolts, living in some gated community called "Cota de Craptastic" or something (which is like a larger version of "Knots Landing"'s Seaview Circle, but without the wit, humor or hotness of early Alec Baldwin). intermarrying, driving expensive cars, drinking like fishes and in general being very, very dull.

I know people in Orange County. They are warm, wise, witty people who have interests rangeing a bit further than which fake-bake is less orange and whether Slade really likes the underage brunette bimbo or the older blonde who looks like a drag queen. One episode was enough. I'd rather watch Rachael Ray. I'd rather watch lint. I'd rather iron, and those of you who know me know exactly how little of a recommendation that is.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Firestorm 2007

That lovely pink glow in the West Hollywood afternoon sky isn't the sunset, that's Malibu. The fluffy greyness above it is smoke. We are being told that if we have to go out, try not to breathe.

But I am lucky, I have a home to go to.

The LA Times has a fund started where they, KTLA and the McCormick Tribune Foundation will match donations (.50 on the dollar) at least up to $500,000 for relief. According to the Publisher, all funds will go to people left homeless by the fires- they are paying the administrative costs so every dime goes to the victims of this tragedy. If you have a few spare dollars, please donate. Contrary to opinion pieces in some of the gamier portions of the media, not every victim in this is Barbra Streisand.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Armistead Maupin is a god

I am reading the latest of his books, a return to form in a way called Michael Tolliver Lives. Michael is of course "Mouse", one of the characters from his first six novels, the Tales of the City series. For the sad few of you who had missed this delightful, maddening and ultimately sad series of novels, there is a bit of an explanation in order. Started as a series in the San Francisco Chronicle before moving to the Examiner, the first three novels are wonderful little gumballs of San Francisco on the 70's: wonderfully improbably coincidences, wild plots and wacky characters, all grounded by Maupins masterful prose making fully rounded people out of what in the hand off lesser writers could have been cartoons. The three later novels are truthful to the times, the dear, dim, dead 80's, the decade of disaffection, greed, and AIDS. Those are harder to read, since you've spent three novels getting to know and love these people (at least I did as a kid; if I had known anyone in San Francisco, like Mary Ann I would have thrown caution to the wind and moved happily to The City), watching them grow up, grow older, grow apart and sometimes die is tough, but worth it. Maupin is nothing if not a masterful storyteller.

His mastery is in evident in Michael Tolliver Lives. For the first time, he uses first-person narrative: this novel is told only from Mouse's perspective. We visit, or at least learn the fate of people whom we have grown to love in the past novels; without giving too much away, some are here, some are not. There is a dominant theme of facing death: Mouse is in his mid-fifties and HIV-positive, living with his devoted 26 year old husband and facing the death of his fundamentalist mother, as well as the advancing age of his adopted mother/muse, Anna Madrigal. I'm not halfway through it, but I am sure there will be kleenex involved soon.

I highly recommend these books; I was about 10-15 years too young to be a part of that time of the first three, but I hope they are a perfect fairy-tale snapshot of that particular decade. I can personally vow for the accuracy of the last three, with the pain of loss from AIDS and the general ennui of the 80's. I hope that I can muster the grace of Mouse in the midst of my own mid-fifties.

Which will happen 30 years fom now.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Yes, today if did something it has not done in Los Angeles for 160 days; it rained.

Rain here is an even that is only second to earthquakes in the amount of news coverage of them. More perhaps, because there are days of fretful forecasts: will it hit? Where? How much? Will this affect to burn areas? Will there be mudslides?

Angelenos famously do not know how to cope with the rain. I have had book signings where no-one showed up except the hapless author because of the rain. People will either drive like maniacs, as if cars were somehow water-solulble or they plod along, hyper vigilant that they might aquaplane.

In any case, it should make tomorrow one of those crystal-clear days that send people off to the lookout points on Mulholland where on one side you can see Palm Springs and the other Catalina. Hmmm, gives me an idea...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pansy Hits New York!

Will it hit back?

I will be (well, am kind of being forced to: I have reached the limit my employers allow me to accrue) taking some vacation time in the coming month and since Virgin America is offering rock-bottom fares (if you are willing as I am to fly at 7am) from LAX to JFK, I will be coming back to the city that I always feel is my home, New York. I did live there for a period in the early 80's, and those were my real formative years. I was on my own, barely formed, a product of good schools and good breeding from a nice college town in New England thinking I was going to the big city to become a... a what? I didn't know at the time (and barely do now), but I was determined to shake the Noho dust off me and become a New Yorker.

And I did.

New York at the time was a very different place: still reeling from the near-collapse socially and economically from the 70's, with a pre-Giuliani Times Square that still featured porn shows and third string movie theaters showing either grindhouse crap or movies who had been long out of the major theaters, with prints which crackled far more than the stale popcorn that was served. You would pay nothing to see "Footloose", but you might get rabies or Dutch Elm disease in the process.

I lived in a crummy 4th floor walk up in the East Village bordering Tompkins Square Park, which at the time you entered for two reasons only: to buy heroin or get killed. I had three room-mates, little electricity, a tub with no shower, and for one memorable February no heat or hot water. But when you are a kid in your twenties and you are gay and with thousands if not millions of others like you and the clubs stay open until dawn it's pretty much a paradise.

I was somewhat unlucky in my timing; the Studio 54 era which had so entranced me as a teen and inculcated the idea in my feverish little mind that I had to move there ("Tales of the City" had the same effect, but NYC was a cheap bus ticket and I knew people who lived there) was running down and a curious new disease was rearing it's ugly head: AIDS. Over the years I lived there, several dear friends succumbed.We were partying like it was 1999, but we were also haunted by this spectre: acquaintances would drop out of sight and you'd later hear that there was going to be a funeral. Horribly, no one really knew how it was spread. People who were diagnosed were treated in hospitals as delicately as Strontium-90; our president, that amiable oaf refused to refer to the disease and the pulpits heaved their usual bile about it being God's revenge for our sins (please call the number on your screen to donate, thanks). It was a bullet I dodged perhaps because I was never so desired that I actually had the chance to be slutty, or perhaps I just looked too much like jail-bait to get picked up. Or maybe, deep down I was just too much a prude to really want to.

In any case, after a while our landlord saw an opportunity to make another $1.50 per month on that dump and evicted us. At Christmas. I decided to decamp to Boston for a while and eventually wound up here in Los Angeles, which has new and different ways to grind your soul into pate.

Of course, I have returned to my old home several times: Times Square has been Disneyfied so much that it bares more resemblance to The Grove than it does to the gritty crossroads of yore. Tompkins Square Park has been redone with the gentrification of the neighborhood; the old Life Cafe is still there serving designer coffee and waters, and my crummy apartment is still above it, no doubt renting for far more than I could afford even with 3 room-mates in 2007. There is also nothing more magical than New York and it's environs in the fall: even the still warmth of Indian Summer will have an evening chill warning of the coming winter, and the smell of the dried leaves in Central Park is almost more than the smell of the hot dog vendors. I don't know if I will hit Indian Summer when I am there, but I am hoping. I am also hoping for maximum foliage as well...

As much as my time there was bittersweet, there is no place like it. I always get a thrill being there, even if I also give a hearty sigh of relief when I get off the plane and see the wacky pylons of the "Theme Building" at LAX.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am a Gay Man and I don't care about fashion!

Did I shock you? Thought so. Oh, I think fashion is great, I just don't think about it that much for myself. I want to be clean, I want it to fit and I want to cover up everything that needs to be covered on a person (which, for the most part ie everything below the neck, thanks very much. What I do not care about is being told that the boot-cut jeans I got on sale are hopelessly unfashionable and that I cannot be seen anywhere about without skinny-leg ones. Or that the lapel on my jacket is 3/4 of an inch too wide, condemning me to wander the Earth, pitied but shunned. I don't care that green is over and orange is the new black.

Which brings me to Bravo's new series "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style"

Gaia had an interesting blog Sunday on the subject, in which she states:

the rest of the show was much more about emotional manipulation, both of the show's subject and of the viewers than about fashion, style or Tim Gunn.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I'll go even further: I like Tim Gunn. I don't like the show. It seems to be even more than emotional manipulation and cheap, staged "events" (how convenient is it that the make-over recipient just happened to have a camera crew with her when she received the phone call telling her she is the one being chosen!?!). Why is it that there's this weird veneer of "The Swan", perhaps one of the most repellent series ever aired? Why are they asking us to swallow the idea that there is something life-changing and important about this? Even more important is the question I want to ask all of these shows; how is the poor woman going to keep it up? Those $500 highlights? The $300 jeans? The $500 dresses? Did they ever think that perhaps most people lounge around in cheap clothing because they can't afford better? Salon recently wrote an article about the shrinking middle class on television. Even if some of these women are indeed train wrecks, would it kill them to take one of them to TJ Maxx and tell her what's flattering there?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I like Alton Brown. I find his show "Good Food" informative. I find him a bit didactic in his appearances on other shows, and downright bitchy on The Next Food Network Star.

Color me shallow, but I think he needs to (along with Tyler Florence) step away from the steam-table. Man Boobs are not a good fashion statement.

But I am not nice...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A dear friend of mine has this car. She has had it forever actually; her Dad bought it new way back in 1960: a beautiful 1060 Thunderbird Coupe in nearly flawless condition. She had it all during high school, it was her high school drive in fact (lucky girl). Her dad finally decided that he needed the garage space, and finally signed it over to her. Practicality reigned, and she decided that she should sell it rather than keep what is really an antique, and unlike a Chippendale Highboy one that's value could be significantly affected by a parking lot encounter with a pole. So we conspired to go pick it up.

Unfortunately, we did so on one of the hottest days of the year. Fortunately, her car has very good AC. Unfortunately, the T-Bird does not. We had previously conspired to force her husband to drive it back while we followed, chatting and sipping our ice-blendeds in air-conditioned comfort, while hubby sweated it out in the 'Bird.

Of course, the moment I laid eyes on it I knew I had to be the one to drive it back. 120 degrees or not, when am I going to get that experience again? So we climbed in and off we went. The trip wasn't so bad on the freeway, it was sort of like being in a dryer vet: hot, but there was a breeze. When we got off the freeway, however, it was just plain hot.

We did give my friend a giggle: she thought her husband and I looked like the worlds cutest gay couple on an outing. She proceeded apparently to call a few people to share that with them. While sipping her ice-blended in the AC.

They bought me a delicious lunch for driving it back.

As an aside, the difference between driving a car from nearly 50 years ago and one from today is amazing! Braking this boat meant planning far in advance: tugboats have a shorter stopping distance. Steering required constant corrections, and ergonimics? Fuggetaboutit. The vent controls were in a stylish binnacle under the dash, near the front bumper seemingly, and even the vent windows I dared not take my eyes off the road to try to operate for fear of veering off into another lane. Oh, and no safety belts either. Which meant that there was nothing between me and certain death by stylish chrome doohickies if I met something. But it certainly made me a far more careful driver than my car with crumple zones, ABS and 63 airbags. Maybe we need to revert to poorer handling cars. Maybe we'd drive better.

The image is from

Monday, September 03, 2007

Heat wave Part Deaux

or, why the Weather Channel is worthless

The Weather Channel in Los Angeles insists upon showing temeratures in Santa Monica. Santa Monica is a beach town about 15 miles West of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is 12 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, and there's about 25 more miles of Los Angeles further East, not to mention the entire San Fernando and San Gabriel valley, which are hotter.

Telling me that it's slighly under 80 at the beach makes me want to beat you with a ball-peen hammer.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We're having a heat wave

I hate heat. I really hate heat with humidity. I hate how I get when it's too freaking hot out: I just want to bite people. I do (thanks to my good friend and fellow heat-o-phobe Sue) have an air-conditioner, but when your building has been marinating in 100 plus temps for the better part of the day, the only AC that's going to make a difference better be the size of a Camaro.

This weekend was freaking NASTY. I hid out as I could, went to the movies and wished that I had a big old Cadillac to drive around in, one of those ones with the automatic climate control that basically throws shaved ice at you.

I cannot wait for winter, failing that, to get back to work with it's arctic AC.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kelley has posted an interview with me on Marina's blog asking me various and sundry questions, including what fragrances I would want if I was on stranded on a desert island.

Which brought up the notion, I think I'd go nuts on a desert island! No internet? No instant messaging? No iPod? No Netflix? No PHONE!?!?!

Worse yet, there would be all that sun! It may strike some of you as absurd that someone who went well out his way to go and live in sunny SoCal doesn't like direct sunlight, but I don't. My natural skin color makes a glass of part-skim look like a deep, dark savage tan, and I have learned long ago that there is no process natural or otherwise that's going to change that. I am also long past the age (ahem) where I am going to risk my ever more tenuous yoof on something as silly as a tan, so the few times I have been to a pool I have, to the merriment of my friends, basically covered up as much as a good Islamic female. Nothing showing. In the last few years of convertible ownership, the top didn't come down until the sun was well over the yard-arm, and the car was stocked with more sunscreen than your average Sephora. I am even beginning to come around to the idea that it's nicer when it gets dark earlier, since there's less of that nasty light I have to deal with.

Of course I am writing this huddled away, facing a long August holiday weekend where the temps will be unto the hundred mark, and I won't be at work in the heavy AC. Come winter, I will be whining that I hate coming home in the dark and the rain is depressing and I'm cold and I don't want to get out of bed in the morning, because although I do not tan, I do complain. I whinge therefore I am.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Celebrity Justice?

Lindsay goes to jail, for a day. Nicole goes to jail, for 82 minutes. The details of Mel Gibson's hate-fill drunken rant is released to the media, and the Sheriff's department want to punish the leaker.

Welcome to Celebrity Justice.

Want to bet what would have happened to you, me, or any other regular Joe if we habitually crash our cars without benefit of a license, get high and drive the wrong way on the freeway, or get blotto and refer to the arresting offices ethnicity in a manner better left to a Grand Wizard at a KKK meeting? Somehow I don't think it would be 82 minutes at Lynwood. Do you?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

random thoughts

Has anybody else noticed the commercials for, hosted by Stormy Simon? Is it hopelessly sexist that I cannot find someone named "Stormy" credible? Yeah, it is. Sorry Stormy.

I know this may be only from the perspective of a gay man, but those ubiquitous commercials for that dating service using "Everlasting Love" in its commercials bug me. Because of course, same sex couples aren't served by them. Back of the bus again....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I have a new instant addicton: Fox's new show "Anchorwoman"

It's the story of a lovely lady..

Well it's the story of Fox drumming up ratings by sending an awfully sweet but totally naive swimsuit model from LA to anchor the 5pm newscast at a station in Tyler, Texas. What makes it sooooo addictive is that nobody comes off unscathed: the model is an amusing ditz who is clearly there because of her blonde tanned breast to boost ratings and is clearly at sea, but the newspeople at the station don't fare better: for a station that has an elderly poodle doing the weather, they have a sense of self importance more inflated than the Hindenburg. Only Stormy the Weather Dog comes off unscathed, and then only because she seems embarrassed to be there. As should the denizens of Primetime at 5.

This just in:

Fox has pulled the plug on this after one episode, citing poor ratings. I might be the only person in the universe who cares.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The State of New York (A NY Post Moment)!

Floods! Tornados!

What's next? The Donald and Rosie kiss and make up? Can it be the Apocalypse?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I want my Gay TV

On digital cable it seems, Gay is the new black (as in "little black dress"). There are networks such as Logo and Here!, specialising in all gay, all the time programming. Now, I do not get digital cable, because I am A) cheap and B) don't want to deal with giving more money to whomever took over for the evil Adelphia for a cable box for my cable-ready TV, which translates as C) Cheap. Thanks to the miracle that is Netflix, however, I can sample some of the programming, such as the fairly excellent versions of the Donald Strachey books starring a yummy Chad Allen, and what showed up yesterday, a little something called Dante's Cove.

I somehow managed to receive season two, but luckily for me there was a recap: in season one witch Grace Neville discovers her soon to be hubby Ambrosious (!) being merrily cornholed by his manservant. This being the 1800's, there is neither divorce nor Jerry Springer, so she does the only conceivable thing a girl with the ability to kill by giving someone a really bitter look can do: use her powers from the magic religion tresum (tree limb? treetorn?? whatever..) she kills hotty butler and imprisons Ambrosius in the cellar dungeon, cursing him to a fate worse than death for a young hot 'mo: grey hair and the loss of his six-pack abs. The only way that he can reverse the spell and re-hotty himself is to lure some sweet young thing down there and get a kiss.

Needless to say by season two he has done so and is merrily stalking the blond hottie who gave him this kiss of life and trying to vanquish Grace, who (played with distinct glee by Dynasty's Tracy Scoggins) wants to best him at the solstice and send him back to wherever. Of course, blond hottie Kevin has problems of his own, what with being unable to commit to hunky Greek boyfriend Toby first because Ambrosious (now sparting a less idiotic hairdo and accent and insisting upon being called "'Bro" when he isn't strangling someone or throwing glowing read balls of energy at people- oh yeah, 'Bro, you blend) has literally put a spell on him and then, because, well Kevin's a bit of a slut. But 'Bro you see needs a supplicant, and apparently has a thing for blonds.

Grace meanwhile flounces around Dante's cove trance-channelling middle-to-late era Joan Crawford except with longer hair and less eyebrows: she has her supplicant in the form of lesbian artist/cutie Van, who is dabbling in Tree Stump to protect best friend Kevin from 'Bro's advances. Since she is a novice at this stuff she has already managed to cause the death of Renfield-like Cory as well as wiping any memory of Van's existence to her lover Michelle. Grace assures her that she will get better as time goes on. One can only hope.

That is the roundup from the first three episodes on Season two. Needless to say, this is great fun. The acting is mostly atrocious, ranging from the delightful scenery-chewing from Ms. Scoggins to the incredible woodenness of, well, everyone else. There is also a lot if simulated sex. I mean a lot. Apparently things in Dante's Cove are a little freer than it is in say, Ohio. Or Greenwich Village. Or for that matter, a bathhouse. The youngsters drop trou and offer a hot roll in it the way you and I would offer an Altoid, and Grace seems to be the only heterosexual to have set foot in this island since the 1800's. No wonder she's so annoyed....

Dante's Cove season three is in Post and will air on Here! in October, and I may have to upgrade to digital for the experience. Season one and two are available at Amazon or Netflix. If you ever wanted to see "Falcon Crest" acted by Colt models, then this Bud's for you...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I am addicted to the food network

My name is Pansy and I am an addict.

I have grown addicted to Food Porn.

The Food Network is the epitome of Food Porn. When you think about it, there is precious little information on the shows: no tips and tricks that would inform you a la Julia Child. Just a spate of shows where people in various states of atractiveness make dishes in gorgeous kitchens (either their own, like Paula Deen or Nigella Lawson or in a rented house, like Giada DiLaurentis or Ina Garten) using foodie code words like "meyer lemon". Now, as devoted foodies, we all know that a meyer lemon is indeed not a real lemon, but a hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin orange or tangerine. But it's constant appearance lately on the Food Network and on Bravo's nigh unto unwatchable "Top Chef" (where contestants are asked to create dinner for fifty using meyer lemon, cheez whiz and a kitchen match in ten minutes and then dissed for not being gourmet) makes it the Balsamic vinegar of the Oughts.

But I digress..

What makes most of the shows on the Food Network porn is the way it's filmed: a berry tart is lit and filmed in such succulent soft-focus Marlene Dietrich would be pea-green with envy. Nigella Lawson seperates her impossibly saffron-colored egg yolks in her lovely hands, with cuts to the look of transportive happiness on her beautiful face. Ina Garten toodles around a magically tourist-free East Hampton in her BMW convertible, picking up fresh bread or berries or apples from the locals, all of whom greet her by name so that she can whip up some lovely looking dish for her loving husband or hot Gay neighbor or the historical society. Giada DiLaurentis (all 12 pounds of her) whips up mounds of gorgeous semi-Italian meals while her husband bikes in the Santa Monica mountains when she's not maundering around Rome shopping for shoes and Gelato. Paula Deen does her good-ole-girl bit, making us think that perhaps a diet based upon mayo and butter is not such a bad idea.

There are of course far less successful shows on that network: I am not going to be one of those who diss Rachael Ray. Yes, the experienced cook will know that some of her meals will take thirty minutes only if served raw, but really, if she gets three people into the kitchen that's a good thing, right? Semi-Homemade with whatsherteeth (I've blocked it out) is far worse: I've seen about 5 episodes of that show and I swear that three of them involved desserts made from variations on the theme of store-bought angel cake, canned pie filling and canned frosting. No wonder she always has a strong drink recipe; I'd have to have a few stiff belts before sending that corn-syrup horror out to anyone I didn't actively despise. Speaking of a few stiff belts, the new show "Simply Delicioso" had a first episode involving a picnic on a boat. Fine, but the hostess made jello-shots and served both that and beer. To the pilot of the boat. I don't know the laws in Miami, but in California they actually run ads letting you know that boating and boozing is treated with the same wink and nod as drinking and driving: fines, jail time and the revocation of you license.

Having written this, I am still addicted. I will cheerfully sit through a "Nigella Feasts" that I have seen about six times and bask in Ms. Lawsons nutmeggy glow. I seriously want Ina Garten to adopt me or failing that, at least give me the hot Gay neighbors digits. I want Giada's diet tips. Or her metabolism. Certainly her dentist.

So here I am, Food Porn Addict. At least the schedule's changed and Nigella is on at 10:30. I might even get out of the house today....

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The iPhone

or, the Jesus phone, and why I won't be worshipping

Unless you have been in a coma for the past few days, you have surely heard of the new product introduced by Apple, the iPhone: a supremely elegant little device that will allow you to make phone calls, listen to your music, surf the net, watch movies, get directions, take, send and save pictures, keep your calendar, save cute kittens and stop the heartbreak of Psoriasis. Okay, the last two not so much.

First, a confession: I am an apple geek. I prefer my Mac to any Windows machine. I have three iPods that I have picked up over the years and have been really looking forward to this gadget. There are a few niggling complaints though (counting down the top 5):

5) It's AT&T

This may of course be locations specific: where I am the carrier formerly known as god(#^(*$)@& mo(*@^(#*)ing why can't I get a call through Cingular has coverage that is (ahem) less than ideal.

4) Apple's crappy headphones

You need to use the crap headphones that come with the phone to take advantage of the devices dual nature as cellphone/iPod. I loathe apples headphones; I don't know if everyone in Cupertino has ear cavities the size of dimes, but I don't and cannot get Apple's headphones to seat in my ears without them screaming in pain within 20 minutes or the damned things falling out, or both. So far, there is no adapter (such as a microphone base or something) that will allow me to use my headphones and still have phone functionality.

3) Cost and Capacity

It's $500 for 5 gigs of storage, $600 for 10. I have a 5 gig iPod mini. I have a Motorola KRZR that I got from Verizon for $49 with New-Every-Two. I also have 13 months left on my contract and no pressing reason to pay through the nose to have a new device that says "please mug me now". Movies and photos and music and contacts and whatever jammed onto 5 gigs. Call me when you're at 40.

2) No MP3 Ringtones

This is niggling but I like the fact that I can assign my very own ringtones to my friends and don't have to hear the same ones everyone else has: when I hear the muted sound of the theme to the TV show "The Avengers" I am relatively sure that it's my friend Bitsy- as it has been since my old V710. When I am driving I can decide to take the call because I know it's Bits and not some random fool. Of course I am sure that I can choose a custom tone from Apples no doubt large menu of stylish ringers, but if I can do this with my present phone, why not this one? Which leads me past niggling to the absolute deal breaker:

1) No voice-dialing

You might be thinking "but Pansy, that's not such an issue!". Well, you would be wrong. My KRZR, like my Moto V710 before it had this feature and it is not just a convenience, it's a critical safety feature. Which person do you prefer to be speeding down the highway? The one desperately trying to tap out a phone number on a virtual keyboard (god knows how it will wash out in direct sunlight) with no tactile feedback so you have to take and keep your eyes off the road? Even wearing your Bluetooth headphone? Or the person who taps the earpiece, says "Call. Bitsy. Mobile. Yes." and is connected? I simply cannot believe that with the new hands-free laws coming to California that Jobs let this one out of the gate without voice-dialing built in and built better.

I know that's it's exclusive to AT&T and likely to stay that way= some of the cool features are network-dependant. I know the battery cannot be removed and that you will have to send the thing into Apple for its inevitable replacement, meaning that you will be phoneless for how long? I even know that Apple has a long history of releasing devices that are ground-breaking but overpriced and usually anout 85% perfect. Maybe by the time my contract is up with Verizon the iPhone will be at 95 or even 100%. In the man time I'll save my pennies...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

It's my birthday and I'll whine if I want to

Well, the actual day has not happened yet, but close enough. For those believers in Astrology, I don't know if I represent the typical Gemini: I'd like to think I'm eloquent and witty. Youthful and lively is open to debate (and boy does that page make Gemini's look bad...) I did get a birthday gift from a (passive-agressive) friend: An LL Cool J workout book, two small bottle of sex tonic from elixr and a GoSmile whitener travel pak. I am trying not to internalise that gift that much, but am I totally wrong in feeling that it's telling me that I need to work out, my teeth are bad, and, since I have not complained of erectile dysfunction to said friend that if I manage to ensnare some hapless guy it will take not one but two seperate love potions to keep him from gnawing his own limbs off to escape the flabby, yellow-teethed horror that is your Pansy?

Her birthday is in two weeks. I need votes on what to get her: AARP membership? Trial membership to Curves? Small bottle of Strivectin and a paint roller? Suggestions are appreciated....

I recieved a note today from a friend who used to blog (as Cantankerous Bitch) and whose writings I miss. She blogged about politics, and since we are in synch politically, I wasn't going to be offended. Well, that's not quite accurate, since she would draw my attention to the latest outrage that pinheads like Savage or Coulter would be babbling about which is calculatedly guaranteed to outrage. But I miss her writing and directed her to do what I do:

Write about random crap! It's as thereaputic as muttering to yourself and when done epistolarily is entertaining to others rather than just drawing strange looks, as does actual muttering.

A bluetooth headset will stave off those looks, btw. No phone needed, just the headset.

Of course you are wondering where, if anywhere this is going. You maybe even thinking "Nowhere fast, bub!"

Well, as I am careering towards middle age, I have noticed that my usual skin care regimen (washing my face then ignoring it) wasn't cutting it. I have loads of freebies from department stores that have I assume pretty much expired and have a couple of pots of Kiehls stuff but have for years just not really done much to care for my skin (I know! BAD HOMO! MOISTURIZE). Luckily the genetic crapshoot (or perhaps my star sign: Youthful! Lively!) had given me good skin, but a couple of weeks ago I caught myself in a mirror with the right light and it was a little Quaid around the edges, and not in a good way.

I decided that I would not go quietly into that good night. Hell, I don't go quietly anywhere, why start now? I had previously used a black soap from Erno Laszlo which I had inherited (ahem) and remembered that I liked how it cleaned, so off to Nordstrom I went. I had some memory of the line, since it was a staple of my mom's generation. Just for the heck of it, I got "clocked" (at 1pm) and got a travel/starter kit on eBay from seller hatr61 and was off to the races: two weeks later I am looking a lot better. Of course this could be the fact that I doing anything and the two hundred bucks I dropped on that pile of "gooke de femme" as Joe Keenan puts it is as much a placebo as that new diet drug Alli (really the antabuse of diet drugs- if you know that french fry is going to cause explosive diarrhea in the middle of a board meeting, you'd eat your veggies and skip the duck-fat sorbet, right?), but I don't think so: laugh lines are back to being only when I laugh and the tone is evening out.

Vain? You betcha. Didn't you read the Gemini profile? Geesh!

If you are interested, Erno Laszlo products are available at Nordstrom, Neimans and Bergdorfs, as well as of course the Erno Laszlo website, where you can be "clocked" to find your skin type. I don't expect any freebies from the company, but like I wrote earlier, I can be bought. Just not cheaply..

Friday, June 08, 2007

Not pretty.

Not funny either.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Apple iPhone is coming out right around my birthday. Do I want it? Do I breathe?

Do I need it? Well, no. I have a perfectly servicable cell and a contract that runs for 16 more months with Verizon, and an iPod of my own.

So if there are any mystery shoppers out there, a bottle of Fleurs de Sel will be fine..

Just in case you're flush and out of ideas...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell is off "The View"

After her heated exchange with a co-host, Rosie is off the show. I know a lot of people for some reason hate Rosie O'Donnell. They say she's opinionated, crass and loud... and she is. So's Donald Trump and I don't see him engendering so much enmity- and he's as loud a liberal. What he is not is a woman. A gay woman at that.

Here's to you, Rosie: keep shooting from the hip!

Image from Sons and Daughters in Touch, a worthy group that care for the headstones of fallen soldiers for people who live too far from those graves to do so themselves

Memorial Day

As we are all enjoying our long holiday I think that we should think for a moment about our soldiers presently serving in harms way. No matter what we feel about the situation in Iraq, I think we can all agree to say a silent prayer (or just send golden beams of light if you're an athiest) that these men and women return safe... and soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I've just come back from a screening of an important new documentary on Darfur, The Devil Came on Horseback. It's a fascinating and informative film about a subject that I believe most people don't know a lot about: the genocide in the Sudan. Told through the eyes, story and most importantly photographs taken by young ex-Marine Brian Steidle while he spent six months as a military observer for the Afircan Union without being overtly politically slanted towards the right or left, it does ask what it will take for all of us to stop the ongoing horrors being perpetrated by the Sudanese govenment against the black African Sudanese in Darfur.

Check your elected leaders' record on Darfur

450,000 are dead
2.5-3 billion have been displaced

To put that into perspective for you, that is around the population of New Orleans Dead and3/4th of the state of Louisiana (or the population of Chicago) displaced. Think about that for a minute.

Oh, and it's still goin on...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Common Courtesy and the TV Commercial

There is a Liberty Mutual commercial that features people performing random acts of kindness, like pulling someone back from dashing out into traffic or allowing someone to take a parking space. Of course, doing these things one would hope be second nature and perhaps that is the point of the commercial. The question is, why isn't it? Have we become, as a nation, so self centered that simple good manners and common courtesy is as rare as jade? I'd like to think not- even if reality TV aspires to convince us that if Chivalry is not dead, it's barely hanging on...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What is it about his country?

I just saw another ad for that worthy ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" for the next episode where they swoop in and build a large house with a sub-zero and a sun porch and a plasma TV for one lucky family touched by tragedy. All I could think of was, is this where we're at? The gulf coast is still in ruins, a Kansas town is leveled (and our President waits 5 days until visiting, because dinner with the Queen takes four days of prep, apparently) and this is the end result: if you are lucky or telegenic, Ty Pennington will drop in to build you a new house. The National Guard is off in Iraq, whose government is taking a two months vacation while letting us run their war and sacrifice out children to the great god Oil. What realy strikes me is that these are "Red States" and this is the treatment they get. I can only imagine how long it will take for help to get here when the big one hits.

Note to Ty: I photograph decently and have a really photogenic godchlld.

And a desire for a Viking range.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Paris Hilton is going to jail

Alex, I'll take schadenfreude for a hundred..

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Year of Sniffing Dangerously

For the three of you that are reading this blog that are not coming in from one of the perfume blogs may not have read about the latest scandale in the perfume blogger world: PayolaGate! I gather the gist of it that some blogger was offered cash and prizes to write nice things about some random perfume, then apparently questioned when other bloggers liked it. Were they paid?

I wish the original person would weigh in with A) what company it was and B) how much they were offered, because lets face it, unless the offer was made via smoke signals or a trenchcoat-wearing parking lot encounter, there has to be a paper, cyber, or phone trail to back up the bloggers claim.

But no, now it has become a dust-up that's almost laughable. Laughable because I know at least a few of these bloggers, some personally, and I don't see any of them suddenly buying a castle in France. Or more importantly, buying a castle in France and mentioning that they will need the culinary, artistic and conversational skills of your dear Pansy, so quit that job and here's a ticket to France on LVMH.

Note to any perfume companies out there: I may be able to be had. But to quote Margo Channing: "I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut."

Any takers? Didn't think so...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A quintessentially Los Angeles moment...

Walking down Beverly Boulevard after having some ice cream at "Milk": a muscular semi-biker dude chatting on his cell phone on a smoke break. Bicepts bigger than my head, tattoos, ripped jeans, painted on blue-grey t-shirt and biker boots.

And foils because he's having his highlights touched up.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Five trends that must be stopped

5: Uggs

I know the reason that these have stuck around for so long: face it, if all your life the only thing it was chic to wedge your tootsies into were heels, you'd be thrilled that something this comfortable was in fashion. Unfortuanatly, these clunky suede boots are hideous, and completely ridiculous worn someplace like Los Angeles. I'll bet they're looked upon as ridiculous in Australia.

4: Low-hanging pants. I had thought that this statement would have died off years ago, but I am still seeing it on young men. They apparenty feel it makes them look Gansta, but it really makes them look like the recent recipient of a gang-bang. Not butch. Oh, and kids? One day much quicker than you'd like your ass will be down that far naturally. Enjoy having a high, tight one while you can.

3: Tummy tops. Especially if you have a tummy. Girls, they make Paris Hilton look like she has a gut. Those of you who don't exist on a diet of Tequila and Marlboro Lites are not going to be well served by this look.

2: Juicy Couture. I don't know about you, but im my neighborhood they are usually worn by people about whom the possibility of being thought of as "Juicy" dried up during the Carter Administration, or by young girls who want to look sporty, like they were about to work out at any moment. Of course, noboby would dare actually do something as outre as sweat in these. Usually worn with a t-shirt with the logo of that notorious anti-Semite, Von Dutch, which also needs to stop.

1: Bluetooth headsets worn when you aren't at the wheel. You may think that it makes you look important and ready to work. It really makes you look like some dementer Lieutenant Uhura impersonator. Stop it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

March at PerfumePosse went out, in the middle of the worst Nor'Easter in history to post a very witty FU to eBay today, so I am linking to it. Because of all of the traffic I get here.

For those of you who have not heard, eBay has decided that perfume decanters can no longer sell their wares on that site. Apparently, some manufacturer got testy. Well, luck for us, the dacanters in question have decided to give a hearty FU to eBay and are setting up their own websites to sell decants.

The question as to why manufacturers would even care boggles the mind: not everyone lives in a city that has department stores that stock this stuff. Even if they do, some people might not want to brave the sometimes rude sales people who are going to try to force them to buy the latest SarahJenniferBritney while they are merely trying to see if the new Bond No9 is really worth that astronimical price.

Personally, I have rarely bought anything that was not from a decant first. I live literally a mile from Neiman-Marcus, Saks, Barneys and Rodeo Drive, less than a mile from Robertson Boulevards tony shops and a little over two miles from the nice people at ScentBar, Apothia and Santa Maria Novello, and I still bought decants. Why? Because sometimes I don't want to have to ask. I want it shipped to my house so I can smell it, live with it, then show up at any of the above mentioned stores and buy.. and I have bought. So who is the loser here? When it comes right down to it, the manufacturers. The rumor is that Bond No9 was one of the ones creating the biggest stir. Well, they are dead to me. I don't especially like the sales people at Saks (where it's sold in Los Angeles), I don't have a charge there and they are look at you when you ask for a sample as if you'd asked them for their kidney, braised in white wine and capers.

So if it's true, Bond, you've just become that much more exclusive. Congrats on that.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Well, we saw. Suddenly "Top Design" got a good review for an episode that frankly was not very interesting. Of course, they had to snark about Kelly Wearstler latest hair-and-fashion cry for a 48 hour stay under clinical observation. But really, who could avoid it? What's next week? Baby Jane ringlets coupled with a tube top and skort? Bride of Frankenstein 'do with pasties and a bustle? Culottes, peasant top and a pink Afro?

Really, isn't there some point where a contestant is just going to tell this woman that when she looks like one of the ghouls in "Carnival of Souls" (albeit tanned) that maybe her design ideas are kindsa suspect?


Well, "Work Out" is back, so that's something...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Whither Bravo?

It has been announced that one of my favorite websites, Television Without Pity has been acquired by Bravo. Whether this will cause TWoP to suddenly decide that Top Design is suddenly not sliding into an unwatchable snooze, we'll just have to see. But the picture of the Bravo Pres says more "Diss my shows and I will eat your dog" than it does "Welcome to the Family"

Is it me, or do these shows become more and more silly as time goes on? Top Design so far is the worst: you thought those chefs were megalomaniacs? Take a gander at some of the venal pinheads on this show. Goil has been vaguely human, and even he is skating close to the edge. Judges? Oy. Do they make their judgements using tea leaves or just rely on a Magic 8 Ball?

Worse yet, Bravo seems to think that once they have one of these series, they must repeat it endlessly: I never bother to stay up and watch the first showing of anything on that network. I know that merely channel surfing I will be seeing Goil a'weeping away for like the next three months. Perhaps years if there is a sophmore season.

Of course, Bravo knows a good thing when they see it. They seize the opprortunity. What's sad is that they not only seize it, they strangle it, truss it up, cook it and force you to eat the leftovers. Forrever. Next up is something called Shear Genius, which seems like a less interesting mix of the usual formula of Top Whatever and Oxygens surprisingly watchable and peppy Tease. This looks interesting only because A) Jaclyn Smith has made a deal with the devil (I've seen her at my local Coffee Bean and she looks 35 tops) and B) they did not involve either unbearbly grating Jonathon Antin or the obnoxious dude he fired in the first season of his show.

I like Bravo, I really do. I've watched it since it only had reruns and James Lipton. I seriously want to marry Tim Gunn, or failing that have him adopt me, a la "Auntie Mame". but really guys, stop it. Before there's "Top Poodle Groomer" or "Top Grocery Bagger"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Notes on catering

Having friends who are far more creative and successful than I, I manage to be invited to a lot of catered events. As someone who semi-semi-demi-professionally caters, this is not only an opportunity to stuff my face, it's also an opportunity to baldly steal ideas and diss the talents of other caterers.

Tonight was such an evening. I went to a screening of a new HBO film called "Addiction" at the Hammer Museum in Westwood (It's a fascinating, hopeful and difficult look at people facing and sometimes dying due to addiction: difficult because the insurance industry does not want to cover treatment of these people, hopeful because there are treatments out there and some people who traditionally overlooked addiction are facing it head-on, such as the union of construction workers in the movie. It's well worth seeing, and if you don't get HBO it's available as streaming video or podcast at their website). The person who invited me, in addition to being an Emmy-nominated producer is my partner-in-crime, and co-conspirator in the catering biz. Well, biz is like writing that I pump my own gasoline, so I am clearly General Motors. We do it for friends, we do it for parties, we do it because the actual act of coming up with the menus, sitting around chopping stuff up while watching HGTV and enjoying each others company while creating that most basic of human need: sustinence is such a wonderfully and singularly enjoyable part of our decades-long friendship that I don't think either one of use would trade it for the moon. It's Zen, with a balsamic reduction.

in any case. my notes on catering. (this is mostly for cocktail partied, where the servers are wandering around with trays- not that I've ever had them)

Usually, I think that one should serve things that should be a one bite affair. Tonight broke that rule, but did it with a mini-burger with a beensy onion crisp and a blob of gorgonzola, so I forgive them. I am also stealing that. But I think I will serve it not on a bun, but wrapped in a bit of bitter lettuce, like rocket. I don't want to bake 200 tiny little buns.

I also don't think you should be served things that leave evidence behind, like skewers or bones. Nothing makes you look more like a hog than having a pile of skewers like Lincoln Logs or a pile of chicken wing bones like some out-take from "Apocalypto". Of course, if you have a buffet, this is less of an issue, if you have a descreet place to let people to offload the remnants.

Anything wrapped in bacon is going to make everyone absurdly happy. Even jaded foodies. Trust me. Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts have been known to evince marriage proposals.

People in magazines will tell you that cold Polenta is an appetizer. Do not believe them. Cold polenta is like cold mashed potatoes. It says "I'm not trying" Cold polenta tossed in a bit of cornstarch and black pepper and quickly sauteed in a hot pan however says "not only am I trying, I'm trying to impress" They stay in a warm oven very well and like all of these can be on a buffet, with small picks for the delicate.

Fondue is never over (for small gatherings, it's unwieldy for say over 8). It's melted cheese, people: in a perfect world this would be available on streetcorners, with cubed day-old sourdough....

Hot should be hot and cold should be cold. You can even do hot outside and cold inside. Lukewarm is never good. Lukewarm duck on lukewarm whateverthatpancakewas with a dab of hoison sauce (lukewarm) are not going to make people happy. Freshly sauteed mini quesadilla (which I have cooked on a $9 gas stove I bought in Little Tokyo) served with home-made guacamole and home-made salsa will make people very happy indeed, and will cost a lot less. However, quesadillas with brie and fig will just get you a really bitter look. From me.

If you are serving shrimp (they didn't, this is just a general guideline), there must be no part of the shell when it gets to the diner. By all means cook it in the shell, it's more flavorful that way. But nobody wants to perform major surgery on their canape, getting sauce all over themselves in the process. All it says when you serve it shell-on is that you are hoping that you can at least slow the diner down from eating your expensive appetizer in the fond hope they'll hit the mixed nuts. Better to buy those baby shrimp and make them into a salad: the last catering I did I made an Asian salad out of bay shrimp with lime zest and juice, fresh and pickled mango, shallot, rice vinegar and sesame oil, served on endive spears. Nobody felt cheaped out, and I didn't break the budget.

Since it's 11pm here, I'll wrap this rather random post up.

Last bit of advice? Serve liquor. They didn't. Hello, it was called "Addiction"! What were they going to serve? Oxycontin Martinis? What does that say that that sounds kind of refresing at the moment? Hmmm....

Failing that, for the budget minded, Miss Mapp had the right idea, sort of. Sangria can turn a couple of bottles of two-buck-chuck, some fruit, soda and spices into a gallon or so of a beverage so delightfully refreshing no guest will feel you've cheaped out.

And with that, Sue Ann Nivens retires...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The news is bad

You might ask yourself "what is this"? It's a grainy cell phone picture of an accident that happened the other day a couple blocks away, in the early evening. I was on my way to the post office to get my latest Netflix package in for the last post (because I am obsessive about milking that membership dry) when I heard about 8 bazillion police cars a block away. Now, I am not a normally bloodthirsty person, but I wsa curious what was going on in my quiet residential naighborhood. This silver Mazda somehow managed to jump the curb and plow into a house on Oakhurst Drive. Newsworthy, huh? I would think so: it's not usual for cars to enter the living rooms of houses. Not unheard of, but not usual. I dutifully emailed it to the local newspaper, who didn't care to run with the story. Oddly, neither did the teeny throw-away Beverly Hills paper. The TV news of course didn't, since the Action McNewsTeam Helicopter wasn't right on the scene, or more likely perhaps Lindsay Lohan wasn't driving the car. I know what Britneys pubes look like, I know every detail of the sad saga of Anna Nicole Smith, and I feel as if I should have my own Oscar, what with all of the recaps (L. O. V. E. Helen Mirren, but can we move along?). What I don't know is why a car took out the corner and red-tagged a house firmly in the heart of 90210.

Thanks, Fourth Estate.

Friday, February 23, 2007

You of course have read or heard about pinhead Tim Hardaway and his rant about gay people. If you have not seen Gay actor and activist George Takei's response, click through. Oh, Mr. Sulu, I totally want to buy you a drink!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bravo's newest show is "Top Designer". I am so far not being sucked in as much as with Top Chef, but that still might happen. Top likes? Goil, who is as cute as a button. Top dislikes? Hate to say it, but Todd Oldham's spray-tan and his line readings: his interactions with people are fine, but his reading of the scripted lines is oddly sing-song.

Oh, and I am sorry but Kelly Wearstler can no longer judge anybody. Not with that hellish crimped 'do she showed up in for episode four. Kelly, sweetie, Heart lost that look in the 80's, k?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The ever dutiful Downtown News has noted that the Grand Avenue project adjecent to the new Disney Hall has been approved by the city of Los Angeles. including a lot of tax breaks. Specifically, there is a subsidy to the hotel portion of the project that existing hotels such as the Bonaventure (a fixture in downtown) objects to.

Seems to me that there is a desire to get some more press-worthy projects in downtown before the news gets out that the bubble has already burst. Seriously, houses with actual land are languishing in neighborhoods that are already gentrified, you think that your vaporware housing in downtown are going to attract buyers? Make me an offer...

The 7th annual Basenotes awards are in, and I am happy to write that the blog I contribute to Perfume Smellin' Things has taken the bronze medal for perfume blogs. I am very happy for Columbina's achievement, and proud of my small contribution to it. The Gold and Silver winners as well as all the worthy nominees are at the Basenotes site. One of these days when I get back East, I am totally making these ladies meet me at the Algonquin for cocktails!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentines Day!!

In a perfect world, all of us would be coming home to Vin Diesel (well you can insert your desired hunk here) with a little something from Sweet Lady Jane (Victoria, if you are reading this we totally have to go next time you're up here) who will retire to run a nice bath for us while we munch.

It's not a perfect world, but I think I might just stop by on the way home

I hope all of you have a lovely V-Day!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sniffapalooza came to LA this past weekend, and of course I had to attend. I will of course be posting about it on Columbina's Blog.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith died today. I thought I'd let you know that, just in case you have not checked any other sort of media in the past eight hours. Whatever you think of Anna Nicole, it is sad that she died so young, and that her son died at such a young age: that must have been incredibly hard for her. I'd need something serious to deal with that. Like a vodka drip. Sad.

Now that I have gotten that rare bit of niceness out of the way, can the media please move on from this? It's now 10:32 PM PST, and except for the weather, the 10 pm news has been All Anna Nicole, All The Time. I liked Anna Nicole, but this is not Princess Diana or Mother Theresa or Marilyn Monroe. Interviewing Z-list celebrities about it isn't going to make it less sad, pointless and vaguely squalid.

Sadly, the craptaclarization of the news has moved from West to East. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was appalled at the local news. We had local newscasters who would read the teleprompter with apparently not thinking- and god knows who wrote it? Two of the most memorable quotes: "Heavy snow in Chicago and other parts of the northeast" (which I suppose can be explained by the fact that quite a few here don't know anything that's East of Central Avenue; some never go east of Lincoln), and the corker: some botoxed baloon-head nattering on about "the leaning Tower of Pizza, France's most famous monument". The last time I was in New York, I noticed as a former resident that the talking heads they have now make Bill Boggs look like Edward R. Murrow. The reason for this rant? I went to the BBC news website to try to make the point that there is important news out there. That we are far too tuned into the culture of celebrity, and the Brits are showing how it's done.

On the BBC homepage? "Former Playmate Smith dies at 39", higher up on the page than both the LA and NY Times. Right next to it in the right rail? "What fashion tip has Donatella Versace given Hillary Clinton?"

I guess we get the news we deserve.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pansy's Fun Facts

For the past few years I have had on the back burner the idea of getting Dual-Citizenship. One of the fun parts of having had a set of grandparents who emigrated from Ireland is the fact that I can (with some research) apply for Irish citizenship. The benefits? I can live, buy property and more importantly work in the EU. After I leave the US on my American Passport, I can travel on the Irish one (which I suppose would be helpful since everyone in the rest of the world hates us). The only hitch? All of the documentation. I've gotten my birth certicate, the birth, marriage and death certificates of my parents, and the death certificates of my maternal grandparents. Now I need to get the birth certificates for my grandparents and their marriage certificate. Sadly, I didn't pay enough attention to Mom's stories about my grandparents (long dead when I was a kid: we seem to be people who marry late, breed later and die young) so I don't know what part of Ireland they were born in, and when they were married. Things being what they were, the "city" where I grew up barely can get it together to get the names right on the death certificates, much less note the birthplace. For some reason I'd really like to do this: I'm very proud of my English family that went to the new world and founded a random town in Connecticut on the way to the Airport, but somehow getting this dual citizenship thing will honor my mother's side.

Wish I knew someone in Ireland..

Pansy's Rants

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Top Design" has come to Bravo. You thought "Project Runway" was gay? The not-so-naked lust Ilan had for Sam the diabetic-hottie chef on "Top Chef" was gay? "Top Design" makes them all look like "Bassmaster".

I may be hooked.

I think from now on I call the network BravMo

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Video Store Effect

The four of you who peruse this blog know about my devotion to smelling good, and perhaps know (since I ceaslessly flog it) that I post on Perfume Smellin' Things as a guest poster. But I also have to give a shout out to March and Patty at Perfume Posse and Ina at Aromascope as well as one of Columbina's other guest posters Kelley, who have amused me with their wit and wisdom, and who have sent me stuff to sniff. As a matter of fact, looking at the some of the swag some of you guys have sent me, it seems that I am seriously behind in actually reviewing these. Well, it's partly the Video store effect: the idea that in a room full of videos, you can't decide which one you want. Actually it's performance anxiety: so many of you (and not just the ones that I have made my lazy a$$ link to) give such lyrical, evocative, transportive prose I feel like Danielle Steele reading the New York Review of Books, to quote Columbina "in a corner, nervously smoking"

But you all have been so generous (and damn these little vials smell fabulous) I promise to try to be as fractionally entertaining and informative as you all are. This is not you're cue to chime in with comments about how great I am. Really.

Oh who am I kidding?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ageing Sucks, part deux

One of the things I've gotten over the years are migrane headaches. These are less than fun. While there are people who would argue that there is some irony in me getting them, since I am usually the cause of headaches there are few things less amusing than laying in the dark wishing that those nasty little men tromping on your brain in the spiked shoes weren't making you want to puke as well. About a year and a half ago, after a spate of them, I made a radical change of diet, eliminating most wheat, booze, blah, blah, blah. The desired results were weight loss and that was one of the results. One of the side effects that I noticed after a month or so? No migranes. Real? Imagined? Placebo effect? Who knows. I have read that alcohol can be a trigger (ooooh, foreshadowing!)

Of course, after a while the siren call of fettuccine alfredo and chardonnay lured me in. I've gained some weight back. Last night I met friends for drinks. One glass of wine and I knew that I had about 30 minutes to get home before the pounding and the nausea started in (it didn't help that the place was REALLY LOUD). I got home and dealt with it.

No more Cream of Wheat for me....

Friday, January 26, 2007

Perfume-Smellin' Things is having a vivacious discussion today about, among other things, Philly Cheese Steaks. Poor Columbina's Philly-born husband waxed so poetic about them to his bride when they lived in England that when confronted with the reality of white bread, cheez whiz and beef scragglings she was thoroughly perplexed. I've had one, and I can understand both sides of the story- there's something so thoroghly American about this sort of food that foreigners just never get (As we look on in horror at their beloved treats). From cheese steaks in Philly, chili dogs from Pink's in Los Angeles, giant wedges of greasy pizza bought at a vendor on Second Avenue (or an artery-clogging but yummy deep-dish slice on Wabash) to a butter burger and a banana malt from Sully's in Milwaukee, we have a whole country full of high-fat, high calorie comfort food.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Despite my gourmet tendencies (yes, I am a big foodie, I live and breathe Cooks Illustrated and I think Nigella Lawson should have a religion founded around her), I have a weakness for one of these: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The kind in the box. The kind with the powder. Made with margarine, not butter. It has as much to do with real Mac & Cheese (which I also make from scratch, and I have outside evidence that it's pretty damned good) as a roll of plaid shelf paper has to do with a Monet, but it has a sharply compelling industrial taste to it that for me has its own weird allure.

Now that y'all are silently judgeing me, c'mon: what's your favorite bad food?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Anne Heche has allegedly broken up with her husband of seven years. Shockingly, it's for another man!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Time Warner Cable has customer service that makes Adelphia seem like being cared for by your loving grandmother. Cable has been out in my area for the past 3 hours, and all of TW's customer representative have moved to Alpha Centauri or something. After being cut off 10 times, I have now been on hold for about an hour and a half.

Monday I call the dish network people.

Is it any better where you live?

It's on!

Hillary has joined Barack Obama in throwing her hat in the ring for a Presidential Exploratory Committee. I'm shaking with both glee and mirth. I hope one of them is the top dog and immediately nominates the other one for VP. Can you imagine how certain people's head would explode? Not to put too fine a point on it, but the presence of either as Veep would make the president assasination-proof: hate having the evil Hillary as president? How'd you like the black guy? Or vice-versa. I know, I know, everyones going to say that there's no way either one of them can possibly win, and blah, blah, blah. Well, I don't necessarily disagree on some levels, but still, you are not going to be able to chisel the grin off my face this weekend.

I may have to use my meager PhotoShop skills to mock up a number sticker:

Hillary/ Obama '08
Red States worst f$%^ing nightmare!