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...