Thursday, July 31, 2008

Project Runway Series 5

You knew it was going to happen- series 5 has hit before it defects to a rival network.  So far there are a bunch of people who seem less interesting than the past seasons, and only two who are in the running for "most obnoxious": the first is "Suede" who refers to himself in the third person, as in "'Suede' would like a bagel."  "In this competition, 'Suede' has no equal" or in my words, "Suede" needs to be slapped, hard and long.  But elbowing "Suede" out of the way in the Obnoxioso sweeps surely must be the audibly tanned (props to Fran Lebowitz) Blayne.  If only because his caramel colored skin and blond-wood hair resemble a rumpus room from "The Ice Storm".  I want to feed him a Roofie, dye his hair brown and spread a thin layer of Jolen Creme Bleach on his skin, watch him tenderly as he slumbers and upon his awakening gently, sweetly hand him a mirror.

But that's not because I am bitter and old.  No.


You may have heard about the fiasco with .Mac/MobileMe. Basically Apple decided that they would roll out this new service at around the same time they would intro the new iPhone. Of course many people had problems, including me. Apple reports that all of the problems are fixed, and that I'm not one of the 1% affected. Except for the fact that I can't email anyone. Oh, that's not true, I can email people from my Yahoo! account. The one that doesn't cost me $99 per year. Think I'll be renewing? I think not.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On Shaky Ground...

We had an Earthquake today, centered in Chino Hills. It shook the complex I work in, which was interesting- the 20's part of the building was moving in a slightly different direction than the 70's portion. Really no more damage than some frayed nerves and a few fallen ceiling tiles. But it's a reminder of what can befall Southern California literally without warning.

Personally, having lived in areas with Tornadoes, Hurricanes, brutal winters and Koch-era Times Square, I prefer the quakes. They come without warning and you're either dead or you're not. For me, that beats huddling in the cellar waiting for the storm to pass....and no that's not (just) me being flip, I've been there.  I've lived through one of the smaller big ones and the damage while expensive wasn't as widespread as say the damage from Katrina.  Yes, people in '94 died (72 to be exact), but most people were simply inconvenienced.  I remember that year there was a killing cold snap in the Northeast that winter.  Frankly, I still would rather be picking up the stuff in my apartment that had fallen over with no heat in shirtsleeves than freeze.

But I truly do want to thank all of the people who emailed me to ask if everything is okay, I really appreciate it.  Yes, it's a bizarre and singular experience to be sitting in a building and feel it do a shimmy that I'm too old to pull off.  Our mastery of this planet is an illusion, and sometimes Mother Nature gives us a little nudge to remind us.  Luckily, this was a love tap.

And no, thank goodness, no Bell Jars were harmed in this adventure....


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Smell good...

Okay, I don't kid myself about how many people read this blog or are waiting with bated breath for my latest rant.  But can I just write how much I am in love with this scent?  I wrote on Marina's site about how much I enjoyed it; this was after having it for a week.  Much like finding, or better recognising that a casual acquaintance will be a lifelong friend or that a momentary passion could be a lifelong love I think that this one will be as much a permanent part of my own collection (and daresay a hit for Annick Goutal) as Eau d'Hadrien.  That's saying (well writing...) a lot.  Annick Goutal was arguably the first Niche perfumer, surfacing in the very early 80's in the Americas, for me at Bergdorf Goodman in an era when more was decidedly more.  I've certainly exhaustively covered the whole era here, so there's no need to rehash.  I've also written about the other three in the Orientalistes line here, any one of which are not only worthy additions to the line, but a balls out (pardon the phrase) notice that not only is Annick Goutal is BACK, but she ain't taking a backseat to anyone.  Frederick Malle?  Serge Lutens?  L'Artisan?  Uhh, yes, she is looking at you.

Musc Nomade is divine: a skin that you want to wear, smooth, tanned and slightly salt-licked.  Scrupulously clean but ripe and succulent, and with not one extra note to detract from your own fabulousness.

Available only at the lovely and kind Miss Tio's website, as are so many delights, but for the life of me I can't find where?  If I hear from her I'll update..

PS- this is an aside to posting on Marina's site, I just don't think that repeats should post there.  In this case the repeat was worthy..

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What's Your Mileage?

I've noticed that a lot of new car ads mention the purported mileage of whatever model they are touting: I.E. "The new Belchfire 6000 (props to AutoExtremist)  gets the best mileage of all SUV's over 6000 lbs when ordered without A/C and when pointed downhill with the wind in the sails.

My own car, which was built back when one airbag was a big deal and crash tests were less lax gets about 36 MPG city and 45 highway since it weighs about three pounds and is made of tinfoil and fond hopes.  Even with that my urge to drive to Santa Barbara for lunch has been curtailed.  I wonder that the spectre of $5.00 a gallon gas has been brought home to us all, and that has breached a psychic levee for us as a nation; the price of oil has dropped, and gas in LA has dropped to under $4.50 a gallon.  That price could go further south (and since it's an election year no doubt will), but I find myself acting as if that $5.00 gas is an ever present threat: I want to see cars that get at least 30 mpg city before I would buy; my previous fantasy cars have gone from a Z-4 to a Smart Cabrio.  The last time I filled up my lilliputian gas tank cost $34.00.  Which sounds like nothing to the owner of a Hummer, especially since I was on fumes, but I remember when it was less than half that.  My bill at the grocery store has doubled too.  Oddly, my salary has not.  Has yours?


Monday, July 21, 2008

Movie Madness

I just saw the last "Batman" movie (the first one with Christian Bale) and I liked it, except for one small scene.  It's one that has been done in other (usually cheesier) movies.  Subway/elevated train car goes out of control and crashes in station, taking out many, many of the beams supporting the station until the train cars come to a rest.

Note to the FX people: I'm not an engineer or a rocket scientist or nothing, but I am relatively sure that something that's basically an aluminum tube would not take out something that's designed to hold up a building.  Not at the speed of your average subway car.  That would be somewhat like me backing up my Civic and accidentally knocking over the Washington Monument...

Picture: MIT

Kath and Kim are coming to America..

Sadly not this Kath and Kim. These two are the real, the original ones from the hoot-and-a-half Australian show which could briefly be seen by the six of you who had Trio, the digital-cable station that flared briefly and died too soon. NBC is doing a new version which looks to have drained any of the humor of the Aussie version.

Why do they do these? Who knows. I am sure that there are layers of stuff that, not being from down under I am missing. The sad thing is that American TV rarely manages to take one of these and better them by Americanizing them. Here's hoping that someone from Australia takes pity upon us poor yanks and offers a region-free DVD of this series and soon. Or better yet, Bravo could shove aside one of the 8 bazillion repeats of "Date my Ex" to show this gem..


image: New Zealand Herald

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brini is back!!

For the two of you who haven't seen her in action, Brini Maxwell has decided to grace us with snippets from her old NYC cable-access show via iTunes! Each episode is great fun, and I guarantee you'll end up taking copious notes. Also available is season one of her show on the criminally short-sighted Style network (uhh, where is season two, people?) as well as her book, Brini Maxwell's Guide to Gracious Living.

Brini Maxwell is the devilishly clever creation of New York actor Ben Sander. Coming across somewhat as Sue-Ann Nivens on acid, Brini delivers surprisingly helpful tips and tricks for those of us who, unlike such home-improvement divas like Martha Stewart, sadly lack 14 room houses, 7-figure incomes and hordes of (off-screen) gay boys devoted to keeping the copper pots clean. Brini's original show was shot in her tiny New York apartment, and was devoted to showing all of us how to make a small space cheerful, welcoming, and surprisingly chic. Brini whips up everything from Janet Lee's meatloaf to Dina Merill's strawberry pancakes on a hotplate in her galley kitchen, usually spurred on by her sidekick Mary Ellen (the hilarious Thom Hansen). I defy you not to Google her recipe for devilled eggs (all right I won't torture you, it's on her myspace page).

Her studied seriousness (and her slightly passive aggressive catchphrase "now why didn't YOU think of that?") makes Brini Maxwell priceless, but it's the honest usability of her tips, tricks and recipes that make her completely brilliant..

Photo borrowed from Brini's myspace page

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Note To Jesse Jackson:

You always treat a gun like it's loaded.

You always treat a car like it's in gear.

You always treat a microphone like it's live...


Monday, July 07, 2008

Chris and Don: A Love Story

This holiday weekend I decided with my friend Sue to celebrate the country's 232nd birthday by seeing this documentary, about the 30-odd year relationship between author Christoper Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy. Isherwood, as you know was the writer of "Christopher and His Kind" and "Berlin Stories", which was the basis for the play and film "Cabaret". Bachardy became a noted portrait artist during his years with Isherwood, painting or sketching people from Governor Jerry Brown of California to film stars like Joan Fontaine (who famously despised the portrait) and Bette Davis (who did not).

Chris and Don met on Will Rogers beach in Santa Monica in the mid-fifties when Bachardy was 18 and looked younger. Isherwood was nearly 30 years older than Don, yet made no attempt to hide his relationship from the Hollywood circles he moved in. Some, as told in a funny anecdote about visiting the set of a John Ford movie simply thought (or chose to think) that they were father and son. Others (like Joseph Cotton, whom I previously would have thought better of...) were openly insulting to what they thought of as at best an ornament, at worst a catamite. Cotton loudly and publicly derided what he called “half-men.” Such good manners...

What makes the movie so compelling is Don Bachardy. It's clear that there was true love in that relationship; Bachardy admits that there were tensions based on both the age and class differences: middle-aged Isherwood was a Cambridge drop-out and grew up to the Manor (literally) born while Bachardy was raised by middle class parents in Glendale. Bachardy had wild oats he wanted to sow, and sow them he did with Isherwood's permission. He does admit that he forced Isherwood to do the same and was chagrined that Isherwood found young and attractive partners. Although there was their share of tension and more (after all in many states homosexuality was still illegal), you get the impression that not only was there a great deal of love there but quite a lot of respect.

Don is interesting- he's taken on the mannerism and even the speech of Isherwood, and sleeps in on a daybed in his office in their shared home. Full of life at 75 he no longer drives; he bikes around greater Santa Monica and (in a scene that caused my fellow to viewer to gasp "he's putting us to shame!") is shown merrily working out at his local gym. He also still works, he's shown with several life models on portraits. He's as trim and charming as the 18 year old man that Isherwood fell in love with.

In this year in which Gay Marriage is going to be a wedge issue, especially in California, it's interesting to note that there are relationships that on the surface seem to flout convention, but underneath it's the conventional, and wonderful emotions that are universal to us all.

Photo: Zeitgeist Film

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Major Geek Moment

One of my favorite shows back in my childhood was Space: 1999.  One of the great things about that show was the fantastically thought out production design (the boys at Apple were clearly fans) and the clever and believable design of the workhouse space shuttle, the Eagle.

Here you can read about one fans (I think herioic) quest to restore one of the models to pristine condition.  I wish I had this sort of focus...

Yep, I am a complete and utter nerd...