Friday, November 24, 2006

Project Runway Recap: Season One, Episode 4: Designers on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

The boys at Project Rungay are blogging season one on DVD and are watching every Wednesday night. Other Eric and I finally watched it on Wednesday this week (we usually don't get to it until the weekend). Anyway, here's the episode:

Heidi: "This challenge is about rock and roll."

Designers: "Oooooooh!"

Heidi: "I know, right? You're going to be designing a new look for Sarah Hudson!"

Who?

Heidi: "Sarah Hudson! Believe me, by fall 2006, when you are watching reruns of this season, she is going to be a huge star! Huge!"

If you say so. The designers have to pitch Sarah on their ideas. Here's a quick sampling:

Nora: "Girl in a blender."

Kara: "Princess hit by a bus."

Austin: "Penguins on fire."

The ideas all sound a little violent to me but what do I know from rock and roll? Kevin, Austin, and Jay are chosen as team leaders.

Kara: "Musicians are used to male designers so this doesn't surprise me. Have I mentioned that I worked with Eve?"

The designers are really getting on each other's nerves in the work room. Everyone wants Robert to get away from them; he's wrecking Jay's sewing machine; he's pushing sewing needles farther into people's fingers. Austin finally has enough and beats the shit out of him.

Kevin leaves the room for five minutes. When he returns, his teammates, Nora and Alexandra, have misplaced the dress, burned all the pattern pieces, filled the room with trash, and are sitting in their own excrement.

Kevin: "What the hell happened? I was only gone for five minutes!"

Nora: "Everyone stole our pattern pieces."

Everyone: "We didn't steal your stupid pattern pieces."

Nora (sobbing hysterically): "Oh my god; I can't believe you would say I accused you of stealing our pattern pieces. I never accused you individually of stealing; I accused you collectively of stealing. I'm just devastated that you would take that the wrong way."

We are treated to the first musical number from the series: Vanessa's beautiful rendition of the "Nora's Losing It" song. It may not be up to the standards of some of the numbers from season two and the choreography needs a little work, but it's pretty good and should definitely be put on the album.

OK, the outfits look remarkably similar. They all have poofy, shredded skirts. It's all a pretty cliched rocker look. Although I found Jay's skirt to be really pointless and stupid, his outfit overall was clearly well constructed and looked good. Obviously he wasn't chosen as the winner. Kevin wins with the most boring of the three garments. Austin's Little Bo Peep look was so anti-rocker that it almost transcended rock and roll to the highest (or pink) level of goth. I think if he had done something different with the styling of the hair and makeup this look might have worked.

We then have to endure the excruciating agony of watching the designers vote each other off the island.

Austin: "I can't do it; no, I refuse; I'd rather die; oh, alright, Vanessa."

Wendy: "I'm just going to arbitrarily say Austin because he's a better designer and poses more of a threat to me."

Vanessa: "I think Vanessa should be sent home. Wait, why did I just say my own name? God, I'm screwed."

Heidi: "Vanessa, we would have sent you home anyway, but you sure made it easier for us by picking yourself. Nora is in so that means you are out."

Vanessa: "Yeah, I figured that out; I may not know how to sew but my powers of deduction are very sharp. Are we done here? Because I have things to do."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Top Chef Recap: Getting Canned: The Thanksgiving Episode.

So we start the episode with everyone picking on Marcel:

Marcel: "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

OK, seriously, he's annoying but he really isn't that bad. What's everyone's problem? On to the quickfire:

Mia: "So we walk into the Kenmore kitchen and there are all these cans!"

Mia, I think you mean the Kenmore Pro kitchen! The poor chefs have been so brainwashed they can't even speak without mentioning the sponsor's products! Anyway, for the challenge the chefs are given 13 seconds to create a dish using canned food. And, oh my gosh, wouldn't you know it but the results are just so spectacular that Tom can't pick just one as the winner. No, there are five winners this time! I feel used and dirty.

Elia: "I don't really see any point in going on when we are obviously being judged by a complete moron."

The losing five chefs have to make dinner for the winning chefs and Anthony Bourdain. It has to be a traditional avant-garde Thanksgiving meal.

Carlos: "That's oxymoronic."

You don't know the half of it, sister. They also can't use the Kenmore Pro kitchen; I think they have to prepare the whole meal in a hotel bathroom. Marcel cleans up first:

Sam: "Hey Frank, Marcel just used your toothbrush to clean the toilet. I can't believe you're going to stand for that. What kind of pussy are you?"

Frank kills Marcel.

The chefs try to plan a menu. Betty covers Michael's mouth to try to shut him up:

Michael: "Oh, no no no no. I don't know where that hand has been."

Rosie O'Donnell: "I find that remark really offensive! If Betty weren't a lesbian, you would never have said that!"

Elia is thankful for having Tom as her judge and for her brilliant sense of sarcasm. She questions Tom about his judgement:

Elia: "What kind of game were you playing by picking Cliff's? I tasted it and it made me puke."

Tom: "Well, I thought it was really good."

Elia: "OK, then; now that I know it was just because you have terrible taste, I can accept it and move on."

She makes a really delicious but unimaginative mushroom soup. Carlos prepares a salad at the Wild Oats salad bar. He's out. Michael creates an insane trio of starches. It's truly bizarre. Betty makes another failure of a desert and blames everyone else. Marcel actually makes a dish that is a modern twist on traditional Thanksgiving flavors:

Other Chefs: "I don't like it; the turkey is too dry, the cranberries are too tart, his hair is ridiculous, blah, blah, blah, boo hoo."

Oh, shut up!

After desert Michael brings out a cheese plate. I shit myself. Anthony Bourdain has experienced some pretty fucked up meals but I'm pretty sure he's never been brought a cheese plate after desert. But whatever planet Michael is from, Anthony is totally digging it. He says it's like Betty Rubble and Marilyn Manson had a love child, or something like that. He thinks Michael is such a complete freak he wants to adopt him; in all his travels he's never met such a free spirit. Michael is saved this week by the sheer brilliance of his ineptitude.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Project Runway Recap: Season One, Episode 3: Bananarama!

First, the weekly explanation: the fabulously glamorous fags at Project Rungay are blogging season one on DVD so I've decided to do recaps.

OK, on to the Banana Republic challenge! I am so out of it I really wasn't sure who was going to win this one so it was still exciting for me. I knew Wendy won a Banana challenge but I was really wondering, "is there another one in this season?" because I also thought Jay had won with his Chrysler Building dress. I also had no idea who lost.

We start the episode with Starr questioning whether she should be a lawyer or a designer. She seems to be the only person who doesn't know the answer to this question.

Robert informs us that he was a Russian mail-order bride.

The designers are to make a winter party dress for a Banana Republic clientele and the winner will have their dress sold in the stores!

Banana Republic Lady: "After spending thirty seconds with you guys I am confident you will design something worthy of going into our stores!"

That explains a lot.

Tim Gunn: "It is more likely that you all would be struck by lightning than have your dress sold at Banana Republic. I just hope you realize how lucky you are, you ungrateful little shits."

They are given access to the Banana fabrics! OMG, they are so beautiful! Really; much nicer than anything I've ever actually seen in a Banana Republic! The tulip-colored yellows and pinks do not exactly scream "winter" to me but I love them anyway! Out of all these lovely fabrics, Austin is somehow able to find one hideous chintz. How does he do it? Amazing!

They are designing a party dress for a sexy secretary, or something like that.

Jay: "They want a shitty Banana Republic dress? I'll give them a shitty Banana Republic dress!"

That's the spirit, Jay!

The designers are having fun and playing around the design room. Jay and Robert are pretending to fight over the iron. Wendy and Kevin are seeming older by the minute and are completely annoyed by these crazy kids (Wendy always appears to be doing needlepoint, for some reason):

Wendy: "Its all fun and games until someone loses an eye."

Kevin: "Yeah; or someone leaks rust on his dress."

Alexandra says something.

Who?

That's exactly what I asked.

After Kevin announces to Starr that black is the new black, Robert decides to get everyone drunk, thinking this will give him an advantage the next day. Unfortunately, he ends up being the only one with a dress that looks like it was made by someone with a hangover.

Austin skips the drinking and curls up with a good pair of socks. I'm starting the rumor that he only wears a pair of socks once and then throws them out. He's so eccentric!

Kara gives Wendy a makeover:

Wendy: "Kara said I should look in a mirror when I put on my makeup! I had never thought of that! I look so pretty now I've decided to start concentrating on designing and stop worrying about screwing with people! This should last about five minutes."

On the runway, I completely change my mind about Austin's fabric choice. I love his dress and would totally buy it if I had better legs. It does not look like a winter party dress but it is adorable anyway. And his model? Fantastic.

Nina: "You're telling me the crinoline is not attached to the dress? I think I'm going to lose my mind."

Jay's dress is amazing but, of course, he doesn't win.

Banana Republic Lady: "Wendy, congratulations; yours is the only dress boring enough to sell at Banana Republic!"

Wendy: "Oh My God, thank you!"

Robert's dress is really a hot mess but it is not nearly as bad as Starr's creation, which hurts just to think about.

Heidi: "Starr, even though we've seen absolutely no evidence of it, we all know you are very talented and we wish you luck!"
A Message From Jennifer Coolidge:

I just want to say what an honor it was to be a guest non-judge on Top Chef last week. I don't know much about food but I had a wonderful time. The puff pastry on the duck dish reminded me of the little fluffy wings we shaved into the fur of my show poodle. And dining was one of my favorite activities to do with my late husband before I ran off with my dog trainer. We had so much in common. We both loved soup. We loved talking. And not talking. I miss him so much. Anyway, thanks again; it really brought back wonderful memories!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Top Chef Recap: Leftovers: The Other White Meat!

Carlos: "Food and Wine Magazine is my bible. No, really; it changed my life. And remember, with the holidays coming up: it's the reason for the season. I have some literature I can leave with you."

This inspirational, life-affirming message has been brought to you by Food and Wine Magazine.

For the quickfire the chefs have to make something edible out of the parts of animals not good enough to be used for dog food. There's a good reason it's called offal.

Michelle Bernstein is the guest judge. She pronounces almost everything "very nice." For a few of the dishes she really gets descriptive and calls them "lovely."

Elia's dish is one of the few that is neither very nice nor lovely. It is apparently too much of a tribute to its ingredients.

Elia: "Well what the hell did the bitch expect kidney to taste like? Olives? Jeez!"

Sam wins.

The elimination challenge is to make dinner for Jennifer Coolidge. WTF? Who the hell comes up with these challenges? Don't get me wrong; I absolutely adore Jennifer Coolidge. In fact, I know her from good movies where she isn't having sex with teenagers. I just don't understand why the chefs are making dinner for her and 60 of her closest friends.

The chefs have to pair up. They are only able to pair up because last episode no one was sent home. What a coincidence, right? So if they weren't planning to send anyone home last week, was the whole cookie scandal a ruse?

Betty pairs up with her best friend/arch enemy Mia but she doesn't know about the arch enemy part. Marisa would like to tell her. Wow, Marisa has that look on her face again. She always looks like she's smelling something really bad. Marcel is paired up with Frank:

Marcel: "This is worse than that time I had to go to the prom with a girl."

Josie takes Marisa as a partner. Talk about a bad prom date:

Josie: "Marisa is the only one I really trust to screw this up and get me kicked off the show.

OK, who spent 99 cents voting for Marcel as most annoying? Seriously? Shouldn't Bravo be paying us?

So, we are at the luncheon party at Social in Hollywood. Padma is wearing a long, red dress and does not look like a total whore for a change. Jennifer Coolidge arrives looking fantastic but she's not using a funny voice. Oh well.

Mike: "One of my dreams in life is to have sex with Stiffler's mom."

The chefs create a completely disorganized meal. Josie and Marisa create a palate cleanser of Pepto Bismol and pineapple for the fifth course. Apparently this is the most bizarre thing anyone else has ever seen:

Cliff: "Usually the fifth course is a protein to distinguish it from the previous four dishes, which were also proteins."

Gail: "This is like an intermezzo. I am so confused. I don't know where I am."

Mike and Ilan's dish wins. Now, I don't like team challenges to begin with, but almost worse than having to pick one person from a team to go home is picking one person from a team to win the prize. If one team member makes an important decision then the other team member should get equal credit for recognizing that it is a good decision and going with it. Anyway, Ilan wins.

The teams with the worst dishes are sent in. Michelle Bernstein first points out what amazingly fresh ingredients the chefs had to work with and then complains that the pomegranate juice tasted like it had been left out for 48 hours. So why does she have bad pomegranate juice in her refrigerator? Uh, ever have one of those days when you're feeling not so fresh? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Mia and Betty: "We both thought the puff pastry was a bad idea, which is why we used it."

Mia: "After we finished our dish I went into the walk-in and cried."

Gail: "I don't blame you. It made me cry to have to eat it."

I now have a few words to say about Tom. There has been discussion (specifically on Blogging Top Chef) about having a mentor in the kitchen who would serve a similar function to Tim Gunn. Apparently Tom has responded to such suggestions by saying that cooking is completely different from designing clothes and that once you start making a dish there is nothing you can do to change it in any way. So I bring your attention to his comments at the judges' table:

Tom: "When you realized you were serving Pepto Bismol you should have done something to fix it. When you realized the puff pastries weren't working with the dish you should have left them out. When you noticed the pomegranate juice tasted bad you should have fixed the problem. You all should have fixed the problems!"

So what you are saying is that it is possible to make adjustments in order to address an element that isn't working? Maybe the sort of thing Tim Gunn would point out in the design room? Hmmm? Interesting.

Josie and Marisa stick together and are both eliminated.

Josie: "So you're going to send someone home as talented as me? It's crazy to send someone this talented home just for making one mistake. I know how talented I am."

I'm not sure but I think Josie thinks she's talented. Did you get the same impression?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Project Runway Recap: Season One, episode 2: What Would Jesus Design?

For those just tuning in, the fabulous fags at Project Rungay are blogging season one on DVD to keep the fans under control until the next season starts. So, since I'm watching, I'm doing my little weekly recaps. Hope you're watching too!

Here we go:

Heidi comes out to greet the designers. Hey, is she wearing cotton? I wonder if that could be significant.

First, they have to get rid of a model.

Kara: "It is getting more and more important to have your name picked early because everyone keeps choosing the same three models."

OK, Kara, this is only the second episode.

They keep the model who doesn't even show up and send home some other model I don't remember.

Heidi: "Sending home one of the models was so hard. I think it's the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. I had no problem sending Daniel home last week."

Now on to the challenge:

Heidi: "The look, the feel of cotton; the fabric of our lives! That's right; you heard me! Come on people; lets make some noise for cotton!"

Designers: "whatever."

Bolts of plain white cotton are draped between the columns in the design room. It looks like a Duchamp installation. It's a vast improvement; I hope they keep it like that.

No such luck; they have to cut it up and make garments out of it.

Wendy: "OK, first I recommend that we elect me queen of the cotton. I will then distribute it as I see fit. The person who acts the most sorry for me will get the longest piece. Oh, I guess that would be me!"

Mario: "Well, I need at least six inches of fabric so don't screw with me."

The challenge is to create a garment that represents the idea of envy.

Wendy: "Finally, my debilitating envy of everyone else is going to pay off! I'm envious of Nora because she's 21 and I was born middle aged. I'm envious of Vanessa because she has that stupid British accent I can't even imitate properly. I'm envious of Austin because he can wear make-up without looking like a clown. I should have no problem with this challenge. Plus, all the other designers are actually focusing on designing. It's like they've never seen Survivor. Fools. I'm the only one clever enough to concentrate on strategy. If I have extra time I'll make a dress."

The designers have to push their garments at an auction.

Jay: "This look works at home but for some reason people in the East Village do not want to talk to Jesus."

Wendy: "Austin, this is terrible; marketing is my weakness."

Austin: "Yes, there's that. Your lack of talent probably doesn't help, though."

Nora: "The more I look at my dress, the more I'm convinced I'm going to win."

I think you need to stop looking at your dress, then. I think it's destroying your retinas.

Back in the studio the designers talk to the judges:

Starr: "My legal education compels me to point out that we were never specifically instructed that the garments had to be pretty."

Ooh, she got you there, Nina.

Mario: "I got my idea for a blood-spattered dress after listening to all the models talking about murdering people."

Models (whispering to each other): "Damn, we have to stop talking so loud."

Wendy: "To me jealousy is represented by an unfinished hem. I tried to ..."

Nina: "I'm going to stop you right there. I have nothing to say; I just want to stop you."

Robert and Kara have the best designs. They are attractive and wearable and the stories about penis envy and envy turning to war make some sense. I would have chosen Robert's but Kara got the highest bid at auction so she wins.

Mario loses. Jay loses it. I think someone had a little crush. Cute!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Top Chef Recap: Camp Glucose: the Splenda Table.

Padma: "Welcome to the Kenmore Pro kitchen!"

Chefs: "Yeah, we were just here yesterday, Padma. Remember?"

Padma: "OK, welcome back to the Kenmore Pro kitchen!"

Chefs: "Thanks." (rolling their eyes)

The quickfire is to create an amuse-bouche from vending machine junk. What, they couldn't make it to a gas station convenience store?

Marcel is appalled, appalled, that there are no fresh oysters in the vending machines. The other chefs empty out all the "good" ingredients, leaving nothing for Mike:

Mike: "Damn, someone took the last roll of lifesavers! I was going to string them together into a bikini. Oh, wait, wrong show. Well, then, who cares about this stupid challenge."

Cut to Mike trying to convince the judges how much he really does care about this stupid challenge.

Mike (still holding his wife's panties): "I just miss my wife so much. Especially her vagina."

Carlos wins with what looks like a cross between an Almond Rocca and a small turd. I'm sure it tasted great but I think amuse-bouche should also be visually appealing and I didn't think that was. I would have been afraid to touch it.

But the guest judge is fearless. She looks like a younger Carole Bouquet and we really like her as a judge. She's blunt but has very intelligent comments about each dish.

Now on to the sucralose scandal:

The challenge is to create a seven course meal for children, including appetizer, palate cleanser, and cheese plate, that is under 500 calories. OK, not really; just a main dish, side dish, and desert. But this still seems almost impossible when we are informed that a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (that's EVOO to us in the know) has over 11 million calories! Who knew?

At the store Marcel has suggestions for the menu:

Frank: "What would children like to eat?"

Marcel: "What about prosciutto-wrapped asparagus?"

Betty: "Are you fucking insane?"

Back in the kitchen Betty is busy screwing up the cookies. Splenda promotes itself as baking just like sugar but even a terrible pastry chef like Marisa knows this is not true.

Marcel: "If my teammates disappoint me I will be very disappointed. Because there is nothing more disappointing than being disappointed by your teammates."

Sam is able to count every calorie but still comes up 50 calories short, with a meal no child would be interested in. Why not add a few more calories? You don't get extra points for being under budget! Meanwhile, wouldn't that smoothie send a diabetic into a coma?

Another team uses Mike to represent the benefits of healthy eating.

So the kids at the camp are really good sports. Tom says it has probably been a really long time since they have had chocolate cake but can this be true? If Kirstie Alley is allowed chocolate cake I don't see why these kids can't have some every once in a while. Tom acts like they've been getting nothing but spinach and herbal tea since they've been there but the camp must have nutritionists who put a lot of thought into making delicious, low calorie meals.

Marcel hits Ilan in the face with a soccer ball.

Elia: "It was heelaareoose!"

Betty, Marcel, and Frank win the challenge. Frank wins a signed copy of the judge's book. Oh, yeah, and the opportunity to work with her.

Then the bottom two teams are brought before the judges' table. They suddenly bring up allegations of cheating.

Sam: "People were squirting olive oil all over the place in there. It was like a Girls Gone Wild video."

Josie: "Ooh, I know Miss Thing is not talking about me!"

Mia: "The quality of Betty's cookies is so much higher than it was before. I think she received outside help."

Laura Bennett: "Yeah, you don't just pull quality like that out of your ass!"

Tim Gunn: "Well, these are very serious allegations. Wait, what the hell am I doing here?"

Betty admits she added sugar. For some reason, she keeps drawing big circles in the air to demonstrate that they were still under 500 calories. In her defense, while the other chefs seem to have understod they couldn't make any changes to the recipe, we never hear this rule specifically stated. But they must have been told this as some point. So I think it is pretty clear she broke the rules, even if she didn't do it intentionally. But the questions is, why didn't anyone say anything in the kitchen? As annoying as it was that Marisa didn't mention the lychees when they were at the store, at least she didn't wait to mention it at the judges' table. It really seems too late to bring it up at that point.

Anyway, Tom wusses out and doesn't send anyone home. The chefs spend the rest of the night fighting.
Dancing with the Stars: Pet Shop Boys at the Wiltern.

OK, So we are watching Dancing With the Stars on Tuesday (I'm actually in the kitchen but Other Eric calls me in whenever Mario starts dancing) and Tom Bergeron announces that the Pet Shop Boys will be performing the next night.

"Wait a minute; they are supposed to be at the Wiltern at 8:00. Check the tickets."

Well, of course they must film the show at 5:00 here in Los Angeles so it can play live on the east coast so they have plenty of time to get across town.

The concert was great! a couple of songs I think are boring, but mostly fun, high energy stuff. Unfortunately the people in the balcony, where we were, sat through the whole first half of the show. I stood up at first but then I felt conspicuous. The second half was much more fun, with most of the balcony up and dancing. There was one person dancing through the whole show. And the entire intermission! it was the middle-aged guy next to me, who apparently thought he was on Dancing with the Stars: he was totally rocking out and spinning and dipping his wife, oblivious to the fact that there were other people around him. I'm glad he was having fun but we eventually had to move because I was afraid he was going to hit me in the face.

Anyway, I think they should have opened with the Sodom and Gomorrah Show but it ended perfectly with Go West!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

H&M at the Beverly Center!!!!!!!

Fuck, yeah!

So, a girlfriend from work and I took the day off to check out the madness of the opening of the new H&M at the Beverly Center in West Hollywood. A woman's only store opened in Pasadena about a month ago but this is the first H&M with men's clothes to open in Southern California. I haven't been to H&M in years and was very excited. Not excited enough to camp out overnight on Beverly Blvd., though. The first two hundred people got gift certificates but we didn't bother trying for that.

So I got there about 11:30 and the store was opening at noon. The announcement had all these crazy instructions like waiting in line on Beverly Blvd. prior to 7:00 a.m. and on the fifth level of the parking garage after that. I decided to just go up to the store to see what was going on. I saw some people leaving the center with H&M bags when I was arriving so I think they must have let in the 200 people with gift certificates early. Anyway, when I got up there it was madness, with lines snaking all around the top floor (apparently the lines had extended down to the floor below.) It was so loud and the employees appeared to be leading cheers at the entrance to the store. I told my friend she missed a live performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers but I was lying. There were really cool looking guys in Black suits and glasses all over the place. They seemed to be crowd control but some looked like Prada models.

I was thinking it was a lost cause and we would never get in today but then there was a count down, cheers erupted from the throngs of people, and the line started moving pretty quickly. We decided to go to lunch and then come back and see how long the line was and if there was any merchandise left.

On our way to lunch I managed to injure myself twice. The Beverly Center is modeled after the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, with the escalators stuck on to the outside of the building. I liked it but apparently they decided it needed to be updated so they've sheathed the entire side of the building in glass and, while I find it a desecration, it is very pretty. And as I was looking down over the side of the escalator, WHACK, right in the side of the head! There are glass panels sticking out from the main surface of the window that I didn't notice. I probably won't forget about them now. It nearly knocked my glasses off, and that would have been a long way down. I can see the news reports now: "There was a temporary pause in the festivities at the Beverly Center today when an unidentified man was decapitated on the escalator." That would be so embarrassing. Anyway, I survived. A slight concussion was not going to stop me from shopping. I then proceeded to cut my finger trying to open the door to the new Old Navy store at the Beverly Connection. I'm a mess.

"So Eric, how's your head?"

I haven't had any complaints.

Anyway, after lunch we went back up to H&M, stood in line for about 5 or 10 minutes and we were in! We made it! We were expecting all the shelves to be emptied and piles of clothes on the floor but it was actually remarkably organized. Stores at Christmas are more crowded and messy than this was. Actually I've been to H&Ms that have been open for years and they've been disasters but this was actually a very pleasant experience. I really give them credit for planning. I have to admit we did not use the dressing rooms, for which there was a long line. There were a few hot guys taking off their pants in the middle of the store, like it was the Barney's sale. The checkout line was long but not terrible. and it moved quickly. My friend and I were being total morons, texting and calling each other from other sides of the store: "I'm in line for the fitting room but I think I'll just get out and take a chance. Where are you?" So sad.

So, the store is nice and bigger than I would have thought, given it's location in the mall. They still have cheap crap but they also have some nicer stuff that is more expensive than I remember. There appears to be a separate little room for Viktor & Rolf and I think there was even someone interested in buying the $300 wedding dress. There were some really cute women's dresses that could be $20 to $100. And the women's sizing is really strange: if you normally wear a 2 you may need an 8. Yeah, a little off. When I've been to H&M before I've just gotten shirts and underwear so I looked at some other stuff this time and it turns out that's really all I can get there. They don't have size 28 pants (don't hate me because I'm skinny) and the size 36 jackets were also too big on me. So here's the damage: 2 T-shirts, a beautiful chartreuse dress shirts (if you've been reading, you know that's my favorite color), a cotton sweater for Other Eric, a belt, and two pairs of supercute underwear: $117.

So you're probably asking, "If Other Eric is the only one who will see you with your pants off, why do you need supercute underwear?" Well, you just feel better when you are wearing supercute underwear, right? Plus, what if I'm in a car accident? Actually, that's probably a good reason not to wear supercute underwear. Let me explain. Although my organs can't technically be re-used because I'm a homo, I'm actually in perfect health and I have pretty nice organs, if I do say so myself, and it would be a terrible waste to cremate them with me when there are so many people who could use them; so I have an organ donor sticker on my driver's license anyway. But the problem is, the doctors will take one look at my supercute underwear and say, "This one's gay; we can't use his organs."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'd just like to give a shoutout to my homegirl Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to be Speaker of the House!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Project Runway Season One, Episode One: The Beginning!

Most of you probably know that the fabulous boys at Project Rungay are blogging season one in order to help all the fans survive the wait for season four. If you haven't already, check out their site (see my links) and start watching season one with us on DVD. I thought it would be fun to blog along with them. Hope they don't mind!

Season one, episode one! OMG, this is where it all began! Could you just die? Other Eric and I have never seen this first episode so it is very exciting even though we know who wins and loses the challenge.

OK, so we start with only 12 designers and there is really no "road to the runway." We very briefly see a few auditions and, sadly, only a fraction of the amazing wierdos we see auditioning for subsequent seasons.

We meet the designers:

We learn that Robert thinks that women are like sports cars. He knows they need regular servicing. What a gentleman.

We learn that Wendy just wants to be everyone's mom. Isn't she just so sweet? Everyone loves her. I predict she is going to be really popular with the other designers and a huge fan favorite!

We learn how Austin has always tried so hard to fit in. This really goes without saying. (Note to Austin: I love the lipstick but you're having a little mustache problem. I could wax that for you.)

We are reminded how truly bizarre Daniel Franco is.

So we are introduced to the host, Heidi Klum! OMG, she looks fantastic! There is something different about her. What is it? I can't quite put my finger on it . . . oh, I've got it: she isn't pregnant! That's odd.

Heidi tells us some important things:

Heidi: "Cotton is the official fabric of Project Runway!"

Really? That's fantastic! What the hell does that mean?

Also:

Heidi: "The most important thing in fashion, and people often forget this, is the models. Without the models, the clothes would just lie in a pile on the floor. You never thought about it that way, did you? Well, that's why I'm here: to blow your minds."

We are introduced to Tim Gunn. Our lives are now complete.

Kara is wearing giant gold hoop earrings. Vanessa is wearing even larger gold hoop earrings. In fact, they are bigger than her head.

Kara: "Don't be trying to steal my style, bitch."

Vanessa: "Whatever, Miss Jamaica."

We go to a party. In what will become tradition, there is lots of champagne. In what won't become tradition, this actually feels sort of like a party since it is not part of a challenge. Except Daniel Franco is basically cheating by starting to work and measure his model during the party, even though the designers were told they weren't to start working on the challenge until the next day. Well, it doesn't matter because soon the party has turned into work when the models are forced to dance like trained monkeys. I'm just kidding; it actually looks fun. Then everyone tries to get Heidi to walk for them:

Heidi: "Who, me? Oh, no, I couldn't possibly, I'm far too shy, no, no, really, oh, alright. Watch and learn, bitches!"

Damn, she's good!

The next day the designers are forced to walk to Queens to buy groceries because Bravo doesn't have the budget to feed them. Oh, alright; they are actually shopping at a grocery store for materials to make a dress.

Vanessa: "Obviously, melons would be totally inappropriate for evening wear. They're really more sportswear. Evening wear goes with fish, right? Or is it white wine? I always get that mixed up."

In the workroom:

Daniel is following his bliss all the way to cuckoo-land.

Starr? Um, Kayne just called. He wants his dress back.

Austin is having some shrinkage.

"Eric, don't go there."

Kara: "If Morgan ever shows up I'm painting the shit out of her."

Tim: "Make it work."

OMG, Other Eric gasps, "This is the first time he says it!"

I think we will all remember where we were the first time we heard Tim say these immortal words.

Nora's lawn-chair dress is gorgeous but Austin wins with his amazing corn-husk dress!

There are several possible losers: Starr, Daniel, or Wendy. Although, I have to say, as bad as Wendy's is, at least she did a lot more work than just wrapping a shower curtain around her model. I actually thought her idea of making sort of a chainmail out of lifesavers was great but it didn't work. I guess it was too time-consuming.

Anyway, Daniel loses with his hideous butcher-paper coat. Daniel tells Heidi he loves her. Heidi looks uncomfortable and shakes his hand goodbye instead of kissing him. She calls security and has him taken away.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Top Chef Recap: Season 2: Episode 3: Fire and Ice: Just Like a Diamond, This Title Will Go On Forever.

OK, we've made it through another week with none of the contestants being killed. This is a good sign. On to the show:

The quickfire challenge is to create a fancy schmancy ice cream flavor guaranteed to be hated by the ordinary people who will be judging it. On top of that, the chefs will not actually be given enough time to make ice cream. If they make a real cooked custard they won't have time to freeze it, even in the amazing, magical Kenmore Pro appliances they are hawking. To save time, many of them choose to make frozen guacamole. Marcel adds bacon to the avocado. Ilan goes even further and makes an ice cream that is actually a three-course dinner with tomato soup, roast beef and blueberry pie. Don't eat that, we're still having side-effects with the blueberries!

Now it's off to the beach to foist this crap on an unsuspecting public. The ice cream was mostly still a liquid mess when we left the kitchen but by the time we get to the beach it has become the perfect consistency. I know it is sitting on ice but I still find this a little strange. The customers are a bunch of children and other freaks of nature:

Emily: "I hate children. Oh, and old people. They smell funny. But more than anything, I hate the stupid, toothless hillbillies roaming this beach, who wouldn't know quality ice cream if it bit them in their gigantic asses."

Way to work the crowd, Emily!

For some reason Stephen Asprinio from season one is there and he is telling the children about the history of ice cream:

Stephen: "Ice cream's origins are known to reach back as far as the second century B.C., although no specific date of origin nor inventor has been credited with its discovery. We know that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. During the Roman Empire, Nero frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices. Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century. 'Cream Ice,' as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century. France was introduced to similar frozen desserts in 1553 by Catherine de Medici when she became the wife of Henry II of France. It wasn't until 1660 that ice cream was made available to the general public. The Sicilian Procopio introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at Cafe Procope, the first cafe in Paris. Isn't that fascinating, children?"

Children: "What the hell is this homo talking about?"

Cliff wins the quickfire. Again. For the elimination challenge the chefs have to take a childhood favorite and turn it into something more interesting and grown up, while at the same time making it boring and tasteless enough to be served at T.G.I. Fridays. The judges will be firemen. I don't know what the connection is but, hey, they're heroes; they deserve a good meal. Whether they deserve the food they are about to get is another matter.

Tom Colicchio wanders the kitchen seeing what people are doing and offering no help whatsoever. Seriously, I didn't really notice this until he told Betty that he could taste her soup but not comment on it, but he is really not doing anything constructive. Tim Gunn doesn't tell any of the designers what to do, but the purpose of making the rounds in the design room is to check in and give his opinion on what is working and what is not working. Otherwise there would be no point to it. So what exactly is Tom doing in the kitchen? Is he just bored?

Anyway, on to the dishes:

Frank creates the freakiest piece of shit I've ever seen. (Please don't hurt me.) The challenge was to adapt a favorite childhood recipe, not create something a child would want to play with.

Michael spends all his money on beer and then apparently drinks enough to convince himself he will win the challenge. It would have made more sense if he had pulled a Stephen and served the alcohol with the food. We had been told earlier that he actually worked for T.G.I. Fridays. We were then told that this made no difference, so I wondered what the point was of such a dramatic announcement. Michael's dish is a disaster and he gets in a fight with Tom. What is it with him? First Josie, then Tom; he keeps getting in fights with people who could clearly kick the shit out of him.

Marcel decides that since he knows absolutely nothing about this type of cooking he will obviously win. He makes a very nice pork chop but spends most of his time annoying Betty and whining that the deep fryers are not hot enough. Wait; did someone change the temperature on those fryers? Has anyone seen Tiffany?

For some reason Betty, our wonderful ray of sunshine, suddenly turns into a raging bitch just because Marcel is an annoying little twerp.

Betty: "I don't understand why my breasts have no power over him."

I mean, sure, I can understand Marcel getting on your nerves but, boy, did she overreact.

Marcel: "Does anyone mind if I whine and complain about the deep fryers for a few more hours?"

Betty: "Yes, actually. Would you please just die?"

Marcel: "Excuse me? What did I do to you?"

Betty: "You're a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot . Oh yeah, and Lily Tomlin switched your Skinny and Sweet with rat poison. So there!"

Marcel then stares intently into the kitchen until the static electricity from his hair changes the temperature of the grill so Betty's sandwiches don't cook properly. Somehow she stills wins. Again. Congratulations, Betty! I look forward to never having to eat at T.G.I. Fridays!

Before we go, a quick reminder from Frank:

Frank: "Get out and vote on Tuesday or I'll break your kneecaps!"

(The history of ice cream came from the International Dairy Foods Association website. Please drink responsibly.)
Top Chef Postcap: What the Pho?

I probably won't get to my recap until tomorrow so here is a little treat to hold you over until then: a little addition to last week's recap:

The scene of Ming Tsai correcting Josie's pronunciation of "pho". I think when we get to the reunion show and they put up the counter, we'll see that the exchange actually lasted 47 minutes. Here's a little outtake of what I think we missed:

Josie: "Here, chef, try some pho."

Ming Tsai: "It's pho."

Josie: "I know; I just told you that."

Ming Tsai: "No, it's pho."

Josie: "that's what I said: pho."

Ming Tsai: "You said pho; it's pronounced pho."

Josie: "OK, now I think I understand. Pho."

Ming Tsai: "No, now you just said my grandmother had sex with a goat."

Josie: "Oh, my god! I am so sorry!"

Ming Tsai: "I'm just messing with you! Try it one more time: pho."

Josie: "Pho."

Ming Tsai: " Oh, you were so close that time!"

Josie: "Can we just call the whole thing off?"