Friday, January 25, 2008

Project Runway Season Four, Episode 9: The Boring Episode!

Heidi: "Hi! Welcome to the most boring episode of Project Runway ever!"

Well, thank goodness! Last week's episode was so much fun I don't think I could have handled another good episode so soon.

Just to recap, Kit is leaving with two suitcases full of friendship. Oh, yeah, and one carry-on full of broken dreams.

We start the episode with Christian deciding not to swap models:

Christian: "Thank you more than life!"

Huh? Anyway, Tim takes the designers on a field trip:

Christian: "Oh, my god; we're going over a bridge. We're leaving Manhattan. We're going totally borough. I think I'm going to die."

Tim: "Oh, will you calm down? It's not like I'm taking you to New Jersey."

So they end up on a dock:

Christian: "If this has something to do with Dockers I'm going to die."

Yeah, me too. Fortunately, it isn't Dockers; it's their parent company Levi's, which is slightly better.

Bravo: "Where were jeans invented? The United States, India, or Club Monaco?"

The United States.

Bravo: "Wrong, dummy! A close relative of jeans was invented in India first."

You didn't ask about a "close relative" of jeans, asshole.

The designers have to run to the other side of a warehouse. The designers act like it's several miles:

Chris: "Go on without me. Save yourselves!"

For some reason, Sweet P is wearing flip flops:

Sweet P: "Well, I thought we were going somewhere nice."

They have to grab as many pairs of jeans and denim jackets as they can. And also some white cotton. I don't know why the white cotton couldn't just be provided for them back in the design room. In fact, remind me why we had to drive all the way out here just to find some jeans hanging on a clothes line.

Tim: "There was no room to hang up 500 pairs of jeans in Manhattan."

If you say so. The designers have to make an iconic denim look, whatever that means. Back in the design room, we learn the horrifying fact that Ricky makes all his own hats. On the one hand, it's nice to finally know why his hats are so ugly; but on the other hand, it still really makes you wonder why on earth someone would do that.

We learn that Rami thinks he is fashion forward:

Rami: "It's because I'm not American."

I don't see how that explains the fact that he doesn't know what fashion forward means.

Next, we witness the most explosive fight of the season. It's pretty graphic so more sensitive viewers may want to read on with caution. OK, you've been warned; here it is in its entirety:

Chris: "Sweet P should use a damp cloth to get dirt out of denim."

Christian: "Well, maybe that's how you did it back in olden times but the new method is to use a dry cloth."

Chris: "Listen, Mary, you don't get to be my age without learning the proper way to clean denim."

I'm sorry you all had to witness that. But that wasn't the only tension this week: Victorya and Jillian make very similar denim coats:

Jillian: "Victorya never expressed any interest in coats before."

Victorya: "Could I have another cup of coffee?"

Jillian: "She never has a second cup at home."

Chloe goes back to Echo Park in Los Angeles:

Chloe: "OK, who stole my Saturn?!"

Christian is hating on Ricky:

Christian: "Oh, my god; he so totally doesn't deserve to be here."

But Christian, aren't you the only one who really deserves to be there?

Christian: "Well, yes."

So, wouldn't it be a pretty boring show if it only had the people who really deserved to be there?

Christian: "Oh, my god; I would be the only one on the show! That would totally be the best show EVER!

Never mind.

Apparently Chris talks to himself. Since all the designers seem to express their inner thoughts on camera all the time, it's a little hard to tell the difference.

Tim makes his rounds:

Tim: "Ricky, your dress is stunning; Rami, the zipper trim is really innovative, even though Jeffrey already did that last season; Sweet P, to express my opinion of your dress I'm going to make a face like that kid in that Home Alone movie. Wasn't that movie adorable?"

Bravo: "What kind of jeans would you design?"

Other Eric: "I would make jeans with big cutouts on the butt and call them So Fine Jeans."

On to the runway with guest judge Levi's Lady and no more immunity:

Michael: "Hey, Nina, did you see me on Regis and Kelly?"

Nina: "Please; do I look like I have time to watch that crap?"

Heidi: "Quiet; the show's starting!"

Chris made a boring little denim dress.

Ricky made a boring little denim dress.

Rami made a boring little denim dress.

Sweet P made a boring little denim dress.

Victorya made a boring denim coat.

Jillian made a boring denim coat.

Christian made a jacket and jeans.

Good grief, that was dull. Christian's was the only outfit that was remotely interesting. Sure, a few of the dresses were cute but they were so similar to each other and they just didn't excite me. The judges, however, found them much better/worse than I did:

Michael: "Rami was so clever for using denim!"

Nina: "I agree! It was such a surprise!"

Heidi: "They all used denim, dummies."

Levi's Lady: "I love the zippers. It's a very iconic look for Levi's 501s!"

Except that iconic 501s have a button fly instead of a zipper, right?

The judges hate Chris's dress:

Michael: "She's very Shirley MacLaine as a hooker with a heart of gold. Wait, that's not right . . . these are my old notes! Let me try again: she's very Bea Arthur in The Facts of Life? Oh, I give up."

The judges think Jillian's coat has too much going on:

Jillian: "The problem is that I was too ambitious."

No, the problem is that your coat is ugly.

Victorya's coat looks like she just took a jacket and attached a skirt to it. The judges don't think she put much effort into it:

Victorya: "I know it looks like I didn't do any work but it still took me forever to do it."

Well, that's the important thing. I found it really boring but I actually didn't hate it. I thought it looked a little better than Jillian's but Jillian's looked like it took more effort so Victorya is out. Sorry, Victorya! I thought you would make it to the end.

The judges appreciate the fact that Christian made a jacket out of jeans and jeans out of a jacket. His look is so different from everything else on the runway that it really stands out. I don't know if it's iconic but I still think he should have won:

Christian: "Yeah, me too."

Ricky wins. His dress is cute; I guess of all the little dresses out there his was the best; I just wasn't wowed by anything this week. Anyway, congratulations, Ricky!

Ricky: "Just knowing that the judges thought my work was the best makes me feel like I won."

You did win, dummy.

Ricky gets emotional.

Hiedi: "Ricky, why are you crying? This is so unlike you to get upset and emotional."

Um, has she ever met Ricky before?

OK, so Ricky won and Levi's will be selling his dress as a limited edition, which basically means they don't have to commit.

But what about Sweet P? I was pretty sure she was going to be out this week because I thought her dress was so dull but the judges really loved it. I mean really loved it. They didn't pick her as the winner but they wouldn't shut up about her dress. Michael thought it was super chic. Heidi thought the dress was really slimming:

Are you kidding me? Slimming? That model must weigh 50 pounds.

Heidi: "Yeah, I know; she's a little overweight but the dress makes her look good."

Whatever. But of all the judges, Nina loves the dress the most:

Nina: "This dress is so versatile! You could dress it up or dress it down; you could wear it with heels or flats; it would be appropriate for a wedding or a funeral or to go skiing; it would look great on the beach or in outer space; an older woman could wear it, a younger woman could wear it, even a big homo like Michael Kors could wear it; if you had a time machine you could wear this dress at any point in history; this is the most amazing, magical dress ever! I think this dress could cure cancer! I just love this dress!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Project Runway Season Four, Episode 8: Haouw Aouwt!

What? What's this episode about? Well, we have that great Dane Rene Fris from Shear Genius to explain it to us:

Rene Fris: "It's all about haouw aouwt!"

Oh, my god! I don't even know what that is!

Rene: "You know; they have to make aouwt with the model's haouw!"

Cool! . . . no, sorry, I still have no idea what you're saying.

Other Eric: "He's saying 'hair art.'"

Of course! Hair Art! We love us some good hair art! Bring it on! Boy, do I miss Rene and his tight, tight pants.

The models walk out with some freaked-out dos. We learn that the designers have to make an avant-garde look inspired by a ridiculous hair style. Fantastic!

Bravo: "Did you know that 'avant-garde' was originally a military term meaning 'to demoralize the enemy by administering a bad haircut'?"

No, I didn't know that.

Tim: "Unlike the challenge with clothes made out of candy wrappers, these looks don't have to be practical or wearable. In fact, the look can be completely conceptual; you don't actually have to make anything at all!"

Some ideas for a conceptual fashion show:

1) Just have the models wear their own clothes and write a manifesto about how this addresses issues of consumerism.

2) Lock all the models in a closet and then dismantle the catwalk in silence as the audience watches you. (Note: this would probably fall into the category of performance or institutional critique.)

3) Show a home movie of you taking all the models out to dinner at the Red Lobster.

Tim: "OK, wiseass. Because of that stupid outburst I'm going to make this a team challenge."


Sorry. Well, these are the teams:

Kit and Ricky

Sweet P and Rami

Chris and Christian

Victorya and Jillian

They have to choose team leaders:

Chris: "I'm tired of being eliminated. Christian should be team leader."

Sweet P: "Rami can be team leader because I'm not very avant-garde. Avant-garde means traditional, right?"

Ricky: "Kit has such great ideas so she can be the team leader."

Victorya and Jillian have a staring contest to determine who will be team leader. Neither one blinks so they decide to flip a coin. But they can't find a coin so they flip a golf ball instead:

Victorya: "It landed on the dimpled side so I win!"

OK, so Kit and Ricky use the model that has a huge, ratty beehive and decide to make a dress based on a bird's nest, which is an interesting concept. Unfortunately, the dress they make has nothing to do with the concept.

Rami decides to make a normal Rami dress because he is so avant-garde already he doesn't need to do anything differently:

Rami: "Actually the judges haven't seen me make a corset before so I think they will be stunned by my range. Oh, yeah, and I'm putting pants under the dress and that is such an avant-garde idea. Because there is nothing more avant-garde than a ten-year-old look."

What does it have to do with the hair?

Rami: "Well, see how the hair is tight on top like a corset and then it gets loose and flowy at the bottom like a dress over a pair of pants?"

Not really.

Sweet P, bless her, tries to make the look a little more interesting:

Sweet P: "I think she needs a little junk in her trunk. Why don't we add a bustle?"

You know, it couldn't hurt. But Rami is the team leader and he doesn't want anything dramatic.

Chris and Christian, or Team Supercalifragilistic, make piles of ruffles. Because apparently the model's hair looked like ruffles. I don't remember, to be perfectly honest:

Christian: "We need four thousand yards of chiffon!"

Chris: "Oh, My God! I was just thinking the exact same thing!"

Yes, they are sharing a brain this week and it is working for them.

Victorya and Gillian, or Team Sourpuss, use the model with a faux-hawk:

Jillian: "So we're making an apocalyptic trench coat."

Well, obviously. I mean, what else could you do?

So Tim goes around the room and tells Rami his dress looks like something the avant-garde's mother wear. He tells Team Supercalifragilistic and Team Sourpuss that he loves what they are doing.

He tells Kit and Ricky that he's concerned:

Tim: "I'm concerned."

Ricky: "Does it need more of this?"

Tim: "No."

Ricky: "How about this?"

Tim: "That won't help."

Kit: "Well, we're going to do more of this."

Tim: "I don't see what difference that will make."

Tim has a "special" announcement:

Tim: "I have a special announcement."

Would you mind making air quotes when you say "special"?

Tim: "Fine. I have a 'special' announcement. Are you Happy?"

Other Eric guesses that they will have to make a second look.

Tim: "In addition to your avant-garde look, you will also have to make a smaller version for Barbie."

Christian: "Oh, no! Now we need an additional four thousand yards of very, very small chiffon!"

Chris: "We can just use regular chiffon but less of it."

Christian: "Oh, right. I knew that."

Victorya: "My feeling right now is basically nausea combined with a little more nausea and topped off with some nausea. Pretty much how I usually feel."

Tim: "I'm just joking! You won't be making a Barbie outfit. Instead, you will be making a second look that is a ready-to-wear interpretation of your avant-garde look."

This is the best challenge ever! Creating something dramatic but unwearable for the runway and then creating a ready-to-wear look that is a more toned-down version of it is fun but also related so something that really happens in the design industry. I assume the designers will get an extra day so they can really put some effort into the second look!

Tim: "Nope. No extra time. They'll basically just have time to slap some meaningless detail from the avant-garde design onto the ready-to-wear design."

Oh, well. Never mind.

Tim: "OK, everyone. We have a special guest."

Did you forget something, Tim?

Tim: "Sorry. We have a 'special' guest."

That's better. It's some guy from TRESemme. The winner of the challenge will be featured in an advertisement in Elle!

On to the runway with guest judge Alberta Ferretti:

Kit and Ricky created two really bad dresses. The one that is supposed to be avant-garde is apparently based on a Little Bo Peep costume, which I think Austin Scarlett already did but better. I think they wanted it to look messy but instead it just looks sloppy. The judges think it looks poorly-made, though they are impressed with the hoop, for some reason. The mismatched fabrics just look ugly and there is nothing cutting edge or even dramatic about it. I can't even talk about their ready-to-wear dress. maybe some time in the future when time has healed the pain a bit.

Team Supercalifragilistic did a great job! The model is a tall ruffled column with this gigantic plate attached to her shoulder. Chris's costume experience really paid off in this challenge. The judges say it is very well constructed and I'll just take their word for it because I can't tell from here. I wouldn't call it avant-garde but it's certainly dramatic without looking like a costume from a specific musical. I can imagine seeing this in a couture runway show (in fact, I feel like I already have). The ready-to-wear outfit does not do anything to capture the feeling of the original but it's a decent look and it has ruffles on the blouse so it is related. Imagine if they had had time to make a little ruffled cocktail dress that was similar to the first dress but wearable.

Team Sourpuss made a very cool black trench coat that, again, was not avant-garde but was very dramatic and looked great! It was over a decent but fairly basic pant and top. For the second look they made a perfectly fine, perfectly pointless black dress. But still a good job! They are in the top two with Team Supercalifragilistic!

Victorya: "And we made four pieces so we should win. Ha ha!"

Christian: "That's so funny I forgot to laugh."

Rami and Sweet P made a . . . well basically Rami was responsible for one outfit and Sweet P was responsible for the other and it seemed that the looks had never met before. Rami made a fairly pretty dress that was not at all interesting and definitely not avant-garde or dramatic and he put it over a pair of pants to make the look completely stupid and yet still not avant-garde. Sweet P, who was not allowed to have any input in the first outfit and is, therefore, blameless, made a very cute dress for the second outfit. It had nothing to do with the first outfit but it was still a great dress.

The judging was actually easier than it usually is for team challenges. Team Supercalifragilistic and Team Sourpuss were obviously the top two. They both had good, dramatic first looks. But only Team Supercalifragilistic had a second look that had any relation to the first look so I think they deserved the win. Christian was the team leader and he did a good job so he wins the challenge. And he wins immunity for next week! So the next time you ask, "why would anyone volunteer to be team leader?" you can remember this challenge. Sometimes it pays off big time.

Both of the bottom two teams did a bad job with this challenge. The first looks are not dramatic and the second looks are completely unrelated to the first looks. The difference is that Rami's and Sweet P's looks were OK. Rami and Sweet P are safe.

You could argue about whether Kit or Ricky should be out, especially since Ricky was responsible for that horrible second dress, but I think Kit was responsible for the main concept and fabric choices, she volunteered to be team leader, and there is no indication that Ricky wasn't a team player. So Kit is out.

Victorya and Jillian are very happy that the judges liked their work this week and it shows:

Victorya: "I think it would be OK to smile as long as we take turns."

Jillian: "Yes, I think that would be fine. But I don't think we should exceed five seconds each."

Victorya: "Oh, I agree. Let's not overdo it."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Jane Austen's "Persuasion" on Masterpiece (the artist formerly known as Masterpiece Theatre): Spoiler Alert!

Spoiler Alert? How can there be a spoiler for a novel that's almost two centuries old? Everyone knows what happens, right?

Well, that's unless the writers decided to tack on a weird ending. So if you TiVo'd the new adaptation of "Persuasion" and plan to watch it later, stop reading here.

OK, I didn't think this adaptation was very good. Obviously it is difficult to condense a novel into an hour and a half and the previous adaptation had the luxury of being a bit longer. But the length was not a major issue for me. I'm sure we could have used more character development; if I hadn't been familiar with the story, I certainly would have been lost with some of the finer points of the plot. But what was included was not handled very well. I don't think the casting was very good, although there were some fine actors involved. All the humor of Austen's writing was sucked out of the story. And the end was ridiculous!

The end has Anne running through the streets of Bath like a mental patient and then kissing Captain Wentworth right there on the street. A lady would have been locked up in an asylum for that kind of behavior. That's the kind of thing that knocks you back into reality when you want to be sucked into the film and carried away.

And then at the very end of the film Captain Wentworth gives Anne her home, Kellynch, as "a wedding present." WTF? How did he do that? Yes, maybe he leased it from Anne's father and by "present" he meant "we can live here temporarily." But the implication was that he somehow bought it for her, which I don't think is possible. The property was entailed to her cousin and I don't think her father or cousin would have been able to sell it even if they had wanted to.

It was just a tiny detail in the last few seconds of the film but it kind of ruined the whole thing because instead of feeling happy for the lovers and being satisfied that everything turned out well, you were left wondering why the writers added such a strange ending. Wasn't it a happy enough ending already? I don't get it.

It did look good in high definition, though; the picture quality used to be so bad on Masterpiece Theatre.

Anyway, if you are an Austen fan be sure to check out our friend Ms. Place's Jane Austen blog Jane Austen's World and her post about Masterpiece's adaptation of Persuasion, The Complete Jane Austen.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Project Runway Season Four, Episode 7: Going to Prom (or is it The Prom?)!

Heidi: "Coming up in this episode: Ricky gets emotional!"

No, really. I don't believe it.

But first a word from our sponsor:

Eric Three Thousand is brought to you this week by "27 Dresses." COME ON! It's a movie about dresses! You're going to love it!

OK, but it better really be a movie about 27 dresses! There had better be 27 damn dresses prominently featured in this film! If it turns out to be just another stupid romantic comedy I'm going to be pissed!

Other Eric: "James Marsden is in it!"

Oh, yeah, I forgot Other Eric's boyfriend is in the movie.

Other Eric: "He's so talented!"

Yeah, yeah, I know.

We start the episode with Rami telling us he is confident and Victorya telling us she actually misses Elisa:

Victorya: "I never thought I could form an emotional attachment to another human but I think I have. I noticed that she wasn't here this morning; that counts as missing her, right?"

Heidi comes out onto the runway:

Heidi: "Remember the first time you watched Project Runway? Remember how it changed your life forever? I think I can safely say that was the most important day in your life. This challenge is about the second most important day in a person's life: Prom!"

The models come out:

Kevin: "I can't tell if they are midgets or Oompa Loompas."

Sweet P: "Wow, that's even more insulting than 'fairy princesses or transvestites.'"

Seriously. Turns out they are none of those things; they are teen-aged girls and they have to make their prom dresses.

Christian and Victorya: "Ugh; that's even worse."

So, the girls have chosen which designer they would like to make their dress.

Christian's client is a prissy little know-it-all who thinks she is all that and a bag of chips:

Christian: "I will call her Mini-Me."

Victorya gets to know her client:

Victorya: "So, why did you pick me?"

Client: "Well . . . how can I put this gently? . . . I got to choose last and you were the only one left . . . because no one else wanted to work with you . . . so that's how I got stuck with you."

Victorya: "OK, I get it."

Client: "By the way, I loved your portfolio."

Victorya: "yeah, right."

We get to see Kevin's and Kit's prom pictures and they are hilarious! Ricky is crying, as usual. But this time he is crying because he loves his mama so much. He tells us how he grew up so poor he had to fashion his own super-fantastic shoes out of the cardboard boxes he found behind WalMart. Oh, wait, maybe that was Manolo the Shoe Blogger.

OK, I sometimes wonder if the designers have ever watched previous seasons of the show. Unless your client is a celebrity and will be judging the clothes, you don't really have to listen to your client. As long as you don't completely piss off your client you will be fine. It is more important that the judges like your garment. Find out your client's likes and dislikes (favorite colors, type of look she's going for) and then create something nice using those ideas. Don't let your client design the clothes! Jeez!

Tim: "I keep telling them that but they don't listen."

Victorya, Sweet P, and Christian all have problems with this:

Victorya: "She told me the exact silhouette she wanted but I'm not comfortable with that."

Sweet P: "She said she wanted the dress cut low enough that her vagina would show."

Christian: "She wants a ticky tacky mess."

Fortunately for Victorya and Sweet P they ignore their clients exacting requests and create something more appropriate:

Victorya: "So I changed the silhouette a little. God, I hope she doesn't hate me."

Was that so hard?

Sweet P: "I decided to make a dress that would make sure my client doesn't ever lose her virginity. Oh, and I went completely wild with the color; she wanted ivory but I went with champagne satin because I thought that looked less like a wedding dress."

Yeah, that won't look anything like a wedding dress. And champagne instead of ivory? Gee, you could have had a little respect for your client's wishes!

Christian loses his shit:

Christian: "Everyone is going to be sorry when I'm dead."

Tim: "Snap out of it, you little freak! Get your ass in gear and fix this piece-of-crap dress! Don't make me slap you!"

The designers get a surprise visit from their clients' moms. Ricky's clients mom is afraid he is flirting with her daughter:

Ricky: "Don't laugh! I've dated a girl before!"

Oh, God; another mental image of Ricky we could all do without.

Chris has to explain to his client's mom that the cool pictures in his portfolio are not, in fact, of famed soprano Deborah Voigt, but, instead, are of him in drag.

Chris's client's mom: "Can you make my daughter look like that, anyway?"

The designers compare sob stories:

Sweet P: "I am always in the bottom, you know?"

Victorya: "I've been in the bottom twice so I totally understand how if feels to be a loser like you."

Chris: "Well, I was voted off so I think I win this game."

Elisa: "I was hit by a Porsche and my neck was broken and my head was split open four inches."

Yeah, that's worse.

On to the runway:

The guest judge is Gilles Mendel. Heidi is wearing a dress cut below the knee; I think I'm going to faint.

The girls are walking like linebackers. Have they ever worn heels before?

Victorya: "I taught them how to walk."

Well, that makes sense.

Sweet P made a pretty, floor-length gown. The fabric was very nice and it looked well-made. I found it a little boring but it was one of the better ones of the challenge and she's in the top two.

Sweet P: "I could really use immunity because you know my garment next week is going to suck."

Victorya made a short blue dress that's really cute. I don't love the beading on the chest but the shape is really nice and it works for the challenge. The judges love it. Victorya wins! Congratulations, Victorya!

Chris made a pretty green dress that was OK. He's safe.

Kevin's model comes out on the runway:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! What the hell? Why did they replace that cute teenage girl with a middle-aged prostitute? What? That's the same girl?

Wow, that was bad. Everything about his dress is wrong. The red fabric looks cheap; where the hell did the $200 go? It's too short. The cut is boring. His styling choices were completely wrong. Kevin is out.

Jillian made a sea-foam green dress that is fine.

Christian made a brown, poofy dress with beading and black lace. It isn't horrible; in fact, Heidi says she likes it. But it isn't great and it definitely has construction problems.

Nina: "I hated how Christian blamed everything on his client."

We must have missed something in the editing because I didn't think he said anything that bad. He said she wanted even more crap piled on but he toned it down. That's fine. He must have said more than that to upset Nina so much.

Kit made a blue dress that is fine.

Ricky made a short, flesh-toned dress. I thought it was kind of cute. I understand the complaints about the color being a little dull with her skin tone and the construction wasn't great but I actually liked the shape and thought it was interesting and nice for a prom dress.

Rami made a green dress that was totally inappropriate for the challenge. The shade of green, the length, and the style was all too mature for a 17-year old:

Rami: "Sophisticated is what I do."

Nina: "Well maybe Project Runway isn't the right show for you. Maybe you should try out for the 'I'm Rami and I Get To Do Whatever I Want' show."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Special election night coverage on Eric Three Thousand!

What an exciting primary! I was getting depressed that four people in Iowa were going to decide the Democratic candidate and that we could be stuck with a Republican candidate who would be just as big an asshole as we have right now.

But then everything changed! The polls were completely wrong and Clinton is back in the race and McCain, who I had completely forgotten about, is back in it, too! I can barely believe it!

As I've pointed out in the past, I think Obama would make an excellent president and I will happily vote for him if he wins the nomination. But I prefer Clinton and I at least wanted the chance to vote for her next month.

I was especially annoyed by what happened after the Iowa caucuses. Iowa voters deserve their say just like the rest of the country and I kind of like their method of picking a candidate; it's basically an instant runoff election, with voters getting to pick their first, and possibly second, choice. But when it comes down to it, they make up a tiny fraction of voters but when someone wins there it has a completely disproportionate effect on the rest of the country. This is not Iowa's fault; it's the fault of the rest of the country for reacting irrationally to the Iowa caucuses.

I was also annoyed by comments by Obama and Edwards. I completely understand that we get a lot of rhetoric and posturing in a political campaign but I find a difference between rhetoric and false statements. Campaigning this last week, Clinton made a statement about how Obama talks a lot about hope but that she was the candidate who could truly get things done. Now, obviously Obama is going to disagree with that and you or I might argue with it as well. But I think it was a perfectly reasonable claim for her to make. Obama responded by telling us Clinton is saying hope is dead. That's a pretty outrageous misstatement. I was also annoyed with Edwards for suggesting that Clinton should drop out of the race because she came in third in Iowa (meanwhile, he just barely beat her in Iowa and now that he lost spectacularly in New Hampshire he is not dropping out of the race).

Quickly let me just mention my thoughts on McCain being back in the Republican race. I like McCain. I don't like his support of the war and he really pissed me off with his completely disingenuous support of Bush in the last election but I still think he is a good guy. He is not arrogant, he is a social moderate, and he usually seems genuinely interested in working with people to find reasonable compromises. He may not be the best option to end the war in Iraq but his foreign policy would be immensely better than our current administration's. He is so much better than the religious extremists against whom he's running that I'm relieved to have him back in the race.

If you are a Democrat you may not think it's a good thing to have a good Republican candidate but don't be comforted by the idea of running against the worst, weakest candidate possible. Al Gore ran against the worst, weakest candidate the Republicans could have possibly found and many Democrats were thrilled because there was no way such an idiot could win. Well, we shouldn't hope for that to happen again. I'd rather have McCain than the other Republican candidates.

Anyway, I'm just excited that Clinton is back in the race. I'm still planning to vote for her. But I'm impressed with Obama; I think he is really good with independents and with bringing in young voters. I would love to see him at the bottom of a Clinton ticket and I would love for him to go from vice president to president nine years from now, when he'll have a little more experience.

Seacrest out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Project Runway Season Four, episode 6: the post-winter break episode!

Oh, my gosh, it's been two weeks and I've completely forgotten what's going on. Who are these people? Let's recap, shall we?

Here are the most important things to know: Christian thinks he is the bee's knees, Elisa is a little kooky, and Kevin has finally come out of the closet and admitted that he is straight:

Kevin: "I can't tell you how hard it was trying to pass myself off as gay just to make it in the fashion industry."

Life must be so hard for heterosexuals. I don't know how they do it.

Kevin: "I know, right? My parents were so excited when I told them I was going to be a fashion designer but then I had to explain to them that I wasn't gay. My father took it pretty hard but my mother was very supportive. She told me that if I liked girls she would just get used to the idea of someday having grandchildren."

Wow, that was such a moving story.

Santino: "Hey, who wants to go back to the Broad Foundation? I have this huge Saturn that seats about twenty. So, come on and bring your jukebox money!"

Did we run out of designers to do these commercials?

Before we get started, did anyone watch that "Make Me a Supermodel" show? Man, Tyson Beckford and Niki Taylor have the combined personality of Ryan Seacrest. There must be an easier way to see hot guys in their underwear. If only there were a way to access pictures of naked people on my computer. Hmm.

So we start the episode with Kevin missing Steven:

Kevin: "How can I go on without him?"

Christian explains why Steven had to go:

Christian: "His dress sucked."

Right. So let's go see what Heidi is up to:

Heidi: "Hello, bitches! I hope you all enjoyed your two weeks off! I had another baby during the break. I've missed you all so much! Let's pick all new models!"

Christian explains why he picks Lee:

Christian: "Lee is like one of the best models and she's really really good and I really think she's an excellent model and I think it's really important to have a good model and I think she's really good so that's why I picked her."

I don't understand.

Sweet P is finally not picked last. She takes this amazing opportunity to pick the worst model. Just kidding; I'm sure Katie is great. I just wish someone would give her a sandwich.

Tim totally freaks out the designers by showing up at their hotel rooms early in the morning:

Kit: "I am totally traumatized. I'm not wearing a bra."

Tim: "I honestly wasn't even looking at her boobs."

Tim takes the designers to the Hershey's store in Times Square. Look, I really don't mind blatant product placement IF IT MAKES SENSE! But this didn't. The designers ended up making clothes out of pillows, which has nothing to do with candy. They could have gone to any store that has pillows. I found this challenge completely pointless.

Obviously the viewers pick this as their favorite challenge. What the hell is wrong with you people?

Hershey Lady: "Welcome to the sweetest place on earth!"

Oh, shut up.

The designers are really excited:

Christian: "Will someone please shoot me?"

Except for Christian.

Jillian decides to actually use candy and I applaud her for it. Sweet P originally tries making a dress out of broken glass and battery acid but then she changes her mind. Too bad.

Chris is used to making clothes out of food:

Chris: "Real food is not practical. That's why I make all my clothing out of fake food."

Christian creates instantaneously, whatever that means:

Christian: "I don't know why the other designers bother thinking about what they are doing! What a waste of time! I know; I'll go around the room and give everyone a little dose of my fierceness! I'm sure they'll appreciate my input!"

Tim doesn't like Sweet P's second dress:

Tim: "It looks like a maxi pad."

Sweet P: "Have you ever seen a maxi pad?"

Tim: "No."

Now for an important announcement from Bravo:

This episode is brought to you by Hershey's

Well, duh.

Ooh, they changed that Levi's commercial to make it gay. That's kind of cool!

Oh, yeah, and Elisa was hit by a car when she was in London making T-shirts.

Elisa: "It wasn't a car; it was a Porsche. And I wasn't 'hit' so much as 'fully impacted' by it."

Oh, sorry. I don't know why we are getting this story now. I think it means Elisa is either going to win this challenge or be sent home.

The guest judge this week is Zac Posen, apparently an expert on candy.

Ricky made a poofy Hershey's skirt and a silver top. Shockingly, it looks really well made and it fits perfectly. It's actually not bad.

Chris used the Hershey's Logo but cut into thin strips so that it looked like an abstract pattern from a distance. It's really nice! Nina says she would put it in Elle. That is an amazing compliment even though the last time she said it she was talking about a hideous outfit by Bradley that looked like a paper bag. Congratulations to Chris for finally getting into the top three!

Kit made a full Hershey's skirt and a cute Kit Kat top. She's safe.

Elisa created a macabre, disturbing Gretel-like figure:

Elisa: "Do you really think so? That's exactly what I was going for!"

No, I don't really think so; I don't even know what that means.

Kevin's looked wearable. The designers were told to make something wearable. And he created something wearable. That's about all I can say about it.

Kevin: "I wanted to make chocolate wrappers look sexy."

Did you use chocolate wrappers?

Kevin: "No."

Christian used the crinkly Reese's Peanut Butter Cup wrappers glued on to a basic dress. It looked OK but, despite his bitching about unwrapping all that candy, it seemed pretty simple and it also seemed like it's been done before:

Other Eric: "I guess peanut butter cup wrappers are this years coffee filters."

Exactly. The judges don't say anything about it so we don't know if they thought it was fine or if he got through because he had immunity.

Sweet P created another boring, poorly-fitted mess. This was rightfully in the bottom two.

Rami created a cute dress with a pleated pink York Peppermint Patty skirt and a red vinyl top. As Michael pointed out, it could have looked ridiculous but it was so well made and perfectly fitted that it looked great! I went back and forth on whether I thought this was the best design: first I loved it; then I re-watched the show and saw that he started with a huge roll of cellophane wrapping paper, which made me less impressed with it; and then I thought about how difficult it would be to pleat it as perfectly as he did and I was back to loving it again. Rami wins! Congratulations, Rami!

Jillian made a skirt and top using Twizzlers and it looked good! Amazingly, nothing fell off on the runway. She was the only one to really work with candy so she gets credit right there; but not only was her project the most challenging but it was also successful! She was a close call for the win.

Jillian: "And, on top of that, my model smells really good!"

Michael: "She looks deliciously chic!"

Really? Deliciously chic? whatever.

Victorya made an ugly ruffled mess. Everyone hated it. Even her model was walking like she was afraid to touch it:

Victorya: "No, I told her to walk like that to distract from the dress."

You know what? That almost worked. I was so puzzled by the walk that I really did almost miss how ugly the dress was. Almost."

Victorya: "I think it's totally wearable."

Michael: "You would not wear this."

Victorya: "I would absolutely wear this."

Michael: "You lying cow."

So, Elisa is out. Michael thinks her model looked like she was wearing a brown velvet dress from a flea market and silver shower caps on her arms:

Elisa: "Yes."

Yes? Well, anyway, sorry to see Elisa go. She seemed very sweet and creative. Too bad I didn't like anything she made.

Elisa: "I'm going to wander off now."

Tim: "Sorry, but you can't just wander off; you have to actually leave the building."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

(Or, for our atheists friends: Happy New Year!)

Did everyone have fun last night? Good, good; glad to hear it.

Other Eric and I went to "A Night in Paris" at the Disney Concert Hall (beautiful Frank Gehry building; very cramped seats). Belinda Carlisle and Rufus Wainwright were performing. Nothing says "New Year's Eve" like Belinda Carlisle singing Edith Piaf.

Other Eric had his usual response to hearing Belinda live: "She was better than I was expecting."

She was singing music off her French Album, "Voila."

Other Eric: "You know why that sounded better than the album?"

Me: "Because it couldn't have sounded worse?"

Other Eric: "No. Because her voice blended in better with the live band."

Sorry; I really like her voice when she's singing pop songs but I just don't think she can sing other types of music. Other Eric enjoyed it.

Rufus Wainwright, on the other hand, was amazing! I loved his earlier albums but I've never heard him live. My goodness, what a talent! Not only is he a talented composer and songwriter, but he also has an incredible voice and he is so entertaining with his banter between songs. I had thought some of his recent projects seemed a little self-indulgent but now I think I could actually sit through him doing an entire Judy Garland concert.

So, we rang in the new year with Belinda and Rufus and it was fun!

Now for my semi-annual bitching about the public transportation system in Los Angeles:

We decided to take the subway downtown so we wouldn't have to drive with all the drunks. But, of course, like most cities, the trains usually stop running shortly after midnight so that people can't use them to get home after a night of drinking. I've never understood that. Anyway, we thought the trains were probably running later on New Year's Eve but we couldn't find any information about it anywhere. You would think that would be something you could find on the MTA website. But I guess if the MTA actually provided information about taking public transportation, people might actually take it and that, apparently, is not what they want. So, after searching the Internet, we finally found a news article mentioning that the trains would be running all night and it also mentioned that it would be free from 9 to 2, something else not mentioned on the MTA site. Even at the subway station there was no information about the trains running all night or about them being free. We decided to risk it and not buy tickets (there are no turnstiles in Los Angeles so we just had to guess that the information we found was correct).

Wow, that was an interesting train ride! The people last night were even weirder than usual. It was kind of fun except that it was so crowded and drunk people were falling all over the place (and there was an old woman who might have been dead, riding around in that seat for days).

Oh, my other complaint of the weekend is that I couldn't put up my review on I wasted an hour writing and rewriting a review and it kept telling me to enter my password even though I was already logged in. So annoying!

So, my review was going to be of our hotel in Palm Springs, where we had gone for a quick Saturday night stay over. We just went for one night in order to go shopping at the vintage shops and the outlet mall in Cabazon. We still need a few things for the house but we didn't find anything. The stores in Palm Springs used to be much better than they are now. We just didn't find anything we liked. And the two outlet stores I wanted to go to in Cabazon are not there anymore: Club Monaco and the bed and bath store. I just painted my bathroom orange and I needed to buy new towels and a shower curtain. So the whole shopping trip was a bust.

We stayed at hotel Zoso, which bills itself as a four-star resort with the swimming pool but, in fact, it is a four-star hotel with a dipping pool. some day soon it's supposed to be getting a spa but, until then, I don't think it's a resort. Charging a "resort fee" doesn't magically make it a resort.

I got a really good deal on Hotwire so I didn't know what hotel I was getting before I booked, except that I was guaranteed a four-star resort with a swimming pool. I did want to go swimming so I was a little disappointed in the tiny four-foot deep dipping pool. But the water was nice and I had it mostly to myself since the weather was cold so it was OK.

The hotel itself is very nice; the rooms are beautiful and big and the staff are friendly. The location is excellent; you can walk across the street to the downtown village area (oh, there is a yogurt shop called Cactusberry, that is a total rip-off of Pinkberry except that they use Trix as a topping instead of Fruity Pebbles!). So I recommend it as a nice hotel but not if you want a resort.

So, there's my New Year's Day report. My resolution for the new year is to complain more and I think I'm off to a good start!

Have a great 2008! (Hey, that rhymes!)