Saturday, December 25, 2010

Eric Three Thousand's 2010 Holiday letter: the inspiring true story of how
I survived the year, based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

As many of you know, I lost my job at the beginning of the year. So I’ve spent 2010 trying to figure out what to do. My first idea was to star in a reality series in which I would drag my family around Alaska on hiking and fishing trips, pointing at bears, and saying “wow” a lot. Well, it turns out there was already a similar show in production. Apparently, some other unemployed person with no marketable skills beat me to it!
So, in this tough job market I realized that being an art historian might not be obscure enough. I needed something else to add to my resume. It got me thinking. You know when you’re on a plane and the flight attendant makes an announcement over the intercom about needing someone with a particular skill for an emergency situation? Something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just received a carton of correspondence, news clippings, broadsides, and annotated faculty senate reports, all concerning campus unrest during the Vietnam War era. We’re not sure how to proceed. Is there an archivist on board?” Well, the next time that happens I’m going to be prepared. In August I passed the exam to become a Certified Archivist! Now the world is just a little bit more secure. You’re welcome.
Next, I decided to get back to studying French with Rosetta Stone. The only problem is the voice-recognition software, which doesn’t seem to like my high, whispery voice. I’ve set it for “adolescent boy” but it still has trouble understanding me. I’m sure the neighbors are wondering why I’m screaming all the time. “TROIS! TROIS! I SAID TROIS, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” Here are some useful phrases I’ve learned:
“Excuse me. Is this a pharmacy?”
“No, this is a bookstore.”
This is helpful if you are in France and you have trouble telling the difference between pharmacies and bookstores.
“Excuse me. I need a new television.”
“Why do you need a new television?”
“I need a new television because my old television is broken.”
This is helpful if you are in France and happen to run into the world’s dumbest salesperson.
“Excuse me. I need inexpensive plates so my family can eat in the park. Do you recommend plates made out of wood, metal, or paper?”
“Get out of my shop, you weirdo.”
As you can see, I spent most of the year studying. But I did have time for some hobbies. Watching television counts as a hobby, right? I do love television. When we lost the HGTV network right in the middle of an episode of House Hunters International, I nearly died. I sat despondent on the sofa for three days wondering if I would ever learn the fate of that nice couple looking for a home in Tuscany. Fortunately, we finally got it back. And it turns out they picked house number three. Seriously? House number three? I give that marriage six months. 
I also continued blogging about Project Runway and this year I hit a huge milestone: the stat counter on my blog finally reached one hundred thousand visitors! You’re probably thinking, “That’s it? You didn’t hit a million?” Well, I’m sorry, but that’s the best I could do! I can’t wait for a million visitors. I don’t have that long to live. Seventy or eighty more years, tops. And by the end I’ll probably just be a brain hooked up to electrodes floating in a jar of saline solution and blogging will be a distant memory. So I’m going to celebrate whatever milestones I can.
A new hobby I’ve taken up this year is cooking. We started receiving weekly boxes of organic produce and I have to cook every night just to keep from being buried alive in vegetables. Of course, because most of the produce is local, the selection changes with the seasons and sometimes we get a lot of one thing. I think if the Other Eric sees one more leaf of Swiss chard he’s going to have a nervous breakdown. Poor thing.
In other news, I finally got an iPhone. Now my life is completely Mac-based. Resistance is futile. The main difference with my new phone is that I can now move beyond monosyllabic texts. Anyone who used to text me will be familiar with my rambling responses, such as, “ok” or in really extreme situations, “cool.” But now I have a QWERTY keyboard and can send complete sentences, like, “Do you think they sell wooden picnic plates at the bookstore?” or “Why did I bring a broken television with me to France?”
Well, that was my year. I don’t know if you noticed, but my letter was in 2.5-D this year. I couldn’t afford the full 3-D. I don’t know exactly what the extra half D is, but I can tell you that it will give you fuller, longer, darker lashes in just six weeks. Happy holidays!
Love,
Eric Three Thousand

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fashion Show Season Two, Episode Five or Six or Whatever.

Eric Three Thousand, reporting from Burbank, where it has been raining steadily for forty days and forty nights. The San Fernando Valley has completely filled up with water and my house is currently floating down Cahuenga Boulevard toward Universal Studios. Fortunately, I was able to gather two of every Project Runway bobblehead doll and special edition Barbie so they will be able to procreate and carry on the species.

So, I'm sorry I didn't write a recap last week, but I have a really good excuse: I just didn't feel like it. All you need to know is that it was a boring-ass episode with a bunch of ugly-ass dresses. The models were from some show called The Real Housewives, or something like that. It must be new, because I've never heard of it. Has anyone seen this show? It sounds awful. Golnessa was sent home.

The recap this week will be very short because Other Eric erased the episode before I had a chance to take notes and I'm also finding it hard to type because my house keeps bobbing up and down in the water and it's really starting to pick up speed.

Anyway, this week the designers went to a train station in New Jersey because there are no train stations in Manhattan. They rummage through all the junk in the lost-and-found room, where they find umbrellas, bed sheets, and Rachel Zoe's entire spring line for the Home Shopping Network.

David and Cesar switch teams:

David: "I just want to be clear that 'switching teams' in this context refers to me moving to the House of Emerald. I still love vaginas."

They have one day to turn this trash into even worse trash. Instead of Isaac, Laura Brown does the consultations, in a failed attempt to shake things up:

Laura Brown: "Never use orange, because orange doesn't look good on me, and all clothes should be designed to look good on me."

Cesar: "racist."

In the design room, David is getting jealous because Dominique is flirting shamelessly with all the other gay guys:

David: "I thought our painfully dysfunctional relationship was exclusive."

Meanwhile, Calvin is doing his best to keep the show entertaining, while Cesar is just becoming more pompous every week.

House of Nami shows a decent mostly-black collection. It's not great, but it doesn't suck. The concept of the "weekend getaway" TO Manhattan from the suburbs is a little weird. Not that it doesn't happen; it's just not a great concept for a collection.

House of Emerald did a safari theme for a getaway to the Hamptons, which was a better concept but resulted in a horrible collection. Cindy made an awful white dress that was cinched in at the knee, making it impossible for the model to walk. She wanted to make a dress that would make a woman look helpless and immobile while she stands at a bar:

Iman: "BUT HOW IS SHE SUPPOSED TO GET TO THE BAR?! MOST WOMEN ARE NOT CARRIED AROUND IN A SEDAN CHAIR, LIKE I AM!"

Apparently the judges really hated everything, even though it really wasn't any worse than any other week:

Iman: "THE DESIGNS THIS WEEK ARE A DISGRACE! THEY MADE ME WANT TO KILL MYSELF. BUT THEN I THOUGHT, NO, THAT IS RIDICULOUS! I CAN'T KILL MYSELF! IT WOULD BE UNFAIR TO DENY THE WORLD THE GLORY OF IMAN. NO, THE ONLY SENSIBLE THING WOULD BE TO KILL ALL OF YOU! WELL, THE LAWYERS SAY I CAN'T DO THAT. SO HERE WE ARE, WITH ALL OF YOU STILL ALIVE TO ASSAULT MY SENSES."

Reluctantly, Iman announces that House of Nami is the winning team, which isn't surprising, since it was clearly the winning team:

Iman: "I WASN'T GOING TO PICK A WINNER AT ALL, BUT SOMEONE TOLD ME I HAD TO. THAT'S RIGHT, SOMEONE TOLD IMAN WHAT TO DO! THAT PERSON HAD A LITTLE 'ACCIDENT' AND IS RECOVERING IN THE HOSPITAL."

Dominique is the winner of the challenge and picks immunity over the $500, which is sensible. She chooses Calvin as the weak link on the team. Cesar says he doesn't want him on his team, either. David is out.

Calvin: "Dominique stabbed me in the back. Cesar threw me under the bus. Isaac wrote me out of his will. Daniel Franco punched me in the nuts. And my mother just called to tell me I'm a disappointment. I guess the only thing I can do is laugh like a mental patient."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eric Three Thousand is on vacation!


Please check back later for the recap of the most recent totally boring episode of The Fashion Show.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Fashion Show, Season Two, Episode Four: Hot Tub Time Machine Two: Hotter and Tubbier!

Isaac: "I Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday. To all you non-Americans out there, Black Friday is a shopping celebration dating back to 1982, when the last Wal-Mart was desegregated."

I don't think that true, Isaac. Anyway, last week Eduardo won and Tamara went home. Golnessa gets all Churchillian:

Golnessa: "Never was I criticized so much by so many for so few!"

The designers get another letter from Iman:

Iman: "IMAN GETS HER STATIONERY IN BULK! MEET ME AT THE GIANT STEEL VAGINA!"

Isn't that the name of her perfume? Now that she said that, all I can see is a giant steel vagina:

David: "Actually, it's a very complex work by Santiago Calatrava that explores the formal properties of folded spherical planes. Frankly, your childish obsession with vaginas is pathetic."

Well, I am suitably chastened. The challenge this week is to create a fashion-forward look based on a specific year from the past half century. This should be a fun challenge. And yet, it isn't. I think the "fashion forward" part is the problem. They could have simply created looks for today based on historical looks and been done with it. Fashion forward is not the same as futuristic. But some of the designers start thinking that they have to guess what people will be wearing a thousand years in the future and then everything goes to hell:

Eduardo: "In 3000 AD everyone -- men and women, children and adults, dogs and cats, and of course genetically altered dog-cats -- will wear cocktail dresses 24 hours a day, all year long."

Obviously. Everyone can see that's where we're headed. The question is whether our cocktail dresses will be made of metallic fabric or bio-engineered fur. Maybe metallic faux-fur?

Eduardo: "No. That would be tacky."

Oh, and by the way, Iman loves plaid:

Iman: "I LOVE PLAID! I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT!"

Sure. Whatever.

The designers open their little time capsules. Cindy finds a blond wig, Jeffrey finds a piece of the Berlin wall, and David finds a crack vial:

Nina Garcia: "That is not my time capsule. I borrowed it from a friend and I thought that was gum."

Isaac makes his rounds in the design room and tells everyone to make entirely gray collections:

Isaac: "It's not a collection unless it's all one color!"

He also gives the hilarious instruction to be "careful-ish."

Isaac: "Be cautiously outrageous!"

For the entertainment portion of tonight's program, the producers provide the designers with unlimited supplies of alcohol but no way to open the bottles. That is exactly why, back in my day, we carried Swiss army knives in our sewing boxes.

Back in the design room, Cesar is being super bossy and the flirting between David and Dominique is getting a little out of control:

Rusty: "Dad, I think he's gonna pork her!"

Clark Griswold: "He's not gonna pork her, Rusty."

Rusty: "I think he is, Dad!"

Clark Griswold: "Well, he may pork her. Just eat, okay?"

The fashion show begins. It's really disappointing. Everything is gray and plaid, like Isaac and Iman wanted. There isn't much that's fashion forward in these looks. Most of them refer to historical looks but not the right years. We start with Nami:

Dominique made a big baggy shirt over pants, with custom plaid fabric. It's a little too big and sloppy, but it's pretty good and definitely the most interesting look on the runway this week.

David made a Michael Jackson jumpsuit from the eighties inspired by his grandmother, which confuses Iman, for some reason. It was actually looking pretty good in the workroom and then he screwed it up by turning the shoulder-pads into lapels:

Anja Rubik: "No woman wants to look like she has giant maxi pads on her chest."

No shit, whoever you are.

Eduardo made another dumb cocktail dress. It's pretty. Whatever.

Rolando made a completely boring outfit that had nothing to do with his year, 1969.

Calvin made something I can't quite describe. He made a nice skirt that looked like an evening gown but paired it with a hideous top that couldn't be worn for any occasion.

Then it's time for House of Emerald:

Cesar made a look inspired by "cocooning," which was definitely a term used a lot after 9/11. He made capri pants and a top with a huge collapsable collar that can cover the model's head. It's pretty good. He also made a second look so that the team would have a more complete collection. This is a valid concern and one of the reasons I questioned whether the "collection" aspect of the competition would work once designers started being eliminated.

Jeffrey made a dress with kind of a scarf covering half of it. It's pretty but I don't know what it has to do with the eighties and it's really not fashion forward.

Cindy made a cool dress with a coat. Supposedly it was inspired by Jackie O? I like it, but, again, it's not fashion forward.

Golnessa made a pretty 1950's inspired dress with a full skirt. The judges praise it even though it looks like a costume. Nothing fashion-forward about it.

Emerald finally wins a challenge and Jeffrey is the individual winner.

David and Rolando are the bottom two from House of Nami:

Iman: "DAVID, TELL IMAN WHY YOU SHOULD STAY!"

Dominique: "He should stay because we are in love and I don't want to die alone in a house full of cats!"

David: "Yeah. What she said."

Iman: "DAVID, YOU NEED A WOMAN TO FIGHT YOUR BATTLES FOR YOU. I LIKE THAT! YOU CAN STAY."

Rolando is out:

Iman: "ROLANDO, THIS OUTFIT MADE ME SICK. I REMEMBER 1969. I WAS EIGHTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD AND IN MY SEXUAL PRIME. I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CAUGHT DEAD IN THIS DOWDY, SHAPELESS MESS. YOU ARE OUT OF FASHION."