Monday, October 27, 2008

Ted Stevens, Top Design, and High School Musical!

What do these things have in common? Absolutely nothing. Why would they? I just felt like mentioning them all in one post. Do you have a problem with that?

First, Ted Stevens was just found guilty. The most shocking thing about this whole sordid story is that it took him forty years of corruption to build that totally shitty house in Alaska. Seriously, have you seen that dump? When I saw the house I thought it must be the "before" picture but, no, that's what it really looks like. It reminds me of the movie The Jerk, when Steve Martin gets rich and his family rebuilds their shack into a gigantic version of the exact same shack. I'm pretty sure if I were as big a criminal as he is I would have a much nicer house than that. I almost feel sorry for him.

Second, I wanted to mention the Chandelier Challenge going on over at Blogging Top Design! Have you ever wanted to disappoint the amazing Margaret Russell? Well, now's your chance! You can design a room around a chandelier just like the designers did on Top Design and even have the opportunity to be judged by a Top Design judge! Will Margaret think you are a hack or next big thing? To be honest, it will probably be the former. But you never know! Seriously, check out the contest and submit an entry! There is a chance Margaret will actually see your design! No shit!

Third, if you have not seen High School Musical with several hundred screaming pre-teen girls then you have not had the full High School Musical experience! It is hilarious! And the movie is not horrible, either. Zach and Vanessa's love songs made me want to gauge my ears out but the rest of the movie was really fun! Except for the really annoying British girl, I liked the characters; the choreography is great; a few of the songs are enjoyable; and the chubby cheerleader is the most amazing dancer, which sends a very positive message to girls: it's OK to be overweight as long as you are a cheerleader. No, seriously, I really enjoyed watching her dance! There were some weird parts, like when Sharpay's gay twin brother almost came out of the closet while dancing with a hot shirtless guy and then he ends up falling in love with the girl who plays the piano because they both wear dumb hats. And, of course, the message of the movie is just as muddled as the last one (your friends are more important than your education?) But, all in all, I thought it was fun!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am totally obsessed with with the electoral college maps on Yahoo! You can play around with different scenarios to see how each candidate gets to 270. The really fun part is that there is no realistic way for John McCain to reach 270! The McCain campaign is pretending Pennsylvania is still in play but they are just fooling themselves. The only way for McCain to win is if he wins Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Seeing as Obama is ahead in all those states, that will be quite a challenge. McCain could easily win most of those states. But all of them? I don't think so.

Just because I'm feeling generous today, I'm going to give McCain all the states where Obama is leading by less than 8 points. So we'll give him Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. Obama still wins! New Mexico? That's pretty safe for Obama but, just for the sake of argument, McCain can have it. Sorry; not enough! McCain wants part of New Hampshire? Fine. We'll give him two points there. He still loses!

To me, the exciting state to watch on election night will be Virginia. Obama has an 8 point lead in Virginia. If he wins the state, the election will be over early. Once he wins Virginia, he doesn't need any other battleground state. Obviously, Florida would do the job, too, and if he wins Virginia and Florida, it will be a landslide. If Obama loses Virginia (and Florida), it will be a longer night. We may have to wait to see what happens in Colorado.

So, the point is, I don't think McCain has much of a chance. He has to win 8 states where Obama is now leading. Many of them are close and if he worked really hard he could erase Obama's lead in most of them. But I just don't see how he could win them all. For instance, if he spent all his resources in Virginia trying to convice people that Obama is in favor of murdering babies, he could probably win that state. But then he would end up losing Colorado or some other state so it wouldn't do him any good.

Finally, just a quick comment on the Bradley effect. The Bradley effect is a horrible racist relic brought to you by the beautiful state of California. You're welcome! In case you aren't familiar with it, it refers to a black Los Angeles mayor who lost his bid for governor even though he was ahead in the polls. Apparently, people said they were voting for him because they didn't want to seem racist but then ended up voting for the white guy. This was decades ago and I don't think it's as bad anymore. Some people mentioned it when Obama lost New Hampshire in the primaries but I think that was just because people changed their minds. I don't think we've seen much other evidence of it. Still, some analysts suggest it could account for as much as a six percent discrepancy in polling. Fortunately, even if you factor in six points, Obama still wins!

But, as Michelle Obama pointed out, a black man running for president will be the underdog until he is actually sitting in the Oval Office. So don't take anything for granted! Make sure you vote!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Project Runway Season Five, Finale, Part Two: We survived another season!

Heidi: "Welcome to the finale of season five! I know I say this every time but this was definitely the worst season ever!"

Harvey Weinstein: "You're welcome!"

Seriously, I understand that the Weinsteins hate Bravo so they don't want to make a good show and Bravo wants to make sure Lifetime is buying a piece of shit so they don't want to promote the show, but I think they might have gone a little overboard. So we get the least talented group of designers, the worst challenges, and then no reunion show? Hello? Project Runway? Bravo just isn't that into you. After watching this season I can't help wondering if Lifetime could possibly do a worse job. I have a sneak peek of season six at the end of the post.

Anyway, last week Jerell was out and the remaining three designers have brought their collections to New York and they are making the final preparations for their runway shows:

They pick models. Korto needs hair, Leanne likes aliens, and we have an exciting two second reunion with Morgan from season one. We also get to see that girl I liked from "Make Me a Supermodel." Remember her? She was actually too tall to be a model! I didn't know that was possible.

The designers learn that they need to prune their collections from twelve to ten looks.

Tim argues with Kenley about the judges' reaction to her wedding dress:

Kenley: "Well, you aren't going to be the one judging my collection so I don't care what you think!"

[insert laugh track here]

Korto is so disappointed that Tim hasn't sprung one final challenge on her that she decides to make two new looks at the last minute. It doesn't help.

Tim makes his rounds and tells Kenley he's not crazy about the ropes:

Kenley: "Well, my dad would think this is rad as hell."

Kenley's Dad: "Yeah, I think it's rad as hell. Because I'm a tugboat captain and I say things like that."

A dog walks into the design room and shits on the floor:

Harvey Weinstein: "You're welcome!"

On the day of the show the designers are dressing the models. One of Leanne's models lost weight and one of Kenley's models gained weight so they switch models. Not really. Kenley finally zips her model into the dress but Leanne has to put her model in a dress she wasn't planning to use. It's not a great dress.

Jennifer Lopez was supposed to be the guest judge but she lost a foot in a horrible Manolo Blahnik accident and is recovering in Greece. Tim Gunn will be taking her place because they couldn't find anyone else. It's too bad there were no other fashionable celebrities in New York during New York Fashion Week. What? There were? Well, anyway, Tim is the guest judge:

Tim: "Well, butter my ass and call me a biscuit! I am so pleased to be here!"

It's not that I don't think Tim makes a good judge, but there was a reason he hadn't done it before: there is the slight conflict of interest problem because he is the designers' mentor and is involved in the work process.

I was shocked by this announcement:

Me: "What? Jennifer Lopez was supposed to be the guest judge and she's not there?"

Other Eric: "Are you kidding? We've known about this for weeks!"

Me: "Well, I don't pay attention to the fashion shows and I work very hard to remain clueless. Just like Kenley."

Let's see the shows!

Kenley is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Whatever. Other Eric and I like three looks in the middle of her collection: the black tulle skirt, the long black dress, and the adorable white dress with the full skirt and painted flowers. That one was especially cute. There were pieces I really liked in this collection but, overall, it wasn't very good.

Korto wants to know if you are ready for her. Well are ya, punk?

I really didn't like this collection. Some of the colors were nice. That's about the best thing I can say. Most of the pieces were wearable and pretty but I was bored. I can't believe she didn't come up with something more exciting.

Leanne lost millions of hours of sleep over her collection. You can tell. I recommend Lunesta. Because that Ambien shit will seriously mess you up. One of the side effects is sleep-sewing. It's tragic. Leanne's collection was interesting but it was a little too much "variations on a theme" for me. It was certainly cohesive. That's good, right? Actually, I really liked many of the pieces but I just got a little bored by the repetition. But I guess it's the best of the three.

Leanne wins a hundred thousand dollars:

Leanne: "This brotha's gettin' paid !"

uh, ok

So, here's the preview of season six on Lifetime:

Season Six of Project Runway, staring Tracey Gold in the inspirational true story of an aspiring fashion designer who overcomes a brain tumor, a rape, and the abduction of her child and seeks revenge against her cheating husband.

Yeah, that's what I was afraid of.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Project Runway Season Five, Finale Part One: A Very Eric Wedding!

What does that title mean, you ask? Well, it was just a coincidence that this episode was about a wedding dress challenge because Other Eric and I just went down to the Beverly Hills courthouse this morning and picked up our marriage license. I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that there is a ballot initiative on the November ballot in California to take away the right to marry from same-sex couples. I think most people reading this blog would agree that gays and lesbians should have equal rights. But just in case some of you think using the word "marriage" sounds weird because we aren't used to it, ask yourself this: Is the fact that a word sounds weird because we aren't used to it a valid reason to discriminate against people? The answer is clearly no. If you live in California, please vote no on Proposition 8. Whether or not you live in California, please consider donating money to help defeat this ballot initiative. The No on 8 campaign is running excellent television commercials but they need more money. You can donate online at Equality California. Thank you!

Heidi: "Wow, now I almost feel silly asking Tim if my skirt is too short."

Last week nobody was eliminated and Jerell got no advantage for winning. Oh, and everyone hates Kenley.

This week we learn that the four finalists will go home for two months to create collections and, as part of those collections, they will each be designing a wedding gown that will judged in order to pick the final three.

Everyone goes outside and catches taxis:

Jerell: "I don't know what the other girls will be doing with their eight thousand dollars but I will be buying some high-grade cocaine!"

Tim visits Korto in Little Rock:

Tim: "I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be in Arkansas."

Korto: "Well, who wouldn't be?"

I love the colors in Korto's collection but the shapes are not as exciting as I would have liked. And, apparently, Arkansas has some weird-ass wildlife:

Korto: "I'm using the colors of the florescent lime-green trees outside and I've been killing and skinning these gold-lamé snakes."

Tim: "Well, I think it's fabulous. I'm just a little concerned about the fact that this one dress looks like a gigantic vagina."

We meet Korto's lovely family, she performs for us on the drums, and she tells us how her family had to flee the civil war in Liberia and start over in the United States.

Next, Tim visits Leanne in Portland:

Leanne: "Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be on Project Runway. This is a dream come true."

I really like the flaps on Leanne's collection. I'm liking it much more than I liked anything she did in the competitions. Her wedding dress is awful. She's going to change it.

Tim visits Jerell in Los Angeles:

Jerell really specializes in separates so obviously he is doing a collection of hideous evening gowns. I'm really not liking what he's showing Tim.

We meet Jerell's "love interest":

Jerell: "We aren't dating; we're just interested."

OK, I don't think I've ever heard anyone use that term before but I just realized that's how you describe characters in a story:

Jerell: "Right; this is a story about the world-famous fashion designer Jerell, who has a retrospective of his life at the Metropolitan Museum. Oh, and of course there is also a love interest."

Whatever. We also meet Jerell's mom:

Tim: "What did you think Jerell would be when he grew up?"

Jerell's Mom: "Well, I had no idea but I knew it would be something gay. I'm so proud of him."

Jerell also tells us about growing up in South Central during the riots. I can't immagine. It was scary enough being an adult and living in Hollywood during the riots.

Tim visits Kenley in Brooklyn. I don't see enough of Kenley's collection to form an opinion. She tells us about her grandmother and that she died really recently. Like right about the time they were finishing filming of the main part of the show. I'm assuming it happened right after they left to start making their collections because she didn't leave during filming to attend a funeral. That's so sad.

Pleather: "Oh, yeah, Kenley's grandmother visited me in my dreams and told me to wear my underpants on my head."

Oh, shut up, Pleather. That is so rude.

For some reason, we don't meet any of Kenley's family or friends. She must have at least one friend, right? Right?

The designers meet up in New York. The designers give Kenley a little bit of a cold shoulder but Jerell is at least polite to her and after she apologizes for being a bitch, people start to relax and are a little friendlier. The champagne probably helped, too.

The for final surprise challenge they have to design a bridesmaid's dress to go with their wedding dresses.

Jerell: "My bridesmaid's dress is perfect because it's really ugly."

Korto: "My bridesmaid's dress is going to look exactly like the wedding dress."

Sure, what bride wants to be the center of attention?

Tim cries.

On to the runway with no special guest judge:

Jerell's wedding dress is almost pretty. I completely agree with Nina that the warm gold of the satin and the cool grey of the tulle doesn't look right. It looks accidental. I don't like his bridesmaid's dress. It isn't terrible and I see the connection to the wedding dress but I just don't like it.

Kenley's wedding dress is gorgeous! It's nothing original but it's very cute. Her little blue bridesmaid's dress is also very cute.

Korto's wedding dress is pretty hideous. I really don't like it. Her bridesmaid's dress is OK but the judges find it inexcusably boring.

Leanne's wedding dress is pretty amazing. It's both pretty and interesting. It perfectly represents her collection. Her bridesmaid's dress is very pretty and works perfectly with the wedding dress. The flaps are really dramatic without looking gimmicky.

The judges love Leanne's and she will be competing at Bryant Park.

The judges think Kenley's dress is a copy of an Alexander McQueen but they love it anyway. She will be competing at Bryant Park.

They hate both of Korto's dresses and both of Jerell's dresses. Jerell is out!

I was a Korto supporter from the first episode but I think the judges made the wrong decision on this one. Korto completely blew this challenge and should have been out. Jerell screwed up too but slightly less than Korto.

Next week we get to meet a dear old drunk, er, I mean, a dear old friend.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Project Runway Season Five, Episode Twelve: What was the point?

Heidi: "Hey, Tim, how do you like my tuxedo?"

Tim: "It's fine, I guess."

Howie Mandel runs out and rips off Heidi's tuxedo to reveal a miniskirt:

Tim: "What the hell was that?"

Heidi: "It's called comedy, Tim. You wouldn't understand."

We start the episode by learning that Korto is really old:

Korto: "I'm thirty-three."

Wow. She would be in her forties by the end of her second term as president.

We start the hating on Kenley:

Leanne: "Kenley should have gone home long ago because I don't like her."

I guess I missed the part about this being a competition for Leanne's friendship.

Heidi: "Oh, yeah; it's right there in the fine print. Right next to the part about having to pretend you drive a Saturn for the rest of your life."

Jerell is all alone is his apartment and he's losing his mind:

Jerell: "I painted a face on this volleyball with my own blood but it could never take the place of Pleather. For starters, Wilson has too much dignity to talk about himself in the third person."

Heidi comes out in a dress that makes her look like she was swallowed by a very small leopard:

Heidi: "Guess what? We're actually using the models this week! Hey, has anyone seen the models? I know I left them laying around here, somewhere."

Heidi tells us that only three of the designers will be competing at fashion week:

Heidi: "Notice that I said 'competing.'"

Yeah? What's your point?

Tim takes the designers on a field trip to a magical place where flowers and other plants grow right out of the ground, instead of in pots and vases like they are supposed to:

Tim: "It's called a botanical garden."

I think you're making that up.

But, the one thing I would expect to find at a botanical garden, if such a place existed, would be Collier Strong, L'oreal makeup artist. And, sure enough, he's there!

Collier Strong: "I love driving my beautiful and fuel-efficient Botanical Garden to photo-shoots, where I use the new Liquid Extreme Botanical Garden on my clients so they can appear in a spread for the next issue of Botanical Garden."

I am so sick of all the blatant botanical garden promotion on this show.

Anyway, the designers have to design an evening gown inspired by nature.

Then we have a sentimental montage sequence set the music of Tears for Fears: The designers are taking pictures of flowers and having pillow fights, Kenley finds the perfect fuchsia snakeskin fabric and Leanne is being chased by bees, everyone laughs and eats cotton candy on the boardwalk, and then the summer is over and everyone has to go to different colleges.

The scene at Parsons the New School for Design gets ugly when Kenley realizes that she forgot her tulle at Mood and, even thought the other three designers all had tulle they weren't using, none of them will offer her any. I understand they don't like her but that's just rude. One nice thing about Project Runway is that the designers help each other even though it's in their best interest not to. The designers should want to win because they have the best design, not because someone forgot fabric at Mood. I'm not a Kenley fan but I bet she would have given the other designers her extra fabric if they had needed it.

Anyway, to relieve the tension caused by that scene, Alison from season three or four pretends to design some dress inspired by the Saturn that she was forced to drive for a few minutes.

Tim lets Kenley go back to Mood to get her tulle and she is very gracious about not lording it over the other disappointed designers. Thankfully, she can now complete her horrible, hideous dress.

Collier Strong does the makeup for the show:

Collier: "I'm going to use purple eye shadow for the purple dress and green eye shadow for the green dress."

You're a genius, Collier.

Kenley tells us what a struggle her life has been:

Kenley: "My father was a tugboat captain and that's why I turned out like this."

That was such a inspirational story.

Back in the design room Tim makes his rounds:

Korto's lace is bothering him.

Kenley's fish scales are bothering him.

Jerell's unfinishedness is bothering him.

Leanne's Hello Dolly costume is bothering him.

For some reason Tim is so proud of each and every one of them. He gives his final words of advice:

Tim: "Remember to borrow egregiously from the Bluefly wall."

Designers: "Absolutely!"

At the commercial break Bravo asks if we would have given our extra tulle to Kenley.

Here are your options:

a) No way would I help that bitch.

b) Absolutely not.

c) Why the hell would I?

d) Kenley can drop dead.

Gosh, that's a tough one.

Before the runway show, we see Korto praying:

Korto: "Dear Suri Cruise, please grant me the strength to get through this challenge."

That's interesting; I didn't know Korto was a Presbyterian.

On to the runway with judges Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and some woman named Georgina they found hanging out in front of Parsons.

Leanne created this really ugly dress based on lavender. I can see the flower inspiration and I'm sure the ruffles were hard to do but I really hate it. The silhouette is so boring I just want to slap someone. God, I hate this dress. The judges, of course, like it.

Korto created an almost pretty dress based on a really beautiful orange flower. The flower was so gorgeous; it really would have been the perfect time to do some of her magic with volume. Instead, she created a simple silhouette, though not nearly as boring as Leanne. The lace is just godawful. I don't know what she was thinking. The judges think it is a beauty pageant dress.

Jerell's dress is the only one that's interesting. It's based on roses and I think it's really kind of cool. His model looks like she has a stick up her ass but I think she always looks like that. The dress isn't finished well but the judges like it.

Kenley created a dress for a drag queen. The top part is actually a very beautifully-fitted, though boring, sheath dress. But then she put all these horribly tacky leaves on the bottom. It looks like a craft project. Nina thinks it looks like a reptile:

Nina: "But not in a cool way."

That's right. It looks like a reptile in an uncool way.

Heidi: "It's not elegant."

Kenley: "I wasn't going for elegant, Heidi!"

Heidi: "Well, we don't like it."


Michael: "Kenley, why are you being so ungrateful? We all are such big fans and we just care about you so much and want you to succeed."

Nina: "Oh, don't be such a yenta, Michael. We all hate her."

Jerell wins . . . nothing. No, seriously, did he win anything other than bragging rights? I always say someone didn't win anything and then someone points out that I'm wrong and he actually won an internship as an assistant Editor at Large or a date with Collier Strong or a shirt inspired by the amazing new Saturn or something. Let me know if I missed the prize.

Heidi tells us that this was the closest decision in the history of the world:

Heidi: "Actually, just in the history of Project Runway."

Same thing. Then she tells us who is out:

Heidi: "Nobody is out!"

I KNEW IT! YOU LIAR! You said only three people were going to Bryant Park!

Heidi: "No. I said only three would be competing at Bryant Park. Remember?"

oh, yeah.

So, all four of them will create collections and be back for Fashion Week but one of them will be out before the show so that only three will be competing in the finale. It's similar to last season. The difference is that, instead of the bottom two competing against each other for the third spot, any one of them could be out. So we are exactly where we were when this challenge started. If it weren't for the hideous dresses, this challenge would have been a complete waste of time.

I leave you with the designers telling us which of the other designers should not be competing at Bryant Park:

Leanne: "Kenley sucks."

Korto: "Kenley sucks."

Jerell: "Kenley sucks."

Kenley: "Well, I think Korto's style is just too classic to really wow them at Fashion Week."

Korto: "I can't believe you would say such a horrible thing."