Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's Hard Not To Blog About Being Pregnant After A Chatty Doctor Spends An Hour Glazing Your Entire Belly With Weird Gross Ultrasound Jelly Lube

I'm just saying.

Yes, an hour.

Probably if I was one of those pregnant ladies who did things like Read About What To Expect or wahteverthehell, I would have known what I was in for. But I'm pretty much staying away from the Message Boards of Terror, and books of This MIGHT Go Wrong! because I am just a little predisposed towards hypochondria, and reading about all the things I could/should/might be worrying about doesn't help anyone. In fact, it makes me miserable, and stressed, which can't be good for the baby, and then Ish has to spend all his time at work explaining what do you mean you don't think she has a heart, how could she not have a heart? Remember how she was moving around and kicking and stuff? You need to have a heart in order to kick. Yes, I swear.

But so that's just it. I went into this appointment with a different sonographer who swept the ultrasound wand thing over my belly, prodding and poking and studying the screen for a full hour. He was very chatty about non-baby-related things, and when it was all over, I got about five ultrasound photos which are still entirely undecipherable to me.

The good news is that she seems to be okay. I mean, not that the sonographer is allowed to tell us anything, but she was very active ("It looks like she's riding a bike!" and "You should call her 'kicky'" he added) and we saw all four limbs, so I can at least put that fear to rest.

Of course, I have to go back because she was too moving around for him to get a good look at her heart or, um, lips.

In other pregnant news, the bump is finally starting to show.

Also, Pregnancy Brain has set in and I cannot concentrate on anything. Except maybe donuts.

* * * * * * *

Ish got two fancy knives for Christmas. They're "Shun: Bob Kramer" knives, and the two of them together cost more than my entire set of cookware. They are amazing knives and I am psyched that we own them, don't get me wrong, but I also find it amusing that these knives alone seem to make Ish want to cook more often, more elaborately. And I secretly think that Ish kind of dressed up to use them.

* * * * * * *

I Tweeted this earlier (I'm on Twitter @kristysf / Ish is there @Ish), but this is the kind of thing that goes through my head as I'm trying to fall asleep:

You know Billy Mays? The living, breathing incarnation of ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME?

Do you think if Billy Mays were a grammarian, he would endorse OXYMORONS!?

* * * * * * *

Thanks for people who are contributing to the discussion about what video games I need to look into. I will keep you posted if/when I find something awesome.

p.s. I have a MacBook and a Wii.

* * * * * * *

I hardly ever write about porn.

As I also Tweeted recently, if there's one thing I've learned from watching amateur porn, it's that people have really, really ugly furniture.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kiki's Quest, or "Why I Hate The Video Gaming Industry" or even "Why Does The Video Game Industry Hate Women?"

It seems painfully obvious to me, but maybe I'm missing something. It's just...um...why aren't there video games for girls?

Not pink, music, talk-about-boys, let's make flirtinis kind of games. (Do those even exist?) I mean, games that are about stories and characters and human interaction and DON'T involve trolls, or drive-by shootings, or mass quantities of blood, or weaponry and fighting and war and destruction and lots and lots of murder.

I'll come back to this in a sec. Hang on.

* * * * * * *

In December of 1987 or 1988, my sisters and I spent a good portion of our week-long, post-Christmas break playing King's Quest on our family computer. I can't tell you which King's Quest it was -- I can't even tell you what computer we were using, though I know it was an IBM of some sort -- but I can tell you that it was some of the most fun we've ever had. Ever.

This was early, early on in the days of computer "gaming" (obviously), back when simply installing the game took half a day. The game didn't come with play-related maps or booklets, it came with a lengthy instruction manual on how to install and CODE the computer game to play right. Which was hilarious, because Healy and I had no experience programming computers (I was 12 or 13, Healy was 9 or 10, and Sam would have been 5 or 6) and yet we were far more eager and far less afraid than our parents. And somehow we always got it to work.

Game play started off slow. We didn't actually know what we were doing, we'd just decided to try it on the recommendations of our friends. And after futzing around with the game for a while, having no idea where we were going or what we were doing, we got industrious and decided to draw an actual map. I also had to call my not-really boyfriend about 30 million times to find out what on earth we were supposed to be doing. But once we got it, we really got it. And we played nonstop -- day, night, bleary-eyed into the wee hours of the morning -- until we won.

On and off for the next several years, Healy and I would occasionally get or go out and buy a new game, often of the Sierra, Roberta Williams variety.

When I was in college, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon a game at an electronics store and took it home. It was the second in the Gabriel Knight series. By then, our home computer was a Mac, and the game came on several CDs and required almost no installation. We just got to playing.

Oh my god it was amazing.

So okay, there was blood. And the story was, at its base, about werewolves. BUT! There was also drama and subplots and the whole game was based in reality. The main character (Gabriel) was even played by a real actor and there was video footage of him and his partner (Grace) acting stuff out. AND the game was brilliantly woven into actual history, and used historic facts, stories, and places to build its story. Because of this stupid game, I know what the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle looks like, who King Ludwig was, and how even Wagner was involved in some crazy shit back in his day.

It was all-consuming, and Dave and Healy and I sat around the computer and did nothing but work on this game until we'd completed it.

* * * * * * * * *

I don't actually know, but I suspect it works very much like television shows and movies. Someone comes up with a relatively new concept for a video game that's wildly successful, so then every other VG company works on coming up with games exactly like that one.

And next thing you know, there are 80 million games about shooting people.

Meanwhile, no one is making games for women. The logic is that women don't like video games. Because women aren't the ones buying video games.

Which all makes me want to throw a PS3 at someone.

It's circular logic. Games aren't made for women, so women don't particularly like or buy the games, so the industry says "See? Women don't like video games," and then makes more games women don't care about.

And OH MY GOD, please. Let us not get sidetracked into the conversation of "Women would like video games if there were more strong female characters in them." That's stupid. I don't dislike the video games just because I can't relate to the Barbie-looking, bikini-clad, women-as-tokens element of them. It's that I can't relate to the whole damn thing. So taking the same old boy formula and sticking in some kick-ass woman as the main character does not magically make the game appealing to me. That's like telling a guy, "Oh come on, you would love Sex and the City -- Harry's a really great character." (Trust me, it doesn't work.)

The problem is, the entire thing is unrelatable. When I was a little girl, I did not dream of saving the planet by running around in a tank top and bike shorts -- killer body or no -- to fend off hordes of zombies. Not even once.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are women who DO game now, who are fine with the industry as is. There are women who work in and are making waves (and wins) in the male-dominated video gaming industry.

Ooh -- and we should never, ever forget to mention the droves of women who would pick Buffy over any of the shoe-shoppers of Sex and the City any day.

But.

Where are the games I want to play? Maybe they're out there and I just don't know about them? Are they? Can you tell me?

Remember those super popular games like 7th Guest and Myst? And the SIMS? I played all those. And I have to believe that a large part of their overall popularity was that women joined in playing them. Adults could even play them with kids and not have to worry about explicit language!

But that isn't even the point. I don't give a shit about explicit language. I don't mind some violence (murder mysteries are right up my alley!). I don't even mind some fantastical elements, especially when they're set in or against the real world (a la Harry Potter).

So here. As a woman, here's what I want out of a video game. The kind that I would race out to spend money on, would make all my friends buy, would LOVE to receive a press kit about, would blog about ad nauseum, would play until I conqured: Plot and exposition; interesting characters; solving problems; solving puzzles; data gathering; racing against the clock; figuring people and places out; situations with sexual* tension; having to remember and assimilate information in order to advance; and maybe a little ass-kicking here and there.

Is that too much to ask?

Is it out there and I just didn't know it?

Or should I just give up?




*Note: Sexual tension generally requires character development. Sexual tension generally does NOT mean women with fake boobs wandering around topless. Well, unless they are really, really interesting women critical to plot development.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dear My New Best Friend

I don't know who you are, but let me just say...

...I think we would get along very well.

Good luck in your search. Please let us all know what you find.



p.s. My stat application only tracks the last five visitors because for some stupid reason I don't pay the yearly fee of like, $25.

p.p.s. Drawing arrows and writing "freehand" is REALLY hard to do only using a trackpad. I mean, even harder than usual.

p.p.p.s. If you were the one searching for this diet, I am serious that we should be friends and am likewise serious that I want to know if you were successful in your search. This baby weight isn't gonna get rid of itself.


p.p.p.s. I hate the Renaissance-themed Academy of Art commercial. Hate. It was just on when I was writing this, and it made me mad. It features the worst acting I have ever seen, and it makes me feel bad for currently enrolled students.

1-20-09

Oh sure, yesterday was all historic with its ushering in of a new era in American history and politics, an era of hope and change beginning with the swearing in of the first African American President of the United States.

But it's also the day Ish and I got married.

I know, I know. Way to make it all about us.

Actually, we thought that since there'd be plenty of t-shirts and mugs with the date already printed on them, we'd just use it. Yay for 1-20-09 bumper stickers!

Seriously, though, here's what happened:

Sometime around Thanksgiving, my head exploded.

Planning events has been a part of my job for, hell, over a decade now. It has been my full-time job for the last two years. My point is that I know what I'm doing wedding-planning-wise. I know what goes into it. I know what to be concerned about and what NOT to be concerned about. I know how to negotiate with venues and vendors, and I know what a good price is for a dinner or hors d'oeuvres or signature cocktails or specially imprinted napkins or yes, even ice sculptures, the kinds that light up and have a vodka luge. (I know! Vodka luge!)

I also know how I prefer to plan events. The first step is to start with a vision. I know that sounds obnoxious, but I'm not kidding. I need to figure out how I want the event to feel. It doesn't have to be themed ("wedding" is a pretty good theme as it is, you know?), but I have to be able to describe it, how I want the guests to experience the event.

And I couldn't get my arms around this one. Too many conflicting ideas! I take my relationship with Ish very seriously, and I would love to express my vows aloud to him in front of the people who mean the most to me. I also love to have parties. But! I am SO OVER about 90% of Official Wedding reception stuff (because I have already done it, because that's not what matters to me anymore, not because I think it's stupid). I just don't care. And also we're funny and silly and love San Francisco and would love to just serve In-and-Out Burger. EXCEPT we're ALSO fancypants sometimes. SOMETIMES we do like to incorporate more sophisticated elements into our lives. And in the end trying to describe or even figure out what I/we wanted was impossible. An orchestra! An 80s band! Vodka luge! Hot dogs! No, no, sophisticated hot dogs!

And right about the time Ish and I launched into the FOURTH heated (albeit honest to goodness) conversation about the various merits of sophisticated hot dogs, my head just shot across the room. It was too ridiculous.

It basically boiled down to the fact that we DO want to have a wedding party with vodka and hot dogs, but we DON'T want it to rule our lives, to stress us out, to take on greater importance than it should. There are bigger things to worry about right now.

We just want to be married.

We just want to have the kid.

AND we just want to have a bigass party...to celebrate it all, without the pressure of w-e-d-d-i-n-g.

We went online and made a reservation to get married on Inauguration Day, because it seemed like a damn good day to do it.

And then we debated for two more months about whether we would actually go through with it. We debated telling a few people, and inviting them to City Hall. We debated inviting just our families. We discussed telling everyone, and asking anyone who wanted to to come along. We mostly discussed not going, and doing the formal wedding thing for real.

But then a week ago, just in case, we got our rings.

And two days ago, we decided yes. Let's just do it.

We didn't tell anyone except for our two very quiet witnesses. Not anyone.

We met at City Hall right after Obama was sworn in. We filed paperwork. We met with our officiant. She asked if we had rings to exchange and we said we did. She asked if we'd like to have the ceremony in the Rotunda. We said we did.

And 30 minutes later, we were married.

* * * * * * *

We stood at the top of the Rotunda, where that person (unknown) is pictured.


Our officiant was all smiles, and had a wonderful positive energy about her. I will try and get a copy of what she said, because it was perfect.

She did speak with a heavy accent, though, so when she said something like,

...rejoice in each other's graces

it sounded to me (project much?) like she said:

...rejoice in each other's crazies.

And I thought to myself, "DONE AND DONE." And then I almost burst out laughing.

When it was over, the four of us walked down the street to Citizen Cake. It's not usually open so early (it was only about 10:30 a.m.), but there were inaugural revelers inside drinking champagne, so they let us in as well. Which meant that totally unplanned, immediately following our ceremony we got to have champagne and cake. Hurrah!

Then our witnesses left and Ish and I walked down the street and had lunch at Absinthe (and we got to see and meet Jamie, who is currently competing on Top Chef). And then we went home, and did a little work, and sat and grinned like very happy idiots.

Later that evening, we went with Ben and Emily to see their new apartment and to have more champagne, toasting to so many new beginnings.

And then Ish took me to Masa's for dinner. Which was almost as grand as a honeymoon.

All in all, I'd have to say that 1-20-09 was totally bumper-sticker worthy.




p.s. We took almost no photos, because that wasn't the point. But when we DO have that "big ass party," there will be many. I promise.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Probably Exactly What I Should Be Blogging About

As I write this, it's Monday morning and Ish and I have the day off. He's just switched on the television in time to see a young couple on Maury have some Family Sex Secret Revealed. The tv is on mute, so I don't know exactly what's happened, but the young woman without many of her teeth suddenly burst into tears and the man on the stage next to her, also sans many critical teeth, turned bright red but didn't change his expression. The woman regained a little control, enough to walk off the stage.

I'm pointing this out because most people in the world, and most people even just in this country, have worse problems than Ish and I do. I know this. And it's why I don't write about some of the stuff Ish and I are dealing with because, oh boo-hoo, it's so hard to move to wine country. Cue violins.

But not writing about it doesn't mean it's not happening. And just because other people in the world have far worse problems, doesn't mean ours disappear.

So with that long preamble, here's the situation:

Initially, Ish and I thought we were going to move to Napa/Sonoma/thereabouts and rent a house. We thought renting made a lot of sense because we don't know how we'll like living in a rural area (versus our beloved San Francisco). We also thought that renting made sense because, frankly, this job market blows. Ish's job seems secure-ish now, but what happens in six months? 12? His company is in real estate investments. (Yeah, ouch.) And it's not like there's a lot of work up in wine country for guys with Ish's background, even if he is really funny.

But yeah -- initial thinking was, We'll move to Napa, rent a place, see how we like it. If things look good after 6 months or a year, we'll buy.

Well, except.

Except that we can afford to buy a place now. And the market prices are better than, well, we may ever ever see again in our lifetimes (let's kind of hope so; this Recession is super sucktastic). And living another 6-12 months in yet another temporary place that isn't ours is not appealing. Knowing that no matter what, we'll have to move again -- oh, and this time with an infant -- makes my whole body slump. Not to mention spending another year throwing money away on rent that we'll never make back. And what happens when things are just as murky down the road? What if things seems just as uncertain, perhaps for different reasons, in a year? When do you just decide it's worth it?

So, there it is. Our uber middle-class problem. Please don't throw rocks.

A couple weeks ago, Ish and I decided for certain that we were going to buy. Never rent when you can buy! is some mantra stuck in our heads (and subconscious) because that's the thinking. Surely you've been told the same? It's just...mortgage rates are low, housing prices are relatively good, we should just do it.

We've looked at over 20 properties.

And then yesterday, on the heels of finding what we think is The One we want to make an offer on (gulp), we cooled our heels. Stopped dead in our tracks, actually.

Ish looked at me and said, "But what if I did lose my job in six months?"

[Update: I am digging your encouraging and positive comments, thank you so much. Seriously.

I do just want to emphasize one kind of major point, though. Bleh. If Ish lost his job, it would likely necessitate our moving out of wine country altogether. That's the complicating factor -- you're right, a payment is a payment, but given that we'd have to move to a different part of the state, it would be far easier and cheaper to break a lease than to have to try to sell a house at a potential loss. This is the bitch of it, and why the decision is particularly prickly. Bleh again.]

A little over a year ago that would have seemed like some completely hypothetical question. One we should consider, but not give undue weight to. Sure, you might get laid off. Also, what if you got hit by a bus?

But now there is this big black cloud looming. The market has gotten worse, Ish's job is on shakier ground. The future is completely uncertain.

Except for the parts that aren't.

Like, I am due to have a baby in five months. Like, I have given notice. Like, Ish's job -- a job he likes in an industry he loves and does not want to leave -- is in Napa. Like, our current rent is too high for living conditions that are unsuitable for a baby.

So no matter what, something has to change. Things can't, and won't, stay as they are.

And THAT, along with this miserable, MISERABLE cold, is what's taken up a lot of our time in the last few weeks. I simply don't know what we're going to do, but whatever it is, we've got to do it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Foreshadowing My Life As A Horrible Parent

My gut tells me I will be a fine, albeit mostly clueless, mother.

I suspect I will also suck at being a good "parent."

Ish and I were at a gathering recently where we didn't know very many people, and those who we did know, we didn't know well. After a while, I got tired of standing and was fatigued from the whole day, and realized I needed to sit down. I found a quieter back room, and realized I wasn't the only one needing some space. A couple of new parents were hanging out there as well, nursing their 4-month-old. And, as these things happen, eventually all the pregnant women at the party (and there were three or four of us) ended up in the same room. And, as these things also happen, the conversation became entirely about babies and pregnancy.

And the strangest thing happened.

I realized I didn't want to talk about my pregnancy. I didn't want to talk about babies. I didn't want to talk about maternity pants or breastfeeding or weight gain or cravings or birthing plans. I wanted to go back into the other room and resume talking to that woman with the cool new business venture. (And I would have, if I hadn't been so damn exhausted...)

I was surprised at myself, and I left the party feeling a very strange sense of "Huh?" And while it's not a super-huge deal, I've had a hard time figuring out what was going on, what I felt, and why it mattered.

Here's what I've come up with:

First of all, parenting is incredibly personal. I'm glad we all talk about it, I'm glad there is so much open dialogue about it, I'm glad we don't just pretend parenting is easy and shutup about it. But um? I also think parenting is kind of like politics. I'd prefer not to discuss my views in a social setting where I don't really know the other participants. And I'd VERY MUCH prefer not to hear others' views about what is "right" and "wrong," either.

Secondly, I kind of think that pregnant women have as much in common with each other as people who own red cars. Our exteriors have one notable similarity, and it's entirely possible that that's where the similarities end.

Oh, of course I know that at a cocktail party, you mingle with folks for any variety of reason. Hey, you have an email address? I have an email address too! But with this -- with pregnancy, the idea of being a parent -- it's different. My expectations were different. If you're in a room with other people in your professional industry, for example, and everyone's chatting about The Industry, and what they do, and then you leave the party and realize you didn't really see eye-to-eye with anyone in the room, so what?

But there I was, with all these perfectly lovely people talking about babies and I had virtually no interest. I didn't want to hold the other woman's beautiful little girl. I didn't want to talk about my quest to find maternity jeans. I have no theories on baby-raising to offer (I don't know any more about raising a kid now than I did before getting knocked up), and no real desire to engage in any of the conversations on the table. So, so what?

No, not so what. Well, or maybe so what. Or...I don't know what.

Shouldn't I? Shouldn't I want to engage? Jump at the chance to hear what others are doing and share my experiences and hold a gurgling baby? I mean, this isn't me not finding common ground with networking professionals, this is me not being interested in my kid's world, right?

Hmmmm.

* * * * * *

I am often amazed at how much better I understand my mom as I get older, especially since she's not around to facilitate that process. My mom had all kinds of social anxiety and depression issues, and I have long assumed those afflictions were the reason she didn't do more typical "parent" things. She had always told me the reason she didn't get involved at my school or with PTA or neighbors or most of my friends' parents or really, any mommy groups whatsoever was because she didn't usually like other parents.

And while I still think that's an over-simplified answer, I also think I get it now.

No, no. I am not making a blanket statement saying I don't like other parents. That would be ridiculous on about a million levels.

But I did get a dose of what it's like to be thrown together with a group of people simply because we're in each other's proximity and our kids are or will be about the same age.

And what it's like to feel totally and completely unlike "them."

And what it's like to feel scared and isolated and to wonder, Should I pretend that I'm interested? Is this what we do? Oh, God, am I already messing it up?

Everything my mom must have felt became crystal clear to me in those few minutes.

But, happily, there's more.

I have always understood the never-before-experienced-in-human-existence power of the Internet, how it connects people in the most extraordinary ways. As such, I've peripherally followed the inception and growth of the mommyblogging phenomenon with sadness and relief.

Sadness, because it's possible (likely, even) that my mom did suffer from terrible anxiety and depression, and that it was made worse by the fact that she had no one she felt she could really talk to. I'd like to believe that her life would have gone differently if she'd had a vehicle for finding other people, women, moms, who felt like she did.

Relief, because I have that vehicle. I caught a glimmer of what these next few years may bring and what on earth would I do without this place? This blog and you and Twitter and Google and Facebook and message boards and the hilarious, smart, cussing, drinking, messy awesomeness that is so much of the mom-o-sphere.

I know I won't be alone. I know that no matter what happens out there in for-real life, I will always have the in-here life, too. I can share and be honest and terrified and thrilled and baby-focused and NOT baby-focused (American Idol liveblog!) and not have to worry (as much) about failing. I am the MOST not perfect EVER, but thanks to this here social media thing, I can at least be real.

So we can all be real, horrible parents together. And raise real, horrible, terrific kids.

Where I Attempt To Liveblog American Idol

The new season of AI begins in one hour, and sadly, Ish is not here to enjoy it with me. Therefore, I bring you Another Liveblog Until I Fall Asleep.

Note the first: I have a serious post below that you might want to read, it's actually heartfelt. But you know. American Idol.

Note the second: I will actually update this in real time, during commercial breaks (or as close to them as I can come).

Note the third: As with the Golden Globes, I am not well informed and will make no attempts to keep you informed. I will simply tell you my version of what's happening and we can both try to figure out why we watch these trainwrecks. Fun for the whole family! (Well, except for the parts where I use the eff word.)

* * * * * * * *

Oooh. Inspirational quote and flashback montage. Done quite well, I must say.

It's official. Ryan has said it. "THIS. Is American Idol."

We begin with an internet video from last year's results, featuring a handful of pre-teen girls who were watching the results live...except they really wanted the OTHER David to win. So David Cook's name is announced and they all scream in horror and start crying. What a weird note to start on.

We move on to more inspirational music accompanying a montage of auditioners we haven't seen yet.

* * * * * * *

Ryan is walking along the Grand Canyon to emphasize that they are in Phoenix.

Oh, right. We have a new, fourth judge. Her name is Kara DioGuardi and she's all music business-y and I don't know why she's here. I am skeptical.

A half-Vietnamese boy with a gigantic fro is our first audition. He thinks his robot dancing makes him more marketable. OH! and in the middle of "The Way You Make Me Feel" he did a little tap number. Yikes. It was not good. It wasn't the worst, not by far, but no.

A girl named Emily with pink hair and tattoos is next, and her clip starts with all kinds of background on her and video of her mom. This is a good indicator that she's going through. She's the lead singer of an all-girl rock band. She ROCKS "Barracuda," which is IMPOSSIBLE to sing. Her voice is powerful AND pretty. They send her through, after giving her a REALLY hard time about leaving her band behind. Ouch.

* * * * * * *

Oh, dear. We have another (self-proclaimed) rocker named Eddie. He claims he's just another "blue collar" guy working in "a cubicle." Hmm. Let's not spend too much time dissecting the issues with that. He's wearing very rock-y gear. He's also crying before his audition because of how much this will change his life. ALL of these things are very, very bad signs. He sings, "Livin' on a Prayer." He's gotten some of the words wrong. Simon calls it "wimpy." Eddie replies saying he's not "classically trained." Um? Simon says that dressing like a rock star doesn't make you a rock star. Eddie cries a little more. It's four no's, and he's devastated.

Quick clip of some awesome Asian guy named JB. Simon wants him to loosen up, but he goes through with four yeses. Awww, and after he gets emotional saying that this could change his whole life, his whole family's life.

Trainwreck alert: very nerdy boy with a lisp named Michael comes in and says he will be singing something by Kerry (Kerri?) Underwood. The set-up before-hand is bad. And OH MY GOD. It is awful. He makes some horrible, breathy-whine sounds. And then they ask him to sing again, just to hear him be bad some more. He leaves and announces to Ryan that he doesn't feel so well. He looks like he's going to puke.

As an aside: Ish is convinced that Ryan Seacrest is a sociopath; that he's smart and cunning enough to appear empathetic, but actually couldn't care less about the contestants. I tend to agree.

* * * * * *

Quick clip of someone doing something pornographically awful to a Tears for Fears song. And then someone else butchering Celine. Oh, and then Dionne Warwick.

Randy says, "We've hit a rough patch in Phoenix." Mmm.

Crazypants kid named X-Ray comes bouncing in, literally. He has a guitar and very curly hair. There is dancing. Tall lanky boy marionette dancing. With clapping. His name is Aundre. He's got a good sense of humor, but the judges don't seem to think that he's serious. Now he's being escorted out by a bouncer.

Next is a 16-year-old adorable girl who started a program for seniors called adopt-a-grandfriend or something. She's so sweet she makes my teeth hurt. This all bodes well for her. Everyone loves adorable girls who do community service, and Simon takes this opportunity to call Paula elderly. Arianna starts singing and she's got a good voice. I don't think she's got any power when she stretches into her high ranges -- I would be surprised if she makes it past Holllywood. But for now, she's going to California.

Nine others go through on day one of Phoenix. I love how the winner is almost always someone we never saw audition. Ho hum.

* * * * * *
Day two in AZ.

Dude. We begin with a man named Elijah, who has the lowest speaking voice I have ever heard in my life. Simon is highly skeptical. Uh huh, and with super good reason. Elijah is, for all intents and purposes, tone deaf. There is no melody whatsoever. Simon asks if Elijah is even aware of what show he's auditioning for. Paula provides her usual optimism by saying that he should pursue voiceover work. And then adds, to be nice except actually adding insult to injury, "...like for movies with monsters in them." Poor Elijah.

Trainwreck alert. A girl in a pink cowboy hat from CONNECTICUT is up next and claims to be a cross between Hillary Duff and Madonna. She also claims to have written over 100 original songs, and is Kara (remember her?)'s BIGGEST fan. Oh good grief. Way to represent, Connecticut. Lea Marie finally meets the judges and sings a dance song. It's not horrible, but it's not the worst we've heard. It's nasally in a kid's musical theatre kind of way. All in all, she seemed a little too giggly/smiley/dot-the-i's-with-hearts kind of giddy. Drugs? After Lea Marie leaves, Kara wonders what it says about her that THAT is her biggest fan. Ouch again.

Next is Stevie, another 16-year-old girl named after Stevie Nicks. She has a big mouth and a soulful sounding speaking voice. And she sings "At Last." She's quite good, and then send her through. Again I agree, but don't think she'll make it past Hollywood, either. I could totally be wrong -- I just can't tell how much power she has yet.

* * * * * * *

Next up is guy who works as a "roughneck" on an oil rig. We are seeing footage of his work (which is a good indicator that he's going through), so now we just have to hope he doesn't get killed on the job between his audition and when he goes to California. Simon calls this big, tough man "the exact opposite of Ryan Seacrest." Ha! Michael sings a country-esque song I've never heard. It's quite excellent from an "I can do runs" kind of way. Overall, he looks like a sweet-faced linebacker who sounds like a boy band singer from back in the day. He goes through.

We are treated to another Montage of Awful.

Can you hear my eyes rolling into the back of my head? Here comes the girl who has shown up at American Idol auditions in her bikini. She meets Ryan and tells him they're going to make out when she gets her golden ticket. Ryan looks as uncomfortable as I've ever seen him. He won't even look at her. Simon is blushing and Randy is spooked. Her name is Katrina. She sings MUCH better than I expected. I'm not sure that she stayed in key. Simon immediately says yes, as does Randy. Kara is putting the brakes on this. She sings a few bars herself, demonstrating how the song should "swing." Katrina decides to start singing over Kara's feedback, with ZERO panache. Kara finally says that Katrina-bikina does "not have the chops to sing that song." Katrina snottily says, "But your demonstration wasn't any better." At which point Paula shrieks and stands up in horrified, drama queen protest. After some additional bitter back and forth between the bikini and Kara, Paula says, "Okay, okay. Here's the deal. You're going to Hollywood." Um? The entire charade sets feminism back oh, a good 15 years.

* * * * * *

We're back with an audition from a man who goes by the name Sexual Chocolate. No, really. It's even tattooed on his back. I don't think Mr. Chocolate is very bright. He gives us a little Stevie Wonder. Simon says it's "not great." He gets four no's.

Then we get a little montage of upset people who have been rejected by the judges.

Brianna is next and sings "Let's Hear It For The Boy." Woo! Footloose soundtrack! They aren't convinced. She tries to sing "Killing Me Softly." She's friggin' awesome in personality (she calls Simon "Simey"), and even though her voice isn't so strong (it's fine, though, really) and Randy and Kara say no, Paula and Simon put her through. Simon says, "I like you," and Brianna says, "I like you too!"

* * * * * *

Deanna is all interestingly attractive and country. They all say yes with enthusiasm. The poor girl didn't have anyone with her (awwww), but they caught her calling her mom on tape, and that was pretty cool.

Okay, so next is some hipster boy named Cody. Cody has a far more exacting haircut than I have. He's got an interesting hipsteresque family we're introduced to first. There's a woman who says she's his mom, and standing next to her is a very androgynous-looking woman who we don't get to meet. His other mom? Dad? "Aunt"? We learn that Cody likes to make gorey horror movies. He sings "Wonderful World" by James Morrison. He, too, sounds a little nasally to me, but I don't know anything. He goes through.

* * * * * *

"I missed a Spanish test for this." Maybe my favorite line ever. A kid named Alex is next, and we get this pre-audition speech about how he used to practice singing in his closet. And then they learned that there was a lot of mold in the closet (ewwwww) and he got really sick. And now he's missing a Spanish test. Will nothing go right for poor Alex? Then he says he's going to sing "Baby Come to Me" but only if Randy will join him on the chorus. I'm a little shocked. Simon didn't like it. Randy did, as did Paula. Woop, Kara says yes, too. He probably won't do so well (as Simon says), but that's not the point right now.

Montage of Awful returns. You'd pretty much just have to see it.

* * * * * *

American Idol is wrapping up tonight with the blind guy. The tokenism is a little cloying, but the idea is still a good one. His name is Scott Macintyre. He's quite obviously an accomplished musician, seeing as he plays the piano and does ballroom dancing. He went to college from the age of 14-19. He sings "And So It Goes," and it's pretty beautiful. They all say yes. Awesome, all around.

* * * * * *

And that will do it for the American Idol liveblog. I hope someone out there enjoyed it. For what it's worth, my favorite was Emily Wynne-Hughes, the rocker who dared to do Barracuda and nailed it. She's got range, chops, a great look and strength as a performer.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Golden Globes - A Liveblog Sort Of Except I Will Probably Fall Asleep Before It's Over (Because I'm Pregnant, Not Because I'm Bored) (I Hope)

Let me set the stage here so that your expectations are, shall we say, "managed."

A) It's 7:48 P.M. and on the West Coast, the Golden Globes are about to begin. I don't usually watch these awards because for a lot of reasons. First of all, I love movie stars as much as the next person, but I am not a celebrity gossip kind of gal. Behind-the-scenes Hollywood reporting doesn't interest me much, I don't know why, I probably have a defective gene. (My parents both secretly devoured issues of Entertainment Weekly.)

B) We've eaten dinner. I'm now having dessert, which is some Safeway brand, "light" ice cream cup in pomegranate flavor, packaged complete with a flat wooden "spoon." It sounded good when I saw it in the store, and these days I do not question what my pregnant body thinks it wants. (Well, except when said body insists it wants Burger King; we have to talk the body down from the ledge in such cases.)

C) Also, we went to the pet store today to get Sherlock a more comfortable version of the head-cone the vet gave him. This one is flexible and made of vinyl, and so far he's clawed out of it three times.

I point these things out only because, in order:
A) My "liveblog" comments will be from the perspective of someone who only sort of has any idea what movies these folks were in. And if they are in a sitcom that isn't The Office or Arrested Development from 4 years ago, I may not have any idea who they are at all. So if you're all "I didn't watch the Golden Globes because I don't like any of those people, why shoudl I read your blog post about it?" I say, "I don't know. Because I will be making fun of pretty people who are drunk and on television."

B) Because I've eaten -- pomegranate ice cream and all -- I am now completely exhausted. My apologies, in advance, if I fall asleep before any interesting awards are given.

C) Blogging may take a sudden furry turn if I need to suddenly address Sherlock's collar/cone situation.

* * * * * * * *

The Golden Globe awards have begun, and I am currently watching them on mute because Ish has an important phone call from work. See how in-depth a Golden Globes reporter I am? I can tell you that JLo's dress must be attached via invisible tape, and Kate Winslet has won a Golden Globe for being a supporting actress in something I can't name and didn't see. I think she's cry-y, but I don't see any tears.

Man, she's talking a lot. Wonder what she's saying.

Oh hey! Ish is off the phone.

Now Sting is on the stage and I am wondering if he dyes his beard. I think yes. This category seems to be about music theme songs from movies. Is it okay if I'm freaked out about Mylie Cyrus being in the same category as Bruce Springsteen? I'd spend more time being disgusted, except it appears that Bruce has won. Phew.

Let me ask you something: Is the whole point of this show that everyone in it and watching it is supposed to be drinking? Becuase if so, I'm -- and by association, you're -- totally screwed.

HEAD explosion! Two people I don't know are introducing "actress" Rumor Willis. Then Rumor waves and smiles on stage, I don't know why. Then the camera flashes to the audience, where Demi and Ashton are waving back at Rumor. Why is this happening?

Tom Wilkinson just won for his supporting role in the TV miniseries John Adams. I totally agree with this, because I happened to watch the whole thing, and DAMN he was an amazing Ben Franklin. What Tom Wilkinson and Ben Franklin have to do with Rumor Willis is totally beyond me.

Um, Tom's speech: FAIL. "I forgot his last name," shouldn't really be part of any of acceptance speech. Oh well.

Wahoo! Laura Dern just won for playing Katherine whatsherface in the HBO movie "Recount." I totally forgot I saw that, too! Apparently the Golden Globes are now going to People Who Were In Movies Kristy Happened To See In 2008. Cool.

Unfortunately, Ish's boss just called back. So we're back to mute and I have to wonder if Laura Dern is saying something politically important. That'd be neat.

[Liveblogging the Golden Globes on mute during a commercial is kind of dull work. Now might be a good time to mention that I'm having a girl. She will not be named Rumor.]

Wow. The next presenter is Don Cheadle and he's looking really grown-up and handsome these days. Did he just gain weight or what? Nice with a shaved head, too. He's introducing the first movie up for a best comedy/best drama award. He seems nervous and his voice is shaking. We see a clip of "Burn After Reading."

Next is Ava Mendez who is very pretty and familiar and I have no idea who she is. What is "The Spirit"? Was that that movie that came out on Christmas? Hmm. Well, whatever, she was in it. She is here to introduce us to a fellow Cuban, who I guess is like the President of the Golden Globes.

Zac Ephron and the Heroes girl are announcing best actors in television dramas. Many of them are handsome, let it be known. Someone named Gabriel Byrne won for something called "In Treatment" and he wasn't there. Basically I have no idea what just happened.

Two men I totally don't know, perhaps from a new Star Trek-related show (?) are announcing the best actresses in TV dramas. Anna Paquin (how do you spell?) has won for Trueblood. (?) Except when they were announcing her name, they kept saying "Anna Paquin Trueblood" so I actually thought that Anna was married to a guy with the last name of Trueblood.

YAY! Ricky Gervais has taken the stage and started shushing the audience. Ooh, and I think he's improvising, randomly saying hello to Kate Winslet. "I told you -- do a Holocaust movie, the awards come, didn't I?" He's totally doing a little comedy bit. Nice. And he's drinking a pint on stage. Man, I love him. Apparently, he's introducing the movie, "Happy-Go-Lucky."

The Jonas Brothers are on stage and I feel very old. I don't really know who they are, and that's not even why I feel old. I feel old because I don't really care who they are. They are announcing the Best Animated Film, and it goes to Wall-E. I was under the impression that no one actually saw Wall-E. But maybe that's not a criterion.

WHERE ARE THE DRUNK PEOPLE?

Johnny Depp takes the stage looking very Deppish. He's presenting Best Actress with absolutely no fanfare. Sally Hawkins wins for Happy-Go-Lucky. She looks a lot like an older version of the youngest girl on Party of Five, whatshername, Lacey Chabert? I heard this movie was cute, but I heard that from the reviewers; again, I don't know anyone who saw it. Um, Sally just put her award down on the stage so she could use both her hands to open her notes. She's kind of a sweet crying emotional wreck. Ha! When she got to acknowledging the other women who were nominated and mentioned Emma Thompson, Emma asked Sally if she was okay. Aww, yeah. Sweet cute mess.

* * * * * * * * I'm going to do this now everytime I post so you know where to pick up if you're reading this in real time * * * * * * *

Jake Gyllenhaaaaal (however you spell it) introduces the clip for: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Have you seen it? The entire idea creeps me the eff out, seriously, and then Dan wrote about it and I am convinced I will never, ever see it.

Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange come on stage. Ish says the look like they just tumbled out of a closet where they'd been making out. Drew has some interesting Marilyn Monroe hair going on. I think it's kind of cute and awesome, Ish thinks it's pretty ridiculous. Speaking of ridiculous, P. Diddy's an actor? Anyway, we're looking at Best Mini-Series or TV Movie. I vote for John Adams or Recount, based solely on the reasoning that I saw them. And see? John Adams wins.

Demi Moore takes the stage, looking pretty amazing. Wow. Rumor is still on the stage, standing off to the side, for reasons unclear. Oh man. Heath Ledger just won for his role in Dark Knight. The audience is giving a standing ovation. Now they say that, in case Heath won, they put together a little clip of his work. The Dark Knight director said a bunch of very nice things about Heath.

* * * * * * * * *

Tom Brokaw? Huh? OH, right! Frost/Nixon.

Now Colin Ferrell presents. I'm sorry, is he chewing gum? Something called Waltz With Bashir has won for Best Foreign Film. I've never heard of it, but Ish claims it's supposed to be "amazing." I will take his word. Well, his and the Golden Globe peeps.

Now Aaron someone I don't know stands with Maggie Gyllenhaaaallll to announce Best Actress for TV movie or miniseries. Shirley MacLaine looks a little, uh, aged. Laura Linney has won for Ben Franklin. Yay! She looks very sunny in her yellow dress.

Note for all of you not watching: I guess some memo went out that this year, women's dresses are not to have two sleeves.

* * * * * * * *

Ish is live-tweeting these awards, and he's being way funnier and more succinct than I am. Damn him! Also, I note that "Rumer" is spelled with an "e." I still don't know why she, and her E, are there.

Oops. I got distracted thinking about my eyelids. I am not even kidding. This isn't a good sign. While I was dwelling on whether or not I could actually FEEL my eyeliner, someone with an accent introduced the movie In Bruges. I have no idea what it's about.

This is some seriously awesome blogging, huh?

Seth Rogen and a woman I feel I totally know but whose name I missed and whose boobs are all out there (note: mine would be too if they were as pert) are on stage giving an award to the writer of / writing for Slumdog Millionaire. Now, I accidentally happened to see that movie as well, and it was really something else. So again, I approve.

Patrick Dempsey and Amy Poehler are on stage announcing Best Actor in a comedy/drama on TV. Alec Baldwin has won for 30 Rock. Nicely done. He IS pretty damn good. You know (no, you don't know, why would you?) Alec Baldwin gave the keynote speech at my sister's graduation from NYU and I had very high hopes for him. It didn't go well. My crush ended right then and there. He's cute and a fine actor, but he's nowhere near as bright as he thinks he is.

* * * * * * * *
Renee Zellweger got an entirely different memo about the dress. She introduces something called The Reader. Ooh, clip is all kinds of racy. Naked Kate Winslet!

Two more announcers I don't know. Hurrah! Paul Giamatti wins for John Adams. He had me at "drinking the spit bucket." Oh and hey - I think we have our first bonafide drunken speech.

Glen Close and Laurence Fishburne announce Best TV Series - Comedy or Musical. 30 Rock wins! I approve! Yay, Tina Fey! OMG, Tracy Morgan is giving the acceptance speech because this is what happens in a post-Obama world. Way to keep it funny.

By the way, thanks Twitter. Apparently Rumer is there to hand the awards to the winners and escort them on and off the stage. Apparently also, this job always goes to the daughter of actors/actresses.

* * * * * * *
Spending all my concentration on whether or not I could will myself to feel my eyeliner is a very good indication that I am too tired to be writing. Are you so sad? I am, because it seems like more people are getting drunk and stupid. Sigh.

Oh well. I gave it my best shot. Maybe this was warm-up for the Oscars?

In the meantime, if you'd like to follow someone who's not only funny but COHERENT (woo!), I recommend you follow Ish on Twitter. (@Ish)

G'night!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Half-Update: One of Those Days

Profound thought for the day: somewhere between helplessness and hilarity there lies blogging.

There are currently two plates of wet cat food on the kitchen counter. Eddie, one of our four cats, is going from plate to plate, licking the "gravy" off of the beef chunks. Monster is chewing away happily and hungrily, ignoring Eddie. Leon is on the floor, looking imploringly upward at the counter, knowing full well that he wants whatever's up there. Except Leon's physically incapable of jumping up to the counter, which is exactly why the food's there: Leon is diabetic, and should not be eating non-special dietary food.

The reason we are having this special soft food tonight is because poor Sherlock needs it. HE has just arrived home from a traumatic trip to the vet where he had a tumor removed from his head. Naturally, he needed head stitches and this has, sadly, necessitated a head cone. As I write this, Sherlock is zooming around the apartment frantically trying to get out of the cone by out-running it. His plan isn't working.

Sherlock, the only one who needs the soft food (he also had two teeth extractions) is ignoring his food.

The current "how do I give wet food to one cat when I own four" challenge, coupled with the cat who is absolutely miserable in his head cone and keeps coming over to me trying to get me to help him, is making me a little crazy.

But. I can barely process this all because I'm still reeling from this afternoon's shenanigans. I escorted my poor friend to the doctor where she had all manner of female exams and bad news and an icky time and I was happy to be by her side. It must be noted, though, that this trip culminated in my watching a doctor stick a thing that looked like a toothpick rolled in seaweed (it was actually seaweed, the doctor said so) into my friend's hoo-ha.

Some women bond by shopping together.

Anyway, details to follow, but I need to go rest first. Also, for the record, Leon managed to maneuver himself onto the counter just now. I kind of feel like I should let him have his just rewards.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

And...We're Back!

My pseudo-apologies for the hiatus. Taking a long break from the internet is quite refreshing every now and then. Like once every four years.

I've got all sorts of blogging stuff upcoming. I think it's high time I write a post on poop, for instance. Also we've got some pregnancy updates, though truthfully (and thankfully) not much is happening at the moment; there's a cappella stuff, including recordings that I will put up here when I figure out how; photos from my unfortunate adolescent years (a couple recently added to Facebook - ouch!); and general life stuff.

I write this just because I want to be sure I've said that there's no way I'll stop blogging or change my blogging habits now that I'm pregnant. I mean, I have an obligation, right? Who else would bring you a cappella and poop updates? Honestly.