Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The year's most overused words/phrases

So I guess every year Michigan's Lake Superior State University puts together a list of what they feel are the most overused words and phrases of the past 12 months. The list is based on public submissions and I agree with a couple of this year's "winners", but there are some on the list that I don't get at all (WTF are they talking about with that "monkey" stuff?)

The LSSU "overused" list entries that I totally agree with, and a few of my own:
  • Wall Street/Main Street - Not only beaten into the ground during the last several months of the 2008 presidential campaign, our recent financial crisis has had the media trotting out these two over-worked phrases for more abuse.
  • Maverick - just another reason I'm glad McCain/Palin didn't win. Even the jokes about this word are tired.
  • Green - As a person who herself bought and is living in a "built-green" home this year, I'm guilty of perpetuating the misuse of this once innocent word. It seems that every company and item in the universe is went "green" this year which is really a load of crap in most cases. The misuse and abuse of this concept has diluted it and made it less important. Unfortunately I think it's here to stay.
  • Fierce - I know people have been complaining about the overuse of this adjective for a long time, but fawk, I've heard it more this year (thanks Beyonce and Tyra!) than even the previous year when Christian from Project Runway was annoying me with it.
  • Black [insert day of the week] - Traditionally we've had "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving where supposedly everyone in this country goes shopping and saves the nation's retailer's bank balances. But this year with everyone losing their shit and not really in the shopping mood, the powers that be felt the need to extend this label, to add new ones as the holiday season played out. So we had "Black Wednesday" (Christmas eve) and other "Black Friday" on Boxing Day. Sigh... Stop it. None of this crap is helping our economy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

RIP - Eartha Kitt

"I want to be hard, I want to drink booze, and whatever I've got, I'm willing to lose..."

This wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, ground-breaking, spectacular, over-the-top, sensational, phenomenal woman will be greatly missed.

Thank you Eartha!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Has it really come to this?

The one and only Steve Austin and Colt Seavers hawking his "Lee Majors 'Bionic' Hearing Aids"?! Say it ain't so...

(Apologies for the crappy video quality - gotta love Youtube)

On the other hand, I just listened to the song "Unknown Stuntman" for the first time in like 15 years. Still really good!

2009 Winter season TV shows that I'm looking forward to - Part 1

"Confessions of A Teen Idol" - VH1 Premieres 1/4/2009

What more can I ask for? A ridonkulous reality show putting washed-up C list celebrity former hotties from the 80s and 90s into a house to live together and try to find some of their dignity and maybe catch some of that elusive lightning in a bottle again.

Featuring Christopher Atkins (yay!), Eric Nies (boo!), Adrain Zmed (hee hee!), David Chokachi (yum!), Billy Hufsy(WTF? The dude from Fame?) and some guy from "90210" from a season that I didn't watch, and some other dude from Baywatch from a season I didn't watch.

And of course, the best part - this craptastic show will be hosted by Scott Baio! Awesome. I think I've found a new way to shake these winter doldrums.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all...

I can't believe I'm sitting here on Christmas eve night. It couldn't feel less like Christmas to me. There's a lot contributing to my holiday ennui - this past week's snow storms, my dad's health problems, the various financial responsibilities that have been weighing on my shoulders, my general depression this year - it's all added up to me not having any sort of holiday spirit whatsoever.
For the first time in almost 15 years, I didn't send holiday cards out. Probably not a big deal to many I suppose. But the realization that I even sent (and made by hand) cards last year, when I was dealing with so much grief and stress, and couldn't get up enough motivation to even buy a box of $5 cards this year is rather depressing.

December 2007 was the first Christmas without my mother. It was so hard to deal with it, but surprisingly I'm feeling her loss more this year than last. I've also been plagued these past weeks with sad thoughts about the large box of Christmas ornaments and holiday stuff that my family had collected over the decades and my mother had maintained and treasured; the box that's languishing in the overpriced storage facility in Silver Spring, MD; family treasures gathering dust and somehow losing a bit of their magic sitting unused.
That box represents Christmas to me. It always will. And I think it finally dawned on me recently that I'm never going to have "Christmas" again. Because "Christmas" means that box in storage, and it means a fresh Douglas fir, and it means my mom.

We never shake the Christmases of childhood, and we spend our lives processing the memories into adult form. For the rest of my life I'm going to miss the contentment felt spending Christmas with my family in DC. I'll miss sitting in a chair with something hot and looking at the tree and listening to all of the holiday music that specifically defined childhood Christmas - Andy Williams, and Peanuts' Guaraldi. Sure, I can get the box of memories out of storage and bring it to Seattle; I can buy a tree and decorate it and listen to the music and drink hot cider enjoying the season. It's not the same, and it never will be, and that makes me terribly sad.

So I'm looking forward to 2009. I hope that it will be the year of healing for me that I'd hoped this year would be. And I hope to continue establishing new traditions that define "Christmas" to me and create new memories to be reminisced about later.
I know things will get better.

Diary of a snowed-in stir-crazy mad woman!

  • Woke up Xmas eve morning at like 4:30 AM to see that it had just started snowing...AGAIN. Went back to bed, praying that it would stop by the time I officially "woke up" at 6:30.

  • Alarm goes off, I can tell it's still snowing so I hit the snooze (4x) and try to convince myself that this latest snow is not real...just a dream (or nightmare).

  • 7:15 AM - finally get up to see what the damage is. It's extensive. The snow is accumulating rapidly; already another 2 inches added to the foot that's on the ground. I walk the dog in disbelief that this is f*cking Seattle not Minneapolis.

  • 7:45 AM - determine that I'm not going to be driving in to work today afterall. Another vacation day wasted. Commiserate with Robert over the phone about the crappiness of this weather. Robert is out of diet soda - the world may be coming to an end.

  • 8:15 AM - Finally get around to looking at the King County metro site regarding bus routes only to find out that all 4 buses around me have been suspended. FUCK! I'm totally stranded.

  • 8:30 AM - KING 5 meteorologist Rich Marriot is a damn liar! He says that Seattle is getting a mix of snow and rain and that it isn't really accumulating much and that it's more slush than snow, and that it's already stopped in the city. LIAR! I only live about 4 miles away from the KING 5 studio, what the hell is he looking at?! At my house it's SNOWING not raining. It's sticking; inches of snow piling up on the sidewalk I cleared last night.

  • 9:00 AM - I'm very concerned that I won't be able to get the snow chains on my tires. But I'm going to have to try - I need to be able to get around the city today and tomorrow. I can't believe this!

  • It's still SNOWING! These meteorologists better be right that it's going to change to rain later today. GAWDDAM IT!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Night Men

One of the funniest things I've seen or heard all year!

Freakiest thing I've seen/heard in some time

So this morning at 5 AM I was startled awake by the loudest, scariest, ground-shakingest sound that I've ever heard. I quickly jumped out of bed as numerous car alarms in the neighborhood went off, put my glasses on and looked out my window to the snowy streets below.
I initially had 2 thoughts when the earthshakingly loud bang woke me - the first was that the new townhouses that are being built across the street from me somehow had some structural damage that caused them to collapse; the second thought was that a plane had crashed on the way to/from SeaTac.
But as I looked outside, besides from the heavy snow coming down and a few curtains being pulled back by neighbors to turn off car alarms and to check what the deal was, there wasn't anything amiss. I still had power so I knew it wasn't the transformer on the corner blowing out - what the hell had happened?!
I got my answer a couple of minutes later when, still looking out the window, I saw a bright flash of light hit the street shaking the ground, followed within seconds by the horrific booming clap of thunder. Thunder and lightning during a snow storm!!! The snow eerily made the lightning look like an alien space laser. I guess I've never been that close to lightning hitting the ground so I never knew how powerful and ground-shaking it could be. And as rare as thunder and lightning is out here in the Pacific NW, I've never heard of either happening during a snow storm or blizzard - that doesn't really make a lot of "Physics" sense to me, but oh well.

It scared my two pets enough for them to want to (temporarily) share the same sleeping space. I seriously think the dog thought the world was coming to an end.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pet Peeve Commercial - "White Diamonds" Perfume

White Diamonds Commercial

Okay, this commercial was annoying back when it first premiered...in 1987! But's it's even more ridiculous to watch it now in present day.

It's so over the top and over dramatic. "These have always brought me luck." Uggh. And La Liz's hair! It's so tragically 80s. As cheesy as this ad is, it does have a pretty high production value. I've always wondered how much money was thrown down to make this schlock.

For whatever reason, this dated commercial is dusted off every year around the holidays. In the hopes that some sucker that doesn't know what to buy their grandma, mid-western mother, favorite drag queen, will be inspired to run down to the local drug store and buy a bottle of this crap. Let me tell you - it smells AWFUL. Like cat piss mixed with lemon Pledge.

Do yourself a favor folks, enjoy the commercial in an ironic way but do not waste your money on this stuff. Sorry Liz.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New York New York, a hell of a town...

After surviving one of the worse descents I've ever experienced on a plane, I arrived in NY's Penn Station yesterday evening, spit out of the NJ rail system with a mass of people. Some like me, coming from Newark Int'l airport; others on their way to the Rangers game at MSG; still others maybe on their way home from seeing relatives in Jersey.

I'm here at the start of my two week plan to "relax" and "do things for me". The plan was to go away for a week, and then spend a week at home doing a sort of stay-cation. So far I already feel more relaxed so maybe it's working. Looking forward to catching up with old friends and not having a schedule for once. Let's see if "not having a plan" works out, or drives me insane.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Danny Kaye and Fred Astaire are DIFFERENT PEOPLE

So in the past 6 hours I've experienced a very strange phenomenon -
People mistaking the movie "White Christmas" for the movie "Holiday Inn".
Now both movies star Bing Crosby; and "White Christmas" is based loosely on "Holiday Inn", but if you've seen either film it's impossible to mistake one for another.

Holiday Inn (1942) - is a black and white film that stars Fred Astaire (see: right) with Crosby and features the great music of Irving Berlin. It's basically about a famous song and dance team that breaks up when Bing's character decides to give up show business to move to a farm in Vermont and eventually comes up with an idea to open a nightclub at his farm that is only open on public holidays, hence "Holiday Inn". The movie features amazingly clever songs by Berlin for the popular holidays like Thanksgiving to the most obscure holidays like Lincoln's birthday (the performance of which in the movie, done in blackface, is considered today to be racist and un-PC).
Of course the most famous tune to come from this film is the classic, nostalgic "White Christmas" which became an enduring #1 song and propelled the film to great success. It even inspired the start of a national chain of hotels.

White Christmas (1954) - 12 years later still riding the immense success of the classic Christmas song, Paramount decided to do a full-blown technicolor musical with Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye. Although featuring the titular song and also featuring a Vermont inn, that's basically where the similarities end.
That's why it's so strange that twice this evening I heard people talking about "White Christmas" the movie when they were really referencing "Holiday Inn". Once was by the emcee at a charity auction, who I sort of forgave because he was telling such a boring story about something that I just chalked it up to him being drunk and confused.
Then when I got home I turned on the tv to see an ad on NBC for an upcoming special called "The Greatest Holiday Moments" where they once again described the plot of "White Christmas" while showing clips from "Holiday Inn". Grrrrr...so frustrating.
Now I know that I'm probably the only one noticing this shit, and that it's really lame of me to get so worked up about it; but that's me. I like to keep my holiday movies separate.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Music

Happy December!

I traditionally wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start listening to my own holiday music collection. But pretty much from the day you start cooking your turkey and dressing you can count on hearing holiday music in all of the stores, malls, elevators etc. and everywhere you go you're subjected to this zombie-state inducing onslaught.
This year I inadvertently got an early start to the Christmas music exposure because the radio station that I wake up to every morning started playing holiday songs on November 13! Every year, Warm 106.9 exclusively plays only holiday songs (well they say "holiday" but it's really Christmas songs; I haven't heard a Channukah one yet) until the end of the year. In years past they've waited until a decent part of November to start this monotonous torture (I mean seriously they repeat the songs on a daily basis) but this year they turned the insanity up a notch starting so soon after Halloween.

My KRWM station has reminded me of the holiday songs that I love and the ones that I hate. And over the past few days as I've gone through my own holiday music collection I've weeded out songs that have lost the magic and encountered new music that are destined to be classics in my holiday library.

Classic Favorites:
  • Pretty much anything by Andy Williams but especially "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and "Do You Hear What I Hear" (Andy's is the only version of "Hear" that counts IMO).
  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by Vince Guaraldi. Nothing better. Period. Guaraldi's "Greensleeves" reminds me of my mom so much that I get very verklempt listening to it.
  • "Christmas Potrait" from the Carpenters. Reminds me so much of my childhood that for me it's the definition of "holiday nostaligia".
  • "These Are The Special Times" by Celine Dion. I know I know...but seriously hear me out. This holiday album is amazing (except for the version of Feliz Navidad - see below). And don't give me grief for calling it a classic. It is.
  • "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway. Only his version of this please.

New stuff and Uncommon oldies that I dig and can't do the season without:

  • Any and all versions of the song "Christmas Waltz". I don't know what it is about this tune but as I hear the beginning "frosted window panes..." I am immediately in a better mood.
  • In that same vain, I've never heard a version of "My Favorite Things" that I don't love. But damn Barbra Streisand for putting this on her Christmas album 3o years ago and turning it into a holiday song. What would Oscar Hammerstein think?
  • James Taylor's versions of "Some Children See Him" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". The first is a song that I only knew from Andy Williams but Taylor's version released a couple of years ago is so wonderful. The latter is a song that has generally worn out its welcome with me and jeezus have you ever really listened to the words? Very depressing. But Taylor's version (he changes the lyrics a little) manages to be poignant and hopeful.
  • Kenny Loggins's "Celebrate Me Home" and Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne". I lump these together because, well because in many ways, Dan and Kenny are like the same 70s bearded sensitive songwriter dude. But also because these two songs remind me of my mother.
  • "Last Christmas" by Wham! and "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses. 80s classics that if I don't hear? It ain't Christmas.
  • "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey. So infectious and awesome.
  • New millenium Folk girl holiday music from the likes of Mindy Smith, Brandi Carlile, Jessie Baylin, Sara Barleilles and the like.

And now a brief list of holiday songs that I can't stand and never have to hear again:

  • Feliz Navidad - Makes me homicidal.
  • Silent Night - so grating. No version sounds good to me.
  • Little Drummer Boy - ditto. All versions make me want to "par rum papum pum" on somebody.
  • Wonderful Christmastime. I used to love this McCartney tune and I never understood what people hated about it. I don't know when that changed; now I seriously can't hear more than one measure without getting a migraine.
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Seriously? I wish I could go back in time to prevent this song from being written. See also: "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth".
  • Pretty much anything that I consider "kiddie Xmas". Like crap about Rudolph, Frosty, blah blah blah.
  • Most Xmas "novelty" songs. I don't care to hear about grandmas getting run over by reindeer or chipmunks singing, or any of that other shit.

Now I'm off to listen to Lou Rawls's version of "Christmas Is". Have a great December!