Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sick of the Simpsons

As you know, I have been gloriously "in between jobs" for the past two weeks (ending tomorrow). During this time, I've been chipping away at a 6 page to-do list. One of the major items on that list was to organize all of my files and finally go through a stack about two feet high of non-urgent mail. This was a three-day project in and of itself, but I finally got through everything and it feels damn good. While rifling through ads, articles, catalogs and the like, I came across three subscription renewal notices for OK! magazine. The time had come for me to make a momentous decision... to NOT renew the magazine.

Yes, yes, I know. This is major. Why would I do such a thing?


Anyone who has visited my place has witnessed the stack of about 300 magazines underneath one of my end tables - - suffice it to say I have a slight problem with collecting magazines and not being able to keep up with them. But typically, any "celebrity gossip" magazine gets my attention immediately. The ones that discuss, you know, health-related issues or home decorating ideas or world affairs, can wait.

I remember how excited I was a little over a year ago when I learned that OK! was finally coming to the U S of A. The British tabloids are notoriously relentless with their celebrity-hounding, so I was excited to see how they would rip apart all of Hollywood.

But alas, they made a very critical error early on, and it is the reason I will not be renewing my subscription.

Aren't I special?They made an exclusive deal with Jessica Simpson... obviously mistaking her for some sort of celebrity. And it really came back to bite them in the ass, because apparently she is actually hurting their sales figures!
I have a feeling I'm not the only one boycotting...

So what went wrong? Why is Jessica Simpson so toxic that I, among others, would make the drastic move to no longer want magazines with her on the cover? I have thought about it long and hard, because quite frankly, there's not a lot of distinction between Jessica and someone like Paris Hilton, who I am fascinated by. Neither have any talent, they are both dumb (or at least "act" stupid, which still counts as dumb in my book), Oooh, revenge!  Aren't you scared! they both found fame in reality shows, they both sing and act (and both do those things badly), they both have famous sisters, they both have notorious pets... as you can see, there were very few differences I could find. Perhaps Paris has, uh, been in a few videos that were not intentional, but Jessica's infamous car wash scene at the end of her "These Boots are Made for Walkin'" video came close to being sold in adult video stores... so I still say they have something in common on that front, too.

You just can't get enough of me!!!So why do I get a kick out of reading about the exploits of Paris yet cannot stand to look at or read about Jessica?

My first exposure to her was in the late 90s, when the "boy band and blond girl" explosion on the pop music scene was at its height. I didn't really pay much attention. My first exposure to her future ex-husband, Nick Lachey, was in Seattle in 1997 - his band 98 Degrees was playing an impromptu concert at the Team Nick all the way.Planet Hollywood, and I caught wind of it and went for a look from afar. Then in the summer of 2001, I was backpacking through Asia and I swear, every two seconds they were playing either "Irresistible" by Jessica Simpson or "In My Pocket" by Mandy Moore. And then 2003 brought us Newlyweds with both Jessica and Nick, and they became nearly impossible to avoid. I only watched the show a few times, but it was enough for me to discern that Nick seemed like a fairly normal person, and Jessica was perhaps one of the most annoying human beings on the planet.

So perhaps my annoyance with Jessica has been simmering for nearly ten years, but I still couldn't understand why I hate her so much while simultaneously being able to tolerate Paris Hilton... and then it hit me.


What?  I'm not 14 anymore?  STOP WITH YOUR LIES!!!!  You're going to Hell!That's right, Jessica's father, Joe Simpson. This guy is just nasty, as in nas-TAY. Ex-Baptist-pastor, my ass. Any man who makes disgusting comments about his daughter's chest and/or gives his daughter a "promise ring" is NOT NOR WAS HE EVER a "man of God."

From what I have read, no one in Hollywood or in the music industry can stand him, either.

Bloggers certainly hate him ... he even was made into a celebrity trading card ("Creepy Dad").

Perhaps the family is waking up. Sister Ashlee (she deserves her own post at some point, never fear) and Jessica have reportedly started ignoring their father and are trying to cut him out of deals and negotiations. Poor daddy. His aggressive marketing, PR tactics, strongarming of agents and masterminding of product promotions and deals such as the OK! one are what led the girls to fame in the first place. And now they are turning their backs on him.Are you still wearing my promise ring?

Hopefully it won't matter because they will ALL be out of the spotlight in a few years.

So "Creepy McCreepaLot," as he is called on some sites, is the main reason why I am anti-Jessica Simpson. I cannot think of her without thinking of him as well. However, I then realized that in general, she pals around with a lot of other people I cannot stand, in addition to her father and sister. Here are some of her friends, all of whom I think are obnoxious and are only hanging out with her to perhaps become more famous themselves: Eva Longoria, Christina Applegate, Eva Mendes, Ken Paves (hairdresser and NEVER not by Jessica's side), Christina Milian and CaCee Cobb.

The way they were - pre-plastic surgery and tanorexia for all three.Some of these "friends" were in her recent rip-off of Madonna, oh, I mean her recent video for "A Public Affair." Her new album of the same name is getting tepid reviews, and there are some haters of the aforementioned video, as well.

Famed photog David LaChappelle was one of the "early adopters" in the We Hate the Simpsons movement. A year or so ago, he had these choice words to say about sisters Jessica and Ashlee:

"They're everything that's wrong with music," LaChapelle seethed. "Out of everything combined, they're everything wrong with culture, and everything wrong with art, and what we think of as art and musical culture - in one family! They're nothing. They have nothing. They hold no interest whatsoever for anybody," he sniffed. "They're reality-red-carpet, lip-synching television stars. I don't know what they are beyond that. I don't think they offer anything."

So how do you really feel, David?

More recently, as in a few weeks ago, a "glossy magazine insider" stated that "She's [Jessica Simpson] so over. She's a bargain-basement star who can only sell $1.99 magazines at best these days."

Even BRITNEY SPEARS wants nothing to do with Jessica! In one of the funniest things I've read in a while, Britney apparently dissed Jessica backstage at the Teen Choice Awards when Jessica asked Britney if she could "kiss her pregnant belly."

Britney replied - get this: "HELL, NO!"

Isn't that awesome?!!! If I were Britney I probably would've thrown in a face slap, too. What nerve! The article I linked above sums up my feelings on this issue, so I will stop ranting.

More drama was in store for Jessica at that same show... according to reports, ex-hubby Nick Lachey was there as well, and "the two tried hard not cross each other’s lines, but bumped into each other backstage. It is reported they both looked at each other briefly before walking away quickly. Simpson then “freaked out” and had to be fanned by her hairdresser."

FANNED BY HER HAIRDRESSER? Once again, hilarious.

Praise the Lord! Can you make your dad lose his?For a little while, at least, we have a break from Simpson, as she was ordered to go on "vocal rest" because of a bruised vocal cord. And right when she was supposed to be making the rounds promoting her new album... darn it! I'm curious as to if she will appear on the MTV Video Music Awards tonight at all - that would've been the ideal place to plug her tunes. Now they can blame poor sales on lack of promotion... yeah, right.

Unfortunately, we are destined to have Jessica back in our faces sooner rather than later. The newest magazines on the stands are trumpeting that she has been secretly dating singer John Mayer since July.

The corpse and the tanning bed victim in 2005.ANOTHER annoying person?!?! Incredible. There are only two things I will say that are positive about John Mayer: 1) I like the song "Your Body is a Wonderland," and 2) He was cool enough at one point to appear on Chappelle's Show (if you watch this, watch the entire clip because it gets better as it goes on). Otherwise, I find him whiny and badly in need of a haircut.

We'll see how long it goes on before Joe steps in and scares him off...

- e

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Double down!

It has been a fairly slow week in celebrity gossip, so let us turn our attention to the future.

A future that is filled with a bunch of good-looking guys. That's right, ladies... all your favorite men are back up on the big screen in Ocean's 13, due out next summer.

Yeah, I realize there is the potential for this movie to be bad... but I don't care. I really liked Ocean's 11 and thought Ocean's 12 was OK... but having said that, I am glad that the boys are back in Sin City this time around. Casey Affleck (returning with Scott Caan to their roles as bickering brothers) agrees that they belong in Sin City: "It's back in Las Vegas, for one thing, and it's more going back to the kind of 'Ocean's Eleven' vibe, which is just a little bit more fun in Vegas — the right place for these stories and these characters."

Yes, you are jealous of us.
Apparently, this may be the last in "a trilogy," so to speak. George Clooney has stated that he wants the movies to end on a high note, and therefore for this last installment, they have planned an elaborate finale - set in a 40,000 square foot "casino" they built just for the occasion. Furthermore, George's good buddy, director Steven Soderbergh, has said that this is the last of the Ocean's movies that he will be involved with. However, producer Jerry Weintraub has said that he would be up for Ocean's 14 if the same cast would all return again. Never say never...

Having a blast, all in a day's work.  So tough.You must admit that the cast always looks like they are having so much fun in these movies. I guess if I was hanging out in awesome cities and filming a movie with 20 of my good friends and getting paid a ton for it, I would be having a good time, too. Luckily for us, we always get to hear about their filming hijinx for about a year before the movie comes out. The latest gossip from the set is that George Clooney has become romantically involved with the female lead, Ellen Barkin. About time he starts dating someone his own age!

It should also be noted that Al Pacino is joining the cast as an evil casino owner. He will be a great addition - no one can doubt his acting abilities, but I just hope I can forget about the weird romances he's been having lately (Kirstie Alley last fall ... and if you think that's strange, remember that he was seeing Rose McGowan last summer!?!?).

Most recently they have been filming in LA and Vegas, and Angelina even stayed out there with Brad at the Bellagio a few weeks ago.

Does anyone know how one can become an extra in this movie? I would probably pay THEM for that chance!

Well, regardless, I will be shelling out my $10 next summer to see the finished product.

- e

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fed up.

See?  I've got the Standard Rapping Pose down!
Where do I even begin?

I knew at some point I was going to have to talk about Kevin Federline (aka 'K-Fed'), I just wasn't sure when.

I hadn't yet launched this blog when this "Federline, yo." SNL spoof commercial was aired, starring Ashton Kutcher. It still kills me - especially the very beginning: "I might look like I stink.... but I don't."

Then there was the unintentionally comedic clip on CNN when, after hearing that Britney Spears was pregnant again, my man Anderson Cooper announced that he is "not down with K-Fed." If you like Anderson, you must watch this video (less than two minutes) - to me, it is hilarious to just see him try to hide (albeit unsuccessfully) his disgust.

Another must-see video is the normally very overly-serious James Lipton, from Inside the Actors Studio, reciting "K-Fed Freestyle" on Conan O'Brien.

So wrong.  And in so many ways!And of course there's the infamous "Papozao" song which was so bad, that after much ridicule, K-Fed actually tried to back-pedal and say that the song was all a joke. He looks pretty darn impressed with it in this clip, though. I apologize in advance if that link breaks... The Powers That Be keep taking down the clip from YouTube. If you can watch it, the best part is around 1 minute and 40 seconds when he starts doing crazy hand-dance moves. I fully realize that that means you have to sit through nearly two minute of agonizingly annoying and embarrassing head-bopping. Sorry!

Not that innocent.More recently, a never-before-seen home video, most likely filmed when Kevin and Britney were planning for their dismally-rated show, Chaotic, started making the rounds. This video almost made me feel BAD for Kevin. If Britney is NOT on drugs in this clip (which I have to think she is), then I am honestly even more frightened for their children than I already was.

No one that dumb should pro-create. Harsh, but true.

But ALL OF THOSE clips were still not enough to warrant a full post dedicated to Kevin. I figured I would know the appropriate time when it came.

It has arrived.

K-Fed has finally made a national premiere of sorts, and it has been widely circulating the internet... in a BAD way. As in, "Hey, did you see how much he sucks? Check this out!" If you would like to witness the horror for yourself, watch his very recent performance (introduced by a scary-looking Britney - - girl, cover yourself UP!) at the Teen Choice awards.

Yes, unfortunately I think it is now very clear that K-Fed is not going to make much of a career for himself as a rapper. No one in the industry seems shy about declaring this, either:

"I just think we ignore him [Federline]. He's a joke, basically. I just don't think he gets it. He doesn't get that he's Britney's man and it's hard to take him seriously."
- Elliot Wilson, editor in chief of XXL magazine

"The thing that really hurts him is the fact that he's perceived as Britney's husband. You know, kinda like Britney's second - I don't even want to say second in command, but - he's like the Britney Boy. He's like Mrs. Spears, and it's kinda hard to get over that perception."
- Jermaine Hall, executive editor of King magazine

I'll take this over the cornrows.The crazy thing is, when he cleans himself up, I do not think he is a bad looking guy. Perhaps at one point he would've had a shot at modeling, at the very least. But now it seems like only the most desperate of brands would want to be associated with him.

But before his run with Britney is over... and let's all face it, it WILL be over one day, probably sooner rather than later... I just hope and pray that he bestows upon us a few more opportunities to laugh at his expense.

- e

Monday, August 21, 2006

Are they or aren't they?

We are just smiling because we really enjoy each other's friendship, and nothing more.
As if there wasn't already enough to worry about in this world, now we all must agonize over this question: "Are Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn engaged OR NOT?"

Allow me to walk you through the rollercoaster of events leading up to this question.

1) Jen and Vince begin their romance right here in The Windy City while filming The Break-Up in 2005. They both admit to loving this city (but not each other).

Perhaps if I stand far away, awkwardly with my hand in my pocket, no one will suspect anything...2) For a very long time, they deny that they are anything more than friends. Even when promoting The Break-Up, they keep their distance from each other (a la Brad and Angelina for the promotion of Mr. and Mrs. Smith).

3) In April 2006, rumors spread out of nowhere that Oprah is throwing an $8 million wedding for Jennifer and Vince. This prompts Jennifer to call into the show and deny any wedding plans, and leads to another denial by Oprah herself when Vince is on her show in May. Jennifer becomes downright snooty (Snooty? Snooty! SNOTTY? SNOTTY!) on David Letterman later that same month when he broaches the subject (to see that clip, you must scroll down and select the 5/24/06 show).

4) It was then reported that Jennifer and Vince were going to buy a suite in The Palmolive Building in downtown Chicago, but to my knowledge that never actually happened.

The cover that renewed the madness.

5) Two weeks ago, Us Weekly "broke the news" that Jennifer and Vince are now engaged. I panicked because I was busy wrapping up my stint for The Man in NYC and missed the initial flurry of activity around this announcement.

6) But then the very next day, I read in the free paper in NYC (New York Metro) that Jennifer's publicist issued an official denial.

7) So I think to myself, "Phew! I didn't miss anything. But geez, that's a pretty bad screw-up for Us Weekly!" However, I read the blog on their site, and then learn that Jennifer's publicist is infamous for denying things right up until the point they happen (including Jennifer and Brad's divorce).

8) At this point I become convinced once again that they must therefore really be engaged... Until Jennifer grants an exclusive interview (more like a tirade, really) to People magazine, completely and utterly denying that she is engaged. After reading THAT article, I think "OK, they definitely are not getting married any time soon."

9) Then I watch the semi-funny clip that she and Vince did for the Teen Choice awards, and I figure, "If they're trying to lay low with an engagement, they would not be appearing together anywhere."

OK, NO engagement. Done. Settled.

Let's give ourselves a hand for making everyone go insane.10) So imagine my near nervous breakdown when OK! arrives in the mail yesterday, with "JEN AND VINCE'S BABY JOY!!!!" blaring across the cover. Along with the sentence: "The wedding is on... and so is Jen's dream of becoming a mother."

I cannot take it. I MUST KNOW the truth. I don't even really like her, but I love my boy Vince, so I just need to know if I have to stop attempting to stalk him or not (he was in the building where I used to work a year or so ago and I made an unsuccessful attempt to see him then, and then another time when he was rumored to be somewhere near my building...).

Right now, however, I guess I am still leaning toward the "they are NOT engaged" side. I don't know why - I think that the fact that she talked about her family being all upset in the People interview is what convinced me. But then again, they could all be in on it. DAMMIT!

I will say that even though she's not one of my faves, if they aren't engaged, then I do feel really bad for both Jennifer and Vince because that would just be horrible to have all this build-up around something that hasn't even happened yet. But really, any time ANY celebrity goes on more than two dates, they are automatically next in line to get married. I guess that's part of what comes with getting multi-million dollar paychecks. Poor babies.

- e

Saturday, August 19, 2006

SoaP Opera

Best application of
For a few weeks I had been deliberating about whether or not I should go see Snakes on a Plane (SoaP) at all, much less on opening night.

While the nerdy "egrrl" part of me felt like I HAD to see it because it was such a pop culture and internet phenomenon, the part of me that hates anything gory or campy was shying away. I knew, however, that if I was going to go, it had to be on opening night, because that would be when the best crowd would be there. My curiosity and sense of responsibility to report back on the movie got the best of me.

I went to the 7 PM show last night. There was no line at all, and when we got there an hour early, they actually let us go into the theater even though it was still being cleaned. I was a tad worried because I had read one negative review right before leaving, and I knew that if the theater had only a smattering of people, I was going to be in for a long hour and 46 minutes.

By the time the previews starting playing, I would estimate that the theater was about 70% full, and it was one of the gigantic stadium seating theaters, so I was satisfied. There was definitely a buzz in the air, and the crowd was very loud. In the first ten minutes (when there is not even a plane or any snakes in sight), there were many cheers and much clapping for a variety of things - when the title showed, when Samuel L. Jackson first appeared, when girls in bikinis were on screen, you name it. I would summarize it by saying that everyone was just really excited to see the movie and even if it had been really awful, I think people would've walked out happy.

But here's the crazy thing:

It WASN'T awful?!?!?

In fact, I would go as far as to say that I enjoyed it quite and bit and I would even categorize it as GOOD.

Why? Because as I have mentioned before, I don't go to movies to see things that could really happen. I almost never see any war movies or historical pieces, or even any extremely serious dramas for that matter. You could call me shallow, but I just don't understand the need to pay ten bucks to get all depressed or be extremely bored. I can watch the news if I want to be depressed and if I want to actually learn about something historical, I'm going to read a book on it or watch The History Channel, where they are less likely to "take liberties with the facts" for sake of entertainment or dreams of an Oscar.

I like this one better than the real poster.But back to the Snakes... I guess that I do need to qualify my assessment with the obvious: You MUST be able to get over the ridiculous premise (that hundreds of poisonous snakes could be secretly loaded onto a plane in order to attempt to kill only one person on said plane) to enjoy the movie. No one has ever lied about what this movie is about, and Samuel L. Jackson had to go to drastic measures to KEEP the movie title as it is - instead of "Pacific Air 121." Apparently some movie exec brainchild actually thought it would be better if moviegoers were SURPRISED by the fact that snakes ended up on the plane. Uh, no... the title in and of itself is one of the main reasons why everyone is so hyped up about the movie - what else could inspire blogs like Snakes on a Blog, songs such as Snakes on a Plane (Bring it), fan videos like Someone tell Sam Jackson he's my bro (highly recommended), or fan-made poster art that is creative and incorporated into the actual marketing of the film?

And on top of all that, the internet fans even had a hand in shaping some of the film's dialogue, including the most famous line of them all, spewed out furiously by Samuel L. Jackson's character when he just can't take it anymore:

"Enough is ENOUGH!!!!!! I have HAD IT with these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane!!!!!"

I tell you, the theater went absolutely BERSERK during that line. Of course everyone repeated it along with him, and then erupted into cheers. I would rate the crowd with me at Snakes on a Plane as one of the top five best movie crowds I've ever been a part of. And when other members of the top five include incredibly established fan bases (for years), such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, that's really saying something.

Oh, the drama!So let me end by saying a few more things:
1) It is not worth seeing this movie if you don't see it with a good crowd, so if you're going to go, only go on the weekend, and preferably in the evening.
2) I didn't really have to worry about the gore factor. The anticipation of what was going to happen was worse than what actually happened. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some gross scenes, but I actually watched all of it (albeit through my hands at some points), and I have fairly low tolerance for blood and guts.
3) While the movie is not going to win any awards, it is not as campy and stupid as I had feared it would be. There ARE characters, there IS a plot, it keeps moving, but having said all that, the movie also knows how to make fun of itself. There are some genuinely funny moments that are MEANT to be silly.
4) More articles on the movie, as well as reviews are out there now, and surprisingly, many of them are pretty positive.

All in all, I got my money's worth and enough escapism to last for a long time. Although I have to admit, as lame as this may be, I know I'm going to be sitting cross-legged on flights in the near future...

- e

Pet Peeve of the Week: People who can't be bothered to do their jobs

After a completely stressful experience involving picking up my 83-year-old grandma and mother from Union Station this past week, I have become increasingly aware of how many people there are out there who have no interest in or are completely bitter about doing a job they are actually paid to do. You can identify these people by their disgusted response if you dare ask them a question or for help with something, or by their sorely lacking quality control on tasks for which they are responsible. I have run into so many of these people lately that it has prompted me to wonder how this country can continue running.

So now I need to vent about some of these characters, starting with the experience I mentioned above.

A few days ago, after searching fruitlessly on the web for 1) a phone number for Union Station, 2) a layout of Union Station, and/or 3) any information whatsoever on Union Station outside of its address, I left to go pick up my mom and grandma, who were arriving from Michigan on Amtrak. As mentioned in a post last month, I used to take Amtrak all the time, and it is never on time. When I left my place, they were running about an hour late. My husband had a rental car and dropped me off, after circling the station and seeing no clear place to pick people up that was easily accessible. I went in and searched around to find a wheelchair I could use for my grandma. She doesn't typically need one, but when there's like EIGHT miles you have to walk through the building without a break, she could use the help. I expected that it would be like the airport, where they have a ton for temporary use. However, at Union Station, the first "red cap" (you know, the guys who are supposed to be the MOST helpful) I ran into actually laughed at me when I asked where I could get a wheelchair, scoffing, "There are maybe two of those in this entire building, you're never going to find one." Then he actually had the gall to tell me that I could ask ANOTHER red cap to help her out when she arrived.

I then found the completely inappropriately-named "Guest Services" office, where I actually SAW A WHEELCHAIR in the next room over, locked up behind some gate. The guy there ALSO told me that I couldn't have a wheelchair, and would just need to get a red cap to help her.

However, the issue was that they don't let non-passengers anywhere near the trains, so I had to hope that my mom and grandma would stay on the train until everyone else had cleared out, and then a red cap that I would have to somehow bribe from within the station could take a tram thingy up to the train car to get them.

The train was delayed yet another hour, and I tried to beg two other official-looking people to ensure that a red cap would go out to pick up my grandma when her train pulled in. They all acted like this would definitely happen. So imagine by utter rage when the train finally gets there, and there are hundreds of people slowly filing out, and I actually see my grandma, supported by my mom, shuffling toward me, looking like she's in pain. I'm behind the guest barricade and I start shouting out to my mom, "get her on that tram now!" - because of course there was an EMPTY tram with NO driver sitting there near the exit. Once my grandma sat on the tram, then they had no choice but to do something with her, but there was still one other red cap that tried to get out of it before we were actually helped. In addition to all of this, I was told that the conductor yelled at my grandma to "hurry! hurry!" when she was boarding, and that when they were pulling into Chicago, they were made to believe they had to get off because no one knew if a red cap would ever come get them. It was unbelievable, and put a damper on their stay because we were all so worried about getting them BACK on the train a few days later. That trip ended up going a little bit better because I had my grandma and mom wait in the food court while I ran around and essentially forced a red cap to help.

Other examples of incompetency I have noticed, completely off the top of my head:

- Yesterday I go to pick up pictures at Walgreens. Yes, I realize that perhaps I shouldn't be developing pictures I actually care about at Walgreens in the first place, but it's close and I'm lazy, so I did. On the order slip it clearly says - "double prints and picture CD." I get there, and there is ONE set of pictures, and no CD. The clerk can always then blame it on someone who isn't there, and then point to "technical difficulties" when telling me to come back the NEXT day to get the right order back.

- At least 2 out of the 6 days we get mail every week, some mail that belongs to the condo a street behind us is in our pile (and vice versa). We have the same street number and our street names are dangerously close. I have talked to the post office about it, left notes for our mail carrier about it, but it never ever fails that our mail will get mixed together. And inevitably, there are some things that never reach us that we then need to remedy ourselves (Amazon packages, Netflix DVDs, letters, you name it).

- Our condo was "rehabbed" in 1999. And it is absolutely amazing that about 40 - 50% of the light switch plates are not level. I mean, COME ON. How hard is it to put something on straight? These things are crooked to the naked eye... and holes were drilled to keep them that way. Does no one have any PRIDE in their work?

Perhaps you think that things like this are only confined to the service industries... or to hourly workers or something like that. No, no, no, that is not the case either. I could go on with countless stories about being not doing their jobs correctly (or at all) in the professional (and I use that term loosely) world, but I will confine it to two.

- In my old building, they charge a company something like $1,500 if anyone ever moves offices. As in, from one building to another, or from one cube to another (within the same building). What you get for that astronomical figure is supposedly someone to transport all your boxes from one place to another, set up your phone line, LAN connection, and so on. So about two years ago, my group moved from one building to another. Upon arrival, we see that the old occupants (who work for our same company, just a different division), had not actually moved their stuff out. So we had to rummage through their papers to try to find contact names, as well as call the Real Estate office of our building. The Real Estate group only brought a dumpster for US to throw out the other peoples' stuff... despite that fact that they could not answer my question: "So, you just let people move into cubes that are not cleaned out? Would you expect to move into a house with the old owner's stuff in it?" Even funnier is that fact that the guy whose stuff it actually WAS wouldn't come clean it out. He acted all sheepish on the phone when we tracked him down and said he'd be over... but he never showed up. I guess it wasn't that important.

- And finally, after doing some research on various issues our clients experience (at my old company), one of the main problems arose from a very very simple problem - people at my company had to take information that was handwritten by clients and type it into an online system. Something like 80% of the problems were tracked back to that information being entered in incorrectly or not at all... as well as to the very poor instructions on the form for the clients.

All of these examples come down to someone just not caring enough to do their job the way they are supposed to, and it is so frustrating to me. Are there people who go above the call of duty, who take on extra work, who are extremely helpful? Sure there are - those people are all over the place too - but I fear that the slackers are starting to tip the scales. Read Atlas Shrugged if you want to know what happens in that scenario!

- e

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Beauty leaves the Beast.

Cute and Not So Cute.

I must admit that I was initially shocked when hearing that Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson are separating. They always seemed like a happy-go-lucky couple and were photographed together a lot, looking all peaceful and bohemian.

But then I thought about it for two minutes, and realized - wait a second - she is really cute and this dude is UGGGGGLY!

So then it all made sense.

I searched for about a half-hour to find a straight-on picture of him with NO sunglasses, and this is the best I could come up with. I see why he keeps them on 24/7.

Dude, it's too bright in here! Get me my glasses!
Now news is breaking that Kate might have been fooling around with Owen Wilson, her co-star in the recent movie You, Me and Dupree. Once again, looking at the picture above compared to the one below... although Owen is no looker himself, I still can't say I blame her. At least he has a great sense of humor, a cool brother and the ability to not constantly shade his eyes on his side. Must be the power of the Butterscotch Stallion!

Marriage Crashers.
Over the past five and a half years while Kate and Chris were married, she did give us some clues that all may not end up well... recently talking about how there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, as well as how she doesn't want to know if her husband is cheating on her.

Why do I look like a little girl, mommy?

Maybe one good thing will come out of all of this... perhaps when away from his rock star father, little Ryder will be able to get his damn hair cut and stop looking like a 1960s hippie love child.

- e

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Still suspect.

Hello there -

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past week... as many of you know, it is now official that I am no longer Working For The Man, but The Man does not let one leave easily, so it has been a hectic past few weeks. I will try to make it up to you...

Starting with a little commentary on the wacky pictures that were captured of Katie Holmes peering out of a window with baby Cruise (or so everyone thinks) in the background. Shout-out to the ultimate blog-stalker, L.I., for clueing me in to the fact that these pictures were even out there (like I said, I've been out of it lately!).

Somebody get me the hell out of here?!?!?!

When I first saw these pictures, the first thing that came to mind, oddly enough, was that urban legend about the ghost that can be seen in the movie Three Men and a Baby.

Can you remotely understand why I made that connection? Maybe it's the whole "person peeping from behind curtains" vibe that did it for me. The second thing I thought was, "That baby seems really big?!?" It almost doesn't look real, like it's a doll.

Anyway, we won't have to wait much longer for "real" pictures of Suri, because Vanity Fair has agreed to shell out God knows how much for a photo spread, to be published in the fall. The pictures are rumored to have already been taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

In related news, Katie Holmes still appears to be brainwashed. She showed up to an exclusive In Style party with her handler (don't ask me what a handler actually does) - she was the only person there who blantantly disregarded the rules to not bring any guests. People noted that she looked "dead in the eyes." How sad. Especially sad since my Tivo randomly recorded a first season Dawson's Creek episode last night, and I forwarded through it for old time's sake, just to remember how cute ol' Joey Potter used to be.

Now she's resorted to hanging out with circus freaks...

I will whisk you away to a life of contortion and acrobatics!

.. And begging the "cool people" to be friends with her. Sorry Katie, it ain't gonna happen as long as Tom's around...

So pathetic.
- e

Monday, August 07, 2006

e hearts Ricky Bobby

Ricky Bobby celebrates his box office victory with She Who Must Not Be Named...

I have to admit to you, my dear friends, that I was worried about Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I had gone to see Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy with similarly high hopes, and I wasn't the biggest fan of that movie when it was all said and done (it wasn't bad, just not that great).

Dear Sweet Lord Infant Baby Jesus, make other people go see this movie.So it is with great pleasure that I announce that I absolutely loved Talladega Nights, and so did all my peeps who saw it with me. There literally was not a two minute period that went by when we weren't laughing. I was actually worried someone might try to beat us down because we were laughing so much and so hard, but everyone else was, too, so it was all good.

As you know, I will never give anything away, so here is my non-spoilery review:

The entire movie is funny, and even though it's nearly two hours long, they keep it moving very nicely. For example, instead of dragging out how Ricky Bobby came to be married to his "red hot smokin'" wife, a quick series of snapshots summarized their wedding.

I should also note that you don't need to know anything about NASCAR to see this movie (I didn't). Does it rip on that whole scene and lifestyle? Yes, it does, but you don't need to understand the sport or the industry going in (you just might not catch some of the inside jokes and/or driver cameos).

Didn't you get the TPS Report?All of the supporting cast is excellent - especially the youngest of Ricky Bobby's two kids, and his father, played by Gary "Mmmmmkay?" Cole (best known (to me, at least) as boss-man Bill Lumburgh from Office Space, another all-time fave). Show respeck!
And of course Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G) is always going to rock.

Also, I should forewarn you to be prepared for a whole new crop of one-liners to enter the pop culture vernacular. There were so many that I cannot possibly list them all out (my peeps and I spent part of the ride home reciting and recapping our favorites), but among the best are:
- Dear Lord Baby Jesus...
- Shake and Bake!
- I wanna go fast!
- Help me Tom Cruise!
- If you ain't first, you're LAST.

Other people apparently liked it, too, as it is the #1 movie in the country right now.

I have to mention a few other things about this overall movie-going experience:

1) As always, I made my friends get to the theater over an hour in advance. While there were the line-barricade-thingies set up, there was no line. I was in shock. So we just kind of hung out talking for a while, and then decided that we should go up to the theater level about a half-hour before the movie time (there is a HUGE lobby level with seats and whatnot where we went). We go up to the theater and I was infuriated to find a huge mob of people standing outside of the doors. AAAAAAAAHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Someone did not do their job at the movie theater! But their mistake was to our advantage because in a situation like that, my husband and I are pros. We still ended up getting "middle-middle" seats (middle both horizontally and vertically) in the theater - BOOYA.

2) After securing our primo location, we settled in for some decent previews. One in particular that looked hilarious, and that was extremely appropriate to be shown before a Will Ferrell movie, was a flick called Beer Fest. It was just out of control; I'm definitely going to see that one. I hadn't heard anything about it and it opens this month?!?! August 25th, I will be there!

Perhaps the most unique trailer was for Stranger Than Fiction, in which Will Ferrell finds himself as a character in a story Emma Thompson is writing, even though he is a real person. It has an all-star cast and looked interesting. It is currently slated for a November release, but from what I have read, that could change.

But don't wait for those movies to come out! For the love of sweet lord infant baby-in-the-manger Jesus, go see Talladega Nights, now!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pet Peeve of the Week: Slow and/or Zig-Zag Walkers

Get out of my way (please).This perhaps is one of the top three Pet Peeves of my life, much less the week. I generally believe that all people in the world fall into two camps: slow or fast walkers. If you are a slow-walker, you probably don't see why so many other people are nearly running all around you, when you are just trying to take a leisurely stroll and not break a sweat going from place to place. However, if you are like me, and have been a fast-walker since you could hold yourself upright, then you just don't understand why in the heck all these people are getting in your way when you're trying to get somewhere. Many people, including many of my own family members, think I'm just being rude when I am touring them around Chicago or walking through a store or whatever at twice their pace. What they and other slow-walkers do not understand is that it LITERALLY PAINS ME to walk slow. I cannot take it. If you want to know how to torture me, it is to force me to walk really slow in a large crowd for a few hours. I will just end up collapsing to the ground, sobbing.

What makes someone a fast-walker? I'm not sure, but it definitely ties to being a Type A personality, because a lot of my other high-strung peeps are fast-walkers. But not ALL of them, so I guess I have no scientific case here.

Here are specific examples of things that drive me insane:

1) People who refuse to stand over on the right on either an escalator or a moving walkway.

Yeah, you - MOVE.I WANT TO PASS YOU! SO DO A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE! Get out of my way! I do not believe that these things were invented to make people get even less exercise or be even more lazy. I think they were intended to just help people get places quicker in particularly crowded areas. I think people were intended to keep moving on them. And for some people, like the elderly, it's fine to rest a bit on these contraptions. But for everyone else, it's just common sense - stay to the right if you have no intention of moving on an escalator or moving walkway.

2) People who walk diagonally down the sidewalk or zig and zag all over the place so you cannot pass them.

This happens to me every day when I walk to the El: some fool is in front of me, and although the sun is shining brightly and my ominous shadow is quickly closing in on them, they continue to somehow make it impossible to pass by them because they are floating all over the sidewalk. Making it worse is that nearly everyone has on headphones, so they can't hear my throat clearing and other attempts to get them to move. Seriously, the rules of the road still apply when you are walking - let people pass you on the left and stay to the right if you are going to be moving slowly. On the way home, it's even worse, because then there are usually crowds of people moving en masse down my street. Nine times out of ten I end up walking in the street itself just to pass everyone. I can't take it.

3) Walking in any sort of crowd.

My brother will knock you over if you are standing on the left in DC!As mentioned above, being in this situaiton nearly causes me to have a nervous breakdown. When we recently went to the Fiona Apple concert, there were large numbers of people walking through the Museum Campus to get out to the outdoor pavillion. Everyone just spread themselves out to cover the width of the walking paths and it was an impenetrable shield of bodies that I could not get through. Then when you say, "Excuse me," so that you can pass by, they look at you with this expression of bewilderment like, "Was I walking *that* slowly?" YES! Yes you were, and it's interrupting my groove.

The only place I've ever been in my life where I think everyone is a fast-walker is Tokyo. I will never forget getting off of the train in the middle of the city, and honestly thinking there was a fire in the station because EVERYONE, and I do mean everyone, around me was sprinting. I wondered, "Holy crap, is there a fire in this station or something?" and then I said a version of the same question out loud to my client, who had been there several times before, and she said, "Nope, that's just how it is around here."

Therefore, I give props to the Japanese. They know how to get around!!!!

- e

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lethal Weapon Indeed. Or, what in the HELL is wrong with Mel Gibson???

I debated for a few days about whether or not I should even talk about the wackjob that is Mel Gibson, and his latest antics which entail getting arrested for drunk driving and then releasing a tirade of anti-Semitic remarks upon the Jewish officer who pulled him over (in addition to sexist comments directed at the female officer who was also present).

Guilty.What is wrong with this man? I will tell you what is wrong - it's that the proverbial apple does not fall far from the tree.

In case you were not aware, Mel's father has pretty much gone on record stating that the Holocaust was a work of fiction and/or greatly exaggerated. In researching for this post, I learned that there are actually a group of people out there, entitled Holocaust Deniers, who share this opinion. There are few times when I'm just utterly speechless, but I really don't even know what to say about these people.



OK, I thought of something... Have these people not been to the Holocaust Memorial Museum? Have they not visited Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam? Do they perhaps not WANT to because then they would risk being convinced of something they don't want to accept? Well I have been to both places, and without trying to being crass... I mean, I just don't understand - do these people think that the videos, the pictures, the accounts - do they think that that was all just "movie magic" or "creative writing" or something? Unbelievable.

Yep, I'm crazy.Back to Mel's father... he has also described elaborate conspiracy theories involving Jews controlling everything, including the Vatican.

Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy Whhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

When pointedly asked if the Holocaust happened by the New York Post during his promotional interview for The Passion of the Christ , Mel did not provide a very clear response... in fact, he used tricky language often associated with the most sophisticated of Holocaust Deniers.

I am just baffled by all of this. And ashamed I ever saw Lethal Weapon.

So he gets arrested a few days ago, and now all of a sudden all eyes are on the police department, and a lot of sketchy things are being uncovered. Not only about possible cover-ups of this most recent incident, but about others as well. This site has the most comprehensive account of the situation that I could find.

Mel has since released an extensive public apology, and is reportedly going to go to rehab, though his choice of programs is raising eyebrows. I have to laugh at his apology... he is an ACTOR. That is what he DOES. HE ACTS. He is only sorry that: 1) he got caught, 2) that it's going to hurt his career and 3) that he may have to cut back on the drugs and alcohol for a bit. Don't let him fool you... grown adults just don't change that extensively when they were raised to believe certain things so fully and completely. Mel himself said, "My father has never lied to me." Oh, that same father who said the Holocaust wasn't really that bad???

I hope, quite frankly, that this man's career is absolutely destroyed and that we never need see or hear of him again. I also hope that Apocolypto, which looked like it was going to be absolutely horrible anyway, does not get released. If it does, and if you go and see it, I will track you down and find you and slap you!

Do not give this man any more money!?!?!?!

- e