Thursday, May 29, 2008

Does This Count as a Taco? You Be The Judge.

So as you know, I was in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico a few weekends ago for a wedding. My previous trips to Mexico took me to Cancun (during spring break in college), Cozumel and Chichen Itza (both on stops during cruises).

I wasn't sure what to expect in Playa Del Carmen, but I'm happy to report that I really liked it. It was a very quaint town that had one major street where most of the tourists hung out--5th Avenue--but it wasn't overtly touristy. There were tons of great restaurants, boutique shops and small hotels and it was all very welcoming.

We stayed at the Porto Playa condominiums, which I would highly recommend. They were only one block from the beach and right next to 5th Avenue, and the units were built by local artists using cool stones for the walls and floors. The picture to the right is the interior of the complex... it's like a jungle!

And of course, how could a wedding on the beach not be beautiful? The weather was perfect, the bride was absolutely stunning, and the scenery couldn't get much better. Here is a picture of the wedding site pre-ceremony, and then of the awesome band who played. They liked getting their picture taken...

When not enjoying wedding-related festivities, we explored the town and took in LOTS of Mexican cuisine. We even had guacamole made right at our table one night:

The real drama on the trip, however, occurred when the group I was with debated what qualifies as a "taco." See, I've never had a taco. You know when you have to tell an "interesting fact" about yourself in work groups or for break-the-ice games sometimes? Well, usually I say "Madonna went to my high school." But if I'm with people that already know that little tidbit, then I say "I've never had a taco."

This truly, truly seems to astonish people. (I haven't had salsa, coffee, a burrito, or several vegetables ever, either, while we're at it.) But anyway, this time while in Mexico, my husband was determined that I finally have the quintessential Mexican staple.

So I ORDERED something that was called a taco, but I really don't think it counts. It was literally just a small flour tortilla with chunks of chicken on it (and I smeared some guacamole on it). That's it! No lettuce, tomatoes, or any kind of sauce. When I think of a taco, I think of it at least with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes (which I also don't eat) covering some sort of meat in a shell. So I maintain that I still haven't eaten a real taco.

What is your take? Here is a picture of the momentous occasion (or of me just eating a tortilla with chicken on it... you be the judge!).

- e

(P.S. I am heading out on another trip, so I will be unable to post again until Monday.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Flower Power

You know how painting a room a different color can drastically change the feel of the space? I learned this past weekend that adding greenery to an area can do the same thing. (I know many of you are probably thinking "Duh!")

My husband and I have lived in our condo for the past five years, and at no point in time did we ever do anything with our small deck, besides set a $20 lounge chair out in which to read every once in a while. Since we don't have a car, we hardly ever go out the back entrance, which leads to where our parking spot is in the alley behind our place. A few times a day, for less than a minute each time, we'll let our dog out via that rear door, but that's about the extent of our exposure to our "backyard."

Now that I'm writing from home all day, however, I thought it might be a nice change of pace and scenery if I could go out onto the deck and work during the warmer months. I could get some fresh air, and I figured my dog would enjoy it, too. So when my husband's parents visited over Memorial Day weekend, we put them to work helping us pick out some flowers for the back (and then planting and potting them). Let's just say my husband and I aren't too handy or good with that kind of thing on our own.

So we got a rental car, and since it was a pretty small one, we made a few trips to Home Depot (we would've gone to Bed Bath & Beyond, but we didn't have enough time...) to pick out the goods. Below is the end result... just remember... NOTHING was out here before. And for those of you not living in a city, perhaps this will make you appreciate your big yards a bit more!

The funniest thing is that after dropping my in-laws off at the airport Monday morning, my husband and I decided that we should get some nicer lounge chairs with cushions to add to the newly decorated deck. We bought two that we really liked... and then couldn't fit them in the small car! D'oh! We literally tried every way possible, but they had big curved iron armrests that wouldn't bend. So I had to wait at the store with one of them while my husband took the other home and unloaded it and then came back for me. Below is the deck with the added chairs... as you can see, that's about all that can fit out there!

Then, wouldn't you know it... the weather took a turn for the worse. My aunt called to warn me about the flowers getting frost damage, and since we didn't have any lightweight sheets to cover everything with, we hauled the entire stock inside. What we didn't realize is that about ten bazillion bugs also followed us. You should've seen our ceiling with all of the little bugs buzzing around--I was freaking out! Here is the "indoor garden"...

Needless to say, we slept under the covers last night and covered our dog with blankets in order to avoid the bugs... and I'm happy to report that we survived until morning. Lesson learned!

Now if the weather would just warm up again so I could go out and enjoy the fruits of our labor...

- e

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Glowing in the Dark with Kanye

Saturday night my friend CM and I went to the United Center (where the Bulls play, for you non-sports fans) to see the second night of Kanye West's Glow in the Dark Tour here in his hometown.

We arrived a little after 7:30 PM, and Lupe Fiasco, the first of three opening acts, had already come and gone.

Next up was N.E.R.D., who I wasn't too familiar with, but I have to say that they put on an excellent show. They were probably the most energetic performers I've ever seen, and I've seen a ton of concerts. At one point, the rapper Common was shown on stage, and everyone just went nuts. They also brought several audience members up on stage at a few different points, and it had the effect of making their part of the concert seem like a really fun house party. Needless to say, I was really impressed with how upbeat they were, and their thirty minutes on stage was definitely one of the highlights of the show.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Rihanna, who was the last of the opening acts. Perhaps it was because she was wearing sky high leather boots that she thought she might fall over in, but she didn't really dance at all and it seemed like she was just bored or tired. And although she is an excellent singer, during some of her faster songs you could tell that they were playing a track with her voice in the background, because she would move her mouth away from the microphone several times and you'd still hear her singing. On her slower songs, however, it was definitely completely live.

I was very confused that she didn't sing "Shut Up and Drive" or "Hate That I Love You," two of her bigger hits. But maybe that would've expended too much of her non-existent energy. My verdict after she went off stage is that Rihanna is not ready to command large audiences just yet... she's not much of a performer.

Finally, Kanye went on stage at 10 PM (mind you, the starting time on the ticket was 7 PM... so even with three opening acts... that was pretty late!). Unfortunately, we were seated in the ultimate last row of the arena... as in, the highest possible row available. We still had a good view of the stage, but being that high up made it impossible for us to see the majority of the big screen behind Kanye, which was pretty key to experiencing the full effect of the show. There were two other large screens on each side of the stage that remained zoomed in on Kanye the majority of the time, but when they did pan back to capture the full spectacle, I could tell that if we had been a little bit lower, the view would've been much cooler.

Still, I enjoyed it. At first I was a little bit worried when Kanye, alone on stage, started talking to "Jane," his spaceship. It was pretty hokey, and I looked at CM (who had seen Indy 4 with me) and said, "Here we go again..." But if anyone could pull a "space opera" off, it is Kanye, who remained alone on stage for 1.5 hours as his songs loosely pieced together a tale about him trying to return to Earth and bring the planet some much-needed creativity. He really put his heart and soul into the show, especially during "Hey Mama," which seriously brought me to tears.

During the encore, he finally broke a huge grin when singing "Homecoming," since, after all, he was "coming home again" to Chicago.

I can't write about this concert without also mentioning the unintentionally hilarious "book," Thank You and You're Welcome, that everyone was given upon exiting the arena. When you open it to the middle, you are greeted with the phrase, "Believe in your flyness... conquer your shyness." LOVE IT! Anyway, the whole thing is like a mini-self help guide or something, but it was written in true Kanye style. I said to CM that the whole concert was much "happier" than I expected it to be, so I guess being sent off with a memento filled with positive sayings and stories provided a fitting end to the experience. I guess if this rapping thing doesn't work out for Kanye, he could always become a life coach: "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!"

- e

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indy 4: The Movie That Should Not Have Been Made

(No spoilers in this review.)

You have no idea how much it pains me to say that I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last night (and was first in line for the 9:45 PM show... arriving nearly 2 hours in advance, for that matter), and it was awful. So much so that I sat--stunned--in my seat at the end of the movie and felt extreme bitterness welling up inside of me. So much so that I stayed awake in bed last night, going over the movie in my head and getting upset all over again. So much so that I am even more angry about it today. How could they take TWENTY YEARS to come up with the idea for this movie and still have all of the same big names as in the past attached to its creation and have it be so horrible? I'm at a loss for an explanation.

So what was so bad? Where do I begin? Since I don't want to give anything away as I know tons of people are going to see it no matter what, I will have to be a little bit vague here. At a high-level, here's what I hated:
- The overall storyline. It was very convoluted and not well thought-out. The movie was two hours long, and at no point did I feel any tension or excitement. About half-way through, I was bored--and remained that way. They could've cut out almost all of the scenes at the very beginning--we didn't need that much set-up. In fact, one whole part where Indy is in a "fake town" seemed, in retrospect, totally pointless.
- The special effects. I will say that some of them were OK, but then others were just so unbelievably bad that I had a hard time believing I was watching an Indiana Jones movie released in the year 2008.
- The extra-ridiculous scenes. And how many of them there were. I knew there was no saving the movie after witnessing the "Shia of the Jungle" sequence, as my friend CM called it. I was seriously embarrassed by what I saw, but even more embarrassed for the actors. And the climactic scene at the end did not belong in this movie. It belonged in another movie that I am greatly looking forward to this summer (that's a hint), but NOT in this movie. The several animal scenes didn't belong, either. In fact, some of them were straight-up stolen from Caddyshack.
- The bad acting. Shia was by far the best actor in the movie (yes, I'm biased), but even he didn't do that well. Harrison Ford--well, it was like he was playing a different character 75% of the time. Cate Blanchett? Umm, let's just say that Galadriel cannot pull off a Russian accent.
- Shia's haircut. On top of everything else, I didn't even get to indulge my Shia crush, because he looked like The Fonz, and it was just not right.

I blame George Lucas for this monstrosity. Spielberg has enough other movies in his roster that you can be pretty sure that he wasn't behind the horribleness of this movie (though he must have signed off on it). But George Lucas? Besides American Graffiti... the man is kind of known for cheesiness and not-so-great films.

What? you say. What about Star Wars? Well, I do love the Star Wars franchise, but the cold hard fact is that if you saw those movies for the first time as an adult, there's a good chance you would think they were crap and wouldn't understand what all the fuss was about. Like it or not, a big reason why those movies were so successful is because they were geared toward a younger audience who could deal with a lot of goofiness, bad dialogue and sub-par acting. They came to us from the same man who made Howard the Duck and Captain EO, need I remind you.

So I blame Lucas for Indy's downfall. As my husband said, "They were just trying to do too much" in it, and it was "over-the-top." My husband didn't hate it as much as I did, but then again, he's not as big of a nerd as I am, either. He felt that the movie was simply meant for younger audiences... not jaded thirty-somethings. (And while many of the reviews I have seen have been mediocre to overly kind, here is one that I agree with, though it contains spoilers.)

I will end by saying this... the theater wasn't even sold out (though I know the movie is still going to do well and rule the box office for a while), and there were like two people who clapped weakly at the end. I think most people left the theater just as highly disturbed as I was.

If nothing else, I hope my scathing review of this movie has sufficiently lowered the expectations of those of you who have not yet seen it, so that you will perhaps be pleasantly surprised after you check it out. But as for me, well... I wish I never saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, because now my memories of Indy are tainted forever. (Yes, I'm being dramatic, but I'm still really mad, OK?!?)

- e

(Comments for this post CAN and SHOULD include information about the movie, because I'm interested to hear from those of you who saw it. So if you don't want to be spoiled, don't read the comments.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


When I was in Japan for The Man several years ago, I told my family and friends about how these "pushers" were employed to cram everyone into the subway cars during rush hour.

Now I just noticed that a video of this crazy process made Anderson Cooper 360's "The Shot" on Observe for yourself! (If you'd rather see the video with Anderson's commentary, click here.)

Luckily for me, I was already well inside the car when the pushers started their routine. But there was a really tall guy near me whose head started bleeding because a metal advertising sign hanging from the top of the car kept banging him across the forehead, and he was too crammed in to be able to move his arms or body or head in order to get in another position.

Makes your commute look a little bit better, doesn't it?

- e

I Want David Cook To Win... But Then Again, Not Really.

So we've arrived at the American Idol Season Seven Finale. After it's over, the only shows I watch that haven't gone on summer break yet are Top Chef and Best Week Ever. I guess I'll finally get to catch up on all of my magazines...

But before Idol ends tonight, I just want to declare that I definitely like David Cook the best. By far. No contest. However, after thinking about it for a little while (and after logging at least 40 votes for him last night), I realized that it would actually be BAD for his career if he won.

See, the title of "American Idol" doesn't really do much for you if you're a rock singer. It would make DC lose "street cred" if he won the competition known for sending pre-teen girls into crying fits over the likes of a floppy-haired Sanjaya. (Speaking of Season Six, the two finalists last year--Jordin and Blake--absolutely pale in comparison to the Two Davids... it's almost embarrassing how much worse last year was.)

Anyway, I stopped calling to vote for David Cook (though the fact that I was actually getting through probably doesn't bode well for him anyway) after I realized that the crown of "American Idol" fits better for Bound-for-Disney Boy. Plus, I really don't want to think of what his dad would do if his meal ticket didn't seal the deal.

I would hope that David Cook would end up more successful overall in his singing career, despite not winning the AI competition. Maybe he was thinking the same thing last night, when he acted a bit subdued for someone who was supposed to be pulling out all of the stops.

So I'm resigned to the fact that, especially after the love-fest from the judges last night, David Archuleta of the Eternal Dopey Smile will be victorious. (But in a sinister way I'm still hoping that David Cook wins, if for no other reason than the possibility of seeing an "instant reaction" shot on Archuleta's dad's face. Take off that stupid cap already!!!)

One last thing, if they do not bring back this guy for tonight's show, then I will protest.

- e

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh-Oh, Oh-oh-oh... NKOTB is Back!

I forgot to Tivo The Today Show while I was in Mexico the past few days, but thanks to the power of YouTube, I was able to see the reunited New Kids on the Block performance from Friday. The video is not the best quality in the world, but you get the gist of what went down:

I used to be a huge NKOTB fan... I even went to one of their concerts back in the day. My friend DY and I got the tickets for free, so how could we refuse? But seriously, I would've paid for it if I had to. I don't remember much about the show except that I thought it was good, and that my eardrums were annihilated from all of the girls screaming.

Now those same girls are thirty-somethings and were in the crowd at the concert in New York... kind of funny. I contemplated getting tickets for the New Kids' upcoming tour, but they're playing at my most-hated concert venue here in Chicago (Allstate Arena), so for now I'm going to pass (unless I somehow score free tickets again).

Their new single, "Summertime," isn't half bad. The best is that they still are doing their boy band moves, which is key. It's a much smarter strategy for them to just embrace who they are (and used to be) than to try to show that they're all "mature" by refusing to do the choreographed dances and things that made them famous in the first place. All that would do is alienate their remaining fan base.

Here is the band performing "Summertime" on The Today Show:

I really hope they are going to release a video for this song! I'm going to need to hear it a few more times before I decide whether or not to shell out $.99 for it on iTunes. (I'm betting that I will, though.)

- e

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wish You Were Here...

Greetings from the 95-degree weather hotness that is Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. I left the Windy City yesterday for a long weekend across the border... some friends are getting married here tomorrow. We are really enjoying this quaint little town... but for now I am safely under a poolside umbrella (the one in the picture, for real!) so that I don't turn bright red within five minutes.

More when I return,
- e

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Latest from Coldplay

I have a soft spot in my heart for Coldplay, as my wedding song was "Yellow," off of their first album (not the most traditional wedding song in the world, I realize). My husband and I saw them in concert before they were really popular, and then took off on a two-month-long backpacking trip through Asia, at the end of which my husband proposed (let me hear it: "Awwwww....").

We saw them again a few years ago for their "X & Y" tour, but had really crappy seats off of the side of the stage in the nosebleed section, so that bummed us out.

Now they're back with another album, "Viva la Vida," and will be hitting the road again soon. I'm going to try to get tickets, but in the meantime I've pre-ordered the new CD and got the title track in advance off of iTunes. I also downloaded another song, "Violet Hill," when they did a promotion a few weeks back on their web site.

I have to admit that "Violet Hill" scared me... I didn't like it at all at first. I was like, "This is what they're giving away for free to get people to buy the rest of the album--yikes?!?!" But I knew I was going to buy whatever they put out anyway, so I still did the pre-order (the full album is released in mid-June). The good news is that "Viva la Vida," while pretty different from the other Coldplay songs I know and love, is very cool. There is no video for the song yet, but some dude uploaded himself and a friend playing it and they did a pretty good job, if you want to get a feel for the song in its entirety:

"Violet Hill" has actually grown on me, too. I don't feel like either of the songs has a real chorus, so perhaps that's what's throwing me. But I'm anxious to hear the rest of the album. "Yellow" was my favorite from "Parachutes," "The Scientist" was my fave from "A Rush of Blood to the Head," and "Fix You" was the best off of "X & Y."

They better have another power ballad in store for me or I will be upset!

- e

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Yeah, Well, I Think My DOG Could Paint That!

This weekend I watched a very interesting independent film: My Kid Could Paint That. It's the story of Marla Olmstead, who, at the age of four, received worldwide attention for her "modern art." To be totally honest, what drew me to the movie was its title, because I have found myself uttering similarly-themed comments whenever I'm in a contemporary art gallery. I actually like modern art, but some of it really makes you go, "Come on, are you kidding me?"

The best is when it's like a blank wall or a bent spoon or something totally absurd that's trying to be passed off as this deep statement. Call it what you want, I call it a scam. All that being said, my tastes definitely lean more toward clean lines and bold blocks of color, than say, an Impressionist painting.

What I liked about My Kid Could Paint That was that it was pretty objective--it lets the viewer make up his own mind about what's going on after presenting both sides of Marla's amazing story. The two sides being: 1) Yes, Marla is a gifted painter and deserves all of the money and success she's gotten, or 2) She barely had anything to do with the art, someone else must have done the bulk of the work.

It's not ruining anything to say that I believe that if something fishy was going on, Marla's mother truly did not know about it. I mean, she even offered to take a polygraph test (which didn't end up happening, but I wish it would've). Her dad, well... I'm not so sure about his intentions.

Below is the trailer for the movie... it gives a good synopsis of the debate that develops over the course of the film. I really liked My Kid Could Paint That and would recommend it to anyone who seeks out documentaries. It's not entertaining, per se, but if you're in the mood to hear an interesting true story that will make you think a little bit, then you'll probably like it.

And if you do rent the DVD, then make sure you watch the special feature where they show the Q&A session at Sundance and talk about some of the things that happened after film was shot.

This movie gave me a great idea. I'm going to let my dog run around in the wet dirt outside and then have him tramp all over a big canvas and give the resulting piece a catchy name and see if the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago will take it. Think they'll buy it?

- e

Monday, May 12, 2008

e's Favorite Things: VH1

As you know, I've been complaining about the lack of good stuff on TV for quite some time now. But there is one channel that never lets me down... and that's VH1.

The funny thing is, back in 1985 when VH-1: Video Hits One (as it used to be known) went on the air, I remember thinking that it was "the MTV for old people." I didn't watch it much back then... but now, I love it. So either I've gotten older (which I refuse to believe), or VH1 has gotten a lot cooler. OK, so maybe it's a little bit of both, but unlike its sister channel MTV, VH1 at least still plays music videos. You know, the reason d'être for both stations back in the day. Granted, you can't find videos during prime time, but they're still around if you look for them (especially during the "getting ready in the morning" hours).

Also, when VH1 does play TV shows instead of videos, I usually don't change the channel. With the exception of Flavor of Love and anything having to do with Scott Baio, I am a big fan of most programming on VH1--from Rock of Love to I Love the 80s to Best Week Ever (my all-time favorite) to Bands Reunited to Behind the Music to any of the "The Greatest..." or "All Access" episodes. What other channel can you name where you like almost everything they air? Nothing tops VH1 on my list. (And you can still catch one of my other favorites, Pop-Up Video, on VH1 Classic.)

Sometimes they branch out into more serious subjects... like in their "Rock Docs." I watched one of them on DVD without even knowing it was produced by VH1: I Trust You to Kill Me. It's a documentary on the band Rocco Deluca & The Burden (you may know their song "Colorful"). I loved it... and it's a must-see for any 24 fans out there who are desperate for a Kiefer fix (he was their random promoter and is hilarious in the film).

The next "Rock Doc" actually airs tonight... the first of a four-part series called "Sex: The Revolution." I've seen some clips, and while they're all a little risqué, I definitely intend to tune in, or at the very least Tivo the four installments and watch them after all of my regular shows go off the air within the next week or two.

I'm so glad I don't pay extra for HBO (especially now that Sex & the City and Six Feet Under are over), VH1 is obviously where it's at!

Gotta go... Awesomely Ridiculous Celeb Moments is on...

- e

Friday, May 09, 2008

This Is Just Not Right.

As I've said before, I could take or leave Beyoncé. So she finally got hitched to Jay-Z? Who cares, they were already acting like a boring married couple anyway. She's had a few songs that I like--most recently "Irreplaceable"... and I still put on "Ring the Alarm" when I want a good work-out--but most of the time I don't think twice about her.

Until I saw THIS completely disturbing ad for her new line of clothing--for little girls?!?!

Are you kidding me? Is this a joke?

No, it's not a joke. Just look at the homepage for Beyoncé's clothing line, House of Deréon, and you can tell that these kiddie styles fit right in.

Has someone called Child Services yet? Seriously, what was she thinking? This is really bad. I don't think I could even walk in those high heels, let alone a freakin' five-year-old! What's next... is Jay-Z going to come out with a line for toddlers so that people can dress their young sons up like gangstas and pimps? You know, to complement their sisters wearing Deréon Girls?

Ugh... OK, I've made up my mind. I no longer like Beyoncé--at all. (Added bonus from swearing off the "Bootylicious" singer--I don't have to keep typing in the annoying HTML code for the accented e's!)

- e

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Reality Roundup - AI, Top Chef, The Bachelor, Survivor, The Hills

Is it summertime yet? I'm just about ready to turn off my TV permanently. With the exception of Lost, everything I've been watching lately has been pretty darn bad, or is almost over with anyway. Let's review my list of "regulars" (don't read if you aren't caught up on all of these shows...):

American Idol

THANK GOD Jason Castro is gone. I literally could no longer stand to look at him and his dopey smiley face. But it's not like the final three are that much better. Syesha annoyed me a long time ago when she first did that scary "baby cry" noise. David Archuleta is way too happy and I just don't see him doing well after this show. Seriously, would you buy his CD? I wouldn't. David Cook has grown on me, and I hope he wins. But even if he doesn't, I think he's at the point where he'll do the best out of all of this season's contestants. The thing I'm not sure about, however, is whether or not anyone will be interested in him once he starts singing his own songs and not cleverly arranged covers.

The Bachelor

It's wrong, how much I love this show. But its finale is next week... all good things must come to an end. I want Matt to pick Shayne, simply because I never liked Chelsea. Does anyone else think she's just kind of, um, manly? I totally do not get his attraction to her. Unfortunately, I do think he's going to pick her because he already mentioned that he thought his parents would love her. That's a sign! (As a side-note, is it really bad that I slo-mo'd the preview for the finale to see if I could figure out who he proposes to based on their nail polish? It is, isn't it? By the way, you can't tell... they are both sporting the same color.)

Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites

This season has been awesome. But with Ozzy gone and James being forced to leave, I have to admit that I'm not quite as into it as I once was. Good thing that its finale also is coming up this Sunday (after another episode airs at its usual time tonight). At this point, I don't really care who wins, but of everyone left, I hope it goes to Amanda. (I hear she is still with Ozzy, by the way!)

The Hills

This show continues to frustrate me while fascinating me at the same time. I have to laugh that its finale is coming up next week, because NOTHING HAPPENED ALL SEASON once again. I don't know if I can stand to watch this show anymore if it comes back for another run... I think Lauren is mean to Audrina and if Audrina leaves (as she should), there won't be much reason for me to tune in anymore (no Justin Bobby cameos? Forget it!). Spencer and Heidi continue to be the WORST, and the word is that they've signed an agreement with a major celebrity tabloid to break up, get back together, and then even get MARRIED, all in return for primo press coverage. How twisted is that?

Top Chef

Maybe I'm biased (I WAS on the show, after all), but I'm loving Top Chef: Chicago. They've already gotten rid of all of the people I didn't like (though Dale's negativity, Andrew's hyper-freakishness and Lisa's snottiness are wearing on me), and I'm enjoying seeing different areas of my hometown showcased. I hope that either Antonia, Stephanie or Richard ends up victorious (and that Spike starts his own line of headwear).

Tonight we have Survivor, the Scrubs Princess Bride episode, The Office (don't get me started on how bad THIS show has been lately) and Lost. If I am not entertained by any of them... then the TV goes out the window.

- e

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I've never watched Scrubs, but I think I'm going to have to this week. My friend Nerdy P gave me the heads up that Thursday night's episode (which I believe is its season finale) will be an homage to my most favorite movie of all time, The Princess Bride.

While the above clip (and others I've seen) don't really seem to be that directly connected to the movie, I'll tune in anyway just to see what Braff and company are able to pull off. Apparently it is the most expensive episode the show has ever filmed.

If they are really going to spoof TPB, then there better at least be some awesome sword-fighting sequences. "You killed my father, prepare to die!!!!"

- e

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

e's Favorite Things: Crap You Didn't Know You Needed at BB&B and L&T

You gotta love springtime in Chicago. One day it's 40 degrees and hailing, the next day it's 80 degrees and humid. A side effect of these wild swings in the weather is that nearly everyone in the city gets sick at one point or another. And now it's my turn.

I started sensing that I might be coming down with something late last week, when I woke up with a tickle in the back of my throat and that gross "sick taste" in my mouth. Sure enough, as each day progressed, I felt worse and worse. Now I'm totally disgusting and have a small pharmacy of meds in my bathroom after a doctor's visit yesterday.

But before my sore throat spiraled into complete and utter grossness, I thought that I could perhaps fight the battle against germs in one small way: I would get new pillows, a new comforter and anti-microbe cases for both my mattress and my pillows.

So this weekend I trekked all around my neighborhood... to Linens 'n Things, to Bed Bath & Beyond, and then back to Linens & Things (I found another 20% off coupon, hooray!). While I was a good girl and stuck to my list of items I needed to get, I couldn't help but marvel at all of the crap I desperately wanted to get. I am now convinced that these stores pipe some sort of magical vapors out through their ventilation systems to make people go crazy and buy ridiculous gadgets and unnecessary toys.

Do I really need an inflatable, floating house? I don't even have a backyard, much less kids, much less a pool! But dammit, it was awesome and was only $10. I found myself thinking, Who do I know with a pool... I will get this for them! Then I stopped myself and forced my legs to keep moving...

... Only to be drawn to the weatherproof recliner the next aisle over. Hmm, now that I'm writing from home, maybe I should get outside more often. Wait, what? There's a complete set of deck furniture for only $200? Must... get... out... of... here...

I had almost made it to the safety of the check-out line when I spotted a wine bottle opener that converted into a thermometer that could then transform into a back massager. I HAD TO HAVE IT! (OK, so maybe I made that one up, but you know there are crazy things like that in these stores!)

Back away, e, back away, I told myself. I paid for my new pillows and got the heck out of there.

After I was back in the fresh air, I realized that I seriously need to spend several hours in both Linens 'n Things and Bed Bath & Beyond one day. Yeah, some of the stuff they carry is over-the-top, but other things really are cool. I owe it to myself to thoroughly investigate the crap I didn't even know I needed.

Ice Cream Ball... here I come! (Seriously, what IS that thing?)

- e

Friday, May 02, 2008

Welcome to Your Summer, Courtesy of Johnnifer

So John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston are dating. I don't like either of them, so I don't really care. That being said, I would much rather see pictures of them gracing the covers of every magazine this summer than, say, Britney Spears or Ashlee Simpson. Therefore, I will accept this most unlikely of pairings and will read ridiculous updates of their romance ("He sent her flowers every day!") if it means that I can forget about celebrities I like even less for a little while. Could the Jen/John pairing overshadow even the Mariah/Nick surprise marriage? I hope so, because I don't like Mariah, either.

(Who do I like? That is the question.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Here We Go Again...

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise. So much so that I wish I ran this web site (I'd do a better job... they haven't updated it since '06!). But anyway, as you've undoubtedly heard by now, Mr. Crazy is returning to Oprah--twice so I better steel myself for the media onslaught that's sure to follow his appearance.

He's going to be on tomorrow's show, which was shot at his home in Colorado. Then he'll be back again on Monday from her studio (but it has already been taped, phew. Otherwise I'd be really scared walking around Chicago next week if he was on the loose).

I really hope Oprah "goes there" and asks him the tough questions about his freakishness. Supposedly she's going to cover a lot of ground... from how he and Katie's parents get along, to his spat with Matt Lauer over psychiatric drugs (the "you're glib!" heard around the world), to his couch-jumping antics on her own show. But it's not like we can really believe any of his answers... he's an actor for God's sake, and one that needs to improve his image significantly.

Especially after CHER comes out and starts talking about an affair they had decades ago. I mean, that's just straight-up disgusting. I didn't want to know about that! Now I have a really bad vision in my head of those two together, and it's even worse than the one I had of each of them separately. And I'm sure we'll all keep hearing about this most odd of flings because Cher's also going to be on Oprah next week... on May 8th.

Despite my hatred of Tom Cruise, I will be watching the shows. We'll all undoubtedly see clip after clip from his interviews replayed on every major news outlet, so why not catch the originals? I predict that Tom will behave himself and that it will be quite boring. I also predict that I still won't like him any better afterward.

- e