though it may have hurt the feelings of some A-listers. Sorry!

Lookie at Vanity Fair on Goop: kind of like shooting fish in the barrel, if fish were blonde and played British people a lot.

Also, a movie i would probably go see. look, i almost feel bad for juno, because it gets made fun of so frequently, but hey, i think it and the suddenly-successful diablo cody can take it. and i know that part of this is directed at (500) days of summer, but YOU KNOW WHAT, that was a GREAT movie, and i don’t even listen to the smiths. so i’m not biased. joseph gordon-levitt, please hang out with me.



August 6, 2009

My, what a handsome couple.

I love Annie Leibowitz, and not just because she has my name. I love how pretty the people are, and I love how everyone freaks out when her photograph is “controversial” (like pregnant Demi or provocative Miley)…

Anyway, August 16 is the Season 3 premiere of Mad Men. If you do not watch it already, you just should. Just stop resisting popular opinion and watch the damn show, because it is great, and sometimes the majority is correct in calling it great. It took me a while to get into the show, because I found the pilot episode campy in the worst way. But it has only grown since then, with a cast of talented, disarmingly attractive actors, brilliant writing, and a slick, retro aesthetic that’s, come on, a little addictive.

So, make yourself a Mad Men avatar — I did. See? Here I am. Looking glam. With a nose that isn’t quite mine but whatever.


Giving Don Draper his coffee and a newspaper. And a dazzling smile.

So it’s hard to define, exactly, what separates a geek from a nerd from a dork. What is for sure is that no one, and I mean no one, wants to be a spazz. There is almost no good way to spin “spazz” — those other three can refer to someone who is passionate, knowledgeable, or just not hung up on fitting in and being cool. And as we have all figured out, the only people who are cool are those who are not hung up on being cool, so really, nerds are cool.

Except that they are not really! These terms have been co-opted by the cool people — and by cool people, I of course mean famous people — as a way to make themselves seem more down-to-earth, and all the more rockin’ for not being full of themselves. But a really and truly un-cool nerd/geek/dork/spazz/spazzoid has to carry around her inhaler at all times. She trips and falls and bangs into things, mostly in front of people, and the people who are watching do not find it endearing or cute. Because it’s not cute on most people, only in movies with proper lighting, and when the trip-and-fall is part of a “bad day” montage or is the “meet cute” in a romantic comedy.

So, I’m a real nerd. I’m a geek, I’m a dork, and I am cer-tain-ly a spazz. You probably got that. But here’s where I am going with this. I’m going with a friend later to look at eyeglasses frames — both of us are considering getting new ones. These sort of Buddy Holly chunky glasses (Exhibits A and B) are in right now. I like them, but you know who also does? The cool famous acty people. Like Cate Blanchett (who you can’t help but admire) and Hillary Duff (no judgments). It is like they are wearing geek costumes. But they can shed them at any point, almost like a naughty librarian costume but not quite. You know the geek costume I wear everyday? With the uncombed hair and the plumber’s crack when I lean over in my mid-rises? Yeah, that costume doesn’t come off.

The cool kids not only stole my label but they stole my coveted eyewear! And my prom date! Okay, not the last part. But still! I have had this discussion with Fellow-Frame-Seeker multiple times. Glasses used to be for the near-sighted and the squeamish (touch my eye? ew.), and now they are for willowy French model-actresses. So when I try on these archetypically nerdy glasses, “I wish I was Vanessa Paradis.”

If the model-actresses and heiresses and media personalities steal our look, what other choice have we but to steal theirs back? But seriously — high heels? Straightening irons? Contact lenses? I have an alarm clock to sleep through every morning, thank you very much, and a thousand and one reasons not to go to the gym every day.

Meanwhile, this whole rant has made me wonder if it is time I bring the pocket-protector back. (How great is this one, with the robot on it?) Hey, Mr. Vanessa Paradis (alias Johnny Depp), how snazzy would you look strolling down the red carpet in a pair of saddle shoes and a matching pocket-protector? Hey, Ryan Gosling, I can custom-make you one with a political message on it! Yo, Jon Hamm, wanna Don (Draper) one of these beauties at the next wrap party?

You know it. Me and my million-dollar ideas…

So, it’s hot out. Not today so much, but in general it’s hot, because it’s summer. And having just slogged through the interminable (I’m sorry but it is) Anna Karenina, I’m looking for some light reads. And yes, I’m female. But no, I am not into shopaholics and assistants to the devil. When it is done right, kudos, but I am not in the market for some second-rate Bridget Joneses, and neither should you! You can read books that speak to your genderhood… genderdom… genderhmm, not down to it!

If you are looking to be transported (like, literally, like travelogues, okay?):

Most of us have read Eat Pray Love, a book about some woman I don’t care who has fascinating travels abroad. (I recently grabbed ahold of the humor-novel Drink Play F*ck, which I am excited to read and I just discovered will be a movie! As will Eat Pray Love! What an excellent double-feature ever this is shaping up to be…

Instead, take a look at the work of Elaine Dundy. Her most famous novel, The Dud Avocado (1958), is about an American girl who travels to Paris to find excitement. And she finds it. Now I’m reading another Dundy novel called The Old Man and Me, set in London. This protagonist is a lot more manipulative and mean… and I like it. Anyway, this is escapist fare that will not rot your brain. From the NYTimes obit of Dundy: “‘The plot is helter-skelter, and the end trails off into vapor,’ the critic Terry Teachout wrote, ‘but the narrator’s utterly feminine voice redeems all.'”

Also, some beachy books, like Ann Brashares’ The Last Summer of You and Me and Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters will make you wish that you were sipping a drink oceanside instead of trapped in your messy cubicle. Because you didn’t feel like that already. Blume and Brashares, you may note, are young adult fiction stars, but both are successful writers for the adult crowd. In both cases, you will find they save the flowery prose for the sex scenes. So, that’s helpful, if you are looking for a quick read without a lot of showy-offy, I-get-it-you-went-to-college descriptions.

Some other books I highly recommend include:

Unaccustomed Earth: Jhumpa Lahiri in top form. It’s a feed-your-soul kind of book, but it is not at all like taking your medicine.

The Brutal Language of Love: A collection of short stories by Alicia Erian (Towelhead). A little bleak, but a quick read: I conquered it in less than two days.

American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld: So you’ve been meaning to read Prep because you hear it was good? Well, American Wife is way better. Political affiliations be damned, it is compelling from start to finish, and if you feel that extra thrill that you can only get from reading celebrity tabloids or historical tell-alls: so be it.

Margaretville: It is a fantasy, it is a metaphor, it is (supposedly) a teen novel, it is a sad sad story, but it is also beautiful in the extreme.

When The Messenger is Hot: Whew, something funny! Elizabeth Crane is a riot, and so are her stories.

These are just a few of my picks, and I have restricted my selections to books I feel are by women, about women, and pretty much (though not totally for, especially Lahiri) for women. Or, maybe I should say, that speak to the female experience very explicitly. Of course, sometimes chick lit is hard to define. Case Histories is a detective novel featuring a male detective, but it is written by a woman and is inhabited primarily by well-developed female characters; I recommend it. Is it a chick lit novel? It is hard to say.

But, without being judgey-wudgey, books that reinforce stereotypes about women as being superficial and vapid are just… they are, like, bad and stuff! But truly, as I get older, they are less fun to read, and if you are like me, then you are looking for books that are fun but smart, so reading them is comparable to hanging out with a witty, articulate girlfriend. I will keep an eye out for more, and if you have any, I hope you will pass the info along. (PS I’m on Goodreads and you should be too. A great way to keep track of what you’ve been reading!)

The survey did not precisely define what constitutes a nap… [Some] may doze momentarily when reading articles about demographic trends.

What’s up, New York Times? Hasn’t anyone ever told you that, if it bleeds, it leads, and if it snoozes, it loses?

If it z’s, it fails to please?

If it is naps, it’s a piece of crap…s.

No, I am being too harsh. You cannot deny the authorial voice is kind of hilarious (see above link), and besides who doesn’t like to stumble into work, half-asleep, and be told that this whole 9-5 workday with no naps built in is medically unsound? Long live articles about demographic trends, even if the trend is something that has existed pretty much before the dawn of humans.

I bet dinosaurs napped. And if they didn’t nap, then I think we finally know how they got extinct: by burning the candle at both ends.

This “visual guide to Hollywood’s most eccentric directors” just goes to show that directors, while not as camera-ready as their stars, are just as weird and gossip-worthy as actors. What they might lack in beauty, charm, and thrilling sex lives, they make up for with their immense inferiority complexes masking as arrogant prick complexes.

Anyway, my thesis advisor was always way anti-auteurist, meaning, essentially, that she hates how scholars and film buffs (I’m talking to you, Kim’s Video) sees the director as the true “author” of the film, downplaying the contributions of the screenwriter, the soundtrack composer, even the actors. If a director always collaborates with the same cinematographer, who is to say that the director’s vision isn’t really the cinematographer’s invention? Then again, someone has to sign off on every element of the film, from costume to lighting to everything else, and that is often the director. So who can say?

My point is: directors can be koo-koo, and I love it. Read Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures if you love it too. Also, I just love spectrums like these. How much fun is it to make your own?

shark week, fleet week, restaurant week, fashion week

Most Dangerous Weeks, from least to most Hazardous to your Health

(TV) Shark Week (from the safety of your couch)

Fleet Week (whiplash from watching cute guys go by or (for dudes) injuries resulting from fighting your latent homosexuality)

Restaurant Week (Death by Chocolate)

Fashion Week (Death by Stiletto)

(Real Life) Shark Week (Just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water…)

My next spectrum may or may not involve boxes: voice box, boombox, dick in a box, jack in a box, Jack in a Box, kick-box[ing], boxer [dog], The Boxer [Simon and Garfunkel] — stay tuned! We’ll be right box, I mean, back.

Heart-warming stuff.

July 28, 2009

Even as my inspiration as a blogger wanes (my mojo’s comin’ back, I promise), I draw inspiration as an inhabitant of this planet when I witness interspecies friendships. I don’t know why — I’m not a huge animal person. I like pictures, sure, but in real life, animals do not bathe enough and they always want to put your hand in their mouths. Gross. What’s up with that, animals?

But look: an orangutan and a dog.

Look: a beleaguered bulldog and her litter of kitten-snowball hybrids!

WATCH: a video that made me cry about a totally selfless friendship between an elephant and a dog… if you are not moved, know that you have no heart. Just know. You are the Grinch pre-Who-Ville epiphany.

And of course, the greatest love story of our time. You read all this gossip about Hollywood couples and you witness their divorces… note how you never hear a bad word about their coupling! Just goes ta’ show.